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Showing posts from September, 2016

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business Dick Van Dyke Crown Archetype, 2011 Source: Library Audience: Adults
From Goodreads: Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles. 

His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van DykeShow (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? 

A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a m…

Ghosts

Ghosts
Raina Telgemeier
Graphic, 2016
Source: My Own Bookshelf
Audience: Older Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake - and her own.

I was so excited about Ghosts that I wanted to pre-order it. However, I already have way to many books, so I put it on hold at the library.

It was released on September 13, and 15 days later, I still hadn’t gotten it.

So I bought it.

I read it in about hal…

The 39-Story Treehouse

The 39-Story Treehouse
Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton
Fewer & Friends, 2013
Source: Library
Audience: Everyone

From Goodreads:
The third instalment in Andy and Terry’s amazing (and award-winning) ever-growing treehouse!

Andy and Terry’s amazing treehouse has 13 new levels including a chocolate waterfall, a non-erupting active volcano, an opera house, a baby-dinosaur petting zoo, Andy and Terry’s Believe it or Else! museum, a not-very-merry merry-go-round, a boxing elephant called the Trunkinator, an X-Ray room, a disco with light-up dance floor, the world’s scariest roller-coaster and a top secret 39th level that hasn’t even been finished yet!

So what are you waiting for? Come on up!

All of these books are delightful and humorous. I think The 39-Story Treehouse is the best book yet, and I had so much fun reading it. It’s absolutely perfect for reluctant readers, as it’s full of illustrations. Also, it’s a good alternative to The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, as I know that some parents …

The Taliban Shuffle

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Kim Barker
Doubleday, 2011
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Kim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent—she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about our ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the “forgotten war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban, when we failed to finish the job. 

When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a tra…

Orange: The Complete Collection 1

Orange: The Complete Collection 1
Ichigo Takano
Seven Seas, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Teens

From Goodreads:
On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!

I never read manga.

So Orange was a slow start. Once I understood where the story was going, I enjoyed it. However, the way the characters are going about changing the future isn’t the most realistic or healthy. I suppose since time travel is involved, realistic isn’t necessary…

Curious Minds

Curious Minds
Janet Evanovich
Bantam Dell, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Older Teens, Adults

From Goodreads:
Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could th…

Summerlost

Summerlost
Ally Condie
Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: Library/E-Galley
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar. 

Infused with emotion and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching middle grade debut from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matc…

Diagnosis Murder: The Waking Nightmare

Diagnosis Murder: The Waking NightmareLee Goldberg Signet, 2005 Audience: Adults, Older Teens Source: My Own Bookshelf
From Goodreads: A new mystery featuring Dr. Mark Sloan. 

Dr. Mark Sloan saves a would-be suicide victim, but her jump from a building ledge has left her in a coma. Obsessed with learning why she attempted suicide, Sloan stumbles into a manhunt for a cop-killer-who may turn his attention to nosy physicians next.
The mystery in The Waking Nightmare was artfully crafted, but also just too much. Right when I thought it was figured out - surprise - it wasn’t! About four times! Too many twists are never a good thing, and this book was no exception. I did enjoy the creativity involved, but it just wasn’t my favorite.

After You

After You
Jojo Moyes
Penguin, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different futu…

Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame

Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
Mara Wilson
Penguin Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and one of the few former child actors who has never been in jail or rehab. Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being “cute” enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman’s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belo…

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
Amy Schumer
Gallery Books, 2016
Source: Audio Book, Library
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure t…

Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter

Isabel Feeny, Star Reporter
Beth Fantaskey
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
It’s 1920s Chicago—the guns-and-gangster era of Al Capone—and it’s unusual for a girl to be selling the Tribune on the street corner. But ten-year-old Isabel Feeney is unusual . . . unusually obsessed with being a news reporter. She can’t believe her luck when she stumbles not only into a real-live murder scene, but also into her hero, the famous journalist Maude Collier. The story of how the smart, curious, loyal Isabel fights to defend the honor of her accused friend and latches on to the murder case like a dog on a pant leg makes for a winning, thoroughly entertaining middle grade mystery.

I want this book to be a series.

Now. And I want to read all of them.

Now.

Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter had everything that I like in it. Young female sleuths! Sassiness! Independence! Determination! Newsies! Reporters! History! Murder! Scandal!

Seriously, …

Here’s to Us

Here’s to Us
Elin Hilderbrand
Little, Brown and Company, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe--a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life--and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn't be more different. Laurel: Deacon's high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They've established a delicate understanding over the years--they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon's tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon's final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantuc…

Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars

Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars
Ethan Hawke, Greg Ruth Grand Central Publishing, 2016 Source: Library Audience: Adults, Older Teens
From Goodreads: The year is 1872. The place, the Apache nations, a region torn apart by decades of war. The people, like Goyahkla, lose his family and everything he loves. After having a vision, the young Goyahkla approaches the Apache leader Cochise, and the entire Apache nation, to lead an attack against the Mexican village of Azripe. It is this wild display of courage that transforms the young brave Goyakhla into the Native American hero Geronimo. But the war wages on. As they battle their enemies, lose loved ones, and desperately cling on to their land and culture, they would utter, "Indeh," or "the dead." When it looks like lasting peace has been reached, it seems like the war is over. Or is it?
INDEH captures the deeply rich narrative of two nations at war-as told through the eyes of Naiches and Geronimo-who then try to find peac…

Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling

Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling
Tony Cliff First Second, 2016 Source: E-Galley, Library Audience: Children, Younger Tweens
From Goodreads: Delilah Dirk and the Blades of England lands Delilah and Selim right in the middle of yet more crazy adventures. When Delilah is framed as a spy by an English army officer, her passion for revenge threatens to sever her friendship with Selim. Is she willing to lose the companionship of her only good friend in order to reclaim her reputation? Selim finally gets to see the England he has only imagined, but how will he feel when the combined strains of social conventions and Delilah’s thirst for revenge overwhelm his experience?
I hate to say it, but my review can be summed up in one sentence: I liked the first one better.
Learning about Delilah’s past was interesting, but I wanted to have more swashbuckling adventures and less mystery and propriety. When I read Delilah Dirk, I’m in the mood for sword fights, not Jane Austen. I did like it, and I…

Menagerie

Menagerie
Rachel Vincent
Mira, 2015
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town. 

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she …

Sold

Sold
Patricia McCormick
Disney-Hyperion, 2006
Source: Library
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. 
He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution. An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—…

Habibi

Habibi
Craig Thompson
Pantheon, 2011
Source: Library
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection.

At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.

Oh, wow. This was so not the book for me. I liked the art and Craig Thompson’s efforts, but I still disliked the book overall. I unders…

And I Darken

And I Darken
Kiersten White
Delacorte Press, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has …