The Perfect Place to Die
Author: Bryce Moore
Published: August 3, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Zuretta never thought she’d encounter a monster—one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. She had resigned herself to a quiet life in Utah. But when her younger sister, Ruby, travels to Chicago during the World’s Fair, and disappears, Zuretta leaves home to find her.
But 1890s Chicago is more dangerous and chaotic than she imagined. She doesn’t know where to start until she learns of her sister’s last place of employment…a mysterious hotel known as The Castle.
Zuretta takes a job there hoping to learn more. And before long she realizes the hotel isn’t what it seems. Women disappear at an alarming rate, she hears crying from the walls, and terrifying whispers follow her at night. In the end, she finds herself up against one of the most infamous mass murderers in American history—and his custom-built death trap.
This is simply a murder mystery with a tiny paranormal element. Unfortunately, it turns predictable relatively quickly. It’s also rather slow. I mostly enjoyed it so I’m glad I read it. But I’m not sure I can recommend it. However, that cover though. That cover almost pushed it up to 4 stars. Unfortunately, the “twist” which was actually obvious to everyone but the main character, brought it back down to 3. I just thought that Etta was so unrealistic. Too afraid to stand up to her abusive father, too scared to run away with her sister, too dumb to avoid the con woman her first day in Chicago, but then all of a sudden confident enough to stand up to Pinkertons, cops, the suspected killers … just not believable. So I can’t recommend it. I’m glad I read it, but the pros don’t outweigh the cons.
Ground Zero: A Novel of 9/11
Author: Alan Gratz
Published: February 2, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 29- September 4, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
It’s September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape — and what will the world be like when they do?
In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also learns something surprising about the roots of this endless war.
It just seems hard to believe that it has been 20 years since 9/11 happened and our world changed forever. It’s even harder to believe that there are those who will not have a memory of it and will just learn about it in the history books. Ground Zero by Alan Gratz is a book every middle schooler must read. Really everyone out there must read.
We have two time periods with two children the focus: 9-year-old Brandon on September 11, 2019 and 11-year-old Reshmina on September 11, 2019. The same day 18 years apart that end up being connected together. Brandon was suspended from school and is going to work with his father as dad cannot afford to take time off of work. Where Dad works is Windows on the World- a restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center… Reshmina and her twin brother Pasoon live in a small village in Afganistan and nearby there is a battle and Reshmina finds herself helping an injured American solider thus possibly putting her family and village in terrible danger.
Initially, I was more interested in Brandon’s story of experiencing that day from inside one of the towers, But soon I became just as entranced with Reshmina’s story. And when a common connection is realized, the reader feels so much more emotion. The short chapters alternate between Brandon and Reshmina and they each tend to end on cliff hangers which keep you reading.
Ground Zero is a powerful novel that brings back memories and emotions of that day. There is a 14-page author’s note that must be read as well. The author explains that there are a few liberties made for the story- but this is historical fiction and not non-fiction.
Gratz mentioned he tried to write a novel about 9/11 but it was never right for him. This novel was published earlier this year, in time for the 20th anniversary and I think it came at the perfect time. We must never forget what happened on that day 20 years ago and share the history for future generations, while Reshmina’s story shows what happens if events are never told.”
Though Ground Zero is written for the middle grades age group, everyone must read this book. Even both the front and back covers can bring out emotions. The front showing the destruction of the towers with a boy standing there and the back showing a picture of the twin towers before 9/11.
Ground Zero is very highly recommended.
The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Published: March 16, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 6-13, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is one that people have been talking about and one several people selected to read in June for Diverseathon. Two of my friends whose opinions I respect (Yami and Beccie) both read it and loved it so I decided to request the audiobook from my Libby app. It took two months for me to be able to get it, and I loved it as well!
From the book description this book did not interest me. But I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did listen to Beccie and Yami! We have Linus who is a stickler for the rules and he has also worked at his government job as a case worker in the same position for many years (This sounds so familiar!!! ) He is summoned by those at the top of DICOMY (The Department in Charge Of Magical Youth) who are known as Extremely Upper Management (OMG! That is such a government title!) Linus is given a new assignment: He is to spend a month at the Marsyas Island Orphanage, where there are just 6 children, but these are not just any magical children as they are ‘extra special’. One of the children is even the Anti-Christ…..
Cerulean Sea is just so much fun! You get attached to these children right away. My favorite child is Chauncey then followed very closely by Lucy. Everything is covered in this book, it is heart warming with some mystery in it with fabulous characters. Even Linus as our main character who is just an average nobody, he grows on you as he changes throughout the novel. This novel is about belonging, family of a different sort, and not hating or fearing what you don’t understand.
I listened to the audiobook version and highly recommend it. Narrated by Daniel Henning and he played each child with a distinct voice. His portrayal of Linus sounded similar to Ryan Reynolds, so I pictured a very serious Ryan Reynolds with glasses and slicked back hair as I listened. And I loved my picturing of Ryan Reynolds as Linus! (Hint Hint Hollywood: Give Ryan Reynolds this role when it becomes a film/series!)
This is a novel that everyone should read and love and maybe even learn something too!
“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”
The House in the Cerulean Sea is highly recommended.[Top]