Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gear up for Summer Reading!

Summer is just around the corner, so it's time to start thinking about books you might like to read during all that time off!  Let me give you a few suggestions from some books that I've read in the last few weeks.

First up, if you want to read a great realistic fiction story, you might like Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson.  In this story, we meet Jade, who lives in a poor neighborhood, but has earned a scholarship to a private school on the other side of town.  She knows that she is going to have to work really hard to get out of her neighborhood and make a better life for her future.  When Jade is selected to be a part of Women-to-Women, a mentorship group, she doesn't know what to think.  When she finds out that she was selected because she is "at-risk" because of the fact that she is black and from a poor neighborhood, Jade is less than enthusiastic.  She's not sure she really needs a mentor or if her mentor can really understand Jade's own experiences.  Join Jade as she works to figure out her best path for his life.  You can borrow this book from me next year if you're interested, or you can find it on MCPL's shelves this summer!

If you're more in the mood for a fairytale-like story, you might like Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan.  In this story, we start by meeting Otto, who is lost in a forbidden forest and his helped by 3 mysterious sisters who provide him with a quest, a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica that help to lead him home.  Many years later, we meet Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, & Ivy in California.  Otto's story weaves throughout these 3 stories and eventually leads them all together.  If you like reading magical stories that warm the heart, you will love Echo.  You can find copies at MCPL, on MCPL's Overdrive, or next year off my shelf or in our CMS Media Center.

If you're looking for a humorous story, you might like Gordon Korman's newest novel, Restart.  In this story, the main character, Chase Ambrose, falls off his roof and the knock on his head causes him to end up with amnesia.  He suddenly has to figure out everything about his old life, and he quickly discovers that he was not the nicest person before his amnesia.  No one is sure whether they can trust the new Chase, who is accepting of everyone, when he was such a big bully before his fall.  The question is - as Chase begins to remember pieces of his past, will he revert to his old ways or be the new, trustworthy person he has been since his accident?  You can find copies of this book at MCPL or borrow from me when we return to school in August.

If you like to read books about friendship, you might want to read The Wonder of Us, by Kim Culbertson.  This story is told in the alternating points of view of best friends (kind of) Riya and Abby.  Ten months ago, Riya moved to Berlin with her family and left Abby feeling alone and friendless back in their California town.  The distance between them has been destructive on their friendship, so Riya invites Abby to go on a "Grand Tour" of Europe with her the summer between their junior and senior years in order to help restore their friendship.  Join them as they travel around some amazing places in Europe and meet a lot of interesting people along the way.  You can find this book on the shelves at MCPL or you can borrow from me when we come back to school.

Finally, I'll recommend a series, of which I've recently read the 4th installment, Legion, which is part of Julie Kagawa's Talon series.  If you like stories that are full of action, adventure, suspense, and magic, you might like this series.  It follows Ember, a dragon living mostly in human form who is sent out into the world for Talon, the organization that has raised her.  When she meets soldier for St. George, a group that fights dragon-kind, she starts to discover that Talon is not an upstanding organization, and she's not sure she wants to be a part of it. I was able to read Legion in an advanced copy thanks to NetGalley, but it's now available at Mid-Continent on their shelves or on Overdrive.  If you want to read the series, here they are in order:  Talon, Rogue, Soldier, then Legion.

There you have it.  Keep checking back for more recommendations throughout the summer!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Book Fever

It's hard to believe that our spring break is nearly over, and I don't know about you, but I've been spending lots of my time reading!  I've got lots of titles to tell you about today!

Let's start with a new book by John Boyne, who is the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which I know many of you really like.  In his newest work, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, we meet Pierrot, the son of a French woman who married a German man after World War I.  Pierrot's father, who fought in the war, never recovered and became an abusive alcoholic, who eventually is killed in an accident.  His mother develops tuberculosis and dies, as well, and after a year at an orphanage, Pierrot's long-lost sister Beatrix, finds him and brings him to Austria to live with her where she is the housekeeper for Germany's leader, Hitler, at his house that is high in the Austrian Alps.  Hitler becomes a father-figure for Pierrot as he grows up at the house on the top of the mountain, but when Hitler is gone and the war is over, can Pierrot face the horrors that the German people brought onto so many others in the world?  This was a fascinating look at what it might have been like to grow up under the beliefs of a dictator.  You can find this book at MCPL or on MCPL's Overdrive.

