Into the Shadows by Harriet Parke

Emmaline, David, Elsa, and Micah have escaped from the compound, but they are being hunted by the Earth Protection Agency. David’s parents, John and Joan, follow them through the hole in the fence and attempt to throw the EPA agents off the little family’s trail.

I really liked the first Agenda 21 book and had high hopes for Into the Shadows, but it just wasn’t very good. There were giant plot holes that left me yelling in my head (and occasionally out loud) about how it didn’t make sense. For example, the little family walked for days and were still very near the mansion where the compound leaders live and the farm commune where the food is grown. That’s fine and explained by saying the river they were following meanders. The problem is, they ended up being taken in by an elderly couple. The elderly couple lived in a cave right by the mansion and farm commune and yet, somehow, they escaped detection for 17 years. Emmaline is constantly worried that their presence would bring the Earth Protection Agency people to the elderly couple. While that could happen, if they had survived without being discovered for almost two decades, why in the world would they be likely to suddenly be found just because the little family was there. The way the points of view switched was good except for one thing. The Emmaline chapters were told in first person while all other were in third person. That was actually rather annoying to me. Then there was the preachiness. The book would be going along fine and then there would be a section with hit-you-over-the-head “this is what you must learn from what you are reading” preaching (religious and political). I never quite figured out why the insistence that people only would want to be free if they knew their history (after all, Emmaline wanted to be free before she ever learned any of the history). The characters are all very flat. They never changed and most of them were quite dull. Many parts of the story moved very slowly. It’s a dystopian novel about running from human predators and learning how to live in the mostly uninhabited wild world. It should have been anything but slow. The afterword was written by Glenn Beck and warned of the evils of Agenda 21. Into the Shadows was a definite disappointment. I don’t really recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 37
Pages Read in 2017: 10,820
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (I in AQUAMARINE)

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Filed under Dystopian

Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body by Jennie Marts

The Page Turners (a group of women – and one teen – who read a book a week and get together to talk about it… and everything else) decide to set Sunny, a second grade teacher, on six blind dates over the course of the summer in order to find Mr. Right. Add in a hot guy, a couple mysteries, and life in general and you end up with tons of fun and craziness.

Having the close-knit book group at the center of this book made it extra fun for me since I love to read. The blind dates the women set Sunny up on are all hilarious. The mysteries really kept my attention and made me curious what the outcome would be. I loved how everything in the book wound all together. The ending was excellent. Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body really is an enjoyable mind vacation sort of book. I highly recommend reading it!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 36
Pages Read in 2017: 10,483
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in AQUAMARINE)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction

Alex: The Life of a Child by Frank Deford

Alex Deford was born in 1971 and died just 8 years later in 1980. She had Cystic Fibrosis. Alex: The Life of a Child is the story of her life as told by her father. When I was 12 or 13 I bought a copy of this book at a yard sale. I read it multiple times. For some reason I really loved the story of Alex. It’s been years since I last read it and it is still a great story. It is touching and told with such honesty and heartbreaking love. I highly recommend reading it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 35
Pages Read in 2017: 10,150
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in AQUAMARINE)

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Filed under Biography, Memoir

The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard by Robert Bryndza

Coco Pinchard is trying to become a successful author, but her life is a bit of a mess. (Seriously… that’s the entire synopsis I can come up with.)

The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard is written entirely as e-mails from Coco to her friends, son, family, agent, etc. That is pretty interesting, but the problem is Coco, and most of the other characters, is just annoying. Coco says things she thinks are funny, but aren’t, and when there are consequences or fallout, she’s pretty whiny about it. There are more books in the Coco Pinchard series, but I definitely will not be reading any more. I don’t really recommend reading this one unless you are bored. It’s mostly just a waste of time.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 34
Pages Read in 2017: 9910
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (N in AQUAMARINE)

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Upstairs at the White House by JB West

JB West worked as an assistant usher and then, later, as chief usher at the White House from 1941 until 1969. In Upstairs at the White House, he tells many amusing and interesting anecdotes about his time managing the residence and working closely with the first ladies. The book is split into sections about the Roosevelts, Trumans, Eisenhowers, Kennedys, Johnsons, and Nixons (though he only worked with Pat Nixon for about 6 weeks before he retired so that is a very short section). It’s well-written and told in a laid back, storytelling way. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in presidents.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 33
Pages Read in 2017: 9600
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (U in AQUAMARINE)

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Dmitri by Andrea Pearson

Dmitri returns to the castle to find the Lorkon have attacked and pregnant Princess Arien has been kidnapped. He sets out with his men to find what has happened and encounters several Lorkon elemental traps.

I read Dmitri to my 8 and 10 year old boys after we read the first book in the Key of Kilenya series. It was nice to get a little more information about Dmitri and Princess Arien and what Dmitri was going through when he wrote in the journal Jacob read in the first book. The formatting was a bit annoying (no chapter breaks), but the story itself was great. I highly recommend it to Kilenya fans. It works as a standalone book just as well as reading with the rest of the series.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 32
Pages Read in 2017: 9219
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Bedtime Story for the Boys

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Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures is about a group of black women “computers” who worked for NASA (and its predecessor NACA) at Langley in Virginia. It’s an amazing story of people – black, white, men, women – all working together, using their brains, and ultimately putting a man on the moon. The black women started working there during World War II and while many were working in integrated groups, tables at lunch, bathrooms, and their kids’ schools were segregated. Even once segregation behind the Langley gate ended, Virginia still clung desperately to segregation. The book weaves together the Civil Rights Movement with the achievements of these incredible mathematicians and scientists. It’s a must read excellent book!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 31
Pages Read in 2017: 9135
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (H in AMETHYST)

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Filed under Non-Fiction