Tuesday, December 26, 2017
This book is such a fun read! Dee is fired from her fast paced job after leaving an important meeting when she receives an alarming text from her brother. He has broken both wrists and needs her help running the local yarn shop that they own together. She runs into an old friend who recently has had her baby prematurely and decides to ask her brother's customers to knit some tiny hats for the baby. That begins a lovely charity movement to help other mums of premature babies. There is romance, mystery and mentions of resistance knitting as well in this truly fun read! I highly recommend this book to knitters and non-knitters alike!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
I had started to read this book once, years ago and couldn't get past the rape aspect of it and gave up on it. With the context relating to today's political situation, and the TV series, I decided to give it another go. I watched the TV series first and again was put off by the rape in the first show and it took me a while to revisit it and actually watch the rest of it and then read the book. I was astounded at the parallels to some of today's political situations considering the book was written in 1985. I enjoyed the book once I saw the political aspects of it and I do recommend it highly. In this dystopian novel, a combination of factors have changed society. Chemical spills have made a large part of the population infertile, natural disasters fueled by climate change have altered the earth and a fundamentalist Christian religious group has taken over the government in the US by first killing the president and blaming it on Islamic radicals and starting wars. Now, women have no rights at all and fertile women are forced to be "handmaids" passed from husband to husband and used to produce children. The story is told by one handmaid called Offred as she tells her story in the present and remembers how things were in the past.
This is a YA mystery/romance with some twists. Victoria Zell is an 11th grader who as been going to a private Catholic high school for the past year. Her next door neighbor, Andrew, who is home schooled and agoraphobic, is her best friend, only friend, and boyfriend until a new boy, Z begins going to her school. He is outgoing and popular and he likes her. She is obsessively attracted to him, but we learn that he has some mysteries in his life. Later, we learn that Victoria has her own mysteries. There are some pretty bizarre surprise twists in the end of the book.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
In this post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world, Letta (I love that her name sounds like letter), is the apprentice to the Wordsmith in the town of Ark, a community lead by John Noa. Noa has decided that words are the root of all evil and they lead to the downfall of man and the melting of the polar icecaps that decimated most of the population. Therefore, he limits the vocabulary of the people in his town. The List of approved words had included 700 words and has now been reduced to 500 words. When Letta's master leaves for a word finding trip and doesn't return, she meets a strange boy and learns that Noa's plans are sinister. Can she stop him from destroying everyone and everything?
Monday, November 27, 2017
In this intriguing middle grade fantasy, twelve year old Mosca Mye leaves town with a con man she has just met and her feisty goose. Set in the middle ages in a world where guilds rule and all writing is banned unless it is approved by the Stationers guild, Mosca had been taught to read by her now deceased father. In her journey, she is drawn into the political and religious clashes in the kingdom.
Friday, November 17, 2017
This is a fun to read last book in the series about Pennyroyal Academy. I do think it has potential to be continued if the author chooses to do so though and I would love to see that happen. As the story begins, Evie and Maggie are attacked by witches and rush to the Academy and find that it is under attack by witches as well. There is lots of action, adventure and courage as Evie and her friends try to save the Academy from the witches. They learn again that fear is conquered by love and that kindness and respect are the marks of a true princess.
This book is written by a pediatric cardiologist and is based on a true story. It is raw, realistic and very sad. The characters are not likable and their situations are lamentable. It is, however, for the most part, an excellent story. Fifteen year old Mari Pujols is pregnant and she learns that her baby has a serious heart defect. Her family and the baby's father want her to have an abortion. At her school, girls being pregnant is not unusual, girls having abortions isn't unusual, girls having babies isn't unusual, however, a girl who has an abortion because her baby has a heart defect is unusual and a girl who has a baby with a heart defect is unusual. The story is heart wrenching and I think that people will enjoy it.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
I know that many other people, like me, wonder how on earth we wound up with Trump, a politically ignorant, mentally unstable reality TV show host as president of the United States. This book shows how and why that happened. The author discusses the problems in both political parties and Trump's rise to fame and how he is using his power and his brand to influence others and why we need to stop his destructive policies to save the environment. I highly recommend this book.
I think that middle grade students will be able to relate to, enjoy and learn from this lovely book of poems. Two fifth graders are assigned to work together on a project and they discuss their experiences with racial issues, feeling left out and other feelings. I highly recommend this book!