If you're more into reading something really fantastical that has something of an Alice in Wonderland meets with a Hunger Games type of feeling, you might like Caraval, by Stephanie Garber.  In this story (the first in a series), we meet Scarlett and her sister Tella, who live on an island with their cold and abusive father.  For years, Scarlett has been writing to the elusive Legend, host of the yearly Caraval, an event like no other.  To Scarlett's surprise, this year she receives an invitation to attend Caraval, a game where there can only be one winner, and this year's winner will receive a wish as their prize.  A sailor friend of Tella's, Julian, promises to get Scarlett and Tella to Caraval, but when Scarlett arrives with Julian, Tella has disappeared.  Tella has been taken by Legend, and the person who manages to find her before Legend kills her will be the winner.  Scarlett is desperate and will do anything to save her sister from this dark game that threatens both of their lives.  This story is full of magic and unexpected twists and turns.  You never really know who Scarlett should trust - or even if she should trust herself.  If you're looking for something fun and mysterious with a little romance, you might like Caraval.  You can find this title at MCPL or on MCPL's Overdrive.

If you read Counting by 7's  as your book club choice, or maybe you just wanted to read it, but didn't get the chance, you might like the author's (Holly Goldberg Sloan) newest book, Short.  Here we meet Julia, who has always been extremely short for her age, but doesn't want to be defined by how tall she is.  Over the summer, Julia's mom makes Julia and her brother try out for the local college's production of The Wizard of Oz.  When Julia and her brother get cast as munchkins in the play, Julia thinks that nothing could be worse.  However, as she starts rehearsals and meets the interesting and quirky people who are part of the production, Julia starts to discover things about herself that she never realized.  This was a fun and funny story about growing up and learning about who you are as you start to really pay attention to the world around you.  You can find this title at MCPL or through MCPL's Overdrive.

I just finished reading The Possibility of Now, by Kim Culbertson, a realistic fiction story about Mara, an overachiever who recently had a major meltdown at school that was video-taped and posted on YouTube.  When the video gets over 600,000 views, Mara feels like there is no way that she can face going back to school and asks her mom if she can live with her father, who has pretty much been out of the picture for her whole life.  When her mother and father agree to a short stay, Mara heads to Tahoe during the heart of ski season and decides that she is going to start learning to live in the now, and makes lists to help her do so, but in checking things off her "Now" lists, is she really learning to live in the now?  In the slower pace of life, Mara starts to learn who she really is and what her real priorities are in life.  When her time is up with her father, will she want to return to her former life?  You can find this title at MCPL and on MCPL's Overdrive.

Another great realistic fiction book I read recently is called Love and First Sight, by Josh Sundquist.  In this story, Will, who has been blind all his life, decides that he wants to get out in the world and experience it the way a person with sight would.  He's always gone to a school for the blind and visually impaired, but wants to attend a "normal" school and prove that he can be as successful there as he has been at his school for the blind.  When Will starts at the school, he gets pushed toward the uber-shy Cecily by his new group of friends.  Will starts to develop a friendship with Cecily, which turns to more than friendship, and when Will gets the opportunity to have a surgery that will give him sight, he is thrilled, despite the obstacles that he will face.  When he finally gains his sight, he discovers something about Cecily that no one, including Cecily, ever thought to share with him.  This story really looks at how we define beauty in our society and how we can judge people based on their outward appearance.  Will's narration in this story is super funny, but sweet and heartwarming, as well.  I really enjoyed this one! You can find this book at MCPL and on MCPL's Overdrive.

