Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

The Feathered Bone
This is a well written book about some very ugly topics.  Human Trafficking, abusive relationships, and suicide are all disturbing, no matter how well the story is told.  One of the characters in the story survives due to her faith.  I like that her faith did not take her out of the situation, because prayer does not do that, but it helped her to keep a positive outlook and attitude, and many people do experience that.  The story is riveting, and heartbreaking.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dead Boy by Laurel Gale

This is actually a quite awesome book for children in grades 4-8.  Crow is dead.  He died in 4th grade, and he is rotting and has maggots and sometimes parts of his body fall off - an ear, eye, hand, but his mom sews them back on.  He can't go to school or go outside except for on Halloween and lives a lonely life until Melody moves in next door and becomes his friend.  Melody believes in magic and thinks that Crow is nice, as well as being proof that magic really exists.  Although his mother tries to keep him indoors, Crow longs for a more normal life and he sneaks out to see Melody and eventually, he learns how he died and became undead and he and Melody go to visit the magical Meera, a dangerous magical animal who is responsible for Crow's state of being.  They must be brave and strong to pass the tests required of them and be selfless friends as well.  I really enjoyed this book and I think kids will enjoy it too.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

True North (Undertow #3) by K. R. Conway

I really liked this third book in the series and totally look forward to the next book!  There is more action and adventure and just as I was feeling sorry for MJ because he is so nice but had no female friend, and I did think a bitch would work well for him since he was a dog, a very possible love interest is brought in for him.  I also liked the addition of Basil - he is a pretty cool character.  Together, despite several tragedies, Eila and her supernatural pals are trying to find out who the bad guys really are and what they want and we find out just how badass the characters can be.  Totally great book!  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
I listened to the audio version of this book and I enjoyed it very much.  Ten year old Micah's grandfather, who is raising him, has told him stories about the magical Circus Mirandus for all of his life.  Now grandfather Ephraim is very ill and great aunt Gertrudus is staying with them, and she does not believe in magic and is not a very nice person at all.  Grandfather has sent a letter to the Circus Mirandus, asking the Man Who Bends Light for the miracle that he had offered to him when Ephraim was a 10 year old boy visiting the magical circus.  Ephraim had saved his miracle and now he is asking for it, but it may not be possible.  Now it is up to Micah to find the circus and help his grandfather to get his miracle.  The story is sweet and cute and magical.

Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

This is an intense YA psychological thriller/mystery.  After years of being bounced from foster home to foster home, Sarah has received an invitation to attend a prestigious private school and is taken there the very next day.  The school is very secluded and during their stay there, students are not allowed any contact with the outside world. For Sarah, however, that does not matter at first.  She is in a beautiful, amazing school with resources that she could not have imagined and her roommates are friendly and she is invited to be part of a secret society of students shortly after school begins. However, she finds that there is something sinister going on at the school and due to her odd, eidetic memory, she may be the only one who can figure out what is going on.  The book is a riveting, quick read and I look forward to the next one in the series. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

This story is an interestingly unusual mix of fantasy and reality, dreams, death and second chances. When Eleanor steps through a door and out of this world into another one, she begins a strange journey through the tragedies in her family member's lives.  The strangeness that is accepted as part of reality reminds me a bit of Alice Hoffman's books. I enjoyed this intriguing story and I think others will as well.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Written in Fire by Marcus Sakey

This last book in the trilogy was full of action - lots of war, killing, fighting and more fighting and stragegizing as Nick tries to stop John Smith and a war and save his ex-wife and children and the world.  Although this was the last book in the trilogy, it did end with a bit of a twist that could lead to another book or series.  I look forward to the author's next book.

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees To Feed Families by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

This is an interesting and educational children's picture book about how Dr. Sato transformed an African community by planting mangrove trees which fed their sheep and cattle and housed more fish so they now have more food to eat there.  The story is told in alternating verse and prose - lovely verse on one page and informational prose on the next.  The illustrations are unique and colorful and perfect for this book.  I highly recommend this book!

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Simple Heart Cure by Chauncey Crandall, M.D.

This is a short and simple, basic book about living with heart disease and should be helpful for someone who has not read much about the topic.  The 90 day "program" only takes up 10 pages of the 193 page book and is quite simple, as the title says, and pretty much common sense for those who have read anything about heart disease.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Wow!  I really loved this story!  When May and Libby were in 5th grade, they met, and together created Princess X cartoons, illustrated by Libby and written by May.  A few years later, Libby and her mother died in a tragic car wreck when Libby's mother drove off of a bridge.  Three years later, May sees a Princess X sticker and finds a website of Princess X cartoons that could only have been drawn by Libby.  Can she follow the clues and find her friend?  Mystery, suspense, and a computer hacking neighbor combine in this great book for teens!  I am not usually a fan of graphic novels, but the graphic novel inserts were an important and fun part of this story and I really enjoyed them.  I highly recommend this excellent book!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
This is a well-written, gripping psychological thriller about Mia, who is kidnapped, and when she is finally found has amnesia and claims that her name is Chloe.  The story is told in turns by her mother, Eve; the kidnapper, Colin; the detective on the case, Gabe; and in the end by Mia herself.  The story is told by the various characters in the time periods before she is found and after the is found and the reader has to connect the pieces to figure out what is going on and what happened.  I found it to be an interesting read and I was surprised by some of the plot twists.

