03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Time Riders: The Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow, 420 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/31/2013

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The TimeRiders travel back to Robin Hood’s Middle Ages to search for the mythical Holy Grail and to stop the future from changing.

Once again, the Agency team finds themselves trying to figure out how to change time back to it’s proper line. I enjoyed this one, with it’s reference to the Middle Ages, Robin Hood, the Templars, etc. This time, however, the team members all have moments where they are tempted to leave the altered time line as it is.  I guess when you come from a future that isn’t so great, changes can seem to be better.

03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea, 356 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/24/2013

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Several students relate their experiences helping Mr. Terupt move the old classroom to the sixth grade annex during the summer vacation.

Excited for the new school year, and the fact that they get to stay with Mr. Terupt, the students continue to find what is good in themselves and each other.  Their friendships become stronger and they learn to find what is strong in themselves.  And this year, Mr. Terupt falls in a good way.

03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Time Riders: The Eternal War by Alex Scarrow, 419 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/20/2013

The Eternal War (TimeRiders, #4)

A time wave has altered the entire history of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln followed Liam into the present from 1831 and now the world is in a dangerous state of limbo. If the TimeRiders can’t return Lincoln to the past, the Civil War will never end.

I like this series, I seem to find myself reading them, even though the characters seem to follow the same plot line in each book.  I read 4 before 3, something I admonish my students not to do, but it was all good.  What I really find fascinating is how the author takes a story, changes what happens to any historical figure and imagines how the future would turn out without that character.  In this particular book, however, I cannot imagine that the Civil War would continue for as long as it does in altered time, as well as certain technologies never being invented, all because Lincoln isn’t President.  I guess that’s makes me a reader and not a writer.

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

Rift by Andrea Cremer, 430 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/13/2013

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Sixteen-year-old Lady Ember Morrow fulfills a family obligation by joining her friend Alistair in the Conatus Guard and begins training to help with the order’s true mission, to seek out and stop evildoers and their unnatural creations.

While waiting for the Nightshade series books to become available, I thought I would start with the prequel books.  If you like supernatural/paranormal mixed with a bit of historical flavoring, you will enjoy this book.  It reminds me of the House of Night series by Cast, the young recruit finds herself enmeshed in something she never expected.  Ember has to decide whether to choose love or the darkness.

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

Justice by Faye Kellerman, 388 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/05/2013

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Called to investigate the shocking murder of a high-school student, Detective Sergeant Pete Decker finds himself face to face with a world of casual drunkenness, sex and, it seems, violence – the world of suburban Los Angeles’s affluent, rootless teenagers. And, as the father of a nineteen year old daughter, Decker must deal not only with the brutality of the killing but with his own parental terror.

I just really enjoy reading her Decker series, plenty of twists and turns without being terrifying to read.  Plenty of suspense in this one, while we can seem as sure as his friend is that he is not guilty of the murder, you do have to wonder if the main character really did it.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Neferet's Curse by P.C. and Kristin Cast, 146 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/25/2013

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The White City, 1893: In turn-of-the-century Chicago, with the World’s Fair bringing bustle and excitement to her home city, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be reveling in her youthful beauty and the excitement around her. But her whole life changed when her mother died, leaving her to be the Lady of Wheiler House. At last, afraid for her life and with nowhere to turn, Emily is Marked by a vampyre and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magickal new life that should allow the wounds from her past to heal. But as she gains strength, and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.

A great companion book to their House of Dark series.  I thoroughly enjoy the backgrounds they create for the main characters in the books.  If Neferet wasn’t such an evil character, I might feel sorry for her.  This book make a great explanation for why she is the way she is.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman, 375 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/20/2013

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When Dr. Emil Euler Ganz — a brilliant luminary in the complex fields of cosmology and astrophysics — walked away from accolades and honors, disappearing into thin air twenty-five years ago, his colleagues’ tongues wagged, and rumors abounded. Ten years later, when Ganz reemerged as guru Father Jupiter, leader of the notorious cult the Order of the Rings of God, speculation about his sanity was rampant. But when Ganz is found dead, gossip and wild conjecture are the only clues available to LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker as he faces his most shocking case to date.

I’ve gone back and revisited a favorite author to read some books I’ve skipped over.  I love her books.  She has the right amount of mystery, suspense, light moments and the connection between her characters.  It gives some insight into cults and how they can attract the doubtful fringes of society, both good and bad.  You can see how some people are trapped in them and how the outside world wonders about why they exist.  A good mystery with plenty of twists.

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

Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker, 331 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/17/2013

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Telling the Truth Could Get Them Killed. Remaining Silent Could Be Worse.When Cooper, Hiro, and Gordy witness a robbery that leaves a man in a coma, they find themselves tangled in a web of mystery and deceit that threatens their lives.

A very interesting who-done-it for kids, will definitely make them think about what they might do in the same place.  I liked the suspense of it, it would not have surprised me to have some addition things happen, though they didn’t.  The story was just right for younger readers.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, 344 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/06/2013

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In a future Manhattan devastated by environmental catastrophes and epidemics, sixteen-year-old Lucy survives alone until vicious hounds target her and force her to join Aidan and his band, but soon they learn that she is the target of Sweepers, who kidnap and infect people with plague.

This wasn’t too bad, as far as dystopian novels go.  I thought it was good, but fairly predictable to me.  Teens will enjoy it and want to read the rest of the series to see how the characters turn out.  I think I may pass on the rest of them.  Very interesting to wonder if we would turn out the past as quickly in order to get our survival skills fine tuned.

01. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs, 408 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/30/2013

Code (Virals, #3)

The Virals are put to the ultimate test when they find a geocache containing an ornate puzzle box. Shelton decodes the cipher inside, only to find more tantalizing clues left by “The Gamemaster.” A second, greater geocache is within reach—if the Virals are up to the challenge.

While you can’t imagine any group of teens escaping from so many threats and surviving each one, their secret powers keep them safer than most.  I like the geocaching addition, although it’s not typical of geocaches.  A riveting, keep-you-turning-pages book.  Thoroughly enjoyable!

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie

Ungifted by Gordon Korman, 288 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/21/2013

Ungifted

Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan Curtis is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students, after pulling a major prank at middle school.

Another engaging, fun book by Mr. Korman.  I haven’t seen too many books that deal with the gifted end of the student spectrum but this book kind of nails it.  Add an ungifted student to the mix and the kids realize there is more to school than just studying.  Very recommendable.

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie

Jump Into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall, 352 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/19/2013

Jump into the Sky

In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission. Includes historical notes.

A great, historical fiction account of the 555th parachute battalion, this would be a great read-aloud, leading into black history month.  Add to it, a young boy’s first experience with segregation and the prejudice that accompanied it.  I recommend this to any of my younger readers.

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner, 304 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/09/2013

Eye of the Storm

In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia.

While excited to be spending time with her dad, Jaden learns some uncomfortable truths about him and what he has to do with all of the powerful storms that avoid the community that he helped build.  Jaden has to decide if family is more important than doing the right thing.  Very good book to recommend to my younger readers.

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Seizure by Kathy and Brendan Reichs, 491 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/03/2013

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Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they’ve turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack! But now the very place that brought them together – the Loggerhead Island Research Institute – is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it!

I find myself enjoying this series more with each book that comes out.  In this one, Tory and her pack of friends go on a treasure hunt and find themselves being hunted by others who want that treasure.  I like the way she weaves the viral powers the teens find themselves with, into the storylines.  This will keep you on the edge of your seat, at times.

01. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris, 338 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/27/2013

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13)

When Sookie learns the reason why Eric’s vampires are keeping their distance from her, she is devastated. Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime in this final Sookie Stackhouse novel.

Sookie’s last adventure, it makes me sad to see the series end.  While not all of the books were as great as others, it was still an enjoyable, escape from the moment, book.  Sookie loses her vampire husband to a queen, she ends up in jail accused of murder, several attempts are made on her life by unknown assailants and Sookie’s friends rally around her.  A good way to end this series, very recommendable.

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

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, 310 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/18/2013

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In the twenty-second century, Glennora Morgan’s father has been working on a project that will allow him to penetrate the Rift border and retrieve Glennora’s mother; but now that he has succeeded the Authority is suddenly trying to kill them both, and Glennora and her friend Kevin must flee into the Magisterium to escape them.

I guess this would qualify as dystopian, although I am not really sure it takes place on Earth, it never really states that in the book.  If you like books that blend the magical with the ordinary, then you will enjoy this one. Glennora has dreams of space flight to another planet but cannot forget her mother, who disappeared.  Her father makes her life difficult by focusing on an unknown project that ultimately changes the course of her life forever.  You will have to read it to find out if her dream of space travel ever become reality.

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

Unstoppable by Tim Green, 352 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/15/2013

Unstoppable

Inspired by interviews with real-life cancer survivors and insider sports experience, this unforgettable story shows a brave boy who learns what it truly means to be unstoppable. As a foster kid in a cruel home, Harrison knows his dream of playing in the NFL is a longshot…

This one hit home very realistically, almost like the son of a coworker whose son did not make it to a good ending.  I liked that he is given a shot at a good life with people who love him and that he survives to make his dream come true, although not quite as he envisioned before his cancer battle.  Definitely need a box of kleenex for this one.

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

The Journey Back by Priscilla Cummings, 224 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/15/2013

The Journey Back

After breaking out of juvenile detention, fourteen-year-old Digger stops his trek across Maryland at a campground where he recovers from injuries, cares for little Luke, works with smart and pretty Nora, and begins to understand how his behavior and choices shape his life.

This a companion book the The Red Kayak, continuing the story of Digger.  I liked the story and feel compelled to read the previous story to find out what led him to the decisions that landed him in a juvenile facility.  Digger learns a lot about himself in his journey to get back to his mom and siblings.  His heart is in the right place, if he only learns to control his impulses and think of the consequences of his actions.  Highly recommend it to any reader.

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

A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand, 314 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/08/2013

A Bad Day For Voodoo

When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should never actually believe him when he says, “Trust me. This is gonna be awesome.” Of course, you probably wouldn’t believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone’s leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I’ve seen it. It can happen.

Best friend Adam gives Tyler a voodoo doll of a teacher who gave Tyler a bad grade and it all goes downhill from there.  Mayhem reigns in this story, while amusing, I was not so crazy about.  Kids will love it, it’s fast-paced and you never know who will be struck down by the voodoo!

30. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Fourmile by Watt Key, 240 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/01/2013

Fourmile

A mysterious stranger arrives at a boy’s rundown Alabama farm home, just as a dangerous situation is unfolding for the twelve-year-old and his widowed mother.

I could see the story unfold a mile away, but I still enjoyed seeing the outcome of the characters situation.  Foster’s mother has a boyfriend who isn’t probably the best choice for her.  He hasn’t gotten over his father’s death and the fact he doesn’t like his mom’s boyfriend isn’t helping the situation.  Help comes from a stranger hiking to Texas.  The timely arrival of Gary to help them when needed has unexpected consequences.