Book Reviews

Book Review: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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As part of a children’s book readathon I am hosting on my blogNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry was voted as a winner in the poll. We assigned this stellar Newbery Medal winner to this week and have been sharing all our reviews. Normally I’m not a fan of reading literature that delves into this subject matter, but given it was written for young adults / children, I thought it would be less painful. While it was definitely less harsh than a few other books I’ve read on the topic, it was still quite emotional. To think what cruel people condoned because of differences in humankind is atrocious, but this book was wonderful.

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Lowry provides the right balance of positive and negative emotion ensuring readers aren’t swept up entirely in pain. The beautiful tale of unconditional love and support versus horrible actions and words from soldiers standing guard in a foreign country really conveys the message to kids around ten years old. There were atrocities in the past and we can’t hide them, but we can showcase them as tastefully as possible. Kudos to Lowry. I can’t wait to take on more of her books later this year / next year!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

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As part of a children’s book readathon on my blog in August 2018, voters chose Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne as one of our award-winning books to read this week. I was very excited to pick up this classic again as I haven’t read it in over thirty years. I’ve seen several shows and cartoons with nieces, nephews, and cousins, but reading the wonderfully illustrated picture books was a fresh experience. I adore the world Milne has created with all the amazing characters in the woods. It’s a bit of fantasy and magic combined with reality and lessons. I’d forgotten how ‘mischievous’ Pooh and his friends could be.

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When we picked this classic, I never specified which of the books to read — silly of me, actually, as Pooh might think or say! I left it up to each reader. I borrowed the book from the library, and it seems to be books 1 and 2, so I read more than I’d planned. At about 150 pages, it has some illustrations but way more text than I remembered. It was still adorable to read. There were ~10 stories introducing different characters and scenarios ranging from an encounter with bumble bees (where Pooh classically steals the honey — or tries to!) to poor Eeyore losing his tail.

If you’ve never sampled Winnie the Pooh, get to the library now and read one of the stories. At the very least, tempt yourself by watching a cartoon version. At least now I know where Christopher Robin comes from… who the bear family is and what a pooh actually means! I definitely want to check out the movie that came out earlier this year (last year?) on Christopher Robin!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

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As part of a Children’s Readathon on my blog in August 2018, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems was selected as one of the award-winning books to read. It took home the Caldecott Honor Award in 2004. Since I’d just finished my children’s education courses in college right before then, I never had a chance to read this one. It was a first-time experience thanks to the lovely Nina @ The Cozy Pages; she suggested this wonderful book.makes a difference in their lives! 4.5 stars for this one!

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A pigeon driving a bus? Well.. it’s very cute and part of a whole series involving experiences the pigeon goes through. I must read more of them! In this adorable picture book, the bus driver needs to step away from the bus. He tells everyone not to let the pigeon drive the bus. As soon as the driver leaves, the pigeon tries his or her best to convince everyone to let him drive. But they won’t give him, so he never gets to do it! When he jumps off in frustration, the driver returns and leaves without the poor pigeon!

What a lesson for kids. Peer pressure. Bad attitudes. Silliness. Safety. Keeping quiet. All the things to show why it’s good not to ‘give in’ to someone just because they try to get you to do something.

If you’ve not seen the series or heard of them, check it out! Buy a copy for a kid you know… it’s what

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of the books that followers of my blog voted as a must-read for our Children’s Book August 2018 Readathon. Come check it out and join the next few weeks!

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This picture book was such a delight. I hadn’t remembered reading it when I was a child, but it might have been read to me… either way, it was like a whole new experience! It’s always so difficult to convince a child to fall asleep at night. I don’t have kids, but I do have a 5-month-old puppy who whines for 5 minutes every night when he goes in his cage/crate (hopefully he’ll be fully housebroken soon so he can roam around when he wants). I can only imagine! I babysat a lot as a teenager and I have tons of younger cousins, nieces, and nephews, so I’ve been through it before, too. This was a believable experience, and it really helps show kids how to relax and just let go when it’s time to sleep.

The bunny’s are adorable. The rhymes are exquisite. I found it pretty fun, but possibly a little dated given many of those things aren’t normal routines anymore. But the lessons to take from it are still powerful. Loved it! I want to sample some more books by this fine author and her illustrators.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

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Where the Wild Things Are written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak in 1963 was a Caldecott Medal winner the year after it was published. I treasured this book in elementary school when I played the lead in our school play (okay, co-lead with another kid so we didn’t have to work too hard). I wrote a review a few years ago from memory, then explored it during my college years when I studied children’s literature and language. Now, in August 2018, I’m hosting a Children’s Book Readathon on my blog. Come check it out!

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I read the book twice this week. Once to absorb it as a fresh set of eyes, then again to see what I liked and didn’t like. On the whole, I still love it. I also see how it could encourage a few bad behaviors, but then again, so can movies, overhearing conversations, and music. Books are about learning. It’s important to read them with a child at the appropriate age and use it was a way to teach what’s wrong and right. For those reasons, I highly recommend sharing this with kids from 6 to 8. Younger might understand it. Older might find it amusing. But that’s the sweet spot in my opinion.

Max doesn’t like being told what to do. He just runs around a lot. I have a 5-month-old puppy named Baxter who’s just like Max. I get frustrated, but I love him. I’ve put him in time-out. Max was sent to bed without supper. I can only imagine where Baxter goes in his imagination… if it’s anything like where Max goes, we’re in for trouble!

So glad to re-read this one!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

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Earlier this summer, I decided to host a children’s book readathon in August 2018. All month long, we’re reading about a dozen books, then sharing reviews, interviews and feedback. This first week is ‘picture books’ and we voted on our top three books to read. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss is one of the winners. I read the book as a kid and wrote a review a few years ago, but I re-read this week and am sharing a second review.

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Dr. Seuss has always been a favorite. This is the first time I’ve re-read one of his books since I’ve written and published a few of my own. I caught myself analyzing the book way too much while I was reading thinking some of the rhymes were stilted or forced. I would have changed a few words around and used a different rhyme choice. Then I slapped myself. This is such a fun book and I should sit back to enjoy it, not pick it apart! I rarely do that, so I’m not sure why it happened here… other than it’s such an amazing approach for helping kids (or adults!) deal with change in their life. I must have wanted to take it even further (farther? see, that’s why I shouldn’t judge!)… that’s when I got my head on straight and fell in love all over again with the book.

Life is hard. Bad things happen. You have to push past them or you’ll be unhappy and miss out. That’s the key message we need to understand from here. At graduation, or major life changes, kids worry that things might not work out. This is an opportunity to show how you learn from those fears and moments. I would love to listen to this one on audio just to hear all the noises and sounds of how the narrator thinks. The illustrations were fun and immersive. I definitely recommend this as a gift for those graduating from middle school or high school. It can also be read to younger kids to help them prepare.

This readathon is so much fun! I hope more folks will join. Thanks.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

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I requested Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou from NetGalley earlier this year after the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, contacted me about this new 2018 release. It sounded fantastic, so I added it to my August 2018 TBR queue. I enjoyed this family drama with a few twists and look forward to more from the author.
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Fires are dangers. Sometimes they burn out. Sometimes they kill people. And even worse, sometimes, they’re deliberate. From the very beginning, you know something bad happened between these two sisters, but you don’t truly find out the extent until close to the end of the novel. Along the way, they fight over a man, raise a child together, learn how to hate and love one another… all the while trying to live a normal life. Is that even possible after all they’ve been through?

Petrou is a new author for me, and I’m glad to have connected with her book. I enjoyed the writing style and the in-depth analysis of the relationship between Hattie and Penny. I immediately liked one and disliked the other, but my attachments waffled a few times before the end. A good author can cause readers to doubt what they’re thinking… then bring it all together with a final and powerful ending. While it was powerful, I’m not sure I liked the ending for this one, if I’m being honest. I felt it could have gone a different way, but I still enjoyed the entire ride.

Kudos to the author and publisher. I will look for more from Laurie Petrou and recommend this as a good book to read one weekend… or by a nice cozy fire!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.