Book Review: The Rat Queen

The Rat Queen by Pete Hautman

The Rat Queen
by Pete Hautman

2.5 stars
Annie’s father teaches her to write down all the bad things she does and feed the paper into a little hole in the floor of their house. After she drops the paper into the “sin eater” hole, her regrets and guilt go away and she feels better. Annie hears a mysterious skittering and chattering in the cellar, and the neighbors begin to report seeing rats around the neighborhood. Annie learns about her Litvanian heritage and the dark secrets of her family past.

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Graphic Novel Review: Tales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy

Tales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy by Jonathan    Hill

Tales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy
by Jonathan Hill 

5 out of 5 stars

Tommy has a secret. His family are actually lizard people trying to blend in with the human world. Tommy has to wear a human skin over his green lizard face. It’s difficult trying to be “normal” in middle school when everything is so different from your own lizard culture.
Tommy meets other seventh-graders who also have trouble fitting in. One of his new friends, Dung, is a Vietnamese boy who is dealing with culture shock and trying to learn English. They bond over their differences, discovering that they have more in common than they realized.

I loved this graphic novel! The plot is hilarious and emotional. The characters are complex. Their stories are meaningful. The setting and background are interesting. And the storytelling style is superb!

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Non Fiction Review: Middle School Safety Goggles Advised

Middle School - Safety Goggles Advised by Jessica Speer

Middle School – Safety Goggles Advised: Exploring the WEIRD Stuff from Gossip to Grades, Cliques to Crushes and Popularity to Peer Pressure
by Jessica Speer (Goodreads Author)

2 out of 5 stars

This book gives advice about how to navigate the difficulties of middle school. There are chapters about not judging others, bullying, friendships and cliques, trying to be popular, having a crush on someone, gossip, social media, and peer pressure.

My main problem with this book was that it didn’t really go into WHY young people should avoid bad decisions and toxic behaviors. It didn’t talk about honor or morality or modesty. It didn’t talk about honesty or virtue. It just says lots of nice things about being kind to others, but the whole philosophy is very casual and lackadaisical. It even says at one point that “There are no correct responses.” You can do whatever and make whatever choices and nothing is right or wrong. The entire attitude is very amoral and toxic.

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Book Review: Starlet Rivals

Starlet Rivals by Puneet Bhandal

Starlet Rivals (The Bollywood Academy)
by  Puneet Bhandal (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars

Bela dreams of becoming a movie star in Bollywood, and hopes that her dance skills will win her a scholarship to the famous Bollywood Academy, where young students are trained as actors, dancers, and film crew. Her mother, a dance instructor, convinces her that she is good enough to enter the Dance Starz TV competition, and Bela submits an entry. When Bela dances, she feels supremely happy as if the entire world just falls away. But will her love for dance be enough to win the competition and the scholarship?

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Book Review: Always, Clementine

Always, Clementine by Carlie Sorosiak

Always, Clementine
by Carlie Sorosiak (Goodreads Author)

3.5 out of 5 stars
Clementine is a lab mouse. A genetic experiment has given her super-intelligence and she does her best to solve every maze and puzzle that the team of scientists give her. Clementine befriends a chimp named Rosie in one of the lab cages. When a scientist with a guilty conscience sets Clementine free, she begins a wild journey to prove her worth and hopefully save Rosie from the lab too. In the meantime, Clementine writes letters to Rosie (which are never written or posted) and tells Rosie all her adventures.

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Book Review: Harley James and the Peril of the Pirate’s Curse

Harley James and the Peril of the Pirate's Curse by Leah Cupps

Harley James and the Peril of the Pirate’s Curse
by Leah Cupps (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars

Harley travels around the world with her archeologist dad, visiting historic sites and learning about ancient legends. While in Jamaica, Harley hears the legend of the Perla Azul (The Blue Pearl). If the pearl ever touches dry land, a hurricane and earthquake could wipe out the entire island. It already happened once before in 1692 when a young pirate boy witnessed the destruction of half the town of Port Royal. Most of the town sank below the waves and still lies buried in the sand. Harley and her friends discover that the pirate boy wrote a diary where he left behind clues to the pearl’s location in the sunken city. Harley has to find the pearl before her archeologist father and his diving team stumble across it and bring it back to land!

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Book Review- Explorer Academy: The Forbidden Island

Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit

Explorer Academy: The Forbidden Island (Explorer Academy, #7)
by Trudi Trueit (Goodreads Author), Scott Plumbe (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

In this final book of the series, Cruz and his friends are looking for the final piece of the puzzle that his mother left for him before she died. With time running out, the bad guys will take any risk to stop Cruz from finishing his quest. Dangers surround Cruz on every side, and someone close to him is feeding information to the enemy.

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Book Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)
by C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Lucy and Edmund are back in Narnia, this time accompanied by their annoying cousin, Eustace. The siblings join King Caspian again, this time on a quest to the Eastern edge of the world. They sail through rough seas, encounter sea monsters, chart magical islands, and fight battles. But the greatest adventure of all is what they find at the edge of the world.

This one is my favorite of all the Narnia books! It appeals to something deep inside me on many levels. The magical adventures, the spiritual themes, poor sad Eustace and his character development, the beautiful imagery, and the imaginative settings all resonate with me in special ways. There are so many sweet little moments that tug at your heart!

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Book Review: Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2)
by C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are back in Narnia a year after their previous adventures. They find that Narnia has changed a great deal, and now the evil Telmarines are in power. The siblings go to war to help Prince Caspian reclaim his throne and restore the Old Narnian dwarves, fauns, and tree-people.

I love the themes of obedience and faith in this second book of the series. The siblings try to rely on their own wisdom and ignore Aslan’s instructions and they get into huge trouble. It is only when they follow Aslan and obey with faith that things start to go right again.

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Book Review: Dragon and Liberator

Dragon and Liberator by Timothy Zahn

Dragon and Liberator (Dragonback, #6)
by Timothy Zahn (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars

In this final book of the series, Jack and Draycos are running out of time to stop the genocide of Draycos’ entire race, the K’da. The machinery of war is lining up to annihilate the K’da spaceships that will be arriving soon, but Jack and Draycos don’t know where the final rendezvous point will be. Their only hope is to follow their enemies and hope that they can warn the K’da in time.

I loved this book so much! Every book in the series is action-packed and full of mystery and danger.

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