Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Phobic by Courtney Pearson

Phobic by Cortney Pearson
This is a fun to read, classic thriller/horror/ghost story with a little YA romance.  Fifteen year old Piper lives in a haunted house - really, really haunted - with her older brother Joel.  Her father died several months ago - in the house, and her mother is in prison for murdering a man and burying him - in the house.  When her best friend/love interest, Todd brings his friends to the house - friends who bully Piper because she has acne - things go from creepy, to creepier.  Now, Piper has to learn the secrets of the house to save her brother and herself. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I enjoyed it and think others will enjoy it too.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

About A Girl by Sarah McCarry

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry

The author's writing style is beautiful and delightful to read.  The story is the third in a series and I have not read the other two books, and if I had read them, I might have understood this one better.  It is a YA paranormal romance entwining mythological characters into the story.  The main character, Tally, is essentially magically induced to go on a plane trip across the country to find a man who used to be a musician so she can learn about her mother who had abandoned her at birth leaving her on the doorstep of her best friend.  She thinks the musician may be her father.  Once there, she is drawn to a beautiful girl named Maddy, who she has a torrid affair with.  We don't really learn who or what Maddy really is, but she, like some of the other characters is something mythical and supernatural.  I wish that the paranormal parts had been explained more clearly. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
A magical twist on the Romeo and Juliet story.  Lace is a member of the Paloma family, in which the girls dress as mermaids and perform as a traveling show.  Cluck is one of the Corbeaus, a traveling family that puts on wings and performs tight rope style in the trees.  The two families are sworn enemies, meeting once a year in a town during a festival.  They believe that to touch a member of the other family, unless you are hitting or kicking them, will result in your death.  Superstition and magical thinking rule the families.  When Lace and Cluck meet one another, they don't realize what family the other is from, thinking the other one is a town local.  The story is not pretty, with environmental issues and abuse, and yet still, romance blooms between the star-crossed lovers. I enjoyed this story and found it hard to put down.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Orphan of Torundi by J.L. McCreedy

The Orphan of Torundi by J.L. McCreedy
You will find mystery, suspense and romance in this YA novel.  Having grow up an orphan on the tropical island of Torundi, Sam is surprised when she is unexpectedly sent away to a boarding school for her senior year of high school.  There, she meets the devastatingly handsome Gabe, who is actually only two years older than she is although he is pretending to be older and has a job there as a teacher's assistant, and she belatedly recognizes him as the person who saved her from a leopard on Torundi, which somehow lead to her being sent away to boarding school.  There is all kinds of mystery and intrigue as well as some insta-crush romance in this novel.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

No Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss

No Parking at the End Times
I read this whole book last night.  It is the story of teenage twins, Abigail and Aaron, whose parents have sold everything and driven the family across the country to California to be with a preacher who has proclaimed the date on which the world will end.  Once that date has passed, and the world had not ended, they are stuck there, living in their van and the adventure has worn off.  Now, they are homeless people and their parents are still taking them to the preacher's church, praying and wondering what will happen next.  The story is moving and thought provoking and shows how quickly people can become homeless and how dangerous that life is.  I enjoyed the book and I think others will too.

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore
I love the colorful illustrations as well as the story in this excellent historic picture book about the National Memorial African Bookstore.  The story is told from Lewis's point of view about his father's bookstore.  He tells about the famous people who visited the store and gathered there including Muhammad Ali and Malcom X.  Historical and biographical information is included in this informative book for children.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book: "Me and my dad talk about important things.  Things like truth and what it means to be free.  Dad says books can help you.  Not every book is true, he says, but the more you read, the easier it is to figure out for yourself what is true."  Just fabulous!  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!

