April 18, 2014
By Miranda Kenneally
They’re from two different worlds.
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin – cocky, popular, and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
(Summary taken from book jacket).
Why I picked it up: Racing Savannah wasn’t my first choice. The book I initially wanted to review was a disappointment. I was determined to find something to latch onto, and that’s when I found Racing Savannah.
Why I finished it: How could I not? Racing Savannah, the fourth book in a six book series, is a sweet and charming story. While I haven’t read any of the other books in the Hundred Oaks Series, I’m definitely going to after reading this book. I loved the chemistry between Savannah and Jack and loved the way they bonded over Tennessee Star (Jack’s horse). I know very little about horses and even less about horse racing, so getting a little glimpse into that world was really great. Overall, I enjoyed Mirranda Kenneally‘s writing. Finishing her book was effortless and I would recommend it to romance readers looking for a well paced story.
I’d give it: 3 stars
Reviewed by Milen (Harrington Library)
April 17, 2014
By Sally Green
I’m not usually into supernatural books or books about witches and things, but this one was really good. That’s probably because I considered it to be more about the plight of Nathan, and less about witches and magic. So if you’re looking for a book with lots of magic and spells, this might not be the one for you. But if you want a book with an interesting main character and some weird family dynamics, you should check it out. In Half Bad, there are white witches and black witches, and Nathan is half and half. Black witches are supposed to be the “evil” ones, but the stuff the white witches put Nathan through, like being locked in a cage and, well, basically torture, put a serious gray area on the white/black good/evil argument.
This is the first book in a series, and I think it’s mostly meant to show Nathan’s childhood and set up the world and relationships for us. There were a couple parts that slowed down a little, but I still really enjoyed it, and I definitely look forward to the next book in the series.
Reviewed by: Nina (Haggard Library)
April 16, 2014
The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co: Bk. 1)
By Jonathan Stroud
Unabridged CD production read by Miranda Raison
For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.
Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humor and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . (Summary from Goodreads)
Why I picked it up:
I was introduced to Jonathan Stroud and his Bartimaeus trilogy through audio books. His writing flows perfectly in the audio format. When I saw that he had a new series, I decided to listen rather than read the first book since I enjoyed his first series in this manner.
Why I finished it:
Oh the goose bumps I felt as I drove through the dark on my way home from work! I haven’t listened to a good ghost story in a very long time! I was so absorbed I almost missed my own street! Miranda Raison’s narration immediately captures the listener and propels them into the story. Each of the characters has a very distinct voice which clearly reflects their personalities and their reactions to the horrifying circumstances in which they find themselves. The storyline is fast paced yet expertly controlled by Raisin as she pauses and accelerates at just the right moment for theatric effect. The effect is delightfully chilling! I can’t wait for the next book in the series which I totally plan on listening to as well! I only hope that Raison is once again the reader!
I’d give it to:
I’d give the book itself to all lovers of horror. I would recommend it in print as well as CD as the story is expertly written by a very talented author. Also, anyone interested in reading books on the 2014 TX Lone Star List for young adults. A worthy addition to the list!
I’d give it:
Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)
April 15, 2014
Don’t Even Think About It
by Sarah Mlynowski
“Olivia sank even farther. They can hear me worrying about my dumbness! And now they can hear me worrying about worrying about my dumbness. It’s a friggin’ house of mirrors.”
As if you didn’t already have a good enough reason to skip out on that yearly flu shot (ouch!). What if one of the possible side-effects to that supposedly innocuous inoculation was the ability to read other people’s thoughts? Well that’s exactly what happens to the unsuspecting students in Bloomberg High School homeroom 10B. The day after they receive their flu shots, students in 10B begin developing strange symptoms—not only can they hear their own thoughts, they can hear everyone else’s too! Luckily, hearing one another’s thoughts lets them know they aren’t losing their minds. Vowing to keep their new abilities secret, the students of 10B begin meeting regularly. Some have secrets they don’t want spilled, and feelings are bound to get hurt. No one is immune to having their mind read, and nothing is a secret anymore. How long will their super-human abilities last? How long can they hide what they’ve become from their families, friends, and teachers?
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I could not put down! The characters that seem rather one-sided at the onset of the book develop more than just ESP after their ill-fated flu shots; they gain new perspectives on their lives and their relations to other people. You will definitely relate to at least one character in this book. Mlynowski, who lives in New York, says she got the idea when she noticed a tall, brown building with no windows while walking through the Tribeca neighborhood. It got her thinking about what the creepy-looking building could possibly be used for… a school for students with ESP, of course! With extra thick walls to block their mind-reading abilities! Mlynowski will be following up Don’t Even Think About It with a second book due out in 2015, Think Twice—can’t wait!
