Dead End in Norvelt
Book Review / July 22, 2017

Title: Dead End in Norvelt Series: Norvelt, #1 Author: Jack Gantos Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Release Date: September 13th, 2011 Format: Audiobook Pages: 341 Source: Library Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year’s best contribution to children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets.  But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his Utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his…

Morning Star
Book Review / July 17, 2017

Title: Morning Star Series: Red Rising, #3 Author: Pierce Brown Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: February 9th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 524 Source: Owned Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   This is a review for Morning Star, the third book in the Red Rising trilogy. Spoilers will be marked, but read with caution if you have…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of the Island
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / July 12, 2017

Title: Anne of the Island Series: Anne of Green Gables, #3 Author: L. M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Kindle Edition Release Date: October 11th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 278 Source: Owned First Published: 1915 New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs her bags, waves good-bye to childhood, and heads for Redmond College. With old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and frivolous new pal Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises…including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson. But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart, too. Suddenly Anne must decide if she’s ready for love… (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   After reading, and being a bit disappointed with, Anne of Avonlea I wasn’t expecting much from Anne of the Island. I had expected that the magic and charm of Anne of Green Gables faded after book one; that it was all a fluke! Thank goodness…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of Avonlea
Book Review / June 14, 2017

Title: Anne of Avonlea Series: Anne of Green Gables, #2 Author: L. M. Montgomery Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Puffin Classics Release Date: December 1st, 1997 Format: Paperback Pages: 336 Source: Owned First Published: 1909 At sixteen, Anne is grown up…almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else’s romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   Oh, Anne. You are so incredibly endearing. Continuing my #AnneReadAlong2017, I ventured into Anne of Avonlea. While I am still completely in love with Anne Shirley herself, as well as Miss Lavendar and Paul Irving, there are a few more…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of Green Gables Review
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / May 23, 2017

Title: Anne of Green Gables Series: Anne of Green Gables, #1 Author: L M Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Bantam Books (Classics) Release Date: May 1st, 1982 Format: eBook Pages: 314 First Published: 1908 “She’ll have to go back.” Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had decided to adopt an orphan. They wanted a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores. The orphanage sent a girl instead – a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts thought would be no use at all. But as soon as Anne arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever. And the longer Anne stayed, the harder it was for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I cannot believe I didn’t read this book as a child. This classic novel is over 100 years old and yet captured my heart. There is such a simple serenity hiding within the pages of this novel. Stories of love, adventure, stubbornness, forgiveness, rivalries, family, troublemaking, and dreams are woven together to tell the tale of the heartwarming orphan, Anne Shirley. Anne with an E, that is. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always…

Akata Witch
Book Review / January 12, 2017

Title: Akata Witch Series: Akata Witch, #1 Author: Nnedi Okorafor Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Viking Children's Release Date: April 14th, 2011 Format: eBook Pages: 369 Source: Library Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing-she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too? (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   A fantasy novel about an albino girl in Nigeria who, on the cusp of adolescence, discovers she is a witch and works to save the world with her newly found best friends. On the surface, Akata Witch sounds like it will be ripe with predictability and poorly represented characters filling tropes. But it is so much more than that. Prejudice begets prejudice, you see. Knowledge does not always evolve into wisdom. Sunny is twelve-years-old and can’t seem…

American Born Chinese
Book Review / December 26, 2016

Title: American Born Chinese Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: First Second Release Date: September 6th, 2006 Format: Hardback Pages: 240 Source: Library All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he’s the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl… Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn’t want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god… Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he’s ruining his cousin Danny’s life. Danny’s a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse… These three apparently unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist,…

Peter and Wendy
Book Review / October 31, 2016

Title: Peter and Wendy Series: Peter Pan, #3 Author: J. M. Barrie Genre: Fairy Tale Publisher: Kindle Release Date: May 11th, 2012 Format: eBook Pages: 166 Source: Owned First Published: 1911 One magical night, the Darling children­­––Wendy, John, and Michael––are visited by two mischievous denizens of Neverland, an island of the imagination where pirates prowl the Mermaids’ Lagoon and fairies live so long as children believe in them. Peter Pan and his loyal, lightning-quick companion, Tinker Bell, have come for Peter’s shadow, captured the previous night by Nana, the children’s Newfoundland nanny. The pair leaves not just with the shadow, but with Wendy and her brothers, as well, whisking them away to Neverland to join the Lost Boys in their war against the evil Captain Hook. J. M. Barrie created the character of Peter Pan to entertain a young family he regularly met in Kensington Gardens. Over the course of two novels and a play, he turned a whimsical idea into one of the most cherished literary characters of all time. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   We all know the story of Peter Pan. He’s the Boy-Who-Never-Grew-Up. He is as cocky as a rooster, and crows just the same. He flies,…

This One Summer
Book Review / October 25, 2016

Title: This One Summer Author: Mariko Tamaki Genre: Young Adult Publisher: First Second Release Date: May 6th, 2014 Format: Hardback Pages: 320 Source: Library Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other. In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age — a story of renewal and revelation. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon A 2015 Caldecott Honor winner, This One Summer follows the perspective of Rose during a summer vacation at Awago Beach in Canada. Paired with her goofy friend Windy, the two of them experience life in…

Charlotte’s Web
Book Review / October 19, 2016

Title: Charlotte's Web Author: E. B. White Genre: Fiction Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Release Date: March 15th, 2015 Format: Audiobook Pages: 184 Source: Library Illustrator: Garth Williams First Published: 1952 This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.” Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter. E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. This edition contains color illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E.B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   As part of my quest to read every Newbery Award winner, I couldn’t wait to revisit a childhood favorite: Charlotte’s Web. A heartwarming story about life, love, and death…

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