Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews


Five-star review of Then by Morris Gleitzman


The story of Felix and his six-year-old friend Zelda continues in this novella, only now they’re calling themselves Wilhelm and Violetta (after the characters in the Richmal Crompton books they both love). He’ll do anything he can to protect Zelda. A woman named Genia takes them in and tells everyone they’re her orphaned niece and nephew. Felix is now more aware of what’s happening all around him, but still makes naïve assumptions about people’s motivations. He’s growing up and it’s reflected in his voice. The ending of this book might be hard for younger readers but it’s an important book for pre-teens to read. On to the next story in the series.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews


Three-star review of Gerta by Kateřina Tučková translated by Veronique Firkosny


Could not finish. This story about a half-German, half-Czech woman in Brno, Czechoslovakia trying to survive during and after WWII was too harrowing for me to continue reading. The lack of hope was the greatest hindrance to finishing the story. I recognized the writing is excellent but even though I generally enjoy books that touch me emotionally, I didn’t enjoy the emotions this brought out. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Once by Morris Gleitzman

This is a sad story but also a funny one because it’s told from the naïve viewpoint of ten-year-old Felix, the son of Jewish bookstore owners in Poland who was left in a Catholic orphanage three years and eight months before. He interprets all that’s going on around him in terms of his life with his parents and is desperate to get back to them. His voice is one of the strong points of the book. It’s 1942 and he doesn’t understand why three men in suits come to the orphanage and burn books. His descriptions of everything that happens to him is so poignant, because we don’t have to be told what’s really happening. This is a wonderful book for pre-teens and younger teens. Highly recommended for everyone. I’m eager to read the sequel.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia, translated by Simon Bruni


A slow, beautifully written story about two boys growing up in northern Mexico between 1910 and 1920, during civil war, a world war, changes in major crops and the Spanish flu. From the moment Simonopio is found as an infant with a deformed mouth and bees lighting all over him, to his incorporation in the Morales-Cortes family, to the birth of Fernando Jr. several years later and Simonopio’s efforts to teach him all he knew, to the tragedy on Fernando Jr.’s birthday, we see how Simonopio and his bees helped his adoptive family. The lyricism of the translation must reflect on the original Spanish magical realism. The story is told from multiple viewpoints but ultimately from that of Fernando Jr.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review for The Light from Far Below by Simon Williams


In the sequel to Summer’s Dark Waters, Joe and Amber are separated to protect them from the Order. Joe’s new friend Dean is a son of a member of the Order and inadvertently gives away Joe’s location. Meanwhile, Amber and her dad are found and separated. The kids travel through the Nothingness separately and find themselves in a maze controlled by the Order. Aimed at middle-grade and older readers, this is a great series to introduce kids to darker science fiction and fantasy. The writing is very good and is illustrated by drawings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Four-star review of Legend by Marie Lu


A fast-paced, quick read about two fifteen-year-olds from different sides of a future Los Angeles. The Republic is in charge in the area and rules with an iron hand. June is a soldier for the Republic and, if you can believe a fifteen-year-old can be one, the most wanted criminal. In the belief Day killed her brother, June sets out to find him, and he finds her. Yes, it’s one of those kinds of stories. Trite at times and containing characters drawn with broad strokes, it was an enjoyable, easy read. I’ll probably wait until I’ve made a sizable dent in my TBR pile before I read the sequel, but I do what to learn what Day, June and the others do next.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Five-star review of Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey


In this continuation of the Expanse saga, Earth is trying to recover from the militarized meteors the Free Navy under the leadership of Marcos Inaros bombarded it with, Mars from the loss of people and ships, and factions of the Belt from being stripped by the Free Navy. Medina Station and the gates have been closed to new colony ships. And the Roci crew plus Bobbie and Clarissa can’t stay out of the action. Told from different viewpoints, the story increases in intensity from beginning to end. Telling it this way helps to emphasize how each of the sides feels, that they each have their concerns for the future. The continuing war between all the sides is central with a handful of people making efforts to create peaceful alliances including Avasarala and Michio Pa. I enjoyed this as much as all the books in the series.