Posted in Adult, Book Review, Realistic Fiction

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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This book was written by the same author as Big Little Lies, and it follows the same format. There is a big event that changes everything. The narrative jumps back and forth between the time before the event, the time after the event, and the night of the BBQ (the main event). Moriarty draws out the big reveal, just like she did in Big Little Lies. I will say I was anxious at first to find out what happened, and it made me spend more time reading just so I could find out. At one point I had an idea what happened, but I wasn’t completely right. My friend said this means I was wrong, but in truth, I was partially correct. But still wrong I guess. 😉

Bottom line, if you liked Big Little Lies, you will probably enjoy this one. It took a while to get to the point, but it was worth the wait.

Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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In a not-so-distant future, the pro-choice and pro-life forces went to war. The compromise that ended the war was The Bill of Life. Under this bill, human life is protected from the moment of conception until the age of 13. Between the ages of 13 & 17, parents can choose to have their children “unwound”. Unwinding is a process that harvests ninety-something percent of the body and then transplants the parts into other people’s bodies. Supposedly, this means the child doesn’t die but lives on divided into the bodies of other people.

Three children selected for unwinding for various reasons come together in this story, Connor, Risa & Lev. The reasons they became unwinds vary as much as their outlooks on life, but they are thrown together by circumstances and must find a way to survive together.

WOW. I loved this book. The plot is complex and exciting, the characters are flawed (in other words, human), and the circumstances are believable. The idea of unwinding is just terrible, but somehow it is common practice in this world. There are a lot of details I won’t mention because I wouldn’t want to spoil this book. But, the most intense and disturbing are the moments the reader witnesses an unwinding – chilling. And all the more so in the audio version. The voices and the technique the narrator uses fit the situation perfectly.

I love the story, the narration, everything about this book. I purchased the next 3 books in the series and have already started listening to book 2 – UnWholly.

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8, Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Sunshine State 17-18

Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

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Piper, a young girl with a talent for fixing mechanical things, finds Anna (a young girl with amnesia who needs her help) and together they take the 401 train trying to escape the man pursuing them. There they meet Gee, a boy who can transform into a dragon and who might be able to help them.

Piper is smart, brave and mechanically inclined, who could ask for a better heroine. She is alone and barely scraping by until she finds Anna in the meteor field (each meteor shower brings items from other worlds that the scrappers find and fix or sell). Anna doesn’t know who she is but she has the mark of the dragonfly which means she is someone important to the king. Piper sees her chance to help Anna and maybe get a reward that could change her life at the same time.

This story is filled with magic, adventure, steampunk, humor, and a smidge of romance. I highly recommend it to readers in grades 4 through 8 (and adults who enjoy strong female characters and a bit of western/sci-fi; sort of like Firefly for the younger set). A promising series which I plan to continue.

Posted in Book Review, Grades 6-8, Realistic Fiction, Sunshine State 17-18

How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer by Taryn Souders

Someone once told me that money can’t buy happiness. They obviously never had to ride a baby bike to the first day of middle school.

-opening lines

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Chloe is determined to earn money this summer (maybe by babysitting). What she didn’t plan for is her parents deciding to send her to career camp. There she will have the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a cake decorator, athlete, scientist, or veterinarian. Well, Chloe knows for sure she doesn’t get along with animals, by maybe she could work with the cake decorating thing. But, life has other plans… Between spiders, a goat named King Arthur, a rude girl named Victoria, and Director Mudwimple, Chloe’s summer is looking ruined. But luckily Chloe meets a friend, a bouncy girl named Paulie (who Chloe nicknames Pogo), and finds out two of her friends from home are also there, Nathan (her secret crush) and Sebastian.

The story is told through Chloe’s experiences and nightly journal entries. Chloe is relatable and the drama seems pretty accurate for a bunch of middle school aged girls living in a cabin together. Chloe’s friendship with Pogo and the difficulties with the bully Victoria seem to be accurate portrayals of middle school relationships. Chloe doesn’t always make the right choice, but in the end, she does the right thing. I read this quickly in one sitting and I think 4th through 8th graders will enjoy it.

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8

The Silver Mask by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

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This is book 4 in the series that began with The Iron Trial (review here). The series started off closely paralleling the Harry Potter series, but as it continues, it becomes something more and in its own way, better.

The series is full of magic, adventure, danger, heroes & villains, and even friendship & typical teen issues. The story begins with Call in magical prison because of who people think he is. He is rescued and then asked to do the one thing magic hasn’t been able to do — raise the dead.

I am still enjoying this fantastic series and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Posted in Adult, Book Review, Classic, Sci-Fi

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

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This is a classic that I never read and I always meant to, and it’s short so it didn’t take long at all. It was just okay for me. My favorite parts of the book were the beginning and the end, not so much the parts when the time traveler is actually in the future. But, it is amazing to think that Wells came up with the idea of a time machine and how so many movies, books, etc. went on to use and further expand on the idea. Wells was truly a visionary.

Posted in Adult, Adventure, Book Review, Classic, Serial Reader App

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

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An adventurous tale of a hot-headed young man who finds true friends, faces violent enemies, falls for a few women, and escapes from danger many times, all while trying to realize his dream of becoming a musketeer like his father.

I found this to be an enjoyable read though a bit slow at times and while I was anxious to see how the action turned out, it was somewhat bogged down by the old language and lengthy descriptions.

Posted in Adult, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Young Adult

Maus by Art Spiegelman

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So, I started reading this book in June, ended up getting caught up in other things, including other readings, and I finally just finished it. I actually had to start again from the beginning, but it was worth it.

This graphic novel is written by Art Spiegelman and based on his father’s experiences before and during World War II. The book skips back and forth in time between the adult author speaking to his father and the years around World War II. In the illustrations, the Jewish people are represented by mice, the Germans cats, and the Polish people by pigs. This graphic novel is at times touching, at times horrifying, and at times just sad. A definite must-read for anyone interested in this time period.