My Bare Naked Heart by David Avery

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My Bare Naked Heart is a novel written by David Avery. I found it on Kindle Unlimited, and since I’ve been reading a lot of historical m/m lately, it seemed like the sort of book that I would enjoy.

John Branson is starting college at an all-male college in Vermont. He quickly falls in with the other young men in his dormitory, and this causes him to question his sexuality even more than he already has been. However, it is the 1950s, so coming out is absolutely impossible. Read more

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The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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The Orphan Band of Springdale is a middle grade novel written by Anne Nesbet. I always read the middle grade novels I receive with my oldest daughter, so I was excited about the opportunity to share another book with her.

Gusta Neubronner arrives in Sprindale, Maine to stay with her mother’s family. She wants nothing more than to fit in with her new classmates, but she immediately stands out when she fails an eye exam on the first day of school. Gusta has always known that she needs glasses, but she always used coping mechanisms like memorization to “pass” the test. Glasses are a luxury that she doesn’t think her family can afford.

Gusta also stands out because of her “foreign” name. It’s 1941, and her school is engaged in activities that highlight what it means to be a Real American, and what they as children can do to be patriots. Gusta wants to do her part, but she is also struck by the injustice that she sees around her. Her father is actually on the run from the authorities for his role in labor organization. Read more

Big Nate: Silent but Deadly by Lincoln Peirce

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Big Nate: Silent but Deadly was written by Lincoln Peirce. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of the Big Nate comic strip and I knew that she would be interested in reading it too.

Nate is an average American boy who goes to elementary school. He has somewhat of a contentious relationship with teachers and administrators, and he has friends and adversaries within the school community. He’s a bright boy, but he doesn’t like to do schoolwork, which is something most children can empathize with. He plays sports, and interacts with his family. Read more

Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson

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Unicorn of Many Hats is the seventh book in Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and her Unicorn series of comics. I was very excited to read this book and share it with my oldest daughter because she loves this series.

The premise is fairly simple: Phoebe is an elementary school student, and her best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Marigold is mostly invisible, but she does have some interactions with the other characters.

Unicorn of Many Hats tends to follow a similar setup to the other books, wherein the good part of a year is covered, without the characters really aging from one book to another. There are story arcs devoted to starting school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the familiar secondary characters have returned, including frenemy Dakota, Max, Phoebe’s geeky parents, and even the goblins make an appearance. Read more

I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo by Charles Schulz

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I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo is a collection of Peanuts cartoons by the late Charles Schulz. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of Peanuts. Needless to say, she was very excited when I told her that I had a Peanuts book for her to read!

Fans of Peanuts will know that “sweet babboo” was a term of endearment that Sally Brown used with her beloved Linus. Interestingly enough, while there was a storyline involving Sally and Linus going to a farm on a school, most of the collection focuses on other storylines. We are treated to Snoopy’s feud with the cat next door, Peppermint Patty’s school troubles, Charlie Brown running away, and Snoopy playing tennis with Molly Volley.

These storylines are unrelated, but the compilers of this collection did a good job with the segues, so nothing seems out-of-place with the transitions. There’s a nice flow. Read more

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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Turtles All the Way Down is a young adult novel written by John Green. I haven’t had very many YA titles in my reading queue lately, but I’ve enjoyed Green’s books in the past, and so I took the opportunity to check this one out of the library.

Aza seems like a fairly typical teenage girl, but she struggles with anxiety, which is exacerbated by thoughts of germs and becoming sick (specifically with c diff). Her routine is thrown into disarray when Russell Pickett, a local billionaire disappears and a $100k reward is offered for any information that leads to his whereabouts.

Aza, goaded by her best friend, reluctantly takes up the search. She happens to know Pickett’s son Davis because they attended a grief camp together, and her sleuthing leads to a reconnection with her old friend. Everything seems to be going well for Aza, but her negative thoughts become more persistent, and she can’t stop thinking about getting sick, and starts exploring extreme measures in her quest to avoid illness. Read more

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

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The Wonderling is a middle grade novel written and illustrated by Mira Bartok. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I have three girls in the middle grade range, and I knew this book would appeal to them.

Arthur is a young fox groundling (a sort of anthropomorphic animal). He lives in an orphanage with other groundlings, ruled by the cruel Miss Carbunkle, who metes out punishments to maintain order and has placed a permanent ban on music or anything happy. Arthur meanders through his miserable existence, but that changes when he meets Trinket. It is Trinket who gives him his name- before that, doesn’t even have a name and is referred to as Thirteen. Trinket becomes Arthur’s first friend, and she tells him wonderful stories about the world outside the Home. Arthur is terrified by change, but with Trinket’s coaxing, he agrees to escape with her. This proves to be the beginning of an amazing adventure, as Arthur tries to discover his origins. Read more

The Dollmaker of Krakow

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The Dollmaker of Krakow is a middle grade novel written by R.M. Romero. My three girls are in the middle grade range, and so I always end up reading the children’s fiction I receive with them because their feedback is invaluable.

Karolina lived quite happily in the Land of the Dolls until the rats invaded. Her peaceful existence was shattered as the rats began a reign of terror. When things are looking their bleakest, Karolina awakens in a toy shop in the city of Krakow. She meets Mr. Brzezick, the Dollmaker who brought her to life. At first, the Dollmaker is shocked that Karolina can speak to him, but he quickly accepts the magic for what it is. Read more

Sam the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Willems

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Sam the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World is a picture book written and illustrated by Mo Willems. It’s somewhat of a sequel to Leonardo the Terrible Monster, which has always been one of our favorite Willems books. I preordered this book six months ago, and everybody was so excited when it finally arrived.

Sam is a little boy who is afraid of everything except for his monster friend Leonardo. One day, Sam and Leonardo meet Kerry and Frankenthaler, who are a girl and monster duo. Both children are scared, and it is quickly established that they are not afraid of the unfamiliar monster- they are afraid of the unfamiliar child. What can Leonardo and Frankenthaler do to help their kids see that they might have more in common than they thought? Read more

The Adventures of King Rollo by David McKee

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I remember watching King Rollo on Nickelodeon back in the 1980s. We also had a couple of the books. It seems like a lot of people don’t remember it, so I was very excited when I saw a set of King Rollo books on Amazon.

The Adventures of King Rollo is a set of four little hardcover books written and illustrated by David McKee. They come packaged nicely in a sturdy cardboard slipcase.

King Rollo and the Bread shows King Rollo trying to improve upon a farmer’s simple meal of bread by having his Magician change the bread into many different foods. The moral of this story is that simple is sometimes best. Read more