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Pirates Past Noon - Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca

I loved the Magic Tree house books growing up. Now as an adult, I am slowly making my way through the series, a bit out of order.

I'm not sure if I ever read this one as a kid, but I loved it as an adult. A great adventure story and you finally get to meet the M person. Very exciting.

I also really liked the explanation for why Annie and Jack found the treehouse in the first place. They had to find it together, combining their personalities.

I'm so glad I went back and read this book. It really set up the future books in the series.

A great read.

Monster - Walter Dean Myers

I am very torn with how to rate and review this book. I think this book did a lot of important things. However, I wouldn't say I necessarily liked the book itself.

I really disliked the format. It was an unique choice, but I personally wasn't a fan. The movie-style format made it rather dull for me and often very confusing.

I do think that at the time it was written, it was very significant that the main character was a black teenager. Even today, there are not as many books that follow characters of color as there should be. So the fact this one was published, won so many awards, and was so acclaimed at the time is very impressive.

Story-wise I followed most of it, but there were sections I had to re-read, because they were too vague. The ending was pretty predictable. I was more concerned with why Steve was being charged with felony murder in the first place when he may or may not had a very minimal roll in the robbery. But I suppose that was part of the point of showing how black men are treated in the criminal justice system.

Because of the style, it's a fairly quick read. I really liked the conflict of character that Steve faces and the concept of being a monster. But I don't think it was expressed as much as it could have been if it had been written in a different format.

Again, I think this book did a lot of important things, but I wouldn't say I liked it. However, I still recommend reading it for its significance.
It is an important representation of court trails and jail from the perspective of a black teenager, especially considering it was written for young readers almost 20 years ago.

Ramona's World - Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray

I decided to give this book a reread. I loved it growing up and found that even reading it as an adult, I loved it just as much.

Before this, I read Ramona the Pest, in which Ramona is in kindergarten, so it was interesting to see how much Ramona has grown up between book 2 and book 8. This one focuses much more on Ramona being responsible.

I really enjoyed this book. There are a lot of silly situations and funny anecdotes. I also liked Ramona and Daisy's friendship in the story. It was a great example of female friendship without all of the feuding that often occurs in book about girls. Even Susan and Ramona's relationship developed, which was nice to see.

I can't wait to go back and read some of the other Ramona books, although it is bittersweet for me to watch Ramona grown up.

Ramona the Pest (Ramona Quimby) - Tracy Dockray, Louis Darling, Beverly Cleary

I loved Beverly Cleary's books growing up, especially the ones about Ramona. I recently found a few copies of my old books and thought I'd read them now that I'm an adult.

I love this one just as much as I did when I was a kid. It is easy to relate to Ramona, even as an adult. She doesn't want to be a pest and she doesn't mean to get into trouble. I really enjoy how Cleary shows Ramona's side of things and how differently situations happen from her perspective.

While some of the things in this book are a bit outdated, it is still an awesome book that is funny, heartwarming, and relatable.

I love, love, love these books.

A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch - Jill Murphy, Jill Murphy

I really love this series. This is a great addition to it. Very silly and entertaining. You just can't help but like Mildred Hubble.

This is a pretty quick read filled with lots of adventure. I really enjoy Murphy's humor.

I'm also super pumped that there is a Worst Witch series on Netflix. No surprise that this story line made an appearance. I can't wait to continue reading and watching Millie's adventures

Spell Disaster (Silver Hollow Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series) (Volume 2) - Leighann Dobbs

This book was pretty good. I will start by saying that I did not read the first book. I found this as a free ebook, not knowing it was a series, and gave it a shot. After reading it, it was almost like I didn't have to read the first one, because so much of the text was dedicated to recap of the first one. This got really repetitive and was not necessary to understand the story.

The writing was pretty good. Very descriptive (maybe a little too descriptive at times). I think it got a little too detailed as the book went on, especially once the narration split between following Issy and following Dex. The narrator often repeated what each person was feeling and it really wasn't necessary.

My big critique of this book was that OH MY GOODNESS THESE CHARACTERS ARE SO DENSE! The narrator pretty much gave all of the plot twists away in the beginning by giving too much detail. And the characters couldn't figure it out until the end. So the reader is stuck knowing what is going on while the characters bop around, following dead end after dead end. Not only that, but when they finally figure it out, the narrator gave to a recap of the whole situation, detailing events that the reader was able to pick up on from the start. The writing was overly simplistic and a little insulting to the reader.

Despite this, it was still an interesting read. I liked the whole demon aspect of it. I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of romance stuff, but I was able to speed-read through those sections to get back to the main story.

A quick and simple read for when you don't want to think too much.

I Hate Reading: How to Get Through 20 Minutes of Reading a Day Without Really Reading - Arthur Bacon, Henry Bacon, Johanna Hantel

This is a cute, funny little book. It is perfect for kids who don't really like reading that much. It is definitely worth a few chuckles. I really liked the way they played with the format of the book, like including a blank page in the middle.

Very cute. A nice book for reluctant readers.

Hoot - Carl Hiaasen

This is an amazing book. I loved every page of it!