29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

29 Gifts by Cami Walker
The concept of giving gifts to others is a great one.  The book is a memoir of a woman who has multiple sclerosis and is into really new agey type stuff like divination with cowrie shells and she goes to a church that accepts all religions as valid.  The concept of giving the 29 gifts is that it would bring good vibes or energy from the universe, which would help with her ms, and her finacial struggles and more.  I think that people who are into the new age concepts of energies in the universe and all that stuff will probably love this book.

Friday, January 15, 2016

How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown

How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy ... by Jennifer Brown
This is a cute, overly exaggerated, silly story with a message about friendship and empathy.  Luke is in a total loser of a middle school, evidenced by the fact that they have never won anything, and a guinea pig was on the school's football roster for two seasons before anyone noticed.  Luke loves playing an alien based video game online with a boy he has not met, and is unhappy that his older brother has joined the marines.  When his dad has Luke join the robotics team, it is not at all his idea of fun.  The team includes a girl who does things with her toes - like paint and eat; Missy the Cruel, a petite bully; and Lunchbox Jones, a hulking but quiet boy who always carries a lunchbox with him - everywhere.  While preparing for the robotics contest, Luke manages to make friends with Lunchbox, work through some of his feelings about his brother joining the military and become more empathetic towards others.  I think that kids will enjoy the book.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13 B by Teresa Toten

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

This  book is an excellent look at mental illness for teens.  Adam has OCD and meets Robyn in a support group.  As Adam helps the others in the support group, who become his friends, his own issues become worse, due to his mother's hoarding and her other issues.  When Adam sees that Robyn is getting better and he is not, he is determined not to drag her down, even though he loves her.  There is love and friendship and dealing with many mental health issues in this fast paced, well-written book for teens.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
This is one of the most well-written non-fiction books that I have read lately.  I absolutely loved the writing and thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.  The book tells the story of the Maines family and their transgender daughter Nicole and their struggles with legal rights.  In addition, the author explains a lot about gender identity and how it forms and what transgender really means.  I wish Nicole and her family well, and I will look for other books by this fabulous author.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson
This is a cute fairy tale mash up in which a young girl winds up at Pennyroyal Academy, a training school for Princess and Knights who are learning to fight witches and dragons.  The girl does not know her name and is given the name Eleven, being the eleventh girl that has arrived there under a memory curse, and her friends call her Evie.  The  book is silly and has a lot of action and adventure and I think that children will enjoy it.  I look forward to reading the second book when it is released.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Real Food Revolution Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm by Tim Ryan

The Real Food Revolution by Tim Ryan
This is a very well-researched and informative book about the problems surrounding food production and marketing in the United States and what can be done to make things better.  It sounds like Congressman Ryan has been voting to make things better and is involved in a wide variety of groups that are working to make US food production healthier for us and better for the small farmers as well. From the effects on the environment to nutritional value to the local food movement and more, there is a lot of good, helpful information in this book. I think that Americans need to learn more and vote with our dollars in order to make the food that we eat healthier and not let the big food companies poison us with junk food.  Excellent book.  Everyone should read it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb

Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb
This is a silly, ratified version of the king Arthur story in which Joey, an 11 year old boy who has been turned into a rat, pulls ratscalibur, a spork, from a stale scone proving that he is the one who will fulfill the prophesy and save the rats of Ravalon.  The book is fun and fast  paced and I think it would make a cute cartoon movie.

Con Academy by Joe Schreiber

Con Academy
This book reminds me a bit of The Great Greene Heist, only for high school instead of middle school.  Will comes from a family of con men and women, and has lied his way into the prestigious Connaughton Academy, a private high school for kids enjoying affluenza.  He quickly finds out that he is not the only person who conned their way in and he and Andrea have a contest to see who can con Brandt Rush, the richest kid at school out of $50,000 first.  The book is a fast paced, fun read and I think teens will enjoy it.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

Come Away with Me by Karma Brown
This book is so sad. It is hard to review the book without giving things away, but it is the story of a young woman overcoming grief and loss.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Why Bernie Sanders Matters by Harry Jaffe

Why Bernie Sanders Matters by Harry Jaffe
This unauthorized biography gives a lot of information about Bernie Sanders, his political views and history and current information on his campaign.  I think that it is an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to know more about Bernie Sanders and his views.  I found the book to be easy to read and very informative.  I now know quite a bit more about Bernie Sanders and his views and I still am a strong supporter of him.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
So, this book is like a steampunk combination of Farenheit 451, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Les Miserables. Jess, has grown up in a steampunk, Dickensian London, son of a book smuggler and he has been sent to become a spy within the great Library of Alexandria, if he can survive as one of the students who receives a position there.  Together, he and the other students fight to survive and are sent on a dangerous mission.  This is the first book in the series and I think that teenagers will enjoy it.