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Showing posts from December, 2016

Mighty Jack

Mighty Jack
Ben Hatke
First Second, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Older Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made.

What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.


Mighty Jack was not what I was expecting and so much fun. Normally, with retold fairy tales, I can see exactly where the story is going, but with Mighty Jack,…

Compass South

Compass South
Hope Larson, Rebecca Mock
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Younger Teens, Children

From Goodreads:
It’s 1860 in New York City. When 12-year-old twins Alexander and Cleopatra’s father disappears, they join the Black Hook Gang and are caught by the police pulling off a heist. They agree to reveal the identity of the gang in exchange for tickets to New Orleans. But once there, Alex is shanghaied to work on a ship that is heading for San Francisco via Cape Horn. Cleo stows away on a steamer to New Granada where she hopes to catch a train to San Francisco to find her brother. Neither Alexander nor Cleo realizes the real danger they are in — they are being followed by pirates who think they hold the key to treasure. How they outwit the pirates and find each other makes for a fast-paced, breathtaking adventure.

What a swashbuckling adventure! I had so much fun reading Compass South! I stumbled across it while shelving at the library, and I’m so glad I di…

Furthermore

Furthermore
Tahereh Mafi
Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Inspired by her childhood love of books like The Secret Gardenand The Chronicles of Narnia, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi crafts a spellbinding new world where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where …

Lady Cop Makes Trouble

Lady Cop Makes Trouble
Amy Stewart
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
After besting (and arresting) a ruthless silk factory owner and his gang of thugs in Girl Waits with Gun, Constance Kopp became one of the nation’s first deputy sheriffs. She's proven that she can’t be deterred, evaded, or outrun. But when the wiles of a German-speaking con man threaten her position and her hopes for this new life, and endanger the honorable Sheriff Heath, Constance may not be able to make things right.

Lady Cop Makes Trouble sets Constance loose on the streets of New York City and New Jersey--tracking down victims, trailing leads, and making friends with girl reporters and lawyers at a hotel for women. Cheering her on, and goading her, are her sisters Norma and Fleurette--that is, when they aren't training pigeons for the war effort or fanning dreams of a life on the stage.

Based on a true story, Girl Waits with Gun introduced Consta…

A Truck Full of Money

A Truck Full of Money Tracy Kidder Random House, 2016 Source: E-Galley, Library Audience: Adults, Older Teens
From Goodreads: "Like Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains, Paul English grew up poor, in working-class Boston, but as Tracy Kidder writes, he had "a mind for the age that was coming." Brilliant, reckless, endlessly energetic, Paul English, after Kayak sold for $2 billion, asked himself: What comes next? Start another company? Use his new wealth to make a difference in the world? With a riveting, page-turning narrative and unmatched storytelling skill, Kidder casts a fresh and critical eye on how new technologies and start-ups, new money, are reshaping our culture"
The tone of A Truck Full of Money surprised me. I expected the biography to read like a fiction novel, but instead it read more like a long magazine (or newspaper) article. Some of the more interesting parts included details about the city of Boston, Paul Farmer’s earlier jobs and where he w…

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.


Well, bummer. The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily was kind of depressing. I loved Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and was excited about a sequel. I could definitely see more story for Dash and Lily at the end of the first book. However, The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily lost a little bit of the magic and was kind of depressing. Th…

Shipwreck Island

Shipwreck Island
S.A. Bodeen
Feiwel & Friends, 2014
Source: Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad's second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who's younger. Even though they've all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it.

Sarah's dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They'll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It'll be an adventure, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong. 
Shipwreck Island is the first installment in a series from S.A. Bodeen.


I checked Shipwreck Island out from the library because I got a galley for the sequel. I have to read them in order! Book one was great for reluctant readers - it was short and action-…

Garvey’s Choice

Garvey’s Choice
Nikki Grimes
WordSong, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.

I think the most interesting aspect of Garvey’s Choice was the poetry form. Not being an expert or having a particular interest in poetry, I was slightly unimpressed. I appreciated that it was short, and I think that reluctant readers will like it for that reason. The family dynamics we…

Nearly Departed in Deadwood

Nearly Departed in Deadwood Ann Charles Ann Charles, 2011 Source: Library Audience: Adults, Older Teens
From Goodreads: Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota. Fearing her daughter might be next, single mom, Violet Parker, is desperate to find the monster behind the abductions. With her savings dwindling and just three weeks left to sell her first house or lose her Realtor job, Violet is ecstatic when a handsome jeweler hires her to sell his century-old, Victorian masterpiece, until she sees the dilapidated dwelling. Now, if she could just convince her only buyer to stop rejecting vintage homes as if they're haunted. Short on time and long on worry, she refuses to give up her dream of a fresh start in Deadwood. But with a malicious coworker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending her creepy messages, and a sexy stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, will Violet end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed?
I picked up Nearly Departed in Deadwood beca…

Every Single Second

Every Single Second
Tricia Springstubb
Blazer + Bray, 2016
Audience: Younger Teens
Source: Library,

From Goodreads:
A single second. That’s all it takes to turn a world upside down.

