Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Book Review Club (March 2018)

Welcome to the March edition of The Book Review Club. Some of us are dealing with weather. Some of us aren't. But it's always good to learn of books others have enjoyed. Your To-Be-Read Pile can never be high enough! After my post, please scroll for links to everyone's reviews. Remember to wear green on the 17!

by Susan Hughes (author)
and Carey Sookocheff (illustrator)

A bully has popped up in my current manuscript. I decided I needed get to know her and her motivations a little better, this character that has unexpectedly taken over pages and somewhat changed the storyline (as bullies are no doubt wont to do!).

So, I read a few books about bullies, fiction and non-fiction. And today I'm reviewing a superb picture book about bullying.

What Happens Next really touched my heart. It's the story of a young boy* who dreads going to school because of Bully B who blocks his way, shoves his books, calls him names. We see how the victim sometimes feels: "Bad. Very bad." We see how the bully's friends respond: "Laugh." We see what others do: "Nothing." Eventually, the child confides in his mother who helps him plan a conversation with the bully about what the two of them, what humans, in general, have in common. And can I just say I love the unconditional love of Sparky, the dog.

*The protagonist could as easily be a girl. We don't learn the child's name. I suspect this ambiguity is intentional. After all, any gender can be bullied. At the end of the book, we do learn the bully's name.

Here's the mother explaining the bully's behavior (and this really spoke to me):
What Mom Says Next:
That everyone has their own way of looking at things and people. That each person's way of looking is made up of where they're standing and how they got there. It's made up of what's in their mind, what's in their heart, and what's in their imagination.

What Happens Next is about empathy and courage and giving power to children and finding commonalities. The ending is not pat, but, instead, encourages healthy conversation for all ages about dealing with bullies. The format is interesting. The illustrations compliment the message.

Heartily recommended. And did I find help for dealing with the bully who wandered into my work-in-progress? I did.

Here's a link to the book trailer: right here

(Dear FCC: Don't fall over in a dead faint, but I actually requested this ARC. Good thing I did because I LOVED the book. Hence, the review.) 

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Phyllis Wheeler: THE HOSTAGE PRINCE by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple (fantasy)


Patti Abbott:  WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn (thriller)

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES by Carmen Maria Machado 
                                         (short stories)


Ellen Booraem: BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah (memoir)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: -THE PLOT TO HACK AMERICA by Malcolm Nance (political)
                                                  -FIRE AND FURY by Michael Wolff (political)

                                THUCYDIDES'S TRAP? by Graham Allison (political)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE RHINO WITH GLUE-ON SHOES
                                                            edited by Lucy H. Spelman and Ted Y Mashima (zoology)

Margy Lutz: THRU-HIKING WILL BREAK YOUR HEART by Carrot Quinn (memoir)

Ray Potthoff: LOST IN THE WILD by Cary J. Griffith  (adventure/survival)                        

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. It sounds like a good book. I'm glad it helped with your story too. Thanks for reviewing and recommending!

  2. Sounds like something every middle and elementary school library should have. It's great that it helped with your book.

  3. Let me tell you about bullies....
    One of my principals was a horrid bully. We called her princess. What a witch with a b!
    Thanks for hosting!!!!
    Love your blog design. You are doing so well!

  4. Great choice for a review. Bullying is a problem across our society these days, from elementary school to the halls of power in Washington.

  5. Dealing with bullies when I was a principal was always a challenge. And in some cases, working with their parents was an even bigger challenge. I've heard that characters take on their own life when you are writing a book. I haven't had that experience because I work in non-fiction, at least not yet. Can you explain what ARC stands for? I assume it has something to do with reviewing books you did not purchase. - Margy

  6. Hi Margy! ARC stands for Advance Reader Copy. It's a pre-final version of a book sent out to reviewers.


Comments are always welcome!