Another great romance I was able to read was At First Blush, by Beth Ellyn Summer.  I was able to read an Advanced Reader's copy of this book thanks to NetGalley.  If you're a fan of Kasie West (PS I Like You, The Fill-in Boyfriend), then you'll love this new book about Lacey Robbins, who has built up a huge following with her YouTube channel "laceyblushes" where she films makeup tutorials and fashion tips. She feels like she's just got her big break when she earns an internship with On Trend magazine the summer before her senior year in high school. She's going to promote the magazine's next cover star and hopefully get sponsored by an awesome makeup company, grow her channel, and maybe be picked up by a company that launches YouTube careers. Everything seems to be going right until the cover star turns out to be Tyler Lance, a once-member of a famous boy band who is now on his own and has garnered some not-so-great publicity in the year since he's left his band. Now, he's getting ready to launch a solo career and wants to clean up his image with On Trend magazines help. Lacey isn't thrilled with Tyler at first, but as she gets to know him, she starts to see that all the headlines about him didn't really tell the whole story, and the two fall into serious like with one another. Lacey is also discovering that her internship is not going the way she thought it would, and what used to bring her joy, now only seems to bring her stress. Lacey and Tyler both have a lot of growing up to do as they not only get to know one another, but themselves, as well. This was such a fun read.  This book isn't out there yet, but will be published on April 4th.  Be sure to look for it!

If you're looking for a less light and more emotional romance, you might like Brigid Kemmerer's newest book, Letters to the Lost.  The story alternates between Juliet's and Declan's perspectives.  Both have experienced huge losses in their lives.  Juliet deals with the death of her mother by writing her mother letters and leaving them at her grave.  When Declan, who is doing community service at the cemetery finds one of her letters and writes back, at first Juliet is furious that someone has dared to read something so private, so she writes back an angry response.  Eventually the two develop a friendship through their letters and eventual emails with one another that helps them both cope with the losses that they've experienced.  They know each other better than anyone else, yet they don't know one another's actual identities...the question is, do they want to?  This is definitely not a light-hearted story, but it is deeply emotional and touching as Juliet and Declan work through their grief.  This is another book that I was provided an advanced copy through NetGalley.  Look for it after it publishes on April 4th.

These are some great books for you to check out if you're looking for some new reading material. There's nothing better than getting comfy with a good book on these beautiful spring days!  Happy reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Books to Beat the Winter Blues

There's nothing better than curling up with a good book on a cold day and the groundhog says there are 6 more weeks of winter, so let me tell you about some books will keep you entertained through these last few weeks of cold and drear.

First up is Falling Over Sideways, by Jordan Sonnenblick.  In this story, we meet Claire who is struggling through her 8th grade year dealing with mean girls and falling behind her best friends in her dance class.  On a particularly difficult night, when her dad tries to joke around with her about her problems, she tells him that maybe he needs to struggle more.  The next morning at breakfast, Claire is home alone with her dad when he falls over and is unable to communicate.  It turns out, her father, a writer, has had a stroke and is left unable to communicate through words.  Talk about struggling.  Claire struggles with feelings of guilt for what happens with her father and is determined to do everything she can to make things right for her family once again.  This book is a heartwarming story, but has lots of laughs throughout to keep you entertained.  You can find this book at MCPL or in our CMS Media Center.

If you're more into a dystopian suspense story, you might try The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken.  This is the first book in a series about kids who survived a deadly disease that gave them mind control powers.  The kids who don't immediately die are gathered into camps that promise to rehabilitate these kids, but they're really collection centers to do away with the problems these kids cause.  The kids are grouped into different color groups based on their abilities.  Blues and greens are relatively harmless, but yellows, oranges, and reds can use their powers in dangerous ways.  Ruby is an orange, but is passing herself off as a green to keep safe in her camp.  When her status as an orange is exposed, Ruby gets unexpected help to escape the camp.  When her "help" is exposed as a dangerous group that wants to use her for her abilities, she escapes again and joins with other kids on the run who are looking for the mythical East River sanctuary where kids with mind abilities are safe...but is it really a safe place, or will Ruby and her new friends find even more danger?  This book is full of action and adventure.  You can find this book at MCPL, on MCPL's Overdrive and in our Congress Media Center.

