Monday, November 28, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Funny, funny stuff. Enough said. You'll have a good chuckle and NEVER look at "beauty pagents" the same again.


Did the title grab your attention? This is a new book by Ben Winters.
Susan and Alex have found their dream apartment in Brooklyn. Along with their toddler, Emma, they move in and life is good. At least it is good until Susan discovers a small bite on her wrist. Is it a bite from a bedbug or a spider?
Susan becomes more and more obsessed with bedbugs. She itches the bites until they become sores. Neither Emma nor Alex seems to be affected. An exterminator doesn't find any evidence of the bugs. What is biting Susan? You'll have to read this creepy book and find out!

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

This is a new "Adult for Young Adult" book which was recommended by Miss Carwardine.
Annie O'Sullivan has been kidnapped. She is held for over a year in an isolated mountain cabin. During that time her captor abuses her physically and emotionally. He holds her to strange rituals....for example, she can only use the bathroom at certain times of the day. Annie fights daily for her survival. It is heart-breaking.
The story is told through Annie's sessions with a psychiatrist. Read the book and find out how she escapes and tries to put her life back together.

Lots and lots of new books

New books continue to come in! It's my favorite time of the year!!

Are you looking for the final book in the Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner? How about Passion, the newest Lauren Kate book in the Fallen series? Goliath, the final book in the Leviathan Trilogy is here as well!
Follow the following link to see all the new materials. Go to Destiny. Click on Catalog. Click the tab across the top, Copy Categories. Click the link for New Books Fall 2011 for all 393 titles!

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

A new zombie book!!!!
It sounds funny to say, but I really enjoy reading books about the zombie apocalypse.
Everyone over the age of 16 is dead. The "grown-ups" wander the streets looking for children to eat. Yikes!!!
This first book in the series follows a group of children as they try to survive in London. After hearing that another group of children have made their home in Buckingham Palace, the group tries to make their way there. Unfortunately, it isn't what they hoped it would be.
It's a bit gory in spots, but it wouldn't be a zombie book if it wasn't☻

Monday, October 24, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

Our new OWHS Book Club is reading Room. It was on my summer reading list and I never got to it....finally I finished this heartbreaking, but hopeful book.
I couldn't help but make comparisons between my 7 year-old son and the narrator, 5 year-old Jack. Jack has been born in Room and has never left it. Ma was kidnapped 7 years ago by a sexual predator. Both she and Jack have been held in Room. Can you imagine never leaving a Room for 7 years? It is the only world Jack knows.
Ma is determined to escape and with Jack's help it does happen. Read the book to understand the transition that Jack and Ma need to make back to the outside world. Book Club will be discussing this book on Monday, October 31. Meetings will be held before school, during lunch hour and after school. It really is one of those books that you want to talk over with a friend.

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo

The author examines the plight of the illegal immigrant. She has firsthand knowledge of the challenges that immigrants face -- her mother and father came to the United States from Colombia and Germany.
Nora's father left behind family in Mexico years ago. He has always sent money to support Nora, mom and grandma. Suddenly though, letters stop arriving. The bank doesn't receive any more deposits. Nora and her mom risk their lives in a desperate trip across the border. Once they arrive in Texas they begin looking for dad.
Living in Wisconsin I don't give much thought to the challenges that face illegal immigrants. If I lived in Texas or Arizona I would pay much more attention to the topic. Nora experiences things no teenager should have to.....imagine being in a country without much money, nowhere to live and a language you don't understand. Nora has the strength to survive.....but how many more "Nora's" are out there?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Parrotfish are a unique fish. Almost all species start as females and then change to males. In the book Parrotfish, Angela feels as though she is a boy. Ever since she was young she has been a tomboy. Now that she is 17 she honestly feels as though she was born the wrong gender.
Angela is transgendered. I never really understood the conflicted feelings of a person with these circumstances. The book raises a good question, "What happens when we don't fit into a "neat" predetermined category?
Angela asks her family and classmates to call her "Grady". She starts dressing in a masculine fashion.....and it is tough. Grady has to deal with bullies and humiliation. Read the book and understand what it means to be transgendered.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nobel Genes by Rune Michaels

