Sarah, Plain and Tall
Book Review / April 7, 2016

Title: Sarah, Plain and Tall Series: Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1 Author: Patricia MacLachlan Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Harper & Row Release Date: April 1st, 1985 Format: Paperback Pages: 64 Source: Library “I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall.” A heartwarming story about two children, Anna and Caleb, whose lives are changed forever when their widowed papa advertises for a mail-order bride. Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton from Maine answers the ad and agrees to come for a month. Sarah brings gifts from the sea, a cat named Seal, and singing and laughter to the quiet house. But will she like it enough to stay? Anna and Caleb wait and wonder — and hope. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon     As part of a quest to read all the Newbery Medal and Honor winners, I knew I’d have to re-read some books I read as a child. Darn. That sounds terrible. Just kidding. In conjunction with a re-read challenge, my first Newbery for this year is Sarah, Plain and Tall. The first time I read it, I remember being mesmerized by the “exotic” lifestyle of living in Wyoming on a farm. I grew up…

The Island of the Blue Dolphins
Book Review / March 11, 2016

Title: The Island of the Blue Dolphins Series: The Island of the Blue Dolphins, #1 Author: Scott O'Dell Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 29th, 1990 Format: Hardback Pages: 192 Source: Library Illustrator: Ted Levin First Published: 1960 Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches. Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply. More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to…

The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Book Review / February 22, 2016

Title: The Perks of Being A Wallflower Author: Stephen Chobsky Genre: Coming of Age Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books Release Date: February 1st, 1999 Format: Paperback Pages: 213 Source: Library Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the quintessential…

Illuminae
Book Review / February 15, 2016

Title: Illuminae Series: The Illuminae Files, #1 Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 20th, 2015 Format: Hardback Pages: 599 Source: Library This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to…

The Knife of Never Letting Go
Book Review / February 10, 2016

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go Series: Chaos Walking, #1 Author: Patrick Ness Genre: Dystopian Publisher: Walker Release Date: May 5th, 2008 Format: E-book Pages: 479 Source: Library Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I wish I knew where to start with this book. This is the story of Todd. Todd has a dog named Manchee, and in his settlement on the New World, he becomes a man when he turns 13. Todd cannot wait to become a man. That is– until his caregivers tell him to run away and never return. Suddenly, Todd learns that his entire life is a lie,…

The Darkest Minds
Book Review / February 8, 2016

Title: The Darkest Minds Series: The Darkest Minds, #1 Author: Alexandra Bracken Genre: Dystopian Lit Publisher: Disney Hyperian Release Date: December 18th, 2012 Format: Hardback Pages: 488 Source: Library When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other…

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Book Review / January 20, 2016

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Author: Jesse Andrews Genre: Fiction Publisher: Amulet Books Release Date: March 1st, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 295 pages; 6 hours 9 minutes Source: Library Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight. (via Goodreads)   If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you. – Greg Gaines Greg Gaines has an overbearing Jewish mother and an affinity for avoiding real friendships. He finds the lack of…

Girl on a Wire
Uncategorized / January 15, 2016

Title: Girl on a Wire Series: Cirque American Author: Gwenda Bond Genre: Young Adult Publisher: Skyscape Release Date: October 1st, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 386 Source: Kindle First A ballerina, twirling on a wire high above the crowd. Horses, prancing like salsa dancers. Trapeze artists, flying like somersaulting falcons. And magic crackling through the air. Welcome to the Cirque American! Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies. Jules ignores the drama and focuses on the wire, skyrocketing to fame as the girl in a red tutu who dances across the wire at death-defying heights. But when she discovers a peacock feather—an infamous object of bad luck—planted on her costume, Jules nearly loses her footing. She has no choice but to seek help from the unlikeliest of people: Remy Garcia, son of the Garcia clan matriarch and the best trapeze artist…

Ready Player One
Book Review / December 31, 2015

Title: Ready Player One Author: Ernest Cline Genre: Gamer Fiction Publisher: Random House NY Release Date: August 16th, 2011 Format: Hardback Pages: 372 Source: Library In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   This book hooked me on the first page when one of my favorite Ghostbusters quotes appeared: “Cats and dogs living together… mass hysteria!” – Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters   At that moment, I knew this was a book for me. I was immediately addicted and thought about canceling long-standing plans so I could stay at home and…

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