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Breakout by Kate Messner

Review:

Breakout - Kate Messner

Audience: Grades 4 & up

Format: Hardcover/Library copy

 

Dear Library Board,

Enclosed is my contribution to the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project.

– opening lines

 

 

Wolf Creek is located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The town is built around a maximum-security prison and most of the residents have a least one family member working there. The book is told from the point of view of three seventh graders. Nora’s dad is the superintendent, Lizzie’s grandmother works in the kitchen, and Elidee’s brother is an inmate. Nora and Lizzie are best friends and Elidee just moved there when she didn’t get into a private school in New York City. Elidee’s mom wanted to be closer to her brother to make it easier for them to visit him. The townspeople are mostly white and the inmate population is mostly black and Latinx. Elidee is at first standoffish but she eventually becomes friendly with Nora and Lizzie. Nora and Lizzie are surprised at the way the townspeople treat Elidee and how different it is from how they are treated. A couple of inmates escape from the prison and the action revolves around how the manhunt affects life in the town. The story is told through contributions to a time-capsule project for school. The contributions include letters, press clippings, text messages, and transcribed voice recordings.

 

There are dangerous and suspenseful situations, and some shooting, but no overt violence. Nora & Lizzie learn about racism and try to decide how they feel about it and how to stand up for Elidee. Elidee works through her complicated feelings about the town, her brother, and everything else by writing poetry. Issues about our justice system and racial bias are explored in an accessible and sensitive manner.

Original post:
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24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

Review:

24 Hours In Nowhere - Dusti Bowling

Audience: Grades 4-7

Format: Hardcover/Library copy

 

Bo Taylor held my face one inch from the jumping cholla. “Eat it, Gus,” he commanded.

– opening lines

 

 

In the town of Nowhere, Arizona, the only thing exciting is dirt bike riding. Thirteen-year-old Gus is a smart boy and a natural target for the town bully, Bo. When Rossi stands up to Bo, she loses her prized possession, her dirt bike, Loretta. Gus is determined to get Rossi’s bike back, but Bo’s price is gold from the town’s abandoned gold mine called, “Dead Frenchman’s Mine.” Gus ends up going to the mine with an old friend, Jessie, one of Bo’s minions, Matthew, and Rossi. The four teens end up bonding over dangerous situations and shared conversations (the are all outcasts in different ways), and the adventure changes all of them.

 

This book has a similar feel to Holes by Louis Sachar. The characters are likable & quirky and there are generational ties that the teens discover during their journey. Students who like adventures and solving mysteries will enjoy this book. There are positive messages throughout the book about the power of friendship, believing in yourself, and looking beyond what people seem to be on the outside.

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Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Review:

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World - Ashley Herring Blake

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy

 

A storm was coming which was perfect.

– first sentence

 

Twelve-year-old Ivy is a middle child who is trying to figure out where she belongs, among other things. Her family’s house was destroyed by a tornado and she lost the notebook filled with her secret drawings of her and another girl. Her parents and sister are totally focused on her twin baby brothers. Ivy feels invisible, ignored by her family, and confused about her crush on another girl. 

 

This story portrays the confusion of middle school and the difficulties of being a middle child perfectly. Ivy is confused when her first crush is a girl while all her friends are crushing on boys. Ivy isn’t sure if it is a crush or just friendship. Ivy is worried about how her sister will react if she finds out Ivy likes girls.

 

This book made me laugh and cry and gave me all the feels. I was right there with Ivy as she tried to deal with all her emotions and figure out who she was. I highly recommend this book to all girls, moms, and anyone else who enjoys realistic coming of age stories.

Original post:
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Slider by Pete Hautman

Review:

Slider - Pete Hautman

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library

 

A sixteen-inch pizza, fresh from the oven, is a thing of beauty.

– first sentence

 

So, that opening line tells you a great deal about this book, but not the heart of it. David loves competitive eating, both watching it as a sport and doing it himself. He bids on and accidentally buys (for $2,000, on his mom’s credit card) a leftover piece of hotdog from his favorite competitive eater. David must find a way to earn the money to pay his mom back before she discovers what he did. David feels like a failure and thinks the only thing he is good at is competitive eating. On top of training for the big eating competition, David has to take care of his brother Mal (who has autism). David is very good at finding ways to help his brother deal with the world and their relationship is one of the best parts of this book.

 

The competitive eating parts of the book are rather gross at times, but young readers will probably enjoy that. At the beginning of the book, David goes to a frat house (he sees a bunch of college students drinking) and participates in an eating contest. Overall, it’s a fun book with some heartwarming moments, if you can get past some vomiting and gross overeating. 🙂

 

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All’s Faire in Middle School

Review:

All's Faire in Middle School - Victoria Jamieson

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library

 

Imogene! Come down from that tree!

– first sentence

 

 

Imogene (Impy) works at a Renaissance Faire and has been homeschooled her entire life. She decides that her quest to become a knight will be attending middle school. The story realistically portrays the difficulties and challenges girls face at this time in their lives. Impy makes some questionable choices, but she eventually realizes that everyone makes mistakes and she finds ways to atone. She has difficulty understanding the cliques and double language kids use and wonders why girls say mean things when they are supposed to be your friend.

 

This is a great book for middle schoolers and anyone who enjoyed Roller Girl by the same author. I’ve noticed some reviewers question the content. At one point the girls are reading a romance novel that they hide in Impy’s backpack. At home, Impy is looking at the book and writes the word “sex” in her notebook. Impy’s mother starts to have “the talk” with her, but Impy changes the subject quickly and it never comes up again. This kind of stuff happens in real life and there is nothing inappropriate, but parents should decide for themselves.

