Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior (Omen Of The Stars 5) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Revew: Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior | Omen of the Stars | Erin Hunter | Book Blogger | Blogging | Reading Books | RachelPoli.com

I got it as a gift for a birthday.

Summary:

With a divided StarClan driving a treacherous rift between the four warrior Clans, the spirits of the Dark Forest are gaining strength. Ivypool’s role as a spy becomes more dangerous with each passing day, and Dovewing is haunted by nightmares about the mountains.
Then an outsider appears in ThunderClan’s midst, spreading discord and pushing the Clans farther apart. As tensions mount and Clanmates turn against one another, the warrior cats will be forced to choose whose word they can trust–before it’s too late.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe book cover matches the rest of the series. It highlights a cat who’s important to the current book and series as a whole. I had guessed who the cat was on the front cover, even though that cat is no longer listed as one of the characters.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comSince I knew who the “forgotten warrior” was, I was eager to get going on this fifth book. This cat hasn’t been seen for a while and I’ve missed her.

Plot | RachelPoli.comA lot of the plot in this book is highlighting what’s already happened before and how the cats are dealing with it. Then an outsider shows up to help and that throws some characters for a loop. Overall, this plot was a lot of build up for the next book, the final in the Omen of the Stars installment.

Characters | RachelPoli.comA lot of this book focused on the forgotten warrior. Again, it was great to see her again after so long, even though it was easy to guess she’d be coming back. Overall, all the characters are great – Dovewing, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather – and it’s weird to know their story is coming to an end.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

As always, this is an easy read. The book flows well and while this wasn’t as tense as the previous books in the series, it was still a page-turner.

Overall | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed this book as much as I have the others and I’m looking forward to seeing the ending of Omen of the Stars in the next book.

Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior (Omen of the Stars 5) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Why do relationships have to be so complicated?” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Forgotten Warrior (Omen of the Stars 5)

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Advertisements

Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: Sign Of The Moon (Book 4) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors: Omen of the Stars 4: Sign of the Moon by Erin Hunter | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Reading | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy as a gift for my birthday.

Summary:

The end of the stars draws near.
Three must become four to battle
the darkness that lasts forever. . . .

The dark forces that have driven a rift between the four warrior Clans are growing stronger. Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw now know that unless they can unravel the true meaning behind the prophecy that binds them, the warrior code could be destroyed forever.

While Lionblaze remains focused on protecting ThunderClan from another deadly battle, Jayfeather receives a desperate plea for help from the Tribe of Rushing Water. He must travel to the mountains in search of answers that link the Clans to the Tribe in ways no cat could have imagined. But with the summons comes an ominous warning that suggests the power of the stars may not be enough to save the Clans.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe book cover matches the rest of the series and I like the colors. The colors match the cat that’s showcased on the front.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis plot brings us right back to The Tribe of Rushing Water, which was a clan of cats that were from the second series of Warriors. We get to see some old friends and see how they’ve grown within the timeline of the books.

I will admit, however, I felt as though not much happened in this book. It was great to see some old characters and the main characters are still trying to figure some things out, but, for the most part, it seemed as though this book was all about building up for something bigger.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book was written well and similarly to the rest of the series. The chapters vary in length, but they’re all easy to read and quick. I felt as though there were some lulls in this book so some parts were definitely slow. Still, I enjoy the authors’ styles.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was another good book in the series. I wish more had happened, but I appreciate what did happen in the book and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.

Warriors: Sign of the Moon (Omen of the Stars book 4) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Destiny isn’t a path any cat follows blindly. It is always a matter of choice, and sometimes the heart speaks loudest. Listen to your heart, because that’s where your true destiny lies.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Sign of the Moon (Omen of the Stars book 4)

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Warriors: Omen Of The Stars 3: Night Whispers By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors: Omen of the Stars 3: Night Whispers by Erin Hunter | Book Blogger | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Fiction | Blogging | Books | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover copy a long time ago.

Summary:

After the sharp-eyed Jay and the roaring Lion, peace will come on Dove’s gentle wing.

