Monthly Archives: March 2016

Mindspeak by Heather Sunseri

Lexi has always known she is different. She can use her mind to influence the actions and words of other people after all. But, she doesn’t know just how different she is until, at 17, she meets Jack and learns they are both genetically engineered clones. After her father is killed when his car is bombed, everyone seems to want to find his journals and kill off Lexi, too.

Mindspeak by Heather Sunseri is the first book in the Mindspeak series. Once I got to about 2/3 of the way through it, I literally could not put it down (who needs sleep!). Sometimes as I read I found myself breathless with worry over what was going to happen next because I really started caring about what happened to these fictional people. I’ll be moving on to the second book soon for sure. A truly excellent book with a pretty unique storyline. I recommend it to teens as well as adults who love to read young adult books.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 30
Pages Read in 2016: 7700
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Filed under Science Fiction, Young Adult

City of the Rats by Emily Rodda

In this third installment of the Deltora Quest series, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine meet the strange merchant, Tom, ride some muddlets, meet the people of Noradz and their authoritarian Ra-Kacharz, discover where the food meant for the Palace of Del comes from, and enter the City of the Rats looking for the third gem to return to the Belt of Deltora.

If I had to choose just one, I think this would be my favorite Deltora Quest book. I love Noradz and the word play/evolution used there. It is in this book that the character of Jasmine begins to become more complex. Tom is also a pretty interesting, and likely realistic, character. As with the previous two books, as soon as I finished it, my 7 and 9 year old boys requested that I immediately buy the next book. I highly recommend the Deltora Quest series to people of all ages!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 29
Pages Read in 2016: 7310
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Filed under Middle Grades

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir draws on contemporary sources to tell the story of Henry VIII’s six wives, Catherine of Aragon (mother of Mary, annulled), Anne Boleyn (mother of Elizabeth, executed), Jane Seymour (mother of Edward VI, died due to childbirth), Anne of Cleves (annulled), Catherine Howard (executed), and Catherine Parr (marriage ended when he died). The book is very long and very in-depth, but the stories are told in a way that draws the reader in and holds attention. Most interesting is that although Henry VIII was adamant he have multiple male heirs and disapproved of women ruling, his one legitimate son never ruled in his own right since he died at just 15, but his daughters are still remembered today, one for how bloody her reign was and the other for the great era she presided over. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest in medieval England or Henry VIII.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 28
Pages Read in 2016: 7178
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Filed under Biography, History, Non-Fiction

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Arthur Pepper is a set in his ways, 69-year-old widower. He does the same thing every day. He wears the same thing every day. Sometimes, when his neighbor, Bernadette, brings him a treat to try to cheer him up, he hides from her in National Trust statue mode just because he doesn’t want to deal with talking to anyone at that time. All that changes on the one year anniversary of the death of his wife, Miriam. While cleaning out her things, he discovers a charm bracelet he does not recall ever seeing. When he calls the phone number on the elephant charm, he is led on a journey that spans three countries and many stories. In the process, Arthur meets some incredible people and learns as much about himself as about his wife.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick is a delightful, gentle, wonderfully British story. The pace is slow, but it is so captivating that I found it difficult to pull myself away from Arthur and his curious charms. I especially enjoyed watching Arthur come to terms with his feelings of inadequacy and wondering if he ever really knew his wife. I found his evolving relationship with his children very sweet and a lovely addition to the story. Sometimes, however, things would kind of come to a standstill or repeat itself a little. Occasionally, there would be a flashback and I’d be left momentarily confused not realizing what had happened. These issues are minor, however, and did not substantially take away from my enjoyment of the story. I highly recommend this book, particularly those who love (or are) someone older!

***I was provided this ebook by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper will be released on May 3rd and can be pre-ordered is now available and can be purchased on Amazon here.***

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 27
Pages Read in 2016: 6607
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Filed under Realistic Fiction

The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Tip creates a pumpkinheaded creature to scare mean old Mombi. Instead, Mombi uses magic to bring Jack Pumpkinhead to life. Tip and Jack run away (bringing a Saw-Horse to life along the way). Meanwhile, Jinjur leads a group of girls to take over the Emerald City. The Scarecrow, Nick Chopper (Tin Woodman), a highly educated Woggle-Bug, and a strange creature they put together and bring to life called the Gump, fly away to find Glinda the Good to help them. Glinda tells them they must find the rightful ruler of Oz: the missing Ozma.

The Marvelous Land of Oz is the second in the Oz series. L. Frank Baum had a talent for using words to mean two things at once with hilarious results. This makes the Oz books extra fun to read. I highly recommend this book (and all the Oz books) to readers of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 26
Pages Read in 2016: 6271
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Filed under Children, Classic

Summer Flambè by Paisley Ray

In this second of the Rachael O’Brien Chronicles, Rachael is home for the summer of 1987, between her first and second years of college. First her father’s girlfriend practically moves in since someone broke into her apartment… and cleaned. Then Rachael’s mom and her probable girlfriend, aura reader Betts, show up in Canton for a few days for a psychic convention (where Rachael runs into a very hot guy who happens to be from her past). When a very valuable old painting goes missing at the same time Maeve and Betts disappear, Rachael gets some shocking news about her family.

Rachael O’Brien’s life is certainly never dull and because of that, the Rachael O’Brien Chronicles are interesting and fun to read. Summer Flambè is well-edited with only a handful of mistakes, mostly toward the end. The climax and resolution happened a little too suddenly, but were quite the unexpected twist. I highly recommend this book (it is not necessary to read the first book first, but it does gives background information that would make this one more understandable).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 25
Pages Read in 2016: 6084
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Aesop’s Fables by Ann McGovern

Aesop’s Fables by Ann McGovern includes over 60 short retellings of fables written by Aesop. They are easy and quick to read. It is fun to see where so many things in our every day speech came from. I highly recommend this set of fables to elementary aged children.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 24
Pages Read in 2016: 5953
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Filed under Children