Another great new dystopian novel is The Scourge, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. In this story, we meet Ani Mells and her best friend, Weevil, who are "River Rats" or the poorest of the poor in their society.  Their families are struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis when a dangerous plague, called "The Scourge" begins to sweep across their country.  Though none of the river people have come down with the scourge, Ani and Weevil are picked up by the governor's soldiers to be tested.  When Ani is found to have the scourge, she and Weevil are sent to Attic Island, a former prison where people who are sick with the scourge are now quarantined.  Once on Attic Island, Ani and Weevil become very suspicious that something much darker and more sinister than the scourge is going on in their country.  Can Ani and Weevil save themselves and others from the scourge?  You can find copies of this novel at MCPL and in our Congress Media Center.

Another great realistic fiction story you might like is If You're Reading This, by Trent Reedy.  In this story we meet Mike, who is beginning his sophomore year in high school and is a few weeks away from turning 16.  Mike's dad died fighting as a soldier in Afghanistan 8 years ago and life has been tough for Mike, his sister Mary, and his mom ever since.  His mom works 2 jobs and Mike is also spending a lot of his own time working to help support his family.  Mike really wants to play football, but his mom is way overprotective since his father's death and won't sign the permission form.  When Mike receives a letter from his late father that encourages him to play a sport, Mike decides to follow his dad's advice.  More letters come from his late father that give Mike advice and encourage him to try different things.  Mike wants to do what his father advises, but doesn't always go about it in the right way and he really wants to know - who is sending these letters?  You can find out when you read this great story about growing up and learning to make the right choices.

If you'd rather read a historical fiction novel, you might try Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson.  After her parents death when she was 5, the main character in this story, Hattie, has been moved around from relative to relative to the point that she calls herself "Hattie Here-and-There" because she's never really felt like she had an actual place to call home. When an uncle that she's never even met leaves Hattie his claim in Montana, Hattie decides to leave Iowa to "prove" her uncle's claim and make a home of her own despite the fact that she is only 16 years old.  Hattie finds herself in a shack in Montana where she has to farm and produce results that will allow her to keep her new home.  Not only that, World War I is going on in Europe causing everyone to make sacrifices in an already difficult time.  This is also causing a lot of anti-German sentiments around the country and Hattie is torn between her friendship with her German neighbor and trying to be "patriotic" to her country.  This is a story of growing up and not giving up when faced with huge obstacles in order to find your place in the world.  I absolutely loved Hattie Big Sky, which was actually based on the author's great-grandmother's real life.  You can find copies of this story at MCPL, on MCPL's Overdrive, and in our CMS Media Center.

If you're more in the mood for a fun romance, you might try Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch. Lina is spending her summer in Tuscany, Italy fulfilling her mom's dying wish that she get to know her father, whom she's never met and didn't even really know anything about until her mother was diagnosed with cancer.  Lina reluctantly spends the summer with Howard, her father, but plans to go home as soon as she can.  When she's given a journal her mother wrote while she studied photography in Italy before Lina's birth, Lina is intrigued by what her mom wrote in the cover of the journal: "I made the wrong choice."  Lina decides to follow in her mother's footsteps with the help of a cute neighbor boy, Ren, to figure out what wrong choice her mother made and to help her along on her own journey of grief and getting to know her father.  This was a touching and fun story that will make you want to laugh and cry.  You can find copies at MCPL or on MCPL's Overdrive.

My final recommendation is Stacey Lee's newest novel called Secret of a Heart Note.  In this story, Mim and her mother are aroma experts who are hired to help people fall in love by making elixirs based on scents.  When Mim makes a mistake and doses the wrong woman, she has to figure out a way to fix her mistake without her mother finding out, because her mother might take away the new freedoms that Mim is just receiving - like going to a real school instead of being home-schooled.  To try to fix her mistake, she enlists the help of the son of the woman she mistakenly dosed, but she has to work to keep herself from falling for him, because if she falls in love, she'll lose her ability to use scents to help others.  This was a unique new romance and I really enjoyed it!  You can find copies of this book at MCPL.

There you have it - seven new books that will help you stay warm in these last days of winter!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year...New Books to Recommend!

