Review: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power by Mariko Tamaki

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This review is going to be short and sweet, just like this book. Lumberjanes, if you don’t know already, is a graphic novel series created by a bunch of awesome ladies about a group of awesome girls who spend their summers earning badges for doing outrageously fun things. For example, finding unicorns, or deep sea diving with mermaids. There are already five+ graphic novels in the series, and Unicorn Power is the first middle grade novel to be added to the series that takes the essence of the artwork and puts it in prose form.

The great thing about this book was how authentic it was to the already established Lumberjanes brand. The girls all act exactly how they would, and we even learn more about them in different situations because full prose allows for me background info than a graphic novel would.

As the cover suggests, April is definitely the central character of the story, so if she’s your fave, this one’s for you – but each girl gets a moment to shine.

There are also small illustrations that accompany the text and chapter headings, as well as the classic badge descriptions at the beginning of each part. Just like a GN, there are four different badges to focus on.

My favourite part of the story, though, was the introduction of Barney, who identifies with ‘they/them’ pronouns and only just became a Lumberjane after being part of the male equivalent group. This representation is so important, especially in a middle grade novel, and I hope Barney is more prominent in the next books.

Overall, this is perfect for Lumberjanes fans looking for a fun and quick read, but also does wonders to introduce an established world to new audiences. Hurrah for hard-core lady types!

Mini Review: The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine

31202255The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodbine
Genre: 
Mystery, Middle Grade
Publisher: Egmont Books
Pages: 352
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This summer, I read the first book in the Sinclair Mystery series. It was my first new Middle Grade book in a decade, and I was really excited to find something that was a genre I love, in a historical setting (also LOVE), just with younger protagonists. The third book in the series, The Mystery of the Painted Dragon is no different from the first in the lovely vibes it gave me, and the pure rush of enjoyment I get from reading a mystery, and solving it along with the protagonists.

Katherine Woodfine knows how to put together a great mystery, one with interesting characters, a devious hidden plot and historical markers that always put a smile on my face.  Continue reading “Mini Review: The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine”

Review: The Hetty Feather Series by Jacqueline Wilson

The Hetty Feather Series by Jacqueline Wilson
Genre: 
Historical
Published by: Doubleday Children’s
Pages: 400 | 400 | 432 | 304 | 512
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Note: As this is a review of the entire series, certain plot points and outcomes are discussed that may spoil the series for first time readers, or people that haven’t completed the series!

H  E  T  T  Y     F  E  A  T  H  E  R

Hetty Feather is such a change of pace from anything Jacqueline Wilson has written before. Set in the 1890s, it is the first in her Victorian series, featuring Hetty, a foundling girl with ambitions to join the circus and becoming a published author, whichever comes first. Hetty Feather is so unique because it reads like usual middle grade fiction, but has the makings of a classic. Hetty’s journey is structured very much like Jane Eyre’s, except it spans across three books! The first book is pastoral, fascinating and exciting. The circus makes such a wonderful setting, in stark contrast to the Foundling Hospital. Reading as Hetty gets torn away from everyone she loves: her mother, foster family and beloved Jem, is heartbreaking. No matter what she goes through, mischief, mayhem or injustice, you always root for her! It’s hard to think that the sequels are going to match up to such a marvellous beginning!  Continue reading “Review: The Hetty Feather Series by Jacqueline Wilson”

Review: Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson

28501489Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson
Genre: 
Historical, Middle Grade
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Pages: 400
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

After reading and loving the Hetty Feather series, we were both super excited to dive into Jacqueline Wilson’s latest Victorian historical adventure, that even promises a cameo from Hetty herself. This year, we’ve been rediscovering our old favourite Jacqueline Wilson books, along with keeping ourselves up to date with all the releases that came out the decade we stopped reading. It’s so exciting to read the most recently release, and Clover has worked her way into our hearts just as Hetty did. Continue reading “Review: Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson”

Review: A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson

cover98899-medium.pngA Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson
Genre: 
Fairy-tale, Retelling
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Pages: Under 300
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Just from the blurb, I knew there was going to be a lot to like about A Girl Called Owl. It’s got a fairy tale retelling element to it, though the source material is some I’ve never seen tackled before, and it’s marketed as middle grade, which I’ve been trying to read a lot more of recently, so it feels great to read something up and coming from this genre!

Continue reading “Review: A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson”

Series Review: Stella Etc by Karen McCombie

Frankie, Peaches and Me, Sweet-Talking TJ, Meet the Real World, Rachel, Truly, Madly Megan, Amber and the Hot Pepper Jelly, Twists, Turns and 100% Tilda, and Forever and Ever and Evie
Genre: 
Contemporary, Adventure, Humour | Published by: Scholastic
Rating: ★★★★★

Stella Etc. was another one of our all-time favourites. Back when the summers were only six weeks long, we’d read one book a week (always skipping the final book because it was when Stella went back to London so you did’t see all her Portbay friends). This time Maddie and I managed to read all seven books in one day! Stella Etc. is full of summer adventures, friends and sea-side fun!

Continue reading “Series Review: Stella Etc by Karen McCombie”

Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

15944406Doll Bones by Holly Black
Genre: Magical-Realism, Middle-Grade
Published by: Corgi Children’s
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★

Okay, so I’ve sampled Holly Black’s YA books and her MG that’s co-written, so this is actually the first middle grade book of hers where there isn’t a secondary contributor. I feel like her writing is a bit hit-and-miss in general, and I’m sad to say that Doll Bones was a bit of a miss for me. It was an engaging story but completely over the top and I think I would’ve needed more elements of realism to properly enjoy it.

Continue reading “Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black”