Summary: Maya considered herself at the bottom of the school social ladder. When her father stumbles across a popularity guide from the 1950s, Maya embSummary: Maya considered herself at the bottom of the school social ladder. When her father stumbles across a popularity guide from the 1950s, Maya embarks on a social experiment to see if advise from the 1950s could improve her social status. What she discovered may surprise us all.
Review: This really was an interesting book. It emphasizes that no matter how high your social status, you will always believe that there is someone out there more popular than you are, and that you never really know what people think. I loved how brave Maya was to undertake this experiment. She had to step out of her comfort zone and try several things that were completely new. There was also some humor as she learned to laugh at failed experiments (petroleum jelly on glasses, etc...)
In the end this book makes you think and reconsider how you define popularity, or even likability. In the end, kindness and willingness to listen matter, and being brave enough to put yourself out there makes a difference to people.
Audiobook Review: The audiobook version of this novel was produced by Listening Library and ready by Amber Faith and Lee Adams. The audiobook is exceptionally well done and was a great way to experience this book.
Overall: This is a great read that gives the reader a lot to think about. Very well done and interesting. ...more
Summary: In a robotics competition, you would assume that MIT would be the destined winner, but it 2004 four undocumented high school students from oneSummary: In a robotics competition, you would assume that MIT would be the destined winner, but it 2004 four undocumented high school students from one of the roughest areas in Phoenix, AZ competed against them in an underwater robotics competition. This is a true story where the underdog takes on the toughest challenge and rises above.
Review: I think one of the most remarkable things about the novel is how it makes you think. No matter what your views on illegal immigration may be, this novel puts a face to the problem and the controversy. These students were remarkable, and highly intelligent. Their intelligence would have been welcomed if they had been citizens. All they were, were kids wanting a chance at a better life, and a chance to pursue their dreams.
We love to cheer for the underdog, and this book certainly allows you to do exactly that. Well written, informative, and exciting, this was an excellent work of nonfiction. I also enjoyed that the author included what happened to the teens afterwards. It definitely makes you think, and while there is no easy solution to the problem, putting faces on the issue is certainly eye opening.
Summary: When Denmark didn't try to resist Hitler and the Germans from taking over, some young middle school and high school boys decided to take matteSummary: When Denmark didn't try to resist Hitler and the Germans from taking over, some young middle school and high school boys decided to take matters into their own hands. These young men targeted the German propaganda and the German military machine to make it harder on the Germans. They risked their lives to steal, sabotage, and destroy what they could.
Review: This was an interesting work of nonfiction. It demonstrated that kids and teens can make a difference in the world if they choose to take a stand. These young men did not want the Germans running Denmark, and they would do what they could to make it difficult on them.
Hoose, is a fantastic writer, and had me very interested in the the story. I wanted to know what would happen to these remarkable young men. Well written, educational, and inspirational.
Summary: Zack Lightman doesn't know what he wants to do when he graduates from High School, but he does know that he loves video games. His father, whoSummary: Zack Lightman doesn't know what he wants to do when he graduates from High School, but he does know that he loves video games. His father, who died when he was a baby, suspected the government was using video games to train people for war. So imagine Zack's surprise when he discovers it is all true; the earth is being invaded and the gamers are all that stand between the earth and annihilation by aliens.
Review: I loved Cline's first novel Ready Player One, and had high hopes for this second one. I will admit I am a geek and love these kind of books that focus on video games. The novel wasn't groundbreaking, in fact it reminded me a lot of the classic 80s alien invasion films like The Last Starfighter, but I have to give Cline credit, he didn't ignore that fact and included those movies in his book. I love the nostalgia associated with reading Cline's books--I remember the games and movies he is referencing. The story is engaging and the writing is fun.
Audiobook Review: The audiobook is produced by Random House Audio and read by Wil Wheaton. Wheaton also read Cline's other book Ready Player One. He does a great job giving voice to Zack and making the audiobook entertaining. The audio production is really well done, and I would recommend this as a great way to experience this book.
Overall: Overall, I would recommend this to your science fiction fans, fans of Cline's first book, and anyone who loves 80s science fiction movies and video games.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers: Violence: Yes Sex: Sexual References, but nothing explicit Drugs/Alcohol: Some drinking Language: Mild language, but appropriate given the situation...more
Summary: Lissa is a vampire princess and Rose is her half human/half vampire (dhampir) protector. After two years on their own, they are captured and tSummary: Lissa is a vampire princess and Rose is her half human/half vampire (dhampir) protector. After two years on their own, they are captured and taken back to the Vampire Academy in order to protect Lissa. But the academy isn't the safe place it is supposed to be and their lives may be in more danger there than they were when they were on their own.
Review: The story and the plot were more than a bit predictable, but it was still interesting. I loved the connection between Lissa and Rose and the friendship. Their reliance on one another was believable and their friendship well portrayed. I did like how the author made the vampires "living vampires." While the concept isn't entirely original in the genre, it did make the story a little more unique. Still it was a story of two girls with unusual abilities with a villain who wants to use/manipulated them. This book and the whole series is still extremely popular so there is an audience and with a movie tie this book will remain popular for a while.
Overall: Overall this was an entertaining book which will continue to remain popular with teens.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers: Sex: Sexual situations exist in this book. Violence: Yes there is some violence. Language: Mild if any. Alcohol: Alcohol is consumed by characters....more
Every now and then, you pick up a book that is completely and totally out of your comfort zone. For me, this was that book. I know sometimes people loEvery now and then, you pick up a book that is completely and totally out of your comfort zone. For me, this was that book. I know sometimes people look at two star ratings on books and think the reviewer hated the book. I want to make abundantly clear that is not true. When you hover over the Goodreads two stars rating it says "it was okay," and that's what this book was for me, "it was okay."
The fault is completely my own, because this book was so far out of my comfort zone I found it difficult to enjoy. One of my friends even commented recently that she couldn't understand why I would pick it up because she knows it is nothing like the books I prefer to read. Sometimes you have to read works outside your comfort zone--especially if you work in a job where Reader's Advisory is necessary. Just because this book was not my cup of tea, doesn't mean that I won't recommend it to my patrons. I know several library patrons who come in, who will adore this book and now that I have read it, I can hand it to them knowing they will appreciate it far more than I did.
Okay, the above paragraphs were for my sake, because I always feel terrible giving excellently researched and exquisitely written books lower star ratings. I do think it is important to remember what that two star rating means, and that this was simply how I felt about the book--nothing personal, but it wasn't my cup of tea.
That said, I first want to emphasize that this book was very well written. The author created dialogue between these characters that made you feel like this could very well have been what happened. It was almost like she was peering into their minds and hearts. Melanie Benjamin did her research for this novel and brought these places and times to life.
Her characters made you believe these were the real people she was writing about. At times you would shake your head at their vanity, and at others you would want to sympathize with them. Their lives were so exposed--everything in their lives appearing to be an open book, but in many cases were actually open wounds. The author lets you empathize with her characters and leaves you wondering at how Truman could have betrayed them so thoroughly.
Her settings made you feel like you were there--walking into those fancy hotels, homes, and stores; shopping with the elite. Everything was so visual, and so beautifully described that you could go their too in your imagination.
Overall, this book was amazingly written. The author is extremely talented and did a wonderful job bringing this history to life. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't my type of book, but I am glad that I read something that was out of my comfort zone--my patron recommendations will be better for it. I may have to give the author's other books a try though because she is a very talented author. ...more
Summary: America Singer is chosen to be one of the Selected, a handful of teenage girls who will compete to win the affections of the crown prince andSummary: America Singer is chosen to be one of the Selected, a handful of teenage girls who will compete to win the affections of the crown prince and become his future Queen. America, whose "true love" is from a lower cast, has no interest in gaining the affections of the prince, but eventually the two start to become friends as the competition is narrowed down.
