Jan 30, 2015

Played

Played by Liz Fichera is the second book in the Hooked series.  This book follows almost perfect rich girl Riley who finds herself lost in the woods with Sam Tracy, a boy who lives on the Rez.  After they are picked up Riley decides that she's going to thank Sam by setting him up with the girl he's in love with who happens to be her brother's girlfriend and Riley slowly finds herself spiraling into disaster.

This is a nice romance and I liked the romance aspects of the book.  I found myself irritated at Riley's increasing spiral of bad decisions that seemed bratty and stupid and selfish and while I was interested in the first two thirds of the book the last section (even more the last chapters) I cared less and less about the characters, finding their behavior irritating.  I didn't read the first book in the series and did not feel like I missed a thing.

Appropriateness:  There's quite a bit of adult content in this book.  Drinking and skipping school and acting out sexually (although there's no detailed sexual scenes).  I would recommend this book to readers 14+

Review Copy provided by Amazon Vine

Jan 25, 2015

Eric's Big Day

Eric's Big Day by Rod Waters is an adorable children's book about a boy's crazy trip to see his friend.  This is a lightly illustrated picture book with funny pictures on every page.  The hijinks that Eric gets into will make kids laugh.  This would be a great read aloud for 3-7 year olds and first and second graders will enjoy reading the book themselves.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Jan 20, 2015

Royally Lost

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton follows Becca an American teenager who is on a riverboat cruise in Europe with her parents and Nikolai a prince who has run away because of disagreements he is having with his parents.  When the two meet they have an instant attraction but Nikolai has to hide from the people looking for him and they both know that the vacation will end soon.

I adored this book.  It's a perfect teen chic lit book and a great summer read.  It's got a fantastic location and a handsome prince.  Becca is a typical teen, annoyed by the old person vacation through historic Europe her parents have dragged her on which was a bit irritating for me as an adult but totally relate-able for any teen who has been forced to go on an unwanted vacation with their parents.  Nickolai is the perfect handsome prince that every girl wishes she could find.  I found myself reading this book at any opportunity.  It reminded me of the romcom The Prince and Me (that I watch at every opportunity).

Appropriateness:  There's no adult content in this book.  There's quite a bit of lying to parents but besides that the teens are all great kids.  The couple does go swimming in their underwear at one point but it's not sexual.  The romance is fairly tame but the main point of the book.  I recommend this book to readers 13+ and it is appropriate for younger readers.

Jan 15, 2015

The Eighth Guardian

The Eighth Guardian is the first book in the Annum Guard series by Meridith McCardle begins with Amanda taking her exams at the Peel school which trains young men and women to work for the government.  Amanda has a bad feeling that things are not going to go as she expects them to at the graduation ceremony.  When she hears her name called, a year early, for graduation she hugs her boyfriend goodbye before being rushed into a room to meet her new boss, the leader of the Annum guard, a small time traveling branch of the government.  Amanda is then renamed Iris and is enveloped into a grand conspiracy to change history.

Wow, the cover of this book is terrible.  I almost didn't read it because it looked like a book written for twelve year old boys.  Imagine my surprise when I realized it was about a seventeen year old girl who gets a job working for the federal government.  I was totally sucked in once I read the first chapter.  Amanda is a smart girl who is unafraid to speak up and use her skills to do what's right even if it's hard.  The mythology has quite a number of holes (as any time travel book does) but if you don't think to hard it's a fun ride.  I couldn't put the book down and finished it quickly.

Appropriateness:  There is no adult content in the book.  There is some violence but it's a bit comic bookish.  There isn't much romance (just the knowledge that Amanda has a boyfriend) making this a book that will appeal to teens who enjoy adventure and mystery and making it enjoyable for readers who are not fans of romance.  I would recommend this book for a YA audience 13+ however it is appropriate for younger readers.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Jan 10, 2015

The Secret Hum of a Daisy

The Secret Hum of a Daisy follows Grace who has spent her life following her mother from town to town.  When her mother dies Grace is sent to live with the Grandmother she has never met who sent her mother away when she was pregnant.  Daisy is not happy to be living with her grandmother and does everything she can to sabotage the relationship.  However, living in the town her mother grew up in allows her to learn more about both of her parents than she ever knew before.

This is a beautifully written and sad book.  Daisy, her grandmother and the townspeople were all well written and the story was well crafted.  However, this book moved very slowly and was missing the hook that would really pull in younger readers.  So it missed the mark.

Appropriateness:  This book talks about subjects such as death and underage pregnancy.  It's appropriate for readers 11-13

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Jan 5, 2015

Old Mikamba had a Farm

Old Mikamba Had a Farm by Rachel Isadora is a cute version of the classic Old Macdonald song.  Instead of the classic animals it's filled with animals from Africa.  My students loved the mixed media that was used to make the pictures and enjoyed this version of the classic song that they've grown up with.

Six Months Later

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards follows Chloe who falls asleep in study hall at the end of the school year.  When she wakes up it's six months later and everything has changed.  Her life is suddenly close to perfect, she's dating the popular guy in class and her test scores are scoring her a spot to a fantastic university.

This was a fun science fiction mystery and romance.  Chloe has to figure out what has happened to cause her amnesia.  I enjoyed this book and finished it quickly.

Appropriateness:  I recommend this book to readers 13+ 

Jan 1, 2015

Free to Fall

Free to Fall by Lauren Miller follows Rory who trusts the Gnosis program on her phone to help her make the right decisions.  When she gets accepted to an elite boarding school she finds out that it was where her mother went before she died and meets a boy who questions the Gnosis program.  She soon realizes that things aren't as perfect as they seem.

This was a fantastic stand alone sci-fi novel.  The future seemed believe-able and the conspiracy/mystery kept me interested throughout.  The story of a company convincing people to follow an algorithm that will make the best decisions for them is one that really makes the reader think.  I enjoyed the romance and it's so nice to have a sci-fi novel without a love triangle (even if there a few bumps along the road).   

Appropriateness:  There's some drinking and some light sexual activity and discussions of sex.  I recommend this book to readers 13+
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