Welcome to my blog. I document my reading with reviews for kids and grown ups. Hope you have a nice stay!

January New Release Round Up

January New Release Round Up

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One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep up with the book release calendar and of course to put some plugs in for my favorite books!

Mix Science Fiction

with Korean mythology and you get the Dragon Pearl. Thirteen year old Min sneaks away from her home world to investigate her older brother’s disappearance and supposed desertion from the Space Forces. She is also a fox with special powers. Most of the people in this universe have different abilities and appear as a human though they are different animals such as tigers and dragons.
Min can shape-shift into other people as well as inanimate objects. When she arrives on her brother’s ship, Min assumes the identity of a deceased cadet whose ghost wants her to find out who is responsible for his death. Min is not the only supernatural being aboard. The Space Forces, pirates, and mercenaries are all looking for the Dragon Pearl, a mythical object that can create and/or destroy worlds and it is quite the adventure!

This book starts right where the last left off

and Oliver is about to be sent to the colonies for the crime of stealing. Many of the other characters sentenced to be slaves in the colonies committed crimes that would result in community service today. The age of the convicts ranges from 6-80! Most (like Oliver) broke the law purely out of survival instincts. But, such is the reality of the 1700s. England needed labor in the Colonies, and this was an excellent way to supply the farmers with the workforce they needed.

I like this series of historical fiction; it sounds like you are reading dinkens if his language was modernized. It is a cold, cruel world where mistakes can be deadly and it was every man for himself.

Like all of Avi’s books this immerses you in what it must have been like to live at that time. It isn’t sensationalized but it is an honest look into societal norms. This is the kind of books where it takes me forever to read it aloud, because we keep stopping to discuss the events, or to Google a map or law. So, really the best kind of read aloud.

Homeschool Note: I’m adding both books on to my historical fiction list for American History. I was planning on an American centered year in 9th grade, so I’ve got some time to work on my book list and get it up on my Amazon page soon.


I’ll admit that going into this book I had a couple of concerns:

Didn’t Shackleton die on one of these voyages? Was this the one?

70 dogs on board? I’m feeling worried for them.

1 cat? That doesn’t sound good, it is too cold for cats.

I think my knowledge of historical explorations needs expanding.

This is my favorite type of nonfiction book as it reads like a novel and since I woefully lack in historical knowledge on this front, it proved to be a page turner for me. I was only going to start it before bed and ended up staying up late to read the entire book.

As it turns out, this was his third expedition, and the Endurance ends up getting locked up in the ice. The men have to abandon ship and go a pretty long way on the ice before being able to get their lifeboats into open water. It had me on the edge of my seat.

Goodreads tells me that there are two other books in this series and I’ll be adding them to our TBR lists here at home.

Overall a thumbs up, lots of detail where there should be and the sad kind of parts are treated as the matter of fact survival situation that these men were in.

The Darkwood Academy

(how sinister is that?) accepts six clones to enroll in their prestigious academy. The clones were made out of the public eye by a scientist who used the cord blood that had been banked at birth- without the parent’s knowledge. Weirdly, out of the whole world a million schools some of the regular human teens go to school with their clones. Huh. This book reminded me of that movie where all the clones were on an island until their body parts were needed? I checked- it was called The Island. No, the plot is not the same, but clones are existentially wondering how they fit in with humans, and their romances are key plot points in both.

Anyhow, Emmaline Chase lost her best friend to suicide and now has to go to class with his clone and although she has some conflicted feelings about all that they do have a relationship. The mystery is much more the main plot, and the romance is an aside.

It was twisty enough to hold my attention, and I hope there is a two-book deal as this story ends without wrapping things up.

Overall, a thumbs up from me on all fronts except the end. I need closure!

My Big Critical Thinking Co. Book Review Post

My Big Critical Thinking Co. Book Review Post

Homeschool Week Seventeen/ New Schedule

Homeschool Week Seventeen/ New Schedule