Will O’ The Wisp

July 31, 2014 by

Will O' The WispWill O’ The Wisp

By Tom Hammock

Illustrated by Megan Hutchison

After her parent’s accidental death by mushroom poisoning, young Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her estranged grandfather on Ossuary Isle, deep in the southern swamps. Joined by her grandfather’s pet raccoon, Missy, Aurora explores the fog-covered island of graves. Along the way, she meets its sinister residents who care for the tombstones and mausoleums, living out their lives by the strange rules of Hoodoo magic. When ghostly things start happening out in the swamp and island residents start disappearing, Aurora thrusts herself into the middle of the mystery, uncovering secrets that might be better left buried. (Summary taken from book cover)

Why I picked it up: I came across this graphic novel while checking out some new titles and thought it would be perfect for a review since I’m trying to incorporate more graphic novels into my reading lists. And while I was initially sucked in by the cover, Aurora’s story and the world of Hoodoo sounded rather intriguing.

Why I finished it: I enjoyed the darkness and found the magical elements fascinating. I was also drawn to Aurora’s relationship with her grandfather, Dr. Grimeon, and the similarities in their histories was surprising. I wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the killings on Ossuary Isle and how Aurora was connected to it all.

I’d give it: 3 stars

3 Stars

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Milen (Harrington Library)

Graduation Day

July 30, 2014 by

Graduation DayGraduation Day

In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can’t do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest! [from Goodreads]

Why I picked it up: Graduation Day is the third book in The Testing Trilogy. The first book, The Testing, is on the 2014 Texas Lone Star Reading List which is how I found it. After I finished the first book I had to find out what happened after the Testing. Then I couldn’t wait to find out how it all would end.

Why I finished it: To be honest, I almost didn’t finish it. It took me eight days to read this book, and normally I can read a book of this size in one to two days. But I really wanted to know how the series ended! I was pleasantly surprised at the end, too! Though the flow of the book could have been better and everything seemed to end kind of suddenly after what seemed like a lot of filler content, I was happy I stuck with it.

I’d give it: 3 Stars

3 Stars

 

 

Reviewed by: Jacquline (Schimelpfenig Library)

Starbird Murphy and the World Outside

July 29, 2014 by

Sometime when you are reading a book you begin to wonder how the title and the contents pertain to each other.  The title of this book, Starbird Murphy and the World Outside,  gives you a great insight into this book.  Starbird Murphy was born on a Free Family Farm.  Many people would call this farm a cult or commune.  Starbird has never been given the opportunity to venture outside the gates of her large family.  She would sum up her life, all 16 years of it as happy and satisfied.  She has been waiting for her 16th year with anticipation for she will learn her calling in life.  First Earth, the leader of the Free Family Farm consults the cosmos and decides each child’s future on this special day.  But, First Earth has suddenly left the farm  and Starbird’s world is suddenly in turmoil.  Many family members decide to leave, financial problems plague the farm and discourse is becoming quite common in the family.  Starbird decides to help out by getting a job as a waitress outside the gates of her perfect world.  Although Starbird tries to stay true to herself and her values she soon realizes the world she had been living in is full of deceit and selfishness.

Why I picked it up:  Living in a commune is a totally foreign idea to me so when I read the inside cover I was intrigued.  I found it difficult to believe how gullible people can be and the need for someone to dictate their lives.

Why I finished it:  I was rooting for Starbird to see the light and realize the person she was following was a cruel dictator who was only concerned with his welfare.

I’d give it to:  This is a book about self-discovery.  A 16 year old girl is able to face the truth about her life and become a stronger and more confident young lady on her journey.

I’d give it:  3 stars

3 Stars

Blur

July 28, 2014 by

Blur

By Steven James

 The isolated town of Beldon, Wisconsin, is shocked when a high school freshman’s body is found in Lake Algonquin. Just like everyone in the community, sixteen-year-old Daniel Byers believes that Emily Jackson’s death was accidental. But at her funeral, when he has a terrifying vision of her, his world begins to rip apart at the seams.

Convinced that Emily’s appearance was more than just a mere hallucination, Daniel begins to look carefully into her death, even as he increasingly loses the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

What’s real? What’s not? Where does reality end and madness begin?

