Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Change Places With Me by Lois Metzger

This book is vaguely creepy and unusual. Rose wakes up very happy, but something is different.  She is not sure quite what it is, but she is determined to be happy anyway.  Until she isn't - really.  What is going on?  It is difficult to review the book without giving away what is going on, so I won't try, but I do recommend the book.  It is kind of like a psychological thriller without the thriller, but as a mystery instead.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Like Being Me Poems about kindness, friendship, and making good choices by Judy Lalli

I like the photographs and bright illustrations in this book of poems about behavior for adults to share with children.  I think that children will enjoy many of these poems. The book also includes a guide for teachers, parents and other adults explaining the social skills addressed by the poems, and giving ideas for activities that could be done using the poems.

It Ain't So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Although it makes me feel ancient that a book that qualifies as historical fiction is about events that occurred during my lifetime, when I was in high school, I must endorse this book as an excellent historical fiction novel for middle grade kids.  Based loosely on the author's life, it is about an Iranian girl whose family has moved to California for her father's job in the oil industry in the late 1970s during the Iranian revolution and subsequent hostage crisis.  Cindy, as she has chosen to call herself since most Americans cannot pronounce Zomorod, begins the story right before her 6th grade year and tells about her struggles to make friends and fit into the American culture.  As the revolution in Iran and hostage crisis occur, she tells the effects on her family and the hatred against Iranians in the US and how painful that is to live through as a child.  I think that children today can compare it to political events going on at this time and see similarities to how people treat one another.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall by [Hawley, Noah]

So I was reading this book and then it like just ended.  And it kind of makes sense to end it there, but it is so abrupt.  I did enjoy the book.  It is the story of a plane crash that had only two survivors, a middle aged man who was on a swim team in his youth, who managed to swim for miles to shore after the crash, saving a four year old boy who had also been on the plane.  The book tells the back stories of the passengers and crew of the flight as well as the story of the survivors in the aftermath.  It is well-written and compelling.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I did enjoy it.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by [Farrey, Brian]
Twelve year old Princess Jeniah's mother is dying, and Jeniah is not ready to be the queen.  She has been told that if she ever enters the swampy area called Dreadwillow Carse, the monarcy that has brought happiness to her realm, will fall.  Of course, she wants to find out more and when she meets Aon, the only girl in the area who can feel unhappiness and who feels drawn to the carse and has been inside it a bit, the girls devise a plan for Aon to explore the carse and Jeniah to release Aon's father from his service to the crown.  Both actions are much easier said than done and both girls must be brave.  I think that middle grade children will enjoy this fantasy story.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Fairy Tale by Shanna Swendson

This is a fun to read, lighthearted fantasy/mystery.  Sophie's younger sister Emily has been kidnapped by the fairies - again - and it is up to Sophie to rescue her.  However, since Emily is a famous actress and her upstairs neighbor is a handsome detective whose wife disappeared mysteriously seven years ago, Sophie has to deal with the police as well as with the fairies.  Why do the fairies want her sister anyway?  Will Sophie be able to rescue her and the other women? I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I enjoyed it very much.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill

Katie's story is part of a two part story and I have not yet read the other  book by her now ex-boyfriend, Arin, who is also transgender, but I plan to read his book as well.  Katie tells how she has felt being transgender and how publicity has helped and hurt her and how she hopes to help other transgender individuals.  She is now 22 years old, but was 19 when she wrote the book.  I think that teens will enjoy her book and find it interesting and helpful.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Shadow Cadets of Pennroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

This is Evie's second year at Pennyroyal Academy, a three year version of Hogwarts that trains Princesses and Knights in a boot camp-type setting, complete with a fairy drill sergeant.  Princesses main weapons are courage and love and they prevail against witches.  However, since the academy regularly kicks out girls who are unworthy of becoming princesses, some of the unhappy flunkees have made their own secret society of unhappy campers who are opposed to the princesses.  This story, like the first, is full of action, adventure, bravery from the princesses, who include Basil, the 22nd son of a woman who wanted one of her children to become a princess. Evie, who was raised by dragons, learned last school year that her father had been a king, but his second wife and her daughter were witches.  Evie has a major identity crisis.  Who is she really? Dragon, princess, witch's sister? Will she be able to enjoy her second year at school with her friends or will things all fall apart? I enjoyed this second book and I think that middle grade students will enjoy it also.  I look forward to the next book.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester

That is an intense book! Conrad is a total genius, and although he went into a funk after his father declared his death, he eventually rebounded and trained a team of special kids to save the world from calamities.  It was working well, but he knew someone was behind the calamities, orchestrating them for some reason.   When he and Piper begin to learn what is really going on, they realize they cannot do it on their own, but hopefully, with their friends, they can.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Body in The Woods by April Henry

This is an excellent mystery suspense story for teens!  Alexis, Nick, and Ruby are teen volunteers in the Portland County Sheriff's Search and Rescue group.  The group meets for weekly training sessions and they are called when a search and rescue operation is going on and they are needed.  In this story, they are called out of school in order to participate, which I find unlikely.  However, my oldest daughter participated in the fire explorers program in which she went to weekly training meetings, was issued a fire suit and she rode in the fire truck and ambulance and went out on calls at other times, so I imagine that there could be teen volunteers with search and rescue groups as well.  Anyway, in this story, the three teens did not know one another ahead of time, and on their first assignment to look for a missing autistic man, they instead, find a dead girl in the woods.  From there, they team up to find the killer.  Ruby, who seems rather autistic herself, is obsessed with crime investigation and finds clues that are helpful.  The three teens and the killer all tell parts of the story.  There are several suspects and it is difficult to figure out which one really is the killer.  I found the story to be well written and a fascinating read and I think teens will enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.  There is a sequel to this book called "Blood Will Tell" and I plan to read that book soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller

This second book is as fun to read as the first in the series.  Now that Charlie knows his stepmother is not a witch and that he and his younger brother are guardians of the portal in her purple mansion, he is no longer afraid of nightmares.  But, when a sleepwalking man arrives in his town to buy paint and busts out of the ambulance and wanders around like a zombie, he and his friends and stepmother know something is going wrong in the dream realm.  When he goes for a visit, he finds things are worse than he had expected and he also finds out that his younger brother, Jack, has been visiting the Netherworld on a very regular basis and has made many friends there.  Can Charlie overcome his jealousy of his brother and can they stop whoever it is who is threatening to destroy all three realms?
To be continued in the next book!

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

In this book, fifteen year old Jazz Jennings shares her experiences of growing up transgender in order to help other families with transgender children.  She tells about her feelings and about many of the difficulties that she and her family have faced throughout the years from not being able to participate on a girl's soccer team to the now spotlighted bathroom issue. Throughout the book, Jazz emphasizes that her main goal is to help other transgender individuals and their families.  The book includes photographs and a list of resources at the end.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

I think that teens in the LGBT community will enjoy this book.  Set in San Fransisco during the week before the Gay Pride parade, two teens struggling with various issues meet and become a big part of each other's lives.  Mark and Kate are both at crossroads in their lives and they meet one another just as things seem to be falling apart.  Mark is in love with a boy who does not love him back and Kate is about to meet the girl of her dreams, but is having relationship issues with her best friend and is confused about what to do about college.  I felt like a whole lot happened in the one week setting of the book with very little parental supervision and I was surprised that there was no mention of high school graduation although it was their last week of their last year of school. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz

So, Beth plays guitar in a rock band.  She is mourning her boyfriend, who disappeared a few months ago from their town where teens seem to disappear on a more than normal basis, when her brother is in a tragic accident.  Then Beth's friend takes her to an audition for a prestigious music school and she finds herself in a strange, Hogwarts type school for teens like her who have "talents".  Although she misses her boyfriend, Sam, she has a bond with a good looking guy named Vincent who can calm her fears.  Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and what is up with the mysterious Xavier?  This is the first book in a trilogy.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Talk to Me by Sonia Ellis

Talk to Me
This is an intriguing mystery story for elementary and middle grade children.  Fourteen year old Sadina's seven year old sister Maddie, has selective mutism and won't speak to anyone other than her immediate family and Bella, her electronic cat.  When Maddie witnesses an intruder in her home, she is unable to speak to even her own family, and without her explanation of what she saw, her mother could go to jail.  The story has some interesting issues and I think that young readers will enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Siege (The Six #2) by Mark Alpert

Incorporating actual military technology and extrapolating how far it could go, this science fiction book shows us a dystopian future in which technology backfires on us and artificial intelligence contrives to take over the world.  Fighting Sigma, the rogue AI which is attempting to obliterate humankind, are six Pioneers, robots powered by teens whose minds were transferred from their dying minds into computer programs.  Now, one of them has been compromised and is on Sigma's team, but which one?  Can Adam and the Pioneers stop Sigma from destroying the world?  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

In this fun to read creepy story, Charlie and his friends must face their fears in their nightmares in order to survive and rid the world of the fearsome school principal and possibly Charlie's stepmother, who he is convinced is a witch.  With things that go thump in the night, a scary clown, and a test that never ends, this book is sure to delight children who enjoy scary stories.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

This is a beautiful book.  I love the illustrations that accompany the story of an interracial couple who got married in 1958 when interracial marriage was still illegal in several states.  Although they went to  Washington D.C. and got married, where it was legal, they lived in Virginia, where interracial marriage was illegal.  Due to this, they were forced to leave their home and move to Washington D.C. Eventually, in 1966, they took their case to the Supreme Court where, in 1967, the court ruled in their favor.  The story is well told and is a wonderful book on the topic for children.  I think it is a must-have for all libraries.

Fractured Innocence (IFCIS book 2) by Julia Crane

Warning - this book has extremely graphic content as it deals with the topic of human trafficking.  The first part of the book goes back and forth between Kaitlyn and IFICS, who are trying to stop Dasvoik, an evil psychopath who is running a human trafficking ring and AAlyiah, who is kidnapped and  repeatedly raped and beaten by him.  It is very violent and unpleasant. I think that it could have gotten the point across in a less graphically descriptive way.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender

This is a fun to read, creepy thriller/mystery/horror book for teens.  Delia has inherited a house from her aunt.  When her family arrives, they find it is not just a house, but an old asylum for women and girls.  Delia quickly feels the need to get out of the house, when she sees things that are not there and hears bells, but her parents want to fix up the house to sell it.  Not a good idea for poor Delia.  I liked that the book was more of a paranormal/thriller/mystery than a horror story, yet I think it has enough of the horror element to satisfy readers who are looking for that.  I enjoyed the book and will certainly recommend it to teen readers who are looking for horror books.

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

I totally enjoyed this dual timeline historical romance.  In the present, we have Sara, a woman with Aspergers, who has been hired to decipher a diary that was written in code. While doing so, she meets a very handsome man who understands her well.  In the past, is Mary, who wished for adventure and got much more than she wished for as she revealed in her diary, which she wrote in a code that she made up.  The book is well written and researched and lovers of historical fiction and romance will certainly enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini

I love the photographs, instructions, cooking tips and delicious recipes presented in this vegetable cookbook.  The step by step instructions and photos are great and the various cooking methods and information about different varieties of each vegetable make this cookbook  a helpful addition to any kitchen.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!