‘Surface Tension’ by Mike Mullin Is that Book You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

surface tension

I’ve realized how to know when I’m reading a book I’m just not that into. When I find myself playing Words With Friends for 30 minutes instead of reading, I know that the book I’m reading has just not enthralled me. That’s how I knew that I was loving “Surface Tension” by Mike Mullin; I couldn’t put it down. I started the book in the morning and had finished it by evening. I read every spare minute because I was dying to know what was going to happen next.

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‘Welcome to Wonderland: Sandapalooza Shake-Up’ by Chris Grabenstein is the 3rd book in the Wacky Wonderland Motel series

sandapalooza

Move aside, Disney World! Here comes the Wonderland Motel in “Sandapalooza Shake-Up,” the third book in the humorous mystery series by clever children’s author Chris Grabenstein. Fans of the series know that P.T. and his friend Gloria solve mysteries while having a great time in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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‘The Night Dairy’ by Veera Hiranandani: An Historical Fiction Middle Grade Novel About the Partition of India

the night diary

In “The Night Diary” by Veera Hiranandani, readers will get a chance to learn about a piece of history that is not often included in children’s books — the partition of India. In fact, this adult reader learned much about that historic event.

While many adults know that upon gaining independence from Great Britain, India was divided into India and Pakistan, one a Hindu country and the other Muslim, adults like me know little about the actual event and how smoothly (or not) the transition and partition went. It did not go well.

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‘Front Desk’ by Kelly Yang: Superb Middle Grade Fiction Kids (and Adults) Will Love

front desk

In her fiction-based-on-real-life novel “Front Desk,” author Kelly Yang hits every note perfectly. The main character is authentic (maybe because it’s based on Yang) and readers automatically like her. She’s far from perfect on many levels, so readers will be able to identify with her. Although the plot is not about murder or mystery, it’s really gripping.

It’s about a ten-year-old girl named Mia Tang whose mother tells her she will never be able to write, who mans the front desk of a motel so that her parents can clean rooms and wash sheets and towels, and who isn’t able to dress like the other kids in her class because her parents have no money.

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‘Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship’ by L. M. Elliot

hamiltonandpeggy

L. M. Elliot’s latest brilliant piece of historical fiction for young adults, “Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship,” is a fascinating study of the life and loves of Peggy Schuyler. She was the daughter of a famous Revolutionary War general and counter-intelligence agent, the sister of two equally important women of the era, and the romantic partner of two significant revolutionary and post-revolutionary men.

The Peggy Schuyler of “Hamilton and Peggy” was a woman both very much of her time and very much ahead of her time. She was brilliant, independent, witty, strong — and a victim of the limitations that shackled the women of America in 1776. Elliot provides us enlightening glimpses of Peggy’s courage and strength — a dangerous trip through a deadly storm with enemies all around her; the defense of her home during an attack by British forces; the stubborn, constant support of the cause of the Revolution despite the ubiquitous threats of treasonous and cruel betrayals — like those of Benedict Arnold.

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‘The Unicorn Quest’ by Kamilla Benko Is a Creative Tale of Magic, Unicorns, and Sisterly Love

unicornquest

Middle grade fantasy lovers will adore “The Unicorn Quest” by Kamilla Benko. It’s about sisters Sophie and Claire, who move with their parents into their Great-Aunt’s mansion after her mysterious disappearance.

Sophie is the older sister, the one who adores adventures. She calls them Experiences. Claire often follows along, but she’s the quieter sister, preferring to stay home and draw. The dark frightens Claire. Sophie had almost died of a strange illness and then was “magically” (according to the doctors who couldn’t figure it out) cured.

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‘This Fallen Prey’ by Kelley Armstrong Is the Third in the Rockton Series

thisfallenprey

“This Fallen Prey” by Kelley Armstrong is the third entry in the novel series about Rockton, a place in the far North Canadian Yukon where the permafrost never melts and a hidden settlement protects people who need to disappear for almost any reason.

Casey (not her real name) arrived at Rockton in the first book to be the detective. She was fleeing her old life and embraced the chance to start over in Rockton. What she didn’t expect was the plethora of killings that she then needed to solve.

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‘The Woman Left Behind’ by Linda Howard, the Romance/Suspense Queen of Writers

womanleftbehind

In “The Woman Left Behind,” Linda Howard returns to the scene — in a manner of speaking — of her last book, “Troublemaker,” to the paramilitary group working out of Washington, DC. Jina Modell works in communications and plays video games in the break room with many of the other gamers she works with. They assist teams in counter-terrorist operations without breaking a sweat.

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‘Soldier Dog’ by Sam Angus Is a Middle Grade Historical Fiction Novel About a Boy and the Dogs Who Saved Him

soldier dog

“Soldier Dog” by Sam Angus is the kind of story that lulls the reader along, reading about racing dogs and a boy who loves them and struggles with his bitter father while they live in rural England during the first World War. The boy, Stanley Ryder, joins the army even though he’s only fourteen because of something unforgivable that his father does.

He ends up in the school for War Dogs. He’s ordered to train an angry, aggressive Great Dane named Bones. Stanley accomplishes wonders with Bones, and because of the critical need for messenger dogs, they both are sent to France, and they both see combat.

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‘What the Night Sings’ by Vesper Stamper: A Touching Book about Rebuilding Life After Losing Everything and Everyone

whatthe nightsings

In this touching Holocaust story, “What the Night Sings,” by Vesper Stamper, a young Holocaust survivor must reconcile her life after she is liberated from a concentration camp.

The reader meets Gerta at Bergen-Belsen just before the camp is liberated. Rivkah, an acquaintance of Gerta’s parents from their hometown of Köln, is dying in Gerta’s arms. Just as the liberation soldiers enter, Rivkah dies. Thus is the reader introduced to the fact of death and its importance in Gerta’s life.

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