• LCMS Book Reviews and Recommends

     

    Check out the book reviews for your next great read!

Illuminated book heart
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 6/8/2021

    Maybe This Time Book Cover

    This is a young adult romance novel by Kasie West. Meet Sophie Evans, an aspiring fashion designer. Sophie works for the town's florist at all of the events with her friend Micah, who caters for her dad's business. These two friends are thick as thieves, but things get bumpy when Micah's dad hires celebrity chef, Jett Hart. Jett has a teenage son, the same age as the girls. He also attends all of the events taking photographs of the catering and posting them to his client's website. Witness some flare ups and flare outs between Sophie and Jett's son, Andrew, at nine town events. Will Sophie give up on her dream? Will she find love? Enjoy this book trailer, and then check out Maybe This Time.

    Comments (-1)
  • The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 6/8/2021

    Candy Shop War book cover

     

    I was compelled to read a book by Brandon Mull this year. He is the author of these popular series: Fablehaven, The Candy Shop War, Beyonders, Five Kingdoms, and Dragonwatch. I chose to read The Candy Shop War due to its interesting title and cover artwork. This is a middle grade fantasy series that will not disappoint fans of middle grade magic series such as Harry Potter and The Land of Stories.

     

    The Candy Shop War is about magicians wanting to find the fountain of youth without revealing their intentions to the youngsters helping them. Apparently young children are the targeted helpers of magicians since children can feel the full effects of magical candy.

     

    Join Summer, Nate, Trevor, and Pigeon, members of The Blue Falcons club as they complete the tasks assigned to them by Mrs. White, magician and owner of the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe. She asks the kids to acquire strange ingredients that she uses to concoct her magical candy, including candy that makes you fly, changes your identity, allows you to give someone an electrical shock, or lets you take over the body of an inanimate object!

     

    At first, the kids enjoy helping Mrs. White with some innocuous tasks and receive magical candy as a reward. As the tasks become more difficult, dangerous, and illegal, the children begin to question Mrs. White’s intentions. Mr. Stott is another magician that the children meet along the way. He seems nice enough and sells inexpensive ice cream, a bonus when you don’t have much cash.

     

    The kids end up questioning how they got involved in this dangerous work. They get no help from the adults, who have fallen under a daze by eating too much magical white fudge. Can they trust Mr. Stott, an aging magician who has lived in the town for years? Can they trust Mr. Dart, the man who chased them through dark alleys and tried to attack them? How will they save their families and stop Mrs. White? Who is Mr. Dart anyway?

     

    Remember kids, don’t take candy from strangers!

    Comments (-1)
  • The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 5/25/2021

    The Skeleton Tree book cover

    A book talk by Thursday, the raven. To access the Flipgrid, you must be logged in to your WestAda account.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 5/6/2021

    Gregor the overlander book cover

     

    Book 1 in The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games series.

     

    How do you keep track of time? Most people use a calendar. Gregor keeps track of time based on his last happy memory, when he’d last seen his dad two years, seven months, and thirteen days ago.  His dad disappeared without a trace. Now, it is summer in New York City and Gregor gets to watch his two-year-old sister while his 7-year-old sister gets to go to camp. This is not the summer Gregor had in mind, but he is willing to help take care of his grandma and little sister while his mom works.

     

    Gregor has no idea of the adventure that awaits in the basement of his apartment building. While he is doing laundry, his sister, Boots, toddles after a ball that has rolled into an old laundry grate. Before Gregor knows it, both of them are falling down a deep dark hole. To his surprise, they land safely in a dark cavern…surrounded by larger-than-life cockroaches. Boots is talking to the “Big Bugs.”

     

    The bugs take Gregor and Boots to meet the Underland humans, people with nearly transparent skin and lavender eyes, who ride large bats. The Underlanders take Gregor to their city. He and his sister are fed, bathed, and given a nice bed to sleep in. Gregor just can’t believe this is happening and desperately wants to get home. He can’t figure out if he is a guest or a prisoner in the impenetrable castle.

     

    During their escape, Gregor and Boots are attacked by giant, Overlander (humans) hating rats. He is nearly killed but is rescued by the Underland humans. A prophecy is revealed to Gregor that could save the Underland from darkness and find his dad. Count Gregor in! He and a troop of 9 others embark on a quest.

     

    Join Gregor in the Underland. Unlock the secrets of the prophecy. Will Gregor and Boots find their dad? Will Gregor ever see the light of day and return to New York City? Fans of Percy Jackson, adventure novels, and Suzanne Collins will love this series.

    Comments (-1)
  • With Malice: A Novel by Eileen Cook

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 5/4/2021

    With malice: a novel book cover

     

    I recently finished reading With Malice: A Novel. This young adult, mystery/thriller was unputdownable. Get to the bottom of the death of Simone, Jill's best friend, as Jill tries to put the pieces together after a tragic accident of which she has no memory. Enjoy the book trailer below.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Lockdown: Escape From Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 4/28/2021

    Lockdown Escape From Furnace Book Cover

     

    Interview with LCMS student conducted by Mrs. Wilson

    This is book 1 in the Escape from Furnace series.

     

    Q: What type of reader would you recommend this series to?

    A: Readers that like thrillers, horror, and science fiction will enjoy this series. I would recommend it to students in grades 7-9.

     

    Q: Tell me about the main character in Lockdown.

    A: Alex Sawyer is a teenager who robs houses. He was set up during one of his jobs and convicted of murdering his friend. Teenagers who commit crimes serve their sentences in a prison called Furnace.

     

    Q: What is Furnace like?

    A: The warden has inmates do weird drills in the middle of the night. Strange creatures are released if prisoners aren’t in their cells after the drills are done. You likely won’t make it back to your cell if the creatures get to you first. Everyone has jobs to do such as doing laundry, kitchen work, or mining. The food is gross. There are two gangs in the prison that beat up other inmates.

