Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

The Memory of Things
Sixteen year old Kyle was in school when the first of the Twin Towers was hit by an airplane.  On his way home, he sees what turns out to be a girl, covered with ash and debris and missing her memory.  He takes her home and cares for her and his uncle, a police officer who had been injured and is in a wheelchair as he recovers.  Kyle's father is a first responder.  The story is touching and moving and inspirational. 

Worm (Parahumans #1) by Wildbow, J.C. McCrae

Worm (Parahumans, #1)
This is a very very, very, very long book. My son listened to the podcast and had me read the book. It is a good story, but very, very, very long. I enjoyed the various capes and their powers and the many plot twists. I skimmed through some of the long fight scenes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Book 1)

This is an intriguing story set in Barcelona of a boy who finds a book and is obsessed with finding the author and his other books.  Over the years, a mysterious disfigured man tries to obtain the book and Daniel finds out that all other books by that author have been burned.  There is mystery, romance, and humor in this fascinating story.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Girl Who Loved Ghosts
This is the third book in this young adult paranormal romance series.  Once again, it is up to Kat to use her skill of traveling into the past to save her family and the other three families that are entwined with hers.  Her feelings for Evan grow stronger though he seems uninterested in her due to the presence of his friend's cousin.  The story is a fun read and leaves the reader waiting for the next book in the series.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #2)
In this second book in the series, Morrigan and her friends face many dangers and threats.  She is taught how horrible all wundersmiths were by a tortise wun and her patron is often off trying to solve problems.  Bravery and friendship abound in this fun middle grade fantasy.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend

The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)
In this fun to read middle grade story, Morrigan is a cursed child.  She has been blamed for everything that goes wrong her entire life knowing that she will die on Eventide on her 12th birthday.  When Eventide arrives on her 11th birthday instead, she unexpectedly receives bids on Bid Day, and she is taken to Nevermoor, a magical kingdom whose existence she had been unaware of until then.  Now, she must compete in 4 trials in order to become part of the Wundrous Society or else she will be cast out and once again face death.  She has help from her friend, Hawthorne, a dragon rider, her mysterious patron, Jupiter North, and his giant talking magnificat, Fen. Lovely story, look forward to the next one in the series.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)
Claire unintentionally travels through time from 1945 to 1743.  Using her skills as a combat nurse, she manages to be useful in an unfamiliar time and gets married and falls in love - in that order.  Can she change the future to save the people she loves? 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Bone Thief by Alyson Noel

The Bone Thief
This is a lovely middle grade fantasy in which 11 year old Grimsley, the only non-magical person in Quiver Hollows must save the town's magic, but he can't do it without the help of his friends. Will a boy with no magic whose only skill is to be a pet funeral director be able to save the town's magic before it is too late?  I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser

Chasing Eveline
This is a compelling YA realistic fiction book.  Sixteen year old Ivy and her best friend Matt love an old 80s band called Chasing Eveline that Ivy's mother had enjoyed.  Ivy's mom walked out on her and her father a couple of years ago and Ivy tries to connect with her memories of her mom through the music she loved.  Together Matt and Ivy hatch a plan to reunite the band and travel to Ireland to see them play.  They try all sorts of fundraising with various results.  This is a story about family and friendship and hope. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee, Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea
Like "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Zlata's Diary", this is a story of a child living in a horrific situation caused by the politics in that country. The country is North Korea. The time is the recent past until now. Until he was 12 years old, Sungju lived a privileged life with his parents enjoying school, the TV show that they were allowed to watch, the nice apartment they lived in and he wanted to be a military man like his father to serve their wonderful eternal leader in their wonderful country. Then, his parents told him they were going on a "vacation" in the country. In reality, his father had done something that displeased the military and they went to join the majority of North Korean society - poor, desperate and oppressed. After his parents left to find a better life and food and never returned for him, Sungju became a street boy and part of a gang of street boys. That part made me think about the negative things that our current president says about immigrants being gang members, criminals and bad people. Sungju was in a gang. He was a criminal. He did bad things. He did that because that was the only way he could survive. He was in a gang of boys from the time he was 12 to the time he was 16. He stole and beat people up and made money by bringing men to the prostitutes who were girls his age who were being exploited. He did those things to survive, not because he was a bad person. Would he be unwelcome in the US because of that? Years after his father left, when Sungju was 16 years old, he found his grandparents, and then his father was able to find Sungju and have him smuggled out of the country. The story paints a tragic picture of life in North Korea and is a must read. I think this will educate children as well as adults about the situation there.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Things You Won't Say by Sarah Pekkanen

Things You Won't Say
Jamie's husband Mike is a policeman.  After his partner is shot and severely injured in front of him, Mike isn't the same.  This is the story of a police shooting from the side of the policeman's family.  As they struggle through the aftermath and search for the truth, will their marriage survive?  This is an excellent story. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Magician's Dream An Oona Crate Mystery by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

The Magician's Dream (Oona Crate Mystery, #3)
This is the third book in a series.  I haven't read the first two, but this book stands fine on it's own.  It is a fun middle grade fantasy mystery in which Oona, a magician in training tries to solve the mystery of a theft from the museum and tries to find her father's murderer.  Oona has learned about women's rights and wants to help elect a woman to office.  She also likes a boy and is going through magician testing.  I think that middle grade kids will enjoy this cute book.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew
Such a wonderful book!  Alice Hoffman's wonderful magical realism is set in WWII as a young Jewish girl's mother conspires to create a golem to keep her daughter safe through the war.  We follow Lea and Ava's journey along with the journeys of others as they fight to survive the evil that was the Holocaust.  It saddened me to read about the Jewish refugees turned away and the way that the newspapers called the Jewish people animals during that time because I see that happening now, in the US in some stories about immigrants.  "That was how evil spoke.  It made its own corrupt sense; it swore that the good were evil and that evil had come to save mankind."  I hope that history is not repeating itself again.  I am sure that many people will enjoy this story.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

This is one of those books that I was sad to finish because it was such a fun read.  It is a feel good book.  Magical realism and a bit of romance abound in this book about Grace, who moves to Dove Pond to care for her niece, Daisy and her foster mother after her sister passes away.  Mama G., Grace's foster mom who raised Grace and her sister, Hannah, has altzheimer's and is declining quickly.  Daisy, Grace's 8 year old niece, is sullen and Grace is overwhelmed.  Her neighbors, Sarah Dove, who hears books talk to her and Trav, along with the other townspeople help Grace as much as she helps the town. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
I totally found this book to be fascinating and surprisingly well written.  James Comey tells his life story, about his career in the legal system and how he came to be Director of the FBI and later, to be fired from that position by Donald Trump.  I learned a lot from this book about the American legal system, about the FBI, and about James Comey and his relationships with and thoughts about presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. (Spoiler, he respects Obama the most.) I highly recommend this book to  everyone.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump
This book is a must read!  It is fascinating and rather alarming.  McCabe tells about his two decade career in the FBI, how the FBI constantly learned and changed it's methods over the years, about his involvement in high profile cases like the Boston marathon bombing and how Trump has behaved in office.  After reading this book, I have a higher regard for the FBI and the work that they do.  I hope that intelligent and dedicated people continue to join and work for the FBI because we need them and the work that they do to protect the country. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Still Life by Christa Parish

Still Life
This Christian fiction novel alternates between two women, Ada and Katherine.  Katherine had given up her plane seat on a full flight to Julian Goetz, a Nobel Prize winning photographer because he wanted to get home for his wife, Ada's birthday, and Katherine wanted to stay another night with the man she was having an affair with.  Then, the plane wrecked and eventually the two women meet.  We see the events in their lives leading up to and after the plane wreck.  Ada had lived in a backwoods Christian cult until Julian photographed her and then came back for her because God told her to marry her. The book is heavily Christian and fans of Christian fiction should enjoy it.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

When Jayla and her younger brother and her father stay in the Stanley hotel, they don't realize they have been put in the haunted room, or that the hotel is haunted, but Jayla and her brother Dion find that out their first night when they see the ghost.  They learn the story about the ghost and try to help her to be free in a fun ghost story for children.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero

The Dollmaker of Krakow
This is a fantasy novel about WWII for children.  Karolina is a doll who awakens in the home of a dollmaker who lives in Krakow, Poland.  She has left the Land of the Dolls because it had been attacked by ferocious rats and she wanted to find a way to fight them and win the war. Instead, she helps the dollmaker become friends with a Jewish violinist and his daughter, Rena.  Then, however, war finds Poland and the Nazis invade. The story is touching and sad and beautiful.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox

Nine Candles of Deepest Black
In this YA horror novel, sixteen year old Paige has been living with her dead older sister's ghost for a year.  Her family has moved to a new, small town where they can start over, but the first friends that Paige makes include a girl who is into witchcraft.  Together, they cast a spell and bring evil and horror into the town.  I think that horror fans will enjoy this book.

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

Everyone should read this.  It should make you angry.  Every single day women are sexually harassed.  The Me Too movement has brought more light to the issue, but it hasn't stopped it.  It is wrong and the stories are raw and revealing. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

The Phantom Tree
This is a totally awesome story with time travel and historical romance!  We are told the stories of two women - Alison and Mary.  Alison has traveled through time from the 1500s to the present and had planned to return for her son, but was unable to.  However, she had asked her friend, Mary to leave her clues as to where her son had been taken.  Both women's stories are fascinating.  I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins

Twelve year old Delphernia has lived her entire life shut in a cloister in a cave with other girls where they make shimmer out of music.  The people who live in the city depend on the gold made by the girls who have never seen the city or known freedom.  Delphernia is unable to make shimmer and is mistreated by the sister who runs the cloister.  When she is unexpectedly set free she learns that the world is not what she thought it was.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson

Ever since her brother confessed to murdering his best friend, Calvin, a year ago, Brooke's life has been a struggle.  Her family members barely speak to one another.  She and her mother visit her  brother in prison every weekend, but her father and her younger sister refuse to visit.  Brooke and her sister are now home schooled and their family is shunned by the town.  Then, she becomes secret friends with Heath, Calvin's younger brother because his family has also been destroyed.  The story is touching and I think that fans of YA romance will enjoy it.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Girl Who Smiled Beads A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya; Elizabeth Weil

Clemantine tells her story of her life in Rwanda during the war and afterwards and how the genocide affected her life.  We see the war and life as a refugee through her eyes as a 6 to 12 year old girl.  It is raw and sad and touching.  We also see her life in the US as her resourceful older sister, Claire was able to apply for them to come to the US and their life here, their appearance on the Oprah show, and their being reunited with the rest of their family who survived the war.  At the beginning of the war, Clemantine, who was 6 years old, and her older sister, Claire, who was fifteen, were sent to a relative's house for safety, however, they had to flee and spent the next six years as refugees.  I highly recommend the book.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Five Feet Apart by Rachel Libbincott

Five Feet Apart
 This book features two teenagers with a deadly disease.  Seventeen year olds Stella and Will have cystic fibrosis and will has a bacterial infection that has taken him off of the lung transplant list. They meet in the hospital, fall in love and learn about life.  Fans of The Fault In Our Stars should enjoy this book.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go
Instead of the reunion they had planned, Corey returned to Lost, Alaska, where she had lived her entire life until 7 months ago when she moved away, to attend her best friend Kyra's funeral.  When she tries to investigate her friend's bizarre death, she finds that the entire town now considers Kyra to have been a prophet and they turn against Corey so she doesn't find out and expose the truth.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Wolves and Roses (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1) by Christina Bauer

Wolves and Roses (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1)
This is a fun YA paranormal romance with a fairy tale twist.  Bryar Rose is a seventeen year old failed sleeping beauty template.  Her best friend Elle, is a Cinderella template.  Bryar is looking forward to her 18th birthday when the sleeping curse that a fairy put on her will end and she will stop having to use the magical inhaler that her 3 fairy godmothers have given her to stop her from falling asleep when her episodes occur.  Then she meets the man from her dreams, Knox, who is devastatingly handsome and also a werewolf and Elle falls for Knox's best friend Alec, a magician, and the magical romance and intrigue increase.  I think that fans of mixed up fairy tale romances will enjoy this book.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake

Analiese Rising
This is a fun to read YA fantasy romance full of mythology.  Analiese is supposed to be going to a bereavement camp with her brother Dalton, but she is drawn into a mystery with a good looking guy named Marek and together they are chased by ancient gods, raise the dead, and travel to Rome and France.  I think that fans of mythology and romance will enjoy the story!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Transfigured Hart by Jane Yolen

The Transfigured Hart
This is a lovely little fairy tale like magical realism like story.  Richard and Heather are both 12 years old and both of them have seen the white deer.  Richard thinks that it must be a unicorn.  They both want to save it from the hunters.  We get to know Richard, Heather, and the deer individually and together as Richard and Heather develop an unlikely friendship.  I truly enjoyed the story and I think that children and adults alike will enjoy it as well.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Sold on a Monday by Kristana McMorris

Sold on a Monday
It is 1931 Ellis, a struggling reporter has photographed two young children next to a sign advertising them for sale.  Lily, secretary to the head of the newspaper, sees the photo and together, they set into motion circumstances that no one would have predicted.  There is romance, intrigue and mystery in this well written historical novel that I read in one day.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Someday by David Levithan

Someday (Every Day, #3)
Once again, the story is told by A, who wakes up every day in a different body. Now A knows that they are not the only person who does this because A and Nathan are being pursued by Poole, who can stay in a host body for more than 24 hours. However, they are not the only ones. How many are there? How many lives do they touch? Is one body, one life, one person better than any other? I enjoyed this intriguing book.

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up
Once again, Angie Thomas has written an excellent, thought provoking book. Sixteen year old Bri wants to be a rap star, not only because she loves rap music and her late father had been a rapper, but in order to help pay the bills. The story is an excellent read and brings up many important issues. Like her first book, The Hate U Give, I think that On The Come Up should be required reading (not banned) in all high schools for both the students and the teachers and administrators.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Tiger's Watch by Julia Ember

The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Sixteen year old Tashi is gender fluid and is an inhabitor, a child who is trained to bond with an animal so that they can be a soldier.  There is war and a cute guy on the opposite side and Tashi is supposed to spy on him and it is really cold with lots of snow and I felt like there may have been too much focus on the gender fluidness and not enough world building and it was just ok.