Review/ Return To Fear Street: You May Now Kill The Bride – R. L. Stine

Review/ Return To Fear Street: You May Now Kill The Bride – R. L. StineYou May Now Kill the Bride (Return to Fear Street, #1) by R.L. Stine
Published by HarperTeen on July 24, 2018
Pages: 344

NEW Fear Street stories with a retro look, perfect for fans of Stranger Things!
Two sisters, divided by time. Each with a terrible resentment she can barely contain.
Two Fear family weddings, decades apart... Each bride will find that the ancient curse that haunts the Fears LIVES ON. It feeds off the evil that courses through their blood. It takes its toll in unexpected ways, and allows dark history to repeat itself.
In this all-new Fear Street story, family ties bind sisters together—till DEATH do they part.

I have always been a reader.  I love books; the smell of them, the look of them, the feel of them.  When I look back to my childhood and teenage years, what I read depended on my moods.  During my teens, I discovered R.L. Stine and his series called Fear Street.  My book case was lined with dozens of these novels.  They brought excitement and thrill to my reading.  I couldn’t put them down and yet I knew that I should go to sleep.  But, once the lights were out, sleep did not come.  Instead these stories came to life.  I saw heard the stranger in the closet, saw the monster under the bed.

The “Goosebumps” series followed in later years.  By then I had moved on to reading romances.  The real sappy stuff that I hoped one day would happen to me.  I longed for my knight in shining armor or my karate ninja to the rescue me, but that’s another story.

Recently, I found a book called “Return to Fear Street: You May Now Kill The Bride” by R.L. Stine.  Did I dare take a step into my past and read a book that I knew full well would cause me nightmares?  Yes, I did.  With his natural well-written narration and details to suspense, R.L. Stine has not lost his touch.

Two sisters, two weddings, generations apart.  By reading this novel you will enter a world where curses know no boundaries of time.

Great reading for Halloween or any time of the year, prepare yourself to be shocked.  You’ll never guess what happens next.  Go ahead, read the story, I dare you.

Review/ Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded

Review/ Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically MindedMiss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 21, 2017
Pages: 368

Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.
Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her—but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?

I was looking forward to reading this novel for quite a while.  I’d pick it up and place it back on my shelf.  I wanted to bask in the delight I was expecting to feel when I read this story.  However, my anticipation fell short.

I thought this story had the makings of something fantastic: a school for girls where magic is taught, kingdoms, snakes, and wizards to contend with.  Yet, I couldn’t get into the story.  Let me back track a little.

The story starts with a bang.  It is fast paced and full of excitement, however, I felt like I was starting to read the story in the middle of a book rather than at the beginning of one.  I checked twice to see if I was reading the sequel of this story, figuring that I had missed the ending of the first book.  Frustrated with the opening, I read on.

The main character is a strong and bold young woman who stands up for herself.  This is counter to the school’s training and causes many problems for her.  However, her personality and gumption is what is needed to pass the tests and make it to the end of the book.  As much as these qualities make for a great and powerful main character, I couldn’t relate to her.  I also felt that too much was going on without really understanding what it is that was happening.  I felt like I was reading in a whirlwind.

Perhaps, it is I who didn’t get the story.  Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read this adventure.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has read it and let me know what you think.  I do give books a second chance and I will be re-reading it.  Maybe my opinion of it will change.  Presently, I was disappointed with the story.

Review/ A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander

Review/ A Properly Unhaunted Place by William AlexanderA Properly Unhaunted Place by Kelly Murphy, William Alexander
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on August 7, 2018
Pages: 208

From National Book Award–winning author William Alexander comes “a fun and fast-paced supernatural mystery with secret depths” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Rosa Ramona Díaz has a very special talent. She comes from a family of librarians who specialize in ghost appeasement. So she can’t understand why her mother has moved them to Ingot, the world’s only unhaunted town. What are they supposed to do there, with no poltergeists to quiet and no specters to soothe? Frankly, Rosa doesn’t think anyone should want to live in a place where the biggest attraction is a woefully inaccurate Renaissance Festival.
But Jasper Chevalier has always lived in Ingot, working at the festival while his parents hold court. Jasper has never seen a ghost, and can’t imagine his unhaunted town any other way…until an angry apparition thunders into the fairgrounds and turns Ingot upside down. Jasper is astonished…and Rosa is delighted.
Mist is building in the hills, and something otherworldly is about to be unleashed. Rosa will need all her ghost appeasement tools—and a little help from Jasper—to try to rein in the angry ghosts in this hilariously spooky adventure.

What does a young reader read when they want to read a book about ghosts but not anything that is too terrifying?  I found a perfectly proper book for kids who like to read about ghosts but prefer something not too haunting.  “A Properly Unhaunted Place” by William Alexander would be the book that you are looking for.

