Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was halfway through this audiobook when I realized that I didn't care anymore. It was nothing new to me, but I imagine young readers who haven't read much fantasy will appreciate it. I felt like I knew what was going to happen and I knew I didn't want to read the sequel, so I stopped listening.

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Review: The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics by Stephen Coss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read an adult nonfiction book that wasn't a memoir--it's a miracle!

I had every intention of skimming this one, until the next thing you know, I'm at 30% on my Kindle. Fascinating stuff here, and this history minor ended up highlighting a lot of passages. I started reading it because I had quite a few ancestors living in Boston and Cambridge during this time, and I wanted to learn more about the time period. Crazy to think that the Franklins and their newspaper were like the Colbert of their time--I bet those young men were the toast of the taverns!
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Best parts of the book though were about the smallpox epidemic. Honestly, I knew nothing about inoculation, and I find it fascinating that Cotton Mather of the Salem witch trials fame, was a supporter. I loved learning how Africans and the Chinese were ahead of the Europeans on this topic.

I loved all the tidbits--for example, did you name that Cotton's son Creasy (Increase like his grandpa) "impregnated a prostitute in 1716" Ha! I know one of my ancestor's died on the Mayflower before he got off the boat--I wonder if smallpox killed him?

Anyway, if you read history, read this. Great stuff.


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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Revenge and the Wild

Revenge and the Wild Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So much promise in this debut--I'm already looking forward to her next book.

But....oh, the stereotypes. I can't wait to see what Debbie Reese says about it. I noticed sentences like this: "Bena rode with a swayed back, her eyes scanning the forest around her, stoic like the braves of her tribe." Sigh. I shouldn't sigh with disappointment when I read a modern YA book. These types of sentences don't belong.

There were so many things going on this novel--paranormal elements, leprechauns, cannibalism (sweet!), trolls, too. And sometimes we got a whole backstory that we didn't need to know about.

I enjoyed Westie, but I didn't appreciate the blushing and fainting. The sex made this book for older YAs, but it was well done. I loved the steampunk elements and the alternate setting. See? So much of this book that I liked, but those stereotypes....

I appreciated the design of the book, too--bloodsplatter rules!

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: Tarnish

Tarnish Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love how I've read so many novels about Anne Boleyn, yet she's different in all of them. Longshore chooses to take the route that Anne is a strong, smart young woman who is determined to not end up like her sister (king's mistress) or her court enemies. She has no real concern for love--she wants power.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Some Kind of Courage

Some Kind of Courage Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a sucker for westerns, so, even though this is for grade schoolers, I thought I would give it a try since it's getting rave reviews. Nothing can get between a boy and his horse (or dog), add in historical fiction, and you have a probable Newbery, right? ;)

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Review: The Sting of Justice

The Sting of Justice The Sting of Justice by Cora Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Up to #3 in this series, and I'm still enjoying the main character, her dilemnas, and learning about Irish law. I noticed that some of the chapter intros are starting to repeat, but it seems like the rule of marriages and murder repeat in murder mysteries! Makes sense.

The Brehon is called to investigate when a rich silversmith is found dead of bee stings. The people closest to him knew that he was dreadfully allergic to them, yet someone poked a hive with a stick to cause him grief. As always, the Brehon and her crew of male students investigate the issue until the murderer is found.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: The Boy in the Black Suit

The Boy in the Black Suit The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want 17-year-old Matt to be a real person, and 30 years older, please.

He's grieving tremendously for his mother, but he's managing. His dad is being needy, but at least he has the funeral home owner, Ray, to support him and give him a job. And, then, there's this girl....

Adorable love story about grief. I want to know these kids.

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Review: The Mark of the Assassin

The Mark of the Assassin The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't realize that I ordered the ABRIDGED version of the audiobook--yuck! I'm going to try the original because I think I will like it better.

I stayed up way too late finishing the print version of this book, after I skimmed and scanned the beginning of it to catch up from the crappy abridged audiobook I started. I found myself wondering WHO decides what goes in and stays out of the abridged version? And then I kept noticing the differences between the print book and the abridged audio. Fascinating stuff.

Love this book and I bet I love the series. Perfect CIA/international intrigue/government conspiracy thing with a better-than-James-Bond character. Why is Michael Osborne better? He's faithful to his wife, for one. And he's not all gung ho about throwing weapons around--his weapon is his mind. (insert evil laugh)

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Review: Shadow on the Crown

Shadow on the Crown Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About 50 pages too long for me, but an enjoyable read about Emma of Normandy. Who is that, you may ask? As I did? She's the queen of King Aethelred of England, back in 1002. Not much is known about her early life, so this fictional novel tries to complete the gaps.

Once again, I'm glad I wasn't female back then. Lots of rape and power-hungry men, and women who have to stoop to poison and sex to get what they want. Ugh. This is the first book of a trilogy.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Review: The Memory of Light

The Memory of Light The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know emotional teens will eat this up, but I feel like I've read too many books about depression and suicide already. This one doesn't stand out. If anything, I feel like the hospital scenes are unrealistic--all the sharing of health information with everyone and no mention of insurance when it comes to long-term treatment.

I do love that all the characters are diverse, with many social classes represented.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: 45 Pounds

45 Pounds 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A bit heavy-handed at times, but a realistic look at family members dealing with weight issues.

