Review | Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women celebrates the incredible and inspiring stories of 25 women leaders in politics, business, sports, activism, and more, all written in fairy tale form. It is part of the award-winning Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Reach for new heights with Vice President Kamala Harris. Organize voter registration with Stacey Abrams. Spread messages of kindness with Lady Gaga. And captain a team of Olympic gymnasts with Aly Raisman.  

This collection of 25 stories includes the most beloved stories of leadership from the first three volumes of the New York Times best-selling series, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. And also features 11 brand new tales of women’s activism, bravery, and vision.

Rebel Girls Lead celebrates the leadership of women from Michelle Obama to Malala Yousafzai. It is illustrated by female artists from around the world. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had heard about the previous Rebel Girls books in the past, so I was excited to see this new one available. It’s a short volume about women from past and present. Even though this one contains only 25 stories, it has a good mix of cultures, professions/dreams/causes and contemporary/past figures. The way each story is written is easily consumable for most ages, especially it’s target audience. The way each woman is described as well as their dreams, motivations and achievements could easily help shape the dreams of younger generations.

Happy reading!

Review | The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel by Mariah Marsden & Hanna Luechtefeld

Green-growing secrets and magic await you at Misselthwaite Manor, now reimagined in this graphic novel adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale.

Ten-year-old Mary Lennox arrives at a secluded estate on the Yorkshire moors with a scowl and a chip on her shoulder. First, there’s Martha Sowerby: the too-cheery maid with bothersome questions who seems out of place in the dreary manor. Then there’s the elusive Uncle Craven, Mary’s only remaining family—whom she’s not permitted to see. And finally, there are the mysteries that seem to haunt the run-down place: rumors of a lost garden with a tragic past, and a midnight wail that echoes across the moors at night. 

As Mary begins to explore this new world alongside her ragtag companions—a cocky robin redbreast, a sour-faced gardener, and a boy who can talk to animals—she learns that even the loneliest of hearts can grow roots in rocky soil.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As someone who read The Secret Garden when I was much younger and know that there are certainly problematic elements to the original story (which is purely attributed to the time in which it was written) this was a good example which contained the basic and main plot while shedding those elements. As a good introduction to the story and the overall journey, I felt it was pretty good. The art isn’t as vibrant as I personally would like with a story featuring a garden, but that’s a me thing. I did really enjoy the whimsy in the drawings of flowers and animals, plus the noticeable changes in Mary as she grew over the story.

Happy reading!

Review | Greek Myths: Meet the Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of Ancient Greece by Jean Menzies

Journey into a world of gods, goddesses, heroes, extraordinary creatures, and fantastic monsters with this beautifully illustrated introduction to Ancient Greek mythology for kids.

Perfect for children aged 7 to 9, this collection contains enthralling new retellings of favorite myths as well as some you might not have heard before.

Including the saga of Theseus and the Minotaur, the 12 labors of Herakles, and the escapades of Jason and the Argonauts, each myth is told in engaging modern language, making them easy for children to understand while still retaining the humor and intrigue of the original tales. Each one is brought to life with stunning illustrations by multi-award-winning artist Katie Ponder, which breathe new life into these classic stories.

Additional feature pages and maps delve deeper into the mythical world, including profiles of the gods and a map detailing Odysseus’ long, monster-filled voyage home from the Trojan War. The reference section provides key background information to the stories, such as Ancient Greek storytelling and the incredible beasts of the myths, including centaurs and unicorns.

Greek Myths is the perfect gift for children to explore by themselves or as bedtime stories and will be treasured forever.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve been excited to pick this one up ever since it came out, so I’m glad I was able to get to it. I’ve always enjoyed Greek myths and myths in general, so while I knew a lot of these myths, it was great to read them in a modern language and somewhat simplified. I loved the way that important details were included in these versions. Though it is written for younger readers I feel like it is something that readers of all ages can enjoy. The writing style combined with the artwork was a perfect fit and I loved how bold the artwork was. I’m excited to see what else Jean Menzies publishes as this was such a perfect volume not only sharing famous Greek figures (such as Gods, Goddesses and Heroes) but also talking about the culture of Ancient Greece and what shaped their beliefs and culture.

Happy reading!

Review | The Eye of Zeus by Alane Adams

Meet Phoebe Katz, a twelve-year-old foster kid from New York City who’s been bounced around the system her entire life. Things happen around Phoebe, but it’s not like they’re her fault! But when a statue of Athena comes to life, Phoebe gets the stunning news she’s the daughter of Zeus, has a twin brother named Perseus―and was sent away from ancient Greece as a baby to stop a terrible prophecy that predicted she would one day destroy Olympus. Athena warns Phoebe to stay in hiding, but when the vengeful god Ares kidnaps her beloved social worker, Phoebe has no choice―she has to travel back to ancient Greece and rescue him! There, Phoebe and her friends Angie and Damian discover a new prophecy, one that may fix everything. The catch: Phoebe has to collect talismans from six Greek monsters, including the fang from a nine-headed hydra, a talon from the Nemean lion, and a feather from the sphinx. No problem for a girl with the power to call up lightning bolts and change the weather! But can Phoebe collect them all and stop the prophecy before she destroys Olympus? 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I won’t lie, I enjoy pretty much any stories featuring mythology and while there are some notable series featuring Greek mythology, that doesn’t mean other stories featuring the same mythology can’t be enjoyed. I did enjoy Phoebe’s back story as it did set it apart and we do see some of the typical childhood behavior from others and herself that come from being in her situation. I did really enjoy the friendships she had and how she and her friends interacted, not always agreeing, but working together.

