Review: The Dragon of the Month Book Club by Ian Reading

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Published: 18 December 2014

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Category: Fantasy/Middle Grade/Adventure

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club – The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons – not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler’s messy bedroom. Traveling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature’s most memorable stories – from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes’s London – the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.

Rating:  3.5 Stars

With the goofy looks on those dragons faces and the fact that I’d very much at least entertain the notion of having a pet one (before realizing how very bad an idea that would be), I had to read The Dragon of the Month Club, a middle grade novel by Ian Reading in which Ayana and Tyler find themselves in possession of the ability to summon dragons, some inspired by the holidays.

Of course, what would the fun of it all be without a little mischief and mayhem? The dragons themselves aside, things go awry when a spell goes wrong and they find themselves book hopping, sucked into the worlds of the books that Tyler has in his room. It’s a bewildering adventure that could easily be a mini-series or Disney epic adventure on Saturday afternoons.

While some avenues might classify this as a young adult, and I certainly wouldn’t discourage young adults from reading it, I’d probably nudge this more towards middle grade for shelving purposes in terms of the voice of the book. Ayana and Tyler, the way they interacted and moved through their story, it seems to fit better in middle grade.

Visually I think you can really get a grasp on what the dragons might be like when they appear to the conjurers. If this got a special edition I would have loved to see pop-up portions or something like that to really highlight their characteristics. It was fun imagining their natures and what they were like in our world, with these two kids that said some words and pop! Here there be dragons!

Now, there are a lot of characters in this book aside from the two main ones, especially once they get to book hopping. That makes things a bit muddy in a sense towards the middle, but I didn’t mind it terribly. I’ve seen worse examples of huge casts crammed into tiny spaces and I think the author in this case handled them pretty well.

Readers of The Dragon of the Month Club might in the future like to check out The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, beginning with So You Want to be a Wizard.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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Review: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poole

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Published: 22 August 2017

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction/Humor

A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself.

What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

Rating:  4 Stars

As Neil Gaiman is an auto-buy author of mine and this book got compared to his type of storytelling, it should be no surprise that I decided to try Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues out. In all honesty, even without that comparison, I still would have because the premise sounded intriguing enough that I wanted to find out what sort of person Milo was after 10,000 lifetimes and what happened to him over those lifetimes that led to his trying to reunite with Death and made him into whoever/whatever he was at the end of the book.

This is a story about a wise man named Milo.

It begins on the day he was eaten by a shark.

As an opening, this might not sound like a great beginning for Milo, but to be perfectly frank, it wasn’t what I was expecting and it elicited a chuckled from myself. I thought I, as the reader, was off to a fairly good start.

There are glimpses right away as to what kind of person Milo is now. After thousands upon thousand of lifetimes, he’s gathered a lot of knowledge together and is somewhat sought after for it. He lives a relatively quite life on his fishing boat, taking people out on excursions that, more often than not, turn into quests for information or solutions to their problems rather than a quest for the perfect catch of fish.

This particular life, being the first that we are introduced to as readers, hit me the hardest. While there wasn’t a lot of time to get used to Milo as a character, he was the main person and there was a sense of peace I drew from him, from his insight into himself and others, his dog Burt and his friend Arlene at the hospital he took care of that morning. It, frankly, sucked to let this “him” go.

His last words were “No! Fuck! No!”

I appreciated that this book was brutally honest and still funny. You think your last words, or the words of some guy that’s lived tens of thousands of lives, are going to be poetic? Well, odds are as evidence by those of Milo’s above, they aren’t. Maybe, but there are no guarantees.

After meeting Milo and getting the gist of who he is, we’re flung into the rest of his journey. There is insight into more of his deaths, some far more preferable than others, though are any really preferred? In any case, Reincarnation Blues takes us all over the world, including California, Sudan, China, and Vienna, among others, all looking toward reuniting with Death. It’s a complicated journey and while Milo makes comments on the times he’s known about the end coming, the times he’s been able to prepare such as it were, and the times the end has been a true shock (only once), it made me think about what the readers of this book would think about their own lives.

