The Stray – Picture Book Review

Story and Illustrations By: Molly Ruttan
Published On: May 19, 2020

In The Stray, a family is out for a walk when a spaceship crashes nearby. There amongst the rubble is ‘the stray’. He’s a cross between a slug, a dog, a frog and maybe a few other things. One thing is for certain: he is a cutie! They decide to take him home and give him the name Grub. They give him lots of love and make him part of the family. They even try to teach him a few tricks, but soon they realize that perhaps he has a home somewhere else that he misses.

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Debt of Honor – Book Review

The Embers of War Book 1 by: Christopher G. Nuttall
Published on: May 19, 2020

Debt of Honor is the first book in the Embers of War series by Christopher G. Nuttall featuring Admiral Kat Falcone – the main character from the Angel in the Whirlwind series. This author and his space fleet/galactic empire books are new to me, but the real world is a little overwhelming at the moment so problems in a whole other universe that is completely unrelated to anything here on Earth was the perfect choice when needing to find a new book to relax with.

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An Unequal Defense – Book Review

David Adams #2
By: Chad Zunker
Pages: 247
Published On: May 19, 2020

What a delightful read to run across. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a conspiracy thriller and boy have I missed them. I had almost forgotten how fun they can be and how sucked in I can get as pages furiously fly by as I get caught up in all the twists and turns. This is also my first novel to read by Chad Zunker.

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The Raven: A Modern Retelling – Book Review

By: Elise Wallace
Illustrated By: Linda Silvestri
Published On: October 15, 2019

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

– The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe

My memory of first learning about Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven is sketchy. What I do remember are two things: 1) The poem was rather spooky to me. After all, it has a raven saying over and over again one single word -“Nevermore.” Yes, I think it is safe to say that a raven tapping at your chamber door definitely falls into the creepy category. Yet the use of this raven also enhances the overall otherworldly and melancholy atmosphere the poem presents. At the time, I suspect I found it spookier because I didn’t think raven’s could talk at all. Now that I am older and wiser I know that raven’s can speak even better than parrots since they can mimic the pitch of a woman’s voice vs a man’s. There are many examples on Youtube of talking ravens that are quite fun to listen to.

The second memory is that no matter how much time my teacher took explaining either the themes within it or allegorical parts or whatever else scholars say something is in order to make a story or poem sound important, the poem still never made 100% sense. Apparently, I must not be alone in this.

In The Raven: A Modern Retelling, the authors set out on a quest to help younger children understand the poem’s meaning. The story opens with Heath arriving at his new house. It’s an old house built in the 1800s and he definitely doesn’t like it. His family has moved across the country away from his old school and friend Lenore. He’s sad about leaving behind his friend, when he begins to have dreams about a raven outside his window saying “Nevermore!”.

Although the original poem by Edgar Allan Poe still has some sections to it that can be a little more difficult to follow, I found the retelling to be a decent introduction to the poem as it shows a main character going into a slow madness as he becomes more and more distraught about all these changes that are out of his control. Using an example of a young boy moving away and leaving friends is something just about all of us can understand. The good news is that this book is for younger middle-grade age kids, so there is a happy-ish ending.

The Raven is actually really short at only 32 pages and contains a few colorful pictures. Also included in the story are some book club questions to help guide the discussion surrounding the main points or themes of the story, such as asking them how the tone changes throughout the book or about the raven.

Description:

“Heath and his family have moved from the West Coast to New York. It’s a total culture shock. Everything feels wrong: the cold weather, the new house, even his dreams. But the worst part of the move is Heath is away from his best friend Lenore”–

The Empire’s Ghost – Book Review

Paths of Lantistyne #1 By: Isabelle Steiger
Published On: May 16, 2017

*May contain spoilers*

Before picking up this epic fantasy novel, I did what I often do when attempting to decide if the book in question is one that I would want to read: I took a look at other reviews. Overwhelming, what I read over and over again was that there was a large cast of characters that left some confused during reading. For me, I generally like to read fantasies with large casts so when I got the book I dug right in. To help anyone who is considering this book determine if there are too many characters for their own preference I have attempted to create a list of the more major characters and their kingdoms or groups. My copy of the book did not contain this type of list, so I am hoping that the publisher will consider this in future books in the series.

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The Sand Elephant – Picture Book Review

By: Rinna Hermann and Sanne Dufft
Published On: August 8, 2019

Paul was alone in the sandbox. He has no one to play with so he etches out a large elephant in the sand. Slowly sleep overtakes him as Paul wishes the elephant were real and could play with him. But he doesn’t get to sleep too long before the elephant wakes him up to play. The sand elephant lets Paul ride on his back as they travel to very large sandcastle filled with other children Paul can play with. However, soon it begins to rain and Paul and his new friends get worried about the sand elephant and all the other creatures who had been at the sandcastle. But, water can’t truly hurt sand elephants because they and many other creatures can always be remade.

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Killing Mind – Book Review

DI Kim Stone #12 by Angela Marsons
Published on: May 13, 2020

This is only the second book I’ve read by Angela Marsons, but she and this series have very quickly become one of my favorites. There are several reasons for this – the first is that I have come to appreciate the research that have gone into the stories. Many stories have twists and turns and those stories are all very enjoyable. But within the DI Kim Stone series there is a theme or social issue the detectives are focused as they work through the case. In Killing Mind, the issue being brought to light are cults. Why does someone join? How do they attract members? How do they retain members? How does someone leave the cult? If they do leave, what happens afterwards? The narrative of this story focuses specifically on Unity Farm, which encourages individuals to remove themselves from their past, their electronics, and their family, which they call blood relatives since Unity Farm members are their only family now. As the team investigates they discover the murdered victim(s) have a connection to this farm and DI Stone has Tiffany go undercover to gain more information on who is there and how it works.

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