Tuesday, January 3

Reviews of the Week 1/2

The holidays are winding down and new books are on the way. I'm definitely excited for what 2017 has to offer! In fact, the first book I'm reviewing is one to look forward to. The others reviewed here, of course, were for my own holiday break entertainment. Who doesn't love getting books for Christmas??


Malala: Activist for Girls' Education
Written by Raphaële Frier, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-1580897853
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Date of publication: February 7, 2017
Age: Grades 1 - 4
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Netgalley eARC

Themes: biography, girls' education, Pakistan, political activism

Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. When she was just fifteen-years-old, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala, but even this did not stop her activism. At age eighteen Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ensure the education of all children around the world.

While this picture book biography may be one of many Malala biographies that are flooding the markets, this one should definitely be noted. It is truly valuable to children (and adults) of all ages as it plainly and realistically states Malala's amazing story. But it also has some truly vivid and beautiful illustrations. The style is full of emotion and appeal, especially in regards to Malala's homeland in Pakistan. There's also photographs and more in-depth biographical notes at the end of the book. Yes, it may be one of many, but I still recommend reading it when it comes out in February.

Pre-order on Amazon or put a hold at your library

If the Magic Fits

(100 Dresses #1)
Susan Maupin Schmid

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-0553533668
Publisher: Random House
Date of publication: October 25, 2016
Age: Grades 3 - 6
Genre: Fantasy
Format: eAudiobook

Themes: dresses, disguises, castle life, servitude, prince/princesses,

Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred dresses that nobody ever wears. Dresses like those need a good trying-on, and Darling Dimple is just the girl to do it. When she tries on Dress Number Eleven, something unbelievable happens. She transforms into the castle’s Head Scrubber! It turns out that each dress can disguise her as someone else. And Darling is about to have an adventure that calls for a disguise or two...or a hundred.

It's cute. I mean, with a main character named "Darling Dimple," what else would you expect? It has all the classic elements of a good fairy tale, complete with helpful mice. So at over 300 pages...yes, there were times it felt a tad tedious; Darling still couldn't figure out the villain, or still magically messed things up. Overall, I got a bit bored. What did impress me, however, was the writing. While the story was a drag, the writing was straight up beautiful. Perfect little metaphors and other elements that just really added punch to the story.

So overall, I do still like the book and would recommend it to the right person. I think it's a perfect chapter book for that student that wants a challenge (as in, long) and loves princess books. Kids love the formulaic, right? And really, the ending is totally awesome, so readers will be rewarded for their determination to finish. Give it a try.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Crooked Kingdom
(Six of Crows #2)
Leigh Bardugo

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-1627792134
Publisher: Henry Holt
Date of publication: September 27, 2016
Age: Grades 10 and up
Genre: Fantasy
Format: personal purchase

Themes: revenge, thievery, loyalty, betrayal, magic

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

It seems only fair that when I named the first book in this duology as my favorite favorite book of 2015, that I would do a follow-up review with the sequel. While I loved how it wrapped up the story of my most favorite of favorite characters...I don't know that it lived up to the first book. There. I said it. I know, I know, it is unbelievably tragic when the sequel fails to live up to its predecessor, but it happens too often. In this case, I felt that there was suddenly way too much romance (something I appreciated about the first one: no insta-romances and nothing too distracting from the story). This book felt almost like an episode of Friends where everyone in the gang had to hook up with someone else in the gang. Seriously. It just took away from the real themes of loyalty and revenge and heartbreak behind this heart-pounding story. So I'm a tad bummed.

But honestly, the writing is still superb. The alternating points-of-view between chapters still revealed needed depth behind complex and amazing characters. The planning and scheming and betrayals still left me breathless. Yes, the ending was perfect. So yes, it's still recommended.

Warning: Explicit Content
some sexuality

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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