Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Why all the talk on immigration?

If you've been anywhere near  a TV in the last few weeks, you know that immigration reform is all the talk in Washington.  Whether you're a conservative, liberal, or have middle of the road views, the LMC has resources to explain both sides of the issue.
To me, it is much more interesting to put a personal spin on immigration.  The books listed below are memoirs about real people and the real challenges they faced as they tried to make a different life for themselves!

Enrique's Journey:  The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with his Mother.  When Enrique was only 7 years old his mother left their home in Honduras to come to the United States.  She only hoped for a better future for her family.  The family separation was too difficult for Enrique.  At 16 he made the 12,000 mile journey to find mom.  Read about his perilous journey as he tries to enter the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

In American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti, you meet the  author from the Soviet Union.  In 1994 when she was 15 she moved to the United States with her family.  Her memoir is a funny look at American life. All Oksana and her sister know about life here they learned from MTV ....and that doesn't really prepare them to immigrate:)

Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain is a newer nonfiction book about the lives and treatment of Asians at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco.  During the time of the California Gold Rush San Francisco was known as "Gold Mountain" because it was seen as a place of prosperity and freedom.  The author, Russell Freedman describes the people who came, the screening process they went through, and how they often were detained and deported.  It's an interesting read with lots of pictures.

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande is an adult book for young adults. Reyna came to the United States from Mexico when she was 9 years old. She was surrounded by much family turmoil in her childhood and teenage years.  Despite it all she was the first person in her family to graduate from college.

Next up........fiction stories about immigration.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

I  couldn't stop reading this new book.  If you loved Fault in Our Stars, you will love this book!

Richie is a "hospice hostage".  He is 17 years old and dying of cancer.  When asked what his disease is, he says he has SUTHY Syndrome.  This translates to: Someone Up There Hates You.  He's not going "to go" without doing the stuff that "normal" teenagers do.

Richie meets 15 year old Sylvia in hospice.  She is in the same "end of life" spot that Rich is in.  Despite their illnesses, they have fallen for each other....and want the same thing out of their relationship that other teens may want.

The book is dark, it is humorous and it is hopeful and it is romantic.  It makes you think.  What if you had one month left to live?  How would you live your life?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Guest Blogger: Twilight Sparkle
Genre: Science Fiction / Romance

Imagine yourself being born for only one purpose in life, and that
purpose is to create people like you, Immortals. These are people whose skin can't be broken by any object... a person who can NEVER die.

Pia is the name of the seventeen year old girl who is the only Immortal. She must overcome the challenges that are thrown at her by the camp called Little Cam. The Scientist Paolo gives her these tests to see if she can end up being the person to create more Immortals. But along the way she finds a hole in the fence to the outside world, which she has never seen! She slips through the hole running into a eighteen year old tribesman. His name is Eio, It's love at first sight! Alas Pia must return to Little Cam before the scientist find out that she's missing!!

There is much more drama, adventure, don't forget romance in this book! You will not want to put it down! I'll try not to ruin the rest of the story for you people out there in the world lol.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New books!

It's finally here!  Come in and check it out.

In addition we have the 4th book in the Michael Vey series, Hunt for Jade Dragon!

Do you know what augmented reality is?  The 2015 Guinness Book has pages that come alive with an iPad app.  Stop in and play!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Quarantine Book One by Lex Thomas

Back to dystopia!  At the urging of a student, I finally read the first book in the Quarantine series, The Loners.  As I read it I couldn't help but think of the first time I read Lord of the Flies.  There are lots of connections with the classic.
Imagine it is the first day of school.  As the day begins you are visiting with a favorite teacher.  Suddenly, a horrific explosion rocks the building.  Chaos ensues.  This is exactly how David's first day of school starts.
The smell of smoke and panic fills the air.  In front of David his teacher starts to convulse, dying a horrible death.  Every adult in the building dies the same way.  As students run to escape, the military shoots them down.  What is happening?
Students have become infected with a virus.  When transmitted to adults it causes a horrible death.  The military has locked down the entire building.  As days draw into weeks and months, students align themselves with gangs.  The military drops food and supplies, but students battle for whatever they can get.  David and his younger brother Will have made their home in the elevator shaft.  Will this nightmare ever end?  Read the book to find out!

Monday, September 15, 2014

For you foodies.....

Relish:  My Life in the Kitchen is a new graphic novel memoir of artist Lucy Knisley and her obsession with food and cooking!   I read it this summer and am finally getting around to writing about it.  I like reading memoirs, I like food and I am reading more and more graphic novels.  It was a perfect fit!
Knisley looks back on her childhood and teenage years.  Her mom was a chef and her father appreciated good food.  Memories are tied into the foods we eat.  Lucy shares her favorite recipes as she shares her life.  With each memory she shows that life, like a good meal, should be savored and that all food -- even junk food is more than "just fuel".  I appreciated the fact that she likes McDonald's fries!
Each chapter ends with a recipe.  Make some of "Mom's Pesto" or "Lucy's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" ....and bring me in a taste!


Chris Crutcher's newest book is best described as a psychological thriller.