Twelve-year-old Nella Sabatini’s life is changing too soon, too fast. Her best friend, Clem, doesn’t seem concerned; she’s busy figuring out the best way to spend the “leap second”—an extra second about to be added to the world’s official clock. The only person who might understand how Nella feels is Angela, but the two of them have gone from being “secret sisters” to not talking at all.

Then Angela’s idolized big brother makes a terrible, fatal mistake, one that tears apart their tight-knit community and plunges his family into a whirlwind of harsh publicity and judgment. In the midst of this controversy, Nella is faced with a series of startling revelations about her parents, friends, and neighborhood. As Angela’s situation becomes dangerous, Nella must choose whether to stand by or stand up. Her heart tri…

Talking As Fast As I Can

Talking As Fast As I Can
Lauren Graham
Ballantine Books, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was…

Wolf Hollow

Wolf Hollow
Lauren Wolk
Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Brilliantly crafted, Wolf Hollow is a haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl’s resilience, strength, and compassion help to illuminate the darkest corners of our history.


Normally I’m a big fan of historical fiction, but Wolf Hollow just didn’t grab me. The plot …

Turbo Twenty-Three

Turbo Twenty-Three
Janet Evanovich
Bantam, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.

As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights wi…

Another Brooklyn

Another Brooklyn
Jacqueline Woodson
Amistad, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.


I was a little disappointed in Another Brooklyn. It was well-written and had a good story, but it just didn’t pull me in. I think that was because I didn’t really connect with the characters at all, and kind o…

Small Great Things

Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
Ballantine Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as pos…

All the Little Liars

All the Little Liars
Charlaine Harris
Minotaur Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora’s 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there’s an even worse discovery—at the kids’ last known destination, a dead body.

While the local police and sheriff’s department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip’s disappearance related to Aurora’s father’s gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quanti…

The Dead House

The Dead House
Dawn Kurtagich
Orion Children’s Books, 2015
Audience: Older Teens
Source: Library

From Goodreads:
Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events …

Keep Moving

Keep Moving: And Other Tips About Old Age
Dick Van Dyke
Weinstein Books, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
Beloved Hollywood icon Dick Van Dyke will celebrate his 90th birthday in December 2015. He’s an established legend, having starred in Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. And yet he’s still keeping himself busy, entertaining America on television, movies, the stage, and social media. Everyone wonders, “How does he do it?” For the first time, Van Dyke shares his secrets and tips on old age: Just keep moving.

In a fun and folksy way of addressing readers, Keep Moving serves as an instruction book on how to embrace old age with a positive attitude. The chapters are filled with exclusive personal anecdotes that explore various themes on aging: how to adapt to the physical and social changes, deal with loss of friends and loved ones, stay current, fall in love again, and “keep moving” every day like there’s no tomorrow.


Isn’t Dick Van D…

Legend

Legend
Marie Lu
Putnam Juvenile, 2011
Source: Library
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secret…

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead
Doubleday Books, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor - engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven - but the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the r…

Shades of London: The Shadow Cabinet

Shades of London: The Shadow Cabinet
Maureen Johnson
Putnam Juvenile, 2013
Source: Library
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.


I remem…

Diagnosis Murder: The Past Tense

Diagnosis Murder: The Past Tense
Lee Goldberg
Signet Book, 2005
Source: My Own Bookshelf
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
Dr. Mark Sloan is startled to discover a dead woman—dressed as a mermaid—washed up on the beach outside his home. Even more bizarre, the autopsy reveals a digital memory card within a capsule inside the body's stomach. The card contains the report of a forty-three-year-old murder in Los Angeles—the first homicide case Mark ever solved, when he was a struggling intern and newlywed father.
When a second body is discovered—a woman who was apparently the victim of an impromptu autopsy in her own kitchen—the good doctor realizes that he must find the connection between the two murders. And perhaps more urgently, the connection to his own past... I liked the uniqueness of going back in time in The Past Tense. Seeing Mark Sloane’s past and learning about his first mystery was definitely fun. I couldn’t help but wonder how the show writers and creators would react to it…

What Light

What Light
Jay Asher
Razorbill, 2016
Audience: All Teens
Source: E-Galley

From Goodreads:
Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.


Wh…

Winter Storms

Winter Storms
Elin Hilderbrand
Little, Brown and Company, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Some of the stormy weather of the past few seasons seems to have finally lifted for the Quinns. After a year apart, and an ill-fated affair with the Winter Street Inn's old Santa Claus, Mitzi has returned to rule the roost; Patrick is about to be released from prison; Kevin has a successful new business and is finally ready to tie the knot with Isabelle; and best of all, there's hopeful news about Bart, who has been captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan. 

That doesn't mean there aren't a few dark clouds on the horizon. Kelley has recently survived a health scare; Jennifer can't quite shake her addiction to the drugs she used as a crutch while Patrick was in jail; and Ava still can't decide between the two lovers that she's been juggling with limited success. However, if there's one holiday that brings the Quinn family to…