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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
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- Georgia (1)
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- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
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- England (8)
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- Ireland (2)
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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Monday, January 09, 2017

You Survived? So Did I!

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

If you have elementary school-aged kids, you're probably familiar with the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis.  The author has written about the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the sinking of the Titanic, the Hindenburg disaster, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and many other true events in fictionalized, eye witness accounts.  These short, action-packed volumes teach kids about significant historical moments while entertaining them with a tense, exciting story.  After helping with the reading program at my kids' elementary school for years, I can tell you with absolute authority—these are very popular books.  

I've read several of the books in the sereis, but it wasn't until Tarshis published the newest installment that I could finally say, "Hey, I survived that, too!"  Technically, of course, I survived the attacks on September 11, 2001, as well as the Japanese tsunami and the Joplin tornado (both of 2011), but I wasn't anywhere near where those disasters occurred when they did.  The eruption of Mout St. Helens, though, is a different story.  On May 18, 1980, I was living in a small town in Washington State that sits only about 168 miles from the volcano.  Although I was only four, I remember seeing ash on the roads after the eruption.  Not much of a survival story, I know, but the fact that I had even a smidgen of experience with the event made I Survived: The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 more real to me.  I also related a lot to the book's main character because, like her, I grew up in the shadow of a quiet, majestic mountain.  Gazing at Mount Hood still brings me feelings of serenity, contentment, and awe.  Lurking under its facade, however, is a volcano that scientists say could blow at any time.  As is demonstrated in Tarshis' latest (and many of her other books), growing complacent in the face of nature's vast, destructive power can be very dangerous indeed.

I Survived: The Eruption of Mount St. Helens tells the volcano's story through the eyes of 11-year-old Jessie Marlowe, who happens to be Tarshis' first female protagonist.  Naturally, she's on the scene when St. Helens blows and has to fight her way out.  Her survival story is full of danger and daring, which will appeal to readers of both genders.  Those who enjoy learning about volcanoes will also like this tale, which contains plenty of facts that are explained succinctly enough to be interesting without bogging down the book's fast-paced plot.  This novel, along with the others in the series, are perfect reads for reluctant readers as well as non-fiction lovers who yearn for "real" stories.  Kids love these books and, you know what?  I do, too.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis; also the Who/What Was _______? series by various authors; and the Dear America series by various authors)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for scary situations and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Goats and Sheep A Sharp, But Nuanced Mystery About the Contradictions That Lurk Inside Us All

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The vicar promised his community that if they found God, no one would be lost.  So, why is Margaret Creasey missing?  Where has the friendly, well-liked woman gone?  Grace Bennett and Tilly Albert, both ten, are concerned with Mrs. Creasey's sudden disappearance.  If they find God, like the vicar instructed, will they also find Margaret?  The girls embark on a quest to locate both.  

As Grace and Tilly visit all the houses on their street, they learn a great deal about the people who inhabit them.  All of them—it seems—harbor secrets, secrets they shared with Mrs. Creasey.  Has the woman disappeared because of something she knew?  Everyone thinks creepy Walter Bishop killed her.  Did he?  Or is someone else to blame?  As a relentless summer heat wave turns ordinary people into cantankerous monsters, Grace and Tilly are determined to solve a very puzzling mystery.  

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, a debut novel by English psychiatrist Joanna Cannon, is a funny, moving novel about hypocrisy, judgment and perception vs. reality.  Sharp, but nuanced, it's a thoughtful story that will leave readers examining their own lives for the contradictions that lurk within us all.  The fact that it's narrated by children makes the tale even more poignant.  I picked up The Trouble with Goats and Sheep on a whim and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I'll definitely be keeping an eye this author—I can't wait to see what she does next! 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a bit of Whistling in the Dark and Good Graces by Lesley Kagen)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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