The Troubled Seminarian by Neal Grey

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The Troubled Seminarian by Neal Grey | Book Review | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Title: The Troubled Seminarian
Author: Neal Grey
Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: N/A
Publisher: Neal Grey
Publication Date: November 1, 2018

This book explores a few different religions as the protagonist struggles with his own faith during the Protestant Reformation. It touches upon Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. So, if you’re into history and religion, then this might be a book to give a try.

The characters had relatable problems and were well-written. The overall story, while I did enjoy it to an extent, felt bland at times. It got to a point where the research weighed heavily on the story part. I felt like some parts were more “textbook” which jarred me out of the story.

The Troubled Seminarian by Neal Grey

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

The Troubled Seminarian by Neal Grey is an interesting read filled with religious and historical facts and enlightening characters.

3.3

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Number the Stars by Lois Lowry [Book Review]

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I read a paperback copy that I own. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: N/A
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: February 9, 1998

Plot

Number the Stars is a historical fiction tale that tells the story of Annemarie living in Copenhagen in 1943, during World War II. She’s ten-years-old, trying to be brave and understand what’s going on in the world in terms of the war and Nazis standing on every street corner. Her best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. This is the story of Annemarie and her family standing up for what they believe in.

I read this book in elementary school and recently the fifth grader I babysit had to read it for school. I re-read it on my own as a refresher. This book opened many discussions between us, especially in light of what’s happening in the world today.

Characters

The characters are based on the author’s friend’s story, leaving this a historical fiction novel. The main characters are aged ten. Annemarie and Ellen do their best to continue living their lives as normal kids but, of course, the war has other plans. I thought the two characters were well-done and had the minds of children, even in dark times.

The adults were just as well done. They handled what was happening around them with poise and only told the kids what they thought they needed to hear, but not necessarily sugar-coating the situation. They were well thought-out, over all.

Writing Style

This is a short book being under 150 pages. It’s meant for a younger audience and I think Lois Lowry hits the nail on the head. Number the Stars depicts a perfect picture of what living in World War II was like all the while keeping the information relevant and simple to understand for the readers.

As I said, this book opened a lot of heavy discussions between myself and my 11-year-old. We were able to have an honest discussion with one another without delving too deep into the heavy stuff. It was age-appropriate but he certainly understands what happened in that dark time. (In fact, he taught me some things!)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is a must-read by all. It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book is a wonderful representation of that tragic time in history.

5

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I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 5
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 1, 2012

Summary – I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

Ten-year-old Leo loves being a newsboy in San Francisco — not only does he get to make some money to help his family, he’s free to explore the amazing, hilly city as it changes and grows with the new century. Horse-drawn carriages share the streets with shiny new automobiles, new businesses and families move in every day from everywhere, and anything seems possible.

But early one spring morning, everything changes. Leo’s world is shaken — literally — and he finds himself stranded in the middle of San Francisco as it crumbles and burns to the ground. Does Leo have what it takes to survive this devastating disaster?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and I’m going down the line.

Book Cover

The cover is “realistic” enough in the sense that shows the heart of what the story is about – right in the middle of the natural disaster.

Plot

Leo goes about his normal life, selling newspapers and occasionally getting beaten up by some local bullies. He treasures his father’s piece of real gold that was passed down from his father’s father.

Then the earthquake happens and the fire spreads. Leo and his friend stick together in order to survive and possibly get out of the city – but there’s really nowhere to go. The journey they go on for those few hours is a great one of determination and survival that no one should ever have to go through. It was an interesting read.

Characters

Leo and his friend Morris were great characters to read about through this tragedy. They even help the two bullies out when they were in trouble and even become friends with one of them. It was great character development for all of them throughout.

Writing Style

As always, this book was a quick and easy read. There was just enough information about the natural disaster, but it wasn’t thrown into your face.

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great, informative read. Even though it’s a big young, anyone can read it and get something out of it.

3.3

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I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 3
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 2011

Summary – I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

His whole world is underwater…

Barry’s family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. But when Barry’s little sister gets terribly sick, they’re forced to stay home and wait out the storm.

