Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson, 144 pages, read by LisaC, on 10/22/2016
Sachiko was six years old when the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki. This is her story and the story of her family, a way to honor those who died during and shortly after the explosion and others who survived immediately after but suffered ill health as a result of radiation exposure. The after affects of the bombings were so horrific to those who survived they were given their own name, hibakusha, meaning explosions-affected people.
This book is an expository on how devasting nuclear weapons are and a reminder to all about the horrific devastation they cause. I had read about the devastation caused by the atomic bombs but did not know about the censorship of the information about the lingering health affects of the victims, the fact that the US sent doctors to Japan but not to help treat the victims only to gather data about their health issues and lastly, I did not realize that when we used the bombs we had no idea of the long term affects of whole body radiation exposure. This was not an enjoyable read but I learned a lot about the aftermath of nuclear weapons and consider it an important book and one I would recommend.
When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, 273 pages, read by LisaC, on 10/20/2016
Miel and Sam were best friends, each with their own secrets. Miel, the girl who rose from the water spilled from water tower and who had roses growing out of her wrists and Sam, the boy who hung paper moons that illuminated their town with light. They protected each other with fierce devotion and loyalty. The Bonner sisters were a fiery group of four sisters who got what they wanted no matter the cost to others and they weren’t afraid to use what they knew but they had secrets of their own.
This book is filled with mystery, magic, secrets and betrayal. Magical realism is a genre that is new to me and I find I have a hard time summing up the magical aspects of the story without revealing too much but I liked this book very much. With the books I have read in this genre I found more often than not the magical aspects of the story interfered with moving the plot along but that was not the case with this book. It’s prose was beautifully written and the magical elements added to that. The message of the book was truly inspiring especially when you read the author’s note at the end. I loved the point of view on transgender identity and felt that the portrayal of self discovery throughout the book with all the main characters was masterfully done.
The Queen of Attolia (Queen's Thief #2) by Megan Whalen Turner, 279 pages, read by Kayla, on 10/20/2016
When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes’s Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered…she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.
…at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago… (–Goodreads.com)
I’m loving this series more and more as I finish each book. I will say that I wasn’t as impressed with this one, or that I was very angry at events that happen early in the book that made me feel so sympathetic for Gen. The narrative did switch from character to character with nothing more than a paragraph break, and I think I may have enjoyed it more had the POV’s been narrowed down to just two. But I still loved reading this one, and hope the next book is just as good.
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee, 233 pages, read by Angie, on 10/19/2016
Ophelia has moved to a new city with her father and sister Alice. Her father has been asked to curate an exhibit on swords at the museum. He hopes the new setting will help the family deal with their grief over the death of the mom. Ophelia misses her mom so much she counts down the time she has been gone to the minute. Each of the family members deals with their grief in a different way. The dad has thrown himself into the exhibit and work and doesn’t talk about his wife. Alice has turned distant and grumpy and nothing like her old self.
Ophelia finds herself on her own a lot so she explores the strange museum. There are collections beyond count on a variety of strange things. The exhibit on swords is going to coincide with the chiming of the world clock which only happens every 300 years. On one of her expeditions through the museum Ophelia discovers a boy with no name locked in a room. The boy claims to be from a distant land across the sea and enchanted by wizards in order to defeat the Snow Queen. The boy will not fight the Snow Queen himself; he is waiting for the One Other who will stop the queen. He needs Ophelia’s help in order to free himself, find his magical sword, and stop the Snow Queen from destroying the world.
Ophelia believes in science and facts and doesn’t believe in magic. Her mother wrote spooky paranormal stories, but Ophelia likes facts. She is not sure she believes the boy’s story, but strange things do keep happening in the museum. The museum director, Ms. Kaminski, takes an interest in their family and Alice in particular. Ms. Kaminski has an icy air and even icier demeanor. She always seems to want Ophelia out of the way. Of course it is no surprise when it turns out she is the Snow Queen.