Her journey did harken to ‘hero’s journey’ stories (which most adventure stories follow) and was full of adventure, growth, colorful characters and obstacles to overcome. The illustrations peppered throughout the story were a nice surprise and a great addition. Phoebe was a well fledged out character, as were Damien and Angie. No one was always right and there was plenty of learning from mistakes or missteps. I think this is a great story for anyone looking for an adventure including mythology and look forward to reading further books in the series.

Happy reading!

Review | Dragon Racer by Joey Weiser

On your mark, get set, GO! Dive into the graphic novel sequel to GHOST HOG from the Eisner Award-nominated creator of MERMIN full of action, adventure, and speed!

Following the events of GHOST HOG,Truff, Claude, and Stanley are joined by a new friend, Vern,as hegears up for the big race back home in DRAGON RACER! He’s never won the race before…but this could be his year! Vern’s been practicing and practicing, both on and off the road. But when the other racers start to tease the fast driving dragon about his abilities on the track, he’ll have to put the pedal to the metal and prove he’s got the speed and finesse to compete in this year’s race.

After the big race, a young racing fan falls ill and needs a doctor urgently. The only racer with skills off the road is Vern, and he’ll need Truff’s help if they’re going to make it to the doctor in time. Will Vern be able to face his greatest challenge yet and prove that he’s got what it takes behind the wheel to save the day?

Zoom into this fast-paced graphic novel full of friendship, teamwork, and believing in yourself. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel was adorable, funny and heartwarming all at the same time. The colors are vibrant and dynamic and the art style is fun so it will definitely be a great read for younger audiences. I felt like the characters all have distinct personalities and there were so many different little touches that made then really individual. While the plot touched on some heavier topics such as everyone having different strengths and struggles, bullying and prejudice, these topics were lightly done which I also think will suit the younger audiences that this is meant for. Overall it’s a really fun story with some fantastic and adorable characters.

Happy reading!

Review | Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy. For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business. Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late. With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I cannot adequately emphasize how much I loved this book. If you enjoy middle grade and want a great adventure including Dominican folklore, tons of Goonies references (and that’s a sweet spot for me), an amazing grandmother and spooky ghosts with nefarious motives. There are so many characters I loved that I can’t tell you specific favorites, but the fireflies are definitely special.

Ortega’s writing flows wonderfully and I really love the voices that she gave her characters. Lucely herself has a lot of baggage that she’s dealing with and trying to figure out, but it’s not always at the forefront of her thoughts. There’s a strong found family element, but also knowing and loving where you come from. I just loved Lucely and Syd’s adventures and will definitely be checking out what comes from Ortega in the future.

There’s so much more I could say about this book, but I’m going to resist so that you all can experience it too! I’m lowkey upset with myself that it took me so long to read, since I preordered it – still I’m so happy I was able to include it in my October reads.

Happy reading!

Review | Dalya and the Magic Ink Bottle

When twelve-year-old Dalya is dragged to Istanbul to help sell her family’s ancestral home, the visit begins unpromisingly. Most of the aged mansion is off-limits because it’s falling apart, her father is ignoring her, and her great aunt keeps prattling on about a family curse. Despite warnings against it, Dalya tiptoes upstairs, where she finds an old bottle of magic ink hidden under a floorboard. She asks the bottle’s jinn (aka genie) to grant her a simple wish…to send her home. Except the jinn interprets go home to mean send me back in time and turn me into a cat. Then Dalya must set off on a wild adventure through Istanbul’s animal underworld to find the jinn with the power to set things right. 

I picked this one up purely based on the description and am so glad I did! I loved this story and the ragtag group of characters that came together as Dalya journeyed to find her way back home, and learned what home really was.

The writing style was easy and flowed wonderfully and the descriptions of Istanbul were just enough to paint a picture of the place. It’s a great adventure and though Dalya sometimes acts impulsive or rashly, it suits her age and the audience it is aimed at. All in all it was a fun story with lots of heart.

Happy reading!

Review | Snapdragon

Snap’s town had a witch.

At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online–after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.

They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic–and a connection with Snap’s family’s past.

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect with this one going in, but just the cover and the blurb drew me in. I absolutely loved this story and it’s progression, even when it took turns that I was not expecting at all. The cast of characters are varied in their personalities and the diversity is wonderfully written and portrayed without being forced. I so enjoyed Snapdragon’s journey as she not only started to learn who she herself was, but also found new friends and relationships along the way.

The art style and color palette that Kat Leyh used perfectly fit the story and the setting, with the perfect amount of whimsy to go along with the touch of paranormal. As the story progresses you can’t help but root for Snap, her mom, Lu and Jacks as they all change and grow.

Happy reading!

Review: Lost Beast, Found Friend

Keelee is a brave, young girl who discovers a purple, fuzzy, funny beast! Together the two must make their way across this fantastic land to return Beast to his home. This is a touching tale of friendship and fun that children will want to revisit again and again. The children’s book is the debut of painter Nick Kennedy and comics writer Josh Trujillo (Dodge City). Lost Beast, Found Friend transports readers to a lush, tropical world, and Kennedy’s unique style gives Keelee and her new friend a vivid fantasy world to play in. This book will stick with readers of all ages long after story-time is over. Lost Beast, Found Friend is a charming and vibrant adventure story for the explorer in all of us!

This is an adorable little children’s book that is a quick and colorful story about friendship. I absolutely loved it even though it is short and sweet. Not only is it a story about friendship, but has a touch about not judging based on appearances and found friends/family. The artwork is fun, colorful and dynamic.

This is a great story for children, especially those that may feel different or want to understand about making friends. It has a very sweet message as well as some humor.

Lost Beast, Found Friend comes out June 9th from Oni Press, so be sure to pick up a copy for your little ones!