Posts Tagged ‘classroom’

BOOK OF THE DAY-2012 full list

The full 2012 book list is here! 74 pages of ideas for all seasons, holydays, memorials, vacations, book clubs, school, and reading fun! Start the new year with new adventures in reading!’s mascot Awesome Blossom passed away August 13, 2012.

Christmas & Hanukah December Book List

Our final book list of the year has a little of everything: Holiday feasts cookbook, Hanukah & Christmas children’s books, Advent meditations for adults, Our Lady of Guadalupe, books in English and Spanish, and lots of historical fiction!


Our November book list is focused on “things eternal”. From All Saints Day, to All Souls Day, to Veterans day, Thanksgiving holiday, and Advent preparation, the list takes a more meditative theme. However, plenty of fun reading for kids of all ages is included too!

BOOK OF THE DAY-10-October

October is the month of All Hallows Eve, Halloween.’s list of books takes the horrible out of horror!


Ahh, no matter where you are in the country, kids are back to school either in traditional or home classrooms. Our list this month includes books to help children emotionally adjust as well as reading list literature.


Homeschoolers and classroom teachers are preparing to return to teaching. Our August book list has classics and teaching guides for all ages.


Hot summer fun, lazy reading days, Independence day and more are covered in the July booklist recommendations.


Here it is! The book of the day challenge, to recommend a new book or related media every day in 2012. January is complete, and attached for handy download–just click on the above link. February is on the way! “Friend” Litland Reviews on Facebook to see daily recommendations as they post.

Grimes, Martha. Fadeaway Girl. Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Books. (February 7, 2012) ISBN-13: 978-0451235640. Written for adults. recommends age 16+. 

Watch out small town America: Emma Graham is back! Having read both The Belle Ruin and its sequel, Fadeaway Girl, I can understand why its author, Martha Grimes, says it isn’t a mystery. And yet it is, since at the core of the plot is a series of related, unsolved mysteries! However, it is simultaneously a character portrait in a historical fiction setting.  Admittedly, at times in the Belle Ruin the irritating & ignorant dialogue with Delbert (the taxi driver), or Will & Mill (brother & friend) would go on longer than needed to build depth in the character. Or maybe it just seemed this to me since I was listening to the audio book version. Regardless, this is cleaned up in Fadeaway Girl. And otherwise both books are great historical fiction (and yes, mysteries too!).

 This story has lots of colorful characters richly described and whose behaviors remain consistent with their personas throughout. Wiley and cunning, we see the world through Emma’s 12 year old eyes; sometimes her view is limited while at other times, more attentive than the adults. Added to that, the adults around her are painted with sufficient depth to permit us to imagine the care and concern behind their acts of kindness to Emma, and their affection for her. Ultimately that is a hallmark of good fiction, isn’t it? That the reader, being so able to understand the many characters, can imagine them beyond the pages? It certainly is of Fadeaway Girl.

 Not a Catholic yet speaking often of the local parish priest, Fr. Freeman, Emma (with a vague belief in God but little respect for the priest) stops in the church in her moment of crisis.  The story is otherwise absent of religious references.  Given all other descriptions to set the scene and context of post-WWII small town America (Knee Hi Grape sodas, sprinkle donuts at the diner, drugstore with soda counter serving ice cream sodas, Perry Mason, Bing Crosby and others), the local church would have been part of that community culture and, so, an odd  omission to not have one of its numerous characters attending a service in one of these two stories. On the other hand, as with other Martha Grimes novels, attention is paid to new age practices in this series. In Bell Ruine and continued into Fadeaway Girl, Emma is a regular customer for tarot card readings.   

 All in all, this portrait of Americana, enlarged with a kidnapping and murder, keeps the reader in constant motion with sufficient twists, people and settings to be is very enjoyable to the end! And since the Fadeaway Girl remains a mystery, perhaps we will see a 5th Emma Graham story in the future :>)

 This is another example of a book written to adults, even though the protagonist is a 12 year old girl. It will be of interest to adult women. However, older teen girls who enjoy sharing cozy mysteries with their moms will also enjoy Belle Ruin & Fadeaway Girl. Mild profanity and use of God’s name throughout; some occult practices. Otherwise, a fairly clean story of suspense without gore, humourous reference to Emma’s not quite knowing about sex. recommends age 16+. Get your copy to share!

Berry, Jedediah. (2009) The Manual of Detection. Penguin Group. ISBN-10: 0143116517. recommends ages 14+ and acceptable for advanced readers.

 Charles Unwine is a reluctant hero. He wants nothing more than to return to his desk performing his clerical work. Instead, he is pushed forward seeking truth by an underlying thread of virtue in his otherwise feeble personality. And by the unfortunate incident of stumbling upon a corpse.

And so the story begins with this clerk at a detective agency suddenly being promoted to rank of detective himself. Left to investigate the past cases of his esteemed predecessor, Travis Sivart, the situation is hilarious because of Berry’s tongue-in-cheek treatment of the agency bureaucracy. We are captured into a surreal existence which at times is touched with a Dick Tracy style while remaining quite unique all its own. As the story progresses, its plot joins the realm of sci-fi espionage complete with dream spies. Yet it never runs out of speed, twists, and motion to hold reader interest.

Berry’s writing style is colorful and the humor never ends. Each of Sivart’s past cases has a hilarious title like The Man Who Stole November 12; its characters suffer narcolepsy while “coincidentally” the town’s alarm clocks disappear. The numerous characters intertwine as one sub-plot builds onto another. And the rich dialogue and narrative capture the reader into another world.

Honestly, I chose to read this book because its description used the word “gumshoe”. I figured any book with a gumshoe couldn’t be too profane. With only a few instances of mild profanity, no unnecessary sexuality or gore, this book is pure enjoyment. It is an optimistic portrayal of an underdog persevering to the end, relying upon his strengths and virtue to outsmart the bad guys. Yet the story is stylistically unique. Written to adults, it will also hold the imagination of teens and even younger advanced readers. Highly recommended for class, homeschooling, and family book clubs! Check out our review against character education guidelines and pick up your own copy in our bookstore!