Helena and her family are circus performers, but all she really wants is REAL LIFE. One day she tells her mom this in an argument and the suddenly her mom falls ill. She has to have an operation on her brain to remove the tumors. On the night of the operation Helena falls asleep and dreams she is in another world. In this world, she and her companion Valentine must save the world from darkness and wake the white queen. This is a bizarre little book though wonderfully drawn. The illustrations really enhance the text in telling the story. Because the story takes place in a dream world, you can’t always trust what is going on. Like all dreams the story takes bizarre turns and doesn’t always make sense. But it is interesting and memorable and entertaining.
Did you know that congestion is basically an erection in your nose? I didn’t, but it is making me think of colds in a whole new way. Mary Roach tackles sex in all its glory in Bonk. Like Stiff and Packing for Mars (the other two Roach books I have read so far), she focuses on the absurd, the lurid, and the hilarity of the subject. She delves into the history of sex research from Kinsey to Masters and Johnson to modern day researchers. Through Roach’s research we also learn all about penile implants, non-sexual orgasms, who has the best sex* and more. The book was fun to listen to if slightly embarrassing when caught at a light while driving. Other drivers tend to take notice when the words masturbation and clitoris are blaring out of your speakers. This is my third Mary Roach book and I highly recommend them.
*In case you are wondering…it is gay and lesbian couples who have the best sex. They seem to take their time and enjoy the ride whereas heterosexual couples race to the finish line and don’t always take the time for their partners.
Kyle and Emma have made it their mission to find a pet for their friend Emma. She can’t have just any pet because her mom is allergic. So they need a pet that will not make her sneeze. Kyle’s mom, a veterinarian, makes up a list of non-allergic pets and they got through it trying to find the perfect one for Emma. She doesn’t like snakes or birds, but finds a hamster to be perfect. Who knew a hamster was hypo-allergenic?? The story is cute and perfect for young, new readers. It has a good message and great pictures.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Story’s End takes place after the events of Storybound. Una, Peter and Indy have survived the return of the Enemy Fidelus and are out to stop his evil plots. Snow and her mother have been captured by the Duessa and must find a way to escape. Duessa and Fidelus are out to rewrite Story so that only their supporters survive and everyone worships them as the King and Queen of Story. The characters must unite to fight against them and pray for the return of the true king.
This is such a fun series. I love how creative Burt was in the creation of Story with its different districts of characters (Enchanted Forest, Westerns, Internationals, etc.). I also really enjoy the tale of the muses and how they created the Tales until they were imprisoned in an enchanted sleep. Una and her band of resistance fighters are all interesting and complex characters. The ending was completely satisfying and exactly what I hoped for. I am going to keep Marissa Burt on a to-read list.
This is the first book in the Cat’s Cradle graphic novel series. In this book, Suri dreams of being a monster fighter. She is living with a traveling caravan and looking for adventure. She finds it by stealing a magical string from a Caitsith, a cat-like creature who with the help of the string can appear human. She teams up with an imp and a giant dog to avoid the Caitsith family. There is adventure and magic and a lot of fun in this little book. It definitely leaves the story open for the rest of the series. I really enjoyed the illustrations; they are clear and definitely help tell the story.
Scary Godmother is a wonderful graphic novel all about Halloween. In the first story Hannah meets her Scary Godmother on her very first Halloween outing. She learns that monsters aren’t that scary and can be your friends and she develops a deep appreciation and love for Halloween and everything that goes along with it. I adored the illustrations of this book. I thought they definitely enhanced the text and were really the story of the book. Scary Godmother is a fantastic character. I loved the chapter where she got the boo flu and Hannah had to get everything ready for Halloween. Each chapter is its own story but they all go together very well. My only quibble, and it is a minor one, is that the chapters represent five Halloweens but Hannah doesn’t really appear to age at all. Other than that I think the stories are delightful.
This is the story of how young Ariel Bradley became a spy for General Washington during the Revolutionary War. His job was to get into the British camp and find out how many men and weapons they had. Ariel does this by playing the country bumpkin, but it gets the job done. This is a very short book that only deals with this one incident. I kind of wish we would have found out more about Ariel and his family, but it was still interesting.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com
This is an excellent account of the short voyage of the Titanic. It covers everything from its construction to the aftermath. I especially enjoyed the first person accounts that were interspersed throughout the book. It helped make the tragedy come alive. I listened to the book on audio and it was wonderful. The narrator did a great job telling the story and distinguishing between the different people. There are a lot of interesting facts in the book which help shed light on how the tragedy came about. Some myths are dispelled…like the fact that the 3rd class gates were not locked as the rumors said. There are also amazing accounts of heroism until the very end. Many of the passengers and crew helped so many people only to perish themselves. Truly one of the great tragedies of our time.
2013 Sibert honor book.
Something has decimated our world in the future. This caused a reorganization of countries and governments. North America is now the RUNA and the place to live. It is civilized where the rest of the world is still a little wild. Mae is one of the super soldiers of the RUNA; this gives her super strength and speed. But unlike her fellow soldiers Mae is sometimes too strong and too fast. Justin has been exiled from RUNA and is now living in Panama. He was once a brilliant investigator for RUNA but did something that got him kicked out of the country. Mae is sent to retrieve Justin and bring him back to investigate a series of murders. Their first meeting is all mistaken identities, violence and hot sex, which makes it pretty awkward when they are actually introduced and puts a strain on their relationship. Together they investigate these bizarre murders and discover something their religion-despising country definitely does not want known.
This is an intriguing world that Mead has created. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a lot of the book since she takes her time explaining, but it was always interesting. Mae and Justin are fascinating characters with rich backstories and intriguing futures. This series is probably going to deal with actual gods and their interference in everyday life. I wish we would have learned more about the gods and how they actually came to manifest, but hopefully that will be explained in future books. This is a pretty entertaining and intriguing starter to this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Maddie is your typical high school cheerleader; she is dating a football player, she is very much on trend, she loves the most popular music and her group of friends are all into the same things. But Maddie has a secret…she is really a big geek in disguise. She loves scifi and comics; she even keeps a comic journal. When the last issue of her favorite comic doesn’t come in the mail like it is supposed to Maddie has to venture outside her popular realm into the realm of the nerd. That’s right…she has to go to the local comic book shop to actually buy the book in person. Of course she goes in disguise and of course the guy working the counter is someone who goes to her school and recognizes her. Logan Scott is everything her boyfriend is not. He loves comics, he DJs at the local radio station, he doesn’t do sports, he can’t dance, and he is a big nerd. Maddie is soon falling for Logan and delving deeper and deeper into nerdiness. But Maddie is not ready to give up her popular persona. She lies about Logan and what she is doing to her parents, her best friend and her boyfriend. Maddie has to come out of the geek closet if she wants to be happy with Logan and with herself.
This is a book about self-discovery, learning who you are and accepting it. Maddie has a long way to go in the book, but she makes it there eventually. I really enjoyed the interactions between Maddie and Logan and any scene involving Logan’s friend Dan. However, I didn’t always like Maddie herself. Maybe it was because I just couldn’t understand her; I know way too many people who are into manga, anime, comics, scifi, etc. and I don’t really consider all of them nerds. It seems like such a mainstream thing now. Maddie is also pretty selfish and self-absorbed throughout most of the book, which isn’t a lot of fun to read. However, I think the main thing that brought the book down for me was how heavy-handed the message was. At some points the author pretty much bashes you over the head with her “lesson” about being true to who you are. There is also the ridiculous ending where she plugs small businesses and how essential they are to a community. While I completely agree with her “message” my head hurt after being hit with it so many times.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley.com.
I was first introduced to Mary Roach with Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversand I quickly fell in love. Roach has the ability to make nonfiction fun and informative. In Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Roach tackles life in space. This book is chock full of everything you ever wanted to know about the history of space exploration and a bunch of stuff you never thought about and will never forget. Roach spends a big portion of the book dealing with human digestion and how to deal with it in space. Our bodies don’t work quiet the same in zero gravity as they do on Earth. So eating and everything that comes after have to be dealt with in special ways. Roach details everything from different sized condom-type urine collection bags, to fecal popcorning, to space toilets, to recycling waste into food (highly unpalatable). There are also the problems of how to eat in space and how your clothes break down after going unwashed for weeks. I was not aware that underwear would disintegrate after a couple weeks of constant wear/definitely not something I have had to experience! Roach doesn’t just focus on the absurd and the gross, she is truly fascinated by space travel and has a deep appreciation for those who work in the industry.