 

In my opinion, the positive messages and relatable real-life story make this book a must-read.

Original post:
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A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Review:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely - Brigid Kemmerer

Audience: Young Adult

Format: e-Book/Library

 

There is blood under my fingernails.

– first sentence

 

 

This is a fabulous retelling of Beauty & the Beast. In Emberfall, the prince and everyone who lives on the castle grounds are cursed to live the same season over and over again. Towards the end of the season, Rhen (the prince) becomes a beast. Over the years, he has killed many villagers, but his captain of the guard (Grey) has learned how to keep the remaining people safe. As in the original, the only way to break the curse is for someone to fall in love with Rhen. Grey brings girls from the modern world to the castle in an attempt to find someone who will break the curse. One day he ends up kidnapping Harper. Harper isn’t like any of the other girls Grey kidnapped over the years (of course). But she also isn’t your typical “Belle” – she has cerebral palsy and she loves horses more than books.

 

Chapters are told in alternating viewpoints between Rhen and Harper and it’s fun to see what they’re thinking about how the other one behaves. There is adventure, intrigue, and  a great deal of violence. There are forces outside the castle grounds that threaten Emberfall. Harper helps Rhen and Grey come up with solutions. She is feisty and smart and doesn’t give up easily. 

 

I loved this story and the end was surprising even though I thought I knew how it would go. I am looking forward to the next book.

 

 

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Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

Review:

Kill Creek - Scott Thomas, Bernard Setaro Clark

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned

 


“No house is born bad.”

– first sentence

 

 

I listened to this book for Halloween Bingo at the end of September. I’ve been swamped with school, work, and trying to get settled in my new house so I haven’t had time to write any reviews.

 

I enjoyed this book. It was a slow build and I kept thinking something was going to happen, but the story kept taking unexpected turns. After all this time, that’s all I have. *shrugs*

Original post:
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Called:

9/1/19: Ghost stories
9/2/19: Genre: Horror
9/3/19: Creepy Crawlies
9/4/19: Amateur Sleuth (not on my card)

9/5/19: American Horror Story
9/6/19: Dystopian Hellscape (not on my card)
9/7/19: Fear Street

9/8/19: Black Cat
9/9/19: Relics and Curiosities
9/10/19: A Grimm Tale  (not on my card)

9/11/19: Stranger Things
9/12/19: Creepy Carnivals (not on my card)

9/13/19: Country House Mystery (not on my card)
9/14/19: Classic Horror (not on my card)
9/15/19: Supernatural
9/16/19: Psych (not on my card)

9/17/19: Darkest London (not on my card)
9/18/19: Cozy Mystery (not on my card)
9/19/19: Southern Gothic (not on my card)

9/20/19: Read by Flashlight or Candlelight (not on my card)
9/21/19: Modern Noir (not on my card)

9/22/19: Spellbound
9/23/19: Dark Academia
9/24/19: Deadlands

9/25/19: Slasher Stories

9/26/19: In the Dark, Dark Woods

9/27/19: It was a Dark & Stormy Night

9/28/19: Paint It Black

9/29/19: Truly Terrifying (not on my card)

9/30/19: Locked Room Mystery (not on my card)

10/1/19: Raven/Free Space

10/2/19: Full Moon (not on my card)

10/3/19: King of Fear (not on my card)

10/4/19: Vampires

10/5/19: Halloween (not on my card)

10/6/19: Sleepy Hollow (not on my card)

10/7/19: Diverse Voices (not on my card)

10/8/19: Demons (not on my card)

10/9/19: International Woman of Mystery (not on my card)

10/10/19: Film at 11 (not on my card)

10/11/19: Cryptozoologist (not on my card)

10/12/19: Stone Cold Horror

10/13/19: Baker Street Irregulars (not on my card)

10/14/19: Romantic Suspense (not on my card)

10/15/19: New Release (not on my card)

10/16/19: Monsters

10/17/19: 13 (not on my card)

10/18/19: Modern Masters of Horror

10/19/19: Genre: Mystery (not on my card)

10/20/19: Classic Noir (not on my card)

10/21/19: Serial Spree Killer(not on my card)

10/23/19: Aliens (not on my card)

10/24/19: Doomsday (not on my card)

10/25/19: Gothic

 

 

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone

Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

 

 

 

Read:

 

The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn for American Horror Story

Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist for Vampires

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab for Ghost Stories

Cold Moon Over Babylon by Malcolm McDowell for Terror in a Small Town

 

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Cold Moon Over Babylon by Michael McDowell

Review:

Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell

 

 

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned

 

One hot afternoon in July of 1965, Jim Larkin and his wife JoAnn were slowly paddling their small green boat upstream on the Styx river that drains the northwestern corner of the Florida panhandle.

– first sentence

 

 

Well, things only go downhill for the Larkin family after that. In the present, they are barely holding on to the farm and the blueberry crop keeps dwindling. After Margaret is murdered, things get even worse. This victim is not going to rest easy and she is determined to make someone pay. But… who killed her and why?

 

This book is well-written, suspenseful, and scary. I enjoyed the character development and trying to figure out who the killer was. I also liked seeing Margaret Larkin’s ghost terrifying people. The final death is the best, well deserved, and perfect in the sense of irony and justice.

 

Well done and enjoyable. The middle was a tad slower, but the last quarter had me on the edge of my seat.

 

I read this one for the Terror in a Small Town square.

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