Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “book boosters”

Reader Roundup: February

A false spring led to dashed hopes of winter’s end. Another round of snow, icy winds, and days to stay inside hit our area resulting in a dash to the library and stockpiling books. I blend my own special recipe of cocoa and so February was a month of mostly consisting of reading books and sipping cocoa in the easy chair.

Catherine’s War by Julia Billet ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Image: Amazon

Based on the novel of her mother’s experience in occupied France, the author presents readers with an award winning graphic novel that tells the story of a young Jewish French girl who must constantly move to avoid the Nazi round ups. Through expressed thoughts and photographs Rachel/Catherine’s story is told simply, yet elegantly.

The Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Image: Amazon

This title can read as a standalone, even though it is the third book in Voigt’s Kingdom series. The adventures of Oriel and Griff are thrilling as they escape their imprisonment of the Damall’s rule to make their way to the eventual destination of The Kingdom. Voigt is an accomplished storyteller and this story rings of medieval times without resorting to fantasy. A memorable tale of devoted friendship.

The House on the Gulf by Margaret Peterson Haddix ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Image: Goodreads

Haddix weaves a mystery within a mystery and throws in a plot twist on top of a plot twist in this standalone coming of age story.
Britt and her brother Bran are being raised by their single mother and are a tight little family facing hard times. Bran manages to get a house sitting job for the summer so his mother can attend college classes. It seems like a great situation, yet Britt notices he is acting strange, furtive even. When the truth comes out about who they are housesitting for, it is a shock and the outcome could have dire consequences for the family.

Silence in the Library by Katharine Schellman ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Image: Amazon

The second book in the Lily Adler series in which the recently widowed Mrs. Adler assists in solving a murder. Set in the Regency period the author captures the hierarchy of social class and the intricacies of class conversations. Her attention to historical research adds to the overall story and understated theme of class consciousness. The murder mystery has sufficient twists to make it an engaging read and with the added tensions of the various interpersonal relationships the series is well set up to keep readers interested. This title can read as a standalone. For fans of Miss Scarlett and the Duke PBS series.

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Image: Amazon

Fans of Narnia will appreciate Cooper’s introduction to her Dark Is Rising series: Over Sea, Under Stone. Set in England, probably in the 1950s, the three Drew children are up for a splendid family holiday with their eccentric great-uncle Merry Lyon (which does sound like Merlin, doesn’t it?). Bored one rainy day, they explore the house and discover a map which leads them on quite an adventure. Beyond Cooper’s impressive wordsmithing, she presents children who on one hand act like siblings, calling each other names, being worried about getting in trouble with their mum and dad, and plunging into situations, and on the other end she also has these children imbued with reasonable rational thinking skills, able to accomplish much while realizing they can’t do everything on their own and do need adults to help them at times. An exciting story with hints of Arthurian adventure.

Murder is a Must by Marty Wingate ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Image: Amazon

In this second book in the series Hayley Burke is finally establishing herself as curator of Lady Fowling’s First Edition Library of Golden Age Mystery Writers. Her literary salons are a hit and now it’s on to something with more public fanfare: an exhibition paying homage to Lady Fowling. Plans go seriously awry when the events manager is found dead at the bottom of the stairs, mimicking the death of a character in one of Dorothy Sayer’s valuable first edition mystery novels—which happens to be missing. While still a lively read, this plot focused more on character actions. Not much sleuthing and the murderer was a fairly easy guess. Still a fun read and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon when the snow won’t stop falling.

My reading habits seem to be switching between mysteries and fantasy. Escapism at its best, I suppose. And I do want to escape winter’s kidnapping of spring. I’m feeling like I’m stuck in the Narnia chapter of continual winter. Where is a Pevensie child when needed to break winter’s spell?

Reader Roundup: January

I like how January ushers in a new year and kicks off the countdown to spring. The snow is slowly starting to melt, but days are still short and the skies mostly gray. Books are still the main diversion to get through gloomy afternoons and dark evenings. Lately I start more books than finish them, but I did manage to find a couple of five star reads:

image: Amazon

Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

A refreshing entry into the Christian fiction category in how the author presents church and faith. By placing a self-admitted redneck construction worker into the sudden situation of being the prime caretaker of their three children, readers see how faith takes on different meanings.

