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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Manhunt (YA)

Book #103 Read in 2014
Manhunt by Kate Messner (YA)

This is the third book in a young adult mystery series but I was able to have no issues with not reading the two prior books (though I did order the first book in the series to read because I enjoyed this one so much).  Henry, Anna and Jose are junior members of a secret society committed to keep artistic masterpieces safe.  Their parents or aunts and uncles are adult members of this society and are trying to recover multiple stolen pieces while protecting those not yet taken.  This book had a good mystery to it and good literary and artistic allusions.  Fans of Chasing Vermeer would like this series.  I would recommend it for middle school to high school students.  I borrowed this book from my town library.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Never Ending (YA)

Book #102 Read in 2014
Never Ending by Martyn Bedford (YA)

Shiv is in therapy at a clinic; she is trying to recover from the death of her brother, Declan.  Shiv blames herself for his death, which happened while the family was on vacation in Greece.  Through flashbacks, readers begin to get the picture of Shiv's relationship with her brother and where things began to fall apart.  This book bogged down a bit for me in the middle and at times I thought about putting it down unfinished, but I had to keep going to find out how Declan died and if Shiv really was to blame as she believed.  This is definitely geared toward high school students.  I think a reluctant reader would have a hard time finishing this book.

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prisoner B-3087

Book #101 Read in 2014
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz (YA)

I read this book in one sitting.  It is based on the true story of Jack Gruener, a holocaust survivor.  Detailed in this book are the pain and suffering he and his family endured throughout World War II.  This book is extremely powerful and while graphic at times, I believe high school students could handle this book.  Adults will find it a worthwhile read as well.  No matter how many books about the holocaust I read, I am still blown away by what the Nazis did to fellow human beings.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Gospel of Winter (YA)

Book #100 Read in 2014
The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

The first 50 pages of this book sucked me right in...I knew there was something horrible that happened to Aidan and he wasn't dealing with it and I wanted to know how it would work out in the end.  Then the majority of the rest of the book left me pissed off that the parents were so clueless.  These boys were showing obvious signs of something traumatic happening to them, but no adult seemed to noticed...or if they did, they definitely weren't trying to address the issue.  I'm sure that is how it is in real life more often than not, but it pissed me off nonetheless.  I found the ending a bit abrupt; I would have liked to see more resolution.  That being said, I had to finish the book because I needed to know what happened to Aidan.  Due to subject matter, I would say certain high school students could handle this book.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sisters (YA)

Book #99 Read in 2014
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (YA)

This graphic novel is a sequel to Smile, also a graphic novel.  I really liked Smile but Sisters left me a bit disappointed.  In Sisters, Raina and her sister and brother and mother are driving cross-country to visit family.  Raina and her sister never get along so neither are really looking forward to being trapped in a moving vehicle together for a week.  There is sparring back and forth.  This book had potential to be a bit more meaty (mother and father having marital problems) but that potential was never really addressed and the ending felt left me wanting more.  That being said, I think a middle school reader would be ok with it.  Cute read.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Counting by 7s (YA)

Book #98 Read in 2014
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I loved this book, though it was not without it's emotionally heartbreaking parts.  Willow is a bit different...intelligent, set in her routines, not very socially adept.  Her parents, who adopted her, are loving, caring and work with Willow's glitches.  Then Willow's world is turned upside down when her parents are killed in a car accident.  While Child Services are searching for a foster home for Willow, she begins a very unlikely new family of sorts....full of people with their own glitches. 

The writing is superb and the characters are wonderfully unique.  I loved Willow.  There is enough humor, emotion and mystery (will she find a good home?) to keep readers engaged.  I would recommend this to readers from middle school to high school to adults.  Loved it!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Loot (YA)

Book #97 Read in 2014
Loot by Jude Watson (YA)

March is the son of Alfie, a jewelry thief.  After Alfie's death, March finds his estranged sister Jules and the two try to steal a complete set of seven moonstones to get enough money to live independently.  But they need to outwit other jewelry thieves who are after the same prize.  They hope they can do so, with the help of fellow "at-risk" teenagers Darius and Izzy. 

