Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Anomaly The Anomaly

The Anomaly by Wendy Joyce
Well, this is good for a first book by an author. The first part of the book was incredibly confusing and I honestly would have just quit reading if I had not looked at reviews and seen that many said that it gets better after the first part. Not enough detail in the first part - and really - too lacking in detail - I really would have just given up on it if I had not received the book free to review and then read the reviews to see what on earth was going on. That being said - I do understand the purpose of the first part - but it could have been shorter and had more details. The main part of the book deals with Zia in one of her many lifetimes as she deals with issues that have been brewing for all of her lifetimes - thus the confusing beginning which I think could have been done better. However, the main plot had lots of mystery and intrigue which kept me reading to find out who did what and why. That part of the story was quite good. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grimm Memories (Grimm Tales, #2) by Janna Jennings

Grimm Memories by Janna Jennings
Once again, fabulous story, but, sadly, the writing needed some help. I really did love the plot - it is fun and imaginative and has action and romance and fairy tales and fun. However, it just makes me sad that there were so many errors in the book. There were plot and writing errors as well as editing errors. Since I got a free copy from Netgalley, I can only hope that the editing errors were corrected before it was put in a sellable form. One example that stands out to me is that at the beginning of the book, when they leave the house on Andi's horses - which she just plans to leave alone in the woods, which is irresponsible for a horse owner, and her mother questions why she is putting Max on a horse named Gremlin, Andi replies that "this one has a loose shoe" - calling one of her horses "this one". She should be calling it by name - not just "this one". There are quite a few other details that are either left out or are just "off". I did enjoy the story, which continues 6 months after the 4 teens return from Elorium and they have a reunion at Andi's house, now including Quinn's brother Max. They return to Elorium due to disturbing dreams that Dylan and Andi have been having and to try to bring Frederick's grandfather back with them. They have quite an adventure and the story really is quite good. I do think it could have been better though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thursdays with the Crown (Castle Glower #3) by Jessica Day George

Thursdays with the Crown (Castle Glower, #3)
I love this series, and this book is no exception. However, this book cannot be read as a stand alone book. You could not read it and understand what is going on if you have not read the first two books. This book begins where the last one left off. The Castle had been behaving strangely and as this book begins, it has taken Celie, her sister Lilah and brother Rolf along with Pogue, Lulath, and Rufus the griffin to the glorious Arkower where the castle came from. Once there, they find two old wizards, more griffins and a mystery that they must solve in order to fix the Castle and return to Sleyne. There is action and adventure and it makes another lovely story for kids ages 8 to 13 or so. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Grimm Legacy (Grimm Tales #1) by Janna Jennings

A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings
The idea behind this book is good. Four modern day teenagers are all brought out of this world to Elorium and are rounded up by a man calling himself Mr. Jackson who claims to be helping them, but the teenagers are not so sure if they can trust him. As they travel through Elorium, the world where Grimm's Fairy Tales live, they find that they each are grandchildren of members of some original fairy tales who had escaped to our world, leaving their stories behind. The teenagers have been brought back to take their grandparents' places in the stories. Andi, who is the granddaughter of Cynthia; Quinn, whose hair grows incredibly fast, Fredrick and Dylan must find ways to outwit the fairy tale members if they are to survive and make it back to their own world. The characters were not well developed and many parts of the story were rather confusing due to lack of details. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah MlynowskiI read this book in a day and it had me laughing out loud repeatedly. When the 10th graders in homeroom class 10b get their flu shots, they get a bit more than they bargained for - the ability to hear other people's thoughts. I totally love how the author details the teenager's thoughts as Olivia obsesses about everything - worrying about the fact that she thinks weird thoughts and that now the other kids from her homeroom class would not only know that she has strange thoughts, but that she worries about them knowing that she is worrying about that. Told by the teens as a group, because when you can share thoughts, individuality blurs, we see how being able to hear thoughts affects several members of the group. It can have it's good points, but it also definitely has some drawbacks. All in all, I totally loved this book. I found it to be funny and lighthearted and a fun read. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Can I Tell You about Anxiety?: A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals by Lucy Willetts, Polly Waite, Kaiyee Tay