Period 8 is more than a lunch hour.  It is time spent with Mr. Logsdon, AKA "Logs".  It's not really a counseling session, more just time to sit and talk ...... about anything.  The only rule is you have to tell the truth.  Paulie takes the truthfulness to heart because it has caused the breakup with his girlfriend, Hannah.

So how does the "thriller" description develop?  There is a student psychopath, a very well disguised psychopath, who has somehow enticed female students into a prostitution ring.  This person's version of the truth is very different from the Period 8 truth.  When Mary disappears from school the Period 8 students, along with others, search the nearby woods for her body.

Read the book....will Mary be found?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Another one from the headlines.......

Do you remember the story of the young women in Ohio who were kidnapped and kept hostage for years?  This new book is similar.

"Clover" wants the perfect family.  He has kidnapped 4 young women and renamed them with flower names:  Rose, Violet, Poppy and Lily.  He keeps them locked in "the cellar" as he assumes his "normal" life. Clover's normal is not normal.  He shows up for breakfast and dinner with his "flowers".  He murders other young women and has his "flowers" clean up.  Clover's psychotic behavior is escalating.

The story follows Summer's, AKA Lily's, abduction.  Her family and boyfriend desperately search for her. Read the book if you're a fan of thrillers, but don't let the point of view switches confuse you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Torn Away

I have always liked author, Jennifer Brown.  Torn Away is her newest!

Please don't read this book if you have a fear of tornadoes.  Sixteen-year-old Jersey loses her mom and step-sister in a powerful storm. I shed tears....first for the loss of the material possessions, then the loss of life, then for the family relationships that Jersey never knew she had.

Jersey lives with her family; mom, step-dad and step-sister, in a small Missouri town.  Her entire world "blows apart" in Chapter One.  The gray clouds and humid weather, kind of like today, gives way to a powerful storm.  The tornado sirens start. Reluctantly Jersey, who is home alone, heads to the basement. She rides out the storm underneath her step-dad's pool table.  The entire home is destroyed by the tornado.

As the nightmare sinks in, so does the desperation.  Jersey finds that the storm has claimed over 100 deaths, and that her mom and Marin are two of those.  Jersey tries to find a  home with her estranged biological father; to be honest, he and his family are awful! That "home" doesn't last long. Next she moves in with her maternal grandparents who she has never met.  You will have to read the book to find out the resolution.

Overcoming adversity and dealing with loss are two major themes in this heartbreaking book.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

This new book is very raw and very emotional.  I am only going to suggest it for mature readers.  Ellen
Hopkins has a quote on the front cover, "I wish every young woman could gain the wisdom found in these pages.  Quiet. Stark. Possibly life-changing."

My heart aches for ten-year-old Anna. In the beginning of the book mom is chasing after another "potential husband and stepfather", leaving Anna home alone all too often.  She grows up alone and lonely.

As a young teenager Anna discovers that boys will fill the void left by her mother.  She is searching for a family and for the love she couldn't get from her mother.  She makes many, many poor decisions involving sex, drugs, dropping out of school and alcohol.....she is defeated, but honest.  When Anna meets Sam she finally finds the kind of family she has craved.  And while that relationship does end abruptly,  she finally realizes she is in charge of her life and that she can break from all the past mistakes.  It is hopeful.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Henry Franks

A twist on Frankenstein......................

This novel by new author Peter Adam Salomon was bizarre.  I almost stopped reading it, but am really glad I didn't put it down.

There is something very odd about Henry.  He has been in a traumatic accident and has amnesia.  Parts of his body have no feeling. With over 3,000 stitches, it is believable.  His mother is dead and his father is very reclusive.  What is going on?

To add more to the mix there is a serial killer on the loose and a hurricane approaches the island community. 

You will honestly have to read the book to see how all these elements pull together.  Don't give up on it.  The conclusion is worth a bit of confusion.   

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In the After

New dystopia by new author Demitria Lunetta.

I was immediately drawn into Amy's story.  An ordinary Saturday morning.  Mom is working at her high-security government job and dad is at the farmer's market.  Turning on the TV Amy finds the same program on every channel.....the president is informing the world of a massive alien invasion. People are warned to stay indoors.  The creatures are savage and are killing everyone in sight.
Fast forward several months later.  Amy has found "Baby", a child about 3 years old. Somehow she has been able to survive.  They communicate through a learned sign language.  Along with light, any sound draws the creatures in for the kill. Dad had a rooftop garden and solar power. Amy has been scavenging for supplies as best she can. It is a meager existence. If you like survival stories, this is it!
Miraculously, after over a year living in silence, Amy and Baby are rescued and taken to New Hope.  New Hope is a former college campus that has been taken over by survivors.  A new society has been formed and Amy finds that her scientist mother is now the director.  Despite food, people, and apparent safety, all is not right with the world.  Will Amy and Baby survive in New Hope?  You will have to read the book to find out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Allie has been in lots of trouble lately.  So much so that her parents have sent her to Cimmeria Academy.  It's a very strict (snobby) boarding school with high standards and a NO technology rule. From the beginning Allie wonders why her parents selected this school...all the other kids are from very wealthy families.  She doesn't feel she fits in.
The mystery, intrigue, romance and snarky boarding school girls kept me reading this book until the end.  What is night school? Who is involved? Why didn't Allie's mom tell her that she attended the school?  All these questions need to be answered....unfortunately you are left hanging on a few.  There will be a sequel.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

When I was in my 20's and 30's I was all about traveling to distant and exotic locations.  Same thing with Amanda, but she takes it a step too far.....

