This was one of those books where it was over before I knew it. I listened to this audio in the car and then, time flew! The drama built slowly, the romance had snuck itself in, and then I found myself disappointed that the whole book was over. I could have sworn, I just put the second CD in.
Valerie and her son Xavier live in Oak Knoll, a peaceful, quiet neighborhood. Xavier is a talented musician and Valerie loves nature and her surroundings. When a local celebrity buys a nearby plot of land, new construction disturbs the quiet community as they begin building an upscale mansion and the family moves in.
Valerie had watched, as they destroyed the area to accommodate this new family, the destruction of natural resources was devastating to her. Now, as the new family moves in, Xavier gets mistaken for hired help. It’s an awkward beginning for these two families.
As I listened to Brad, he started to get under my skin. His superior thinking made me cringe but I liked the way this book was setting things up. Valerie was up for the challenge but in the background, I was watching out for Xavier and Juniper.
This is an entertaining book and one that I enjoyed.
Everything her mother ever said about Zoe’s father was negative when she asked. Zoe knew where her father was but she didn’t know what he did, to end up in prison. Now, on her 12th birthday as Zoe grabs the mail from their mailbox, she finds an envelope addressed to her with a return address from the Massachusetts State Penitentiary. That envelope could only contain one thing, something from her father.
This book had an excellent flow to it and the story was fun to read. I thought the author did a great job showing us the different emotions that Zoe experiences throughout the book and I liked how grandma tried to do the balancing act with the different characters. I understood exactly why/how grandmother felt the way she did, as she maneuvered around the individuals in her life. Zoe’s friend Trevor, was good for her. I was surprised how quickly he forgave her and how willing he went along with her suggestions. I don’t think Zoe gave enough credit to Trevor.
There were a few instances in the book that didn’t make sense to me. These were based on the characters and our current time period. I don’t want to spoil the book by mentioning them but Zoe is only twelve-years old and some of the things that she was doing just didn’t seem feasible for a person of that age. But, if you let your imagination take you away, anything is possible.
In the book, Zoe begins to secretly write her father in prison, asking him a variety of questions. Her father claims that he’ll be honest with her in his return letters but Zoe is torn between believing what her mother has said and the man, who she has never known.
Her grandmother accidently discovers Zoe’s secret and grandmother strikes up a deal with Zoe and now, who knows where this will all end. I understand grandmother position in this mess but I also feel that there’s going to be fireworks, if and when Zoe’s mother finds out (and she will eventually find out, she has to, you just know she will).
If that’s not enough, Zoe told her parents that she would do a summer internship at her aunt’s bakery. She needs to prove to them that she’s ready to enter a kid’s cooking competition on the Food Network. Did someone say cooking competition? Zoe believed that this would be a great opportunity for her, yet when she arrives, it’s not what she expected.
It’s an eventful summer for Zoe with her internship and secretly corresponding with her father in prison. It jumps into high speed when she learns some interesting information about her father and decides to explore it further it. A conflict with her best friend Trevor, will need to be resolved quickly as she can’t do this alone.
This was fantastic! You could really feel the energy and the emotions in this graphic novel which is an adaptation of the original novel with the same name. I think kids will love this book.
This is not your typical graphic novel with text boxes, this graphic novel’s illustrations and text fill up the entire page. Whether the page includes one illustration or four, it is the exact amount that is needed to get the point across. With varying sizes of text, you will find yourself catching the rhythm of the book, as the story unravels. Using only shades of orange, black, and white, throughout the book, it’s amazing how captive you will become to Josh’s story.
You see, they were twins, Josh and Jordan. Great basketball players who did a lot together. Their father was a legend, on the court, many years ago. Lately though, Jordan’s eyes have not been on the ball so much. His eyes are on a girl and Josh feels ignored/left out/abandoned. Josh wants his father to intervene but his father won’t. Dad has some health issues that mom has been riding him on but dad says he’s fine. I love the word play this couple speaks to one another.
You can feel the energy soaring through the pages, the pain that’s growing inside of Josh, and witness the relationship that’s building between Jordan and his new friend. The words were carefully chosen, they fit, they fit like a glove to make this graphic novel pulse.
Then, he does it. Josh unleashes his frustration and I hope that he feels better because everyone else doesn’t. He’s done more harm then good and the repercussions of his anger, he’s paid a price for it.
Excellent graphic novel! Very powerful and is one that is definitely worth reading.
This is an important novel that addresses divorce and depression for children, that speaks their language. Addressing the promises, the hopes, the disappointments, the stresses, the anger, the blame, and just about every emotion that a child feels as their parents separate and divorce, this book confronts them directly. A.S. King delivers another great book.
The arguing the occurs between Liberty’s parents has reached its limit and now, her dad was moving out. He was making promises to Liberty and her sister, Jilly to smooth out the situation but nothing he could say would ever make this move easy. Liberty and her dad were close. They spent a lot of time together, they loved to unravel the night sky together.
