Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Ether: Vero Rising by Laurice Elehwany Molinari

The Ether by Laurice Elehwany Molinari

This book is in the same genre as "Harry Potter" and "The Lightening Thief". It stars a 12 year old boy who finds out he is different - in Vero's case, he is a fledgling guardian angel, and at times, he attends angel school - called C.A.N.D.L.E. and has life-threatening adventures with 4 other students who become his close friends. Unlike, Hogwarts, and more like Camp Half Blood, the fledglings are rarely at their school and are usually together fighting the bad guys who include Golems, Leviathan, and a type of demon called a Malture. The angels Uriel and Michael assist the fledglings as they battle the bad guys, and learn how to answer prayers. There is a Judeo-Christian theme, with God and angels referenced, and one of the fledglings is Jewish and has a Bat-Mitzvah, but there is no mention of Jesus. Kids who are fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson may also enjoy Vero and his adventures. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ben Fox: Squirrel Zombie Specialist at Your Service by Daisy Whitney

Ben Fox by Daisy Whitney
This is a fabulously cute story for kids. When ten year old Ben Fox discovers that his sister's cat Percy has raised an army of zombie squirrels, he is alarmed. Then, he finds out that Percy is trying to make Ben's dog, Captain Sparkles, act like a cat. As his poor dog begins to rub up against his legs and behave in an increasingly cat-like manner and Halloween approaches, Ben realized he must stop the zombie squirrel army quickly. In order to do so, he must enlist the help of his six year old sister Macy, who, although she can be a bit of a pain, turns out to be incredibly helpful. This book is funny and cute and I think that kids ages 7 to 12 will really enjoy it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Set in 1900 in the midst of the fight for women's suffrage - the right to vote, this book tells the story of 17 year old Olivia whose father wants to have her hypnotized so that she will see men and women as they truly are so that she will no longer want women to have the right to vote because she will see that their true role is to care for homes, husbands and children. When 18 year old mesmerist Henri Reverie tells her that she will see men and women as they really are and that she will no longer be able to speak her anger, her world is turned upside down. Eager to be cured from this curse, she seeks out Henri and together they plan to help her and the cause for women's suffragism. There is intrigue and a bit of romance and the book presents the women's suffragist movement in a way that young women today will be able to relate to. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I enjoyed it very much.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3) by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
I waited almost a year to read this book wondering - is Mara insane?, who is alive and who is dead?, what on earth is really going on? Now, I have read the book and I know the answers. Everyone else who wants to know, will just have to read the book too. Like the second book, this one also has some rather graphic gruesomeness. It has crazy plot twists and turns and kept me reading - I finished it in two days. Was it worth waiting a year to read? Yes. Y'all have fun reading it!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan

I received a free copy of this book to review from Netgalley. It was originally published in 1987 and then re-introduced in digital form in 2012. I think they tried to update it some, because even though they were using phone books and the setting was obviously in the 1980s, at one point, Brad says he has no phone and there is no cell coverage where he is - which is odd since there were no phones or cell coverage anywhere then. The story is ok, rather twisted and creepy I suppose. Brad shows up at a high school, pretends to be a student there and talks Tracy into helping him kidnap his baby sister, who he claims was kidnapped by his stepfather. Quite a few of the facts don't add up and we later learn that Brad is not telling the truth about the matter. There is a bio about the author at the end of the book. The bio is nice. I was not thrilled with the book though, I found it to be rather boring.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Trash Can Days: A Middle School Saga by Teddy Steinkellner

Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner
So, this book was just ok. I struggled to get through it and skimmed a lot. I did not like the parts that were written as if they were texts and facebook posts. I found them annoying and distracting and difficult to read. I think that will make the book seem dated very quickly. The middle school kids that I know use other forms of social media because their grandparents are on facebook. I also did not like Dorothy's stories very much and I did not like that they were in italics.
I found the characters to be incredibly, horrifically, insultingly stereotypical. I did, however like the way the book ended.
This book follows four students along with some of their friends in the text and facebook parts. Hannah Schwartz is in 8th grade and her brother Jake who is sort of the main character out of the 4, is in 7th grade. They are incredibly rich Jews. Danny Uribe is also in 7th grade. His parents work for the Schwartz's and they live in a house on the Schwartz property and because they have done so since the boys were 7, Danny and Jake have been best friends. This year, however, Danny gets involved in an Hispanic gang. Dorothy Wu is Asian, and dresses all in black and is into Pokémon and writing her own fantasy stories.
Perhaps middle school kids will enjoy this book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain by JoAnn Deak, Terrence Deak

The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain by JoAnn Deak
My daughter is in 7th grade and they are currently studying the human body systems. This book is perfect for this age group! The drawings are cute and the information is written in an interesting way and is just right for the middle school/adolescent age group. I think this book should be in all middle school libraries.

Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again by Crystal McVea

Waking Up in Heaven by Crystal McVea
This book is a memoir/testimony of a woman who tells her life story including how she was sexually abused as a child, went through a string of bad relationships resulting in two children born out of wedlock and one abortion, finally finding a good Christian husband, having premature twins and when the twins were 10 months old, her experience of dying in the hospital and coming back to life. She explains how when she was dead, she was in the presence of God and everything was good and how He told her to share her experience with others. Later, after sharing about her deathbed experience several times, she was invited to speak at a church where she felt that she should tell her entire life testimony about the abuse and how she now knows that God has always loved her. Many women who were also abused as children respond positively to her testimony. The book is well written and easy to read although I did find the first part a bit confusing because it skipped around chronologically so much going from when she was 5 years old, to when she was born, to when she was 4, then 3, then 5 again, then older.... I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ennara and the Fallen Druid (Ennara, #1) by Angela Myron

Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. Normally I love children's books, but something about this one just was a bit off. I am not totally sure what it is really. For one thing, Ennara is only 10 years old, which is just a bit young for all that she does and says she feels. The characters did not seem very well developed and while the book is a fantasy - it is too far from reality to even be believable. I gave it a 3 star rating, but it really, for me is about two and a half stars.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kombucha Revolution: 75 Recipes for Homemade Brews, Fixers, Elixirs, and Mixers by Stephen Lee, Ken Koopman

Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee
If you are interested in kombucha, this book is a very comprehensive resource for you. It explains what kombucha is and how to brew your own. The best types of equipment are given along with a wide variety of recipes. Some of the recipes are for brewing kombucha and others are for using kombucha in other foods like in salad dressings, smoothies, deserts and even in sourdough bread adn tea-brined eggs. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman

Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman
I think this book would be ok for students who are doing research. I don't think it is something that anyone would want to read all the way through though. This book claims to be a "briefing that will launch you on your own list." of things that you may want to do to save the earth. It's goal is to give students a foundation to base their decisions on. It covers a variety of environmental issues from energy types and peak oil to plastic bags, mass overconsumerism, gmos, pollution and the almighty dollar. Each page has lots of graphics - photos, charts, web links, quotes and drawings. To me, that was a bit overwhelming and distracting. I checked out some of the web links listed, and some of them work, but some do not. My husband and I found the tone of the book to be condescending and patronizing with lines like "Adolescence is dramatic and untidy; so are periods when societies change." I showed the book to several teenagers - my own children and some at the school where I teach, and they liked the look of the book with all the photos and graphics, but thought it looked too boring to read the whole thing. I received this book free to review from Netgalley in the kindle format, but I checked out the book in paper format from the library because the graphics did not work well on the kindle preview copy that I received.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss by Raphael Kellman