As Daniel struggles to find the truth, his world begins to crumble around him as he slips further and further into his own private blurred reality.

Full of mind-bending twists and turns, Blur launches a new trilogy of young adult thrillers from Steven James, a master of suspense.

Why I picked it up: I was intrigued by the idea of Daniel’s blurred reality.  I also really liked the book cover.

Why I finished it: I wanted to find out whether Daniel was mentally ill, and also wanted to find out what really happened to Emily Jackson.

I’d give it to:  Anyone who likes thriller/suspense books, and my daughter – she loves reading about the supernatural!

I’d give it: 3 ½ stars

The Tyrant’s Daughter

July 25, 2014 by

 The Tyrant's Daughter CoverThe Tyrant’s Daughter

By J.C. Carleson

THERE:  In an unnamed Middle Eastern country, 15-year-old Laila has always lived like royalty.  Her father is king, just as his father was, and just as her younger brother, Bastien, will be someday.  Then everything changes.  Laila’s father is killed in a coup.

 HERE:  As war surges, Laila flees to a life of exile in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.  Even as she adjusts to a new school and new friends, she is haunted by the past.  She knows now that her father was not really king, but was he a brutal dictator like the American newspapers say?  At what cost did her family enjoy its privilege?

 Far from feeling guilty, her mother is busy engineering a power play – conspiring with CIA operatives and revel factions to regain a foothold to the throne.  Laila can’t bear to stand still as yet another international crisis takes shape around her.  But how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?  (Summary from book cover flap)

 Why I picked it up: The girl’s eyes on the cover are hypnotic.  I could not resist opening the cover and reading the summary on the book cover.  After that, I was past the point of no return. This book moved immediately to the top of my “To Read” list.

 Why I finished it:

Laila is a compelling character and a strong narrator that tells a very suspenseful story filled with political intrigue and emotional tension.  I felt like I was reading a commentary on current events.  As dictators have fallen in numerous countries around the world, I have given little thought to their families.  Where did they go?  What did they do?  Are they guilty of the atrocities committed, as well, or had they no knowledge of it?  Laila was very convincing as her thoughts and feelings unfold throughout the story.

 I’d give it to: 

Any and all teens!  Not only is Laila’s story suspenseful but her analytical observations of her life in the United States vs. her life in the Middle East are quite thought-provoking!

 I’d give it: 

 Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

 

 

 

Life by Committee

July 24, 2014 by

Life by Committee

Corey Ann Haydu

 

Summary

Some secrets are too good to keep. Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat. Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend. Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

 

Opinion

What I liked about this book:

  • Tabitha’s parents. Even though they are with their faults such as her dad being a major stoner, they seem to be a great support system for Tabby.
  • Devon. Who doesn’t love the nice guy?
  • The ending.

What I disliked about this book:

  • The LBC. Seriously weird stuff going on there. I totally got a cult vibe when reading.
  • Joe and Sasha and Jemma and Mrs. Drake and probably some other characters that I cannot remember at this point.
  • The criticism towards Tabitha and how she dresses and how she seems to present herself. I really didn’t understand how Tabitha got some of these titles and perceptions about her.

 

Reviewed by: Maggie (Parr Library)

Boy Nobody

July 23, 2014 by

Boy NobodyBoy Nobody

By Allen Zadoff

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend’s family to die — of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target.

When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy Nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program’s next mission. (Summary taken from Goodreads).

Why I picked it up: Boy Nobody, book one in The Unknown Assassin series, has been on my reading list for months. Unfortunately, other books always took precedence and Boy Nobody found its way to the bottom of my list. It wasn’t until I came across I Am The Mission (book two) that I realized I had seriously neglected Boy Nobody.

Why I finished it:  I wish I hadn’t let this novel slip to the bottom of my list because I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me of some of the Hollywood spy/assassin blockbusters.

Packed with a great deal of action and suspense, Boy Nobody was a quick read that I found to be very intriguing. I was sucked into the main character’s mind and wanted to see if he would succeed in his mission. I wasn’t expecting the answer that I got. I underestimated the main character and feel somewhat conflicted about the ending. Spoiler alert- I should have known that in a match against an assassin, there can only be one survivor.

I’d give it: 3.5 stars

3 Stars

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Milen (Harrington)

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)

Proxy

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)