I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.
This is the fourth installment of a series written in diary form from the perspective of 13-year-old Nikki Maxwell. Nikki and her two bestfriends, Chloe and Zoey, sign up to be in an ice skating competition to raise money for a charity. They find the perfect charity to support when they discover that the animal shelter where Brandon (Nikki's crush) volunteers is at risk of closing. Of course, Nikki's arch nemesis Mackenzie Hollister will do everything she can to try to thwart Nikki at every turn.
I love that this series excites my daughter and has her wanting to read more. She can easily relate to Nikki and her friends. The book narrative is funny and cute. Nikki struggles with insecurity and doing the right thing. She comes across as a genuine and ordinary girl learning to navigate middle school. MacKenzie is a bit of a caricature. The wealthy spoiled popular girl who is every inch a brat. Mouse and I are quite vocal in our conversations about Mackenzie that we don't like how she acts very much. My daughter said the other night though that even though she doesn't quite know why, she kind of feels sorry for Mackenzie. I have to admit I do too. I can't help but wonder what her back story is. Every bully has one, right?
Anyway, Mouse and I both liked Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess. We liked that Nikki stepped up to help Brandon and, despite her fears, got on that ice even knowing she isn't that great of an ice skater. Mouse thought Nikki was very brave and what she did was cool.
Of course Mouse was eager to dive into the 5th book in the series soon after we finished the fourth. Nikki Maxwell decides to join the school newspaper staff to keep an eye on Mackenzie who has threatened to write a story involving Nikki's crush, Brandon. A story that could get a lot of people in trouble, including Nikki and her bestfriends Chloe and Zoey. Mackenzie's attempts to thwart Nikki from getting a position on the paper are in vain when Nikki ends up with the assignment of advice columnist. But she must keep it a secret. Trying to stay on top of answering letters, worrying her scholarship is at risk, and find a birthday present for Brandon, Nikki begins to feel overwhelmed very quickly.
There's the usual family drama with Brianna, Nikki's six year old sister. Nikki is often put in the role of caring for her sister--or keeping her occupied. And although Brianna often gets on Nikki's nerves and sometimes makes situations worse, there are times when she comes through in surprising ways. That was the case in this book too. Mouse relates to both Brianna and Nikki, which is not surprising given her age. She's right in between the two.
Then there is the whole situation with Nikki's dad possibly going to work for Mackenzie's dad--which would be a nightmare of unimaginable proportions. Through out these books, Nikki spends a lot of time worrying about people finding out she is on scholarship at the private school she attends. And that her dad is an exterminator who drives a van with a giant roach on top. As a result, she feels like she is always having to hide a part of herself.
This was another fun book for Mouse and I to read together. It's also the first book in the series that we have read together that was not a re-read for my daughter. It was kind of nice not having things spoiled for me as we went along (although to be fair, Mouse never really gave away anything other than the occasional, "I love the next part!" or "I remember what happens next!"). We both got a kick out of some of the letters Nikki received and the advice she gave people. Mouse said her favorite advice Nikki gave was to the new girl who had been bullied and felt out of place and that was probably mine too. It was definitely something Nikki could relate to herself.
Nikki makes quite a few questionable decisions in Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All that Mouse and I discussed as we read (Toilet papering someone's house and lying to her parents among them). Nikki is by no means perfect and many of the issues and feelings she deals with mirror real life even if not in an exact situational way. I can appreciate that about her and about these books. While sometimes it may seem that everything falls into place a little too easily for Nikki in the end, it's important to keep in mind the audience this series was written for.
Each of these books can be read as stand alones, but I think it may be more fun to read them in order to see the characters' progressions in their relationships with one another.
Now Reading: Mouse would have loved to continue with the Dork Diaries, I am sure, but we are missing the next few books. I think we may have the ninth book. Mouse wants to wait to read it until she's read the books that come before it. I think that's a good idea.
Last year Mouse discovered the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski. We read a later book in the series together, and she expressed an interest in reading more. For Christmas, she got the first three books in the series. We are currently reading the first, Fairest of All. The series features a 10 year old girl named Abby and her 7 year old brother Jonah who discover a magical mirror in their basement which serves as a door into various fairytales. With each fairytale, something goes wrong to throw the story off course, and it's up to Abby and Jonah to get everything back on track.
On her own, Mouse is reading The Cinderella Ballet Mystery (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #4) by Carolyn Keene, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan, and The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner.
What I Am Reading: I was able to finish T.A. Willberg's Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder Thursday night, staying up later than I should. I paid for it in spades the next morning. Why do we do that to ourselves?!
At the moment I am reading Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano. I could not resist this one after reading the synopsis. It is about a romantic suspense novelist/divorced mother who is mistaken as a hired killer. I am not too far in, but it's already relatable (even if a bit over the top) and funny, and I look forward to reading more.
I have not quite decided what comes next. Perhaps The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3) by Charlaine Harris or Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck. It will depend on where my mood takes me.
What I Am Watching: The rain outside my window. It is so lovely.
I had the chance to watch Lupin on Netflix, about a man trying to clear his deceased father's name of a crime he didn't commit. He is inspired by his favorite book, Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief (Arsène Lupin #1) by Maurice Leblanc, which he has read numerous times. I watched the dubbed version, not realizing there was an option to watch it with subtitles. I may have to go back and watch it again with the subtitles. Regardless, I really enjoyed it.
I was able to watch much of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration this past Wednesday. It was understated as compared to years past, but I thought everything went very well and was fitting for the times. The highlight was Amanda Gorman, the inaugural poet. She did an amazing job--and what a beautiful poem!
Off the Blog: As mentioned above, it is raining at the moment. It is much welcomed and needed. Earlier in the week the wind was quite strong. Luckily my area did not suffer a power outage, but many surrounding neighborhoods and areas did. I just noticed the lid of the sandbox must have blown off--and of course now the sand is being soaked by the rain . . .
My family and I enjoyed the extra day off earlier in the week due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Not that we did anything particularly special but it was just nice to have the day off together.
On Tuesday I got my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of my work, I fall in one of the priority categories. I had a moment of panic after when I was told they wouldn't automatically schedule second vaccine appointments. That I would have to call in every day and hope for an opening. Fortunately my persistence paid off and I was able to schedule a second appointment. It's been such a scramble for anyone to get an appointment. They fill up so fast, especially as the requirement levels open up more and more. The big issue is whether there is enough supply to meet the demand. In my county, people 65 and older, teachers and child care staff have been added to the existing qualifying list most recently. I had a sore arm for a few days after the shot, but other than that I seem to be fine. I heard the second dose has more side effects.
I woke up yesterday morning with a bad case of allergies. At least I am assuming it's allergies. It made for a miserable day trying to get through work. It did not help I was up the night before reading. I managed though. I feel a little better today with the help of some sinus medicine. The headache has is not as intense, my eyes are dry, and my nose isn't quite as active.
This Past Week In Reading Mews:
Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your week? Do you have anything planned for this week?
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That's awesome that you got your vaccine! I caught some of the inauguration but unfortunately missed Amanda Gorman. I have since heard her and printed out her poem. So amazing!ReplyDelete
Iliana - Amanda Gorman did such an amazing job, didn't she? Not only the poem itself, but the life she breathed into it. I am glad you got to see it. :-) I hope you have great week. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Congratulations on dose one of your COVID vaccine! We got rain today in Santa Barbara as well, it was very exciting. :-)ReplyDelete
Helen - Only in Southern California do we get so excited about the rain! :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
The inauguration was wonderful, and thankfully peaceful. I only saw parts of it but it was refreshing. and Lupin I've heard good things about, the preview looked fun! I'm glad you didn't have too much soreness from the vaccine.ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh that's so funny about the Whatever after and Nancy Drew Clue crew books. My daughters loved those! I even talked them into doing guest posts on two of the Whatever After books- I'll have to go back and look now, it must have been wow like 2015 or even earlier. Time flies. :) Anyway that's awesome you both are enjoying them!
Greg - I am so glad everything stayed peaceful at the Inauguration too.Delete
I keep trying to talk my daughter into writing a review for my blog, but she says no every time. Perhaps someday. :-)
Thank you for visiting!
Amanda Gorman's poem was incredible. So inspiring and gives us all hope for the future of the US.ReplyDelete
Never heard of the Dork Diaries series! Is that in the same universe of the Wimpy Kid books? Or is it an alternate version geared for young girls?
M. Ravenel - Yes! Amanda Gorman certainly inspires hope.Delete
The Dork Diaries is often marketed as Wimpy Kid Diary books for girls, but by a different author. We haven't read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Perhaps someday. :-)
Thank you for stopping by!
The Dork diaries sounds like they would be ideal for my cousin's daughter! Amanda Gorman is spectacular!ReplyDelete
Verushka - My daughter loves the Dork Diaries. I hope your cousin's daughter enjoys the series if she gives it a try! Thank you for visiting!Delete
I heard about Amanda Gorman's poem, thanks for the link, she was deeply moving. I watched Lupin too and loved it, it's funny to see Maurice Leblanc's novel in the best book sales again here in France ! I'm glad you had your first shot but what a strange organization that you wouldn't be automatically schedules for the second ! Take care, I hope the allergies will be soon forgotten :)ReplyDelete
Iza - I am glad you enjoyed Lupin as well. I would like to try the book now. Lupin made it sound so good. :-)Delete
I think the idea was to get as many people the first shot and worry about supply and second shots later. The whole process has been chaotic. Hopefully the powers will have a better plan soon.
Thank you for stopping by!
So glad to read that you got your first shot of the vaccine! Here, it sounds like it may be March at the earliest before my family and I qualify but since it's going slower than hoped, it could be much later.ReplyDelete
Amanda Gorman rocked at the Inauguration! She was just amazing.
I loved seeing all the diversity in the Capitol this time around. It's one of the many things that angered me about the previous administration so I hope this is here to stay, this time around.
Have a great week, Wendy!
Athira - I hope it will be as soon as March when you are able to get your shot. My husband may not be able to get his until June or the fall, from the sounds of it. I do hope that supply improves as well as the organization to get them out! It all seems so chaotic right now.Delete
I like the tone Biden is trying to set with a strong show of diversity. The lack of it bothered me about the old administration too.
I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!
I love how you have created a place for your daughter on your blog. I often think the Cybils Awards would be even better if children were the judges.ReplyDelete
I haven't heard about Lupin. I'll share that with my husband. I ran across the Lupin mysteries when it was on a list for the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read (although a friend argues this series isn't for, as it's listed, young adults).
I'm so glad you were able to get your vaccine. My husband and I won't be 65 until later in the year (November for me!) so I won't be getting the vaccine any time soon.
Hope you will feel better soon, and that it is just allergies, Wendy.
Deb - Having children as judges would be a great idea, especially since they are often the intended market for children's books. Not that we adults cannot appreciate them too. :-)Delete
Thank you for your well wishes, I am feeling much better. We've had such a mix of weather, warm to to cold with lots of wind and now rain. It's kicked up a lot of stuff in the air.
Thank you for stopping by!
The Dork Diaries sound like good books- I wonder if my almost-ten-year-old would like them. I'll make the suggestion- she's always looking for something new to read! So glad to hear you got your first covid shot, and didn't suffer much- several people I know who got theirs felt pretty sick for a few days as well as being sore. I'm not in any priority group, so I have to wait several months yet.ReplyDelete
Jeane - She might enjoy them. My daughter's the same age as yours. :-) I heard that the second shot is the worst in terms of side effects. Hopefully those you know who got sick after the first shot will be symptom free after the second!Delete
Thank you for visiting!
I simply love that you gave Mouse a spot on your blog as well. So nice! I am thinking of doing something similar for the kids at school to share their library books. Need to think about it a bit and work out the ins and outs.ReplyDelete
Happy for you that you could get the vaccine. We are still going to have to wait a while.
I've also had a lot of allergies lately, hope you will better soon!
Have a wonderful week ahead.
Mareli (Elza) - If only I could get Mouse to write her own reviews. Haha. I think what you are planning for the kids at school is a great idea! I hope it works out.Delete
I am feeling much better, thankfully. The wind and up and down weather we have been having recently has been getting to all of us. I hope your allergies clear up soon!
Thank you for stopping by!
It’s finally stopped raining here, and now it’s just hot!ReplyDelete
It seems like poor planning to not schedule the second shot since it’s so crucial, I hope you have no adverse effects.
Finlay Donovan sounds like a fun read, enjoy!
Wishing you a great reading week
Shelleyrae - I hope you get some cooler weather soon. It's very cold and wet here. The snow has come lower than it usually does, but none at our house. I know my daughter wishes it would snow here. Even if it did, it likely wouldn't stick. Snow is not common here.Delete
Finlay Donovan is proving to be so much fun. Over the top, but oh so fun. I am enjoying it. I hope to finish it soon.
Thank you for visiting!
It's a delight that Mouse is enjoying reading so much. So sorry to hear that you are now zapped with allergies! I hope they soon ease down - have a great reading week, Wendy:)ReplyDelete
Sarah - At least she enjoys reading with me. Reading on her own is another matter. I am feeling much better, thank you. I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I loved watching the Inauguration Day events, too, and was relieved that there were no further violent events during and after. Sigh.ReplyDelete
I am told by staff here that we have enough of the vaccine to get the second shot...and I hope that is the truth. Sometimes they say what they think we want to hear!
Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.
Laurel-Rain - I imagine the staff at your residence have better control and are more prepared than some of the counties' mass distribution programs. At least I hope so!Delete
I hope you have a great week too! Thank you for visiting!
Love the dork diaries. America's definitely going through some changes. It will be interesting to see this year and new president.ReplyDelete
Trin - The Dork Diaries are fun. :-) Hopefully it will be a good year. I am not the biggest Biden fan, but I think he is much better option than the man he replaced. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
That's wonderful that you were able to get the Covid shot. Amanda Gorman was really amazing. Just beautiful.ReplyDelete
Hope you have a great week!
Yvonne - She was! Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a great week too!Delete
My allergies have been awful but we had winds here and that always blows around the allergens. I'm glad you've been able to get the vaccine.ReplyDelete
Mary - It's been very windy here too. I am sure that played a part in why my allergies got so bad. I hope you are feeling better. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Inauguration Day was uplifting, and it has been a while since anything political has been that way. I know some areas have had terrible circumstances surrounding the vaccine. Our situation was smooth and well-planned. We will get our second shots next Sunday. I'm glad you were able to be persistent enough to get yours!ReplyDelete
Jenclair - I am glad your area was better prepared for the vaccine distribution. I hope the second vaccine goes well for you and you don't have any side effects. Thank you for visiting!Delete
fun looking books and i too was amazed with amanda and the entire inauguration. i have both appointments for a vaccination, my first being this coming wednesday. mr wonderful was on the case, glued to the computer at 4am. he's the best!ReplyDelete
sherry @ fundinmental
Sherry - I hope you suffer no side effects from the vaccine. I am glad you are able to get the first does on Monday. It sounds like Mr. Wonderful's persistence paid off like mine did. :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Wendy, it is good news you have been able to get your first jab and booked in for your second. Other than another short isolation, I have had a good week of work and reading. I read the cosy crime caper The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and have been watching series 2 of the supernatural drama, A Discovery of Witches. Take care and happy reading. 🙂ReplyDelete
Jessica - I am glad your week went well. The Thursday Murder Club sounds like fun. I love Supernatural. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I'm glad to hear you were able to get the vaccine and schedule the next appointment. I will be in the last group in our state as I am not quite old enough, and not essential. It's great you had an extra day to relax with your family. I enjoyed watching the inauguration, Amanda Gorman and the Bernie mittens! I hope your allergies are better now. Stay well!ReplyDelete
Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
Anne - My husband so rarely gets the "little" holidays off and so it's nice when he does. I am glad you enjoyed the Inauguration too! My allergies are better, thank you. That was the worst flare up I have had in awhile, and it took me by surprise.Delete
I hope you are feeling better too! Take care and thank you for stopping by!