Can I Tell You about Anxiety? by Lucy Willetts
This is a very nice book about children's anxiety written in a way that will help children who have anxiety and those who have friends with it, teachers, parents and other adults understand and have tools with which to help children who have anxiety. Megan, a fictitious 10 year old girl who suffers from anxiety, explains the effects of anxiety on her life, how it feels to have anxiety problems, different types of anxiety, and ways that anxiety can be treated. She also explains a variety of ways that family, friends and teachers can help a child with anxiety. One suggestion is that when a child seems anxious, to ask them how they are feeling, what they are thinking and if they can think of a more realistic way of thinking about the issue rather than just assuring the child that everything is and will be ok. There is a brief section about related disorders and a list of recommended reading. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: One-Minute Tips for Decluttering and Refreshing Your Home and Your Life by Donna Smallin Kuper

Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness by Donna Smallin Kuper
This book contains a lot of short statements and tips about decluttering. Some of the statements are practical and others are more inspirational. It reminds me of the kind of things that would be printed on one of those page-a-day calendars. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Toad Weather Sandra Markle , Thomas Gonzalez

Toad Weather by Sandra Markle
This book is toadally fantastic! Written in lovely, lyrical prose, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, this story tells the tale of all the adventures that Ally has when her mother coaxes her and her grandmother outside on a rainy, gloomy day. Together they appreciate the colorful umbrellas, the splashing rain and the earthworms on the sidewalk. But, the toads are the real treat. This book is a real treat also. It is toadally wonderful and I think it will make a welcome addition to children's libraries and bookshelves. The book will be released in March and would make a nice spring gift as well. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!

How to Fall : A Novel (Jess Tennant Mysteries) by Jane Casey

How to Fall by Jane Casey
When 16 year old Jess goes with her mother back to her mother's childhood home to stay with family members she had never met, she is thrust into a mystery. Her cousin Freya, whom Jess looks like almost exactly, had died under mysterious circumstances a year prior and everyone in town is shocked by how much Jess looks like Freya yet won't go into details about Freya's death. Was it suicide, or something more sinister? Jess makes it her mission to find out what happened as she falls for the same guy who Freya liked and is liked by another boy who had also liked Freya. Bring in the jealous ex-girlfriend and they stage is set for mystery. I did enjoy the story, but somehow, the characters seemed a bit shallow and wishy washy. I was not thrilled with the ending, although apparently it is a set up for another book in the series so that explains the unfinishedness of it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
This is an excellent fantasy/ YA romance. I would caution that it has some dark parts and is probably best for readers over the age of 13. Parental caution is advised. That being said, the book is a fun spin off of the Snow White story in which Princess Snow, aka Essie, is in hiding on a mining planet, repairing junk tech for the miners and fighting in cage fights to earn extra money. When she meets Dane, who crash lands near her town, and helps him to repair his ship, the story really begins with intrigue, romance, danger and action. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Breeder by K.B. Hoyle

Breeder by K.B. Hoyle
This is an excellent YA paranormal romantic story. In a post-apocalyptic world, Seventeen is a Breeder, chosen to carry "products" to further the human race which had been depleted due to wars and other troubles. Now, the UWO controls every aspect of everyone's lives, telling them that it is much better that way. When Seventeen encounters Pax, and remembers that her name is Pria, her life changes and soon she has to leave the Sanctuary where she has been living and flee into the wilderness as she learns the truth about what the government is really doing. Action, adventure and a bit of romance abound in this young adult thriller. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery by Abby Sher

Breaking Free by Abby Sher
This book tells the heartbreaking stories of three women who escaped sexual slavery and then went on to help others. It tells the stories of Somaly Mam, who was forced into prostitution in Cambodia, Minh Dang, whose parents sexually abused her as a child and then forced her into prostitution in the United States and Maria Suarez who was kidnapped and forced to be a slave to a man in California. There is a chapter at the end of the book that explains sex-trafficking and who it is happening to, where, why and how we can help to break the cycle. The stories are sad and tragic and show how the women involved in sex-trafficking are all victims. I like the Sweedish model of prosecution in which the people who buy sex are punished rather than the people who are being sold. I think that the US and the rest of the world should use this way of prosecuting the real criminals, who are the men, rather than the girls and women who are forced into having sex with men and who did not choose to do it and who usually do not receive any of the money that is paid for the abuse of their bodies.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg
In Afghanistan, the worst place in the world to be a female, many girls are raised as boys until puberty in a practice where they are called "bacha posh" which literally means "dressed like a boy". In Afghanistan, which has a repressive, patriarchal society, women are treated like servants, animals, property that has no rights. Due to the need for sons and the fact that females are unable to work, many families designate a daughter to be raised as a son, a bacha posh, and this practice is far more common that most people realize.

