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

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann, read by Leslie, on 05/19/2013

The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)

In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.

Someone touts it as “Hunger Games meets Harry Potter” on the cover, not really, in my opinion.  Yes, it has a magic element, a kindly, older mentor, and several sneaky boys.  Yes, there is a point where children are weeded out of their society and sent to what they think is their death.  However, I didn’t really find it to be a meshing of the two stories.  Another book that I don’t think I want to read the sequel to, it was a fine story, but beyond that, it doesn’t really pique my interest.  Kids may find it very fascinating, though.


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

Pie by Sarah Weeks, read by Leslie, on 05/17/2013


After the death of Polly Portman, whose award-winning pies put the town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, on the map in the 1950s, her devoted niece Alice and Alice’s friend Charlie investigate who is going to extremes to find Aunt Polly’s secret pie crust recipe. Includes fourteen pie recipes.

A cute little mystery, a good book to get started on the genre if you’re young.  I did enjoy reading it, even if I did have the culprit figured out fairly early!  And I’ve got to admit that I want to try some of those recipes, they looked scrumptious.

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

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson, read by Leslie, on 05/14/2013

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)

When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…

There’s a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London.
Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. A thrilling teen mystery.

The second in the Shades of London series, I found I enjoyed this one as much as the first.  I wasn’t happy that they killed off a major character, just as Rory was finding him, but I’m sure the author has some sort of ghost love storyline in mind for the future.  A good read, even if you aren’t a teen.

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

Legend by Marie Lu, read by Leslie, on 05/07/2013

Legend (Legend, #1)

In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

If you liked Hunger Games, you may enjoy this book.  What interests me is finding out what created the split in the nation, which is not really addressed in this book, hopefully in a future book.  I think the mystery of who, what and why are done very well and just enough is answered to create the need to read more.

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

Michael Vey The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans, read by Leslie, on 05/04/2013

The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey, #1)

To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special–he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens–and through them, the world.

Another teen angst but this time with super powers book.  I enjoyed it but don’t know that I will read any of the sequels.  Isn’t this what we all would wish for, if we are the student who is bullied every day at school, to have a secret super power?  In this case, a few teens that have acquired electrical powers, of different scope, who can either take over the world or become it’s savior.  Teens will enjoy the fantasy involved but as I said, I doubt I’ll read the sequel.

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor, read by Leslie, on 04/30/2013

Sparrow Road

Twelve-year-old Raine spends the summer at a mysterious artists colony and discovers a secret about her past.

I really think that this is going to be my favorite Mark Twain nominee.  The characters were all so real and the storyline rolled out at a nice pace.  Sometimes authors try to stuff things into their stories as they are reaching the end so it feels too rushed.  I thought that Raine’s personality as an only child trying to deal with all the upheaval was well done, she is a very grounded character, not flighty like some authors might make their characters when dealing with similar plots.  Very well done.

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

In Front of God and Everybody by K.D. McCrite, read by Leslie, on 04/26/2013

In Front of God and Everybody

Growing up in the country is never easy, but it sure is funny–especially if you happen to have a sister obsessed with being glamorous, a grandma just discovering make-up, hippie friends who never shower, and brand new neighbors from the city who test everyone’s patience.

I loved April Grace!  Having been the older sister, I can’t see her view of what’s it’s like to be the younger sister, but I loved her sarcasm when dealing with her sister.  And as a kid, she is rather invisible and dismissed by adults when overhearing and seeing things they think are secret.  Very good book, I can’t wait for the next one.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead, read by Leslie, on 04/21/2013

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

As former Alchemist Marcus Finch pushes Alchemist Sydney Sage to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

I love companion series, they make the original series so much fuller and you get to see more of that world!  Sydney begins to realize that she no longer embraces the Alchemist rules like she used to, the more she is with the Moroi and dhamphirs she is assigned to.  Finding out you have been lied to can also be unappealing to someone with the brains to figure it all out.  A good continuation of the Alchemist side of the story.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell, read by Leslie, on 04/17/2013

Book of the Dead (Kay Scarpetta, #15)

Kay Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones confronting her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names-and the pen may be poised to write in her own.

