I have very eclectic tastes in reading. I enjoy everything from the earliest of children's books to the driest nonfiction. That said, I'll always read a book that has to do with the English countryside, books, and a hot cuppa!
This is an excellent resource for any aspiring author! Sepetys uses her own story and shows readers how to craft their writing through memories. Therefore, this book reads like a memoir as the author walks you through all stages of the writing process. The format helps the story flow as well as making it easy to flip back and forth amongst great snippets--fun facts to research further and springboard your own writing, writing exercises, and additional resources, for example. I highly recommend adding this book to any home or classroom library (middle school or high school). It was fun to learn of Sepetys’ life experiences and how she came to be a writer of young adult historical fiction. She is a master of her craft! Grab this book and check it out!
Anna is the new girl in town. She can't seem to figure out why one girl, Rachel Riley, has been ostracized by everyone--not only in the eighth grade, but the whole school. Eager to solve this mystery and complete her application to a very special podcasting camp in Chicago, Anna digs deep and uncovers a lot about herself, her new town, and the people in it. #socialmediasavvy #metoo #stronggirls
On the surface, this is a solid, modern-day piece of realistic fiction that takes place in Cambridge, MA. Readers who love to know the streets their characters live on and walks daily, as well as their favorite haunts, will enjoy the Cantabrigian references throughout this story. At the heart of this novel is the reunion of estranged sisters who have spent many years apart. Despite their familial bond, and a shared childhood tragedy, they have never been close. While sometimes comical, this story is absolutely wholehearted. Be prepared to be ambushed with all the feels: love, tragedy, loss, and the desire to connect and be seen by those we love the most.
In book three of the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, readers can settle into a cozy story in a second café. Characters new and old grapple with things they wish they had done differently. Will traveling through time put weary souls to rest and provide love and light to those who need it? You'll have to read it to find out--you won't be disappointed!
Alan Rickman was truly a Renaissance man! In this deeply personal and revealing book, we get the opportunity to live many moments in his shoes: world-wide travel, food with (famous) friends, as well as being behind the scenes on the stage and on movie sets. I've always been a fan of Alan Rickman's work--now, even more so!
Gripping! Page-turning! I love how Maggie O'Farrell can take a little-known piece of history and build a complex story around and about it. Once again, she has created a masterful novel containing all the flavors of Renaissance Italy entwined with multifaceted characters. A young girl, married off from the House of Medici in 1561, is dead less than a year later. Who killed her and why? I found the roles and responsibilities of each person's place in a family, royal kingdom and marriage to be constantly under scrutiny as I devoured this novel, racing to its end. FANTASTIC!
Very funny! Witty! Educational! Interactive!
Share this book with the whole family--you will love it and can learn a lot too.
A great gift idea: this book and The Real Mother Goose.
This novel intertwines animals and the natural world with the story of Maggie, who struggles to fit in because of her stutter. Your heart will ache for Maggie. There are important messages about conservation and preservation as the tale unfolds, while she spends time with her grandfather in rural England. Fans of Pax, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, The One and Only Ivan, and Charlotte and Wilbur--to name a few--will love this book! A favorite of 2022 for me.
A story of life, loss and love, it illustrates how one moment in time can change multiple trajectories forever. It's fractured people and fractured families searching for "signal fires" to rise above and out of pain. It is also hopeful, and proves that connections of the heart are the beacons that hold us steady and help us to move forward. I cried happy tears at its end.
A big, wonderful novel you can really sink into. Following the lives of Agnes and Polly, and their 80-plus year friendship, from wintering in Philadelphia to summers on the coast of Maine, I just loved how this story unfolds. Filled with secrets, mysteries, love and heartache, it was hard to say goodbye when it ended.
The arrival of "The Trips"--triplets--changes Jacob's life forever. (He'd rather a puppy.) Once again, MacLachlan masterfully creates and endearing story and expertly draws us into new beginnings and the special bond of siblings. Absolutely heartwarming!
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Funny, fierce and full of heart! This fantasy reads like a memoir. "Scientific research" will fuel the reader's belief in the existence of female dragons who have risen above sexist oppression to excel in all areas--but mostly to help raise independent, loving and successful younger generations.
Another passionate and thorough selection from animal lover Sy Montgomery! Welcome to the world of birds of prey & falconry. Following her hunt for and revelry in the world of hawks, you will gain an all-encompassing understanding of hawks and their natural urges. Fascinating and engrossing!
