Gospel Centered Mom

BOOK NEWS: August 1, 2017

Welcome to the first post of new books coming this August. There are tons of things to get excited about this week including new Star Wars books for kids, new graphic novels, a Spider-Man book for teens, and several new Christian Living titles. Here they are:

Books for Kids


Confiscated – When two brothers keep fighting, Mama keeps taking things away until they have nothing left.
Dogosaurus Rex – This sounds a lot like Silly Doggy and Naughty Kitty, except this time the pet not quite behaving is a dinosaur instead of a dog.
Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale – A new take on a classic favorite, Red Ridinghood gets a Hanukkah spin.
Ace!/Jumpa!/Krypto!/Streaky! – This series for young readers focuses on the pets of super heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and Supergirl.
The Boy Who Cried Vampire/The Lion, The Mouse and the Invaders from Zurg/Robo Battle of Mega Tortoise vs. Hazard Hare/The Ugly Dino Hatching – Four new graphic novels in the Far Out Fabels series. I adore these fractured fairy tales! I bought some of the Far Out Fairy Tales series for the library when I was teaching, and my students loved them.
Secret Ninja Force – Early Reader focused on the story of the LEGO Ninjago Movie.
SW Forces of Destiny: Meet the Heroes – This Early Reader looks at the many female heroes of Star Wars.
SW Forces of Destiny, Volume 1 – Looks at the stories of Sabine, Rey and Padmé in this Early Reader format. Volume 2, out in October, will look at Jyn, Ahsoka and Leia.
Amazo and the Planetary Reboot – New addition to the Justice League series.
A Big Day for Baseball – Book 29 in the Magic Tree House series. Looks like Magic Tree House might be spinning off the Merlin Mission stories and picking up the regular series again with #29. This time Jack and Annie will get to be bat boys in 1947.
Bright Lights Big Kitty – Book 4 in the Animal Inn series for young readers about an animal spa.
Catwoman’s Purrfect Plot – A new Batman and Robin adventure.
Fishin’: Impossible – Book 8 in the Shark School series
Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench! – Book 10 in the Here’s Hank series, a younger reader’s version of the Hank Zipzer books.
The Missing Mola Lisa – New mystery series about 2nd grade crime solvers.
Baseball Fact Tracker – Nonfiction companion to the latest Magic Tree House book, A Big Day for Baseball.

Books for Older Kids/Teens/Young Adults


The Catacombs of Chaos/The Eagle of Rome – These are the first two books in the Lottie Lipton Adventures series. Lottie is an investigator who lives at the British Museum. I’ll be reviewing The Eagle of Rome next week here on the blog.
Confessions from the Principal’s Kid – During school she is an outsider because her mom is the principal, but after school she is part of the in-crowd of students whose parents are teachers. But what Allie really wants is to be on the popular math team so she can feel like an insider during the school day, too. As a former teacher, and a former teacher’s kid, I am looking forward to this one!
The Countdown Conspiracy – Six kids are chosen for a mission to Mars. When one of them starts receiving threats, the whole mission might be scrapped.
The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo – A kid who longs for adventure may just get his wish when his parents are kidnapped, and he bands together with his butler, his nemesis, and his pet cobra to save the day.
Dinosaur Empire – Book 1 in the Earth Before Us graphic novel series about a girl who travels back in time to learn about the dinosaurs before her big test.
Friday Barnes No Rules – Book 4 in the fantastic Friday Barnes mystery series. In this story, Friday is looking for a prankster who fired all the teachers. I’ve already pre-ordered this one, and I’m excited to dive in as soon as it gets here.
The Loser’s Club – The latest book from Andrew Clements focuses on a boy who starts a club at school so he has time to read without getting hassled. He expects to be the only club member, but he is in for a surprise. I have adored Clements’ earlier books like No Talking and Frindle. This one is near the top of my wish list for this week.
Royal Crush – Book 3 in the From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess series by Meg Cabot. This is a Princess Diaries series for younger readers. I loved the first two books in this series, and I’m excited to see what happens next for Princess Olivia (half-sister of Princess Mia).
Surfside Girls: Secret of Danger Point – Graphic novel – first in a new series – about a girl who starts seeing strange things after swimming through an underwater cave.
Tiny Tim – Book 11 in the Dog Diaries series
Zinnia and the Bees – A young girl’s older brother/best friend has disappeared and a hive of bees have found a home in her hair. What else could possibly happen? This book has been getting a lot of positive buzz (pardon the pun) online all summer. I’m looking forward to reading this.
A Kid’s Guide to the Names of God – A kid’s study resource or maybe devotional, looking into the names of God from the Bible.
Genius: The Con – Sequel to Genius: The Game. I will review this one later this week.
Just Friends – Two kids fool the whole school into believing that they have been best friends for years. But the ones they might be lying to the most are themselves. This sounds terrific.
Miles Morales, Spider-Man – Latest in an exciting series of original YA stories about various superheroes (Black Widow, Iron Man, with Wonder Woman and Batman coming later this year). In this story, Miles is starting to wonder if he should even be Spider-Man any more when he discovers a plot that puts his friends and his neighborhood at risk. I’m not much of a Spider-Man fan – although I loved the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie this summer – but this story sounds intriguing, and I want to give it a try.
The Secret History of Us – A young girl has lost four years of her memory after a car accident. I’ve noticed more of this memory-loss books lately. They are a great way of exploring identity.
Solo – A young man on the brink of finishing high school and starting college finds his world crumbling around him, leading him to Ghana, Africa to find himself. I reviewed this one last week.
Truthers – A teen is drawn into the world of conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was part of a government conspiracy.
#Truth: 365 Devotions for Teens Connecting Life and Faith – Each month has a different emphasis, from the TRUTH that God exists to the TRUTH about Christ’s return. Looks like a great resource for teens looking for a daily devotional.

