Book Review: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer #BookReview #2019ReadingChallenge #EchoNorth #Retelling

Echo North 

By Joanna Ruth Meyer

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My review:

The first quarter of Echo North was wonderful and had me captivated as everything was setting up, but the rest of the book was up and down for me. I wanted to fall in love with this book, but it turned out to be just an okay read for me.

The story begins with Echo, a young girl who lost her mother at birth and now lives with her father and brother. After attempting to help a wolf in a trap escape, Echo is attacked and her face is permanently scared. She’s treated differently because of her scars and ends up working in her father’s bookshop with little belief in herself. After being reunited with the wolf who attacked her, she agrees to live in his magical house for one year which will spare her father’s life. The wolf intends for her to be the new ‘keeper’ of the house because he’s dying and there is no one to tend to it. Echo wishes to find a way to save his life as she struggles to help keep the house from unbinding, with more rooms disappearing each day.

“Everyone is searching for their true selves. But everyone hides their true selves from each other. Look for the truth. If you find it, you will see through the enchantment.”

I love retellings and did feel the similarities (although subtle) to Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun and West of the Moon, but the book had some definite uniqueness to it. I can say with certainty that I haven’t read a book with a library of enchanted ‘book mirrors’ in it before, where you enter a mirror and become part of the story within in, visiting all different sorts of book-worlds, all containing different adventures. The idea is unique to me and what I found most interesting in the tale. I also had questions throughout the story with certain parts that were puzzling, but appreciated that everything was nicely wrapped up by the end of the book.

Continue reading “Book Review: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer #BookReview #2019ReadingChallenge #EchoNorth #Retelling”

Book Review & Giveaway: American Flowers by Michael A. McClellan – Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card & 6 eBooks #BookReview #Giveaway #AmericanFlowers @McLellanBooks

American Flowers 

By Michael McLellan

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My review:

American Flowers by Michael A. McLellan is a book about two teens, both from broken homes, who are struggling to get their lives together. Chris is caught up in drugs and Allie needs to find a place to live. Neither one of them have much support from anyone.

Something these two characters have in common is horrible parents. They haven’t been loved or instructed properly by anyone. Chris is in a bad spot due to poor decision-making; he just doesn’t have the mental capacity, mainly because he’s living with an alcoholic father who couldn’t care less about him. Allie was just thrust into a bad position because her dad left, and a man her mother got involved with ended up abusing her. Allie tried to tell the truth but nobody believes her–she’s simply told to stop making up stories which is incredibly distressing. These parts in the book were hard to read for me because it’s a horrible position to be in, especially for a troubled teen. When Allie meets Chris, they fall in love with each other and one thing leads to another sending them both down a dark and dangerous path.

Continue reading “Book Review & Giveaway: American Flowers by Michael A. McClellan – Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card & 6 eBooks #BookReview #Giveaway #AmericanFlowers @McLellanBooks”

Book Review: The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) #Book Review #ChildrensBooks #Fiction

The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8)

By Lemony Snicket

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After escaping the village of V.F.D. and freeing themselves from Count Olaf’s clutches once again, the Baudelaire children are now on their own. They find themselves at a convenience store in the middle of nowhere with the hope of getting a message to Mr. Poe. The issue now is that they need to stay as covert as possible because it’s been published in the local newspaper (The Daily Punctilio) that they’re dangerous murderers. After another narrow escape, they end up at Heimlich Hospital where they find an interesting and shocking clue regarding the fire that killed their parents. With Violet Baudelaire in serious trouble, Klaus and Sunny have to scramble up a plan to save her, but how can they possibly save her all alone? Will Count Olaf finally be captured, or will his ridiculous shenanigans continue? Continue reading “Book Review: The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) #Book Review #ChildrensBooks #Fiction”

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas #Fantasy #BookReview

A Court of Mist and Fury

by Sarah J. Maas

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If you’d like to read my review for book #1 – A Court of Thorns and Roses, you can click this link.

Quick summary:

This story begins roughly three months after the first book ended and is broken up into three parts. Feyre is living in the Spring Court with Tamlin and Lucien. She’s enjoying her time with Tamlin, but unfortunately, she’s suffering inside from everything she went through Under the Mountain with Amarantha. Now she deals with nightmares and questions how she can ever forgive herself for the deaths she’s caused. Feyre and Tamlin are engaged and the wedding preparations are being made, but Tamlin’s priorities are elsewhere on business, and because he’s consistently worried about Feyre’s safety, she’s often stuck at home wishing that she could be free. She deals with mixed thoughts about the marriage to Tamlin so soon, and questions if this is where she belongs. Feyre also hasn’t forgotten the bargain she made with Rhys Under the Mountain, and although she hasn’t seen or heard from him since then, she wonders if and when he’ll show up to claim it. At the wedding ceremony, Feyre is screaming inside for anyone to help her because she doesn’t feel ready. Will anyone come to her aid? Feyre quickly learns that even with everything she’s been through, evil hasn’t been conquered yet, and she may be a key player in stopping it. What Fae powers does Feyre possess? What will come of her future, and the future of Prythian and its people? Continue reading “Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas #Fantasy #BookReview”

