29. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, read by Leslie, on 06/02/2014

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FBI Special Agent Kate Winslow uses her own schemes to outmaneuver charming con man Danny Cole, who becomes an unlikely partner when her next mission pits her against a formidable adversary.

I picked this one up because I love all her books and I was not disappointed.  Evanovich manages to insert the snarkiness that I love about her Stephanie Plum novels, yet make this a different book, altogether.  I would recommend this one to anyone who likes her books.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Hide and Seek by Kate Messner, read by Leslie, on 05/30/2014

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For five hundred years the Jaguar Cup, sacred to the Silver Jaguar Society, was hidden in a cave on the coast of Costa Rica–so when a fake copy shows up on display in America, it is up to José, Anna, and Henry, junior members of the society, to travel to Costa Rica and rescue the real cup from thieves.

A fast-paced story, sure to keep readers engaged to the last page, trying to figure out who the bad guys are.  My only question about the books so far is, if the Silver Jaguar Society is supposed to be as secret as the parents claim, why do so many people know about it?  Not something my students will probably pick up on, they will enjoy this story, both boys and girls.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lutricia Clifton, read by Leslie, on 05/25/2014

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe

Twelve-year-old Frankie Joe Huckaby, forced to live with the father he never knew, a stepmother, and four half-brothers in Illinois, starts a delivery service to finance his escape back to his mother in Texas, not realizing he is making a better life for himself than he ever had with her.

A very good story on blending a family, I enjoyed the way that Frankie found ways to deal with his situation positively.  A great story to show kids that lashing out is not the only way to deal with difficult situations.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Thriller/Suspense

The Nightmarys by Dan Poblocki, read by Leslie, on 05/21/2014

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Seventh-grader Timothy July and his new friend Abigail try to break a curse that is causing them and others to be tormented by their greatest fears brought to life.

If you have students who like to read scary stories that give them shivers, this is a great book for that. Timothy and Abigail have just met and need to learn to trust each other quickly if they want to break the curse that haunts Abigail and now, Timothy. There is just enough edge to it to possibly give them real nightmares!

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, read by Leslie, on 05/14/2014

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With love and determination befitting the “world’s greatest family,” twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression.

I tried but could not find the appeal of this book, as I did with Bud, Not Buddy.  I just found it too unrealistic, the more I read, mainly with the father.  I think young readers will not see those aspects to it but will enjoy seeing the family overcome each obstacle tossed in it’s way.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, read by Leslie, on 05/14/2014

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When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.

I loved the form in which the author wrote this book.  The chapters are short but contain so much in those short amounts, it will appeal to kids who don’t normally like long chapter books.  The fact that she based it on a true story will be another hook for some kids.  It really makes you think about zoos and how we treat our fellow creatures.  I can see why it won the Newbery award.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

The Young Healer by Frank N. McMillan III, read by Leslie, on 05/08/2014

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“What starts out as just another day becomes anything but that for Feather Anderson. Her beloved grandfather, a traditional Lakota healer, pulls her out of class one snowy morning and takes her on a traditional vision quest in the heart of New York City in hopes to find the perfect Lakota medicine. It becomes the most magical day of Feather’s life as she saves her little brother’s life and earns her newly-given secret Lakota name”

A good story, I think that both boys and girls will enjoy reading it, the Native American traditions that are written about are sure to inspire research for some students.  While it seems that Feather and her grandfather pack a lot of stuff into the length of one day, I really enjoyed the story.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead, read by Leslie, on 05/05/2014

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Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.

Not a fast paced book, but a good story of building friendships and trust.  Georges isn’t fond of the way his name is spelled, his dad loses his job and they are forced to move to an apartment, where Georges meets Safer and his sister.  Georges isn’t sure what to make of Safer but they eventually overcome their differences and Georges comes to admit to himself that his life is not he has been painting it to be, in his mind.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal

Blue Moon (Dead City #2) by James Ponti, read by Leslie, on 05/01/2014

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Molly is ready for more nonstop, undead action in this follow-up to Dead City, which Kirkus Reviews described as “a fast-paced read for those who like their zombies with just a little fright.”

If you like zombie stories with a little intelligence to them (zombies, that is), you’ll enjoy this series.  Molly and her team are once again on the prowl for dangerous zombies in New York City.  When they stumble upon a zombie plot to take over the city, they get a little help from some of their zombie friends, including Molly’s mother.  Lots of action and appealing to both boys and girls.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb, read by Leslie, on 04/30/2014

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In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.

Dallas and Roarke do it again, solve murders while juggling the home life and love.  I hope they never make these books into a movie because no actors could ever live up to what I imagine in my head.  While in some of her books, Dallas is hot on the heels of a murderer who is still out in her city committing more murders, these are old ones.  The ages of the victims, bring out her past, as well as Mavis’, something that hasn’t been delved into very deeply in past books.  The twist at the end is very neat, you can sort of catch a glimpse of it early on, but you can’t quite be sure that what you think is true of the storyline.  If you like J.D. Robb, you will surely enjoy the newest installment of this series.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

The Five Lives of our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin, read by Leslie, on 04/12/2014

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As ten-year-old Oona and her younger brother conspire to break their sick cat Zook out of the veterinary clinic, Oona tells the story of Zook’s previous lives.

