Book Review: Vasilisa (Old Rus #1) by Julie Mathison #BookReview #Vasilisa #RetellingsReadingChallenge #2021ReadingChallenge

Vasilisa (Old Rus #1) by Julie Mathison

Blurb:

Three witches, two children, one ogre — and nowhere to run.

It’s 1919, but in Edenfall, Pennsylvania, the Great War is not over — not for Vasilisa, at least. Papa is presumed dead on the fields of Flanders, Mama is being courted by an absolute ogre, and now Babka, her beloved grandma, has had a bad spell. Or has she fallen under one? Only the Old Tales, the Russian fables Vasilisa was raised on, offer any comfort or counsel.

But what if they are more than child’s tales?

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This Week’s Books! #Books #Reads #Reading

Hello, fellow readers! How’s your week going? I thought I’d do a quick post to talk about the books I’m reading this week. Luckily, I was approved for one highly anticipated read from NetGalley, and there’s a stack of other physical books to read as well—some that I’m reading with my kids. Last week I sort of strayed from my plan and ended up reading a few recommendations. One of them was deeply disturbing (Tampa by Alissa Nutting), so I’ll be posting that review later this week, but I won’t be talking about that book today. Here’s what we have going on this week:

A Summer to Remember by Erika Mongomery

I just finished this a few days ago. This was a giveaway win, and it turned out to be a pretty good story. It transported me to summer! This would make a great beach read. My review will be posted later this week…

Blurb:

For thirty-year-old Frankie Simon, selling movie memorabilia in the shop she opened with her late mother on Hollywood Boulevard is more than just her livelihood–it’s an enduring connection to the only family she has ever known. But when a mysterious package arrives containing a photograph of her mother and famous movie stars Glory Cartwright and her husband at a coastal film festival the year before Frankie’s birth, her life begins to unravel in ways unimaginable.

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Book Review: The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer #BookReview #TheStoryThatCannotBeTold #MiddleGrade #HistoricalFiction

The Story That Cannot Be Told

by J. Kasper Kramer

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My Review:

Ileana loves to collect stories, and she has a very large number to share. The issue is that stories can be dangerous where she lives. Her uncle has experienced this first hand as he’s been missing since the publication of one of his stories. Now, when the family’s safety is put at risk in Bucharest, they send Ileana away to live with her grandparents for a time. Here Ileana discovers that there’s so much she never knew.

The setting is Communist Romania in the late 1980s. It’s such a difficult time with food rationing, unrest and low living standards in general. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about this time period in Romania, nor did my kids. The book is both educational and entertaining— woven with folklore in between what’s happening in real time. We never lost interest and my kids were literally buried in their books. It’s beautifully crafted with wonderful characters and storytelling.

Personally, I enjoyed the story very much and decided on a 4-star rating, whereas the kids were a solid 5-stars —no questions asked. Some of the content was a little more complex, but it didn’t faze them. We looked forward to reading it daily. We read physical hardcovers and also enjoyed the audio along with the book.

The Story That Cannot Be Told is tense at times and also full of emotion, but funny too. It has also inspired me and my children to read more historical fiction. I recommend it for middle-graders, adults with an interest, and anyone who loves a good story.

4.5 stars

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Book Review: Frozen 2: Forest of Shadows by Kamilla Benko #ForestofShadows #Frozen2 #Frozen #BookReview #MiddleGrade

Frozen II: Forest of Shadows

by Kamilla Benko

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My thoughts:

When a strange blight comes over the land and the animals fall into a deep sleep, Anna is convinced she can help find the cure. It needs to be done quickly because the food supply is in danger and Elsa will soon be departing on her grand tour. After Anna finds a magic door in the castle she never knew about, it leads her to a secret room where she finds magic books, herbs, and other mysterious items. The clue might be hidden within this room and Anna is convinced she can solve this mystery, but once a spell is cast, she finds herself and the entire kingdom of Arendelle in more danger than she could have ever imagined.

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