Books for Adults

The Assault – Book 2 in the Harbringer series which pulls together 4 renowned Christian authors writing about a group of strangers drawn together to fight a dark force. Book one was a bit much for me, but readers who like their fiction a little spookier might enjoy this series.
Cat About Town – First in the Cat Cafe mystery series about a town newcomer who finds a stray cat who in turn finds a dead body. Sounds like a fun start to a series.
Chime and Punishment – Book 3 in the Clock Shop mystery series. I have book 1 on my TBR shelves.
Dressed to Confess – Book 3 in the Costume Shop mystery series about a crime-solving costume shop owner. I’ve not read any of these, but the description of this story (murder at a board game-themed festival) makes me want to run out and grab book 1, A Disguise to Die For, to get caught up!
Gone Gull – Book 21 in the fabulous Meg Langslow mystery series. This is one of my favorite cozy mysteries. I absolutely adore the main character and her family. I’ve had this one on hold from the library for weeks already.
On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service – Book 11 in the Royal Spyness mystery series. I read the early books in this series and really enjoyed them. In this book, Lady Georgiana is on a spy mission for the queen while she checks in on a pregnant friend.
A Tangled Yarn – Book 5 in the Yarn Retreat mystery series about a baker running a crafting retreat.
All in All Journaling Devotional: Loving God Wherever You Are – 100 devotions with journaling prompts. This sounds great.
Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience – A creative study of 10 Psalms of Hope. I’m eager to see this in person.
The Gospel Centered Mom:The Freeing Truth about what Your Kids Really Need – This one is on my list, too! This will join a pile of other books on my TBR about recognizing that you don’t have to be everything  because Christ is enough.
He’s Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe in Himself – Your “lazy” teen boy may actually be conflicted and afraid to fail. I’m eager to read this one.

Solo aug1maybe

REVIEW: Solo by Kwame Alexander


Blade is a young man anticipating his future. Graduation is right around the corner, and college is approaching quickly. He has his music and the girl of his dreams. These should be his best days.

But he’s also

  • grieving the loss of his mother,
  • dodging paparazzi trying to catch a glimpse of the famous Morrison family going down in flames,
  • hiding from his girlfriend’s father who forbade her from dating him, and
  • disgusted by his father’s empty promises of staying sober “this time”

And when all of those things collide along with new challenges, Blade is off. Not to college, but to Ghanna Africa, in search of answers and in search of himself.