I Hear A Red Crayon by Bonnie Feuer

This is a very touching, well-written story about life with an autistic older sibling from the point of view of an adolescent.  The author talks about being embarrassed when out in public with her brother and how she wished he could play games with her.  She described his behaviors and how she understood them and told about the fun things they could and did do together as children.  She tells about the good and bad, happy and sad times and how even though she is younger than him, she will always act as the older sibling.  I enjoyed reading this book and I think it can be helpful for teen with autistic siblings as well as to other people.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
Well, this is an interesting book.  First of all, the author uses incredibly long sentences sometimes.  A sentence can fill an entire page.  The story itself is fantasy/philosophy, not a combination one usually sees in a book. The author uses his paranormal/fantasy post-apocalyptic setting to share his views about many things including religion, philosophy, human nature, the
Taliban, and sex.  The story begins with a character named Ibn Rushd - the last name seems rather similar to the author's last name - who is a brilliant philosopher with whom a Jinni princess who calls herself Dunia falls in love.  She has many litters of children with him, all of whom have no ear lobes, and then he leaves her to take part in an endless philosophical discussion. The story then progresses to 800 years later when a severe supernatural storm disrupts the barrier between the Jinni and human worlds and chaos that they call the "strangeness" ensues.  Only Dunia and her half-human, half-Jinni offspring are able to save the world and restore normality.  Dunia falls in love with one of her own great great many times grandchildren, Mr. Geronimo, because he resembles Rushd and he is also old like Rushd was when she loved him.  She tells him that old men make better lovers which lets the readers know that the author is an old man himself and is expressing his fantasies in this book. The author's views about religion are interesting and the story is a good fantasy tale.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stormfront (Undertow #2) by K.R. Conway

Stormfront (Undertow #2)This middle book in the series spends a lot of time at the beginning reviewing the past book.  Then, if you like the Twilight series, this book has very similar relationships minus the dreadful love triangle.  After the explosion, the gang has the attention of the FBI and are avoiding them as well as whoever is out to get them.  Christian is helpful in many ways and a new character, Rillin, is introduced.  I really like Rillin, he is majorly cool.  The book ends in a cliffhanger.  I look forward to the next book.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Undertow by K.R. Conway

Undertow by K.R. Conway
In this YA paranormal romance, 17 year old Eila has been gifted with a house that she had never known about that had belonged to her grandparents whom she had never known about either.  So, she and her guardian, Mae, move to Cape Cod and into the family home.  Once there, she makes friends with MJ and Ana and has an insta-love crush on the devastatingly handsome Rafe.  She begins having nightmares, and eventually, after being attacked by something, she learns that Rafe is not human, something she should have figured out since he never ate any food in her presence, and her other friends are not quite normal and neither is she.  Mystery, suspense, action and insta-love romance abound in this YA paranormal romance.  Fans of the genre should enjoy it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Visit to the Library by Mary Lindeen

This is a beginning reader book that takes the reader on a visit to the library.  It shows how to check out and return library books, and shows some activities that a child might do at a library like play with toys or go to a story time.  It also has a reading reinforcement activity at the end of the book that follows the Common Core standards.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Food52 Baking

Food52 Baking
I love this cookbook as much as the others in the Food52 series.  As usual, it has beautiful, mouthwatering photos.  The recipes are well-written and simple to follow and it includes suggestions and helpful hints.  The ingredients are normal, easy to find ones, but the results are spectacular.  I highly recommend this cookbook!

Fresh Made Simple by Lauren K. Stein and Kate Eberts

Fresh Made Simple by Lauren Keiper Stein

This is a really cute and different sort of cookbook.  The whole thing is hand drawn and illustrated and hand written.  The recipes are very simple, with just a few ingredients and accompany the illustrations.  Every page is a cute work of art.  I really like this book!  I think it would be fun to share with children. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
This is an erotic romance in an historical setting.  I was intrigued by the setting, a Jewish character in Paris in the 1800's.  Sandrine has fled from her husband in America after learning how dreadful he really is, to Paris to stay with her grandmother, a famous courtesan.  Her grandmother has moved out of her house, a lovely mansion that Sandrine had stayed in when she was 15 years old on a visit, and forbids Sandrine from going into the mansion, but Sandrine is drawn to the house and there she meets the architect hired by her grandmother. Although her grandmother repeatedly tells her the mansion is dangerous, Sandrine continues to visit and finds some dangerous family secrets and has a passionate romance with the architect.  She also dresses as a man and gets into a previously all-male art school and becomes a fabulous painter, although she has some other-worldly help with that. There is magic, mystery, steamy romance, and more in this erotic romantic novel. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.    

