Review: My Life in Dioramas, by Tara Altebrando (May 2015)

The pitch: Kate has lived her entire life in the rambling, quirky old house everyone calls Big Red. When her parents tell her they have to move, she decides to fight back. The review: Time to ‘fess up: I cannot approach books about homes objectively. My family made a few … Continue reading

Review: Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff (1993)

I still have a handful of books that are on my recommended summer reading list due to general acclaim even though I haven’t read them yet. Sometimes I read one and am embarrassed about putting my stamp of approval on it. But Make Lemonade is staying on the list forever, unless I can get … Continue reading

Review: The Boundless, by Kenneth Oppel (2014)

I picked this up because I loved Airborn, Oppel’s steampunk airship (is that redundant?) adventure, and also because TRAINS. (Unfortunately the Amtrak Pennsylvanian I read it on was not as well-appointed as the opulent Boundless.) This tale takes place after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, on the maiden … Continue reading

Review: The Glass Sentence, by S. E. Grove (2014)

Wow, what a gorgeously creative book. It also managed to hit such an unlikely array of my book kinks it’s like S. E. Grove pulled them out of a hat and made a book just for me. Let’s see, we have here some steampunk, maps, time travel (sort of), Boston … Continue reading

Review: Threatened, by Eliot Schrefer (Feb. 2014)

Luc, an orphan in Gabon, is hired as a research assistant by an Egyptian professor studying chimpanzees. They move into the jungle, which is full of dangers both environmental and human. This is sort of a companion to Schrefer’s lovely Endangered, one of my favorite books of recent years. Though they’re … Continue reading

Review: The Islands of Chaldea, by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones (2014)

This is Diana Wynne Jones’ last book, finished by her sister Ursula after Diana’s death. It was a light, pleasant, fairly generic fantasy: four islands, different from each other and always at war; children with mysterious destinies; magical beasts in the form of pets; a main character who has to … Continue reading

Review: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (2011)

The pitch: The Cirque des Reves, designed at the turn of the last century as the stage for a magical competition. The competitors, irrevocably bound to their fathers’ deadly game. The rest of the circus company and its patrons, caught up in a gorgeous creation they barely understand. The review: … Continue reading

Review: The Center of Everything, by Linda Urban

The pitch: Ever since her grandma died, Ruby has felt like everything’s wrong. She’s hoping her birthday wish will set things right at her town’s founding day parade. The review: Let me say up front that I loooove Urban’s A Crooked Kind of Perfect. One of my favorite MG books ever. My … Continue reading