The Art of Secrets

July 22, 2014 by

Art of SecretsThe Art of Secrets
James Klise

Saba Kahn’s family’s apartment was set on fire. However, right after the fire, the Kahn’s luck takes a sudden turn for the best. Saba has a surge in popularity, the family is provided with temporary shelter at a swanky condo, and Saba’s school works together to put together a fundraiser for the family. Rumors fly as people speculate who was responsible for the fire. The events after this tragedy are pieced together through overheard conversations, emails, newspaper articles, interviews, etc. Different characters provide their perspective, but how can the reader know who to trust? This is a very realistic, non-violent mystery that takes a good look at contemporary society.

I read the book jacket summary and was intrigued enough to add it to my to-read stack. I started seeing positive reviews on a few book blogs I follow, so I moved it to the top of my stack. The writing style was perfect for this mystery. I felt like a real life detective because I had to figure out who was reliable. Klise does a good job of challenging what looks like authentic altruism. Many characters appear to be helpful, but their motives are selfish and disingenuous. The whole story flowed very well and I couldn’t put the book down until the last page.

I’d recommend it to any mystery lovers who like their stories more on the realistic side.

Reviewed by: Kate (Haggard Library)


July 21, 2014 by

proxy Proxy

By: Alex London

“She asked him some question he didn’t understand about credits and debt and that was the first time he heard the words ‘proxy’ and ‘patron’; all he remembered clearly after that was the pain of the shocks she gave him, one, two, three, four, five, like his skin was being burned off from the inside and he cried and cried. It took him about a year to stop crying when he was punished, and another year to understand that he wasn’t being punished for anything that he did. He came to believe he was being punished simply for being born.”


About: Knox was born into one of the city’s wealthiest families and has everything he could want. That includes his proxy, Syd, who takes all of his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death. Syd is a Proxy; His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. When Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid. (goodreads)

What I Thought: This book is an INTENSE page turner that will leave you with a lot to think about. Life is not fair for Syd in this dystopian future where you are born in to debt. But, one doesn’t have many options when they are born in to the proxy caste. What would happen if a proxy and patron were to align?

I’m not usually much in to dystopian reads, but I really liked this one, which is a sure sign that it can be enjoyed by others not as keen on the genre. I found myself switching back and forth between the narrative and ideas about our society, class struggles, and consumerism. Heavy stuff, but well juxtaposed against the bleak futuristic dystopian delivered in Proxy. Also, our protagonist Syd happens to be gay, but Proxy isn’t a book about sexuality, it is simply stated as a characteristic.

Reviewed by: Audrey (Harrington Public Library)

Fan Art

July 18, 2014 by

Fan Art

By Sarah Tregay

 Jamie Peterson is out… well, to his parents anyway. But not to anyone else at school, and that includes his best friend Mason who Jamie starts to realize he has deeper feelings for. In the midst of prom, senior pranks and other end of high school shenanigans, Jamie tries to find a way to tell Mason, but his fear of what could happen to their friendship keeps stopping him. Then the geeky girls in Jamie’s class accidentally intervene with their art.

I really liked this book; it’s a fun, light friend-to-romance kind of story. I think the reader (and the artsy girls in the book) can clearly see how Mason is feeling as well, even if Jamie is too afraid to really look. I love how Jamie’s parents are super (overly in his opinion) supportive of his sexuality. His mom reminds me of… well… me in that situation (GAH! Relating to the parents again, I’m old!) She’s kind of emotional but very much loves her son and wants him to be happy.

Anyway, I’m glad to see a GLBT book that mainly focuses on the fluff and romance.

Reviewed by: Nina (Haggard Library)

V is for Villain

July 17, 2014 by

v is for villainV is for Villain

By Peter Moore

In a world where superheroes reign supreme, Brad Baron does not live up to the standards of his super-powered family.  Unlike his older brother who has super strength, can fly, and is impervious to bullets, Brad is “unpowered”.  Or is he…?

Why I picked it up: I found the title and the cover art interesting.  After reading a lot of books with female leads, I was looking for a book with a strong male character.

Why I finished it: The story has many layers.  It really makes you think about what it means to be a hero or a villain.  Brad is easy to relate to and makes you believe that being a villain is not always a bad thing.

I’d give it to: Anyone who loves a good superhero story or has ever wondered where they fit in.

I’d give it:

5 stars


Reviewed by Ashley (Davis Library)

The Year of No Sugar

July 15, 2014 by

Title:  The Year of No Sugar

Author:  Eve Schaub

It’s dinnertime. Do you know where your sugar is coming from? Most likely everywhere. Sure, it’s in ice cream and cookies, but what scared Eve O. Schaub was the secret world of sugar—hidden in bacon, crackers, salad dressing, pasta sauce, chicken broth, and baby food.

With her eyes opened by the work of obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig and others, Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to quit sugar for an entire year.

Along the way, Eve uncovered the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet—including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. The stories, tips, and recipes she shares throw fresh light on questionable nutritional advice we’ve been following for years and show that it is possible to eat at restaurants and go grocery shopping—with less and even no added sugar.

Year of No Sugar is what the conversation about “kicking the sugar addiction” looks like for a real American family—a roller coaster of unexpected discoveries and challenges. (Taken from the cover).

Why I picked it up:  I tried the Sugar Busters diet a few years ago and really liked it.  Lately, more and more sugar has snuck back into my diet.  I wanted to read more about the science behind why we should all kick the sugar habit.

