Monthly Archives: March 2017

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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Filed under Non-Fiction

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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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. several times when I was a pre-teen and it’s still just as good. It was originally published in 1970, but the topics such as periods, bras, and religion were still relevant in the late 80s when I read it and continue to be relevant today. Also, the amount of punctuation in the title has always made me seriously happy. I highly recommend reading this book to tween girls!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 30
Pages Read in 2017: 8762
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in AQUAMARINE)

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Filed under Middle Grades, Realistic Fiction

A Chance for Sunny Skies by Eryn Scott

Sunny Skies almost drowned and the pictures that flashed through her head weren’t from her own life. She figures it’s because her life is so horrible, but then she begins seeing the images in real life and each one leads her to something to make her life better.

The first more than 3/4 of this book was excellent. The descriptions of how Sunny felt in social situations (she has severe anxiety) were perfect. Her interactions (especially on her first date) were often downright funny they were so awkward. I was totally loving the book and then just when it was wrapping up like a perfect mind vacation book, everything changed. I kind of felt like the author got to the end of the story, realized it was a bit too short, and tacked on a bit of a mess. Even so, it’s still a good book to read when you want a little break.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 29
Pages Read in 2017: 8600
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Choose a Book By the Cover BAW Mini-Challenge

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Filed under Realistic Fiction

The Age of Daredevils by Michael Clarkson

In the early 1900s several people tried to go over the falls at Niagara (on purpose), but few made it alive. This book is mostly the story of one family, the Hills, and the daredevil river rats they produced. It touches on the other people who went over the falls and tried to conquer the might Niagara as well, some successful, some not. It’s a good book for Niagara Falls fans.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 28
Pages Read in 2017: 8258
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in AMETHYST)

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Filed under Non-Fiction

The Serpent in the Glass by DM Andrews

Thomas Farrell is given his inheritance from his father on his eleventh birthday: a glass with a serpent in it and a prepaid education at a boarding school for gifted children. He requests to bring his adoptive sister with him to school and off they go for their first term, Thomas hoping his questions about his parents will soon be answered.

The Serpent in the Glass borrowed heavily from ideas found in Harry Potter as well as other fantasy series (but mostly Harry Potter). The story starts slow, but really takes off once all the characters and settings have been introduced. It’s fun to read (if a little too similar to Hary Potter). My 8 and 10 year old sons liked it a lot. It makes an very nice read aloud for families.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 27
Pages Read in 2017: 8000
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