As I go back and fill in the books of hers that I have missed (something I tell my students not to do!) I try to unravel the storyline from the book I previously read and try to see why certain comments were made or how the relationship between the characters became what it did.  This book had a lot of strings come together that were not evident in the telling of the tale but made you wonder enough to make inferences.  Of course, the biggest string came with an ending I didn’t even suspect until the very end.  Good story if you like her books.

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

The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller, read by Leslie, on 04/07/2013

The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike, #3)

While Kiki Strike is in Paris trying to stop her evil cousin, the princess Sidonia, from all sorts of terrible deeds, it is up to Ananka and the other Irregulars help Kiki find the cure for baldness, foil the evil plans of Oona’s twin, and keep Ananka herself from falling in love with wrong young man.

This series is rather fun, not heart-stopping like some mysteries.  The main mystery to me is how all these characters get along, despite the huge differences in personalities, and maybe that is what makes it work so well.  The underlying message of friendship, no matter what, makes it worth the read.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal · Tags:

Ever After by Kim Harrison, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2013

Ever After (The Hollows, #11)

When Rachel sets off a chain of events that could lead to the end of the world – demonic and human–she must use her gifts to save those closest to her while preventing an apocalypse.

This is the closest that Rachel has come to being killed off, so far.  In this latest installment of The Hollows series, it’s a little more fast-paced in the action department. It’s also the closest that Rachel and Trent have come to finally admitting they might be right for each other.  Although I hated that 2 characters met their end in this book, I’m sure it will add something to the next one.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal · Tags: ,

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison, read by Leslie, on 03/18/2013

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)

When she discovers that a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons and needs her blood, former witch-turned-day-walking-demon Rachel Morgan, a bounty hunter, faces her toughest adversary yet –humanity.

Kim Harrison spins a perfect story of a world, post-tomatoes!  I love her Hollows series and I am not looking forward to the day when she finishes tying all the threads together.  Rachel goes from being a rather inept witch to finding out she is really a demon and along the way, makes a family of the most unfamily like assortment, from witches, vampires (both dead and alive), elves, fairies, pixies, demons and any other mythical creature you can think of.  I love the way she has Jenks use Tinkerbell (of Disney fame) to color his cursing.  Rachel comes one step closer to being comfortable in her demon skin in this book.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Elemental by Antony John, read by Leslie, on 03/10/2013

Elemental (Elemental, #1)

In a dystopian colony of the United States where everyone is born with powers of the elements, water, wind, earth, and fire, sixteen-year-old Thomas, the first and only child born without an element seems powerless, but is he?

While I liked this book, I didn’t find myself as engrossed in it as I thought.  I’m hoping the sequels are a little more in-depth with the mystery of the past and why the colony chose to close themselves off from any other humans.  Some of that is uncovered and part of the storyline, but I want more!

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags:

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, read by Leslie, on 03/02/2013

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with it’s take on Jack the Ripper.  For a while, it seems as though the ghost of Ripper is actually back and as the story goes on, it becomes clear it is a ghost, albeit a copycat.  The characters are all real-seeming and entertaining as they try to cope with the mysterious murders.  I thought the way the author came up with to explain who could see the ghosts and who couldn’t was very inventive.  And throughout the book you find yourself hoping that none of the minor characters find themselves as the next murder victims.  The main characters are almost always safe, as they are needed for the sequel!

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

Elemental by Antony John, read by Leslie, on 02/26/2013


Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

Another dystopian book for this month!  I like the way the kids in this book learn to cope with the rigid rules the adults have set, in order to survive.  There is one girl who always ignores the rules, several kids that always follow the rules and a pair of brothers who are also treated as outcasts, even within their group.  They have to learn to trust each other and know that adults don’t always know best or do the right thing, if they want to survive the assault on their colony.  Another one that begins a series I might read as it comes out.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, read by Leslie, on 02/22/2013

The Eleventh Plague

Twenty years after the start of the war that caused the Collapse, fifteen-year-old Stephen, his father, and grandfather travel post-Collapse America scavenging, but when his grandfather dies and his father decides to risk everything to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen’s life is turned upside down.

A quick read for me, I do enjoy reading dystopia novels.  There were a few things about the book that made me go “hmm” and  a couple of times it didn’t seem plausible, but then again, that’s why I don’t write because I don’t think my stories would necessarily flow smoothly.  I might just read the sequel.


27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Mystery · Tags:

Chicago Blues by Hugh Holton, read by Leslie, on 02/18/2013

Chicago Blues (Larry Cole)

Police Commander Larry Cole returns in his most dangerous case to date. the investigation of the murders of two hit-men leads Cole to an old colleague, FBI Special Agent Reggie Stanton. Cole had known Stanton when he was a Chicago cop accused of vigilante knife-murders on Chicago’s South Side. Now the murders of the two assassins bear the same M.O. as those long-ago cases.

I liked this book but it isn’t the type of mystery I usually read.  It seems very old school, police, mobsters, very realistic, considering that Hugh Holton was a police officer in Chicago.  So, it’s very natural that it is the setting for this book.  There weren’t a lot of twists and turns, I could see them as they developed, but it gives the reader a glimpse of what it must have been like in a big city, trying to hold back organized crime and bad cops.  I think I would read more of his work if it were the type of book I tend to read.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell, read by Leslie, on 02/10/2013

Red Mist (Kay Scarpetta, #19)

Determined to find out what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months earlier, Kay Scarpetta travels to the Georgia Prison for Women, where an inmate has information not only on Fielding, but also on a string of grisly killings.

This was as intriguing as the book that comes before it. I liked all the twists and turns and the characters who seem like minor ones, turning into major ones.  I like the undercurrents that flow between the characters and how she pulls all the threads together in a convincing way.  Patricia Cornwell is definitely one of my favorite authors.

01. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell, read by Leslie, on 01/30/2013

Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta, #18)

As the chief of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, a joint venture of the state and federal governments, MIT and Harvard, Scarpetta is confronted with a case that could shut down her new facility and ruin her personally and professionally.

I missed reading a few of her books before this one so I felt a little lost as to what exactly the background of the story was, but I caught on fairly quickly.  The story mainly takes place in about a 24 hour period.  I did feel there were a few gaps in some of the interactions between the characters but I wasn’t sure if it was because I skipped reading a few of the previous novels or just the way she had written it.  It was a fast paced, very riveting book, which shows that the author still has it when it comes to her Scarpetta books.  I could see the twists almost before they occurred but it was a very good read.

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

Finally by Wendy Mass, read by Leslie, on 01/21/2013

Finally (Willow Falls, #2)

After her twelfth birthday, Rory checks off a list of things she is finally allowed to do, but unexpected consequences interfere with her involvement in the movie being shot at her school, while a weird prediction starts to make sense.

I read the three books in this series out of order and I still do not have the answers to all the questions that have cropped up as a result.  I enjoyed the book, girls, especially, will enjoy reading it.  There is light romance as the girls show an interest in boys for the first time.  There is coming-of-age angst as Rory looks forward to and realizes that all of her goals as a 12 year-old are not what she imagines them to be.  But the questions I have as a result of reading them out of order will hopefully be answered eventually.  How did Rory manage to snag a movie star boyfriend in the 3rd book when they weren’t at the end of the 2nd one, why do 2 of the characters write on a blackboard to each other in the 3rd book, and probably a couple of others I don’t remember now.  These should have been explained in the 2nd book!  I guess that’s one way of bringing the reader back.