Lois Lane Triple Threat May1

REVIEW: Lois Lane Triple Threat by Gwenda Bond

Summary


So far, Lois Lane has taken down two criminals. One was experimenting on kids and turning them into a single-minded weapon, and the other experimented on a friend’s sister to frame the mayor and shake things up in Metropolis.

Now Lois is itching for a new story – and just in time as a group of super-powered kids have been sighted around Metropolis. So far they’re just a spectacle, but they seem to be targeting Lois.

As if this case isn’t enough to keep her occupied, things are heating up with SmallvilleGuy and the “flying man” situation. SmallvilleGuy is coming to Metropolis to meet Lois face-to-face. Lois’ dad, the general, is off to Smallville to look for information on the flying man. And the general’s information seems to be coming from The Inventor. SmallvilleGuy might trust The Inventor, but Lois isn’t convinced he’s really on their side.

It all comes together in this exciting third book in the Lois Lane series.

Review


I have thoroughly enjoyed this series by Gwenda Bond. I’m not a huge DC Comics fan, but the books I have been reading – Superhero High and this series, are starting to change that for me.

I have enjoyed the characters even more than the mysteries in this series, and that’s especially true for this book. On it’s own, the mystery in this was a slow start and a quick finish. I had some unanswered questions at the end. Maybe those things were left open in case the publisher decides to add to the series later (I hope so!! The author said on Twitter this summer that there are no plans at this time for more books in the series. It’s too bad. I would snap up more if she wrote them!)

But the character pieces, especially the Lois and SmallvilleGuy parts in this particular story are excellent. Their time face-to-face was a perfect culmination of the lead up in the previous books. We don’t get as much time with the other kids at The Scoop in this one, which I missed. But the pieces with The Inventor were a nice addition. Lots of open-ended issues with that character, too, which would make for awesome future stories (hint, hint, Capstone Press!)

I have loved this whole series. I highly recommend it for strong storytelling; excellent, nuanced characters; and clean adventures for teen readers.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

The Innocent

REVIEW: The Innocent by David Baldacci

Summary


Will Robie is a government assassin. When he gets an assignment, he’ll travel anywhere in the world to take out the bad guys. His usual targets are terrorists and mass murderers. But on his latest assignment, he finds himself looking into the eyes of his target… and he can’t go through with it. Something about this hit just isn’t right.

A young girl sneaks out of her horrible foster home to go see her parents. She gets home in time to see her father killed. When her mother tells her to run, the girl takes off, certain that she will never see her parents alive again.

The two meet when Will saves the girl from being killed on a bus to New York. When the bus later explodes, Will feels responsible for keeping the girl safe. But they are both on the run and don’t know who they can trust. Are the two situations connected? The body count rises quickly while Will tries to puzzle out the truth. Can he figure it out in time to save them both?

Review


This book was part of our family’s summer reading challenge. My husband recommended this to me, and I really enjoyed it. This is the second Baldacci book he has had me read. The mysteries are great although the deaths tend to be more plentiful and more graphic than my usual cozy mysteries.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to get past the main character’s profession in order to enjoy this book. It took several chapters to get past the idea that he kills people for a living. Bad people, to be sure, but without due process – and maybe without knowing the whole story. But Will’s protectiveness of the girl, Julie, endeared him to be. From there, I didn’t put the book down until the last page. I was able to get close to solving the mystery myself, but not all of it, and I was guessing on parts all the way to the end. I would definitely read more Will Robie books in the future. (language, violence)

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Rookie of the Year

REVIEW: Rookie of the Year by Phil Bildner

Summary


Rip and Red are back with basketball on their minds. They’re ready for another round of fall basketball. But things have changed since their last season.

First, there’s a new girl in Mr. Acevedo’s class. Tiki’s family has moved a LOT. She’s quirky and has a BIG personality. And she’s amazing on the basketball court. She stirs up a lot of competitive and jealous feelings in Rip.

