It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/8/2019 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!

On top of the regular fast-paced life of a family with five children, we had a bit of a rough weekend after losing our next door neighbor quite suddenly on Friday (an adopted grandparent for our children since their blood relatives all live a thousand miles away). Then we had a music competition that our 15-year-old daughter (our oldest) attended on Sunday. Her song was Travelin’ Soldier which, if you aren’t familiar with it already, tells the story of how a teenage girl exchanges letters with a Vietnam soldier. It ends with the discovery that her soldier has died in the war. And ahhhhh the feels. I’ll pop a video of her performance, below, if you’d like to take a looksy. But oh how the music and lyrics of the chorus always pulls at my heartstrings:

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him, they told her
Waiting for the love of a travelin’ soldier
Our love will never end
Waiting for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says a soldier’s coming home

So… what have I been reading? It’s now 8:45 on Monday morning and I have a 10 dentist appointment, so I’ll be making this blog post short and linking up with the group super late.


The Wicked King
(The Folk of the Air #2)
Holly Black
January 8, 2019
Little, Brown and Company

Last week I read The Cruel Prince and I just had to keep going with The Wicked King, this week. With the enormous Holly Black fandom, I felt that reading this series was a “must” if I was going to keep my finger on the heartbeat of YA fantasy, this year. This Faerie world offers an action-packed fantasy full of family issues, magical elements, revealed secrets, plenty of deaths, and it’s topped off with a bit of slowly building romance. If you plan to read this trilogy then you can’t really hear about much beyond book #1, but I can say that I appreciate the multiple layers of the main character: Jude. She must think through everything to stay one step ahead of the Folk since they have powers that she does not. She proves the mind is a powerful weapon and that past tragedy can make one stronger that imaginable. And she’s not bad with a sword, either. This one ends on a shocking cliffhanger, leaving me eagerly anticipating next January’s release of book #3.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

40772063The Lost Sisters
(The Folk of the Air #1.5)
Holly Black
October 2, 2018

I didn’t know about this little novella (book 1.5) until I was finished with book #2, so I went back this week and quickly finished it. It’s very short and it ultimately just felt like one long list of excuses from Taryn, Jude’s twin sister. As I said on Goodreads, it seemed more like a #sorrynotsorry letter — leaving most people’s feelings unchanged over the events of books 1 and 2. If you decide to read this trilogy, you should probably include this one in between the first and second installment.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.


The Prince and the Dressmaker
Jen Wang
February 13, 2018
First Second

Prince Sebastian does not want to feel limited by being a boy. He has been keeping a deep secret about his desire to wear dresses and travel in public. I enjoyed witnessing his developing friendship with his dressmaker, Frances. But when it comes down the choice of either (1) keeping his secret, thereby hurting Francis’ future as a designer OR (2) revealing his true self and freeing Francis for a lifetime of grand success, he realizes he must live with the consequences whatever decision he makes. It’s an important graphic novel on character, love, and acceptance.

Awards: Harvey Awards for Best Children or Young Adult Book AND nominated for Book of the Year (2018), Prix du Festival d’Angoulême for Prix jeunesse (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics (2018), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Nominee (2020)

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.


The Friendship War
Andrew Clements
January 8, 2019
Random House Books for Young Readers

6th grader, Grace, spends the summer with her grandfather not long after her grandmother has passed away. Her grandfather has decided to purchase an old building and she discovers a bunch of old buttons left behind on the property. At this point, the story shifts to her home/school life back with her parents where her grandfather has shipped the boxes and boxes (and boxes) of buttons she found. As she returns to school to share some of her buttons with her classmates, a crazy fad is born and things get a little ugly. Grace begins to rethink her “best friendship” with a girl named Ellie as she discovers things she really doesn’t like about her. When we are friends with someone, do we have to accept everything about them? What if the negative aspects of their character impacts how others see US? Lots of important questions happening in this one, and it inspired a great conversation with my daughter on adolescent friendships.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.


(Awkward #1)
Svetlana Chmakova
July 21, 2015

I wanted to read Crush, which is book #3 of this series. So I’m starting with the first in the series. Penelope (AKA Peppi) Torres is new to her school and she’s following two cardinal rules for success: (1) Don’t get noticed by mean kids and (2) Seek out groups with similar interests. But after bumping into Jaime Thompson and being called “nerder girlfriend,” she shoves Jaime to the floor and takes off running. The remainder of the book she is regretting her decision and attempting to work up the nerve to apologize and make things right. All along, Peppi and Jaime are in rival school clubs, which only makes things more awkward. I enjoyed the adorable artwork — could Jaime be any more precious? I already have book #2 (Brave) on order.