Aside from the depths of the story itself, the writing style lent itself to this series of lives in a way that going from one to the next never felt rough, never felt like I was missing something. Some of the lives were shorter than others, yes, but they didn’t feel cut off unnecessarily.

Would you want to know the end? Is being able to plan preferable or does it take away from living the life you’ve been given this time? I think a lot of it depends on what your view of the afterlife or afterlives is, but whatever that view might be, I think reading about Milo’s journey offers a lot of emotion that will resonate with people. There’s not just Milo on his journey, but a shark who was once a Strawberry Queen and more. Who might you have once been in this world? Who would you be in Milo’s position? Food for thought, that.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Blog Tour: Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Lost Journal by Kimberly McNeil

Meg Mitchell Blog Tour Banner

Thank you to Laura A. Grace., blog tour host of Unicorn Quester, for having me as a spotlight guest for the blog tour of Kimberly McNeil’s Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Lost Journal. This is book one of McNeil’s new series, The Legend of the Lighthouse Keepers, a young adult fantasy series with book two hopefully being published in 2018.

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Published: 29 March 2016

Publisher: Crosshair Press

Category: Children’s/Fantasy/Paranormal

Stories never end. They just get bigger.

 

You only have to turn the page.

 

Meg Mitchell lives in a castle, but she’s no wilting princess. Raised in an alien world by adoptive parents, she spends her time fighting Centaurs, training as an Andai warrior, and chilling in her favorite willow tree.

 

But when Meg uncovers her birth father’s journal, she discovers a cousin she didn’t know existed. Meg and her little brother and sister travel through an interdimensional rip to San Francisco to search for their cousin, setting off a chain of events no one could have foreseen.

 

When her sister is kidnapped, Meg enlists the help of teenage detective Barb Taylor and her genius little brother Jim. Following clues dropped by a mysterious benefactor, they embark on a cross-country adventure to rescue her sister and find Meg’s cousin.

 

Family is everything to Meg, but not all is as it seems. In her quest to reunite her family, she may lose more than she ever imagined.

When I read the synopsis for Meg Mitchell, it sounded like the sort of fantasy story I loved as a younger person. It could easily have inspired the Disney movies of my youth, the ones I watched for hours on end at the weekend. The graphics admittedly were not always the best, but I was engrossed in the story.

I think that was where my imagination grew. It wondered what else these people, these creatures, could have looked like. For instance, what would I imagine Meg’s world to look like before she tumbles back into ours, into San Francisco? That’s going to be a hard pill to swallow, such a stark contrast between magic and the modern world. If anyone can adapt, though, it will be Meg and her young siblings.  Their adventures know no bounds, clearly, crossing worlds in order to find more of  their family and in their quest for answers possibly risk quite a bit more.

There’s so much more to look at as part of this tour. Please look below for links to reviews, interviews (both author and character), trivia, and even a book trailer!

 

About the Author

A.C. Williams

Amy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.

Website  — Facebook TwitterInstagram — Google Plus

 

Giveaway

Want to dive into a new world? Enter to win an e-copy of Kimberly McNeil’s Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal as well as get a preview of her upcoming short story Stan Hawthorne & The Broken Sword. (Open internationally.)

 

 

Blog Tour

Wednesday, November 1st    

Review & Interview – dolphin18cb

Thursday, November 2nd  

Review & Guest Post – Thorn & Vine

Character Interview – Unicorn Quester

Friday, November 3rd  

Author Interview – Lands Uncharted

Fan-Made Book Trailer – Unicorn Quester

Author Interview – Welcome to Arhyalon

Saturday, November 4th  

Review – Live Life Reading

Review & Author Trivia – Of Pens & Paper

Monday, November 6th  

Review – It’s Storytime With Van Daniker!

Author Interview – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More

Tuesday, November 7th    

Author Interview – Jebraun Clifford ~ dream.write.repeat.