The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss
This diet is expensive and impractical. The author defines the microbiome as the "miniature world made up of trillions of microscopic, nonhuman organisms that flourish within your intestinal tract." Nonhuman? Really? As opposed, I suppose, to the miniature world of trillions of microscopic human organisms flourishing in our intestines?
The author claims that a microbiome imbalance could cause a variety of problems including weight gain, digestive problems, immune system problems, depression, anxiety and foggy concentration.
His diet includes lots of supplements - a hugely expensive amount of supplements - and several recent studies have shown that many supplements don't even include the ingredients that they claim to, nor are there any studies that show that these supplements actually have any effect at all - along with a typical elimination diet at the beginning eliminating all processed foods, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, HFCS, and other reactive foods. The recipes include a lot of expensive and/or difficult to find ingredients including Jerusalem artichoke (not regular artichokes which are easily found in stores), fennel (I am now growing some in my garden, but it is often quite expensive in stores), arugula (more expensive than regular lettuce), something called Lakanta (never heard of it or seen it in a store), goat or sheep dairy (I like it, but it is more expensive), and gluten free beer (I don't drink beer, but I am sure that is more expensive and hard to find than regular beer) among other things. I do not condone the SAD diet or eating junk food. I think a healthy diet rich in vegetables is important.
However,I think that this particular diet would be both expensive and difficult to follow due to the cost and negligible effect of the supplements and difficulty in finding some of the more exotic ingredients.

Blue Labyrinth (Pendergast, #14) by Douglas Preston

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston

This is the 14th book in a series, and I have not read the others. I am sure that reading the other books first would fill in much needed background. Nevertheless, this is an excellent mystery/thriller and I enjoyed it without having read the others. Agent Pendergast is in for more than he expected when his son arrives at his door dead. As he is lured into the mystery, there is another murder at the Museum of Natural History. The search for answers leads Pendergast all over the world and Margot and Constance must help out as well. Action and adventure abound in this intriguing mystery. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Came From the Water: One Haitian Boy's Incredible Tale of Survival by Vanita Oelschlager, Mike Blanc

I Came From the Water by Vanita Oelschlager
Based on a true story, this is the tale of 8 year old Moses, who was found in the water in a basket after a flood in Haiti. He was raised in a Catholic orphanage and he tells about life in Haiti and the orphanage and how people can help the relief groups in Haiti. The illustrations are bright and colorful and lovely and part of the proceeds from the book go to the orphanage. It is a lovely book and I highly recommend it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

How to Mulch: Save Water, Feed the Soil, and Suppress Weeds. A Storey Basics®Title by Stu Campbell, Ivan Cameron

How to Mulch by Stu Campbell
This is a simple, yet rather comprehensive book about how to mulch your gardens. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information in this little book. It explains why to mulch, the various types of materials used to mulch, why mulches may sour or mold and what to do about it and how to mulch a variety of types of plants. I was impressed because it explains when to mulch certain plants for the best results and the best types of mulch for each plant. As a beginning gardener, I definitely found some very useful information in this book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I recommend it to other beginner gardeners.

The Earth Diet: Recipes to Live Your Healthiest Life by Liana Werner-Gray

The Earth Diet: Recipes to Live Your Healthiest Life

The author of this book does begin with a disclaimer explaining that she is not a health professional and that her claims in the book are unfounded, yet she includes a long list of conditions that have been helped by her diet. The book has a nice layout and pretty photos. It advocates an organic whole foods, plant based diet, but also includes some meat recipes for those who chose to eat meat - she recommends organic only. She recommends beginning each day by drinking lemon water, juicing daily, avoiding processed foods and gluten and thinking positively. The recipes are ok, but rather bland. Some of her suggestions are rather unhealthy like her suggestion for weight loss of eating "mono meals" one day a week - which would be lemon water at waking, beet juice for breakfast, bananas - all you can eat - for snack, watermelon - all you can eat until you feel full for lunch, grapes as a snack and raw cauliflower for dinner. The book also includes recipes for homemade toothpaste and other skin and body care products and suggestions for a healthy lifestyle. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers
Wow. Just wow. Totally fabulous book. When Max's best friend Evan interrupts a presidential debate by hacking into it's live streaming video and killing himself, Max is thrust into the mystery. What is the silence of six and why did Evan kill himself over it? What does it have to do with the government? Once again, Evan must enter into the underworld of the hackers that he has previously tried to leave behind in order to solve the mystery left to him in a text that Evan sent to him right before his death. Can Max crack the code and discover what insidiousness is going on? I could not put this book down before finding out. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

A Curse Awakened (Weird Girls #0.4) by Cecy Robson

A Curse Awakened by Cecy Robson

This novella is a prequel to the Weird Girls series, which I have not yet read and it explains how Celia and her sisters were cursed and received their supernatural powers. In this novella, they try to break the curse to free their powers and battle vampires to save the father of Celia's ex-boyfriend, Danny. The book is well-written with lots of action and humor. I think that anyone who is reading the series will enjoy this book. I found it intriguing enough that now I would like to read the series. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Hats for Babies: Caps, berets & beanies to knit for every occasion by Debby Ware

Holiday Hats for Babies: Caps, berets &  beanies to knit for every occasion
These hats are absolutely adorable! Photographed on equally adorable children, this collection includes incredibly creative and cute hats to knit for babies and children - including hats for various holidays and seasons. I have not knit any of these hats yet, but the instructions seem to be well written and clear and easy to follow. If you are looking for some cute and unique knit hat patterns for children, this is the book for you! I received this book free to review from Netgalley.                  

Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Transgender Lives by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
I think if you want to do research about the transgender types and areas of concern, this is a good book for that. It tells about gender fluidity around the world and throughout history and examines the legal, personal and medical issues involved with being transgender. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Yogic Cooking: Nutritious Vegetarian Food by Garuda Hellas

Yogic Cooking: Nutritious Vegetarian Food
This is an interesting book that shares principals of yogic cooking along with recipes. Most of the rules sound rather sensible and healthy, but some of them sound rather impractical like "never reheat food" and "serve as soon as you have finished cooking". The "basic recipe" which should be included with meals every day calls for black or white mustard seeds - and the only mustard seeds that I have found so far in grocery stores are yellow ones. If you are interested in cooking and eating according to yogic principals, I think you will find this book to be helpful. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Fireflies by Alice Hoffman

This is a beautifully illustrated short children's story about a boy who feels inept, but becomes a hero to his town. After being teased for not being able to skate, Jackie runs away and becomes lost. As he tries to find his way home, his bumbling actually helps him and helps him to help his town. The writing is lovely to read and Jackie's story is inspirational and appealing to readers of all ages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Anomaly Schrodinger's Consortium #1 by Tonya Kuper

Anomaly by Tonya Kuper
YA. Paranormal. Romance. On her seventeenth birthday - because seventeen is the magic age for YA paranormal romances - Josie suddenly develops superpowers, the use of which gives her headaches, but she does not know what is going on. Enter Reid, incredibly cute guy whose job it is to train her to use her superpowers to be part of the Resistance against the evil Consortium in order to help save all of mankind. Her parents knew about it and were part of it, but of course they never told her. If you like YA paranormal romances then you will enjoy this book. It is well written and fast paced and will keep your interest. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Vines by Christopher Rice

The Vines by Christopher  Rice
This is a very fast paced horror story featuring man eating plants and insects set in Louisiana on a plantation. I found the pacing to be so fast that the characters did not have time to be fully developed. The story begins with Caitlin, but once she is gone, the focus shifts to Blake as the main character. It is then up to Blake, gay ex-best friend of Caitlin, along with Nova, a bitter young black woman whose father is the groundskeeper, to deal with the supernatural vines and insects. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Anomaly The Anomaly

The Anomaly by Wendy Joyce
Well, this is good for a first book by an author. The first part of the book was incredibly confusing and I honestly would have just quit reading if I had not looked at reviews and seen that many said that it gets better after the first part. Not enough detail in the first part - and really - too lacking in detail - I really would have just given up on it if I had not received the book free to review and then read the reviews to see what on earth was going on. That being said - I do understand the purpose of the first part - but it could have been shorter and had more details. The main part of the book deals with Zia in one of her many lifetimes as she deals with issues that have been brewing for all of her lifetimes - thus the confusing beginning which I think could have been done better. However, the main plot had lots of mystery and intrigue which kept me reading to find out who did what and why. That part of the story was quite good. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grimm Memories (Grimm Tales, #2) by Janna Jennings

