30. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

Homesick by Kate Klise, read by Leslie, on 09/04/2013

Homesick

Benny’s parents are getting divorced, his mom left and his father has become a hoarder, to make matters worse his hometown has been entered into a contest, and now the pressure is on to get the house cleaned up.

I liked the story, thought it was good way to show how hoarding can impact a young person’s life, but not as realistic as it could have been. The story takes place right before computers and the Internet take off in popularity, so I found it a little hard to believe that at that time a town could have actually won a contest to be hooked up to it.  Hoarding was also not called hoarding yet, so it is a look into how the disease might start for someone.  The tornado does make it interesting and could be the draw for lots of readers.

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

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen, read by Leslie, on 08/29/2013

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Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight.

I totally love stories that keep me reading, ones I don’t want to put down until they end and then I hate it that they end.  This is one of those books.  Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read on the teen level. I did not even suspect the way Robie helped keep herself going, until it was revealed at the end.  Highly recommended!

 

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

Dead City by James Ponti, read by Leslie, on 08/25/2013

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Most kids have enough to deal with between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends, but Molly Bigelow has something else on her list: hunting zombies. By day, Molly attends MIST—the Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology—but outside the classroom she’s busy dealing with the undead. Because not only do zombies exist, they’re everywhere, and it’s her job to help police them and keep the peace. Sure, she’d like to be a regular kid, but given that her mother was the most revered (or feared, depending on your perspective) zombie hunter in the history of New York City, “regular” just isn’t possible. Molly’s got some legendary footsteps to follow—and some undeadly consequences if she fails.

I enjoyed this book, I think it would be alright for younger readers, as well.  It reminds me of the Maureen Johnson series, but with zombies, instead of ghosts.  The way they train to protect the zombies from the living, as well as the other way around, is a nice addition.  The teams don’t just exist to get rid of them.  It makes you look at New York City in a whole, new light.

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

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, read by Leslie, on 08/22/2013

Freakling (Psi Chronicles, #1)

In twelve-year-old Taemon’s city, everyone has a power called psi—the ability to move and manipulate objects with their minds. When Taemon loses his psi in a traumatic accident, he must hide his lack of power by any means possible. But a humiliating incident at a sports tournament exposes his disability, and Taemon is exiled to the powerless colony.

Although this is supposed to be the first in a series, I can’t quite see how the future stories will turn out, based on this one.  It’s another that would make for some interesting conversation.  What would it be like to grow up in a world where you used your mind to do everything in your daily life and how to view people without the same abilities?

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

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel, read by Leslie, on 08/18/2013

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On the day in 1935 when her mother vanishes during the worst dust storm ever recorded in Kansas, Callie learns that she is not actually a human being.

Callie grows up without her father, with her mother always saying he’ll come back for them.  During the biggest dust storm of the year, her mother disappears, and Callie learns that her father is one of the Fair Folk.  She struggles to figure out who to trust and how to find her mother, once again.

 

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

Revived by Cat Patrick, read by Leslie, on 08/12/2013

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Having been brought back from the dead repeatedly by a top-secret government super drug called Revive, and forced to move so the public does not learn the truth, fifteen-year-old Daisy meets people worth living for and begins to question the heavy-handed government controls she has dealt with for eleven years.

Very intriguing storyline, what would happen if we could revive people from death?  It opens all sorts of dialogue for book discussions.  I liked it and would recommend it for sure.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Towering by Alex Flinn, read by Leslie, on 08/09/2013

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“A contemporary retelling of Rapunzel told from the alternating perspectives of three teens whose fates unknowingly bind them together to destroy a greater evil”

While I really like the twisted fairy tales, this one left me feeling like the book was reaching but not quite hitting the mark.  It didn’t flow well, although I like the premise of it.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, read by Leslie, on 08/02/2013

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Scarlet Benoit and Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about her missing grandmother, join forces with Cinder as they try to stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana in this story inspired by Little Red Riding Hood.

I so enjoy fairy tales retold.  I like the way the author weaves the old tale into a new setting.  I also love science fiction and this blends very well.

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.