Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision Of Shadows 6) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter | Reading | Book Blogger | Middle Grade | Books | Fantasy | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy for my birthday.

Summary:

ShadowClan has returned under the leadership of a new Tigerstar, but their renewed strength has brought the tensions around the lake to an explosive breaking point. SkyClan’s place among the Clans is about to be decided once and for all.

My Review:

Plot | RachelPoli.comAll the Clans are back to normal – for the most part. ShadowClan is under new leadership in Tigerstar and as they try to rebuild, all the Clans try to get used to being one of five instead of one in four. SkyClan has it harder as they battle with ShadowClan over territory and eventually they decide to leave the lake as they feel unwelcome.

StarClan prophecizes that all five Clans must remain by the lake and they all aid one another or else a great storm will come. Of course, that’s what happens, except the storm doesn’t really begin until about the last third of the book. I felt it took a while for it to get to that point and, when it did, the rest of the plot went by quickly.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The Raging Storm is about the same length as the rest of the books in the A Vision of Shadows series. It’s an easy, quick read. The writing is simple, the characters are awesome, and the dialogue and description are great. Of course, I’m this point, I’m well emersed in the world.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a strange series in the Warriors books. I absolutely loved the arc with Darktail and the rogues in books one through three, but books four through six felt a bit out of place. They were good and I enjoyed them, but it was odd to see basically two plots in six books instead of one. Granted, they had SkyClan in common, but the first three books were so intense and the ending of book three was fabulous. Book six had a happy ending and was satisfying, but not so much compared to the high stakes from early on in the series.

Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She was following her Clan away from the two cats she loved best.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6)

Buy the book:

Amazon

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!

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Warriors: The Apprentice’s Quest (A Vision Of Shadows 1) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: The Apprentice's Quest (A Vision of Shadows 1) by Erin Hunter | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy as a gift for Christmas.

Summary:

For many moons, ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and WindClan have lived in peace in their territories around the lake. But now they must decipher a mysterious prophecy—a message that will send one young medicine cat apprentice on a quest to determine the fate of all the warrior Clans.

Full of epic adventure and thrilling intrigue, the beginning of this fifth Warriors series is the perfect introduction for readers new to the Warriors world, while for dedicated fans, it’s a long-awaited return to the era of Bramblestar’s ThunderClan, after the events of Omen of the Stars.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe covers for the series as a whole got a make-over. The covers all look gorgeous and even though these are “new” for earlier books, this is the first edition cover for A Vision of Shadows. I really like the colors and think the art style is beautiful.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comAfter reading Omen of the Stars, I hopped right into this series since I’m trying to catch up on the books before the next series comes out.

Plot | RachelPoli.comAlderpaw and his sister Sparkpaw are Bramblestar (the clan leader) and Squirrelflight’s kits. They’re made into apprentices at the beginning and begin their warrior training. Except, poor Alderpaw is a terrible “warrior.” His fighting skills are lacking and he has yet to catch a single piece of prey. He’s worried about what good he would be for his clan if he can’t defend it or catch food.

So, Bramblestar and the two medicine cats, Leafpool and Jayfeather, decide to make Alderpaw a medicine cat apprentice. Shortly after, he begins to have visions from StarClan and must go on a quest to help SkyClan from long ago.

I enjoyed this particular plot because it’s not every day you meet a protagonist who “can’t” do what they’re supposed to – at least, not in this series. I was certainly intrigued by his story and how he would fit into his clan throughout.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAlderpaw makes a great main character. He has a lot of anxiety and is very self-conscious which makes me feel bad for him and root for him all the more. His sister Sparkpaw is an interesting character, though she’s a bit of a know-it-all and can be a snob. I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship plays out throughout the next few books.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The Apprentice’s Quest is an easy read and definitely a page-turner at some parts. The book is just shy under 300 pages, which is the typical length. The plot and characters are interesting enough and easy to follow along with.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a great beginning to a new series of Warriors books. I’m looking forward to reading book two and seeing where Alderpaw goes from here.

Warriors: The Apprentice’s Quest (A Vision of Shadows 1) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“And from the way you described Mistfeather, all ragged and skinny, the attack didn’t happen just yesterday.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Apprentice’s Quest (A Vision of Shadows 1)

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!