Like other books by Alexander, this book is written in verse, along with song lyrics and other creative forms and references. I liked the unusual format. It’s amazing that he can tell terrific, effective stories with such sparse, carefully chosen words!

I had a hard time connecting with the characters in this one. I completely understood Blade’s emotional states, but I didn’t click with him like I had hoped to, or like I did with the twins in his book, The Crossover. Blade wasn’t the heart of the story for me. I did enjoy a couple other characters – like Joy and Sia, but not the others.

This book has been wildly popular with other early readers. If the story sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to give it a try. I usually enjoy Alexander’s work. I may just not be the right reader for this one.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Blink, for providing an electronic review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. [Some sources show this book releasing this week, and some say it will release on August 1.]

Rating: ♥♥♥

Al Franken Giant of the Senate

REVIEW: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken


Al Franken is currently a Democratic US Senator for Minnesota. He’s well known for his comedic work, including many years on Saturday Night Live.

This book chronicles Franken’s life from childhood to the present. The book references the 2017 Inauguration and some of the Senate hearings for President Trump’s cabinet, so the book is quite current considering how long books take to publish. Included in the book are family stories, campaign stories, information on political procedures, and criticisms of politicians who lie to achieve their goals. Throughout, Franken focuses on the privilege of serving Americans – and specifically the folks in Minnesota – in the US Senate.


I’ve known of Al Franken since his SNL days, specifically his character, Stuart Smalley. But more recently he caught my attention during the confirmation hearings for Education Secretary DeVos. Because of that, I was curious about this book. My intention was to get it from the library and skim it. I ended up reading it word for word, and then buying a copy for my family to read.

I consider myself an Independent when it comes to politics. There are pieces of liberal and conservative agendas that appeal to me. If I was more conservative politically, I might not have enjoyed this as much. But I appreciate Franken’s emphasis on truth, humor and service in politics. I might not agree with all of his statements or his politics, but I learned a bunch from reading this. And I laughed often.

Be prepared to be offended, especially if you are a conservative and you read this. Even liberal voters may disagree at times. There’s some language, although many times he chooses to censor himself with a milder term like “nincompoopery” with a “USS” notation that he cleaned things up since he’s a senator. The footnotes are particularly enjoyable (although in my e-book version they were all collected at the end of the book which was obnoxious to navigate.).

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


REVIEW: Restart by Gordon Korman


Chase, Aaron and Bear rule the school. Championship football players. Bullies. And Chase is the leader of the pack.

But Chase fell off his roof and hit his head. After being in a coma for several days, Chase is awake but he has no memory of who he is. He doesn’t even recognize his own mother.

Brendan, Shosh’anna, Joel and other kids know exactly who Chase is. He’s a tormentor. He’s arrogant. He feels entitled to do whatever he wants. He doesn’t even care that Joel had to go away to boarding school because of the bullying. He’s resentful about having community service because of the stunt he pulled on Joel.

At least, that’s the OLD Chase. The new Chase is different. He befriends Brendan. He joins the video club. Chase goes to the nursing home to help even though he’s been excused from community service. He connects with the grumpiest guy there. New Chase seems great – but can he be trusted?


Wow, this is a great story!! At its core is the question of where character comes from. And that’s not really answered, but this book will make you think about it.

I love the characters. The reactions to new Chase are mistrustful and hesitant. And they should be! And Chase questions his own transformation. He wonders if the old Chase is still inside him somewhere. There are no easy, quick solutions which is something else that makes this awesome.

I love that every person in orbit around Chase has to examine his/her perception of him. Some want the old Chase back. Some want to run the old Chase through a wood chipper! The journey to see how it all works out was terrific!