Second, the kids are OVER the awful changes in the school cafeteria. They miss the Lunch Bunch, an awesome group of lunch ladies who truly loved the kids and made a difference throughout the school. And they miss having something edible to buy for lunch!

Third, Red is becoming more comfortable with his classmates. He copes better with physical contact, and even starts joking with the other kids.

All of these changes come together to make a great school story starring Rip and Red.

Review


I thoroughly enjoy the kids at the center of this series. Red is endearing. I think the author does a great job of portraying him in a kind and accurate way. And I love how cued in Rip is to Red’s habits and facial expressions. It feels realistic that sometimes he responds to those cues and sometimes he doesn’t. He’s still a kid.

The adults in the book – specifically Mr. Acevedo and Rip’s mom – work hard to teach when they correct kids. They don’t talk down to the kids; their expectations are reasonably high.

This would make a great family or classroom read aloud. Rip struggles with his place on the basketball team in this, and I think there are lots of things kids can learn as they read about Rip. There’s also lots to discuss about Red’s place in the group, and making accommodations to include everyone at school. There’s also lots to discuss about how to pursue change when you have a complaint. And the author uses tons of great examples of “show, don’t tell” for kids learning to write.

Book 3, Tournament of Champions, came out earlier this summer.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Plot is Murder

BOOK NEWS: November 28, 2017

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was restful and meaningful for each of you. Remember, you can check out my 2017 Holiday Hint List here for some book ideas for your holiday gift-giving.

This is another small release week, at least for my wish list. Enjoy this look at some new books releasing this week.

Books for Kids


The Crystal Caverns – Book 2 in The Last Firehawk series, a Branches series for new chapter book readers. You are probably tired of hearing about how much I love Branches books for this age group. But it is still true!
365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible for Boys/Girls (releasing December 1st) – A devotional book for kids. I’ll be reviewing these next week. I will tell you now that the content is the same in both books, so a family with boys and girls could use the books together.

Books for Teens/Young Adults


The Chaos of Standing Still – A teen carries one unread text on her phone – the last from her dead best friend – until she accidentally swaps phone with a guy at the airport. This sounds FANTASTIC! This is at the top of my list for the week.

Books for Adults


Ditched 4 Murder – Book 2 in the Sophie Kimball mystery series about a young woman who has moved closer to her mother’s retirement community in Arizona and stumbles onto a murder. This sounds like a fun series in one of my favorite settings. Looking forward to reading these.
Etched in Tears – Book 4 in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series about the murder of a glass artist. I have this series on my wish list. The premise – with the glass work – sounds fascinating.
Hark the Herald Angels Slay – Book 3 in the Year-Round Christmas Mystery series. In this book, the main character’s ex is found dead. Merry will have to track down another killer in order to get her summer grove back. I have enjoyed this series, and I’m looking forward to seeing what summer is like in Rudolph. You can read my review of book two here.
Of Murder and Men – Book 3 in the Cat Latimer Mystery series about a writer’s retreat. I am a book behind on this one, but you can read my review of book one here.
The Plot Is Murder – First in a new series that takes place at a mystery bookstore. As the shop owner is plotting out her own cozy mystery story, murder shows up in her real life, too. Sign me up for this one!
X Marks the Scot – Book 11 in the Liss MacCrimmon mystery series about an art purchase that hides an old treasure map and leads to a dead body. I’m not familiar with this series, but the plot of this is intriguing.
Star Trek Prometheus Fire with Fire – This looks like the first in a new series from the folks at Star Trek, focused on the U. S. S. Prometheus. I’m curious about this one as it does not have any long-term connection to a TV series (that I know of before reading it). I wonder how it will do without a stable of familiar characters.
Star Trek Titan Fortune of War – Book 10 in the Titan series. Titan is the ship under the command of William T. Riker from ST: The Next Generation. I am several books behind on this series, but I have enjoyed it from the beginning and have the remaining books on my TBR shelves.
Star Trek Waypoint Graphic Novel – This contains issues 1-6 from the Waypoint comic book line. While I collect one line of Star Trek comics, this is not one I am familiar with. I’d like to check this one out. It includes short stories set in the universes of all of the Star Trek traditional TV programs (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise)
The Art of Brush Lettering – I am completely fascinated by lovely, fancy handwriting. Probably because mine is abysmal. I would love to learn to do gorgeous work like this. I follow the artist/author, Kelly Klapstein on Instagram. I’m eager to see this in person to see if I would have any hope of learning brush lettering from this book.