In this paranormal mystery/horror story, a group of 3 young adults revisits the town where as teens, they solved mysteries. Peter, one of their original group, committed suicide a few years back, but Nick , who has been in and out of mental institutions over the years, is accompanied by Peter's ghost. Andy, who has been in and out of trouble herself, gathers the old gang together including Kerri, a lovely redhead, who Andy has been in love with since they were 12 years old, and Tim, Kerri's dog, a descendant of the original dog who went on their adventures with them. None of them has been the same since their original sleuthing. Although they caught the bad guy, a man who dressed up as a monster, they still have nightmares and Andy thinks they need to find out what really happened that night so many years ago. The book is fun to read with it's overly descriptive language. I stayed up way too late just to finish this book because I couldn't put it down.
Friday, November 3, 2017
When little penguin's egg rolls down a hill as she is hatching, she finds herself alone and begins to search for her dad. She asks each animal she encounters in the arctic landscape if they are her dad. The albatross is not her dad, he can fly while her father cannot. The orca tells her that he is much larger than her dad. She realizes that the clicker is not her dad either. With a similar feel to the book Are You My Mother?, this book is sure to entertain and educate children and parents alike. The illustrations are very cute!
Saturday, October 28, 2017
This is a fun ghostly middle grade mystery! Twelve year old Midnight has moved to a new town with her family and the two most popular girls in her school, Sav and Lucy, have befriended her. Having always been left out, she tries her best to fit in and that means having spending money. Luckily, she gets a job working for a neighbor, Miss Appleby, who was also born at midnight on Halloween. Miss Appleby tells Midnight that they both have the ability to see spectral energy. Because Miss Appleby has hurt her ankle, she hires Midnight to capture the spectral energy. Eventually, however, Midnight realizes that Miss Appleby is hiding secrets. Tabitha, who Midnight's partner for a school project, helps her to investigate Miss Appleby and to see the truth about Sav and Lucy. I think that middle grade kids will enjoy this ghostly mystery!
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
I already loved Ruth Bader Ginsburg and this book made me love her even more. She is totally awesome! I listened to the audio version of the book, but I also checked out the paper copy of the book so I could see the photos. The book is well written and interesting and full of intriguing facts about RBG. She is just so fabulous! I don't think that we realize how far women's rights have actually progressed until we look back and see what women like RBG overcame. She is my superhero and I admire and appreciate her even more after reading this book. I highly recommend this book!
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
In this second book in this YA paranormal romance series, seventeen year old Kat is still trying to save everyone else and sacrifice herself. There is more time travel and body snatching and magic and Kat wants to meet her father who she thinks abandoned her because he didn't care for her or her mother. Is Kat the chosen one? She can travel backwards in time and change the past, but will that actually fix things? There is more drama, magic and time travel to come in the next book!
Monday, October 23, 2017
If you like the other books in this series, you will enjoy this one as well. Magnus and his friends sail off on a bright yellow ship that also folds up into a handkerchief to stop Loki from starting Ragnarok, the end of the world. We learn more about the characters and why they wound up in Valhalla and other aspects of Norse mythology are brought into the story. The story is funny and silly yet deals with several inclusive issues as Sam fasts for Ramadan and gender-fluid Alex begins a romance. This is the last book in this series, but it hints at more Percy Jackson adventure!
Saturday, October 21, 2017
This prequel to the book Practical Magic is set in the 1960s and it follows the Owens siblings, Franny, Jet, and Vincent. Alice Hoffman's unique writing style makes magical realism come to life as Susanna unsuccessfully tries to keep her children from their magical heritage. They learn from their Aunt Isabelle that their family is cursed and that anyone they fall in love with is doomed, yet she encourages them to love anyway. The story is lovely and magical as all of Hoffman's books are and I highly recommend it.
Monday, October 16, 2017
I listened to the audio version of this book because the narrator is Lin-Manuel Miranda and I figure that I will most likely never get to see Hamilton, and this is the closest I will get. He did a fabulous job reading the book and the book is totally excellent. The book begins when Aristotle, who goes by Ari, is fifteen years old. He has no friends because he is socially awkward. Ari is obsessed with the fact that his older brother is in prison, but his parents never talk about him at all. Ari is befriended by Dante, who teaches him how to swim and who is like no one that Ari has ever met before. Throughout the span of the book, over more than a year, Ari learns quite a bit about himself, about friendship and about his family. Several touchy issues are covered, including bullying, LGBTQ issues, PTSD and more. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Friday, October 13, 2017
I love this excellent little picture book that combines a story about how animals and people use a stick along with lots of interesting factual information! I think this book is just fantastic and is great for preschool through middle school children! It encourages the use of imagination and shares many intriguing facts!