The deadly battle between ThunderClan and ShadowClan is over, but the aftermath still echoes around all four Clans. As Dovepaw grapples with the knowledge that there are realms–and cats–her senses cannot reach, Jayfeather and Lionblaze are determined to figure out how StarClan could have allowed this fight to happen. Jayfeather soon finds the answer in the darkest of places, and he and Lionblaze prepare to do whatever they can to staunch the flow of evil into ThunderClan.

The ties that bind the Clans are slowly breaking in the face of the greatest threat that the warriors–and the warrior code–have ever known. As leaf-bare closes its grip upon the territories, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw realize just how close the battle is, and how far they are from being able to succeed. And before the prey can run again, one more cat will be lost to the fight.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover has been updated since the book was originally released, but I do enjoy the first edition. It’s simple, showcasing one of the main cats the book is about, with some context clues in the background. It’s not as pretty as the new cover, but as always, it’s well done.

Plot | RachelPoli.comA lot of this book revolves around the characters wondering if they did the right then when they decided to battle against ShadowClan in the previous book. They have doubts and are unsure of where to get next, especially since StarClan is telling them to break up and not converse with the other Clans anymore – not even the medicine cats.

The stakes are raised in this book and there are a lot of tense moments, which really sucked me into the plot.

Characters | RachelPoli.comThis book focused a lot more on Ivypaw as she’s the one being manipulated by the cats in the Dark Forest. Dovepaw and Ivypaw find out each other’s secrets and try to deal with them in the middle of surviving each day while trying to figure out the prophecy.

As always, these characters are fun to revisit and I enjoy following the two sisters alongside Lionblaze and Jayfeather, the two brothers, as they figure out how to help their Clan.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing style is similar to the other books. Some of the chapters are longer than others, but each one is a quick read and I found myself always turning the pages. The book left off on a deep cliffhanger with a surprise death that completely shocked me and threw me for a loop. So that was very well done.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was probably my favorite book of Omen of the Stars so far. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars 3: Night Whispers by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“It was never worth the blood that has been spilled here today.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omen of the Stars 3: Night Whispers

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: The Fourth Apprentice By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors | Omen of the Stars Book 1 | The Fourth Apprentice | creative writing | middle grade | fantasy | fiction | reading | book blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover copy from Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

The first book in this fourth series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars #1: The Fourth Apprentice, brings more adventure, intrigue, and thrilling battles to the epic world of the warrior Clans.

It has been foretold that Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and one other cat will hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must wait for a sign from StarClan to tell them which of their Clanmates will complete the prophecy.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is simple showcasing a big of the background of the forest where the cats live as well as a head-shot of one of the main cats in the story. This is the first cover edition. It’s been updated since the book came out. The new one is pretty but I really enjoy the first edition cover.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThe Fourth Apprentice is book one in the Omen of the Stars series of the overall Warriors series. Omen of the Stars is the fourth series which technically makes this book number 19 overall. This a series I’ve been reading since I was 11 and have gotten behind in. I’m eager to pick it back up again and continue the story.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe cats of ThunderClan are getting over the events of the last book and are also grieving some deaths. Lionblaze and Jayfeather, two chosen cats from StarClan to fill a prophecy have lost their sister, Hazelleaf. They believed her to be the third cat in the prophecy, but she wasn’t.

Two cats of Firestar’s kin become apprentices and Jayfeather and Lionblaze work together to figure out which one of them is special to aid them in their quest. They discover Dovepaw is the one with the special powers and when she’s the one who knows why the lake is drying up, they go on a quest with other cats from the other Clans to fix it leaving Jayfeather and Dovepaw’s jealous sister, Ivypaw, behind at the camp where they both have to deal with other matters.

This plot is somewhat similar to some previous plots with slight differences, though it’s enjoyable with the different cast of characters.

Characters | RachelPoli.comDovepaw is one of the main characters in this story as she discovers her heightened senses and seems to be one of the few cats who can help fix their problem of the dried up lake from the drought and beavers blocking the stream. The chapters switch between Dovepaw, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather as they each deal with their own thoughts and problems.

Each of them have their own unique personality along with all the other many cats from ThunderClan and the other three Clans. It was nice to revisit these cats again, new and old.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a quick read. It’s about 300 pages long but the words are easy to follow along with and there’s always so much going on that that you keep turning the pages.

