The Snowman’s Revenge

Snow days are always more fun with a freshly built snowman. However, when the children in The Snowman’s Revenge head in to warm up and enjoy some hot cocoa, the snowman is left all alone outside in the cold. Hurt and lonely, he quickly comes up with a plan for revenge.

Mark Smuthe’s prose is entertaining, if a little choppy, enhanced by Mike Motz’s full color illustrations. Personally, I found the idea of the book to be creepy. My children, on the other hand, thought it was a fun read. It’s definitely a change from the happy singing snowmen, and for that alone, it’s a nice change (although still a creepy one).

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Secret of Rover

Twins Katie and David haven’t always lived a charmed life. Until recently, their family has struggled in poverty. However, life as been looking up since their parents invented Rover. When their parents fly overseas to adopt a new baby girl, the children’s excitement quickly turns to fear as they find themselves in the middle of a sinister political plot. Unsure of whether or not they will ever see their parents again or meet their new baby sister, their immediate goal is to make it out alive.

Rachel Wildavsky’s new book, The Secret of Rover, is a captivating novel for children. With well developed characters and an appealing plotline, the story allows children to experience a fantastical mystery with action and adventure.

Disclaimer: A copy was provided by the publisher.

Hereafter

Tara Hudson’s new novel, Hereafter, promised to deliver an enticingly unique young adult book, different from the rest of the watered down love stories on the market. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.

Amelia, a ghost who doesn’t remember anything except her first name and parts of her death, wanders around aimlessly, as do the first 50 pages of the book. I forced myself to continue reading, waiting for the book to pick up and deliver the fascinating read that would have me on tender hooks. After finishing the 400+ page book, I’m still waiting. The story seemed contrived and lacking, although the book cover is hauntingly appealing.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by HarperTeen.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Heir to the Everlasting

Family means something different to every person. The strings that bind us to others vary in strength, length, and color, but they pull us to some extent, nonetheless. In pullitzer nominated author Janice Daughtery’s Heir To the Everlasting, we see the ties between the strong women of the Alexander family throughout their century long reign. Through marriages, deaths, births, trials, and triumphs, the women at Big Eddy continue on with a love and strength that not only allows them to continue on through life but to also stand for what they believe despite what society or the men in the family say. While the second half of the book meandered and dragged a bit, the beautifully rich characters and story in the first half carried teh book through to the end.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Lost Voices

Sarah Porter’s new book,  Lost Voices, seems depressingly lost. Addressing the abuses of young girls at the hands of the people who should love them and take care of them, the book missed a great opportunity for empowering the young readers who may look to it. While the writing is beautifully descriptive, it rambles along on tangents which serve to detract from the story, which is lacking to begin with. The characters are shallow and add to the depression of the book, which ends abruptly without bringing any closure.

I would love to see someone pick up the theme and write a fantastic fictional book for young girls.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Harcourt Books.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Goddess Test

Debut author Aimee Carter’s new book and beginning of a new series, The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen), goes on sale next week. The book pulled me in at the beginning, having been the teenage girl taking care of a mother dying of cancer. The concept of Greek mythology in modern day life is appealing and one that I enjoy.

However, the book left a lot wanting. The focus on Kate’s self-sacrifice over-shadowed any further character development, for either her or the rest of the cast of characters. Multiple twists in the storyline are abrupt without any foreshadowing too look back on, leaving the reader feeling that the author changed her story mid-book. The chosen tests are not connected to the subject matter and left me shaking my head at their inclusion.

I can only hope the author does some further development before the release of the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by HarlequinTEEN.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Bearded Women Stories

Dehumanized by a world  which has used their oddities for entertainment purposes, the women in Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women Stories challenge our thoughts on genetic variances and humanity and how we view our own selves. With wit and charm, she beautifully weaves short stories about women who are as real as we, who are strong in the presence of adversity, and whose only desire is to live their lives, embracing those aspects which make them so different than those around them. These stories of women cause us to examine our own thoughts and challenge the big top freak spectacular.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Kade

Nine months ago, Kade Ryland was investigating a fertility clinic for the FBI. Now a baby sharing his DNA has shown up and he discovers that the other agent who had worked the case disappeared. It’s a race to find his previous partner and figure out how and what happened in Delores Fossen’s novel, Kade. Answers aren’t easy to come by or easy to accept, and what Kade and Bree find out will change their lives forever.

Kade is a different kind of romance novel. The main characters don’t have sex and never have. They focus mainly on the case and marginally on their child. The fast paced story line drives to the finish but the ending twist seems rather pat and more typical of a romance novel. I have to call out the marketing team on the book’s cover: someone dropped the proverbial ball.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The River Witch

 

A haunting tale of loss and healing, Kimberly Brock’s debut novel, The River Witch, is ripe with talent, showing both depth of plot and characters. Roslyn is broken. A car crash ended her ballet career. A miscarriage ended the chance at a family she wasn’t certain she wanted, leaving her feeling alone and confused. Set on an island in Georgia, where Roslyn has gone to seclude herself from the world, Brock has managed to portray a diversity of Southern culture to a group of readers with no personal experience of it. The book is bold and rash while bringing mixed tears of joy and sadness. If this novel is an example, Brock’s career is very promising.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

 

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