Race to the Sun – Book Review

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Synopsis:
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.

When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .

Review:
Nizhoni can see monsters, but otherwise she is smart and loyal girl. She and her friend Davery are likable and relatable. Their journey into Navajo lore is exciting, perilous, and magical.

Race to the Sun is a fun, middle reader fantasy. Fans of Percy Jackson will enjoy this standalone story with fascinating Native American folklore. I only wish the villains would have been fleshed out a little more. But the journey Nizhoni follows is perilous and engaging. With plenty of adventure, suspense, and humor – this fast-paced story was a joy to read.

Received in June

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received last month for review and/or giveaways:

Blu-Ray/DVD:
Pennyworth – The Complete First Season
Head of the Class – The Complete First Season

Atria:
The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter

CamCat Books:
So You Had To Build A Time Machine by Jason Offutt

Disney Hyperion / Marvel:
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Captain Marvel: Beware the Flerken! by Calliope Glass
The Mirror Broken Wish by Julie C. Dao
The Unstoppable Wasp: Built On Hope by Sam Maggs

Harper Voyager:
Alien Secrets by Ian Douglas

Saga Press:
The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell

Simon Pulse:
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Subterranean Press:
Fishing for Dinosaurs and Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale
Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir

The Kingdom of Liars – Book Giveaway!

Courtesy of Saga Press, I have a copy of The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 17. I’ll draw a name on July 18, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Read moreThe Kingdom of Liars – Book Giveaway!

Storybound – Book Review

by Emily McKay

Synopsis:
I’ve lived in nine towns in the past six years. I know my mom feels bad about it, but I don’t mind. Who wants friends anyway?

All I’ve ever needed are my books. I’ve lived a thousand lives, had adventures I couldn’t even begin to imagine. To me, the places I discovered between the pages of a book are as real as the world I live in.

When I walk into my favorite bookstore, the last thing I expect is to walk out onto the pages of the kingdom of Mithres…or that the book boyfriend I’ve loved more than life, Kane the Traveler, really exists. And he has no clue the fate that awaits him in book five…

Now that I know the truth, I have a chance to save Kane. But if I change the story, will I ever find my way home?

Review:
Edie (“Cupcake”) is a relatable girl in that she LOVES books and reading more than just about anything. Her favorite series is coming to an end, and with it – her favorite fictional crush, Kane. But when she discovers it’s all real, her life – as well as the characters she’s grown to love – are all in danger.

I got sucked into this story right away. Though when Edie crosses over into her “fictional” world, I had to suspend a lot of disbelief on how this kid would react. It reminded me of Galaxy Quest when the geeky boy was told his favorite TV show was all real, and he just replies “I knew it!” It’s cute just the same. My biggest hang-up was that everyone calls Edie “Cupcake” – because of the shirt she’s wearing. It was funny for a few pages, when I discovered why they were calling her that. But it got old REALLY quick. In fact, I totally forgot her name halfway through the book. I had to go back and look for it. I just find cutesy nicknames condescending and annoying. Maybe it’s just me.

But the story itself was fun and fast-paced. I enjoyed the unique worldbuilding. And several of the minor characters were enjoyable. Kane grows more likable as the story goes on, though he’s a bit rough around the edges when we first meet him. The book ends with some clever twists and a bit of a cliffhanger. Teens who enjoy a little romance mixed in their fantasy stories should check this out.

Catalyst – Book Review

Catalyst by Sarah Beth Durst

Synopsis:
Zoe named the kitten Pipsqueak, because she was so tiny, and promised to always take care of her. Then the kitten grew. And grew. Now she’s bigger than a horse—and talking as well! Fleeing into the woods to escape the curious eyes of the Internet, Zoe and her best friend, Harrison, must keep the giant cat hidden as they desperately search for a way to return her to normal size. If they don’t succeed, Pipsqueak may never be safe again. But why did she grow so large in the first place? And what if trying to change her back leads to even greater danger?

Review:
This is a very fun standalone fantasy for children – especially animal lovers. Zoe loves animals and brings home injured ones all the time, but her parents let her finally keep this latest tiny kitten. Unfortunately, the kitten grows at an exponential rate and Zoe is afraid she’ll be taken away if anyone other than Harrison finds out.

There is plenty of humor and heart in this unique story. I love the family dynamic. The characters (other than the fantastical animals) are relatable. And the animals were irresistible. And while I knew the direction the story would take, I was still pleasantly surprised with a fun twist at the end. This was an exciting adventure with suspense, mystery, and magic.

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