Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is an interesting look at 2 sets of teenagers that are affected by a spell book that seems to have found them. Moira Fowley-Doyle’s chapters jump from character to character and at first I was annoyed since the thread of the story appears linear but not all at the same time. It took me awhile to warm to the characters, but once I did I loved the story. Olive, Rose, Rowan, Hazel and Ivy are the contemporary cast that are affected by the spell when so many of their things end up being lost. Bracelets, time, memories are all things that go missing.

Then diary entries from another set of characters start finding their way into their lives. As they try to piece everything together, the spellbook seems to find them and they dangerously cast the spell to find lost things in hopes that it will fix their lives. But with all magic, there are consequences.

At first the style of this novel bothered me since it was hard knowing how any of the characters knew or related to one another. But once the relationships became clearer, the story was fascinating and well told. Its a magical time of year and this was a great pre-Halloween read.

Read September 2017

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Dead and Breakfast

Kate Kingsbury’s Dead and Breakfast is a cute mystery set in a fictional town on the Oregon Coast. Melanie West and her spunky grandmother buy and are renovating an old house on the ocean that appears to be haunted. While removing wallpaper they come across a skeleton in a hidden chamber and their lives are put on hold. They cannot open their bed and breakfast until they’re allowed back into the crime scene and the small town police have bigger worries than a 10-plus year skeleton. So its up to the pair to find the killer so they don’t go broke before their opening day.

This was actually a cute, fun local read that I almost didn’t read because the cover is AWFUL! There’s a fake ghost and a weird cartoonish looking dog with the Inn in the background. The story deserves a better cover.

Read September 2017

The Lake House

In Kate Morton’s The Lake House, we meet members of the Edevane family 70 years after their baby brother mysteriously vanished. Sadie Sparrow is a detective on forced leave who’s staying with her grandfather on the Cornwall coast. The nearby Edevane family’s country estate piques her interested in its preserved derelict state. Family members have not returned to the estate since 1933 and the house, while wild on the exterior, seems to be a time capsule on the inside.

Along the way, we hear the history of many members of the Edevane family, including several who have died years ago. Guilt was a key component in many of the stories and it isn’t until the past is resurrected and the truth exposed can they once again feel free.

This was a well written mystery with many theories moving alongside each other until the truth is discovered, with many unexpected revelations after 70 years.

Great read!

Read September 2017

The Last Good Girl

In The Last Good Girl, Emily Shaprio disappears after a night at the college bar. Allison Leotta sets up the story really well with current chapters from the pov of the prosecutor Anna Curtis, as well as transcripts of vlogs that Emily did for a media class and transcripts from a disciplinary committee. The main suspect is Dylan Highsmith, a wealthy frat boy who had been accused of raping Emily months earlier.

As we follow Anna Curtis in her search for information about Emily’s past, Leotta shines the spotlight on how colleges hide the rape culture that is prevalent on this, and many other, college campus. Cover-ups, buy-offs, deflection, anything to help the young-man continue HIS education and not impact HIS future, especially if there’s a big enough donation.

Anna is desperate not to let the rapist win, to the point where its impacting her family and friends. There’s a nice twist at the end, but it really the social injustice within this novel that drew me into the story and kept reading.

Interesting, well-written read.

Read August 2017

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In the second Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,J.K. Rowling has Harry returning to Hogwarts in a flying car. Harry’s received warnings that he shouldn’t return to Hogwarts or he might die from a creepy little house elf, but of course Harry couldn’t imagine life without Hogwarts and his friends.

I read through this novel much faster than the first as my kids’ excitement about Harry Potter kept growing! This is a truly magical book where friendships are just as important as spell-casting.

The kids immediately had me diving into the third novel when we finished this one. I hope they’re taking note of what it means to be a hero, and standing up for what’s right and admitting when you’re wrong.

Great sequel!!

Read August 2017

The Identicals

The Identicals, by Elin Hildebrand, is the perfect summer read. I do enjoy her books as they transport me to the New England islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, where even the poor people are able to buy super local produce and seafood and have adventures around the islands. Of course, there’s also those with much more money traveling around as well.

In this novel, 2 identical twin sisters, who grew up as close as twins can, are forced to live with different parents after their separation. Its a little ridiculous, since the girls were in college at the time and could have remained closer, but this novel has them growing apart. There was a time when they once again relied on each other, but tragedy struck forcing them further apart. Upon the death of their father, the girls who think the other twin has an easier life, end up switching lives for the summer. Not secretly, they each retain their own identity but they trade responsibilities. Of course, there’s lots of family drama with their mother and one of their daughters forcing complications, but the story of the sisters finding themselves and each other again is sweet and goes down easily with a chilled glass of Sauvignon blanc.

Easy, fun read about family and beaches.

Read August 2017

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time was originally published in 1962. Hope Larsen adapted and illustrated this novel and published in 2012. I’ve not yet read the original, but I believe the text is comparable and the illustrations add another layer to the story.

This is a novel that I requested for my 8 year-old son to read. I recommend this to him and he read it in less than a day. Instead of waiting to get the original novel, I read the graphic novel in order to talk to him about it.

This novel follows a group of children who have to travel through time and space to save their father. Meg Murry is an ordinary child with an extraordinary brother Charlie. Their father has been missing for awhile and no one knows if he’ll return. Charlie befriends their strange neighbors and another schoolmate of Megs, all of which have strange abilities that help them communicate with other people. Its some sort of telepathy and ability to see the future combined with extreme empathy and the ability to hop through the wrinkles in space and time. The other world that they find themselves is a negative utopia with mind control and order being the goal.

Having been written in the 1960’s, there’s probably a glimpse into communism and the Cold War that I didn’t put much thought into while reading it. Its also a little similar to religions with one being knowing whats best for everyone, but I really read it with my 8 year-old in mind.

This was a fun, interesting read with a strong moral lesson that we need to stand up for what’s right and we all have the power to do that. I plan on reading the non-graphic novel after it comes, and I may put more effort into the symbolism at that point. Or maybe, I’ll just enjoy the read…

Read August 2017