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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Undertow (YA)

Book #96 Read in 2015
Undertow by Michael Buckley

This is the first book in a young adult science fiction/fantasy series.  Lyric is half human, half Alpha (a water people civilization).  The Alpha have returned to Coney Island and the New Yorkers feel threatened.  Militant groups do not want the creatures to attend the same school as their children.  But there are even bigger problems, as another water tribe are coming to slaughter the Alpha, and then the humans.  Will Lyric be able to save everyone she loves?  This book had an interesting premise, complex characters, good action, humor and romance.  The ending made me want to read #2 right now.  High school boys and girls would like this series.  I borrowed this book from the public library.

Paperweight (YA)

Book #95 Read in 2015
Paperweight by Meg Haston (YA)

Stevie is sent to a rehab facility for girls with eating disorders.  Of course, Stevie doesn't think she has an eating disorder.  She is also planning on committing suicide on the upcoming anniversary of her brother Joshua's death.  Stevie feels guilty that he's dead.  At the rehab, she slowly becomes friends with her cottage mates and slowly begins to open up to Shrink, her name for Anna, her therapist.  How does someone overcome such emotionally wrought issues?  Similar to Laurie Halse Anderson's book Wintergirls, this book looks at eating disorders with brutal honesty.  Paperweight is well written and would be a hit with high school girls and adults alike.  I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

Book #94 Read in 2015
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff

This is the sequel to the book 84 Charing Cross Road, which was a collection of letters between a NYC author (Hanff) and a British bookseller.  In this book, Hanff has finally made it to London, as her book is now being published there.  Before she leaves New York, a friend tells her to keep a diary or she won't remember all the details of her London trip.  She does and this book is the diary entries, telling of people she meets, sites she sees and the wonderment she feels of people treating her like royalty.  A quick read, I borrowed this book from the town library.

Murder in the Paperback Parlor (#2)

Book #93 Read in 2015
Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams

This is the second book in a cozy mystery series set in Storyton Hall, a wonderful literary retreat for readers and writers, set in the small town of Storyton, which is full of quaint shops.  Jane is running the Hall and is a member of a secret society of librarians who are charged with keeping safe literary treasures from all over the world, from all different time periods.  In this book, a romance readers convention is being held and of course there is a murder for Jane to solve.  Jane is a tough, intelligent woman who can handle her own.  Besides Jane, there are delightful characters such as her twin sons, her aunt and uncle, Muffet Cat and the other members of the secret society.  This mystery was well written and the identity of the murderer kept me guessing until the end.  I highly recommend this series to cozy mystery lovers.  I cannot wait for book #3 to come out next summer.  I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Challenger Deep (YA)

Book #92 Read in 2015
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (YA)

Caden Bosch is a high school student whose friends and family are beginning to notice something off about him.  He has to walk miles and miles in a day.  He believes that fellow students want to kill him.  There are voices in his head telling him that his parents are imposters.  Eventually, Caden's parents commit him in an effort to get him the help he needs.  This is a honest portrayal of teenage mental illness.  The author knows this personally as his son suffers from mental illness.  While sometimes purposely disjointed to read, this book is powerful and its message gets through loud and clear.  High school student and adults would be the ideal audience for this book.  I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine in exchange for a honest review.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

Book #91 Read in 2015
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

I worried about reading this book as To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorites; I even have a cat named BooBerry Radley.  Hearing all the buzz about the book, I was hoping that I wouldn't end up hating Atticus Finch, one of the greatest characters ever.  I am happy to say that I did not end up hating Atticus and overall I enjoyed the book.  While not, in my opinion, as well written and developed as Mockingbird, this book was a good, quick read.  Scout is now known as Jean Louise and is in her twenties and returning to Maycomb for her annual visit from New York City.  Looking at Maycomb and its people and happening through adult eyes makes Jean Louise question if anything she believed during her childhood was true. 

Jean Louise has grown up but she's still spunky and feisty.  Aunt Alexandra is more developed in this book than in Mockingbird.  I enjoyed the references to other characters from the other book.  It was a nice visit to Maycomb.  I borrowed this book from my town library.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye (YA)

Book #90 Read in 2015
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (YA)

This is an incredible read.  Lexie is a high school student whose younger brother, Ty--a sophomore, commits suicide in the family's garage.  Lexie feels guilty for not being there for her brother and angry at any number of people who could be to blame:  her father, her mother, her brother's ex-girlfriend, his friends.  While in therapy, Lexie is asked to write about her feelings and her brother.  This book shows that the healing process is not quick and is not without pain.  As one who has lost two family members to suicide, this book is realistic; the author experienced losing her brother to suicide so that helped the credibility of this book.  A must read for high school students and parents.