Several characters are followed in this book including: Azita, a woman parliamentarian, which is an anomaly, and her daughter Mehran, whom she has chosen to be a bocha posh for her family because she has no sons. We also read about Zahra, a teenager, who, having been raised as a bacha posh, refuses to turn back into a girl; and Shukria, a woman who had been raised as a boy and then was changed back to a girl and was married off and now has children of her own. The author explains the many reasons that families may designate a daughter to be a bacha posh, describes the extremely dysfunctional attitudes within the Afghan society and the struggles of many girls and women and their fathers to overcome these views and make changes in Afghanistan. She also explains why foreign aid is not helping the situation.

Lastly, the author explores the issue of what gender is and describes how, throughout history, around the world, for various reasons, often in times of war, females have chosen to or have had to present themselves as males.
I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weather 100 Facts You Should Know by Clare Oliver

This is a fabulous book of weather facts suitable for elementary and middle school age children.  Full of facts on a wide variety of weather related topics like seasons, types of clouds, hurricanes, hail, rainbows, auroras and myths and legends about weather, this book is sure to appeal to people of all ages.  The photos and drawings are engaging and there are occasional quizzes, funny facts, a glossary and an index.  I think this book would make a great addition to any elementary school and middle school library as well as for people who home school and any children who are interested in weather.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Poison Dart Frogs Up Close by Carmen Bredeson

Poison Dart Frogs Up Close
This book has beautiful and colorful photographs and interesting facts about poison dart frogs. It describes their life cycle and habitat and gives other interesting facts about the frogs. This is a wonderful resource for elementary school and middle school children. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!

Mason Meets A Mason Bee by Dawn V Pape

This is a cute rhyming book for children that tells facts about bees and their importance in pollinating the plants that we eat. It also tells about the dangers of pesticides and has lovely photographs of bees and flowers and an adorable little boy. I did, however, think that the photos of bees that they had drawn faces on were rather creepy. There are not many of those and perhaps children will think they are cute. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5) by Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
I enjoyed this book but it seemed a bit stale and formulaic. About every other chapter starts with a bang in the first sentence such as: "The hordes had arrived."; "Jason rose from his deathbed so he could drown with the rest of the crew.";and "Piper wasn't surprised when the snake people arrived." There are also lots of flashbacks and references to things that happened in the past. I really don't know if all of those things are in the past books or if they are just put in to build more background, but it got old. This story is told by Jason, Piper, Nico, Reyna, and Leo as they try to unite the Greek and Roman camps so that they can unite the Greek and Roman halves of the gods and keep Gaea from being awakened and destroying all humanity. If you like the other books in this series, you will enjoy this one as well. It has action, adventure, fights, romance, death, gods, goddesses and demigods in a battle to unite as well as to defeat.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Can I Tell You about Eating Disorders?: A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals by Bryan Lask, Lucy Watson

Can I Tell You about Eating Disorders?: A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals
This is an interesting way to explain eating disorders to children and to the friends, family and other adults who know young people who have eating disorders. It is told by a character named Alice, who has Anorexia, and she discusses her eating disorder with other kids who have other eating disorders including Freddie, who has Food Avoidance Emotional Disorder; Sam, who has Selective Eating; Francesca, who has Functional Dysphagia; and Beth, who has Bulimia. The book explains how the young people with the eating disorders feel and what other people can do to help them. I think that this book would be very helpful to teachers, friends and family members of young people who suffer from eating disorders.

Breaking Free by Winter Page

Breaking Free by Winter Page
I am amazed that this was written by a 14 year old. The story is captivating and emotional. It is well written and is also edited well. Told mostly by Raimi (aka Rain), and partly by Clare, it covers many issues that teenagers deal with including bullying, homosexuality, drugs, drinking, oppressive religion and family problems. I think that many teenagers will enjoy reading this story. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Andi Under Pressure (Andi Boggs #2) by Amanda Flower

Andi Under Pressure (Andi Boggs, #2)
This is another fun mystery as 12 year old Andi and her best friend Colin go to a science summer camp at the local university. When supplies go missing and the kindly, but mysterious janitor is blamed, Andi and Colin decide to investigate what is going on. When their teacher is injured in a lab accident, things get really serious. In the meantime, Andi's aunt is trying her best to be a parent to Andi and her older sister, Bethany. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I think that middle school kids will enjoy it very much.