‘Sneaking Out’ is the first installment in the ‘Chase’ series. The setting is an elite New England boarding school. Oliver and Luke are roommates at said school. They sneak out one night to meet up with girls. During this meet-up they witness a murder. They can’t confess up to what they know without being expelled for sneaking out (hence the title). The setting of a boarding school in New England really intrigued me. It is interesting to take a peek inside their rules and routines. I hadn’t realized that boarding schools were so strict. The students have to have quiet time and are expected to do things like dress up for formal dinners. The whole atmosphere of the school seemed really rigid and creepy. The murder mystery storyline is interesting. Although I guessed the identity of the murderer early on, I still second guessed myself all the way through. I really didn’t connect with Luke’s back story. It just seemed farfetched and distracted from the storyline. I realize his back story experiences helped him solve the mystery but I could have done without this part of the story all together. I also found it hard to believe that teenagers would […]
Hello from Tiny Bird’s Shelf. This is where I share books that my kids and I read together. Isosceles is a friendly dog looking for fun. He takes kids on a rhyming adventure to meet new friends. As animal lovers,our family loves anything to do with pets. When I heard about ‘Isosceles’ Day’, I knew we had to read it. We decided that Noah would read it to me. Since the prose is rhyming it made it easy and fun for him to read. The illustrations in ‘Isosceles’ Day’ are absolutely amazing. The pages are bright and colorful and the illustrations have a wonderful vintage feel. One thing that my son particularly loved, is that Isosceles is a real rescue dog that previously led a hard life. This helped the story to be absolutely endearing. We love that a pitty is a main character in a book, something that you don’t often see. We had a great time reading, ‘Isosceles Day’. We would love to see another installment of Isosceles’ adventures!
The books that really got me reading as a child are the ‘Little House’ series. I was also a huge fan of the show (I cried during the finale). One Christmas my parents gave me a boxed set of all the ‘Little House’ books. I still have them today . When I heard about ‘Caroline’ I couldn’t wait to read it. Also, I can’t get enough of this cover! ‘Caroline’ is told in third person. The entire novel is pretty much Caroline’s thoughts. This gives the story a very different feel then the ‘Little House’ books. Since it is told from an adult’s perspective it has a much grittier and darker tone. Children are able to see everything as an adventure where adults have to sweat the details and shoulder the worry. This is true when comparing ‘The Little House Books’ to ‘Caroline’. In fact this is the best book I’ve ever read that represents what it feels like to be a mother. There is never a moment when you aren’t thinking and worrying about your children. Caroline’s story also really drives home the debt that Americans owe to the pioneers. For example, before the Ingalls leave for […]
“The point of the musical is that Nellie’s racism is disgusting and that you can be a cute, fun girl everyone considers so nice and still have this snake coiled in your heart. “ “It’s like Tris let go of his trapeze and he’s falling through the air, waiting for Roy to catch him, but Roy is outside the circus tent making out with the lion tamer.” “It was a perfect fall afternoon. Cool air Lavender sky. Leaves the color of cherries. Smell of wood smoke. Sometimes New England is so New Englandly.” Chloe Snow is a high school sophomore who is struggling with the abandonment of her mother. She also is absorbed in taking her PSA, school, boys and friends. She must keep it all together to make it through her sophomore year. I really didn’t know much about ‘ The Year of Living Awkwardly’ going into it. It is book #2 in the Chloe Snow’s Diary series. They synopsis made Chloe sound very angsty. As I read though the diary (the story is told in diary format) I realized Chloe is typical of how many teenagers truly are. I haven’t been […]
Sam is haunted by her parents death. She is at fault for what happened to them. Her punishment is to live with abusive foster parents that only care about the stipend she brings them. Sam’s life changes when she meets California boy, Ben. Ben is the son of movie star turned animal conservationist parents. What will happen when Sam becomes wrapped up in Ben’s world. To me there is two separate plots to, ‘Burning Bright’. The first is Sam’s gritty struggle to survive. She lives in a tent so as not to have to live in her foster-parents house. She is in constant fear of her foster-father. Sam also has to work in a second-hand store in order to pay for essentials such as clothing and food. She sees this as a penance for what she did to her parents. What happened to Sam’s parents is not revealed until the end of the book but it is implied that she is someway caused their parent’s deaths. This section of the story was my favorite. It delved into the world of foster care. It felt real and different and it kept me wanting to find out how the story turned out. I […]
