City of Ghosts

After Cassidy falls into a river, she starts seeing Jacob (who no one else can see), and it turns out she had a “near death” experience that would have been a sure death experience if (already dead) Jacob hadn’t saved her.

Cassie finds out pretty quickly that she can cross back and forth through the veil. Now, this sounds scary, but it is just the right amount of creepy for a middle-grade story. We listened to it on Audible in like three days. We had to know what would happen next.

In a way, it reminds me of The Graveyard Book. Jason has a lot of rules that he has to obey, and they mystify and intrigue Cassie. Her parents are ghost hunters, and so she already knows a bit after spirits and how to quickly tell if they are real or not.

Because I love everything Victoria Schwab writes, I was thrilled to have a middle-grade book that I could read with my 13yo. Add in that it is spooky to the max and set in Scotland and it was the perfect trifecta for us. Bonus points that Cassie is a photographer and comic book fan. It’s the kind of book that I’ll buy in book form also for re-reading every October or any month for that matter.

Note to friends: Declan gives it 10 million stars. So- high praise. Use your discretion with younger kids, but teens on up will love this one.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Dreyer’s English

You might be a grammar geek if you chuckle at the cover of this book. It sets the tone perfectly. What if you aren’t a grammar geek and want to improve your writing? This book works for you as well. So funny that you won’t want to skip even the footnotes. I read it cover to cover in a couple of days and can see myself referring back to it as a reference book.
The publisher says it is the new Elements With Style and I’d agree. It is more of an everyman’s guide to English grammar. Even if you don’t write for school or work- you are for sure tweeting and emailing. I always tell my students that we are all writers. Being a capable writer will put you ahead in any situation.
Every writer has some bad habits, and Dreyer covers the most frequent errors in a way that makes me less cringy than just seeing all the red pen on my words. He sets the tone of a friend who may give your writing a run through with both humor and a bit of sarcasm.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
I am buying a copy for my library and hope to incorporate it into our homeschool high school grammar lessons.

Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

If You’re Out There

Is Zan being “ghosted” by her best friend, Priya? That is the question that you as the reader will struggle with throughout this story, Priya moved out to California and seemed happy on Instagram but has close to zero contact with anyone that she used to know.

Zan’s parents think that Priya may be re-inventing herself. Zan finds that hard to believe and starts her investigation. This YA mystery kept me glued to my Kindle as I sped read through a rainy, windy afternoon.

As a bonus, you get a love story side plot and a realistic, honest portrayal of the adults in her life.

I’d hand this to kids in the 8th grade and up.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

March 5, 2019

Children of Jubilee

I squealed when I opened the envelope containing this book. Then I put it aside and went back to read the end of book two, Children of Refuge. I wanted to get my mind right back into the story.

This book proved to be a twisty ending to this trilogy (Children of Exile series), the world building spectacular as it always is with this author. The plot keeps rolling along at a rapid pace.

Kiandra and the other kids end up on an alien planet where they are forced to mine for some pearls that give endless energy.

I don’t think it gives too much away when I spoil the fact that aliens have some technology that can make them look and sound like humans which proves to be exciting and challenging for the kids.

All in all, it was a great conclusion to an exciting series.

Children of Jubilee by Margaret Peterson Haddix

November 6, 2018

The Prophet Calls

The Prophet Calls is a story about a polygamist cult in New Mexico. It is a middle grade book and approaches all that you can imagine would be involved in that lifestyle with a middle grade lens. It is a page turner, the action never stops and several times I got pretty worried for the MC. The adults in the story don’t do anything to help the kids and so thirteen year old Gentry and her siblings have to rescue themselves from the life they were born into.

For awhile its unclear if Gentry will actually find a way to escape this life, but after her arranged marriage is announced she realizes that she has to leave while she still has the chance.

I don’t know that I would hand it universally to the younger end of the age range, but certainly kids in junior high would enjoy the adventure and look into a very different lifestyle.

The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow

November 6, 2018

Monster’s of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files

If you or someone you know is an X-Files fan this is the best. Every episode is broken down to discuss all the details. It’s like binge watching the series with a couple friends where you pause and discuss all the best parts. For the most part you get a bunch of inside info on the set and story line.

I’d love to create a sort of Sci-Fi/ Cryptozoology course out of a re-watch of the series and this book.

My only complaint would be that the authors felt the need to look at most episodes through the social media lens of 2018 instead of the mores of when the episode aired. Not everything ages well, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to watch.

Monster’s of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files by Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff

October 16, 2018