March 2019 “Birds of a Feather” OwlCrate Jr. Unboxing #owlcrateJR #childrensbooks #unboxing @owlcratejr

I’m back to share our March Owlcrate Jr. unboxing! I wasn’t able to share February’s box because the bath bomb was taken out and used before I had a chance to take pictures of everything. It turned out to be a fun box and you should be able to check their website if you’d like to take a look at February’s contents. Here’s what we received for March…

March’s Theme is: “Birds of a Feather”

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Continue reading “March 2019 “Birds of a Feather” OwlCrate Jr. Unboxing #owlcrateJR #childrensbooks #unboxing @owlcratejr”

Book Review: The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7) by Lemony Snicket #BookReview #ChildrensBooks

The Vile Village

by Lemony Snicket

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My thoughts:

After finishing up The Ersatz Elevator, we couldn’t wait to start this installment with hopes that the Baudelaires would find a way to locate and save their friends the Quagmire triplets. The book begins with the Baudelaires once again in Mr. Poe’s incompetent hands as he attempts to find them a new and safe home. This time, he’s exhausted all options and finds it extremely difficult locating a place for them. The children are informed that they’ll be living at V.F.D, a.k.a. The Village of Fowl Devotees, where there are rules for pretty much everything under the sun. This particular town believes in the aphorism, “It takes a village to raise a child” which is the entire basis for taking the children in. Continue reading “Book Review: The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7) by Lemony Snicket #BookReview #ChildrensBooks”

Book Review: The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) by Lemony Snicket #BookReview #ChildrensBooks #Fiction

The Ersatz Elevator

By Lemony Snicket

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My thoughts on this book:

We took a break after book five again, and it felt great to get back into the series. This installment turned out to be one of our favorites yet.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) by Lemony Snicket #BookReview #ChildrensBooks #Fiction”

Book Review: The Magician’s Elephant by Kate Dicamillo #BookReview #ChildrensBooks

The Magician’s Elephant

By Kate DiCamillo

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My thoughts on this book:

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo is a mysterious and magical story about a boy named Peter who has been orphaned, and the unlikely appearance of an elephant who helps him find his way.

The story takes place in the city of Baltese, which is filled with people of different classes. It’s a cold and very dark winter with minimal sunshine. Peter currently lives with his guardian–a soldier named Vilna who fought in war alongside Peter’s father. Sadly, Peter’s mother died just after the birth of his baby sister. Even though Peter has been told that his sister also died at birth, he has a subtle remembrance of her crying and feels that she may still be alive.

One day, after being sent to the marketplace to purchase food, Peter discovers a fortuneteller. He asks the fortuneteller of his sister, and indeed, he’s told that she lives.

“You must follow the elephant,” said the fortune teller. “She will lead you there.”

Peter is shocked, excited, and also confused. Could this really be true? Why has he been lied to all these years? Peter knows he must find the elephant and attempt to locate his sister, but he can’t do it alone.

I really enjoyed the way the characters were written in this story; there’s enough left open to let the reader imagine. When I first started reading this with my kids, we were all reading intently, but without a whole lot of amusement my kids became disinterested. We still wanted to disvover what would happen with Peter and the other characters, but the story fell a little flat for us. Don’t get me wrong, the book is written well and it’s beautiful at times with themes of love, forgiveness, and most of all, hope.

“Looking out over the city, Peter decided that it was a terrible and complicated thing to hope, and that it might be easier, instead, to despair.”

I did love the ending (although predictable) with how each of the characters were impacted by the elephant and essentially changed. It had a nice conclusion. We also loved the illustrations. This was an enjoyable read that I’ll still recommend.

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Book Review: Savage Sam (Old Yeller #2) by Fred Gibson #SavageSam #BookReview #VintageBooks

Savage Sam (Old Yeller #2)

by Fred Gipson

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My thoughts on this book:

After reading Old Yeller a few weeks ago, my children were eager to get right into the sequel Savage Sam. It became apparent to us right away that this book was going to be very different from Old Yeller. Continue reading “Book Review: Savage Sam (Old Yeller #2) by Fred Gibson #SavageSam #BookReview #VintageBooks”