Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Disappeared

Disappeared Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sara and her brother Emiliano live in Juarez, Mexico, and both are getting into trouble. Sara is a writer at the local newspaper, and she just won't let the public forget the local disappearing women--she writes a weekly column about the women. It hits close to home for her--her best friend Linda was one who was taken, and Sara hopes that she's still alive and not being too badly abused/trafficked. When Sara is threatened to NEVER write about her friend Linda or else her family will be hurt, she is torn between what is right and what will save her family.

Emiliano is in love with a beautiful rich girl, and he knows that all his little money-making schemes won't ever get him to her level. So when a local big shot offers an illegal deal that would get him rich quicker, he struggles about the decision.

Both siblings end up in a lot of danger, and it turns into quite the action/adventure novel at the end.

Love that Sara's point-of-view is included, even though she isn't a teenager anymore, and that the setting is Mexico.

There were a few parts in the ARC that I hope get fixed--for example, Emiliano doesn't know that his older sister is afraid of heights and needs the bottom bunk. That just seems weird. I also wondered about the 20-pound laptop Sara owned--doesn't that seem awfully heavy? They haven't weighed that much since the 1980's, and no one really even owned a laptop back then.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Jane, Unlimited

Jane, Unlimited Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm pretty sure this will get some attention at the Printz table--the writing is pretty darn good. Very similar to Agatha Christie at times, but then the book continues to show what happens when the main character makes a different decision at a certain point in the book. It did get a tad repetitive toward the end, but, hey, then it gets really weird, and you just have to keep reading!

This is the kind of book you have to read twice to really get--I found myself flipping back and forth a lot.

Definitely different from Graceling. A lot more sophisticated and I'm sure this is the book the author has been wanting to publish for a long time!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: The Wolf Road

The Wolf Road The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely LOVED this audiobook. I wanted to keep driving in order to listen, which is always a good sign! The production was amazing, the narrator perfect, and, once I got past the poor grammar of the main character, I was sucked into the woods and Elka's story. It's a bit twisted, which I like, but redemption is available, which I like, too.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: Burntown

Burntown Burntown by Jennifer McMahon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great combination of magical realism, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary heartache, family love, and all around mess of every genre. Don't give up when it gets weird--it's worth it.

Review to come in SLJ AB4t.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review: Saints for All Occasions

Saints for All Occasions Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I stopped on Disk 4 of the audiobook, and I think it's the production's fault. The narrator was just speaking too slowly and carefully for me--I was bored silly while I was driving. I usually love historical novels about the Irish, but this would be better for me in print so I could skip past the slow parts.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review: I See You

I See You I See You by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Scary to think that there might be crazies out there watching you and keeping track of your commute on a website so that nasty men can track you down and ask you for coffee. Or rape you. Or kill you. I did find the premise of this novel fascinating (and scary), but the way it was told was a bit slow for me. The ending sped up like crazy though! Make sure you stick with it until the epilogue.

View all my reviews

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Review: Flame in the Mist

Flame in the Mist Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ooo...I think all the reading of Laurence Yep when I was younger means that I'll always like any kind of action novel with samurais. And this novel didn't disappoint! Mariko's bridal party is attacked on the way to the emperor's palace, and she must try to survive and find her attackers. That means pretending to be a boy, of course, learning to fight, and using her wits to survive. I was reminded of Mulan when reading this, as well as Hearn's Across the Nightingale Floor, but those aren't bad things. Lots of action, a tad of romance, and the ending will have you wanting the sequel right away!

View all my reviews

Review: The Hollywood Daughter

The Hollywood Daughter The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jesse grew up in Hollywood--her dad was THE publicist for Ingrid Bergman. And so Jesse was torn between her parents--her father tried to keep work away from home, since Jesse's mother was a strict Catholic who listened to priests call Hollywood evil.

A little too much of the idolizing Ingrid Bergman and antagonizing about growing up Catholic in Hollywood for my liking, but I know this adult book will have its audience. I enjoyed learning more about the Communism witch hunt and the silly rules that the commission imposed on the movies--three second kisses only! And so that's why the lovers pulled away to talk before kissing again. :)

The majority of the book is about Jesse's high school years, but the ending is all about confronting her past and going back to California to see her Catholic school before its torn down.

