Classic Book Review: Anne’s House of Dreams

Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Anne’s House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables, #5)
by L.M. Montgomery

5 out of 5 stars

Anne and Gilbert are married, and they settle into their first home while Gilbert starts his medical practice in a small harbor town on Prince Edward Island. They befriend their neighbors, Captain Jim, Leslie Moore, and the formidable Miss Cornelia.

Captain Jim tells them fascinating stories of his adventures at sea. Miss Cornelia hates men and criticizes them mercilessly. Leslie Moore has had a tragic life, and her heart is bitter. Each of these people find solace and compassion with Anne as they form strong friendships that help them through the storms of life. Continue reading

Book Review: Wings of Flame

Wings of Flame by Nancy Springer
Wings of Flame
by Nancy Springer 

3 out of 5 stars

Two warring nations worship the same horse deity, but their priests differ on how to worship. The warrior prince, Kyrem, is sent as a hostage to peace to be the guest of his enemy. An outcast girl, Seda, must masquerade as a boy, and befriends the prince when she saves his life from brigands on the road.

There were some things about this book that I really loved, and some things that were confusing, and some things that were just weird.

I loved the characters! Their relationships are complex and always changing. They all have secrets and inner turmoil that they have to resolve. I was so engaged in their character development and their emotional reactions. Continue reading

Book Review: The Rising Star of Rusty Nail

The Rising Star of Rusty Nail by Lesley M.M. Blume
The Rising Star of Rusty Nail
by Lesley M.M. Blume

3 out of 5 stars

Franny is a piano prodigy in a backwards country town. When a mysterious Russian musician arrives in town, Franny begs her to teach piano lessons.

I was not impressed with this book. As a piano teacher myself, I was hoping for something more, but it was pretty basic. Most of the book is about the townspeople and their little country lives. It’s supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t laughing. I was annoyed with the ignorant people. I didn’t like any of the characters. The children are all brats. The adults are all incompetent. The characters are one-dimensional. The writing is good, but not amazing. Continue reading

Book Review: Fyre

Fyre by Angie Sage
Fyre (Septimus Heap, #7)
by Angie Sage

4 out of 5 stars

At last, the wizards are preparing to destroy the evil Two-Faced Ring and all its Darke magic. But first they must kindle the ancient Alchemical Fyre, and only Marcellus knows where the old Alchemy chamber of Fyre is hidden.

I loved this book! The plot is full of action and magic and twists. I adore the characters, and I love how they grow and learn throughout the series. This book was particularly emotional for the Heap family as Princess Jenna prepares to be crowned Queen.

There are so many hilarious details in this book that make it really fun to read. Each character has a unique relationship with the others, and I love the complicated dynamics between them all. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: That Dog!

That Dog! by Emma Lazell
That Dog!
by Emma Lazell

5 out of 5 stars

A ruthless gang of dognappers is on the loose, and their next target is…. That Dog! But That Dog will not be caught unawares. He is on their trail, following the clues to rescue the other dogs who have been dognapped. The dognapper’s assistant is not too bright, and he mistakenly kidnaps a snake, a rabbit, and a cat while searching for That Dog.

I love the silly story and the fun characters. That Dog is quite a clever dog, and I liked how we see him with a notebook full of clues. He carries around a magnifying glass and reads books like “Sherlock Bones and Dog Watson”. He reads the newspaper and does the crossword puzzle. A dog who reads is my kind of dog. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The Runaway Shirt

The Runaway Shirt by Kathy  MacMillan
The Runaway Shirt
by Kathy MacMillan, Julia Castano (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

While a mother is folding the laundry, her child climbs into a big shirt, and she tries to fold the “shirt”. First she folds in the arms, and then folds the shirt in half by tucking in the child’s legs. But the “shirt” runs away! She tries to put it in a drawer, but it pops out again. She tries to hang it up in the closet, but the “shirt” is too heavy for the hanger.

This is such an adorable book! I love how imaginative the mother and child are as they pretend the child is a shirt. Their affectionate connection is evident on every page as they play and pretend together. It’s fun to see them transform a boring chore into a game.

Even though it’s such a simple story, I was giggling through every page, and almost cried when the “shirt” says “I love you, Mommy.” So sweet! So cute! Adorableness overload! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Dear Moon

Dear Moon by Stephen  Wunderli
Dear Moon
by Stephen Wunderli, Maria Luisa Di Gravio (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars

This whimsical story follows two friends, Max and Ely, as they try to stop the passage of time so that Ely won’t have to go to the hospital. If they can stop the moon from moving, then they can stop time. They build a rocket ship for Ely’s wheelchair and try to lasso the moon, but nothing can stop the moon and eventually Ely has to leave. Max has to deal with his feelings of grief and his anger at the moon, but eventually he realizes that his memories of his friend are more precious than anything.

I love how this book takes a difficult subject like childhood cancer and creates a sweet story of healing. Even though the subject is serious, there are some light-hearted moments of fun. I love how imaginative the children are as they plot how to stop the moon from moving and how to build their rocket ship. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Santa. com

Santa.com by Russell Hicks
Santa.com
by Russell Hicks, Matt Cubberly (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars

Santa has retired, and the elves use Santa.com to handle delivering all the Christmas presents. Cyber Scrooge hacks the system and Christmas will be cancelled unless three determined elves can find Santa, the missing sleigh, and the reindeer.

This story is funny and entertaining. I like the mystery as the elves search for the sleigh and try to find Santa. There is also some great humor when they find the reindeer, but the reindeer have grown fat and are too out-of-shape to pull the sleigh.

I love the positive messages about preserving your heritage and not losing personal connections in a faceless technological corporation.

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Picture Book Review: Florence and Her Fantastic Family Tree

Florence and Her Fantastic Family Tree by Judy Gilliam
Florence and Her Fantastic Family Tree
by Judy Gilliam, Laura Addari (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars

Florence’s class is making family tree projects, and Florence is worried that her tree will cover the whole wall in the classroom. Her family is big and blended and beautiful. She has three sets of parents and step-parents, along with several half-brothers and half-sisters. Florence isn’t sure if her class will quite understand the complexity of her family tree, but she learns to be proud of her unique family.

I loved this sweet book about family identity!

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Picture Book Review: Snoozapalooza

Snoozapalooza by Kimberlee  Gard
Snoozapalooza
by Kimberlee Gard, Vivian Mineker (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

This counting story follows ten animals as they snuggle into a nice warm den to hibernate through the winter. The mouse falls asleep, and is soon joined by a snail, squirrel, hedgehog, mole, rabbit, and more, until they are all snoring together in a big heap.

The text introduces each animal, and then has a repetitive rhyme that counts up the animals and describes how the animal den is growing from a tiny heap to a massive heap of snoozing animals all snoring together. The repetition is perfectly designed for young children, who love repetition and can learn to count and read along.

This is such a snuggly book! The gentle story is perfect for bedtime. There is also a lot of silliness that makes the book fun. I was laughing at the cute animals and the charming ending. Continue reading