Happy New Year!  It's hard to believe that another year has gone by, but I always like to look back and reflect on what I've read in the past year.  In 2016, I read 222 books!  Here's a quick look at my stats (my husband was totally making fun of me yesterday as I studied my stats...he just doesn't understand!):

Now, let me take a little time to recommend a few of the books that I've read over the past couple of months since I last posted.

First up, Bounce, by Megan Shull.  I recommended Shull's The Swap about a year & half ago...you can read about that title here.  In Bounce, we meet Frannie, who would like nothing more than to trade in her family for a better model.  Her older brother ignores her, her older sister treats her like dirt, and her parents seem to wish she didn't exist.  When her parents drop the news that they're going away for Christmas, and leaving the kids home to fend for themselves, Frannie is devastated.  When her older brother & sister decide a party is in order, Frannie barricades herself in her room wishing she was anywhere but there.  And when she wakes up...she's not there, she's someone else entirely and it's Christmas day again, and again, and again...she lives multiple different lives and starts to wonder if she'll ever actually see home again.  You can find Bounce at MCPL or on MCPL's Overdrive.

I recently recommended Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, & Winter) and her newest stand alone title, Heartless, did not disappoint.  Heartless is Meyer's prequel to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and is about Catherine, who is eventually destined to become the hated Queen of Hearts.  She wasn't always hated, though.  She was a favorite of the King of Hearts, but more than anything, she wanted to be a baker and bake the most delightful treats in Hearts.  In trying to avoid a proposal from the King of Hearts, Catherine meets the newest member of the King's court, Jest.  The two fall in love, despite knowing that it is likely impossible that they'll ever be able to be together.  Meanwhile, a mysterious creature is terrorizing hearts, and Catherine and Jest become embroiled in the mystery.  This story was whimsical (as Wonderland should be), funny, romantic, and heartbreaking all rolled into one.  You can find this book on MCPL's shelves and on Overdrive.  I would expect to see this one show up on our CMS Media Center's shelves one day soon, as well!

A book I'd been meaning to read for quite some time that I finally got around to is Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains, which is the first book in her Seeds of America trilogy.  In Chains, we meet Isabel, a 13-year old girl who was born a slave, and who is living during the American Revolution.  Though she and her sister Ruth were promised their freedom upon the death of their current owner, they are not given their promised freedom and are sold to a cruel couple who don't care about Isabel or Ruth and are against the revolution and on the side of the British.  When Isabel meets Curzon, who works with the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners and use what she knows to win her freedom.  This story is Isabel's courageous fight to earn her place in the world.  You can find copies at MCPL, on Overdrive, on our CMS Media Center Shelves, and on my classroom bookshelf if you're interested in reading this riveting historical fiction tale.

If you enjoy poetry that tells a story, I recommend Jacqueline Woodson's beautiful story of her childhood, Brown Girl Dreaming.  Woodson tells about growing up in both the north and the south during the 60's and early 70's and what shaped her into becoming a writer.  Her experiences as a young black girl who spent time growing up in two very different worlds shaped her and gave her a perspective that she wouldn't have had if she had just grown up in only one place. Because she tells her story in verse, it is a very quick read, but her story will stick with you long after you read it.  You can find this book at MCPL, on Overdrive, and on our CMS Media Center Shelves.

If you're more into an action-adventure story, I recommend Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf series.  I recently read the 2nd and final book Blood for Blood.  You can read about Wolf by Wolf here.  Blood for Blood continues this alternate history story where Hitler and Germany triumphed in World War II. Yael continues her quest to bring freedom and end tyranny in Germany.  There is a lot of action and suspense to be found in this series.  You can find copies at MCPL and on Overdrive.

Another book I really liked that I read recently was The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds.  In this story, we meet Matt, whose mother recently passed away after a too quick battle with breast cancer.  As Matt begins his senior year in high school, he feels lost and unsure of who he is anymore.  His father has turned to alcohol and Matt just wants to move on with his life.  When Matt is offered a job at the local funeral home by his neighbor and family friend, he takes it, because it pays better than working at the local fast-food place.  He starts wearing his black suit everywhere he goes and tries to figure out why it is comforting for him to attend other people's funerals.  When he meets Lovey, a young lady who has been through even more than him, but has found a way to move forward, he starts to believe there just might be hope for his future again.  You can find this book at MCPL or on Overdrive.