Reviewed by: Jocelyn (Davis Library)
April 14, 2014
Title: Kill Me Softly
Author/Artist: Sarah Cross
Why I picked it up: The title of this book truly intrigued me. Also, the cover features a white rose with crimson blood pooled around it. The inside summary tells about a town where fairy tales come alive.
Why I finished it: I loved the many fairy tale allusions and the semi-plot twist at the end. A lover becomes a murderer.
I’d give it to: Fairy tale lovers.
Star rating: 4 stars
Reviewer: Emily (Plano teen)
April 11, 2014
Summary: A beautiful princess lies in a sleep so deep it is close to death. Was Sleeping Beauty revived by a prince’s kiss? What really happened in that tower so long ago?
While Beauty Slept re-imagines the legend through the lens of historical fiction, telling the story as if it really happened. A Gothic tale of suspense and ambition, love and loss, it interweaves the story of a royal family and the servants who see behind the glamorous facade, following the journey of a young woman as she lives out a destiny that leads her to the brink of death. (from Goodreads)
Elizabeth Blackwell presents a beautifully written retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of Elise, a servant in the castle and companion to the real prncess. This book is a beautiful retelling of a beloved fairy tale full of historical detail. It is not a quick read but one that will be sure to appeal to fans of fairy tales and historical fiction alike.
April 10, 2014
Better off Friends
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.
Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love? (Summary taken from Goodreads).
I became a fan of Elizabeth Eulbergs after reading “Take a Bow.” She has perfected the art of telling a story from multiple points of view. In “Better off Friends” we hear the story of two best friends told from both Macallan (by the way, super cool name) and Levi. Macallan and Levi met in junior high school when he moved from California. They bonded over their love of a random British show. The transition from friendship to romance was not easy for these two. There were other significant others and jealousy that sometimes got way out of control. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the evolution of the friendship.
Reviewed by: Maggie (Parr Library)
April 9, 2014
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
Tula Bane has been left for dead aboard the space station Yertina Feray, floating above a dead planet in a forgotten corner of the galaxy. The charismatic leader of her colony ship, Brother Blue, beat her to within an inch of her life and left her for dead after she learned a little too much about his real intentions for the colonists. She’s not dead, but how will she survive? She has no money, doesn’t know anything about the aliens with whom she shares the space station, and any family she had may be dead. What will she do? Focus on vengeance – on killing Brother Blue – and wait for the perfect moment to escape.
Castellucci is always on my radar for writing strong female characters and Tin Star does not disappoint. Tula is a survivor, coming back from near-death to become friends with an alien named Heckleck and learn the art of trading to stay alive. For the first time in a while I found myself hoping that this was the start of a series, rather than rolling my eyes, annoyed that I have to read another two (three, four…?) books to finish out the story arc. There are romantic entanglements, but they are only small pieces in the puzzle that Tula has to solve in order to survive on her own and retain her humanity. And the actual love story that emerges by the end is not at all what I expected.
I’d give it to: Anyone looking for straight up sci-fi with a girl-power twist.
I’d give it: Four stars
Reviewed by: Cecily (Davis Library)
April 8, 2014
Title: Love in the Time of Global Warming
Author/Artist: Lia Francesca Block
Why I picked it up: After reading the inside cover of this book; I learned that it was a modern take on the Odyssey by Homer. I am very interested in Greek Mythology, so that was a reason for me to read this book.
Why I finished it: I finished it because of the perpetual references to the Odyssey and the well-developed characters. There is a mix of science fiction, Greek mythology, magic realism, and romance.
I’d give it to: People who like Greek Mythology.
Star rating: 4 stars
Reviewer: Emily (Plano teen)
April 7, 2014
Title: Does My Head Look Big in This?
Author/Artist: Abdel-Fattah Randa
Why I picked it up: As a teen from two different cultures, multicultural books have always been interesting to me. I love reading about teenagers dealing with the same issues and confusion that I sometimes have regarding my heritage, so when I saw Does My Head Look Look Big in This? At a bookstore, I was intrigued. Amal sounded a lot like me: just a regular American teenager whose parents just happened to be from a foreign country.
Why I finished it: I finished this book in two days. It’s a very fast and easy read, but teaches readers a lot about Islam and that there’s a lot more to the religion than the terrorism and bombs you see on TV and in the media. I really like learning about other cultures and religions, so this kept me hooked. Through Amal’s daily ups and downs, I learned something very important from this book – to embrace my heritage as something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
I’d give it to: I think this book would appeal to anyone going through a cultural dilemma because it really spoke to me. However, anyone (it’s probably more suited for girls though) could enjoy this book as its writing style is very quick and easy to read.
Star rating: 4 stars
Reviewer: Bhavana (Plano teen)