The story has no single great conflict. Instead, like life, there are many little fires that need to be put out: Mick learning to have one eye at all times on their sensory-sensitive son, managing the animals, learning how to be with his children instead of just taking care of them, and not washing his wife’s laundry.

If there is one main issue it’s Mick realizing that while he may not be a stay-at-home mother he does pretty well as a father. The smaller issues of importance are his acceptance that he has talent as an amateur photographer.

The author’s viewpoint of church is a thoughtful point of reference as he shows the importance of the family attending together, yet shows how service to others is also an aspect of consideration.

image: Barnes and Noble

Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Annie, an orphan girl mistreated by her aunt, runs off to London and disguises herself as a boy. She is taken on as a cabin boy upon the merchant ship The Realm. As Andre she has more than a few adventures as a young sailor, but when her secret is discovered by her shipmates she must make the hard decision of going to live on land once again.

Though recently written, the author has captured the essence of an old-fashioned tale similar to Stevenson or Dickens.

image: Amazon

The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

It’s difficult to resist the cheery cover, especially with the title being a nod to Agatha Christie’s well-known mystery story. And there is a cat of distinction.

The set up is fun. Hayley is hired to be a curator of Mrs. Fowling’s collection of first edition mystery writer books and she is having difficulty finding her way, especially since she is lacking in mystery book knowledge. Then there is the kerfuffle with the Wednesday night writing group being deemed as interlopers by the ever faithful Mrs. Woolgar, secretary and keeper of Mrs. Fowling’s reputation.

The dead body that is found in the library one morning does not help matters at all, but the murder does help Hayley prove she can become a curator of note and channel her developing Miss Marple skills to solve the crime.

A fairly engaging story that sometimes focuses more on Hayley’s personal life than on solving the murder; however, Wingate has a knack for keeping the plot interesting.

For readers who like amateur sleuthing stories enfolded in light human drama such as The Thursday Murder Club series.

Looking for more fives and more blue skies in February. Any fives from your January reads?

Reader Roundup: December

December is not my best month. Yes, there is Christmas, but it is also the real start of winter. Unlike the false winter snows in November, December snow falls and stays around through March. The transition from outside activity to inside (not a skier) means LOTS of book time. A warm fire, cocoa, a comfy recliner—maybe there are a couple of positives to winter after all.

Top reads: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis

image: Goodreads

Set in South Carolina in two time periods, 1929 and 1989, the narrator is older woman who faces the reckoning of family secrets when her estranged sister finally returns home.

A family saga told with subtlety, The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, reveals how secrets, no matter how deeply buried have the tendency to rise and change the landscape of life.

The Hiding Game by Gwen Strauss

image: Goodreads

The Hiding Game is a biographical picture book story of how Aube and her family, along with other refugees his from Nazis in occupied France. Based on the true story of her great uncle Danny, the author relates with the naïveté of a child the circumstances of the situation. While the hardships are present it is the moments of joy and community that comes across so deftly through the blend of text and illustrations.

Janey’s Girl by Gayle Friesen

image: Goodreads

Claire and her mother Jane are finally making the journey to Smallwood, where Jane grew up. A small town holds no secrets, and Jane could not live there easily as a teen with a child born out of wedlock.

This is an opposite coming of age story in that it is the mother who needs to grow up. Claire’s journey is discovering family connections her mother wouldn’t allow her to have as a means of protecting her daughter. Claire has tough decisions to make that change the dynamics with her mother and in the process her mother learns that letting go doesn’t have to involve loss.

The Man Who Died Twice (The Thursday Murder Club #2) by Richard Osman

image: Goodreads

Osman’s second foray into the cozy mystery genre is a double thumbs up. The Thursday Murder Club has upped its stakes and is now dealing with the Mafia, MI5 and MI6, with a dash of drug dealers. The usual side plots are installed for interest sake, such as Chris’s romance progress and whether Joyce with get a dog. The tangled plot of who shot who and where are the diamonds all comes together neatly in the last couple chapters. The journey there is quite delightful.

Osman thankfully spares readers of spinning out the previous plot and simply plunges it, making this a standalone but it is strongly suggested to start with the first book to relish the character growth, especially how Joyce comes into her own.

Written tongue in cheek concerning geriatrics being crime solvers, along the lines of Miss Marple, Mrs Pollifax, and Reds.

December proved to have its share of good reads and as winter continues I am looking forward to more good reads to pass the loonngg winter evenings. I am open to suggestions, so do, please do, suggest some titles for me to check out.

Reader Roundup: August

Ah, August. Usually it’s my last chance for leisurely reading since it marks the end of summer and the start of school.

Not this year.

The loveliest bit about retirement is that summer continues on through and past September. This means that big bag of books from the library will not languish because I will not be planning, grading, or worrying about classroom lessons.

I read in the morning. I read in the afternoon. I read before going to sleep. In between I do stuff like clean, cook, balance Mom’s checkbook, yardwork, write. I play too much Angry Birds Bubble Pop. Hey, no judgment, there are worse time wasters out there. Dr. Who reruns don’t count, either.

Dr Who binging is mindful, right?

I am almost embarrassed when people ask me what I am doing in retirement because my first response is: “reading books.”

It’s more than a retirement activity. It’s absolute sustenance. I fear I might wither without a book in hand.

Here are August’s highlights:

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett

A fine read that has all the hallmarks of a beloved classic: Medieval setting, regency betrayal, a pipping hero or two, lovable secondary characters. An amazing fight scene and a thrilling, hold-your-breath ending. The three-legged trickster dog clenches the deal.

The biggest question is why is this book not as well known as other adventure tales like The Man in the Iron Mask?

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Lives of the Pirates by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Krull bio books deftly combine fact, along with some speculations, with a fun factor. Hewitt’s caricatures complement the text well. Krull’s pirate book provides a wide range of famous, infamous, and not so famous pirates. I read this because my mother did a stint as a pirate and I needed inspiration to write her story.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Art of Holding On and Letting Go by Kristin Lenz

Lenz provides a YA novel about competition rock climbing with authentic characters and laces the plot with issues ranging from family relationships to dating to introspective self-discovery. The additional literary and music references definitely add to the story.

Only three, you wonder?

August was an interesting month in that I read nine books. That part isn’t so interesting. What I found interesting, perplexing is the better word, is that I started nine books that I didn’t finish. Nine! Am I getting picky or choosing the wrong books?

Do you stick with a book once started or is there a definite standard for a DNF (did not finish)?

Reader Round Up: July

In the past I considered July to be my solid summer vacation month. Leftover schoolish stuff in June and preparing for school in August meant July was free and clear for my favorite way to enjoy summer vaycay: hammock reading.

This July was totally different. Really hot, make that extra hot, days prevented hammock lounging unless I was okay with being sizzled while I read. Secondly, after ignoring my yard for too many years I decided it’s time to revamp and recalibrate. Working early in the cool morning and roughing it out until I felt melt status approaching, I weeded, revised, pruned, and created. This did not leave as much time for reading, but I managed to read 11 books as I recuperated in air conditioning in the afternoons and ventured out again the early evening. Here are the highlights of my July reading:

Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

(big reading commitment of over 700 pages—didn’t realize what I was getting myself into when I blithely requested it from the library)

Going against the usual maxim of “book first, then movie,” it is suggested to watch the 2000 BBC version with Richard Coyle as John Ridd first and then embrace Blackmore’s story of love, hate, justice, and politics.


The BBC version plucks out the core story of Blackmore’s sweeping adventure epic which is the romance of the star-crossed lovers Lorna Doone and John Ridd. Seeing the pure and intense romance through the camera lens helps when it comes to reading the book as Blackmore tends to digress with panache adventures beyond John Ridd’s love for Lorna.

