Author: thebookr

A Penny Lost…by Aspen Bassett

Posted October 8, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
A Penny Lost…by Aspen Bassett

‘A Penny Lost’ is the story of Penelope Grace (Penny) a high school student who can read other’s emotions. Penny feels overshadowed by her identical twin sister, Dinah. She also feels neglected and ignored by her parents. One day Penny sees the sad aura of a home that used to have a  very happy aura. When Penny and Dinah investigate, a machine sucks Penny into a time-traveling universe. Dinah is left behind but Penny is accompanied by the young scientist who invented the machine. What I Loved: I really loved time-travel novels. When they are done correctly, they can be so enthralling. ‘A Penny Lost’ was fast paced and interesting. I also really loved the back story about how they became time travelers. The explanation of the time-traveling universe was simple and easy to follow. One of the issues I had with Alexandra Braken’s  novel’ Passenger’ was how much explanation and world building went on and how little action took place. I also really loved the times that they traveled to and I enjoyed how Penny shaped events that took place in history. I connected with the characters of Penny and Stranger as well as Ricky and his wife. I […]

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Small Great Things…by Jodi Picoult

Posted September 25, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
Small Great Things…by Jodi Picoult

  The title comes from a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” Ruth is an African-American labor and delivery nurse at a small Connecticut hospital. When a white supremacist bars Ruth from touching his baby, Ruth is put in a no win situation. After the baby dies the hospital uses Ruth as their scapegoat. I absolutely adore Jodi Picoult. One of my top three books of all time is her novel, ‘The Storyteller’. Picoult is also one of my go to authors when I’m in a reading slump. So when I read the synopsis of ‘Small Great Things,’ I knew it would be an engrossing read. The premise of this book is also very timely. The story is told from three points of view: Ruth, Turk (the baby’s white supremacist father), and Kennedy (Ruth’s criminal attorney). Turk’s point of view is filled with such hate soaked and vile behavior that it is very uncomfortable to read. This is done intentionally on Picoult’s part. It gives the reader a no-holds-barred view into Turk’s mind and what he is capable of.  Ruth’s point of view is also potent. It not […]

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Right Where You Left Me…by Calla Devlin

Posted September 23, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
Right Where You Left Me…by Calla Devlin

‘Right Where You Left Me’ is the story of Charlotte. Her mother is a Russian immigrate who works in the bakery downstairs from their apartment. Charlotte’s father is a larger than life newspaper reporter who loves to be the first on the ground during natural disasters. At the very begging of ‘Right Where You Left Me’, Charlotte’s father leaves for Ukraine to cover an earthquake. Her father soon becomes missing. Charlotte’s shared experience with her mother of worrying about Charlotte’s father draws them both closer together and further apart. I began reading ‘Right Where You Left Me’ the day before hurricane Irma hit here in Florida. It was an interesting surprise to find out that this story was about someone who covered natural disasters. I loved that this was a fresh topic that hasn’t been touched on much in YA. I think how a family reacts when a member is missing in a faraway place is a very interesting premise to explore. Some of the great elements of this story that I really enjoyed was the details about the baking.  I also thought an important topic that is explored is that Charlotte has to deal with competing with her dead sister. […]

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Lucky Broken Girl…by Ruth Behar

Posted September 23, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
Lucky Broken Girl…by Ruth Behar

‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is a middle-grade novel about a girl named Ruth. Ruth is growing up in 1960’s NYC. Her family is Jewish and Cuban . It is a semi-autobiographical novel about Ruth Behar’s childhood. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’s focus is on the year Ruth was in a full body cast following a car accident. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’ gives the reader a unique perspective about childhood injury. It explored, in gritty detail, the boredom, humiliation, sadness, and fear that Ruth experienced during her year in bed. This story was well written and I loved that none of the characters were picture perfect. Ruth could be whiny and self adsorbed at times. Her father is macho and controlling. While her mother is often resentful of Ruth’s situation. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is richly detailed. The diversity was well done and the history in ‘Luck Broken Girl’ was amazing. Ruth and her family are Cuban but are also Jewish so they demonstrate a wealth of cultural identity. Ruth also has a friend who is Indian so there was a lot of information about Indian culture and beliefs. This also made an amazing background story. Ruth’s grandparents had left Europe during the buildup to the  World […]

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Chasing Eveline…by Leslie Hauser

Posted August 27, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
Chasing Eveline…by Leslie Hauser

Ivy is desperate to connect with the mother who abandoned Ivy and her dad. The closest connection she has to her mother is their mutual love of the 1980’s band ‘Chasing Eveline’. Ivy and her friend Matt mount several schemes to raise money for a trip to Ireland. Once in Ireland they hope to reunite ‘Chasing Eveline’. Ivy secretly hopes that her mother will be at the bands reunion. This was such a cute read. I loved all the crazy (‘I Love Lucy’ type) projects that Matt and Ivy used to make money. Ivy has big ideas that never quite worked out the way she planned. I really loved the perseverance that Ivy had to never give up on her dream. I loved the relationship Ivy had with her dad. I think it was a unique perspective to have a single dad raising a teenager. I also really liked the relationship Ivy had with Matt. Matt stood by Ivy no matter how crazy her ideas were. He really demonstrated what true friendship is. Getting rained on, getting thrown off stage,  getting booed where some of the things that happened to Ivy and Matt when they tried to raise money for their […]

