Buttons Book Reviews

All books are magical, whether enchanted or not.

BLOG TOUR: The Whispers, by Greg Howard — January 23, 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Whispers, by Greg Howard

A middle grade debut that’s a heartrending coming-of-age tale, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Counting By 7s.

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared a few months ago, and Riley is determined to crack the case. He even meets with a detective, Frank, to go over his witness statement time and time again. 

Frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation, Riley decides to take matters into his own hands. So he goes on a camping trip with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask them to bring his mom back home. But Riley doesn’t realize the trip will shake the foundation of everything that he believes in forever.

I loved this book so much!!!! It was so sweet and I highly recommend it. I was lucky enough to be able to interview the author, Greg Howard, and he was a lovely person.

Who was your favorite character to write? Why?

My favorite character to write was definitely Riley. It was the first time I’d written in a middle-grade voice and I was surprised at how easy it was to fall into Riley’s heart and mind. I pulled a lot of his personality from my own when I was his age and I loved viewing the world through his honest, unfiltered eyes. It was very liberating and somewhat cathartic.

What was your favorite part of writing The Whispers? Least favorite part?

I love writing humor. And through every revision, I’m constantly “punching up the funny.” Riley’s sense of humor is very quirky and he’s an extremely witty kid, most of the time without even realizing it. I think that speaks to his sometimes brutally honest narration.

My least favorite part of writing The Whispers was all the raw nerves I kept hitting. This is a deeply personal story and I through the writing process, I uncovered a lot of feelings and emotions that I’d ignored for a long time. Or as Riley says, I’d pushed them “behind the big wall in my brain where I put things I don’t want to think about too much.”

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Read more and write more. Don’t worry too much about the business side of publishing. You will end up spending plenty of time on all that. When you’re not writing, read. When you’re not reading, write. The more you write the better you will become, and every book you read along the way will help you on that journey.

What is your go-to book when you are feeling down?

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is full of such great advice for writers and it’s seasoned with Anne’s witty self-deprecating humor. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously after reading that book. It also helps you realize that we, as writers, all have the same doubts, struggles, and bad habits.

Where is your favorite place to write (inside the house or out of it)?

Most of the time I write on the lumpy sectional in my den with my three dogs laying all over me. It’s not the most comfortable place to sit for hours, but that’s where I’ve done my best writing, so I’m not about to change it up now.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Germany – I’ve just always wanted to go there. I took three years of German in high school, so I know how to ask where the bathroom and the library are, so I should be good.

What is your writing Kryptonite?


What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jeff Zentner, Becky Albertalli, and Kathleen Grissom have all been particularly gracious to me—offering advice, counsel, promotional support, etc. Through their kindness they taught me to pay it forward and always offer the same generosity to new writers who reach out to me.

What Hogwarts’ Houses would you sort your characters into?

Riley – Gryffindor

Dylan – Ravenclaw

Gene Grimes – Slytherin

Tucker – Hufflepuff

Greg Howard grew up near the coast of South Carolina. His hometown of Georgetown is known as the “Ghost Capital of the South” (seriously…there’s a sign), and was always a great source of material for his overactive imagination. Raised in a staunchly religious home, Greg escaped into the arts: singing, playing piano, acting, writing songs, and making up stories. Currently, Greg resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his husband, Steve, and their three rescued fur babies Molly, Toby, and Riley.

I really loved reading this book and a review should be coming on it. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have interviewed Greg Howard and I will be picking up his future novels. Remember to fill out my survey. You can find the link to it on my About page. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons

Week One

January 14 – Novel Novice – Creative Instagram Picture + Spotlight

January 15 – Pages Unbound – Author Q&A

January 16 – Bookish Connoisseur – Creative Instagram Picture

January 17 – Velarisreads – Review

January 18 – The Desert Bibliophile – Playlist

Week Two

January 21 – Bookish Bug – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

January 22 – A Bronx Latina Reads – Review

January 23 – Buttons Book Reviews – Author Q&A

January 24 – The Hermit Librarian – Review + Book Aesthetic

January 25 – Andy Winder – Author Guest Post: The Whispers is a middle grade novel that features a queer protagonist. What influenced you to write LGBTQ middle grade and what are some of the positives or challenges of writing in this genre? Do you have any LGBTQ middle grade book recommendations?

