2016 Book Reviews

Sorry, been a crazy, crazy Fall/Winter, and I may just have to give up on this blog thing. However, for now, here are the 2016 reviews that I wrote for my library’s website, and one bonus 2017 review that hasn’t been published yet–I know, such a gift 😉

As a 2nd bonus, the ones I absolutely, 100% recommend unreservedly from a personal perspective are asterisked–I read a lot of books that I don’t love, but I know someone will.

Children’s Titles

*Clover’s Luck, by Caillie George

Despite her name, Clover has always felt decidedly unlucky. So when she stumbles upon a mysterious cottage in the Woods, she can hardly believe her good fortune. It’s the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, and it houses creatures of all kinds. Fairy horses, unicorns, and a fiery young dragon are just the beginning! Mr. Jams, the Agency’s owner, agrees to hire her as summer helper and Clover hopes her luck has finally changed. But when she’s left alone to care for the Agency, a sneaky witch comes after the magical creatures! Will Clover outsmart her in time to protect the animals?

Ramona Forever, by Beverley Cleary

Did you know that Beverly Cleary turned 100 years old in April? So it’s the perfect time to read her books! In Ramona Forever, Ramona is in grade 3, and starting to feel more grown-up. She and Beezus still stay with Howie Kemp’s grandmother till their parents get home, but now that Beezus is almost a teenager, the girls convince their parents that they can be at home alone after school instead of going to the Kemps. That’s only the first of the many big changes coming to the Quimby family, but while things get different with weddings, funerals and new babies, there’s one thing you can always count on, which is Ramona being Ramona forever!

*Catwings, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Mrs. Jane Tabby can’t imagine why her kittens were born with wings. Cats don’t have wings! But Thelma, Harriet, James and Roger do, and soon it becomes clear that cats with wings can’t live underneath a dumpster the way ordinary cats can. Fortunately, cats with wings can fly, so the Catwings fly away, till they reach the country, where things are very different, and where maybe James, Harriet, Roger and Thelma can find a place where they belong.

YA Titles

The Dogs, by Alan Stratton

Cameron and his mom have been running away for years. Cameron never knows if he’ll come home from his new school to find his mom in the car, all ready to move to a new town in another part of North America. Cameron’s dad is looking for them, and Cameron’s mom knows he mustn’t find them. Cameron isn’t sure though. Was his dad really that bad? Then they move to a remote haunted house in the Prairies, and as Cameron unravels the mystery of what happened to the boy whose ghost haunts the property, he starts on a terrifying path that may end in his becoming the second ghost to haunt the house. This is an atmospheric, frightening, and gripping Canadian title.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine, by Stephanie Tromley

Zoe has just moved to a new town, and somehow she’s already acquired a friend, Digby. The only thing is, she doesn’t want to be Digby’s friend. Somehow, though, she ends up helping Digby investigate a mysterious disappearance eight years ago, an investigation which includes a lot of things Zoe would never in a million years have done before she met Digby, including a lot of things that aren’t exactly legal. Is Digby crazy? Or could he be a hero? One thing for sure, Zoe’s life will never be the same, no matter which it is.

The Kiss of Deception, by Mary Pearson

Lia is a princess on the run from an arranged marriage. After her escape, she gets a job as a barmaid in a seaside tavern and enjoys life as a nobody greatly. When two young men, Kaden and Rafe arrive in town, she finds herself taken with both of them. What she doesn’t know? One of them is the prince she was supposed to marry, the other an assassin hired to kill her. The thrilling and romantic first book of a planned trilogy, the Remnant Chronicles.

*You Know Me Well, by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Mark and Kate are classmates, but they’ve never spoken. Until they meet at a gay club during San Francisco Pride, where Mark and his best friend (and secret crush) Ryan, are celebrating their first Pride, and where Ryan seems to be getting on very well with another boy. Kate, on the other hand, is running away from a meeting with the girl she’s wanted to meet forever. Their friendship is sudden, but everyone needs a friend in time of trouble, and for now, Mark and Kate are exactly what each other needs.

Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy

Willowdean Dixon knows she’s fat, and that other people are made uncomfortable by that. But she isn’t. She knows who you are is more important than what you weigh. Unfortunately, in Clover City, Texas, home of the oldest beauty pageant in Texas, it can feel like people don’t know that fat doesn’t matter. Especially when your mother is a former beauty queen, and runs the annual pageant. But Willowdean does her best to ignore that, and lives her life, going to school, hanging out with her best friend, and working at a burger joint with her crush, Bo. But then Bo and Willowdean kiss, and she finds herself suddenly uncomfortable with her size. Willowdean has always had plenty to deal with, and now is no different, but she’s never felt uncomfortable with herself before. Can she find a way to make peace with herself, get the guy, and still be the fabulous person she is?

*Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

Six messed up but super talented, outcast kids, members of The Dregs, a criminal organization. One giant mission: to rescue a prisoner from the world’s most secure prison. And maybe save the world, too. This is an incredible, cliff-hanger of an adventure/fantasy/mystery crossover, and you should not miss it! The sequel, Crooked Kingdom, is out and is a worthy successor.

And the bonus review!


*The Inquisitor’s Tale, by Adam Gidwitz

The story of three possibly miraculous children and their saintly dog, told by many people assembled in an inn, all of who have met the children, and seen the miracles they perform. But are they miracles, or tricks and lies, or something evil? No one is quite sure: Jeanne the peasant girl who sees visions, William, a hugely strong monk-in-training who’s the child of an African woman and a European crusader, and Jacob, a Jewish boy who seems to have healing powers seem an unlikely group of saints, to say nothing of the dog, Gwenforte, who is rumoured to have returned from the dead to look after Jeanne, seem an unlikely group to have miraculous powers of good.

This is a beautifully illustrated tale of medieval times in France, of truth and lies, of three brave children, their dog, and a (bonus!) farting dragon.