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book review

New And Upcoming Releases

First some business: I barely wrote any reviews in April. I am sorry about that as I know people are reading more than ever these weird long days… I’m sort of back on Amazon as an affiliate (said in a way that you can be sorta sober) If I get three sales in 90 days then I’ll be back in their good graces. I hope that three of you will click one of these book links cause although I tried both Bookshop and Indie no one actually bought anything. I’m hoping to make enough affiliate change to pay the WordPress fees this year.

The links from this post forward are the ones that count. I could go back and update all the links for the last 3 years… But, no, that’s not going to happen. Without further delay here are some books that I loved that are available now or in June: I think I’ve got something for everyone MG- Adult. I’ll have another batch post before June. I’m hoping to write two a month and see if I can keep up at that pace.

This June 2, 2020 release is so weird. Like in all the best ways. I struggled for a few days about how to describe it. This is the kind of book you either love or hate. It’s quirky in all the best ways. It’s completely YA, I’d say no readers under say 14, because there are age appropriate sexual situations. I will tell you that this book reps main characters that are biracial, LGBTQ, and dragon. I’m probably biased about the premise of slapping a fantasy premise into historical fiction since my own book does something similar, but I found it wonderfully refreshing. Entering into our world in the 1950’s when tensions are running high between the United States and The Soviet Union made me think I knew where it was all going and I was completely wrong. Don’t read the synopsis or any reviews with spoilers if you can help it. This is one of those stories best enjoyed on an empty stomach.

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke is another early June 2020 release that I adored. This story of Isabelle of Kirklees grabbed me from the start. Isabelle is Robin Hood and Marien’s daughter! The atmosphere is exactly what you’d want it to be and it’s filled with intrigue and lines like, Find Thomas at the Inn and tell him “The Wolf is coming.”

Isabelle has grown up in a priory so traveling, meeting The Merry Men and fighting for her life could easily overwhelm a weaker character. This is a Robin Hood retelling and it did not disappoint me in any way. I found the story line chock full of spaces for discussions about our family values and what humans sometimes have to do in tough times.

If you have a reluctant reader or one who loves historical fiction this story will suit them both. This is designated YA but although there is some violence it isn’t gory or unjustified and I’d read it to Middle Graders on up. I read this pre-publication on Kindle, and am ordering it for our next go around through Middle Age Literature in our homeschool.

Sal and Gabi are back! This is the sequel to Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and it picks up right where the first one leaves off. It’s pretty important that you read the first book or this one won’t make much sense. I like this new series because it does not fall into the typical Riordan method of demi gods etc. This is pure Middle grade SciFi that can be read aloud to younger kids and would be a great goofy entire family listen on Audible. The science can provide you with tons of rabbit trails, and there is silly bathroom humor. How many books can boast both of those?

Wonder Woman origin stories are always at the top of my TBR stack. This one is a complete treat. I read it in little bits every night to stretch it out. Diana is thrust into the outside world and rises to the challenge of leaving the Utopia of the Amazons for our very challenged civilization as you’d hope she would. Happy sigh. The story includes a diverse cast, beautiful artwork, and I am ordering a paperback copy for our shelves- even though I was gifted an electronic copy to review. 5 stars!

This is another new graphic novel from DC. They are really on it last few months. I’m having a blast reading these on my Kindle Fire. It took a bit of trial and error, but now that I’ve got it, I’m pretty happy reading on Comixology. This story centers on racism, which is a complicated topic, and I thought that this novel (aimed at the YA crowd) handled all of the complicated aspects well. I’m adding it to our high school reading list, and I’d recommend it to adults as well. I found that when Superman says,

“We are bound together by the future. We all share  the same tomorrow.”

that he could be speaking to all of us in 2020.

Ah, tempting to get on my why we homeschool soapbox. Instead I’ll direct you to this book which explains in detail the very flawed unfair system of who qualifies for the best education in the United States. The author focused on big city school districts (zip code determines your school choice in most areas) and I’d add that rural areas see the same discrepinacies. You don’t have to be fluent in Edu-Speak to understand and exactly why our system needs a revamping. In other words, if you think the system is fair, you are probably white, urban, and upper income. That isn’t to say that poor people don’t have other problems, but education is a valid way to improve society as a whole.

I am loving these new generation Harlequin mystery/romance novels. We all need escapism these days, and this gives you that and a bit of brain exercise as you weigh the facts to decide if you can figure out the mystery. This might be the book that gets you out of your reading slump. There isn’t as much back story as I would have liked, but that makes it a quick and satisfying read—another great one for the backyard lawn chair.

Victim to Villain. I didn’t think I’d go for it, but it was a hit for me. This story was very dark and very twisty. Eleanor finds out that her father isn’t her biological dad from him on his deathbed. She ends up searching out her real dad and befriends his daughter. I could never decide whether she was insane with anger and grief, or if she was always a bit twisted. Either way, I read this one night. It’s a solid four stars.

By Jenny Naughton

JENNY NAUGHTON and her husband share their 1930's era Chicago home with four sons and a daughter. A voracious reader, Jen reviews books before their release for dozens of publishers on her page: Windy City Reader. Jen also blogs (on WordPress!) about classical, mostly secular, home education at Good Enough Homeschool.
In her spare time, she runs an online book club for teens and helps other home educating family match their kids with the perfect book for them.
You can find Jen misbehaving on social media on
Twitter: @jennynau10

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