Friday, October 30, 2015

We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Fifteen year old Nell tells this story of her relationship with her older sister Layla, her first year of high school and discovering that her older sister is having an affair with a teacher.  The book is short and the plot has some intense elements and being told by the sister's point of view is interesting, but I felt like it was a bit detached. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore

The Fate of Ten (I am Number Four #6)
This is the 6th book in a 7 book series.  I am so sad that I have to wait for the last book.  For those unfamiliar with the series, it is similar to the Percy Jackson books, only the teenagers are not hero offspring of the gods, they are aliens with super powers and it is up to them to save the world from the bad aliens.  In a classic war of good against evil, the surviving members of the Garde, the gifted teenage aliens from the previously destroyed planet Lorien, must save earth from the mutant Mogadorians who are lead by the evil Setrakus Ra. The story ends in a heartbreaking cliffhanger leaving us all to wait for the final book of the series.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Good Dog by Todd Kessler

The Good Dog
There are two stories going on in this book, both of which, in my opinion, are not really appropriate for the children this is directed towards.  The first story is that of a dog, whom a boy finds as a stray puppy and brings home, which is nice, but then the boy's parents say that if the dog is bad, he will be sent to the pound, which is depicted as an evil, nasty place.  I think the emphasis on being good without taking any excuses for "bad" behavior into account,  along with the inaccurate depiction of the dog pound are not appropriate for young children.  The second story is of a large processed food bakery that makes tasteless sweets that people eat because there are no better options, that is then threatened by competition from a small, family owned bakery that makes delicious sweets. This is the family that takes in the dog. The evil processed food factory owner tries to make his old tasteless sweets look prettier without actually making them any better and when that fails, he takes bugs and mice from his own factory and puts them into the family owned bakery to sabotage it.  I don't really see that as an appropriate topic for first graders either.  The book is an overly long picture book and while the reading level is about right for first and second graders and it is well written, I think it might be easier for kids to read if it were divided into chapters.  The illustrations are very well done and are my favorite part of the book.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen by J.L. McCreedy

Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen by J.L. McCreedy
This is a mystery/adventure story as 10 year old Libby Frye goes to Germany with her overprotective parents to meet a grandmother that she had not known existed.  Once there, trouble compounds and it is up to Libby's best friend, Ginny to help her out.  There are witches, an old fighter pilot, an international traveling goose, mysteries and magic in this fast paced story.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Landfall by Ellen Urbani

Landfall is a story of two women, Rose and Rosy, who share a name and a birth year and whose lives intersect due to hurricane Katrina.  The story is as intense as the storm itself as Rose attempts to track down Rosy's family after being in a car wreck that claimed both Rosy's life and that of Rose's mother, Gertrude.  We learn about the lives of both girls along with a view of the hurricane and it's tragic aftermath.  The story is heartbreaking, sad, and intense.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Tower of Giraffes Animals in Groups by Anna Wright

This is a beautifully illustrated book with interesting facts about the groups of various animals that it names. The illustrations are different, interesting and lovely and the facts are unusual and interesting as well.  I think that adults will enjoy this lovely book as much as children will.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

They're There on Their Vacation by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jim Paillot (Illustrator)

This brightly illustrated book focuses on the proper usage of the homophones they're, there and their.  Seeing those words used incorrectly irritates me and I am thrilled to see a book that addresses the problem.  This simple and silly children's book follows the Tuckabee family on their unusual vacation to visit places like the world's largest underwear display and the Cheezie Pops factory.  I think that kids will enjoy the book.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Marked by Sue Tingey

Lucky sees dead people and debunks psychics.  When she is called in to investigate a case she finds more than just ghosts and is drawn into the realm of demons.  She learns that her best friend, a spirit named Kayla, is not really what she thought she was and neither is Lucky herself.  Remember the cartoons where a character would have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder?  Kayla meets those guys, only they are really hot and both are interested in her.  Fans of Twilight should enjoy this paranormal romance.  Lucky is a strong, independent, fun character to read about.  I look forward to other books in the series coming out.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

This is a cute, fun to read memoir in which Josh tracks down all the girls he ever dated in an attempt to find out why things did not work out with them. He uses handwritten charts and graphs and diagrams to show various information like a bar graph that shows his success with math, science, and girls and a venn diagram showing parents, true friends and enemies.  Josh is easy to relate to and funny and I think people will enjoy this book.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If You've Got It, Haunt It (A Haunted Vintage Mystery #1) by Rose Pressey

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey
When Cookie Chanel goes to an estate sale to purchase items for her vintage clothing shop, she gets more than she bargained for - specifically, the ghost of the previous homeowner, Charlotte Meadows, who wants Cookie to find her murderer.  This is a light-hearted, fun, quick read of a murder mystery/ghost story with a little romance and a lot of vintage clothing descriptions.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The No Nonsense Guide to Green Parenting: How to Raise Your Child, Help Save the Planet and Not Go Mad by Kate Blincoe