View all my reviews

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Feral

Feral Feral by James Demonaco
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The beginning of this book was really promising as an adult book for reluctant readers. A chemical lab goes bad and accidentally releases a chemical into the air that makes all men go feral. The women who survive the men's zombie-like antics must hole up in camps to survive. Very This is Not a Test and all those put together. But I always try to remember that not all teens have read widely, so this kind of genre might be good for them.


I stopped reading when the romantic stuff started driving me nuts. I'm sorry, but these women are trying to survive and they aren't going to stop sleeping with guns to choose instead to sleep with their head on the chest of the one non-feral man they found. I wanted more of a Firefly female character--like Zoey. The love stuff comes after kicking ass.

View all my reviews

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: La Princesa and the Pea

La Princesa and the Pea La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I barely remember the Spanish I learned years ago, but I loved using context clues to figure out what the Spanish words thrown into this mostly English children's book mean. They rhymes helped!

Illustrations were cute, intricate, diverse, and I loved the illustrator's explanation of using Peruvian textiles at the end of the book.

And there is a twist at the end that makes this version of Princess and the Pea (I never really liked the original tale) different. And better!

View all my reviews

Review: Come with Me

Come with Me Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good concept and a much needed one in this day and age. The little girl is scared about everything going on around her and asks her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. They reply with simple things--going to local grocers, saying nice things to diverse people, riding they subway.

But it really seemed like pages were missing. The "They rode the train through the tunnels underground" was odd--no followup? I'm sure it was meant to reference something about a previous subway attack, but no young person would ever get that message that riding a subway equals winning a battle over fear, especially in my neck of the woods.

And what was the deal with the page about setting the table? That page really seemed out of place, unless it was meant to be an etiquette lesson in the middle of a book about living your life even while bad things are going on in the world.

View all my reviews

Review: Sarabella's Thinking Cap

Sarabella's Thinking Cap Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful illustrations and a lot of different ideas to study on each page! Children who love looking for details will enjoy this one.

As for the story, I thought for sure that Sarabella the daydreamer was going to start writing out her ideas. Or that she was going to get some concrete ideas to help her concentrate on her schoolwork. But the simple explanation of "Sarabella began to imagine what her thinking cap might look like. And then she turned back to her work." didn't cut it for me--why was she able to concentrate this time?

I'm sure this will come on the Caldecott table though--acrylics, gouache, collage, and mixed media are all good things.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review: All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

4 stars for the concept--love the idea that lawyers control everything, even the words that we speak in this close-to-real-life future. Everyone in the dome wears a cuff that charges you for each word you speak after the ceremony when you're a teen. No one bothers to read the Terms of Service in this world (I might read them after reading this book) and no one except the rich have books. Parents are taken from children because they are sued for illegally downloaded music generations ago ("we owed the Musical Rights Association of America more than six million dollars in damages.") and forced to work to pay off their debts to the copyright holders.

3 stars for the writing style because there were parts that were disjointed and just didn't read smoothly, especially the ending about Speth's late night rendezvous to find the book that holds all the secrets to this world. I kinda felt preached at about the first amendment, but maybe younger teens wouldn't feel that way? But the idea that lawyers and the rich will control everything through patents and copyrights doesn't sound too out there. Speth is another strong female kickass character, although she does something in the middle that I wasn't a fan of--you'll see when you read. But Speth isn't flawless--she makes mistakes.

View all my reviews

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning

A Shadow Bright and Burning A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this audiobook more than I thought I would. There isn't much new in this fantasy, but I enjoyed the ride and it kept me company on a drive to and from Tennessee!

Ancients and a magical main female character who can kick some ass aren't new to fantasy YA, but I still enjoyed the ride.

View all my reviews

Review: Once and for All

Once and for All Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Classic Sarah Dessen--a sweet romance with a bit of emotional trauma and a few chuckles. The smiles surprised me--this book had funnier moments than what I remember from her previous titles.

Louna is a cynic--she works for her mom's wedding planning business, and she knows that true love isn't always possible. She has her own kind of heartache, too, and when her mom hires a young man for the summer, Louna tries to hold herself distant.

But, love.......happens when you least expect it.

Sweet and perfect summer read. Not too much angst here, which is nice. Dessen just won the Edwards award for lifetime achievement--you can see her at the Edwards lunch at ALA in Chicago later this month!

View all my reviews

Review: Red Sister

Red Sister Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review to come in SLJ AB4T.

View all my reviews