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pioneer Girl

Book #89 Read in 2015
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography--Laura Ingalls Wilder

I loved the Little House books and television show as a kid.  This book is Wilder's autobiography, full of annotations to bring a better understanding of historical references and such.  This book was an interesting look at an interesting woman.  There were times while reading this that I could totally remember the parts about the same scenes in the Little House books.  This was a nice read to reconnect with a childhood favorite.  I borrowed this book from my town library.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Soundless (YA)

Book #88 Read in 2015
Soundless by Richelle Mead (YA)

This is a fantasy/folklore book from the author of the Vampire Academy books.  I read it in one sitting.  Based on a top of a mountain, a village of artists, miners or servants have been deaf for generations.  They trade metal from the mines for food from the line keeper down the mountain.  Unexpectedly, a young artist regains her hearing.  She and her boyhood crush scale down the mountain to try to get more food for their village.  They come across a whole new world...but is it safe?  Will they help or harm their village?

This book was well written.  The main characters were interesting and complex.  The weaving of folklore and fantasy was well done and balanced.  I could see both high school girls and boys liking this book, as well as adults.  I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hiss and Tell

Book #87 Read in 2015
Hiss and Tell by Claire Donally

This is the fourth book in a cozy mystery series.  However, this book will work well as a stand alone.  In this book, former reporter Sunny brushes up on her former job skills when she is asked to bring a local flavor to a wedding of some high-profile socialites.  They invite Sunny to their private home.  Not to be left behind, Sunny's cat Shadow, a former street cat, manages to tag along and cause some trouble.  Not as much trouble as the person murdering people connected to the wedding.  Sunny and her cop boyfriend Will attempt to solve the murders.

I enjoy this series a lot.  Sunny is an intelligent heroine who can handle herself.  Her grumpy father, cop boyfriend and nice next-door neighbor are all good secondary characters.  And then there's Shadow...he's a great feline addition to this series:  loyal, brave and intelligent.   This series is well written and I will continue to read it.  I received a copy of this book from Night Owl Reviews in exchange for a honest review.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Untwine (YA)

Book #86 Read in 2015
Untwine by Edwidge Danticat (YA)

In graduate school, I read a book by this author and loved it.  Several years ago, I read another YA book by her and loved that too.  Therefore, this one was a no-brainer to request for review.  It did not disappoint.  Isabella and Giselle are identical twins.  On their way to a school concert, the unthinkable happens and the twins, along with their parents, are in a horrific car crash.  One twin lives; one twin dies.  How does the family cope with this?  How does the surviving twin move on with her life?

This book is well written and shows insight to the complication of family and how tragedy can bond people together.  While a quick read, this book packs an emotional punch on many levels.  The family is one that readers will care about and want to see them heal.  I think high school girls and adults would enjoy this book.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Book #85 Read in 2015
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

This was an enjoyable read.  Elsa is a precocious 7 almost 8 year old girl who has adventures with her non-traditional grandmother.  Her grandmother dies but leaves Elsa with a deliver letters to certain people, letters of apology written to those people by her grandmother.  The recipients are the other people who live in Elsa's house/apartment building and through this quest, Elsa connects with these people in ways that she never would have imagined to be possible.  The writing style of this book makes it as if talking to a friend; the characters are ones that readers can relate to and will care about.  Besides a mystery element, there is fantasy through the make-believe world that Elsa's grandmother has created, as well as a lot of humor.  I really liked it.  I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine in exchange for a honest review.

June Reads

June Reads:

1.  Frostfire (YA)  5/5  1st in series  library book
2.  Rebel Belle (YA)  5/5  1st in series  Kindle book
3.  Survive the Night (YA)  5/5
4.  A Castle Full of Cats (Children's) 5/5  library book
5.  Goodbye Stranger (YA)  5/5
6.  Fuzzy Mud (YA)  4/5
7.  The Last Leaves Falling (YA)  5/5
8.  Jillian Cade, Fake Paranormal Investigator (YA)  4.5/5
9.  I am Princess X (YA)  4/5
10.  Hyperbole and a Half (4/5)  library book
11.  From Where I Watch You (YA)  4/5
12.  Sweet Forgiveness (4/5)
13.  Lost (YA)  4/5  2nd in series  Kindle book
14.  Blood Red (4.5/5)  1st in series

84 books Read in 2015