29. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, read by Leslie, on 07/27/2013

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

Eighteen-year-old Bitterblue, queen of Monsea, realizes her heavy responsibility and the futility of relying on advisors who surround her with lies as she tries to help her people to heal from the thirty-five-year spell cast by her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities.

The 3rd in The Graceling Realm series, I liked the medieval sense of the book without it being our medieval past. The touch of fantasy makes it more appealing to me.  Bitterblue comes to understand the horror of her father’s reign, while trying to make sense of why some of the horror is still occurring.  The two worlds of this book, Dell and the Seven Kingdoms, finally meet.  I can’t wait to see what follows.

29. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, read by Leslie, on 07/20/2013

One for the Murphys

Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care.

Carley has to come to grips with her situation with her mother.  After landing in foster care, Carley learns to let herself be strong and face her past and how to begin her future.  Very good read for upper elementary and middle school readers.

29. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction · Tags:

Under the Dome by Stephen King, read by Leslie, on 07/18/2013

Under the Dome

The small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, is faced with a big dilemma when it is mysteriously sealed off by an invisible and completely impenetrable force field. With cars and airplanes exploding on contact, the force field has completely isolated the townspeople from the outside world. Now, Iraq war vet Dale Barbara and a group of the town’s more sensible citizens must overcome the tyrannical rule of Big Jim Rennie, a politician bent on controlling everything within the Dome.

I enjoyed this huge novel, even though it took me longer than I wanted!  I liked the alien connection at the end and have to hope that could never really happen.  I will say that I am totally disappointed in the TV version of this book, it really doesn’t match up much, in fact, a lot of it is opposite from the book.  I would recommend it to any King fan.

01. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Leslie, on 06/30/2013

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

A great new telling of the old classic, Cinderella.  This book was thoroughly enjoyable, It was hard to put down at night.  At one point, you even have to wonder if Cinder is really the missing princess, such is the way you get hooked to it.  I can’t wait to read the others in the series, a definite recommend!

01. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Starters by Lissa Price, read by Leslie, on 06/28/2013

Starters (Starters and Enders, #1)

To support herself and her younger brother in a future Beverly Hills, sixteen-year-old Callie hires her body out to seniors who want to experience being young again, and she lives a fairy-tale life until she learns that her body will commit murder, unless her mind can stop it.

To think that old people could be so callous in the future is just unimaginable to me but when you have a lot of money I guess anything is possible.  A very good story, futuristic with mystery and murder thrown in, as well as the usual political intrigue.  I thought the ending was nice, it tied everything together, while leaving a way for the next one in the series.  I hope our future never turns out like this!

28. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, read by Leslie, on 06/26/2013

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)

In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king’s long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.

Definitely a book to appeal to the boys, it has a really nice twist at the end that all will enjoy.  Usually I can see the twists before they occur, but the author does a really good job keeping this one under wraps until the end.  I may just read the next ones in this series.

28. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer, read by Leslie, on 06/24/2013

Endangered

Sophie is not happy to be back in the Congo for the summer, but when she rescues an abused baby bonobo she becomes more involved in her mother’s sanctuary–and when fighting breaks out and the sanctuary is attacked, it is up to Sophie to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.

I did like this book, I learned more about the conflicts that happen in African countries, as well as more about bonobos and their societies than I had known before.  Any reader interested in animal conservation will be sure to enjoy this one.  I wasn’t quite sure that a young girl making her way across hostile territory would have made it as unscathed as Sophie  did would happen in reality, but it makes it a story appropriate for young readers.  Highly recommendable.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick, read by Leslie, on 06/22/2013

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

After an injury ends former star pitcher Peter Friedman’s athletic dreams, he concentrates on photography which leads him to a girlfriend, new fame as a high school sports photographer, and a deeper relationship with the beloved grandfather who, when he realizes he’s becoming senile, gives Pete all of his professional camera gear.

This is a great cautionary tale told in a way to appeal to kids in 5th grade on up.  Pete thinks he can wait until the end of the season to tell his parents about his elbow. He thinks if he tells his best friend the truth about his never playing ball again, that he will lose his best friend.  He thinks that if he tells his parents about his grandfather’s troubles, that his grandfather might not trust him.  What Pete learns in the end, as well as his parents, that talking to your friends and families about issues and troubles could prevent a lot of heartache in the future.  He also learned that love transcends it all.  Highly recommendable book.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, read by Leslie, on 06/21/2013

Insignia (Insignia, #1)

Tom, a fourteen-year-old genius at virtual reality games, is recruited by the United States military to begin training at the Pentagon Spire as a combatant in World War III, controlling the mechanized drones that do the actual fighting off-planet.

In this futuristic view, the world is controlled by conglomerates and wars are fought in space through virtual reality game playing teens.  I like science fiction and the thought that businesses could completely control our world seems more of a reality when you look at what happens in politics today.  The thought that war could be fought in space with no loss of life and destruction of the planet is really appealing but definitely fictional.  I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to explore science fiction as it doesn’t really dive too deeply into technical terminology or seem too futuristic to be believable.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Steam-punk, Teen Books

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry, read by Leslie, on 06/17/2013

The Peculiars

Eighteen-year-old Lena Mattacascar sets out for Scree, a weird place inhabited by Peculiars, seeking the father who left when she was young, but on the way she meets young librarian Jimson Quiggley and handsome marshall Thomas Saltre, who complicate her plans.