Overall | RachelPoli.comI started reading this series when the very first book came out when I was 11. This is the series that got me into reading in the first place and I was pleased to get back into the series again after so long. I’m looking forward to reading the next book of Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Fourth Apprentice by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I know what it’s like to have a power no other cat understands. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Fourth Apprentice

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The One And Only Ivan By Katherine Applegate [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate | Middle grade | Fiction | Reading | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

My mom borrowed it from her work’s library.

Summary:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is cute. I like the art style and the spotlight on Ivan and Ruby is sort of a metaphor in a way.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThis is a book I’ve thought about reading so many times, but I’ve never picked it up. After reading Wishtree, my mom and I were talking about this book. So, she brought Wishtree back to the library and picked up this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comIvan is somewhat happy in his “domain” at the circus. He draws a lot which sells at the gift shop. He has his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the stray dog. They’re as happy as they can be living within closed walls at the circus.

Ruby, a baby elephant comes along. Mack, the circus owner, buys her for the show in an attempt to get more visitors. Ruby is afraid and sad. She misses her life in the wild with her family. She makes Ivan remember what happened to his own family. Then they plan the escape.

Told through Ivan’s eyes, this is a heartwarming story and really opens your eyes to animals in the circus and even at the zoo. It’s true to life with poaching involved and will make you shed a couple of tears. This was a good plot with a nice message though.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters were well done. This book doesn’t have a big cast. There’s Ivan, Stella, Bob, and Ruby. Mack owns the circus, George is the janitor, and Julia is George’s daughter who hangs around the circus. She draws and often gives Ivan paper and crayons to color with.

All the characters are great and serve their own purpose. Mack is the “bad guy” of this story, though I sympathize with him. He wasn’t necessarily a bad man, but didn’t go about certain things the right way.

Overall, I loved all the characters.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book was very simple to read. It wasn’t written in blocks of text but blog-style. I think it was simple because it was coming from the voice of a naive gorilla who only knew the circus and his domain. This book is 300-pages long, but I got through it within a day. It was that quick and that good.

Overall | RachelPoli.comOverall, this was another great read. After reading two books from Katherine Applegate now, I’m looking forward to reading more by her.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Memories are precious… they help tell us who we are.” -Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Wishtree By Katherine Applegate [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate | Reading | Middle Grade | Fiction | Fantasy | Book Blogger | Book Reviewer | RachelPoli.com

I got the book from my mom, who borrowed it from her school’s library.

Summary:

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is very pretty. It’s simple and says a lot about what the book will be about.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comMy mom had borrowed this from the library and once she was finished with it, she told myself and my sister that we needed to read it. So, I didn’t really get much of a choice, but I’m glad she gave it to me.

Plot | RachelPoli.comRed is a big oak tree as is the narrator of the story. He has a story to tell, a lot of them. However, as a tree it’s his job to shelter certain animals and people watch. This is the story of Red trying to understand his own place in the world as well as understand the world around him, especially humans. There’s a much deeper meaning to the plot that was well executed, but I won’t say much further due to spoilers.

Overall, this plot was very well done and has a special message that everyone can read and understand.

Characters | RachelPoli.comThe main character was Red the oak tree along with his critter friends which included opossums, skunks, and owls alike. His best friend was Bongo, a crow. It was a great cast bursting with many different personalities. They were all written in a unique voice that made the book comical as well.

The human characters were done simply, which worked well since we see them through Red’s eyes. However, we get just enough information.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is a super quick read. The words just flowed right along throughout the book. It captures your attention from start to finish between the plot and sub-plot as well as the voices of the characters. It was certainly interesting to read a book from the POV of a tree.

The chapters are mostly short being only two or three pages long and some of them were broken up with pictures to illustrate the characters and aid the plot along.

Overall | RachelPoli.comEvery part of this book was well done. It was easy and fun to read and even though the story is over, I’d love to hear more from Red.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“It is a great gift indeed to love who you are.” -Katherine Applegate, Wishtree

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Halfway Normal By Barbara Dee [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee | Middle Grade | Realistic Fiction | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I bought the book at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

A cancer survivor must readjust to “normal” middle school life in this hopeful novel from the author of Star-Crossed and Truth or Dare.

Norah Levy has just completed two years of treatment for leukemia and is ready to go back to the “real world” of middle school. The hospital social worker warns her the transition back may be tricky, but Norah isn’t worried. Compared with battling cancer, how tricky can seventh grade be?

