Tag Archives: 5 Stars

Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia by Zu Vincent

Catherine the Great schemed her way from being a minor princess to empress of Russia. She had lots of ideas, some that she never was able to carry out, and could be pretty ruthless when it came to dealing with enemies. This Catherine the Great Wicked History book tells her story and asks if she really was wicked or just did what she had to do to achieve her goals. I highly recommend this book to kids learning about Imperial Russia.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 77
Pages Read in 2018: 18,268
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under History, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Gulliver’s Travels adapted by Nick Eliopulos

Adapted for a younger audience, Gulliver’s Travels is an easy to read chapter book that hits all the main plot points of the classic novel. It’s an excellent book for young kids and can help make it so reading the original later on isn’t so daunting. I highly recommend it to elementary age kids.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 76
Pages Read in 2018: 18,140
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Children, Classic, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, never really learned how to be a tsar and never really wanted to be one either. While he preferred to hang out with his little family, his wife, four daughters, and hemophiliac son, rebellion was starting among the common workers of Russia. The Family Romanov discusses Nicholas’s reign, Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution, the Romanov family, and the end of Imperial Russia. Scattered throughout the book are writings by regular Russians showing what life was like under Tsar Nicholas. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the events of that time period.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 75
Pages Read in 2018: 18,033
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Focusing on several North Korean defectors, Nothing to Envy describes life under Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and (a tiny bit) Kim Jong-un, focusing particularly on the famine in the 90s. It’s quite fascinating to get a glimpse of what life was like for a handful of people, both before and after defection. They represent a wide range of North Koreans including, among others, a scholar, a kindergarten teacher, a doctor, and a true believer. I highly recommend this book to older teens and adults interested in or learning about everyday life in DPRK.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 74
Pages Read in 2018: 17,695
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

A Lady Writing by Vermeer goes missing during a transfer between art museums. Strange letters pop up trying to get the public on the side of the art thief. Calder and Petra, sixth graders at the University School in Hyde Park, find patterns and coincidences that just don’t seem like mere coincidences in their quest to find the missing painting.

Chasing Vermeer is a cute book. It’s completely fiction, but sprinkled with real facts about Vermeer. It’ll get kids minds working trying to solve all the puzzles (including letters written in code) along with the characters. I recommend this book to middle grade kids. It makes a decent family read-aloud. Just have paper and pencil handy to solve the coded letters when you get to them.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 71
Pages Read in 2018: 17,057
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Cyrano de Bergerac is a classic play about a man with an abnormally large nose who uses his skills with words to help another man woo the woman they both love. It is sad, but has a lot of humor sprinkled throughout. I highly recommend reading it to adults.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 70
Pages Read in 2018: 16,790
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Play, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Set in Scotland, Macbeth tells the story of an ambitious man, a woman’s descent into madness, and the end of many people along with some witches and prophecies. Typical Shakespeare tragedy. I recommend reading the play to anyone interested in Shakespeare.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 67
Pages Read in 2018: 16,296
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Play, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron