Double Helix

January 30, 2015 by

Double helixTitle: Double Helix

Author/Artist: Nancy Werlin

Why I picked it up: I not only love science fiction, but I am a science geek as well. However, you don’t have to be a science fiction whiz to enjoy this book. This book not only explores interesting concepts, it also has a hint of mystery to it as well. Eli discovers a shocking secret while working at a lab. He also has some family problems as well. However, if you want to find out how everything ends, you have to read the book!

Why I finished it: I wanted to finish the book, because as I said earlier, the book had a mystery aspect and I wanted to see how everything ended. On the other hand, this book was a thriller, so I just HAD to finish.

Who I would give it to: I would give this to a teenager, however I would probably recommend it to a boy. The ideas as well as the characters are more male oriented.

Star rating: 3 stars

Reviewer: Nicky (Plano teen)

Audacity

January 28, 2015 by

AudacityTitle: Audacity

Author: Melanie Crowder

Clara Lemlich, a Russain Jewish immigrant and aspiring student, lives on New York City’s Lower East Side at the turn of the twentieth century. To help support her family, she is forced to work in the garment factories, where she quickly discovers – and is appalled by – the substandard working conditions.

Unlike the other girls she works alongside, Clara refuses to accept the cards she has been dealt, and begins a long and tireless fight for the improvement of women’s rights in the workplace. Her strength and resolve remain steadfast throughout, but when Clara is forced to make an impossible choice between the cause she is drawn to and her lifelong ambition, a life marked by resolution and strength quickly becomes one of uncertainty and conflict.

Inspired by the real life story of Clara Lemlich, and gorgeously told in striking free verse, this novel celebrates the power of one girl’s unrelenting spirit, and reminds us that passion and fire can be found in the darkest of places. (Taken from the cover).

Why I picked it up: I love historical fiction and novels in verse, so this story was the perfect choice for me.

Why I finished it: Clara Lemlich’s bravery is inspiring. She gave up her dream of getting an education and becoming a doctor to fight for rights for all of the immigrant women.

 I’d give it to: Anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction novel. This novel is very inspirational and it will make you want to be a better person.

 Star Rating:   Four stars

Reviewer: Renee (Parr library)

 

 

Murkmere

January 26, 2015 by

cover imageMurkmere

By Patricia Elliot

“Clouds hang low in the sky where I live. They seem to touch the flat brown fields around our village, and to shadow the broad backs of the horses pulling the plow. They drift across the wide sky like swans’ feathers. 

There were swans on the mere when I first went to Murkmere Hall, the first time I met Leah. There are still swans there today, but everything else has changed. All I knew then was what I saw around me: the village, the fields, and, behind its iron gates on the Wasteland road, the great shadowy expanse of the Murkmere estate. In those days I knew nothing of corruption and betrayal, and the evil of ambitious men.

But you can’t wipe away the past like chalk from a slate. I can never be that innocent girl again. I am someone else now.” (p. 1)

Why I picked it up: 

I liked the cover image, girl and swan woven together; it reminds me of one of my favorite fairy tales, known as “The Six Swans,” where a girl’s brothers are all turned into swans by an evil witch (their stepmother, in some versions) and their sister must weave them each a shirt out of nettles by moonlight in order to break the spell. I also really liked the first page, quoted above.

Why I finished it:

I loved the dark, atmospheric tone. Murkmere truly is a murky place, not only weather-wise but also because of all the secrets the members of the estate are hiding. The story does have some similarities to the fairy tale of the six swans, but it’s almost like an inversion of that tale. It feels very Gothic in style; parts of it reminded me strongly of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite novels.

I’d give it to:

Anyone who enjoys Gothic literature, especially stories like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. Fans of Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters trilogy, expecially Daughter of the Forest, will also probably enjoy this book.

I’d give it:

4 Stars

Four stars. I’d give it five, but the subplot of the tyrannical rule of the Ministration never really goes anywhere and probably could have been left out. However, there is a sequel, Ambergate, which might wrap up some of the loose threads Murkmere doesn’t resolve.

Reviewed by: Francesca (Davis)

Illusions of Fate

January 23, 2015 by

Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate

By Kiersten White

 The people of Albion are different from anyone Jessamin has ever known: harsh, uptight, and obsessed with wealth and rank. Jessamin knew as much when she left her sun-drenched island home to attend school in their gray, dreary country. But she had no idea how different they truly were.

 She never thought she would discover a house with doors that open onto a hundred corners of the city or a book that spends its days as a bird. She certainly never expected to become a pawn in a political and magical power struggle between the sinister Lord Downpike and the handsome, charming Finn Ackerly. And she never so much as imagined she’d win Finn’s affections – or that one day his shadow would follow her every step. Fortunately for Jessamin, fate has other ideas…

(Summary from the book cover flap.)

 Why I picked it up:

It was recommend as a book that fans of Downton Abbey would like. Since I love that series and was impatiently waiting for the new season to start, I thought I would give it a try. It also has an awesome cover!

