On the Same Page | Howl’s Moving Castle | Diana Wynne Jones

on the same pageHowl’s Moving Castle • Diana Wynne Jones

This book has been on my TBR for AGES. The copy I own I actually bought for my young cousin but never gave it to her. Instead of returning it, I kept it for myself and then it languished, unread, for a few years. Fast forward to our annual December powwow to pick our On the Same Page books for this year, and Alyssa was like, “I want to read HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE,” and I was like, “OMG ME TOO.” So glad that we all agreed to give this classic middle grade fantasy a go, because it was incredibly charming and fun, and I laughed so many times.

One of the things I noticed while I was looking at this book on Goodreads was the different covers. There’s so many! And they’re so awesome! And they highlight different aspects of the story, or have different interpretations of the same thing! YAY! So for this month’s On the Same Page feature, I’m going to share some different book cover editions and talk about why I looooove them all (well, most of them).

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Waiting on Wednesday | The Wolf Wilder | Katherine Rundell

Waiting on Wednesday

The Wolf Wilder • Katherine Rundell

Book cover The Wolf Wilder Katherine Rundell

A girl and the wolves who love her embark on a rescue mission through Russian wilderness in this lyrical tale from the author of the acclaimed Rooftoppers and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms.

Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive.

From the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called “a glorious adventure,” and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, which VOYA called “a treasure of a book,” comes an enchanting novel about love and resilience.

So guys. All the things about this book. Russian wilderness. Wolves. Woods. A girl with wolves as pets. I can’t lie, I’m a little nervous about the possibility of crying while reading THE WOLF WILDER. What if one of Feo’s pet wolves dies? Or what is she has to shoo him away like Arya did with Nymeria? WAAHHHH! But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m definitely going to read this book. I don’t know how I couldn’t. The bond that Feo seems to have and nurture with her wolves is, like, giving me chest pains from how touching it sounds. CANNOT WAIT.

THE WOLF WILDER comes out on August 25, 2015 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Wolf Wilder Katherine Rundell

Series Love | The Penderwicks

series love PenderwicksSeries love The Penderwicks Jeanne Birdsall

Series Name: The Penderwicks

Author: Jeanne Birdsall (web | twitter)

Publisher: Yearling/Knopf

Number of Books: 4/5


Links: Five Star Friday | Five Favorite Things

Series love The Penderwicks Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks is a series of middle grade novels that I LOOOOVE TO DEATH. They are one of the most loveable, hilarious, touching families I can recall reading about ever. There’s Mr. Penderwick, whose name is, frankly, a mystery to me; Rosalind, the oldest and most mommish of the sisters; Skye, brash, smart, tomboyish, and confident; Jane, a dreamer, writer, and all around flighty gem; and Batty, the baby and the most ADORBS thing on the PLANET. The Penderwicks’ mother passed away not long after Batty’s birth and their father is a college professor. Basically, we meet them when they’re on summer vacation and follow them through their everyday lives and on all of their shenanigans for a number of years after.

Some of these shenanigans include one Jeffrey Tifton, a young boy the girls meet in book 1. He’s amazing: friendly, kind, funny, and very sweet. I’m convinced he’s going to marry one of the Penderwick girls. Because that would be THE MOST PERFECT.

The most recently released book, THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING, features a time jump, but the all the stories are told as if the girls are adults, recounting their youth together.

Series love The Penderwicks Jeanne BirdsallI can’t shout my love of this family from enough rooftops. Each of the girls has their own vibrant personality, but they mesh so well and love each other so much. They look after one another and rag on each other and make each other laugh. They create their own fun and turn everyday things into special memories. I LOVE THIS. None of the sisters ever talk about their phones or watching TV or Twitter. These books are literally about their LIVES and the things they do outside and the friends they meet at home or while they’re away.

The Penderwicks are just about the most wonderfully NORMAL family I’ve ever read. But that doesn’t equate to them being boring. NOT AT ALL. Jane is hilarious, Skye is outspoken, Rosalind is good-natured and a little bossy, and Batty is just THE cutest thing ever. These books see them reminiscing about their mom, visiting with their favorite aunt, their dad meeting a really awesome lady and getting remarried, meeting boys–there’s just this sense of innocence about them that I find really appealing. Because it’s not annoying. It’s just like healthy, I’m-still-growing-up-and-learning-stuff innocence. Even in other middle grade books I read, this isn’t always apparent. It’s so refreshing.