Rosa finds herself in a town that is completely unhaunted.  Not one creepy or ghastly thing about it.  She misses her old life, her old ways, and can’t wait to leave.  Her mother’s new job in a ghost-less town makes Rosa completely miserable.

Amid her brooding, Rosa meets Jasper, a local, on his way to the town’s annual medieval festival. This is a summer long party that the town holds in remembrance of its past.  What the townspeople don’t realize is that they don’t remember the true past nor the ghosts that belonged to it.

As this forgetfulness curse on the town weakens, Rosa finds herself in charge of helping a town she does not care for.  Simultaneously, Jasper is torn between hepling his town and leaving it the way it is, properly unhaunted, the way he likes it.

For readers ages 10 and up, this is an enjoyable read that isn’t too haunting or ghostly for our sensitive readers.  A great read with Halloween approaching.

Review/ The Boundless

Review/ The BoundlessThe Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
Published by HarperTrophy on March 10, 2015
Pages: 336

Will Everett has always wished for an adventure. Little does he know that his adventure starts the moment he boards the Boundless. There is a murder, and now Will must protect a key that can unlock the train's hidden treasures. Villians are fast on his heels and strange creatures are lurking outside the windows as the Boundless hurtles across the country. Together with Maren, a gifted escape artist, and Mr. Dorian, a circus ringmaster with amazing abilities, Will must save the Boundless before someone else winds up dead.
His adventure may have begun without him knowing . . . but how it ends is up to Will.

Ready or not, school has started.  Along with this great adventure for our children comes great amounts of homework.  Homework may include…the dreaded book report.  It is challenging to get most kids to do their homework.  Add a book report and the challenge becomes even more difficult.  However, I have a solution.  “The Boundless” by Kenneth Oppel is a FANTASTIC novel for a book report or presentation.  For students in grades 6, 7, and 8, this is a book that they will enjoy reading AND sharing with classmates.  I absolutely loved reading this book and so did my husband, a train enthusiast and adventure seeker.

Situated during the final stages of construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, “The Boundless” adds a bit of history to a fiction novel.  Not a lot of history to bore you, but just the right amount to include in those reports.  It really helped stage the novel and shared insight into the attitudes of many individuals involved with the railway.  A young reader may not have known this history, and the author did not take this back-ground information for granted.  The setting is in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, majestic and breath-taking, dangerous and foreboding.

On its maiden journey, “The Boundless” is the most magnificently built machine of its time.  The rich, famous, and most important individuals are embarking on a ride of a lifetime.  True to those times, classes amongst the people decided your place along the train cars with the owner of the train in the first car and the travelling circus at the very back.

Young Will accompanies his father on this journey of all journeys where it becomes apparent that people are not who they say they are and more importantly, lives are traded for valuable items.  Will must save his father’s life, but who can he trust? Men in suits or the oddities from the travelling circus.  Can wits, tricks, and magic save the day?  Can Will truly count on his new friends?

A fast-paced mystery aboard a moving train on new tracks in the mountains that may or may not be filled with snow monsters keeps the readers flipping the pages to read on and immerse themselves in this journey.  I could not put this book down!

Ready for the ride of your life? Read, “The Boundless” and get ready to have your breath taken away.

Review/ The Road to Ever After

Review/ The Road to Ever AfterThe Road to Ever After by Moira Young
Published by Puffin Books on October 17, 2017
Pages: 240

Part Benjamin Button, part Harold and Maud, part Brian Selznick and part Neil Gaiman, this is a unique, magical story that will draw readers in and make them fall in love with both characters.
Davy David is a thirteen-year-old orphan, who lives in the bushes in a town ruled by a strict minister, Reverend Fall. A talented artist, Davy loves to draw pictures of angels in the dirt, in the early hours of the morning before the townspeople are awake. He spends his days on his own, except for a small dog, who has attached himself to Davy, often going to the library to find inspiration for his pictures of angels. One day, after chasing after a ball for some of the town's boys, he finds himself in the yard of the old boarded-up museum, now rumoured to be the home of a witch. The witch is Miss Elizabeth Flint, an elderly woman who has a proposition for Davy: drive her to her childhood home, where, it turns out, she has made the decision to die.

Davy loves to sketch.  He is talented and his ways are unique.  He sketches using brooms and twigs.  The dry sand that he walks upon is his canvas.  Davy sketches angels.  His favourites are the archangels.  It is while sketching that Davy’s life changes forever.  This is how the story begins and what a beautiful tale Moira Young has to tell.

