LitPick Reviews - Fiction

By LitPick Book Reviews

By LitPick Book Reviews

The Illustrated Boatman's Daughter

Tom Durwood


I enjoyed this tale of young Salima. One can really visualize the surroundings, and since I am not very familiar with Egypt, I appreciated the descriptions of the landscapes and the beautiful nature of Egypt. There is a real sense of community within the native peoples. The author obviously put much effort and research into this story, and you can tell that he is passionate about history, which caught my attention more than anything else. I find it inspiring when someone can take a historical event and make it appealing to the general public, entertaining them yet educating them at the same time. There were a few misspellings and mistakes in the plot such as a first captain later on being referred to as a second captain and Khalil being referred to as Khalid multiple times, but those are only technical things that any author would run into. Storywise, this was a very compelling plot; I wish I could have seen it as a movie similar to how I saw it in my head. The artwork was stunning! As an artist, I liked the creativity of the art and the opportunity that was given to the artists to contribute. I would recommed this book to people about my age and who have an interest in history as this is very educational and makes multiple references to different historical figures around the world. I wouldn't recommend for very young readers as there are some intense scenes. All in all, bravo.

Everything That Came Before Grace: A Father-Daughter Story

Bill See


Everything that Came Before Grace is an authentic and impassioned novel about the “coming of age” as a young adult of the 1990s transforms into a man of the 2020s. Bill See brings an uninhibited honesty of the inner workings of his character, Benjamin, to engage readers into an authentic conversation of the generational “gifts” so many adults struggle to define. The raw and genuine emotions that Bill shared, through his character, have the potential to radiate into the hearts of his readers - hopefully for beneficial interior growth. I appreciated being challenged while I read this novel. Kudos to Bill See on an entertaining yet provocative narrative.


Sue C. Dugan


Sue C. Dugan’s writing was very descriptive and detailed. The way she eluded to Annie’s emotions was beautiful, so well written that I could actually feel them as I read. The way she described the settings and scenery was written in a way that allowed me to visualize the detail clearly and vividly. This book was well written and had an intriguing story line. It is perfect for someone who is interested in medical and scientific advancements. While this book is fiction, it’s the philosophical element of "what if" that was really interesting.


Fran Wilde

$17.99 $16.55

Riverland is a beautifully written story of two sisters just trying to survive their parent's stormy marriage. While being entirely fictional, it brings to the light a very important topic of domestic discord. Many children struggle with their parents fighting or even splitting up. Riverland's narrative brings an urgency to the issue, making it very real and relatable even with the book's fantastical setting. The characters are so realistic that I was rooting for them from the moment I opened the book. I recommend this book to any friend or reader looking for a good thriller with solid morals

Tyrone the Terrible

Jan Lis


What I Tell Myself About Talent

Michael A. Brown


What I Tell Myself About Talent can be described as an uplifting, inclusive, and exciting journey for young children. The book ties in the benefits of hard work and determination to show readers to be themselves and do what they love. Every young child needs to experience this story to see the vast vocational opportunities in the world and the challenges that can shape them into insightful human beings. The author does a fantastic job of subtly showing readers that their role in others’ lives molds the image of themselves and what readers are called to do in the world. What I Tell Myself About Talent is a five-star story that guides readers to be themselves first and finding their calling second.

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words

Karen Leggett Abouraya and Susan L. Roth

$11.95 $10.99

I enjoyed reading Malala Yousafzai: Warrior of Words. The author, Karen Leggett Abouraya, provides a timeline of Malala’s life to illustrate her bravery during a lifetime of discrimination against girls and women by the Taliban. Her humanitarian efforts provide education for young girls throughout the world and are applauded and rewarded. Each page holds a short summary of her life, highlighting her reasons for wanting change. It is easy to read and understand. Best of all, the collages by Susan L. Roth illustrate Malala’s love for pink and bright colors amidst the darkest of times for people living in Pakistan.

