Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Sunshine State 2018-19

Forest of Wonders by Linda Sue Park



This is an enchanting adventure that kids are sure to love. There is magic, talking animals, danger, friendship, and by the end Raffa realizes that choices (and people) are not always what they seem to be. The plot is unresolved at the end (which makes sense because this is a trilogy), but all three books are already released so it’s easy to continue with Raffa’s adventure.

Highly recommended to students in grades 4 and up, fans of fantasy, magic, and adventure.

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job.



Original post:

Posted in Adult, Book Review, Horror

The Last Passenger by Manel Loureiro



August 28, 1939 – Somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Valkyrie is found, drifting, with a single passenger – a baby wrapped in a blanket and left on the dance floor.

Present Day – Kate is a reporter who recently lost her husband (Ralph), and she is looking for a distraction. When the editor offers her the chance to follow up on the final story Ralph worked on, she jumps at the chance. But this is no simple mystery. There is an evil presence on the Valkyrie, and Kate may be the only one who can end its reign.

This story involves not time travel, but an overlapping of times. On the ship, Kate sees the current version of the ship, then blinks and sees the ship as it was in 1939. There is a high creepiness factor and a fair amount of blood and violence. I enjoyed the book and may look into others by this author.



Original post:

Posted in Sunshine State 2018-19

Sunshine State 2018-19 Nominees

Once again, I am going to attempt to read all of the nominated books:

Books for Grades 3-5

1. The Ark Plan by Laura Martin

2. The Doublecross: (And Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy) by Jackson Pearce

3. Dragons & Marshmallows by Asia Citro

4. The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff

5. Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein

6. I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

7. Lemons by Melissa Savage

8. Lights, Camera, Cook! by Charise Mericle Harper

9. Overboard! by Terry Lynn Johnson

10. Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood

11. Spirit Week Showdown by Crystal Allen

12. The Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston

13. A True Home by Kallie George

14. Ugly Cat & Pablo by Isabel Quintero

15. Wish by Barbara O’Connor

Books for Grades 6-8

1. Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

2. A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman

3. Surrender the Key by DJ Machale

4. The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

5. The Eureka Key by Sarah Thomson

6. The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

7. First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

8. Forest of Wonders by Linda Sue Park

9. Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

10. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

11. The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst

12. How Lunchbox Jones Saved me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown

13. Restart by Gordon Korman

14. Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

15. The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks


Original post:

Posted in Sunshine State 17-18

Sunshine State 2017-18 Reading Recap


My goal this year (4/2017-4/2018) was to read all the Sunshine State nominated books:

– 15 books for Grades 3-5 (Elementary)

– 15 books for Grades 6-8 (Middle School)


Elementary books:

1. Allie First at Last

2. Framed!

3. Maxi’s Secrets: Or What You Can Learn From a Dog

4. My Brother is a Superhero

5. Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker

6. Willy Maykit in Space

Read 9/15:

1. Castle Hangnail  (September 2017)

2. A Dragon’s Guide to the Care & Feeding of Humans  (August 2017)

3. The Hero Two Doors Down (January 2018)

4. Night of the Living Worms  (May 2017)

5. Pugs of the Frozen North  (August 2017)

6. Save Me a Seat  (April 2017)

7. The Vanishing Coin   (October 2017)

8. A Whole New Ballgame  (August 2017)

9. The Wild Robot  (June 2017)


Middle School books:

1. Courage for Beginners

2. Framed!

3. Terror at Bottle Creek

Read 12/15:

1. The Girl in the Well is Me   (August 2017)

2. The Girl Who Drank the Moon   (April 2018)

3. How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer   (January 2018)

4. It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel   (August 2017)

5. The Mark of the Dragonfly   (January 2018)

6. Moving Target   (March 2018)

7. The Nerdy Dozen   (February 2017)

8. The Nest   (July 2017)

9. Omega City   (March 2018)

10. Randoms   (October 2017)

11. Shadows of Sherwood   (October 2017)

12. The War That Saved My Life   (March 2018)


I am glad that I didn’t have to vote for a winner like the students at school did. It would have been a difficult choice.

The winners (as decided by students throughout Florida) are:

Grades 3-5

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Grades 6-8

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


Original post:

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu



This is book 3 in the Young Elites series. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t read The Young Elites and The Rose Society.

Is being Queen worth losing everything and everyone you ever loved?

Adelina supposedly now has everything she wanted. She is Queen and she’s as ruthless and as cruel as ever. Even though she is now queen, she can never have enough power. Her darkness feeds on the power and it’s taking over. Adelina has lost so much, but now it seems the whole world is at risk. Her Rose Society must join with the Daggers and make an unforgettable journey to the realm of the gods. If they can’t work together, there is no hope.

This was an amazing series and Marie Lu is an impressive and talented writer. I also loved the Legend series. Adelina’s journey is heartbreaking and difficult, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


Original post:

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Favorite, Young Adult

The Rose Society by Marie Lu


owlowlowlowlowl half

If you haven’t read The Young Elites, this review may contain spoilers related to the original story.

How can you be good when everything within you is dragging you into darkness??

After losing Enzo and being rejected by the Dagger Society, Adelina is on a path of vengeance and violence. Her powers are fueled by hate and fear, and they’re growing beyond her ability to control. She has found a new group of Elites, but she has difficulty trusting them, and she is constantly doubting who she is and questioning her own decisions. She is now known as the White Wolf, a symbol of power, violence, and death.

This book is even better than the first. As the reader watches Adelina’s descent into darkness, we feel for her and in a way even understand the decisions she makes. She has spent most of her life living in fear; who can blame her for wanting to feel powerful and safe. This doesn’t take away from the horror of her actions; she is no hero.The real question is, will Adelina ever find happiness or even recognize it if she does.

A great addition to the trilogy. On to book 3: The Midnight Star



Original post: