Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys)





Title: Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys)
Author: Amy Spaulding
Recommended for: 9th grade on up (16 year-olds having sex, although not graphic at all)
Pages: 309

Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-olds Riley and Reid make a pact to pursue their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook they call “The Passenger Manifest.”

My Review:  This book brought me back to high school on so many levels.  That teen angst over everything just came flooding back.  The main characters are in a band, so that was a bit out of my realm, but I remembered the notes in the hallway and trying to tell all-important information to friends while you were passing in the halls.  The waiting for a boy to text (for me it was a phone call) or ask you to hang out all rang pretty true, as well as the tension between best friends when things happen.  There is sex, but it was handled very quickly and was not described in any detail (except that they were safe).  The story is primarily told from Riley’s point of view, but Reid’s thoughts are documented as well.  I liked that they were good friends without there being any romantic feelings between them.

I enjoyed the book, and read almost all of it in one sitting.  I am hesitant to recommend it to anyone too young because of the 16 year-olds hooking up.  Even though I think it was handled well, and these things happen all the time, I am not sure how I would handle it from an RA stand point.  Hopefully someone else will read it and give some guidance!

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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Romance, Teen, Uncategorized


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Rebel Belle

rebel belle Title: Rebel Belle

 Author: Rachel Hawkins
 Series: Rebel Belle #1
 Recommended for: 7th grade and up
 Pages: 345
 Call Number/Link:

Synopsis: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

I read this on my daughter’s recommendation.  She described it as a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Legally Blonde.  That pretty much sums it up.  When Harper suddenly becomes a paladin she still has to deal with being student body president, perfect student, southern belle and prepare for cotillion.  What’s an over achieving southern girl to do?  Keep evil at bay with snarky humor, incredible fighting skills, and of course good manners.  Lots of fun for middle school and older fans of witty girl hero books.


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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Fantasy, Romance






Cover of the book Mesmerized by Mara Rockliff


Title:  Mesmerized : how Ben Franklin solved a mystery that baffled all of France
Author:  Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Iacapo Bruno
Recommended for: Grade 3-6
Pages: 24
Call Number/Link:  E ROCKLIFF, M.

Synopsis: Discover how Benjamin Franklin’s scientific method challenged a certain Dr. Mesmer’s mysterious powers in a whimsical look at a true moment in history.

Review: Mesmerized is one of those rare non-fiction picture books that is colorful yet substantive.  This is no forgettable picture book, I would be surprised if it did not pick up at least a Caldecott Medal or Honor. Mara Rockliff tells the story of how Benjamin Franklin disproved the work of Franz Mesmer.

1784 a French Royal Commission, which included Benjamin Franklin, was set to investigate the methods of Franz Mesmer.  Mesmer was acting as a doctor in Paris. Mesmer claimed he was curing aliments via the power of “animal magnetism,” a natural energetic transference of fluidic energy using physical touch and iron rods. While the commission agreed that some of the cures claimed by Mesmer had an effect on patients; they also concluded there was no evidence of the existence of his magnetic fluid, and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or through charlatanry.

In discussing the Scientific Method, as it related to how Franklin and the other members of the commission debunked Mesmer, this is an excellent instructional text.  It also manages to highlight the topic of the Placebo effect.  Wonderfully detailed end notes complete the book and make it an excellent text for classroom or home school use.

While beautifully illustrated by Iacopo Bruno, Mara Rockliff’s story is complex enough that I would not recommend it for younger readers; but it finds its place in a classroom or for grades 3-6.


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Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover

princess sparkle-heart cover

Title:   Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover
Author:   Josh Schneider
Series:   not applicable
Recommended for:  preschoolers, kindergarten and first grade students
Pages:   32 p.
Call Number/Link:    E Schne

Rating:   *****





Synopsis:   Amelia and her best friend, Princess Sparkle-Heart, do almost everything together, so when the Princess suffers an accident, Amelia’s mother puts her sewing box to good use and makes the doll better than ever.

Comments:   I love this book!  It seemed like it would be girly because it’s the story of a girl and her doll, but it’s not.  Princess Sparkle-Heart is a perfectly lovely princess doll until [cue ominous music]…  a jealous dog tears her to shreds.  The result: Amelia’s mom gives Princess Sparkle-Heart an amazing makeover and creates the fiercest princess doll ever!



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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Picture Books


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The Princess in Black

Princess in

Title:   The Princess in Black
Author:   Shannon Hale
Series:   First book in Princess in Black series
Recommended for:   grades K-3
Pages:   89 p.
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION HALE, S.

Rating:   ****




Synopsis:   Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . .Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? This is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.   (Amazon description)

Comments:   This early chapter book is light, fluffy and features a princess who secretly has mad ninja skills.  Need I say more?  I think girls in grades 1-3 will love it.  So will younger girls whose parents/caregivers read them chapter books.  But what about the boys?  I don’t imagine them snatching the book off the shelf due to the title and cover, but the ninja and monster action will keep them interested once they start reading (or listening).  There’s a goat boy in the book who would like to help the princess vanquish monsters.  A male sidekick could help attract boys to the series….

Did I mention that the princess has a pony with a secret identity???


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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Adventure, Juv


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The Wrong Side of Right

The wrond side of rightTitle: The Wrong Side of Right
Author: Jenn Marie Thorne
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 7 and Up
Pages: 390

Synopsis: Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

This was a great book to see how Kate grows throughout the book.  She is not sure of this father that just pops up on her doorstep, but she is willing to give it a chance.  I also, like that for once we have a step mom that is human.  The step mom  is a little stand offish in the beginning and rightfully so, as Kate is a product of an affair.  I just love that in the end the step mom is accepting and a great supporter of Kate.  Kate is trying to sort out how she feels, who she is, and how she fits in, that could be really drawn out, but this book keeps things moving with quick chapters.

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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Realistic, Teen


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Tad and Dad

Tad and DadTitle: Tad and Dad
Author: David Ezra Stein
Series: n/a
Recommended for: Ages 2- 6
Pages: 40 pages
Call Number/Link:  E STEIN, D. 

Synopsis: Tad the tadpole loves spending every minute with his awesome dad, whether they’re swimming together, catching flies, or sleeping. But now little Tad is getting bigger. He’s growing new limbs and jumping to new heights. His dad is proud, but when Tad’s accomplishments carry over into nighttime—bringing lots of wiggling, croaking, and kicking in his sleep—their lily pad starts feeling mighty crowded! When Tad finally realizes it might be time for a bed of his own, will Dad be ready?

This is a great picture book to read showing a father/ son relationship.  I like that it is a simple text, wonderful pictures and a great read aloud.  I think the children will love it.

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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Funny, Picture Books


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