Category Archives: Middle School Reviews

SWIFT / by R. J. Anderson (Celebrate Lit Tour)


About the Book

Book: Swift

Author: R. J. Anderson

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Release Date: August 18, 2020

To save her people, a wingless girl must learn to fly. As a piskey girl born without wings and raised underground, Ivy yearns for flight almost as much as she misses her long-lost mother.

But the world outside the Delve is full of danger, and her dreams seem hopeless until she meets a mysterious faery who makes her an enticing offer: If Ivy helps him escape the Delve’s dungeon, he’ll teach her how to fly. Freeing Richard could cost Ivy her reputation, perhaps even her life.

But when her fellow piskeys start to disappear and her beloved little sister goes missing, Ivy has no choice but to take the risk. Deadly threats and shocking revelations await Ivy as she ventures into a strange new world, uncovers long-buried secrets about her family’s past, and finds that no one—not even herself—is entirely what they seem.  

Click here to get your copy!  


About the Author

Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R. J. (Rebecca Joan) Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens.

Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.  

More from R.J. Anderson

FEAR, FAITH AND LEARNING TO FLY  

What would you give to feel safe? If you could hide from all life’s dangers and anyone who might harm you, and spend your whole life in a beautiful, comfortable home surrounded by friends, family and all the necessities of life, would you?  
 
That’s the kind of place that Ivy, the teenaged heroine of Swift, has grown up in — a glittering underground complex called the Delve, where safety and protection are paramount, and young girls especially are warned not to take foolish risks. Like climbing the wall of the Great Shaft that leads to the surface, for instance. Or going outside for any reason, except for two special nights of the year. In the world of modern-day Cornwall, the converted tin mine where Ivy and her fellow piskeys live is their only refuge from scheming faeries, greedy humans, and their deadliest enemies of all, the spriggans. And since Ivy’s mother was stolen by the spriggans six years ago, Ivy knows all too well how dangerous the outside world can be.  
 
But as Ivy discovers when she stumbles on a mysterious Shakespeare-quoting prisoner in her people’s dungeon, safety isn’t everything. If “Richard” is telling the truth about what happened to Ivy’s long-lost mother, there may be more going on in the Delve — and outside it — than Ivy ever guessed. How far will she go to find the truth?  
 
When I first started writing Swift, one of the ideas I wanted to explore was how much our prejudices and false perceptions limit us. Ivy’s been taught to fear everything and everyone outside the Delve, and that her poor health and lack of wings means she will never be worthy or whole. But when she starts to ask questions and search for answers, Ivy discovers that much of what she’s always believed is a lie.  
 
What I didn’t realize until I’d finished writing the whole Flight and Flame trilogy is that in many ways, Ivy’s story parallels that of Moses in the book of Exodus. Like Moses when God first called him, Ivy doesn’t think she has anything to offer her people, or any chance of convincing the stern, suspicious piskey queen to set them free. But when Ivy learns to look beyond her fears and self-doubts and step out in faith — even if she’s not sure yet what it means or where it will lead her — extraordinary things happen and her world begins to change.  
 
We all crave safety and security. But if we refuse to step outside our comfort zones or ever question our prejudices, our lives and hearts will stagnate. It’s only when we open ourselves up to truth and act on it, even if it’s hard or unpopular to do so, that we can truly soar.   I’ve loved writing Ivy’s story. I hope you’ll love reading it, too.   — R.J. Anderson (www.rj-anderson.com)

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, August 31

Blogging With Carol, August 31

Through the Fire Blogs, September 1

Pause for Tales, September 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 2

Worthy2read, September 3

Texas Book-aholic, September 4

The Book Chic Blog, September 4

For Him and My Family, September 5

deb’s Book Review, September 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 7

Mia Reads, September 7

Artistic Nobody, September 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, September 9

Daughter of Increase, September 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 10

Simple Harvest Reads, September 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Vicky Sluiter, September 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 12

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 13


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, R.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a signed and personalized bookplate, two bookmarks, and two beautiful blank-inside notecards with artwork by Kirk DouPonce and Rory Kurtz!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fff5/swift-celebration-tour-giveaway


MY REVIEW

R. J. Anderson, author of the No Ordinary Fairy Tale series, returns to the fairy realm with a new series about piskeys, faeries, and spriggans. Previously published in the UK, her fantasy series is now available for American readers.

In Swift, a wingless piskey — Ivy — lives underground with the rest of her community. Considered disabled because she doesn’t have wings, Ivy manages to keep the family unit together after her mother mysteriously disappears — or was she kidnapped?