Wednesday, November 8th

Review – The Overactive Imagination

Spotlight – The Hermit Librarian

Thursday, November 9th

Blog Tour Wrap-Up – Unicorn Quester

Friday, November 10th

Review – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Rockstar Book Tours: Guest Post by Zara Quentin, Author of Airwoman

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Thanks to Rockstar Book Tours, I have the chance today to share with you a guest post by Zara Quentin, author of Airwoman, a fantastic fantasy novel taking place in a world of wonder, of travel, of dragons!

The sheer scope of the main character Jade’s world, limited though it is for her at first, is amazing. It feels like, in this day and age of technology and extensive exploration, that our perception of discoveries has changed and we don’t get the same sense of wonder that humanity might have one hundred years ago.

In Airwoman, Jade finds herself confronted with the murder of her father, magic that should only belong to Dragon Gods, and portals that lead to new worlds. Adventure far beyond her expectations seems on the horizon and I think that, in addition to the dash of romance promised, a thrill will be had as Jade tries to uncover the truth of what is happening in her world and to her and her family.

For Zara’s guest post today, I asked her: what destinations in our world did she think that Jade might like to visit? Take a look, not only at the info links for Airwoman, but where on Earth Jade might visit. Have you been to any of these places? Would you like to visit any of them?

A4 Airwoman Cover

Title: AIRWOMAN

Author: Zara Quentin

Pub. Date: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Zara Quentin

Pages: 316

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonAmazon UKAmazon Australia,

KoboSmashwordsB&NiBooksBook DepositoryGoodreads

A father murdered by magic. A daughter’s cosmic quest for clues could make her the next victim…

Jade Gariq dreams of a new calling. While she wishes she could join the elite force that protects her home world from interdimensional threats, she’s stuck working for the family business. But everything changes when her father is found dead with traces of magic on him… magic that should only belong to the mythical Dragon-Gods…

To uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder, Jade must follow the clues to an uncharted world. Beyond the portal, treacherous jungles, surprising betrayals, and a killer bent on tying up loose ends stand in her way of the truth. It’ll take every ounce of Jade’s cunning to solve her father’s death, but can she avoid his fate?

Airwoman is a high-flying YA fantasy novel set in a stunning new Dragonverse. If you like fascinating worlds, memorable characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventure.

Buy Airwoman today to let your imagination take flight!

For a free preview of Airwoman, find it at: http://www.zaraquentin.com/

 


 

From Zara:

Jade Gariq dreams of visiting the far-flung worlds of the Dragonverse. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of five places that Jade might like to visit, if she were to come to Earth for a few days. I have to say, it was difficult to come up with this list—there are so many amazing places to visit in our world, but I had to narrow it down to a few, based on Jade’s experience of life. Here it is…

  1. North Island, New Zealand

In Airwoman, Jade’s good friend and secret crush (Axel) gives her a gift. It’s a pikorua, a Maori pendant with a single twist, which symbolizes two people destined to come back together. Jade would like to visit the North Island of New Zealand, to experience the culture and stories of the people who made the pendant that she treasures so much.

  1. Australian outback

Jade wants to see a kangaroo—an animal that cannot go backwards, only forwards. She wants to see if it really exists, and if it looks like the pendant that her older brother, Basalt (who is no longer alive at the beginning of Airwoman) gave her shortly before he died. For Jade, her kangaroo pendant encapsulates her memory of her brother, who once gave her some advice about always moving forward, never backwards. So, Jade wants to go to the Australian outback to see if she can see some of these strange kangaroos with her own eyes.

  1. New York City

In the world of the Dragonverse, according to Jade’s uncle Zorman, the people of Taraqa are good at discovering and adapting the inventions of people’s living in other worlds (rather than being particularly inventive themselves). The Earthens are known as a particularly inventive people and Zorman has a great deal of admiration for them. New York City, with its tall skyscrapers that give the city its iconic skyline, is a symbol of modernity, technology and invention. I think Jade would like to go there. For the same reason, and for a different cultural experience, she might visit Hong Kong, Beijing or Tokyo.

  1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jade is a Taraqan, and the Taraqans are a winged people. As such, Jade has never ridden a bicycle before. I think she’d be fascinated to experience a city where people mainly ride their bikes to get around. She’d find the way humans get around efficiently without wings to be interesting. I think she’d also give it a try!

