Monday, December 19, 2022

Cover Reveal for IT FOUND US by Lindsay Currie

Today I'm super excited to reveal the cover for Lindsay Currie's next spooky MG book, IT FOUND US - with special thanks to illustrator @tropicalgloom for this downright haunting cover! Coming 9/23 from @sourcebookskids! @sbkslibrary @editorALB

Title: It Found Us
Author: Lindsay Currie
Author Links: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
Publication Date: September 23, 2023
Genres: MG, Spooky
ADD it to Goodreads

From the author of Scritch Scratch and The Girl in White comes a new spooky mystery about a girl detective who must decode a series of ominous clues tied to a century-old tragedy to find a missing teenager before it’s too late…

Twelve-year-old Hazel Woods has always had an unusual knack for sleuthing. Some may call it snooping, but all she really wants is to solve mysteries around town. So, when she not-so-accidentally overhears her brother Den planning to sneak into the cemetery at night for an epic game of hide-and-seek, she decides to secretly tag along. This seems like the perfect opportunity to investigate the claims that the cemetery is haunted.

But the moment the game ends, Hazel realizes something is very, very wrong. From her hiding spot in the bushes, she overhears that her brother’s best friend, Everett, is missing. Everyone else was found by the seeker but there’s no sign of Everett anywhere. It’s as if he just . . . vanished

Hazel and Den are determined to find Everett before it’s too late. But as they begin to unravel the terrifying clues that started appearing since that night in the graveyard–eerie whispers that sound like someone counting, the intermittent smell of smoke, and the cold, lost presence that follows them everywhere, she’s not sure what they are dealing with. But Everett needs more than search parties and scent-tracking dogs to find him, especially if his disappearance is tied to the history of the cemetery, and the lost, century-old spirits that might still be trapped there.

                                            And here’s the cover!

 What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 12, 2022

Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria by George Jreije

Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria by George Jreije  
Format:  Hardcover
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Number of pages:  304
Published:  October 4th, 2022
Source:  Giveaway sponsored by Literary Rambles and the publisher 

Opening Line: "There was no such thing as magic."

12-year-old Shad Hadid aspires to be a baker, dreaming of making delectable Arabic sweets like baklava and knafeh.  When not at school or making meals for his beloved, Teta, Shad is at his favorite bakery.  Often, he can be found peering into the window, drooling over the smells drifting from the shop, a constant reminder of his Baba and the shop they used to own in Lebanon.

Then one day while Shad is heading home, he has a run in with his nemesis, Sarah.  Once he and Sarah were friends but now, she and her friends find pleasure in bullying him instead.  Trying to outrun the barrage of eggs they're tossing at him; Shad flees into an alley.  It's here that he encounters something even scarier than Sarah, a dark shadow or necromancer.  Just as things look bleak, Shad is saved by a powerful alchemist, none other than the baker Kahem.  Although the necromancer disappears, Sarah continues to be relentless in her attack, it isn't until Shad unleashes his family's secret weapon, a stink bomb that he is finally able escape her.  Impressed by Shad, Kahem explains that he and Shad come from a long line of Alchemists, that are slowly dying out.  Seeing potential in Shad, Kahem begins to train him.

As Shad receives his training under Kahem, he learns that Alchemists use science, special ingredients and the power of their imagination.  In Kahem's workshop, he begins to blend ingredients and follow the traditions that were passed down to him from his Baba.  Just as Shad begins to make progress, Kahem disappears, and Shad receives devasting news that has him shook.  Shad is even attacked by another necromancer and only by sheer luck escapes.  It's then he receives an invitation to attend the prestigious Alexandria Academy a place that can help him to further hone his skills.  Yet, everything at the Academy is not as it seems, no one seems to recall Alchemy and instead it has turned into an Academy solely based on science.  Even worse, Shad finds his bullies, Sarah and his stepbrother have followed him to his new school.  Plus, it seems that the necromancers have infiltrated the school and are after the ingredients to a powerful recipe that Shad may hold the key to.  

Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria is an exciting adventure that centers a young Arab boy as our hero.  Shad is a character full of heart, he shows a lot of determination, and I just loved the way that he always tries to stand up to his bullies.  Especially how he is protective over others, even intervening to help someone else being bullied, despite possibly placing himself in danger.  I also loved his enthusiasm for baking and wanting to create Lebanese deserts.  I love how his culture is so important to him and wanting to preserve the traditions that he grew up with.  It's also really sweet the way that he took care of his Teta, cooking her favorite dishes and the respect and love that he showed toward her I found quite admirable.

The story was interesting in the way it explores alchemy and the various components and ingredients that Shad needed to combine for his recipes, even common things like salt and sugar were added to gold and lead with often surprising results.  The alchemy in the story is not based off of magic, rather the combination of certain ingredients in a special way with the alchemist's intent as the final piece of the recipe.  I can't say that Shad is a perfect alchemist, but he is quite imaginative and can pull things together on the fly.

One of the components of the story that I cared for less was the amount of bullying that was happening. I'm not a huge fan of bullying in general, although I do get that in a story like this it does illustrate the good vs evil and how sometimes people can change. Initially there was Sarah to contend with, but then Shad's stepbrother and his gang appeared, sometimes it felt like just too much.  What did work for me however were the necromancers, I found their plans to be quite nefarious.  The way they infiltrated the school, turning more and more of the students and professors to their dark, shadow alchemy.  Another highlight of the story were the positive relationships that Shad forms at his new school.  Donny, Rey, Sarah, and Hayati, who he quickly forms a bond with.  Just like his Teta predicted, Shad finds people he can depend on, and Sarah finally apologizing for the falling out they had in the past was a beautiful way of mending their friendship.  Overall, I enjoyed the Lebanese representation, the lovely descriptions of foods and sweets, the humorous way the author used the word "figs" as an insult, the inclusion of the beautiful Alexandria Library and the emphasis on science and chemistry.  I'm looking forward to seeing what George Jreije has in store for Shad and his friends next.   

** A huge thank you to Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles and Harper Collins for my review copy. **  

I hope you'll check all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.   

Monday, December 5, 2022

MMGM with a review of Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade by Kimberly Behre Kenna

Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade by Kimberly Behre Kenna
Format:  Softcover
Publisher:  Fitzroy Books
Number of pages:  152
Publishing:  February 2nd, 2023
Source:   Books Forward

Opening Line: "Artemis Sparke stood at the tippy-top of Fiddlers Creek trail, scanning the area with her binoculars."  

Twelve-year-old Artemis Sparke lives and works with her mother cleaning rooms at the Horizon Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut.  Her parents are in the mist of getting a divorce, and her father is always busy traveling for the book he is writing or teaching at the local university.  When Artemis is not at the hotel or hanging out with her best friend, Warren, she can be found at the local salt marsh, gathering facts in her field notebook.  For example, chronicling the number of crabs and fish in the marsh or detailing how RT, her favorite wood thrush, has had to move their nest because of noise from the renovations going on at the hotel.  Recently, Artemis has been saddened by the changes she's observed in the marsh.  If only people would pay more attention to the data and number's she's collected.

Then one day, while Artemis and Warren are searching for RT, they find BB pellets scattered around the marsh and are nearly run over by some boys from school riding their bikes, which is defiantly against the rules.  Angered by the way that the marsh and surrounding area are being destroyed by trash, yard clippings and a disregard for the rules designed to protect the marsh, Artemis takes matters into her own hands.  First, she develops the Sound Seekers Brigade, with Warren and a friend from the hotel.  Next, she begins a campaign to increase public awareness concerning the damages caused by the hotel's renovations by writing a letter to the editor and hanging posters around town highlighting the specific problems.  All of publicity angers her mom's boss/boyfriend, Harry Hellander and almost lands her in hot water.  In a supernatural twist, Artemis is aided in her quest to protect the marsh by the ghosts of three deceased ecologists who help her to "dream big."