Amanda writes this memoir about a very specific time in her life, her 20's. She wasn't motivated to attend college.  After her high school graduation she moved to Calgary and started waitressing.  It was there that the travel bug hit!  I am envious of most all of the places she visited.

In 2008 she traveled to Somalia, one of the most dangerous places on earth.  She had a "gig" as a journalist and really appeared to be well-prepared.  Security, guides, a "safe" hotel in Mogadishu..... it would appear that she covered all her bases.  Unfortunately, on the way to interview at a camp  for "displaced persons", she and her traveling companion, Nigel, were kidnapped.

The kidnappers demanded millions from the families;  money they certainly did not have.  As negotiations dragged on over 15 months, Amanda and Nigel did whatever they could to keep their sanity,even converting to Islam.  As Amanda said, "They can't kill us if we convert."  Amanda bore the brunt of the rebel's anger and brutality.  She is lucky to be alive.  If you read her story I think you will agree!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

This new book was just named the 2014 Printz winner!!

If I had to describe the book I would say it is unsettling, almost bordering on creepy.  It's not scary, just, well, unsettling.  The book has seven inter-connected stories that all take place on the magical island of Blessed.  The island grows a very unusual species of flower with healing properties and it is rumored that the residents never die.

Each story takes place in a different time.  We start in 2073 where a journalist, Eric, is sent to Blessed to write a story.  Odd things almost immediately happen. When he loses his cell phone connection to the "real world" it bothers him, that it doesn't bother him.  Does it have something to do with the strange tea he is drinking?

The stories move backward in time.  The present day is covered, wartime, all the way back to viking times.  What is the connection?  Do you believe in reincarnation?  Read the book and see if you get sucked into Eric, Merle and Tor's worlds.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Living by Matt De La Pena

This book has survival, adventure, intrigue..... Shy is working a summer job on a beautiful cruise ship. There are many subplots that will keep you reading!!
Plot 1: Shy's job is a good diversion because he is mourning the death of his grandmother. Romero Disease has killed her. Scientists have yet to figure out a cause or a cure. The virus spreads rapidly through a person, bringing almost always certain death.
 Plot 2: On his first voyage Shy is a direct witness to a passenger suicide. A conversation with the "jumper" prior to his leap off the deck of the ship was very confusing. Shy is now being followed by a mysterious man in a black suit.
Plot 3: The "Big One" occurs. A massive series of earthquakes has hit the west coast. California, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico are destroyed.
Plot 4: Following the earthquake a series of tsunamis occur......the colossal size has never been witnessed in history. You can guess what happens to the cruise ship. Shy finds himself floating in a ruined raft with a motley crew of survivors.
 Questions remain: Will Shy survive? Will Romero Disease kill off everyone on the west coast of the United States? Is there a conspiracy with the drug companies? You will have to wait for the Fall 2014 sequel, The Hunted, to find out.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon

Jules refuses to accept that she has had an ectopic pregnancy. It is heartbreaking that in her mind the baby is alive....she feeds the baby, talks to it and provides for it like only a mother can. She carries around "Zoe" in a blanket. Mom is not sympathetic to the pregnancy which she at first denied, nor the subsequent loss. Damon, her boyfriend has left her. Until Jules can honestly get help from a healthcare provider, she refuses the truth. It is a difficult journey of acceptance.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax

This illustrated verse novel has the feel of a memoir.  Misha and his family live in horrific conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Food runs out and death is everywhere.  "It was astonishing how quickly you became used to the smell of starvation and the site of naked corpses."  Misha uses the sewer tunnel system to leave the walled city and search for food.  Janina, his sister joins him, but one day even she doesn't return.  The Germans soon become wise to the system and use a "gruesome" weapon, to send a scorching fireball down the manhole.
Misha connects with a group of resistance fighters who make a stand against the Nazis.  While the story fictionalizes the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, approximately 750 Jewish fighters fought off over 2000 Nazi soldiers for four desperate weeks.  Read the book and witness what happened to thousands of Jewish people.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Yaqui Delgado Wants to.....

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a new book by Meg Medina.  It's been showing up on many of the "Best of 2013" lists.  It is a very realistic "problem" novel.
Piddy is the new girl at Daniel Jones High School.  She is Latina, as is the author. On one of the very first days of school a girl that Piddy doesn't even know bumps into her and says "Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass!"  Piddy doesn't even know who Yaqui is....much less why she wants to beat her up.  What follows is a very realistic book about bullying.  Piddy has to decide what she is willing to do to protect herself.  She is a smart girl, but there are no easy solutions.  Does she want to get the school administration involved?  Will that make things worse?  You'll have to read the book to see how she deals with Yaqui.