I love how Oona makes up stories to entertain her brother in the ways of the world, with themselves as the central characters.  She does this because her father did it with her and he has passed away, it’s a way to keep her father alive for both her brother and herself.  While she gets herself into trouble on occasion and says things occasionally she knows is hurtful, she comes through at the end, making things right and learning life lessons.  Girls will probably be drawn more to this book than the boys will, but I think it would suit any reader.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

Privateer's Apprentice by Susan Verrico, read by Leslie, on 04/08/2014

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From Charles Towne, Carolina Territory, in 1712, thirteen-year-old Jameson Cooper, orphaned and indigent, is abducted by privateers working for Queen Anne but proves himself worthy to be called a royal sailor through his writing and drawing skills, as well as his hard work and courage.

I find that this will be a book that appeals to boys, not really sure about the girls, however, as it really has no female characters to speak of.  I think that if the reader pays attention, they may get quite a life lesson from this book, to take pride in whatever work you find yourself doing.  Full of adventure, a little suspense, I did enjoy the story.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, read by Leslie, on 04/05/2014

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After making a life-changing decision, Sydney Sage, an Alchemist who serves to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires, must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend.

I enjoy this series, vampires and all.  Poor Sydney, now that she has overcome her aversion to vampires, the good ones, that is, she can’t reveal her true love for fear that her family will find out and re-educate her.  Even vampires suffer from teen angst, it seems.  Can’t we all just learn to get along?  Sydney certainly hopes so!

03. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery · Tags:

The Shadow Collector's Apprentice by Amy Gordon, read by Leslie, on 03/31/2014

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In the summer of 1963, after his father has inexplicably disappeared leaving Cully with his three eccentric aunts on their barely profitable apple farm, Cully goes to work for a mysterious antiques dealer who has the strange hobby of collecting shadows.

Another good read for both boys and girls, from Amy Gordon.  A bit of mystery rolled in with suspense and history.  Some of it is a bit far-fetched for me, but not for kids.  They will enjoy this one as a Mark Twain nominee.

03. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery · Tags:

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2014

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When the original Star Spangled Banner is stolen, seventh-graders Anne, José, and Henry, all descendants of the Silver Jaguar Society, pursue suspects on airport carts and through baggage handling tunnels while stranded at a Washington, D.C., airport during a snowstorm.

A great first in a mystery series for young readers.  While easy for me to see where the plot is heading, kids will definitely enjoy the twists and turns the author takes them on.  A Mark Twain nominee, I can recommend this to both boys and girls.

03. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 03/28/2014

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Bosque Mar haunts Adne and Logan’s dreams, trying to turn Adne to the dark side as he attempts to escape the Nether, where Calla, Shay and the other Guardians trapped him in the final battle of the War of All Against All.

If you enjoy this series, you will like the way she continues the story of this world. I was hoping that the trilogy was not the finish and this book does not disappoint.  Now I can only wonder how the wolves will play a role in this next chapter of the saga.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 03/23/2014

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Calla Tor, the alpha member of her shapeshifting wolf pack, must decide if her illicit love for the human Shay is worth the ultimate sacrifice.

The final book in this trilogy does not disappoint in the end. So as not to spoil the ending, I won’t say who dies, if they save the world, or what happens to the characters in the end.  Suffice it to say that it’s a good read, especially for those who enjoy paranormal type of books.  Young adults and teens will definitely enjoy it.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb, read by Leslie, on 03/14/2014

Thankless in Death (In Death, #37)

As the household of NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke prepares for an invasion of family and friends for Thanksgiving, an ungrateful son decides to stop the nagging from his parents – by ending their lives.

I find it amusing that Eve does not know what to do with all the family she is slowly accumulating.  And while trying to solve a murder used to give her an excuse to not attend family functions and parties, you can see her character evolving enough to enjoy them.  Another great Eve Dallas murder novel.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb, read by Leslie, on 03/07/2014

Calculated in Death (In Death, #36)

When Marta Dickenson, a well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, is murdered, Lieutenant Eve Dallas immerses herself in her billionaire husband Roarke’s world of big business to discover who arranged a hit on an innocent woman.

Another good Eve Dallas murder, with all the right twists, enough to keep you guessing.  I like this series because it has just the right amount of romance (not much, but steamy when it’s there), and her characters are mostly believable (enough you could see the possibility.) I always recommend this series to anyone who enjoys mysteries.

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 02/21/2014

Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)

Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

In the 2nd book of the series, Calla is determined to save her friends from the life they’ve always known and that she has learned is not what she imagined. She learns more truths than she could imagine existed in her old world and the new one she is trying to claim.  Worth the read.