Thursday, May 10, 2018

Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney

Clara Voyant
This is a cute middle grade story in which 6th grader, Clara has moved with her mother to a new town and her grandmother, who they had lived with, has moved to Florida.  Clara misses her old neighborhood and friends, but is part of the school newspaper crew ( although most schools don't have newspapers anymore - they have broadcast journalism instead).  The student leader of the newspaper, Wesley, assigns Clara to write a horoscope column although Clara would rather write about the school's missing mascott.  In the book, Clara makes new friends while searching for clues and begins fitting in with her new neighborhood and her mom's new friends. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the Castle
This is a story of  three women in post World War II Germany who live together for a few years in a castle.   Marianne von Lingenfels is the widow of a resistor and she rescues two women whose husbands were friends of his in the resistance against Hitler.  The story spans years and tells how each woman fared in Hitler's Germany and afterwards. Each woman hides secrets that we later learn. I found the story fascinating especially since one of the women at one point ran youth camps with her husband.  We get to see the story of the ordinary Germans who were drawn in by his promises and who thought that what they were doing was good and right, until they realized what was really going on.  The story is quite interesting and I highly recommend it. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sleeper by MacKenzie Cadenhead

Sleeper
This book, while not technically a paranormal book is very like a YA paranormal romance in many ways. High school student, Sarah, has a sleep disorder that is so severe she has to be tied to her bed or she might hurt other people.  This causes problems in her social life.  When she meets Wes, who is literally the boy of her dreams, and she finds out they are both taking the same experimental medication at the same sleep clinic which is allowing them to affect people's real lives, a plot of revenge and danger emerges.  Action, danger and romance abound in this YA mystery thriller.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Call Me Sunflower by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Call Me Sunflower
Upper elementary age and middle grade students will enjoy this story of 6th grader, Sunny, who has moved with her mother and sister to live with her grandmother.  Sunny wants to move back home to where her father lives and she plots and plans ways to get her parents back together.  When she learns that her parents have been lying to her all along, Sunny decides that she needs to make sure she gets home to her dad. Along the way she learns lessons about friendship, family, and life. 

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

The Best Kind of Magic (Windy City Magic, #1)
In this fun to read first book in the series, high school student Amber Sand is not a witch, although her mother is one.  Amber is a matchmaker.  She can look into people's eyes and see their true love.  When the mayor's son, a classmate of hers, asks for help finding his missing stepmother, Amber is drawn into more mystery and romance than she had counted on!  I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Anger Volcano by Amanda Greenslade


This is a simple, rhyming book for children about feeling angry and how to control your angry feelings without erupting like a volcano.  Counting backwards, taking slow breaths, and other anger control techniques are introduced in a simple way.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Beauty in the Broken Places by Allison Pataki

Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience
When Allison's husband, Dave, had a stroke, while on an airplane on their way to a vacation, both of their lives changed drastically.  Allison was five months pregnant with their first child, and Dave was a medical student.  After the stroke, which he was lucky to survive, he had no short term memory and had to relearn many things.  Allison had to rely on her faith and help from others and she wrote letters to Dave throughout his recovery to help keep her own sanity and document his journey for him when he recovered.  The memoir is well written and inspiring. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dishcloths to Crochet: Fun Designs to Brighten Your Kitchen! by Pat Olski

Dishcloths to Crochet: Fun Designs to Brighten Your Kitchen!


These are cute and unique dishcloth designs!  They are so adorable that I would just want to hang them as decoration.  The instructions are well written and I think that people will enjoy crocheting them.

Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Wizard for Hire
This is a fun read for middle grade kids and teens.  When Ozzy was 7 years old, he and his parents, who were scientists, moved away to live in the woods far away from anyone.  Then, his parents are kidnapped and he is left alone.  He survives and most of the story takes place when Ozzy is 14 years old and re-enters society and goes to high school and finds an ad for a wizard named Rin, and hires him to find his parents.  Along with a sentient mechanical bird made by his scientist parents, Ozzy and Rin search for his parents.  Is Rin really a wizard?  The reader must decide. 

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee
This book rotates among three refugee families in different times and places.  Josef is a  12 year old Jewish boy in Germany as WWII begins. His father is put into a concentration camp and is able to be released, but his mind is never the same.  Their family winds up on the ship, the Saint Louis, a ship full of Jewish refugees that is turned away from many places. 
Isabel is a 12 year old Cuban girl in 1994 whose family escapes from Cuba on a leaky, homemade boat.
Mahmoud is a 12 year old Syrian boy in 2015 whose family leaves Syria in search of a better life. 
Their stories are compelling and sad and are all tied together at the end. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection (Midnight Reynolds #2) by Catherine Holt

Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection
Such a fun series for middle grade readers!  In this second book, Midnight and her friend Tabitha must protect the town from mysterious robberies that are spectral in nature and causing excessive rain and could cause much worse problems for the town and it's people and possibly ruin Midnight's mother's plans for an outdoor viking themed wedding.  Mystery, friendship, and a little bit of romance make this book a wonderfully fun read!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)
The future is perfect.  No hunger, no illness, no death, unless one is purposefully gleaned by a Scythe in order to assist population control.  The Scythes are supposed to be impartial and glean randomly without feeling.  When two teens, Citra and Rowan, are chosen as apprentice Scythes and pitted against one another, they learn that not all Scythes follow the rules. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Wow.  Based on a true story, this is a story of survival, love, hope and strength.  Lale was one of the early prisoners in Auschwitz and as the tattooist, he managed to survive and to help Gita, who later became his wife, to survive as well.  His story is touching and horrible and shows yet another aspect of the horrors of the holocaust.  I highly recommend this book.

Monday, March 5, 2018

How To Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora

How to Avoid Extinction
This is a fun to read comedy for middle grade children.  Leo goes on an unexpected road trip with his grandmother and his cousin Abbey and her dog, Kermit in search of dinosaurs and the meaning of life.  Together they have adventures and learn about life and each other on the way.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls
Such a sad story!  Thirteen year old Connor's mother has cancer.  He has nightmares and a monster in his backyard also talks to him.  The monster tells Connor stories and says he is there to help, but is he really?  This story is a heart wrenching tale of how Connor deals with his feelings about his mother's illness and impending death.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough

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I listened to the audio book of this story and it was very well done!  I enjoyed hearing the French words pronounced in French.  The book is set in France during World War II, which is a bit different setting for a middle grade book.  It follows twelve year old Marcel who rides his bicycle to deliver loaves of bread for his parents who run a bakery.  He dreams of riding in the Tour de France one day, but the race has been canceled due to the war.  As the German occupation increases, Marcel must bring gingerbread to bribe the soldiers guarding the bridge in order to pass by.  He soon learns that he is not only carrying bread.  When a new girl, Delphine joins his class in school, he finds that they both share a love of bicycles and the Tour de France.  She also has a big secret though and soon needs his help.  I think that middle grade readers will enjoy this book. 

The Winter Baby by Sheila Newberry

The Winter Baby
As the story begins, in 1903, seventeen year old Kathleen, pregnant and homeless, stumbles through the snow and is found and rescued by a kind family that has two brothers who both fall in love with her.  The story follows the family through World War I and afterwards.  The historical part of the story is interesting and informative. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Lies That Bind (Anastasia Phoenix #2) by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Lies That Bind (Anastasia Phoenix #2)

More lies, mysteries, intrigue, world travel and danger and murder are in this second book in the series.  Who can Anastasia trust?  Can she believe or trust anyone?  How many people are lying to her?  I enjoyed this second book in the series and look forward to the next one!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)
This is the first book in a fun new middle grade series.  When 12 year old Prosper and his twin sister Prudence are taken to their evil grandmother's home and met by all of their relatives, Prosper knows something is wrong.  It turns out even worse than he imagines when his family attacks him and an uncle that he has never met rescues him and he awakens in a haunted house.  Will his uncle and cousin be able to help him get rid of the demon who is residing within him?  I think that readers will enjoy this book!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Love is Love by Michael Genhart


