Author: LeBron James Publisher: Harper Collins Pages: 36 On Sale: August 11, 2020 Genre: Children’s, Academic, Poetry, Inspirational Stars: 5/5
From the Publisher:
NBA champion and superstar LeBron James pens a slam-dunk picture book inspired by his foundation’s I PROMISE program that motivates children everywhere to always #StriveForGreatness.
Just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who is dedicated to uplifting youth everywhere, LeBron James knows the key to a better future is to excel in school, do your best, and keep your family close.
I Promise is a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow’s success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today.
Featuring James’s upbeat, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations perfectly crafted for a diverse audience by New York Times bestselling artist Nina Mata, this book has the power to inspire all children and families to be their best.
Perfect for shared reading in and out of the classroom, I Promise is also a great gift for graduation, birthdays, and other occasions.
I loved this, I thought it was really beautifully done. I enjoyed the rhyming text very much and the message it gives to kids is perfect. Inspired by his I Promise school, it tells them to stay in school and to always try their best and strive for greatness. It’s a great set of daily mantras and I love “I promise to reach for my star”.
Author: Brad Ricca Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Pages: 400 On Sale: August 11, 2020 Genre: Non Fiction, History, Biography, Travel Stars: 2/5
From the Publisher:
From the Edgar-nominated author of the bestselling Mrs. Sherlock Holmes comes the true story of a woman’s quest to Africa in the 1900s to find her missing fiancé, and the adventure that ensues.
In 1910, Olive MacLeod, a thirty-year-old, redheaded Scottish aristocrat, received word that her fiancé, the famous naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa.
So she went to find him.
Olive the Lionheart is the thrilling true story of her astonishing journey. In jungles, swamps, cities, and deserts, Olive and her two companions, the Talbots, come face-to-face with cobras and crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs that she adopts as her own. Making her way in a pair of ill-fitting boots, Olive awakens to the many forces around her, from shadowy colonial powers to an invisible Islamic warlord who may hold the key to Boyd’s disappearance. As these secrets begin to unravel, all of Olive’s assumptions prove wrong and she is forced to confront the darkest, most shocking secret of all: why she really came to Africa in the first place.
Drawing on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries, Olive the Lionheart is a love story that defies all boundaries, set against the backdrop of a beautiful, unconquerable Africa.
This book had a lot of potential, but the pace really lost it for me. I found Olive to be kind of wishy-washy in the beginning with her feelings and decisions, but once she sets out for Africa she definitely had more of a spine. That sounded like quite a hard journey for an aristocrat. Regardless, the whole thing just kind of plodded along at a slow pace and even the exciting incidents didn’t spark a lot of interest. The history and geography was interesting, but this was not the exciting journey that I expected.
Author: Eoin Colfer Publisher: Disney Hyperion Pages: 336 On Sale: October 20 2020 Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure Stars: 3/5
From the Publisher:
Myles Fowl has found what he thinks is a source of knowledge, the likes of which humanity has never seen before, and so he goes after it. But what he doesn’t know is that there are also some renegade fairies who are going after this source too. So when they both arrive at the same place at the same time to find this knowledge, which is not what they think it is, shenanigans and adventures ensue.
This is the second installment of The Fowl Twins, and I felt like it lacked a bit of the magic the first one had. I really enjoy the character of Beckett and his friendship with Whistleblower and I wish there was a bit more of them and a bit less of Myles. Myles appears to have all of the most annoying traits that Artemis had, and I hope he comes back in future books. The plot didn’t really keep my attention, I felt like every time I put the book down I had to read back and figure out what was going on again since it was all over the place. Overall it was good, just not my favorite of the Fowl novels.
When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the “Become a Jetsetter” contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can’t seem to find a bride; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday. Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young and she was a single mother who meant everything to them. When she wins the cruise, the family packs all their baggage—literal and figurative—and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso. As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the Perkins family is forced to confront the defining choices in their lives. Can four lost adults find the peace they’ve been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back to each other?
In the vein of The Nest and The Vacationers, Ward has created a delicious and intelligent novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood to cruise—we can only hope—toward joy.
I devoured this book, read it in under a day. I found the language the characters used to be a bit immature and stilted at times, but overall it was well done and fast paced. Most of it felt like a typical family drama, but there were a few surprises thrown in that I really enjoyed. The characters were all very unique and I wouldn’t say this book was predictable at all.
