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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Panic (YA)


Book #88 Read in 2013
Panic by Sharon Draper (YA)

This book focuses on a group of high school students who are taking dance lessons.  They bond together and that helps when one of them, Diamond, leaves the shopping mall with a strange man and goes missing.  Her friends struggle to cope with the loss and the possibilities of what could happen to her.  Meanwhile, Diamond is enduring horrible things.  This book does not graphically describe those but you have enough information to put the pieces together.  I read this book in one sitting; I had to find out what happened in the end to Diamond.  As if that was not enough drama, there are parental issues, domestic violence and unrequited love among the dance crowd. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die (YA)


Book #87 Read in 2013
The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry (YA)

Cady wakes up captive in a cabin by two men asking her questions about her parents.  When they realize that she won't be giving them any answers, one brings her out to the woods to kill her.  Cady cannot remember anything before waking up but by instinct, she uses self defense to disarm and escape from her captive.  Men are still looking for her and she has no idea why.  She meets a young man, Ty, who wants to help her figure out what is happening to her and why.  The two begins their own hunt for the truth.  But will they survive long enough to find it out?

This book was a great, quick read.  The action was non-stop and engaging.  Cady was a great character...intelligent and brave.  Readers will be hooked to find out the truth as Cady does.  I recommend this young adult mystery/thriller book.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

In the Shadow of Blackbirds (YA)


Book #86 Read in 2013
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (YA)

Mary Shelley Black goes to live with her aunt after her father is imprisoned.  The flu is working its deadly way through the country and Aunt Eva is petrified of it.  Mary Shelley seems to have some sort of supernatural power that allows the spirits of the dead to connect with her.  A photographer she knows would like to capitalize on that talent.  Her childhood love Stephen, the photographer's brother, is on his way to war and Mary Shelley is afraid she will never see him again...but she should know she will, even if he is not alive when she next sees him.

This book was a great, creepy read for Halloween time.  There were good twists and turns to keep readers engaged.  Mary Shelley was a great character; she was intelligent, brave and tough.  I enjoyed this book.

Among the Janeites


Book #85 Read in 2013
Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe

I love Jane Austen; she is one of my favorite authors.  I've read all of her books; I named my Jack Russell Terrier Emma after Austen's heroine.  But I'm nothing like these hard-core Jane Austen fans described in this book.  They live and breathe Jane Austen.  They attend conferences in Austen period dress, blog daily about her and her works and write fan fiction based on her characters...and I loved hearing all about it.  This book is a must-read one for any true Austen fan.  It refers to Austen's works, explains her appeal to modern readers and is a fun read.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Boleyn Deceit


Book #84 Read in 2013
The Boleyn Deceit by Lauran Andersen

This is the second book of a three book historical fiction series.  In this book, William is King and has fallen in love with Minuette, his childhood friend.  Elizabeth, William's sister, is still in her complicated relationship with Robert Dudley.  John Dee, a seer of the stars, reads the fortunes of William and Elizabeth.  The usual power plays in this time period are detailed and alliances can change quickly. 

I love this author's writing.  Her style shows good research and her writing fleshes out historical figures.  This book has romance, action and mystery...all based on fact.  I enjoyed both books in this series so far and cannot wait to read the third.  I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine in exchange for a review.

Hero on a Bicycle (YA)


Book #83 Read in 2013
Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes (YA)

This book is set in Florence, Italy in 1944 and tells of the Nazi occupation in that country.  Paolo is a young boy whose father is a soldier and has left him in charge of the family.  He longs for action and adventure but when he gets some in his life, it is slightly more than he bargained for.  Paolo's mother is English and is doing her own war duty in their hometown.  This book was a good, quick historical fiction read, especially for middle school boys.  There was action enough to keep the book moving at a good pace.  Also, with Paolo's sister and her attraction to a Canadian soldier, there was enough romance to hook girls as readers too.  I enjoyed it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rose Under Fire (YA)


Book #82 Read in 2013
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (YA)

I couldn't get into Wein's other holocaust book, Code Named Verity, but I loved this book.  In this book, Rose Justice is an American pilot who is taken to a concentration camp.  She details the horrors faced by those in the camp in her journal and through her poetry.  She becomes friends with "the Rabbits", young girls who were tortured through medical experiments done to them by the Nazis.  I am never failed to be appalled at the horrors and evils that were done to these people during the Holocaust.  Wein's writing is gritty and real.  Her characters are remarkable and strong.  Readers will become immersed in this book immediately.  I recommend it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ask Bob


Book #81 Read in 2013
Ask Bob by Peter Gethers

This novel has a lot more depth to it than it looks to have at first glance.  Bob is a veterinarian in New York City.  He is drawn to rescuing animals and in a way, people.  But Bob's life has more complexity to it than one would assume.  There is physical and mental illness in his family, tragedy, heartbreak as well as happiness and love.  The snapshots of his two legged clients who bring him his four-legged patients are interesting.  This book had elements of romance, humor and sadness.  Overall, a good read.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Boy on the Bridge


Book #80 Read in 2013
The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (YA)

Laura is on an exchange program, spending a year of college in Russia.  She meets a boy named Aloysha and the two have an instant connection.  As their relationship grows, Laura begins to make Aloysha her top priority, skipping classes and missing curfews.  Her roommate is afraid that Laura is just being used to get a ticket to America and that Aloysha will ask Laura to marry him so she can bring him home with her.  She does not believe he would do such a thing....but is she right?

This book was a good, quick read.  I must have watched the movie Taken too many times because I kept waiting for Laura to get kidnapped and made into a Russian sex slave, but that did not happen.  However, there were twists and turns about Aloysha and whether or not he was truly a good man. 

I borrowed this book from the public library.