Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to Create Kind Schools: 12 extraordinary projects making schools happier and helping every child fit in by Jenny Hulme

Each chapter of this book describes a different anti-bullying program in England. From peer mentors to gypsy plays to a program aimed at eradicating bullying of gay people and one teaching autism awareness and more, the programs target both the bullied and the bullies and help them to deal with the pressures in their life and with one another in positive ways. I think that teachers and school counselors and administrators will find this book enlightening and helpful. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
This book is totally epic! When Calamity, a red light in the sky arose, many ordinary people were imbued with superhero like powers. The faithful felt that they would be heroes, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Thus, the ones they called Epics were destructive and wanton and cruel in their destruction. When David was 8 years old, he witnessed Steelheart kill his father and many other people and transform most of the city of Chicago into steel. Steelheart became the invincible leader of the city that became known as Newcago, thrust into perpetual darkness by another Epic known as Nightshade. Ten years later, David is the only survivor of the catastrophe, and the only human being who has seen that Steelheart does indeed have a weakness, and he has been studying the Epics and plotting to destroy Steelheart all of those years. He has an overdeveloped sense of revenge. In order to destroy Steelheart, he needs to join a resistance group called the Reckoners. There is lots of action and adventure and the book is funny as well, as the geeky David continuously makes up odd metaphors while trying to impress Megan who is beautiful and carries tiny grenades in her top. The characters are fantastic and the book is tons of fun to read. It could make a fabulous movie. I look forward to reading the next book.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood by Alexander Walker

Finding Masculinity by Alexander   Walker
This book has many stories from a variety of transgender men on varying topics from the emotional and spiritual to family, relationships, work and the medical community. I found the book to be very informative and I think that people who are transgender or who have loved ones who are transgender will find the book to be helpful. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Don't Fear the Reaper (The Death Chronicles #1) by William F. Houle, J.E. Taylor

Don't Fear the Reaper (The Death Chronicles, #1)
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. It was written by a middle school boy and his mom. It is good for a book by a middle school child. I think middle school kids may enjoy it.

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)
So this is like Harry Potter for girls. The main character, 15 year old Sophia is a witch. Her mother is human and her father is a warlock, but she has never met him. After casting a love spell that went wrong, Sophia is sent to Hex Hall, a boarding school for supernatural teens who have caused trouble. There are fairies, shape shifters, witches and one vampire, who is Sophia's roommate. When people start dying with puncture marks in their necks, and Sophie's vamp roommate, Jenna is blamed, Sophie tries to find out what is really going on. There is romance, mystery and super natural powers. The book is fun to read with references to Harry Potter and other things in pop culture. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chains (Seeds of America, #1) by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
In this first book in a new, historical fiction series, is the story of thirteen year old Isabel, a slave during the revolutionary war. The story is told well and is an excellent novel for middle school children. Isabel, also known as Sal, tries hard to protect her five year old sister after they are bought by Tories and taken to New York City. Sal is befriended by a boy who is on the side of the Patriots and becomes a spy, passing on valuable information. Yet she realizes that although the Patriots want their freedom, they have no intention of granting freedom to her. The story is well researched and is touching and just a fabulous book.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There will Be Bears by Ryan Gebhart

There Will Be Bears by Ryan Gebhart
Thirteen year old Tyson is excited about going hunting for elk with his grandfather. His best friend, Bright, has matured faster and gotten more popular leaving Tyson feeling left out but the bear hunt will make things better. Except his grandfather is put into a nursing home and there is a killer grizzly bear in the woods where they wanted to hunt. Grandpa still wants to go hunting. Will he and Tyson survive the hunt?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
The title of this book comes from this quote: "I guess I mean we all pretty much agree on certain things. Equality and stuff like that. But whenever it turns up missing, people just let it slide. That's why there's such a thing as activism. Sometimes you have to jumpstart the world just to get it to be what even the world admits it should be." I love that the main character wants to be a photo activist using photographs to show what people are like. In the story, Elle, a 15 year old girl is set up to live by herself in an apartment by her mother, when mom's boyfriend does not want a teenager around. In her anger at her mother, Elle shaves off her beautiful hair because all her mother cares about is looks. When she starts school with a buzz cut, Elle is labeled as gay and is befriended by a group of LGBT kids. At first, she is quite concerned because she is not gay and does not want to be perceived as such, but the kids are nice and good friends to her and she learns that people who are different are still people including her neighbor who she has a crush on until she learns that he is a ftm - transgender female in the process of becoming a male. The fact that she has a crush on him and he is ftm totally confuses and concerns her, but she eventually learns that just does not matter and that people are just people and that we should love and accept one another. The story is well-written and compelling and has a fantastic, hopeful message.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hereafter (Shadowlands, #2) by Kate Brian