If you like steampunk you’ll probably enjoy this story, it’s got those unusual characters we come to expect and it’s setting is historical but in another land not in our reality.  Lena journeys for Scree to find out whether or not she is really a Peculiar by finding her father.  It was enjoyable enough to read, but I’m not quite sure I enjoyed parts of the book that seemed to lurch through the telling.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Betrayal of Trust by J.A. Jance, read by Leslie, on 06/14/2013

Betrayal of Trust (J.P. Beaumont, #20)

Seattle P.I. J. P. Beaumont uncovers a crime that has a devastating effect on two troubled teens and becomes even more of a firestorm when it reaches into the halls of state government.

This was my ‘adult’ read of the month and my get-away book.  Not as quick as the teen and childrens books I’ve been reading, but a refreshing change.  Another good book by Jance, I love her characters and getting lost in the story, wherever it takes me.  If you like her books, then you’ll like this one.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen, read by Leslie, on 06/11/2013

Chomp

When the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane’s family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna’s gun-happy father.

While not exactly a survival in the Everglades story, Hiaasen once again focuses on animal conservation, in his own way.  I really enjoyed the story, it had a bit of excitement, a bit of suspense, a little bit of boy meets girl and reality tv. This story made me laugh and I would recommend it to all of my students.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles, read by Leslie, on 06/10/2013

See You at Harry's

Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible in her family, where grumpy eighteen-year-old Sarah is working at the family restaurant, fourteen-year-old Holden is struggling with school bullies and his emerging homosexuality, and adorable, three-year-old Charlie is always the center of attention, and when tragedy strikes, the fragile bond holding the family together is stretched almost to the breaking point.

If you have students who like to read books that will make them cry, then this is the book for them.  It takes the family a while to learn to lean on each other after tragedy strikes them and even I kept looking for signs that it hadn’t really happened.  A very good, quick read, unless you don’t like sad stories.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, read by Leslie, on 06/09/2013

Wonder

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

You start out by understanding why Auggie’s parents kept him at home, to applauding his decision to immerse himself in a place that he knows will probably not end well, to cheering him on as he slowly gets those around him to look beyond the surface to the person beneath.  This is a book I would recommend to all my students, especially the ones who tend not to be so empathetic to others.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Skinny by Donna Cooner, read by Leslie, on 06/07/2013

Skinny

After undergoing gastric-bypass surgery, a self-loathing, obese teenaged girl loses weight and makes the brave decision to start participating in high school life, including pursuing her dream of becoming a singer and finding love.

Ever is 15 and fat, not that she has always been overweight, but now she lets it rule her life.  Her mother has died, her father remarries and although her stepmother tries to befriend her, Ever imagines that she could never find anything about her stepmother and stepsisters that would make them comfortable with each other.  In order to make her father happy, or so she imagines, she undergoes surgery and not only does she lose weight, but she gains more than she ever imagined she could.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone, skinny or not.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Fitz by Mick Cochrane, read by Leslie, on 06/02/2013

Fitz

Fifteen-year-old Fitzgerald—Fitz, to his friends—has just learned that his father, whom he’s never met, who supports him but is not a part of his life, is living nearby. Fitz begins to follow him, watch him, study him, and on an otherwise ordinary May morning, he executes a plan to force his father, at gunpoint, to be with him.

This is a very quick read, fast-paced as the story takes place during the course of one day in the life of Fitz.  I can see the appeal to boys for this story, although girls could learn something by reading it.  Fitz learns that one side of the story and his imaginings of his father’s motives don’t even come close to the truth.  Anyone reading this should learn that there are always 2 sides to a story and to take time to think before acting upon impulses.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, read by Leslie, on 06/06/2013

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

The book was enjoyable, teen has a deeply buried power that she doesn’t realize she has.  She is the only one who can save her country but can she overcome the evil guy trying to enslave her power for herself while learning she is really in love with her best friend?  A different twist  to the normal teen angst line, a little predictable, but teens will most likely love it if they enjoy this genre.

07. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, read by Leslie, on 05/31/2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

This was a type of tale I had not seen before, the stories of chimaerae and angels.  It’s a love story, is she human or monster and how does she feel about the truth when she finds it?  I may or may not want to read any follow-up books, but I did enjoy this one.

07. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, read by Leslie, on 05/27/2013

The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)

Kate, Michael, and Emma have passed from one orphanage to another in the ten years since their parents disappeared to protect them, but now they learn that they have special powers, a prophesied quest to find a magical book, and a fearsome enemy.

This may be a series I read just to see how the next 2 atlases are found.  I liked this book, see the appeal for young readers, it’s got a little magic, a little mystery, a little time travel.  It is being called a new Narnia for tweens, and that seems accurate enough, with just a bit of Harry Potter tossed in.  I want to discover the identity of the mastermind behind it all.

07. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby, read by Leslie, on 05/22/2013

Lost in the River of Grass

When two Florida teenagers become stranded on a tiny island in the Everglades, they attempt to walk ten miles through swampland to reach civilization.

Of the books of hers that I have read, I enjoyed this one the most. I liked being able to see exactly what it would be like to have to endure that trek, it was so real.  And the little twist at the end made it worth the read, it makes you go back and think if there were any tells at all to it during the story.  Although I did wonder why they didn’t even talk about getting the airboat out of the water!