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Swift is a captivating story, created especially for young teens (ages 12-16). The first chapter pulls in the reader and keeps them engaged until the very end, with plot twists galore. Ivy grows in courage over the course of the book. She learns to look beyond what is accepted by others to discover for herself what is true.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

 

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ESME’S GIFT, / by Elizabeth Foster (Prism Tour)

Esme’s Gift, / by Elizabeth Foster (Esme Trilogy, 2)
Odyssey Books ISBN     9781925652246
MG/YA (ages 12+) Rating: 4

Australian author Elizabeth Foster returns with a second book in her middle grade/young adult fantasy trilogy, suitable for readers ages 12 and up.

In Esme’s Gift fifteen year old Esme Silver tries to get her father to return with her to Aeolia, but he is broken by Esme’s disappearance (in Esmes’ Wish). Her stepmother is in full control, and Esme discovers some startling information about her. She is torn between Aeolia where her mother lies in a coma and the “real” world where her father lives (and he doesn’t believe Aeolia really exists). 

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Foster does an excellent job in creating Aeolia and building on the breathtaking world she first created in Esme’s Wish, with its memorable characters and descriptive narrative.

Readers will look forward to Esme’s Voice, coming in 2021. Esme’s Gift is the winner of the 2020 Ippy Award (for best YA fiction) and a Purple Dragonfly Book award (for best fantasy).

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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ESME’S WISH, / by Elizabeth Foster (Prism Tour)

Esme’s Wish, / by Elizabeth Foster (Esme Trilogy, 1)
Odyssey Books     ISBN     9781925652246
YA (ages 12+)     Rating:    4

Australian author Elizabeth Foster pens a middle grade fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy. Winner of best science fiction/fantasy book in the 2018  Purple Dragonfly Book Awards (recognizes excellence in children’s literature), Esme’s Wish is geared towards teens (ages twelve and up).

In Esme’s Wish, fifteen year old Esme Silver objects to her father’s wedding, even though her mother has been missing for more than seven years. Esme believes her mother Ariane didn’t just disappear; her loyalty to her mother leads her to seek the truth. In her attempt to do so, she is swept into the world of Aeolia where she starts to retrace her mother’s footsteps. Untangling the truth reveals a different mother than the one she thought she knew. Can she uncover the truth and get the answers to her questions?

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Foster creates a breathtaking world in Aeolia, with memorable characters and descriptive narrative. Aeolia is filled with blue water, orange dragons, sirens, folklore, and magical gifts, as well as an engaging storyline.

Readers will look forward to the second book in this series, Esme’s Gift, 2020 Ippy Award winner, coming later this summer.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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ESME’S WISH, / by Elizabeth Foster (JustReads Tour)

Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster - Book Review, Preview


Esme’s Wish, / by Elizabeth Foster (Esme Trilogy, 1)
Odyssey Books     ISBN     9781925652246
YA (ages 12+)     Rating:    4

Australian author Elizabeth Foster pens a middle grade fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy. Winner of best science fiction/fantasy book in the 2018  Purple Dragonfly Book Awards (recognizes excellence in children’s literature), Esme’s Wish is geared towards teens (ages twelve and up).

In Esme’s Wish, fifteen year old Esme Silver objects to her father’s wedding, even though her mother has been missing for more than seven years. Esme believes her mother Ariane didn’t just disappear; her loyalty to her mother leads her to seek the truth. In her attempt to do so, she is swept into the world of Aeolia where she starts to retrace her mother’s footsteps. Untangling the truth reveals a different mother than the one she thought she knew. Can she uncover the truth and get the answers to her questions?

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Foster creates a breathtaking world in Aeolia, with memorable characters and descriptive narrative. Aeolia is filled with blue water, orange dragons, sirens, folklore, and magical gifts, as well as an engaging storyline.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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Review: WHERE YOU LEAD / by Leslea Wahl

Where You Lead. / by Leslea Wahl
Vinspire      ISBN     9781732711228
YA     Rating:     4

Author Leslea Wahl’s latest book — Where You Lead – continues her collection of inspirational teen fiction.

In Where You Lead, Eve Donahue (a professor’s daughter) and her new friend Nick Hammond (a senator’s son) follow clues all over the Washington, D. C. area. They are solving a mystery surrounding Civil War treasure. But not everyone wants the mystery revealed — and as they uncover a conspiracy, will they solve the mystery before that someone stops them?

Their relationship is a clean romance, and the story is filled with believe-able characters, a light touch with faith elements, and an adventurous mystery. Eve reminds the reader of Nancy Drew, the teenager who is known for solving mysteries.

Although there are references to Catholicism, the book can be read by anyone, regardless of religious background. Eve starts on this mystery when she sees a vision featuring Nick, who lives thousands of miles away. She feels called to a mission of solving the mystery surrounding the lost Confederate gold. Meanwhile, Nick has his own experience which leads him to convince his dad to run for the Senate. When they meet, both feel called to work together to solve the century-old mystery. As clues become entangled in deception and leaving them unclear whom to trust, they believe that God calls people every day to big and small tasks.

Recommended for high school libraries and young adult collections in public libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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WHAT I AM READING / REVIEWING NEXT

What I’m READING & REVIEWING next:

POSTED RECENTLY:

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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EAGERLY AWAITING THESE NEW RELEASES in 2019

I am looking forward to reading these new 2019 titles. As I review these books, I will link my review to the titles here. I may read and review more than these titles, but these are the ones I’m most interested to read. So here they are:

JANUARY 2019

FEBRUARY 2019

MARCH 2019

APRIL 2019

MAY 2019

JUNE 2019

  • The Number of Love (Codebreakers, #1) / Roseanna White
  • No Ocean Too Wide / Carrie Turansky

JULY 2019

AUGUST 2019

SEPTEMBER 2019

OCTOBER 2019

  • Odd Girl Out (Being Zoey, #2) / Meloday Carlson
  • Dark Ambitions (Code of Honor, #3) / Irene Hannon

NOVEMBER 2019

  • A Pursuit of Home (Haven Manor, #3) / Kristi Hunter
  • Misleading Miss Verity (Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley, #3) / Carolyn Miller

DECEMBER 2019

  • The Bridge to Belle Island / Julie Klassen

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BOOK AWARD WINNERS

I just read a number of the national book award winners — and I have reviewed some of them. For a complete listing of the award winners, see this list.
Newbery 2018 – HELLO, UNIVERSE / Erin Entrada Kelly

Caldecott Medal 2018 – WOLF IN THE SNOW / Matthew Cordell

Caldecott Honor 2018

Belpre (Author) Honor Book 2018

Pura Belpre (Illustrator) Award 2018  

 

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BOOK AWARD WINNERS

I just read a number of the national book award winners — and I have reviewed some of them. For a complete listing of the award winners, see this list.

Newbery 2016 – LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET / Matt de la Pena

Newbery Honor 2016

  • The War that Saved My Life / Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Roller Girl / Victoria Jamieson
  • Echo / Pam Muñoz Ryan

Newbery 2015 – The Crossover / Kwame Alexander

Newbery Honor 2015

Caldecott 2016 – FINDING WINNIE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BEAR / Lindsay Mattick

Caldecott Honor 2016

Caldecott 2015 – The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend / Dan Santat

Caldecott 2014 – Locomotive / Brian Floca

Caldecott 2014 Honors – Mr. Wuffles / David Wiesner

 

CHRISTIAN BOOK AWARDS

CHRISTY AWARD 2015

Contemporary / Romance – Finalists

Contemporary Series Finalist

Visionary Winner

Visionary Finalists

Young Adult Winner

Young Adult Finalist

CAROL AWARD 2015

Contemporary
Speculative
Young Adult
  • Storm Siren / Mary Weber (HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

CLIVE STAPLES AWARD 2013-2015

2015:  The Warden and the Wolf King / Andrew Peterson

2014: A Cast in the Stones / Patrick W. Carr

2013: Starflower / Anne Elisabeth Stengl

 

 

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CSFF Blog Tour: ONE REALM BEYOND / Donita K. Paul

One Realm BeyondDonita Paul (Realm Walkers, 1)
Zondervan     ISBN 978-0-310-73580-9
MS     Grades 6-10     Rating: 5
Pre-publication reviewed
onerealmbeyond

Donita K. Paul returns with a new fantasy series aimed at middle school readers, filled with unforgettable characters (both human and dragon) in a battle of good vs. evil.

<SEE MY FULL REVIEW HERE>

Paul is an accomplished storyteller, taking her time to create a world where dragons are constants (similar to sidekicks for superheros), and special gifts enable humans to perform their duties as realm walkers.

Though it starts out slowly, One Realm Beyond engages the reader in the struggle facing Cantor as he progresses in his skills and puts his training to use. Bixby is an endearing character with her quirky ways, and Bridger appears an inept dragon when in fact, his gifts are equally important to Cantor.

Fans of Donita Paul’s earlier series and fantasy fans will not be disappointed!

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, and Z Street Team, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

*     *     *

Want to know what other reviewers and bloggers are saying about One Realm Beyond?O Check out the CSFF Blog Tour participants shown below (Christian Science Fiction Fantasy)

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