Audio Book Reviews, Middle Grade

Nightbooks – Audio Book Review

By J.A. White
Audio Book Narrated by Kirby Heyborne
Published on: July 24, 2018

Spooky middle grade stories are one of my favorite genres to read. They have a creep factor, but not too much. Plus, they typically have a happy ending. I say ‘typically’ because I’ve run across a Goosebumps story or two that didn’t. Nightbooks has won or been short-listed for several awards and honors, but what excites me most at this moment is that this particular book is also being adapted for Netflix. Woot!

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Sci Fi

Converging Paths of Cerzia: The Journey Begins – Book Review

By Ray Walker Stanley
Published on: March 24, 2019

Space exploration, planet colonization, space pirates, aliens. This science fiction story has a little of everything. However, it was also a bit of a mixed bag for me as well.

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Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

Rogue – Short Story Review

Short Story in the Upgrade Series Universe by Wesley Cross
Published on: November 5, 2019

Description:

Helen is on the run from a deadly enemy. But as she heads deep into the slums of New Kowloon looking for refuge, things are only getting worse. Now local thugs and the triads are trying to hunt her down too. The problem is–she’s got the world to save.

If you liked Altered Carbon, Blade Runner, and The Matrix, and enjoy page-turner thrillers you’ll love this short story set in the universe of the best-selling Upgrade series.

Thoughts:

Up until recently, life in New Kowloon had been peaceful-ish. The three major triads had had an understanding of sorts with no real gang wars for several years. But recently something had caused the dynamics between the triads to shift and now Helen finds herself fighting for her life. However, it isn’t just Helen that is caught in the cross-hairs so she devises a plan to engage with someone else that seems to be getting the brunt of this new gang war in the hopes that perhaps together they can help each other out.

Although, I found this short story in the science fiction section, for the most part if feels more like an action thriller as Helen is constantly running or fighting off triad members. However, somewhere in the middle there is a small piece of conversation that reminds you that the world they live in isn’t quite like ours, but other than that it feels pretty normal. But even in that small moment where the sci fi piece is mentioned you do get the sense that this story and the Universe Series it is part of revolves more around technology than other types of science fiction sub-genres.

Overall, I found Helen’s plan that she comes up with a little too easy, but it’s a short story so you really can’t get overly complex. Even so, in the 39 pages you can tell there is a fully-fleshed out world these characters live in that sounded pretty intriguing. Rogue is part of the Upgrade Series Universe and at the end there is a sneak peak of the first novel in the series – BluePrint. According to Amazon, book 3 – The Loop is due out later this year.

Rating: 4 stars

Trigger Warning: Attempted rape

YA

Undercover Thief – Book Review

The Victoria Institute Book 1 by H.T. King
Published on September 26, 2018

This young adult book was a ton of fun to read. I hated every time I had to put it down. In Undercover Thief, Pam is a pretty experienced thief when her parents who walked out on her six years ago decide to come back and force her to go to a spy school.

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Picture Books

Thanksgiving Rules – Picture Book Review

By Laurie B. Friedman
Illustrated by Teresa Murfin
Published on: January 1, 2014

In this savory and delicious picture book, Percy Isaac Gifford gives us ten Thanksgiving holiday rules and to get the most out of the food and festivities that make up this holiday.

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YA Fantasy

The Wind Reader – Book Review

By Dorothy A. Winsor
Published on: September 28, 2019

Although the characters are 15-years old and can be seen as a teen/young adult novel, The Wind Reader also feels like it would work well in the middle grade category too. With captivating characters, suspense, and ethical and moral dilemmas, I found this to be a very nice fantasy read.

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Cozy Mystery

The Body on the Train – Book Review

Kate Shackleton #11 by Frances Brody
Published on: November 12, 2019

In my mind, there is no better decade for mysteries than the 1920s and 1930s – where time is caught at the beginning of modernization and between two world wars. Where life was changing faster than anyone knew.

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