Tag Archives: History

Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

HatchetTitle: Hatchet
Author: Gary Paulsen
Series: Brian’s Saga #1
Published: November 1986
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 186
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 8/10

I first read Gary Paulsen’s survival novel Hatchet back in fifth grade, I think, when we were starting out our real chapter book reading and discovering who we were ourselves. In the short novel, Brian became relateable for us young readers, and Paulsen succeeded in keeping our attention.

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Girl on Fire: Happy anniversary

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, August 20, 2015]

Today is Aug. 20. Historical events for today include:

• the American Civil War ended in 1866,

• NASA launched Voyager 2 into space in 1977,

• in 1988, a ceasefire was agreed upon after almost eight years of fighting in the Iran-Iraq War,

Continue reading Girl on Fire: Happy anniversary

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning ThiefTitle: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Published: July 2005
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages:
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 8/10

Recently, I’ve been reading so much literature written specifically for children and young adults I’m surprised my brain hasn’t melted a little.

But, to be honest, I am enjoying reading these novels that don’t make you think. One of those novels is Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, a Percy Jackson and the Olympians novel.

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Book Review: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien

Fellowship of the RingTitle: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: Lord of the Rings #1 and #2
Published: 1954
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages:
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 8/10

I love the Lord of the Rings. I’m so much of a nerd that last month at a bar in Des Moines a guy said to me, “One does not simply enter Mordor,” and I responded, “Obviously, one simply does.” He told me he was going to marry me and then I never saw him again.

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first installment of the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, a British author who died in 1973. It follows the story of Frodo, a hobbit from the Shire, who inherits a ring of immense power and must destroy it so Sauron does not take over Middle Earth.

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Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War ZTitle: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
Published: 2006
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pages: 342
From: Walmart
Rating: 8/10

When I first picked up Max Brooks’ novel World War Z from Walmart, I immediately thought of sitting in a dark movie theater, watching Brad Pitt run from a flood of zombies with his family. I was expecting a book similar to the movie, not one where the two are very different.

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Book Review: The Blessing Stone by Barbara Wood

Blessing StoneTitle: The Blessing Stone
Author: Barbara Wood
Published: 2004
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffith
Pages: 464
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 8/10

The first time I read Barbara Wood’s epic novel The Blessing Stone, I had kidnapped it from my aunt Kathy Vonnahme one holiday weekend, and finished it before we left Sunday. Needless to say, I loved that book.

So, because I had been in the mood to reread the brilliance that is Wood’s epic fantasy fiction, I had to buy it for myself.

After finishing The Blessing Stone, I remembered exactly why I loved it in the first place. It’s fiction, but takes on history through an almost fantastical lens, illuminating facets of time that people have forgotten, or want to know more about or just want to enjoy.

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Book Review: The Wave by Todd Strasser

The WaveTitle: The Wave
Author: Todd Strasser
Published: 1981
Publisher: Dell
Pages: 144
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 7/10

In the 1960s, a teacher in California experimented with his high school history class to explain how the mob mentality worked during World War II and the Nazi rule. The experiment succeeded, in more ways than one.

Todd Strasser dramatized the experiment and novelized it, turning it into something tweens can learn from.

The Wave, published in 1981, takes place in a high school history class, similar to the California teacher’s experiment. Laurie Saunders’s history class is learning about World War II, but no one in the class can grasp how everyone followed the Nazis without a word. Ben Ross, their instructor, decides to experiment with his students by adding structure to their day, making them answer questions a certain way and giving the class a name, the Wave.

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Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Title: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness
Published: 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 592
From: Walmart

The “paranormal romance” is now a thing, founded in the burst of popularity in young adult books based on magic, vampirism and the supernatural. Look at Barnes and Noble, the largest book store chain in America: they even have a “Teen Paranormal Romance” subsection in their young adult novel section. Clearly, it wouldn’t be long until there would be what I’ve dubbed the “adult paranormal romance,” beginning with Deborah Harkness’s novel A Discovery of Witches and continuing on with the sequel, Shadow of Night.

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Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of WitchesTitle: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Published: 2011
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 592
From: Walmart
Rating: 8/10

In 2011 Deborah Harkness, a historian, delved into the fantastic with a story of witches, vampires, daemons, and their lives mixing with humans and each other. This story was entitled A Discovery of Witches (2011), and became an instant hit.

Continue reading Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness