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Showing posts from July, 2016

Far Out Fairy Tales: Hansel & Gretel & Zombies

Far Out Fairy Tales: Hansel & Gretel & Zombies
Benjamin Harper, Fern Cano
Stone Arch Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Children

From Goodreads:
The Undead Family is out of brains to eat! Tourists have stopped visiting their home--a graveyard--for some time now, and the family of zombies is starving. So they venture into the Magical Forest, disguised as tourists, hoping to lure humans to an early grave! Unfortunately, an evil witch has other plans for the crepescular kiddies and sets up her own tourist trap . . .

This was a creative, exciting twist on the traditional tale. Zombies are in right now, and kids recognize Hansel and Gretel. I think it’s a great way to get kids to read. A few plot points threw me off, but I think that’s because I was an adult. After I thought about it more, I realized kids would love it. In spite of all of the brains talk, it had a sweet ending, too.

Jonathan Unleashed

Jonathan Unleashed
Meg Rosoff
Viking 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Jonathan Trefoil’s boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling, and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him—only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn’t remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown-up.

When his brother asks him to look after his dogs, Jonathan's world view begins to shift. Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life, the universe, and everything? Their sly maneuvering on daily walks and visits to the alluring vet suggest that human emotional intelligence may not be top dog after all. 

A funny, wise romantic comedy set in Manhattan, Jonathan Unleashed is a story of tangled relationships, friendships, and dogs. Rosoff’s novel is for anyone wondering what to be when they grow up, and how on earth to get there.


What a cute book. Jona…

The Obsession

The Obsession
Nora Roberts
Berkley, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


This was my very first Nora Roberts book. My aunt recommended them, and I had always meant to try any of her books, but hadn’t gotten around to it until now.

To me, the s…

Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale
Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

This wasn’t my favorite Kate DiCamillo book, but it wasn’t bad. I did enjoy the s…

The Scorpion Rules

The Scorpion Rules
Erin Bow
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Teens

From Goodreads:
The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Eliá…

Nine, Ten

Nine, Ten
Nora Raleigh Baskin
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers.

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Nadira has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Amy is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has …

Diagnosis Murder: The Silent Partner

Diagnosis Murder: The Silent Partner
Lee Goldberg
Signet, 2003
Source: My Own Bookshelf
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Dr. Mark Sloan is assigned to LAPD's "unsolved homicide" files. As he reopens one case on the murder of a woman whose killer currently sits on Death Row, Sloan learns that the wrong man was charged. And that the real killer is still at large...

Dick Van Dyke is the best. Obviously.

I loved the mystery and humor in the TV show Diagnosis Murder, and I missed it. So I looked into getting my hands on the book series. It was not at my library and all of the books were out of print. Eeps! So I had a choice: buy used copies via the internet or interlibrary loan them.

Because I am such a big fan, I decided to buy them.

And I’m having a blast.

The mysteries (there were two) were interesting and Mark Sloan seemed true to his TV character. In my opinion, however, Jack and Amanda and the descriptions of their thoughts, feelings and actions felt cheesy …

The Terrible Two

The Terrible Two
Mac Barnett and Jory John
Harry N. Abrams, 2015
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.



The Terrible Two is a good read alike for Wimpy Kid and Roald Dahl fans - with a dash of the TV show The Office. Honestly, because of the role of the principal, it reminded me more of a Roald Dahl book (ahem, Matilda.) As an adult, I thought…

Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger
Rebecca Stead
Wendy Lamb Books, 2015
Source: Galley
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?


Classic Rebecca Stead. You can’t go wrong. It’s a good story about friendship, and it’s nice to see Stead write for a slightly older audience.

This Savage Song

This Savage Song
Victoria Schwab
Greenwillow Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps a…

Stand-Off

Stand-Off
Andrew Smith
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?


I loved Stand-Off. It was a great sequel to a great book. Ryan Dean was still strug…