Wednesday, November 30, 2016


There was a lot going on with this book and not all of it was resolved and I am not sure I really "got" it all.  At the most basic we have Wull who is destined to become the Riverkeep like his father.  But, one night while working, his father was dragged underwater and now is "possessed" by another creature.  Wull believes that by traveling to a nearby town and killing a horrible creature, the mormorach, he can find a way to save his father.  Along the way he picks up some interesting companions - Tillinghast, a man made of straw who is carrying a stolen mandrake, Mix who is a mystery, and Remedie whose baby Bonn died a year ago but has been replaced by a wooden boy that is coming alive the closer it gets to the mormorach.  Yep... kind of strange. 

So - my ultimate take?  Based on the length - 403 pages - and the depth of world building and some innuendo it is out of the range of my students but it has merit and I could see it in a middle school or junior high for students who love a good fantasy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Secret of the Sphinx

Hmmm...  this was not a very long book but the mystery in it was quite good... until it wasn't.  I really liked it until the last 30 pages or so and then the ending left me cold...

So to explain...  ancient curse, vizier murdered and his soul placed in a sphinx until a descendant of the pharaoh came to power.  Enter Jon who happens to look like the ancient Egyptian prince.  That similarity causes the sphinx to reach out to him and they travel back in time to solve the mystery.  Things were going great - mystery almost solved until the bad guy killed the real prince and got away and Jon and the sphinx came back to the present.  But then...  Jon got invited to a meeting of the new Egyptian president and the president of the US where he stopped an assassination attempt.  The assassin - the bad guy come to take care of the descendant of the pharaoh who would release the sphinx from the curse.  Yeah - the whole part with Jon stopping the assassination attempt - not thinking a bomb would have made it through security - at least I hope not. 

Wish it had ended differently...


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First, credit where credit is due.  Thank you to the Springvale Library for ordering this book so I could read it for MSBA!!

I am a Trekkie - or Trekker I guess.  I have loved Star Trek from  young age and up until recently thought I had seen just about every episode.  My husband and I are watching all of them now that we are empty nesters and I still love it.  When I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it.

Oh the feels, I learned quite a bit about Leonard Nimoy that I did not know - the story behind his LLAP salute, his childhood in Boston.  And yet this particular book was meant for children.  I hope children will read this and be fascinated by his life and explore more.  I just wish there had been more to the book.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Distance Between Us

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This memoir tells of Reyna's early life in Mexico where her parents both left her, her sister Mago, and her brother Carlos while they went in search of a better life in the US.  After several years her mother came back but never really took care of her children - she had another baby Betty by then and was separated from the children's father.  Eventually their father returned and was able to smuggle the 3 children into the US.  Their mother also eventually returned to the US with a boyfriend and yet another child.  In spite of this turbulent childhood which also involved abuse, Reyna worked hard to make her dreams of an education come true.

The book was sad - sad that a girl had to go through so much but triumphant, especially when she found someone who helped her out.  I wish there had been more about her mentor Diana.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Snowize & Snitch

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This was a fun romp.  Ever's parents disappeared when she was very young.  Since then she has lived with Doc.  But then Doc disappears and Ever becomes involved in the investigation with Snowize and Snitch.  Sounds great right.  Well Snowize has questionable memory and Snitch is a rat.  There are many twists and turns.  Overall I liked the book but it did take some getting used to - with a talking refrigerator and some weird time travel stuff - but in the end it had adventure and heart.

Doodles Lanhorn and the Search for the Missing Artifact

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Besides the fact that I somehow missed the first book in the series - which was obvious in the first several chapters - I did enjoy the book once I got up to speed.  Doodles was a fun character and the mystery that the kids had to solve was interesting.  I am still curious about the character of Samantha - red herring, totally innocent, or is there more.  I also felt that the book dragged on for two long after the climax in a set up for the next book.

Blood, Bullets, Bones

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This was a good book about the history of forensic science and covered aspects such as autopsies, fingerprints, blood tests, firearm analysis, and more.  Interspersed with the science were stories where the science was applied including well known events like Jake the Ripper and other lesser known events.  I read the book rather quickly because it was told in an interesting way.  

My only negative was that some of the stories were interjected in odd places and it sometimes felt a bit jarring.  In one case in particular it felt like the story was left unfinished.  I actually went back a few pages one time to see if I missed something.

Overall a good book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Curse of the Boggin

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I am not going to lie.  I have read some books lately that - ick.  I haven't even blogged or submitted reviews about quite a few.  Partly because they don't fit my normal reading - primarily grades 4 - 8 for MSBA but also because they don't really reflect my worldview.  

BUT...  I loved this!  Up front I will say that I listened to the audio which may have affected my love but - sigh of goodness.

The prologue is terrifying as a young boy is seemingly chased up to his roof and when his dad follows him up there the poor boy witnesses his dad fall off the roof due to the dog, old lady, or mysterious storm - which all disappeared.

Fast forward a few weeks.  Marcus is a pretty typical teen - problems with his (adopted) parents, some issues at school, two good friends.  But all of a sudden he sees mysterious things - ghosts, weird old lady, and a key.  It turns out the the man who died on the roof and Marcus' real father were agents of the library.  This library is full of unfinished stories that all feature disturbances - ghosts, boggins, curses. The key gives Marcus access to the library but it up to him to finish the story that features the man on the roof, a boggin, and his own father.

The action was great in this.  Although I figured out a few things early I think the intended reader will find some surprises.  My only issue was that after the "climax" there were a few chapters of resolution which I felt went too long.  This is the first book in a series but this particular episode ended well.