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review 2017-09-09 22:07
Book Review of Zombie Baker by J S Rumble
Zombie Baker - J. F. S. Rumble

Fred is one of those rare boys that actually likes going to school… well, he did until now. He started getting picked on for something he has no control over… being a zombie. 
Most people think of zombies as mindless creatures that roam the world searching for others to infect, in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. All Fred wants to do is bake! 

He dreams of opening his very own cake shop one day, but pastry school is extremely expensive! Then an opportunity comes along that could help his dreams become reality.

 

Review 5*

 

This is a charming children's chapter book. I loved it!

 

Fred is a fantastic character. I really liked him. He is a kind and loving boy (not sure of exact age but think around eleven or twelve). He also loves to bake and dreams of owning his own bakery one day. Unfortunately, he has to deal with school bullies.

 

This story is told in a memoir style through Fred's eyes and takes the reader on a journey of discovery. Fred may be a zombie, but he has the same emotions as the rest of us. He gets excited, happy, sad, angry and frustrated by most of the same situations as ordinary humans.

 

This book is ideal for children with short attention spans as it's only 66 pages long. This story tackles the issue of bullying and shows that it's okay to be different, and with hard work you can attain your dream (whatever it may be). There are some interesting characters introduced and I really liked Fred's friends, Ervin, James and Ben, as they stand by him even though he's different to them. They like him just the way he is. I did feel sorry for Ervin during one scene though. He had to trust Fred even though he was terrified, but it made me like him even more and wish he was my friend too. There is action and adventure, with enough excitement to keep a young reader's attention. I love baking too, so reading about the cake Fred baked made my mouth water. So much so that I ended up baking a cake for myself later. I must admit that I would have loved if the story was longer, but then it wouldn't be a chapter book. Nevertheless, I was sad to reach the end even though it ended satisfactorily.

 

J.S. Rumble has written an entertaining chapter book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love her writing style, which is not particularly fast paced though easy enough for children to follow whether reading on their own, or being read to by their parents. The flow is wonderful too. This is the second book I've read by this author and I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this chapter book to young children aged 5-10, and to adults looking for a chapter book to keep their little ones entertained. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-09-05 07:31
Daphne's Book by Mary Downing Hahn

When I first read this book, I must have been a pre teen or in my early teenage years. I remember enjoying the book, but I doubt I fully grasped everything in the story. When I was younger, I might have been on Daphne and Hope's side, thinking Jessica should keep their secret, but as an adult, I know how wrong that would be.

I loved the imagination the girls showed in this story as they wrote their book and how they let the younger sister play with them and didn't shun her, as big sisters sometimes do. I believe the story handled bullying well, and Jessica and Daphne's reactions to it were realistic. I also think it handled the mental decline of the grandmother well, though I have no personal experiences with it to know if it was a correct representation.

Some of the words and actions of the grandmother toward Daphne and Hope broke me. I can understand why Jessica was terrified of her and also cringed every time the grandmother and Jessica interacted. As a child reading this, I probably would have disliked the grandmother as I wouldn't fully understand about her illness, but as an adult, I just feel sorrow and fear to know her condition is what happens to some of us as we age. It is sad, but a fact of life.

I do feel like the ending was a bit rushed. I wish there were more at the end, showing us how everyone is a few weeks, months, or even years down the road. Did Jessica keep in contact with them? Did they ever see their dream come true of being a writer/illustrator team? Did Jessica ever find her missing mouse?

Over all, I think this was a wonderful book and I hope many people of all ages get to enjoy it.

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-03 06:28
Friend Request
Friend Request - Laura Marshall

By: Laura Marshall 

ISBN: 9781478948513

Publisher: Grand Central 

Publication Date: 9/5/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Laura Marshall delivers a twisty and suspenseful edge-of-your-seat debut, FRIEND REQUEST – when a single divorced mother gets the shock of her life when receiving a Facebook friend email request. 

However, this woman happened to die twenty-five years ago, and Louise still feels the fear and guilt.

Who would guess this is a debut? Enjoyed learning of the author’s journey and her empowering story. 

Louise Williams is a divorced middle class, nearly middle-aged woman. Her cheating ex-husband Sam left her for another woman. 

She runs her own interior design business in London and is raising her four-year-son, Henry. Henry splits time with his two parents. Sam and Louise attended high school together. They have their secrets. 

When Louise sees the name, Maria Weston, she begins to shake. A blast from the past. She can just delete the email and go to Facebook and decline the request without looking at the page.

Don’t think so. . . 

A part of her wants to end this here and now, but another part of her wants to see. To know. To understand.

So she clicks, "confirm request." 

Maria stares at her from behind the screen. How can Maria Weston want to be friends with her, when she is dead? More than twenty-five years.

This girl, (would be— woman) . . . "has been hovering at the edge of her consciousness for all her adult life, but she had been good at keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of her eye, almost but not quite out of sight."

From 1989 to 2016, the author takes us back to the bullying, manipulation, and the secret life of these teens and their high school years.

Presently, there is also an upcoming Sharne Bay High School Reunion for the class of 1989. Could this be a coincidence she is getting this the same day? 

Who is doing this? Could Maria still be alive? She had drowned twenty-five years ago. Some thought she committed suicide. 

The party. The last she was seen. Louise has a secret. Who else knows her secret? 

Desperate frightened teens trying to cover their misdeeds and dark secrets. As adults, they can no longer hide. 

The messages become even more threatening and dangerous. This person knows something. Louise is paranoid and fearful. Afraid her secrets of the past will unravel. She must contact the other girls. 

She desperately needs to find out who is tormenting her. Louise bullied others, and now it is payback. 

In between the past and present, the author cleverly inserts another voice. The reader is unsure of the voice. 

A sick joke? This person is watching her. They know things. A terrible gnawing sense of dread.

“A text: “You don’t deserve to be happy. Not after what you’ve done.”

As the danger gets closer, and someone else is murdered, Louise must find the person before she is next and her son. However, the danger may be closer than she thinks.

“Maybe it’s only be going back that she will be able to move forward.”

Truth. Lies. Secrets. Family Ties. Revenge. Actions. Consequences. Choices. Sins of the past. Justifying actions. 

 



Marshall keeps the reader in suspense and just when you think you know the identity— a new twist you did not see coming. Not a lot of likable characters; however, hats off to the author for an accomplished debut. 

A riveting psychological suspense thriller which also highlights topics of bullying, peer pressure, fears, insecurities, social media, dangers of the internet, privacy, rape fantasies, BDSM, sexual violence, drugs, sadism, and darker more sinister abuse. 

In addition, we learn even through generations, teenage girls, especially are desperate to fit in, willing to do or say anything to gain acceptance. 

I am not a fan of Facebook. When I first started reading, was unsure if I could get past the drama; however, as the book moves on it becomes more intriguing and mysterious. A whodunit. 

A good portrayal of how choices and experiences as teens can carry over to our adult lives. In addition, a nice comparison of how social media and Facebook also can affect adults as well as teens today. Anyone can be anyone on Facebook. It is easy to hide behind a faceless page. Someone lurking, watching your every move.

A solid and entertaining debut. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for this new found talented author! 

A special thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central for an early reading copy.

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/01/Friend-Request
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review 2017-08-17 21:49
Emeralds In The Attic by Jan Fields
Emeralds In The Attic - Jan Fields

This cozy mystery was interesting and a quick read. I like that it didn't start the same as so many of the others. The group of women did go up to the attic looking for something but the mystery wasn't immediately found there. It still involved something that was found in the attic but it because of what happened later. I liked this author's writing style better than a lot of the others. The ending was rather uneventful but I still enjoyed the book.

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review 2017-08-12 19:39
It Ain't So Awful Falafel
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel - Firoozeh Dumas

 

To all the kids who don't belong, for whatever reason.

This one's for you.

- Dedication

 

My dad says that the dogs and cats in America are luckier than most people in the world.

- page 34

 

My dad always says that kindness is our religion and if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.

- page 40

 

... only bookworms get excited over other bookworms

- page 69

 

"Who would ever have thought that a person could be so powerful, then so completely powerless, all in the same lifetime?"

- page 219 (referring to the downfall of the shah)

 

... even though we belong to three different religions. We are alike in so many more ways than we are different.

- page 299

 

It was only when I stopped pretending to be someone else that I found my real friends.

- page 360

 

 

This was a good read. Zomorod (who changes her name to Cindy) is from Iran. Her father is an engineer who works with American companies building oil refineries in Iran, so they moved back and forth a couple of times.  Now she is starting junior high (which nowadays is called middle school) and doesn't know anyone. She wants to fit in, but she focuses on how different she is from all the other kids. The first friend she makes (in the summer before school) decides she doesn't want to be friends when school starts. Poor "Cindy" is lost and worried and tired of having to explain to everyone where Iran is and how to pronounce her last name.

 

Cindy finds friends and seems to be settling in and basically happy. Then Iran has a revolution, the shah is kicked out of the country, and Ayatollah Khomeini takes over. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students, angry that President Carter allowed the shah to come to the United States, take a group of Americans hostage. This changes Cindy's family's life and her father loses his job.

 

I was in junior high during the Iran Hostage Crisis. I remember feeling vaguely angry at the hostage takers and worried about the hostages. My mom wasn't huge on watching the news with us or anything, but I knew what was happening (at least generally).  

 

It was interesting reading this story told from the point of view of an Iranian girl in America at the time. It was so hard for Cindy's family, and many Americans were so hostile towards Iranians, even though those living in America weren't responsible for the situation and didn't necessarily approve of it. Cindy and her parents were so appalled that a religious leader could be responsible for such behavior. But that didn't save them from hate and discrimination.

 

This is a nominee for the Florida Sunshine State award grades 3-5. I really liked the book and will highly recommend it to our students when school starts. 

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