Very. Everyone is either treating Norah like she will break at any second, or acting weird about all the attention she’s getting. Her best friend, Harper, does her best to be there for Norah, but she doesn’t get it, really—and is hanging out with a new group of girls, leaving Norah feeling a little unsteady. Norah’s other good friend, Silas, is avoiding her. What’s that about, anyway?

When Norah is placed with the eighth graders for math and science she meets Griffin, a cute boy who encourages her love of drawing and Greek mythology. And Norah decides not to tell him her secret—that she was “that girl” who had cancer. But when something happens to make secret-keeping impossible, Norah must figure out a way to share her cancer story. But how do you explain something to others that you can’t explain to yourself? And then, once you find the words, how do you move forward with a whole new ‘normal’?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the book cover. It’s simple and even though it doesn’t seem like it at first glance, it shows a lot about the book and the main character.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

My sister found this book and bought it. I thought it sounded interesting so I decided to read it.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

To be honest, I forgot what exactly this book was about. I bought it awhile ago and didn’t read the summary again before diving in. Reading a book about a younger cancer survivor trying to fit in again and be “normal” is a great idea. Norah is in middle school as well, of all things, which makes life more difficult for her.

I believe this is fiction inspired from a few real life people, but the plot was mainstream, heartfelt, and an important message.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I liked all the characters in this book, even the “mean” ones because they were exactly like how some middle school kids act. I wasn’t sure about Norah, the protagonist, a first, but after realizing she was 11 I understood her more.

Griffin, a new friend of Norah’s, was awesome too. He had little parts but they were important and made a difference to the story and to Norah herself.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The story flowed well and went at a nice pace. It was easy to read and quick at 243 pages. Though, I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have minded reading more.

The author used italics a lot – for thoughts and emphasizing words – which is fine, but the characters emphasized words a lot. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

I really enjoyed this book and it touched my heart even if it is fiction. I think the author did a great job portraying the characters and their woes. I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee gets…
5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I couldn’t tell myself that only good things will be in my future, because how could you be sure of that, anyhow?” –Barbara Dee, Halfway Normal

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The White Giraffe By Lauren St. John [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John | Middle Grade | Reading | Mystery | Fiction | RachelPoli.com

I bought it at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

When Martine’s home in England burns down, killing her parents, she must go to South Africa to live on a wildlife game preserve, called Sawubona, with the grandmother she didn’t know she had. Almost as soon as she arrives, Martine hears stories about a white giraffe living in the preserve. But her grandmother and others working at Sawubona insist that the giraffe is just a myth. Martine is not so sure, until one stormy night when she looks out her window and locks eyes with Jemmy, a young silvery-white giraffe. Why is everyone keeping Jemmy’s existence a secret? Does it have anything to do with the rash of poaching going on at Sawubona? Martine needs all of the courage and smarts she has, not to mention a little African magic, to find out. First-time children’s author Lauren St. John brings us deep into the African world, where myths become reality and a young girl with a healing gift has the power to save her home and her one true friend.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I love the cover. There’s something mysterious about it and I think the white giraffe and the night blue background contrast nicely.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

Fun fact: my favorite animal is the giraffe. I’m pretty sure my mom bought this book for me a few years ago simply because it was about a giraffe. Of course, this is the first time I’m reading it now.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Martine’s life gets thrown upside down when both her parents die in a fire that started in their house. She even lost the house. At only 11-years-old, she’s shipped to go live with her grandmother in Africa. That’s where she learns a lot about her family, herself, and the legend of the White Giraffe.

This plot had a lot of potential but, in my opinion, it wasn’t executed well. A lot of things happen that’s not really explained. There was a lot of build up but when the White Giraffe was in trouble, it just didn’t seem as intense as I think it was meant to be.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I felt as though I couldn’t get close to any of the characters. Martine’s grandmother had an awfully fast change of heart, Martine sometimes acted her age and then other times acted as though she was a lot older. Until her age was mentioned almost halfway through the book, I had trouble pinning her age down.

I really enjoyed Tendai though. He worked with Gywn, Martine’s grandmother, and he was kind to Martine and helped her along the way. I felt as though I learned more from him than anyone else.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a middle-grade book so the writing is fairly simple and easy to read. Aside from Martine not really acting her age at times, this was well done.

