Vailia's Page Turner

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace - Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch This lives up to the title. Grace is one amazing girl with an incredible imagination!

She loves to act and creates all sorts or roles and scenes for herself. Sometimes alone, other times with her cat and supportive family. and how I loved her family, encouraging her and lettign her imagination thrive!! Even when others put her down her family finds a way to lift her back up and help her defy the odds. This was such a up-lifting book!

The art is well done, and just goes to show the depth or Grace's creativity and lifestyle. Betwwen the words spoken and pictures given you get a real feel for the times, setting and way in which Grace grows up. I highly recommend this book!


Window - Jeannie Baker The summary really says it all. This is a picture only book that shows how the times change. And not always for the better. The lesson hits home, especially when the grafiit goes up, all the trees are gone, etc. but a bit unrealistic for many place to go the lonely country side to a major city in so few years. But it gets the point across. Would have worked better I think if we watched from being a baby to a older grandpa who maybe moves with is grown children into the countryside once more. I liked the art. Lots of details and things to take notice of. See what changes or different things your kids spot on each page!

Frog in Winter

Frog in Winter - Max Velthuijs This poor frog. He wakes up one morning to find winter has arrived in full. Frozen water, snow everwhere, etc. All his furry and feathered friends are loving the change but for Frog it is much too much cold.

The kids felt so bad for the frog in this book. It was adorable! The strength of friendship that this book shows is just wonderful. The art is simple and they didn't seems to care for the way the frog was drawn. Even going so far as to say "Kermit the Lizard who lost his tail." Another kid thought is was Gumby. But otherwise it was highly enjoyed.


Hollywood - Gore Vidal this was a surprisingly well written book! It was a last minute grab to read and even as an adult, I can appreciate this story. It is perfect for the 5th-8th grade reading levels.

Laney is very easy to relate to. I don't think anyone likes have to up and move away from their friends and what is familiar to them. from a Florida city and ocean to the middle of the states in Colorado. Her story of adapting to her new environment is very well shared with the reader. It is easy to put myself in her shoes as she struggles to come to terms with things. i love the bond she forms with her new neighbor. Touching!

Then there are the alpacas. What an education even I got here! So sad how her family got in over their heads taking them on. They had no clue what they were doing. Lots of lessons for everyone here.

This is a very fast read. You get quickly enveloped by Laney's reality so is is a smooth ride filled with life's ups and downs.

The Lost Mind

The Lost Mind - Christopher Pike, D. Barbour Strange. I am not sure what to think of this one. It was not on of my favorite Christopher Pike books. That is for sure. It started of strong, but then took a sharp turn to TrippyLand.

Jenny wakes up with no memory of who or where she is. Her drivers license takes her home but nothing jogs her memory. Not her family, boyfriend, nothing. But she can't tell anyone this. Why? Because her earliest memory was of waking up next to a bloody knife and a dead girl.

Her personality in the book seems quite different than how she must have been prior. Based on her boyfriend and diary entries. I knew someone who had amnesia and the basic personalities were the same so this threw me. Then again, waking up next to a a bloody corpse might alter anyone.

Dreams start plaguing Jenny and that is when things get weird. For she is not herself in these dreams. from drugs, demons, and more this book takes some unexpected turns. I felt they were poorly explained.

I liked Jenny's character although how she handles things is worthy of a few headshakes. The writing makes for a fast paced read.

LBX: World Battle, Vol. 6

LBX: World Battle, Vol. 6 - Hideaki Fujii While I enjoyed the first few volumes in this series, the second story arc of the last 3 volumes made no sense. It should have stopped at volume 3.

I did not even finish this the plot was scattered, the characters dry.

Twisted Dark, Volume 1

Twisted Dark, Volume 1 - Neil Gibson, Atula Siriwardane, Caspar Wijngaard, Heru Prasetyo Djalal, Jan Wijngaard, Ant Mercer, Dan West 2.5 Noted for future review. I will clean this up into a more understandabwe review at a later point in time.
Think about stories you read that make you go, "How can so&so do such a thing?!' Lots of that in here.

Art is bland. Not bad just not my type. Too much looks the same.

play in stories, overlapping characters was interesting

HATED the shaded and font used. Could not read more than 5 minutes at a time before my head started to hurt. Lots of blurriness and had to get close and squint the entire time or had to zoom in and out constantly (still blurry but less squinting). Arc copy only compatible with Adobe Digital Editions so print may be better.

Homegrown Terror

Homegrown Terror - Steve      White This was an okay read. The writing style seems geared more toward younger readers and honestly reminded me more of a chapter book I would have read in elementary school. Yet the story is geared to young teenagers.

