Sunday, December 21, 2014

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jacqueline Woodson's novel in verse about growing up in the different worlds of Ohio, South Carolina and New York. She has loving parents who do not stay together for too long. It is difficult to move between the culture of the North and South and Woodson's words from a child's view point are so poignant, always reminded by the times of civil rights and unrest, being Jehovah's witnesses, but always knowing they are loved deeply. School is where Woodson discovers her love of words, writing, and creating stories. The friendships and relationships Woodson describes are deep and profound. I did not want this book to end. I think this book will be enjoyed by children, teens and adults alike. There is such a deep sense of history, family, and education running through Jacqueline Woodson's childhood. Highly recommended.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Crash (Visions #1) by Lisa McMann

Crash (Visions, #1)Crash by Lisa McMann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn't put down the Wake Trilogy and after reading Crash, I am thinking I will be gobbling these Visions books too! Jules and her family own a pizzeria, work constantly, has no life and friends. But Jules has begun to see a vision on billboards, stop signs, TV screens and it is increasing and always the same- a truck, out of control, bangs into their pizza rival, Angotti's building with 9 body bags laying in the snow; one of which is Jule's heartthrob, Sawyer Angotti. What I liked about Jules is that we see through her eyes the visions over and over again. She can't stop them, she can't tell anyone- they will think she is crazy. Jules doesn't care that she has no friends, she cares only for her family (and Sawyer), which has some major problems. The pace is a little plodding as you see the visions over and over (Jules is all alone with this torture)- but the suspense just keeps building as Jules figures out what she must do to try and stop this vision from happening. Heart-stopping with romance, humor, and good character development- I can't wait to read Bang!!!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

Glory O'Brien's History of the FutureGlory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were so many quotes I have marked; I love AS King and this book definitely seals the deal. I love her writing, her characters, and her grasp of the teen world and how their minds and psyches relate! Imagine you and your friend drink a bat and then every time you see someone, you begin to see into their past and future. That's right! Glory and her friend, Ellie, drink a petrified bat that has been doused with beer. On top of this, Glory O'Brien has always been very aware her mother killed herself when she was five by sticking her head in an oven. Glory has continued to wonder through the years, "Will I be like my mother?" and why doesn't anyone (including her dad) ever talk about her mom? Fast forward to her senior year and Glory has not applied to college, is the yearbook photographer (her mom was a photographer) with no friends and she confronts her father with questions, emotions, and raw anger about her mother that she has kept long buried. This is a must read book- Glory's thoughts and in her words, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, are succinct, honest, scary, and evocative. She comes face to face with who she is and she does her best to live, one day at a time, doing great things. Highly recommended!

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so glad this was not the end of The Raven Cycle books! There is so much more you learn about the main characters- Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam. Blue's mom has disappeared and Blue vacillates between missing her terribly and being angry that she would leave and not tell anyone where she is or when she will return. Maggie Stiefvater really knows how to build the suspense, all the while providing humor, much of pondering by the boys and Blue, how much they really care about each other even if they don't show it. I liked Malory, one of Gansey's ley line experts who arrives with a dog and moves right in. The Gray Man has become one of my favorite characters and I am so glad this hit man is sticking around- yes, he is a hit man! I disliked Greenmantle and his wife intensely---Ronan and Adam dealt with Greenmantle rather nicely---if only his wife took a powder too! Jesse Dittley was another great addition to the story---his family owns the ground that houses the cursed cave (could Blue's mom be trapped there?)I am really looking forward to #4, Maggie Stiefvater is the queen of fantasy.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper JungleGrasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a very wild ride! Andrew Smith's description of the end of the world through narrator and recorder, Austin is a whole lot to digest. But with Smith as an expert with words and Austin and his best friend, Robbby Brees and girlfriend, Shann Collins, the reader follows this wild unbelievable ride! In Ealing, Iowa Robby and Austin accidentally unleash a plague that will herald the end of the world with 6 foot tall praying mantises that were bred by Shann's stepfather's brother. They were supposed to stop the war as soldiers for the government but since they have insatiable appetites with food and sex, they kill anyone in sight, except Robby, who seems to be a god to them. Shann finds a bunker on her property that sheds light on this whole sordid mess with journals and films. As Austin records what he is thinking and feeling (This is history, and it is also the truth), the reader is gripped by the sheer craziness of this situation but also totally enmeshed in Austin's search for himself- can he love both Robby and Shann. Through lots of cigarettes, Austin ponders the world, both past and present, and as the reader, I could not stop reading it! I loved Smith's writing- he got bullying, Robby being gay and in love with Austin. Smith's description of the bizarre is sickening (the two headed boy, Hungry Jack mutating into the 6 foot tall giant bug)not for the feint of heart. There is also a lot of F-bombing, being horny and masturbating. Schools will have problems with this book, parents will have problems with this book but I think teens will love this book. For a book that defies description in so many ways, there are wonderfully drawn characters, lots of humor, lots of action and a rippin' good read. I loved Winger by Smith and this crazy book with a sci-fi, romance, and horror will make you THINK and THINK again!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

She Is Not InvisibleShe Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marcus Sedgwick is such a superb author when it comes to suspense! Laureth Peak and her brother fly from London to New York when Laureth believes her dad has gone missing (he is not answering her emails or phone calls)and she receives an email on her father's account (Laureth is his secretary) from someone who claims to have his black book in NY (he was in Switzerland). Since Laureth knows how important this book is to her writer father; she takes money and credit cards and her seven year old brother, Benjamin (and his raven, Stan) helps her navigate (she is blind since birth)taxis, airports, and hotels . What a creepy adventure they plunge into and with each step toward NY and her father---there is more of a concern that her father may have met with a mishap or something far worse...Sedgwick weaves an intricate tale from Laureth's POV - the reader feels her fear, anxiety and deep seated worry that her dad may have become overly obsessed with the current book he is writing. With each clue Laureth and Benjamin unearth in the black book, the mystery deepens and hurtles them(and us)along for a very twisted and satisfying read.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you love mysteries - you will enjoy the suspense in the 2nd book of The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Killer Instinct. Cassie and her friends have abilities that enable them to read people's emotions, figure out if someone is lying, and profile killers - and the FBI is using them to help solve cold cases. If you enjoy serial killer books, this one will hook you! Dean's dad is a jailed serial killer and his old murders are being replicated by (maybe) a few apprentices. There is a new detective, Ms Sterling, who seems to want to shut down The Naturals and their operation. As the killer(s) continue to kill students and a professor at a nearby college- Cassie and her friends must prove to the Director and others they can help solve these murders as Dean's father lies and stuns Cassie and Dean. I did not want to put this book down- loved it as much as the first----getting into Dean's dad twisted psychology will keep your heart racing!

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