Sacred Slow

REVIEW: The Sacred Slow by Alicia Britt Chole

“A holy departure from fast faith.” That is the sub-title for The Sacred Slow, new from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“Fast faith” is defined on page 4 as “a restless spirituality that often craves what is new and what is next in the recycled hope that the latest ‘it’ can satisfy an ache that can only be described as timeless.” The material is broken into 12 sections, and the content within each can be completed in a week. Readers who really want to embrace the “sacred slow” could work through one experience a week, stretching the content through one full year, really digging deeply into each experience.

Every experience has a reading and a “guided response.” The reader can decide to complete a guided response that is internal (thought-based) or external (an exercise or action step to complete). Obviously, you can also do both, especially if you are working through one per week. The author suggests just choosing one based on your time and opportunities. Exercises sometimes build on what was completed on an earlier step. For example, the first several exercises walk the reader through the completion of a “Life Scroll,” a worksheet included in the book.

The book includes a facilitator’s guide, a blank Life Scroll, and some personal inventory pages. The exercises are intended to be done prayerfully, listening for God’s input throughout the process. If you walk through these steps in your own mind and power, you will miss the point.

This would make a great study for an individual or for a group. I love the idea of one exercise per week to really take the material in slowly and dig deeply into what God would say to you through each one. With a new year almost here, this would be an fantastic resource to add to your quiet time in 2018.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and the folks at Handlebar for a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Walking With Miss Millie

REVIEW: Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

Summary


Alice does not want to be in Rainbow, Georgia. She wants to go home to Columbus, Ohio. How will her dad, who “hates” Rainbow, ever come back to them if they aren’t there?

But Alice’s grandmother is having memory issues. She needs help, so Alice and her mom and brother are in Rainbow for the foreseeable future.

Georgia in June, 1968, means hot and humid weather, “party” phone lines and racial tension. When Alice accidentally eavesdrops on her grandmother’s neighbor, Miss Millie, on the party line, she has to go apologize. That leads to daily walks with Miss Millie and her dog, Clarence. What starts as a burden becomes something Alice looks forward to as she gets to know their elderly African-American neighbor. And their talks help Alice learn some things about herself along the way.

Review


This story was perfection. The heart was present from page one. Alice is an earnest, thoughtful character. Like any good 10-year-old, she jumps to conclusions about folks at times, but she’s also teachable and honest. Miss Millie is wise. And the author does a terrific job of “showing” rather than telling how Miss Millie feels and what she thinks but doesn’t say. The entire cast of characters is fantastic, and I quickly fell in love with them.

The story centers on Alice and the move to Rainbow as well as what that move means to her relationship with her absent father. But it’s also about the evolution of race relations from the late 1800s to 1968. It’s about family and loss and faith. I cried several times in the story as the emotional pieces are pitched perfectly for the characters. I can’t recommend this highly enough!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

She's Still There Wellness Revelation

Book Shopping Suggestions – The 2017 Holiday Hint List Is Here!

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and Christmas is not far behind!

As you can imagine, I love giving books as gifts. Last year I pulled together a “Holiday Hint List” to help my readers find great books to give as gifts. You can look at it here.

I’ve created an all new list for 2017, too!  There are things on this list for everyone – board books and picture books for the little kids, middle grade and YA books for the older kids and teen, and some recommendations (both fiction, and non-fiction) for adults. Hopefully you will find some great gift ideas for the folks on your holiday gift list!

You can take look at the new list here: 2017 Neverending TBR Holiday Shopping Hint List rev

Please let me know if you have any questions! I love to help people find the perfect book.

