Monthly Archives: August 2015

Orphan Queen

orphan queenTitle: Orphan Queen
Author: Jodi Meadows
Series: Orphan Queen
Recommended for: Grades 6 and Up
Pages: 391 pages

Synopsis: “Wilhelmina has a hundred identities. She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne. She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable. Wil can’t trust anyone. She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the other.”

I feel this book has a lot going on, wraith attacks, glowmen, vigilante, and Wil trying to get her kingdom back.  As the book goes on you see how it is all connected. Wil knows how to fight and take care of herself, but can be reckless.  I think that is why some will really enjoy this book.  I think those who love adventure and action will like this book.  I am hoping that the next book will explain a little more about the wraith.(I would have liked more on in this book, but it is setting up the series).


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Fantasy, Teen


Tags: , , , ,

Where’s Walrus? and Penguin?

Where's WalrusTitle: Where’s Walrus? and Penguin?
Author: Stephen Savage
Series: Where’s Walrus?
Recommended for: Preschool and up
Pages: 32 pages
Call Number/Link:  E SAVAGE, S.

Synopsis:When Walrus and his friend Penguin escape from the zoo, Will the zookeeper must find them.  

This is the second book in this wordless book series.  I love this series, I picked up the first book during my youngest sons’ walrus phase.  We love poring over the pictures to see how walrus and penguin hide from the zoo keeper.  The fun about a wordless book is you can create your own story.  The story doesn’t have to be the same each time you read. Also, children like to take a turn making up the story.  It is also a great time seeing your child’s mind at work.


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Picture Books, Wordless


Tags: , ,

Tokyo Ghoul

23353593Title: Tokyo Ghoul
Author: Sui Ishida
Series: Tokyo Ghoul
Recommended for: 8th Grade and Up
Pages: 224
Call Number/Link:  GN Teen Tokoyo

Synopsis: Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

Review: This one is going to appeal to the action/adventure or horror crowd. It’s a bit violent, but no worse that most other mangas that I’ve read. I’ve only read vol 1 so far, but it’s very interesting concept. Ghouls don’t care about humans other than food. They’re like how humans would view most cows/pigs/chickens, etc. They’re cute but mainly we see them as food. However, for Ken, being human first, he’s caught in a moral dilemma. Normal food loses all appeal/taste and the only thing that makes his mouth water is now humans. But how can he eat someone who was just like him?! He would rather die than do that. And if he doesn’t find a balance that he can accept, that just may happen. Of course, he’s got a lot to learn about the Ghouls as well as they aren’t what he expected. I’m interested to see where this one goes and I think the teens will latch onto and love it easily.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Graphic Novels, Teen


Tags: , ,

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

23369370Title: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 9th Grade and Up
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Smith, J

Synopsis: On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they’ll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Review: Smith has been one of my favorite authors since The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and did not disappoint with Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. This plot is a bit different than some of her others as it’s not about falling in love, but knowing that you love each other and deciding it’s wise to stay together when you’re going to be on the opposite sides of the country. It’s very bittersweet as you can tell the characters have a lot of history and have to decide if they want to follow logic or their hearts. Will going into college being attached to someone really hold them back? Will they find themselves waiting around for a phone call when they should be out having fun? Clare is def. the more hardcore logically one about it while Aidan is doing everything he can to convince her that they can make it. She’s got her reasons and while they’re a bit shaky at time it’s hard to fault her for the logic even if you want to shout that she should follow her heart. After all, long distance relationships are hard for adults let alone 18 year olds experiencing their first time away from home. Sometimes it’s all about timing and that can often overrule the love you have for each other.

While I think any teen can enjoy this one,  I do think it will resonate the most with seniors as I’m sure some may be facing the very same situation soon.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Romance, Teen


Tags: , , , ,

Eight Keys

eight keysTitle: Eight Keys
Author: Suzanne LeFleur
Series: n/a
Recommended for: Kids grades 4-6
Pages: 216
Call Number/Link: J LAF

Synopsis: Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise’s parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There’s always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn. Elise receives the keys one by one and tries to discover why her father left her the things he did.
Review: This book is a story of two friends and how growing up can be hard.  This book is good for kids who are struggling with growing up, and the changes that middle school brings. It is not a sad book like LaFleur’s other book, Love, Aubrey, but is emotional just the same.  It can to appeal to both boys and girls because even though the story is about Elise, Franklin is a strong character.
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


Tags: , ,

Ella Enchanted


Title:Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Recommended for: Ages 8-12
Pages: 240
Call Number/Link:  CALL NUMBER 

Synopsis: At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ve ever read

I originally read this over ten years ago and decided to reread it when I was putting it in a list of ‘princess’ books.  It’s just as good as I remember.  Ella is strong but still sweet and kind.  She’s also funny, unconventional and capable of rescuing herself, eventually.  I really hate perfect princess books (actually Ella isn’t a princess until the end) but Ella seems very real and very much like the kind of girl you’d want for a friend.  This book is so simply written yet all of the characters, relationships and situations are completely fleshed out.  I love this book.


