Monthly Archives: September 2017

Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret by Wanda Coven

Heidi Heckelbeck has always been homeschooled, but now she’s going to public school for the first time in second grade. And it is not a good experience. There’s a mean girl, a play she has to perform in even though she doesn’t want to, and already knowing what they are learning because her mother taught her at home. I think the Heidi Heckelbeck books would have been very useful for my middle son when he went to public school for the first time in second grade and hated every minute of the half year he attended. The end was extremely abrupt and left off on a cliffhanger which my boys and I did not like. I recommend this book to young readers ready for chapter books. Bonus if it’s a young reader transitioning from homeschooling to public school for the first time.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 128 (this book is not counted toward annual total)
Pages Read in 2017: 35,045
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Bedtime Story for the Boys

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Filed under Children

Scaly Tale, Ripley’s Bureau of Investigation

The first Ripley’s Bureau of Investigation book, Scaly Tale, is the story of teens searching for the lizard man. The story itself is pretty dumb (my 9- and 11-year-old sons agree), but the many facts included on the side and at the end were quite interesting and made it a bit more worth reading. I recommend it for kids who like Ripley’s Believe it Or Not factoids.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 128
Pages Read in 2017: 34,915
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Bedtime Story for the Boys

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Aaru by David Meredith

Rose is dying at just 16-years-old. Mr. Adams from Elysian Enterprises offers her parents the chance to save her. Only after she has died, do they learn that by save he meant to a hard drive where she’ll live forever in Aaru. Any time they want, they can call her up and talk to her. Elysian Enterprises hires her 13-year-old sister to be one of their spokesmodels which leads to a busy schedule and an obsessed fan that could compromise everything.

Aaru is one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read. What makes you you? Is it enough to just talk to our dead loved ones like they are in a portrait at Hogwarts? What kind of life would they live in Aaru? Is it actually living? Can you really be happy if happy is the only possibility? If we could save people this way, would we want to? As I read, I found myself asking people these questions as I worked out my own answers (an informal Facebook poll on whether my friends would want to save their loved ones revealed very differing opinions).

The writing is excellent, the vocabulary is advanced. I noticed only a few mistakes (generally words that wouldn’t be caught by spell check). The story itself sucked me right in. I found myself caring very much what happened to the characters. Aaru is the first in a planned series and I will definitely be reading the next one when it comes out. This first book has a satisfying ending, no cliffhanger, but leaves plenty of openings for continuing on in the next book. I highly recommend reading this book to adults who enjoy YA and older teens!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 127
Pages Read in 2017: 34,787
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: I was asked to read and review it by the author

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Filed under Science Fiction

Wild Thing by Dandi Daley Mackall

Winnie loved horses. Ever since her mom died and they left their ranch, she’s dreamed of owning a horse again. She finally gets her chance with a wild white Arabian, but she knows that as soon as she gentles the horse, she’ll have to sell her to make back the investment.

There was so much about Wild Thing that was just ridiculous. The character names were based on what kind of animal they liked. Winnie for hoses, Barker for dogs, Catman for cats, Lizzie for lizards. The story was incredibly predictable. So much so that my 11-year-old accurately guessed what would happen in each chapter before we read them. I felt like the author wanted the book to have religious elements and so stuck things in, creating an awkward in-your-face experience. The story was very sweet, however, I just don’t recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 126
Pages Read in 2017: 34,496
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

Pants on Fire by Clayton Smith

Pants on Fire is a collection of short stories that are most definitely all lies. Some are better than others. Some are funny, some are creepy, some make you think. Overall, I found them to be quite enjoyable, particularly the shorter ones. It’s an odd little book for sure.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 125
Pages Read in 2017: 34,300
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (P in SAPPHIRE)

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Filed under Short Stories

Humanity’s Last Chance by DP Fitzsimons

A virus has wiped out most of earth’s population and continues to turn people into cannibals. On an island, 117 children created in test tubes are being raised away from everyone else in the hopes that one day they can fly away and start human colonies on other planets.

Humanity’s Last Chance, the first in The Eden Project, a four-book series, is very fast-paced. It gets a bit gory at the end, but not overly so. I could barely put the book down. It reads fast. It ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, but in a place that makes perfect sense to end the first book of a series. There were a couple things that just didn’t make sense, such as how any of the doctors working on the island, supposedly far away from all other humans, contracted the virus. I will most likely read the other books, though, at least eventually. I recommend this book to sci-fi and end of the world fans.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 124
Pages Read in 2017: 34,130
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: 52 Books Bingo (Science Fiction)

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Rent a Husband by Sally Mason

New divorcee Darcy needs a date for the ball. Her next door neighbor and GBFF pays an acquaintance, Forrest, to go with her. When people start talking saying that he must be hired, Forrest declares his love to Darcy and proposes to her right in front of the whole town.

Rent A Husband was a total mind vacation quick read. The story was funny, though it did go on a bit too long and all the near misses and incorrect assumptions just became ridiculous. It is in need of an editor. There are many incorrect words and punctuation issues throughout. If you want something that doesn’t take much brain power and errors don’t bother you, this book is great!

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 123
Pages Read in 2017: 33,892
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (R in SAPPHIRE)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction