23 Following

Blogging Between the Lines

Alice in the Country of Clover: Knight's Knowledge Vol. 3

Alice in the Country of Clover: Knight's Knowledge Vol.  3 - QuinRose, Sai Asai Wish there was more from Ace ;_;

Never Always Sometimes

Never Always Sometimes - Adi Alsaid It was okay.

Monkey Wars

Monkey Wars - Richard Kurti What a bland political statement told with a unique premise and poor storytelling. Expected better, did not deliver.

Nearly Found

Nearly Found - Elle Cosimano Breathtaking contemporary thriller with real tension, suspense, and drama. Fantastic writing, powerful characters, and complex plot twists and turns make this mystery sequel just as compelling as the first book, Nearly Gone. Highly recommended for those looking for a hardcore murder mystery or thriller.

Heat of the Moment (The Moment of Truth)

Heat of the Moment (The Moment of Truth) - Lauren Barnholdt Fun and dramatic. I don't usually think drama is fun, but this book was so realistic that it just worked. Authentic teenage voice with complicated relationship issues that a lot of teen girl readers will be able to relate to.

Embedded (Tor Maddox #2)

Embedded (Tor Maddox #2) - Liz Coley The unstoppable Tor Maddox is at it again, this time on a covert spy mission set right in her own high school. Of course, Tor can't keep her enthusiasm in check, so she takes the mission into her own hands in order to track down the secrets behind the assault of her best friend, Sasha and the disappearance of immigrants from nearby Mexico.

The danger is real and suspenseful throughout the entire book - Tor gets herself into trouble and the action will keep you turning the pages faster than you thought possible. The dialogue is very well-written and witty, and Tor's inner monologues create a hilarious contrast to the dramatic tension of the overall mystery. Characters we fell in love with in the first Tor Maddox book, Unleashed, are back and just as delightful as before.

Highly recommended for fans of political thrillers, contemporary mysteries, or those just looking for a good, clean, fun read.

Lizard Radio

Lizard Radio - Pat Schmatz The Summer Prince meets 1984 in this unique near-future novel

A wholly unique story told from the point of view of in-between Kivali - who everyone calls Lizard. In a near future that is eerily different from our own world, Kivali is sent to CropCamp for the summer. There she will learn to follow all the rules, work hard, and become a good citizen. But little Kivali - Lizard - is confused, because her foster mother, Sheila, never would have sent her to Camp without provocation. Why is she at Camp? Why is Sheila being so secretive and strange in her messages? And why does Lizard sometimes really enjoy being at CropCamp, despite the strict regulations, curfews, and mind-bending Tenets?

Lizard is a girl who might decide she's a boy, a bender, and she's in-between in most other parts of her life, too. Leader or follower - independent or community-driven? Lizard needs to decide before the Camp Leader makes up her mind for her. But Lizard makes friends at camp - fiery Sully and tiny Rasta - and if she's going to ask the difficult questions then her friends are going to get tangled up in it, too. Lizard doesn't shy away from the tough questions - she walks right up and stares them in the face. This is who she is, and LIZARD RADIO is an eye-opening story about Kivali discovering that she can be in-between and still be herself.

The world-building is fascinating and clever. With 1984-style jargon, some readers may find it a little difficult to adapt to Kivali's strange Camp world, but soon they'll be immersed in the culture of Pievilles and CounCircle, kickshaw and chippies. In the style of Alaya Dawn Johnson's THE SUMMER PRINCE, LIZARD RADIO addresses the issues of freedom and choice, gender and sexuality, in a world reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. LIZARD RADIO is a unique and powerful novel with a strong story that will leave readers with many questions of their own to answer about themselves.

More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not - Adam Silvera THE story about self-discovery and acceptance.

This is not like any story you've ever read about self-discovery and acceptance. This is THE story about self-discovery and acceptance.

Aaron Soto doesn't like what's happening to him. He has a perfect girlfriend who has helped him cope with the grief of his father's recent suicide, a big group of friends from his Bronx neighborhood, and even a part-time job. But when Aaron meets Thomas, he gets turned upside down. Suddenly Aaron can't think about anything but Thomas, they spend all their time together, and he isn't even that interested in his girlfriend anymore. What is happening to Aaron? He doesn't want to find out. Instead, Aaron turns to the Leteo Institute to find an answer to these changes that he can't accept.

MORE HAPPY THAN THOUGHT is a powerhouse of a YA debut that will crumple your heart and make your soul soar, all in the same chapter. The writing is very good, driven by Aaron's strong and captivating voice. While I wanted a little more connection to Aaron in the first half of the novel, I got that connection later on, once the secrets and twists come to light. The near-future setting is so very authentic, yet fascinating in its nuanced differences. The story is also incredibly contemporary - it isn't quite sci-fi and isn't quite your typical realistic novel. With powerful, sucker-punch moments and tearful, soul-searching questions, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is quite possibly the best debut novel of the year.

Eternity's Wheel (InterWorld Trilogy)

Eternity's Wheel (InterWorld Trilogy) - Michael Reaves, Mallory Reaves, Neil Gaiman Joey Harker, interdimensional adventurer and regular good guy, returns in the final book in the Interworld series. Started by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves in 2007, the series was originally imagined as a screenplay or television series, and that concept is reflected in the story. The entire series reads like a movie; it's very visual and will appeal to fans of science fiction and action movies.

ETERNITY'S WHEEL chronicles Joey Harker's attempts to save not only his world, but every world, the entire Multiverse, from a destructive storm called FrostNight. He must rebuild his home ship-city, called InterWorld, recruit new team members, and save old familiar faces in order to have enough allies to stop the evil HEX and binary baddies, who are now working together to basically reset the universe. While all of these ideas were introduced and fleshed out in the first book, there wasn't anything new in the final book in the series.

Honestly, I wanted more complex writing, but that could have taken away from the ""reads like a tv show"" appeal. The shallow, easy to follow, and repetitive writing make Interworld a perfect series for middle grade readers, or even younger readers looking for something a little more advanced and without mature content. Fans of the first 2 books will find a lot to enjoy, but ETERNITY'S WHEEL isn't for the casual reader.

The verdict: Mind-bending sci-fi adventure that you won't be able to put down.

Anything Could Happen

Anything Could Happen - Will Walton A powerful story of self-discovery and empowerment

Tretch is in love with his best friend, and he doesn't know what to do about it. Not only that, the bookstore girl crushing on him becomes his date to the New Year's dance, and his best friend gets a girlfriend. How does Tretch deal? With Ellie Goulding's Halcyon on repeat, Tretch dances his way through lies, bullying, and awkward situations, and I loved every minute of it. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a powerful debut novel about being true to who you are.

I loved that Tretch's family is very important to him, and so they're important to the story. During the holiday season Tretch spends a lot of time with his close and extended family, and I loved that. Growing up my huge extended family played a big part in my life throughout November and December, and it was refreshingly hoenst to see that reflected in a YA book. Tretch's parents and brother are also very supportive of him, in just about every way possible, and that was delightful to read.

There is so much hope in Tretch's world. He never gives up, and that combined with the support he gets from friends and family is simply unbelievable. I wish I had this book as a teenager, and I want to share it with every teenager I know.

A powerful story of self-discovery and empowerment. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN will warm the hearts of readers.

Maps Activity Book

Maps Activity Book - Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski The MAPS ACTIVITY BOOK from Big Picture Press is a delightful drawing, learning, and coloring book designed to teach kids about the wide world around them.

I loved the simple designs and interspersed blue/green/tan coloration throughout, which allowed for the ""readers"" own imagination to really come through onto the page. The activity pages have easy to understand instructions, while the blurbs of extra information are interesting and well-written.

I only wanted a little more organization, perhaps in the form of an introductory paragraph on the inside of the front cover. As an adult who will be recommending this book to young readers and perhaps using it in a classroom setting, I needed a little bit of guidance to get started. However, the young readers who pick up this book will not have that problem and will love just jumping right in to the activities!

With the perfect combination of fun activities, self-guided learning, educational content, and personal exploration through drawing and coloring, the MAPS ACTIVITY BOOK is perfect for classrooms, library activities, and young explorers and artists.

Unleashed (Tor Maddox #1)

Unleashed (Tor Maddox #1) - Liz Coley Love, dogs, mystery, and vocab tests are all important parts of Tor Maddox's first thrilling adventure.

A teenager with enough motivation and energy to fuel a space shuttle, Torrance Olivia Maddox, fondly known as Tor, is the first to discover the secret to a new strain of influenza plaguing the West Coast. Turns out the flu is being transmitted to humans through dogs! And Tor will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of man's best friend - all 60 million American dogs.

