Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda

Lief, Barda, and Jasmine are back in the second book of the Deltora Quest series. This time they are headed to the Lake of Tears to find the second gem belonging to the belt of Deltora. They solve riddles, encounter a Ralad man, and try to escape from the sorceress Thaegan and two of her children as well as try to retrieve the hidden gem.

I just love the whole Deltora Quest series. The stories are fun and sometimes exciting. Lief, Barda, and Jasmine are all very likable characters. I read The Lake of Tears to my 7 and 9 year old boys and they loved it, too. As soon as we finished, they begged me to buy the third book. I recommend this book, and the whole series, to people of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 22
Pages Read in 2016: 5479
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Filed under Middle Grades

Summer at Sea by Beth Labonte

Summer is a 26 year old school librarian who still lives at home with her anxious and overbearing parents. When her brother, creator of an iPhone fart app, decides to take his girlfriend, business partner/best friend Graham, parents, and Summer on an 8 day cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate the success of the app, Summer figures it’s a chance to put into action a plan to find a husband and get out of her parents’ basement. Then her brother and his girlfriend bail on the trip and Summer finds she is sharing a suite with Graham, a man she has always found attractive, but has never thought of her as anything but his best friend’s little sister. While Summer tries hard to find a man, Graham tries hard to help her get out from under the thumb of her parents.

Summer at Sea is a fun and funny book that reads fast (I literally laughed out loud several times). I could barely put it down. It is a bit predictable (with some small surprises), but that’s part of what makes it great. The ending was exactly what I wanted. It is well-edited and well-written. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes romantic comedies and chick lit.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 21
Pages Read in 2016: 5350
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry tells the true story of how the Danish people saved most of the country’s Jewish population during World War II by sneaking them across the water to Sweden right under the Nazi’s noses. The book focuses on two fictional families with ten-year-old girls, Annemarie and Ellen, living in Copenhagen in 1943. When word spreads at the Jewish New Year that the Nazi’s will be “relocating” the Jews, Annemarie’s family does everything they can to save and protect Ellen’s family.

I read Number the Stars aloud to my homeschooled sons (7, 9, and 14) as part of history class since we are currently learning about World War II. All three boys enjoyed it and were especially interested when I read the end where it tells what parts are fact and what parts are fiction. My 9-year-old loved the book the most and was so excited to learn that so many people really did help to save the Danish Jews from the Nazis. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 20
Pages Read in 2016: 5111
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades

Deep Fried and Pickled by Paisley Ray

It’s 1986 and Rachael O’Brien is leaving Ohio for North Carolina and her first year of college. In between navigating classes, roommates, living in the south, her crazy parents, and boys, Rachael discovers an art forgery ring and sets out to prove what is happening and who is involved. Early on she figures out, mostly correctly, who the major players in the forgery ring are. As the reader, you get to go along with her as she searches for the evidence she needs to prove her hunches right.

I really enjoyed Deep Fried and Pickled. The only things I didn’t like about the book were the sheer number of drinking scenes (seriously, it seemed like these 18 year old girls spent more time drinking than in class) and Rachael’s obsession with talking about losing her virginity (it just wasn’t at all necessary). Other than that, it was a fun mind vacation book. I definitely recommend reading it!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 19
Pages Read in 2016: 4979
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Filed under Realistic Fiction

The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle

Brooklyn, a bookbinder and rare and antique books expert, is working on a show, This Old Attic, when someone brings in an amazing copy of The Secret Garden. Brooklyn appraises it for quite a lot of money and then finds herself in the middle of two mysteries, one involving the murder of the owner of The Secret Garden and one involving the stalker of the star of This Old Attic.

The Book Stops Here is a fun story, especially for people who love books. I was quite surprised and delighted by the wrap up. While it took a bit to really get into it, I could barely put it down once I got about halfway through. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 18
Pages Read in 2016: 4576
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Filed under Mystery, Realistic Fiction

Formula for Murder by Diana Orgain

Kate the PI is back again trying to balance solving murders with being a new mom. This time there are two murders to solve and it looks like several people could be the guilty party (parties?). Somehow the French Consulate figures into it, but Kate has to figure out who and how before it’s too late.

While Formula for Murder is a murder mystery, it is also lighthearted and sometimes funny. The only annoying part is how much time Kate spends obsessing over needing to get back to her baby, Laurie, and whether it would be okay to give the baby formula. It’s like the author needs to remind the reader – repeatedly – that it’s part of the Maternal Instincts series which means the PI has a baby. I recommend it as a quick, easy, fun read.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 17
Pages Read in 2016: 4263
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Filed under Realistic Fiction

The Rise of Nazi Germany

The Rise of Nazi Germany chronicles the events leading up to Hitler taking control of Germany. It starts with the end of World War I and the hyperinflation that occurred in the years following. Several specific events are covered in depth including the Beer Hall Putsch, the burning of the Reichstag, and the Night of the Long Knives and how the Nazi party reacted to each of these events. Everything is covered in an easy to understand way, making this an excellent book for anyone interested in learning more about how the Nazis came into power.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 16
Pages Read in 2016: 3989
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Filed under Non-Fiction