Also, one of my favorite things about this family is their sense of humor. Their dad has his moments, and also Jane. She’s the funniest to me. Jane plays soccer, and when she gets really into it, she has this HYSTERICAL like alter ego who’s this rough cockney dude who starts fights and gets fierce. She causes more than one scene during a game. She kills me.

Speaking of daddy Penderwick, I love him. He’s present, sometimes clueless about raising girls, but supportive and fun and fosters strong relationships between himself and between his girls. I love reading about dads, and he’s a great one.

Of course, I can’t talk about the Penderwicks without talking about MOPS. Meeting of Penderwick Sisters. GUYS. They have MEETINGS together about things they think are important and there are rules and they take it so seriously. There’s also MOOPS, which is Meeting of Older Penderwick Sisters. Poor Batty gets left out of those. I just find the whole thing too cute for words.

I love reading middle grade, and this series is one of my favorites. It takes Jeanne Birdsall about three years to write each one, which is a crazy long time, but I’ll wait however long she needs me to. There’s only one more book left, and while I haven’t read THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING yet, I have high hopes for it, and I have my own hopes for the way the series will close. People compare the Penderwick sisters to the March sisters from Little Women, and I can see it. The closeness of this family is just so heartwarming.

If you’re looking for middle grade that’s a breath of fresh air, with great characters, great humor, heartfelt warm-fuzzies, and an old-timey feel, I can’t push The Penderwicks series on you enough.

Adventures Through Awkwardness | 2014 Debut

middle grade challenge 2014 Debut

So, friends, we’ve made it to the end of the first year of the Adventures Through Awkwardness Middle Grade Challenge! Pat yourselves on the back. Ok, not too many pats just yet, though. We still have one month to go. This is the only month when our usual, “hey, you can read a book that came out WHENEVER” rule doesn’t apply. December is all about 2014 debuts!

All of the other rules are still in order though, so pick any MG debut that came out this year, review it, and enter to win one of the three debuts below! Enter by linking your review in the comments!

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Book Review | The Book of Kindly Deaths | Eldritch Black

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | The Book of Kindly Deaths | Eldritch BlackThe Book of Kindly Deaths by Eldritch Black
Published by Spencer Hill on September 16, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Paranormal YA
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads


When twelve-year-old Eliza Winter finds a secret room in her missing grandfather’s sprawling, Gothic house, her safe, sheltered life is blown apart. Inside, below a stained glass window where moonlight shines no matter the time of day, sits The Book of Kindly Deaths.

In defiance of her controlling mother, who has always forbidden her to read anything strange or imaginary, Eliza takes the book. As night sets in, Eliza reads one haunting story after another. And the further she journeys inside the book, the more the boundaries between our world and a shadowy land of monsters and forbidden places begin to blur.

When the strange, crooked man from the book arrives on the doorstep claiming to be a rare-book collector and demanding entry into the house, Eliza’s world is turned upside down. To escape him, she must dive all the way into the spine-tingling world of The Book of Kindly Deaths to save her grandfather–and write an end to the nightmare she’s caught inside.

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Adventures Through Awkwardness | Dystopian

middle grade challengeAdventures Through Awkwardness: Dystopian

Happy fall, you guys! It’s the perfect time of year for this month’s middle grade challenge, dystopians!

You guys know the drill: You can read any middle grade dystopian novel during this month. Links to your reviews can be posted in the comments. You can read one or five or however many you want, link up your review and be entered to win one of the dystopian novels below!


the giverThe Giver: The Giver Quartet #1 by Lois Lowry

Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

unwantedsThe Unwanteds: Unwanteds #1 by Lisa McMann

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret–behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

Book cover for The Prince Who Fell From the Sky by Jean Claude BemisThe Prince Who Fell From the Sky by John Claude Bemis

In Casseomae’s world, the wolves rule the Forest, and the Forest is everywhere. The animals tell stories of the Skinless Ones, whose cities and roads once covered the earth, but the Skinless disappeared long ago.