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs #5) by Jacqueline Winspear

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

This fifth entry of the Maisie Dobbs series is more than satisfying—it truly is a really good read. Winspear continues some of her developed plot aspects such as Maisie’s concerns for her aging father and her schism with her mentor, Maurice. There is also long overdue closure with Simon, her wartime love. These important personal points add to the fascinating case Maisie takes on for family friends.
As always, Winspear injects aspects of WWI into the story, and in this story she adds in the additional details of the gypsy culture. Be wiling to sit up and finish the last few chapters in one read since the plot twists are riveting.

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

An impressive debut which explores loss through different perspectives.

Ethan loses a friend through a careless accident and struggles with survivor guilt. His parents deal with his breakdown by uprooting the family from Boston to live with Ethan’s grandfather Ike as a means of starting over.

The loss of a loved one, be it a friend, spouse, parent, even a way of life is explored with genuine characterization and realistic responses. The plot provides adventure, mystery, and sage wisdom in terms of dealing with situations that are out of one’s control.

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6) by Jacqueline Winspear

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

As the Maisie Dobbs series continues, Winspear continues adding layers onto her lead character. In this book the title aptly notes Maisie is Among the Mad. Per her other books, Winspear discusses the aftermath of WWI, in this case how the majority of wounded veterans became “invisible” to society, often being ignored due to their injuries, both physical and mental. PTSD, known as “shell shock,” impacted thousands of people who were involved WWI, Maisie being among them. How people cope with trauma, not just from war, is touched on with Billy’s wife, who grieves the death of her young daughter to the point of physical harm.

A bit darker, and more philosophical than the previous titles, the plot is nevertheless intriguing in how Maisie tracks down her clues to a conclusion. The continuing development of Maisie’s character, as she heals from her own physical, mental, and spiritual war wounds adds fuller dimension to the mystery plot.

Going Postal (Discworld #33) by Terry Pratchett

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Absolutely marvelous! A standalone within the Discworld collection, and a delight. No prior Discology needed to embrace Pratchett’s genius dig at the Internet, his tribute to the Post Office, and the appreciation for an anti-hero by the name of Moist von Lipwig.

Pratchett’s creativity with character names, plot pacing, strange interjections, odd and unexpected insertions create a read worth multiple perusings.

The film adaptation has its own merits, as does the audiobook. Watching the film first firmly placed the characters in mind, otherwise how else to envision a golem (so different from LOTR spectrum). Do try reading along with the audiobook—the reader’s character voices are to perfection.

The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs #7) by Jacqueline Winspear

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Once again Winspear deftly combines another perspective of WWI with an unsolved crime. Her seventh entry into the Maisie Dobbs series has Maisie solving a murder in the trenches.

Winspear presents cartography and it’s importance to the war efforts with one Michael Clifton, an American who joins up to honor his father’s homeland of Britain. When his remains are discovered in a field by a French farmer years later after the war’s end, Maisie is hired by the family to find out more about his death.

In her investigation Maisie uncovers love and death, but also faces love and death in her own life.
Richly detailed, perfect pacing, unexpected plot twists, and continuing character development provide a read that resonates.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Young Nisha, half Hindu and half Muslim, writes of her experience during the 1947 partition in India. She addresses her concerns to her deceased mother who died during childbirth of Nisha and her twin brother Amil. Nisha’s father, a doctor, makes the decision to leave all behind due to the erupting violence.

As Nisha and her family travel, her diary entries succinctly describe the trauma of the situation, of dividing India, splitting up families and friendships, and facing death.

The author provides a powerful narrative through Nisha’s eyes, illuminating the search for home and understanding oneself when the world changes overnight.

An important story based on the author’s family experiences, the book spotlights a historical event perhaps as not well known to most USA children, but is timely as current societal issues reflect what happens to a nation when it is divided due to political, cultural, and/or religious issues. Well deserving of its Newberry Honor.

Is July your need to read month? Any picks off the list? Any suggestions to add?

