Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Few Mini Reviews

  It's been a busy month of reading, shoveling snow, shopping and now preparing for the upcoming holidays.  Where did the month of December go?  Hope your holidays are delightful and wishing you a very Happy New Year!  These are some
 shorter thoughts on two books that I've read recently.

Bounce  by Megan Shull
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Number of Pages:  384
Published:  September 6th, 2016

Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for the purposes of the Cybils

Shortly before Christmas break, Frannie's parents tell her that they are going on a vacation, the kicker is that they aren't taking Frannie or her older brother and sister.  Instead, this year the Hudson family will have to fend for themselves.  Frustrated, Frannie wishes that she had a different family and when her wish is granted, she finds herself bouncing into other people's lives. 

Bounce has an interesting take on the body-swap storyline, with it taking place over Christmas, and Frannie bouncing into various girls lives.  She also gets placed into all these novel situations, like riding a horse, when you've never been on one before.  In many ways, Frannie gets to see things from a whole new perspective and has the most transformative changes.  In the beginning of the story, I wasn't very fond of Frannie, she whines quite a bit.  Which is very understandable given her family does treat her pretty terribly, but it took a bit for me to get into her character.  She reads much younger than she really is.  But, Frannie does seem to have a good heart and just needed some courage to stand up for herself.  My favorite parts are the girl's lives that Frannie bounces into.  Especially when she meets parents who make her feel loved and important.  Overall, a fun story with lovely messaging about developing your own inner strength. 

25688980The Rat Prince  by Bridget Hodder
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Macmillan/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Number of Pages:  272
Published:  August 23rd, 2016

Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for the purposes of the Cybils

I'm a fan of fairy tale retellings and The Rat Prince had quite an entertaining take on the story of Cinderella.  The story is told from Prince Char, the ruler of the Northern Kingdom of rats and Cinderella's perspectives.  Yep, a rat.  At first glance, that might seem a bit of a stretch, but Hodder makes the story unique and adds some fun new details, for which I don't want to give too much away.  Cinderella (Lady Rose) has been protecting her father from her evil step-mother and step-sister, now that his mind seems to be slipping.  While our Prince is making plans to get Lady Rose to a royal ball where the next ruler of the kingdom will be selecting his wife.  The story is complicated by the fact that Prince Char has fallen in love with Lady Rose, and the Royal Prince is prone to temper tantrums making him an unsuitable match for Lady Rose.  With plenty of twists and humor, The Rat Prince will surely delight middle-grade readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings.       

Monday, December 5, 2016

MG Review: Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel

Fortune Falls  by Jenny Goebel
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Number of Pages:  208
Published:  January 5th, 2016

Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for the purposes of the Cybils

Fortune Falls is one of those "what if" stories.  What if all of those expressions or superstitions that we use were really true?  So, if you stepped on a crack it really does break your mom's back and eating an apple a day does keep the doctor away.  To Sadie, this is just life in Fortune Falls.  At the moment Sadie is considered to be an undetermined, meaning she hasn't reached her twelfth birthday yet, so her fate to determine whether she is an Unlucky or Lucky hasn't been tested yet. Sadie is really hoping that she will be a Lucky.  Otherwise, she will be sent away to school, for the protection of everyone else.  But, Sadie has also been having an inclination that she might be headed for being chosen Unlucky, bad things have been happening around her once too often.  Going away to school would also mean that she would lose her best friend Cooper, so she will have to do something drastic to change her luck.  

This was such a fun read.  I really enjoyed looking for all of the superstitions that I read growing up and watching the humorous ways they were incorporated into the story.  The friendship between Cooper and Sadie was really sweet, especially how he tries to help her improve her luck.  I'm not sure how I felt about the luck test and the idea that if you happened to be lucky then you stayed at Flourish Academy, but if you were unlucky, then you had to go to Bane School for the Unluckies.  I really didn't want Cooper and Sadie to get separated, and was rooting for Sadie to pass her test.  Overall, a wonderful story of the hardships of being unlucky, friendship and perseverance to try to change what you feel is your destiny.