Davy befriends an elderly lady named Miss Elizabeth Flint.  She needs a ride to her childhood home and she has decided that Davy would suit her just fine.  Davy is not a willing participant.  However, life has a way of changing the circumstances surrounding you.  Along with a dog named, George, Davy drives this cantankerous old bitty to her destination.

Through chance encounters, the story develops with one adventure leading to another.  Perhaps, chance has nothing to do with it.  Maybe this journey was written in the stars a long time ago and a few angels were needed to complete the quest.

Touching and heart-felt, readers ages 12 and up will relate to Davy and cheer him on.  Davy’s courage to face the unknown in order to fulfill the wish of a friend is exemplary.  A wonderful story to share with anyone.  Dreams do come true and, sometimes, with a little help from and angel or two.

Review/ The Kidnappers

Review/ The KidnappersThe Kidnappers by Willo Davis Roberts
Published by Aladdin on January 26, 2016
Pages: 208

This bestselling classic novel about bullying gone awry from three time Edgar Award–winning author Willo Davis Roberts is a “fast-paced mystery [that] unfolds with suspense and excitement” (School Library Journal).
I didn’t like Willie Groves, but I didn’t hate him enough to want someone to kidnap him.
Famous last words. Joey Bishop soon finds himself face-to-face with the kidnappers—and his archenemy—in this fast-paced story that will leave you glued to the edge of your seat.

Sometimes I find a real bargain book.  Not the 50% off kind of bargain but the “I’m going for $2.00” bargain. With prices like these, it is also a risk as to what kind of book it really is.  Will it be any good?  Why is it so inexpensive?  Well, “The Kidnappers” by Willo Davis Roberts was one such book on the bargain table for a mere $2.00, and…I lucked out!  It’s a great read!

Perfect for any late elementary school reader, this fast-paced kidnapping drama will keep you on your toes and your fingers doing the page flipping.

When Willie Grooves, a.k.a., the bully, is kidnapped, it is up to Joey to save the life of a kid who basically wants to pulverize him.  What should he do?  Joey doesn’t think twice and tries to get everybody and anybody to listen to him.  The problem, Joey likes to tell tales and this time he cried wolf one too many times.

Will Joey be able to get the help he needs in time to rescue his nemesis?   Will Joey have a change of heart?  Will Joey be able to untangle himself and his enemy from the grasp of the kidnappers?  Don’t miss out reading this exciting adventure!

Books for the Season of Autumn

Since Jennifer’s last blog post of recommendations of books for babysitting did so well Jennifer has decided to do one for the fall season. So here is her suggestions for some fall books. We hope you enjoy this and get some ideas to read this fall.

Summer has finally decided to bow out and autumn has blown in with its chilly winds.  The leaves are showing off their multicolour coats and cinnamon and pumpkin spices linger in the air.

Living in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving during the month of October.  Therefore, many of our autumn traditions are combined with those of Thanksgiving.   For example, every year, the whole family meets up at our favourite apple orchard.  We hitch a hay ride through the orchard and then pick and eat apples to our hearts’ content.  Apple donuts and apple fritters are consumed on our way to the car.  A quick stop at the farmer’s house where we choose pumpkins that will soon become jack o’ lanterns.  Seasoned veggies are purchased at great prices and with cars full, and bellies content, we all head over to my parent’s home where Thanksgiving dinner will be devoured in the hours to come.  I wouldn’t change this for the world.

Despite the ages of my children, 14 and 11, this time of the year gathers us together to reminisce in childhood picture books and stories of thanks.  I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a few of the books we read year after year and has become a part of our autumn tradition.


 “The Falling Leaves” by Steve Metzger and illustrated by Jill Dubin is an all-time favourite.  My kids still cheer for Yellow Hickory.  Your kids will too.  Thanks to the wind, nothing is as the other leaves had anticipated.


“Leaves” by David Ezra Stein beautifully illustrates the changing seasons through the perspective of a little bear.

Thanks for Thanksgiving

“Thanks for Thanksgiving” by Heather Patterson and Mary Jane Gerber is a beautifully illustrated book about a family’s Thanksgiving traditions.  It is similar to that of our own which is most likely why it is a favourite.

Thanksgiving Day in Canada

As my children got older and understood more, I added “Thanksgiving Day in Canada” by Krys Val Lewicki and illustrated by Ana Auml to our autumn selection of books.  Narrated by grandparents, this book is informative and historical surrounding the customs of Thanksgiving. I would read this one to children in grades three and up.

In a couple of weeks, these books will be read, if they haven’t already.  I am grateful that my children still appease me in this tradition, for I know, as they grow, traditions will need to change and grow, too.  Happy Thanksgiving. –

What are some of your favorite fall books?