The boy’s story unfolds throughout the book as he tells it to Ophelia. He tells parts of his story before each of the tasks Ophelia must complete. She learns that his name was taken away from him by the wizards before he set out on his quest. He too lost his mother when he was fleeing before the Snow Queen’s army. He lost his finger, but gained limited immortality when he shot a wise owl but apologized. He befriended a friendly king who became enthralled by the Snow Queen which led to his imprisonment. Ophelia must face many dangers on the tasks to free the boy. She discovers monsters behind the closed doors on the seventh floor. She discovers that some the museum exhibits come alive. She also discovers the hall of the ghost girls. These girls were sacrificed so the Snow Queen can remain young and beautiful. Ophelia almost discovers too late that Alice is the next in line.
Ultimately Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is more than a retelling of the Snow Queen fairy tale. It is a story about finding courage, moving beyond grief and believing in yourself and doing the right thing. Ophelia believes she is not brave at the beginning of the book, but she does a lot of brave things to save herself, the boy, her family and the world. None of the members of Ophelia’s family are dealing with their grief at the loss of the mom. They have all kind of stopped and are unable to move beyond it. Ophelia’s quest helps her move forward and she drags her dad and sister along with her. Ophelia has to start believing in magic as well as herself to save the day. She is not the only example of those doing the right thing and helping others either. The owl who helps the boy is actually an agent of the Snow Queen and sent to kill the boy. Yet he sees the good in the boy and decides to change sides. Kyra is one of the ghost girls killed by the Snow Queen. The ghosts are also agents of the queen, yet Kyra breaks ranks to save Ophelia from the snow leopards. She sacrifices herself for the greater good. The boy’s jailer, Mr. Pushnikov, also helps both the boy and Ophelia even though he works for the Snow Queen. Good does triumph over evil and doing the right thing will be rewarded.
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, 464 pages, read by Kira, on 10/04/2016
Mare Barrow and Cal, the rightful king, have escaped his brother Maven’s clutches. They are locating and recruiting other Red bloods that have special skills. Of course they have to tell these potential recruits that if they don’t join their army and stay put, then Maven will come and kill them. As the struggle progresses Mare has to ask herself difficult questions: Is it ok to sacrifice some lives to save other lives? Is she using people similarly to the way Maven uses people? As she asks herself these questions she starts to isolate herself from the others, as well as (I think) herself. I enjoyed the fast-paced adventure. I was less thrilled about Mare being so hard on herself. I look forward to the third installment of this series!
The Mount by Carol Emshwiller, 240 pages, read by Kira, on 10/15/2016
Charley wants to grow up to be the fastest runner like his dad, to be painted crossing the finishing line while wearing his silks. Charley is housed in a stall, a very comfortable stall, built by the alien invaders, the Hoots. The Hoots are birdlike creatures who treat humans like horses, who think they’ve built a mutually beneficial relationship with the humans. Some of the humans have escaped to the hills. One day Charley’s dad rescues Charley – Charley is able to save his Hoot from slaughter, because his dad realizes how fond they are of each other. Charley hates the primitive conditions, and keeps complains that if this is freedom, then he’d rather be a slave, where he has plenty to eat, and warm running water. Despite their oppressive relationship with humans (and their deluded attitude about this relationship), the Hoots have a light and positive outlook on. The author has a poetic way with words, the language of the Hoots is joyous, and you feel their joie de vivre.
Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of The Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials by Marilynne K. Roach, 445 pages, read by Kim B, on 10/19/2016
Marilynne K. Roach describes the mass hysteria of the witchcraft accusations in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and its repercussions for the individuals involved, their families, and descendants, and the Puritan Community itself. Out of the 255 people involved, both the accused and their accusers, the author focuses on the lives of six women who were major players in the witchcraft hysteria. She describes what their lives were like before, during and after the trials and its devastating consequences for these women. Marilynne K. Roach is a Salem Witch Trial scholar and her book on the subject is well-written and well-researched.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, 212 pages, read by Kayla, on 10/17/2016
Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart – and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon – and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for. (–Goodreads.com)
This was a delightful read, despite its age. Though the dialogue seems a bit stiff (though that could be the author trying to keep the setting medieval), it’s still chock full of humor and witty one-liners from many of the characters. I definitely wish I had read this when I was younger; it would probably have been one of my favorites. I hope I have enough time to continue with Cimorene’s adventures with the dragons.
