Monthly Archives: September 2015

Space Case

Space Case
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Title: Space case
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Series: Moon Base Alpha
Recommended for: Grades 3-8
Pages: 337
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION GIBBS, S.
Synopsis: It’s a murder mystery on the moon. Twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is living on the moon and bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped insid. Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies;a secret someone just might kill to keep…
Review: Stuart Gibbs comes out strong in this classic locked-room inspired tale of mystery. Plenty of suspects, plus a colorful science fiction setting make this book a strong recommend. The book has an excellent sense of pacing and a good humor, even in light of the death being the centerpiece of the book. The ending was a little telegraphed, if one reads mysteries, but should be enough of a surprise to newer readers, not gorged on classic mystery tropes. The ending also added a world shaking premise changer, which should be interesting to see developed in a later novel.

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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Adventure, Juv, Mysteries, Sci-Fi


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The Rose Society

23846013Title: The Rose Society
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Young Elite #2
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages: 416
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Lu, M  

Synopsis: Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Review: Man, oh man, is this one turning dark and I believe the third one will go even darker. Even though you can tell Adelina is going insane, you can’t help but still root for a bit. She’s a product of circumstances. She has rarely known anything but cruelty and you can tell how that guides her steps. There is one Elite who can reach her, beyond her sister, but she keeps pushing him away again and again. I wanted to yell out her for that, because he seems to bring out the light/good in her and it would be interesting to see how she healed when she allowed him in her life. The twist with the powers was a good one and I’m excited to see where it takes them in book three.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Cinder Series by Marissa Meyer (reminds me a lot of Fairest)

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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Dystopian, Teen


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Ink & Bone

23398607Title: Ink & Bone
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
Recommended for: 7th Grade and Up
Pages: 351
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Caine, R.

Synopsis: Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

Review: I really enjoyed this book. While I would put it in fantasy, it has more of a steampunk feel. Placement of time makes it feel old, but the technology makes it very futurist. It was a fun take on the power of libraries, even to the level of almost being abusive. It was a bit predictable at times, but it’s hard to surprise me anymore. I’m interested to see where the series will go, especially with where Jess is about to be placed.

Harry Potter
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slad

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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Fantasy, Teen


Saint Anything

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: n/a
Recommended for: 6th grade and up
Pages: 417

Synopsis: Sydney’s charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.

Review: This book is like a typical book by the author. It explores some deep feelings of the protagonist. Sydney is the good girl always trying to do right, while older brother Peyton is always in trouble.  This time he hit and paralyzed a young boy while driving drunk.  Sydney’s parents are hyper- focused on Peyton and his needs that they don’t spend much time with Sydney except to tell her she can’t spend time with her new friends, Mac and Layla. The Chathams are much different than her family and she really starts to feel understood and loved.

I liked this book except for the character of Ames,a creepy adult friend of Peyton’s, who is always leering at Sydeny. Sydney’s mom trusts him, even having him stay with her overnight while they are out of town. Eventually he manipulates  everything so that he is living with them.  The whole time Sydney knows that Ames is probably going to attack her, she locks herself in her room, but never feels like she can tell her parents.  It was also weird that her mom would rather her stay alone in the house with a 20 something guy rather than spend time with her new friend Layla.

I do like Sarah Dessen’s books, they are emotional and heavy, good for the kid who likes story lines with people going through hard times.  There is usually some romance, as this one does with Sydney’s relationship with Mac,  but it does not factor heavily into the story, which some kids really don’t want to read too much about. I would recommend for readers of John Green and other realistic fiction authors.

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


A Monster Calls

monstercallsTitle: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade and Up
Pages: 205 paged
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION NESS, P. 

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.

I first off didn’t know the story line of this book for months, all I saw was the title and cover.  My thought was this was a thriller/scary/mystery book, so not what this book is about.  The book is actually about a boy trying to come to terms with the fact that is mother, who is a single parent, is dying.  He has been keeping everything bottled up inside and doesn’t talk to anyone. The monster helps him come to terms and let out emotion which is something that no one else has been able to do. On a side note the boy is bullied at school and at least one teacher knows, but because Conor doesn’t say anything she doesn’t do anything.

I know others have raved about it, but it didn’t do anything for me. Yes it is well written and looks like it will be made in to a movie in 2016.  I cried at the end, but the whole thing just left me feeling blah.  This is a Rebecca Caudill nominee, so I am very interested to see what the kids say about this book.

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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Realistic, Teen


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Treasure Hunters

treasurehunterTitle: Treasure Hunters
Author: James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Series: Treasure Hunters #1
Recommended for: 3rd grade –  6th grade
Pages: 451 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION PATTERSON, J.

Synopsis: The Kidd siblings have grown up diving down to shipwrecks and traveling the world, helping their famous parents recover everything from swords to gold doubloons from the bottom of the ocean. But after their parents disappear on the job, the kids are suddenly thrust into the biggest treasure hunt of their lives. They’ll have to work together to defeat dangerous pirates and dodge the hot pursuit of an evil treasure hunting rival, all while following cryptic clues to unravel the mystery of what really happened to their parents–and find out if they’re still alive.

