Hula for the Home Front by Kirby Larson

The second book in the American Girl Nanea series, Hula for the Home Front sees Hawaii continuing to deal with the aftermath of Pearl Harbor through the win at Midway. The story addresses many very serious topics like worrying about an older brother enlisting in the military, all written in a way kids can understand. The last few pages give the history of what was happening during the time period of the book and a little more information about things mentioned in the book like Dogs for Defense. I highly recommend this book to kids who enjoy historical fiction. It makes a great family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 115
Pages Read in 2019: 29,710
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

The Diary of “Helena Morley” by Helena Morley

Helena Morley, born in 1880, kept a very detailed diary from 1893 until 1895 when she was an early teen growing up in Brazil. It was originally published in Portuguese and then later translated into English. It’s an interesting glimpse into the life of a young teen. There are numerous footnotes explaining words that weren’t translated, who people and places are, and anything else to aid in understanding her diary. The translator always wrote I and Anotherperson instead of Anotherperson and I and that pretty much drove me crazy while reading it. If you are looking for a translated book to read, this is a good enough choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 114
Pages Read in 2019: 29,583
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Spirit of Aloha by Kirby Larson

The Spirit of Aloha is the first book about Nanea, American Girl’s 1941 doll. She’s a Hawaiian girl living on Oahu where her father works nights at Pearl Harbor. It’s easy to guess what the big event in her life, and the focus of this book, is. As with all American Girl books, it’s told simply so kids can understand, but still tackles hard things like rounding up those of Japanese descent and the bottle shortage that made it difficult to treat people in the hospital. I highly recommend this book to kids. It makes a great family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 113
Pages Read in 2019: 29,194
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review

Shadow Prophet by Andrea Pearson

Shadow Prophet is the start to a new series (and what a start it is!) that happens at the same time as the Koven Chronicles, just this time the story centers on and is being told by Abel. It’s darker than the author’s other books (it’s still not super dark), but that makes sense because Abel is a rather complex and intense character and the things he’s been through and is being made to do are really rough. The book reads fast, mainly because you won’t want to put it down. For people who have read the Koven Chronicles, it’s really interesting to get glimpse into Abel’s mind and start to understand why he acts the way he does. You don’t have to have read the other series first, though. This one can totally stand on it’s own. I highly recommend Shadow Prophet to people who like the author’s other books or enjoyed the Koven Chronicles or just like urban fantasy. You won’t be disappointed!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 112
Pages Read in 2019: 29,059
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: I Like the Author

Allies by Alan Gratz

Allies is written in the same style as Refugee by the same author. The point of view regularly changes as the storylines slowly converge. This one covers midnight to midnight on June 6th, 1944, more commonly known as D-Day. Some events are compressed to make it all happen within that 24 hour time frame (those changes are explained in the notes after the story). While Allies is aimed at middle grade kids, it doesn’t shy away from difficult topics including racism within the troops, the desire of some soldiers to kill Nazis to get back at them, and the many, many deaths on that fateful day. It’s very well written. I highly recommend this book.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 111
Pages Read in 2019: 28,817
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: Vine Review

Aztec Curse by EM Stone

Aztec Curse was kind of a frustrating book to read. The storyline was great. I loved the chapters that went back in time. I loved how the translation of the Codex went along with the story told in those chapters. But the dialogue. It didn’t sound at all like normal conversation. There was a lot of monologuing to explain things and sometimes it didn’t make any sense. For example, explaining archaeology-related things to her father who is also an archaeologist. The sex scene was sudden and weird and not necessary. I suspect it was stuck in there as a plot device to allow the main character to see another character shirtless. There are other ways to get a man shirtless and it really didn’t totally fit the characters to do it how the author chose. It was extremely gory in places. Often overly so. There was a lot of extra stuff that was totally unnecessary. I suppose those scenes helped with character development, but they didn’t move the story along and could have easily been cut. The wrap-up chapter was ridiculously full of monologuing that just recapped in detail what happened in the previous few chapters. It was like the author wanted the other characters to find out what happened and forgot it is boring to go over something the readers already know. The way the main character guessed what was in the Codex was often a huge stretch. Of course she was always exactly right (as proven by the chapters from the past). I did care about most of the characters and what happened to them. As I got near the end I wasn’t sure how the author would possibly be able to wrap it all up in such a short time (she did, and very well other than the recap at the very end). So this was a good book, but it had very definite issues. I almost feel like a bit of its potential was wasted.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 110
Pages Read in 2019: 28,510
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

Slacker by Gordon Korman

Cameron Boxer is a total slacker so when his parents tell him he has to do something off electronics in order to keep his video games, he creates a fake school club that gets out of control when people take it seriously. Slacker alternates viewpoints each chapter giving you insight into all aspects of what is going on. Cam’s character development is excellent. The story is quite enjoyable. My 11- and 13-year-old sons liked it a lot (especially my 11-year-old video game addict).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 109
Pages Read in 2019: 28,117
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys