Author: Karen

Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

    The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) is a network of pilgrimage paths throughout Europe that leads to shrine of St.James in the Santiago de Compostela . ‘Two Steps Forward’ follows Marin, a Brit, and Zoe, an American as they walk the Camino.   I  read about the Camino in a previous novels but I misunderstood what it is. I thought it is like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact it’s more of a pilgrimage and less of a hike. The pilgrims stay at hotels and hostels and predominantly eat at restaurants instead of camping as hikers would along the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.   ‘Two Steps Forward’ is packed full of information about the Camino. I loved the experiences that the Camino can offer. For example a chance to challenge oneself. A chance to meet people. It is also a religious experience and a chance to really see Europe up close.   While Zoe and Martin as characters really grew as the story went along, both characters were secondary to the Camino. The Camino is a character in itself and is really the centerpiece of the story.   […]

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The Ghost Chronicles…By Marlo Berliner

The Ghost Chronicles…By Marlo Berliner

Michael Andrews has died in a fiery car accident. He is sentenced to continually walk the earth. Things start to look up when he meets another spirit, Sarah, who turns out to be his soul mate. What I loved: I really loved the history in the book. It is evident that the author did tons of research for this novel. The history of the Angel of the Sea is totally fascinating. I love when a novel takes place in a real location, especially one as fascinating as the Angel of the Sea. It’s absolutely amazing that the building has been moved twice and had to be split in half because the movers couldn’t push it back together with only mules and horses. By far my favorite part of ‘The Ghost Chronicles’ is the part about the Eastern State Penitentiary. I had never heard of it before and the details blew me away. That it sits enclosed by walls in the middle of such a large city is crazy. When looking at a photo from the prison website you can see Philly’s skyscrapers in the background.  Some of the awful things that happened there and its current state of decay just adds […]

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Stumped…By Kate Larkindale

Stumped…By Kate Larkindale

Ozzy has everything a teenager could want, good grades, a hot girlfriend, and  successful high school swimming career. When a car crash leaves him without legs  he stands to lose everything. The story begins with Ozzy planning his first intimate outing with his girlfriend, Lainey. The outing goes array and as Ozzy is driving home he gets into a devastating car accident. ‘Stumped’ has a unique take on someone dealing with a disability.  Some of the issues Ozzy goes through is truly eye-opening. One of the biggest obstacles he has  to overcome is the way others treat him. Some people in his life are really terrible to him, like his girlfriend and friends. The story left me wondering if it is because they are teenagers and they don’t know what to say and how to act or if is it just that the characters are terrible people. Ozzie then learns to find comfort from a support group for teenage amputees. Since Ozzy is a teenage boy his sex drive takes on a life of its own. One of the main focuses in the story is Ozzy’s interaction with sex workers. ‘Stumped’ takes place in New Zealand and prostitution is legal […]

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Where is the Mississippi River ?…By Dina Anastasio #BlogTour

Where is the Mississippi River ?…By Dina Anastasio #BlogTour

The Mississippi is the longest river in North America. It rises at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and flows almost due south emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, southeast of New Orléans. This is a distance of over 2,300 miles. The Mississippi River’s major tributaries are the Missouri and Ohio rivers. Many authors including Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Kate Chopin were inspired by the mighty Mississippi.   The name Mississippi comes from the Anishinaabe word ‘Misi-ziibi’ which means ‘great river’. The River flows at between 1.2 to 3 miles per hour. The Civil War Battle of Vicksburg was fought over control of the Mississippi River and was a major turning point in the war. At its widest point the river is over 7 miles wide. At its deepest spot the river is over 200 feet deep. It takes 90 days for a drop of water to travel the entire length of the river.                                                        I am excited to be part of the ‘Where is…’ blog tour. I love books that not only teach a lesson […]

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Left: A Love Story…by Mary Hogan

Left: A Love Story…by Mary Hogan

  Fay Agarra has the perfect life. She lives in a New York City with her husband, respected New York judge, Paul Agarra. Fay’s perfect life slowly begins crumbling when her ‘go to guy’ suffers an explainable episode on their dream vacation.   Where other books such as, ‘ Still Alice’ gives us a look inside the mind of those suffering from dementia,’ Left’ gives us a view of what it is to be the care giver of a dementia sufferer. Alzheimer disease is one of the most heartbreaking disease to witness. Loved ones have to witness not only the physical demise but also the mental deterioration of a once sharp and vital person.   ‘Left’ is told from Fay’s point of view.  In heartbreaking detail we realize how she uses fantasy to cope with her life situation. While, at times, Fay does come across as self-absorbed and even selfish, I remind myself that this is Fay’s story. ‘Left’ represents her inner thoughts and feelings and is an accurate example of how many caregivers feel. An accurate portrayal of the caregivers feelings, emotions, and coping mechanisms is a vital part of this book.A book that idealizes the caregivers and love ones […]

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Sneaking Out…By Chuck Vance

Sneaking Out…By Chuck Vance

‘Sneaking Out’ is the first installment in the ‘Chase’ series. The setting is an élite 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 […]

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Isosceles’ Day…by Kevin J. Meehan

Isosceles’ Day…by Kevin J. Meehan

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! SaveSave

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Caroline (Little House Revisited)…by Sarah Miller

Caroline (Little House Revisited)…by Sarah Miller

 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 […]

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The Year of Living Awkwardly…by Emma Chasten #blogtour

The Year of Living Awkwardly…by Emma Chasten #blogtour

  “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 […]

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Burning Bright…by Chanda Stafford

Burning Bright…by Chanda Stafford

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 […]

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