Book Review – I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall, Young Adult

I was hooked from the start. One – the main character is a girl named Jess.  Two – she has to survive on her own, alone – out in the Canadian wilderness. It’s just Jess, her father’s dog, and the unforgiving wilderness.

Jess lost everything; all she has left are the daily reminders with her scars and broken body, from a car accident that killed her mom.  Having no one else, Jess is sent to live with her absentee father, who prefers to live alone, far away from anyone else. Jess is angry at first, while at the same time feels a little sorry for herself.  She pays little attention to her father as he teaches her about living in the wild, things that could literally save her life.  After her father is killed and the small cabin burns, Jess learns to survive.

This is more than a survival story.  It’s a story of change, determination, and love.

4 out of 5 Bookmarks (it’s good – only Harry Potter has 5)

Click here to purchase.

This is Young Adult in nature. There are several shooting deaths and other forms of violence, so not recommending for a younger audience.

Middle Grade Reader Scary Bedtime Stories – If You Dare

In a follow up to last week’s post “Scary Bedtime Stories – If You Dare” which was geared toward younger readers,  this  week’s scary bedtime stories are for middle grade readers.  These are spooky, scary, magical and mysterious – your middle grader may want to sleep with the lights on.

Again, jump up on a comfy mattress, get a blanket to cover yourself up, a flashlight and maybe a teddy bear or something else to cuddle, and start reading.

Wait Till Helen Comes 

by Helen Downing Hahn



This book is a little older, written in 1986 but it still packs a punch for scary.  Molly and her brother Michael have a step-sister, Heather, that they don’t really like and with good reason.  She has made their lives miserable ever since their parents got married.  And, to make life worse for Molly and Michael, they’ve moved to a new house in the country.  The new house, just happens to be an old church and has a cemetery in the back yard. Spooky enough already.  But, the story really gets creepy when Heather starts talking to a ghost named Helen and she starts warning Molly and Michael that Helen is coming for them.  Dark secrets, ghosts, graves and a creepy step-sister will keep you scared through-out the entire book.


The Mostly True Story of Jack

by Kelly Barnhill




One of my favorites!   Jack is sent away to live in Hazelwood, Iowa with his aunt and uncle, who are very STRANGE.  Jack doesn’t expect much for his summer, except a boredom because usually he goes unnoticed, like he’s invisible.   Little does he know, the town of Hazelwood has been waiting for him for a long time. Creeped out yet?   Almost immediately upon arrival he makes three new friends, who just happen to be imaginary.  Jack also becomes the the center of attention to the town bully and the richest man in town who want Jack gone.   Don’t be fooled,  this book is chocked full of  suspense, twists and turns, magic and deeply rooted secrets.  I don’t want to give too much away, but look close at the cover, the creepy house, the tentacle like roots and Jack’s three friends following him on bikes.


Long Lankin

by Lindsey  Barraclough




This one comes from the other side of the pond, Great Britain,  and takes place during WWII.  I like to call this a good old fashioned horror tale, it will keep you up at night.  Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdo.  Auntie Ida is rigid and unfriendly.  The girls want nothing to do with Auntie Ida and the village, they want to go home  to London.   The reason they were sent to live with Aunt Ida to live, is to keep them safe from the bombs being dropped all over London.  But living in the isolated village with Aunt Ida is a fate which is worse than being back in London.  The sisters soon discover the evil curse and that their aunt’s life which was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall.   Cora makes friends with Roger and Peter, two village boys, and together they uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries.   Little do they know the curse is about to come full circle and it’s up to the group of friends to put a stop to it.

I think these three selections are enough to keep any middle grader scared and riveted at the same time.  Just make sure you have plenty of room in your bed when they come running from the nightmares.


Book Review: Miss Daisy is Crazy! by Dan Gutman




Perfect little chapter book for an early reader.  A.J. hates school.  What he really loves is football.  A.J. can see no reason to go to school if he’s going to be a football player when he grows up.  But, as much as he hates school, he finds it a little strange that his new teacher, Miss Daisy can’t read, write or do math.  She’ is the dumbest teacher in the history of the world.  A.J. and the rest of the class come up with a plan to buy the school and turn it into a  video-game arcade.  Who needs school…right? The real question is, how did Miss Daisy become a second grade teacher if she can’t read, write or do math?


Book 1 in the Weird School series.  Your young reader will enjoy Dan Gutman’s humor and Jim Paillot’s illustrations.51HU3++1oLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review: Spy Club by Stuart Gibbs

Spy Camp
by Stuart Gibbs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enjoyed from start to finish. Perfect middle grader book for a boy, girl and any reluctant reader. I hadn’t read the first book “Spy School”, but it wasn’t necessary to read in order to follow the goings on at Spy Camp.

Our main spy, Ben Ripley, seems to be in over his head when he receives a mysterious note “encouraging” him to join SPYDER – the dark side. The spy tale quickly unfolds and Ben, along with the reader, is not sure who to trust. Ben, must stay safe and not be captured by SPYDER. But all is not what we think. Lots of spy intrigue with missiles, secret spy bases, school buses getting blown up, a Civil War reenactment and so much more.   Even though spies and saving the world from evil are tough topics, Stuart manages to use lots of humor and a little teen angst to keep his story moving forward.

Now I must go read book one, “Spy School”.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Fearless Joe Dearborne by Lisa Whitney Mitchell

Lisa Whitney Mitchell’s “Fearless Joe Dearborne” is action packed from the start. Joe saves a puppy from a burning house. We learn quickly that Joe does quite a few fearless things, but deep down he’s afraid. Joe’s father has to leave the country to save their ailing business, and leaves him in the carrying hands of Mrs. Chill. Joe thinks something is very strange about Mrs. Chill, who seems friendly to the adults – but not to Joe. Soon he’s sleeping with his bedroom door locked and barricaded. There are quite a few quirky characters like Joe’s aunt, who loves lavender and his friend Green Beans. In the end, Joe proves that he has what it takes to save the day, and it’s not being fearless – but doing the right thing in face of danger. I highly recommend for girls and boys alike. Reluctant readers will enjoy Joe’s story and Mrs. Chill will bring a chill to everyone.

Read more reviews or purchase here on Amazon: Fearless Joe Dearborn.