I have been eagerly anticipating this book for the last year (ever since I finished Froi of the Exiles). Melina Marchetta is one of my favorite authors and she has created a magical series with the Lumatere Chronicles. In this finale, Quintana and Froi have been separated. Quintana is pregnant and hiding out in the Monts’ Valley with Phaedra and Froi is recovering from his wounds with Arujo. Froi is frantic to find Quintana and keep her and their little king safe. He scours the entire Charyn countryside trying to find her. Back in Lumatere, Finnickin and Isaboe are expecting their second child and trying not to get caught up in the Charyn chaos.
I really wish I would have reread atleast Froi before tackling Quintana since it has been so long between them. Marchetta is not an author who recaps all her previous books, which I like, but there is a lot going on and a lot of people and events to remember. This book is all about the connections between the characters, both politically and familially. Can Isaboe let go of her hatred of Charyn to help Quintana? Can the people of Charyn unite and form a more stable, hospitable country? Will Quintana and Froi ever be together? Will the Little King bring peace?
I am sad to see the end of this series, but I can’t wait to read what Marchetta comes up with next. I am also going to reread the entire trilogy sometime when I have a free minute! These characters are so wonderfully written and the world so detailed that it is really hard to leave them behind.
Sarah is the odd man out on a field trip to the Everglades. She is a scholarship student at her preppy school and doesn’t fit in with the other kids. So it is no surprise when she pretends to be sick to get out of an outing. Instead she accepts the invitation of Andy, camp owners son, to take an airboat ride. The ride is exhilarating and scary, but even more scary is finding the boat sunk after their picnic lunch. Seems Andy forgot to put the plug back in after washing the boat. Now he and Sarah are stuck 10 miles from camp and no one knows where they are. They have to trek through the Everglades and evade alligators, wild boars, snakes and tons of bugs all with no food or water.
This was a very good, realistic survival story. Andy and Sarah are world’s apart. He is a redneck hick and she is a city girl scared of everything in the wild. She starts off pretty whiny with a chip on her shoulder. We don’t realize until the end what the chip is and I wasn’t sure why it was saved that long; it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. However, throughout their days in the swamp both Andy and Sarah learn how to survive and how to trust each other. Very entertaining and engaging read.
2013-14 Missouri Truman Award nominee.
I am so glad narrative nonfiction is becoming the “in” thing because it is so much more interesting to read than boring old regular nonfiction! This book is as compelling as any novel I have read. Sheinkin did an amazing job researching the events and the people that led up to the creation of the bomb. I can’t imagine all the FBI files he had to read to get some of this stuff. In Bomb, he takes a look at how the Americans started the race to beat the Germans to the atomic bomb and how the Russians stole the plans. We get first-hand accounts of the events and what the people involved thought at the time. It was truly fascinating and hard to put down.
This is a 2013 Newbery Honor Book, the 2013 Sibert Medal Winner, and a 2012 National Book Award finalist.
There are many stories of people helping their Jewish neighbors during WWII, but this is one I had not heard of. The Grand Mosque in Paris was responsible for saving many Jews by hiding them and getting them Muslim identification papers. Of course this only worked on those Jews who could pass for Muslim. There are many individual stories in this book and it all paints a picture of heroism at a time of great risk. The illustrations are wonderful and beautiful. Definitely a book to recommend to those interested in WWII, history or heroism.
There is just something about WWII stories that really pulls at my heart. I find the people who worked for the underground movements and helped the Jewish people fascinating. There is something about their courage and heroism that really makes you look at your own life and wander what you would have done in a similar situation. Not everyone was strong enough to stand up for what was right, but Irena Sendler was definitely one of those heroes. Her story is similar to others who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, but it is definitely worth knowing. I thought this picture book biography did a good job of showing her courage and dedication to doing what is right. She is a hero from a very dark time in our history and her story deserves to be told.