Hereafter by Kate Brian
This is book two in a trilogy. I have not read the first book, but I don't think it is necessary to have read it in order to understand this book. Rory has been murdered along with her father and sister and they are living on an island now, not realizing that they are dead. Rory, finds out that due to her good deed of killing her killer after he stabbed her, she is now a "lifer", one of the islanders who will usher the dead people to either the Light or the Shadowlands. However, things are going wrong on the island and Rory is an unhappy scapegoat. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
Jackson Greene is an 8th grader whose father is a law man and grandfather was a con man. Grandfather has taught Jackson well and he has already acquired infamy at his middle school in the past for various things he has done. Now, Gaby, a girl who he likes, is running for class president, and another 8th grader, Keith is running against her. When Jackson learns that Keith's dad is making a generous donation to the school, he is sure there is foul play involved and he intends to make sure that Gaby wins. The story is is fast paced and a fun read.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
This is a rather different sort of zombie novel. In this book, the zombieism is caused by a fungus and the story is set in a facility where a doctor is studying children zombies who have retained the ability to think as opposed to the adult zombies who are controlled by the fungus and no longer really alive and human. Melanie is 10 years old and is a student in the school in the research facility and a subject of it's study although she does not realize what she is. When the facility is attacked and she escapes with the doctor, her favorite teacher and some soldiers, she slowly learns the truth about who and what she is even as the doctor furiously continues her research. Intriguing take on the zombie apocalypse theme.

Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life by P.J. Hoover

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward
Two stories converge at the end of the book - one of a 40 something infertile woman and a 12 year old girl who was raped. As we follow Carla, we see how horrible her life was in Honduras, her hopes for a better life in America with her mother and her dangerous journey. As we follow Carla, we see her longing for a child and the BBQ restaurant she and her husband run. The story was ok, but I skimmed some of it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Magic Straw Hat by Karen Jonice Bricker

The Magic Straw Hat by Karen Jonice Bricker
In this beautifully illustrated book, Catie's Grandmother tells her a story about her great grandmother's magic straw hat and how she wore it as she traveled to America from Ireland and when she sold pies. Catie promises to take care of the hat, but when it blows away and no one can catch it, Catie wishes that it will return and the results are magical. The story is cute and the illustrations are absolutely lovely! I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen
In this YA romance, 16 year old Shana who attracts boys without even trying and lately has been dropping them like hot potatoes, meets a boy named Quattro and later, they wind up at Machu Picchu at the same time on trips with their parents. There is a mudslide and disaster and romance both strike. I liked Grace, the old woman who went on the trip, she was cool.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones ( Author), Katie Kath (Illustrator)

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly        Jones
This is a cute, funny book for kids ages 8 to 14. Twelve year old Sophie has moved with her parents to her uncle's farm and along with the farm, they inherited his unusual chickens. Sophie writes letters explaining how things are going to her deceased abuela, as well as to her deceased uncle and to the Redwood Farm Supply, whose flyer Sophie has found in the barn. Along with the helpful mailman, George and a nice neighbor boy, Sophie rounds up the unusual chickens and the librarian helps her find books about how to care for them. She also receives poorly typed replies to her letters to the farm supply company from a woman named Agnes, who sends her chicken raising lessons. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Guardian (Proxy #2) by Alex London

Guardian by Alex London
In this second book in the series, it is now 6 months after the revolution, and things are not exactly fabulous. Syd, billed as Yovel is being used as a figurehead symbol of the revolution given credit for the Jubilee - spreading the computer virus that took down the old system. The new world, is however is anything but peaceful. Starting with the Enforcers, people who had the most technology in their blood, people are developing a painful and deadly disease of the blood. There is unrest among the politicians as well as among the people. It is now up to Syd, his faithful bodyguard Liam, and Marie to try to fix the problem and save the world as an evil man named Cousin, tries to end it all.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Alive by Chandler Baker

Alive by Chandler Baker
YA paranormal/horror romance. Interesting mix of genres in this book. Quite creepy actually, but compelling as well. After receiving a heart transplant, 17 year old Stella has some odd side effects including searing pain at the same time every evening and scary hallucinations. When the mysterious and handsome Levi shows up at her school, Stella is drawn to him and for some reason, when she is with him, the pain in her heart disappears. Stella's friend Henry is suspicious and not just because he likes her and she has fallen for Levi, but he rightly feels that something about Levi is wrong. This a creepy, eerie, fun to read romantic thriller for teens. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Recipes for Melissa by Teresa Driscoll

Recipes for Melissa by Teresa Driscoll
Ok, at first I did not like this book because Melissa did not tell anyone about the book. I found that dishonest and annoying. I was going to give up on the book. Then I took a look at the reviews and they were all fabulous. So, I gave it another chance. I am glad that I did. The book is so touching and moving. It tells three stories - Melissa's present along with her boyfriend Sam, her father Max's present, and their past with her mother, who had died of cancer when Melissa was 8 years old leaving behind a secret book of memories and recipes to be delivered to Melissa when she was 25 years old. The book and it's contents totally rock Melissa's world forcing her to face her grief and her memories. Her father also confronts his grief and his memories as he finds himself being incredibly interested in a woman who he works with. The story is heartbreaking and beautiful and so very touching. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Color of Secrets by Lindsay Ashford