     

    Q: Have any prisoners tried to escape?

    A: Yes. One kid tried to escape through a vent in his cell. Now the vents are all replaced with PVC pipe. You might try escaping through one of the collapsed mines, but if the fleshless hounds find you… If the guards, known as the “Black Shirts,” catch you, they send you to solitary confinement.

     

    Q: What is that like?

    A: You are basically in a small dark room, with a hole in the ground for your bathroom business. You go six days without food or water. While you are there, you’d hear a lot of screams and noises that are pretty frightening coming from the tunnels hidden in the prison.

     

    Q: Wow. This sounds like a pretty horrific book.

    A: It is, but it is also a good book to read. I highly recommend it.

     

    Here is a link to a book trailer if you’d like to know more.

    Comments (-1)
  • One Cut

    Posted by Lindsay Deverall on 4/22/2021 11:00:00 AM

       One Cut

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Do you enjoy getting cozy in your sweatpants and watching Dateline or Unsolved Mysteries?  Do you like to read books that draw your attention from the first page? 

     

    One Cut by Eve Porinchak is the true story about 6 boys living in the quiet beach town of Malibu.  One afternoon,  an incident  took place that would ultimately take a life.  This would make national headlines and change the course of all their lives forever.  

     

    The year was 1995.  In a beautiful quiet town just outside of Los Angeles, CA a group of high school boys would spend many of their afternoons skipping school. Spending time in Mike McLoren's large, picturesque back yard was common - hanging out in his fort or taking out extra energy on a punching bag. 

     

    This particular afternoon, best friends, Mike and Jimmy, were approached by a truckload of boys.  Words were exchanged, a knife was used, and a fight occurred. 

     

        According to court testimony, the boys left the scene and while they robbed a single mother of her wallet, Jimmy Farris bled to death. 

    What really happened that afternoon?  

    The boys stood trial as adults for manslaughter.  James "Jimmy" Farris, sixteen years old, was killed from a puncture wound to the chest.  Seventeen year old, Michael McLoren, best friend of Jimmy Farris, and owner of "the Fort" also suffered injuries. 

     

    Jason Holland: eighteen years old, Micah Holland: Jason Holland's brother, fifteen years old.  Brandon Hein: eighteen years old.  Tony Miliotti: seventeen years old and Christopher Velardo: seventeen years old, were sentenced to the death penalty and life in prison without parole. 

     

    The news media stood outside the courthouse, along with classmates and family members.  Rolling Stone magazine covered the trial - as the trial continued for weeks. 

     

    If you enjoy page turning, true stories about law, courts, and history, One Cut is for you. I found it interesting to put the case in context as a reflection of what was occurring in history during 1995, the year I graduated from high school.

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 4/19/2021

    War That Saved My Life Book Cover

     

    The War That Saved My Life is a middle grade historical fiction novel. The setting is in and around London, England during World War II. The English evacuated children from large cities, sending them by train to the countryside to live with friends, relatives, and even strangers. If you have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the Pevensie children are evacuated from London to the country in preparation for the Nazis bombing England. 

     

    Imagine being in elementary school, packing your bag, saying goodbye to your parents, and being shipped off to live with someone you don’t know. Meet Ada. Ada doesn’t know her age, but guesses she is between 9 and 11 years old. She has never been allowed to go outside or leave her apartment. She is allowed to look out of the window when she isn’t taking care of her younger brother, Jamie, and her abusive mother. When Ada makes mistakes or asks too many questions, her mother locks her in the cupboard under the sink which is inhabited by spiders, cockroaches, and rats. 

     

    Jamie comes home from school and shares with Ada that children will be taking the train out of London soon. Without their mother’s knowledge, the two prepare to join the evacuating children while their mother is at work. But first, Ada must learn how to walk. She was born with a clubfoot. Her mother never allowed her to have an operation that would fix her foot or provided her with crutches to get around.  

     

    Jamie and Ada’s new life begins in the county with Susan. The children are cared for and live a life completely opposite of the one they knew. Ada is allowed to go outside and learns to ride a pony. She discovers that she is useful and marvels at everything around her. Then, the Nazis begin to bomb the airfield near her foster home and eventually her mom comes to reclaim Ada and her brother. 

     

    If you love historical fiction, novels with happy endings, and incredible characters, you must read The War That Saved My Life. This is one of my favorite books this school year. Bonus: it is a Newberry Honor Book and has won many other literary awards. 

     

    Book trailer-war that saved my life

    Comments (-1)
  • Skyhunter by Marie Lu

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 4/9/2021

    Skyhunter book cover

    Book talk by LCMS student

     

    “We aren't trusted here - not because of who we are, but where we come from.”
    ― Marie Lu, Skyhunter

     

    Skyhunter is a YA science fiction book written by the talented author Marie Lu. This story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, Mara. The main character, Talin, is a striker. A striker is the elite part of the military. Their job is to protect the last free nation in the world, Mara.

     

    Friendship and family are important themes in this novel. In addition, this book shows how challenges like being mute and a refugee in the world doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your goals.

     

    One goodreads reviewer stated that “this is the best book ML has written.” Find out for yourself! I rate this book 4.5/5 stars because I couldn’t put this book down! Marie Lu created some diverse and strong characters that were enjoyable to read about. And if you finish it, there is a 2nd book being released in September 2021. Skyhunter 2. So, what are you waiting for? Get to reading.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider series, bk. 3)

    Posted by Sarah Wilson on 4/1/2021

    Skeleton Key Book Cover

    Alex Rider Series, bk. 3

    Book Talk by Mrs. Forsdick

    Skeleton Key Book Talk

    Comments (-1)