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!
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
This is a humorous memoir of how the author worked through her issues with clutter. As the book began, she had read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I have also read, and quite frankly, a lot of that book is very weird. I did stop balling up my socks after reading her book, but not because they can't rest that way, I just think it helps the elastic last longer and I don't thank my inanimate objects for their service or empty my purse nightly so it can rest. Kondo's book is popular, but people are either ignoring that stuff or they are all weird and I am not. Anyway, as a result, Eve, the author of this book, decided to clean out her "hell room", a large room in her house filled with clutter. As the book goes on she visited the home of a deceased hoarder and wondered if she had hoarding tendencies. The book is funny and fun to read and it inspired me to get rid of more of my clutter - I will have a bag of stuff picked up tomorrow. Like Eve, I still have things I need to work on - I had a difficult time finding an important piece of paperwork this morning - so I will continue working on making things neater and keeping less unimportant items.
Friday, June 30, 2017
In this book, it is 1956 and Hitler won the war. Yael is a former death camp prisoner who had been experimented on by a doctor. The painful experiments left her different and allowed her to escape. Now she is 17 years old and part of the resistance that is trying to take down the Axis powers. Yael's job is to race in a motorcycle race called the Axis tour and win so that she can get close enough to Hitler to kill him. Throughout the book, she recalls the 5 most important people in her past as she races to win and achieve her goal. Yael is impersonating last year's winner, Adele Wolfe, a task made much more difficult by the unexpected presence of Adele's twin brother, Felix, and Adele's relationship with one of her rival racer's, Luka. This is the first book in an action-packed and intriguing new series.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
This is a very short middle grade book about acceptance. When Evelyn starts 5th grade, there is a new boy in class whose name is Queen. Although two boys make fun of him, Queen doesn't let that bother him. Evelyn and Queen become friends and she learns a bit about friendship, bullying, being different and accepting people who are different. I think that this book would be good for elementary and middle school students, especially those who are reluctant readers because this is a very short book.
Monday, June 26, 2017
The War on Women in Israel: How Religious Radicalism Is Smothering the Voice of a Nation by Elana Maryles Sztokman
This book is not only about Israel, although on the surface it may seem that way. It is about misogynistic religious radicalism. This religious extremism is found not only in Judaism, and Islam, but also in Christianity and it is threatening women in the USA. Sexism carried out in the name of God is wrong no matter which God one is carrying it out in. This book exposes some serious issues that Israel has faced from women being stoned and hit and yelled at and spit at by men for sitting in a seat in the front of a bus, walking on the "men's side" of the street, how they dress and where they pray. Women in Israel are discriminated against in a huge variety of ways that I was not aware of and it is sad. In some ways, these issues are beginning to change for the better, but it still has a long way to go, both in Israel and in the rest of the world. Far too many people are using the name of religion to persecute women. Sadly, this war on women is increasing in the USA and we need to speak out against it.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Dr. McCoy, a psychotherapist tells how two different pet cats that she owned were able to help her patients open up in therapy and resolve their issues. The two cats were friendly and aware of conflict and jumped in as peacemakers and when patients were upset, the cats comforted them. I love cats and I enjoyed reading about the various personalities of the author's cats and how they were able to help her patients. I think that cat lovers will enjoy this book!
Friday, June 23, 2017
This is such a relevant, realistic and necessary story right now. When 16 year old Starr leaves a party with her friend, Khalil, he is pulled over by a policeman and is shot. She is the only witness to the murder. Should she testify? If she does, will it make any difference? This is an incredible story and will be out as a movie in the future. I highly recommend it.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
This book is a compilation of short stories set mostly in Israel, with some in Canada and India. Most of the characters are Israelis of of Yemeni descent, which is the author's background. It gives a good picture of what it is like to live in Israel, be in the Israeli military and more.
This book is written for children ages 8 and up. It is illustrated and has little quizzes that have questions to help guide the reader through different scenarios. It is set in Canada and refers to Canadian laws in a few places. I think it is a good, clear explanatory book about gender for tweens and teens.