A great book on bullying to read at home or at school. Joel’s description in the story of being bullied is worth discussing at length with kids. So well done!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Unicorn of Many Hats

BOOK NEWS: July 25, 2017

Final week of the month means LOTS of new books. Here are some of the books that caught my eye for this week:

Books for Kids


I Am Truly – Princess Truly celebrates that she can be anything!
Pug and Pig Trick-or-Treat – New book about Pug and Pig, this time with a Halloween theme.  This looks darling!
Ninja in the Kitchen – Early reader about a ninja who makes pizza.
Ariel Makes Waves – A new early chapter book series starring a young Ariel, the Little Mermaid.
Ella and Owen – The Evil Pumpkin Pie Fight – Book 4 in this series about two dragons, this time with a Halloween theme with pumpkin kings and witches.
Rider Woofsen – The Big Bad Wolf – Book 8 in this fun detective series for new chapter book readers.
Secret Agents Jack and Max Stalwart – Former spy Jack Stalwart and his older brother hunt down thieves while on family vacation. In book 2 they are looking for a missing scientist. My son read the original Jack Stalwart books when he was in elementary school and we loved them. The vocabulary was challenging while the story was perfect for his age. Great series. I’m eager to see what this new iteration is like.
Stick Dog Craves Candy – Book 7 in the Stick Dog series, this time with a focus on Halloween.
Hero Dogs! – True stories of animal heroes!

Books for Older Kids/Teens/Young Adults

Almost Paradise – When Ruby ‘s mother is wrongly jailed for assisting in a robbery, Ruby and her pet pig have to move in with her estranged aunt (who happens to be a nun).
Darkness of Dragons – Book 10 in the Wings of Fire series. I have had this book pre-ordered for months! This is the culmination of the latest 5 book set of this series. Qibli may be Pyrrhia’s last chance to defeat a powerful animus dragon who wants to destroy those who hoped to control him. For me, this is a “drop everything” book. When this hits my mailbox, I will drop everything to dive in!
The Force Oversleeps – Book 5 in the Jedi Academy series (the first three books were done by Jeffrey Brown and this new set is done by Jarrett Krosoczka). Victor is struggling to get to class on time, there are rumors that his sister is a Sith, and he didn’t get the part in the school musical that he wanted. This is a fun series that combines typical school things with a great Star Wars setting. The format resembles a Diary of a Wimpy Kid style with both text and illustrations that seem to be hand drawn by the character.
Ghost of a Chance – Book 2 in the 100 Dresses series about an enchanted castle and a closet of dresses that make the perfect disguise for a girl named Darling. This sounds like a fun series!
Refugee – Three kids from different times (1930s, 1994, 2015) and places (Nazi Germany, Cuba, Syria) are searching for safety and refuge. This book is getting a LOT of positive buzz already. Timely story.
Five Elements – The Shadow City – Book 2 in this series about four kids who are magically connected to the elements who are trying to destroy a parallel dimension. This series sounds perfect for kids who love mystical fantasy stories!
Wandmaker’s Apprentice – Book 2 in the Wandmaker’s series about a boy descended from wandmakers who inherits magical powers. In this book, Henry hopes to to be chosen as the Wand Master’s apprentice.
16 Ways to Break a Heart – A couple gets together with extreme chemistry and witty banter. Their break up is just as feisty. Then Natalie leaves Dan 16 letters, hidden in places only he would find, that  detail their relationship and break up in ways he never expected.
Everything All At Once – When Lottie’s Aunt Helen, famous mystery writer – dies, she leaves Lottie a series of letters and tasks to get her to a take a risk. Not an unusual premise, but I love the writing/literary piece in this one, so this is definitely on my TBR list.
First We Were IV – A quartet of teens forms a secret society to right wrongs and pay back debts, but things start to spiral out of control. Sounds like a suspenseful thriller!
In 27 Days – Death offers a teen the chance to go back 27 days in time to try to prevent the suicide of a classmate. I am so looking forward to reading this one!
The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash – Two teens make a connection but a tragedy threatens to pull them apart. This sounds like a pretty basic teen story, but the description of the characters and their “nerdy banter” makes it a high priority on my TBR list.
Lucky in Love – A girl wins the lottery and watches everything around her change – and not all for the better. This reminds me of the book Windfall, except the main character in this book is the winner instead of an outside observer.
Solo – A new novel in verse (and music lyrics) by Kwame Alexander about musician Blade and his search for himself both at home and in Africa. I’ll be reviewing this book later this week. (Some sources have this releasing on August 1)
Grades, Girls and God: How to Survive and Thrive in High School as a Christian Man (July 28) – Really looking forward to reading this book that talks to high school boys about becoming and staying men of God in high school. As I have a teen, I am hoping this is a great resource for him.