Review: Not every book is for every reader, and that is probably why I put off reading this one. This was a book group pick so I felt obligated to read it. I know how popular this book is, but it never held much appeal for me--just not my thing.
Essentially this book is "The Bachelor" for teens. I think my biggest problem with the book is the predictability--it is all so cliche. Of course America doesn't want to be chosen to be the future queen, she has no interest in that. Of course the prince would be intrigued by American who just wants to be his friend. Of course they will begin to fall in love. Sorry, but there is nothing original here--it is very stereotypical.
Despite that teens love these books, and apparently quite a few adults do too (judging from the reactions of most of the members of my book group). I think the appeal is that the everyday girl gets the unattainable and then there is the happily ever after. Entertaining fluff, but that is sometimes what people want. I may pick up book two someday when I am looking for something light and entertaining, but that's for another day.
Overall: Light and entertaining, but lacking depth. Perhaps the sequels will have more meat to them, but this didn't really hook me. It was okay, but it wasn't a favorite. Still, I might pick up book two someday should I feel the need for something light.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers: Language: Mild--I don't remember anything graphic. Violence: Some, though mostly off in another part of the palace from the narrator. Sex: Some kissing and groping, but nothing explicit. She is informed that she must be a virgin to compete in the Selection and that the prince may ask anything of her. Drugs/Alcohol: Some alcohol consumption....more
Three individuals, each running from something, meet up and reluctantly form a stunt show. Henry is running from the law, Cora is running from an arraThree individuals, each running from something, meet up and reluctantly form a stunt show. Henry is running from the law, Cora is running from an arranged marriage, and Gil is running from his past. Together these three form a unique family, but secrets can soon catch up with them.
This book featured characters who were looking for family and a place to belong all while running from their pasts. The characters were all well developed and believable. You could understand their motivations and their reservations about what their future's would hold. Lots of action, and adventure in a time when America was just learning how to fly....more
When Louisa Clark loses her job at the cafe, she is forced to find other employment. She ends up working for the Traynor family has a hired helper forWhen Louisa Clark loses her job at the cafe, she is forced to find other employment. She ends up working for the Traynor family has a hired helper for their 35 year old, recently quadriplegic son, Will. The two barely get along at first, but as Louisa begins to talk back to the moody Will, they begin to realize though they have little in common, there is a lot they can do together. But their time together is limited as will has plans of his own and Louisa will do anything to change his mind.
Jojo Moyes is a talented writer. I expected this novel to be sappy and maudlin, but to my surprise it was anything but. Louisa is a likeable narrator. She is perky and dependable, but everyone always doubts her abilities and her smarts. When she takes the job with the Traynors it is eventually her spunky attitude that causes will to treat her with more respect. This isn't an easy book though. It isn't your typical chick lit where everyone lives happily ever after. This is a story complicated by Will's disability. Moyes keeps it realistic with out finding an easy solution. Well developed characters, and fast paced easy writing make this book a great read....more
Summary: To finish a business merger, Claire Dellamare, surprises her father at the luxurious Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals in Maine.Summary: To finish a business merger, Claire Dellamare, surprises her father at the luxurious Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals in Maine. From the moment she arrives, Claire begins to feel as if she has been there before, and while out on the beach she witnesses a vicious attack and is attacked herself. Claire finds herself in the middle of a mystery concerning her own past on the island and a year when she had disappeared as a child. As she begins to investigate, Claire finds herself romantically drawn to a Luke, a local, who lost his mom the same time four year old Claire went missing. The stakes are high, and Claire will call on all her faith as it begins to look like a killer is stalking her and trying to keep her from unraveling the secrets of her own past.
Review: This fast paced novel will be great for fans of romance, mystery, and Christian fiction. The action starts almost immediately as Claire begins to have memories of the island and the hotel. Soon after she witnesses a murder and the pace never slows.
While I wouldn’t say there is a lot of depth to this book, it is a fun light read. Fans of light mysteries will enjoy unraveling the story of Claire’s past. The writing is clear, but a bit overly dramatic. Still it was a highly enjoyable.