I'm so glad the inauguration went off without a hitch! Amanda Gorman and her poem was definitely a big highlight for me and of course, Bernie and all the memes! Looks like you've been reading some good mysteries. Marion Lane has been on my list. Looking forward to reading that sometime this year.ReplyDelete
Glad you were able to get the vaccine too. I can't wait until me and my family can get ours!
I've heard great things about Dork Diaries. Glad Mouse has been enjoying the series. My son just finished up the Hunger Games series and really enjoyed those. It's nice to see a good series light our kiddos up.
Have a great week and stay safe!
Heather - I hope you enjoy Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder when you read it!Delete
The Hunger Games is a good series. I am glad your son enjoyed it!
I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!
My oldest granddaughter, age 8 loved the Dork Diaries and is now into The Babysitter Club graphic series.ReplyDelete
Glad you were able to get the vaccine. They are still working on health care and seniors in congregate housing situations here but, hopefully by the end of February. I hope your allergies ease up.
Diane - I am glad your granddaughter enjoyed The Dork Diaries. My daughter's read a couple of the Babysitter Club graphic novels and enjoyed them. My allergies have improved, thank you! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
My daughter adored both the Dork Diaries and the Whatever After series a few years ago. The school she was attending at the time (a private Lutheran school) wouldn't carry the Dork Diary books, so it sort of became contraband between her and her friends.ReplyDelete
Also, I wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying the Girl Scout cookies I purchased from Mouse! Honestly, I may be enjoying them a bit too much! But I may still order more before cookie season finishes up!
Melinda - There must have been a bit of a thrill reading something the school wouldn't stock on the shelves. :-)Delete
I am glad you are enjoying the Girl Scout cookies! I still need to order some. Thank you for supporting my daughter!
Thank you too for visiting!
You're so lucky you got the vaccine! I read somewhere that they schedule your second dose when you get the first one, but I guess that's not always the case. Hope you have a lovely week😁ReplyDelete
Tammy - Appointments have been first come first serve in my county for anyone outside of a facility. And it's been said that because supplies were low, it was decided to give out as many as possible and hope for more vaccines to cover the second doses later. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I was blown away by Amanda Gorman and her poem. She was the highlight of the ceremony, I thought, outside of the concept of installing Biden and ridding us of Trump. Whew. Love your post here.ReplyDelete
Anne - I thought so too. She was amazing. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Oh I'm so glad you were able to get the vaccine and that you were able to get your 2nd one scheduled! I am sorry to hear about your allergies. They've been brutal here and with the heat on the air is so dry I'm going crazy! I hope you have a great week!ReplyDelete
Katherine - I hope your allergies improve. I think the wind and the up and down weather here took its toll on me. Thank you for visiting!Delete
My daughter always loved Dork Diaries!ReplyDelete
RAnn - It's a fun series. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Sounds like your reading is going very well. And yes, I also always wonder why I keep on reading so late when our girl is waking me up so early the next morning. But I keep doing it! LOL!!ReplyDelete
I'm glad to read you have been able to get the vaccine. As a nurse I can take it already too.. but since they aren't really sure how pregnant woman react to it. I decided to wait until after giving birth.