 Why I finished it:

Not because of a similarity to Downton Abbey.  I don’t totally agree with that comparison but I was engrossed with the world that Kiersten White created where the upper class has magical powers that the lower classes don’t.  Albion is a land similar in feeling and sensibility to Victorian England.  Jessamin is a very strong and clever young woman who is able to navigate the social strata even without their accompanying magical powers. She is witty, intelligent and a quick thinker with a very strong sense of self, never losing sight of what is most important to her and never allowing herself to become ensnared by the dark powers surrounding her.

 I’d give it to:

There are so many great elements to this story!  I could give it to lovers of historical fantasy, suspense and romance and I believe all would be satisfied.

 I’d give it: 4 stars

 

Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

Lego EV3 Robotics

January 21, 2015 by

Firefight

January 21, 2015 by

91O7NxvqD9L__SL1500_Firefight

by Brandon Sanderson

If you’ve read the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series, Steelheart (it’s a title on the Texas Lone Star list this year, so you know it’s good), you’re no doubt looking forward to finding out what happens next with protagonist David and his Reckoner teammates as they deal with a world full of supervillains with no heroes to be found. Firefight picks up a little while after Steelheart leaves off, with a move from the steel city of Newcago to the strange new world of Babylon Restored (formerly Manhatten), where David and teammates (both new and old) will go head-to-head with it’s current ruler, High Epic Regalia. Lots of action and a couple of great twists makes this sequel just as satisfying as the first book and the reader just as anxious for the next installment of Reckoners adventures. Check it out!

Happy reading!

Reviewed by: Lara (haggard Library)

 

 

Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 1st Case by Shane Peacock

January 19, 2015 by

 

crowNZAM0C6N

Sherlock Holmes, just thirteen, is a misfit. His highborn mother is the daughter of an aristocratic family, his father a poor Jew. Their marriage flouts tradition and makes them social pariahs in the London of the 1860s; and their son, Sherlock, bears the burden of their rebellion. Friendless, bullied at school, he belongs nowhere and has only his wits to help him make his way.

But what wits they are! His keen powers of observation are already apparent, though he is still a boy. He loves to amuse himself by constructing histories from the smallest detail for everyone he meets. Partly for fun, he focuses his attention on a sensational murder to see if he can solve it. But his game turns deadly serious when he finds himself the accused — and in London, they hang boys of thirteen.

Shane Peacock has created a boy who bears all the seeds of the character who has mesmerized millions: the relentless eye, the sense of justice, and the complex ego. The boy Sherlock Holmes is a fascinating character who is sure to become a fast favorite with young readers everywhere.

Why I picked it up:  Like most mystery lovers I enjoy well-written mysteries that have well-developed characters and plot and everyone who knows mysteries, knows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, Sherlock Holmes.  I wanted to find out if Shane Peacock’s young Sherlock would live up to Doyle’s works. I am happy to report that it does and am looking forward to reading Peacock’s other young Sherlock cases!

Who I would recommend it to:  Other mystery lover’s, of course!

I’d give it:

5 stars

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Donna (Haggard Library)

Girls Like Us

January 16, 2015 by

girls like usGirls Like Us

by Gail Giles

Quincy and Biddy have just graduated from their high school special ed program. They end up living together in an apartment as part of a transition program into the real world. As the two girls figure out how to live on their own, they learn to support each other and take chances on new people that come into their lives.

The two characters are complete opposites. Biddy is shy, yet excitable, while Quincy is tough and independent. Chapters alternate between the two characters’ perspectives. I loved seeing how the two characters experienced the same event, but processed it completely differently based on their past experiences and personalities.

Similar titles:

Freaks Like Us by Sarah Vaught

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, The Blue Death, and Boy called Eel

January 14, 2015 by

 

Deborah Hopkinson

Let’s go back to 1854 and visit London. A desperate time as many were out of work and the living conditions were less than desirable. We meet a young boy, Eel who is called a Mudlark or a Riverfinder. Mudlarks were people during that time that lived by the filthy Thames River and searched for food and work wherever they could find it. Eel’s life has not always been difficult but with both parents deceased he spends most of his time looking for odd jobs, keeping away from a hostile stepfather and trying to keep his brother in a safe environment.  But even bigger problems are waiting for him as he heads into town one hot August day.  The town’s folk have become ill and many are dying.  As Eel watches some of his friends waist away he discovers that they think this illness is called miasma, blue death or sick air from all the pollution.  Eel takes it upon himself to help his town by finding a well known doctor, Dr. John Snow.  Between Dr. Snow observations and Eel’s diligent investigating they learn the drinking water is a source of the illness called cholera.

The last 20 or so pages of this 2015 Lone Star book is the reader’s guide to the book.  The author does a great job in giving the readers an insight into some of the historical figures in the book, the actual timeline of cholera epidemic, websites and books that will give any reader more than enough information to learn about the discovery of cholera and the people that were involved.

Why I picked it up:  I wanted to read a Lone Star book and this one peaked my interest.   The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy called Eel gives the reader so much historical information along with a great fiction story.

I’d give it to:  Anyone who enjoys historical fiction plus a good mystery.

I’d give it: 5 stars

5 stars

Reviewed by:  Bev (Davis)

 

Intro to Printmaking

January 12, 2015 by

 

print1

Come to Davis Library this Saturday, January 17 from 3-5 PM for Intro to Printmaking! You will learn about printmaking, make your own styrofoam printing plate, and experiment with inking techniques. Free for ages 16+.

See you there!