Book Review: Unwritten


Author: Tara Gilboy
Pages: 198
Published: November 16, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Gracie knows that she was rescued from a story by her mom. She had to tell her after she started having incredibly realistic dreams and visions of a beautiful woman and a fire. But all that her mom will tell her is that she saved her because she died in the story. She knows the authors name and that her mom doesn’t like the author, but her mom refuses to tell her anything more than that and changes the subject whenever she brings it up. She also knows that her best friend Walter was also saved. But he doesn’t know. Now Gracie has a chance to meet the author in person and ask her what really happened in the story. Should she go against her mom’s wishes and try to find out the truth or trust that her mom is only keeping her safe?


This one was adorable. I love the idea of the main character being rescued from a story. The two plot lines worked out really well together and I never felt like it was too far fetched of an idea to pull off. I think my only issue is how dark one of the main plot points was. For a middle grade I thought it was a little graphic but I guess if you look at all of the stuff that happens in books like the Harry Potter series that it wasn’t too bad. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I read it in one sitting. I really hope we get more books about Gracie!


Book Review: Trapped in Room 217


Author: Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Pages: 136
Published: September 1, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Rating:  4/5

I received this one from NetGalley for review.

Jayla and her brother Dion get to start spring break early! After their dad receives notice that he is needed in Estes, Colorado for a job the family moves into the Stanley Hotel for a week. Upon entering the hotel Jayla is in awe of how fancy it is, but quickly gets freaked out when she hears an older couple mention something about the room they will be staying in, room 217. On their first night in the hotel both Jayla and Dion have a ghostly encounter that puts both of them on edge and ready to leave, but is there more to the hotel than meets the eye?


I thought this one was cute. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Dion and Jayla and how they were able to navigate the move into a strange place together. I also liked that this book was different from basically every other book written for younger readers in that the adults actually took the kids seriously. And of course we can’t overlook the setting for a kids book. Who doesn’t want to read about the Stanley Hotel? Overall I thought this was a fun read and I’ll definitely continue on with the series.

Book Review: Walking in the City with Jane


Author: Susan Hughes (Illustrations by Valerie Boivin)
Pages: 36
Published: April 3, 2018
Genre: Children’s, Biography, Picture Book
Rating:  3/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Walking in the City with Jane is a children’s book about Jane Jacobs, a journalist turned activist devoted to protecting communities.

I really enjoyed the illustrations and love the idea of writing more books for kids that are based on actual people. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a kids book on city planning and I can definitely remember not having these types of books when I was little. That being said, it didn’t really work out for me. The timeline went by incredibly fast. I kind of wish that the focus would have been more on how she decided to become involved rather than childhood-adulthood-activism within a few pages.

I agree with a few others that a picture book doesn’t seem to be the best way to get across the story of Jane Jacobs life. I like the idea of teaching kids about her though!

Book Review: Substitute Creature (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4)

Author: Charles Gilman
Pages: 171
Published: September 24, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5

The fourth installment of the Lovecraft Middle School series continues the story of Robert, Glenn, Karina, and Robert’s pet rats, Pip & Squeak as they battle against the evil Professor Tillinghast that has been slowly taking over the school.

After a huge snow storm traps Robert and his friends inside Lovecraft Middle School with the creepy new substitute, Ms. Carcasse, Pip & Squeak inform Robert that they need to show him something. He has had a sense that something was off with the substitute the entire time, but was unable to figure out exactly what it was until he saw that it was snowing inside the chemistry lab.

I have absolutely loved the Lovecraft Middle School series by Charles Gilman. One of my first experiences with middle grade horror and I’m definitely satisfied. The fourth book did a great job of continuing on with the story, however, the only aspect of the book I didn’t enjoy that much was the lack of focus on the substitute as a minion of the main protagonist. She was almost just an extra character that didn’t get fully developed. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book very much.

Book Review: The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)

Author: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Pages: 295
Published: September 9, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal
Rating: 5/5

I freakin’ loved this book so much! I can definitely see why some people were comparing to to Harry Potter. However, I think that comparison only fits if you take the book at face value.

The Iron Trial is book one in the Magisterium series by two YA powerhouses. This book tells the story of Callum. A teenage boy that has magical abilities but has yet to utilize them as his father refused to let him. Callum’s mother was killed in a magical war not too long after he was born. Callum’s father found his mother’s body and saw that she had scratched “Kill the child” into the wall of the cave where she was killed.

Fast forward a few years to when Callum is chosen to attend the Magisterium, a special school created for the most talented of kids to learn how to harness their magical abilities. Dead set on flunking out, Callum has no intention of trying to learn anything while there.