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The Shadow of a King…by C.M. Gray

Posted August 19, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
The Shadow of a King…by C.M. Gray

‘The Shadow of a King’, tells the story of Uther Pendragon, King Arther’s father. The story begins with Uther late in life and near death. The ‘The Shadow King’ then flashes back to Uther’s early reign. What I Loved: The concept of the story of King Uther’s father is an interesting one. Something that has not been done a lot in literature. Gray gave strong personalities to the characters. Uther, Morgan Le Fay, Gorlois, and Sir Ector, all had complicated and deep characteristics that added depth and interest to the story. The descriptions in ‘The Shadow King’ were also vivid and interesting. The Middle Ages are often romanticized. In ‘The Shadow King’ everything is described in gritty reality. Gray really brought alive how dark, dirty, and unhygienic the middle ages were. What Left Me Wanting More: Although I did like the flash backs, I wish they would have been more delineated. I was often confused when a flashback stopped and started. Also, the flashbacks were very long and I often had to go back to see what was happening before the flashback. There were also a few flashbacks within a flashback. Although, I did love almost all the chapters,I found […]

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The Bright Shawl…by Phyllis H. Moore

Posted August 17, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
The Bright Shawl…by Phyllis H. Moore

Bella is terrified of her step-father. When her mother dies and her sister disappears, Bella knows she must plot her escape. My Thoughts: I am very conflicted about my feelings for this book. I decided to think on ‘The Bright Shawl’ for awhile before writing a review. I really enjoyed the story and it was a super quick read for me. The paranormal elements kind of threw me for a loop though and make the story somewhat hard to believe. What I Loved: I really liked the premise of the story. A girl struggling to escape her abusive, drug dealing step-father. The details of Bella’s living conditions really drew me in. I could totally understand why she would want to get away from her step-father. The prose of ‘The Bright Shawl’ was amazing. The author described everything is vivid detail. The characters are also well done. I also found the diversity of characters well done with Bella’s family being hispanic. Slade was by far my favorite chapter. He seemed like someone I would love to have as a friend and a fun guy to be around.  I love their personalities but would have loved to have more of a back […]

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The Book That Made Me…by Judith Ridge (Editor) et al

Posted July 31, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
The Book That Made Me…by Judith Ridge (Editor) et al

‘The Book That Made Me’ is an anthology by several authors that tells about a book that influenced their life. ‘The Book That Made Me’ gives us a chance to  look inside the authors’ mind and how they first became inspired to write. I am not usually big on anthologies. I’m a cover to cover reader and I don’t like to skip stories (even if I don’t enjoy them). I find that with most anthologies there are stories/essays I love,  a few that are ok, and ones I just don’t enjoy. This was the case with the ‘The Book That Made Me’. When I started reading I noticed that I only recognized two authors, Markus Zusak author of ‘The Book Thief’ and Jaclyn Moriarty (whose sister Liane wrote ‘Big Little Lies’). After a couple of essays, I realized why. All the authors are either Australian or New Zealanders.  Because of this I didn’t recognize most of the books that inspired the authors. This left me disconnected from many of the stories. There were several stories that were inspirational and that I really did love. For example, Cathy Cassidy’s story about her love of ‘Watership Down’. Will Kostakis’ story of how not liking ‘Hatchet’ inspired […]

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Beneath the Skin…by Kyla Stone

Posted July 28, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
Beneath the Skin…by Kyla Stone

Sidney Shaw has a terrible home life. Her former best friend now torments her. She covers up the pain by pushing people away. She also cuts herself. Sidney does everything she can to protect her little brothers. When that means Sidney strikes a boy who was bullying her brother at school, there are consequences. She now has to start group therapy with one of her school’s popular girls, Adriana. First off, this book has some big trigger points. For example self-mutilation, eating disorders, sexual abuse. Each of this things are important topics that affect many teens today. I thought that the author handled each of those topics well. They were each approach slowly and were woven into the tapestry of the storyline. This took away some of the shock factor that these trigger points could have invoked. Sidney as a character was very complex and relatable but very human. She did everything she could to fix things for herself and her family but often came up short. My favorite character was Lucas. He pulled Sidney out of her shell and helped her see the light at the end of the tunnel. I did like Adriana but I felt like maybe the insta-friendship between her […]

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The Unlikelies…by Carrie Firestone

Posted July 27, 2017 by thebookr in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments
The Unlikelies…by Carrie Firestone

Sadie is doing all she can to make it through a boring. Her main claim to fame is that her father, Woody,  is the local ice cream man. Then one day, while  working at the local farmers market, she saves a baby in distress. Sadie then gains local celebrity fame. She’s  invited to a local community service awards event. At the event her and the other four honorees(Jean, Gordie, Alice, and Val) decide to do good deeds for those in the community. They call themselves ‘The Unlikelies.’ They do this by spreading anti-trolling messages on social media and giving out cute care package. The main thing I loved about this book is the positive message it sends. That it’s important to be kind. Doing something small can change someones day. Another thing that I really enjoyed was the  subtle humor. This helped to lighten the mood of the book. The diversity was well done in ‘The Unlikelies’. Jean is Haitian, Val is Hispanic, and Sadie is half Persian. This really added another dimension to the story. The fact that all the kids came from different backgrounds but came together to ‘do good deeds’ really underscored the positive tone of the book. The only […]

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