Be Light Like a Bird – REVIEW

Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder is a stand-alone novel meant for the middle grades and it’s pretty darn awesome!

Book Cover: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder - Dark blue background with lighter blue trees and red birds on it

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Brief Synopsis

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

Review

What a wonderful book about dealing with loss, grief, and anger! I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Wren, her mother, Theo, and the rest of our cast of characters are well-rounded, complex characters who are believable and just jump off the page with their realism. Wren’s mother is running from her grief and anger and of course, Wren’s just along for the ride because she doesn’t have a choice, but she really does well with all the change considering that she’s grieving too.

Eventually, after a few stops along the way, they land in Pyramid, Michigan, a small town in the upper peninsula near the end of I-75. Wren decides she likes it there and wants to stay. She makes a new friend in Theo and together they fight against the draining of a wetland by a local landfill.

The whole time, there’s still a rift between Wren and her mother which is only increased by some terrible news her mother has to tell her about her father. Can they ever mend the rift between them?

I’m not going to provide the answer to that or to whether or not Wren and Theo win their fight against the landfill. You’ll just have to read this absolutely marvelous book to find out! I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re an adult, I believe you’ll enjoy it as well!

** Special thanks to the author, Monika Schröder for providing me with a copy of the wonderful book. I was not compensated for this review All opinions and conclusions expressed in this review are my own. **

Stay tuned for an interview with the author, Monika Schröder, coming later today (March 14)!!

Wish – Review

5 out of 5 stars

Wish is a stand-alone children’s novel by Barbara O’Connor. It’s meant for the Middle Grades (4th-6th) and is wonderful, poignant, and is just all-around delightful.

Wish by Barbara O'Connor, Author of How to Steal a Dog - tagline: With a little luck you can get what you wish for. - Sunset background, young girl with long brown hair and short-sleeved green shirt kneeling in the grass with a beagle dog - fireflies flying in the background

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Brief Synopsis

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets
Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

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The Doorway and the Deep – Review

4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Doorway and the Deep is the second installment in The Water and the Wild series by K.E. Ormsbee. It’s a fantastic sequel to The Water and the Wild and even ends on a cliff-hanger to leave you wanting for more! I really enjoyed it!

The Doorway and the Deep by K.E. Ormsbee cover - young girl with long blond hair in a sailboat. Her hair is blown back from the wind.

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Brief Synopsis

Lottie and Eliot are back in Limn with their friends. They plan to head home to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with Eliot’s father, but events happen and circumstances change. War is coming to Limn and this turn of events send Lottie and her friends north in search of answers, both about things that are happening in the land and about Lottie’s parents. However, peril is never far behind them and may even be dealt by ones they trust!

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The Water and the Wild – Review

3.5 out 5 stars

The Water and the Wild by K.E. Ormsbee is the first book in “The Water and the Wild” series. It’s a delightful beginning to the series.

The Water and the Wild by K.E. Ormsbee book cover - Medium to large tree with large opening in trunk filled with bright light. Young girl with long blond hair and a periwinkle coat is standing poised to step into the opening.

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Brief Synopsis

A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless—until a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the roots to another world in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.

Review

The beginning of this book was awesome. I loved hearing about Lottie and Eliot’s background and friendship. I loved hearing about the man who wrote Lottie letters/sent her gifts each year on her birthday. It was exciting, bright, and fun!

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Favorite Book Quotes

Before I get started with my favorite quotes, I want to point out that today is the release day for the paperback (mass market) version of Ripped From the Pages!! I’ve linked to my previous review of the book. Get out and purchase it and love it!

Back to today’s program at hand…

Do you ever come across quotes in books that you love so much that you have to write them down or save them somehow? I often do. Sometimes, if it’s a library book and I really need to get it back because of other holds, I’ll even snap a picture of the page/quote with the camera on my phone.

Here are some of my favorites (not in any particular order) and why they struck a chord in me:

“She looked at him gravely. ‘You cannot call back the river that has already flowed past you, Ruith. All you can do is be grateful for where you are in it.'” – Lynn Kurland, Spellweaver
This quote really stuck with me because it helps me remember that what’s done is done. There’s nothing I can do to change the past, but rather I can work through those memories and start each day fresh.

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer’s always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts, Tears of the Moon
This quote has helped me to remember to have the courage to stand up and go for what I want. When you have general anxiety all the time, which I do, it’s easy just to stay with the status quo because change really makes your anxiety kick in. But, if I never try to attain something, I never will. It’s certainly not easy and it takes me longer to do sometimes, but eventually I get it and step out of the box.

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This has somewhat become a mantra of mine and a reminder that we’re all a part of this human race and should treat each other with kindness and respect, no matter what our station or what we perceive their station in life to be.

“I’d spent my entire life overdosing on uncut escapism, willingly allowing fantasy to become my reality.” – Ernest Cline, Armada
This one struck a chord in me because for a long, long time I let myself do the same. The character in this book did it with video games, I did it with books. And sometimes when life isn’t going well, I still have a tendency to do this.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. Remember that.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone
This quote goes right along with the one above it. When I do get that tendency to dwell in the fantasy world of my favorite books, I try to remember this quote and get myself back on track. There’s nothing wrong with reading and escaping the world, as long as you’re not basically living in that fictional world.

“It’s here, inside me, and it’ll bite off pieces when it can. But I can take it because you’re there. Because you know how it feels. You’re the only one who really knows. And because you love me enough to feel it. When you look at me, and I see that, I can take anything.” – J.D. Robb, Reunion In Death
This quote strikes a chord in me because while I don’t have a significant other, I have a best friend who does this for me. It never fails to take my breath away to read this quote and know that I have someone like that in my corner. We all need someone like this to help us battle our demons.

Those are some of my favorite quotes from books I’ve read throughout the years. What are some of your favorites?

The Forgotten Room

4 out of 5 stars.

The Forgotten Room: A Sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’ by Stacie Morrell was first published as a Kindle ebook in 2012. At the time, it had not been edited/proofread at all. Since then, I’ve received word from the author that it has now been edited/proofread and it is also only available in a trade paperback format.

I am a huge fan of the original The Secret Garden (it’s my all-time favorite book in the world) and have read it more times than I can count. I have also read the other sequel Return to the Secret Garden by Susan Moody, which I thought was absolutely horrid. Consequently, I was a bit skeptical of this story. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I felt that while it doesn’t quite have the same magic that the original story has, the author did stay true to the characters’ personality traits and the dynamics between the personalities.

I thought the story line was sweet and believable. The manor house has been shut up for many years, so it’s not hard to imagine that there are rooms that people haven’t been in for decades. Nor is it hard to imagine Mary not being certain that she wants to share it with anyone else.

The ending seemed a little convoluted, but it was somewhat believable. Since the book mostly focuses on the children, we don’t really see any interactions the adults may or may not have.

If you’re a fan of the original, you may very well like this one.

The City of the Yeti

5 out of 5 stars

Book cover with walled city at the base of a mountain with plains in front of it & text

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The City of the Yeti by Robert A. Love is the first book I read after joining NetGalley. It was excellent.

I absolutely loved this book. From the moment I started reading it, I couldn’t hardly put it down. Every spare moment was spent reading this amazing story. I fell in love with Danny and his sister, Rachel, almost immediately. Their adventures and discoveries were well-timed and well-written.

This book had a well-executed plot line. The pace was steady, neither too fast or slow. There was just the right amount of adventure and excitement without having you on the edge of your seat every moment, which is something I don’t personally care for, so I was thrilled with the balance in this story. The characters were well-rounded, developed and realistic. I felt like I really got to know those important to the story and to know enough about the others for it to seem realistic and not fake. I also felt that the descriptions of the settings were “just right”. They weren’t too wordy, describing every detail until nothing was left to your imagination. And they weren’t too sparse, leaving you to wonder if what you were imagining was true to the author’s vision.

Line of black & white mountains

The only real criticism I have of the book is that occasionally, the dialogue became much less formal than what they would have used in 1922 Britain or British families. However, the target audience of ages 8-12, aren’t going to really notice that.

Unfortunately, this book was published by a British publisher and is not as easy to find in the United States outside of the large online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I had to special order it through my local independent bookstore, but it’s completely worth it!

I would highly recommend this to all adventure enthusiasts, not just children and teens. I think this book could appeal to adults as well, as long as they can get passed the point where they think children’s literature isn’t for them. In fact, I liked it so much that I ordered a print copy of the book even tho’ I had the e-book!

(I received a free e-book of this title through NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review. This in no way affected my rating of the book. All opinions and conclusions are my own.)

Line of black & white mountains