This is the kind of book that you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. There is never a slow moment. It was hard for me to put down. I read a few pages every chance I got.

I really enjoyed the plot and characters. A great book about friendship and fighting for what you believe in. This is such a well-rounded story. Adjusting to a new school, dealing with bullies (child and adult), and making new friends. And let's not forget about the owls. You can't forget about the owls.

Fantastic, fantastic book.

My only critique was...

<spoiler> I feel like there wasn't much resolution with Dana. I get he was a horrible bully, but there was clearly some stuff going on at home. That doesn't excuse his behavior, but I wanted something to happen with his parents. <spoiler>

Other than that, this was an amazing read.

Light in the Attic - Shel Silverstein

A very good book of poetry.

Some are funny. Some are sad. Some are rather morbid. But they all have that unique quality that runs through all of Silverstein's poetry. Well-written and thought-provoking.

New American Best Friend - Olivia Gatwood

Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

There are poems that you want to read once for the sake of reading and then be done with them forever. These poems are not like that. These are poems that you will want to read again and again. Absolutely amazing.

I really enjoyed Gatwood's various odes, but all of the poems have something unique in them. They are so raw and real. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, these poems really make the reader feel their emotions and words. Gatwood really captures the essence of her subjects.

I loved this little book of poetry. A fantastic read.

Tiger - Jeff Stone

This book was a lot better than I was expecting. I picked it up from the Little Free Lending Library, thinking I'd quickly read it and put it back. But now I'm kind of hooked on the series and really want to find the second book.

The writing was simple, but still engaging. I can see it being a good read for young readers. There is a lot going on in this novel. I loved all of the story arcs. The descriptions are also well-done. You can really picture what is happening.

The story itself was very fast-paced. I loved finding out more about the characters. I read it pretty quickly because I was so taken in by the writing and the plot.

There were only two things that were not quite to my liking. One was the serious lack of female characters. I get it, I totally get it. But I feel like Stone set the story up in a way that was not inclusive for female characters. Not only that, but "femininity" is often seen as degrading and bad. Fu is furious when they have to hide "like a bunch of girls." Ying changes the title of "Brother" to "Sister" to further shame Fu. I understand where it was coming from, but I was disappointed with the mindset. Granted, there are some good things that happen to females (children in the village), but overall the presentation of girls and women was problematic.

Secondly, this book is pretty violent. It is not done poorly. The descriptions aren't gory. But it is something to be aware of for young readers. There are a lot of fight scenes with blood and such. In general, the mindset is to only use violence when it is absolutely necessary, but there is quite a bit in here. Again, it's not overly gross or anything, but it is something to keep in mind.

Overall, a fantastic book. I really look forward to reading the next one in the series.

Beagle in a Backpack - Ben M. Baglio

This was a cute read. The story was interesting and filled with lots of twists and turns.

But I felt like the story really dragged out. The plot was all over the place between trying to find Amber and Frisbee as well as figuring out what was wrong with Portia. Both were interesting plot lines, but including both in one book made it feel like too much.

I also couldn't help but dislike Mandy's character. Her love of animals was amiable, but she felt like too much of a grown up. The way she talked and worried about everything made it hard to relate to her (even for me as a "grown up"). Everything about her felt too serious for a children's book.

I also didn't like how Mandy's parents treated her like a grown up. They'd tell her to do something, she'd argue, and they'd realize she was right and let her do her own thing (no matter how irresponsible or dangerous). This felt highly unrealistic. I wanted them to act like real parents at some point.

Overall, an okay read. There is no denying that Frisbee is adorable.

My newest short story is up on the 101 Words website. A very, very quick read with a lot of heart.




Also check out my Facebook page for more updates on various stories. 







The Worst Witch Strikes Again - Jill Murphy, Jill Murphy
I loved The Worst Witch growing up and, as an adult, was very excited to learn that it was a series. This book is just as funny and heartwarming as the first one.

I love Mildred's character and all of the silly situations she gets herself into. A great quick read that is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Lions At Lunchtime - Mary Pope Osborne

As with the other Magic Tree House books, I loved this one. Lots of adventure and cool ways to learn about Africa.

I love how Annie's inclusiveness and Jack's researching skills work together in the book. In this books, Jack and Annie work on their third riddle in order to become Master Librarians. I really like this plot and think it adds new depth to the series instead of just having Jack and Annie wander around in books.

I also love how Osborne uses fan suggestions in her writing. These books really feel like they are written for the reader.

A great quick read. I can't wait to continue Jack and Annie's adventures.

Phantom of the Auditorium - R.L. Stine
Growing up, I didn't read much of R. L. Stine, because I was an easily frightened child. I found this in the Lending Library and wanted to see what my adult self thought of it.

I'll start by saying it's not scary. It's a bit suspenseful, but for the most part the chapters end with a cliffhanger that then turns out to be nothing at the start of the next chapter.

The plot was a bit predictable and horribly corny.

I did really like that Zeke and Brooke were just friends and there was no weird secret love thing going on. I'm a sucker for friendships that don't turn into creepy love triangles. 

Overall, it was a good read, but was more sad than scary.