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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book Reviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,338
26. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Just finished THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, loved it. This  historical fiction novel for middle grade is such a satisfying read, full of adventure and heartbreak and compassion. I loved the characters in this book SO MUCH, and desperately want a sequel.

I confess that I held off reading this book because its premise sounded too depressing but I am soooooooooo glad that I got over this and strongly encourage others who have held off for the same reason to get over it as well. Highly recommended.

Find out more about Kimberly Brubaker Bradley at her website.

More about the book on the Penguin Random House site.

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27. All the Pretty Princesses

Princesses everywhere.

I am not the most girly type of woman.   But even I wanted to be a princess when I was little.  I did not want to be an actual princess, who has to learn to be diplomatic, attend boring meetings, discuss policy with councilors, and put up with the attentions of not necessarily handsome princes.  I wanted to be a fairy tale princess - beautiful, cosseted, rich and talented.

So, to celebrate Princesses everywhere on this Carnival Tuesday, here is a list of my favorite princess books:

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  A dragon destroys everything - including a princess' wardrobe AND kidnaps a handsome prince.  Dressed in a paper bag, our princess hunts down the evil lizard. (Picture Book)

The Magic Fishbone by Charles Dickens.   Alicia manages the castle and the little princes and princesses quite well with just her cleverness.  The magic fishbone in her apron pocket must be saved for just the right wish. Happy ending, everyone!!! (Short story suitable for ages 4 through 10, and for adults who like Dickens)

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.   Miri and the other girls in her mountain village must learn how to be princesses because one of them will marry the prince.  Also - bandits try to kidnap them and they have to protect themselves.  Bad guys; jealousy; mean teachers; resourcefulness! (Middle grade through teen)

Hmmm, there are many, many more princess books around then are dreamt of in your philosophies, dear Horatio.  But here is just one more.

I am going to add I am Princess X by Cherie Priest because the story is a bit incredible but the combination of graphics and text and the suspense, clues, and sleuthing add up to a roller coaster ride of a book. (Teen - action-adventure, violent crimes, risk taking)

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28. The Green Bicycle – Diversity Reading, 2016

Title: The Green Bicycle Author: Haifia Al Mansour Publisher: Dial Books for young Readers, 2015 Age: 9-13 Themes: family, dreams, life in Saudi Arabia as a girl, coming of age, role of women/girls Opening: Wadjda wasn’t thinking about her ticket to heaven. You could see it on … Continue reading

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29. The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly Book Preview

This is a picture book preview for The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and Illustrated by Gris Grimly. This is a rhyming alphabet book. A is for…

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30. Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe {Review}


This heartbreaking and deceptively slim novel deals with big topics like the mental illness, abandonment, family relations and the Holocaust. After a long estrangement, Lucas wants to be back in his 17-year-old daughter Vera’s life, especially after she has a psychotic break. He takes her for the summer to his ancestral home in Lithuania. While Lucas tries to mend their relationship, he also learns about his grandmother’s life during WWII. This is a powerful novel from the author of The Girls from Corona Del Mar.

Lucas and Katya were boarding school seniors when, blindingly in love, they decided to have a baby. Seventeen years later, after years of absence, Lucas is a weekend dad, newly involved in his daughter Vera’s life. But after Vera suffers a terrifying psychotic break at a high school party, Lucas takes her to Lithuania, his grandmother’s homeland, for the summer. Here, in the city of Vilnius, Lucas hopes to save Vera from the sorrow of her diagnosis. As he uncovers a secret about his grandmother, a Home Army rebel who escaped Stutthof, Vera searches for answers of her own. Why did Lucas abandon her as a baby? What really happened the night of her breakdown? And who can she trust with the truth? Skillfully weaving family mythology and Lithuanian history with a story of mental illness, inheritance, young love, and adventure, Rufi Thorpe has written a wildly accomplished, stunningly emotional book.

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31. Picture Book Study: Meg Goldberg on Parade by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and Christopher Lyles

This is a children’s picture book structure break down for Meg Goldberg on Parade by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and Christopher Lyles. This breakdown will contain…

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32. Wanted: Writing with an At Can connection

Galleon is looking for fiction and poetry for issue V. Publishes work by Atlantic Canadians or related to the region, but there is room for submissions “from away.” Fiction: 5000 words max. Poetry: 100 lines max. Payment: One copy. Deadline: May 1, 2016.

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33. Fantasy Sports #1 by Sam Bosma

This is a book preview for FANTASY SPORTS #1 by Sam Bosma.  In Sam Bosma’s debut graphic novel, a young explorer and her musclebound friend…

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34. Reading and awards

In the past few weeks I have read Circus Mirandus, The Book of Kings, Anna and the Swallow Man, The Beastly Bones, The Hired Girl.   I gave up, temporarily, on The Six of Crows and I promise to go back to that because my Boss says it's worth the effort.  I also read Confessions of an Imaginary Friend.

I am pretty sure that there  are other books that I have read recently that did not make this list.  You will note that few if any of these books are on the recently released Youth Media Awards.   (Mainly because several of these are 2016 releases so....)

As a matter of fact, I did a poor job of reading award-worthy books this year.  I have been reading what I want - so there.  

So here is a short run down of two of the books mentioned above.
The Book of Kings -by Cynthia Voigt.  I want to live in Max's home town.  I, too, want to be a solutioneer.  Max Starling must rescue his parents who have been tricked into playing the King and Queen of a small, oppressed South American nation.  So, he, his grandmother, his tenant, Ari who is also a Baron, his "assistant" Pia's father, two boys who may end up being good friends and Max's painting teacher all pile on to a ocean liner, leaving behind the idyllic city of Queensbridge.  Don't DO it! Max.  What a delightful adventure, full of twists and turns and headstrong people.

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz.  When Jane's unhappy father burns her journals - they are a waste of her time.  Jane runs off to Baltimore and gets a job as a hired girl in the home of a department store owner and entrepreneur.  Her job is complicated by the clash of cultures.  Jane's mother was Catholic, though Jane rarely got a chance to attend church.  And the family she works for are observant Jews.  Jane is NOT 18 as she claims but only 14, so she makes some choices and behaves in ways that threaten to get her fired.  Good book.  Read it.

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35. Picture Book Study: Mousetropolis by R. Gregory Christie

This is a children’s picture book structure break down for Mousetropolis by R. Gregory Christie. This breakdown will contain spoilers. Once upon a time: (Pages…

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36. Picture Book Study: My Cousin MOMO by Zachariah OHora

This is a children’s picture book structure break down for My Cousin MOMO by Zachariah OHora. This breakdown will contain spoilers. Once upon a time:…

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37. Let’s look at Doomboy Graphic Novel by Tony Sandoval. A Rockin book!

Doomboy by Tony Sandoval is a story about a metal musician “Doomboy” and how he copes with a loss of a loved one through music and…

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38. {Review}Your Heart is a Muscle The Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa



Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of A Fist by Sunil Yapa

Little Brown, Release Date: January 12, 2016


The Flamethrowers meets Let the Great World Spin in this electrifying debut novel set amid the heated conflict of Seattle’s 1999 WTO protests.

On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor–a nomadic, scrappy teenager who’s run away from home–sets out to sell as much marijuana as possible to the throng of WTO demonstrators determined to shut down the city. With the proceeds, he plans to buy a plane ticket and leave Seattle forever, but it quickly becomes clear that the history-making 50,000 anti-globalization protestors–from anarchists to environmentalists to teamsters–are testing the patience of the police, and what started out as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence.

Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the fates of seven people will change forever: foremost among them police Chief Bishop, the estranged father Victor hasn’t seen in three years, two protesters struggling to stay true to their non-violent principles as the day descends into chaos, two police officers in the street, and the coolly elegant financial minister from Sri Lanka whose life, as well as his country’s fate, hinges on getting through the angry crowd, out of jail, and to his meeting with the President of the United States. When Chief Bishop reluctantly unleashes tear gas on the unsuspecting crowd, it seems his hopes for reconciliation with his son, as well as the future of his city, are in serious peril.

In this raw and breathtaking novel, Yapa marries a deep rage with a deep humanity. In doing so he casts an unflinching eye on the nature and limits of compassion, and the heartbreaking difference between what is right and what is possible.


This compelling story of the WTO riots in Seattle in 1999 is told from many differing points of view. At the novel’s center is a homeless, young, black man named Victor who wants to sell marijuana to the protesters in order to make enough money to buy a plane ticket and get out of Seattle. Over the course of one day, the novel introduces us to seven people whose lives will be transformed by these cataclysmic events. The cast of characters includes Victor’s stepfather, the Chief of Police, cops and protesters that gives a very unique voice to this debut novel. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist depicts how the protester’s non-violence led to retaliation from the police. One protester’s story about a murderer who is now a non-violent protester is extremely moving and will resonate with readers. This Rashomon-like narrative will appeal to fans of Jonathan Franzen, Garth Hallberg, Colum McCann or Rachel Kushner.