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Adventure, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Juv


Counting Ovejas

Counting Ovejas cover

Title:   Counting Ovejas
Author:   Sarah Weeks
Illustrator:  David Diaz
Recommended for:  Preschool and early elementary students, either in their native language or a language they are learning.   Students of any age who are beginning to learn English or Spanish.
Pages:   32 pages
Call Number/Link:  SPA E WEEKS, S.

Rating:    ****




When increasing numbers of sheep in a rainbow of colors appear in a boy’s bedroom as he tries to fall asleep, he must resort to more and more elaborate means of removing them. What do you do when you can’t sleep? Count sheep in Spanish and English, of course! But what happens when those rascally sheep get a little too close for comfort? Well, if you’re anything like the sleepy little hero in this clever tale, you might just tire yourself out trying to get rid of them!


I love this book for a few reasons.  It is bilingual.  The author provided a pronunciation guide under each sentence in Spanish.  It is both a color book and a counting book.  And the illustrations are cute, especially the sheep.

It can be read to children just for fun OR to help them learn a new language.  (Adults and teens are more likely to read it to learn basic vocabulary in their second language – it’s always good to know colors and numbers!)






Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Picture Books, Spanish


Tags: , , , , ,

Titanic : Voices from the disaster


Title: Titanic: Voices from the disaster
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Recommended for: Grades 2-12

Call Number/Link:  J 910.9163

Synopsis: On April 15, 1912, the magnificent ocean liner the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank beneath the icy North Atlantic seas. Hopkinson weaves together archival photographs and the voices of real Titanic survivors and witnesses to the disaster to bring the horrors of that terrible night to life. There’s nine-year-old Frankie Goldsmith; Violet Jessop, a young stewardess; Archibald Gracie, a well-to-do gentleman; Charlotte Collyer, a young mother on her way to start a new life; and others.

Already having a good base of knowledge about the Titanic disaster (“I am the king of the world!” – Okay, maybe Jack and Rose weren’t on the ship), I was curious to see if this book could keep me interested. Survivors stories are interspersed with facts to tell the unimaginable story of the unsinkable ship.  I found the pictures of both people and important items very interesting.  They helped link the stories to the people involved. I learned things I had not previously known, and it did keep my interest until the end.  It does have a glossary to help with some of the ship vocabulary, as well as other lists of pertinent facts.  I would recommend this book to any young person interested in reading about the disaster.  It is on the 2016 list of Caudill Awards books.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


Cuantos Animales?

Cuantos Animales cover

Title:   Cuantos Animales?
Author:   Anna Laura Cantone
Series:   not applicable
Recommended for:   People who want to help children learn to count to ten and don’t mind that the book is in cursive
Pages:   22 pages
Call Number/Link:   SPA E TINY CANTONE, A.

Rating:   **


Enseña a los niños a contar con ilustraciones de animales.  (Translation:  Teaches children how to count with illustrations of animals.)
My first reaction was…  what a cute counting book!  It’s even better that it’s in Spanish!  Then I noticed that they wrote the words for the numbers and animals in cursive.  Arrrrrrrrgh!
It’s difficult to teach a child the correlation between the numeral, number of objects in the illustration and the number’s written form when they can’t read the words because they’re in cursive.
Parents and teachers could still read this book to children to help them learn to count to ten,  However, some people might consider the book less useful since it doesn’t help the child match the numeral with the written form of the number.
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Concepts, Picture Books, Spanish


Tags: ,

Echo: A Novel

Echo cover


Title: Echo: A Novel

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Grades 5-9
Pages: 585
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Ryan, P.

Synopsis:   Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.

This was a fabulous book but a little complex because of the different stories being told in parts and the endings revealed near the end.  I thought the ending could have been better but you will definitely not look at a harmonica the same again.  Imagery was fabulous and a good view on life during the War during the Hitler era as well as Pearl Harbor. I would recommend this book for a higher reader in 5th grade while middle school to beginning of high school would be appropriate.  Definitely a good book to read aloud to a higher level classroom but it would take some time to complete.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 10, 2015 in Fantasy, Historical, Juv


Tags: , , , , , , ,