23. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction, Sarah, Science

The World's Oddest Inventions by Nadia Higgins, 32 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/17/2015

  This book is full of entertaining inventions that came from a need or was just dreamed of and followed through.  Things like smittens, a toaster that will burn images in the side of your toast, or a baby cage that hangs out of your apartment window are just a few that are mentioned.  This book will definitely make you smile.

20. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Award Winner, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Program by Suzanne Young, 405 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/19/2015

  Sloane and her boyfriend, James, live in a world where suicide has become an epidemic among the teens.  The only cure is the Program which cures your depression, but sends you back hollow without your memories.  They vow to each other to stay safe and protect each other through anything, but how can they stay strong enough to avoid the Program?

This is an intense book that I really enjoyed reading.  What if you could wipe out all of the memories that make you sad?  Would it be worth it to lose your identity in the process?  I highly recommend “The Program.”

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

If I Stay by Gayle Forman, 201 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/09/2015

Mia is out for a family drive and her whole life changes in an instant.  Her stresses about life choices, music vs boyfriend, are all put on hold as she has to make the most important decision of her life.  Will she stay or will she go on to be with her family?  This was a memoir of sorts as Mia flashes back to memories and re-lives her life so far.

This dark tale emphasizes how important family is to your back story and how music can infuse your life and influence it like nothing else can.  This was another one I was wishing I had the cd to while I was reading!

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff, 281 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/09/2015

Sam’s best friend, Hayden, commits suicide after a fight at a party.  He leaves a playlist of music for Sam to listen to and a note that says the playlist will explain everything.  Sam is hurt, confused, guilty, and wondering what he missed that night that could have changed the way things turned out.  A friend of Hayden’s, who Sam doesn’t know anything about, shows up and starts to shed some light on that last night’s events.

This was a sad mystery of sorts as I tried to figure out who was behind the “paying back” of the bullies that let this escalate so drastically.  It needed to come with a cd of the music referenced to help me understand it even better.  I was tempted to go to i-tunes more than once!  It was a good book.

02. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, Fiction, Mystery, Sarah

Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl, 316 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/01/2015

  What happens when you discover a picture of what you believe to be your brother 9 years after he disappeared?  You go to find him, of course.  Wynter Evans is a young reporter for a tv station in St. Louis and gets a chance to explore a town called Sanctuary for a story she is covering.  Once there, mysterious things start happening, and she realizes she may be on the track to finding her long lost brother.  Many family secrets are uncovered and Wynter starts to understand more of her history, getting her closer to the truth.  This was a christian mystery that was hard to put down.  I highly recommend it.

08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Sarah

Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George, 212 pages, read by Sarah, on 01/05/2015

This delightful book is the third in a series about the Castle Glower.  Princess Celie and a few others were sent to where the castle came from originally and find 2 wizards, more griffins, and a tomb of the master builder of the castle.  This is an exciting book that will keep you guessing.  Only problem was I should have re-read the series before picking this one up!  Took a little bit to remember who everyone was.  Enjoy.

03. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, NonFiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Positive by Paige Rawl, 272 pages, read by Sarah, on 12/28/2015

Paige Rawl is a courageous young lady who is positive for HIV.  She was born with HIV and took meds everyday since she was three, but didn’t know of her diagnosis until she was in the 6th grade.  This memoir is deeply moving about how ignorance can breed hatred and bullying situations that are completely uncalled for.  Many of her “friends” turned on her after finding out about her HIV status, and this sent her on a roller coaster of despair as she tried to cope emotionally while acting like everything was ok.  This goes to show you that even a positive, optimistic person can be devastated by bullies and overcome the worst.  This is a must read.

17. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, 368 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/16/2014

  Sarah Dunbar is one of 10 black students that are integrating into the white high school in Virginia in 1959.  She is a brilliant senior, but gets placed in the remedial classes because they don’t want the black students holding their white students back.  Linda Hairston is a white senior at the school who is oppposed to integration.  In their French class, they are forced with another white student to work together for a class project.  How can they meet without letting Linda’s father know that she is working with a black girl?  How can Sarah make Linda understand that the black people deserve an equal shake at education and other civil rights?

This was a coming of age story that was disturbing to read at times because it mirrored the turmoil that was going on during the civil rights movement.  Told alternately from the perspective of each girl, it puts you in their shoes to see how their background and family helped to shape their beliefs.  Pretty good book, but it had some alternate themes that weren’t what I expected.

14. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Sarah

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom, 254 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/13/2014

  Mitch has been asked to by a Rabbi to do his eulogy at his funeral.  What Mitch expects to be a short get to know you better period of a few weeks or months, turns into an insightful 8 years.The Reb (Rabbi Albert) was a remarkable man of God whose faith caused him to lead a simple, generous life.  While Mitch is traveling back and forth to interview Reb, he starts his own not for profit to help the homeless and downtrodden in his home, Detroit.  It is in this town that he learns about Rev. Henry Covington, a former drug addict and criminal, and his contributions to the homeless.

This book is powerful in that you leave it with a strong feeling that God is in everything, whether you are Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or Muslim.  God can work through anyone that is willing to give Him an opportunity.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott, 310 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/03/2014

  What happens when a goddess is banished to earth by Zeus?  Does she still have her powers?  Or will she be on her own to complete her tasks at hand?  True (Eros) was banished to earth and has to match 3 couples before she can be restored to the heavens.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except, the love of her life has been sent down, too.  And Orion has no recollection of who she is.  This fantasy book was pretty good.  I enjoyed the references to the different gods and goddesses and how they could effect True’s mission.

21. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, NonFiction, Sarah

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan, 157 pages, read by Sarah, on 10/18/2014

This is a great slice of life from the stacks.  I enjoyed it immensely as it reminded me of a few patrons that I or my fellow library staff have been blessed to deal with.  Some of the stories made me laugh out loud and attract the interest of my kiddos!  Good stuff.

15. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

Deenie by Judy Blume, 183 pages, read by Sarah, on 10/13/2014

Deenie is a young lady who is beautiful and her mother thinks she is destined to be a model.  It is discovered that she has scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and will need to wear a back brace for about four years.  This book showed the struggles of dealing with an overbearing mother, a disease, and friends who don’t know the best way to support each other.  It was pretty good, but a few scenes would prevent me from recommending it to the younger set.  Recommended for the older teen.

15. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, Fiction, Sarah

The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury, 288 pages, read by Sarah, on 09/13/2014

This book was amazing.  Karen Kingsbury brought the gospel story of Jesus Christ to life by telling it from the different viewpoints of the closest family members of Jesus.  She researched, studied, and tried to make it as true to the Bible as possible.  It opens with Joseph courting Mary from his viewpoint, and goes other close family members such as his uncle, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and his brother, James.  This was heart-moving even thought I knew how it would end!!  I highly recommend it.  I listened to it as a book on cd.

01. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, 199 pages, read by Sarah, on 06/21/2014

16068341Alice is not an innocent teenage girl, but she’s not a killer.  This book explores bullying from the viewpoint of the bullies, friends or ex-friends of the victim, and eventually, the Alice herself.  I like how the author doesn’t give you all of the information upfront.  You have to piece together what really happened the night of Brandon’s death from the snippets of info given by the other characters.  It was a pretty typical teen flick, but I enjoyed it anyway!

11. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

November Blues by Sharon Draper, 316 pages, read by Sarah, on 06/10/2014

This is the sequel to “The Battle of Jericho” that fills you in on Josh’s girlfriend, November, after he’s gone.  Within a couple of months of Josh’s passing, November finds out that she is pregnant.  All of her friends rally around her to support her, but her Mom’s disappointment is almost too hard to bear.  Jericho (Josh’s cousin) feels like he is responsible to help November through this but he is still aching over Josh, too.  Complications and ugly high school life make this very believable and heart wrenching.  November has to find the courage to do what is right by the baby, regardless of what others think.  This was a good book, but I enjoyed the first one more.

28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Battle of Jericho by Sharon Draper, 297 pages, read by Sarah, on 05/27/2014

   Jericho has a chance to pledge with the Warriors of Distinction, a club in his school that seems to have it all going on.  The pledges are told all or none so they have to stick together through pledge week through all types of challenges to prove themselves worthy of the group.  At what point do the challenges cross the line?  Should Jericho and his friends stick together and endure the worst?  Or band together to stand up for what is right?

This book was very intense at times when the kids were pledging.  I was disgusted by what they were asked to do and wondered how this type of hazing could ever be allowed.  Obviously, the adults didn’t know the full extent of what was going to transpire that week.  This was a powerful book that serves as a reminder to always listen to that little voice in your head that tells you if something doesn’t feel right…or if you need to get the heck out of a situation.  It was well told, but predictable.

02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart, 248 pages, read by Sarah, on 04/01/2014

  This was a haunting book that will keep you guessing until the very end.  A family of three (mom, dad, and Ellie) are in a terrible car wreck on their way to their new home and one of them doesn’t survive.  How would you cope if one of your parents died?  Ellie’s mind is a beautiful and terrible thing.  I would love to tell you more, but you have to read it for yourself.  It will touch your heart and leave its mark on you forever.

17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, 526 pages, read by Sarah, on 03/04/2014

Ok, so I read Divergent and Insurgent…wonderful…then I read Allegiant.  First, the idea behind it was great.  It starts off right where Insurgent left off and leads into Tris and Four joining a group to find out what is on the other side of the fence surrounding their city.  They discover they are part of an experimental group with genetic implications.  New allies and enemies are made in the compound where they are staying.  I have mixed feelings on this one.  The other two were told from the exclusive point of view of Tris while this one bounced back and forth between Tris and Four.  Sometimes, the continuity was not there to keep up with the story.  Although it was helpful to hear Four’s view, I enjoyed Tris’s storyline better.  Their relationship was tested, and they alternate between loving and fighting.  Overall, it did not live up to my expectations, but it was still pretty good.

01. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Revived by Cat Patrick, 336 pages, read by Sarah, on 01/30/2014

  What if there was a drug that could be administered when you die that would revive you?  Daisy has been revived five times in her short life and is a part of a secret government case study.  Each death means a move to conceal the secret, so putting down roots has been a problem until she moves to Omaha.  Here she makes good friends with a brother and sister who make her realize that she wants more of a normal teenage life.  This experiment is more sinister than Daisy realizes and a thriller ensues that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.  This was a very enjoyable book!  I had read Cat Patrick’s The Originals last year and loved it, too.  I highly recommend it!

13. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, 525 pages, read by Sarah, on 01/09/2014

  Beatrice Prior (“Tris”) was a divergent who chose to join the Dauntless faction when she turned 16.  This book continues exactly where Divergent left off with death and destruction fresh in Tris and her boyfriend, Tobias’ minds.  They have to figure out what is happening and how to stop the simulations.  This book explains a lot more of what is happening between the factions and makes you realize that each faction needs the other to survive.  This book was fast-paced and full of twists and turns that leave you breathless.  You have to read it to believe it.