Really cute book for middle grades (maybe 3rd grade and up) about a robot named Roz who washes ashore on an island, and learns to live free and wild wReally cute book for middle grades (maybe 3rd grade and up) about a robot named Roz who washes ashore on an island, and learns to live free and wild with the animals. She even adopts a baby gosling and learns how to be a parent! She helps the animals when they need it--bringing logs to the beavers or saving a bear cub in trouble--and they in turn help her in various ways, including at the action-packed climax of the story, which was one of my favorite parts. You have to suspend your disbelief, if you're an older person reading this, that a robot could do all of the things she manages to do, but it made perfect sense to me--she's a robot with logic programming and kind of a "self-improvement" program-- and had adorable drawings that complemented the fun story. A sweet book about friendships and families of all kinds, "interspecies adoption" if you will, and finding your strengths and fitting in. ...more
Perhaps I liked this book so much because I was watching the tv show Nashville at the same time, but this look at a teen country music star's relationPerhaps I liked this book so much because I was watching the tv show Nashville at the same time, but this look at a teen country music star's relationships and problems with stardom was a lot of fun. Reagan goes on tour with her best friend, Dee, who performs her own country music as "Lilah Montgomery." Dee is trying to get over the breakup of her longtime relationship with Jimmy, who let her go to pursue her career because he wants to work close to home (outside Nashville). Meanwhile, Reagan is the "bad girl" of the two friends, has dated around, been arrested for DUI, cutting school, etc. The two girls are a good influence on each other, and Dee especially needs Reagan's support when a tabloid breaks a sensational "nude" photo of Dee--really just a poolside pic with bathing suit cropped out. To repair her reputation as a sweet innocent starlet, Dee's management decides she needs an opening act, Matt Finch, a 19-year old former kid-band singer who's restarting his solo career. Matt can pretend to be Dee's new wholesome love interest, but actually he and Reagan start to fall for each other in real life. Things get complicated, of course--enter a former girlfriend of Matt's!--will true love prevail? A very sweet romantic story, as well as a story about true friendship, family, and the ins and outs of the country music business. The setting is great, giving backstage details, and showing how the lyrics of certain songs can make characters' emotions well up. Excellently written, nice use of metaphors and so forth. Also a good clean read for middle school and up....more
A great thriller that is hard to put down. Nice buildup of suspense, plus a good mix of romance and realism and mystery. When Chloe falls asleep in stA great thriller that is hard to put down. Nice buildup of suspense, plus a good mix of romance and realism and mystery. When Chloe falls asleep in study hall, it's just another May day. But when she wakes up, somehow it is now November! And she has no memory of the past six months. But many things have changed that she doesn't remember: she used to be an average student but now she's an A student and in a study group with other top students whom she doesn't remember ever having met; the guy she used to have a crush on is now her boyfriend but somehow she's repulsed by him; and what happened between her and her best friend that caused them to no longer be speaking to each other? Great hook for a book and a pretty suspenseful story follows. Loved the semi-local setting, the fictional "Ridgeview, Ohio." (Ohio author, yay!)...more
This nominee for the 2016 Buckeye Teen Book Award is a fast-paced action-packed romantic pageturner! It's a fun modern twist on the Greek myths of PerThis nominee for the 2016 Buckeye Teen Book Award is a fast-paced action-packed romantic pageturner! It's a fun modern twist on the Greek myths of Persephone and Orpheus, and a great book for fans of the Percy Jackson series who have aged up and are looking for a more mature mythology-based series. Haden, a hunky warrior Underlord prince of the Underrealm, has been given the mission to go to the Overrealm (AKA our world!) and bring back a Boon. The "Boon" is Daphne, a musically talented high school senior girl who's hoping to get a shot at stardom by attending a special performing arts school in Olympus Hills, California. Haden's got to convince Daphne to come willingly with him back to the Underrealm, just like Persephone so long ago, to live permanently down there--guess what her answer's probably going to be? No way! Even though, helloooo, he's quite the hunk. Sparks fly between them, but this is much more than a romance novel. There's magic, and nasty supernatural creatures, and the fish-out-of-water scenes as Haden learns to adapt to modern life are often pretty funny. And oh dear, there just might be a huge war between the gods brewing!...more
A thrill ride of a book! Eight years ago, Addie Webster was kidnapped from her home (the Virginia governor's mansion), and it nearly broke the heart oA thrill ride of a book! Eight years ago, Addie Webster was kidnapped from her home (the Virginia governor's mansion), and it nearly broke the heart of her best friend Darrow. Now she's turned up, escaped from her kidnappers, unharmed, and has been reunited with her parents, who happen to be the President of the United States and the First Lady now. Darrow is happy to have her back. But is it really Addie? And if it is, why is she acting so suspiciously that the National Security Advisor has asked Darrow to spy on her? Is she really a threat to national security?
