Friday, August 14, 2015

Pieces and Players by: Blue Balliett

Author Blue Balliett has written another great mystery in her new book Pieces and Players.  Calder, Petra and Tommy who have solved other big mysteries are asked to join with two other children, Zoomy and Early, to find 13 missing pieces of art that were stolen from a Chicago art museum.  It is a rough start for the five kids, but they begin to work together each using their strengths to solve this mystery.

Along with the missing art pieces the kids see adults doing things that are out of the ordinary.  The kids use each if these as clues, and piece the clues together to solve the larger mystery.  Can they trust any of the adults?  Just as they begin to think they can trust as least one adult, they end up at the police station where they are banned from working on the stolen art case.  Will they really stay away?

These kids are truly amazing in how they piece together seemingly small clues into larger clues that lead to solving the mystery and finding the theives.

I am sure all mystery lovers will enjoy this book.  I really enjoy all the books by Blue Balliet, so after reading this book, I recommend reading at least one of her other books.  You won't be sorry.

Happy Daily Reading

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Flunked by: Jen Calonita

I admit it.  I am a pushover when it comes to loving books about fairy tale characters.  When I learned about Jen Calonita's latest book, Flunked, I had to read it.  And I think you should read it too.

The main character of this book is named Gilly.  She lives with her parents and her five little brothers and sisters in a run-down boot.  Money is very tight, so she finds ways to steal things from the royals, sell them, and provide food for her family.  However, her parents and the local sheriff do not see any "good" in Gilly.  They only see her as a thief.  After she is caught stealing, Gilly is sent to Fairy Tale Reform School, (FTRS)

FTRS was founded by Cinderella's wicked step-mother.  After Cinderella's wedding to the Prince, her stepmother and sisters could not go anywhere without people being upset at how they treated Cinderella.  So, her stepmother begins to change for good and opens the FTRS to help others change as well.  Other reformed villains, such as the Big Bad Wolf, are teachers at FTRS as well.

At first Gilly doesn't believe that she belongs at this school, but soon she finds new friends and they set off on a new adventure trying to figure out if their teachers really are reformed from their evil ways.  Gilly is a very likable character and the adventures and magic in this book are fun.  I'm sure you will also enjoy this story.

Happy Daily Reading

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Stars of Summer by: Tara Dairman

While walking through a bookstore one day, I came across this book.  Since I loved Tara Dairman's first book in this series All Four Stars I was excited to read this sequel.

In The Stars of Summer we meet Gladys Gatsby.  Gladys Gatsby is not your average 12 year old.  She recently earned the job of food critic for the New York Standard newspaper and no one at the newspaper knows she is only 12 years old.  Thus far, her first  two restaurant reviews have been very well received by her editor and readers, which makes her excited to continue writing her reviews.  As you can imagine, keeping her identity a secret from her parents, the newspaper editor, and her friends is becoming harder and harder as she finds herself working to find the best hot dog in New York City.  The current food critic isn't happy about having someone who is writing better reviews that he is and he plots to ruin her by giving her this seemingly impossible task.  Can she really find the best hot dog in one of the largest cities in the world?

Gladys is given a chance to attend a summer day camp and she thinks this will be the perfect cover for her to sneak off to New York City.  Sneaking off soon becomes more difficult, as Gladys is put in charge of all the adult and camp counselor meals at the summer camp.  Since she didn't pass her swimming test, she now has to spend her mornings in swim lessons with all the small children and the annoying "celebrity" camper.  She must get creative in order to fulfill this assignment.  Undeterred, she is soon finding ways to spend time with her parents in the city and getting them to take her to as many hot dog places as possible.  Will she finally find the best one in all the city?

Not only does the reader learn about many different styles of hot dogs in this story.  We also get to  see how Gladys begins to grow as she tries new things and meets new people.  She is learning that communication is key to all kinds of relationships.  Gladys is one of my new friends.

I really loved this story.  My interest was peaked from page one and I could hardly put the book down.  I look forward to the third book of the series coming in 2016.

After reading this book, go and enjoy a hot dog!

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, August 3, 2015

Stella by Starlight by: Sharon M. Draper

This is the second book that I have read by the talented author Sharon Draper.  The character's in Ms. Draper's stories have helped me become a nicer person to others around me.  The world needs more heroes like the heroes in these books.

Stella is the heroine in Sharon Draper's newest book Stella by Starlight.  Late one night, Stella and her brother see a cross burning across the lake and they notify everyone in their small town of Bumblebee, North Carolina.  The cross burning means only one thing, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is once again active in the town, and this makes all of the residents of Bumblebee nervous.  It is a presidential election year.  When Stella's father and two other black men go to register to vote, Stella is able to travel with them.  She sees firsthand how her father and friends are treated compared to the white men who come to register to vote.  After the KKK returns to Bumblebee, the house of one of the men who accompanied them to the voter registration catches fire.  Stella saves one of the children of that home from the fire and she becomes a community hero.

Stella is a young girl who tries her best in school.  She wants to improve her writing, so she practices at night.  She feels that she can be free to write what she wants during the night.  It is in her writing that she tries to sort out what she sees happening all around her.  She recognizes the horse of a very wealthy, popular white citizen that was at both the cross burning and the house fire.  She is not able to find any way to understand why this man would be so hurtful and mean.  However, Stella finds ways to be kind to all of those around her, even those that are hurting her family and friends.

I enjoyed how the author, Sharon Draper, is able to bring historical facts into a wonderful fiction story.  I hope that you will enjoy this story as much as I did.  I'm so glad that I have had the opportunity to get to know Stella better.  Stella is my hero.

Happy Daily Reading