Reader Roundup: January

January. The start of a new year and the start of another Reading Challenge. For the past few years I have managed to hit my Goodreads goal of 101 books and then some. This last year I barely squeaked over the finish line with 107, while the year before a glorious 165 books were read. The difference? Both numbers are a result of the pandemic. Due to lockdown, both voluntary and requested, I dove into books as an escape. I would order them from the library and pick them up curbside and isolate, finding respite in pages turned. Yet in 2021 Covid weariness, a certain lassitude formed, and my attention span wandered when reading. I found myself hooked on Angry Birds Bubble Pop for a time. Non-fattening escapism. I did manage to go cold turkey, but now and then I am tempted to pull up the game from app cold storage.

Angry Birds Pop! - Rovio
Bubble Popping is not the same as page turning

January started off with a mixture of books. Some new discoveries and some long anticipated hold titles. Unfortunately, there were no true standouts. Or perhaps I am becoming much more discerning.

One book did catch my eye and it was discovered on the library free shelf. The cover alone prompted me to adopt it.

Book Cover
An unexpected surprise

Rollicking. Yes, that would be a fitting description of this “translated” manuscript that conveys the adventures of eighteen year old William Hawthorne who becomes a fugitive from the Empire for his seditious acts of writing plays and acting them out with a company of deplorable actors and through circumstances is adopted by a band of assassins.
Imagine a young Will Ferrell running with a group of noble mercenaries. The book’s Will is an admitted coward who can’t shoot an arrow straight or ride a horse without falling off. He also has no luck with his attempts to woo the striking Rennette who would rather strike him than talk to him.
This merry band, plus Will the homeless actor on the run, are hired to take on an army of mysterious raiders destroying the land. Will comically narrates his attempts to achieve heroism and along the way there are some awesome battle scenes.
For those who relish Monty Python humor or like medieval adventures that have a mix of humor and action, then Will and his crew are suggested for your reading pleasure.

Book Cover
Not what I expected

I had placed my request for Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land when it first became available and patiently waited. All the Light We Cannot See being a stunner of a novel, my anticipation for his newest was high. The writing is as memorable, yet like another anticipated novel, Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun, the plot became muddled and the ending was a letdown.

Book Cover
Fairly charming in approach

As a C.S. Lewis/Narnia fan, I patiently waited for my requested copy of Once Upon a Wardrobe. A blend of biography and enchanting tale of a sister devoted to her terminally ill brother, it wavered between a narrative point of view and third person, which impacted true reader investment, not knowing whose story to follow, the sister and brother’s or a recap of Lewis’s life.

Book Cover
The story is much better than this cover indicates

I tried the first of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence series, having watched the adaptation. One problem is that the story’s snappy British slang became a bit wearisome after a time. My edition had footnotes explaining the terms which proved both enlightening and irritating.

Book Cover
I think I blushed a couple of times

One book I requested as an inter-library loan and I was gratified that the library ordered: My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance. This is a choose your own adventure for adults but the romance adventures were a bit more focused on steamier interludes than anticipated.

Book Cover
A stirring debut

Another requested and purchased title was A Million Things by Emily Spurr. An engaging debut about a ten year old girl who must cope with her mother’s extended absence. Some suspension of disbelief as this plucky, capable little girl tried to manage life on her own for a time, even though her elderly neighbor next door befriended her. The interaction and eventual friendship between the orphaned girl and her neighbor who has her own issues is the center of the story.

Several interesting reads, yet none really stood out as earning a place on my “You’ve-Got-To-Read-This-Next” list I give my hubs.

Hoping for February to deliver some good great reads.

BookStop is Here!

Reader Round Up: July

July is my official summer vaycay month. June is tying up school and August starts it back up. July is my uninterrupted month of focusing on just relaxing in my hammock and reading. I do other activities besides immersing myself in books, but, yeah, I do read an enormous amount in July. This July I was fortunate enough to find a bevy of five star books.

Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Garber

While it might be easy to say, “Yet another Shakespeare reference?” This is THE reference book (and I have read more than a few) to keep handy. Garber’s book stands out among the crowd of reference books that examine Shakespeare’s plays. Her knowledge and insights are stunning. She is able to reveal plot details with subtlety and aplomb. She easily interjects historical allusions and intertextuality. Oh, to sit in on one of her lectures.

The Promise by Chaim Potok

Sequel to Potok’s stunning debut, The Chosen, the novel centers on Reuven Malter’s struggles with his religion and relationships as he strives towards completing his education. Can he bridge the two worlds he has chosen: philosophy and the study of the Talmud? His experiences and insights will help help him with a troubled young boy who is on the verge of isolating himself from the world.

The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Green

Readers of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot be sure to check this possible inspiration for these famous sleuths. Written nearly a decade before Conan Doyle created his Baker Street detective, Anna Katherine Green penned into existence Detective Grace of the New York Police Department. He featured in many stories and his appeal boosted the author into being acclaimed one of the most popular authors of the 19th century. Many would say she led the way for detective stories as they are now known. I nudged Acorn to get this (and her other books) made into a series.

Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Rosemary Sutcliff has stated in an interview that she writes not for children nor for adults—she writes to tell a story.
This story of Roman Centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila is one that combines adventure, history, and the theme of identity.
Well-researched and even better-paced, the story of redeeming family honor and discovering one’s identity inspired a movie. And this is an inspiring story. While most stories about Romans emphasize their brutality, Sutcliff provides a story that emphasizes the perspective that an individual does not have to conform to expectations of community credo, that a person can be trained and be an efficient member of a community, yet still hold individualistic ideals.
Recommended for ages 8 years and beyond, since a well-written story is always appreciated. Some of by favorite stories during this Reading Challenge have come off the juvie shelves. There is a movie with Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell; however, as always, the book is far better.

The Wind off the Small Isles by Mary Stewart

Under 100 pages this barely qualifies as a novella, and serves as a taste for what could have been as engaging as The Moonspinners. Stewart starts out the story with the beginnings of an old-fashioned historical romance which abruptly ends and leads readers into a modern setting of a children’s author and her assistant exploring an exotic setting for the author’s next book.
The short adventure is ripe with all of Stewart’s usual trademarks: expansive setting, lively dialogue, stock characters—including a damsel in distress saved by the likable hero, and a touch of the supernatural.
So fun, yet so short.

An Old Captivity by Nevil Shute

It’s hard to go wrong with a Nevil Shute. He is one of those rare writers that can interject technical details, like what it takes to fly three people on a photo expedition to Greenland, and not be boring. The details are such an integral part of the story they function like an added character.
In this story, Shute focuses on a professor, his daughter, and a pilot as they make their way to Iceland and Greenland. Doesn’t sound exciting, does it? Shute provides interest through his exacting detail, setting, and then adds a twist at the end that rings of a Du Maurier with realistic fantasy.
A satisfying and surprising read. And the title? Wait for it. The ending made me sit up and get that epiphany of “Oh, I get it now.”

Hope one of these, or maybe all of these titles, interest you. How about you? Any five star summer reads of note to pass on to the rest of us Book Boosters?

Reader Round Up: August

Ah, August—the last month of summer. The weather is still amazing with its warm days and blue skies, essential ingredients for reading in the backyard hammock. I made good use of blogger suggestions and kept my library busy with hold requests. Unfortunately, the library has returned to only providing curbside service which means I no longer can browse the shelves and can request an unsatisfying six books at a time. *Sigh*

Some incredibly fun reads in August:

Frindle by Andrew Clements ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

As a Word Nerd, I cheered how a boy created a new word as a prank only to have amazing consequences. A new favorite. Goodreads

How Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Having just watched March of the Penguins this was a natural to read. If you like cranky oldster novels, this is recommended. Goodreads

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Semi-autobiographical, this is an engaging account of a Jewish girl and her family become refugees as they try to escape Hitler’s persecution. Goodreads

Coffee with Shakespeare by Stanley Wells ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

As a Bardinator I am always up for another book providing more insights about Shakespeare. Stanley Wells create a mock interview and it is fun and informative. Goodreads

