Great Summer Readings for Kids and YA

Great Summer Readings for Kids and YA

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Isn’t this the sweetest picture ever? If you have kids you sure know what I mean: your lovely child sitting quietly with a book in his/her hands.. Key word: quiet!

No kidding.. kids are cool! Hungry for knowledge and ready to experience the world. Super energetic –probably sugar fueled– and always on the move. But you know that can be quite hard to get them reading, and -let’s be honest- when comes to kids, it’s hard race to compete with the Internet, videogames, movies and social networks.

I’m not in the “parents league” but I know about kids. Matter of fact I still am one of them -at heart! I read children books, watch cartoons,  I still go playing on the swings in Central Park (or wherever I see one of those), never pass up an opportunity to pop bubble wrap and  I keep saying things like “when I grow up” even though I am grown up.

Does it make me a reliable source? Here some of the coolest stories I have found-read-loved!

Middle Graders (age 8-12)

Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve Tiger Trouble Book 1 Cover  (Version 2).jpg

Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble, by Grant Goodman

Agent Darcy is 13 years old and she’s an agent-in-training at the Bureau of Sneakery. Her rival, Agent Serena, is sharp competition and Darcy doesn’t deal well with failure. 

Ninja Steve, 12 years old, lives in the village of Ninjastoria. His sister, Nora, is a ninja genius who graduated from college at the age of 16 (with a double degree in Ghost Studies and Spin-Kicks). 

When Darcy gets sent on her first mission, she’s off to Ninjastoria. And when an ancient ghost is freed from his prison, they’re going to need to rely on teamwork to seal it back up. 

Get your own copy now! On (Book) – (eBook)

 The Gallery, by Laura Marx Fitzgeraldc4adb4117afcf5479bce6c4c17026740.jpg

 It’s 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family.

But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household—specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room.

The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there’s more to the story—and that the paintings in the Sewell’s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what’s really going on with Rose Sewell?

 Get your own copy now! On (Book) – (eBook)


Wish, by Barbara O’Connor

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade.  But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true.

That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. 

From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.

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Young Adults (age 13-18)


The Quantum Door, by Jonathan Ballagh (review)

The mysterious woods behind Brady and Felix’s house have been deserted for years. But things change when a fence goes up and the brothers notice strange things happening at night.

From the moment they dare cross the fence, the brothers enter a world of dark technological secrets that will rock the foundation of everything they know to be true.

And once they enter, there’s no turning back.  Some places are better left alone…

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cover78858-mediumBeware That Girl, by Teresa Toten (review)

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner.

As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had. 

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

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cover83093-mediumDreaming of Antigone, by Robin Bridges (review)

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, including a drug problem.

Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she–the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe–is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him. 

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

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TwoSummers_cover.jpgTwo Summers, by Aimee Friedman

ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . . ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . . 
When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds.

In one, she travels to France, where she dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue but nothing is as it seems. 

She will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. But a terrible family secret may break her.
From “New York Times” bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.”

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What’s Hiding In The Woods?

What’s Hiding In The Woods?

The Quantum Door, by Jonathan Ballagh

Describing himself as a “relatively new self-published author”, Jonathan Ballagh is a fresh and talented voice on the indie scene that candidly admits  to write with his three26142850.jpg children in mind, hoping to get them interested in the genre when they’re a bit older. And after reading The Quantum Door I am pretty sure those kids are gonna love their dad! This is legitimately one of the best sci-fi I have ever read, a true page turner.

Deep in the woods behind their house, Brady and Felix notice strange things happening at night and from the moment they dare cross the fence, the brothers enter a world of dark technological secrets that will rock the foundation of everything they know to be true. And once they enter, there’s no turning back. Some places are better left alone.

A very intriguing story -beautifully written- that drags you into virtual reality made of robotic animals, mysterious technological creatures and very dark secrets.

The Quantum Door is the perfect book for tech junkies of all ages.

Get your own copy now! On (Book) – (eBook)


Time Travel

Time Travel

Indiana Belle, by John A. Heldt

From Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol) to Diana Gabaldon (Outlander) and Stephen King (11/22/63) time traveling has always held a deep fascination for a lot of writers. Not to mention the widespread appreciation among readers of all ages.

So, pack Unknownyour bags because time traveling is a thing! John A. Heldt -author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series- knows how to make a good story. John’s captivating and fluid style will capture your attention since the very first page.

The splendid Indiana Belle is set in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties in search for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.


In The Mine, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever.

Travelling at the speed of light, back in the twenties living great adventures… sounds like the perfect summer book! Enjoy!

Get your own copy now! On Indiana Belle (eBook) – The Mine (eBook)


Tim Burton Strikes Again

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs


Watch the trailer here!


Tim Burton does his magic and Miss Peregrine’s Home to Peculiar Children jumps at n.4 in the Children’s Series Chart of The new York Times (its previous peak was n.25 on Feb.20, 2014).