This book was a good, quick read.  It would definitely keep the interest of both boy and girl readers, from the upper elementary grades, to middle school grades, to even reluctant readers in high school.  The plot was full of action; the characters were interesting.  I enjoyed it.

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harlem Hellfighters (YA)

Book #96 Read in 2014
Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis

I don't really know how to categorize this book so here it goes:  it is a graphic novel about true events...that makes sense, right?  This book details the contribution of African-American soldiers during World War I.  It contains beautiful illustrations, short verse poetry and power messages.  This is a very quick read and can be used as an introduction to historical events on a K-12 level.  I borrowed this book from the public library.

Freakboy (YA)

Book #95 Read in 2014
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (YA)

This is a young adult verse novel about a transgender teenager.  Brendan feels that things are not right within his body.  He feels drawn to a female identity.  His girlfriend, Vanessa, knows that something is going on with him but he doesn't confide in her.  Brendan meets Angel, a transgender young adult, and Angel begins to help him try to figure things out.  This was a good, quick read.   I borrowed this book from the public library.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See

Book #94 Read in 2014
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book takes place during World War 2 and is told in alternating chapters from the viewpoint of Werner, a young boy in the Nazi Party, and Marie-Laure, a blind French girl.  Both viewpoints detail the effects of war and the trials that people had to go through.  Near the end of the book (quick moving even though it is over 500 pages long) the two intersect for a brief but meaningful period of time. 

The writing of this book is lush and excellent.  The characters are wonderfully developed and leap off the page.  As I said, this book is long but the chapters are short and the book's pace is quick moving.  I would recommend this book to high school students and adults alike. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Nest (YA)

Book #93 Read in 2014
Nest by Esther Ehrlich (YA)

Naomi (otherwise known as Chirp) is a young girl who is intelligent, curious and interesting.  Life hasn't dealt her an easy hand with a depressed mother but Chirp finds a way to get through.  Joey is her neighbor who seems to be living in an abusive home.  Chirp and Joey strike up an unlikely friendship which ends up being a good thing for both of them and helps get them through the hard times. 

I liked the writing and character development in this book.  Chirp reminded me a bit of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. There is a lot of layers to this book; I would recommend it to middle school readers.

I borrowed this book from my town library.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rites of Passage (YA)

Book #92 Read in 2014
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley (YA)

Sam McKenna has grown up in a military family--her father is a highly ranked officer and her two older brothers were headed for military careers.  Then tragedy struck their family and on one last dare from her brother Amos, Sam enters a military academy as one of the first five female recruits.  The females are not wanted at the academy--by the bigwigs or by most of the others at the academy.  Sam is forced to endure physical and emotional humiliation as the others try to break her and get her to quit.

This was a good read.  It had a lot of action to hold a reader's interest.  Sam was an interesting character and a strong female protagonist.  I enjoyed it.  I would recommend it to both male and female high school students.  I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Aviary Wonders Inc.

Book #91 Read in 2014
Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth

This was a cute, quick read detailing how to order and assemble parts to make your own bird.  Set up as a catalog, it is a comment on endangered species done in a way that younger readers can understand.  Through the catalog, one can choose body type, wings, beaks etc of the bird that they are creating.  Sprinkled throughout the book are tidbits about types of birds that are no longer around. 

Melissa's September Reads

Melissa's September Reads:

1.  Thursdays in the Park (5/5)
2.  The Dog Stays in the Picture (4/5)
3.  The Goddess of Kitchen Avenue (4/5)  library book
4.  Death Coming Up the Hill (4/5)  YA
5.  How to Fall (4.5/5)  YA  library book  1st in series
6.  Anatomy of a Misfit (4/5)  YA
7.  365 Days of Wonder (4.5/5)  YA

90 books read in 2014