The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place

the grave

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place
Flavia de Luce: Book 9

Alan Bradley
Delacourt Press, 2018

From the back of the book, “In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder – although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.”

Well, I’m glad the author has allowed Flavia to get back to what she does best – being a busybody and solving murders. For a couple of books, he’s sent her off on tangents that had me wondering if the original Flavia I fell for so long ago would ever return – and she did! This mystery is a good one – one that has so many potential suspects, I couldn’t figure it out.

There is much to love about this story and a few not-so-good points – love the new environs, lots of quirky new characters and Dogger plays an important role in solving the mystery (and, we get a closer look at who Dogger is and what makes him tick!). There’s only a couple of negative things that really aren’t worth mentioning; however, – **SPOILER ALERT**- I can’t believe the author killed off Flavia’s father and then just brushed over it in the first chapter. He should have written a whole book on that alone!

But, all in all, I enjoyed the book and the mystery. Flavia is a star in my books!

Rating 4 out of 5 for an outstanding mystery series!!



The Bad Guys

bad guys a

The Bad Guys

Aaron Blabey
Scholastic, 2017

From the back of the book, “The Bad Guys…They’re scary and dangerous and well … just BAD. But these guys want to be HEROES. And they’re going to prove it by breaking every last dog out of the pound. The Bad Guys are ready to do some good … whether you want them to or not!”

Mr. Wolf decides he’s tired of being a bad guy so he finds some very reluctant recruits to help him become one of the ‘good guys’. Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Piranha are very skeptical about being ‘good guys’ but they give it a go with hilarious results! This graphic novel for youngsters is laugh out loud, roll on the floor funny! The bit with setting the dogs free was funny, but, the best part was the gang trying to rescue a kitten in a tree! Can you imagine being stuck in a tree and seeing a wolf, shark, snake and a piranha come to your rescue? All the kitten does is SCREAM!!!!! It’s just too funny!!! Your kittens will love reading this book to themselves or to their younger siblings. Check it out today and enjoy!!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for super laugh out loud funnies!!

Rating: peggysue-locPeggySue

Ban This Book

ban this book

Ban This Book

Alan Gratz
Starscape, A Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2017

From the dust jacket, “It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That’s when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate’s mom thought the book wasn’t appropriate for kids to read.

“Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned-books library out of her locker. As word spreads Amy Anne’s locker stash quickly grows into a school-wide sensation. Soon, she and her friends find themselves on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what kids can read.”

In the beginning of this wonderful book, Amy Anne is as quiet as a mouse. At nine-years-old she lives with 2 busy parents, 2 younger sisters and 2 Rottweilers – which equals a very chaotic house. She seeks solitary refuge in the school library and books. As the dust jacket blurb relates, the banning of her favorite book (a book about kids running away from home, which she dreams of doing) forces her outside herself to take action. The book is really about two things: one, the arbitrary banning of books; and, two, learning to stand up for what you believe in, even if it makes others (and you) uncomfortable.

This is well-written, thoughtful and a page-turner. It was good to read about Amy Anne struggle to transform herself from mouse to lion and succeed. She is an excellent role model for anyone who wants to do the same. And bravo to the author for including in Amy Anne’s locker library books that have been banned by various libraries across the country.

Rating 5 out of 5 paws for learning to stand-up for yourself and the freedom to read!



A sampling of banned books in Amy Anne’s locker library:

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

All the June B. Jones books by Barbara Park

All the Captain Underpants books by Dave Pilkey

All the Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine

The Ship of the Dead

ship of the dead

The Ship of the Dead
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 3

Rick Riordan
Disney Hyperion, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Magnus Chase, son of Frey, the god of summer and health, isn’t naturally inclined toward being a brave warrior. Still, with the help of his motley group of friends, he has achieved deeds he never would have thought possible. Now he faces his most dangerous trial yet.

“Loki is free from his chains. He’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, complete with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus and his friends to stop him, but to do so they must sail across the oceans of Midgard {better known as Earth}, Jotunheim, and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it’s ready to sail. Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon. But Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. Does he have what it takes to outwit the wily trickster god?

“Life preservers are mandatory for this wet, wild, and wonderous adventure, the third entry in Rick Riordan’s #1 bestselling Norse mythology series.”

Another outstanding book from Rick Riordan. Have I ever mention how much I love his books? Oh, yes, with every review I write I say it! This book is so much fun, filled with page turning adventures, I felt like I was aboard the Big Banana with Magnus. (The Big Banana is a highlighter-yellow Viking warship provided for Magnus and company to use.) The reader doesn’t have to have an extensive knowledge of Norse mythology (or, really, no knowledge); the thing required to enjoy the story is an imagination and a willingness to be taken on a wild ride!

The only drawback is that the book is definitely one of a series. To thoroughly enjoy the adventure, the first two are a must – if you need to get caught up, here are links to my reviews of Book 1, The Sword of Summer and Book 2, The Hammer of Thor. And while this final book, The Ship of the Dead, definitely ends this series, I doubt this is the last we’ve heard of our hero – Riordan left the ending open for the future adventures of Magnus Chase!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – need I say more?

In case you want to brush up on your Norse mythology, here’s a link to check out: Norse mythology









Betsy Cornwell

Clarion Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Nicolette’s Cinderella story is over, and she’s finally living her own fairy tale happy ending. She’s a successful inventor now, free of her horrible stepfamily, and content in her loving friendship with Caro, a palace servant, and Fin, the Prince of Esting.

“Then she receives a message from her long-lost housekeeper, now a revolutionary, begging her to bring the prince to Faerie for a diplomatic meeting. Nicolette fears a trap, but decides that the chance to end the bloody war waged by their kingdom is worth the risk.

“Together with Fin and Caro, she ventures across the monster-filled ocean to the lush continent she’s always dreamed of visiting. There, mechanical armies and dark magic await as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries – and themselves.”

This is the sequel to Mechanica (click on the name for a link to my review) and it was good. When I read BobbieSue’s review, I saw she hadn’t planned on reading the sequel but I’m glad I did. it had been 2 years since the Library first read Mechanica and it took a while to remember the character’s story. but once I did, I enjoyed the book, for the most part.

The main character, Nick (Nicolette) is a brilliant inventor and creates machines to aid in housework and mechanical trinkets to wear. She is in a ‘friendship-relationship’ with two other people, Caro and Fin, which, I will admit freely, made me uncomfortable at times. The three of them love each other equally and are with each other as much as possible. They sleep together in one big bed and there’s no obvious or implied sexual attraction or activity, but they do kiss and hold each other frequently. Let the squeamish reader be warned!

But beyond the discomfort I found with their group relationship/dynamics, the story was exciting and imaginative. Its full of mechanical beings, or automatons, who are brought to life by the use of Ashes, a magical ingredient harvested in a truly terrible way. There is a large battle scene and many fey, Estingers and automatons are killed but none of it is too gruesome or gratuitous.  The author has crafted a sequel better than the first book – so far away with the original fairy tale theme of Cinderella – that it could almost stand on its own.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because Nick’s story touched my heart. This book ends neatly and doesn’t need another follow-up; but you never know with authors these days!