Artemis is both caring, curious, observant and passionate.  She has this energy about her that is contagious.  Artemis has a slight stutter which causes her to be teased by bullies from school and even Warren's dad.  In these moments I found it easy to relate with how bad she must have felt, wanting to stand up for her and defend her against their bullying.  Warren is a character who also captured my heart.  I was saddened that he lives with an abusive, alcoholic father.  He is such a sweet boy and wonderful friend to Artemis, joining her on her trips to the salt marsh, even though he'd rather finish their summer cycle challenge and go fishing. Despite some conflicts that arise between the two, and a moment when Warren is in grave danger, they have each other's backs when they need it the most.  He reminds me a lot of one of my friends growing up.         

Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade is the first book in the Brave Girls Collection adventure series, with a portion of the sales from the book going toward the Save the Sound, a group combatting climate change and the restoration of the Long Island Sound.  I found the story to be very informative highlighting both the pollution that entered the marsh, for example the community dumping yard clippings or the use of fertilizer too near the water, and the ways to become involved.    It's an especially pleasing read for wildlife and conservationists concerned about the impact humans are having on the environment.  Artemis will inspire readers to look for the changes that are going on in their own communities.

Favorite line:  "...That's the power of observation for you.  When you stay still and attend, then you become a part of the beauty you see."  

**A huge thank you to Books Forward for the print ARC in exchange for an honest review. ** 

I hope you'll check all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.   

Monday, November 21, 2022

MMGM with a review of Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels, Volume 2 by Serena Blasco, translated by Tanya Gold

Enola Holmes:  The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco, translated by Tanya Gold
Format:  Print-ARC
Publisher:  Andrew McMeel Publishing
Number of pages:  208
Publishing:  December 6th, 2022
Source:  Publisher in exchange for an honest

This is the second book in the Enola Holmes graphic novel series and includes three mysteries:  The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, and The Case of Baker Street Station.  I am only slightly familiar with Nancy Springer's work, having only read her first novel, The Case of the Missing Marquess and also having watched both of the Netflix film adaptations, but only recently learned of these graphic novel adaptations.  I'd consider myself a fan of Enola Holmes and really enjoyed this graphic novel.  She's so resourceful, intelligent, and creative when it comes to her disguises.  I also really like her independent streak and not wanting to conform to being a "sensible lady," despite her brother's strong attempts. 

In The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, Enola encounters a familiar young lady, Cecily who appears to be held against her will by two older women.  Upon seeing Enola, they hastily guide her away, but not before Cecily cleverly drops her pink fan.  Concerned for Cecily's safety, Enola attempts to follow, but loses them.  Not long after the encounter, Enola learns that the women plan to force Cecily into a marriage with her cousin and an all-out hunt for Cecily ensues.

In the second story, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, Enola's landlady, Mrs. Tupper is kidnapped after having received a cryptic message from some mysterious person named Scutari.  The note requested that she give her message to "The Bird." Through flashbacks, we learn that Mrs. Tupper's husband died during the Crimean War and that following his death, she attempted to return to England and was only successful after receiving help from the lady of the lamp.  A large portion of this mystery is trying to locate the abductors carriage, searching Mrs. Tupper's room for clues and following down leads.  Enola also dons a wig to meet the infamous Florence Nightengale while trying to avoid her brother's, who this time are trying to force her to go to a boarding school.

In The Case of Baker Street Station, Lady Blanchefleur has been abducted and her husband, Duque Luis Orlando del Campo has enlisted both Dr. Ragostin (Enola) and Sherlock Holmes to help find her.   Exploring the underground railway and city streets, Enola bumps into a few leads to her mother's whereabouts and also Lady Blanchefleur's.  At the same time, Enola meets up with her brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft and together they solve the disappearance of their mother, Eudoria Holmes.      

One of the highlights of reading this graphic novel are the watercolor illustrations, the vibrant colors and I especially love the way Enola's feminine beauty, independence and her lovely disguises are depicted.  Each mystery is followed by Enola's secret notebook where she shares her case notes, illustrations of the clues she used to solve the case, her disguises and historical details about the people and places she encounters.  For example, in the first notebook entry there is information on the secret language of fans which also played a part in the second Netflix movie.  There's information on how to read morse code and how morse code can be adapted by using other symbols, like using flowers for the dashes and dots to write secret messages.  There's even a section on palmistry and how to write a message with invisible ink.  In addition to gorgeous artwork and exciting sleuthing, I can see this book appealing to kids who enjoy mysteries, books with secret cyphers and codes, or for readers who are fans of the original book series, or the Netflix movies. 

I hope you'll check all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.   

**A huge thank you to Andrew McMeel Publishing for the print ARC**    


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Review of Last of the Talons by Sophie KIm

Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim
Format:  Hardcover
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Number of pages:  416
Published:  September 27th, 2022
Source:   Giveaway via Young Adult Book Central and book from publisher

Opening Line:  "The Temple of Ruin has been abandoned for centuries, but it's an unspoken rule that nobody enters the looming pagoda."

Last of the Talons comes from a new to me imprint, Entangled Teen.  In her author's note at the beginning of the book, Sophie Kim explains her desire to write a story that highlights her Korean culture and the need to add to the number of Korean mythology retellings that have been absent for so long.  She hoped the book would break some of the stereotypical characters and roles that Korean's have previously been portrayed as and allow for readers who haven't seen Korean representation in books to see Korean gods and goddesses within the pages.  The story is a retelling of the Pied Piper and is derived from the Tale of Manpasikjeok (also known as A Black Jade Belt and the Flute to Calm Ten Thousand Waves).  Kim states that she took many creative spins to the text adding Dokkaebi (Korean goblins), Imugi (giant serpents), Gwisin (spirits or ghosts) and the underworld realm of Jeoseung.

Shin Lina is The Reaper of Sunpo, and a member of the Talons, one of the revered gangs of Sunpo.  The Talons are Lina's found family, her friends who've protected each other.  Then a rival gang came, led by Konrarnd Kalmin, and the Blackbloods slaughtered everyone but Lina and Enubi, Lina's younger sister.  Since then, Lina has been forced to be the Blackbloods assassin and thief.  

As the story begins, Shin Lina is on a midnight heist at The Temple of Ruin, where she's hoping to steal a tapestry from the legendary Pied Piper.  At first everything seems to have gone well, she retrieved the tapestry and Kalmin seems to be satisfied, but The Pied Piper isn't going to let his prize possession go that easily.  Following an encounter on the roof with Lina, The Pied Piper kidnaps Kalmin and Lina is blamed by Kalmin's right hand, Asina.  Asina gives Lina an ultimatum, return Kalmin within thirty days or she'll kill Enubi.  When Lina doesn't respond to the Pied Pipers cat and mouse game as he expected, he then teleports her to Gyeulcheon (a realm of his making) and makes a bargain of his own, she must kill him within fourteen days, or he'll kill her.  To seal the deal, he gives her an hourglass necklace.  Lina is once again forced into playing someone else's game to win her and Kalmin's freedom and return to Sunpo in time to save her sister.  

I quite enjoyed this Korean inspired mythology.  I kind of see it as a cross between Twilight, Six of Crows and maybe even a smidge of Nevernight, mostly because it also contains a female assassin.   The Dokkaebi were new to me, and I found them, and the world Kim created very fascinating.  This is the kind of fantasy that is easy for me to get lost in, snarky comments, assassins and this sort of love/hate vibe going on between Lina and the Pied Piper (the emperor, Haneul Rui) and the angsty chemistry between the two is on fire.  I'm not sure how much I bought into the enemies to lovers' idea, but overall, I really enjoyed the story.  Lina certainly earns her name as the Reaper too.  She's skilled with a blade, agile, trusting and willing to do anything to save her sister, despite making several major mistakes.  At the same time, Lina is haunted by the deaths of her friends, the former Talons, each night she is tormented by nightmares and regrets over their death.  There's a considerable amount of survivor's guilt and she constantly beats herself up, feeling that she could have done more to save them.  I liked how the story incorporated Lina's past with a sort of dream like quality, highlighting several moments she shared with her former gang.  Overall, just a really fun immersive read with characters and a world that while being dangerous is also exciting to read about.  I'm very curious about what will happen next in the series and will defiantly be seeking out Wrath of the Talon when it releases in 2023.  As a final note, I really appreciated the page at the back of the book warning about certain elements of the story that may not be suitable for all readers.   

