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‘Book Reviews’ Category

  1. Hijinks Abound in THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S

    March 16, 2016 by Kiersi

    The Last Boy at St. Edith's by Lee Gjertsen Malone

    Title: THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S

    Author: Lee Gjertsen Malone

    Category & Genre: Middle-grade Contemporary

    Publish Date: Out now!

    Blurb: Jeremy is the last boy remaining at an all-girls school.

    Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5

    I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

    To me, one of the greatest struggles faced by children’s fiction is the limiting dichotomy of “boy books” versus “girl books.” Especially in the middle-grade sphere, this strict gender exclusivity—most noticeably on the matter of boys being rarely asked or required to read narratives told by girl characters—leaves out a whole slew of important perspectives to younger readers. When our media is dominated by male stories featuring token female characters, the female perspective becomes, naturally, tokenized; and by extension, rendered unimportant. (more…)


  2. Eagar’s powerful debut, HOUR OF THE BEES

    March 8, 2016 by Kiersi

    Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

    Title: THE HOUR OF THE BEES

    Author: Lindsay Eagar

    Category & Genre: Middle-grade Magical Realism

    Publish date: March 8, 2016

    Blurb: Carol has to spend her summer on her grandfather’s ranch—when strange things start happening.

    Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5

    Carolina didn’t know quite what she was getting into when she went with her parents, sister, and brother down to her Grandpa Serge’s sheep ranch. Carol’s skipping out on a whole summer full of having fun with her friends just to help her parents clean out the house, and move the obstinate Serge into a home. Worse, her dad—who spent the last twelve years estranged from his own father—is putting the place up for sale against Grandpa Serge’s will. (more…)


  3. Maschari’s REMARKABLE JOURNEY is a triumph

    February 23, 2016 by Kiersi

    The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price

    Title: THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE

    Author: Jennifer Maschari

    Genre: Fantasy Middle-grade

    Publish date: Febrary 23, 2016

    Blurb: After the death of their mother, Charlie and his sister Imogen discover a secret world where Mom is still alive.

    Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5

    Review:

    I received an ARC of this beautiful little novel in exchange for an honest review, and it is my absolute pleasure to extoll all its many virtues.

    In some ways, CHARLIE PRICE is about grief and mourning. In some ways, it’s about bravery and adventure. And in some ways, it’s about denial, hope, and redemption—and the resilience of the human heart in the face of all of it. Tackling these subjects in the middle-grade sphere can be a challenge, but Maschari writes with incredible wit, humor, and kindness. (more…)


  4. Come with tissues for PAPER WISHES

    January 5, 2016 by Kiersi

    Cover of PAPER WISHES

    Title: PAPER WISHES

    Author: Lois Sepahban

    Genre: Historical Middle-grade

    Publish date: January 5, 2016

    Blurb: A moving debut novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II–and the dog she has to leave behind.

    Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5

    Review:

    I had the immense privilege of reading an ARC of PAPER WISHES in exchange for my honest review. But I want to warn you before you pick up this book—which you will, if you know what’s good for you—to have a big pile of tissues ready.

    I don’t make these kinds of statements lightly. Over the course of this wee little novel, I sobbed probably five or six times—big, gulping sobs, the kind that sends big, fat, raindrop-tears streaming down your face like Alice about to drown herself. That kind of sobbing. (more…)


  5. Banned Book Week: The Golden Compass

    September 25, 2013 by Kiersi

    goldencompassIt’s Banned Book Week! While I’d normally blog about hoping my own books get banned by fidgety parents someday (all publicity is good publicity, amirite?), I was encouraged by my fellow bloggesses over at YA Stands to write about a banned book for my semi-monthly blog post.

    So, I picked The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.

    Until a friend of our family back home told me he would never let his children read it, for “atheist undertones.” I was aghast. An intelligent person–someone I respected–was going to keep this book away from his children because he was afraid they would be exposed to viewpoints other than his own; that it might influence them in some damaging way.

    Read the post here. Hope to see you over at YA Stands!


  6. A Book With A Ridiculously Long Name

    August 1, 2013 by Kiersi

    I was really late to the party when it comes to middle-grade fiction.

