Blog Tour Review: The Kaya Girl by Mamle Wolo

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for The Kaya Girl by Mamle Wolo and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Kaya Girl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 28 June 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Literary

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Writing with effortlessly engaging prose, Wolo showcases the interweaving layers of Ghanaian culture to create a prismatic, multifaceted world in which two young girls, against all odds, are able to find each other.
 
When Faiza, a Muslim migrant girl from northern Ghana, and Abena, a wealthy doctor’s daughter from the south, meet by chance in Accra’s largest market, where Faiza works as a porter or kaya girl, they strike up an unlikely and powerful friendship that transcends their social inequities and opens up new worlds to them both.
 
Set against a backdrop of class disparity in Ghana, The Kaya Girl has shades of The Kite Runner in its unlikely friendship, and of Slumdog Millionaire as Faiza’s life takes unlikely turns that propel her thrillingly forward. As, over the course of the novel, Abena awakens to the world outside her sheltered, privileged life, the novel explores a multitude of awakenings and the opportunities that lie beyond the breaking down of barriers. This is a gorgeously transporting work, offering vivid insight into two strikingly diverse young lives in Ghana. 

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Blog Tour Review: This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today.

Special thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: This Rebel Heart
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 05 April 2022
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A tale set amid the 1956 Hungarian revolution in post-WWII Communist Budapest.

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

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Blog Tour Review: A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

Hello, friends! Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin, one of my most anticipated releases this year! I’m excited to share my (slightly rambling) review and a journal spread with you and I hope you enjoy this post! 🍵

Special thanks to Judy I. Lin and Feiwel and Friends for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea #1)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: 29 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Judy I. Lin’s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”

For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.

When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.

But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.

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Blog Tour Review: Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden

Hello, friends! Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden and I’m excited to share my review and a journal spread I made with some thoughts I had and some images that came to mind while I was reading! 🩰

Special thanks to Page Street Kids for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Anything But Fine
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication Date: 29 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

All it takes is one missed step for your life to change forever.

Luca Mason knows exactly who he is and what he wants: In six months, he’s going to be accepted into the Australian Ballet School, leave his fancy private high school, and live his life as a star of the stage—at least that’s the plan until he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his foot in a way he can never recover from.

With his dancing dreams dead on their feet, Luca loses his performing arts scholarship and transfers to the local public school, leaving behind all his ballet friends and his whole future on stage.

The only bright side is that he strikes up unlikely friendships with the nicest (and nerdiest) girl at his new school, Amina, and the gorgeous, popular, and (reportedly) straight school captain, Jordan Tanaka-Jones.

As Luca’s bond with Jordan grows stronger, he starts to wonder: who is he without ballet? And is he setting himself up for another heartbreak?

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Blog Tour Review: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir.
Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Anne of West Philly: A Modern Retelling of Anne of Green Gables
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 01 March 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.

When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir”

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey

I’m excited to be shining a spotlight on The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey today! This middle-grade fantasy sounds really good and I actually started it on a whim the other day. I’m already getting slightly dark but very magical fairytale-gone-wrong vibes from it and I can’t wait to dive back in whenever I have to put it down. I can’t wait to see where this story goes 😄 Also, how cool is this cover?!

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Counterclockwise Heart
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 01 February 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

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ARC Review: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart by BeKa, Maya

Special thanks to Europe Comics for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart
Publisher: Europe Comics
Published: 17 November 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle-Grade Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Linon and Garance are best friends with very different ideas about love. To get to the bottom of what all this romance stuff is really about, they decide to conduct an investigation into some of the older students at their middle school. Why are certain kids more popular than others? Why do some already have a “bad reputation” by the 8th grade? Why is everyone so obsessed with appearances? Along the way, the pair discover that, for best friends who are supposed to share everything, they’ve both been keeping some pretty big secrets of their own. 

TL;DR: A cute coming-of-age graphic novel about two friends who just want to know a bit more about love. The friendship between Linon and Garance was so sweet and I loved their little investigative adventures to understand their classmates’ experiences with love and to understand what exactly love means to others. With a fun and contemporary art style and a sweet storyline, I would recommend this to readers of all ages but I know middle-grade me would’ve absolutely loved this!

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Blog Tour Review: Pighearted by Alex Perry

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Pighearted by Alex Perry. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Pighearted
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 26 October 2021
Genre: Middle-Grade Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Charlotte’s Web meets My Sister’s Keeper in this charming story told from the alternating perspectives of a boy with a fatal heart condition and the pig with the heart that could save his life.

Jeremiah’s heart skips a beat before his first soccer game, but it’s not nerves. It’s the first sign of a heart attack. He knows he needs to go to the hospital, but he’s determined to score a goal. Charging after the ball, he refuses to stop…even if his heart does.

J6 is a pig and the only one of his five brothers who survived the research lab. Though he’s never left his cell, he thinks of himself as a therapy pig, a scholar, and a bodyguard. But when the lab sends him to live with Jeremiah’s family, there’s one new title he’s desperate to have: brother.

At first, Jeremiah thinks his parents took in J6 to cheer him up. But before long, he begins to suspect there’s more to his new curly-tailed companion than meets the eye. When the truth is revealed, Jeremiah and J6 must protect each other at all costs—even if their lives depend on it.

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Book Spotlight: How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino, translated by Bruno Navasky

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hello, friends! Today I’m shining a book spotlight on How Do You Live? by Genazburo Yoshino. This book is the first English translation of the Japanese classic and it has a foreword by Neil Gaiman! It has also inspired the world-famous director: Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is the genius behind some of my all-time favourites from Ghibli Studio (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc.), so of course I’m interested in seeing what inspired the man! 😍

Goodreads: How Do You Live?
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publish Date: 26 October 2021
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Japanese Literature

Anime master Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite childhood book, in English for the first time.
First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s How Do You Live? has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers. Academy Award–winning animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle) has called it his favorite childhood book and announced plans to emerge from retirement to make it the basis of a final film.


How Do You Live? is narrated in two voices. The first belongs to Copper, fifteen, who after the death of his father must confront inevitable and enormous change, including his own betrayal of his best friend. In between episodes of Copper’s emerging story, his uncle writes to him in a journal, sharing knowledge and offering advice on life’s big questions as Copper begins to encounter them. Over the course of the story, Copper, like his namesake Copernicus, looks to the stars, and uses his discoveries about the heavens, earth, and human nature to answer the question of how he will live.

This first-ever English-language translation of a Japanese classic about finding one’s place in a world both infinitely large and unimaginably small is perfect for readers of philosophical fiction like The Alchemist and The Little Prince, as well as Miyazaki fans eager to understand one of his most important influences.

Buy a copy:

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Blog Tour Review: The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for The Secret Garden on 81st Street: A Modern Retelling of the Secret Garden by Ivy Noelle Weir. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Secret Garden on 81st Street: A Modern Retelling of the Secret Garden
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 19 October 2021
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

The Secret Garden with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, this full-color graphic novel moves Mary Lennox to a New York City brownstone, where she and her very first group of friends restore an abandoned rooftop garden…and her uncle’s heart.

Mary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and “friends.” When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home. Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret…her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir”