Review: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

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Category: 6-8 Reader

Published: 1944

Read: January 2016

Score: 4/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.”

Review: This is a very quick and easy read and great for kids. It has a good message and is a beautiful little story about compassion, kindness and acceptance.

imagesIt’s about Wanda and how she tells everyone she owns 100 dresses and at the time this is unheard of as she is poor. The other girls make fun of her for telling such a fib. This story is told from the point of view of Maddie and how she feels bad for making fun of Wanda and when Wanda moves away Maddie vows to never make fun of anyone again.

This is a very fast read as it’s for the age group 6-8. It’s a good beginner book and feels more like a novel for them instead of a big word picture book. It’s been around for ever and is considered a classic but what I love about classics are the fact that the message still resonates today.

There are some illustrations and they are simple and well done. They give a little something to the story. This would be a great gift for girls as  boys might not like the “dresses” aspect of the story.

Overall a cute read and I can see why it has stayed such a classic.

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Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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Category: 9-12 Fiction

Published: 2012

Read: January 2017

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Review: This is a book that will stay with me forever. I loved every min of it and there were laughs and there was tears. It is a beautiful story and I am always going to keep this book for my collection and re-read it again in years to come. That is how much I loved it. 14632473

It’s a touching story about Auggie who has a facial deformity that is bad enough he’s never been to school. This year is different he’s going to start grade 5 in a Prep school and he’s terrified. This whole story follows the entire year of grade five for him from making friends to loosing friends. To finding yourself and growing up a little bit. What happens when the whole school is afraid of you and shows it by being mean? And kids can be very mean. How can you look past the face to see the person underneath. 491f2f4fd14459b90cb70a24c8519f13

This story is told by the point of view of Auggie but also his sister, his friends and a small bit of the sister’s boyfriend. It is really interesting to see those points of views and see how they are handling things and how Auggie affects them. It’s interesting because it’s not easy for them either. His sister Olivia, for example, talks about how she was always on the back burner in her family. How when they would go out people wouldn’t know her as Olivia but the deformed kids sister. It’s a great take from each angle and I think gives much more depth to the story.

wonder_socialmoms_500x300_newletter_fnl-1It’s an easy read. No “chapter” is longer than a few pages so for kids that is great, for someone who has kids (like me) it’s also great! For the age group it’s a very appropriate book and quite honestly with the content and how it’s written I think this book should be mandatory read for everyone.

It truly is a beautiful story. I can say I did really cry at the end I loved it. There is such a good message and meaning to it all. I am going to make sure my kids read this when they are older and you should as well. If you don’t have kids, just pick this one up it will change your life.

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#TBT Review: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: March 2012

Read: September 2013

Score: 4/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.
Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

Review: This is one heck of a novel and I still remember the feeling of what it was like to read it the first time. I have also watched the Netflix series (season 1) and have the experience of doing both.

You have a bit of everything in this novel like sex, werewolves, demons, scientific experiments. You name it, this book probably has something about it in the book.

It follows Roman and Peter. One is a “gypsy” and the other is a rich kid whose family basically owns the town. They meet after a girl is found murdered in the woods to what looks like an animal attack. Then rumors start flying that it’s a werewolf. It could be many different things like Peter, who claims he’s a werewolf, or the White Tower where they do experiments. It’s a who done it with a gothic overtone and lots of action and sex throughout. When you find out what is happening it’s fantastic ending and a twist I did not expect.

It also leaves it open for a second book but you can end the story here and be happy with how it ended. No suspense for what is to come. pic_1405533277_4

The book is better than the show, the show changes a lot but really are we surprised. This happens all the time with an adaption. That being said the show is not bad and for entertainment value is also very good and I did enjoy watching it.

This is a book for you if you like these supernatural stories, or an action packed adventure in finding out what did what and why. For teens or anyone younger I might not recommend this book to the really young or sensitive ones. It’s graphic in different ways and might not be appropriate.

If you liked the book than I highly recommend you watch the show as well. Happy Reading!

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Review: Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

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Category: YA Fiction

Published: September 2015

Read: January 2017

Score: 3/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart. Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…
FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.
FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.
FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.
FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.
OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

Review: This was an interesting book in many ways. Another take on the Sherlock Holmes stories and one of the best ones I have read so far, although it was not a super fast page turner. It’s a  teenage Sherlock and a teenage Moriaty whom is a girl, not a criminal mastermind older male.