    I mean, really late. So late that the last middle-grade book I read was THE GIVER and I was probably twelve at the time. So, why, you probably ask, did I decide to write a middle-grade book? That was kind of dumb. (I’d agree with you.) But I’d also explain that some stories just have to be told. And this particular story, well, its two heroes were eleven- and twelve-years-old respectively. It wasn’t a story that was going to just bugger off anytime soon. I had to write it. There really wasn’t anything I could do about that total-lack-of-market-knowledge thing at the time. So I went with it and wrote it as best as I possibly could. Because that’s what writing has always been for me–an adventure into the wide unknown. I decided I would learn as I went, and revise as necessary.

    Bahahaha, current me says to past me. You fool. You know nothing, Jon Snow. (more…)


  7. Author Divas Censor Book Reviewers

    May 2, 2013 by Kiersi

    What is going on with authors this past week? It’s like spring came and the divas of the book world woke up from hibernation in full-attack mode. Remember that part where you wrote a book and then put it out there in the world? Where did it become okay to attack readers for writing honest reviews about them?

    Let’s start at the beginning, where a reviewer I follow on Goodreads posted her honest review of a vampire novel. (I’m already getting No Remorse flashbacks here, shudder.) She received a free copy of the book in exchange for her honest review. That should be where this story ends. I mean, I don’t even know why I have to go on here.

    Instead of backing away and leaving it at that, the author of said vampire novel, P. J. Dominicis, wrote an email to her “literary idol” Anne Rice, asking for… I’m not sure what, actually. Emotional support, I guess? That doesn’t really bother me much; authors are people too, and reading a negative review can be a trying experience. (Though, if I were to give any advice here, it’s just… don’t read them, bro, and spare yourself the experience.) (more…)


  8. Vacation Fix, and The Night Circus

    February 28, 2013 by Kiersi

    I found this hilarious Pulp Magazine Cover Generator via children’s author Nathan Bransford. And I think “She wrote until HER FINGERS FELL OFF” is very relevant to today’s post.

    The blog has been radio silent because I went on vacation. As in, I peeled myself away from the computer, left the manuscript print-out I’ve been slaving over lying prone on the ottoman with slightly curling corners, and got the hell out of Dodge.

    It was a while ago when my Significant Other said, “Whoa, Kiersi, you need to take a day off.”

    And I was all, “Sure, I’ll take tomorrow off.” And then it would sort of half-happen. There were deadlines to meet, manuscripts to revise, new ideas and concepts to lay out in Scrivener. Too many things to do to take a day off. (more…)


  9. Crown of Embers is a Worthy Sequel

    February 13, 2013 by Kiersi

    The Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson

    The Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson

    This series gets: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5

    The Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson – I need to just get something off my chest before we start this review: Rae Carson knows how to write. When she sits down at her keyboard, do birds start singing? Do little deer come out of the woods and press their shiny black noses to her window? Do squirrels knit her a new dress every morning out of moss and bramble?

    Anyway, my point is that The Crown of Embers is a very worthy follow-up to Girl of Fire and Thorns (I am shocked and a little horrified to not have reviewed it, but if you have not read it, simply be content to know it is amazing and that you should definitely read it). Elisa, our overweight princess from the previous novel, has trimmed down some through her adventures across the desert and, due to circumstances, is now queen of the realm. Not only that, but she’s developing some… feelings, for a particular captain of the guard. (more…)


  10. The Curse Workers Trilogy, by Holly Black

    January 24, 2013 by Kiersi


    Curse Workers (White Cat, Red Glove, Black Heart) by Holly Black

    This series gets: ♥♥♥♥ out of 5

    The Curse Workers, a trilogy by Holly Black – A preface note: I listened to all of these on audiobook, so any name misspellings are purely Holly’s fault for giving all of her characters homonyms for names (Cassel = Castle, Barron = Baron). For the longest time I was actually spelling “Cassel” as “Castle” in my head, and let me tell you, that is way more awesome.

    Anyhow, I loved Curse Workers. The idea is brilliant. Cassel Sharpe lives in an alternate Earth, where one in every one thousand people has a special ability–these “workers,” as they’re called, can place a curse with no more than the touch of a bare hand. Workers come in all kinds, from small-time luck workers (good or bad luck), to emotion or memory workers, to death workers who can kill just by removing a glove. (Like magic in most books, there are repercussions to “working,” called “blowback,” which is always related in some way to the type of curse-working. Oh, yeah. This is definitely my favorite alternate universe ever.)  (more…)