Book Review: The Queen by Kiera Cass (A Selection Novella)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction

Age Recommended: 14 and up

I felt that this book wasn’t really relevant to the whole series besides adding some background to the story of the current queen. However, I still enjoyed the book! The story was very well written and I loved all the characters. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book before reading the series but it’s definitely fun reading after!

Queen

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Amberly is one of the contestants of the Selection. She has loved the prince for as long as she can remember and getting selected was a dream come true. When she starts getting closer to the prince, her health problems start acting up and are getting in the way of her dream.

Will Amberly get selected?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: The Queen: A Novella (Kindle Single) (The selection)

March Recap

I’m really sorry. I know that I made a promise to publish at least two a week but I got caught up in school work and SOL’s. My favorite book this month was The Program by Suzanne Young and I am on the wait-list in the library to read The Remedy and The Treatment, which are the next two in the trilogy.

Don’t forget! You can find my other reviews by looking for books in the search tab!

The ProgramSistersSmile

 

Book Review: The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Non-fiction

Age Recommended: 14 and up

This book was recommended to me by my dad’s colleague. She said it was an extraordinary book and after reading it, I must say I agree.

The Orphan Train

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Niamh has been separated from her family. She is being taken west on the Orphan Train – a train that transports orphans from the East Coast to the Midwest. She makes new friends but they are all eventually adopted. However, nobody wants a skinny, Irish, nine year-old girl.

Niamh is finally adopted by a woman who is looking for a new seamstress. Due to the Great Depression, Niamh is kicked out of her first home. Niamh, or Dorothy, as they call her, is now looking for a new family. Her foster care agent find her a home with an abusive mother, a no-good father, and their four undernourished children.

For the first time, Dorothy is able to attend school. Her life is getting better until her foster father’s lust for women leads him to rape her. The wife walks in on him committing this heinous act and kicks Dorothy out. Dorothy soon finds herself wondering who she really is and if she will ever find a family to call her own…

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Orphan Train

January and February Recap

My reviewing has been a bit slow recently and I’m sorry, but I have now made a goal to publish at least two book reviews a week. Also, my January reviewing list was quite poor so I’ve decided to do a January and February recap this time.

My favorites in these two months were definitely Wheels Of Change and Girl On A Wire. Below is the list of books that I have reviewed in January and February.

I was also really excited because Darlene Beck Jacobson, author of Girl On A Wire, sent me bookmarks and a signed bookplate as a gift for reviewing her book! For those of you who don’t know what a bookplate is, it is a sticker that says, “presented to ____ by Darlene Beck Jacobson” and then a personalized note at the bottom. This sticker is put on the very first page of a book which is the usually the blank one.

dgonzale_book cover_revised45 pounds, more or lessWhen You Reach MeWheels Of ChangeGirl On A WireNorth Of Beautiful

 

Hopefully, I can publish my Q & A of the Iliad soon!

Book Review: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (A Companion novel to Smile by Raina Telgemeier)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Graphic Novel

Age Recommended: 12 and up

I felt that this book perfectly shows the relationship between siblings and how their interactions affect their whole family. Raina Telgemeier also shows the feelings that involve four people living in an apartment, who are soon joined by a baby.

This book goes between “present time” and flashbacks a lot which may seem confusing but the flashbacks are illustrated on yellow paper and they are there at the most appropriate of times.

Sisters

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Raina and her sister, Amara, have always wanted pets. However, when they do finally end up getting pets, everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Three fishes die, and when the family realizes fishes are too sensitive, they get a chameleon. However, the crickets in the chameleon’s cage that are kept as food for the chameleon end up eating the chameleon instead!

Amara wants a pet snake but Raina plainly refuses because of her past experience of stepping on a dead snake. Soon after, Will, their baby brother, is born. The family no longer feels like they need a pet. Moreover, the three siblings have to share a room, and their parents soon decide that this arrangement won’t work.

The family doesn’t move out of the apartment but instead gives Raina a bedroom to herself, the smallest bedroom, and Amara and Will share the master bedroom, while the parents sleep on a pullout couch in the living room. Amara complains that this arrangement is unfair as Raina gets her own room and as a consolation, Amara gets that pet snake she wanted.