**A huge thank you to YABC for the giveaway and Entangled Teen for the hardcover**                        

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Review of House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur

House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur
Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Number of pages:  320
Publishing:  November 29th, 2022
Source:   Jackie Karneth at Books Forward via NetGalley

Opening Line:  "There's a lot to a memory."

Sara is a teenager of Uzbek Afghan heritage.  Ever since her parents announced they're getting divorced she's been struggling with trying to adjust to the changes and dealing with her own feelings of guilt for the role she might've played in their divorce.  Normally Sara would get advice from her grandmother, Bibi Jan, but she's been deteriorating ever since she was diagnosed with Dementia.  To offset her sadness, Sara has been helping her mother with her house-flipping business, taking care of the social media aspects of the business, while her mom does the logistics and manages the labor.  While at one of her mom's latest home renovation projects, Sara uncovers that the house they're rebuilding holds many secrets, one that might even be linked with her own families past.  Sara also comes face to face with the ghost of her grandmother and begins to realize that the answers to the secrets she hopes to retrieve may be trapped somewhere in Bibi Jan's memories.  To better understand herself and her family's history, Sara has to bring these secrets into the light.

I don't usually read much YA, but I was instantly captured by the premise of House of Yesterday, an intergenerational ghost story and knew it would be an incredible read.  What struck me first about the book was the emphasis on memories.  Both happy and the one's that we try to forget because of how unpleasant they are, even the ones that escape us because of dementia.  Sara is haunted by her desire to unravel these memories and to find the truth behind the secrets that she feels her family is hiding.  Sara initially pushes away everyone who tries to help, her cousin's and Sam a boy she knew growing up.  I was quite concerned for her often feeling her pain in trying to piece together the past.   It's also the story of a girl trying to better understand herself, her Afghan Uzbek heritage and how she fits into the United States.  It's confronting those things that we bury that are hard, and that burying hard feelings doesn't make them go away.  Sometimes we need to face them to go on.  It's an emotionally impactful story, a coming of age and dealing with the ghosts of one's past.  While the story is haunted by grief and secrets, it does have an uplifting and satisfying ending.  I'm especially excited to hear that Deeba Zargarpur is working on a middle grade book titled, Farrah Noorzad and the Ring of Fate which has Farrah discovering her distant father is a jinn king after she traps him in a magical ring.  The story will release sometime in 2024 from a brand-new imprint dedicated to showcasing epic journeys (fantastical and emotional), Labyrinth Road. 

**A huge thank you to Jackie Karneth at Books Forward for the E-ARC via NetGalley **

Monday, November 14, 2022

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

The Bridge of Little Jeremy
by Indrajit Garai
Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Indrajit Garai
Number of pages:  370
Published:  March 17th, 2019
Source:  Author in exchange for an honest review

"The noise in the attic wakes me again." 

12-year-old Jeremy and his single mother live in a small flat in Ile Saint-Louis, an island in the Seine River in Paris, France.  Jeremy's mom works in a nursing home and money has been tight ever since the operation that saved Jeremy's life.  Jeremy continues to have difficulties with his congenital heart defect and has been home schooled until he fully recovers.  Secretly, Jeremy has been selling his sketches and saving his earnings to help his mother.  One day, Jeremy is startled by a noise in the attic, upon investigating he finds a map, a ring of keys and a paper with calculations on it.  Curious as a young boy would be, he begins to explore the cellar for clues and happens upon a secret room and a painting with a gold frame.  Half of the painting appears to have been damaged too, and he can only make out the artists first name, Vittorio.  Finding the painting opens up many questions about its origins, who the artist was, and who stored it in their cellar?  As Jeremy begins to explore the painting further, he also learns that his mother is having financial difficulties.  Due to an unintended error by his grandmother and now mother not paying the inheritance tax on their flat, they're at risk for losing the flat if they can't repay the debt they owe to the State.  Hoping to help his mom, Jeremy sets out to restore the painting, can he earn enough to save their home?  

