Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Book Review / October 7, 2016

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz Genre: Fiction Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers Release Date: February 12th, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 359 Source: Library Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (via Goodreads) Amazon I read this book as part of Latinx Heritage Month. Want to learn more? Check out this post by Naz @Read Diverse Books! Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a book I originally discovered by accident. I desperately needed a new audiobook and picked this one up because it’s narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda (This quote from the beginning just slayed me: “I sure as hell don’t want to…

Rad Women Worldwide
Book Review / October 5, 2016

Title: Rad Women Worldwide: Artists, Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History Author: Kate Schatz Genre: Biography Publisher: Ten Speed Press Release Date: September 27th, 2016 Format: Hardback Pages: 112 Source: Owned (Blogging for Books) Illustrator: Miriam Klein Stahl From the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Rad American Women A-Z, comes a bold new collection of 40 biographical profiles, each accompanied by a striking illustrated portrait, showcasing extraordinary women from around the world. Rad Women Worldwide tells fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. From 430 BCE to 2016, spanning 31 countries around the world, the book features an array of diverse figures, including Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica). This progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women’s history and belongs on the shelf of every school, library, and home. Together, these stories…

The Shadow of the Wind
Book Review / September 22, 2016

Title: The Shadow of the Wind Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1 Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon Genre: Fiction Publisher: Penguin Books Release Date: January 25th, 2005 Format: Paperback Pages: 487 Source: Library First Published: 2001, in Spanish Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (via Goodreads) Amazon   If only I knew how to write this book review. The Shadow of the Wind enraptured me within paragraphs. I was immediately pulled into a beautiful world of well-woven words. Eventually, I even gave up writing down all my favorite quotes. There were so many great moments and sentences that I…

In the Hand of the Goddess
Book Review / September 18, 2016

Title: In the Hand of the Goddess Series: Song of the Lioness, #2 Author: Tamora Pierce Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Release Date: April 19th, 2011 Format: eBook Pages: 252 Source: Owned First Published: 1984 From Tamora Pierce, the second book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award. Alanna, disguised as a boy, becomes a squire to none other than the heir to the throne. Prince Jonathan is not only Alanna’s liege lord, he is also her best friend – and one of the few who knows the secret of her true identity. But when a vicious sorcerer threatens the prince’s life, it will take all of Alanna’s skill, strength, and magical power to protect him, even at the risk of surrendering her dreams.  (via Goodreads) Amazon   Right from the start, we know that In the Hand of the Goddess will be a more intense book that its predecessor, Alanna: The First Adventure. Opening with Alanna meeting the Goddess herself, Alanna is told she must address her three greatest fears if she is to succeed. That’s right, unlike most fantasy novels, being the Chosen of a goddess doesn’t make…

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
Book Review / September 17, 2016

Title: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea Author: Ben Clanton Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Tundra Books Release Date: October 4th, 2016 Format: eReader ARC Pages: 64 Source: NetGalley Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever — even though it doesn’t have any words…or pictures! Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together and the power of imagination in the delightful Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for NetGalley and Tundra Books for the opportunity!   GUYS. Guys. This book. This adorable, beautiful, superbly cute book! When I picked this book up, I didn’t know what to expect. The cover…

Holes
Book Review / August 28, 2016

Title: Holes Series: Holes, #1 Author: Louis Sachar Genre: Fiction Publisher: Scholastic Release Date: August 20th, 1998 Format: Paperback Pages: 233 Source: Owned Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption. (via Goodreads) Amazon   It’s not a surprise that this is the first book to win both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (1998). This is an incredible story– impeccable storytelling happens in these 233 pages. An effortless weaving of the…

Alanna: The First Adventure
Book Review / August 23, 2016

Title: Alanna: The First Adventure Series: Song of the Lioness, #1 Author: Tamora Pierce Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: January 1st, 2005 Format: Hardback Pages: 216 Source: Owned First Published: 1983 From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight. And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page. But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Recently, I read Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. It was time to return to a favorite author of my childhood. Reading that book only reminded me that I adore Tamora Pierce. As a child, I read The Song of…

Trickster’s Choice
Book Review / August 13, 2016

Title: Trickster's Choice Series: Daughter of the Lioness, #1 Author: Tamora Pierce Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Scholastic Press Release Date: January 1st, 2003 Format: Audiobook Pages: 453 Source: Library Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the Lioness of Tortall. Aly is bold and brave like her mother, but she has no wish to become a knight. Instead she longs to follow in her father’s footsteps as a spy, an ambition her parents vehemently oppose. After a furious argument Aly runs away, with disastrous consequences. Captured and sold as a slave in the Copper Isles, she discovers that this whole nightmare has not come about by chance – the Trickster God, Kyprioth, has plans for her… (via Goodreads) Amazon   Growing up, there were a few series of books I read until the spines broke: Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, Tales of Magic by Edward Eagar, and most importantly The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce. (Well, most importantly, Harry Potter, but that series extended long past my childhood days…). These books defined my literary formative years, and discovering Trickster’s Choice thrust me back into those beautiful worlds. This newer work by Tamora Pierce reminded me why I…

The Rithmatist
Book Review / June 30, 2016

Title: The Rithmatist Series: Rithmatist, #1 Author: Brandon Sanderson Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: May 14th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 378 Source: Library Illustrator: Ben McSweeney (Rithmatics Images) More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Sanderson. Please. Stop making me desperately cling to your words hoping they will never stop. And stop tricking me into reading books for incomplete series. As soon as The Rithmatist ended, I knew I needed more. IMMEDIATELY. Joel wants desperately to be a Rithmatist– someone who battles using…

I Am Malala
Book Review / May 11, 2016

Title: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban Author: Malala Yousafazi, Christina Lamb Genre: Memoir Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Release Date: November 1st, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 327 Source: Library I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and…

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