At first, Katrina doesn’t seem to be as severe a storm as forecasters predicted. But overnight the levees break, and Barry’s world is literally torn apart. He’s swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive the storm of the century – alone?

First Thoughts

These are quick reads and I enjoy the historical tidbits. After reading the first two books in the series, I grabbed the next three.

Book Cover

The cover shows Barry and a dog he rescued in the middle of Hurricane Katrina trying to find their way to safety. As always, it shows a lot about the plot and the design is well done.

Plot

Life is normal for 11-year-old Barry until the forecasters urge everyone to evacuate for the upcoming storm. Everyone is worried, though Barry doesn’t fully understand why until the storm is directly on top of them.

The plot was well executed with enough information about the historical tragedy without laying it on thick.

Characters

Barry was a good protagonist to follow along with such a story. He was strong and brave throughout the whole event. He followed his parents’ lead and overcame the storm. It was interesting to see the events through his eyes, even though he’s fictional.

Writing Style

This is a super quick and easy read. I learned more about Hurricane Katrina than I thought I knew. The information is easy to comprehend and it’s quick enough to read in one sitting.

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great addition to the I Survived series. If you’re looking for something quick with a little history boost, this is the one for you.

4

Favorite Quote

“Out there in the flood, Barry had discovered some powers of his own.”

Lauren Tarshis, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (I Survived 3)

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The Shark Attacks Of 1916 (I Survived, 2) By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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Book Review: The Shark Attacks Of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis

The Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, 2) by Lauren Tarshis | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: The Shark Attacks of 1916
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived (Book 2)
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 1, 2010

Summary – The Shark Attacks of 1916

It’s the summer of 1916 and the Jersey shore is being terrorized by a Great White shark. Can 10-year-old Chet and his friends survive a swim in the local creek?

Chet Roscow is finally feeling at home in Elm Hills, New Jersey. He has a job with his uncle Jerry at the local diner, three great friends, and the perfect summertime destination: cool, refreshing Matawan Creek.

But Chet’s summer is interrupted by shocking news. A great white shark has been attacking swimmers along the Jersey shore, not far from Elm Hills. Everyone in town is talking about it. So when Chet sees something in the creek, he’s sure it’s his imagination. . . until he comes face-to-face with a bloodthirsty shark!

First Thoughts

I read the first book of this series and enjoyed it so I wanted to continue the series. Plus, they’re quick, informative reads.

Book Cover

The book cover is nice and showcases what the book is about. The shark is creepy looking and fairly realistic which is a nice touch.

Plot

The plot of this story is, of course, the shark attacks of 1916. Back then, no one knew much about sharks and it was believed that sharks wouldn’t attack willy-nilly. They were proven wrong when a few shark attacks occurred unprovoked.

This story follows a 10-year-old boy named Chet. He and his friends hear stories about the sharks but don’t believe them. His pranks prank him making him believe there’s a shark in the water. Chet gets them back so when the real shark appears, no one believes him.

I found the plot of this story to be better executed than The Sinking of The Titanic, which is the first book in the I Survived series. I enjoyed the characters a bit more and the plot didn’t seem to go as fast. Yet, all the information was there and well done.

Characters

Chet is a regular ten-year-old boy living with his Uncle when his parents were traveling for his father’s work. Chet isn’t sure he belongs there and is happy to have made some friends. That is, until they prank each other and get into a fight.

Chet redeems himself though as do his friends. His uncle was a great character as well. I enjoyed reading this bit of history with these fictional characters telling the story.

Writing Style

Being under 100 pages, this story was well told with all the facts present. There was no filler yet there was just enough character background and development for the fictional characters who encountered a real-to-life problem. The quick read was worth it.

The Shark Attacks of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This quick read is worth it. The characters are likeable, the history is easy to learn, and the facts are laid out. This is a good one if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the shark attacks of 1916.

4.7

Favorite Quote

“And then he saw it – a large gray fin, slicing through the water like a knife.”

Lauren Tarshis, The Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, Book 2)

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