Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bang by Barry Lyga

BangBang by Barry Lyga
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read and loved this heartbreaking book for #yabookchat June 4 at 9pm EST (join our twitter chat). Sebastian was 4 years old when he shot and killed his infant sister- ever since then - he has felt guilty - his mom is always sad, his dad left, and no one talks about it. Ten years later Sebastian is still suffering, has one friend (his family does not like Sebastian for the obvious reason) and he leaves for summer leadership camp. While Sebastian talks/listens to the voice he plots when he will end his life - but with a new girl Annesa moving in - many many things change for Sebastian - he can talk to her, he loves her and her family - will Sebastian's life, and outlook with this new friend change? Another powerful read Right Behind You by Gail Giles will shock you and rock you.

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Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Things I Should Have KnownThings I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many thanks to Doris Heise, my librarian hero, for recommending this read!!! First of all I LOVE the cover with the hashtags turning the title to read Things I Know, how brilliant! Claire LaZebnik has a great voice- her dedication to her husband is totally awesome and main protagonist, Chloe is such a real voice- she is popular, dates & kisses lots of guys, doesn't like to complain about many things BUT just look how her mood changes when her autistic sister, Ivy is involved in any way. Chloe's love, concern and aggravation for her autistic sister unfolds in so many wonderful ways in this MUST READ YA novel. Then the very annoying David Fields also has an autistic brother, Ethan - Chloe thinks Ivy and Ethan should date, and get out in the world more. Together Chloe and David share many harrowing dates with Ivy and Ethan and together they find out many things about their families, themselves, and what really matters. This book did really steal my heart and it will steal your too! Highly recommended.

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this for the #2jennsbookclub twitter chat being held Thursday 6/8 at 8pm EST (join the chat!!!)& like her other books, Roth had me spellbound with Cyra and Akos' drama - their families, their gifts, their feelings of not being in control as their worlds splinter, explode, and maime. We see the good and bad in their worlds; the love and hostility between them and their cultures. I could not put this book down, I can't wait for the 2nd book and more more more on Cyra and Akos- rooting for them! There is horror, adventure, drama, politics and so much more!

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (Mighty Jack #2) by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (Mighty Jack, #2)Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and First Second Books for the ARC, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke. What a spellbinding read! Ben Hatke has done it again with a super charged graphic novel middle school and teen readers will totally enjoy. Mighty Jack and the Goblin King continues expanding the fairy tale begun in the first comic, Mighty Jack, with bright, electric illustrations crafting an action filled horror adventure story with Jack and Lilly with their swords and daring racing to save Maddy, with help from Phelix and goblins. Highly recommended for those who love fantasy, building tension, thrilling plot twists and fierce characters.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave UsThe Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, I could not put this book down, I loved (and hated) all that happens with Lucy. Lucy is strong, a leader, and daughter of a pastor. Her mom is a school nurse and her cancer re-occurs. Lucy is devastated, she is angry at God, her faith is blindsided, and so she struggles big time. Add to this- her boy friend, Lukas wants them to PAUSE for the summer (jerk), her mother wants her to work at the next door camp (rather than the one her parents own and run) for high risk kids and Lucy does not want to be away from her mother now but she also wants to grant her mom's every wish. So she does it, and from the first day at camp with her 3rd graders and the other camp counselors, she is challenged, questions herself constantly, worries about her mom BUT she also begins to change her mind about the campers and the counselors and very soon, she is finding herself completed by these kids & teens. I loved the way Emery Lord dealt with the faith issue- it was so real and believable from Lucy, her mom and dad's POV. She lived her faith, loved her faith, practiced her faith but she also questioned, railed, and anguished about/over her faith. The other counselors have all attended this camp as kids and now as counselors and they all have "a checked bag" (their issue) - they too are real and thoroughly supportive. Anna quickly becomes Lucy's best friend and confidante, Henry wears his heart on his sleeve - settles Lucy with his trumpet and his conversation and caring. Keely and Tambe round out this group and they all SAVE Lucy with their honesty, inclusion, and friendship (weekly discussion of "highs" and "lows") but through it all the reader sees such much inward and outward change in Lucy and an acceptance of what life is going to throw at Lucy and her family as long as there is love. I thought Emery Lord could not top When We Collided, but this book is such a gem with diverse characters, kids dealing with tough lives due to illness, death, sickness and learning coping skills at this camp from the counselors. Highly recommended!

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great ending to a series I thoroughly enjoyed! I love Jenny Han's way of writing, her characters, and the senior year & college application process for Lara Jean and Peter Kavinski. Lara Jean & Peter as a couple continued to make me fall even MORE in love with them. Lara Jean's family ties, baking of chocolate cookies, getting into college, and through it all, growing even deeper in love with Peter had me turning the pages...Peter, loved him because he was the real deal-- nice, kind, attentive, thoroughly into Lara Jean, pleasing her and her family, putting on face masks (haha), chowing down on her chocolate cookies all made him perfect to me. My son played lacrosse in high school & college, played against UVA for 4 years - so I really enjoyed Peter's love of the game, getting a scholarship, and working hard to be a better lacrosse player. Peter's page in Lara Jean's yearbook was awesome & Lara Jean's scrapbook of memories for Peter were very, very special.

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Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

WindfallWindfall by Jennifer E. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED listening to this amazing audiobook by one of my fave romance authors, Jennifer E. Smith. The idea of a girl, Alice (in love with her best friend, Teddy & he of course does not know) buying a lottery ticket and using Teddy's favorite numbers and a few of Alice's as a gag gift for his 18th birthday made this a phenomenal listen (but also a great book). The narrator, Tonya Cornelisse, was great! She had a breathy kind of deep voice so Alice's voice was perfect but the raspy sound for Teddy & her cousin made for good guy voices. The evolution of Alice as she grows during this time made me ache for her often (ahe lost both parents 9 years before, she was afraid of change, holding back with her cousin and aunt and uncle - and of course, Teddy) but Smith knows how to grow her characters and GROW Alice & Teddy she does - PERFECTLY!!! The family dynamics were absorbing, the drama of winning the lottery and the ups & downs afterwards for Alice and Teddy were gripping, but through it all their friendship manages to bear the pitfalls & highs. Highly recommended as an audiobook and/or book, great YA read!

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