Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Shadow, Shadow (Book One of the Shadow Pines Trilogy) by V.B. Marlowe

Strange things happen in Shadow Pines.  It is not a normal town.  For one thing, no one ever leaves - unless they mysteriously disappear.  Harley's mom disappeared years ago and now Harley is stuck with an evil stepmother and an adorable baby brother.  She is a rebel, always getting into trouble in school.  For her sixteenth birthday, she receives an invitation to a new novelty shop in the mall for a free gift.  Three other teens who share her sixteenth birthday have also been invited.  Two of them show up with her and the mysterious shop owner gives them boxes and tells them that they must use to feed the shadows - or the shadows will feed on them or their family members.  The story is mysterious and creepy and kind of Twilight Zoney.  It is the first in a trilogy and I look forward to reading the other two books.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

This is a fun to read gothic mystery for middle grade girls.  Ivy's twin sister, Scarlet has died while attending a prestigious private school for girls and now Ivy has been informed that she will be taking her sister's place at the school.  What she does not understand is that the evil headmistress, Miss Fox, wants Ivy to literally take Scarlet's place and pretend to be Scarlet.  Ivy quickly realizes that there is something very wrong about the situation and when she finds part of Scarlet's diary, she follows the clues to find the rest of the pages in order to learn what happened to Scarlet.  With the help of her roommate, Ariadne, she tries to fend off the girls who had bullied Scarlet and find the missing diary pages.  I think that girls ages 8 to 14 or so will enjoy this fun mystery.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel

Alice and her family have moved to Sinkville, South Carolina from Seattle, Washington the summer that she was twelve years old.  In her old town, everyone knew her and she was able to get along well even though she was legally blind due to her albinism.  Now, in a new town she has to learn to get along without her friends helping her and even without her mother's help because her mother is suffering from depression.  Alice's older brother, James, will at least take her to the library before he disappears for the day.  Despite her family problems, Alice manages to make friends in town as she takes her old dog, Tooter with her everywhere she goes.  She even manages to convince one of the librarians that Tooter is a seeing eye dog.  The story is well written with humor and pathos and I think middle grade kids will enjoy it.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Edge of Lost by Kristina Morris

Excellent, intriguing historical novel. Shanley Keagan is 12 years old when he and his abusive Uncle Will set off in a ship for the US in 1919 in order to find a new life, and, for Shan to search for his birth father.  When his uncle dies on board the ship, Shan is taken in by an Italian family whose son, Nick, Shan had befriended aboard ship. Eventually, as we know from the prologue of the book, Shan winds up in Alcatraz.  I read to find out why he wound up there and what the little girl had to do with it all, and I was not disappointed.  The book is well-researched and well-written and I enjoyed it very much.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

I picked up this book because it is about Scientology.  I actually had no idea who Leah Remini is and have never watched any TV show that she has been on.  Sorry Leah.  The book is well-written and interesting and explains how Leah's mom joined the Scientology church when Leah was fifteen years old bringing Leah and her sister to Florida to the Sea Org, the Scientology training facility where kids are treated like adults and don't have to go to school, but are worked like slaves instead.  Leah and her sister were cleaning the hotel for $15 a week like most of the other kids in the Sea Org.  She tells how Scientology forces people to confess everything they have ever done or thought that was wrong and charges them money to do so and forces them to take classes that they have to pay for. They then keep detailed records so they can basically blackmail the members using that information. It is really a crooked organization and she gives a good look into the insanity that is the heart of the cult.
It seems that the church of Scientology also pays off police officers or has some of their members in the police force so that they can hide what they do and get away with it.  I have read another book about Scientology as well that tells about the way the members of that church are abused.  I am glad that Leah got out and that she is letting people know about how abusive the church is.  I hope that something is done to stop the physical abuse that they are getting away with as well as the emotional and financial grief that they cause to their members.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Into The Dim by Janet B. Taylor

 Hope is seventeen years old and eight months after her mother passed away in an earthquake (body never found), her mom's sister has invited Hope to stay a few weeks with her in England where Hope learns that her mother is not dead, but rather, lost in time, and it is up to Hope and two other teenagers to travel back in time and rescue her.  Much of the story is spent in 12th century England at the beginning of the reign of King Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. Hope's past is a mystery since she had been adopted and cannot remember anything other than a frightening, recurring nightmare.  Mystery, time travel, and romance combine in this novel that I think many teens will enjoy.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

This is a fun to read, middle grade, dystopian science fiction/fantasy novel.  In this imaginary future, a fog made of nanobots that only bothers and can kill, humans, has taken over the world, forcing people to live on mountaintops and floating cities tethered to the earth. Thirteen year old Chess has a fog-eye, caused by the bad guy, Lord Kodoc, in a strange genetic experiment.  Chess and his friends are hiding from Kodoc, with Chess as their fog diver, scavanging from the fog-covered earth.  Now, Kodoc has learned of his existence, and Chess and his friends must escape the slums and to help find a cure for Mrs. E's fogsickeness.  Action and adventure abound in this award winning middle grade story.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Under These Restless Skies by Lissa Bryan

A lovely mix of well-researched historical fiction, fantasy and romance make this novel a delightful read.  Will, a hunchback who is being given to the king to be his fool, finds Emma, a selkie, in her female form on the beach.  He falls in love with her and takes her pelt and she becomes his loving wife.  Selkies are creatures of love and their relationship is beautiful.  Will becomes a fool for King Henry VIII and Emma is a fool for Anne Boleyn. As their fools, they are confidants and as close as family and part of the royal court and all of it's intrigue. I found the facts about the time period and the monarchy fascinating and learned some things that I did not know about that time period.  I love the magical elements as well.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

This is a well-written young adult novel.  Amanda has moved in with her father for her senior year of high school after an incident in her home town occurred.  She wants to just be a normal teenage girl, which is a newish thing for her because she is transgender and didn't have that sort of life where everyone had known her as Andrew.  The book simplifies some aspects of being transgender, but it is still a good story that shows what it can be like.  Amanda also has her first boyfriend, Grant, who does not know she is transgender. I think the book does a good job of showing what a parent of a transgender child goes through as well.  I enjoyed the story and I think that teens will enjoy it too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer

I think that fans of Kurt Cobain will enjoy this book since it includes a lot of information about him and his music as fifteen year old Nico searches for meaning in her life through his songs.  When she sees a man who she thinks is Cobain and hides in his car she begins an odd adventure that will lead to her searching for her mother who had been missing since Nico was four years old.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)
This is a totally fabulous book! I like it better than some of the other recent books by Riordan. In this book, Apollo has been cast down from Olympus by his father, Zeus, and is now a mortal. He lands in a trash heap and is rescued by a 12 year old demigod named Meg, who helps him get to camp Half-Blood where he must rely on Percy Jackson and the other campers to help him. He realizes that he will have to go through trials in order to regain his godly status. His character is funny, narcissistic and he soon realizes that the mortal human life is not fun at all. Can he save the oracles, his children, and the world from a previously unknown threat? Only time will tell. I look forward to reading the other books in this series!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne

This book is a fabulous story! In this second book, Kyra must learn to embrace her heritage and finds herself agreeing with James's point of view as she fights to save the city she loves.  There is lots of action and adventure and a bit of romance as well in this satisfying conclusion to the series.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

When 17 year old Kyra, a thief living on the outskirts of town, takes a job with the Assassins Guild in order to earn money to help some orphan children, things, of course, do not work out well.  They chose her for her uncanny abilities to hide, sneak and climb into places, but she soon learns that they play Robin Hood differently than she does.  Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and which side should Kyra be on?  The lines blur when she gets to know Tristam, a handsome young palace knight, as they try to save the town from the Demon Riders, who are vicious murderers who ride wildcats. I think that people who like the young adult paranormal romance/mystery theme will enjoy this book.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I have enjoyed this series very much and I am sad that it has ended.  In this book, Gansey is aware that he is supposed to die, yet he continues his quest for the lost king.  Blue, Ronan, and Adam and the psychic women from 300 Fox Way are determined that he should not die, but, can they stop it from happening?  A new character, Henry, is brought into the group of friends, and we learn more about Blue's father, the nature of Cabeswater, love, greed, and dreaming. If you have enjoyed the series, you will also enjoy this last book, but like myself, I suspect you will be sad that it is the last one.