My husband and I started watching Lupin too this weekend. I love it!
Have a great week and happy reading.
Maureen - I am happy with my reading so far this year. We know better than to stay up late reading, and yet we do. We never learn even when we suffer the next day. LOLDelete
I completely understanding waiting for the vaccine until after the birth. So much is still unknown about these vaccines.
I am glad you are enjoying Lupin too!
I hope you have a great wee as well. Thank you for visiting!
I'm so glad you were able to get on the vaccine list. It's been raining here, too. I spent a lot of time outside this past weekend anyway :)ReplyDelete
Jennifer - I love the rain! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
We've only got to the over 75's and the clinically extremely vulnerable in the UK for Covid vaccinations, but at least we have the vaccine available now.ReplyDelete
I did laugh at " I was able to finish T.A. Willberg's Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder Thursday night, staying up later than I should. I paid for it in spades the next morning. Why do we do that to ourselves?! " because I've done this far too often in the last few weeks. Then I complain about how tired I am all of the next day.
Have a good week and hope all your books are good!
Louise - I am glad the vaccine is available too. It will take awhile to get to everyone, I imagine.Delete
I do that too! LOL I complain about how tired I am the next day too.
I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!
I've read both Marion Lane... and Finlay Donovan... I liked Finlay Donovan... much better. I'm hoping that the whole vaccination thing gets easier with a new administration. It's really confusing right now. Come see my week here. Happy reading!ReplyDelete
Kathy - Finlay Donovan is Killing It is so off the wall and funny. I can't help but think of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. It sounds like I enjoyed Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder more than you did.Delete
I have the same hope in hoping this new administration have an impact on a more organized and effective vaccine distribution.
Thank you for stopping by!
I agree. The vaccine distribution in California has not been great. I've heard of people just showing up and getting lucky even if they don't fall into the tiers that they are supposed to be prioritizing. My in-laws who are 80 and not into tech at all just won't even try to schedule an appt. We will help them but they don't seem interested and every time I go on the appts are full.ReplyDelete
Ti - I heard that too about people just showing up and getting shots without meeting the criteria. I hope you are able to get your in-laws in for an appointment. I had to show proof of eligibility when I went for mine--both my work badge and a letter from my employer.Delete
Thank you for visiting!
I have seen The Dork Diaries around and it is good to know that your daughter is enjoying them. I may need to get them for my niece and nephew as a gift sometime soon. Yay for rain! I am glad you were able to get your shot and the appointment for the second shot. I hope you got to feeling better.ReplyDelete
Carole - If you do gift the Dork Diaries to your niece and nephew enjoy them. I am feeling much better, thank you. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I really loved Amanda Gorman's inauguration poem. It was so inspiring.ReplyDelete
Suzanne - It was! I loved it. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Our government has rolled out their plans in getting the frontlines and the service industry staffs for their vaccination shots. The citizens are encouraged to get their vaccination too; and although the response isn't overwhelming to a point that it's hard to book appointments, I can see there are more people coming out to get their vaccinations.ReplyDelete
Hope you've a great week, Wendy!
Melody - Hopefully the governments everywhere will be able to meet the demand for vaccines more as we go. I am glad the are finally becoming available. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I also watched the inauguration and thought it was beautiful. Amanda Gorman is amazing and I have seen a couple of her other poems that are also wonderful. I hope she puts out a book, I would buy it in a minute. Glad you got your first vaccination and are scheduled for the next one. Our supplies were cut back, so things are backed up here. The only think I have been told is that I should have mine by September. It is going to be a long six months.ReplyDelete
Carla - Amanda Gorman truly was amazing, I agree! My husband thinks it'll be about September or so before he gets his vaccine as well. I guess we'll see. Thank you for visiting!Delete