The Rise of Winter, by Alex Lyttle — January 17, 2019

The Rise of Winter, by Alex Lyttle

Title: The Rise of Winter

Author: Alex Lyttle

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Date Published: April 1, 2019

Centuries ago, Terra, the world, was nearly destroyed by humans. In the wake of that destruction, Terra created the Guardians—a group sworn to protect Her. But humans have returned to their plundering ways and Terra needs the Guardians. The Guardians are now fractured, their leader murdered years before. They need a new leader—a new Terra Protectorum—but when a young girl is chosen, outrage ensues. Questions demand answers.
Why has Terra selected a girl with no knowledge of the Guardians? Why has she chosen a human when it is the humans destroying the earth? And most importantly, why has she chosen the girl whose father murdered the last Terra Protectorum?

Well, that break went on a little longer than expected, but I’m back!!!! Thank you Netgalley and Central Avenue Publishing for providing me with this ARC. I really enjoyed this book, but it had some faults. My favorite part of The Rise of Winter was the fantasy aspect, which I can wait to talk to you about.

The writing style was very distinct and I enjoyed reading The Rise of Winter. Alex Lyttle’s writing was very to-the-point and crisp. Alex described the setting very well and I enjoyed reading about Terra. There were also lots of cute illustrations through the book that I enjoyed immensely. I also enjoyed stumbling upon an illustration that depicted the plot. I felt like I was in the book with the characters, the setting was so well done. I really enjoyed Alex Lyttle’s writing style and how he described the setting. I also enjoyed the illustrations.

The characters were very well-written and I loved hearing about their lives and backstories. Alex put a lot of thought into the characters and it really showed. They all had a very detailed backstory and were very well-developed. There was also mention of an LGBTQ+ relationship, and when it was questioned, the character replied: “Love is love.” Those are the kind of characters I want to see more of. Winter, the main character, was also really cool. She made mistakes, felt bad, and tried to fix them. She also stood up for her values. Winter is a role model that young girls can admire and look up to.

The future aspect in The Rise of Winter was my favorite part of the book. I loved hearing about the talking animals and their various abilities. I wish I had been able to meet the Guardians and learn about their abilities. The aspect that the Earth, or Terra, was sentient, intrigued me and I enjoyed learning about that. When the fantasy aspect, Alex also taught that everyone should respect the Earth and should live in harmony with nature. I was impressed that Alex Lyttle was able to teach about caring of the Earth with the high fantasy aspect.

The plot was very action-packed and I enjoyed reading it. There were a lot of cliff-hangers. There was also a lot of suspense. I loved reading about Winter and her adventures, which was very intriguing. The plot was set up in this book, but there was quite a bit of action. I enjoyed hearing about everything and I wish I was able to enter this world. The plot and the rest of the book were very well done and I highly recommend it.

I loved reading The Rise of Winter and I recommend it. I got the summary from Netgalley. Remember to fill out my survey. You can find the link to it on my About page. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons

What I Read Over My Break — January 5, 2019

What I Read Over My Break

Even though I took a break from blogging, that doesn’t mean that I took a break from reading!!! And because I’m feeling to lazy to write individual reviews for each book, I’ll just tell you what books I read and their rating.

Archenemies, by Marissa Meyer: Five stars.

Two Dark Reigns, by Kendare Blake: Five stars.

A Torch Against The Night, by Sabba Tahir: Five stars.

City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare: Five stars.

Becoming, by Michelle Obama: Five Stars.

Language of Thorns, by Leigh Bardugo: Three Stars.

A Winter’s Promise: Four point five stars.

Vicious, by V.E. Schwab: Three Stars

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked to over my break, but I did get some things in. I hope that you guys had a lovely winter break and I can’t wait to get back to the blog. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons