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YA Fiction Review

The Dark UnwindingThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Dark Unwinding at BEA this past spring and I was eager to read it. Mine didn’t have the pretty cover, but I had a postcard with what it would look like. I defintely really enjoyed reading this story. I thought the characters were very well done. The main character was interesting because she wasn’t your typical saintly, innocent heroine. She had a job to do and her own interests to look after, especially in a time when females typically had no income without a husband or someone to take care of them.

It was a well-told tale, full of intruging imagery and mysteries that kept me wondering. I did crave a bit more darkness and maybe some more romance. But it is still a creepy and chilling tale, without even being supernatural, which is usually the case for these types of Victorian/Gothic/Clock-work-ish novels. Because of this, I would recommend it for younger teens +.

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YA Audio Book Review

RevolutionRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely an original story – and one that had me captivated until the very end. I really enjoyed listening to this one. I could feel what Andi was feeling, and I think hearing the voice of Andi played a big part in that. I loved the Paris setting and the mystery of the French Revolution. Jennifer Donnelly does an excellent job weaving the two time periods and circumstances so that the two come together seamlessly. There is a good lesson here: we cannot change what has happened in the past, but we can certainly change how we live our own future. (Or something along those lines….) 😉

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Picturebook Review

Ballywhinney GirlBallywhinney Girl by Eve Bunting

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I usually try to post about a picture book on Friday’s for my blog, but this one is not so much a picture book as it is a story book with illustrations. I really enjoyed reading this and I think that I would have enjoyed it when I was younger too. I’d put somewhere around 1st grade and up. Younger ones might get a little freaked out. I can totally see myself being completely fascinated by this story in elementary school, especially at that age when every kid is obsessed with mummies. Ballywhinney Girl is not about Egyptian mummies, of course.
It’s the story of a young girl in Ireland named Maeve who discovers a mummified girl about her own age in a peat bog with her grandfather. The experts tell her the girl lived a thousand years ago. Maeve is curious about this girl and imagines what she was like. She is also understandably upset by the discovery of the mummy, who is named “Ballywhinney Girl” after the place she was found, and seems to be sorting through her feelings about a this girl who could have been just like her. The illustrations are gentle and comforting, even when depicting the mummy, and makes the story of a dead girl less scary.
There is also information at the end about peat bog mummies which is very interesting. It mentions that the Ballywhinney Girl herself is fictional, but many such mummies have been found over the years.

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Picturebook Friday

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really fun book! Stephen Savage uses bright, bold colors that really pop and simple lines to create some incredible illustrations for this wordless picture book. His use of negative white space and perspective gives the pictures depth without shading. It has a real retro feel to it that I love. The first thing i thought of when I saw the cover was Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. So of course I had to read it immediately. Actually, I’ve had it checked out for months now (oops.)

Walrus seems like a pretty happy guy (or girl, I suppose) who just needs a bit of excitement. He leaves the zoo and is pursued by a zookeeper with a mustache, who kind of reminds me of Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther. Walrus is a master of disguise, blending in to the background or the crowd and hiding from the Zookeeper in plain sight – obviously enjoying every minute of the chase. He can’t stay hidden for long though, and he does end up back at the zoo. But the zookeeper comes up with an idea that seems to make Walrus happy and bring a crowd to the sleepy zoo. All’s well that ends well!

Also a fun book for little ones to point out where Walrus is in each picture. I’ve had it checked out for months now and it’s been on the shelf in my office for “Possible Story Time” books. Just need a fun theme and craft to go with it. 🙂

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Book Review ~ I <3 Laurie Notaro

I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies)I Love Everybody by Laurie Notaro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I was reading this on the beach and I had to shut the book and look away just to stop my body from shaking with laughter. Laurie Notaro is my hero. I love her because she writes about the crazy things we all do that we’d rather not have anyone else know about. I love her because she cannot change who she is no matter how good her intentions may be. She’s the craziest normal person I’ve ever met/read. Can’t wait to read her other books!

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