Posted in Grades 3-5, Mystery

The Slippery Slope



The tenth book in this outrageous publishing effort features more than the usual dose of distressing details, such as snow gnats, an organised troupe of youngsters, an evil villain with a dastardly plan, a secret headquarters and some dangerous antics you should not try at home. With the weather turning colder, this is one chilling book you would be better off without. (From Amazon)

The title of this book refers not only to the mountain the Baudelaire children find themselves on but also to the slippery slope that could lead them to become villains. The Baudelaires are challenged to save their sister and find out the secrets of VFD without comprising their principles.

The performance of Tim Curry (who reads the story) is flawless – to the point where I forget who I’m listening to. His portrayal of Count Olaf is deliciously evil.


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Posted in Grades 3-5, Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova




Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

Penelope Torres (Peppi) is thinking of these rules as she starts a new school. When a boy (Jaime) tries to help her pick up all her stuff, the mean kids start calling her Nerder Girlfriend. Embarrassed, Peppi pushes Jaime and runs away. She feels guilty and spends most of her time trying to figure out how to apologize. When a rivalry heats up between Peppi’s art club and Jaime’s science club, things become even more awkward.

This is a charming middle school story that kids will enjoy. It is age appropriate for 3rd grade and up – no violence or bad words – just a sweet story with a hopeful ending. The graphics are expressive and fun, a highly recommended graphic novel.


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Posted in Book Review, Grades 3-5, Mystery

# 7, 8, 9 in The Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events #7: The Vile Village   The Hostile Hospital - Brett Helquist, Lemony Snicket The Carnivorous Carnival - Lemony Snicket

In The Vile Village, an entire village decides to adopt the Baudelaire orphans. But, instead of taking care of them, the villagers just put them to work. Nothing goes easy for the Baudelaires but they pull together to survive and protect each other.

From Amazon re: The Hostile Hospital.

In Lemony Snicket’s eighth ghastly installment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I’m sorry to say that the Baudelaire orphans will spend time in a hospital where they risk encountering a misleading newspaper headline, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped balloons, and some very startling news about a fire.

From Amazon re: The Carnivorous Carnival.

A carnival is a place for good family fun—as long as one has a family, that is. For the Baudelaire orphans, their time at the carnival turns out to be yet another episode in a now unbearable series of unfortunate events. In fact, in this appalling ninth installment in Lemony Snicket’s serial, the siblings must confront a terrible lie, a caravan, and Chabo the wolf baby.


Throughout the three books, the Baudelaires find more clues about the initials VFD and what happened to their parents. Then again, everything they learn only leads to more questions. Count Olaf continues his villainous behavior and efforts to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. The warnings from Snicket to stop reading still make me laugh as do his explanations of what words mean (always set in the context of the story).


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Posted in Book Review, Grades 3-5, Mystery

# 4, 5, 6 in The Series of Unfortunate Events

The Miserable Mill - Lemony Snicket The Austere Academy - Michael Kupperman, Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist The Ersatz Elevator - Brett Helquist, Lemony Snicket, Michael Kupperman

The Miserable Mill and The Austere Academy are books 4 & 5 in the series. Both involve the same plotline as books 2 & 3… No one ever recognizes Count Olaf in his ridiculous costumes except the Baudelaires, and no one ever believes them. And in the end, when Count Olaf is finally discovered, he escapes. In the Miserable Mill, the children are forced to work in a lumber mill, and the Austere Academy takes place in a boarding school. At the school, the Baudelaires finally meet some friends their own age who believe them.

In the Ersatz Elevator, the formula finally changes. The Baudelaires are adopted by a wealthy family near where their home burned down. As the back of the book says,

“Even though their new home in the city is fancy, and the children are clever and charming, I’m sorry to say that still, the unlucky orphans will encounter more disaster and woe. In fact, in this sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children will experience a darkened staircase, a red herring, an auction, parsley soda, some friends in a dire situation, a secret passageway, and pinstripe suits.”

I was thrilled at a change and having someone else to root for and someone else to hate. The characters are quirky and outlandish, but fun to read about.

The mystery deepens…


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Posted in Book Review, Grades 3-5, Mystery

#1, 2, 3 in The Series of Unfortunate Events

The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket



The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window

I love the writing and the way “Snicket” breaks the fourth wall. Every book begins with the admonition that you would be better off doing pretty much anything else than reading this book. When the Baudelaire children lost their parents, it was a bad beginning, but it only gets worse from there. The only thing they can count on from Mr. Poe, the inept banker who is acting as their guardian, is that he coughs and he will fail them.

The first book introduces Count Olaf, a villain who is constantly trying to get his greedy hands on the Baudelaire fortune. The second two follow the same basic formula of the Baudelaires moving on, finding guardians who fail them, and facing Count Olaf. Violet is the oldest and ties her hair up in a ribbon any time she needs to invent something. Klaus is a bookworm and amazing researcher. Sunny is the youngest and has unusually sharp teeth which sometimes help the siblings get out of trouble.

I enjoyed the first three books, they are entertaining, easy reads. It only took me a few days to get through all three and I kept going…


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There are two reasons why a writer would end a sentence with the word “stop” written entirely in capital letters STOP. The first is if the writer were writing a telegram… But there is another reason why a writer would end a sentence with “stop” written entirely in capital letters, and that is to warn readers that the book they are reading is so utterly wretched that if they have begun reading it, the best thing to do would be to stop STOP.

Opening Lines


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The Hostile Hospital

Posted in Book Review, Grades 6-8, Sci-Fi, Science Fiction, Sunshine State 17-18

The Nerdy Dozen




The enemy fighter jets surged past Neil Andertol, soaring over desolate, sandy terrain.

-opening line

So, another 6-8 grade Sunshine State nominated book. I wasn’t planning on reading this one because I didn’t think I would like it. That’s what I get for judging a book by its cover. Anyway, one of the 4th-grade students was really enjoying it and she asked me to read it with her. It’s actually pretty good and I can’t wait to talk to her about it tomorrow. Though I finished it and she is probably around halfway through.

Neil loves video games, like most 13-year old boys these days. He especially enjoys one called Chameleon. Chameleon, it turns out is a training tool used by the Air Force to teach pilots to fly an actual plane called the Chameleon that is capable of seeming invisible. Neil and a bunch of other kids get recruited by the Air Force to find a lost plane and save the day. I know, I know. Big suspension of disbelief here, but kids love that sort of thing.

Anyway, Neil ends up meeting a few people in real life that he only previously knew online. So, there are expected surprises there. And the kids make a couple of decisions that mess up something that Major Jones had planned, resulting in more unlikely situations. At least the kids don’t make some half-assed decision based on their guts and end up being right over the Major who is an adult and should know better than them.

This is a fast-moving story that kids will devour. And now that there are 3 books in the series, it will keep the kids reading.

Good for 4th – 8th graders who enjoy video games, strong female characters, soldiers, edge of your seat adventures… it has something for everyone.


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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Dystopian, Favorite, Young Adult

Undivided – audiobook



An amazing end to this brilliant series. There were times I was screaming in anger, crying with sadness, and slamming my fists in frustration. I loved this series and now must find something else from Neal Shusterman to read.

Stay Whole.

oh and…

Nice socks.

If you like dystopian books, you should try this one, you won’t be disappointed.


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