Monthly Archives: August 2017

Doom of the Three Stones by Josh Kilen

Doom of the Three Stones is weird. I’m talking Yo Gabba Gabba level weird. My 11-year-old thought maybe the author wrote the beginning while drunk and then decided to roll with it. My husband thought perhaps substances of the more illegal variety were involved. Regardless, while it is weird, it is also really good. It’s well-written with a decent plot and has excellent grammar and an incredibly sophistocated vocabulary for a book aimed at kids. I recommend reading this book as a family read aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 118
Pages Read in 2017: 32,240
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Bedtime Story for the Boys

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Filed under Middle Grades

Chinese Fairy Tales by Frederick H. Martens

Chinese Fairy Tales is a collection of several short fairy tales from China. They are fun to read. Some have notes to clarify things that a western audience might not totally understand. I highly recommend it for children studying China!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 117 (this book is not counted toward annual total)
Pages Read in 2017: 32,126
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Fritz for Next School Year

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Kula Keiki Ali’i by Rosemary I. Patterson

Part historical fiction, part science fiction, Kula Keiki Ali’i tells the story of the Hawaiian children sent to be taught and “civilized” by Calvinist missionaries. In between historical scenes, a story in the present plays out. The story is good, but it is in bad need of an editor. The speech patterns of the children sound like today, not over 100 years ago. For the historical content, I highly recommend this book. For the writing, it’s just not very good.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 117
Pages Read in 2017: 32,044
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Cameron for Next School Year

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Science Fiction

Zoe and Zak and the Yogi’s Curse by Lars Guignard

Zoe and Zak are special. Zak has magical objects and Zoe has yogi powers. Talusar is gaining strength, Mr. Muk is missing, and it’s up to Zoe and Zak to break the yogi’s curse and put everything back the way it should be.

Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse is the second Zoe and Zak book. We didn’t read the first one so some things that were referred to, including how Zoe originally got her powers, we had no idea was the author was talking about, but that did not prevent us from enjoying the book. It’s a cute story with lots of action and quite a bit of humor, too. I highly recommend it to kids and adults. It makes a great family read-aloud! Clearly, you don’t have to read the first book first, but I would recommend you do to prevent confusion.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 116
Pages Read in 2017: 31,895
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Bedtime Story for the Boys

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Filed under Middle Grades

Wulf the Saxon by GA Henty

I never realized the story of the Norman Conquest including descriptions of battles could be made incredibly dull and boring, but GA Henty did his best and definitely succeeded with Wulf the Saxon. I actually found myself making excuses not to read the book, and had I not been pre-reading it for my son for school, I am pretty sure I would’ve stopped reading it completely… something I’ve only done with exactly one book ever. I will say, though, that my house was incredibly clean by the time I finished reading it so I guess it was good for something.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 115
Pages Read in 2017: 31,553
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Cameron for Next School Year

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Filed under Historical Fiction

Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders by Joyce Nance

In March 1996, Shane Harrison and Esther Beckley set out to rob a Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque New Mexico. It went terribly wrong and resulted in the deaths of five innocent people. Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders is the story of how it happened and the aftermath. As with many true crime books, the timeline can occasionally be difficult to follow and the number of characters hard to keep straight. It is well-written, however, and attempts to make the timeline as easy to follow as possible. I recommend this book to true crime fans.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 114
Pages Read in 2017: 31,242
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (R in PERIDOT)

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Filed under True Crime

The Only Witness by Pamela Beason

When baby Ivy Rose Morgan is kidnapped in broad daylight, there is only one witness: Neema, a gorilla with the IQ of a five-year-old human. The detective on the case immediately assumes the teenage mother did something to the baby, but little by little he unravels the case with the help of Neema to find what really happened.

The Only Witness sucked me right in. The characters – human and gorilla – are written in a way that made me really care about what happened to them. Each chapter is another day after Ivy disappears so that even though it is a pretty fast read, you really get a sense of the agonizingly long process of the investigation. I highly recommend this book to fans of crime fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 113
Pages Read in 2017: 30,951
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (O in PERIDOT)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction