Whippoorwill by Joseph Monninger

26 Aug

By Joseph Monninger

Publisher Houghton Mifflin, New York
Publication Date: 2015

A whipporwill is a small brown bird that calls all night but is very hard to see.  According to the book, a whipporwill is also a person who loads their yards with rusting cars and broken equipment.

16 year old Claire sees the dog Wally chained up in the neighbor’s yard like another piece of rusting junk.  Like any real teenager, it’s hard to get involved.  Ignoring the dog is more than she stand and chooses not to look the other way.  She checks out a book and studies about how to train the dog.  And all Wally wants is someone to notice him.

Danny lives with father in the house owning Wally.  At first, he seems to torment Wally.  Still he can’t stand that look on Claire’s face.  Slowly Danny and Claire get to know each other and to know Wally.  But life is hard for Danny.  And Wally may be just another way to hurt someone.  Something has to give.

Recommended: Grades 7 & up


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

22 Jul

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February, 2015
Audiobook Narration: Amanda Dolan

Mare Barrow is a Red – meaning her blood is red.  At 17, she lives in poverty, facing conscription to the army at the age of 18.  Only those Reds who have an apprenticeship avoid automatic conscription.  But Mare is an indifferent student and a petty thief and expects to join her brothers on the front line.  Her best friend has an apprenticeship until his master dies unexpectly and suddenly he is about to be conscripted.  Now Mare has to be clever to protect her friend.  But the Grand Plans fail, Mare’ sister is hurt, the family is desolate.  And Mare meets a young man who ends up getting her a job at the Palace working for the Silvers.  The Silver’s blood is silver but more anyone with silver blood has a strange power.  Powers follow families: one family sparks flames, another reads minds, another controls metals.  And in a freak accident, it turns out that Mare is freak of nature – a Red with Silver powers.

Now everyone wants a piece of Mare – the Queen, the Red Rebellion, and both of the princes.

“Anyone can betray anyone.”

I listened to the audiobook read by Amanda Dolan.  I loved her voice.  So many YA audiobooks have a high pitched female voice but this was lower, pleasant and fit with the tone.  The book was performed well and the book itself was fun to “read.”

Recommended: Grades 6 & up

Calamity – The Epic Ending

5 Jul

Calamity, Book 3: The Reckoners series

By Brandon Sanderson

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: February, 2016

Our house really enjoys Brandon Sanderson books and we have both young adult and adult books around.  My rising senior son read the book first and I only had one question.  Did this book actually end the series?  (I have some bad experiences with books that I thought ended a series but then they kept popping up new ones.). The answer is “Yes”. 

In the first book, Steelheart, Sanderson introduces us to David and a world living under Calamity.  In this book, David still makes interesting metaphors and is still in love with FireFight (read the 2nd book).  But the momentous understanding of the end of the second book and the lose of his mentor, Prof, is huge.  How does it play out in Calamity?  Well things are not quite as they seem.  Can Prof be brought back to himself or will he continue to rampage?  What is the right way to handle things and what is David risking?

It’s a roller coaster ride in Atlanta or in post-Calamity, Ildithia, that is nothing like the Atlanta I live in.  How will David handle things? Will they lose more people? Will they recover Prof?  And, how does he handle the Epic named Calamity?

Recommended: Grades 7 & up

Woman Rebel by P. Bagge

4 Jul

WomanRebelMainWoman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story
By Peter Bagge

Publishers: Drawn & Quarterly
Publication Date: 2013

One of my recent scores at the American Library Association (I have over 40 books to read!) is a copy of the graphic novel Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story.

Peter Bagge is an experienced comic artist with several book series and other interesting items.  He tells the story of Margaret Sanger, birth control advocate, as a real person with virtues and faults.  The cover, which is not told within the story, is of the time Margaret Sanger was prohibited from speaking by the mayor.  Her solution was to go on stage with a gag and have someone else read the speech she had written.  Her story is an amazing one.  She may not be someone you want to sit down and talk with but she is someone every person, men and women alike, should be glad she was there and took on the unspeakable.

Due to some of her faults (adultery), I have to recommend this for high school and up, instead of middle school.

Recommended: 10th Grade +


Siren by Kiera Cass

17 Jun

thesirenbykieracassThe Siren

By Kiera Cass

Publication: iUniverse (July 2009), re-released by HarperTeen January, 2016

Having just genre-fied my library, I can say that this story is unequivocally a “Romance”. (sigh)  And as all Romance stories goes, there’s a problem.

Kahlen was supposed to have drowned with her family.  Instead, the Ocean offered her a choice.  Sing ships to their deaths as a Siren for 100 years and then she could live again.  The Sirens don’t live on the ocean but as part of society.  They can meet people but must be utterly silent.  Their voices kill.

Then Kahlen met Akinli.  They shouldn’t have connected but they did.  They can never be together, but they may die staying apart.

I listened to the audiobook read by Arielle DeLisle and enjoyed it immensely.  I cried with the characters.  This is evocative of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid (not the Disney version).  However, the reality is that I was a little annoyed with someone who had lived for over 80 years to be focused only on being a wife.  I had hoped that she would develop other interests.  Still, Kahlen brings a child-like innocence to the story and only really begins to mature as a woman when she meets Akinli.  Some wonder why meeting someone so briefly would hold her heart, but that’s the magic of folktales and fairy tales.  “And they lived happily ever after” is the goal.

Recommended: Grades 7 & up


Demon Princess by Kassandra Lynn

28 Feb

demonprincessDemon Princess
By Kassandra Lynn

Series: Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: December 21, 2015

Dad’s missing. Adriana is about to be crowned.  She’s the Demon Princess, raised in royalty, expecting to be obeyed. Then a man of Savior Blood calls her as his Summon Beast.  Adriana, a princess and a demon, bound to young lout to serve him.

Even though her body obeys his commands, Adriana is still the princess, now in hiding.  Aldric’s commands to help someone force her to help but Adriana can still think and twist the commands to cause a little havoc herself. She wisely decides she does not want to share who or what she is to a person that treats her worse than a servant.  But Aldric’s cousin and roommate, Keldrin, sees her as a person.  He is perhaps the only one to do so but he is one of the strongest of the Savior Blood.  And Savior Blood is the mortal enemy of demons.

Adriana is pushed to hide who she is while searching for a way to break the bond that holds her to Aldric.  At the same time, she and Keldrin become closer but, like Romeo and Juliet, it is not meant to be.  Will Keldrin find out what she is?  Will it matter?

The book was fun, face-paced but the key is the voice of Adriana who is always herself.  She doesn’t bend and she doesn’t break but she’s not evil throughout.  So what is she really?

Recommended: Grades 6 & up

(Received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review.)


God Is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein

18 Feb

godisinthepancakesGod Is in the Pancakes
By: Robin Epstein

Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: May, 2010

Audio Book: Listening Library

Ready for a new audio book and I randomly choose this from the Library’s Overdrive system.  The narrator was a little high pitched and I worried that I wouldn’t get into the book or the various voices wouldn’t be distinguished.  But, the narrator handled all that and more.

15 year old Grace is dealing with feelings towards her best friend, Eric.  Her father left almost a year before, her mother is still mad and her sister is dating a creep.  But her part-time job helping at the local nursing home brings her to Mr. Sands.  Mr. Sands is funny, sarcastic, intelligent and dying horribly.  When he asks Grace to help him die painlessly, Grace faces the hardest issue of her life.  And her decision may surprise you.

The book is real and feels like a true teenager decision.

Recommend: Grades 8 & up