Review | The Medusa Quest by Alane Adams

Phoebe Katz is back on a new mission to save Olympus and undo the fallout from her first visit. Damian has troubling news—the epic mythology stories in the books are changing. Instead of Perseus slaying Medusa and becoming a hero, the books now say he’s turned to stone. Worse, thanks to Phoebe slaying the Nemean lion and the Lernean hydra to complete the Eye of Zeus, Hercules failed his first two trials—which means he’s not the immortal hero he’s supposed to be. After speaking with the oracle who brought her to New York, Phoebe learns that without great heroes, the entire fabric of Greek mythology is in peril. She must go back to Olympus and right the history she wrecked. To do that, she must embark on a quest to collect the items she will need to help Perseus defeat Medusa, including the curved blade the Argus Slayer, the winged shoes of Hermes, and Hades’s Helmet of Invisibility, and convince Hercules to complete his new trials without giving up—despite the efforts of a powerful force that will stop at nothing to see the demi-god children of Zeus destroyed. Can Phoebe collect the items she needs and save Olympus once again?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After finishing The Eye of Zeus I almost immediately picked up the Medusa Quest as I was eager to see what Phoebe and her friends got themselves into this time. I liked the element of Phoebe having to face repercussions of her actions and it was great again to see her and her friends learning and growing as they went on their quest to correct things. I again really loved Adams’ writing style and the way the story flowed naturally. Yes there were immature moments, but that’s suitable for the age range this series is intended for. All in all I’ve really enjoyed both books in the series so far and will definitely read more from Adams.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody | Review

A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods in this whimsical and cheeky middle grade fantasy debut—perfect for fans of Nevermoor and How to Train Your Dragon.

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him. 

Buy Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I am always into middle grade adventure stories, especially when they are fantasy based so I was super excited to get my hands on this one. I really enjoyed the aspect of Barclay not wanting to be a hero or have an adventurous life, it was a nice twist to the typically adventure story. I also really loved the world that Amanda Foody created and in many ways felt like a lot of the settings, based on the way she described them, could be imagined easily. That being said though, I think it was the perfect amount of world building and imagery for the target audience of younger readers and I think a lot of readers would be able to identify with at least one of the characters in the story. I couldn’t put this one down and am eagerly hoping I get to pick up any future books written in this world.

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After a double life as an accountant preparing taxes for multinational corporations, she now spends her free time brewing and fermenting foods much more easily obtained at her local grocery store. She lives in Boston, MA with a hoard of books guarded by the most vicious of feline companions, Jelly Bean.

Her books include The Shadow Game series and more. Her middle grade debut, Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice, hits shelves March 30, 2021, and her next YA novel, All of Us Villains, co-authored with Christine Lynn Herman, releases on November 9, 2021.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Want to check out other posts on the blog tour? You can check them out here!

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 | Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Nostalgic fans of the Miyazaki film and newcomers alike–soar into the modern classic about a young witch and her clever cat that started it all!

Half-witch Kiki never runsfrom a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year.

Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected. With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places.

Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new readers and dedicated fans.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Since the movie is one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies, I definitely wanted a copy of the source material so I could read it and I was not disappointed. There are definitely some differences between the book and movie, with the book being more a slice of life coming of age story. Some of the subplots that we see in the movie are not part of the book because the book really centers on finding your place and being content. I loved Kiki’s escapades and the relationships she built. Overall it was a really adorable story.

Happy reading!

Review | The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a tongue in cheek adventure full of quirky characters that try their best but don’t always succeed the way they think they will, then this will be a fun read for you. We follow four princes who have each been dubbed “Prince Charming” in their respective kingdoms, and some of them don’t necessarily enjoy the way their stories unfolded. This story is a mashup of multiple fairy tale couples who aren’t really having a happy ever after, more like they don’t really know their partners and have some real relationship hiccups along the way. They aren’t traditional heroes by any means, but they find ways to work together…sometimes. It was a funny story that constantly had ups and downs and I think for a middle grade reader who understands the tongue in cheek nature it would be great. For any age it would be an entertaining read featuring price’s as we’ve never seen them before. I also loved the artwork that was included throughout the book, looking like pencil sketches on the page.

Happy reading!

Review | Unicorn Island by Donna Galanti

When Sam arrives in Foggy Harbor, South Carolina, all she can see is that it’s small, boring, and thousands of miles away from her mom. She dreads spending the summer there with her Uncle Mitch, and he’s not exactly happy to see her, either. But Sam quickly learns that there’s more to Foggy Harbor than she’d thought. With the help of a new friend, Tuck, she sets out to uncover the magical truth behind the town’s biggest mystery: the secret of Lost Luck.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I saw the description of this book I wanted to pick it up because mythical creatures are instantly a want-to-read for me. This book is definitely middle grade, but I would say on the younger end of middle grade. We follow Sam, who feels like she doesn’t have a place because she and her mom move around so much and just when she feels like they might be staying in one place – she finds out otherwise and has to go stay with her Uncle for the summer. What she expects to be a boring and unhappy summer quickly becomes something altogether different.

