Category Archives: Contemporary

Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens

TJ Burns — September 23, 2017 Laugh-out-loud, smart, creative, action-packed, middle-grade adventure! Emily and the Spellstone claims to be a middle grade novel, but there is wit enough to capture and captivate an older audience as well. I read this … Continue reading

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Maddie & Sayara by Sanjyot P. Dunung

TJ Burns — August 20, 2017 My 10-year-old daughter gave it 4/5 points, but I have to give it 2.5-3/5 points. We both agree with the message: Girls have a right to be treated with respect and as equals to … Continue reading

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The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

TJ Burns — January 2017 Wow! That was a difficult read. But I’m so glad I pushed through. The Bone Sparrow is amazing — tragic, heart-breaking, tear-jerking… yet hopeful, showing the power of friendship, family, love, story-telling, and remembering. I … Continue reading

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The Big L Hotel by Sjoerd Kuyper

TJ Burns — June 21, 2017 Fantastic! Creative! Refreshingly original! Surprises at every turn (and there were a lot of turns)! Kos is a sympathetic, interesting, and entertaining character — I loved following his thoughts and being privy to his … Continue reading

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Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery by Jill Diamond

TJ Burns — February 11, 2017 I had a wonderful time reading this with my 9-year-old daughter! We both loved the mystery and the puzzle-solving. I was so proud that my daughter solved the riddle, and the mystery, before the … Continue reading

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The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

TJ Burns — January 23, 2017 Well, huh. I have to say, in a weird way, I really enjoyed this book. I was frustrated to no end at the stupidity of some of the characters’ choices, especially Billy’s. But because … Continue reading

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Alterations by Stephanie Scott

TJ Burns — December 2016 Alterations is an entertaining and refreshing new take on the age-old “Sabrina” story. In the original Sabrina story, Sabrina goes off to learn how to “be a lady” — I like much more the idea … Continue reading

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Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

TJ Burns – November 1, 2016 Fantastico! Brava! Bravo! Encore! Zugaben! …and all that good stuff! Quirky, interesting characters! Emma, Stanley, Lulu, Josh, Brandon, Cooke, Wick, Haddock, and the bard himself — this was definitely a character driven story. Emma … Continue reading

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The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

TJ Burns – November 5, 2016 The Seventh Wish is so much more than I expected. I started reading, and immediately I was captivated by the characters. I thought it was a fun, magical middle grade story, so I went … Continue reading

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Beast by Brie Spangler

TJ Burns — October 10, 2016 Beast is a creative and original twist on the traditional “Beauty and the Beast” story. In the original story, Belle is able to overcome physical barriers and fall in love with the person inside, … Continue reading

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