Casseomae is content to live alone, apart from the other bears in her tribe, until one of the ancients’ sky vehicles crashes to the ground, and from it emerges a Skinless One, a child. Rather than turn him over to the wolves, Casseomae chooses to protect this human cub, to find someplace safe for him to live. But where among the animals will a human child be safe? And is Casseomae threatening the safety of the Forest and all its tribes by protecting him?

Middle-grade fans of postapocalyptic fiction are in for a treat with this fanciful and engaging animal story by the author of the Clockwork Dark trilogy.

Adventures Through Awkwardness | Male Narrators!

middle grade challengeAdventures Through Awkwardness: Male Narrators

We are plugging along nicely with our challenge, friends! I can’t believe we’re at the HALFWAY POINT already!! WHAT?! Time is flying! I hope you’re all have so much fun reading all the middle grades!

For this month, we’re highlighting male narrators. Plus, we’ve got a pretty sweet giveaway, courtesy of debut middle grade author, Rebecca Petruck! One lucky participant in this month’s challenge will win a finished copy of STEERING TOWARD NORMAL plus some AWESOME swag! YAY!

You guys know the drill: You can read any middle grade book with a male narrator during this month. Links to your reviews can be posted in the comments or in the giveaway widget. If you want to review two or three, that’s awesome! Extra chances for you to win! If you want to read a book that came out 20 years ago? Super! Get after it. In the meantime, check out how great STEERING TOWARD NORMAL sounds. Don’t tease me with 4-H.
Book cover Steering Toward Normal Rebecca Petruck

Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne’s father, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop.
What started out great quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.

Enter to win this awesome book and some extra goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading, friends!!

On the Same Page | The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls | Claire Legrand

on the same pageThe Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls • Claire Legrand

In celebration of our everlasting love of middle grade, as well as the Kids Author Carnival we’ll all be volunteering at this Book Expo weekend, our May book was one I’ve been looking forward to for a while: THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire Legrand. I’m always up for some MG goodness, especially when it involves one of my very favorite things to read about: friendship. Particularly between a boy and a girl. My OTP of this would obviously be Harry and Hermione (forget that nonsense that JK was spouting a while ago). I always love reading about this, and it always makes me so happy when the friendship is unencumbered by romance, and I thought that Victoria and Lawrence from THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS wound up having a pretty strong friendship, even if it didn’t seem to start out that way.

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Waiting on Wednesday (53) | The Darkest Part of the Forest

Waiting on Wednesday

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Book cover The Darkest Part of the Forest Holly Black

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

First of all, even though I haven’t read many of Holly Black’s books, I’m constantly and consistently intrigued by them and I have basically all of them on my TBR. THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST–a middle grade story about siblings and faeries and a boy with HORNS all sleeping in a coffin like Snow White–sounds excellent, and right up my alley.

Plus, I’m really curious about this sibling angle going on. A brother and sister in love with the same faerie? Well, yes, I WILL read that, thank you. And any synopsis that mentions “shifting loyalties” and the “sting of betrayal” will instantly pique my interest. I’m beyond excited that THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST is going to be at BEA this year because I can’t wait to read it!

THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST comes out January 13, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Waiting on Wednesday (49): Hook’s Revenge

Waiting on Wednesday

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schultz

Book cover Hook's Revenge Heidi Schultz


Captain Hook’s feisty daughter hits the high seas to avenge her father’s death at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile in Heidi Schulz’s spirited middle-grade debut.

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate–here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

I am loving this Peter Pan retelling thing that’s going on, friends. I mean, I love that story, even though it isn’t my favorite Disney/classic out there. But mostly I love it because it’s so imaginative, plus it’s got pirates and THOSE I am always excited about. Take HOOK’S REVENGE, for example. The badass daughter of Captain Hook takes off after the crocodile that killed her father, but she must first fight against the structured life that young girls of her time are supposed to have.

Also. Peter Pan is in it. WORD.

Plus, can we leap for joy over this cover? It’s AMAZING. So bright and fun, and it’s illustrated. One of my favorite things about middle grade is that I can get unabashedly excited over illustrations. Based on this cover, I can’t wait to see what kinds of excellent images HOOK’S REVENGE contains.

HOOK’S REVENGE comes out September 16, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion

Hook's Revenge