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Thomas Wildus And The Book Of Sorrows By J. M. Bergen [Book Review]

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Book Review: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen | eARC | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received an eARC from the author and his publicist.

Summary:

Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.

Seven years have passed, and Thomas hasn’t forgotten. He hasn’t forgotten the blue of his dad’s eyes either, or the tickle of beard on his cheek as they hugged goodbye. Last moments with a parent are memorable, even if you don’t know that’s what you’re having at the time.

Now, with his 13th birthday rapidly approaching, Thomas’s search for magic is about to take a radical and unexpected turn. At an out-of-the-way shop filled with dusty leather books, a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes offers him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows. The price is high and the rules are strict, but there’s no way Thomas can resist the chance to look inside.

With the mysterious book guiding the way, a strange new world is revealed – a world in which Thomas has a name and destiny far more extraordinary than he ever imagined. But time is short. Even as Thomas uncovers his secret family history, enemies emerge, threatening to end his rise to power and destroy everything he holds dear.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI think the cover is gorgeous. I enjoy the swirl of dark colors and it really emphasizes the magic portion of the book.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI was approached by the author’s publicist. I enjoy middle grade novels and with it being about magic, I was more than happy to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThomas Wildus is living his normal pre-teen life – going to school and hanging with his friends. He lives with his mother and his father has been dead for quite some time. Thomas then comes across a strange bookstore and is given the Book of Sorrows. Then the story begins.

This was the classic beginning of a fantasy world where the protagonist finds their powers on their 13th birthday. Except, he didn’t really find his powers accidentally.

Overall, it was pretty well done. The way Thomas finds out about everything seems a bit cliche to me, but it was done well enough for the story that sets it aside from other books that got about that trope the same way.

Characters | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed all the characters in this one. Thomas made a great protagonist and his friend Enrique was highly amusing. The two of them definitely acted like middle-grade kids, which was fun to read.

All the supporting characters – Huxley, Adelia, Professor Reiley, Thomas’s mom, etc. – were all great too. Each character had their own unique voice and each one had a purpose and seemed to have enough equal light in the spotlight.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is about 350 pages long. It can be a quick read, but for me, I had trouble getting through the beginning. I felt the pacing was slow to start and the story didn’t really start until 100-150 pages into the book. There was a lot of build up, which wasn’t necessarily not needed, but I felt it could have been done in a different way.

Then, when the action did start, I felt it went along pretty fast because, at that point, there was only half of the book left. Thomas and Enrique were training for about two weeks before they confronted Arius and, while they trained, Arius seemed to be finding and collecting crystals left and right. It was too fast for the stakes to get high and tension to build.

Other than pacing, the book was easy to read and well written overall. The story was interesting once the magic really began.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is a pretty good read. I enjoyed the characters and the plot is definitely intriguing enough. The pacing was the biggest issue for me and because of that, I wasn’t able to get into the story as much as I would have liked. However, I’m still interested enough to read book two when that comes out.

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I’m just trying to keep you from embarrassing yourself. It’s not easy, you know.” -J.M. Bergen, Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows

Buy the book:

Amazon

About J.M. Bergen

J.M. Bergen | Author | Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows | Middle Grade, Fantasy | RachelPoli.comA long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

J.M. Bergen graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in creative writing and a minor in business. Over the years his writing has appeared in a variety of publications under a variety of pen names, and though his favorite stories are about magic and adventure, his best-known work to date has been non-fiction.

J.M.’s debut series originally started as a bedtime story for his oldest son. The story turned into a saga, and one book turned into five. The first book in the series, Thomas Wildus and The Book of Sorrows, is scheduled for release in February 2019. The second, Thomas Wildus and The Wizard of Sumeria, will be published in late 2019, with the remainder of the series released before the end of 2021.

When J.M. isn’t working on the Thomas Wildus books, you can find him playing with his kids, splashing in the ocean, or dreaming up new adventures. If you ever meet him and can’t think of anything to talk about, you might ask about Herman the Shark, the Kai and Eli stories, or why Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip is his all-time favorite book. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll have questions and stories of your own (if you do, he’ll think that’s far more interesting).

