Monday, November 30, 2015

The Time Smugglers by Rosie Morgan

This is the second book in this King Arthur inheritance series.  Twelve year old Arthur has inherited the title of King Arthur and in this book, set a year after the first one, he and his companions, after a quiet year, have once again encountered magic and enemies and have to fight to survive.  This book should be read after reading the first book.  I think that children will enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Space Case
I thoroughly enjoyed this space mystery/adventure story!  Twelve year old Dash is living on Moon Base Alpha in the year 2040 with his family as both of his parents are scientists and have skills that the moon base needs.  When he overhears a conversation that Dr. Holtz has and then the doctor is found dead, Dash is sure that foul play has occurred.  As he tries to find out who done it, we are presented with a large array of suspects.  I think kids will enjoy this book!  I look forward to the next book in the series. I listened to the audio version of this book.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Undertow by Michael Buckley

Undertow by Michael Buckley
This is an interesting YA paranormal dystopianish romance.  It has been 3 years since the Alpha, a varied group of undersea dwelling peoples have come ashore on Coney Island. Fourteen year old Lyric Walker has learned, when they came ashore, that her mom is one of them.  Now, they are being integrated into her high school and she has been assigned to make friends with the prince.  No one knows what her mother is, and it is best to keep things that way.  There is mystery and intrigue in this novel.  I felt that some things were not explained well, but there are two other books to come so perhaps they will be explained better in future novels.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
This is a slightly creepy and disturbing, rather intense psychological thriller.  It is told alternately by Heidi and her husband Chris, who tell the current story of Heidi bringing a homeless girl and her baby into their home and by Willow, the homeless girl, who tells about her past that lead her to where she is now. Together the three characters tell a story that becomes increasingly more disturbing.  Mystery and suspense draw the reader through this  well written story.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

The Seventh Most Important Thing
Oh so much wowness!  When 13 year old Arthur, whose father recently passed away, threw a brick at the neighborhood junk man for wearing his father's hat and was sent to reform school, he had no idea that the junk man would be his source of redemption.  Sentenced to help the junk man as his probation, Arthur learns that St. James, as he referred to himself was collecting junk - foil, cardboard, light bulbs and other items to create a work of art.  That work of art is real and is shown at the end of the book and is rather amazing in and of itself.  I loved the story and the real life historical trash to treasure artwork tie-in.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton
In this creepy ghost story, Mary and her ghost friend, Lacey go on vacation with Mary's parents to Nettleby where they encounter a vengeful, murderous ghost and a hot guy named Seth.  Now, it is up to them to put the ghost to rest.  Can they and their friends put her to rest, or will she add them to her list of murders?  This is a fun to read YA paranormal romance ghost story.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Welcome to Night Vale
My sixteen year old son introduced me to the Night Vale podcasts several months ago.  I totally love them and understand why my son loves them too.  I listened to all of them before getting the book.  My husband asked me if the book would make sense to people who have not listened to the podcasts.  I think it could be read/listened to without having heard the podcasts, but you would not have a lot of the background information and it is better if you have been following the podcasts.  I got the audio book and the physical book and listened to most of it and read some of it.  I think I like the audio better than the written book. I love the narrator and I think he adds something to the story that is just not the same without him.  The story is a bit like the old Twilight Zone TV series in that many inexplicable and creepy things go on in Night Vale, but are seen as perfectly normal for the most part by the people who live there.  This story follows Jackie Fierro (I have a cat named Fierro - had him and his name long before this podcast and book came out though) who is the perpetually 19 year old pawn shop owner and Dianne Crayton whose son Josh changes his physical form on a regular basis.  Their lives become entwined as they both need to find The Man in The Tan Jacket who everyone forgets and Troy, who proves to be quite elusive.  I thought the plot twists in the book were quite interesting and I enjoyed it very much!  I hope they keep up with the podcasts and perhaps write another book - or maybe it could make an intriguing movie.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Daylight Monsters by Sarah Dalton

My Daylight Monsters by Sarah Dalton
In this novella that is a prequel to a series of books, we are introduced to Mary, as she is admitted to a mental hospital.  At first, we are not sure why she is there, but later we learn that she sees dead people.  The story is creepy and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff (Author), Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator)

Mesmerized by Mara Rockliff
Scientific method and history together in one book as Benjamin Franklin debunks mesmerism in France in the late 1700s.  The book has excellent illustrations, facts and graphics and a very good explanation of the scientific method along with the story of Ben Franklin and how he debunked mesmerism on a visit to Paris.  I enjoyed the story very much and I think it will be an excellent addition to libraries and schools.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sunrise by Mike Mullin

I think that people who enjoyed the first and second books in this series will enjoy this one as well.  If, however, like I did, you enjoyed the first book and thought the second book was too long, you might also find this book to be a bit long.  This book covers about a two or three year time period during which Alex emerges as a leader and Darla's mechanical skills come in very useful.  There is a lot of fighting, towns raiding one another, and graphic violence and cannibalism along with some people going insane as they try to survive in this ashen winter/mini ice age that has been brought on by the massive volcanic eruption.  The book is brutal and gory and long.  It is probably rather realistic and preppers and survivalists may enjoy it a lot.  I received this book free to review from  Netgalley.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Quantum Spirit Apocalypse by Sallie Haws

Quantum Spirit - Apocalypse
In this YA paranormal romance, 13 year old Salena is psychic and has a spirit guide.  Like a new-age Harry Potterish story, only Salena has the ability to save the world because she is the only person who can travel from the 3rd dimension to the 5th dimension.  In this new-agey story, she and her group of friends and her parents and some of her friend's parents all are fine with the whole psychic realm and together they try to find a cure for the blue flu, which is not a virus, but something that attacks people's energies and their chakras and Salena can see people's Auras so she can also see the blue flu.  The book includes a love triangle of sorts.  I was a bit surprised that being all new agey and  into the psychic energies and all, the people still ate hamburgers and meats.  I would have thought they would have been vegan due to the negative energies and all.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Jake's Monster Mess by Ken Spillman

Jake cleans the way I sometimes do.  I call it ADHD cleaning because you start out cleaning one thing then decide to clean another area to make room for some of the things from the first area and then you get distracted by something else and decide to clean it too and then you wind up with a bigger mess than you started with.  The book is cute and silly and I think kids will definitely be able to relate to it and enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little

The Time of the Fireflies
A creepy antique doll, time travel, mystery and historical fiction all combine into one excellent book for young people.  When twelve year old Larissa answers a phone call - on an antique phone in her family's antique store that is not connected to anything, and a voice tells her to trust and follow the fireflies, Larissa is thrust into a time travelling mystery to learn about her family's past and save the lives of her mother and baby sister.  To do so, she has to make amends with the girl who is her enemy, the one who gave her the scar she wears on her face.  I enjoyed this creepy thriller and I think that kids in 5th to 7th grades will enjoy it too. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chernobyl's Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone by Rebecca L. Johnson

Chernobyl's Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone
This is an interesting book for young people about the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster's effect on animals and plants in the area around it.  While most scientists thought that all plant and animal life would die or be deformed, some animals have proved to be very resilient and for the most part, unharmed, while others do suffer from the radiation.  The study of these plants and animals is important due to the proliferation of nuclear power plants.  The book also includes a chapter about the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster and it's effects on wildlife.  With photographs, maps and charts and a glossary at the end, I think this is an excellent book for middle grade children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman Illustrated by Chris Riddell

The Sleeper and the Spindle
Intricate highly detailed illustrations with lots of lines in them accompany this rather creepy Gaimanified fairy tale that is a cross between Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.  A week before she is to be married, something she did not view as a good thing, the queen is told by 3 of her devoted dwarves that a sleeping sickness is creeping across the land, so she goes off with the dwarves to defeat the sickness which is accompanied by spiders spinning webs all over everyone and everything.  Due to her background, having been Snow White, the queen is familiar with magic and sleeping spells and she is tough and can handle this - she believes.  Interesting story and illustrations.

