book review nonfiction

Never Home Alone

This book is perfect for anyone high school age on up who have an interest in weird biology. Everything from Toxoplasma gondii which we already all try to ignore to the many, many little critters that we can’t see and I’m all skeeved out by now.

The microbes that live in hot water heaters and shower heads are particularly worrisome to me. I also enjoyed the chapter on the International Space Station. It is so exciting how most of the microbes caught a ride up there in the astronauts gut. You know, in a weird geeky way.

As a serial renovator the sections on moldy drywall were especially pertinent to me.

I’m planning on including parts of this book when my kid gets to high school Biology.

Caveat: Skip this if you or your kids are easily creeped out by the microscopic. I’d hate to see anyone facing a kid who won’t shower or touch the walls. 🙂

My thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn

book review YA fiction

This Mortal Coil

I’ve got some YA dystopia for you today. The Hydra Virus in this story is hands down the grossest most hardcore method of mass extinction ever. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that people explode and then float around in a giant death cloud, is it? I hope not, cause now you know.

There are so many twists that once you start to figure it out then you are wrong, and you don’t even mind because it is a brilliant twist. It’s fast-paced and somewhat plausible. I read it in a couple of days. It is gory, and usually, that’s not my jam, but I was okay with this as it suited the story.

Perfect for the science-loving teen in your world that likes a bit of gore mixed in with their teen romance drama.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

November 18, 2017- The Sequel, This Cruel Design is also available now! I’m on a long hold list at the library.

book review YA fiction

All the Walls of Belfast

This book won’t be published until March 2019, but I wanted to give you all a chance to use some of your holiday pre-order funds for some worth waiting for delayed gratification.

The easiest, laziest way to describe this story would be to say it’s an Irish West Side Story.

This story is much more history than teen drama and would be an excellent introduction for teens who may not know the history of Northern Ireland.

 Fiona and Danny were born at the same hospital, but Fiona’s Mom takes her to Michigan when she is two years old to save her living in what was then war-torn Belfast. When Fiona returns to stay with her Dad, she is sixteen years old. She slowly uncovers why her Mom took her so far away and had to come to terms with her family’s past.

Danny, on the other hand, has grown up in Belfast with a less than desirable home life. His struggles to forgive and live his life differently resonated with me. He knows why he and Fiona’s family are on different sides and I thought that the characters reactions to things were spot on considering the reality of their lives.

All the Walls of Belfast by Sarah Carlson

book review MG fiction

City of Ghosts

After Cassidy falls into a river, she starts seeing Jacob (who no one else can see), and it turns out she had a “near death” experience that would have been a sure death experience if (already dead) Jacob hadn’t saved her.

Cassie finds out pretty quickly that she can cross back and forth through the veil. Now, this sounds scary, but it is just the right amount of creepy for a middle-grade story. We listened to it on Audible in like three days. We had to know what would happen next.

In a way, it reminds me of The Graveyard Book. Jason has a lot of rules that he has to obey, and they mystify and intrigue Cassie. Her parents are ghost hunters, and so she already knows a bit after spirits and how to quickly tell if they are real or not.

Because I love everything Victoria Schwab writes, I was thrilled to have a middle-grade book that I could read with my 13yo. Add in that it is spooky to the max and set in Scotland and it was the perfect trifecta for us. Bonus points that Cassie is a photographer and comic book fan. It’s the kind of book that I’ll buy in book form also for re-reading every October or any month for that matter.

Note to friends: Declan gives it 10 million stars. So- high praise. Use your discretion with younger kids, but teens on up will love this one.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

book review nonfiction

Dreyer’s English

You might be a grammar geek if you chuckle at the cover of this book. It sets the tone perfectly. What if you aren’t a grammar geek and want to improve your writing? This book works for you as well. So funny that you won’t want to skip even the footnotes. I read it cover to cover in a couple of days and can see myself referring back to it as a reference book.
The publisher says it is the new Elements With Style and I’d agree. It is more of an everyman’s guide to English grammar. Even if you don’t write for school or work- you are for sure tweeting and emailing. I always tell my students that we are all writers. Being a capable writer will put you ahead in any situation.
Every writer has some bad habits, and Dreyer covers the most frequent errors in a way that makes me less cringy than just seeing all the red pen on my words. He sets the tone of a friend who may give your writing a run through with both humor and a bit of sarcasm.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
I am buying a copy for my library and hope to incorporate it into our homeschool high school grammar lessons.

Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

book review YA fiction

If You’re Out There

Is Zan being “ghosted” by her best friend, Priya? That is the question that you as the reader will struggle with throughout this story, Priya moved out to California and seemed happy on Instagram but has close to zero contact with anyone that she used to know.

Zan’s parents think that Priya may be re-inventing herself. Zan finds that hard to believe and starts her investigation. This YA mystery kept me glued to my Kindle as I sped read through a rainy, windy afternoon.

As a bonus, you get a love story side plot and a realistic, honest portrayal of the adults in her life.

I’d hand this to kids in the 8th grade and up.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

March 5, 2019