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Monday, October 9, 2017
In this fun middle grade novel, twelve year old Jack and his "siblings", Ava and Matt are emancipated ex-foster children who live together and are guided by a guardian. After Jack talks his sister Ava into flying her homemade drone over a mysterious building, they become partners with an eccentric inventor, Dr. Hank Witherspoon, who takes them with him on a trip to Antarctica for a science competition. This book has mystery, science and cool kids! I think that middle grade readers will enjoy it very much.
Friday, October 6, 2017
Beatrice is spunky and does everything her own way, which is usually a bit different. She does her best thinking upside down, and is excited about going to school on the first day of third grade in a ninja outfit. Her best friend, Lenny is also supposed to be wearing her ninja outfit, but instead Lenny has changed. She is taller and wearing a skirt and has a new friend who just moved to the neighborhood. Beatrice has to learn how to include the new girl, Chloe and embrace Lenny's changes while still being her own, adventurous self. This early chapter book has cute illustrations and I think that children in grades 1-4 will enjoy this book.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Monday, October 2, 2017
Eleven year old Brittany lives in a very broken family. Her cruel stepfather is physically and emotionally abusive, her grandmother who lives with them is very ill, she often goes hungry and she lives in inner city Chicago where most families have many similarly stressful circumstances. She is helped by her optimistic 5th grade teacher, her best friend and her neighbors. Brittany decides to come up with a plan to get away from her stepfather and when she finds a birthday card to her grandmother in the mail from her grandmother's brother, she sets out to investigate a way to contact him. This story is very sad and full of very unfortunate circumstances. It is touching and well written and I think that middle grade and above students and adults will benefit from reading this book.
Twelve year old Tessa has moved to Chicago with her family, leaving her best friend and her beloved state of Florida. The first thing that she finds out is that her new house is haunted! Flickering lights, mysterious drawings, the sound of a child crying and her brother's creepy puppet talking to her have Tessa totally freaked out, but her new friends not only believe her, but are willing to help her solve the mystery and find out which ghost is haunting her house and why. This is a great Halloween month read for middle grade kids!
Saturday, September 30, 2017
This is a short, fun to read book about April, a 5th grader, who is a witch. In this, the third book in the series, she has to stop a bad witch from causing her school to overheat and birds to attack the students. She has help from the ghost of a good witch and two of her friends. I think that elementary school children will enjoy this book!
Monday, September 25, 2017
What if you knew that you would die today? Would you live your life differently? What would you do? In this book, a mysterious company called Death-Cast calls people between midnight and three a.m. on their last day to give them a heads up. There are businesses that cater to the Deckers - those people who will die that day, including some with virtual reality experiences, and the Last Friend app where you can find someone to spend your final day with. It is Mateo and Rufus's last day and they find one another through the Last Friend app. We follow them and others through the day and see how various people react to their last day or to the last day of others. Can your last day be different than the rest of your life? Can you find a true friend through the Last Friend app? I read this whole book in one day and I highly recommend it.
This is a fun YA paranormal mystery with a bit of romance. Seventeen year old Kat, who has been able to see ghosts all of her life, but has been ignoring them for years, is drawn into a family curse mystery that she and her friends and others have to solve. Can they break the curse before another family member dies? In order to do so, she must travel through time, but is that enough? With time travel, ghosts, secret passages, and more, this is a fun book to read and I look forward to the next one in the series!
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
So, this novel is a psychological thriller in which a teen girl appears to be possessed very much like the girl in the exorcist movie and so her family, because the father has been out of work for over a year, and for other reasons, decides to be on a reality tv show based on the girl's possession/psychological problems, which is to culminate in the exorcism of her "demons". The story is told by Merry, the younger sister of the possessed teen, Marjorie, in a series of interviews and blog entries given 15 years later. Merry had been 8 years old at the time of the incident and we see the whole thing through both her 8 year old point of view and her older self's point of view. The story is captivating and contains plot twists and surprises.
