Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

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Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Crenshaw is 9 year old Jackson’s imaginary friend. Jackson is too old for imaginary friends, and yet, Crenshaw is there to help him through the possibility of becoming homeless again. Reality is difficult which is why Crenshaw the cat is with Jackson to help him through these troubling times.  This book does a phenomenal job of being engaging and fun despite material that could so-easily delve into dark and disturbing.  Uncertainties frighten and anger Jackson. He prides himself on his scientist-like thinking, and that’s what he wants to be when he grows up–a scientist. But, like most kids in a family with some serious problems, he has limited time to think about his future. His dad was once a successful construction worker who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and could only take part-time jobs after that time. His mother was once a middle-school music teacher, until her job was eliminated, and she then started working up to three part-time jobs at a time. Unfortunately, all that part-time work never seemed to add up to full-time wages, and, once again, Jackson’s family was looking at the possibility of having to live in their van. Narrated in first person by Jackson, “Crenshaw” is an extremely personal and very realistic story. Chapters are short and easy to read. Language is appropriate for the target age group – 8 to 12-years old – and some of the situations involving Jackson’s family may be relatable to those children. The aspects of this novel that may be personally unfamiliar to many of those young readers involve the situations involving homelessness, job loss, and chronic, debilitating illness.  Wonderful writing with a powerful message!

The Madman’s Daughter By Megan Shepherd

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But he’d already turned to the door.  It had a strange knob: a smooth, straight cylinder and hook latch with holes for the fingers.  The keyhole had been soldered closed.  “Isn’t there a key?” I asked.  “No need. Only the main gate is locked.”  He tugged on the latch a few times with his middle finger.  “The interior doors have a safeguard.  Only five-fingers can open them.”….”Five-fingers?”

Published: January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was awesome!  That’s all I really need to say I think….haha!  I picked up this book at the library.  I had seen it on goodreads.com and it was on my ‘to read’ list, so I was pretty excited they had a copy!  I’m also going to say that I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up or added it to my ‘to read’ list, so I was pretty surprised at what the store entailed!  Here is my review for this great book!

This book was inspired by H.G. Well’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau.  The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.  I for one, could not put this book down!  Last night I read a whole whopping 300 pages in one sitting!

Sixteen year old, Juliet is orphaned and abandoned.  He mother died when she was young and her father was accused of a gruesome scandal and skipped town, later to be thought of as dead.  One night Juliet finds something strange that makes her think her father may still be alive, but would all the rumors about him be true?  Could he really be the ‘mad scientist’ everyone says he was?

Juliet sets out to find out more about her father’s whereabouts and runs into a long lost childhood friend and her father’s assistant, Montgomery.  She finds out that her father is in fact alive and is living on a remote island and she is determined to sail with Montgomery to it, even though he warns her not to.

What she finds on the island when she gets there, is way beyond what she could have ever imagined her father was capable of and yes, the rumors were true.  As Juliet uncovers its dark and dangerous secrets, the island may prove far more dangerous than being penniless on the streets of London.

A captivating tale that kept me on the edge of my seat, constantly unsettled, and never sure who to trust, The Madman’s Daughter is a definite, new favorite!