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kale And Coffee: A Renegade’s Guide to Health, Happiness, and Longevity by Kevin Gianni

Kale and Coffee by Kevin Gianni
This book is an interesting memoir of the author's journey of dieting and his quest for the world's healthiest diet.  He shares his experiences with veganism, salt mining, water fasting, tapping and more.  The book ends with a 21 day jump start diet plan that the author recommends.  The author concludes that there is not any one best diet plan for everyone, but gives his recommendations for the things that he thinks are best.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, September 7, 2015

We Are Pirates A Novel by Daniel Handler

We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler

This well written book follows two characters - Phil Needle, a middle aged radio director and Gwen, his fourteen year old daughter.  Gwen is unhappy and shoplifts, gets caught and is punished by having to care for an old man at a nursing home.  She meets Amber, another unhappy girl her age, and they become friends and plot an escape from ordinary life which includes stealing a ship, taking the old man from the nursing home to pilot the ship and being pirates.  Phil is trying to revive his career.  The book has an underlying unpleasantness to it's theme, which, considering that the author also wrote the Series of Unfortunate Events books, makes sense.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What You Eat by Alan Levinovitz

The Gluten Lie by Alan Levinovitz
I listened to the audio version of this and it is well-done and  debunks many of the fad diets that have abounded and are still around.  The author does not deny that there are some people who do have celiac disease and there are also some people who have a sensitivity to gluten.  However, that is a small amount compared to the amount of people who have jumped on the gluten free because it will cure everything bandwagon.  He points out that if a diet begins with someone's story about their awful health problem(s), followed by a claim that this diet cured not only that, but can cure a huge variety of problems like autism, brain fog, adhd, digestive disorders, skin problems, headaches, cancer, heart disease, and more, it is very likely to be, like snake oil was, a fad that is meaningless.  He points out that many people who claim to feel better and lose weight after adopting a specific diet - whether it be gluten free or paleo or whatever, are also no longer eating as much fast foods and are cooking their own foods, which are healthier than the fast foods that they once ate.  His book points out many things to think about when it comes to the field of health and diet.  

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose, who is in 5th grade has high functioning autism.  As she tells her story, she shares her obsession with homophones and prime numbers and we see how turning to those is a coping skill for her. We follow her story as she searches for her dog who disappears after a hurricane and begins to make friends with other children. I think that children who read this may be able to empathize more with their classmates who function differently the way Rose does.  The story is interesting and is well-written and should be appealing to 4th - 6th grade students and others.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon and Dean Hale

The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale
This is yet another fabulous adventure in the life of Princess Magnolia - a sparkly, beautiful princess with a secret life as a ninja superhero monster fighter.  I just love that.  On the day of her birthday party to which she had invited 12 other sparkly princesses as her guests, the monster alarm goes off repeatedly and she has to slip in and out of disguise as the Princess In Black, sneaking away from her party guests to save the goats from being eaten by monsters.  Along with her faithful steed, Frimplepants the unicorn, who transforms to Blacky, the Princess In Black's faithful pony, she struggles to fight monsters without having her party guests figure out her secret.  She distracts her guests with fun games and races in order to do so.  The illustrations are cute and the story is totally awesome!  This book is excellent for beginner readers and is totally fun for all readers to enjoy.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Conditions of Love by Dale M. Kushner

The Conditions of Love by Dale M. Kushner
The writing is beautiful in this story.  Eunice's life is rather like a series of unfortunate events because every time things seem to be going well something dreadful occurs.  Beginning when she was 10 years old, in 1953, the book continues until she is 18 and then jumps to the future at the end for a look back at her life.  It is a story of overcoming adversity and finding love.  It is rather odd and quirky and the writing is so well done that it is just a lovely read.