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Showing posts from August, 2016

Silver People

Silver People
Margarita Engle
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Children

From Goodreads:
One hundred years ago, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the world’s two largest oceans and signaled America’s emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.
     From the young "silver people" whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it.


Silver People by Margarita Engle had it all - history, action, injustice and romance. The story moved at a quick pace that kept the reader interested, and the fa…

Decathlon!

Recently, I decided to do a reading decathlon challenge suggested by Epic Reads. I was going for gold, but life got in the way and I ended up reading five graphic novels and five novels - for a silver medal! Here’s the full report.

Day One: Book One - Novel I read an adult horror novel (but I thought it was a mystery, so SURPRISE), Security by Gina Wohlsdorf. I didn’t like it very much.
Day Three: Book Three - Novel & Book Four - Graphic Novel I finished Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley and LOVED it. I am SO GLAD that I bought it and can read it again someday. Also, I finally got Jessica Jones: Alias, Volume 3 from the library and it was fantastic. I think I need to get Netflix so I can watch the series.
Day Five: Book Four - Graphic Novel I read the third Amulet book by Kazu Kibuishi, The Cloud Searchers. I had read it before a while ago, but recently purchased my own copy, so I reread it - and still loved it!
Day Eight: Book Five - Novel The Wrath and the Dawn by Re…

The Wrath & the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn
Renee Ahdieh
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Older Teens

Reading Decathlon: Day 8, Book 5

From Goodreads:
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself fa…

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy

Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, Karl Kerschl
DC Comics, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: All Teens

Reading Decathlon: Day 10, Book 10

From Goodreads:
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits...

Okay, so Gotham Academy isn't like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn't like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she's back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude...and an unexplained fear of bats.

Olive's supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is the kid sister of Kyle, Olive's ex. Then there's the ghost haunting the campus...and the secret society conducting bizarre rituals. 

Can Olive and Maps ace the biggest challenge of their lives? Or are they about to get schooled?


I w…

Ash & Bramble

Ash & Bramble
Sarah Prineas
HarperTeen, 2015
Source: Library, E-Galley
Audience: All Teens

Reading Decathlon: Book 6, Day 9

From Goodreads:
A prince.

A ball.

A glass slipper left behind at the stroke of midnight.

The tale is told and retold, twisted and tweaked, snipped and stretched, as it leads to happily ever after.

But it is not the true Story.

A dark fortress.

A past forgotten.

A life of servitude.

No one has ever broken free of the Godmother’s terrible stone prison until a girl named Pin attempts a breathless, daring escape. But she discovers that what seems to be freedom is a prison of another kind, one that entangles her in a story that leads to a prince, a kiss, and a clock striking midnight. To unravel herself from this new life, Pin must choose between a prince and another—the one who helped her before and who would give his life for her. Torn, the only thing for her to do is trade in the glass slipper for a sword and find her own destiny.


Loved it! Even though Ash & Brambl…

A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius

A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius
Stacey Matson
Sourcebooks, 2015
Source: Library, E-Galley
Audience: Younger Teens

Reading Decathlon: Day 9, Book 7

From Goodreads:
Arthur believes that he is destined to become a famously rich novelist. The first step in his journey to literary greatness will be winning the school writing contest, which will also (hopefully) distract him from the untimely death of his mother. Unfortunately, Arthur can't come up with a good story, unlike his beautiful writing partner Kennedy, who he's sure will ditch her popular boyfriend and fall in love with him sometime soon. Even Robbie Zack, Arthur's nemesis, has an idea! As the competition draws closer, and as his father drifts further and further away, how far with Arthur go to win?

Stacey Matson’s writing format and quirky characters were enjoyable, but the book didn’t end. One of the most important characters was gone for most of the book, Arthur’s feelings weren’t adequately identif…

City Love

City Love
Susane Colasanti
Katherine Tegen Books, 2015
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is …

Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 3

Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 3
Brian Michael Bendis
Marvel, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Adults

Reading Decathlon: Day 3, Book 3

From Goodreads:
As a costumed adventurer, Jessica Jones was plagued by a lack of self-esteem and an inability to master her superhuman powers. Eventually she realized that she would forever be considered a second-rate super hero, and hung up her cape and tights. Now a tough-as-nails private investigator, Jessica returns home to find a mysterious girl in a costume hiding in her apartment, but the girl flies away before Jessica can find out who she is. Through sources, Jessica discovers that her intruder is Mattie Franklin, a.k.a. Spider-Woman, a teenage super hero with a connection to Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson.