Waiting for Normal

Zahra Jons

$15.99 $14.71

Waiting for Normal is an excellent, true-to-life read! This is not a novel about the battle of cancer or the treatments of cancer or the after cancer — this is a novel about teen life which happens to include cancer. It’s really a gut punch of how life doesn’t stop when a diagnosis of cancer is given to a teen girl, it simply readjusts the center. Here we have Cat still trying to get through school, figuring out her love life, and dealing with her parent’s marriage disputes. These are things ANY high school girl may be dealing with, but Cat has the added worry of what may or may not happen with her cancer treatments. You also get a look into how different members of the family are dealing with or avoiding the realities of cancer in a loved one. I think this novel would be a great read for ages 14 and up, but girls would probably be more interested. There is mention of sex and some family verbal abuse.

How I Saved a Planet!

Stephen Quatro

$12.99 $11.95

How I Saved a Planet! is a wonderfully light-hearted book that expresses quite a few moral concerns and then solves them neatly. The book is written as a diary explaining what is occuring in this Earth-Humans life as he goes on an extraordinary adventure. This novel is not serious in any way and should have been written as a kid's book, however, there is a lot of excess cussing that could have been eliminated from the story. This book is straight to the point and lacking in many descriptive and suspenseful qualities that are usually present in an adult novel. Despite its odd writting style, this book is rather relaxing to read. The author presents a wonderful narrative which can be confusing in placs. It is wonderful because the plot continues along smoothly and the reader can not help but feel they are a little wiser after finishing. However, it is also a bit confusing because the science behind a lot of what is going on is quite nonsensical. The reader feels the same confusion that the Earth-Human experiences from these strange happenings. Overall, How I Saved Planet! was a unique, creative, and relaxing read that would have served better as a children's book, crude language excluded. This novel is a wonderful respite from stressful days and from the suspenseful books that are more common to sci-fi.

The City That Barks And Roars: A thrilling mystery in a world ruled by animals

J. T. Bird

$13.00 $11.96

I couldn’t put The City that Barks and Roars down! I think teens and adults would like this book best. Some of its content could be considered mature for kids 12 years old, but I don’t think anything in it is offensive or scary. It’s a well-developed story with detailed description not only about the mystery but also about the lively community and all of its different animals. Some of them even have their portraits included. Their colorful personalities and the full range of human emotions they possess add quite a bit to the plot. Religious references interwoven with smoking, betting, bribery, and nightclub scenes were interesting to read side by side because as different from one another as these topics are, the zany story still makes sense. I especially like the British writing style and how the characters banter back and forth with one another in funny ways. In spite of the serious crime-fighting going on, this makes the story light-hearted to read. The best part of the book is how the author ties up all of the loose ends. I like knowing what happens next with the most important characters when the story’s over.

Our Wayward Fate

Gloria Chao

$18.99 $17.47

I absolutely adored “Our Wayward Fate” by Gloria Chao. The sense of humor that was reflected in the story line in addition to the sarcastic wit of the author immediately captured my attention. I loved the characters! Ali was hilarious and a character I could relate to. While she irritated me at times with some of her rash behavior, it was never enough to deter me from really liking her. I loved Chase as well. He was so sweet and really brought out the best in Ali, proving to her that she should be proud of who she was as a person. This book had many small details that shaped the book, making it fun and interesting. The first thing I noticed was that the chapters had titles. It is very rare to see chapter titles in Young Adult books. These titles added an enlightening uniqueness to this book because they added humor to the upcoming story line. In addition to this detail, the author added texting conversations and emails which introduced a fresh new form of communication between characters. The one area of opportunity for improvement with this novel which I felt would have enhanced the storyline was the pace at which the romance developed between Ali and Chase. It felt rushed which, in turn, took away from the realism of the relationship. I was very impressed by the way the author portrays Ali, the way she expresses her thoughts and develops Ali’s character. It was so impressive that if you had told me that the author, Gloria Chao, was a sixteen year old girl, I would believe you. Being a sixteen year old girl myself, I could very much relate to this character which only added to my enjoyment while reading. I would highly recommend “Our Wayward Fate” by Gloria Chao to anyone who wants a fun, relaxing read that will make you laugh out loud and leave you wanting more!