Grimm Memories by Janna Jennings
Once again, fabulous story, but, sadly, the writing needed some help. I really did love the plot - it is fun and imaginative and has action and romance and fairy tales and fun. However, it just makes me sad that there were so many errors in the book. There were plot and writing errors as well as editing errors. Since I got a free copy from Netgalley, I can only hope that the editing errors were corrected before it was put in a sellable form. One example that stands out to me is that at the beginning of the book, when they leave the house on Andi's horses - which she just plans to leave alone in the woods, which is irresponsible for a horse owner, and her mother questions why she is putting Max on a horse named Gremlin, Andi replies that "this one has a loose shoe" - calling one of her horses "this one". She should be calling it by name - not just "this one". There are quite a few other details that are either left out or are just "off". I did enjoy the story, which continues 6 months after the 4 teens return from Elorium and they have a reunion at Andi's house, now including Quinn's brother Max. They return to Elorium due to disturbing dreams that Dylan and Andi have been having and to try to bring Frederick's grandfather back with them. They have quite an adventure and the story really is quite good. I do think it could have been better though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thursdays with the Crown (Castle Glower #3) by Jessica Day George

Thursdays with the Crown (Castle Glower, #3)
I love this series, and this book is no exception. However, this book cannot be read as a stand alone book. You could not read it and understand what is going on if you have not read the first two books. This book begins where the last one left off. The Castle had been behaving strangely and as this book begins, it has taken Celie, her sister Lilah and brother Rolf along with Pogue, Lulath, and Rufus the griffin to the glorious Arkower where the castle came from. Once there, they find two old wizards, more griffins and a mystery that they must solve in order to fix the Castle and return to Sleyne. There is action and adventure and it makes another lovely story for kids ages 8 to 13 or so. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Grimm Legacy (Grimm Tales #1) by Janna Jennings

A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings
The idea behind this book is good. Four modern day teenagers are all brought out of this world to Elorium and are rounded up by a man calling himself Mr. Jackson who claims to be helping them, but the teenagers are not so sure if they can trust him. As they travel through Elorium, the world where Grimm's Fairy Tales live, they find that they each are grandchildren of members of some original fairy tales who had escaped to our world, leaving their stories behind. The teenagers have been brought back to take their grandparents' places in the stories. Andi, who is the granddaughter of Cynthia; Quinn, whose hair grows incredibly fast, Fredrick and Dylan must find ways to outwit the fairy tale members if they are to survive and make it back to their own world. The characters were not well developed and many parts of the story were rather confusing due to lack of details. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah MlynowskiI read this book in a day and it had me laughing out loud repeatedly. When the 10th graders in homeroom class 10b get their flu shots, they get a bit more than they bargained for - the ability to hear other people's thoughts. I totally love how the author details the teenager's thoughts as Olivia obsesses about everything - worrying about the fact that she thinks weird thoughts and that now the other kids from her homeroom class would not only know that she has strange thoughts, but that she worries about them knowing that she is worrying about that. Told by the teens as a group, because when you can share thoughts, individuality blurs, we see how being able to hear thoughts affects several members of the group. It can have it's good points, but it also definitely has some drawbacks. All in all, I totally loved this book. I found it to be funny and lighthearted and a fun read. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Can I Tell You about Anxiety?: A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals by Lucy Willetts, Polly Waite, Kaiyee Tay

Can I Tell You about Anxiety? by Lucy Willetts
This is a very nice book about children's anxiety written in a way that will help children who have anxiety and those who have friends with it, teachers, parents and other adults understand and have tools with which to help children who have anxiety. Megan, a fictitious 10 year old girl who suffers from anxiety, explains the effects of anxiety on her life, how it feels to have anxiety problems, different types of anxiety, and ways that anxiety can be treated. She also explains a variety of ways that family, friends and teachers can help a child with anxiety. One suggestion is that when a child seems anxious, to ask them how they are feeling, what they are thinking and if they can think of a more realistic way of thinking about the issue rather than just assuring the child that everything is and will be ok. There is a brief section about related disorders and a list of recommended reading. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: One-Minute Tips for Decluttering and Refreshing Your Home and Your Life by Donna Smallin Kuper

Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness by Donna Smallin Kuper
This book contains a lot of short statements and tips about decluttering. Some of the statements are practical and others are more inspirational. It reminds me of the kind of things that would be printed on one of those page-a-day calendars. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Toad Weather Sandra Markle , Thomas Gonzalez

Toad Weather by Sandra Markle
This book is toadally fantastic! Written in lovely, lyrical prose, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, this story tells the tale of all the adventures that Ally has when her mother coaxes her and her grandmother outside on a rainy, gloomy day. Together they appreciate the colorful umbrellas, the splashing rain and the earthworms on the sidewalk. But, the toads are the real treat. This book is a real treat also. It is toadally wonderful and I think it will make a welcome addition to children's libraries and bookshelves. The book will be released in March and would make a nice spring gift as well. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!

How to Fall : A Novel (Jess Tennant Mysteries) by Jane Casey

How to Fall by Jane Casey
When 16 year old Jess goes with her mother back to her mother's childhood home to stay with family members she had never met, she is thrust into a mystery. Her cousin Freya, whom Jess looks like almost exactly, had died under mysterious circumstances a year prior and everyone in town is shocked by how much Jess looks like Freya yet won't go into details about Freya's death. Was it suicide, or something more sinister? Jess makes it her mission to find out what happened as she falls for the same guy who Freya liked and is liked by another boy who had also liked Freya. Bring in the jealous ex-girlfriend and they stage is set for mystery. I did enjoy the story, but somehow, the characters seemed a bit shallow and wishy washy. I was not thrilled with the ending, although apparently it is a set up for another book in the series so that explains the unfinishedness of it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
This is an excellent fantasy/sci.fi. YA romance. I would caution that it has some dark parts and is probably best for readers over the age of 13. Parental caution is advised. That being said, the book is a fun spin off of the Snow White story in which Princess Snow, aka Essie, is in hiding on a mining planet, repairing junk tech for the miners and fighting in cage fights to earn extra money. When she meets Dane, who crash lands near her town, and helps him to repair his ship, the story really begins with intrigue, romance, danger and action. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Breeder by K.B. Hoyle

Breeder by K.B. Hoyle
This is an excellent YA paranormal romantic story. In a post-apocalyptic world, Seventeen is a Breeder, chosen to carry "products" to further the human race which had been depleted due to wars and other troubles. Now, the UWO controls every aspect of everyone's lives, telling them that it is much better that way. When Seventeen encounters Pax, and remembers that her name is Pria, her life changes and soon she has to leave the Sanctuary where she has been living and flee into the wilderness as she learns the truth about what the government is really doing. Action, adventure and a bit of romance abound in this young adult thriller. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery by Abby Sher

Breaking Free by Abby Sher
This book tells the heartbreaking stories of three women who escaped sexual slavery and then went on to help others. It tells the stories of Somaly Mam, who was forced into prostitution in Cambodia, Minh Dang, whose parents sexually abused her as a child and then forced her into prostitution in the United States and Maria Suarez who was kidnapped and forced to be a slave to a man in California. There is a chapter at the end of the book that explains sex-trafficking and who it is happening to, where, why and how we can help to break the cycle. The stories are sad and tragic and show how the women involved in sex-trafficking are all victims. I like the Sweedish model of prosecution in which the people who buy sex are punished rather than the people who are being sold. I think that the US and the rest of the world should use this way of prosecuting the real criminals, who are the men, rather than the girls and women who are forced into having sex with men and who did not choose to do it and who usually do not receive any of the money that is paid for the abuse of their bodies.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg
In Afghanistan, the worst place in the world to be a female, many girls are raised as boys until puberty in a practice where they are called "bacha posh" which literally means "dressed like a boy". In Afghanistan, which has a repressive, patriarchal society, women are treated like servants, animals, property that has no rights. Due to the need for sons and the fact that females are unable to work, many families designate a daughter to be raised as a son, a bacha posh, and this practice is far more common that most people realize.