I want to start off by saying that I listened to the audio book, which I think gives a different spin on the book.  I can’t say that I would have finished it if I was just reading.  Why you may ask?  I loved the reader of the audio book he totally nailed the voices of the four siblings and I enjoyed listening to it. The book really portrayed how siblings get along or don’t at times, especially in troubled times.  These four are especially close as they have lived on a sail boat their whole lives. There is tons of action, with scuba diving, boat chases, reading maps, hidden compartments, secret messages, pirates, CIA agents, slimy black market dealers and an Uncle that really isn’t an Uncle.  If I had to read the book the sibling arguing would have gotten old really fast. Plus, the author talking to the reader bugs me (Just a personal thing).  This is a series and I don’t know how many books there will be, but the third book just came out.

I would recommend this book to kids who liked Genius Files by Dan Gutman and NERDS by Michael Buckley


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


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Daisy Gets Lost

51Xud0O2heL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Daisy Gets Lost
Author: Chris Raschka
Series: Sequel to A Ball for Daisy
Recommended for: A cuddle session, Parent and Child together
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E RASCH 

A young dog experiences the fear of being lost and the joys of being found when she becomes separated from her owner.

When Julia cried at Daisy’s dejection at her popped ball in A Ball for Daisy (a Caldecott Winner), I knew that we had to read the follow-up.  Read isn’t quite the right word, since the book is nearly wordless.  All the communication is done through broad strokes that demonstrate Daisy’s emotions as she chases a squirrel and loses her owner.  We were able to guess how Daisy felt, and talk about what Daisy should do when she got lost.  Julia wasn’t as emotionally invested in this story, maybe because she knew that Daisy couldn’t possibly stay lost, but she knew the ball might be popped forever.  I suggest this for fans of the art of Mo Willems, since so much emotion is conveyed with some minimal art.  Beautiful!  And since it isn’t a Caldecott winner, it won’t get as much play as A Ball for Daisy.

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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in Picture Books, Uncategorized, Wordless


The 100

9780316234498_p0_v2_s260x420Title: The 100
Author: Kass Morgan
Series: First in The 100 Trilogy (also a TV Show on CW)
Recommended for: High schoolers who liked the romance in Hunger Games
Pages: 323
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Morgan, K. 

When 100 juvenile delinquents are sent on a mission to recolonize Earth, they get a second chance at freedom, friendship, and love, as they fight to survive in a dangerous new world.

I saw the first episode of the TV on Netflix, and I decided to read the book when I heard that the TV show got great reviews. I was looking for something new to offer our dystopian fans. The book itself is pretty good.  It offers different viewpoints of things happening to the kids up on the space station as well as on the ground.  It delves into moral ambiguity, and it has some truly gut-wrenching decisions that need to be made.  All those things were great.  What I found less great, surprisingly, was the amount of romance in the book.  They took a book that should have been about so much more, and they overpowered it with hormones–and I like romance books!  If the romance had taken a backseat to the rest, I would have been more impressed.  As it is, I will still be recommending it, but only to those people who are Team Peeta or Team Gale.  🙂

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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in Adventure, Dystopian, Romance, Sci-Fi, Teen


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Allergies cover

Title:   Allergies
Author:   Ann O. Squire
Series:   True Books
Recommended for:  children and adults who want to learn about allergies
Pages:   48 pages
Call Number/Link:  E 616.97 SQU

Rating:   ****




Provides clear, coherent information about allergies on a level that children can understand.  The explanation provided can also be useful for teens and adults.  Chapter titles include: What can it be?, Making a diagnosis, The big truth, anaphylaxis, Why am I allergic?, Treating allergies and New advances in allergy treatment.  The book’s end matter includes statistics, list of resources, a glossary and an index.


This is a good resource for anyone wanting to learn about allergies, whether it’s because they have them, need to do a report or are just curious.  It would be a good choice if a teacher wanted his/her class to understand allergies and why some classmates need to avoid peanuts, eggs, wheat, etc. It also explained anaphylaxis, cross contamination and allergy-alert dogs.



I was also very impressed by two other True Books that came in today.  The first is titled Cancer and the second is titled Autism.  Both were written by Ann O. Squire, the author who wrote this book.


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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Non-Fiction


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Serafina and the Black Cloak

51kw82vfVSL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Serafina and the Black Cloak
Author: Robert Beatty
Recommended for: 5th-7th grade horror and fantasy fans
Pages: 293 pp
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Beatty, R.  

Synopsis: In 1899, a twelve-year-old rat catcher on North Carolina’s Biltmore estate teams up with the estate owner’s young nephew to battle a great evil and, in the process, unlocks the puzzle of her past.

I was lured in by the extensive advertising on facebook, and I watched the book trailer here. It sounded like a great read for a fantasy/historical fan such as myself.  This book has plenty of creepy action, interesting historical context (did you know that Biltmore Estate is a real place?  That a Vanderbilt built?), and mysterious happenings and people.  There is moral ambiguity and unknown origins and a whole lot going on on many levels.  There is a fantasy element that is tough to jive with the historical and horror elements.  What I didn’t expect was the level of intensity in some of the scenes.  This book is solidly juvenile, with a 12 year old protagonist and a juvenile feel to the book–but the scary scenes were truly scary and horrifying.  I always use the book The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein if I want someone to truly be scared, and this book is on level with that book–maybe a bit more horrifying.  There are children pleading for their lives and long action sequences where a bad guy is stalking children.  This is going to be fine for a bunch of kids, but you will want to gauge your audience before recommending it to the tenderhearted–I would not want my sheltered children to be reading it until maybe 5th grade.  A great book that I will recommend.

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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Juv, Scary