Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books


There were SO many books I adored as a kid. My reading game was never higher than when I was aged 9-12, because back then I actually had the time to read and it was really only school that got in my way. But here are the top five children’s series/books that come to mind. I tried to stick to books that I don’t see often on these lists. Continue reading

Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes


Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
Genre: Historical fiction
3 stars.

This was such a frustrating mess of positives and negatives that it was difficult to decide between 2.5 and three stars. I eventually went with three stars because, despite all its issues, Ship of Brides was still an enjoyable read. Continue reading

The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke


The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
Genre: Historical fiction, Fantasy, YA
3 stars.

“If the story was happy, you’d care less about that tiny little bit of freedom . . . We wouldn’t like the daylight if it wasn’t for the night. We wouldn’t notice the stars if not for the endless dark of night. All the story, like you said? That’s the important part. The sad parts are all about surviving. We are a people that survives. We endure. We will endure this too.” Continue reading

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

25614492Genre: Historical, YA
4.5 stars.



I have been a bit of a WWII buff for the past six years and I DIDN’T KNOW, so I was absolutely caught off guard by the ending. That is what blew me away more than anything. Continue reading

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

This post does NOT contain spoilers.

Blue Castle cover


5/5 on Rachel’s Rating Scale
Historical, romance

As a kid, I adored LM Montgomery’s most famous novels chronicling the adventures of Anne Shirley. I even went so far as to read all eight books in the Anne of Green Gables series, following Anne as she grew from the feisty, stubborn orphan to a grown woman with children of her own. I delighted in the world of mesmerizing characters Montgomery had created, never wanting to leave their world. When I was done with the books, I set them aside and never realized Montgomery had written anything else.

I don’t know exactly why I grabbed this book off my library shelf, but I read it before I realized who the author was, and Valancy’s Blue Castle has forever enchanted me. While not dabbling in fantasy as most of my favorite books do, The Blue Castle takes on a magic of its own in Valancy’s moments of triumph and the enduring sweetness of her new-found relationships. It is a book full of wit, hilarity, and will leave the reader cheering as Valancy finally stands up for herself.

Valancy Stirling is 29-years-old in the early 20th century, unmarried, and living under the suffocating thumb of her family. In those days, Valancy is considered an old maid, unlikely to ever marry and leave the confines of her mother’s house. When Valancy finds out she has only a year left to live, she keeps the secret from her family and for the first time in her life, decides to take her own destiny into her hands. Shocking her family and the entire town, Valancy takes up with the most disreputable folks in the area, Roaring Abel Gay and his daughter Sissy, as well as the mysterious loner, Barney Snaith. With nothing left to lose, Valancy stands up for her right to live a full life, and, against all odds, finds love and acceptance in the most unexpected places.

I was afraid, at first, that this book was going to be dull, but it was anything but. The stuffy hypocrisy of Valancy’s family will make the reader cringe, but it is done in a way that is so delightfully humorous. You will laugh and cry with Valancy as she experiences the world in a way she never knew could exist. And, of course, the romance is also a delight, subtle, and equal parts frustrating and sweet. Plus, the book is full of twists and turns that the reader may or may not expect.

So, yes, DEFINITELY read this one. I’ve read it a bajillion times, particularly when I need a tale of triumph. And I would not limit this book to just young adult audiences. The Blue Castle holds something for all ages.