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Review: Manor of Secrets

Manor of Secrets Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was expecting a cheezier version of Downton Abbey, and that's just what I got! But I still enjoyed it! Lady Charlotte isn't happy with her lot in life--marrying whom her mother wants her to and sitting patiently by a fire the rest of her life. Janie, down in the kitchens, isn't happy with her station either. And neither is Lawrence, the handsome footman, who tries to kiss every woman in the manor. Nothing unexpected here, but give it to teens who want more Downton Abbey.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: House of Purple Cedar

House of Purple Cedar House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beautiful writing and I learned a lot about the Choctaw people in Oklahoma. There are many interesting characters in the small town of Spiro, but their stories all come together in the end. Patience and love wins, thankfully.

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Review: Darkhouse

Darkhouse Darkhouse by Alex Barclay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don't worry about the multiple characters and setting switches going on at the beginning--eventually they all come together! It is odd that there is only a two-line space between the changes though--so when I lost my place on a page, I really got confused and had to start over!

Joe "retires" from the police force in America when he shoots a unarmed criminal dead in the streets. All agree that it's best that he travels to Ireland with his wife and son--she's fixing up a lighthouse for a Vogue Interior photo shoot. While there, their son Shaun falls in a love with an Irish beauty, but she ends up dead. Joe can't turn off his cop hat--he investigates even when the local garda tell him not to. The case ends up tied to one of Joe's cases in America and things get messy.

A few gruesome parts in this one that I didn't care for (kinda like when I fast-forward through the torture in 24), but I'm looking forward to reading another of her books.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: All Fall Down

All Fall Down All Fall Down by Ally Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nothing special here, but it's a fun romp about a teen girl who is nothing but trouble at her grandfather's European embassy. Lots of country-dropping, almost creating wars, and totally unbelievable things, but I didn't care.

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Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would have loved this book back in junior high--hauntings, creepy houses, a cute boy, a mom who just doesn't understand, and the main female character finding out that she is special. In this case, a luseech. (sorry if I didn't spell that right, but I listened to the audio).

Speaking of the audio, I wish the author hadn't narrated it. In some cases, her voice added an interesting quality, but the mouth sounds and awkward pauses drove me nuts.

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Review: Ireland

Ireland Ireland by Melody Carlson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Melody Carlson was wildly popular at the high school where I used to be librarian, because the town had very active churches and youth groups. I pretty much stocked all of her YA books so that I could recommend Christian YA titles to the teens.

This title was about Ireland, so I wanted to read it, and I figured I hadn't read a YA Christian fiction in awhile so I thought I would give it a try. There were a few cheesy moments, but it wasn't too bad. This is the first of a series, in which 19-year-old Maddie begins to travel with her 50-year-old cool aunt around the world. Maddie is pretty naive--she doesn't like to sit in a pub in Ireland to eat, and is uncomfortable with people drinking around her, even if they aren't drunk. She grows up a lot in this book, though, and learns a bit about the IRA and RIRA and the troubles. I thought it was funny that one theme of the book is that it's okay for Christians to drink a little--hey, even Jesus drank wine! :)

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: Fallen Land

Fallen Land Fallen Land by Taylor Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is for all you literary novel lovers! I wanted to read it because it's about the Civil War, and, hey, there is a horse on the cover! Callum is used to being on the run--he was orphaned twice and has always worked for criminals. But now he rebelled against his own group of renegades because he tried to save a pretty Southern girl who didn't want to get raped. The two are on the run, stealing horses and food, and trying not to be caught by bounty hunters, all while the war in Georgia is going on. Lots of violence here, and TONS of beautiful writing. It really reminded me of Cold Mountain, as well as some Alex Award winning title that I can't quite remember. This isn't something I see teens rushing to read, and it's not my usual read, but I'm interested enough in war that I kept going through all the "beyond him the northern shore, empty and far" to find out what happened to Callum and Ava. You WILL love these kids.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: A Secret and Unlawful Killing

A Secret and Unlawful Killing A Secret and Unlawful Killing by Cora Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm in love with this author, and with Mara, the main character of this series. Mara is a Brehon, a female judge in Ireland, and, in this novel, she's solving murders (of course!) and trying to decide if she should give up everything she has to marry a king. I have a feeling she won't--she's thinking about a marriage in the 4th degree, where they both would keep their own homes and meet whenever they need to, to, um, act like a married couple.

The more I learn about ancient Gaelic law, the more I'm intrigued. Off to interlibrary loan the next book!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Tower of Thorns

Tower of Thorns Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review published in School Library Journal Adult Books 4 Teens.

http://www.slj.com/2016/01/collection...

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Review: Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I gave this a starred review in School Library Journal Adult Books 4 Teens.

http://www.slj.com/2016/01/collection...

Which means it kicked ass.

And I felt justified because I gave it a starred review and THEN it was put on the Alex Award list--yay!

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Review: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick YA read about Adam Spencer Ross, a teenage kid who suffers from OCD. He lives a week with his mom, and a week with his dad, step-mom, and little brother, who also suffers from anxiety. Adam is getting worse, but sometimes not acknowledging WHAT is making someone feel worse is part of the problem. Luckily he has a great counselor, a supportive OCD support group, and a great priest. Loved how this book has a positive priest--I'm getting sick of reading about alcoholic and child abusing Catholics.

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