Several characters are followed in this book including: Azita, a woman parliamentarian, which is an anomaly, and her daughter Mehran, whom she has chosen to be a bocha posh for her family because she has no sons. We also read about Zahra, a teenager, who, having been raised as a bacha posh, refuses to turn back into a girl; and Shukria, a woman who had been raised as a boy and then was changed back to a girl and was married off and now has children of her own. The author explains the many reasons that families may designate a daughter to be a bacha posh, describes the extremely dysfunctional attitudes within the Afghan society and the struggles of many girls and women and their fathers to overcome these views and make changes in Afghanistan. She also explains why foreign aid is not helping the situation.

Lastly, the author explores the issue of what gender is and describes how, throughout history, around the world, for various reasons, often in times of war, females have chosen to or have had to present themselves as males.
I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weather 100 Facts You Should Know by Clare Oliver

This is a fabulous book of weather facts suitable for elementary and middle school age children.  Full of facts on a wide variety of weather related topics like seasons, types of clouds, hurricanes, hail, rainbows, auroras and myths and legends about weather, this book is sure to appeal to people of all ages.  The photos and drawings are engaging and there are occasional quizzes, funny facts, a glossary and an index.  I think this book would make a great addition to any elementary school and middle school library as well as for people who home school and any children who are interested in weather.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Poison Dart Frogs Up Close by Carmen Bredeson

Poison Dart Frogs Up Close
This book has beautiful and colorful photographs and interesting facts about poison dart frogs. It describes their life cycle and habitat and gives other interesting facts about the frogs. This is a wonderful resource for elementary school and middle school children. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!

Mason Meets A Mason Bee by Dawn V Pape

This is a cute rhyming book for children that tells facts about bees and their importance in pollinating the plants that we eat. It also tells about the dangers of pesticides and has lovely photographs of bees and flowers and an adorable little boy. I did, however, think that the photos of bees that they had drawn faces on were rather creepy. There are not many of those and perhaps children will think they are cute. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5) by Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
I enjoyed this book but it seemed a bit stale and formulaic. About every other chapter starts with a bang in the first sentence such as: "The hordes had arrived."; "Jason rose from his deathbed so he could drown with the rest of the crew.";and "Piper wasn't surprised when the snake people arrived." There are also lots of flashbacks and references to things that happened in the past. I really don't know if all of those things are in the past books or if they are just put in to build more background, but it got old. This story is told by Jason, Piper, Nico, Reyna, and Leo as they try to unite the Greek and Roman camps so that they can unite the Greek and Roman halves of the gods and keep Gaea from being awakened and destroying all humanity. If you like the other books in this series, you will enjoy this one as well. It has action, adventure, fights, romance, death, gods, goddesses and demigods in a battle to unite as well as to defeat.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Can I Tell You about Eating Disorders?: A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals by Bryan Lask, Lucy Watson

Can I Tell You about Eating Disorders?: A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals
This is an interesting way to explain eating disorders to children and to the friends, family and other adults who know young people who have eating disorders. It is told by a character named Alice, who has Anorexia, and she discusses her eating disorder with other kids who have other eating disorders including Freddie, who has Food Avoidance Emotional Disorder; Sam, who has Selective Eating; Francesca, who has Functional Dysphagia; and Beth, who has Bulimia. The book explains how the young people with the eating disorders feel and what other people can do to help them. I think that this book would be very helpful to teachers, friends and family members of young people who suffer from eating disorders.