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen Of The Stars 6) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review | Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6) by Erin Hunter | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Fiction | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got the book 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…

After countless moons of treachery, Tigerstar’s Dark Forest apprentices are ready to lay siege upon the warrior Clans. As the Clan cats seek out their allies and enemies, Jayfeather, Lionblaze & Dovewing search desperately for the fourth cat who is prophesied to lead the Clans to victory – and who may be their only hope for survival.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs soon as I picked up this book, I knew exactly who the cat on the front cover was. And I cried. I had spoiled something for myself a while ago and, with the content of the Omen of the Stars books, I knew something was coming. The title alone says it all.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis is the final book in the Omen of the Stars series. This particular series of Warriors has been my favorite so far because it had so many Harry Potter vibes. I’ve been with these characters since I was 11-years-old and this plot wrapped everything up so nicely and punched me right in the gut.

This would have been the perfect ending to the series as a whole. Of course, there are three series (at the time of writing this review) after this one. So, this book serves as an ending and new beginning.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book, as I said earlier, punched me right in the gut. I don’t even know how to write this review because of spoilers… though, based on my blog audience, I’m not sure how many of you will actually go read these books. Still, I took out the character section due to spoilers because I don’t know what to say.

I cried throughout the majority of this book – that’s how good the writing is. I’m still crying even while writing this review.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a wonderful ending to a new beginning. I’m glad the series is still going, but I would have been satisfied if this was the final book in the Warriors series. I’m looking forward to reading a brand new generation of Warriors.

Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I would have taken your place if you had let me.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6)

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!

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

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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!

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

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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!

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Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: Fading Echoes By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: Fading Echoes | Omen of the stars book 2 | middle grade | fantasy | reading | book blogger | blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover of the book a long time ago.

Summary:


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

Three ThunderClan cats, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw, are prophesied to hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must work together to unravel the meaning behind the ancient words of the prophecy.

As Jayfeather tackles his new responsibilities as the Clan’s sole medicine cat and Lionblaze trains his apprentice in the ways of the warrior cats, Dovepaw hones her own unique ability and tries to use it for the good of ThunderClan. But the dark shadows that have preyed on the Clan for many moons still lurk just beyond the forest. Soon a mysterious visitor will walk in one cat’s dreams, whispering promises of greatness, with results that will change the future of ThunderClan in ways that no cat could have foreseen.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

As usual, the cover is simple. It showcases one cat that will be important to the story. Sometimes this is obvious to me which cat it is and other times it isn’t. Still, I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a series that I’ve been reading as a kid. This is the second book in the Omen of the Stars series, which is the fourth series of the whole thing. A lot of stuff happened in the first book and the story is getting dark, so I was certainly eager to keep reading on.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw continue to work together to understand their powers, learn about the prophecy, and figure out what they need to do next and where they need to go. They discover Ivypaw, Dovepaw’s sister, has been training in the Dark Forest (the book’s version of Hell).

They do their best to keep moving forward but that also means keeping secrets and sneaking around, which sometimes land them into even more trouble.

I enjoyed this plot and the back and forth between Dovepaw and Ivypaw. It hurt to see the two sisters fighting so much, especially when they’re usually joint at the hip. I definitely enjoyed the dark elements of the story and this series is beginning to give me Harry Potter feels.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ve always loved the characters. I have a new appreciation for Jayfeather and his snarkiness. Sometimes he could seem like just a grump, but I sympathize with everything he has to do and go through. Yellowfang plays a big part as his “mentor” in a way from StarClan (the book’s version of Heaven). She has been a character I’ve certainly missed.

Lionblaze was certainly getting arrogant but I think Cinderheart, his crush, and Dovepaw did pretty well at trying to snap him out of that.

Overall, the characters are fun to revisit in each book.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a fast read. The book is around 300 pages, which is the typically length for these books. The chapters vary from seven pages long to 20 pages long, but each one goes fast.

Erin Hunter has a certain style of writing so that you just keep reading and going on. There are lulls here and there, but nothing too dull to get you to put down the book unless you have to.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was another great book to the Warriors series and I can’t wait to continue reading Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: Fading Echoes by Erin Hunter gets…
4 out of 5 cups

Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com

Favorite Quote:

“He never seemed to get tired. Always first up and ready to move on. Never afraid of what lay ahead.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omens of the Stars: Fading Echoes

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!

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

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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!

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Wishtree By Katherine Applegate [Book Review]

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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!

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Halfway Normal By Barbara Dee [Book Review]

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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!

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