The first line of this new book is, "I'm a donor baby." Donor as in the narrator's father was a sperm donor. The only thing the boy has been told by his mother is that his father was a Nobel Prize winner. Consequently there is a great amount of pressure on the narrator (he isn't named). What kind of intelligence did his father have? Was his biological father a winner in the science area, the creative arts? So far, to his mother's dismay, the narrator is only of average intelligence.
It becomes very clear that mom is mentally unstable. Several episodes of drug overdoses have sent her to the hospital. The first hand look at what mental illness does to a family is heartbreaking. Also heartbreaking is the narrator's search for the truth about his dad. Read the book to find out about his missing family.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Last year I was on quite a streak of zombie books. I hadn't read one in awhile. I brought Souless by Christopher Golden home for the summer and finally picked it up. I remember the review said it was a great zombie thriller. They were exactly right -- I couldn't put it down.
The zombie apocalypse starts in New York City. Three mediums are broadcasting a live seance on morning television. They fall into a trance - it can't be broken.....and everything changes.
It starts out slowly. The dead crawl out of their graves. They are "empty" and need at first to find family and friends. Obviously this escalates. Do you want to read a creepy horror book? Do you like the television program, The Walking Dead? If so, you'll certainly want to read this book.

The Help

I finally made a point to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I put it off because so many people were reading it....the the long, lonely roads of Nebraska allowed me to finish it! My thoughts - great book! I really enjoyed reading it. Can't wait to see the movie.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In the mood for an edge-of-your seat thriller?

I've always been a fan of Dean Koontz's work. I like weird, supernatural stories. His fit the bill, especially when I want a quick read. His newest one, What the Night Knows, really has me creeped out, so much so that I'm having a hard time finishing it.
As the book begins a 14 year-old boy has savagely murdered his entire family. The murders bear an eerie coincidence to ones that occurred 20 years earlier. Police detective John Calvino is certain his family is now the next target of this "reincarnated" killer.
Read the book and let me know what you think. A few students told me it was one of his most "gory" books. At this point, I'd tend to agree. I'll let you know.

Matched by Ally Condie

I always say, "Don't judge a book by the cover!", but I love the cover of this book. Cassia, the 17 year old main character is pictured in a beautiful lime green dress.....the dress that she wears when she meets her match.
Cassia lives in a planned, dystopian society. People wear the same clothes and eat the same foods. They are assigned their jobs and who they will spend their lives with. There are no choices involved in this world -- at least until now. At her official matching ceremony Cassia is matched with Xander, a boy she has known since childhood. It is almost unheard of in the Society for a match to be someone you know. Cassia is so excited that she will enter into a marriage contract with her best friend. But the next day as she is reviewing the Courtship Guidelines another picture shows up on the screen. It is not Xander. You'll have to read the book to find out who Cassia choses --- Xander or Ky?
The author has a great website and another book coming out in November, Crossed, that continues the story.

A brief hiatus

I'm back....and despite the fact I haven't been blogging, I have been reading. Many, many new books came into the LMC in May. The political situation in Wisconsin didn't give me a lot of time to blog --- but trust me, I've still been reading!!

What's new? During summer school I am working on a new area in the LMC. Remember the shelves with the back issues of magazines? They are gone. In their place are 4 cafe-style tables with chairs. Check out the picture of the chairs. Wifi is being installed....finally. It should be a neat area to have a snack, read the latest magazine, or catch up on your school work.

Got any ideas on how to use this space? Let me know.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

In September, 1994 Robert "Yummy" Sandifer appeared on the cover of Time magazine. He was only 11 years old and lived in Chicago. Why would such a young boy, who loved anything sweet, be on the cover of a national publication? Yummy was a gang called the Black Disciples -- he had killed a 14 year old girl!

This award-winning graphic novel looks at Yummy's life and death. He went into hiding after killing Shavon Dean. The Disciples became tired of the publicity surrounding Yummy and finally killed him. How can an 11 year old be caught up in such violence? Was Yummy a cold-blooded killer or was he a victim? Ultimately he didn't make good decisions. Read the book by G. Neri and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Bite of the Mango

This heart-breaking true story is co-authored by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland. Mariatu is 12 years old when the story begins. She lives with her extended family in a small village in Sierra Leone. Civil War breaks out in the country. Bands of rebel soldiers wander the countryside terrorizing and killing. The inevitable happens. The soldiers capture Mariatu.

The horrors this young girl sees are unforgettable. This chapter of the book was especially hard to read....I had to put it down several times. Mariatu survives the rebel attack, but the soldiers - some younger than Mariatu herself - take a machete and chop off both of her hands! Can you imagine?

This isn't the end of Mariatu's suffering. You'll have to read the book to get the entire story. She is a survivor -- that much I will say.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Stitches: A Memoir

David Small wrote this National Book Award Finalist about his childhood and teenage years. He is best known for his picture book illustrations.....this book is in the graphic novel format.

David grew up in a very dysfunctional home. He had many sinus infections as a young boy. His father, a doctor, used x-rays to monitor his condition. Those x-rays ended up giving David cancer. At 14 David had, what was supposed to be a minor surgery. It ended up being several surgeries....and his vocal cords were removed. David was virtually speechless!! I haven't even talked about his mother yet.....

Read the book. It is tragic, disturbing...and a compelling read!

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

Are you in the mood for a good mystery? This is it.

Maya, Abby's younger sister is always in trouble --- major trouble. Whether it is drugs or truancy, Abby always seems to be "covering-up" for Maya.

Abby's morning run takes her along a nearby river where she finds a murdered classmate and Maya's cell phone. What to do? This time it may be impossible to protect Maya.

The police are searching for Maya --- Did she kill Jefferson while high on drugs? He was her tutor, they had a relationship. Are there other suspects? Jefferson isn't the "good guy" that everyone thought he was. Abby tries to track down the killer!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Beautiful Between

Another first-time YA author --- Alyssa B. Sheinmel!!

Connelly compares herself to the fairy tale character, Rapunzel. Not because she has long, flowing hair.....but because she feels locked up....locked up by all her responsibilities. The SAT's, college applications, but most of all family secrets.

Connelly's mom has never been forthcoming about dad's death. He died when Connelly was only 2 years old, but she still doesn't know why or how. Now a classmate's sister is dying.....what is the connection between Connelly's dad and Kate? Read the book and find out.

Blood on my Hands

Todd Strasser is a favorite author of mine --- this is his newest book.

Cell phones....and cell phone cameras are everywhere. Callie learns firsthand the danger of a cell phone camera.

The book begins, "In the dark woods behind the baseball dugout, I'm kneeling next to Katherine's body, my heart racing, my breaths shallow and fast, my emotions reeling crazily at the sight on the ground before me." At first Callie doesn't understand.....why is her friend lying on the ground? Why does she appear wet? As Callie realizes her friend is dead and the shiny wetness is her blood, other people arrive on the scene.

Perhaps the worst case of bad timing Callie reaches down and picks up "something" next to Katherine, a cell phone starts snapping pictures. Callie is holding the murder weapon....and now it looks as though she is the one who committed the crime.

Can Callie prove her innocence? Read the book and see!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend reading!

Just a quick post before the Packer-Bears game. Yesterday I finished The Beautiful Between by Alyssa Sheinmel and started Blood on my Hands by a favorite author, Todd Strasser. Now... back to gameday!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

First-time Australian author, Lucy Christopher has already had several awards associated with this, her first book!

Sixteen-year-old Gemma is travelling with her parents to Vietnam. Like many 16-year-old girls, she gets in an argument with her parents about her clothes. As things end up, she is going to meet her parents at the flight gate. That never happens.

Ty , a mysterious, older, ruggedly handsome stranger buys her coffee and sits down with her. He also slips a drug into her coffee and kidnaps her. With the use of a fake passport he takes her to the middle of the Australian Outback.

Ty has been planning Gemma's kidnapping for years. He has been watching her. His intentions are for the two of them to live the rest of their lives in isolation....together. Read the story and see what happens to Gemma.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tell Me A Secret

This is a debut book by author Holly Cupala. Seventeen-year-old Rand is the main character. She has had a lot to deal with the past several years. Her older sister Xanda died .... and it seems as though the family has been hiding some of the facts surrounding her death. Mom says her boyfriend was drunk and that he was no good. Is that the truth or not? Mom is very controlling and dad just disappears.

As the story begins Rand has to deal with another life-altering event. While away at summer camp she discovers she is pregnant. She comes home to find her boyfriend "with" her best friend. The book is a bit heartbreaking and also a bit hopeful. Read the book to see what choices Rand makes.....adoption? art school? work? Does she reconcile with her family?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I Am Number Four

I stayed up late reading this book -- I had to finish it and see if "John Smith" would survive the battle against the Mogardians.

Pittacus Lore is the author of this new book. On his website he says he is an alien from the earthlike planet, Lorien, which is a hundred million miles away! He has been on earth for 12 years.....are you still with me?

John Smith is the main character in the book and he is number four! Nine aliens came to earth with their guardians. Three have already been hunted down and killed by the Mogardians. John knows he is next. He looks like an ordinary teenager from Paradise, Ohio --- but there is much, much more to him than you see.

Read the book - it is amazing!! The movie comes out February 18!