Annemarie and her family live in Copenhagen; they have been living under German occupation for three years now. Annemarie is best friends with Ellen, who is Jewish. One day the synagogues in Copenhagen tell their people that all the Jews are going to be arrested. So Ellen and her family must hid and try to escape from Denmark. Annemarie’s family hides Ellen and then takes her to the coast so she and her parents can escape to Sweden. Annemarie’s uncle pilots the boat that takes them to Sweden. Annemarie and her family have to hide their Jewish friends and trick the German soldiers in order to get them to safety.
This is a great look at a story of the holocaust that is not often told. How many people realize that the Danish people saved almost the entire Jewish population? This is a more hopeful story of that time period than many other works about the Holocaust. It will make readers want to learn more about the Danish resistance and the rescue of the Danish Jews. I truly enjoyed Annemarie’s story and how she reacted to the danger her friend was in.
This year, as in other years, Lily has planned a spectacular summer in Rockaway, in her family’s cozy house on stilts over the Atlantic Ocean. But by the summer of 1944, World War II has changed almost everyone’s life. Lily’s best friend, Margaret, and her family have moved to a wartime factory town, and worse, much worse, Lily’s father is on his way overseas to the war.
There’s no one else Lily’s age in Rockaway until Albert comes, a refugee from Hungary, a boy with a secret sewn into his coat. Albert has lost most of his family in the war; he’s been through things Lily can’t imagine. But when they join together to rescue and care for a kitten, they begin a special friendship. For Lily and Albert have their own secrets to share: they both have told lies, and Lily has told a lie that may cost Albert his life.
Wednesdays in the Tower picks up after the events of Tuesdays at the Castle. Celie finds an egg in a new tower of the castle, which when it hatches turns out to be a griffin. Rufus, the griffin, imprints on Celie and the Castle obviously only wants Celie to take care of it. While Celie is trying to raise a griffin and find out everything she can about the history of griffins in Castle Glower, the Castle is busy making changes. Instead of just changing on Tuesdays and because of the needs of the inhabitants, the Castle starts bringing in more and more new rooms. A prickly wizard is also poking around the Castle and seems to know more than what he should.
I love this series, but if there is one thing I can’t stand it is a cliffhanger. And this book ends on a doozy! I literally exclaimed (insert appropriate words here!) out loud when I realized I had reached the end of the book and there was no resolution. You have a love a castle that has a mind of its own and is magical. I really enjoyed the fact that we learn more about the Castle’s history and what brought it to Sleyne. I thoroughly enjoy this series and would recommend it to anyone.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.
Benson is excited to be escaping foster care and joining the Maxfield Academy. But when he gets there his excitement quickly disappears. He is dropped off at the doors after traveling through two fences to get to the school. Immediately he is warned not to trust some of the students and he finds out why when he has his orientation. Turns out there are no teachers, groundkeepers, cafeteria workers, administrators or really any adults at the school. It is run by three gangs, who joined together because of some serious violence in the past. The Society runs the admin, medical and security portion of the school; Havoc takes care of food service and grounds; Variant are the janitors. Of course Benson joins the Variant group. He is determined to escape this strange school even if everyone else seems content to follow the rules and keep their heads down. Because of course if you break the rules you get detention which apparently means death. Benson keeps pushing and one night he finds out one of the schools big secrets which changes everything. Now he must force the others to realize what is going on and try to get out of there.
The premise of this book is really interesting. Very much a Lord of the Flies mentality. Unfortunately the execution is a little sloppy and filled with holes. Benson isn’t the most likable character in the world. I like that he kept questioning the system, but he continued to do it at the expense of others. He had really no regard for those around him or for the history of the school. He had been there a day and was already trying to escape and within a couple of weeks he is starting a gang war. I really wish the author would have spent a little more time filling in the holes of this story. The entire school system just screamed questions with no answers. And then you had the big mystery/plot twist….What!??!? There was no explanation for that and the ending was horrible. It basically forces you to read the next book in the hopes that it will answer your questions. I literally was left trying to figure out what just happened, which is not a good thing when you have just finished the book. Even with all the problems, this book was fun in parts and a very fast read.