Books for Adults

A Toast to Murder – Book 5 in the Mack’s Bar mystery series about a group of “barstool detectives.” I’ve read positive reviews for this series. Book one, Murder on the Rocks, is on my TBR list.
Come Helen High Water – Book 4 in the River Road Mystery series about sleuth Helen Evans who searches for the missing head of the Historical Society. I loved Susan McBride’s Debutante Dropout series, but I haven’t had a chance to check out this series yet, but it is on my list!
Deadfall – Book 19 in the Alexandra Cooper series about an Assistant DA  and two NYPD detectives who hunt for an assassin.
Gather the Daughters – A dystopian story about a community that colonized on an island after a national disaster. The children run wild while the men run the island and the women serve as wives and mothers until they die. When one of the children sees something horrifying, one of the teen girls who is resisting her future decides to investigate the mysteries of the island. I am fascinated by this concept and can’t wait to read the book.
Knot What You Think – Book 5 in the Quilting Mystery series about a quilting circle that looks into local mysteries. I’ve read the first book in the series, and I enjoyed it.
Muffin to Fear – Book 5 in the Merry Muffin Mystery series about a muffin baker who inherits a castle. In this particular book, a ghost-hunting TV crew comes to investigate the castle.
Murder at Chateau sur Mer – Book 5 in the Guilded Newport Mystery series about a society report in the 19th century in Rhode Island. I’m not familiar with this series, but I’d like to read book 1, Murder at the Breakers.
Wrong Side of the Paw – Book 6 in the Bookmobile Cat mystery series. I love this series about a librarian who runs a bookmobile to the remote areas of her community and her charming cat, Eddie.
Star Trek: Boldly Go, Vol 1 – Graphic novel collecting issues 1-6 of the comic Boldy Go. I have been collecting this comic since the first issue, and I love it! If I didn’t already have the comics, I would be getting this collection so I could have these issues all together.
Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose and Joy – Finding God in the everyday spaces of life. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Words in Deep Blue

REVIEW: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley


Once upon a time, Rachel and Henry were best friends. And Rachel wondered if it might be more than just friendship. In a moment of great bravery, just before she moves away, Rachel writes Henry a note about how she feels. She asks him to call when he gets it. He never mentions the note or her declaration.

Years later, Rachel returns. A lot has changed. She barely responded to Henry’s letters and emails while she was away. Even in the midst of personal tragedy, she didn’t reach out to him. Now, not only are they in the same town, but she’s working at his family’s bookstore. She’ll see him every day. How’s that going to work?

Henry’s thrilled to have his best friend back. But Rachel has changed. She’s angry and private. She won’t explain why she stopped talking to him. As his divorced parents discuss selling their home and the bookstore, though, Henry will need Rachel, his old best friend, who understands the value of the store and the memories they’ve made there.


Is it possible to both like and not like a book at the same time? While not a happy story per se, this is a beautiful look at grief and loss, friendship and love, and the value of words. The author does an excellent job of describing the losses experienced by the characters and their attempts to move forward in life and in their grief.

I liked the main characters, although I wanted to shake them at times. Henry’s infatuation with Amy was frustrating as Rachel’s assessment of her motives was always completely on target. And that assessment should have clued her into some things that happened in the story. Many of the characters felt stuck, repeating the same choices or feeling like they had no other choices. I liked characters like Martin and Cal who seemed healthy and optimistic about the future.

I struggle to describe this sort of book. I liked it in that it was well written and emotionally honest with characters I wanted to see succeed. At the same time, it’s emotionally heavy. I can’t say that I enjoyed the journey with these characters all the time. If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky sort of story, this is not what you are looking for. But if you want to read something that will hit you emotionally and make you think, give this a try. I would recommend this to older teens and young adults due to language and the emotional weight of the story.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


REVIEW: Collared by David Rosenfelt


Three years ago, Dylan Hickman was kidnapped along with the family dog, Cody. The baby’s nanny named her boss’ ex-fiancé as the culprit. While he wore a mask, she said she recognized his voice and eyes. Keith was arrested. Jill Hickman grieved the loss of her adopted son, desperate for a clue to his whereabouts, but Dylan and the dog had disappeared without a trace.

