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

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, 305 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/14/2014

11594337

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, 208 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/08/2014

14639150

“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, 180 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/05/2014

17308183

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, 328 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/01/2014

13260544

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, 402 pages, read by Leslie, on 04/30/2014

18079757

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, 218 pages, read by Leslie, on 04/12/2014

12735988

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, 195 pages, read by Leslie, on 04/08/2014

14432994

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, 420 pages, read by Leslie, on 04/05/2014

9833184

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, 202 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/31/2014

13486779

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, 240 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2014

12975886

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, 307 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/28/2014

17372472

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, 407 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/23/2014

8130839

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, 402 pages, 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, 386 pages, 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, 391 pages, 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.

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs, 278 pages, read by Leslie, on 02/15/2014

Flash and Bones (Temperance Brennan, #14)

Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan’s office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble’s sister, Cindi, then a high school senior and aspiring racer, disappeared along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with a group of right-wing extremists known as the Patriot Posse. Could the body be Cindi’s? Or Cale’s?

Who knew I could learn anything about racing in a Temperance Brennan book?  Of course, it was more about the murders, both past and current, in the book but there was some interesting information included.  Another good book by Kathy Reichs, not too long or too technical in details.

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

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, 454 pages, read by Leslie, on 02/08/2014

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)

Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack’s alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack together, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything – her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?

Calla has lived her whole life believing what she’s been told, what she has to do.  While she has had her doubts and questions, never has she felt the desire to act on them until she meets Shay.  Together they break away from what she’s always been taught and try to forge a new future for her friends and family while learning the truth about the dark nature of who she is.  Thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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

Rise by Andrea Cremer, 388 pages, read by Leslie, on 02/05/2014

Rise (Nightshade Prequel, #2)

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the  couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

I like to read prequels before I read a series, especially once I discover the series after they are all published.  Very interesting to read books that weave supernatural society next to human society, although this one isn’t really secret from the humans.  In this series, the dark side has found it’s way into our world.  Now it is up to the descendants of those who fight against the dark to try and erase it’s existence in the realm of humanity.  Can’t wait to see how it works in the future.  Good read for young adults.

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

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton, 486 pages, read by Leslie, on 01/26/2014

17707605

“Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall” October 1988 Santa Teresa California narrates PI Kinsey Milhone 38. One is shady PI Pete Wolinsky, shot and robbed. Second is homeless alcoholic Terrence Dace from kidney and liver failure. He rejected children, bequeathed fortune to Kinsey. Pete’s gun shows up in Kinsey’s car, dropped by Felix, killed after he retrieved friend Dace’s stolen stuff.

Another great Kinsey Milhone mystery.  I hate to think that Z is right around the corner!  Although it has taken her awhile to get through the alphabet, Grafton has not rushed through them just to get to the end.  Her characters have remained constant, especially Kinsey.  I would imagine it is hard to maintain that the date is still in the late 80s, but she does a great job.  Each book has been different in the mystery it presents but her main characters are constant and I’m glad to see them each time.

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

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich, 307 pages, read by Leslie, on 01/12/2014

17908462

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in–not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because “just Stephanie’s luck” the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.

I love the way her books make me laugh, I get disappointed if Stephanie Plum doesn’t blow up or mangle at least one vehicle.  This is one of her typical Plum books, full of missteps and bungling, not to mention Joe and Ranger.  I don’t know if this is the last in the series, it ended in such a way to make that a possibility.