Kendra has been raised as the perfect soldier. Taken by the NSA as a very young child, she grown up trained by handlers to protect her country. What I did like was that Kendra is a good balance of abilities and flaws. SHe is smart, thinks fast on her feet and tough. Yet she makes mistakes and sometimes bad judgement calls to. You can see the teen part of her surfacing at times like saying goodbye to friends, reuniting with her "parents" (handlers) and getting hurt.

Sadly I struggled making peace with this book. It read too fast. A lot happens in this book but I felt like I was being told the story. Not shown. From office intern to tortured captive and more this book just keeps plowing along but I wasn't able to visualize things. I would have loved to had a better idea what was happening, what she or others locked like, etc. This same dilemma also left me unable to feel for her or the situation. I was an overall empty void reading this.
Being book 1 at only 100 pages I would have felt better if the story took just a bit more time describing things, the characters, etc. For me, that is crucial in a novel.

Overall this was a fairly clean read. Advise for late elementary to middle grade readers. There is one thing that makes it a bit more mature and that is when she is being "tortured" she is referred to as being naked. So there is that part to be aware of for younger readers.
2.5 stars as a young adult/teen novel.
3 stars as an older kids/middle grade novel.

*I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own*

Find Momo Coast to Coast: A Photography Book

Find Momo Coast to Coast: A Photography Book - Andrew Knapp, Andrew Knapp Almost 2.5
The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

Wow...just wow...

This book left me both exhilarated and exhausted. Twist after twist, after twist! And they just kept on coming! If you are looking for a fast paced read that does not relent then this is it! However, if you have not read the first book you might want to stop reading this review and go read the first book of the series first. This will be here when you get back.

So this book picks up right where the first book ends. Thomas wakes up to screaming and terror and things change and are being flipped around on him every few minutes. Chaos reigns! Even my head was spinning trying to rationalize what is going on. They think they are rescued but the truth is anything but. If you thought they were lab rats in the Maze before, it only gets worse.

I really can't say much on the details without taking away from the suspense of it all. Everything changes here. Friends and enemies blur, the truth is unknown. All they know is that WICKED is not done with them. One part stuck with me through the entire book and that is when the boys are told to not trust what they see but to also not trust what the don't see. As a reader it had me second guessing a lot. Made for a very entertaining read.

What I didn't care for is I have no idea where the author is going with this. So many questions and NO answers. Just more questions. It worries me if the answer in the last book will suffice. Will in make sense. These trials are strange and don't seem to make sense for supposedly trying to save the world.So that concerns me all throughout the book. A large part of the story seemed to be created o a whim without flow. It makes me wonder if the writer had an endgame when writing this or just making it up as he went along. I guess I will find out in the third book.

For lots of action, adventure and some serious twists and mental roller coaster rides, check this out! I am very eager to read the third book right now!

Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown

Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown - Kate Leth, Drew Rausch Almost 3.5 stars

Clutter Free Home: 15 Day House Cleaning Speed Run to a Quickly Organized House

Balmy in Barna: Bobbi - Molly McDonnell This had some good little pointers!

While I must first admit I didn't use this to the 15 day concept there are several tips and ideas that I want to try to utilize as I have time and money. One thing Claudia Jameson has a heavy emphasis on ins containers (totes, trays, lazy susans, baskets, etc0 and those cost money I don't have right now. But as I have some extra cash I think I know what some of it will go toward (Hint: the answer is in this paragraph).

we are advised to start off by going through our house and take detailed nots of what needs to be organized and picked-up. Then plan ans start sorting the basic, working your way to more specific areas (kitchen cabinets, pantries, linen closet, etc.

A lot of what is shared was common sense and many thing I have done already but there are a few tricks that caught my eye.
My favorite idea was using paper clips or rubberbands to organize papers more to save space. Even for envelopes, etc. Well I have a drawer of scratch paper (mostly used envelopes, junk mail with black backs, etc) So I went through and sorted by size and then paper clipped everything in groups. My loose papers now take up half the space!
Another favorite was for bed sheets. Take the sheets and using 1 of the matching pillowcases, store the sheets in the pillow case for easy grab and storage. I did this and my linen shelf looks so much more organize plus less threat of things unfolded and getting tangled with other bedding.

Ultimately I am reasonably impressed. I wish there were a few other tips. I have a feeling the author has a few others up her sleeve being a few here are quite creative yet simple.

Declutter Your House, Declutter Your Life: 21 Steps to a Tidier, More Organized Home

Declutter Your House, Declutter Your Life: 21 Steps to a Tidier, More Organized Home - Jeff Logan The title of the should be "Clean Your House, Clean Your Life." That is more the focus of this book.

