Book Review: Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title:  Monday with a Mad Genius Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2007. Summary/Review: Jack & Annie are given the mission to spend the day in Renaissance Florence helping Leonardo Da Vinci.  It’s harder than it sounds but they’re persistent and participate in Leonardo’s science and art adventures, and even a little…

Book Review: Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Stage Fright on a Summer Night Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2002. Summary/Review: This may be my favorite Magic Tree House story yet.  Jack & Annie travel to Elizabethan London and join Shakespeare on stage at the Globe Theatre where they learn the magic of theater.  There’s a lot of…

Book Review: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Ghost Town at Sundown Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1997. Summary/Review: Jack & Annie go back to the Old West and visit a ghost town with real ghosts!  They also encounter some cattle rustlers and a kindly cowboy named Slim.  It’s a fun adventure with a riddle to solve. Rating:…

Book Review: The Philly Fake by David A. Kelly


Author: David A. Kelly Title: The Philly Fake Publication Info: Random House Books for Young Readers (2014) Summary/Review: This is a book in my son’s favorite “Ballpark Mystery Series.”  Set at the Philadelphia Phillies ballpark, it’s a mystery that involves the Philly Phanatic and an evil Ben Franklin.  Lots of fun Philly “Spirit of ’76” activities mixed…

Book Review: Listen, Liberal by Thomas Frank


Author: Thomas Frank Title: Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Publication Info: Metropolitan Books (2016) Previously Read By Same Author:  What’s the Matter With Kansas and Pity the Billionaire Summary/Review: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Thomas Frank asks…

Book Review: The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman


Author: Francis Parkman Title: The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life Narrator: Robert Morris Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2012, originally published in 1849) Summary/Review: This narrative describes 23-year-old Parkman’s travels west in  with fellow Boston Brahmin Quincy Adams Shaw.  Together they travel with settlers adventurers through the future states of of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado,…

Book Review: The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin Title: The Bully Pulpit Narrator: Edward Hermann Publication Info: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books, 2014 Previously Read by the Same Author:  Team of Rivals and Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir Summary/Review: This book is a dual biography of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  The two men are opposites in many ways.  Roosevelt…

Book Review: Walk the Blue Fields: Stories by Claire Keegan


Author: Claire Keegan Title:Walk the Blue Fields: Stories Publication Info: Grove Press, Black Cat (2008) Summary/Review: This is a collection of stories set in Ireland.  They are contemporary tales but set in rural settings so there are lots of traditional gender roles, repressed emotions, and outcomes that are rather depressing.  Fortunately, there is some humor in…

Book Review: Attack of the Cheetah by Jane B. Mason


Author: Jane B. Mason Title: Attack of the Cheetah Publication Info: Mankato, Minn. : Stone Arch Books, 2010. Summary/Review: This Wonder Woman story for kids is about cheetahs.  And a villain named the Cheetah.  And a zoo with cheetahs who are kidnapped by Cheetah and replaced with Cheetah’s cheetahs.  What a cheetah, er cheater!  I think…

Book Review: Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Mummies in the Morning Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1993. Summary/Review: Another Magic Tree House classic.  Annie and Jack travel to Ancient Egypt and help a ghost-queen by solving the riddle of hieroglyphics and finding their way through the false passages of a pyramid.  This book also demonstrates their different…

Book Review: Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Pirates Past Noon Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1994. Summary/Review: Swashbuckling adventure awaits Annie and Jack as the magic tree house takes them to an island, and they have to help pirates find a treasure.  I love pirates, but this is a weak story in the series, albeit still entertaining….

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray


Author: Libba Bray Title: The Diviners Narratorr: January LaVoy Publication Info: Listening Library (2012) Summary/Review: Evie, an outspoken youngster from Ohio is sent away be her family to live with a strange uncle in Jazz Age New York City and ends up helping him try to solve a series of occultist murders.  An outlandish premise, but we…

Book Review: Buffalo Before Breakfast by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Buffalo Before Breakfast Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1999. Summary/Review: This is a very sweet story in the Magic Tree House series.  Annie & Jack go to the Great Plains of the 1800s and meet a Lakota boy named Black Hawk and his wise and gentle grandmother.  It’s a nice glimpse…

Book Review: Afternoon on the Amazon by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Afternoon on the Amazon Publication Info: New York : Random House, 1995. Summary/Review: Another Magic Tree House adventure, this time Jack & Annie find themselves in the danger and beauty of the Amazonian rain forest.  Lots of good animal and nature details.  And a friendly monkey.  Another worthy addition to the series. Rating:  ***

Book Review: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Dinosaurs Before Dark Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1992. Summary/Review: My children ravenously work their way through the Magic Tree House series.  This is actually the first book in the series.  And what a great start!  Any story that involves riding on the back of the pteranadon is my kind of…

Book Review: Lumberjanes Volume 2 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen


Author: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen Title: Lumberjanes Volume 2 Publication Info: Los Angeles : Boom!, 2015. Previously Read by Same Authors: Lumberjanes Summary/Review: A great followup on the adventures of the Roanoke cabin scouts at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types.  This time they discover the strange goings-on are due to…

Book Review: Bambino by Tom Bruno


Author: Tom Bruno Title: Bambino Publication Info: Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2012 Summary/Review: The Curse of the Bambino is noted throughout New England as a reason why the Red Sox failed to win the World Series for 85 years.  But what if it was a literal curse cast by a demon who took the form of Babe…

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson


Author:  Jenny Lawson Title: Furiously Happy Narrator:  Jenny Lawson Publication Info: [New York] : Macmillan Audio, p2015. Summary/Review: This collection of humorous essays is a laugh riot from the perspective of the author of The Bloggess which skips among topics such as depression, anxiety, marriage, therapy, and taxidermy.  Really, a surprising amount about taxidermy.  Listening to the…

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee


Author: Harper Lee Title: Go Set a Watchman Publication Info: New York, NY : Harper, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015] Books By the Same Author: To Kill A Mockingbird Summary/Review: This book is controversial for two reasons.  First, it’s questionable whether Lee ever wanted it published and possible she was exploited in her infirmity and old age….