The Chicken Squad (the first misadventure) by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure (Chicken Squad, #1)
This is a cute, silly early chapter book about a group of young chickens, a squirrel and a dog who are on an adventure to find out what the big and scary thing is that has the squirrel so upset.  It is written on a first to third grade reading level.  The illustrations are cute and the story is fun to read.  I think children will enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Longest Whale Song by Jacqueline Wilson

The Longest Whale Song by Jacqueline Wilson
This story is touching and heartbreaking and quite well-written for children around 4th to 6th grade level. Ella is in around second grade or so and has a rather tragic time of things. Her mother goes into a coma when she gives birth to Ella's baby brother leaving Ella with her newish step-father whom she does not really like much to care for both her and the new baby as they visit her mum daily in the hospital hoping that she will come out of the coma and get better.  In the meantime, Ella also has to deal with a bully and the loss of her best friend at school.  She occupies herself with studying whales and making a book about whales for her mother to enjoy when she comes out of her coma - if she ever does. I think that fans of Because of Winn Dixie and Where The Red Fern Grows will enjoy this book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Amazing age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Don Tate

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
This beautifully illustrated picture book includes historical notes, a timeline and notes from the author and illustrator at the end of the book.  The story of John Roy Lynch, son of an Irish father and enslaved mother, who went from being a teenage field slave to a US Congressman in ten years - from 1862 to 1872, is told in a way that children can understand and relate to and the illustrations help to tell the story.  The story tells about the life of John Roy Lynch and about the Civil War and Reconstruction period that followed it and how  he fought for civil rights during that time.  The story is informative and touching and I love the illustrations.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)
This YA dystopian story is told by 15/16 year old Alex, who has stayed home for the weekend while his parents and sister went to visit relatives. When the Yellowstone volcano erupts, throwing the area into an ashen disaster area, he is alone and skis off on the ash to find and join them. He runs into bad guys and trouble along the way and is rescued by a mother and daughter whose farm he stumbles into. They save his life and in turn, he also saves 18 year old Darla's life. This is a good first book in the series and I look forward to reading the others.

When by Victoria Laurie

When by Victoria Laurie
I read this intense YA paranormal psychological thriller/murder mystery novel today.  It was a quick read with plot twists that kept me guessing who the murderer was.  Sixteen year old Maddie has always seen the numbers on people's foreheads, which, after her father died, they realized were death dates.  Only knowing when someone will die, but not how or why makes Maddie believe there is nothing she can do to change anyone's death date.  Her mother, who became an alcoholic after her father died, has made Maddie go into business as a sort of psychic reader telling people their death dates for money to support her mom's alcohol habbit.  The story is dark and chilling and I think that YA readers will enjoy it.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Returning to Shore by Corinne Demas

Returning to Shore by Corinne Demas
This is a lovely story about 15 year old Clare.  After her mother gets married for the third time, she sends Clare, who is pining for her stepfather, her mother's second husband, off to visit her father, whom she has not seen since she was too young to remember him.  On an island with a virtual stranger, Clare discovers who her father is and what his secrets are.  It takes some time, but they forge a relationship as they care for the terrapins that her father catalogues and tries to save even as nature and washashores thwart them. The story is a quick read, and I enjoyed it very much.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible
In this modern, hamsterfied version of Sleeping Beauty, Harriet the hamster princess has been cursed by a wicked rat fairy to prick her finger on a hamster wheel on her 12th birthday and fall asleep forever, modified by a few good fairies so she would not need to sleep or go to the bathroom and could be awakened by the kiss of a prince.  When Harriet learns of the curse at age 10, she realizes that she is invincible until her 12th birthday and she goes off fighting dragons and cat ogres and has a jolly couple of years, returning to the palace before her 12th birthday so the curse can take place.  Harriet, however, has no intention of taking the curse lying down, so to speak and thwarts the curse only to be thwarted herself.  Now she must find a prince to break the curse anyway.  Harriet is a brave and adventurous princess and the story is funny and fun to read.  I enjoyed it very much.

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett, Jory John

The Terrible Two

I totally loved the audio version of this book. The reader used a variety of voices that made the book much funnier than I would have thought if I had just read it. It is an exaggerated spoofy story about a couple of boys who pull pranks at school and become friends in the process.