Monday, September 18, 2017
This is a captivating new YA book. Just when fifteen year old Nikka's mom is struggling financially, Nikka is accepted into a prestigious boarding school that she has never heard of. She is an artist, but the school also includes musicians, math whizzes and other talented teens. Nikka makes friends with several students and they realize that there are things about the boarding school that are not right. Can they solve the mystery and survive? This is the first book in a series and I look forward to the next book.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
When Katie's drug addict father is put into a mental institute after ranting about 9/11 conspiracies, threatening Vice President Dick Cheney and beating up a co-worker, Katie begins to research the 9/11 conspiracies in order to help get her father out of the mental institute. She is aided by a 17 year old boy genius who she meets at the law library where she is doing research. The more she learns about the Truthers, the conspiracy theorists, the more plausible some of their theories sound. Katie, however, is in danger and is not sure who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. I found it interesting that the book ties the belief in conspiracy theories in with PTSD. The story is captivating and intriguing.
Friday, September 15, 2017
This lovely book retells 7 classic fairy tales in a slightly quirkier way than before. The stories included are: Snow White, The Frog Prince, Three Wishes, Toads and Pearls, Red Riding Hood, The Three Great Noodles, and Hansel And Gretel. I think that children in 2nd through 6th grade will enjoy reading the stories!
This summer beach read book is told mainly by three of the characters: Bonny, an ER doctor who made a tragic error at work and who has decided to divorce her husband; Piper, her 19 year old daughter who has been getting into trouble in college; and Lainey, Bonny's best friend since they spent childhood summers together at in a beach town. They go to stay at a house that was left to Bonny and work through problems from their past and present.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
This is a fascinating memoir told by Michelle, who taught middle school English in a school for kids who had been kicked out of the regular schools for various reasons. Michelle learned how to connect with her students through literature though not the way she had originally thought she would. She went on to law school in order to better make a difference in the world and learned that one of her former students, Patrick, was in jail for murder. She visited him in jail and taught him there as well. The story highlights the poverty that still exists in the deep south and the way that black people are treated there and what their lives are like. She sees how just a little bit of care and effort on her part brought out Patrick's intelligence and helped him to grow and see the world differently. I think the book is eye opening and I highly recommend it.
This book reads like a memoir told by Rick, the son of a white doctor growing up in the 1950s during the civil rights era. Georgey, the family's black housekeeper, takes Rick to her neighborhood where he makes friends with the children there. As a result, Rick lives in two worlds, the white, racist world of his high school and the black neighborhood where his best friend lives. We see through his eyes the difference in the two cultures and the behind the scenes fight to bring them together in equality. The story is well told and intriguing.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
This is a cute, silly book about Clarissa, who could not sleep, so she counted sheep by ones, alpacas by twos, llamas by fives and yaks by tens. The yaks had coats of many colors including argyle and fair isle. At that point, her bedroom was too full of animals so she added, then subtracted the number of animals, wound all of their yarn into a colorful ball and knit an afghan. I like that there is a lot of math in this book. I think that moms who knit will enjoy sharing it with their children!
Sunday, August 20, 2017
When tv crime reporter Eve Singer gets inside information about a murder, it is good for her career, but she and her family also become a target of the murderer. The story is gripping and hard to put down as we follow Eve and the police in their attempt to find and stop the killer. In order to stop a killer, you may need to think like the killer. Can Eve do that?
Friday, August 11, 2017
To be honest, I have not seen the movie Precious or the show Empire. I had heard about Precious when the movie came out, but that is all. I actually knew nothing about Gabourey when I chose to read her book. I am impressed though. She wrote a very interesting story about her life before she became famous and what it was like to be famous, but still poor when her movie first came out. She wrote about her struggle with her weight and depression and her recent weight loss surgery. The story is intriguing and well written and I highly recommend it.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
In this second book in the series, Danielle, as Dreadnaought, has learned that there is a lot of politics and paperwork and dealing with authority when you are a superhero who is not yet an adult. A new supervillain who calls himself Sovereign has appeared and it is up to Danny to stop him. She fights evil and her own demons as well.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
On Gabrielle's thirteenth birthday, she walks into town into an antique store that she feels mysteriously drawn to. When she goes inside, she doesn't see anyone until after she finds a silver bracelet inside of a drawer in a piece of furniture. She then meets the store's mysterious owner, who gives her the bracelet as a gift. She soon finds out that the bracelet allows her to experience the lives of it's various owners as if she, herself were those people. The story is rather dark, and intriguing.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
In this young adult paranormal romance, Marielle runs a plant nursery with her grandfather. When her grandfather passes away, she is left with his will and a stone that he has told her houses a Jinn who will grant her three wishes. Faris, the Jinn is a handsome 19 year old, but they learn that his evil twin brother Zet is out to get him - through Marielle. Her grandfather had told her not to trust the Jinn, but she finds herself falling in love with him. I think that people who are fans of the Twilight series may enjoy this book.
Monday, July 31, 2017
In this apocalyptic novel, Emily's father works on a "machine" that controls the weather. When the machine messes up spewing out poisonous gasses, the world in plunged into an acopalypse.
The poisonous fog eats away at metal and masonry dissolving buildings as well as people. Emily is one of the few survivors. She and her younger brother get to the shopping mall where they join a group of survivors that includes Peter, who had been a few grades above her in high school. Can they survive in the world the way it has become? Is it ok for Emily to feel the way she does about Peter as the world collapses around them?
eleven year old
who is deaf,
befriends her elderly neighbor,
Saturday, July 29, 2017
In this fun to read first book in a new adventure series, eleven year olds Sebastian and Evie have their worlds drawn together when he takes a job at The Explorers Society and she has to escape from the home where she is eating dinner when it is attacked. Sebastian is a very intelligent, logical boy and Evie is an orphan who is living at a state school since her parents passed away two years before. Together, they search for clues to find Evie's grandfather, who she had never met and though was dead, but who had been a past member of the Explorers Society. The book is totally fun and silly and magical and adventurous as the kids escape from the bad guys repeatedly in their search. I highly recommend this fun new book and I look forward to the next ones!
Friday, July 28, 2017
This is a cute, fun sequel to the first book. It is two years later and the teens who had developed the power to read minds after taking the flu shot are now seniors in high school. Two of them star in a reality TV show, and Pi is planning to use her psychic powers to be a spy. What will happen as they begin to lose their power to read minds? How will that affect their lives and their plans? Can their experiment to save their powers work? There is romance, mystery and lots of gossip in this fun to read book.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
After the death of his father, Daniel chose not to finish high school, but rather to travel around trying to find a department store that he once visited with his mother. When he takes a job as the night security guard at Willard's department store, he is asked if he believes in ghosts. It seems that most night guards don't last long there. Daniel, however is different and he makes friends with the other people who also work nights at Willard's. He soon learns that things are not as they seem and there is quite a mystery afoot.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The story in this book, about a young man named Arturo is just a backdrop for the author to explain the political situation on the Texas/Mexico border. He uses his main character, who lives in abject poverty and has an old friend who becomes involved in the drug trade to explain the drug trade. The main character's mother worked for a maquiladora, a Mexican sweatshop owned by Americans,which is explained in the book as well. The story of Arturo is the story of many poor people in Mexico whose lives are ruled by those who have money and power. The book is quite political.
This book attempts to explain what the alt-right is and what it is not. It is a white nationalist movement that is an online phenomenon. Just as the KKK members hide their heads under their white hoods, many of the alt-right members hide their identities while online. The movement is diverse and does not have a leader or cohesive ideology that all of its followers would agree upon. It is a reactionary movement against the staid conservatives that uses humor to attract young people and to hide their hatred. They are antifeminist as well as being white supremacists and while many of them are anti-Semetic, there are some who are not. The book looks at several individuals who are involved in the movement and its impact on the last election and what its future may be.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
If you like the latter Xanth novels, which have more of the adult conspiracy included, you will enjoy these punny stories as well. Some of the characters in these books overlap beginning with Kandy who is enchanted to become a board by day accompanying Ease and several others on a quest to save the puns of Xanth in the story Board Stiff. Then, in Five Portraits, Astrid basilisk and the Demon Fornax lead the questors as they try to get children from the future adopted. In Isis Orb, Hapless attracts women, as the Good Magician has foretold that he will have two or three good girlfriends and one bad one. They are all trying to find the Isis Orb in order to grant their wishes. The books are full of puns and fun to read.
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Wow. This book is just amazing. When legendary actress Evelyn Hugo asks unknown magazine writer Monique to write her life story, Monique knows something is up. Why her? Why now? However, it is an opportunity that Monique can't pass up and learning Evelyn's story changes Monique's life. Hollywood, romance, intrigue, and mystery abound in this well-told fascinating story! I highly recommend it!
Friday, July 7, 2017
Castle, who likes to go by the name Ghost, has had a rough life and lives on the wrong side of town. When he sees a track team practicing, he knows that he can run faster than that. The coach recruits him to the team and we see how that makes a big difference in his life. I like how the coach, who comes from a similar background cares for Ghost in a tough, yet loving way. This is an excellent book!