Skip to content

Review: The Wish Tree

October 21, 2016



Charles wanted to find a wish tree but his brother and sister scoffed at the idea.  His brother suggested he “bring a map” and his sister said, “Don’t forget the compass,” but Charles’ friend Boggan (his red toboggan sled) believed and went with him to search for a wish tree.

THE WISH TREE by Kyo Maclear is a special picture book that reminds kids of the power of magic.  When Charles and Boggan go on their hunt for the wish tree they have fun, make lots of friends, and even make a wish tree of their own.  It’s a sweet, gentle story of friendship and love.  Chris Turnam‘s gorgeous, muted illustrations add to the beauty of this wonderful book.  Once you read it, you’ll want to share it with the little ones in your life.

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Chronicle Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Behind Closed Doors

October 20, 2016


Grace and Jack appear to have the perfect marriage.  They’re beautiful, live in a gorgeous home, and seem to adore each other.  Jack is a successful lawyer who represents battered women and Grace stays at home and attends to things on the home front.  Things aren’t always as they appear, though – there’s something dark and disturbing beneath the surface of their glamorous life.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris for fear of giving something away.  This is one of those books that I think it’s best to go in with little knowledge of the plot.  This book is so compelling I didn’t want to set it down once I started it and actually gulped it all down in one day – something I haven’t done in a long time.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is fast-paced, gripping, and scary.  Not scary in a horror sense but scary because it all felt so plausible to me.  (Although some of the characters’ actions did horrify me.)  I loved this book and suspect it will make my list of favorites for the year.  I wanted to find someone to talk to about this book when I was finished so I think it would make a great book club pick. If you enjoy mysteries and/or thrillers, you won’t want to miss BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Review copy provided by St. Martin’s Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


Wondrous Words Wednesday

October 19, 2016

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I found several more words in WHEN IN FRENCH by Lauren Collins.

1. exogamy – “They maintain separate roles within the culture, however, by practicing linguistic exogamy — the requirement that a man marry a woman from a different language group.”

Exogamy is the custom of marrying outside a community, clan, or tribe.


2. menhir – “Its earliest inhabitants left dolmens and menhirs, somber-faced statues that seem to warn one off the island like scarecrows.”

A menhir is a tall upright stone of a kind erected in prehistoric times in western Europe.



3. melisma – “‘Hè muscu di a vita,’ he sang, drawing the syllables out several notes, adding almost Arabic-sounding melismas, as strong and delicate as the scrollwork on an iron gate.”

Melisma is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Burn

October 18, 2016


Michael Bennett is back from hiding and ready to get to work.  He’s assigned to a job no one wants – community outreach in Harlem – but in true Michael Bennett fashion, he makes the best of it.  He and his fellow officers learn of a group of wealthy people who hold some twisted parties and decide to look into them.

There are issues in Michael’s personal life as well.  Mary Catherine has to return to her native Ireland when her mother falls ill and Crissy’s father is challenging her adoption.

I took BURN by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge to the beach with me last month and it was just as I expected – a fast-paced story with short chapters – which was exactly what I needed while I was there.  There isn’t a lot of character development but there is plenty of tension to propel the story forward.  This is the seventh (out of nine) Michael Bennett book but you don’t have to be familiar with the series to dive in.  I’ve only read a few of the books in the series and had no trouble following things.

Some of the subject matter in BURN is a little gruesome but it’s not too graphic so it didn’t bother me much.  More sensitive readers might be put off by it, though.  If you need a fast read or are a fan of this series, be sure to pick BURN up.

Review copy provided by Little, Brown. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

October 17, 2016


Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   Last week was busy so I’m glad my mailbox didn’t see too much action.  I was happy to read more books than I received!  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:



What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Mister Cleghorn’s Seal

October 14, 2016



When Mister Cleghorn goes to visit his brother’s family, he and his nephew go every day to watch a seal pup with its mother.  After a few days, they notice the mother is missing and the pup looks thin and hungry.  They decide to watch for a little while and when they realize the mother must be dead Mister Cleghorn’s brother and nephew think the best thing to do is to put the pup “out of its misery.”

Mister Cleghorn can’t abide by that and impulsively offers to take the pup, which he names Charlie, and find it a home in a zoo.  Against the odds, he gets the pup home but then can’t find a zoo equipped to take it in.  He and his neighbor, Miss Craig, come up with a solution that works out for everyone.

MISTER CLEGHORN’S SEAL by Judith Kerr is a sweet story based on an experience the author’s own father had.  Mister Cleghorn is a kind man who wants to do right by a baby seal who’s lost its mother.  Without thinking, he says he’ll take the pup home and give it a zoo.  Things don’t work out exactly the way he planned but they do work out well in the end.

I think young readers will delight in Mister Cleghorn and his seal and want to own one of their own after they read this darling story.  More sensitive children might be bothered by the loss of Charlie’s mother and some of the Britishisms might be new to young readers.  The sweet illustrations are a wonderful addition to the story and the author includes an Afterword about her own father’s experience with a seal.  (It didn’t have as nice an ending as the book.)  MISTER CLEGHORN’S SEAL is Judith Kerr’s first children’s book in 37 years and it was well worth the wait.

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

 My friend Julie sent me this book.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: The Expats

October 13, 2016


When Kate’s husband Dexter is offered a job in Luxembourg she figures it’s the perfect time to quit her job at the CIA – a job she’s kept secret from everyone, including her husband.  In Luxembourg, Kate quickly falls into the life of an expat wife – dropping the kids off at school and then meeting for coffee or tennis lessons – but, after her thrilling job at the agency, she finds it dull, dull, dull.

When a new American couple shows up in Luxembourg, Julie quickly tries to befriend Kate.  Sensing that Julie and her husband are not who they appear to be, Kate uses her spy background to delve into their past and discovers everyone, including Dexter, is hiding something big.

THE EXPATS by Chris Pavone is a fast-paced spy story that started out with a bang for me.  I found Kate’s past fascinating and wondered how she managed to keep it from her husband.  I was fascinated with her life as an expat as well, since it was very different than the expat lifestyle I’ve lived.  But, something happened part way through the book and it became a little a little too far fetched for me and, in the end, I ended up liking, but not loving it.  I think it would hold more appeal to those who enjoy spy thrillers.

I listened to the audio of THE EXPATS and followed along with the book in print.  The audio is very capably read by Mozhan Marno and her narration probably kept me invested in the book longer than I normally would have been.

I won this book from A Bookish Way of Life. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.