I loved the twists and turns of this book, the political background and setting of Washington, D. C., and the way even with multiple narrators giving you their thoughts, you still don't always know what's *really* going on and who the bad guys really are! Couldn't put it down....more
The photo on the cover drew me in, the adorable monkey cuddling up to a bird. I've seen Internet memes aplenty about cross-species friendships, like tThe photo on the cover drew me in, the adorable monkey cuddling up to a bird. I've seen Internet memes aplenty about cross-species friendships, like the elephant who loves to hang out with a dog, but I had no idea there were so many documented cases over the years, and it was neat to read the backstory about them. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was that it seemed too short; I wanted to know more about these places and people who save animals, and the animals themselves. I sensed that some of the stories could be told in their own separate book. Well-written, entertaining, with nice big color photos....more
Nice picture book biography of a lesser-known African-American inventor from Ohio, Garrett Morgan. He was born in 1877 to former slaves in Kentucky, aNice picture book biography of a lesser-known African-American inventor from Ohio, Garrett Morgan. He was born in 1877 to former slaves in Kentucky, and made his way north to Cleveland seeking work. He got his first break as a teenager while sweeping floors in a clothing factory, creating a stronger belt for sewing machines that wouldn't break so often. That got him a better job, as sewing machine repairman, and he was on his way to running his own shop, while his wife eventually had her own tailoring shop, too. I had heard of him as one of the first inventors of the traffic light, which doesn't occur until the very end of this story-- but I was amazed as I read this book to see what else he invented. He accidentally discovered a hair-straightening cream while creating a cream to prevent scorch marks from sewing machine needles (those must have been some needles!), which, according to this book, he tried out on his neighbor's Airedale dog! He started a new business to sell the cream. Later, moved by the horrible Triangle Factory fire in NYC (this event keeps popping up in all sorts of books I've been reading lately, it's really ubiquitous), Morgan created a "Safety Hood and Smoke Protector" using hoses modeled after an elephant's trunk. The illustrations of this are pretty funny! However, he couldn't sell it, even when he hired a white man to pose as the inventor and Morgan pretended to be his "assistant" when they tried to sell it in the South; but in 1916, the disastrous collapse and fire in a tunnel under Lake Erie became the perfect opportunity to use his hood in a real emergency--and its success resulted in sales and Morgan being awarded a gold medal from the city of Cleveland! His invention later became the gas mask used in World War I. The illustrations are lovely pen and ink and watercolor, realistic yet whimsical. The opening page has a poem about being "Underground" that sets the stage for the tunnel disaster, but I wondered why the author didn't include more such poems in the book; having just one seemed out of place. There are "sources of inspiration" (other books about Morgan) listed, but unfortunately two lines of dialogue are not given sources, so I wouldn't say it is a full biography, there is some fictionalization. But overall it's a wonderful look at an important historic figure, and I liked the local angle too.
I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing EarlyReviewers....more
A charming and heartfelt book for middle graders about a 12-year old girl who gets to know her grandfather just as he is succumbing to dementia. She lA charming and heartfelt book for middle graders about a 12-year old girl who gets to know her grandfather just as he is succumbing to dementia. She learns to embrace her Mexican-American roots, and to appreciate not only her home state of New Mexico's beautiful desert landscape, but also the mysterious bees who "bring the rain" after a 100-year drought. The relationships in the book--between Carolina and her parents, between Carolina and her 17-year old stepsister, and between Carolina and her grandpa-- are an especially good feature of this book. I also loved the "magic realism" aspect of the epic story-within-the-story that her grandfather tells her, about the land long ago and a sturdy tree with magical powers that have an effect on a village and its people. Wonderful book!...more
Another winner from Kwame Alexander. Eighth grader Nick Hall excels at playing soccer; he and his best bud Cody play soccer together on a club team, bAnother winner from Kwame Alexander. Eighth grader Nick Hall excels at playing soccer; he and his best bud Cody play soccer together on a club team, but are rivals in another league. He's met a cute girl he hopes he'll get up the nerve to talk to. And he's putting up with his dad the English professor's annoying insistence that he read every word in the dictionary his dad published, to improve his vocabulary. (I loved the footnotes with definitions of unusual words, like "sweven," and Nick's funny uses of them.) But things start to change when his family situation gets complicated, and a pair of bullying twins make his life miserable. One bright spot is the awesome librarian character, Mr. MacDonald, who has a unique hairstyle and corny book-slogans on his clothes, and loves to rap; despite his professed dislike of reading, Nick ends up liking a couple of good books recommended by Mr. Mac, and gets some good life advice too of course. This book doesn't have as much sports action, it seemed to me, as The Crossover, but there are still lots of soccer-centric poems and it's definitely a strong aspect of Nick's character, driving his life in many ways. Great positive role model parents, even with their flaws, and a likeable character who has some growth throughout the story. I'd recommend for 6th grade and up. Review based on advance reader copy of book....more
I finally got around to reading last year's Newbery Award winner, and I really enjoyed it. Good mix of basketball sports action and heartfelt family dI finally got around to reading last year's Newbery Award winner, and I really enjoyed it. Good mix of basketball sports action and heartfelt family drama, written in punchy verse that often yearns to be rapped out loud. Good one to give to reluctant readers, especially boys, or to sports fans who might not realize they'd also enjoy a good fiction book.
(Then I read his next book, Booked and I liked that one even better. See my review.)...more
Another fun book from Sachar. This one reminded me a little of Grasshopper Jungle, but for much younger readers--both have end-of-the-world scenarios.Another fun book from Sachar. This one reminded me a little of Grasshopper Jungle, but for much younger readers--both have end-of-the-world scenarios. In Fuzzy Mud, a 5th grader and a 7th grader stumble upon some really weird, well, fuzzy mud, that causes rashes and even blindness, and might just end up taking over the world if it's not stopped!! Ewwww! Interweaving chapters are the transcripts of Senate hearings investigating the man-made microorganism that started the whole thing, and it's all done very realistically and suspensefully; I really had doubts about how it was all going to end, so I think the story will keep any reader entertained. Good middle grade book....more
Marvelous story of a boy's friendship with his pet fox, and the lengths he goes to in order to be reunited with him. But it's also the story of the foMarvelous story of a boy's friendship with his pet fox, and the lengths he goes to in order to be reunited with him. But it's also the story of the fox's reawakening as a wild animal, and how he learns to survive in the wild and to bond with other foxes. And beyond the surface story, there are the themes of trust, war, family, self-reliance, ohmygosh so much more that makes it a really good book. And now I want to have my own pet fox.........more