Finally, one last series I have to recommend to you is Jen Calonita's Secrets of My Hollywood Life series.  I actually read the first 2 books 3 years ago, but recently revisited my enjoyment of the series by reading the 3rd & 4th books (there are a total of 6).  In the first book, we meet Kaitlin Burke, 16 year old star of the long-running TV series Family Affairs.  Though she enjoys some aspects of her fame, she gets tired of not getting to live a normal life.  That's when she and her best friend Liz decide to concoct a plan - disguise herself as a regular girl and attend a regular high school. This series is funny and a lot of fun.  I highly encourage it if you want to do some light reading that is just entertaining.  You can find copies at MCPL and on Overdrive.

That's it for now.  I hope you can find something to read that will get your new year started in an awesome way!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Book Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is always a good time to reflect on all the things we're thankful for.  It should come as no surprise to you that one of the things I am thankful for is...books!  What a gift that there is so much out there for us to get our hands on and read...something for everyone if you look hard enough!  Let me throw a few suggestions your way that might make you appreciate all those books in your life.

First up is My Unscripted Life, by Lauren Morrill.  As the story begins, we find Dee, our main character, sorely disappointed that she wasn't accepted to a summer art program that she was counting on.  Doubting her artistic abilities and bummed that she won't be spending the summer with her best friend, Dee isn't sure what she's going to do with herself.  But then the unexpected happens.  A Hollywood movie is going to do part of it's location shoot in her town, and she manages to get a job with the set department.  When she discovers that her middle school pop-star crush is the star of the movie, she can't help feeling a little excited, but when she meets Milo, he couldn't be ruder.  When Dee and Milo keep getting thrown together, they start to develop a friendship...could it turn into something more?  You'll have to read this fun and funny romance to find out!  I was lucky enough to get to read an advanced copy from NetGalley, but the book is now released and you can find copies at MCPL.

Next up is another book I got to read through NetGalley that has also been released.  It's called How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, by Tara Eglen.  Now that title may have you scratching your head, like I did when I read it.  I thought girls eventually hoped that someday a boy would kiss them. ;)  In this story, Aurora Skye is an up and coming business woman, developing her "Find a Prince" program guaranteed to help every girl find her perfect prince of a guy.  Aurora is also working on find her prince, and she has strategies to avoid kissing any boy who doesn't live up to her high standards.  The only person getting in her way seems to be her annoying neighbor, Hayden.  When Aurora and Hayden are cast as love interests in the school play, some unexpected feelings start to develop.  Can one's prince be someone you thought you hated?  You'll have to read it to find out!  You can find copies of this fun story at MCPL.

A recent favorite that I've read was also an advanced read from NetGalley, and though the book has been released, I don't see that MCPL is carrying it, but if you can get your hands on it, I would.  It's called Finding Perfect, by Elly Swartz.  This book was so heartbreakingly emotional...I carried the story with me for days after I read it.  In this story, we meet Molly, who believes that as long as everything is "perfect", everything will be okay in her life.  She believes if she can perform her poem perfectly at her school's slam poetry contest, her mom will come home from the job she left the family for in Canada.  Everything has to be neatly aligned and in groups of 4s, or life just won't work out right for Molly.  She thought she was in control of keeping everything perfect, but when nothing seems to be enough anymore, Molly starts to spiral out of control.  This is a really honest look at how Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders can affect a young teen.  I highly recommend this one...I couldn't put it down.

If you'd rather read a fantasy-like fairy tale, you might want to check out Tahereh Mafi's newest book called Furthermore.  Alexis Queensmeadow lives in the land of Ferenwood, where color is the most important quality and magical ability is to be celebrated.  Alexis, unfortunately, has no color.  Her father disappeared from Ferenwood 3 years ago, and it is Alexis' hope that one day he'll return home.  When she discovered that he left to go to the land of Furthermore and that she can go there and help save him, Alexis doesn't hesitate, but in a land where down is up and paper is alive, can Alexis figure out how to survive long enough to find her father?  You'll have to read Furthermore to find out.  This was a whimsical, delightfully written story that is only limited by your own imagination!  I read my copy through MCPL's Overdrive, and you can also find it on their shelves.

