MMD Challenge for Fun – May Update

I started off the MMD Reading for Fun Challenge with great gusto, but I’ve been sidetracked by shiny covers and NetGalley ARCs. I only have two categories left, and I have both The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, and Last Will by Bryn Greenwood lined up on my Kindle to fill in the last two categories. I wonder if anyone has a reading challenge for June to complete the reading challenge you’re working on?

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson, Bloomsbury (February 2017).

I’m a huge fan of Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy. When I discovered her back in the early winter, I felt like I had finally found a kindred spirit. I joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy (MMD) Book Club in January, and since then, I’ve read some of the most enjoyable books (This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel was our February selection, and is my favorite book this year…so far). I was almost counting sleeps until her Summer Reading Guide came out last week, and I have yet to be disappointed by one of her picks.

Our May selection is the YA novel Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. I just finished it last night, and I was so impressed. It tell the story of Jade, a Black teenager, who attends a predominantly white high school. Jade comes from a poor neighborhood, with a mom who does her best to provide while working long hours, but wants more for Jade than she had. Jade is a smart girl, and wants desperately to have an opportunity to be part of the study abroad program at school. But instead, Jade gets an selected for the Woman to Woman, an organization that provide mentorship for African American girls.

There’s been a lot of talk this year about The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a book I loved and often recommend, which also deals with racial issues confronting American teenagers. What I enjoyed about Piecing Me Together was the positive role models and opportunities offered Jade. I love that she was able to find someone who cared and wanted to help her, although her mentor, Maxine, often didn’t know how to go about providing it. It felt honest, and realistic, and I felt I learned something when I finished it.

I highly recommend the MMD Bookclub if you’re looking to join an online group of book lovers, and I’d definitely suggest you check out the Summer Reading Guide, (because, as Anne says, summer is too short to read bad books).

2017 Summer Reading Guide

I look forward to our discussion of this book later this week.

4/5 stars

Photo Bombed!

When you want to squeeze in a few minute to read before work, but your dog has other plans.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser, HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017), Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley

I read a lot of middle grade fiction. It’s probably my favorite genre. And it isn’t often that I can tell that a book is going to be special before the first chapter is even over, but this is one of those books.

This is the story of the Vanderbeeker family, who have lived in a brownstone in Harlem for several years, and have built a wonderful community of friends and neighbours. A few days before Christmas, they discover that their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, has decided not to renew their lease and expects them to vacate their apartment before the end of the month.

The Vanderbeeker children – Isa, Jessie, Hyacinth, Oliver and Laney – are determined to do whatever it takes to change Mr. Beiderman’s mind and stay in their beloved apartment. Their plans, schemes and ideas are delightful, but don’t pan out the way they hope, and time is running out. Will they get the Christmas miracle they need to stay in their home?

This is a heart-warming book, with a similar feel to The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. I can hardly wait until its release in October so I can share it with young patrons to enjoy before the holiday season. And even better…there’s a sequel on its way in 2018.

5/5 stars

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing,  Aladdin (May 16, 2017) Ages 8 +             Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley

The cover of Erin Downing’s new book, Moon Shadow, was the first thing that caught my eye. It’s gorgeous. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do, and when I saw that NetGalley had this book available, I immediately requested it.

Thirteen-year-old Lucia Frank is struggling with the changes that have happened to her over the past few months. Her parents divorced and her mom has temporarily moved to Sweden to be with her new girlfriend. Her former best friend, Velvet, wants nothing to do with her, and refuses to let her hang out with their mutual friend, Will. Her old sister, Romy, is distant, and her Dad doesn’t want to go out anymore. Nothing is the same as it used to be.

Then Lucia’s thirteen birthday takes place the night of the lunar eclipse, and strange things start to happen. Lucia has these weird dreams where she imagines she’s someone she’s not…daring, bold, and outspoken. But Lucia soon discovers these may not actually be dreams, and the moon magic might be affecting her in unexpected ways. How can she get things back to normal again, and does she really want to?

I really enjoyed this book, and think it’s magical realism will appeal to many readers who like a “touch of magic” in the books they read.  I like that Lucia learns what real friendship means, and discovers the power of her own voice.

4/5 stars


Welcome to The Neverending Stack

Welcome everyone! I’m so glad that you’re here. This blog is a place to share my reading life with you, to talk about those books that get added and removed from the neverending stack that sits on my nightstand (and on my Kindle), and to hear about your stacks too. I’m excited to start talking books with you.