  1. Greece

Taraqa is not a democracy. It is ruled by a Lord Protector, who is assisted by a hand-picked Council of Advisors. Jade would be interested to learn about democracy and visit the Agora in Athens—the birthplace of democracy. For similar reason, she might also visit Westminster in London or Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Are there any other places you think Jade should visit? Let me know in the comments!

 


 

About the Author

Zara bio pic

Zara Quentin is the author of Airwoman, the first book in the Airwoman series. She was raised in Adelaide, Australia, with one younger sister. Zara grew up with a strong sense of adventure, which she inherited from her parents, who took her and her sister on trips to the United States, Europe, and Asia.

She also inherited a love of reading from her mother. Throughout her childhood she explored fictional places through books, and in particular, through fantasy novels. She’d turn the black and white text on the page into the colourful worlds of her imagination.

After graduating from high school, Zara studied at the University of Adelaide and has lived in France, London, and Auckland, New Zealand. She is always determined to fit in as much travel as possible, spending time in Europe, the United States, southern Africa, Morocco, Peru, the Pacific and south-east Asia.

Zara now resides in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Airwoman series.

 Find Zara:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Giveaway

  • 2 winners will receive a $25 Gift Card to the book retailer of their choice from Amazon, B&N, or TBD, International.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/30/2017- Mythical Books– Interview

10/30/2017- Blushing Bibliophile– Review

10/31/2017- Rabid Readers Book Blog– Excerpt

10/31/2017- To Be Read– Review

11/1/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

11/1/2017- jrsbookreviews- Review

11/2/2017- Maddie.TV– Interview

11/2/2017- My Creatively Random Life– Review

11/3/2017- Books,Dreams,Life– Excerpt

Week Two:

11/6/2017- The Hermit Librarian– Guest Post

11/6/2017- J Heart Loves Books– Review

11/7/2017- YA and Wine– Interview

11/7/2017- Lori’s Little House of Reviews– Review

11/8/2017- Hooked To Books– Excerpt

11/8/2017- Two Chicks on Books Interview

11/9/2017- Spilling Words– Excerpt

11/10/2017- Daily Waffle Interview

11/10/2017- Perspective of a Writer– Review

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Coyotes, Issue 1 by Sean Lewis (Story), Caitlin Yarsky (Art)

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Image Comics Website – Digital Order

Published: 8 November 2017

Publisher: Image Comics

Category: Urban Fantasy/Horror

Underworld meets Sicario in this new series from SEAN LEWIS (SAINTS, THE FEW) and amazing new artist CAITLIN YARSKY. Hunted by a legion of wolves that roam the border, women are disappearing. The survivors band together to wage war. Detective Frank Coffey is trying to understand this mythic-level bloodbath when he comes across Red, a little girl with a secret and a sword. Ultra-violent and smart as hell, COYOTES transforms the everyday into a myth we can rally behind.

Rating: 4 Stars

I had no idea what to expect when I selected Coyotes from Image Comics’s offerings to review last week. Going through the list, it was my second option and it captured my attention like no other.

The story of Red (Analia), a girl who lives in a world where coyotes hunt women and girls in border towns, begins with a bloodbath being investigated by a transferred cop. A workaholic, theoretical good guy, just trying to do the right thing, who pissed the wrong people off and got sent to the City of Lost Girls where all this is happening. He’s called to a crime scene, gruesome as anything, Red being the only survivor of a horrific massacre and he attempts an interview.

Shown in flashbacks, we see snippets of how Red came to be in the interview room. Her mother, her sister, brutally torn from her by the ferocious coyotes that she is now trained to hunt by the Duchess alongside other women who are arming themselves to fight the coyotes.

There’s a lot of rich imagery in this issue, from Red’s Day of the Dead inspired makeup (seen on the front cover) when she sets out on her Coming Out Night hunt. The architecture, the Duchess’s Victorian inspired dress. It’s a lot to take in and yet it flowed very well. Nothing’s too bright in terms of color, nor is it too muted. Caitlin Yarsky, the artist, found a good palette to work with that didn’t distract from the story that Sean Lewis was telling.

This being the first issue there isn’t a lot of room to go into the mythology of the series or the backstory of the characters. At 32 pages, there’s limited space for information, so I’m curious to see what’s going to be addressed. For instance, the series is called Coyotes, but there’s instances where the creatures are called werewolves. Some things I was able to garner from an interview the creators did with Comicsverse, which was good but on page answers would be better since not everyone is going to see this interview. There’s foreshadowing to be sure; time will tell, won’t it? One of the downsides of single issues! *lol*

With a bit of similarity to Little Red Riding Hood, I’m interested to see where this Red’s story is going to go. Is Frank Coffey, a stranger to all this, going to flounder or figure things out? Will the coyotes swarm the town or will Red find the vengeance she seeks? Issue #2 comes out December 13th and I look forward to it.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Girls Who Code Review Event: Code It! Create It! and Team BFF: Race to the Finish

Girls Who Code Banner

Coding is such a vast field of study. Personally I find it both fascinating and a little intimidating, mostly because of all that math!

When you think about it, coding is present in almost everything we as geeks and nerds interact with on a daily basis. Even those who don’t consider themselves as such come into contact with it. The apps we use to get our news, the CGI in our favorite superhero movies, the HTML that supports the websites we looks out while waiting in line for our breakfast, etc. These are some generic examples, but truth be told coding is a huge job market in the United States, one of the biggest and yet the number of female job holders within it has actually declined in the last couple of decades.

Noticing this, someone took steps to encourage girls to look at coding as a field that might interest them, to nurture the skills that they already had, via Girls Who Code.

 

About Girls Who Code:

In 2012, Reshma Saujani founded the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.  Girls Who Code believes to close the gender gap in technology, we have to inspire girls to pursue computer science by exposing them to real life and on screen role models. They engage engineers, developers, executives, and entrepreneurs to teach and motivate the next generation. Their guest speakers, mentors, and instructors are leaders in their fields, working in positions the girls aspire to attain.

Girls Who Code aims to provide computer science education and exposure to one million young women by 2020. Together with leading educators, engineers, and entrepreneurs, Girls Who Code has developed a new model for computer science education, pairing intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with high-touch mentorship and exposure led by the industry’s top female engineers and entrepreneurs.

Through rapid iteration and expansion of the Summer Immersion Program and highly-scalable Girls Who Code Clubs, Girls Who Code has delivered thousands of hours of instruction since beginning in 2012. 94% of students graduate from their Summer Immersion Programs and say that they want to pursue a major or minor in computer science, and 99% would recommend Girls Who Code to other girls.

Girls Who Code programs have earned support from CEOs of top Fortune 500 companies, engaged more than 700 industry professionals, delivered some of the most robust data on computer science education, and been featured in 100+ publications and media outlets, from The New York Times to the Today Show. By the end of 2015, Girls Who Code will have reached over 10,000 girls and plans to have a presence in all fifty states.

Ready to start coding? Try our interactive Girls Who Code coding activity and find a club near you at:

 

GirlsWhoCode.com/book.

 

Thanks to Penguin Young Readers, who in August of this year published Girls Who Code’s official coding guide Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World, I am able to share with you my thoughts on two new books in the Girls Who Code series today. One is a DIY journal with prompts and inspiring passages for budding coders. The other is putting the ideals and energy behind the previous books into a fictional world ala The Babysitters Club (my favorite series growing up).

 

codeitcreateit

Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Published: 31 October 2017

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Category: Coding/DIY/Activity Book

Come up with the perfect coding-powered project in this informative, interactive journal published in partnership with the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code!

Think being creative has nothing to do with computer coding? Think again! Coding is all about creativity.

The video games you play, the photo-sharing apps you love, the animated movies you watch–they’re all made with code. And the coolest part? YOU can make anything with code, too! The possibilities for coding projects are limitless, so use these pages to get inspired, jot down ideas, doodle, play coding games, and more. Let your imagination run wild–you just might come up with the most awesome coding project ever.

Rating: 4 Stars

A companion book to the Girls Who Code novels and Girls Who Code itself, Code It! Create It! is a book that will appeal to those already familiar with the subject and those that have only a passing glance idea of it.

This activity book is a good addition to the Girls Who Code line because it’s accessible to it’s core audience. The text isn’t dense considering the material addressed and it’s broken up with typical fun things like word searches and mazes. There are a couple of pieces of information in the first half that feel a bit repetitive, which detracted from the main goal for me a bit, but overall the flow of the book was good.

There’s a glance at basic programming languages, ideas as to what coding is for and how the process of learning coding can be applied not only to it, but to everyday activities as well. These parallels are part of the reason I think this book will be a success both with girls heading in with coding interest already and those that are looking into developing a new hobby or skill.

Plenty of room is left for the owner of the book, and anyone that they invite to help (as the book is big on working by yourself or with a group of friends, totally up to you), to come up with ideas, draw plans, doodle, etc. There is so much room to breath in the book alongside the learning in what I would typically consider a rigid subject. The nice thing about the binding of the book itself, besides the content, is that it’s hard bound and the covers lay flat, making it easier to draw on the provided pages.

I’m excited that books like this are being published, especially for younger girls. Coding, web and app development, etc., is not a single gender field field anymore like it might have been considered going back decades. Women have made incredible strides, including some mentioned in this very book. Hopefully the readers the pick up this book will find a little inspiration to start their own journey.

coderacetothefinish

Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Published: 31 October 2017

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Category: Computer Science > Coding/Childrens

Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code!

Sophia and her coding club BFFs have the best time together. Sure, they work on coding projects, but mostly they gossip about crushes, eat cookies, and do totally silly impersonations. Now they’re about to participate in their first hackathon–a full day of coding and meeting other coders–so it’s time to step up their game!

Just when Sophia and her friends think their hackathon project is ready for the big time, a change of plans threatens to tear their group apart. Will they have each other’s backs, or are they destined for an epic fail? They know that coding is all about teamwork and problem-solving–maybe friendship is, too!

Rating: 3 Stars

Race to the Finish brings Sophia’s perspective front and center in the confines of the girls’ coding club. She not only has the difficulties of varying personalities within her club to maneuver, especially with the hackathon coming up!, but with regard to her family. So many expectations, so much pressure, so little time.

There’s a lot of energy in the girls with respect to the things they love outside of coding, such as sports, jewelry, etc. This translates better for some than others into coding club activities and it shows.

There’s definitely a strong leaning toward moral fortitide here which I think is the ideal rather than the strict norm but hopefully the readers that are the age of the main characters will see that as something to work with that lay down for or ignore entirely.

girlswhocode charactersheet

I would have loved to get more time actually spent at the hackathon. More time seemed to be concentrated on Sophia’s problem getting there than actually competing. Another thing: her parents were by far and away the most lax parents when it came to her and her friends changinging plans at the last minute. Even if the change was something that they would’ve done prior to a last minute emergency, the escapade of the Rocking Robotics Club was a bit how in the heck to me.

The cast seemed pretty diverse, but going from my experience of this book alone, I’m not sure how well I’d say the series does it overall. There are small inclusive pieces, such as Sophia’s abuela and Leila’s hijab, but in Sophia’s case at least, since we spent so much time in her point of view, it felt dismissive.

As for whether you can read this book out of order from the other books, I’m not too sure about that. I feel like there’s some personality set up for the characters that would have been beneficial. From the point of view of someone who has only read book two, there were times when they seemed a bit much.

Team BFF: Race to the Finish seems like a good companion to Code It! Create It! as well as a further addition to the Code Girls series. It’s an encouraging novel for girls looking not for role models, exactly, but for girls very much like them that are interested in coding and other things and how those differing interests meld together.

Reshma Saujani’s organization and continuing work opens doors not only fictionally but in the real world for girls that might still be looking for their place, that might have been told their place isn’t available because it’s “boy” territory. Never be afraid to explore your interests, like Lucy, Sophia, Maya, Erin, and Leila!

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers for promotional purposes and an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

The Danica Davidson #BooksForMinecrafters Blog Tour: A Guest Post on Adventures in Publishing

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I thought my child was growing up when he started getting interested in Legos, but when we went costume shopping for Halloween in October and he saw all these Minecraft costumes, I knew we were on the verge of something. It’s early stages still, but when that happened and I was then asked to take part in Danica Davidson’s Books for Minecrafters Blog Tour, I knew I had to say yes.

With a plethora of books to her credit, among them Minecraft titles as well as Barbie and Manga Art for Beginners, Danica definitely has experience in the publishing world. It’s one of the reasons I was happy when she agreed that, for her guest post today, she’d give us a look at her adventure in that wide world.

 


 

From Danica:

Becoming a published writer is much more difficult than many people realize. Most people who try will not make it, and it takes years and years of rejection before you get your foot in the door. Sometimes it feels like a useless task that will never get you anywhere, but my advice is to keep going if this is what you want. Keep writing, keep reaching out, keep improving. It took me about fifteen years to get my first book published, and in the last three years I’ve signed contracts for seventeen books.

I started submitting to agents when I was in middle school. I had been writing stories since I was about three, and when I was a tween, adults started telling me that I was writing on a professional level. Because of this praise, and because of how much I loved to write, I thought an agent would snatch me up. I found, instead, that agents were not interested in signing on to someone so young.

In twelfth grade I started working as a freelance writer for the local paper. I needed the money and thought it could help my platform, to show agents that they would want me. I would take articles I wrote and send it to other places, gradually building my way up. From the local paper I went to a paper distributed throughout the state. From there, I got into an anime magazine, which led me to write about manga for different online publications. From there, I got into Booklist and Publishers Weekly. From there, I got into MTV, CNN and The Onion. For years it felt like all I did was write and network.

Meanwhile, my manuscripts continued to end up in the slush pile and I had multiple close calls. For instance, the head of a New York publisher was really interested in my manuscript . . . then he left the company and everything fell through. One agent agreed to work with me, only to really not do anything, and then several agents essentially said they were going to sign me . . . and didn’t, for one reason for another. (One agent got sick. Another pretended she didn’t remember me.)

Networking online, I found the editor who would buy my first book, Manga Art for Beginners, based on my background writing about manga. It was through her I also found the agent I have now, who did sign me, and who did send my stuff out. I pitched a story idea to the editor who bought my manga book, suggesting an adventure novel for kids that takes place as if Minecraft is a real world. That book, Escape from the Overworld, spawned five more books in the series (Attack on the Overworld, The Rise of Herobrine, Down into the Nether, The Armies of Herobrine and Battle with the Wither) and a spinoff series of it is coming out, starting with Adventure Against the Endermen. I’ve also written a Barbie graphic novel called Barbie: Puppy Party, a Tales from the Crypt comic called “Picture Perfect,” and I have Manga Art for Intermediates coming out next year.

Publishing is a very difficult path, but it can also be a very unique path that leads you down interesting roads. I never expected to be writing some of the books I am today, but I’m having a blast writing them!

 


 

Danica’s story definitely reminds me to persevere. It’s sure hard sometimes, but this one is a success. Her rememberance of a New York publisher that wanted to publish her manuscript, but then left the company and things fell through reminded me of William Goldman, the author of The Princess Bride, and his trials trying to get his book made into a film which, as many of us know, is now a cult classic!

For fans of adventures that take place in the world of their favorite game, Minecraft, Danica’s newest book Adventure Against the Endermen: An Unofficial Overworld Heroes Adventure is coming out on November 7th. Be sure to check it out, as well as some of her back list titles.

Thank you again to Danica, and to you faithful readers, for stopping by today to celebrate my stop on the #BooksForMinecrafters Tour.

 

About the Author

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Danica Davidson is the author of YA and children’s novels and graphic novels. Her books have been called “EXCITING” by Forbes, “RECOMMENDED READING” by School Library Journal, and have been spotlighted by NPR, Sci Fi Magazine, Barnes & Noble Kids Blog, MTV and other publications. Please check out her site at www.danicadavidson.com.

 

 

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.