Joplin, Wishing

Joplin, WishingJoplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part magical, part mystery, mostly realistic fiction, this book is a treasure.
Upon returning to school after her grandfather’s funeral, Joplin knows she is facing two tormenting dilemmas – her ongoing friendless state and the certain harassment from her classmates about her famous, eccentric, all-over-the-news grandfather. Kids get suspended, a teacher handles things poorly and Joplin takes a few days off, too.
Joplin brought home a broken antique platter from her grandfather’s house as a memento and has it restored with her aunt’s help. While feeling sad and lonely she longingly looks at the girl in the platter and wishes for the girl to be her friend and to have a friend at school. The next morning she notices a girl in her garden who looks like…the now missing girl from the platter! And Joplin makes a friend at school. Life gets complicated with this friend who has no home of her own and needs food, shelter and truly wants to get back to the mid 1600s. Life gets dangerous when a man from the 1600s wants Joplin’s magic platter.
Author Stanley brings us a main character who grows and develops, strong secondary characters, a good sense of place, and mystery and magic.
Starred review from Booklist is right on target.

Young Jane Young

Young Jane YoungYoung Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC in return for an honest review.
Young Jane Young is a hit for Gabrielle Zevin from start to finish.
Jane’s story is a tough one, after her affair with a handsome, popular, married congressman is exposed and made public. Worse, Jane, really Aviva, kept a blog of the affair. Life went on for the congressman, forgiven by the press and his wife. Aviva found life again only by a legal name change and by fleeing her home town while pregnant.
Zevin tells Jane’s story with humor, tenderness and through the honest wide eyes of young Ruby, Jane’s daughter, whose first word was hilariously, “canapé.”

Beach Lawyer

Beach Lawyer (Beach Lawyer Series)Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lawyer Robert Worth is about to make partner at a prestigious Southern California law firm, after only five years of practice. He studiously stays away from partner Jack Pierce, who is nasty and vindictive. Things change when he discovers a client is being treated strangely unfairly and may have been sexually attacked.
The book opens with a prologue and Robert is in jail.
This book is difficult to read – until about the last third where it seems like the author hits his stride. The plot is what keeps the reader going.

I plan to continue reading this series.  🙂

Mangrove Lightning

Mangrove Lightning (Doc Ford, #24)Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

White’s best Doc Ford to date, I believe, Mangrove Lightning combines Florida prohibition history with present day bringing Marion and Tomlinson to a remote location in order to help a former legendary fishing guide keep his claim on land wanted by the federal government.
Tootsie Barlow needs to have a family member live on his land for 9 months every year. Tootsie’s problem is that he is running out of family members, due to death or injury in strange accidents. Gracie Barlow is his last hope – and she is missing.
This plotline is scary, creepy and confusing. I found myself wanting to re-read some parts; I found myself having to put the book down a couple of times due to Gracie’s dilemma.
The other plotlines are intriguing and I wonder if they will be revisited in future books:
the British royalty element;
Hannah Smith’s last thought.

Turtle Tug to the Rescue

Turtle Tug to the RescueTurtle Tug to the Rescue by Michael Slack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Turtle Tug is a turtle-powered tug boat, who performs daring sea rescues on perilous waters.

This rhyming story is filled with rich vocabulary and vivid illustrations – showing animated facial expressions of the sea creatures he helps.

Turtle Tug is a hero and his adventure is perfect for the preschool crowd!

 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost (Track, #1)Ghost by Jason Reynolds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Castle Crenshaw, who calls himself Ghost, is a kid who gets himself into trouble. And that trouble makes this book hard for me to read – I put this slim volume down countless times while cringing as Ghost does something he knows he shouldn’t. Still, I had to finish this compelling story.

Ghost is a kid who can run like the wind, a kid who has caught the eye of a track coach, a kid who has no gym shorts, no gym shoes.

Ghost is a kid who lives in the projects, a kid whose dad tried to kill him and his mom, a kid whose dad is in prison, a kid who has a lot of anger inside of him.

Ghost is a kid with a mom who has ambitions to make their lives better.

First in a series.

The Dry by Jane Harper

The DryThe Dry by Jane Harper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aaron Falk reluctantly returns home – to the rural farming community of Kiewarra, Australia, a place of childhood memories and one large and still looming mystery – for the funerals of his best friend Luke, Luke’s wife and six year old son.

Aaron works for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in their financial crimes division in Melbourne. Luke’s parents, who were like surrogate parents to him during his childhood, implore him to look into their son’s death. They don’t believe he could have killed his family and himself. Aaron agrees to take a quick look and is surprised that the local police sergeant has doubts about the murder-suicide theory – Raco’s keen eye sees evidence that suggests something else happened and he welcomes Aaron’s help.

This is a quick yet well-developed read. The severe drought, the shocking suicide/murders, the tight-knit community on a downward spiral and Aaron’s haunting memories provide a mesmerizing prose.

First in a series.