Liberty’s world begins to fall apart when her father moves out of the house yet she keeps everything inside her. She continues to try to find comfort in the night sky but like everything else in her world, it just isn’t there anymore. Wishing upon stars, asking for guidance, Liberty calls upon the night to help restore her balance. Liberty is spiraling.
I liked the difference between the two sisters. Liberty was the older sister and she tried to keep her emotions inside and in-control. Her younger sister, Jilly made me smile and laugh numerous times, as she’s young, carefree and she’d let’s go with what’s on her mind, when given the chance. Liberty couldn’t talk openly so what she really needed was to talk privately with some individuals throughout the book but she just couldn’t.
I enjoyed how the book dealt with all the different emotions that occur during a divorce. Children are a major part of a divorce yet some parents feel that they’re not, forget to include them, or just don’t want to get them involved. Children need to be able to talk about their feelings, ask questions and get a truthful (as truthful as they can handle) response to their questions. Children need to feel valued and respected during this time. I think this book addressed these topics very well.
I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. Another fantastic book by A.S. King!
I didn’t want this book to end because I had fallen hard for
these characters. Times were hard in the
Appalachian Hills of Kentucky, at the turn of the century, but as I turned the
pages of this book, I wanted/needed Bertie to get a break.
Bertie and Timmy liked to play hide-and-go-seek together until
the day, little Timmy wedged himself into a tight spot and couldn’t get
out. Every day, Bertie is haunted by
that day when her brother Timmy died. As
if that wasn’t enough, her mother now has basically, given-up-on-life and her
father is a drunk who comes and goes as he please. Add to that, four siblings and you have a lot
of responsibility and no adult in charge.
In walks, tired Bertie.
She’s 15 now, and if helping running the homestead wasn’t enough to
tire her out, add a new neighbor to her busy life, who doesn’t know what Bertie
is actually experiencing. I wanted to
give Bertie a break but the situations for Bertie were on a downward spiral. When
would they stop?
When her older brothers start to come up with a plan, I
started to have hope, I really did. Life is hard as the family moves about and
tries to make the best of the situation.
The highs and the lows kept me going and I loved this family. Oh, Bertie! You knew you had to be strong, you hid your
feelings but I knew how you felt. What a
If it hadn’t been for bookclub, I wouldn’t have picked up this book. After reading it, I will now have to find the movie as it stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and I heard it’s pretty good. I really enjoyed this book and, in the end, I felt sorry for both Addie and Louis yet, I think they were content with how things worked out.
The story takes place in a small town and like most small towns, everyone seems to know what everyone else is doing. Addie is 70, and she calls upon her neighbor Louis, one day at his home. She asks Louis if he would like to spend the night with her. Now, this is not grade school, these are adults whose spouses are deceased. Addie is straight-up and tells Louis that they’ll be no sex, but that she just wants someone to talk to and be close to at night. Well?
That night, Louis cleans himself up, puts his toothbrush and pajamas in a bag and walks down the alley to her house and knocks on the backdoor. They do live in a small town, remember? Addie had been waiting at the front door for Louis and tells him to ring at the front door in the future, she’s too old to worry about what people think. I love her already! Well, I won’t tell you what happened that first night but it was perfect. It made me smile.
It isn’t long before the town knows what’s happening and you can imagine what happens. It’s what Addie and Louie do about it, that matters to me. I thought they were getting comfortable in their arrangement when Addie’s young grandson came for a visit. Addie has conflicting thoughts now.
I enjoyed how the author wrote, the reading was effortless and realistic. A great book about family, aging and life in general. It made me think about getting older in life and if I would have done anything different had I been Addie or Louie.
I thought this graphic novel was okay. I liked the
characters and I liked how things were progressing but there was something about
the flow of the story that didn’t feel right.
Moth doesn’t fit in and she’s basically accepted that. She’s now thirteen-years old and suddenly
things start to change for her on Halloween.
No one has told her the truth about her mom and that Moth’s obsession
with witches might have something to do with her mom but now, someone might
have to. Moth was born a half witch but suddenly
now, she’s showing her powers. Moth is
excited about her new identity but her mother, a witch herself, tells her that
it’s not such a great thing.
There’s some time travel as Moth learns about the craft and its
history. We find out how old mom really
is and what mom has been through. Mom
has told Moth not to practice her new craft yet Moth feels she wants to help
her friend and does so without anyone knowing.
I liked that there was this emphasis on family and friendship
in the book. I liked how Moth tried to do
things on her own and make her own decisions which at thirteen, has its
positive and negative aspects. I thought the book at times felt too wordy. It felt heavy and the flow felt off. I thought the illustrations were well done
and I liked how the cat was used in the book.
I fell in love with this book after the first few pages. The sweet, calm fashion of this book had soon
expanded and now, I was feeling the same way. The situation was all too familiar for me and if
only I could turn back time, it could have been me in that room, answering
Everything in this book made it perfect for me. The way the book was laid out, its illustrations,
and its text; everything had its proper place and time.
