Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer DonnellyThese Shallow Graves
Jennifer Donnelly
Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s

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When news of Jo’s father’s sudden death rips her away from school, she returns home to her grieving family. Unable to accept the story that her father accidentally shot himself, she teams up with Eddie, a local reporter who worked for her father’s paper, to uncover the truth about his death. As each clue leads to more questions, Jo and Eddie quickly realize that the uncovering the truth could destroy everything her father once built. Jo also realizes she may be falling for the handsome reporter, but to surrender to her feelings would mean turning her back on her family.

I first fell … Continue reading

Thoughts on Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Some Notes on What Happens in Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Jean Louise returns to her home in a small southern town to visit her ailing, aged father and his protege, Henry, also her beau. During her visit she discovers that the man she’s admired and trusted all her life as the most fair and just man has somehow shifted into someone with whom she deeply disagrees. Her once peaceful town has become a place where races are deeply divided, and where respect for one another has evaporated. The change throws her into despair and agony, and she fights to be understood and to understand what has happened.

So the story goes something like this: Once upon a time, Harper Lee wrote a manuscript and … Continue reading

Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth WeinRose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Disney Hyperion

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Eighteen year old Rose Justice volunteers as a civilian pilot in England during World War II. She works alongside Maddie and other young female pilots transporting planes and personnel to assist military forces. When an enemy aircraft draws Rose off course during one of her transport flights, Rose finds herself captured in enemy territory. Her troubles have only begun. Soon after German forces arrest her, she is sent to Ravensbruck, a German concentration camp. Rose faces brutal treatment at the hands of her captors. Her love for poetry and bonds with other prisoners challenge her to survive.

Readers of Wein’s novel Code Name Verity will recognize Maddie … Continue reading

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversGrave Mercy
Robin LaFevers
HMH Books for Young Readers

A strange birthmark spares Ismae from an arranged marriage with a cruel man, but thrusts her into the power of the sisters at the convent of St. Mortain. There, Ismae discovers she’s been gifted with great power. To understand her potential, she must embrace the training offered by the mysterious sisters. If Ismae agrees, they will teach her the arts of murder and seduction, so that she can be sent out into the world to bring the justice of an old god: Mortain, the god of death. When an opportunity arrives for Ismae to serve the young duchess of Brittany who faces an arranged marriage of her own, Ismae can’t help but accept, remembering her own past.

Determined to … Continue reading

Review: The Ruby Airship by Sharon Gosling

the-ruby-airshipThe Ruby Airship
Sharon Gosling
Capstone Young Readers

Reformed jewel thief Remy Brunel tries to live the quiet life of a stage performer in a busy London theater. Thaddeus Rec, a detective with the London police force, wants to believe Remy has given up her old ways. When one of Remy’s old friends shows up in town, he can’t help but wonder if this man is connected to a string of impossible robberies he is responsible to solve.

As Thaddeus investigates further, he uncovers hints of a much larger, more sinister plot. Before he can warn her, Remy disappears with her old friend, gone back to France to track down the circus in which both had once performed.

Packed with action from page one, The … Continue reading

Review: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

The Princess Spy by Melanie DickersonThe Princess Spy
Melanie Dickerson
Zonderkids
Published November 4, 2014

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Despite her romantic dreams and wishes, Margaretha is determined to wed a man who will secure her family’s future as well as her own. When a handsome though bedraggled stranger warns her that Lord Claybrook, her latest beau, is a fraud, Margaretha at first thinks him delusioned by fever.

Gradually she comes to accept and respect Colin, the English stranger and even volunteers to spy on Lord Claybrook for him. When Claybrook’s men seize her castle at Hagenheim and threaten the lives of her family members, it’s up to Margaretha and Colin to stop the evil plot.

Continue reading

Review: Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

Stay Where You Are and Then LeaveStay Where You Are and Then Leave
John Boyne
Henry Holt & Co/MacMillan
Published September 26, 2013

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When Alfie’s dad left for war, everyone said he’d be home by Christmas. That was four years ago. Now his father doesn’t write or contact the family at all. Alfie’s mother says it’s because he’s on a secret mission for the government, but Alfie knows she’s lying. His father is dead, and no one wants to tell him the truth.

To help support his mother and without her knowledge, Alfie begins a secret mission of his own. Three days a week, he skips school … Continue reading

Favorite Reads of 2014 (Part 1)

BestBooks2014_Jan-June

With summer in full swing, hopefully you’ve found yourself with some extra reading time. Out of over 70 books I’ve read since January 1, 2014, these are the top ten best. If you’re looking for a hot summer read, check these out.

We Are the GoldensWe Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt The emotional intensity. The slow, dramatic build-up. These are things I love about this story.From my review: “Reading this novel is like taking that first ride on a roller coaster and feeling the adrenaline and rush building over each tick-tick-tick as the coaster inches up to the top of its track until its riders can look out over the imminent fearsome … Continue reading

Review: All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth That’s In Me
Julie Berry
Viking Children’s/Penguin Group
Published September 26, 2013

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Judith returns to her small Puritan community at Roswell Station after a two year disappearance. She remains unable to speak, since her captor removed half her tongue. Her mother grudgingly allows her to live in her home, but rumors about Judith are whispered along the edges of her hearing. No one seems able to believe that she returned with her virtue intact.

Despite the murmurs and dirty looks, Judith tries her best to be kind to the townspeople, especially to her childhood friend Lucas. When an attack by Homelanders threatens to destroy … Continue reading

Review: Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea and Caryn Rivadeneira

Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea and Caryn RivadeneiraShades of Mercy (Maine Chronicle #1)
Anita Lustrea and Caryn Rivadeneira
River North Fiction/Moody Publishers
Published September 1, 2013

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Mercy Millar just wants her father to see her for who she is, instead of the son he wishes he had. She does enjoy the freedom to come and go the way her father’s son would, though. She is even allowed to drive to the edge of town and pick up the Maliseet workers unescorted. She looks forward to that drive each morning because it’s the only place she and Mick, a Maliseet boy, can be together. They steal a few … Continue reading

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