I was contacted by Estelle Leboucher, the godmother of Indrajit Garai's daughter regarding reviewing his book.  As soon as I read the premise and found out it was set in Paris, I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read.  Jeremy is a dear, wise soul.  He's an explorer, painter, both inquisitive, and observant, especially of nature and the things around him.  He goes into great details in the story about his travels around Paris as he gathers information about the painting and Vittorio.  It was interesting to learn about the connection that the painting had to his family and I really wish I could see the things he describes in person.  Jeremy's also a subtle storyteller in his own paintings, so kind and protective of both his mother and his dog, Leon.  I was really saddened by Jeremy's life of solitude while his mom was working, and the loneliness he must have felt.  Sure, he goes out each day exploring in Paris with his trusty companion, Leon, but I had hoped for a friend to enter his life.  He did have a babysitter and many adults who helped him, but it's not quite the same.

The story beautifully depicts Jeremy's love for his mom and Leon, his thoughtfulness and how important art was to him.  I also really liked Paolo, the man who sells Jeremy's sketches and only takes 10% as his fee.  Paolo is the one who helps Jeremy to expand his restoration, to make it come alive while also being historical accurate.  They have wonderful conversations about how "viewing is not a collective art", and how "beauty wouldn't be beautiful if it came in plenty."  I should caution that this story would also be considered a sad book with an ending that at first feels like an about face from the direction it was heading, although the more I reflect on the book there are moments of tragedy leading up to it that shouldn't make it a complete shock.  I'd still keep a tissue handing when reading this.  Because of the messaging expressed in the book about art and beauty and the ending being sad, I'd recommend this to a mature middle grade reader. 

**I'd like to thank Estelle Leboucher for the gifted ebook, I really enjoyed reading this touching story. **      

I hope you'll check all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.   

Saturday, November 12, 2022

CHUPACARTER by George Lopez Blog Tour with Review + Giveaway

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the CHUPACARTER by George Lopez & Ryan Calejo Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


                                                                            About the Book:

Author: George Lopez, Ryan Calejo, & Santy Gutiérrez Illustrations)
Pub. Date: August 30, 2022
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 267

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, Audible, B&NiBooksKoboTBD,

With his signature laugh-out-loud humor, world-famous comedian George Lopez launches a fantastical middle grade series inspired by his own colorful childhood and Latinx folklore.

In this illustrated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Jorge is lonely and resentful after being sent to live with his grandparents. His first day at his new school doesn’t go well after catching the attention of his belligerent principal and the school bullies, so Jorge might be a little desperate for a friend.
But the only kid who shares his interest in junk food and games turns out to be a young chupacabra—a legendary monster whose kind is known for being bloodthirsty livestock killers. The truth is, Carter is anything but savage—he's kind, a good listener, and has great taste in sneakers. Being friends with a mythical creature should be amazing, but when local cattle turn up dead and his principal suspects the truth, Jorge is torn. Should he trust that his friend is innocent and protect him from exposure, or reveal his dangerous existence and change the world forever?


“ChupaCarter is an uproariously good time, full of humor, heart, and unexpected friendships.” 
—Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Valentina Salazar Is Not a Monster Hunter

"A narrative punctuated with wisecracks and flavored with Spanish phrases and slang...Frights and fun in equal measure."—Kirkus Reviews

"Gutierrez’s lively b&w illustrations expertly render Jorge and Carter’s occasionally over-the-top, adrenaline-filled adventures. Actor/comedian Lopez and Calejo offer a rollicking tale brimming with Latinx folklore and culture about finding one’s home in the unlikeliest of places that never takes itself too seriously."—Publishers Weekly

"Some good and gross this fantasy-infused tale."—School Library Journal


                                                Book Trailer:

                                    My Review of ChupaCarter

After Jorge is kicked out of school for defending himself against a bully, his mom sends him from L.A. to New Mexico to live with his Abuelos on their desolate former farm.   Jorge hates being sent away and that he has to attend a new private school, he's worried about standing out among the other students.  As Jorge laments over his current situation on the roof of his Abuelos house, he encounters a Chupacabra named Carter.  At first, Jorge is scared of Carter but when Carter goes out of his way to save Jorge's life, they quickly become friends.  As Jorge gets to know Carter better, he learns that Carter was separated from his family and Jorge vows to help him find them.  Things become complicated when several animals are mysteriously killed and Jorge's principal, a big game trophy hunter suspects a Chupacabra and goes on a hunt to kill it. 

I must admit that I knew very little about the legendary Chupacabra or the Guachapos before reading ChupaCarter, but now having read the story their vampirism and sucking of blood is quite frightening.  I loved how the story included lots of Spanish words and phrases and that their meaning was easy to understand by using the context clues.  I also really liked Jorge and felt he was a very complex character.  He tries to do the right thing by protecting kids he sees being bullied, but often his mouth or quick witty comebacks during these situations landed him in more trouble.  I understood his anger at his mom for being sent to his grandparents, but also appreciated that he learned that his move might not have been the punishment that he initially thought.  Truthfully, Jorge's growth during the story and his friendship with Carter were two of my favorite things in the whole book.  The way that Carter rubbed off on Jorge and the changes that Jorge instilled in Carter, just goes to show the influence that our friends have on us.  Chupacarter is a very thought-provoking story, encouraging the reader to think about animal rights and the cons of trophy hunting, racism, bullying while emphasizing the importance of standing up for the things we believe in.  

The story also includes a lot of comedic humor in the author, George Lopez's style, to the point that I could almost hear his voice shining through.   The illustrations by Santy Gutiérrez beautifully captured the two main characters and added to the humor as well.  They're fun and will capture the reader's attention.  Although all of the illustrations in my ARC weren't complete yet, it was so much fun to read the little captions with suggestions for the illustrations that are yet to come.  Can't wait to see the finished book.  A huge thank you to Rockstar Book Tours, Ryan Calejo and Viking Books for Young Readers for the E-book for my review.              

About George Lopez:

George Lopez is a New York Times bestselling author, stand-up comedian, actor, and talk show host. He made waves as the star of the most successful English-language prime-time television series about Latin Americans in recent history. His successful stand-up comedy showcases his idiosyncratic point of view and impeccable comedic timing. He lives in Los Angeles.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads | Amazon



About Ryan Calejo:

Ryan Calejo is an award-winning author born and raised in south Florida. His critically acclaimed Charlie Hernández series has been featured on half a dozen state reading lists and is a two-time gold medal winner of the Florida Book Awards.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RyanCalejo.

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Giveaway Details: 

2 winners will win a finished copy of CHUPACARTER, US ONLY.

Ends December 6th, midnight EST.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Mythical Books

Excerpt/IG Post


A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt/IG Post


Author Z. Knight

Excerpt/IG Post


Kait Plus Books

Excerpt/IG Post


Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post

Week Two:


Jazzy Book Reviews

Excerpt/IG Post


Lady Hawkeye

Excerpt/IG Post



IG Review/TikTok Post


YA Books Central

Excerpt/IG Post



IG Post


Lifestyle of Me



Log Cabin Library


Week Three:



IG Review


Locks, Hooks and Books




IG Review


The Page Ladies @jacleomik33

IG Review


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review





Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post

Week Four:


Eye-Rolling Demigod's Book Blog

Review/IG Post


Books With A Chance of Traveling

Review/IG Post


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review/IG Post



IG Review/Read Aloud



Review/IG Post



YouTube Review/IG Post


Emily Ashlyn

Review/IG Post

Week Five:



IG Review


The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post


Two Points of Interest



The Real World According To Sam

Review/IG Post