When Cody the dog is left at the Tara Foundation, lawyer Andy Carpenter is drawn into the case once again. Andy had no official role the first time, but he was familiar with the case. Since Jill Hickman and Andy’s wife, Laurie, were high school friends, the Carpenters offer to look into things for Jill to see if they can find Dylan.

Andy agrees to be Keith’s lawyer in name only in order to access the details from the case as the original lawyer has passed away. Before long, though, he’s Keith’s lawyer for real as the nanny’s testimony seems to be a complete fabrication. While Andy and his team take the case back for retrial and continue their investigation, the path to the truth becomes littered with dead bodies.


This was an excellent mystery! This is the third Andy Carpenter mystery I’ve read, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. The plotting is fantastic, the characters feel real, and the humor is delightfully dry. The sarcasm prompts me to read sections out loud to my family because I have to explain what is so funny.  I love that this is a series I can drop into anywhere and feel completely engrossed without have to read every book in order

Andy is a fascinating character. He has an interesting code of conduct from how he approaches his law practice (the fewer clients the better) to how he views money (he inherited a bunch of it but uses it to further his agenda both with his practice and with the foundation). He wrestles with a moral dilemma in this story which was another layer of how real the character feels. It made me like Andy even more than I already did.

The mystery was fantastic. Every roadblock to the case led to an interesting new wrinkle to explore. I had NO idea where things where going, and I enjoyed every twist and turn. I’ll be tracking down more of the books in this terrific series! (Language)

Rating: ♥♥♥♥½

I received an electronic copy of this for review purposes. Many thanks to Netgalley and Minotaur books for the opportunity to read an early copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. It was a joy to read!

Princesses Inc

REVIEW: Princesses, Inc. by Mari Mancusi


Hailey, Kalani, Sarah. and Madison are Collin Prince’s biggest fans. Collin is a YouTube star who does magic and crazy videos. And Collin is going to be at Comicpalooza!

Sadly, the trip is too expensive for any of the girls to be able to go. Until they get the great idea to earn money by becoming themed babysitters. Just like people do with princess parities, the girls hire themselves out to babysit but they show up in costume. They even plan routines with magic and pirates (for kids who don’t like princesses) and buried treasure.

Soon, the girls are juggling school, sports, family and babysitting. On top of that, Hailey is trying to keep up with her fanfiction project with Sarah while also writing a story for the Comicpalooza kids’ writing contest. But it’s only for a few months, right? They can keep juggling it all for a few months. For Collin! Can’t they?


This is a fairly familiar concept – teen takes on more than he/she can handle until everything crashes around him/her. But it is executed with a fun pop culture twist here that really clicked for me. I loved that Hailey is a writer. And I loved her energy and enthusiasm. The story stressed me out when everything started to unravel. But the ending was delightful and satisfying (if somewhat predictable).

The character development is pretty light except for Hailey. But the other three girls and the rest of the supporting cast are solid and enjoyable.

I’ve enjoyed the MIX line by Aladdin for years (You can find them on bookstore and library shelves because they have multicolored stripes on the spine. MIX books have stories centered on female protagonists while MAX is their latest line with stories focused on male protagonists). The stories were always popular with my students while I was teaching, and I know they would enjoy this one!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thanks to Netgalley and Aladdin/Simon and Schuster for an electronic advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed reading Princess Inc, and will continue to watch for MAX and MIX books from Aladdin in the future.