Right from the get-go Sherlock and Mori meet and a crime happens they start to look in to it. Turns out this murder and a few other hits very close to home for Mori. They go to school while trying to solve this murder and Mori is also trying to deal with the fact her mother died about a year ago and she now has to look after her brothers. Who could have done this terrible crime and what does it have to do with Mori. As Sherlock and Mori grow much closer, they get closer to solving these crimes. stickersheetproof

This is more of a story of Mori and not Sherlock. He is a secondary character and it’s never from his point of view. It’s all from Mori’s point of view and this was one downfall of this book. I was hoping for more Sherlock and how he was thinking and how he was solving the murder but he really didn’t do anything but comfort Mori and look moody. Mori did all the crime solving and was the one dealing with things. She is also not a very good friend, keeping secrets…tisk tisk!

On that note there were aspects of this story that I really enjoyed. It’s a defiantly who done it. By half way through the book you know who did the crime, but there is still the whole is it this person…isn’t it…what is happening? I wanted to read till the very end to find out what was happening.

I know there are two more books at least…I will read the second for sure but it didn’t end in the this book that you had to read the next one.

For a teen book it’s a good one to recommend. It’s not gory or anything like that despite being a crime book. It might be a great way to introduce Sherlock and that whole world. There is sex but it’s in the background and not descriptive at all. It does talk about domestic violence and abuse but in a way that shows it’s wrong and that you need to get out. It’s not a hard read, very well written and not overly descriptive. Both adults and teens whole like crime books should pick this one up.

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Review: Christmas at Claridge’s by Karen Swan

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: 2013

Read: 2016/17

Score: 2/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) This was where her dreams drifted to if she didn’t blot her nights out with drink; this was where her thoughts settled if she didn’t fill her days with chat. She remembered this tiny, remote foreign village on a molecular level and the sight of it soaked into her like water into sand, because this was where her old life had ended and her new one had begun.’Portobello – home to the world-famous street market, Notting Hill Carnival and Clem Alderton. She’s the queen of the scene, the girl everyone wants to be or be with. But beneath the morning-after makeup, Clem is keeping a secret, and when she goes too far one reckless night she endangers everything – her home, her job and even her adored brother’s love. Portofino – a place of wild beauty and old-school glamour, and where a neglected villa has been bought by a handsome stranger. He wants Clem to restore it for him and it seems like the answer to all her problems – except that Clem has been there once before and vowed, for her own protection, never to return . . .

Review: So this was a book that I was excited to read. Karen Swan seems to have a following for her stories and puts one out every year that is Christmas based. Being the holiday season I decided it was the right time to try one out for myself and see how she writes. It was a daunting task as it is a big book and I currently have a newborn so yes it took me some time to actually finish this. This doesn’t bode well as I didn’t like it very much and it was already a struggle to get through the story.

cla-xmas-new-3wayIt’s about Clem, who is a party girl in every sense of the word and lives in England with her brother. He runs a leather business and when Clem messes things up for him really badly he gives her an ultimatum. Strighten up and go to Portofino in Italy to help a super rich man redo his house and save the business. This man of course is handsome, protective and wants her…badly. So she goes and turns out she has been there before…but what happened last time and how will it change her when she has tried to hide it for so long.

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It’s very well written and I do like how Karen describes things and really dives in to her characters. You feel like you know them and you really start to feel for them. Although, Clem did annoy me at times as she seemed like a spoiled brat that needed a good slap in the face. It was rich in details and I can see why people like reading her. You really felt like you were in these places, and with my husband being Italian himself I am now asking him to go to Portofino. rtemagicc_portofino_porticciolo_per_copertina_02-jpg

That being said, I didn’t actually like the story. It was written well, as I said, but SOOOOO long. A lot of it could have been cut out and it would be okay by me. It didn’t have the hook to keep me reading. Plus it was supposed to be about Christmas but there really wasn’t much at all. It started just after New Years and spans the full year and then at the end you have a small part about Christmas when everything comes together for our main character.

For adult women who loves stories like this, I highly recommend this book. If you like a good strong story than this is not a book for you. Will I read another of her stories, absolutely, just to try her out again and see if maybe this was just an off book for her. Will I read this one again? Absolutely not!

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