Overall: Highly enjoyable. I would recommend this to our patrons who enjoy Christian Fiction. ...more
Heather Wells, a former pop celebrity, has been dropped by her music label and is currently working for New York College in the hopes of being able toHeather Wells, a former pop celebrity, has been dropped by her music label and is currently working for New York College in the hopes of being able to earn her college degree for free. When freshmen girls in the residence hall where she is assistant director start dying she suspects foul play and starts to investigate when no one will believe her.
This is a fun light read. The pacing of this novel is fast. You move quickly from one incident to the other trying to figure out the mystery with Heather.
Heather is a likable character who the reader has no trouble understanding. She is a former teen pop star who decided that she wanted to control the type of music she performed, and was dropped by her record label as a result. She takes a job as an assistant director of a residence hall with New York College in hopes of taking free classes after she passes her six month probation. When freshmen girls start dying from elevator surfing, Heather suspects something is up, but can't get anyone to believe her. Her character is believable and likable. She has an intense crush on her roommate Cooper, and some confusing about her ex-fiance Jordan. Her character is flawed, but that makes her more real.
Overall this, was an entertaining book that would be great for people who like their mysteries light, and humorous. ...more
Debbie Millbern wanted to be an athlete in a time when it wasn't deemed appropriate for a girl to an athlete or athletic. Over and over again she wasDebbie Millbern wanted to be an athlete in a time when it wasn't deemed appropriate for a girl to an athlete or athletic. Over and over again she was told to be a cheerleader, but she wanted more. This is her story growing up before Title IX and her life as a coach of women athletes after Title IX.
I loved this book. It was very readable and very informative. Her frustration with the circumstances that were so unfair was understandable. Today we try to tell our girls they can be anything, but when Millbern was growing up there were many things a girl couldn't do--including play basketball. It was interesting to see how things have changed, and to recognize the areas where we could still use improvement.
The sports scenes were thrilling and many times made me feel like I was there cheering for Debbie and her team.
Summary: Mile’s Halter (Pudge) hoped that boarding school would launch him into the adventure of a lifetime. Little did he know Culver Creek would chanSummary: Mile’s Halter (Pudge) hoped that boarding school would launch him into the adventure of a lifetime. Little did he know Culver Creek would change his life forever. At Culver Creek his roommate “the Colonel” introduces him to the most unique person he has ever met, Alaska Young. Together, the find highs, lows, pranks, and friendship. Until tragedy strikes and in the after Pudge has to reassemble the pieces and figure out what it was all about.
Review: I have to admit that I am kind of disappointed in this book. I guess it was hyped too much, but I was expecting more from the novel than I feel I got. Don’t get me wrong, the book is well written and interesting, but after so much hype I had higher expectations. This is the book that rocketed John Green onto the YA lit scene and won the Printz! I’ve read other Green novels and have enjoyed every one, but this one left me wanting more. More what—I can’t answer that question, but I just wanted more something. I expected something more.
The characters in the novel are superbly drawn. Every one of them feels like someone you know. You have met the Colonel, Alaska, Pudge, Lara and Takumi. I even loved the Old Man and the Eagle. They were all so meticulously portrayed that you could imagine them in real life.
The book is divided into a Before and After. You know something big is going to happen, something that will change Miles forever. The reactions of the character and the grieving processes are very realistic. Each character reacts differently and there is denial, anger, and of course sadness.
Audiobook Review: The audiobook version of this novel is read by Jeff Woodman and produced by Brilliance Audio. Run time for the book is 7 hours and 11 minutes. I purchased the book from Audible and really enjoyed Woodman’s narration. The audiobook is very well done and a good way to experience this novel.
Overall: Overall this is a very good book. I know I said I was a little disappointed in the book, but after so much hype I guess I expected to be bowled over by its awesomeness. In the end though, it was very realistic, with characters that feel like your best friends. I would highly recommend this book.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers: This book is for older teen readers due to drinking, explicit language, and sexual content.
Sex: yes Violence: one prank was a little over the top Drugs/Alcohol: yes Language: yes ...more