However, the snake refuses to eat frozen mice, and one day, after nearly biting Amara’s finger off, Amara and her mom decide to return the snake. The snake gets loose in the car, and the family can’t find it. Raina refuses to ride in her mom’s car until the snake is found.

One day, their mom is taking them on a road trip to visit their cousins. Raina puts up a huge fight not wanting to ride in her mom’s car as the snake hasn’t been found yet. She eventually agrees to go because it has been two months and without food, the snake would probably be dead anyway. The kids learn on the road trip that their parents are very close to getting a divorce.

Will Raina’s parents get divorced? Will the snake be found?

If you would like to read this book, you can buy it here: Sisters

Book Review: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Graphic Novel

Age Recommended: 11 and up

This book was very comical and beautifully explained the pain of orthodontia and the experiences associated with it- both good and bad. This book is also based on the author’s own experiences and I am surprised that someone’s life could be so eventful in (judging by number of orthodontic procedures Raina Telgemeier had to go through.)

This book also fit my 2015 Reading Challenge category of: “A book set in high school.”

Smile

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Raina Telgemeier is a seventh grader who doesn’t really fit the ideal definition of “cool” and when she is running outside after a Girl Scout meeting, she trips and breaks her two front teeth. Raina visits an orthodontist who informs her that they must perform surgery as one of her permanent teeth has fallen out from the fall but her other tooth has actually been pushed up into her mouth.

When Raina has the surgery performed, she is not given the proper amount of anesthesia which leads to her feeling immense pain. She also has to get headgear to fix her teeth and goes through a deep gum cleaning which leaves her gums inflamed and swollen.

Later, Raina develops a crush on a boy in sixth grade. She doesn’t know however, that he is a sixth grader and when she tells her friend that she likes this boy, her friend then makes fun of her and tells the whole school that Raina likes a sixth grader. Raina eventually gets her headgear off but has to get braces and a retainer to push her teeth together so that the gap of the two missing teeth is no longer visible. Raina’s friends also make fun of her for having braces and “fake teeth” to cover up the gap in her mouth.

All is going well until Raina develops a crush on Sean, a kid in their grade, and realizes that she no longer likes the sixth grader. The sixth grader is heartbroken while Sean has no idea that Raina likes him.

Will Raina get the courage to tell Sean she likes him? Will she learn to stand up for herself?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Smile

Book Review: Wheels of Change by Darlene Beck Jacobson

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Recommended: 12 and up

Wheels of Change was an extraordinary book about a family trying to cope with the changing world and the technology revolution of the time. The author developed the main character of the book really well. The book also does a really good job of introducing kids to issues of women’s suffrage and racial discrimination, both of which were prevalent in early 1900s. I did find some parts of the story a little repetitive, but otherwise the book is very well-written.

This book fit my 2015 Reading Challenge category of: “A book you can finish in a day.”

(This was another recommendation from #AMightyGirl reading list.)

 

Wheels Of Change

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Emily Soper is a unique girl who wants to live her dream. However, women in the early 1900s aren’t allowed to pursue their dreams- instead they are taught how to be “lady-like.” Emily loves spending time at her father’s barn which also serves as the workshop for her father’s carriage-making business and nothing can keep Emily away from the forge. There are two other people who work at her father’s business: Henry, an African-American blacksmith, and Sam, their Caucasian neighbor, both of whom are like brothers to Emily. She also has a younger brother, William, who is really very naughty but their mother never says anything to him.

The story is set in a time when automobiles are just starting to be produced, and Emily and her family fear that their business will be shut down due to the decrease in demand for carriages. However, President Roosevelt orders a carriage from Emily’s father which turns out to be one of their biggest projects. This boosts the family’s faith in their business and the Sopers’ start to believe that their luck could take a turn for the better.

However, Henry falls sick with pneumonia and is sent home to his family. The new hire at the forge strongly dislikes African-Americans and believes that African-Americans should not be able to work or mingle with Caucasians. To show his anger, the new hire burns the almost-completed carriage for the President. This puts Emily’s father behind schedule and he doesn’t have time to spare. Emily offers to help but her father declines, saying that it is not proper for young ladies to work in the forge. Now, it will take a miracle to help the Sopers- a miracle that they don’t possess…

Will Emily’s father let her help him? Will the President’s carriage be completed?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Wheels of Change