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

A favorite read and reread. Bradbury supplies a truly spellbinding reminiscent semi-autobiographical tale of a summer before life became so dependent on technology. Goodreads

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I missed this one as a kid. Glad I caught up to it finally. Precocious children running away to a museum. Perfect. Goodreads

Dragonwyck by Ana Seton ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

In the midst of my kid reads I found a classic adult gothic to read, much like those of Daphne Du Maurier. Goodreads

Onion John by Joseph Krumgold ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I thought I had read this as kid. As an adult I appreciate how it is a coming of age for young readers and as an adult I see it as a parent parable. Goodreads

The View from Saturday by E.L. Koningsburg ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Another unique story from Konigsburg. This one is about friendship and accepting differences and learning how to cope with difficulties. Goodreads

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Published in 1940, it’s a fine classic adventure and its message about overcoming tough situations is quite appropriate for our current times Goodreads

Carry On, Mr Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Another fine children’s classic, this is a biographical novel based on Nate Bowditch whose contributions to maritime navigation are still respected today. Goodreads

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Bears ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

The message of the book seems to be “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and how it’s caring for people is what really matters. Another timely story for today’s world. Goodreads

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyeau ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Surprised this isn’t a Newberry winner. For those who appreciated Wonder, this is another important book about how kindness makes a difference. Goodreads

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

As a bonafide Book Booster I could not resist Bogel’s book of essays on being a Reader. Quite relatable. Goodreads

Yes, there were quite a few kid selections this month. I am trying to read all the Newbery winners, many I have read, but I have missed a few over the years. It’s never too late to enjoy a well-written kids’ book!

An update in statistics:

  • Hit my Goodreads goal of 101 books
  • I have read most of the Newberry winners
  • Read 55 books this summer (a number of them were children’s books, I grant that fact)


The library is opening its doors once again on September first!

Throughout the summer I appreciated the library’s curbside and inter-library loan service. I’m not sure what I would have done without the availability of books to checkout.

Reader Round Up: July

July proved diverse in reading interests. I reread Austen’s Emma, which prompted me to view the different flavors of cinematic Emma.

I then forged on and submitted a few of my TBR requests to the inter-library loan quadrant of our library since that train is allowed to roll down the track to provide literary supplements to the collection once again. I also wandered amongst the shelves*, selecting book titles that caught my fancy as a means of prolonging my visit to the library. It is one of the only places in town that requires masks (not suggests or recommends), creating a safe atmosphere that promotes a sense of peace.

*sadly, the library has recently closed until further notice, but the good news is that curbside service is still running along with inter-library loan.

Here are my highlights–click on the Goodreads link to read more thorough review information.

Not my favorite Austen, yet it is fun anticipating the lines from all the different films. Goodreads
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Written by a friend and former writing group comrade, Dianna has written books for Scholastic and her writing is engaging and interesting in the topics she tackles. This one is based on a true story of a courageous bull terrier. Goodreads
I revisited the Thin Man films with William Powell and Myrna Loy–then I read the book. Verdict: I preferred the films. William Powell is soooo funny (although the drinking part got tiresome). Goodreads
Finally, I have read all three of the Bronte sisters. Agnes Grey is an appetizer, not a full meal—at least compared to Jane Eyre. Goodreads
Winner of the 1964 Hugo Award—if you like Ray Bradbury, check out this winner of a galactic tale. Goodreads
Gladwell knows how to conversely present a complicated topic, in this case, he dials in the factors of what creates success. Goodreads
Westover’s memoir is worth the hype and acclaimreading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers before her book added more depth to Westover’s story of overcoming adversity to reach academic success. Goodreads
Pride and Prejudice enthusiasts might enjoy this focus on Mary, the middle Bennet sister. Purists? Hmmm… Goodreads
Amelia and her Egyptian adventures definitely provide a lively read. Goodreads
Clever idea of telling a story through physical construct instead of the usual chapter within. A quick, fairly engaging read. Goodreads

Have you read any of these titles? Any of the titles entice you?

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