Awards: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee (2017), Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Nominee for Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17) (2016), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Nominee (2018)

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

41089856My Heart
Corinna Luyken
January 8, 2019
Dial Books

This lovely picture book shares a powerful message with very simple black, white, and yellow drawings. Using only a few words per page, Luyken provides light, dark, and shadows to demonstrate the feelings of the heart. There are hidden heart shapes found within the illustrations (tops of flowers, puddles, clouds, trees) that will be fun for children to find. I couldn’t wait to share this one with my husband when I read it. He really, really loved it, pointing out meaningful elements. I think we may need to get a copy for our home library.

The illustrations in this book were created with a printmaking process called monotype, using water-based inks and pencil. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

To Be Read

Both of my kindle e-readers had issues this week, so I couldn’t get my e-books to come up. All was well by Saturday evening, but that means I’m still finishing Up For Air this week. What I’ve read of it so far is really good. I’ve also checked out Angry Cookie, Because, and I’m hoping to finish Shout as an audiobook.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from

Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 92/200
#MustReadin2019 – 12/42

15 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/8/2019 #imwayr

  1. Wow, you are busy! I’m sorry about your neighbor, and the loss for many. Your daughter’s piece is lovely. My oldest granddaughter is playing the guitar now & I love hearing her, too, but she’s way younger. I loved The Prince & The Dressmaker, a surprise! And My Heart is very special. Thanks, Shaye, for sneaking this in!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sending thoughts your way with your recent loss. Your daughter is so talented! I love watching her at competitions around town, and I love Dr. Miller telling stories about her talent in class. You can tell he is a loving, proud father, and I can definitely see why. I love Holly Black’s Magisterium series, so I will have to check out her books you discussed above! The Prince and the Dressmaker has also been on my TBR list for quite a while now, so I’m happy to see you enjoyed it. It makes me want to go find the book now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Mikaela! Yep, you get Lee talking about his kids and he might not stop. 😀 They’re such a joy to watch, though. I’ve been excited to break into one of Holly Black’s worlds — now I’ll have to try others. I know, I’m behind!! I hope you get your hands on The Prince and the Dressmaker (and that you enjoy it!). Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a wonderful reading week!


  3. Wow, your daughter is just amazing. You must be busting with pride for her. I’m so sorry to read about your neighbour. Since you were so right on about the Nevermoor series, I figure I need to start on this The Folk of the Air trilogy. Besides, I have loved almost everything else I’ve read of Holly Blacks’s. So I just put a hold on the audiobook of The Cruel Prince.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve got me there, Cheriee — proud mama, here! She’s worked so hard over the last year. My only concern for you with The Folk of the Air trilogy is that there is plenty of violence and some deaths. I was don’t believe it’s as descriptive as An Ember in the Ashes series, though. And if you’re listening to Caitlin Kelly’s narration, I hope you enjoy it. Her voice is officially the voice of this series for me. LOL


    1. Totally agree on My Heart. And there has been issue after issues on me finishing Up For Air (having nothing to do with the book), but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been able to read of it so far. Thanks for swinging by, Lisa!


    1. Thank you, Elisabeth — I’ll be sure to pass on the praise to Brayla! And My Heart is something very special. Lee and I both enjoyed it (such a great way to talk about our feelings with kids).


  4. Thanks for sharing the video that was great. I really loved My Heart, Because, and Up for Air. I have been meaning to read Awkward for quite some time and need to just take it home one night from the library. Thanks for such an excellent collection of shares!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Aaron! My daughter grabbed Awkward from me once I was finished, so I hope she enjoys it, too. And I really hope book #2 comes in before too long. It’s being sent from across the state, so that usually takes a few days. But we’ve had blizzard weather for a while and that may cause a delay…


      1. Blizzard?!?! Wow, the weather has been strange lately. We are just getting a little cool wind. Kind of annoying but isn’t preventing much from happening. Through Scholastic Book Fairs and orders, they kind of have that series looked after. We have all three. My kids enjoyed them.


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