Tor has a delightful, quirky, and unique voice. I laughed out loud so many times! Tor is fun, likable, and she changes so much over the course of the story. The development for all main characters throughout the book is really well-done, as are the individual voices of those like Tor's brother, her parents, and the government agents she has to deal with.

Tor's adventures are not so over the top that they're unbelievable, although she does get into some outrageous hijinks. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets into next time!

A fantastically unique series opener, TOR MADDOX: UNLEASHED is fun, adorable, and thrilling!

Information Graphics: Space

Information Graphics: Space - Simon Rogers, Jennifer Daniel Looking for a clever, easy to understand book to teach kids about space and the universe they live in? Look no further! SPACE, part of the ""Information Graphics: Understand the facts in the blink of an eye"" series, is the latest and greatest non-fiction book.

Loaded with information, the latest in the Information Graphics series from Big Picture Press will blow you away. Everything you ever wanted to know about objects in space, how the universe works, the solar system, space exploration and observation, and more is right here in an easy-to understand and fun, colorful format.

While it would benefit from a glossary and index, the convenient tabbed format still makes it easy to find the information you're looking for. The writing style is clear and concise, with just enough detail to get the point across and lead you searching for more information in the rest of the book. The book has been very well researched, and is up-to-date with planetary definitions and space exploration missions.

The design is spectacularly fun and innovative. There is so much color, and it actually aids in the organization of information on the pages. Each tabbed section, The Universe, The Sun, The Earth and the Moon, Observing Space, etc, is assigned its own color. Within each section the pages stick to that color scheme, but feature a rainbow of other colors to help illustrate points and make learning more interesting.

Innovative and fun, the latest Information Graphics title from Big Picture Press is bound to lead young readers into their own personal, creative exploration of SPACE.

Nancy Knows

Nancy Knows - Cybèle Young One of my favorite picture books. The design is lovely and the paper crafts are incredible.

The Maine Coon's Haiku: And Other Poems for Cat Lovers

The Maine Coon's Haiku: And Other Poems for Cat Lovers - Michael Rosen, Lee Anthony White Purr-fect for cat-lovers of all ages.

If you or a friend loves cats, you have to read this book. With over a dozen beautiful feline illustrations and accompanying haiku, THE MAINE COON'S HAIKU is a treasure for animal and poetry lovers.

The poems are all in the haiku style, and are well-written. Each haiku is a reflection of the cat breed it accompanies. They also evoke the seasons nature, feelings of playfulness and enjoyment, and many other emotions. Young readers will enjoy the playful words, while older readers will catch the clever references contained within.

The illustrations are a whimsical delight. The individuality of each cat breed shines through the page, with complementary colors in the surrounding land- and house-scapes completing the designs. The cats are expressive and adorable. Readers will love picking out the individual cats in the American Shorthair scene, and determining the extent of the Persian's snowy annoyance.

An appendix with descriptions and histories of each breed complete the book, making it not just a lovely addition to a poetry collection, but a great book for kids who want to learn more about cats.

THE MAINE COON'S HAIKU is a perfect addition to every cat lover's collection.

When My Heart Was Wicked

When My Heart Was Wicked - Tricia Stirling A magical and haunting story that will leave you in wonder, WHEN MY HEART WAS WICKED is Tricia Stirling's debut novel.

Lucy wasn't always the good girl. She didn't always wear cute clothes and smile at strangers on the street. When Lucy is forced to move downstate to Chico with her mother, who was recently released from prison, everything about her life changes. Lucy must face the darkness in her mother, and within herself.

With strong, concise writing and well-developed characters, WICKED is a pleasure to read. The prose is delightful, twisting and winding around the plot to move the story forward in the most interesting and fantastical ways. I loved the descriptions of nature, the intricate spell-castings and clever balance between reality and fantasy that Lucy is constantly struggling to maintain. Is Lucy's mother crazy for believing in the magic, or is it all real? I think it's clear that there is magic in Lucy's world, but another reader could make an entirely different interpretation, and I might believe them.

I wanted nothing more from this story. Everything is contained in less than 200 pages, and that is a result of Stirling's skilled writing. Every word matters, every sentence was carefully constructed, and every adjective could have several meanings. The complex yet concise writing lends a depth to the story that you wouldn't expect from such a small book.

Highly recommended for those looking for a complex and haunting story of self-discovery and coping with change. WHEN MY HEART WAS WICKED is a strong, nuanced debut.