If you're more interested in a dystopian story, you might want to check out Traci Chee's The Reader, which is her first book in a new series called Sea of Ink and Gold.  Sefia, our main character, has been living her life on the run for the last several years since she found her father murdered.  Her mother died several years before her father, so all Sefia has left is her "aunt" Nin.  When Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is determined to find and save her, but the only thing she has in her possession is a strange rectangular object that is filled with paper that contains strange markings, something she eventually realizes is a book.  With a wide range of characters from a new mute (unable to speak) friend and pirates, Sefia starts to uncover who took her aunt Nin and what they're after.  Will she be able to find Nin in time?  You'll have to read The Reader to find out!  You can find this book at MCPL or through their Overdrive system.

If you like a good story that has Christmas as the backdrop, you might want to check out Jay Asher's newest book, What Light.  In this story, we meet Sierra.  Sierra's family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, but they spend every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas in California operating a Christmas tree lot with trees from their farm. Though it's hard to be away from friends for a month, Sierra loves her time on the Christmas tree lot.  She has a good friend there and she just loves helping people find the perfect tree as they get ready to celebrate the holidays.  This year may be the last year, though, because though the farm itself is flourishing, the tree lot itself isn't making enough money.  When Sierra meets Caleb, a local boy with a troubled past, she isn't sure she wants to get involved.  She is only there for a month...then what?  Can Caleb change her mind?  This was a fun holiday romance...I enjoyed every bit of it!  You can find copies at MCPL or on Overdrive.

Finally, another dystoptian-fantasy story you might enjoy is The Orphan Queen, by Jodi Meadows.  In this story, princess Wilhemina has been living as an orphan for the last 10 years after her kingdom was conquered by the powerful Indigo Kingdom.  She watched as her parents were murdered by their conquerors, and now works with other orphaned children from her country in a group they call the Ospreys.  The Ospreys goal, find out a way to get their kingdom back.  Wil and her best friend Melanie infiltrate the palace, posing as refugees from another nearby country that was overtaken by a dark and mysterious problem called the "wraith".  Wil wants to find a way to not only take back her kingdom, but also find a solution to the wraith.  This book contains a little of everything - magic, adventure, mystery and suspense, and a little romance too.  It's the first book in a series, so if you like it, you can check out book 2, The Mirror King, as well.  You can find copies at MCPL and on Overdrive.  There is also a copy currently available as of this moment that I am typing in our CMS library.  If you hurry, you might get it!

Thanksgiving break is coming.  Not only is it a good time to remember to be thankful...but you also have some extra days off to read!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Link to Book Trailer Prezi from 10-7 Class

If you were in one of my classes that didn't get to see all 6 book trailers in class today, you can view the rest of the trailers by clicking here.  If there is a book you want to read, email me and let me know you'd like to be added to the waiting list!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall into a Good Book

Haha...see what I did there with that amazingly clever post title?  I know, I know...

But really.  Let me fill you in on some great books that you might want to curl up with on a chilly fall night.

First up, is a great new book by Jason Reynolds, called Ghost.  This is going to be the first in a series of books about running track.  In this story, we meet Ghost, a young man who is just trying to survive growing up poor and without a father.  When Ghost was young, his father tried to shoot him and his mother, and Ghost has been running ever since.  When Ghost witnesses the practice of an elite city track team, he decides to put himself up against the faster runner on the team.  When he shows incredible promise as a runner, the coach of the team invites him to join, but in order to stay on the team, Ghost has to stay out of trouble, which always seems to find him.  If you want to read a story that leaves you rooting for the main character,  you'll definitely want to pick up Ghost.  You can find copies at MCPL or through MCPL's Overdrive.

I've continued to read some potential Truman nominees for next year.  Here are a few of those.