After making two of the best friends that he has ever had and finding a stray wolf pup in the woods, Callum needs to decide if he is going to stay through his first year at the school or quit when given the chance. Callum is thrown through quite a few loops while at the Magisterium and learns who he really is.

I really really really liked this story and can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: You Will Call Me Drog

Author: Sue Cowing
Pages: 281
Published: September 1, 2011
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Rating: 3/5

You Will Call Me Drog by Sue Cowing was a strong attempt at a pretty dark middle grade story. Parker is a sixth grade boy that likes to search through the local junkyard with his best friend. One day while at the junkyard, Parker discovers a green hand puppet sticking up out of a trashcan. He is immediately intrigued and decides to put it on his hand. Little did Parker know, the hand puppet would come alive and refuse to let go of his hand.

Once the hand puppet has latched onto his hand, it begins to talk, but of course the puppet will only talk to Parker and no one else. So no one believes him when he says that the puppet is alive. After introducing himself to Parker as Drog, Drog begins to torment Parker and make his life difficult.

Parker’s parents are split up and while his mom tries to be super supportive, Parker’s dad thinks he is doing this for attention and is preparing to send Parker to a military school for boys. Parker must do whatever possible to get Drog off his hand before his dad has him sent away.

I enjoyed the story, but felt that it lasted way too long. It seemed as if the author could have wrapped it up a few chapters early, but decided not to and then the ending felt abrupt. Decent story, but wouldn’t read it again. 3/5

Book Review: The Swallow: A Ghost Story

Author: Charis Cotter
Pages: 320
Published: Expected September 9, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Rating: 4.5/5

Polly has a crazy family. She has twin brothers that she calls the Horrors, an older sister named Lucy that is too focused on herself and a baby sister named Suzie that isn’t too bad, yet. She also has had a bunch of foster siblings throughout the years. Her entire family acts as if she doesn’t exist except for the Horrors who never leave her alone. All Polly wants is to see a ghost. 

Rose is an only child. Her parents are never home and her grandmother recently passed away so she is stuck at home with the housekeeper. She is also constantly surrounded by ghosts. All Rose wants is to be a normal kid. 

Polly and Rose develop an unusual friendship. Each having the one thing that the other desperately longs for. The Swallow was a beautifully written ghost story about two young girls trying to understand the world they live in. 

A must-read for all ages.

Book Review: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Pages: 272
Published: April 9, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure
Rating: 5/5

I loved this story!

I picked it up specifically because of the blurb about the author’s name in the back and ended up really enjoying this story.

Rump is a young boy that has no idea why his mother named him Rump. He is constantly picked on for it and nothing seems to go right for him. Living with his gran, Rump works in the mines every day trying to find gold so that him and his gran can eat. This is the story of a little boy that discovers the true nature of his name and what that means for him.

A super fun adventure story that I definitely recommend!

Book Reviews: Vampire Brat & Ghostsitters (Araminta Spookie #4 & #5)



Author: Angie Sage
Pages: 208 & 214
Published: September 1, 2007 & September 1, 2008
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy, Humor, Paranormal
Rating: 5/5 & 4/5

Vampire Brat In book 4 of the Araminta Spookie series, Uncle Drac’s mother shows up with two of her great-cousins, Max and Mahtilda. Max is going to stay with Araminta for a while which would normally be great since Wanda and Max are already getting along, the only problem is that Araminta is convinced Max is a dangerous Vampire. On top of now having a vampire living in her home, Araminta has encountered a werewolf in the home and no one believes her! She must come up with a plan to capture both the vampire and the werewolf before anyone gets hurt.

Ghostsitters In the final book of the Araminta Spookie series, Araminta and Wanda are going to be left home alone while all the adults go on a tour of a bat cave. Originally, Uncle Drac’s creepy mother was supposed to come babysit but she no longer can make it. So Mahtilda decides to do it instead, but she doesn’t come alone. Along with her she brought two ghosts, Ned and Jed, that follow her everywhere. Her parents are ghost removers and they removed Ned and Jed (two poltergeists) from a home after Mahtilda explained to them that haunting that house would be boring. Now Ned and Jed go everywhere with her and she can’t get rid of them. Ned and Jed begin harassing Sir Horace to the point that he informs everyone that is will no longer be staying at Spookie House. Araminta and Wanda have to do whatever it takes to get Sir Horace to stay in Spookie House before it is too late! On top of everything else, Araminta’s birthday is coming up and no one seems to care (except Uncle Drac of course)!

This series was super fun and I read all the books fairly quickly. I definitely enjoyed Angie Sage’s writing and will be reading more of her stuff soon! I enjoyed Vampire Brat a little more than Ghostsitters so I gave that one a 5/5.

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