The Telling by Sirowy, Alexandra, 387 pages, read by Paula, on 10/17/2016
A chilling new novel about a girl who must delve into her past if she wants to live long enough to have a future when a series of murders that are eerily similar to the dark stories her brother used to tell start happening in her hometown.
Lana used to know what was real. That was before, when her life was small and quiet. Her golden stepbrother, Ben was alive. She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars. Their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.
Then came after.
After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten. Love, blood, and murder.
Descriptive content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, 272 pages, read by Kira, on 10/11/2016
Days ago, Raymie’s father ran off with a dental hygienist in the middle of the night. Hoping to win a local beauty pageant, so her father will see her picture in the newspaper and will return home to her and her mom, Raymie takes up baton twirling lessons. At baton lessons she meets Louisiana Elefante who wants to win the contest, so she can afford to feed her cat who was left at the animal shelter. Raymie also meets tough rebellious Beverly Tapinski at these lessons. Beverly is quite the accomplished baton twirler, but wants to sabotage the beauty pageant, as it is Beverly’s mother who wants the beauty pageant win.
This unlikely trio of girls are able to help each other and become friends. [I thought it was rather weird that none of these 3 girls had other friends in their lives]. I really liked the way the story evolved – I need to read more of Kate DiCamillo.
Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt, Alison McGhee., 272 pages, read by Kira, on 10/15/2016
Jules and her sister Sylvie have always been close, closer than sisters closer than friends. Their father has forbidden them to go near the slip, the section in the river where it disappears underground, where people have lost their lives. The problem is – it is a great place to throw wish rocks. Jules has never understood Sylvie’s burning wish – to run faster. Sylvie is already fast, Sylvie often takes off running leaving Jules behind. This snowfilled morning Sylvie has run to the slip to throw in a perfect wish rock, promising she will be back before the schoolbus leaves. But she doesn’t come back.
In the shadow world a fox is born, half-animal half-spirit, her name is Senna and she knows she has some special purpose, that is somehow connected to the human Jules.
I deeply enjoyed this lyrical book full of heart.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, 368 pages, read by Kira, on 10/07/2016
Sixteen year old Evie works for (and lives at) the ICPA – International Paranormal Containment Agency. Her special ability is being able to see through glamours and view the reality below the surface. She is one of their best operatives, given a lot of responsibility without much freedom. Her best friend is a mermaid in a tank at the Center. The story opens with Evie saving the center from an attack by a shapeshifter who can assume anyone else’s appearance. Evie shackles and contains him. His name is Lend and he broke in trying to obtain information about why so many paranormals are being attacked and killed. He gets Evie to question how free she is to move about, and why the Center is so sure that paranormals are a threat to humans. This was an interesting book, I thought I might have stumbled into the midst of a series, but no this is the first title int he series.
Atlantia by Ally Condie., 320 pages, read by Kira, on 10/11/2016
Rio has always dreamed of going to the surface, but after the murder of their mother, she promises her twin sister Bay that she will stay down by Bay’s side in Atlantia on Choosing Day. So she is shocked when Bay chooses to go Above. She is hurt, alone, and wants to figure out why her sister left her. Her aunt Maire is a Siren, a witch who can control other people using her voice. Siren’s are strictly under control of the council, the council who used to be under her Mom’s leadership. Rio herself is a Siren, but her family has kept that a secret, Not wanting to have Rio lead a restricted life. So Rio has to talk in monotones.
I loved the world-building, the religious social fabric of the community they lived in. It was easy for me to picture this beautiful underworld. I wished there’d been more world-building for the above world. I recommend this title.
Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James, 399 pages, read by Kira, on 10/23/2016
I like mystery novels that feature a cat. So I took a chance on this title. Not as good as Shirley Rousseau Murphy(where the cats are sentient), but still quite engaging. Librarian Charley gets a set of old journals donated to the historical collection, journals that may benefit the current two local men running for Senator. Then the journals are stolen, then another book the journals author goes missing. Then the journals reappear, sans 10 pages razored out. Clever plotting. You don’t find out until the very end, why arsenic is in the title (it has to do with the fabric tarlatan).
Ash by Malinda Lo, 264 pages, read by Kira, on 10/02/2016
A twisted retelling of the Cinderella story. Protagonist Ash wants to escape from her life as an abused servant in her stepmother’s home. Will a fairy prince come to her rescue? Or can she figure out a different escape route?
This was a nice tale, better at the beginning, but still worthy of a read.
Something Wicked [Large Print] by Carolyn Hart, 416 pages, read by Donna, on 10/16/2016
I am a huge fan of the Death on Demand series because the idea of owning a mystery book store on an island sounds like my kind of heaven. Annie is always involved in a murder mystery and for such a small island, they have a lot of murders! I think I liked this one because I too am a fan of Arsenic and Old Lace. It is always fun to see how this group of characters is going to follow the clues and help solve the crime so the wrong person isn’t convicted.
Arsenic and Old Lace may be everybody’s favorite play, but someone on Broward Rock has spotted its murderous potential. When the corpses on stage in the local amateur production become real ones, bookshop owner Annie Laurance must move fast to save her fiance, Max, from a murder charge.
Deadly silence by Rebecca Zanetti, 400 pages, read by Melody, on 10/16/2016
Under siege. That’s how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can’t outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he’s been trying to keep at arm’s length is in danger…and he’ll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.
Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She’s making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There’s a lot Ryker isn’t telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn’t catch up to them first…
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks, 240 pages, read by Kayla, on 10/16/2016
Every nation that invades the City gives it a new name. But before long, new invaders arrive and the City changes hands once again. The natives don’t let themselves get caught up in the unending wars. To them, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders. Kaidu is one such outsider. He’s a Dao born and bred–a member of the latest occupying nation. Rat is a native of the Nameless City. At first, she hates Kai for everything he stands for, but his love of his new home may be the one thing that can bring these two unlikely friends together. Let’s hope so, because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands. (–Goodreads.com)
This was a great read, a nice introduction to an interesting series.
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick, 265 pages, read by LisaC, on 10/16/2016
Nanette was an anomaly. Smart, a star athlete, popularity was her for the taking, yet she didn’t want it. She cherished the lunches where she avoided the cafeteria, eating instead with her favorite teacher. Then one day he gave her a book and her life was forever changed.
The book, The Bubblegum Reaper, lead her to examine her life and the expectations of others, conforming to please or satisfy those expectations rather than live for yourself. As she became obsessed with the book, it led to unexpected, out of the ordinary friendships and experiences. Ones that no one, least of all Nanette could predict.
I was all over the place with this book. It took me a while to get through it, hating it at first, then loving it, then becoming frustrated with it and now that I’ve finished it I have decided that it took me on a journey much like Nanette was on herself and what I felt about the book was exactly what I was supposed to feel. I have known so many young people who do conform to fit in until they are unrecognizable to themselves and I have know others who absolutely refuse to conform staying true to themselves, taking a huge risk and often having a difficult time in school because teenagers are often cruel to those who seem different in any way. It is because of this aspect of the book that I think it will resonate with many teens. My favorite quote from the book was from “The Bubblegum Reaper” the book that changed everything for Nanette. It said ” And then one day you will look for you in the mirror and you’ll no longer be able to identify yourself-you’ll only see everyone else. You’ll know that you did what they wanted you to do. You will have assimilated. And you will hate yourself for it, because it will be too late.”
Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay, 448 pages, read by Jessica, on 10/15/2016
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.
Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett.
Josh’s story is no secret. Every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. Everyone except Nastya who won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.