Category Archives: Contemporary

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles

TJ Burns — February 2018 Heart-wrenching, moving, and inspirational all at once. Who’d have ever thought I’d get involved in the story about a beauty pageant contestant? But this book has so much to offer. Vanessa’s aspirations go so much … Continue reading

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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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