Why I finished it:  This book was very readable.  I liked Schaub’s practical solutions for avoiding sugar in everyday situations.

I’d give it to:  Anyone who would like to improve their health.

Star Rating:   Four stars

Reviewer:  Renee (Parr library)




17 First Kisses

July 10, 2014 by

17 First Kisses

Rachael Allen

When I first picked up 17 First Kisses, I thought I was going to read a ridiculously fluffy book about a boy crazy girl. Instead, I read a great story of a high school girl who is dealing with some emotional and hard issues at home all the while keeping up friendships that quickly fizzle when a new guy comes around.

Claire, or CJ, is a tomboy who loves soccer and hanging out with her best friend Sam. In a series of flashbacks to all of her first kisses with various boys, we see her transform as she develops a friendship with a clique known as the Crownies. The Crownies are reminiscent of Mean Girl’s Plastics. The girls get together for sleepovers and shopping and quickly transform CJ into a girly girl Claire a la Clueless style. While the transformation is happening in a span of a few years, heartache hits home with her parents and that sends her mama spiraling into depression. Juggling school, social and home life can be a challenge but I like that Claire maintains a great attitude through it all.

4 Stars!

Reviewed by: Maggie (Parr Library)

Love is the Drug

July 10, 2014 by

84595681b450ab91df26ba2e7c6245f0[1]Love is the Drug

by Alaya Dawn Johnson

I was super excited to read this book since The Summer Prince was one of my favorite books to come out last year.

The mystery is pretty compelling, revolving around one night at a party that Bird can’t remember, after waking up from an eight-day coma. Nobody seems to be telling her the truth about what really happened, and with a flu pandemic and the resultant quarantine and a possible government conspiracy, the stakes are pretty high.

I found all that interesting, and definitely wanted to know what the big secret was, but where this book really shines for me is in Bird’s relationships with her uncle Nicky and cousin Aaron, her new best friend Marella, her old best friend Charlotte, and on-again-off-again Coffee. These characters feel real, and really, they’re what kept me hooked.

I had a difficult time getting into it at first–I found all the characters slightly off-putting in the beginning. Which makes sense, as main character Emily Bird is sort of living under the weight of her mother’s expectations, in a way she doesn’t really like deep down. She’s uncomfortable with herself and with the people she’s surrounded herself with and that shows. But as Bird grows into herself, I grew into her as well, and began to really care about her and the people she deems truly important to her.

While I didn’t find this one quite as immersive as I did The Summer Prince, I still really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to see what Johnson does next!

Happy reading!

Lara (Haggard Library)

The Dream Thieves

July 8, 2014 by

Dream-Thieves-CoverThe Dream Thieves

By Maggie Stiefvater

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps  from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as a undercurrent beneath the town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake. (Taken from book jacket).

Why I picked it up:  A colleague had put together a list of books for the Plano Bibliovores and had included book one of The Raven Cycle (The Raven Boys) as a potential read. Having never read anything by Maggie Stiefvater, I thought I would give it a try. I’m glad I did because The Raven Cycle series has become one of my favorites. The Raven Boys ended in a spectacular cliffhanger, so I practically ran into the library to grab a copy of The Dream Thieves!

Why I finished it: Maggie crafted a great story with the perfect combination of mystery, magic and adventure. I enjoyed everything about The Dream Thieves from the pacing, to the character development. I’m glad Maggie chose to explore Ronan’s character in this book because I was so perplexed by his character in The Raven Boys. I couldn’t figure him out! But it all makes sense now. I greatly enjoyed the major reveals that pertain to his family, abilities and identity and greatly enjoyed his growth. Ultimately, The Dream Thieves was a fantastic read that ended on another cliffhanger. Now I’m dying to get my hands on Blue Lily, Lily Blue (book three in the series) but it doesn’t come out until October 28th!

In the meantime, for those who haven’t read The Raven Boys or The Dream Thieves, I highly recommend you do so. And for those who have, patience is a virtue (only 113 days left to go).

I’d give it: 4.5 stars

4 Stars




Reviewed by Milen (Harrington Library)

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

July 7, 2014 by

no one else can have you


Small towns are nothing if not friendly.  Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 689 correction 688) is no different.  Around here, everyone wears a smile and no one ever locks their doors.  That is until high school sweetheart Ruth Fried (pronouced Freed) is found murdered.

Unfortunately, Friedship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers.  So Ruth’s best firend, Kippy Bushman, armed only with her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother has turned over to Kippy to ‘redact’ any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer.

Why did I pick up this book:  I love books with surpise endings and  I read somewhere that this book falls into that category.  I absolutely could not resist picking this book up.

This book opens with the discovery of Ruth’s body strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.  After getting past the description of Ruth’s horrific demise, I was interested Kippy’s search for the murderer since it was obvious from the beginning that Friendship’s police department was neither interested nor sufficiently competent to take up the task.

The surpise ending that I was promised was indeed delivered and needless to say, I was not disppointed.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys surprise endings, crime fiction, and small town settings … in that order!


July 4, 2014 by

Title:  Crewel

Author/Artist:  Gennifer Albin

Why I picked it up:  I was immediately drawn to the cover.  It shows a girl’s face mixed with a pretty color swirl.  I started to read the first couple of pages to test the waters.  Every page pushed me to read further.

Why I finished it:  The concept of Spinsters being able to “weave” time and matter together was very interesting.

I’d give it to:  Those who would like a very creative book with science fiction and fantasy.

Star rating:  4 stars

Reviewer:  Emily (Plano teen)