This is a simple picture book for children about a boy who has two dads and gets made fun of for a wearing a t-shirt that has a rainbow heart and the words love is love. The little boy talks about how he doesn't like hearing that gay is bad and he talks about all the wonderful people who he knows who are gay.  The book is positive and includes parts for parents and educators at the end. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton


Seeker (Seeker, #1)As the story begins, fifteen year old Quin is training to be a Seeker who will help people and right the wrongs in the world.  She soon learns that her job as Seeker does not live up to her expectations.  She has been training with two boys (love triangle alert), John, who she is in love with, and Shinobu, who is a distant cousin.  The story is told by several different characters and covers the beginning, a year and a half later, and the distant past.  There is romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and lots of action in this first book in this YA series.  I think that readers of YA fantasy will enjoy it.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows, #1)
Sal is a viscious thief who kills a bunch of people in a contest to join the elite group that guards the queen.  Sal is also gender fluid and is in love with the woman who is assigned to teach her how to read and write. 

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

Prisoner of Ice and Snow (Prisoner of Ice and Snow, #1)
In this middle grade fantasy, 13 year old Valor who is better at archery than most adults, gets herself arrested through an elaborate ruse so that she can be put in the same top security prison as her twin sister so she can break her sister out of that prison that no one has ever escaped from.  Set in frigid Russia, the story has mystery, intrigue and politics all on a 13 year old level.  I think middle grade children will enjoy this story.

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race
The author shares her life story of how she came to realize that she was white and privileged and how she has tried to help educate other white people about how privileged they are to combat racism.
I think she has a lot of guilt.  She did bring up some points about things I was unaware of with the GI bill and systematic housing discrimination.  I listened to the audio version of this book.  I think some people will be very touched by it.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
Weylon Grey's story is told by a varried cast of characters consisting of people who he interacted with in his life including his adoptive sister,Lydia, and his girlfriend, Mary.  Weylon was raised by wolves for several years and he can talk to the animals and perhaps he can control the weather. This is the author's first book and I look forward to her future books. 

(((Semitism))) Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump by Jonathan Weisman

Semitism: Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump
"Anti-Semitism tends to be invisible until it isn't."  This book is a chilling reminder that anti-semitism, often a less visible form of bigotry, is alive and thriving in the US and growing in popularity and acceptance under the Trump regime.  Jews face hatred from the alt-right who back Israel because they want the Jews to all leave the US and go to Israel, and from the far left who promote the BDS to the point that they are anti Israel and anti Jewish. The author shares his experience as a journalist of the virulent hatred of the online attacks on Jewish journalists especially and the technique of the alt-right neo-Nazis of surrounding the name of a Jewish journalist with three parentheses on each side to mark them for easy searching to target them online with hateful messages and images including death threats and gas chamber photos.  Many policies of hatred perpetuated by the Trump regime and its followers as well as an explanation of the alt-right and neo-Nazis are explained in eye opening ways.  I highly recommend this book.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The School For Psychics by K.C. Archer


In this YA paranormal romance, Teddy is still living in her parent's garage, having been kicked out of college and is in trouble for gambling.  When she is caught in a casino that she has been banned from, she is given the choice of going to a school for psychics.  She falls in with a group of misfits and learns how to use her own psychic ability that she had not known that she even had.  Mystery, intrigue and romance abound in this first book in a new series.  I think that fans of Twilight and Harry Potter will enjoy it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Boy on The Bridge by M.R. Carey


 The Boy on the Bridge (The Hungry Plague, #2)
This story is a prequel to The Girl With All The Gifts.  In this book, a group of scientists has gone on an expedition to study results of tests in an attempt to find a cure for the plague that has turned  much of the population into zombies.  The two main characters are Stephen, an autistic teen genius, and Dr. Khan, a pregnant scientist who has acted as Stephen's mother for years.  When Stephen sneaks away from the group to observe the hungries, he encounters children that are hungries, yet have still managed to retain thought processes.  There are political elements and danger and infighting among the crew of the Rosie, the large tank like vehicle that they are traveling in.  Readers who enjoyed the first book should enjoy this one as well.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight by Vanessa Potter

Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight
This is a fascinating true story told by Vanessa who suddenly and totally unexpectedly became blind and had numbness in her extremities.  At first, her condition was a mystery to the doctors as well and was very frightening to Vanessa and her family.  After quite a few tests, the doctors realized that she had Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD), a rare illness that can cause sudden blindness and paralysis. Vanessa explains in detail how her sight disappeared and how it gradually reappeared.  The first half of the book is her story of her illness and in the second half she explores the medical condition and what exactly happened to her vision and how vision works.   

The Birds & Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier


These are excellent, fun to read classic creepy short stories!  The Birds is quite creepy and although I don't think I have seen the movie, I can tell that the story would make a good movie.  Each story is just a bit oddly creepy and has surprising twists in it. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Found, Near Water by Katherine Hayton

Found, Near Water (Christchurch Crime, #1)
This is an intriguing psychological thriller with some rather gruesome parts.  Christine is an ex-psychiatrist who now volunteers as a victim's advocate.  She is called in on a case in which a woman who was found in a car wreck claims that her 4 year old daughter had been with her and is now missing.  The police are not sure, however, if that is true, since her ex-husband did not mention a daughter.  Christine runs a little support group for women with missing children and the book examines their stories as well.  There are several  plot twists that mystery readers will enjoy.This is well written for a first novel. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Select b y Marit Weisenberg

Select (Select #1)
Julia Jaynes has always lived a sheltered life with her perfect family and the rest of their group.  They are more than human and must hide their special abilities from the rest of the world.  When she gets in trouble and is sent to a public school with regular humans, she finds out that they are people too and she becomes more than friends with a boy named John, whose mind she can read when he is thinking about her.  This is a fun to read paranormal romance and I look forward to the next book in the series!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Haven
Rain has never belonged anywhere.  He has always lived on the streets and in homeless shelters with his drug addicted mom.When she dies and he is sent to live with an aunt who he never knew existed, in a small town with secrets and a hot girl named Freddie, his life changes in more ways than he thought were possible.  I like that this paranormal romance is told by the boy and not the girl.  I think fans of Twilight and this genre will enjoy it. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick

Hidden Deep (Hidden Saga, #1)
Fans of Twilight are sure to enjoy this paranormal romance.  When 16 year old Ryann meets a mysterious boy in the woods named Lad, she realizes that he is the boy who saved her life when she was 5 years old, only now, he is a very good looking 17 year old.  Not only does Lad like Ryann, but so does the handsome and charismatic up and coming rock star, Nox.  Romance, mystery and intrigue abound in this first book in the series. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Elsie Mae Has Something to Say by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Elsie Mae Has Something to Say
Elsie Mae loves spending the summers with her grandparents in the Okefenokee Swamp.  When she hears that a company wants to build a canal through the swamp and ruin the swamp, Elsie Mae writes a letter to president Franklin Roosevelt asking him to save the swamp.  She has many adventures this summer at the swamp with several unexpected surprises.  There are hog thieves, dogs, gators and boats and her son of a preacher cousin, Henry James.  Can they catch the hog thieves and save the swamp?  This is a fabulously fun to read middle grade historical fiction book that I highly recommend!

The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore

The Beekeeper's Daughter
This is a nice romance story with a bit of mystery.  It follows Grace, in England in 1932 and her daughter, Trixie in 1973 through similar romances. The settings are lovely and made me want to visit both England and Nantucket.  I enjoyed this book and I think others will too.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

A Skinful of Shadows
This is an interesting and rather unique book.  Twelve year old Makepeace has always known she was different and has never understood why her mother would lock her up in the graveyard with the ghosts in order to learn how to fight them off.  After her mother's death, and when a ghost inhabits her and she is sent to live with her father's relatives, she learns the secret that the family desperately tries to hide.  This book is intriguing and hard to put down!