Wow, I like this series! I need to start watching the Netflix show. I love the private eye aspect and how we learn more about Jessica’s past in each volume. (Additionally, out of comic book ignorance, I always learn more about the Avengers…

Highly Illogical Behavior

Highly Illogical Behavior
John Corey Whaley
Dial Books, 2016
Source: My Own Bookshelf/E-Galley
Audiences: Older Teens

Decathlon Challenge: Day 3, Book 2

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.


I’ve been waiting for a teen book like this. It’s been so LONG since I’ve read one that’s 100% amazing and I couldn’t put down. Whaley’s ability to describe exactly what Solomon was thinking and feeling took my breath away. It didn’t e…

Some Kind of Courage

Some Kind of Courage
Dan Gemeinhart
Scholastic Press, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Saddle up for a life-defining, death-defying adventure. 

Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony--fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her.

Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn't about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left.

Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything; but he hasn't lost hope. And he hasn't lost the fire in his belly that says he's getting his Sarah back--no matter what.


Some Kind of Courage was part True Grit and part a kid-friendly version of The Revenant. It was action-…

Security

Security
Gina Wohlsdorf
Algonquin Books, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Adults

Decathlon Challenge - Day 1, Book 1 (In which I try to read ten books in ten days!)

From Goodreads:
Manderley Resort is a gleaming, new twenty-story hotel on the California coast. It’s about to open its doors, and the world--at least those with the means to afford it--will be welcomed into a palace of opulence and unparalleled security. But someone is determined that Manderley will never open. The staff has no idea that their every move is being watched, and over the next twelve hours they will be killed off, one by one.

Writing in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, and with a deep bow to Daphne du Maurier, author Gina Wohlsdorf pairs narrative ingenuity and razor-wire prose with quick twists, sharp turns, and gasp-inducing terror. Security is grand guignol storytelling at its very best.

A shocking thriller, a brilliant narrative puzzle, and a multifaceted love story unlike any other, Security

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
Joshua Hammer
Simon and Schuster, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
To save precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians in Timbuktu pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven.

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers.

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to…

Love in Lowercase

Love in Lowercase
Francisco Miralles
Julie Wark (Translation)
Penguin Books, 2016
Audience: Adults, Older Teens
Source: E-Galley

From Goodreads:
When Samuel, a lonely linguistics lecturer, wakes up on New Year’s Day, he is convinced that the year ahead will bring nothing more than passive verbs and un-italicized moments—until an unexpected visitor slips into his Barcelona apartment and refuses to leave. The appearance of Mishima, a stray, brindle-furred cat, leads Samuel from the comforts of his favorite books, foreign films, and classical music to places he’s never been (next door) and to people he might never have met (his neighbor Titus, with whom he’s never exchanged a word). Even better, Mishima leads him back to the mysterious Gabriela, whom he thought he’d lost long before.

In the spirit of The Solitude of Prime Numbers and The Guest Cat, Love in Lowercase is a charming and uplifting novel about how one man, thanks to a persistent cat-turned-catalyst, awakens to the importance o…

Bandette Volume One: Presto!

Bandette Volume One: Presto!
Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Dark Horse, 2013
Source: E-Galley
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
She is ALLURING 

She is MYSTERIOUS

She is BANDETTE!

The world's greatest thief is a costumed teen burglar by the nome d'arte of Bandette! Gleefully plying her skills on either side of the law alongside her network of street urchins, Bandette is a thorn in the side of both Police Inspector Belgique and the criminal underworld. But it's not all breaking hearts and purloining masterpieces when a rival thief makes a startling discovery. Can even Bandette laugh off a plot against her life?



I absolutely LOVED Bandette! Why did it take me so long to actually read it?! I liked her playfulness, cleverness and strength. Also, she has a cape. The comic book world needs as many females in capes as possible! Personally, I think this book would make a great movie and I can’t wait to read the next book.

The BFG

The BFG
Roald Dahl
Puffin Books, 1982
Source: Library
Audience: Children

From Goodreads:
Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It's lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast. 
When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!


I remember reading The BFG as a child, and it wasn’t one of my Roald Dahl favorites. (My favorites were Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) Now that I have read it as an adult, I see why. The BFG has a strange way of speaking that takes some getting used to. Also, the beginning was kind of scary for a children’s book. In spite of all that, I enjoye…