The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

Posted by Sherry on 4/2/2014 in 2013, Adult Fiction, Africa, Around the World, Botswana, Mysteries |

There are a few authors I could read all day, all week, and never get tired of their books, their characters, and their writing style. Whereas some authors I read and enjoy but then need a break—Dickens or John Grisham or even Tolkien. Others are so delightful and amusing and light-hearted that I could take […]

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Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Posted by Sherry on 3/31/2014 in 2013, Children's Fiction, General, Young Adult Fiction |

“I can claim to be tolerably detached on the subject of ghost stories. I do not depend upon them in any way; not even in the sordid professional way, in which I have at some periods depended on murder stories. I do not much mind whether they are true or not. I am not, like […]

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Posted by Sherry on 3/4/2014 in 2013, Children's Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, General |

If you liked the following books, you might like Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman, reviewed at Semicolon. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, reviewed at Semicolon. Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery and a […]

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Posted by Sherry on 2/17/2014 in 2013, Cybil Awards, Young Adult Fiction |

My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well-spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute. That’s how Ruta Sepetys’ second YA novel starts out, and that intro pretty much tells you whether […]


Sidekicked by John David Anderson

Posted by Sherry on 2/13/2014 in 2013, Children's Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, General |

Superheroes, from Gilgamesh and Enkidu to Samson and Gideon to Hercules to Beowulf to Superman and The Incredible Hulk—we weak mortals have always been fascinated with the adventures and exploits of men (sometimes women) with incredible talents, beyond human strength, and extraordinary intelligence. Superheroes are the stuff of legend and comic book—and nowadays middle grade […]

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Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Posted by Sherry on 2/11/2014 in 2013, Children's Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folktales, General |

Jinx is your basic, orphaned in the forest, boy hero, who becomes a wizard’s apprentice. Jinx’s curiosity is, of course, sometimes too much for his capabilities. It all reminds me of this scene from Fantasia: I really enjoyed Jinx. It’s a story with lots of questions–and elements from various old stories: Who is Jinx? Why […]

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Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Posted by Sherry on 1/27/2014 in 2013, Children's Fiction, General, Newbery Project |

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Award for best children’s book of 2013. The announcement was made this morning, and I realized that I actually had the book, checked out from the library and waiting to be read on my shelf. So I read it. Flora and Ulysses is […]

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12 Best Middle Grade and YA Fiction Books I Read in 2013

Posted by Sherry on 1/2/2014 in 2013, Children's Fiction, General, Young Adult Fiction |

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, reviewed at Semicolon. What a delight! Navigating Early is just the kind of novel that the Newbery award-givers, who have already awarded Ms. Vanderpool’s first book, Moon Over Manifest, a Newbery Award, would love. And I loved it, too. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen, reviewed at Semicolon. The […]


Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower

Posted by Sherry on 12/3/2013 in 2013, Children's Fiction, Christian Fiction, General, Mysteries |

Andi Unexpected reminded me of the simple mystery stories I read when I was nine and ten and eleven years old, nothing profound or even memorable, just a good solid mystery story for middle grade kids who like that sort of thing. After the death of their scientist parents in the jungles of Central America, […]

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Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Posted by Sherry on 12/1/2013 in 1978, 2013, Children's Fiction, General |

Quentin, Sarah, Ben and Cat are kids with one thing in common: they each experienced a head injury that brought them to the International Center for Advanced Neurology (I-CAN) to try to recover their brain and themselves. As Cat says, “The most terrifying thing about hitting your head so hard is when you wake up […]

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