Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

I will admit that I had trouble getting into Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children when I first checked it out from the library a couple of years ago. It just didn’t hold my interest, and then it had to go back. Too many books, not enough time. A couple of months ago, we found the graphic novel version of Miss Peregrine’s Home, and that was a much better experience. When I saw the audiobook version of the sequel- Hollow City– at the library, I picked it up. Please note: if you have not yet read Miss Peregrine’s Home, this review contains information that might be considered spoilers for that book. There are no spoilers for Hollow City. You really need to read Miss Peregrine’s Home before reading Hollow City. The Kindle version is currently on sale for $5.28, and is really worth picking up. Read more

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The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

I found The Dark at my town library. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but how could I pass up a picture book written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen? I’ll admit that I never read the entire Unfortunate Events series, but Snicket’s The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming is a favorite holiday story of mine, and I think I Want My Hat Back is a modern classic.

The Dark is a story about Laszlo, a little boy who is afraid of the dark. They mostly keep away from each other, and the dark stays in the basement. But when Laszlo’s nightlight goes out, the dark comes to visit. The dark talks to him, and guides him into the basement. Laszlo learns that he doesn’t have to be afraid of the dark. Read more

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

As I attempted to prioritize my reading list by selecting the books that were due back to the library the soonest, I realized that I had two similar titles. The Chosen One and The 19th Wife had similar covers: both featured a single braid of hair, and both books centered around polygamist families. It was hard to choose which book to read first, but I started with The Chosen One.

The Chosen One was written by Carol Lynch Williams. This is the story of Kyra, a young girl living in an isolated polygamist community. Kyra is a fascinating protagonist, and once I started reading, I could not stop until I found out what happened to her. Read more

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

I don’t remember how I first heard about Fallen Beauty. Usually I have a good memory when it comes to books, and I can remember whether a book was recommended on Amazon or if I read a book review in Entertainment Weekly. But I’m just drawing a blank when it comes to Fallen Beauty. Nevertheless, it was in my library pile, and its due date was quickly approaching, so I put it at the top of my to-read pile.

Fallen Beauty is a work of historical fiction written by Erika Robuck. This is her fourth novel, and her third to feature prominent 20th century American literary figures. I actually have her Call Me Zelda on my Kindle. I do believe that it was a Kindle deal of the day. No, I don’t think that there is a correlation between the Kindle deal and finding out about Fallen Beauty. Read more

Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton) by Leila Rasheed

I have a great deal of love for my town library. They have a great selection of books, and they even have a large selection of books for sale for $1 apiece. Children’s books are 4 for $1! I have found tons of great books at the library. It’s hard to say no to cheap books. If there is anything that I cannot find, I can order them through the library network and they are delivered right to my town library. However, if there is something I see at a library in a nearby town, I will drive over and pick it up myself. Not only does this save resources, it also allows me to get the book I want instantly!

One of the libraries in a nearby town is very small. It shares a building with the police station and the town hall. Despite its small size, this library has been a treasure trove of amazing books. I came for a specific book, but then I found so many wonderful books that I didn’t know I needed.

One of the books that I found was Cinders & Sapphires. This is a young adult novel written by Leila Rasheed. The cover featured beautiful young people in opulent clothing, and a quote from Kirkus Review said that this would be perfect for fans of Downton Abbey. Sold! Read more

This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I found This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations at our town library. As a leafed though it, I thought that my daughters would like it, so I brought it home. We have another book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal called Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons, and the girls have enjoyed that one. This Plus That was illustrated by Jen Corace.

The story is composed of a series of equations. The book combines English with math in ways that are quite clever: Read more

Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past by Ransom Riggs

I first heard about Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past when I read a review of it on the now-defunct epinions.com. I enjoyed the review, and since I was familiar with Talking Picture’s author Ransom Riggs, I wanted to read the book for myself.

Ransom Riggs is best known for his young adult novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and its sequel Hollow City. The inspiration for Miss Peregrine’s Home was a series of old photographs that showed children doing fantastic things, like appearing to levitate. He crafted a wonderful story about these peculiar children and the lives that they led. Read more

The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson

I am a big fan of young adult books. I always make sure to cruise through the YA section at my town library. I also make requests through the library for even more books. They are delivered right to my town library- it’s just like Amazon, except it’s free! Three cheers for our libraries!

I found The Explosionist at my town library. I was drawn to the book because of the title and the picture on the cover. I find the most wonderful books in the most superficial ways. This young adult novel was written by Jenny Davidson.

The Explosionist takes place in Scotland in 1937, but this is a very different Scotland. The backstory is established fairly quickly: in this world, The British were defeated at Waterloo in 1815. This was the beginning of the end of the British Empire, and England was absorbed into part of the European conglomerate. Scotland remained independent, with Hadrian’s Wall as a dividing line. Scotland is part of a modern-day Hanseatic League, and society is both familiar and completely foreign. Read more

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

My oldest daughter is almost seven and she is an advanced reader, but up until recently, she has been particular about what she read. She preferred graphic novels, and I was happy to oblige: graphic novels are cool! Fortunately, our town library has a large selection of graphic novels for children. They also have an equally large selection of graphic novels for teens/young adults. Most of the content in the young adult section is not appropriate for a seven year old. That’s too bad for my daughter, but there’s a veritable treasure trove out there for me to read.

Boxers and Saints is a two-volume collection written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang. Both books take place during the tumultuous time in Chinese history known as the Boxer Rebellion. Read more

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

I just finished reading Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. This is a middle reader chapter book written by Karen Foxlee. My oldest daughter actually read this book a couple of weeks ago for her homework reading log, but I had other books on my list, and I didn’t get around to reading it until now. I’m so glad that I did.

Ophelia is a shy girl who wears glasses and carries a puffer. She is not very boisterous, and she does not consider herself to be very brave. Ophelia has come to a snowy foreign city with her father and sister so that her father can assemble a special display of swords in a museum full of curious collections. The entire family is still processing the loss of Ophelia’s mother, which occurred three months before the events of the book. Read more