Book: The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams (2021)
Author: Mindy Thompson
Genre: MG, Historical Fantasy
Opening lines from the book …
The bookshop is feeling blue today. I sense it the moment my brother James and I arrive home from school. The lights are low, the ever-shifting wallpaper is a cheerless dark gray, with somber books on display—Wuthering Heights, Old Yeller, A Little Princess. The gloom sinks into my bones.
Love the magical bookshop! In many ways, this bookshop, called Rhyme and Reason, is its own character. It somehow senses different things and morphs accordingly. And it has a special connection to Poppy, the bookstore owners’ daughter. The bookstore is a haven for time-travelers. (It’s kind of neat that Poppy is really wanting to read books like the Chronicles of Narnia, which haven’t been written yet!)
The story takes place during World War II. Poppy’s father gets very sick and it seems like it might have something to do with the weird things that are happening with the bookstore. On top of that, news comes that a close family friend has died in the war. Poppy’s older brother wants to use the magic of the bookstore to change things. But, of course, that’s forbidden.
In some ways, this book is a little dark, which surprised me a bit. But then again, it does make sense. It’s really about choices we make.
Book: The Captain’s Daughters (2021)
Author: Doreen D. Berger
Genre: MG, Sci-fi
Opening lines from the book …
“Dad, we know what to do!” Diane assured him again, totally exasperated, as he gave her and Robin last-minute instructions. “We’re twelve!” she reminded him. “We don’t need your help! Honestly, we don’t.”
I find I don’t read a lot of science fiction. This book turned out to have a big Star Trek vibe to it! While I enjoyed that, I also found it sometimes a little too distracting because I’d be comparing it to the Star Trek universe!
Let’s get to the two main characters! Diane and Robin are two girls set out for adventure. The story begins when they are kidnapped and their attempts to get home again. Just at the time when you think they’re about to succeed, there’s a nice little twist that throws them even further way from their goal. I found it interesting to see the juxtaposition of the shiny world of space travel against the dirt and sweat of the horseback riding scenes. There’s even the grandma’s homecooked meals being compared with the sterile futuristic cooking aboard the starship Polaris.
My head also began to spin a bit with different universes and counterparts and trying to figure out who is where and when! But that’s what happens when you deal with multiple universes! And there were a lot of flashbacks which also got to be a little confusing at times. I’d get caught up in a fun story where the girls get into some scrape, but then I’d forget that I was in the past. There are some really fun scenes, though. The scene at the end (*SPOILER! where the two Captain Marshes—Dad and Uncle Bill—are together and the girls aren’t sure which one is their dad… End Spoiler) is priceless!