Fourteen year old Bulgarian, Nia, is attacked while taking a train across Europe (she is going to face her cheating ex-boyfriend in Berlin). She is rescued by Kurt, an unlikely hero. Kurt is a eighty-nine WWII American war veteran. The premise of this story fascinated me from the start. I mean how often do you read a story about an eighty-nine year old man and a fourteen year old girl who become international crime suspects. It also is an amazing idea to flip points of view between Kurt and Nia. It is interesting to see the same situations through the eyes of two vastly different people. I really love the personal and historical background that is sprinkled throughout ‘The Unusual Suspects’. I really fell in love both Nia and Kurt. The flashback of Kurt’s budding romance with his wife is one of the sweetest love stories I have read in a while. Kurt is one of my favorite characters of all time. He exemplifies the friendship you can develop by getting to know someone who is totally different from yourself. Nia’s character shows amazing growth along the trip, both from her own experiences and from spending time with […]
Lucas Santiago is injured war veteran and as a result of his injuries, has ended up in a wheelchair. In ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’ Lucas’ sister, Gabi, and best friend, Seth, hike the Santiago de Compostela. They do this since Lucas can no longer fulfill his dream of hiking it on his own. ‘Below Northern Lights’ is a sequel to, ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’. I hadn’t previously read ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’ but I was able to understand everything that was happening in ‘Below Northern Lights’. ‘Below Northern Lights’ picks up where ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’ essentially leaves off. Seth is missing in Scotland. Gabi and Lucas travel to there along with Lucas’ service dog to find Seth. While there Lucas meets a British war veteran name Skye and falls hard for her. I really did like the premise of this story. A disabled veteran goes tracking across Scotland in search of his war buddy. For me the story ended up being ok. I really enjoyed learning pieces of Scottish history and landmarks along the way. I found the characters to be a little on the flat side. Especially Gabi. Her character just seemed a little dry and uninteresting to me. I did […]
Amy leads a tortured life. She has a monster for a father and a distant mother. Amy self-harms and has suicidal tendencies. Then tragedy in her life leads her in a dangerous direction. ’22 Scars’ highlights mental illness in teenagers. With recent events, I think a young adult book that focuses on mental health is an important thing. ’22 Scars’ did an excellent job taking on this difficult topic. I did read ’13 Reasons Why’ and found it somewhat lacking. Not only was the plot unrealistic and contrived, I don’t think that it really approaches the underling mental illnesses that drives someone to suicide. I think ’22 Scars’ approaches this subject better. Not only is Amy’s deep seeded problems explored but it also shows how her mental illness progresses through time. ’22 Scars’ has two storylines. The connection between these storylines is not realized until late in the book. I found both storylines interesting although I did find that the one not involving teenage Amy more interesting. The main issue I had with teenage Amy’s storyline was the plethora of characters, especially Amy’s friends. There were so many I could not keep them straight. Also, the character of […]
Sam, Antonio, and Lucy are hall monitors at Eerie Elementary. Eerie Elementary is haunted by its evil founder, Orson Eerie. When the mysterious happenings at the school get a little too dangerous, the powers that be decide to tear the school down. Sam, Antonio, and Lucy, must do everything they can to save their school and to foil the ghost of Orson Eerie. ‘Classes are Canceled, is part of the cute ‘Eerie Elementary’ chapter book series. It has a paranormal twist that sets it apart from many other books of this reading level. The story also has a great message of empowerment with Sam, Antonio, and Lucy taking the fate of their school into their own hands. ‘Classes are Canceled’ has a few cute twist and turns along the way. The paranormal story-line was a little over the top for me but would be great fun for young readers.
Zara feels shut off from her Bosnian born mother. She knows that her mother survived some horrible things in the Bosnian war but Zara wants desperately to understand who her mother is. So when Zara, her mother, and her little brother are victims of a tourist attack, Zara begins to understand what emotional and physical trauma can do to a person and a family. I really love a good historical fiction. Good historical fiction is entertaining while at the same time teaches us about significant events. I have noticed that much of the historical fiction out there covers the really well-known periods of history. For example: the Tutor period, the American Civil War, WWI, and especially WWII. I really love it when I find a novel that explores world events that are lesser known . When I read the synopsis of, ‘We Are All That’s Left’, I knew this was a book that I had to read. ‘We Are All That’s Left’, alternates between Zara dealing with the aftermath of a present day terror attack and Zara’s mother, Nadja, living in war-torn Bosnia in the past. Going into the story, I did know a little about the Bosnian […]