‘I Am Albert Einstein’: Part of the ‘Ordinary People Change the World series’

Rating: 5 stars Brad Meltzer's fourth book in the "Ordinary People Who Change the World" series is "I Am Albert Einstein." When you've written "I Am Abraham Lincoln," "I Am Amelia Earhart," and "I Am Rosa Parks," who can follow that illustrious group? Albert Einstein is the perfect choice. Each of his very thoughtful and … Continue reading ‘I Am Albert Einstein’: Part of the ‘Ordinary People Change the World series’

Playing the numbers game: is Miami Dade Animal Services really no-kill?

"We gotta work on reducing shelter intake," is what Alex Muñoz, director of Miami Dade Animal Services, told NBC reporter Roxanne Vargas during a recent interview touting the shelter's "impressive" 90% save rate. They compared the statistics to the much more dismal statistics from a few years ago when 51% of the animals were being … Continue reading Playing the numbers game: is Miami Dade Animal Services really no-kill?

‘Crenshaw’ by Katherine Applegate: 5 star middle grade book

Rating: 5 stars Katherine Applegate specializes in books that make the readers feel. "Crenshaw" is no exception; Jackson, the main character, lives with his parents, his sister, his dog, and sometimes, his imaginary cat Crenshaw. As the reader learns in the story, Crenshaw appears in times of need. Jackson doesn't totally understand it, but Crenshaw … Continue reading ‘Crenshaw’ by Katherine Applegate: 5 star middle grade book

‘The Bone Labyrinth’ by James Rollins: Superb and thoughtful action thriller

Rating: 5 stars "The Bone Labyrinth" by James Rollins is a double treat. It's a wonderfully thrilling action book filled with cliff-hanging scenes and characters and situations that will make your heart bleed. But it's also a thought-provoking book filled with true facts about history and biology about which most readers (including this reviewer) will be … Continue reading ‘The Bone Labyrinth’ by James Rollins: Superb and thoughtful action thriller

‘Here Comes Valentine Cat’ by Deborah Underwood: Love-ly picture book

  Rating: 5 stars First there was "Here Comes the Easter Cat," and then "Here Comes Santa Cat," followed by "Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat" and now, "Here Comes the Valentine Cat" by Deborah Underwood with clever illustrations (very clever) by Claudia Rueda -- just in time for Valentine's Day. To those who know … Continue reading ‘Here Comes Valentine Cat’ by Deborah Underwood: Love-ly picture book

‘Salt to the Sea’ by Ruta Sepetys: Young adult historical fiction

Rating: 5 stars "Salt to the Sea" by Ruta Sepetys is the beautifully told story of four young people whose lives are heading toward the same destiny -- a trip on the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff. The story is told from the alternating first person narratives of the main characters. Joana, a young woman … Continue reading ‘Salt to the Sea’ by Ruta Sepetys: Young adult historical fiction

‘Orphan X’ by Gregg Hurwitz: The best and worst of all assassins

Rating: 5 stars Gregg Hurwitz is an accomplished and well-known mystery writer, but his eponymous hero in this new novel, "Orphan X," is a brand new character -- strong, brilliant, tortured, disciplined. Of course, many heroes of the genre share those traits. Yet Orphan X is unique. His background and his talents are quite unlike … Continue reading ‘Orphan X’ by Gregg Hurwitz: The best and worst of all assassins

‘Soar’ by Joan Bauer: Another home run for middle grade readers

Rating: 5 stars (or more) One always has very high expectations for any book by author Joan Bauer. "Soar" will not disappoint. In fact, it might be one of her most touching and uplifting books yet. The main character is Jeremiah, a twelve-year-old (more or less) boy who has had several close calls in his … Continue reading ‘Soar’ by Joan Bauer: Another home run for middle grade readers

‘The Wrong Side of Right’ by Jenn Marie Thorne: Young adult fiction

Rating: 4 stars "The Wrong Side of Right" by Jenn Marie Thorne is one of those books that sucks the reader in to the point that the reader really wants to know what happens next. Not because it's a thriller or a mystery, but because the main character is likable and realistic and just someone … Continue reading ‘The Wrong Side of Right’ by Jenn Marie Thorne: Young adult fiction

‘My Pet Human’ by Yasmine Surovec: Clever book for middle grade readers

Rating: 4 stars "My Pet Human" by Yasmine Surovec isn't exactly a graphic novel even through every page is filled with drawings. But it's also not a typical chapter book with lots of text and few illustrations. It's truly a combination, and it's a story (and format) that will appeal to young readers and even … Continue reading ‘My Pet Human’ by Yasmine Surovec: Clever book for middle grade readers

‘Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer’ by Kelly Jones

Rating: 5 stars "Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer" is a long-winded title for debut author Kelly Jones' new middle grade fiction (with a touch of magic). She cleverly manages to tell the whole story through a series of letters written by Sophie Brown, a girl who has moved to her great-uncle's abandoned farm after … Continue reading ‘Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer’ by Kelly Jones