The Color of Secrets by Lindsay Ashford
The women in this story kept a lot of secrets. I kept feeling like there would not have been so much trouble if they had just told the truth. In some of the situations, the truth might have caused more trouble, but in others it would have been much better, although then there would not have been a story. The story certainly kept me reading - I stayed up late reading it then started reading again in the morning and finished it quickly. There is romance and intrigue, sorrow and joy as Eva has an affair with a black American soldier during the war, when she had not heard anything about her husband in two years and thought he was probably dead. Their affair resulted in their daughter, Louisa, who continues the family tradition of not telling the truth in situations in her life and who does not know the truth about her father. When Louisa's daughter, Rhiannon is born, looking a lot like her black American grandfather, Louisa realizes that the truth needs to be found out and told. The story is well told and fascinating.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

In the End (In the After, #2) by Demitria Lunetta

In the End by Demitria Lunetta
This is the second and last book of this series. Amy fights more zombies/florae and is determined to save Baby from the evil mad scientist doctor. She enters the hellish Fort Black, a prison in which survivors are fighting to survive inside the prison walls and where she meets Jacks, who she falls for, thus giving this book a sort of love triangle. Lots of fighting and action and bad guys galore abound in this book.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Proxy (Proxy, #1) by Alex London

Proxy by Alex London
I read this book because it won the Texas Lone Star Award and I am reading through all of the books that won that award. I enjoyed the book, and it fits the bill for YA dystopian fiction. However, as I read the book, I kept thinking that I had already read it before. It is similar to the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield in ways and also to several other YA dystopian novels that I have read. The world is mostly uninhabitable and most people live in a few cities that are few and far between and the rich live ultra luxurious lifestyles with all sorts of tech to change their bodies, eye color etc... and the rich teens do lots of drugs and the poor live in abject poverty. Knox is a son of a rich patron and Syd is a poor orphan who is his proxy, being punished for anything that Knox does. When Knox accidentally kills someone the two teens wind up accidentally meeting each other and fleeing together along with Marie who belongs to a group of people who sympathize with the poor and want to change the status quo. When they are on the run, they discover that there are even more nefarious things going on than they had realized.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
Wow! Totally fascinating story - a piece of history that I had never heard of. This is a story of the black sailors in the, at that time segregated US Navy during WWII. Untrained men, loading ammunition into ships was an accident just waiting to happen. The outcome, lead to the desegregation of the US Navy, but at a great cost to the men involved. The story is well told and includes photographs. It is geared towards teens but is just as interesting to adults. I highly recommend this book.

What If I'm an Atheist?: A Teen's Guide to Exploring a Life Without Religion by David Seidman

What If I'm an Atheist? by David Seidman
This helpful and informative book for teens includes interviews with teens and young adult atheists who share their experiences and give advice about how to speak to family, friends and others about the fact that they are atheist. Teens are encouraged to remain calm and polite and the book gives tips on how to respond to religious people who are critical of their lack of belief. I think that teens will find this book to be a helpful resource. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dear Opl by Shelley Sackier

Dear Opl by Shelley Sackier
This is a cute story about 13 year old Opal, who eats too much sweets while mourning her father who passed away two years ago. When she is told that she is pre-diabetic and will have to change her diet, she is forced to change her eating habits. Inspired by her mother's suggestion to start a blog, Opal becomes "Dear Opl", and blogs about her experiences in going to Yoga classes and changing her diet with the help of her G-pa and a British foodie who has a blog and cook books about healthy eating. Her blog is funny and popular and Opal makes friends and helps several people and loses some weight along the way. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This is an allegorical story in which a boy travels from Spain to the pyramids in Egypt in search of a hidden treasure - his heart's great purpose. Combining elements of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the boy is helped on his journey by a Gypsy woman, Melchizedic, the Alchemist and others.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
This is a fascinating historical fiction novel for children set in 1854 during the Broad Street Pump cholera epidemic in London. It has a Dickensian tone as Eel, a 13 year old mudlark, winds up helping the great Doctor Snow track down the source of the epidemic. Can Eel help solve this scientific mystery while avoiding his evil ex-stepfather Fisheye Bill and also earn enough money to keep his younger brother safe? Filled with historical and scientific facts, this is also a gripping story and I think that children will enjoy it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

In The After by Demitria Lunetta

In the After (In the After, #1)
If you like YA dystopian fiction, this book fits the bill. A plague of little green aliens has landed and eaten most of the people on the earth. Amy is one of the few survivors. She and Baby, a toddler who she found, remarkably still alive, live alone for 3 years until, they are rescued and brought to a community that calls itself New Hope. There, she finds out that the little community is not really the paradise it pretends to be. The book ends with a cliffhanger.