However, my biggest problem was the description. Everything looks, feels, sounds, and smells “African.” I have no idea what that means and as someone who’s never been to Africa, I feel as though this was a missed learning opportunity for me – especially since the author states in her bio that she grew up there.

Other than that, the writing itself wasn’t bad. The pace was a bit too fast at times, but the plot was laid out and was there.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was just an okay read for me. There was a lot of potential and missed teaching moments culturally from the author, but it was still pretty well written and the idea of the plot was interesting. I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series, though there may be some younger kids out there who would enjoy this.

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“No, little one, animals might scratch you, or bite you, or even rip you apart in hunger or fear, but only a man can crush you inside, in your heart, for no reason other than the color of your skin.” –Lauren St. John, The White Giraffe

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The Mystery Of The Hidden Cabin By M.E. Hembroff [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M.E. Hembroff | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

After Bess Silver had settled into her new home in Pineview she thought her biggest problem would be settling into a new school. She was surprised to learn that it was a one room school house which was different from what she was used to.

That all changed when Megan Skye, her best friend and cousin, dashed into their kitchen late one afternoon with exciting news. Megan’s Father discovered an old cabin, hidden behind a wall, when he started doing kitchen renovations. Megan asked him to take the suitcases, ledgers and trunk they found over to Bess instead of throwing them out. Clues turn up in the suitcases and in a secret compartment in the cabin which leave Bess puzzled.
When she first looked around the cabin she sees a ghostly figure that disappears in an instant but was as real as Megan. Dreams about the cabin and occupants haunt Bess. These feel so real that Bess can’t shake the feeling that she was actually near them.

Who is the figure that Bess saw in the cabin? What is she trying to tell her? Why is she having dreams about the old cabin? Will Bess be able to figure out who the mysterious figure is? Or would these secrets remain secrets forever?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I think the book cover is appropriate for the target age of the book. I enjoy hand-drawn covers anyway but I feel like the colored lines feel complete with the middle-grade genre.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I read and reviewed Bess’s Magical Garden and Gramma Mouse Tells A Story by this author. I enjoyed both so was more than happy to read and review this book when she approached me.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

I thought the plot had an interesting premise. I’m always down for a good ghost story. However, I’ll admit the summary makes it sound more interesting than it really is.

Bess is on the hunt to figure out who was living in the mysterious cabin as she read diary entries, talked to people, and explored the cabin and other places. Though not too much happens in between.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the characters. I think Bess makes a great protagonist for a middle-grade audience. Her best friend, Megan, is a fun character as well.

I found all the kids in this book to be fun since Bess’s new school is a one-room schoolhouse. That was an interesting addition.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

While the story flowed well, not much happened. For a mystery, there’s no tension at all. Bess is a curious girl and enjoys searching for clues and solving mysteries, but I didn’t know why I was supposed to care about the cabin and the mystery behind it. Even when the mystery was solved, there was no real triumph.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a great premise with age-appropriate characters, though I would have loved to see more stakes raised and more tension. It’s a nice quick read.

The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M.E. Hembroff gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I gazed out the window at the blanket of snow covering the garden, where plants stuck out like skeletons.” –M.E. Hembroff, The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | EBooks

About M.E. Hembroff:

M.E. Hembroff, Author | Middle Grade | Book Review | RachelPoli.comI grew up in rural Manitoba the fourth in a family of five. My parents were older almost old enough to be grandparents. When I was growing up we didn’t have a TV. I loved music and constantly listened to the radio. My dad often said I wore out the radio because he was constantly taking it into to town to replace the worn out tubes.  I was an avid reader and devoured every available book. One of my favorites was the Anne of Green Gables series. LM Montgomery was and still is my hero. I was creative and used my imagination to entertain myself. I would always dream up stories but never wrote them down because they looked pretty dismal on paper. I have always loved animals and every time I went for a walk our dog, Lady, a border collie and a string of cats followed me. I still have an dog, Odie and two cats Patches and Delihah.

I still like to read and read a wide range of books. I work in my garden and do art work in pencil, pen and ink, colored pencil and acrylic.