This epistolary novel will ignite your senses and tantalize your tastebuds! It's a lovely story of a friendship formed via letters and a shared love of food, culture and writing. A gentle read that serves up wit, wisdom and connection.
As one who enjoys books on the writing process, I sit in awe of Quindlen’s contribution to this genre. Not only is it filled with useful “tools and tricks of the trade,” but she highlights wonderful examples throughout history on how writing has and continues to educate, enhance and encapsulate moments that we can all treasure. This book pays homage to writing and reading; as she says, “How it’s done is how you do it.” So, grab your favorite pen and paper and BEGIN!
Everything is just great with Mason and his childhood buddy Ty until the day Ava moves into town. The 7th grade boys are obsessed with time travel and Ava. Winds of change threaten the bond of their friendship. Will time travel mend their relationship? Read to find out! An awesome summer pick.
As full-fledged conductors, Kate and Tom travel in the Silver Arrow along the Great Secret Intercontinental Railway (GSIR) all over the planet searching for their missing Uncle Herbert while still grappling with trying to bring back balance to the world. On this adventure, they come upon the Golden Swift, another train on the GSIR with its own agenda. Mysteries abound in this sequel to Grossman’s The Silver Arrow. There is plenty of drama both in Kate’s real world and her magical world accessed by her steam engine, gifted to her by her eccentric and mysterious uncle last year. The question plaguing Kate throughout this story is “when you are a human being fighting to save nature, are you the hero or the villain?” There are no simple answers. A fabulous read that takes the reader on another magnificent journey!
As her ailing father is at the end of his life’s journey, Alice is ruminating over the shallow and spotty relationship she and her dad have. Wanting to be able to ask him questions, share and create a stronger connection, she is not feeling content with her life as the eve of her 40th birthday descends. Things begin to change overnight when something crazy happens! Straub has created a beautiful testament to the bonds of fathers and daughters while providing a nostalgic throwback to the 1990s and time travel trivia. This is a touching novel which asks the age-old questions: “If you could go back in time, would you?” and “What would you change if you could?”
A great read to launch into summer, and a great send-off to summer camp! Themes of belonging and friendship encircle this poignant story of "regular kid Abby Jane Herman" and her first sleepaway camp experience. Wanting desperately to fit in and find a friend, she tells a little white lie. Only her notebook knows the truth, until...
This is vibrant novel is so pleasing to the ear and the eyes! So colorful are the gorgeous illustrations by David Litchfield! Maguire crafts this story with beauty and heart. There are sentences that make one stop and pause as they resonate truthfully and cleverly with facts of life, growing up and dealing with change. This book is filled with adventure, action and thrills. While there are also moments of fear and grief, plenty of wit and wisdom are shared as well. Cress and all of her woodland family are endearing critters who form a community built on honesty and kindness. Lady Cabbage, Big 'ol Mr. Tunk along with Monsieur Reynard, stir things up and create trouble around The Broken Arms tree trunk. Read this book to learn how Cress gets good life lessons and avoids "the final drainpipe"! Note: Parents will love this story just as much as the kids. A great read-aloud! A great pick for those that remember and loved The Cricket in Times Square, Gooseberry Park, The One and Only Ivan and Charlotte's Web, to name a fe
"There is magic inside these pages!" This story is steeped in world mythologies, faith, fairy tales and personal experience. Themes of love, family and wondering what lies beyond life on this Earth are woven throughout. Through the art of storytelling, the characters learn to let go of fear of the unknown and of loss, to let love in while drawing strength from the stories that bind us and offer comfort.
Oh yes she did--she went there, there and everywhere! This is a no-holds-barred, thoughtful, heartfelt memoir. From behind-the-scenes drama at the Today Show to CBS News and 60 Minutes, we learn of her career path. Parallel to that, she lovingly shares her family life. This memoir is packed with dynamic revelations about sexism in journalism, living through loss, single parenting and more!
In the Middle Ages, girls were not allowed to read or write. Thanks to her mother’s strength and insistence, young Beatryce has learned both! She is an Abelard, of an old and noble family. A prophecy states that a young girl with these abilities will save the kingdom. Is it Beatryce? Can she defeat the greedy King and his evil council to fulfill this prophecy? With supportive allies and Answelica (her head-butting protective goat), she is going to try! DiCamillo has crafted a powerful story of finding our way home with courage, bravery, and friendship. Beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall, this story proves the power and the magic of the written word.
