Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.

Abigail Rook has just arrived in New Fiddleham, New England in 1892.  She ran away from home in search of an adventure, one that her father would never take her on but leave her at home to ponder what adventures he would be embarking on.

The day Abigail arrived, she meets R.F. Jackaby who is an investigator for the ‘unexplained’ and has a key eye for the extraordinary happenings….including the ability to see supernatural beings.  Although Abigail only has the gift for noticing ordinary but important details, Jackaby hires her as his assistant and she could not be more excited!

The first day on the job brings the duo amidst a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

This book has won the Newberry award for Young Adult.  The story was interesting enough to make me want to continue on with the series.  Although just having watched “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” I kept having the inkling that Jackaby might possibly be a relative to Newt!

 

 

Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Melanie Watt has done a fantastic job combining a great children’s story with an underlying life lessons.  This book has fantastic, humorous pictures to go with the story of a fly that inadvertently gets sucked into a vacuum. In silly ways, the fly goes through the five stages of grief.  Parents can keep it simple for the little ones, or engage older children in discussion about the feelings we often go through when something bad happens to us. Perceptive readers will notice the dog experiencing loss only slightly less dramatically than the bug! I read this to my story time group and they were genuinely sad for this fly!  An interesting concept for a children’s book!  I will tell you that the story DOES have a better ending than the beginning of the book for the Fly!

The League of Beastly Dreadfuls (The League of Beastly Dreadfuls #1) by Holly Grant

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A creepy Victorian house, secretive aunties, and a great escape combine in this debut that is part Mysterious Benedict Society, part Roald Dahl. Join the League. . . 

We meet Anastasia a average almost 11 year old who’s parents die in a freak vacuum accident and her great aunties come to take her to their home in St Agonys insane asylum. between a creature in the woods, attacking poodles, a biting gardener and being locked in her room at night Anastasia`s life is turned upside down but all is what it seems and Anastasia is about to learn how horrible the world can be.

The pacing both in action and humor is perfect, and the narrator not too clever for its own good. Full of adventure and excitement, The League of Beastly Dreadfuls is a fast-paced and highly entertaining read. The story mixes the perfect amount of dark and quirky with comic relief and enjoyable characters. The writing flows wonderfully and pulls the reader in expertly, making this an excellent choice for reluctant readers.  something strange is going on at the asylum. Anastasia soon begins to suspect that her aunties are not who they say they are……

This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs by Gary Paulsen

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you do not know who Gary Paulsen is….then we can’t be friends….I supposed we COULD, but you must read his books!  Gary Paulsen is the Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong . In this book he shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.

Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.

His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.

I found this book in Juvenile non-fiction section at the library and due to that fact, the book to me was too short!  I want to hear more of his stories other than those I have already read!  I highly suggest you read about the very interesting life of Gary Paulsen!  You will wonder where and when did he have time to write over 200 books?  A fantastic author and person to read about!

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In spite of the macabre topic, Mary Roach must have had a ball doing her footwork for this book. Not happy to glean her information from published sources, Mary traveled extensively to conduct her research, and had doors opened for her that I doubt get opened very often.  This book has so many interesting tidbits on what happens to our bodies after we die. I was amazed and fascinated by the history and current research being done on human cadavers.   Although this book is not for the faint of heart, as we are obviously talking about cadavers here, you will yet find the interesting history behind the medical research being done every day to SAVE YOUR LIFE!  This was a book that I had to take in stride, due to all the information in each chapter that sent me pondering into the next day!  If your up for it, check this book out and let me know what you think!!

The Best Man by Richard Peck

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Richard Peck, a Newbery Medalist, has written us readers a novel about gay marriage from a kid’s point of view!

Archer is a 6th grader who has a great life full of friends, family and wonderful teachers.  He soon finds out that his uncle Paul is about to marry another man.  The man he is going to marrying just happens to be Archer’s favorite student teacher.  Not only that, but Archer is to be the ring bearer!

The big talking point of the book will be that Archer realizes that his favorite uncle is gay, but this really wasn’t main point of the story. Yes, the uncle gets married to a man, but this was addressed in such a supportive and accepting way that it was never an “issue”. It’s just a part of life, no big deal to him.

This is a great book that emphasize the importance of family, no matter what the circumstance thrown their way.  A controversial topic handled with honesty, humor, and insight.   Richard Peck is an excellent story teller, the mundane and everyday ordinary lives of his characters are so real and well written!

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I read this book in 6 HOURS.  It was that GOOD!  The first book I read by Ruth Ware was “In a Dark, Dark Wood”, which was fantastic!

Travel reporter Lo Blacklock is given an amazing assignment, a week-long cruise aboard an exclusive luxury ship. Only ten cabins, so the small group of guests will be pampered as they sail from England to Norway. The excursion is lovely at first, but Lo’s fun comes to an end within the first night when she sees a woman tossed overboard from the cabin next door.

I really enjoyed the setting of this mystery. A small ship, alone on the chilly North Sea, spotty internet, seemingly cut off from the rest of the world, possibly with a killer on board. Very eerie and ominous atmosphere. With all passengers and crew accounted for, the others doubt Lo’s story. Then odd things start to happen.

I enjoyed this clever mystery very much. It made me nervous, but it was a good kind of nervous. Lo’s character was kind of a mess, always teetering on the brink madness, which was understandable given the circumstances. Loved the ending too, including the final twist!!