Middle School: Get Me Out of Here

Authors: James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Series: Middle School #2

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second book in the Middle School series is even better than the first!!

Rafe Khatchadorian’s sixth grade year wasn’t great and now he has the chance to start over at a new school in a new city. He is starting his seventh-grade year at a new art school and just when he is thinking it’s going to be a new start, things go wrong. The other students are super competitive and when he realizes he needs to find a way to fit in, he starts on a new mission that leads to more problems and an even crazier year for Rafe and his family.

It’s hard for a second book in a series to be better than the first, but James Paterson has done it with this book. I loved the way Rafe tried to turn over a new leaf and do better to not disappoint his mom, but is also trying to find his way in a new school with new problems. Rafe has real hard issues he is struggling with and the way he deals with them is written really well for kids reading to be able to relate and find ways to deal with those struggles. One of my favorite things about these books is the way the characters are relatable but easy for kids to read and follow along with. I read these to connect with my kids as they find a love for books and reading. I would recommend this book and series to kids and their parents that want to find a great series for them to enjoy books and have something to talk about together with their kids.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

Author: James Patterson & Chris Tobbetts

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Release Date: November 6, 2012

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The first book in the Middle School series is an imaginative, fun read for kids that will be great for getting them into reading.

Rafe Khatchadorian is starting middle school and doesn’t expect it to be great and so he puts in place a plan to make it the best year ever. Rafe has his best friend Leonardo the Silent at his side egging him on with points for every rule in school he breaks. He does all of this to avoid what he is afraid of but it doesn’t take long for it to all catch up to him and he must decide what is most important in surviving middle school. 

There are now 15 books in the Middle School series for a good reason. James Patterson has created an empire with his children’s books and this one, which was released ten years ago, I’m just now reading it because my kids are into them are fantastic. Rafe is such a relatable character for kids that might be having a hard time fitting in and wanting to read about a kid that is having the same problems as them. One of the things about the book is that even though Rafe becomes a bit of a troublemaker, he is also going through a lot and we see him struggling with that and letting it be a real thing. This is a great start to what I’m sure is going to be a great series for kids to read and enjoy reading instead of books that turn them off from reading.

My Life as a Smashed Burrito

Author: Bill Myers

Series: Incredible World of Wally McDoogle #1

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The first book in the Wally McDoogle series is fun, adventurous, and a great start to a kids series!

Wally McDoogle is twelve years old and forced to go to church camp where he is up against a bully the likes he has never seen. Every step he takes puts him right in the crosshairs of this bully and everyone else at the camp puts Wally on a pedestal thinking he is the one to take down the bully for them all. Wally ends up learning a very valuable lesson that it is more important to love your enemies than hate one other.

This is the start of a fantastic series for young readers, it is fast, fun and purely entertaining that will keep reluctant readers engaged and ready to turn the pages. I love fun books for kids with a great message; this is one that parents can feel perfectly capable letting their kids read and not worry that there is any questionable material within the pages. So many books out now that are even marketed to kids have material that is questionable in it. I know that some of the material may not bother some people but for parents that want a good book for their kids to read without worrying about language or anything else, this is a great one for them to pick up and feel good about.

Don’t Hate the Player

Author: Alexis Nedo

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: June 15, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fun read for all the video game fanatics out there.

Emilia Romero likes to be an ordinary kid, playing field hockey and keeping up with her grades. The problem is she is not normal; when she gets home, she turns on her persona of a hard-core gamer and competes as the only female member of a highly competitive esports team. While it is hard to keep her two lives separate, she feels it is the best way to stay safe since female gamers are not highly accepted and often harassed. When Emilia goes to compete in the tournament, her two worlds collide when she is recognized by a member of their rival team. Jake Hooper has wanted to be with Emilia for years and now that his team has made it to the tournament he is shocked to see her and find out she has been leading a double life with no one knowing of her gaming life. They both work to help their teams win the tournament but also keep others from finding out about her secret.

This book is perfect for gamers and those into that world. If you are not a big gamer, this will be a hard one to keep your interest. The characters and their relationships are written well giving us a drive to see them succeed with the goals they have set throughout. Setting a lead character of a girl gamer is different and unique right now and will really hit a spot with a select group of readers. I enjoyed the way this showed the problems that girl gamers face, just like so many facets of life, females will face lots of challenges when it comes to a more male dominated area. Many of the secondary characters got on my nerves at times and I had to brush past them to try and enjoy the rest of the story. I enjoy finding different types of books that are not the same old same old that tend to be the most picked up and read. I would recommend this to young readers that enjoy video games and that lifestyle.

Turtles in the Road

TurtlesAuthors: Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: April 21, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A wonderfully enticing story that I couldn’t devour fast enough. Readers will truly fall in love with these characters and the trials they go through to find out who they are and what God has in store for them that is so much better than they would have ever imagined.

Piper Cope thought she had her life figured out. She felt certain God had called her to be a pastor’s wife. When her fiancé breaks off their engagement, she is left uncertain of her future. She packs her car and leaves to go live with her sister, another complicated relationship in her life, while she sorts out what her future holds. While driving on the rainy roads, she swerves to miss a turtle in the road and ends up in the ditch with a broken car stuck in a little unknown town. With her car in the shop and not a lot of money, she ends up at the little bed and breakfast in town and working at the community center. She quickly falls for the little town but doesn’t want to get her heart broken again. The community center director decides to take a chance giving Piper a job and helping her out in her time of need but doesn’t expect to have feelings for her grow as quickly as they do. Will Piper find what she has been looking for or find herself at another dead end and more confused than ever?

Rhonda Rhea and her daughter Kaley Rhea have written one delightful read that I devoured in a single day. This may be one of the most enjoyable Christian Romance books I have ever read. The best thing about this story for me was the fact that nothing felt rushed, the characters acted out exactly as I felt they should, the romance was not rushed in the slightest and I found myself picturing exactly what was happening as I jumped into the pages head first. The writing style is unique and hit the spot; when I say this was funny I mean it was actually funny where it was supposed to be funny and for the right reasons. Most of the times when a book is said to be funny it is because a character has certain quirks that make it funny but here it was situations and the characters jut being flat out hilarious. I loved everything about Piper from the way she ended up swerving to miss the turtle to the very end (I don’t want to spoil the end, but I guarantee you will be smiling). Readers that enjoy a fun clean romance with a good message will absolutely adore Turtles in the Road. This will be on my best of list for sure!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Theory of Happily Ever After

Happily Ever AfterAuthor: Kristin Billerbeck

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

This witty romance comedy may just be the cruise you’ve been looking to take!

Dr. Maggie Maguire is a scientist who has been wrapped up in her work studying the different causes and effects to happiness. She even wrote a bestselling book and giving talks with her fiancée.  Unfortunately, things happen and her happiness is shattered when her fiancée breaks it off and immediately takes up with an acrobat who he soon marries.  This, of course, sends poor Maggie to the brink of watching Hallmark movies while eating gallons of eggnog ice cream.  Fortunately, she has two friends that recognize what is happening and realize the best way to get her to move on is to put her back in the saddle.  So, they book her on a cruise, which sounds great until Maggie learns that she is one of the speakers on the cruise.  Now faced with anxiety of telling people about happiness when she lost her own, Maggie begins the process of starting over with love.  And what better place to find it than on a singles cruise in the Gulf of Mexico!

Overall this book was an enjoyable read. The writing is extremely witty throughout the book and makes you laugh out loud a few times.  The scenes were set really well with the cruise and describing the activities throughout really kept the progress steady.  However, many people may find Maggie’s character annoying throughout much of the book.  She does whine a lot at first and then makes some decisions throughout the book that can leave readers scratching their head.  By the end of the book, you can see that Maggie has actually had a lot of personal growth.  More so than her friends.  The romance triangle of having two guys vying for Maggie’s attention was interesting, but sometimes not completely realistic.  In many ways, it was like watching a Hallmark movie but hoping for more of a real life feel.  Don’t take it too serious.  Just enjoy it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.