Thursday, April 18, 2019

Spearhead by Adam Makos

This is an amazing book! You don't even have to be a fan of non-fiction or history to enjoy this read. With Spearhead, Adam Makos has created a character-centric piece of action that follows the Third Armored Division as it rolls across Europe in the closing months of World War II.
More specifically, Spearhead follows the daily life of tank gunner Clarence Smoyer as he and his tank crew face the Germans in the final days of the war. Smoyer's tale takes place as the Third Armored Division tries to keeps the Germans from breaking out of France; gets caught up in the Battle of the Bulge; and, makes a dash to try and cross the Rhine River before the Germans can set up a strong enough defense.
At this time, late 1944 and into 1945, even though the United States was on the offensive, our tank troops found themselves out-gunned and out-armored by the Germans. Smoyer's crew is a testament to that as some of its members are wounded or killed throughout the book. Many of Smoyer's fellow tankers also faced the same casualties. The book can be very graphic at times as combat has never been very gentle.
Makos' writing is lively, detailed and very well researched. There are many twists and turns for Smoyer and his fellow soldiers and Makos captures them with page-turning excitement. The climax of the book takes place on the streets of Cologne, Germany, with many amazing tales being interwoven by the author.
Makos' after-the-war follow-up is just as good as he documents Smoyer's return to Cologne in 2017 to retrace his steps and to heal some very old wounds that had been haunting him in recent years. Spearhead is a very strong piece of writing that pays fitting tribute to the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

On the anniversary of his wife Miriam’s death, Arthur Pepper was sorting through her possessions and found a gold charm bracelet in one of her boots.  On the elephant charm was an engraved phone number.  Intrigued, Arthur called the number and begins to learn about Miriam’s life before they met.  The bracelet also contains charms of a tiger, a book, a paint palette, a heart… Each of them reveals a significant point in Miriam’s life which in turn leads Arthur to travel aboard.  The journey gives Arthur a new perspective and possibilities.  It is a good read.  I look forward to reading Patrick’s new book, The Library of Lost and Found.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Lost Stone (The Kingdom of Wrenly Series) by Jordan Quinn

In the Lost Stone, we meet Prince Lucas, a lonely 8 year-old boy who longs to make friends and go on adventures. Clara, the daughter of the queen's seamstress, knows the kingdom well and becomes fast friends with Lucas!  When Queen Tasha's emerald goes missing, the king offers a handsome reward.  Lucas and Clara team up to explore all the lands of Wrenly.  They encounter fairies on the island of Primlox, trolls on the island of Burth, dragons on the island of Crestwood, wizards on the island of Hobsgrove, and finally... Mermaid's Cove!  Do Lucas and Clara outsmart the tricky trolls?  Are they able to nurse a baby dragon back to health?  Do they ever find the lost emerald?  Check out this fun series that is perfect for emerging chapter book readers or can be read aloud to a younger audience.  The chapters are short and most every page is illustrated. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Small Steps by Peg Kehret

     Small Steps is an autobiography written by author Peg Kehret.  In Small Steps, Kehret shares her 9 month journey with polio.  The story starts in choir as Peg notices her thigh muscle start to jump and twitch.  She then falls as she begins to walk home for lunch.  Like any other teenager, she doesn’t want to share with her mother that she isn’t feeling well as she would miss out on the homecoming festivities that would be taking place that afternoon.  Her mother catches on and she is sent to bed.  This leads to being diagnosed with three types of polio and a 9 month journey of recovery at Sheltering Arms Hospital in Minneapolis, MN.

     I have read this book at least four time and I love it a little more each time!  Kehret writes in such away that you part of the story and want to be friends with Peg and the other girls in room 206.  Take a chance and read this book…you won’t be disappointed!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How To Amaze Your Daughter by Raphaele Vidaling

This book is filled with crafts, recipes, and scientific like experiments. Sometimes I enjoy doing a craft or two and I really enjoyed this book. I can easily see me making the little paper dresses on the clothes line, the pebble people, and the shaving cream paint creations. Fairy houses also look fun to me. The food related ones would be appreciated by my little granddaughter.
     Now, my daughter was also looking through this book as it was sitting on the end table at my house. She was reading aloud to me from the section that had the experiments and magic tricks—I’m not sure about that rubber egg?!  She also kind of liked the mermaid costume. Anyway… fun to look at even if you don’t end up doing any! If you have boys, the library also has How To Amaze Your Son.