Book Reviews: Earth, Air, Fire, and Custard by Tom Holt


Author: Tom Holt Title: Earth, Air, Fire, and Custard Publication Info: London : Orbit, 2006. Summary/Review: This is the third in a series of J.W. Wells stories where the hapless Paul Carpenter finds himself forced to work in a company that’s really a front for the magic business of a bunch of goblins.  In this adventure…

Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter


Author:  William Ritter Title:  Jackaby Narrator: Nicola Barber Publication Info: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books (2014) Summary/Review: This detective novel set in 1892 in a fictional city in New England openly acknowledges that it is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche in the opening pages.  Even “Sherlock Holmes with fantastical and supernatural elements” has been done before,…

Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


Author: Oscar Wilde Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray Narrator: Paul Lincoln Publication Info: Dreamscape Media, LLC (2016) [Originally published in 1890] Summary/Review: Sometimes you decide that you should make up for having never read any works of Oscar Wilde and learn that this book is far weirder than you ever imagined.  The Picture of Dorian…

Book Review: The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and. Dean Hale


Author:  Shannon Hale and Dean Hale Title:  The Princess in Black  Publication Info:  Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2014. Summary/Review: An entertaining chapter book for young readers in which the seemingly perfect Princess Magnolia leads a double life as the Princess in Black, protecting goats by fighting monsters while trying to avoid being found out…

Book Review: Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Good Morning, Gorillas Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2006. Summary/Review: Another delightful Magic Tree House journey where Annie and Jack spend a few days living among a family of mountain gorillas in Congo and learn the “magic” of communication.  Osbourne knows a lot about gorilla behavior and incorporates it into…

Book Review: The Fever of 1721 by Stephen Coss


Author: Stephen Coss Title: The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics Narrator: Bob Souer Publication Info: Simon & Schuster (2016 Summary/Review: I received a free advanced readers copy of this audiobook through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. 1721 is a pivotal year in Boston history….

Book Review: Ben and Me by Robert Lawson


Author:  Robert Lawson Title: Ben and Me Publication Info: Boston, Mass. : Little, Brown, c1939. Summary/Review: I remember this story from when I was a kid, although I think I only saw the movie which I recall being less acerbic.  The basic gist is the same, Ben Franklin’s career as inventor, scientist, politician, and ambassador is aided…

Book Reviews: Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve  Publication Info: Random House Books for Young Readers (2010) Summary/Review: There’s such a great variety of stories in the Magic Tree House series.  Having just read the historical fiction of a story set at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889, we read this book set in the…

Book Reviews: Night of the New Magicians by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Night of the New Magicians Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2006. Summary/Review: This is a really entertaining installment of the Magic Tree House series where Annie and Jack visit the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 to learn of for forms of “magic.”  The magic is actual the inventions and discoveries…

The Book Blogger Test


Here’s a book blogging meme via Ashley at Inside My Mind.  I took the advice to tag myself. What are your top three book pet hates? Books where the narrators are completely oblivious to their privilege and how they unwittingly disparage others. This happens in fiction (The Nanny Diaries) and non-fiction (Under the Tuscan Sun). Writers…

Book Reviews: The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff


Author: Stacy Schiff Title:  The Witches: Salem, 1692 Narrator: Eliza Foss Publication Info: Little, Brown & Company (2015) Summary/Review: Stacy Schiff attempts to set the record straight on the witch hysteria of 1692, something that has been defined for modern people by how it is depicted in movies, plays, and books.  This is partially due to…

2016 Election Reading List


In 6 months Americans will go to the polls to vote for our next President as well as representatives, senators, and countless state and local officials.  I decided to put together a list of books on political and social topics that I find informative on various issues.  Of course, while I think these are important…

Book Review: What’s It Like in Space? by Ariel Waldman


Author: Ariel Waldman Title: What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There Publication Info: Chronicle Books (2016) Summary/Review: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. One of my favorite science writers, Ariel Waldman, collects anecdotes and quotes from astronauts about their experience in space…

Book Review: Wild lives by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld


Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld Title: Wild lives : a history of the people & animals of the Bronx Zoo Publication Info: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2006. Summary/Review: This is a children’s book history of the Bronx Zoo, a place I visited since childhood and have always been fascinated about it’s background.  The book focuses mostly on…

Book Review: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein


Author: Naomi Klein Title: The Shock Doctrine Narrator: Jennifer Wiltsie Publication Info:  Macmillan Audio (2007) Summary/Review: This book exposes the ideology of neoliberalism, the idea that government should be limited to the bare bones and that corporations should be completely unregulated, a school of thought promoted by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.  The book begins with…

Book Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich


Author: Louise Erdrich Title: The Round House Narrator: Gary Farmer Publication Info: HarperAudio (2013 Summary/Review: Set on a fictional Indian reservation in North Dakota, this is the story of the teenager Joe who at the beginning of the novel learns that his mother has been brutally raped.  What follows is a story of legal complications surrounding the crime,…

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:…