This story is told mostly by 12 year old Ethan, who is fascinated by science and is bullied at school because of that. His mother, Claire also tells parts of the story and his father, Mark, who Ethan had never met because Mark left when Ethan was 4 months old, also tells part of the story. I enjoyed the science in the book. When Ethan finds out that his parents have been in contact with one another he is determined to meet his father. The story was sadder than I thought it would be. It is well written and captivating and I highly recommend it.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
This book is part of a series. I have not read the other books. In this book, police detective Louise Rick is the new commander of the Missing Persons Department in a town in Denmark. On her first day on the job, a corpse is found in the woods. Louise and her new partner, Eik, learn that the deceased woman had been in a home for retarded people and that she and her twin sister had been declared dead many years ago. Since Lisemette just died, they realize that her twin sister may still be alive. As they investigate the case, they become romantically involved and we learn that there are links to Louise's deceased boyfriend from over 20 years ago. I think that readers of the series will enjoy this book.
Friday, June 16, 2017
I listened to the audio version of this book and it was very well done! The story is compelling and realistic. Kamran is a senior in high school and plans to go to West Point and then into the army like his older brother Darius did. After Darius is accused of being a terrorist and is seen on film with terrorists, Kamran and his parents are kidnapped by the US government and taken to a secret facility and interrogated - for months. Kamran is sure that Darius is not a terrorist and is being held captive against his will. He sees clues in the films that Darius shares that no one but Kamran would understand. Can he convince the government that his brother is not a terrorist and can he help stop the terrorist plot before it is too late? This book won the Texas Lone Star Book award and it is totally excellent!
Thursday, June 15, 2017
This second book in the trilogy follows Em, a friend of Phoebe who was the main character in the first book. Em is in theater and has entered a speech contest in order to win a college scholarship. Her parents want her to go to the college where her mother works, and since her father just got laid off from his job, that is her only current option. She, however wants to go to a college with a good theater department, and will only be able to do that with a scholarship. She wins the contest and gets to spend a week in Boston with the other winners practicing for the final round. Unfortunately, the male winner from her state is Kris, a stuck up boy from her school whom she despises. There is friendship, lots of drama and romance in this fun to read teen romance novel.
Monday, June 12, 2017
This is a cute, fun to read story about Liv, who begins 6th grade in a new school with a dress code that all girls must wear skirts. She doesn't want to wear a skirt because she doesn't feel like she is a girl, but she hasn't told her moms that or anyone at all. As she navigates the school year, she makes friends with a boy named Jacob and together they fight for the right for girls to wear pants to school and learn to accept themselves as they are. The book addresses bullying, having two moms, transgender and other issues in a well written way. I think that kids will enjoy this book.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
This is not the Disney Aladdin story. In this version, the jinni, Zhara, is a beautiful and dangerous woman jinni. There is action, romance and magic in this fun story! I listened to most of it in the audio version and the woman who reads the audio version has a lovely voice and I totally enjoyed listening to her. This book won the Texas Lone Star award for 2017 and is an excellent book.
Friday, June 9, 2017
In this creepy gothic ghost story/mystery, Eleanor has been drawn to Cliffside, an artist's retreat that used to be a TB sanatorium. She is given the job of director and on her first day there, the current director commits suicide. When the fellows come for the next session, she learns that they all have some sort of connection to the sanatorium, which Eleanor feels may be haunted. There is mystery, romance, and a lot of creepiness in this fun to read novel.
Monday, June 5, 2017
This is a totally fun book to read! When prankster senior citizen Rosie submits the names of her five best friends who live with her at a Catholic retirement home to a mail order bride ad as a joke, she has no idea what they are in for. The 6 women, along with a younger woman who worked for the retirement home, are abducted by aliens and three years later, three of the older women return, looking 30 years younger and very pregnant. The resulting story is just hilarious although it does give a rather sad, but true view of humanity. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it!
