Friday, July 31, 2015

More Happy Than NotMore Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Soho Press and Soho Teen for the ARC, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Aaron Soto is a character you will not soon forget. He is honest, curious, and searching for happiness in his Bronx neighborhood that is constricting and judgmental. It is Aaron’s thoughts, words, and actions that speak deeply about the kind of guy Aaron desperately wants to be in his neighborhood and the wider world around him. It is through a series of relationships, decisions, and the futuristic Leteo Institute that the reader discovers Aaron is struggling with being gay in a world that won’t accept him. I wept for Aaron’s tragedies and hoped that he would become “more happy than not.” Silvera writes a serious,engaging novel that will hook teens and then have them question if there really should be a cure for whatever one wants to forget. I highly recommend this book for the teen and adult reader.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC, Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, second book in The Diviners Series and oh was it awesome and heart-pounding! I could not put it down. Once again the reader is ensconced in the 1920s world where Evie O’Neill has become a hit radio personality as a Diviner. But all is not well in New York as an unknown sleeping sickness is claiming more and more victims. Evie and her Diviner friends are pulled into an increasing storm involving underground railroad tunnels, ghosts, and dreams. What I loved about this book was the increasing suspense as more and more Diviners join to thwart the demons. Are the Diviners the only ones who can do something about the evil, hungry ghosts lurking in the tunnels? If you enjoy paranormal phenomena, this book is a thriller; suspenseful, and horror-filled with a spine-tingling plot and well-developed characters that do not disappoint!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book about the wide ranging effects of grief that the death of a favorite daughter causes in a mixed-race family in a 1970s small town. James Lee is Chinese, born and raised in the US, but that has not stopped him from hearing the racial slurs, having few friends, and being embarrassed by his parents. As a college professor, he meets, falls in love and marries Marilyn, blond hair, blue eyes and not Chinese. They have 3 children and it is the middle child, Lydia, who is raised with many expectations. The author does a superb job of exploring the depths of each family members' misunderstandings and secrets in light of Lydia's death. Ng also lays bare the Lee's ignoring their other children while Lydia's aspirations take precedence. I ached for the Lee family -James, Marilyn, Nath, Hannah, and Lydia as their lives are laid bare, but I loved them as tragically flawed individuals as they struggle for love, absolution and answers. Highly recommended.

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Girl On a Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the voices of Rachel, Megan and Anna in this thriller whodunit. Not only did this train mean something to every narrator; I felt like I was hurtling along trying to figure out what really happened in this mystery. A great beach read, this book does not disappoint!

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X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon

X: A NovelX: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

X is the fictional retelling of the early life of Malcolm X with his daughter and stellar, Kekla Magoon. Thoroughly researched using his diaries and writings, the reader meets Malcolm as a six year old when he loses his father. This incident is pivotal in his later development and the reader learns about his disillusionment with his parent's uplifting "you can do anything" talks. We follow Malcolm as he flees his home in Flint and lives in Boston and New York, totally absorbed in the high life and hustles, along with drugs, dating a white woman and burglary, which lands him in jail. I could not put this book down; the time period Malcolm lived in was rife with racism; he came from a solid family but his parents convictions resulted in Malcolm's downfall and running away from the love and support of his family. It was his time in prison, writing to his family, and embracing Islam that mark a turning point in his life to become the leader of his people. Please read this book and join me in discussing this highly readable historical fiction book on Twitter with #2jennsbookclub on 7/30 at 8pm EST.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Troll Hunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Krause

TrollhuntersTrollhunters by Daniel Kraus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Book Group and Disney-Hyperion for the ARC, Troll by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus. What a spellbinding read! Daniel Kraus has done it again, crafting a horror story where the evil doers are so disgusting, you root for Jim Sturges and his best friend, Tubby, to triumph. Jim is a very normal teen with an overprotective dad, who suffered the loss of his brother 45 years ago as they rode bikes under a bridge. When 190 children went missing along with his brother, Jack; Jim’s dad changed. He outfitted their house with special locks and shutters and has had many hard and fast rules pertaining to safety for as long as Jim can remember. As Jim and Tub suffer bullying daily at school, other kids are starting to disappear again. Only now is Jim beginning to believe there really are monsters under his bed and under bridges. When Jim is called upon to save the missing kids, his lady love and his town; will he be able to muster the courage to be a trollhunter by night? Can he be a trollhunter fighting evil beside his 13 year old Uncle Jack and other disgusting monsters? Teens will love this illustrated, scary book and will want to read more, more, more; I hope a series is in the works! Highly recommended for those who love horror, building tension, thrilling plot twists and fierce characters.


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Strings Attached by Joanne Lippman and Melanie Kupchynsky

Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great ExpectationsStrings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations by Joanne Lipman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strings Attached is such a great teacher book and so much more. Told in alternating voices by Joanne Lippman (one of Mr. K's violin students) and Melanie Kupchynsky (Mr, K's daughter)the reader learns about their love of music, family, and the inspiration that was their teacher, Mr. K. His methods may have been unconventional but he reached his students so deeply with his love of music that they endured his craziness and bloomed as a result. This is not an easy book to read either; but one that must be read in order to feel and know what Mr. K (and his life in Lithuania during the war) stood for as a coach, father, teacher, and musician. Highly recommended- this book will be discussed in a Twitter Chat #ISTElitchat Tuesday July 21 at 8:30 EST, feel free to join in!

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