Friday, September 19, 2014

Ick! Yuck! Eew!

Ick! Yuck! Eew!
Our Gross American History
by Lois Miner Huey

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Millbrook Press

Many kids learn to love history by focusing on the grosser things that have happened. I see this all the time in the library I work at. This book is perfect for them, showing a vivid picture of how life was in our early years as a country. Whether it's the lack of indoor plumbing or personal hygiene conveniences, we had kind of a smelly history. Bugs thrived in peoples hair - real or fake and leeches were a common medical cure. Anyone reading this book is bound to gain a greater appreciation for all of the modern privileges and technology we now enjoy.

Before the World Was Ready

Before the World was Ready
Stories of Daring Genius in Science
by Claire Eamer
art by Sa Boothroyd
Hardcover, 125 pages
Published July 11th 2013 by Annick Press 
 
This is a fun group biography of people who were ahead of their time when it came to ideas of how things work or should work. Though their peers may have thought them crazy, we today know that they were brilliant and contributed greatly to our current society. The format is like that of a chapter book. The sections are short and accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations. The reader will not only learn about the great thinkers themselves but how the world and society has changed over the years. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Burn Out

Burn Out
by Kristi Helvig
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by EgmontUSA 
 
From Goodreads.com:
  Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.
 
My thoughts:
 I liked this, I think. It was strange and an odd setting, mostly in an underground shelter. The end was fairly abrupt, so I am sure there will be another one. I just don't know yet if I will read it or not.

A Snicker of Magic

A Snicker of Magic
by Natalie Lloyd

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Scholastic Press 
From Goodreads.com:
  Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she'll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that's been cast over the town . . . and her mother's broken heart.
My thoughts:
I thought I had written my review a long time ago for this book. But I can't find it and it has been long enough since I read it that I don't remember the details, thus the copy and paste from goodreads. However, I do remember that I loved this book. I was lucky enough to not only get an e-galley from NetGalley, but I also received a print ARC from the publisher. I had so much fun reading this book and I am always able to give it to readers that come in my library. Seriously, who can resist that cover?! 

Ava and Pip

Ava and Pip
by Carol Weston

Hardcover, 211 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Ava and Pip are two very different sisters from an extremely "word nerd" family. Obviously, their parents particularly love anything palindromic, but other word play is often heard around their dinner table. Ava is the younger of the two and also more outgoing and social than her older, more emotional sister, Pip. Despite their differences they do love each other even if they don't always get along. Shy Pip, decides to throw a birthday party but her plans are thwarted by a new girl in town who happens to unknowingly throw an even bigger party the same night. Ava decides to take her writing skills and get revenge on Bea, the new girl and cause of Pip's latest emotional stress. Ava writes a story that thinly veils her animosity towards Bea. There are surprisingly results all around when everyone finds out the truth behind Ava's award-winning short story.  This is a wonderful book for girls in upper elementary and middle school. The characters are real in their emotions and actions with family and friends. I won't be surprised if I hear this title in the upcoming Newbery buzz.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Body in the Woods

The Body in the Woods
A Point Last Seen Mystery
by April Henry
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The three main characters are all quite unique, yet they have a certain dynamic that makes them interesting and even entertaining to read about. Ruby's obsession with patterns, especially in a crime setting make her a little hard to be friends with. Nick has his own obsession with living up to the memory of his Iraqi-war-hero of a dad. Then there's Alexis, who's only real obsession is keeping her mother's condition a secret from everyone. As new volunteers with Portland's Search and Rescue, they are kind of thrown together. When they respond to a search for an autistic man, they find a body instead. For a variety of personal reasons, they have a hard time just sitting back and letting the police track down the murderer. As they uncover evidence will the detective in charge listen to them or will it be a case of "The Boy (or girl) Who Cried Wolf"?
A fun, and clean, young adult murder mystery series with engaging and likeable characters.

The Dream Thieves


The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater

Hardcover, 439 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Scholastic Press

I don't think I have ever felt such a discrepancy between how much I liked the first and second books of a series. I don't know if the difference was that I read the print copy of the first and listened to the audio of this one. I stuck with it though, which is saying something as I really didn't like it. I am not sure I would have stuck with a print copy. I feel like I was on some bizarre drug-induced trip while listening to it - it was that random and scattered. Or maybe if I had been tripping I would have enjoyed it better?! I have said it a million times and I am going to say it again - if movies, video games, comic books, and TV shows all need ratings - why not books? That way the reader (or parent of the reader) might have an idea of what they are getting into before it starts. This book had an excessive amount of bad words - words that aren't allowed in a PG-13 movie so why so abundant in a teen book? I don't remember that being a problem in the first book, though I tend to be able to ignore it more easily when printed as opposed to being constantly voiced aloud through my earbuds. The characters frequently were taking drugs and other adult situations were mentioned. Up until this point I have loved everything by Stiefvater. I don't know if I will be back for any more of this series.