While cleaning is important to decluttering there is more to it. The author seems more focused on simple counting the dust and germ clutter you have floating around. And while most of us have more of that in our home than we want, it is not what I expect in a book for clutter and being tidy so much.

We are told vacuum daily, even furniture. go through your house twice a daily and clean everything you touch, do laundry daily, etc. That last one really bugs me. While it does save on not needing laundry baskets it is a huge waste on water and energy. We are told don't eat on our couches, don't let pets on the bed, etc. All focused on cleanliness. Every click must have had the word CLEAN typed at least once.

So clean, clean, clean! And when you are done cleaning, clean some more! That is how I felt after reading this. I wanted tips on clutter. While getting the fur, dust bunnies and hidden crumbs out of the house is great and I am all for a cleaner home, that is not what I was looking for when I got this.

For those who get worked up about a couple pieces of hair or fur on the ground, go read this. For those who don't want to be cleaning a couple hours a day, look elsewhere on how to keep a tidier home. And for those of you who could use help living from living in a dirty home, are constantly getting colds, etc then this book might be helpful, even if it is on the extreme side.

The Wizard Returns (Dorothy Must Die)

The Wizard Returns (Dorothy Must Die) - Danielle  Paige 3.5 stars
Are you ready to learn the truth behind the wizard? It's not pretty. We all though he was just a phony but he was also a jerk (to put it kindly)! Now with no memory he has the chance to set things right. He is given three trials to determine his true character.

This is one of those stories I can't say too much without giving things away. It does answer some things from Dorothy Must Die but also raises others. I am very curious to see how it all ties into the next couple books.

Dorothy Must Die Stories: No Place Like Oz, The Witch Must Burn, The Wizard Returns

Dorothy Must Die Stories: No Place Like Oz, The Witch Must Burn, The Wizard Returns - Danielle  Paige Three short stories that take place leading up to the events in Dorthy Must Die. Overall I really liked them. While giving some insight into characters and situations I don't feel it spoiled anything. in fact it sometimes added more questions to my arsenal.


-Wow. I felt this ties in nicely to the original story. The main differences is that I felt Oz is a bit more fantastical here (flaming toast, prebuttered, cooked corn still on the stalks, etc) and that Dorothy seems a bit conceited and selfish even from the beginning. The setting when she was in Kansas did feel a bit modern though.

Danielle Paige does a great job with references from the original book. She bases is more on the books than the movies since the ending is fairly different. Going from the original story to this is a fairly smooth transaction.

The questioning of Ozma and missing Glinda was a great idea and the way it plays out is interesting. You really get a glimpse of how Dorothy changes from the sweet girl who first journeyed the Yellow Brick Road to go home, the the wretched brat she is in Dorothy Must Die. Eager to read the next step in the prequel series!


-This is Jellia's tale. Friend of Ozma, head servant for Dorothy. If you have not read Dorothy Must Die, I highly suggest reading that before this book. Spoilers ahead if you have not read the first book yet. You have been warned....

This book has me realing really bad for Jellia, especially after what happens to her in Dorothy Must Die. Although this story dies give us greater insight into who what role she really plays in the story.

Glinda sees something special about Jellia so takes her for a short time to help in her palace. And to that I just want to say "EWW!" Apparently Glinda does not understand that there is a concept for too much pink. On the surface, Glinda just wants a maid but her intentions are much darker in how to use Jellia.

One of the servants working for Glinda shocked me. Yet also confused me on the timelines a bit. Overall an interesting side is shown of certain characters. And we get a better sample of Jellia's ability with Nail Art. I would love it if she would do my nails! Serceta are unveiled and I wonder what part might take in the main storyline.


- Are you ready to learn the truth behind the wizard? It's not pretty. We all though he was just a phony but he was also a jerk (to put it kindly)! Now with no memory he has the chance to set things right. He is given three trials to determine his true character.

This is one of those stories I can't say too much without giving things away. It does answer some things from Dorothy Must Die but also raises others. I am very curious to see how it all ties into the next couple books.


Daomu - Colin D. Johnson, Ken Chou, Kennedy Xu DNF- 1.5 stars

This was Killing my eyes trying to read this and decipher pictures. Way too dark and the font style and colors did not mix. I could not read more that 5-10 pages of this in a sitting. I have NEVER had that problem with a graphic novel like this, to be so bad.

So why not 1 star for a dnf? Because some of the images were very well done and even based on real images to an impressive level. Plus I still saw potential in the story. not much but I think, based on what I did read, that if the coloration and font were not atrocious this would have earned at least 2.5 - 3 stars.

*I was loaned a digital copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*

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