Friday, April 16, 2021

Opal (The Raven Cycle, #4.5) by Maggie Stiefvater

Opal (The Raven Cycle, #4.5)Opal by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this audiobook and Will Patton's narration was spellbinding! This short novella of the Raven Cycle features Opal as half human and half hooved animal and adds more to the Raven Cycle series and features Ronan, Adam, and a cloud lady.

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Anxious People by Frederik Backman

Anxious PeopleAnxious People by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this audiobook narrated by Marin Ireland; her command of voices was perfect! The plot of a hold up in a cashless bank, then a hostage situation the day before New Year's Eve in an apartment viewing and the wacky, combative, bizarre questioning (truth telling) of the hostages by the police was surreal and perfect as the author weaves a story about the anxious hostages, the police officer(s) and the funny and serious sides of human nature. My friend, Deb recommended this book and I am so glad she did. I absolutely love Frederik Backman books, too---they are so compulsively readable with humor and sorrow and real life all blended perfectly.

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The One Thing You'd Save by Linda Sue Park

The One Thing You'd SaveThe One Thing You'd Save by Linda Sue Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book in a format I don't usually choose for #BitAboutBooks Spring Book Challenge. The poems in this novel in verse are a new kind of poetry for me. Known as sijo it is a Korean line structure and I was captivated by this novel in verse, the plot, and the characters---the students and their teacher as they interact while contemplating, discussing and musing on the question asked by their teacher---The One Thing You'd Save if your home was on fire. I enjoyed the students, their teacher and especially the black and white illustrations which really highlight the students answers. A must read and highly recommended.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Catywampus by Ash Van Otterloo

CattywampusCattywampus by Ash Van Otterloo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book with a title having a word 3 syllables or longer for #BitAboutBooks Spring Reading Challenge and oh did I enjoy it! With magic, witches, feuds, and a community that hates witches, Delpha McGill and Katybird Hearn have been warned and forbidden to use magic in Howler's Hollow. But magic is calling to both girls in feuding witch families--- Delpha finding her family's top secret book of hexes unleashes zombies from both families; Delpha and Katybird must quickly STOP the chaos. But what if the girls magic can't/won't work? I loved Van Otterloo's debut book for so many reasons--the writing is exciting, the characters are well drawn, but the magic, their friend Tyler, and Delpha's shed, better known as Puppet, steal the show! For a suspenseful spirited read, middle grade students will be sharing this thriller of magic, hexes, and zombies with their friends. Highly recommended!

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Louisiana's Way HomeLouisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this for the #BitAboutBooks Spring Reading Challenge for the pre2020 book. I read this awesome Kate DiCamillo book about one of Raymie Nightingale's best friends, Louisiana Elefante. When Louisiana is uprooted one night by her Granny and taken for a midnight ride she is not surprised because this has happened before. There is a curse on her family and Granny tells her the day of reckoning has come. What she does not make immediately apparent is that she will not be taking Louisiana back home to Florida to her friends, dog and cat. Instead a saga unfolds and the reader and Louisiana learn a whole lot about her life. With this new information, her Granny unfit and unwilling to help Louisiana; Louisiana begins to fend for herself. I loved Louisiana; her honesty despite the manipulations of her Granny, her friendliness to everyone she meets and her beautiful singing voice that brings people to tears. The way Kate DiCamillo delivers this story as Louisiana narrates is simply authentic, real, and beautiful.

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Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Dark and Deepest RedDark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another winner by the awesome Anna-Marie McLemore with magical realism, switching from 1507 to five centuries later. Lala and her family live in Strasbourg, France, make shoes and watch as a hysteria latches onto women in the village. As they dance uncontrollably, some die, and everyone wants answers. Five hundred years later, Rosella Oliva's family makes these red shoes too and these shoes have sealed themselves to Rosella. I could not put this gorgeous book down as Lala and Alifair (the boy who lives and works with her family) become special to one another -- the same way Rosella and Emil become special to one another. But there is a rich history involving the women and the men looking for answers, trying to save one another, and defying the times. A must read if you have loved ALL of McLemore's books; there is beauty, mystery and wonder on every page.

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When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

When You Look Like UsWhen You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is up for the HUB Amazing Audiobook; Awesomely narrated by: Preston Butler III about an African American teen whose sister goes missing and his search for her despite his own failings. I really wanted to like Jay but Jay was his own worst enemy. People obviously care about him and he will not confide because of many reasons he thinks are true. He won't tell his grandmother who has raised him since his mother spiraled after his dad died and landed in jail---that Nicole, his sister is missing. Jay continues to make up excuses thinking he is sparing his grandmother with worries. He also has given up on his sister, and decides he is sick of her doing drugs, blowing off school off and dating the local drug dealer; when she does reach out to him, Jay shows her the "new" Jay who hangs up on her. He is a good kid who has been traumatized by his father's death, his mother's desertion, and living in a seedy part of town where you are judged "when you look like us" but he also does not know how to say what he wants and he continues the whole book to turn away others who will help him; also he is bullied by the local thugs and works at Taco Bell where the mangers expect too much and allow awful customers too much freedom. I did like this story; it is one that needs to be told but I did not like Jay's development through the whole book; I did not want to root for him; I wanted to kick him. Thankfully he does allow his bible school friend to help and if it was not for her---she was adventurous, devious when needed, and pushed Jay to be the best he could be. A great ending to a book that deals with urban problems and how law enforcement does not stick up for "missing" people---how Jay (and others like him) grew up too fast, how others make assumptions about people in their neighborhoods and schools, and how this bias continues. A must read!

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