The No Nonsense Guide to Green Parenting by Kate Blincoe
This book is a nice book of parenting tips from pregnancy through young childhood about how to live green with your family.  From toys and play to house cleaning, food, and more, each chapter has a "Is it Green or Gross...?" section as well as some sort of list of tips and resources, such as book suggestions for children, craft ideas, "top ten tips for ... greening your supermarket shop", gardening, and more.  The author is British and the book refers to activities and other things that are specific to Great Britain, but could be adapted to be applicable to anywhere.  I think that new parents can find some good ideas about green living in this book.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Magnus Chase and the God's of Asgard The Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)
Riordan continues his mythological adventures with Norse mythology in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Sixteen year old Magnus has lived on the streets of Boston since he saw his mother killed by wolves two years ago.  Now that his sixteenth birthday has arrived, so have the monsters, and in a great display of bravery, Magnus dies protecting others.  From there, like so  many brave Vikings who have been chosen for one reason or another, he finds himself in Valhalla with a mystery to solve.  His Valkyrie, a girl named Sam,is an Arab who wears a hijab, thus bringing more multiculturalism into Riordan's story.  Sam, along with Magnus's homeless friends and protectors, Hearth and Blitz and some friends from Valhalla have a rousing adventure fighting and outwitting the Norse gods and trying to save the world.  I am sure that Riordan's fans will enjoy this book!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story by John D. Walsh

The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story
From how to move your hands to how to pause, add repetitive elements, and practice for your performance, this book is filled with lots of fantastic advice on how to be a good storyteller.  The author explains about telling stories to children, the elderly and every age in between at venues from schools to libraries to churches.  I think that people who wish to be better storytellers will find a lot of helpful hints and ways to make your stories come a live as you tell them.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
This is the first book that I have read by this author that I have actually liked.  In this dystopian society, Stan and Charmaine join an experimental community called the Positron Project in the town of Consilience in which they will spend every other month as either prisoners or citizens.  It seems to be a fair way out of the poverty that they have found themselves in, but things turn out to be not so nice in niceville and Stan and Charmaine get caught up in the thick of it as she has an illicit affair with the man who lives in their house the other month - the alternate, and Stan finds out about it.  Oh what a tangled web they all wind up in as this psychological experiment which is sometimes gruesome and other times humorous unfolds.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Shadow Allegiance by Lacy Yager

Shadow Allegiance (Unholy Alliance, #2.1)
I have only read one other novella in this series and I think it probably makes more sense if you read the books in order.  I still, however, enjoyed this YA paranormal romance.  Sixteen year old Rachel has been raised to be a Chaser - chasing and fighting vampires, which becomes problematic when she is turned into a vampire.  Still, she is determined to save her sister, who has paranormal abilities of her own, which Rachel learns, are the result of something her parents did.  Rachel is quickly drawn into an insta-love romance with Alex, a vampire and they rather creepily enjoy fighting and injuring one another.  The book is a quick read and I think that fans of the series and of the YA vampire romance genere will enjoy it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Wonderful ending book to the series!  Once again, the author has written a fantatic story. There is more action and adventure as Jacob and Emma and Addison search for their friends and try to rescue Miss Peregrine and the other ymbrynes and peculiars. They battle with the wights and Jacob learns that he can speak to the hollows. They follow the trail of the kidnapped peculiars and it leads to a very shady area.  It is up to Jacob and Emma to save all of them. I enjoyed the book and the interesting old photographs that accompany the story and I think that other readers of the series will enjoy it as well.

Peanut goes to School by Thea Harrison

Peanut Goes to School by Thea Harrison
This is a very short novella that is part of a series that I have not read.  It seems quite intriguing and I think that the series may be an interesting one.  In this book, Peanut starts school and has to learn to control and use his powers and he has to learn how to get along with other children and other people.  It is well-written and interesting and I think the readers of the series probably will enjoy this part of the story.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I may read the other books in the series in the future.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Undertaker's Daughter by Kate Mayfield

The Undertaker's Daughter
I really enjoyed this well-written and interesting memoir.  It begins in 1959, when Kate and her family moved to the small town of Jubilee, Kentucky where her father opened his own funeral home, where they also lived.  The story reads like fiction, and shares what it was like to live in a small town in the south during that time, the effects of desegregation, and her thoughts about death and the funeral business.  I felt like I was reading a novel, rather than a memoir and the characters and events were quite intriguing.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

None of The Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above

This quick read brings to light what it may be like to be a teenage girl diagnosed with AIS, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, a genetic intersex disorder or difference. In this story, Kristen, a high school girl, learns that she has AIS after a very painful attempt at sex.  When she shares the news with a friend, it gets out and then everyone knows.  I think the book treats the subject well and shows what social media can do and how people often react to others who are different.  The story is well-written and interesting and I think that teenagers will enjoy it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Why We Took The Car by Wolfgang Herndorf

Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf
So I think this is a coming of age story.  I wonder why coming of age stories are only about boys and not about girls. Do girls not get to come of age?  Translated from German, this is a story about 14 year old Mike, who is a social nobody with an alcoholic mother and a philandering father.  When he is left on his own once his 8th grade year ends as his mother goes to spend a month in rehab again and his dad goes on a business trip with his lovely young assistant,  Mike is joined by Tschick, a Russian classmate who has a questionable past and they decide to steal a car and go on a road trip.  And so, the story goes until they wind up in a major car wreck with a truck full of swine.  The story is interesting and different.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Rival by Lacy Yager

This is a short novella that is part of a young adult vampire series.  Emily Santos is part of a family of vampire chasers and in this short novella we see romance bloom between her and a long time martial arts classmate, Brett, as they have to fight off the vampires who have decided to attack them.  I have not read the other books in this series, but I think fans of YA vampire fiction will enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Goodbye Stranger

This is an intriguing YA novel that explore the friendships and trials of a group of teenagers in middle school and high school.  There is an element of mystery as one of the characters telling part of the story remains unnamed for most of the time and you have to figure out which character it is.  I liked the characters and their relationships were realistic.  I think that middle and high school students will enjoy it as well.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.