I really enjoyed this adventure and the illustrations throughout were beautiful and perfectly suited the events happening in the book. It’s a great set up for a series and it definitely put in place a number of things that could happen in the future. I also really enjoyed the fact that there’s a section at the end with information about some of the things mentioned in the book, so that young readers could further learn about them if they wanted to.

Happy reading!

Review | Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good. 

So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real. 

Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” 

With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As soon as I heard about this book I wanted to pick it up, so I was thrilled when I received a copy. I was so excited about the premise of this one as soon as I read it and was not disappointed at all. Amari is a character who has faced a lot of prejudice in her life, whether it be for her race or where she lives, and is excited for the possibility of being somewhere where that doesn’t matter. She’s also desperate to find out about her brother’s disappearance. Right off the bat we can tell what type of person Amari is and as the story goes on we learn about some of her insecurities and strengths. She doesn’t always make the smartest of decisions and she finds that she’s traded one set of prejudices for another as she switches environments, but she perseveres.

I so loved this story and all the important conversations and topics that were woven into it. I loved watching Amari come into her own and truly believe in herself and really enjoyed the twists and the turns of the story itself. I had a suspicion who was going to be villians and who wasn’t but I didn’t know for sure until the very end. The writing was easy to follow and flowed wonderfully and I felt there was a great balance between building the world and actual plot.

B.B. Alston started writing in middle school, entertaining his classmates with horror stories starring the whole class where not everyone survived! After several years of trying to break into publishing, he had just been accepted into a biomedical graduate program when a chance entry into a twitter pitch contest led to his signing with TBA, 20+ book deals worldwide, and even a film deal. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead.

B.B. was inspired to write AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS because he couldn’t find any fantasy stories featuring Black kids when he was growing up. He hopes to show kids that though you might look different, or feel different, whatever the reason, your uniqueness needn’t only be a source of fear and insecurity. There is great strength and joy to be found in simply accepting yourself for who you are. Because once you do so, you’ll be unstoppable.

Thank you again to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book! I’m thrilled I got to experience Amari’s journey and would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for not just a fun adventure but an empowering read that tackles a number of complex and important issues.

Happy reading!

Review | The Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

Magic has a dark side . . .

Aster always looks forward to the Midwinter Festival, a reunion of the entire Vanissen family that includes competitions in witchery and shapeshifting. This year, he’s especially excited to compete in the annual Jolrun tournament-as a witch. He’s determined to show everyone that he’s proud of who he is and what he’s learned, but he knows it won’t be easy to defy tradition.

Ariel has darker things on her mind than the Festival-like the mysterious witch who’s been visiting her dreams, claiming to know the truth about Ariel’s past. She appreciates everything the Vanissens have done for her. But Ariel still craves a place where she truly belongs.

The Festival is a whirlwind of excitement and activity, but for Aster and Ariel, nothing goes according to plan. When a powerful and sinister force invades the reunion, threatening to destroy everything the young witches have fought for, can they find the courage to fight it together? Or will dark magic tear them apart?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been putting off reading this one for far too long, probably because I didn’t want it too end. Safe to say I loved it. It had continuing things found family, diversity and discrimination – especially when it can happen within families. I have loved seeing how all of the characters have grown, but even more so how Aster has come into their own. They’re still young and can still get hurt, but there’s maturity that is coming with growing up. I really enjoyed the very real portrayal of conflicts that other members within a family may have, and how their actions can be misunderstood. Seeing the very real conflicts, and then resolutions when they happen I think is very important. I loved this series and highly recommend picking it up.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | A Wolf For a Spell by Karah Sutton | Review

The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar.

Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body!

Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all.

Book Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I’m so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as well as other characters go through transformations. There’s a lot of narrative about not taking things at face value and forming their own opinions/decisions. There’s also a lot about learning to face your fears or rise above fear when you feel it.

I absolutely flew through this story and was engrossed the entire time I was reading it. I did not want to put it down since I was so absorbed. The style of writing was easy to read and just kept me hooked the whole time.

Karah Sutton has loved Baba Yaga, ballet, and blini ever since she had to do a research project on her Russian heritage in the third grade. Her hunger for adventure inspired her to move from Kentucky to New Zealand, where it was rumored she would find talking trees and the occasional wood elf. Karah spent four years as a bookseller before she turned to writing her own fiction. A Wolf For a A Spell is her first novel.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Make sure you check out the rest of the exciting posts on the blog tour! You can locate the tour scheduled on the TBR and Beyond Tours page.

Happy reading!