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
So sad, and so necessary. I think that all high school students and their parents and teachers and school counselors and administrators should read this as well as the parents of middle school students. The narrator of the story only calls herself "we" because she is just part of the group and in the end, we are all responsible. The narrator describes how a beautiful new girl named Carolyn arrives in town and. because she is beautiful and new, she is accepted into the school and is nominated for the homecoming court. Carolyn doesn't understand that the various cliques at the school are separate and that she can't just go from one to another. She begin's dating the most handsome boy at school, Shane, which makes his now ex-girlfriend hate Carolyn. She joins the swim team where they see scars on her arms. Eventually, Carolyn is bullied and a video of her making out with Shane is posted online. The book shows the attitudes of the students about everything that goes down. "We" didn't really participate in any bullying of Carolyn. Sure, there was that one time, but they changed what we said or perhaps someone else spread that rumor. The book shows how we are all accountable for how we treat others and that being a bystander is also being guilty. We could have done something different if we had known what was going to happen. Perhaps we could have changed things, but it is too late now. The book is just heartbreaking.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
This is a light, cute, fun teen summer romance novel with a few important issues added in. Jane is not interested in college though her parents are pushing her to make that decision. She takes a summer job as a babysitter and the girls' older half brother, Teo, is the romantic interest, although not at first. He has step-dad issues and wants to find his real dad, but his mother has not ever cooperated with him about that. I think teens who like romance will enjoy this novel.
This is an interesting first book in a new series. Julia is not a witch, although her mother was drowned as a witch when Julia was 7 years old. However, Julia can hide from other people's sight. She works in the seedier side of town and her current job is to be a maid in a house as she searches for something there, she is not really sure what. There is mystery, action, and magic in this intriguing book!
Friday, May 26, 2017
In America's Shadow (Carter G Woodson Award Book (Awards)) by Kimberly Komatsu, Kaleigh Komatsu, Mitchell T. Maki,
Sad, haunting photographs illustrate this story of sadness and hope of how the Japanese Americans were forced to live in concentration camps in the deserts during World War II. Their young men were still drafted and fought and died for our country, but the families were imprisoned in concentration camps in substandard conditions.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
This is such a sad story. And what is even sadder is that real things like this are happening to people right now in many places in the world. Subhi was born in an Australian refugee center where people who have fled from atrocities in their home countries are treated like prisoners. While his story is fiction, the conditions in the Australian refugee detention center are horrible and the country has made it illegal for people to report about what goes on in them. Refugees are treated horribly there and in other places in the world, with many countries, including the US, either holding them in prisons or detention centers or refusing to allow them into the country so they die in boats at sea. The book is suitable for grades 5 and up. I think that it is an important issue and this book helps bring it to light.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
I couldn't put this mystery thriller down! Leah Stevens, a journalist who was forced to leave her job because she was accused of unethical behavior, has moved to a small town with her old friend, Emmy, and become a high school teacher. When the body of a woman who looks a lot like Leah is found nearby, and Emmy is missing, Leah is determined to find her roommate and find out what happened and what is going on. There are plot twists and many mysteries in this fun to read story.
Several stories are told in this book as Louise searches for her mother, Nora, or her mother's body after the tsunami in Thailand. A journal belonging to a woman named Claire is found in Louise's mother's bag and so, we follow Claire's story and try to learn how it she is connected to Nora.
Well, this is an interesting concept. Ren died at age 17 and now she is living on in her memorial bench by the Thames river in London. Ren is able to communicate with Lionel, the memorial bench closest to her. Lionel was an old man and he tries to share his wisdom with Ren who relives her relationship with her boyfriend, Gabe, every night. She also relives her death, but she can never remember it when she "awakens" in the mornings. When she finds out that Gabe has been charged with her death, she is determined to remember how she died because she is certain that Gabe did not kill her. Lionel has told Ren that she can communicate with the living if she tries hard enough and her goal is to convince someone that Gabe is innocent so that he won't be convicted of her murder.
Monday, May 22, 2017
In this second book of the Trials of Apollo, Apollo is a mortal teenage boy named Lester who is now working with Leo and Calypso and some others to try to save the oracles. There is action, adventure, friendship and breaking of stereotypes in this fun to read book!
Monday, May 15, 2017
Irene tells the story of the LaBaron polygamous cult in Mexico in the 1950s to the 1980s. While Joel LeBaron was the self-appointed prophet and leader of the group, his brother Ervil wanted to be the leader and he gained his own group, eventually becoming known as the Mormon Charles Manson because he got several of his wives and others to kill people who refused to follow his twisted teachings and leadership. Irene was married to the third LaBaron brother, Verlen, one of his 10 wives. She illustrates how truly insane Ervil was, but I don't think that she seemed to understand how insane the whole group and it's teachings were. The book is quite interesting.
