Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy

A Boy Named Queen
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

The War on Women in Israel: How Religious Radicalism Is Smothering the Voice of a Nation

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

Purr Therapy: What Timmy and Marina Taught Me about Love, Life, and Loss by Kathy McCoy

Purr Therapy: What Timmy and Marina Taught Me about Love, Life, and Loss
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

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
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

The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari

The Best Place on Earth
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.  

Transphobia: Deal with It and Be a Gender Transcender by J. Wallace Skelton,

Transphobia: Deal with It and Be a Gender Transcender
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.

Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Relativity
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

The Forgotten Girls (Louise Rick #4)

The Forgotten Girls
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

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz

Code of Honor
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

Dramatically Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Dramatically Ever After (Ever After, #2)
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

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

The Pants Project
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

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish, #1)
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

The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

The End of Temperance Dare
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

Snatched by David Saperstein


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!