Unicorn of Many Hats

BOOK NEWS: July 18, 2017

This summer is zooming by! Here are some of the new books releasing this week:

Books for Kids


Hot Pursuit – The Joker and Lex Luthor team up against the DC Super Friends. Great for the super hero lovers in your life.
Marigold Bakes a Cake – Marigold the cat bakes cakes on Mondays, but today things get a little out of hand.
Stay: A Girl, A Dog, A Bucket List – A girl makes a bucket list for her aging dog so they can spend quality time together
Whobert Whover Owl Detective – I think this is one of the most adorable book covers I’ve seen in a long time! I can’t wait to read this picture book mystery about an owl detective who tries to find out what happened to Perry the possum.
Wow!: The Good News in Four Words – A child-friendly presentation of the Gospel. I’d love to take a look at this in person – sounds great.
You Should Meet Katherine Johnson – New early reader about one of the women at the center of the movie, Hidden Figures. Great way to introduce younger readers to this figure in American History.
The Dragonsitter – Trick or Treat? – Book 7 in the Dragonsitter series told entirely in emails. Cute series for new chapter book readers.
Next Best Junior Chef – Lights, Camera, Cook – First book in a series about tweens in a TV cooking competition.  This sounds great for budding chefs in your life or classroom. Also for fans of  books like  All Four Stars or World’s Greatest Chocolate Covered Pork Chops.
Once Upon a Twist – Rosabella and the Three Bears – Book 3 in this Ever After High series for new chapter book readers about fairy tale characters who find themselves in the wrong stories.
The Secret Rescuers – The Baby Firebird – Book 3 in this transitional chapter book series about animal rescuers

Books for Older Kids/Teens/Young Adults


Princesses, Inc. – New book in the MIX line by Aladdin about a group of girls who open up a service of princesses and pirates to babysit neighborhood kids.  I’ll be reviewing this this week.
The Ends of the World – Book 3 in the Conspiracy of Us series. I enjoyed book 1 of this series about ancient secrets and conspiracies. I’m hoping to catch up with this series soon.
No Good Deed – A new twist on the Robin Hood tale centered on an Olympic archer who travels back in time to medieval England. This is on my list as well.
Wesley James Ruined My Life – When ex-friend Wesley James comes to town and gets a job at the same restaurant as Quinn, she will have to decide how much she wants revenge – or if she even still wants it at all. I have this one on my list – sounds great!

Books for Adults

Collared – Book 15 in my new favorite mystery series starring Andy Carpenter. This time, Andy and his team are investigating a missing child case. I will be reviewing this later this week.
Killer Party – Book 9 in the Tourist Trap Mystery series. I’ve read the first couple books in this series and I enjoyed them. The series focuses on a coffee-and-book-store owner and the murders she stumbles across.
Planting the Heavens: Releasing the Authority of the Heavens Through your Words, Prayers and Declarations – Learn to pray with authority, confidence and expectation.

Waste of Space

REVIEW: Waste of Space by Gina Damico


The premise: Ten kids on a reality TV show where they get sent into space, facing challenges until there’s one left standing. It’s supposed to be a typical reality show. They have all the character types – the orphan, the nerd, the addict, the hippie, the bad boy.

Except the TV station has no intention of actually sending anyone into space. No one has the tech to pull that off. They don’t even have the tech to make the kids still on earth float around like they are in space. So they tell everyone they have created an artificial gravity for use in space. And the lies don’t stop there.

The kids are told everything is real. They think they are truly on a space ship in orbit of Earth. The show fits reality TV mold completely and is wildly popular.  But not everyone is who they appear to be. And some of the kids start to pick up clues that maybe their mission to “space” isn’t what it appears to be either. And then, in one moment, everything changes.


This is such a fun and quirky story!

The format is terrific. It’s transcripts of phone calls and video from the show and unaired footage as well as interviews and commentary from the intern who is putting all the pieces together. This allows the reader to get into everyone’s head and see the story from different perspectives – the viewers, the producer who put it all together, the kids on the show.

The characters exceed their stereotypes, which is great. Motives change. What you think is true keeps changing. The whole premise is terrific. The TV producer is sleazy, creative and cutthroat. You hate him but at the same time you can’t look away, wondering what he will throw at the kids or at his crew next.

There’s a twist in the story about 2/3 of the way through, and from there, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know what was going on. The truth was less flashy than I imagined from the set up , but it was still a good ending. (Language, sexual innuendo, drugs/alcohol/firearms)

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

I received an electronic review copy of this book. Thanks to Netgalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read an early copy of Waste of Space in exchange for an honest review.