Beth Bacon draws you in with bold, simple, direct type and bright, geometric illustrations. Each page offers a new colorful burst of witty remarks and humor that kids 0-99 years old will enjoy. Any reader will easily be cajoled into continuing to turn the page. It's like opening a bag of your favorite snack--you just can't stop! Both this book and her previous, I Hate Reading, applaud and encourage readers to go against what the titles say and, whether or not they want to, they will successfully complete the book and relish the ability to not only finish but also enjoy a WHOLE BOOK!
Love abounds in this tragic-turned-heroic story of fictitious Bourne and its downtrodden citizens. Love of what was, love of what is not, love of the special bond between parents and children--or between siblings--and first love all fuel decisions. Relationships are put to the test. It's about doing what's right versus yielding to the pressures of elders and the promise of prosperity. This web of producers, consumers and apex predators will keep you turning the page! Will the youth of the town accept the challenge and burden that adults have either disregarded or not been able to rectify? Will love win? Should it? With original and fully realized characters, Frankel keeps the reader caught up in the life--or death--of this unique community.
As the days get longer and the temperatures continue to climb, this "twist" of a novel is the perfect early read of summer! Time travel and art history are swirled together like an ice cream cone, dipped in chocolate sprinkles and peanuts with a super sweet cherry on top! Bee from Brooklyn is on a quest to preserve the art of Michelangelo, and trying to get help from his arch rival, Raphael. How can she do this five centuries after these artists walked this earth? With a time traveling wardrobe created by DaVinci himself, of course! This story is a wonderful dive into the Renaissance with a modern perspective. Murdock has masterfully created a story of friendship and strong familial ties that weaves throughout the ages. Great for fans of When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time as well as anyone looking for a sweet adventure.
A coming-of-age story for every age! A mother, her grown children and their children navigate secrets and struggles, both large and small, in a quaint town where everyone knows everything about their neighbors. Engaging and captivating!
Two creature comforts are wrapped up in this light romance novel: knitting and books! This quick and easy read is reminiscent of a Hallmark Channel movie. It is a heartwarming story of family and community coming together to save Mama Joy’s Harlem knitting shop and, along with it, a few lost souls. For her whole life, Kerri sought refuge and comfort from Mama Joy and her shop. With Mama Joy’s support and Kerri’s true grit and perseverance, she has been able finish school to make something of her self. All of her plans are stalled when Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away. How will Mama Joy’s four sons handle the shop now that she’s gone? Will they stay and try to make a go of it? Will they sell and cut their losses? Who will Kerri turn to and what is her role in this drama now that the matriarch is gone? Bonus: real men knit in this story!
Grace and her Aunt Lily spend most afternoons together. While Aunt Lily hosts her writer's group, Grace eavesdrops and illustrates what she hears. Grace has a brand new journal with her name on it but she is convinced she has nothing to write about. A bit of magic appears on the doorstep in the form of Rex, a loving, old Black Lab. This friendly canine gives both Grace and her aunt the nudge they need. Soon they are writing from the heart. It's "a wondrous thing!" A comforting story to enjoy curled up with your favorite person and canine.
We all have longings that dwell within our "holy of holies," that hold our truest selves and beliefs. The main character, Ana, is a feminist in a time when women are silenced or written out of history, who bravely lives her truth, always strong, passionate and determined. From the first sentence, this book pulled me into Biblical times, walking right alongside Ana as her powerful story unfolds. Sue Monk Kidd has crafted a thoroughly engaging novel--my favorite of hers yet--built with reverence and respect for centuries of history that tell the story of Jesus. In it she has created Ana's story, "Herstory," that will forever leave an indelible mark on "History" for me. This book is going on my bookshelf right next to Anita Diamant's The Red Tent!
This book is comical, heart-wrenching and heartwarming. It also includes a loveable Sheltie! I thoroughly enjoyed the local setting--Laura is a Cambridge resident--quirky characters and the real feelings, fears and anxieties they embodied.
In an abandoned church lot, Ware, an introverted medieval knight-in-the making, meets and befriends Jolene, a tough, street-wise realist. Together, they find refuge and purpose in building a sanctuary for themselves and the area flora and fauna. This touching story is full of real-life worries and ups-and-downs but leaves your faith in humanity intact and your heart happy.
Fly over to Paris with Sarah Smith and enjoy the City of Lights through a newcomer's eyes. Will she get the happy ending that she craves as a reader of romance novels? Curl up, get cozy and enjoy this light read!
