The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This is a space where we can applaud the books we have loved or bemoan the ones that have let us down. Way, way, down.

“The covers of this book are too far apart.” – Ambrose Bierce






June 2019 Julie’s review of Refugee, by Alan Gratz


This is the 2019 Saratoga Reads! Junior book. I was following 3 voices (all from different decades and countries) through their harrowing escape, frantic homelessness, and eventual heartbreaking disillusionment over leaving the homeland for a “better place”.  The thing is, it’s really hard to keep switching voices with every new chapter and try to be reunited with the compelling journey from 15 pages ago. I mean, whenever I’m 150 pages into a book and then realize I should’ve kept a notebook….I start thinking, “Wait a minute. Shouldn’t the author help me to NOT NEED a notebook? Is that great writing if I’m so easily sidetracked by the other 2 stories?” Also, this book just HAD to get political. It kind of takes away from the impact when you can smell an agenda, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, I felt a great deal of empathy for the refugee children and found it easy to mourn/rejoice right along with them.

May 2019 Julie’s review of Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan

Image result for echo by pam munoz ryan

You’ll have a case of the feels before this VERY LONG book is over.

The harmonica is what links these 3 stories together, so here is an amazing video:

A noteworthy quote from this book is:

“Your fate is not sealed. Even in the darkest night, a star will shine, a bell will chime, a path will be revealed.”

This 585 page book was actually 3 books in one.  After reading the first story, I was determined to close the book and give up because it just felt like all my hopes were dashed.  So glad I stayed with it!!! You will be, too!

May 2019 Julie’s review of Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DeCamillo



Image result for book cover Raymie Nightingale

My reaction to finishing the book was:

One theme song for this book might be:

One character who would have fit perfectly in this book is:

Image result for honey boo boo

So, here’s the scoop: While this book wasn’t horrible, I certainly had higher expectations considering how much I have enjoyed this author’s other work.  Turns out it was kind of  “meh”.  Short chapters, easy to turn the pages, just didn’t really have a hook that makes you need to figure out how it will all come together. Swing and a miss on this one, Kate DeCamillo.