Breaking Free by Winter Page

Breaking Free by Winter Page
I am amazed that this was written by a 14 year old. The story is captivating and emotional. It is well written and is also edited well. Told mostly by Raimi (aka Rain), and partly by Clare, it covers many issues that teenagers deal with including bullying, homosexuality, drugs, drinking, oppressive religion and family problems. I think that many teenagers will enjoy reading this story. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Andi Under Pressure (Andi Boggs #2) by Amanda Flower

Andi Under Pressure (Andi Boggs, #2)
This is another fun mystery as 12 year old Andi and her best friend Colin go to a science summer camp at the local university. When supplies go missing and the kindly, but mysterious janitor is blamed, Andi and Colin decide to investigate what is going on. When their teacher is injured in a lab accident, things get really serious. In the meantime, Andi's aunt is trying her best to be a parent to Andi and her older sister, Bethany. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I think that middle school kids will enjoy it very much.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston, Claire Ewart

The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston
Set in Lebanon, this story has lovely illustrations and teaches a lesson about being friendly and helpful. When Sameer's neighbors return to their home after being gone for many years due to "troubles" in the country, he hopes that they will have a son who he can be friends with. Instead, they have an unfriendly daughter who tells him that the wonderful olives that fall off of the tree that grows in her yard, but overhangs into his yard belong to her family only. Then, lightening strikes the tree and though the adults walk away sadly, the children finally find a way to share and become friends. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Thoughtful Gardening: Practical Gardening in Harmony with Nature by Ed Ikin

Thoughtful Gardening: Practical Gardening in Harmony with Nature

This book contains very good gardening advice with thoughtful explanations on a variety of gardening topics from soil and water to compost, planting systems, gentle insecticides and more. I have found a lot of the advice in this book very useful to me in caring for my own backyard vegetable garden. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

This is a young adult paranormal romance. Ven is an Imitation, a clone, who has been raised in a laboratory building along with other clones of rich, important people. The clones are taught that they are products, inferior to humans, whose only purpose is to serve. When Ven is taken away and assigned to pretend to be Raven, the authentic who she was cloned from, she learns that she is meant to be a decoy, a target. She meets Linc, a cute and caring bodyguard who of course, falls in love with her. Together, along with others, they learn about the real purpose for the Imitations and it is sinister. The story ends with a huge cliffhanger. The world building seemed rather incomplete as the cloning process was not described well, and the character development was also lacking. The book was well written and well edited. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
This is a very raw and emotional look at the effect of bullying on a teenage girl put into an interesting paranormalish type of perspective. The story is told by Ashley, who is in a mental institution, hoping to be released if she cooperates with her psychologist and tells him what happened to her. She tells about being bullied in high school, and how she expressed herself through her artwork. She tells about Matt, another art student, her best friend who she has a secret crush on, and about how she speaks with her "older self" in the mirror. Her older self gives her advice, but she does not always follow it and she does not trust her older self because she knows that she is not telling her everything. The book is captivating and the story is compelling. I read it all in one day. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales Paula Guran (editor)

Once Upon a Time by Paula Guran
This is a collection of short stories that are fairy tales, mostly based upon older stories. While I did like some of the stories - very much - there were more that I did not enjoy than there were that I enjoyed. My favorites were the stories "Castle of Masks", "The Giant in Repose", and Blanchefleur". They are original and unique and interesting fairy tale like stories. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
Such a fabulous book! I totally love the author's writing style in this series - it is just beautifully descriptive. The story has mystery, romance, magic and lots of humor. Now that Blue's mother, Maura, has disappeared, Lily and her Raven boys, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah, along with Mr. Gray, the hit man who is her mother's boyfriend, are searching caves for her and for the three sleepers, one of whom, should not be woken and one of whom is Glendower, the king. They find a cave on a farm in an old tower that the farmer says is cursed and within it they find a grave containing Gwelliian, one of Glendower's daughters who was buried there 600 years ago but did not sleep. She is a witch and is rather insane from lack of sleep among other things. The friendship among Lily and the boys is a big part of the story as is the forbidden love between Blue and Gansey. Many of the adult characters are also fleshed out more in this book and I enjoyed that the author managed to make the hit man a likeable person. This book is just so fantastic and wonderful! I am looking forward to the next book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.