This is an intricately woven fantasy full of magic and mystery. You will travel through many doors and sail upon a sea of golden honey, crossing through different dimensions of time, unable to stop turning the pages until you come to the very end! Highly recommended!!!
Secrets of the Chocolate House are revealed as you journey between a quaint antique shop in present-day rural England and a 1600s chocolate house in the same community. I really enjoyed this second installment in Brackston's trilogy. This fast-paced novel is laced with history, fantasy, mystery and a sprinkle of romance. This is a delicious read that anyone can enjoy whether or not they've read The Little Shop of Found Things, its precursor. This novel is like a mug of hot chocolate with a shot of your favorite spirit, topped off with a dollop of a cliff-hanger! Now the wait for book three begins!
When you sit down to read this story you will not be able to stop! Dynamic characters, a story within a story, and an intricately woven setting will fill your senses and draw you in to many fantastical worlds. Fast-paced yet so beautifully written, I found myself slowing down to absorb every last detail. Very clever and entertaining with themes of family, loyalty and self-discovery, this is a new favorite that I suggest everyone read!
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Readers will fall into Bernard's story and hang on for his whole adventure! Fans of George Selden and Cynthia Rylant will welcome this cast of little creatures into their hearts and root for the underdogs as they go up against the cruel Pork Pie Gang. (The Libro.fm audiobook is also thoroughly delightful!)
A dash of historical fiction, a pinch of coming-of-age: New York City showgirls circa 1940 lead you through riotous and raucous late-night shenanigans. It's told in letter format but reads like a memoir, and is masterfully crafted with wit and wisdom. A great summer read--dive in!
This book has all the feels! It perfectly captures life in middle school-- the push and pull of growing up, the pangs of peer pressure, the courage to try new things, to be your authentic self (even if it's not the popular choice), to reach out to others, the heartbreak of separation, the comfort of forever friends. Blecher has woven a tapestry of modern day core values with societal conventions, pop culture and the contrast of island living with city dwelling around the themes of friendship and relationships. Those who love realistic fiction will devour this middle-grade read. I finished this book with "a smile that came from behind my eyes and spread across my cheeks."
Have you ever noticed how happy dogs are? Dave Barry has! As he begrudgingly faced turning 70 (equivalent in human years to the age of his dog, Lucy) he decided to pay close attention to how Lucy remains happy day in and day out. Thus came "seven lessons" from Lucy. Barry is his wonderfully witty self. I laughed out loud and loved it!
A Piglet Named Mercy is a PERFECT prequel to the Mercy Watson series! The Porcine Wonder popped into the lives of the Watsons, and their lives were never to be predictable ever again. A great backstory with fun illustrations (by original Mercy Watson illustrator Chris Van Dusen) that POP!
What do a wishing well and a stolen gem have to do with each other? Writer Keith Calabrese has crafted a story of unlikely friendships that bring a downtrodden town back to life. Sixth grade students Ryan, Ernest, and Lizzy team up to solve a mystery and unexpectedly end up helping their peers and the community. This is a great story about friendship, kindness and, most importantly, hope--and an uplifting read!
Imagine finding out that Jackie O. is your editor! Over multiple heart-to-hearts, the marvelous Mrs. Onassis mixes daiquiris with straightforward compassion and helps an author overcome his writer's block and family conflicts.
"I didn't want to die with everything in my head. The knowledge that all my memories would be lost was too painful" says our main character, Doris. At 96, her life has spanned countries and continents along with love in all of its incarnations. A red leather address book has become the map of her life. In it she has collected all the people she has met and all the places she has been since receiving it on her tenth birthday. Doris has decided to write her life story for her grandniece, Jenny. Along the way Doris and Jenny both come to find you are never too old for surprises! A lovely read
Mystery, intrigue, travel and more than one romance makes this a pleasing page-turner! The purchase of a little antique shop in the English countryside sets this novel circa present day. A troubled ghost and rare antique trinket magically sends our protagonist back in time to the early 1600s. This first book in a new series is a fun jump between now and then. The only downside is finishing it and having to wait for book two to come out!
If you like magic, wordplay, and all-around tomfoolery then you'll love this madcap adventure from Lincoln Peirce, author of the Big Nate series! It's 14th century style with 21st century humor! Max and the Midknights is great fun. And if you like a touch of drama, listen to this story performed in full as an audio book on Libro.fm. A full cast of talented actors bring this story to life.