Saturday, June 6, 2020

D-Day, The Beaches of Normandy

On this day, 76 years ago, Canadian, American, and British soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy to fight against tyranny. The battle on June 6, 1944 became known as D-Day. There were five beaches on which the soldiers landed, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. 4,414 men died on that day. Despite these casualties, that day was a turning point in World War II. The allied forces went on to free France and defeat the axis powers. I hope that during this current time of unrest and uncertainty, that we can remember these men, their courage, and the ideals they fought for.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

Sounder (c) 1969 by William H. Armstrong
Sounder by William H. Armstrong is a moving story about a boy and his dog. The boy is never given a name. The only important character with a name, is Sounder, the dog. He is a loyal, loving dog, who is badly injured while trying to protect his master, the boy's father, who is arrested for stealing a ham to feed his hungry family. The boy is unable to find his dog for a long time, but doesn't give up hope that somewhere, Sounder is alive. Finally, Sounder comes home, wounded, but alive. The boy and his dog make a strong pair as they go looking for the boy's father on various chain gangs. Meanwhile, the boy works hard to teach himself how to read, partly on his own, and partly with the help of a generous, altruistic teacher. Racism against the boy and his family is very prevalent in the book. But so are courage, caring, and love; from several characters, but especially from Sounder. 

I recommend this book to people who are willing to learn hard, uncomfortable things, and who enjoy stories of overcoming hardships, and stories about loving, loyal dogs.

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis is one of my most favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia. In this story, Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb are brought to Narnia by Aslan to help track down the lost prince, Prince Rilian who has been kidnapped by... Well, I shouldn't say, because that's a bit of a spoiler.
The kids have the help of a kind but pessimistic marshwiggle named Puddleglum, and start on their journey north to where they believe the lost prince was taken.

What happens next? Read the book and find out!

I recommend this book to young and old who enjoy clean fantasy with Christian alegory.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The View from Castle Always by Melissa McShane

View from Castle Always, The (c) 2019 by Melissa McShane
The View from Castle Always by Melissa McShane is an exciting fantasy about a young lady who wants answers about why her once loving forest home seems to be rejecting her. Setting out to find Castle Always, and hopefully, answers, she finds more than she bargained for when the castle seems to want her dead! But with help from the castle's other prisoner and a cat, maybe she can figure her way out! Maybe.

This book has intimate scenes in it, and is not appropriate for children.

DragonWatch: Master of the Phantom Isle by Brandon Mull

DragonWatch: Master of the Phantom Isle
(c) 2019 by Brandon Sanderson
Master of the Phantom Isle by Brandon Mull, the winner of the Whitney Award for middle grade this year, is a fun, frightening book that kids and adults would enjoy. Poor Seth has lost his memory, and doesn't know friend from foe. Meanwhile, Kendra is doing what she can to keep more dragon sanctuaries from falling. If the dragon sanctuaries fall, Celebrant, the dragon king, will take over the world and humans will be in big trouble!

Fans of Kendra and Seth who have followed them since Fablehaven, will love this new book that continues on their adventures and misadventures!

Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is such a fun little novella. It's entertaining to read around Halloween time with all ages since it's not super scary, but scary enough to be fun. Poor Ichabod Crane doesn't know what he's up against when he sets off for home after a harvest party at midnight. He's already sad because the girl he liked dumped him, but then his troubles are about to get worse, since something he doesn't expect is waiting for him in the woods!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Whitney Award Gala and 2019 Winners

This year, because of Covid-19, the annual Whitney Award Gala was virtual. I missed going in person, but I think the Whitney Award Committee and everyone involved in making it virtual did such a great job. I really loved what they did to make the virtual event so fantastic. Congratulations to them for making such a wonderful event, and congratulations to the finalists and winners!
The Categories, with their finalists were:

General
The Book of Abish by Mette Harrison
Muddy: Where Faith and Polygamy Collide by Dean Hughes
The Girl in Gray by Annette Lyon
Deborah: Prophetess of God by H.B. Moore
Whatever It Takes by Jessica Pack

Mystery/Suspense
Mistaken Reality by Traci Hunter Abramson
Sanctuary by Traci Hunter Abramson
Nest Egg by Josi Avari
Robin and Marian by Stephanie Fowers
Death in Focus by Anne Perry

Speculative
House of Assassins by Larry Correia
The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
To Kill a Curse by Jennifer Jenkins
The View from Castle Always by Melissa McShane
A Dragon's Fate by Daniel Swenson

Historical Romance
Miss Adeline's Match by Joanna Barker
The Paradox of Love by Teri Harman
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd
Suffering the Schot by Nichole Van

Romance
Hitching the Pitcher by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, and Heather B. Moore
Love Again at the Heart of Main Street by Meg Easton
Dream of the Next Door Doc by Brenna Jacobs
Finding Jack by Melanie Jacobson
Missed Kiss by Cassie Mae

Young Adult General
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell
Paul, Big, and Small by David Glen Robb
Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Mainee by Jeff Zentner

Young Adult Fantasy
Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg
Before the Broken Star by Emily R. King
Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields
An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley

Young Adult Speculative
Displaced by Bridget E. Baker
Harper by Jo Cassidy
The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie
Shattered Snow by Rachel Huffmire
Lovestruck by Kate Watson

Middle Grade
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak
Master of the Phanton Isle by Brandon Mull
The Obsidian Compass by Liesl Shurtliff
A Monster Like Me by Wendy Swore
The Vacant Realm by Mike Thayer

The winner of the General category was Dean Hughes!

The winner of Mystery/Suspense was Traci Hunter Abramson for her book, Mistaken Reality!

The winner of Speculative was Amy Harmon!

The winner of Historical Romance was, again, Amy Harmon!

The winner of Romance was Melanie Jacobson!

The winner of Young Adult General was Julie Berry!

The winner of Young Adult Fantasy was Breeana Shields!

The winner of Young Adult Speculative was Ally Condie!

The winner of Middle Grade was Brandon Mull!

Best Novel by a Debut Author was Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart!

Novel of the Year in Adult Fiction was Sanctuary by Traci Hunter Abramson!

Novel of the Year in Youth Fiction was Lovely War by Julie Berry!