Mostly, you need the tissue.
Haunted Museum Book 1: The Titanic Locket by Suzanne Weyn
I’ve been reading pre-adolescent books with my grandchildren in mind.OK, for me too. I love well-written YA books, picture books, and novelettes. So when I read the back cover of Haunted Museum, I was impatient to dive in. Whoever writes these things posed an intriguing set of questions leaving me ready for a good tale.
The introduction was suspenseful and spooky, reminding me of the old “Twilight Zone” TV series. The last sentence sets the mood and hints at a link between the haunted museum and the sailing of a replica of the doomed ship Titanic. “Take, for example, the case of two sisters, Samantha and Jessica Burnett, who are about to embark on a cruise into a ghostly past thanks to a peculiar locket they first see at…the Haunted Museum.” P.2
Unfortunately, that was the high point. The plot was tortured and even for a ghost story ridiculous. It contained some scenes that I believe would be very scary for the youngest children in the target readership. The premise that the ghosts of the Titanic were haunting the new ship Titanic II was overwritten and confusing.
Perhaps the person who wrote the enticing endorsement should have written more of the novel.
I am still interested in the concept of how a haunted artifact can affect an adventure, so in spite of being disappointed in Book 1, I will be checking out any other books in the series.
2½ stars (out of 5)
Charmed Life: Caitlin’s Lucky Charm by Lisa Schroeder
Caitlin is one of four grade six girls who met and became “bffs” at summer camp. To celebrate their strong ties, the girls pooled the last of their spending money and bought a charm bracelet that they will each take a turn wearing once they are home. Then they will buy a charm before sending it off to the next friend.
Back home, many things have changed. Caitlin is starting at a new school where she knows no-one. Her father’ job is in jeopardy so money is tight. No shopping for new school clothes! Cancel the satellite TV!
At school, Caitlin wants very badly to be friends with a group of four girls who are obviously close and having so much fun with each other. They remind her of her friends at camp. She tries so hard to impress them that she forgets the most important rule of all – be yourself. She finds out eventually that she has some true friends right under her nose who like her just the way she is.
The events are all from the perspective of a grade-six girl, and deal with the topics of family, friends and school. Some advice for being a friend is dispensed and the family relationships are realistic, including some inter-sister sniping.
The author does a good job noting that there are levels of financial misery when parents are threatened with job loss. Caitlin volunteers at a soup kitchen, but one of her friends has meals there.
This is relevant for any student for whom peer relations are sometimes challenging.
3½ stars out of 5
Also known as Edge of Tomorrow, this is a lightning fast read. Definitely written and aimed at gamers, the plot concerns a sort of military version of the movie Groundhog Day. A green recruit’s first battle is also his last – and then he wakes up the day before the battle. How great a warrior would you become if you could practice your fight infinitely?
Like reading an action movie, or living a video game, and very well done. If you’re looking for pure entertainment, this is it. Provided they do it justice, this will be a hell of an action flick.
I just had a little orgy of reading the Heirs of Alexandria books, since the fourth one recently released and I wanted to re-read from the beginning. What a great series.
Sometimes, when you have a collaboration, the book doesn’t flow properly, the voices of the authors are jarring and wrong. That isn’t what happened here.
These are stories set in an alternate history, at the time of the Renaissance. All the fantasy that people believed in at the time is real, from mermaids to magic, and it makes for great storytelling. This is classic epic material, with great battles, political intrigue, knights, star-crossed lovers. Set mainly in Venice, the characters are so well developed that you could easily guess how each one would behave in a given situation, and you get a little attached.
There is a great sense of humour running through the books that balances the drama, and makes for a fun read.
This is the story equivalent of comfort food for me.
I bought them all as e-books, and as a side note they are all sold without DRM, at the publisher’s request.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, although the main focus is on books and bookstores, you will also notice that we are strong supporters of equal rights for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. We’re against ignorance in general, and believe that reading is one tool of creating learning and compassion.
Honey Maid, a company formerly known more for graham crackers and s’mores than taking a stand, has just done something brilliant, and well worth sharing.
A recent commercial that they aired that shows a diverse selection of families has raised the ire of the small-minded, including my favorite group to hate, One Million Moms. The commercial that raised their anger is below.
It’s a sweet, fairly classic commercial, and smart marketing by Honey Maid to get people in the kind of families that get protested by the Westborough Baptists buying their products.
What is really brilliant, however, is how Honey Maid responded to the outrage, and turned those hateful words into a thing of beauty. Check it out:
Very classy, Honey Maid. Well done.