Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Island of Dr. Libris

the island of dr librisTitle: The Island of Dr. Libris
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Series: N/A
Recommended for:
Pages: 242 pages

Synopsis: A twelve-year-old boy, worried that his parents may divorce, discovers that an island in the middle of the lake where he is spending the summer is the testing grounds of the mysterious Dr. Libris, who may have invented a way to make the characters in books come alive.

 What if your favorite characters came to life? Billy’s spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there’s Dr. Libris’s private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life! But that’s impossible . . . isn’t it?


I really wanted to love this book, but it was ok.  I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and loved that book so I had big hopes.  Premise is good, I like the idea of characters coming to life.  I just couldn’t get into this book.  Two of my sons loved his last book, but neither of them finished this one.  I have tried to put my finger on why, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Adventure, Juv


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Author: D. J. MacHale
Series: The SYLO Chronicles #1
Recommended for: 5th and up
Pages: 432 pages

Synopsis: “They came from the sky parachuting out of military helicopters to invade Tucker Pierce’s idyllic hometown on Pemberwick Island, Maine. They call themselves SYLO and they are a secret branch of the U.S. Navy. SYLO‘s commander, Captain Granger, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Now Pemberwick is cut off from the outside world. Tucker believes there’s more to SYLO‘s story. He was on the sidelines when the high school running back dropped dead with no warning. He saw the bizarre midnight explosion over the ocean, and the mysterious singing aircraft that travel like shadows through the night sky. He tasted the Ruby–and experienced the powers it gave him–for himself. What all this means, SYLO isn’t saying. Only Tucker holds the clues that can solve this deadly mystery. Look to the sky because Pemberwick Island is only the first stop.”

I just finished listening to the whole series on audio books it is a must read.  This series is action packed, but also gets you to think what is the moral thing to do.  I like how the different characters balance each other out.  Each book gives you a piece of the puzzle of what is going on so you don’t get the full picture till the middle of the last book.( I didn’t see it coming)  I rated it for 5th grade and up because in the last book in the series the one of the main characters keeps coming back to what is the moral thing to do.  The characters also see more death as the books go along.

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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Adventure, Dystopian, Teen


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Scarlett Undercover

23197297Title: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham 
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th grade and Up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Latham, J.

Synopsis: Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

My thoughts: First, let me say YAY for diversity, because YAY! It’s awesome to see a Muslim main character. Other than that, this one falls into the okay category for me. It’s fast paced and pulls you in right away, but then takes this sort weird supernaturally/mythological turn. By the end, I’m not sure if I should believe the legend that her family and many other for years and years and years have been a part of or if it’s simply the madness of an overzealous cult. I lean more towards the first, but still I would have enjoyed it had it not added in that craziness. Also, it seemed super convenient how everything ended up.

Scarlett herself is a great character. She has a lot of sass and spunk, but sometimes the way she though/spoke drove me insane (think old time detective stories). The side characters, especially her sister and a friend or two, held a lot of potential, but felt kind of one-dimensional. I just wanted MORE, but never really got it. Even the love/romance just sort of felt there.


If you can get pass the flaws, this is one worth checking out. While it’s a stand alone at the moment, there is room to make this into a series. Should that happen, I would totally pick it up as there is quite a bit of potential to tap into.

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Dance of the Shadows by Yelena Black (If they want the supernatural spin mystery)

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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Mysteries, Realistic, Teen


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The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

23309653Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 8 & Up
Pages: 399
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Ockler, S.

Synopsis: The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

My thoughts: I normally love Ockler, but this one took me a bit to fall in love with. It could have just been one of those wrong book/wrong moment things as I’ve talked to others who have loved it. While it looks like it should be a romance book, the focus is way more on Elyse and Christian healing/standing up for themselves than them falling in love. There is certainly a lot of feels, but there’s a lot of fun as well.

I did think think the book dragged for me until the mid-point, once I hit that moment I totally loved it. I will say, one of my favorite scenes is how the group rallies around Christian’s younger brother when he wants to enter the mermaid parade. The kid LOVES mermaids more than anyone else, but he’s denied because he’s a boy. They way it works out is near perfection. There is also a very strong feminist feel to this book in almost ever aspect. It was refreshing to see Ockler hit some of the topics in a very organic way. It never felt forced or preachy.

So, maybe not my favorite Ockler book, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. A very solid read overall.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Realistic, Romance, Teen


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The Technology of Football

T51G4r2o+SmL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_itle: The Technology of Football
Author: Shane Frederick
Series: High-Tech Sports
Recommended for: 4th-8th grade
Pages: 48
Call Number/Link:  J 796.332 FRE  

Synopsis:  Football is big business.  With so much money on the line, companies are working overtime to protect players and enhance the game.  This title covers high-tech innovations that are current or forthcoming in the game of football, including sensors in helmets, a mini-chip you can swallow to check your internal body temperature, and improved astro-turf.

Review:  Sports are not my thing, but when I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down.  The wide variety of information presented means it is a great browsing book, but it could also be used for book reports.  This book could lend itself to projects on sports injuries and concussions.  It has fairly small type, so the 48 pages have a lot of information and very informative illustrations. We have the complete series for different sports, and this is a go-to title for me when kids are interested in sports.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Non-Fiction



Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile

Title: Mystery on Museum Mile51FWNHqi5TL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Author: Marcia Wells
Series: Eddie Red, Undercover
Recommended for: 3rd-7th grade
Pages: 240
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION WELLS, M. 

Sixth grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, codename “Eddie Red,” has a photographic memory and talent for drawing anything he sees. When the NYPD is stumped by a mastermind art thief, Eddie becomes their secret weapon to solve the case.

This book is your standard action packed mystery with engaging secondary characters and a slightly-nerdy protagonist.  He definitely doesn’t have it all together, which adds a bit of realism to a story about the NYPD hiring a 12 year old.  My favorite parts of the story were the curmudgeonly detective and Edmund’s father, a hulking man with a shaved head who is a bowtie-wearing librarian and loves obscure facts.  Points of interest are the very real danger (someone actually gets shot) and the fact that it centers on an African-American boy.  We are always looking for good multicultural fiction, especially with a male protagonist, and this fits the bill!  The sequel, Mystery in Mayan Mexico, is also out.

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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Adventure, Juv, Mysteries


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Fish in a Tree

Jacket.jpg fish in a tree


Title: Fish in a Tree

Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Grades 5th and up

Pages: 276

Call Number/Link:  J FICTION HUNT, L.



Synopsis:   “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

My Recommendation: This was a very colorful book and definitely engaging. This is a great book to show how students are bullied everyday due to their learning differences.  Excellent read aloud for children this age to learn how difficult it is to deal with being different and how not to treat others. This highlights dyslexia in particular and other differences. I would recommend to children who like to read about other people’s challenges or for teachers as a read a loud in elementary and middle school.

Previous Novel: One for the Murpheys

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Posted by on July 25, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


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