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39. Book Review 2016-001: Vertigo by Joanna Walsh

Walsh - Vertigo2016-001: Vertigo by Joanna Walsh

115 pages, 2015 by Dorothy, a publishing project

Purchased direct from the publisher


Like all books published by Dorothy, a publishing project, I purchased this one as soon as it was published. Unfortunately, like most of the books I buy these days, it sat around for half a year before I picked it up to read it. I originally intended to read a story or three, choose one, and post on the Work of the Day. However, a combination of sitting at a car service department for longer than I'd hoped for, and the fact that I couldn't stop turning pages, led me to read the entire collection of stories by Joanna Walsh.

The collections focuses more on women in domestic situations more than anything else. Walsh's language is incredible--there's a dreamlike quality lulling the reader into a sense of security while at the same time writing about urgent situations--a mother in a children's ward waiting for news on her daughter; a woman dealing with the fact that her husband has developed online relationships with other women; a mother on a bus ride with her daughter to what she knows re her disappointed parents. It's a very interesting combination of situational tension being calmed down by the way Walsh writes her sentences and puts her paragraphs together.

Part of this is done through her usage of the ordinary. In "Online," the story with the flirtatious husband, the wife asks "How is your breakfast?" and "What do you like for breakfast?" The sort of things you don't typically see in stories. The second question does lead to the interesting point that she believes she's at a disadvantage with the collective that is the group of women he talks to online. She believes that because they can ask questions like this, where she sounds ridiculous doing so as she KNOWS what he likes to eat makes them more interesting to him than she is.

In "Young Mothers" a story wherein the mothers see their existence ebb and flow strictly through their children. They are not known by their names but as "Connor's mum, or Casey's mum." Walsh slides lines like:

"Colors were bright, so our children did not lose us, so we could not lose each other, or ourselves, no matter how hard we tried."

after couplets like:

"Fleece was warm and stretchy for growing bodies. Shoes were flat for running, playing.

A couple of nice, simple sentences describing the outfits of the children in standard terms and then just a hammer blow of truly getting inside a mother's head.

The collection has fourteen stories that are linked, not by character, or setting, but by mood, by language and the very smooth mixing of urgent situations with calming language. It's unlike any other collection I've read and I look forward to future works by Joanna Walsh.

4.5 paws

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40. Doodle Invasion, A Crazy Coloring Book by Kerby Rosanes

If you’re looking for a more “character based” coloring book, you’ll have lots to doodle at with Zifflin’s Doodle Invasion Coloring book featuring the art of…

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41. Check out Edward Gorey’s “Amphigorey Too” Book Art & Interiors

If you already purchased “Amphigorey: 15 books” then this is obviously the next step. It collects 20 of Gorey’s books (ones which are less popular).…

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42. A Look at The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories By Tim Burton

Tim Burton, the prolific artist who has brought his unique macabre style to the mainstream shows off more of his quirky characters in this great short story…

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43. {Review} And Again by Jessica Chiarella



In the spirit of Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles, this exciting literary debut novel, AND AGAIN by Jessica Chiarella, imagines the consequences when four ordinary individuals are granted a chance to continue their lives in genetically perfect versions of their former bodies.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?



What if you were given a second chance on life? Would you take it no matter what it costs you? That’s the idea behind this debut novel about four very different, terminally ill patients who are chosen to live in genetically perfect, cloned bodies. Although they’re physically perfect they are still faced with issues to overcome; an artist has to re-learn how to paint, a politician has to fight with old vices and a former paralyzed woman has to reconnect with her family who moved on without her. Told in first-person accounts from all four protagonists, this book deals with some interesting and thought-provoking issues regarding the way our identity is formed and the balance between mind, body, and soul.  Chiarella has written an engaging debut novel that will keep readers turning pages.

AND AGAIN is a January Indie Next Selection.

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44. Golden Age of Illustration, Volume 3

The Illustrated Press has released the third of its limited edition surveys of classic American Illustration, called "The Golden Age: Masterworks from the Golden Age of Illustration — Vol. 3"

The large format hardcover book is purely pictorial, with 224 pages of full-page artwork. The images are arranged alphabetically in a survey that ranges from about 1900-1960. As with all of Dan Zimmer's publications, the quality of the printing and binding is excellent.

Tom Lovell and Orson Lowell
So you get one, or sometimes two, illustrations by the well-known illustrators, along with a good sampling of lesser-known names. I find these books to be useful for stimulating new visual ideas and for snapping me out of my pictorial habits.

Gordon Johnson and Victor Kalin
You can preview the whole book online in thumbnail form here and see if it's got what you like. The special collector's edition version is sold out, as is the first volume in the series. But the regular editions of Volumes 3 and 2, priced at $44.95, are still available.

Also, available for pre-order is the new Dean Cornwell book by Illustration Press, which is also limited to 1000 copies, and is sure to sell out.
The Golden Age: Masterworks from the Golden Age of Illustration — Vol. 3

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45. In 1900....

Jacqueline Kelly very kindly wrote another book about Calpurnis Tate. In The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, Callie Vee, as her six brothers and parents call her, is disappointed to find that life in the year 1900 goes on pretty much like always.  She goes on rambles with her scientist grandfather.  She makes meticulous notes in her notebook.  She is by turns bedeviled and beguiled by her brothers.  And she disappoints her mother and baffles her father almost weekly.

Almost every other chapter tells of her struggles with Travers, her wild animal loving younger brother, and his latest "find".  The armadillo is a bust.  The raccoon is fated for failure, but the coy-dog??  Really???

Then there is the hurricane of 1900 that wiped Galveston, TX, off the map.  The barometer and Callie's chance sighting of a strange bird sends Callie's grandfather to the telegraph office to send wires to the coast.  Callie has to give up her bed to a cousin she barely knows - a greedy, penny-pinching cousin who has no appreciation of nature.  That and the disappearance of Callie's gold piece add up to a recipe for high drama.

In between, Callie runs errands for the new veterinarian, learns how to type, gets even with a conniving brother and deals as well as she can with her parents' expectations for her future.

This feels like a bridge book.  I am eager to see if Callie prevails.

MEANWHILE, in San Francisco, Lizzie Kennedy hates her school, Miss Barstow's.  She'd much prefer going out on doctor's calls with her father.  She loves science but, just like Callie Vee, her obsession is considered unseemly for a young woman. 

In Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko, there are rumors that plague has broken out in Chinatown.  Lizzie's uncle, the owner of one of the biggest newspapers in town, refuses to believe the rumors without proof.  But Chinatown is quarantined and trapped inside is Lizzie's cook and friend, Jing.  Jing leaves behind a secret - a real LIVE secret.  And that secret teaches Lizzie to look at her world in a whole new way.

There are a lot of secrets in this book; secrets that endanger a whole city; secrets that hide the way people really feel; secrets about how to fit in.  Lizzie has to find Jing, learn how to be friends with people her own age, survive her first ball, and prove her worth as a nurse. 

It all happened in 1900!

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46. Graphic novel love: SUNNY SIDE UP by Jennifer and Matthew Holm

Not only is SUNNY SIDE UP a wonderful graphic novel for middle grade, but you can also find out tons of behind-the-scenes info about how it was made in THE YARN. I met Jenni Holm at NerdCampMI earlier this year and found her super-friendly and down-to-earth. 

Found out more about Jenni at JenniferHolm.com, about Matthew at MatthewHolm.net and SUNNY SIDE UP at Scholastic.

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47. Matt Gaser's "Fantastical"

Visual development artist Matt Gaser has released a compilation of his personal artwork called "Fantastical: The Art of Matt Gaser." It's a full-color book loaded with sketches and digital paintings of monsters, robots, giants, floating cities, and spaceships.

Matt has worked as a concept artist and illustrator for Lucasfilm video games, so all of his paintings suggest stories and scenarios behind the imagery. The gallery includes subchapters with Gaser's science fiction and fantasy worlds, including Metakron, Oasis, Edmund & Hunter, and Dr. Zammsy.

His approach is surreal, whimsical, and colorful. As Christian Alzmann says in the introduction, "Where science fiction is often notoriously grim, the future bleak, even Matt's darkest work hints at goodness with a light and playful quality."
Fantastical: The Art of Matt Gaser
Hardcover, 11 x 8 inches, 112 pages, full color, Cameron & Co.
Matt Gaser's website

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48. Pierre The Maze Detective Awesome Hidden-Object Puzzle Book!

I love puzzle books and Pierre the Maze Detective is one of those visually stunning oversized books in the tradition of Where’s Waldo. You’ll spend hours…

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49. Picture Book Study: The Entertainer by Emma Dodd

This is a children’s picture book structure break down for The Entertainer by Emma Dodd. This breakdown will contain spoilers. This is a rhyming book!…

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50. Picture Book Study: Poppy’s Best Paper By by Susan Eaddy and Rosalinde Bonnet

This is a children’s picture book structure break down for Poppy’s Best Paper By by Susan Eaddy and Rosalinde Bonnet. This breakdown will contain spoilers.…

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