Magic Misfits

BOOK NEWS: November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving week is here. I have so much to be thankful for – including you, my faithful readers. I hope The Neverending TBR has helped you find great books for yourself and for your family and friends.

If you are looking for book recommendations for your holiday shopping, come back this afternoon to see my 2017 Holiday Hint List. Lots of terrific books on the list this year.

It’s a small release week, so I’ll just display them in one grouping. Here are some of the new books coming out this week, just in time for the long weekend.

Books for Everyone!


Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates – Goldilocks with Pirates – what else do you need to know?! If I was still teaching, I would definitely be adding this one to my Fractured Fairy Tale unit.
My Lazy Cat – A little girl who is ALWAYS on the move decides to take a page from her cat’s book and have a do-nothing, lazy day. Sounds adorable! Looking forward to reading this one.
Zoey and Sassafras Caterflies and Ice – Book 4 in the Zoey and Sassafras early chapter book fantasy series about a scientifically-minded girl and her pet cat. These look adorable! Terrific for kids branching out into short chapter books.
Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners – Two girls, prepared to turn their middle school project into a cook book, run into trouble when they are paired with other people instead of with each other. This will be especially hard on Ana as her new partner doesn’t understand her “quirks” like her best friend does. This sounds like a terrific middle grade read!
The Magic Misfits – Actor Neil Patrick Harris tries his hand at writing for kids with this middle grade series debut. A group of young illusionists and magicians take on a criminal group of carnies. This is at the top of my list for this week! Early reviews have been very positive. I can’t wait to read this one!
My Life Is a Joke – The latest middle grade novel from James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library). When Jacky takes on extra responsibilities for home, she wonders where she could find the time for her love: performing in front of a crowd.
Pixar: A Pop-Up Celebration – This small but intricate book celebrates the magic of Pixar movies.
Not Now, Not Ever – This new book for teens and young adults centers on a girl who sneaks off to genius camp for a chance to win a scholarship to the one school she wants to go to. I LOVED this one and reviewed it last week. You can check that review out here.
Faith Journaling for the Inspired Artist – This Bible Art Journaling book is by Stephanie Ackerman, an artist I have followed for years. I have been reading about this for ages as she has compiled it; I can’t wait to see it in person.

Not Now Not Ever

REVIEW: Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Summary


Elliot Lawrence Gabaroche is expected to go to either the Air Force Academy (like the Lawrence part of the family) or go into Law like her dad (which means attending a summer mock trial camp).

But “Ever” Lawrence has been accepted to Camp Onward, a camp for genius students where she hopes to win a scholarship to Rayevich College so she can join their science fiction literature program.

While everyone thinks Ellie is doing what THEY want her to do, she hops a train to Oregon as Ever to pursue her own plans for the future.

Ever doesn’t count on her annoying cousin, Isaiah, showing up at the same camp. They have to pretend to be twins so no one at the camp catches on to their secrets – her real name, his real age, and the fact that neither set of parents knows where they are. If their parents find out, both kids will lose their chance at the scholarship and setting their own course for the future. Ever also doesn’t count on meeting a great guy, making terrific friends, or stumbling into a mystery.

Review


This was excellent! The voice was outstanding. Ever is smart and sharp and so funny. I was truly sad when the book ended and there was no more Ever.

This is the second book published by the author, Lily Anderson, and I have loved both of them. The writing is fantastic. Lots of great voice and terrific humor. Anderson is an author I will put on a “must buy” list because I really enjoy her style.

The cast of characters is quirky and fun. The interplay between the kids on Ever’s team was a hoot. There were lots of great geeky moments. I kept reading passages aloud to my family because I was enjoying the book so much. The scene where the team gets together for the first time, and the counselors give them a taste of what is to come, is one of my favorites.

I loved Ever’s quest for her own path while feeling pressure and expectations from her whole family. The camp scholarship contest was a great plot – it brought interesting characters together and threw in some nice twists and a little mystery. Everything clicked perfectly for me in this book. (Some language)

Many, many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books for an electronic review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reading this book was a delight!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