As I watched the adult male in the illustrations, I liked how
his movements changed from one illustration to the next. I think his movements added a great deal to
the book. There are other small changes that
were taking place in this bedroom scene, changes that were very important,
changes that our eyes noticed automatically.
The questions that the young child asked, reminded me of
ones that my own children would inquire about when they were younger. The constant
questioning, the layer-upon-layer of mindful thinking. When would they stop? The
answers came back in a creative response.
The adult even linked some of his responses together. With fantastic illustrations in mixed-media tones,
the illustrations complement the tone of the text, and they make you stop and
take notice of them.
A brilliant and sweet book, a book that I cannot get enough of. It’s definitely a book that you’ll want to share.
Let’s talk about some Halloween food, shall we? I came across a Halloween display at the
grocery store and picked up some fun decorations to go on top of some baking
treats. Growing up, I had just the
colored sprinkles and if you got lucky, we got the colored little balls that rolled
all over the place when you went to put them on anything and of course, they
tasted so much better than the sprinkles.
Now the choices for decorations are endless. I ended up purchasing a creepy
pack and not your normal sprinkles, my friend. I thought I needed a cookbook to
go with these so I found a Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook at the library and voila,
I now have more than I asked for.
The decorations I picked up were a candy pack of skulls,
bones, gravestones, large eyeballs and bats. My other pack is a mix of orange, black
and white sprinkles of ghosts, bats, pumpkins, moons, and bright Halloween tiny
balls (of course). What to do with all of them was the question that I hoped
this book would answer.
Boneyard Dirt Pops were chocolate cake pops with chocolate
sandwich cookies on top (dirt) with bone candies on top (excellent idea!).
Tarantula Treats were cupcakes that looked like the creepy spider that I could use
the eyes on. Tombstone Cupcakes were, just what they said they were and another
great idea. I was coming up with some
great ideas in this book and getting hungry. The Halloween Party Pops were another
great idea and I could decorate them anyway I wanted although they had some
great ideas especially the spider web one.
I think I had enough ideas here. I noticed the Scary ghost Pancakes (I
love pancakes) as I was making my way to the treats section. I wouldn’t be using any of my treats but I
would be eating some special pancakes.
There are recipes for having a feast in this book. Lots of snacks, meals, drinks, and of course
desserts. In the Mystifying Main Dishes, I liked the Chicken Enchilada Mummies and
the Serpent Sub. They looked like fun and a simple idea to bring the holiday to
the table. Need some Bubbly Black Punch
with a Wormy Ice Ring or Lemon-Slime Punch to wash it all down? How about some Spider Bites out of jello, or
Bugs in a Blanket, or the Spiderweb Deviled Eggs (which, of my heavens looks so
cool with all the lines on them).
I would say that about half of the recipes call for premade
items. Items like Pillsbury Grands biscuits,
Pillsbury Sugar cookie dough, a box of chocolate cake mix, a spice cake mix, or
Bisquick. Using these items, they explain
how to shape or create the Halloween item using brown sugar, milk, eggs, etc.
until you have the finished item. Other
recipes have the cook taking baby back ribs, or ground beef, or instant pudding,
or chocolate ice cream or whatever and creating the Halloween treat from
scratch. If you want to make it all from
scratch, make your own sugar cookie recipe, make your own chocolate cake recipe,
do whatever you want or make substitutes if you have allergies, the ideas and
the fun is inside the book.
There are 200 pages in this Halloween cookbook complete with
an index and the recipes broken down into sections. I hate to ruin the fun but there is a calorie
counter for each of the recipes, along with step-by-step directions, the time
to completion them, and how many each recipe will make. Are there illustrations/pictures? You bet,
one for every recipe which are directly across from the recipe.
Another great book from Betty Crocker. I was entertained and I will be making some of these tasty treats this year.
Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher were put on hold when she
must stay home and tend to her mother, who has not recovered since giving birth
to her fourth child. Amal waits with
anticipation for the day when she can return to school but an incident with a rich
landlord/politician takes her even farther from her dream. Yet, through it all, Amal continues to keep
reaching for that dream.
Becoming one of his servants to pay off the debt, Amal works
at his lavish estate and believes that she’s working off the debt, that the incident
triggered. This is a whole new world for
Amal and I enjoyed how Amal handled herself. Locating a library within the estate, Amal
begins “borrowing” material until someone spots her and tries to stop her. When
she located the library, the first thought that went through my head was Belle
from Beauty and the Beast. I imagined
her reaction and amazement to be the same and that brought smiles to my
Amal is wise and clever, which I feel gives her an
edge. She does what’s expected of her
and she tries to stay out of trouble. She
just wants the debt to be paid off so she can return home and return to her
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a fast read and I really liked the character of Amal. She was a bright individual, a character who matured in the novel and someone that I cheered for throughout the whole book.