I have gone full circle. I grew up on the farm and then lived in the city for over thirty years. I now live in a scenic small town. It took me a long tine to learn to get out of my own way. Once I learned to relax the words started flowing and my characters were finally able to get out of my head.

Artists Statement

Writing is as natural as breathing and makes me a complete person. I was taught to keep my feelings hidden and often hid them from myself. Writing gets me in touch with my creative self, spirit and my inner child who finally can express herself. Writing makes me a rounder and fulfilled person. Writing is a must do not a want to. I have an inner compulsion to write that has to be listened to.

Art work has always been the same. I draw and paint because I have to. Drawing and painting releases pent up emotions and keeps me in touch with my creative side which grows stronger all the time.

There have been different artists and writers who influenced my style at first and I have gone on to develop my own unique style. Reading about other writer’s lives and meeting other artists has given me a great deal of encouragement during periods when I didn’t feel like continuing with my work.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Amazon

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Things That Surprise You By Jennifer Maschari [Book Review]

Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: Things That Surprise You
Author: Jennifer Maschari
Published: 
August 2017 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Middle grade, realistic fiction
How I got the book: I bought it at Barnes & Noble

Summary:

Emily Murphy is about to enter middle school. She’s sort of excited… though not nearly as much as her best friend Hazel, who is ready for everything to be new. Emily wishes she and Hazel could just continue on as they always have, being the biggest fans ever of the Unicorn Chronicles, making up dance moves, and getting their regular order at The Slice.

But things are changing. At home, Emily and her mom are learning to move on after her parents’ divorce. Hardest of all, her beloved sister Mina has been in a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia. Emily is eager to have her back, but anxious about her sister getting sick again.

Hazel is changing too. She has new friends from the field hockey team, is starting to wear makeup, and have crushes on boys. Emily is trying to keep up, but she keeps doing and saying the wrong thing. She want to be the perfect new Emily. But who is that really?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

This book caught my attention when so many book bloggers were reviewing it here on WordPress back in the summer. It took me a while to get around to it, but I finally did and ended up reading it in one sitting.

rp-plot

Emily Murphy and her best friend Hazel are starting middle school. Hazel sees that as a big step in their lives, but Emily sees it as school. It’s not a big deal. Emily is more excited about a movie based on their favorite book series coming out in a few months. She’s into cosplaying for the midnight premiere of the latest book while Hazel tags along, but just doesn’t seem to be into it as much.

As Hazel begins to hang out with girls on her sports team, Emily wonders what’s wrong with her. This book is about finding who you are as well as discovering who your true friends are. Yet, it’s okay to drift apart from old friends.

Meanwhile, Emily is having a hard time at home as her older sister comes home from being away for so long trying to recover from her anorexia.

rp-characters

Emily made a great protagonist. She was naive and, for the most part, wasn’t ashamed of what she liked. While others around her, such as Hazel and her new friends, believed her to be a “baby,” Emily continued to like what she likes. Her feelings got hurt and she was embarrassed, but without realizing it, Emily stayed true to who she was through and through.

Hazel reminded me a lot of a friend I used to have. We drifted apart in fifth grade as we both found other friends to hang out with. Hazel tried to keep in touch with Emily, but it was hard for her. She wanted to “grow up” and Emily didn’t. Hazel tried to include Emily in group events with her new friends, but those friends were kind of mean girls and Hazel wasn’t the best at sticking up for Emily. It was a bittersweet ending for their friendship.

I loved the parts with Mina, Emily’s older sister. Emily was feeling left out with her friends and even left out at home as her parents focused a lot on Mina’s health. Emily is supportive of her sister but also aches for an older sister who she can hang out with and talk to. Mina was a great character from beginning to end.

 

rp-writing-style

Being a middle-grade novel, this was a quick and easy read. The overall story flowed well and between Emily’s parts about finding herself, making new friends, trying to hold onto Hazel’s friendship, and keep her sister, everything intermingled very well.

rp-overall

This story was adorable and conveyed an important message that I think most middle-schoolers should read. Anyone can read it and I’m sure most of us can relate to its content.

Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“It strikes me that people are kind of like those lollipops with Tootsie Rolls in the center – if you wait awhile, you get surprised by something awesome that sits just below the surface.” –Jennifer Maschari, Things That Surprise You

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.