Bookshelf

Book Reviews

Through my work as a school librarian, I am often found with my nose in a book.  It is a fantastic way to escape the world around us and helps to feed the soul.  

Below are some of my book reviews for anyone seeking recommendations.

You will note that I mostly read children's books due to my occupation.

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Look Both Ways

by Jason Reynolds

Shortlisted for the 2021 Carnegie medal, this book is a delight from beginning to end.  Jason Reynolds takes the reader through one afternoon in the life of a wide variety of children who are making their journey home from school.  The characters are so richly developed, you can fell them as you dip into their home lives.  Full of heart, humour and sensitivity, the many short stories are beautifully linked as you invited to explore how there is more to each person that what can initially be seen on the surface. 

Thoroughly recommended and perfect for 9-12 year olds.

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The Storm Keepers' Battle

by Catherine Doyle

The final part in this epic fantasy trilogy does not disappoint.  As a fan of the first two books, I was itching to get my hands on this and was instantly absorbed.

The story starts as the last book left off, right at the start of the ultimate battle for the island of Arranmore, with Fionn and his friends thrown into the lead.  As they battle the darkness of Morrigan, they rely of their friends, the island families and a return of legends to survive.  

This trilogy sits firmly among my favourites and I would put this in the hands of any fantasy or Harry Potter fan.  I loved it!

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The Giver of Stars

by Jojo Moyes

I do not often dip into adult historical fiction, but after having this book recommended to me, I am glad I did.

Admittedly, I am somewhat swayed by the subject matter as the story follows the horse-back librarians of Kentucky during the Great Depression.  The plucky strong female leads absorb the reader into their troubled home lives while taking us on an adventure delivering books to isolated communities.  

Inspired by true events, the passion to teach others the love of reading while facing their own struggles is heart-warming.  

A beautiful novel that is full of soul.

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Q

by Christina Dalcher

This is another book that came to me as a recommendation from a fellow Librarian.  

It is a dystopian warning of a future where everyone is defined by their level of intelligence.  It shows how small decisions and persuasions made by those in power can influence a huge shift over time, starting with a tiered education system and leading to something far more sinister.  All in the pursuit of creating a superior and perfect society.

As the reader follows the story of a mother who is faced with decisions over the future of her children, the story can be distressing at times and leaves echoes with you as you question whether this could happen in a civilised society.

Excellent storytelling

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The Black Flamingo

by Dean Atta

Oh, I love, love, love this book.

A young adult coming-of-age story told through the protagonists own poetry, it is fierce and beautiful.

Michael is struggling to find his identity as he joins a drag club.  He battles his own fears of what others might think of him and forms friendships that give him the support to come out to the world as himself.

It is an absolute delight to read from the first page as Dean Atta masterfully creates Michael's inner voice, building his life around the reader until you are left cheering along with him at the end.

Recommended for YA and a must for anyone looking for LGBTQA fiction.

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Amari and the Night Brothers

by B B Alston

A explosive start to what promises to be an exciting fantasy series.

I really enjoyed this and was completely lost in the pages, only coming up for something to eat when I was prompted to.  B B Alston has developed strong characters and a brilliant fantasy world, drawing on a mix of imagination, myths and legends.  With family and friendship at its heart, and full of magic and adventure, I might even say that this series has the potential to be better than Harry Potter.

I can imagine this book being checked out the library almost as soon as it is returned with cries of "when is the next one coming out?"

On a serious note, I hope we are not left waiting for too long for the sequel!