Monday, May 8, 2017
I chose to read this book because the author will be speaking at the library where I work next week. I am very glad that I chose to read it! The main character, Darcy, is a librarian in Nantucket, which sounds like a lovely place based on the descriptions in the book. Darcy has inherited her grandmother's home and is living there when surprisingly, her ex-husband and his wife whom he left Darcy for, show up at the rental house next door. Darcy has a handsome new boyfriend and while she tries to avoid relationships with the summer people, she winds up befriending her ex-husband's step daughter and an elderly woman named Mimi who is renting the house on the other side of Darcy's home. Mimi is staying there with her handsome grandson who is quite interested in Darcy. The story and characters are very interesting and the book is a fun read! I highly recommend it.
I listened to the audio version of this Texas Bluebonnet Award winning book. It is a touching story and I think that kids will enjoy it. Eleven year old Jeremiah is a heart transplant recipient and while he is doing well, he is unable to play sports. An avid baseball fan, he has decided to be a coach and has the opportunity to coach a middle school baseball team in the new town that he and his adoptive father move to. Even though I am not a sports fan, I still enjoyed this book and it helped me to better appreciate the role of sports in the lives of the people who do enjoy them. The book is inspirational and a fun read. I will definitely recommend this book to others.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Rainbow can shape trees using her hands, but her stepfather is very much against anything spiritual or psychic. When a tragic accident occurs, the choices that she makes determine the course of her life. Can she live the way she has chosen to? With tree magic, parallel universes and romance, this story is a fascinating tale.
I read this book all in one day and stayed up too late at night to finish it because I could not put it down. Ruth grew up in a polygamous colony, the 39th of her father's 42 children. Her father had been the leader of his group, but was murdered by his brother when Ruth was an infant. Her mother had remarried within the group and Ruth grew up in their group's colony in Mexico in abject poverty. Her mother took Ruth and her siblings back and forth to the US to collect welfare and they lived in the US for a couple of years at one point, after her stepfather beat her mother and she left. Her mother returned to the abusive husband, who, we learn, abused many of his children as well, including Ruth. The story is heartbreaking in parts, and shows Ruth's strength and resilience as she was able to overcome the abuse and tragedies in her life and save herself and her siblings from her abusive step-father.
Monday, May 1, 2017
Cassandra, Ezekiel and Stone, guardians for the Library that houses magical items, set out on a search for the missing parts of the Mother Goose spells after a series of odd events. There is lots of action and adventure as they battle Mother Goose, the Three Blind Mice and others in a attempt to get the spell book and stop Humpty Dumpty from being put back together again because that would be the end of the world as we know it. The book is full of action and a fun read!
Barbara tells her story of how after being abused at home, she ran away repeatedly and wound up becoming a victim of human trafficking at age 13. She tells how she became addicted to heroin, but managed to eventually get clean from drugs, get out of prostitution, get an education, and help others who are also in the same trouble. I think this is an important story and I highly recommend it.
Friday, April 28, 2017
The lives of several individuals are drawn together as each one loses something important to them. Mrs. Feathersby loses the front wall of her house, Robert loses his job - and his workplace and all the people that he used to work with, Marcus loses the keys off of his piano, Delia loses her sense of direction and Cassie loses her girlfriend. Jake has lost his mother and now he is finding lost items, but losing his father. Interesting story.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
In this book, Kendra uses her magic mirror to search for her lost love James and she shares tales of how she participated in modernish versions of 4 different fairy tales - Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. The book is fun to read filled with humor, love and excitement in the retold fairy tales.
Monday, April 24, 2017
This story is beautifully written, but heartbreakingly sad. Jules is 11 years old and her sister Sylvie is 12. The story deals with the death of their mother, the death of their friend Sam's older brother Elk's best friend, a soldier who died in Afghanistan, and the disappearance of Sylvie. Jules and Sylvie often wonder what happens when people die? Do they come back as something else? Maybe you turn into wind? Maybe you turn into stars? Maybe...