My Story by Elizabeth Smart

When Elizabeth Smart was 14, she was stolen from the bedroom she shared with her little sister. For the next nine months, she was held captive, repeatedly raped, and abused. This is her story. What happened to her is terrible and evil. The hope and determination that comes through as she tells about those horrible nine months is inspiring. Elizabeth Smart is truly an amazing woman. I highly recommend this book!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 53
Pages Read in 2017: 16,063
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (M in DIAMOND)

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Filed under Memoir

The Darwin Awards Next Evolution by Wendy Northcutt

Darwin Awards are awarded posthumously to those who remove themselves from the gene pool in a way that makes you go “a lot of beer must have gone into that one.” The Darwin Awards Next Evolution describes the final acts of several people as well as things done by at risk survivors. The vignettes are humorous and clearly marked whether they are confirmed or unconfirmed. Interspersed between the chapters are essays on scientific topics ranging from mosquito spit to duck phalli to real life Hobbits. There’s an extensive FAQ at the end (too extensive, honestly). It’s a fun read and occasionally educational, too. It can all be found on the Darwin Awards website, but it’s often more convenient to read in book form.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 52
Pages Read in 2017: 15,743
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (D in DIAMOND)

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Filed under Humor

Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner

Once Upon a More Enlightened Time is a collection of fairy tales (and the story of Pinocchio) retold politically correct to the extreme. Sometimes they are utterly hilarious. Sometimes they are a bit tedious. They are good enough to pass the time reading when you can’t really concentrate on a book.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 51
Pages Read in 2017: 15,423
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (O in DIAMOND)

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Filed under Fairy Tale, Humor

August Fortress by Andrea Pearson

Jacob must lead an expedition to August Fortress to free the Shiengols. The path there is loaded with traps set by the Lorkon. This time their senses are lost one by one as they go, making the chance of success very low.

I usually read one chapter a night to the boys. We were down to two chapters and I asked if they wanted me to read both in one night. They very excitedly said yes. I was happy to oblige. It was all I could do not to read ahead on my own. I wanted to know what happened to Jacob and his friends! That the traps caused them to lose their senses one at a time was quite clever. My boys and I enjoyed this one possibly more than the previous two Kilenya books. I very highly recommend reading August Fortress (read the first two books first!). This series makes an excellent read-aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 50
Pages Read in 2017: 15,317
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

Absolution by Karen McQuestion

The kids are asked to go to Washington DC to help the Praetorian Guard protect the president and her daughter from The Associates at the annual Black Tie Bash. The three allowed to go (Nadia must stay home in Edgewood with her crazy mother) discover that there’s a whole city underneath the city just for the Praetorian Guard.

Nearly everything I thought I knew about the Edgewood series was wrong. I just wasn’t expecting some of the twists and turns in this book. The fact that the underground Praetorian Guard city was called PGDC bothered me a little bit, though. I used to live in southern Maryland so PG to me is PG County so it just kind of made me do a mental double-take every time I read PGDC. Like the previous book, this one was told alternating between Nadia and Russ with more chapters from Russ’s point of view this time. That was extremely effective, especially since Nadia was left at home and she could astral project and learn things Russ never could. I very highly recommend reading Absolution (but read the first two books first)!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 49
Pages Read in 2017: 14,999
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in DIAMOND)

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Filed under Science Fiction

A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson

William Stephenson bore the code name Intrepid during World War II. He earned a British knighthood and the Medal for Merit from the United States, among other honors, for his work. A Man Called Intrepid tells the behind the scenes story of the war and some of the spy missions and intelligence gathering involved. It answers some questions of why things were done the way they were. Sometimes the writing can be long-winded, but for the most part, this is a very interesting book. I recommend it to people interested in World War II.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 48
Pages Read in 2017: 14,569
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (M in AQUAMARINE)

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Filed under History

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Isabel and her little epileptic sister Ruth are sold to a nasty loyalist woman in 1776 New York. Isabel begins spying on her master’s meetings and informing the patriots. Soon the Redcoats arrive and the Revolutionary War is literally on her doorstep.

This book is historical fiction covering the time period of just under a year. The author wove real people and events from New York in the early part of the Revolutionary War into the story of a fictional slave girl. The story really drew me in. I highly recommend reading Chains to anyone interested in or studying that time period.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 47
Pages Read in 2017: 13,927
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: A to Z Authors (A)

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Filed under Historical Fiction