The movie (due on September 30) directed by the visual Maestro Tim Burton, is the adaptation of the famous fantasy novel written by Ransom Riggs about a 16 years old boy,  Jacob, who discovers an old home inhabited by children with peculiar abilities. Why they have been quarantined on a remoted island and who’s coming after them is now Jacob’s mission.
An exciting story, illustrated with haunting vintage photography that will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Riggs’ two sequels are also back in the top 150 this week: Hollow City (n.64) and Liberty of Souls  (n.98).

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Amaranthine, by Lanie Jacobs

Will we ever get bored of vampires? After the huge success of  The Twilight Saga, which book sales are estimated at 100 million copies, a big horde of blood-suckers hit stores and libraries all over the world.

Personallcover83356-medium.pngy, I don’t mind reading about vampires and other night-crawling creature, but lately this unusual genre of literature not only suffers from a lack of originality but also from a lack of artistic quality.

Lanie Jacobs though doesn’t pass unnoticed, her fresh voice and creative style make Amaranthine an interesting debut novel.

 Khalida’s  life is turned upside down when she finds out she belongs to a rare breed of half-vampires with great powers.  Her rareness puts her and everyone around in great danger, as long as the Ubils, evil vampires, will try to steal her powers and kill her in the end. At her side there will be Luke, a charming vampire who would take on the world to save her. Will Khalida be able to save herself?

Good dialogs, intriguing characters and a fast paced story make this book absolutely enjoyable, you’ll get in love with Miss Jacob’s writing style.


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The Bible meets Divergent: for Middle Graders

The Bible meets Divergent: for Middle Graders

Dreambender, by Ronald Kidd

While reading Dreambender I had a Dèjà vu moment.


Here my face expression when I realized I had already read this story.

There was this Moses, born in the time of a major cataclysm called “the warming”, who built a boat when water started to cover land. Not only he took his family on the boat, but also animals, in pairs, and skilled people: builders,  planters, keepers and computers. Years passed when finally one day they found land, they saw it was safe and that became their new home: the City.

So, everyone in the City is assigned a job by the choosers: there are the keepers, the catchers, the computers, the walkers and the dreambenders.

Callie Crawford is a computer. She works with numbers. Her work is important but she wants more.

Jeremy Finn is a dreambender. His job is to adjust people’s dreams; he quietly remove thoughts of music and art to keep the people in the City from becoming too focused on themselves and their own feelings rather than oncover77897-medium.png the world.

Jeremy thinks music is beautiful, and when he pops into a dream of Callie singing, he becomes fascinated with her. He begins to wonder if there is more to life than being safe.

Defying his community and the role they have established for him, he sets off to find her in the real world. Together, they will challenge their world’s expectations. But how far will they go to achieve their own dreams?

Does it ring a bell, anyone?? This is “the Bible meets Divergent” for middle graders!

I’m not saying this isn’t a good book, it’s well written and kids might actually like it, but I’m pretty sure they will also detect the lack of originality.

Get your copy now! On (Book) – (Ebook)


My Love is a Bookworm- Teen&YA

In case your Valentine is a lovely bookworm, here some ideas for you!


Give the Gift of Reading on Valentine’s Day ∼

P.S I Still Love You, by Jenny Han 

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell 

All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven 

I’ll Give you the Sun, by Jandy Nelson 

Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone 



∼ Give the Gift of Reading on Valentine’s Day ∼

Beautiful Disaster, by Jamie McGuire

Hopeless, by Coleen Hoover

Alice in Zombieland, by Gena Showalter

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

Passenger, by Alexandra Braken

When a bad character ruins a good book

When a bad character ruins a good book

Sugar Scars, by Travis Norwood517RcHmEd2L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I don’t like to write a bad review mainly because I respect the author’s work, but this book is testing me!

Sugar Scars is sold as a post-apocaliptic novel about a nineteen year-old diabetic girl who needs insulin to survive, after a lethal virus killed almost the entire population in the United States.

Not too bad if you like the genre, and I do. Unfortunately the main character is almost too dumb to be real and she ruins what could have been a really good book.

This nineteen year-old girl names her belongings (car is Bella, fridge is Bertha, the GPS lady is Mandy, the freezer, the generator, the gun….) and for some reasons she won’t reveal her real name because it repulses her. When you begin to adjust to the weirdness of not be able to call her (but her fridge) by name, you’ll come by some of the most unfortunate lines ever heard:

“I felt like a child molester enticing a kid into a van with candy”

“but then I made an amazing discovery. The end of the book had an index.”

gif-confused-dafuq-facepalm-incredulous-oh-my-god-omg-ricky-ricardo-say-what-shocked-surprised-wtf-gifReally, Travis Norwood? Really?

Overall the story is good, captivating and well written… if you can go over the bad character you might even enjoy reading it.

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Demon King – by Kassandra Lynn

Demon King – by Kassandra Lynn

91TvaiEGk5L.jpgKassandra Lynn knows how to write a good and intricate fantasy without making your brain explode.
I’m not much of a “I’m gonna spoil the entire plot for you” kind of person but I can tell you that you’re not going to be disappointed by Demon King; you will be fully engaged with the story thanks to the beautifully described fantastic world and all the twists and turns will keep you glued to the pages.
A pleasurable reading, highly recommended!



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