Author: Cassandra Clare Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books Pages: 672 On Sale: March 3 2020 Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance, Paranormal Stars: 5/5
From the Publisher:
From #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare comes the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade. Chain of Gold is a Shadowhunters novel.
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.
I devoured this book; it was just as good as all of the others. It’s been so long since I read the Clockwork series that I forgot who some people were, but everything still made sense and came together in the end. Most of the relationships are heartbreaking, yet I’m really looking forward to the rest of this trilogy. And to learn what happened to Matthew. The Clockwork series was my favorite and I loved this continuation of it, Cassandra Clare really sucks you into her characters and world building in a way that makes you physically miss them when you’re done.
Author: Janet Skeslien Charles Publisher: Atria Books Pages: 368 On Sale: February 2 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII Stars: 3/5
From the Publisher:
Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.
Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.
Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.
A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places
This book was really well done. It had a dual timeline, spanning from 1939 Paris to 1983 Montana, and I felt it was pretty easy to keep track of the plot. Both stories held up well on their own. I’ve never visited Paris and I had never heard of the American Library there, but I’m proud of the efforts everyone put in to promote reading and sending books to all the troops. Not a lot of focus was put on how the rest of the city or the Jews were faring during the occupation, but it was interesting to learn how the librarians struggled and adapted.
“After the darkness of war, the light of books.” (ALP’s motto)
Author: Jane Johnson Publisher: Simon & Schuster Pages: 416 On Sale: January 5 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII Stars: 3/5
From the Publisher:
A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.
After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.
Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.
As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner…
A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.
I have conflicting feelings about this book. The dual timeline was well done and I didn’t get too lost when the chapters flipped perspective, but I felt a lot of it just kind of plodded along. The characters felt real and believable, but it wasn’t until into the second half that things really came together and it became harder to put the book down. Rebecca felt a bit weak and flimsy at first, but she definitely became a stronger person as time goes on.
Author: Kate Noble Publisher: BooksGoSocial Pages: 24 On Sale: October 20 2020 Genre: Children, Christmas, Fantasy Stars: 4/5
From the Publisher:
A beautiful, unique rhyming verse Christmas story. Duffy the Dragon helps Santa one icy Christmas Eve. This lovely story book is a perfect Christmas gift for 3-8 year olds that has been purchased and sent to almost every country on the planet.
Grandparents, parents and other people with younger children in their lives love to give this unique Christmas tale as a great Christmas gift.
This book may have actually been published in 2006, but NetGalley just gave me a copy of it. I thought this story was really cute. It may have been a little predictable, but it is very whimsical and a pleasure to read. I enjoyed how it included his recipe in the back, I would definitely consider picking up this book as a gift.
Author: Gillian Sze Publisher: Orca Book Publishers Pages: 20 On Sale: March 16 2021 Genre: Children Stars: 2/5
From the Publisher:
Rich imagery, gentle rhythm and soothing repetition will lull your little one to sleep as the tulips close for the night, one by one. In this bedtime story written as an Italian villanelle, poet Gillian Sze makes use of the poetic forms of cyclic pattern and rhyme scheme to create a melodious lullaby.
A young child comes in from picking flowers as the creatures around their home all settle down for the evening. Songbirds curl against their mothers’ sides, the house slumps and sighs low, a hush settles as times slows. And little readers are invited to rest their heads and be soothed to sleep as moonlight falls on eyes that close.
This seemed to be more like an illustrated poem than a children’s story. There isn’t anything in the way of plot, it’s just some repeated phrases that are supposed to lull a child to sleep. The artwork is very bold and graphic; I don’t think it paired well with the soothing language. It was alright, but not something I’ll be picking up for the children I know.
Author: Taltal Levi Publisher: NorthSouth Books Pages: 32 On Sale: February 2 2021 Genre: Children Stars: 3/5
From the Publisher:
When a spunky little girl finds that her parents are too busy to play, she decides to visit her favorite place on her own.
The familiar path lightens her step and her heart. And along the way she discovers a wonderful surprise.
Taltal Levi’s spare text and delicate pastel-hued illustrations celebrate courage, discovery, and the power of family.
The illustrations of this book were very nice, but I’m not sure the actual story is right for children. The young girl basically feels ignored by her parents so she takes off, camps out in the woods overnight by herself, and then walks to the sea. Her parents find her and never seemed alarmed, but I don’t think these are good ideas to put in kids’ heads. In real life there either would have been an Amber Alert or something larger than a fox would have found her. The story had a lot of potential and it was beautiful, I just think it missed its mark.