‘Sauerkraut’ by Kelly Jones is a ghostly middle grade story about making connections and helping family

In "Sauerkraut," author Kelly Jones continues to show her expertise in writing clever and touching stories that include a bit of ghostly action. In this story, Hans Dieter Schenk, also known as HD. His dad was Hans Peter Schenk, his grandfather Hans Gerhard Schenk, and before him Hans Franz Schenk. Until HD, all the Hans' … Continue reading ‘Sauerkraut’ by Kelly Jones is a ghostly middle grade story about making connections and helping family

‘Thirteen’ by Steve Cavenagh is a most unusual procedural/thriller

Steve Cavenagh's "Thirteen" is a unique take on the popular genre we generally label the "police procedural." But here, that label is not an exact fit. For one thing, it's not the police who do the investigation. It's a lawyer, the fascinating Eddie Flynn. Eddie is an ex-con artist who has become a terrific criminal … Continue reading ‘Thirteen’ by Steve Cavenagh is a most unusual procedural/thriller

‘Awesome Dog 5000’ by Justin Dean is a rocketing good middle grade scifi adventure with comic illustrations according to this student review

“Awesome Dog 5000,” by Justin Dean with its rocket-launcher paws and a mega-atomic cannon will send you soaring to new heights. As soon as readers open the book and start reading, the cliffhangers get you hooked and  it is hard to resist reading until the last page. This geeky, action, and humor-packed book is sure … Continue reading ‘Awesome Dog 5000’ by Justin Dean is a rocketing good middle grade scifi adventure with comic illustrations according to this student review

‘Color Me In’ and ‘Slay’ are two young adult novels that help readers understand what it’s like being the only “other” in a room

  "Slay" by Brittney Morris and "Color Me In" by Natasha Díaz are two books that deal with young women, each of whom is the only person of color, or one of a few people of color, in a school. The situations are different, but both stories are gripping and difficult to put down. They … Continue reading ‘Color Me In’ and ‘Slay’ are two young adult novels that help readers understand what it’s like being the only “other” in a room

Four picture books that very young children will love

Experts agree that the earlier parents and caregivers start reading to their children, the better. The more vocabulary young children acquire, the better they will be able to read and learn when they go to school. Those who enter school with large vocabularies are at a huge advantage, so the bottom line is -- read … Continue reading Four picture books that very young children will love

‘The Cold Way Home’ by Julia Keller is a marvelous murder mystery that spans generations and features fabulous characters

"The Cold Way Home" by Julia Keller is the latest in her series of books about Bell Elkins, former prosecutor in Acker's Gap, West Virginia. Acker's Gap is one of many impoverished former mining towns that are losing residents and succumbing to the opioid crisis. While this is the eighth book in the series, it … Continue reading ‘The Cold Way Home’ by Julia Keller is a marvelous murder mystery that spans generations and features fabulous characters

3 Picture books for young readers to enjoy and learn from

Some picture books serve a dual purpose. They instruct as they entertain, and kids love reading picture books and parents love that the books teach new ideas and new occupations, and also provide new information about life. And the best? Kids will love each of these three picture books. "Little Smokey" by Robert Neubecker will … Continue reading 3 Picture books for young readers to enjoy and learn from

‘The Last Widow’ by Karin Slaughter is the book you don’t want to miss reading in 2019

"The Last Widow" is the newest book in the Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter. If you haven't read the previous books in the series, don't let that fact stop you from reading this one because it reads like a stand-alone novel. Be forewarned that after you finish it, you will probably want to start … Continue reading ‘The Last Widow’ by Karin Slaughter is the book you don’t want to miss reading in 2019

‘The Chestnut Man’ by Soren Sveistrup: Gory and terrific

Danish novelist Soren Sveistrup's "The Chestnut Man" offers us two fascinating protagonists, several gruesome murders, a few puzzling clues, and zero investigative results -- through many hours and days -- despite a long, grueling search for the perpetrator. Here is an electric police procedural/murder mystery and a harrowing miasma of gritty suspense that builds to … Continue reading ‘The Chestnut Man’ by Soren Sveistrup: Gory and terrific

Three wonderful new middle grade novels with main characters who exemplify determination in the face of adversity

Reading can often teach empathy. Reading about diverse characters can often serve to show young readers that we all -- no matter our skin color or religion or financial status or family makeup -- have more in common than not. Three new middle grade novels serve to exemplify exactly that: "More to the Story" by … Continue reading Three wonderful new middle grade novels with main characters who exemplify determination in the face of adversity

‘The Murder List’ by Hank Philippa Ryan will keep you wondering

"The Murder List" by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a mystery that keeps us wondering -- almost until the end -- who the characters really are behind the narration that we are reading and taking at face value. From the very first page, we know that Rachel North is a law student. Not a fresh-out-of-college law … Continue reading ‘The Murder List’ by Hank Philippa Ryan will keep you wondering

‘Pit Bull Heroes: 49 Underdogs with Resilience and Heart’ by Greg Murray is filled with beauty and heart

"Pit Bull Heroes: 49 Underdogs with Resilience and Heart" is a paean to pit bulls by talented photographer and writer Greg Murray. As he comments in the "About the Author" section at the back of the book, he is an animal photographer and rescue and pit bull advocate. His first book was "Peanut Butter Dogs," … Continue reading ‘Pit Bull Heroes: 49 Underdogs with Resilience and Heart’ by Greg Murray is filled with beauty and heart