First up is Losers Take All, by David Klass.  Klass also wrote Grandmaster, one of this year's nominees.  In Losers Take All, we meet Jack Logan, the son and brother of incredible athletes, but sports have never really been Jack's thing.  Before Jack's senior year, his high school's beloved principal dies, and the new principal decides that in the former principal's honor, every senior must sign up for a sports team.  Jack and his other non-athletic friends are not happy.  They decide to start a co-ed third-string soccer team that is dedicated to losing.  When their crazy antics start to gain national attention, the Losers, as they call themselves, bring to light how a lot of people REALLY feel about sports.  This was a super fun read, full of humor and great life lessons.  I highly recommend it.  You can find this book at MCPL.

Another potential Truman you might like is I am Princess X, by Cherie Priest and illustrated by Cali Ciesemier.  I am Princess X is mostly novel, but has a few parts that are depicted as a graphic novel.  In this story, we meet Libby and May, who befriend one another in elementary school and who start their own graphic novel series about a character named Princess X.  May writes the stories, and Libby illustrates and over the years, their combined efforts produce a lot of Princess X stories.  But that all ends when Libby suddenly dies in a car accident and May is left feeling incredibly alone.  Now it's a few years later, and May spots a sticker with Princess X in a window in a shop as she's walking around town.  She goes home and searches for Princess X and discovers there is a whole Princess X movement with new stories, and she is convinced that Libby must be alive and is using Princess X to get May's attention to help her.  This was a fantastic story about friendship and doing all you can for the people you love.  I loved it!  You can find copies at MCPL.

If you're more after a futuristic action-adventure book that's along the lines of The Fast and the Furious, you might want to check out Tracked, by Jenny Martin.  Tracked is the first in a series about Fee, a young girl who lives far in the future on the corporation-controlled planet called Castra.  Fee is an orphan who's mom disappeared and who's dad was killed on the racing circuit when she was young.  Racing is in Fee's blood, and she and her best friend Bear have been competing in illegal street races for a couple years.  When Fee and Bear are arrested, she is given the option of going to prison on another planet and certain death or the option of joining an established professional racing team.  As much as Fee doesn't want to feel like she is owned by a corporation, she definitely doesn't want to go to prison.  As she gets into the racing world, she discovers all is not as it seems on the surface and in order to change her world, she may have to take some pretty drastic measures.  This in a non-stop action story.  If that's what you like, you'll probably really enjoy Tracked, which you can find at MCPL.

If you're into Marvel's Avengers, you might like Margaret Stohl's new series about Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow, in Black Widow: Forever Red.  Natasha is an assassin, who now works for the good guys, but was raised and trained by Ivan Somodorov, her teacher at the infamous "Red Room" school for operatives.  When we first meet Natasha, she is about to kill Ivan and save the lives of other children who were in Ivan's hands, like Ava Orlova.  A few years later, Ava Orlova is living on the streets of New York, when Natasha comes back into her life.  It looks like Ivan didn't die and wants to take Ava out.  Natasha and Ava have to work together to take out Ivan once and for all.  If you like an action-packed adventure, you'll enjoy Forever Red.  You don't have to know anything about The Avengers (like me!) to get into and understand the story.  You can find copies of this book at MCPL or through their Overdrive.

In Pintup Dunn's Forget Tomorrow, another first in a series book, we meet Callie.  Callie lives in a futuristic society where when you turn 17, you get a memory from your future self.  When Callie's future memory shows her murdering her beloved younger sister, Callie knows she has to escape in order to prevent herself from committing this terrible act.  She discovers a whole society of people who are trying to escape their future memories, but is running away enough to escape the future?  You'll have to read this dystopian thriller to find out.  You can find copies at MCPL.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to the final book in Bree Despain's Into the Dark trilogy.  The Immortal Throne finishes Haden's and Daphne's story that is based on Greek mythology.  As in the first two books, there is action, adventure, and romance.  This is a great series if you enjoy Greek mythology based in today's world.  This final book isn't released until next week, but once released, I'm sure you'll be able to find copies at MCPL.  Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced reader copy!

That's it for today.  Find something to read that you enjoy!