Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Now I Rise by Kiersten White - ADVISABLE

White, Kiersten Now I Rise, 459 pages. Delacorte Press 2017. Language: PG-13 (2 swears, 0 ‘f’) Mature Content: R (Sensual descriptions of sex, sexual discussions and nudity) Violence: RGraphic torture and murder, war, and sexual assault) 

Lada Dracul has gone to claim the Wallachian throne and cuts ties with all who wish to stop her, including her beloved brother Radu and her childhood sweetheart Mehmed. Meanwhile, Radu’s loyalties are tested as Mehmed tries to expand the Ottoman Empire by trying to conquer the city of Constantinople, and the dear friends Mehmed had made there.  

If you can appreciate a book full of political maneuverings, twisted loyalties, and antihero’s becoming full on villains, then I think the reader will like this book. It’s worlds above the first book in overall tone and scope. The annoying set up for the world has been completed, and now the character development has begun in earnest. This book follows two very morally conflicted characters and I am intrigued as to how the final book will wrap up their story arcs. I would not recommend this book to a young audience.

HS- ADVISABLE. Jewels, Student Reviewer

Prudence: The Part-Time Cow by Jody Shaffer - OPTIONAL

Shaffer, Jody Jensen Prudence: The Part-Time Cow, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis.  PICTURE BOOK.  Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2017.  $17

While Prudence is a cow, but only part-time.  The rest of the time she is a scientist, an architect, and an engineer.  The other cows don’t find her very amusing.  Prudence considers what she can do to get back on their good side. So she buckles down and comes up with some clever inventions that show the others that she can be useful.

Am I being a fussy old person when I say I don’t like that the other cows’ friendship depends on Prudence doing something for them? The pictures are so good – I want to like this more than I did.  Someone convince me!

Pre-K, EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty –NO

Beaty, Erin The Traitor’s Kiss   344 pgs. Imprint (Macmillan), 2017. $18.99 Content: Language: G (3 swears) Mature Content: PG13 (rape talk, pregnancy); Violence: PG
After her single father dies, Sage Fowler lives by the charity of her Uncle. She is reaching the age for an arranged marriage and is not thrilled, but through a twist of fate, is allowed to be the matchmakers apprentice instead. Now part of a group of eligible women traveling to meet potential suitors, her task is to watch them all for suitability. When the soldiers come to escort the entire group, Sage begins to make note on them as well. But they are looking at her just as carefully and when a rebellion/invasion threatens the kingdom, Sage must put all of her skills to work.
This is a romantic adventure, as both the title and cover promise. Sage is a brave and spunky character. But somehow it just didn’t work for me. In my experience the best books are a true transaction between author and reader, allowing just enough room for the reader to image the details of the story in their own way, which creates a story that is incredibly engaging. Give too much detail and the reader has no room for their own interpretation but give not enough detail and the story is just words on paper. This book leans more to the latter, not enough detail or personality. There just wasn’t anything to grab onto so I just couldn’t buy in or even get into the story, it didn’t come to life before my eyes. Also the romance portion was SO cheesy, I was cracking up.

HS –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano - OPTIONAL

Cosimano, Elle  The Suffering Tree, 357 pgs.  Hyperion, 2017.  $17.99  Content: Language: R (46 swears; 2 “F”); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.  

Tori and her mom and brother have just inherited a house in the middle of the Slaughter family land, much to the chagrin of the Slaughters.  One night when Tori goes out for a walk she finds herself in the small family cemetery on her land.  A boy from another time, Nathanial Bishop, grabs ahold of her wrist and comes up from his grave, and he brings with him the past and secrets that affect Tori and her family.  Although at first Tori is unsure why they have been given the land, she starts to make connections to her ancestors and past with the help of Nathanial Bishop.  

This book is dark and creepy, but I liked the characters and the cover is fantastic.  The mystery is interesting and the book switches back and forth between the time periods of Nathanial’s life as an indentured servant and Tori’s life in the present.  The violence is very upsetting including branding, whipping and the removal of a runaway slave’s ear.  There is off page sex, and reference to a rape.  Most noteworthy is that the main character is a cutter and it isn’t dealt with well-almost making it feel like it’s okay.  The ending is hooky and feels like there needs to be another book, even though I can’t see where there is going to be one.  

HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Feener - OPTIONAL

Feener, Chani Lynn Amid Stars and Darkness, 368 pages.  Swoon Reads (Macmillan), 2017.  $18.  Language: R (50 swears, 1 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (implied sex, petting); Violence: PG (some shooting).

As Delaney is leaving the club, she bumps into a beautiful alien girl.  Next thing she knows, she has been abducted and whisked off to another planet.  Turns out the alien girl is a runaway princess and she did something to Delaney so that everyone thinks she is the princess, or Lissa.  The Lissa is betrothed to another planet’s prince and if her were to discover the ruse, the consequences would be war between the worlds and devastation for Earth.  Delaney is a decidedly uncooperative Lissa.  It is only her intrigue for her new bodyguard, Ander Ruckus, and his promise that as soon as they find the runaway Delaney will get her life and identity back, which is keeping her even sort of under control.  Everyone has a lot of lies to juggle in order to keep everyone else safe.

Its been a couple of years since the height of the alien romance craze.  If your earlier entires have become stale, then choose this for a fresh infusion. 

HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton - OPTIONAL

Rinker, Sherri Duskey Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton, illustrated by John Rocco.  PICTURE BOOK.  Houghton Mifflin, 2017.  $18.

This is more like a tour through Burton’s most famous picture books than anything that tells you much about her life.  The most informational part of the book is the supplemental information at the end.  The rest is pretty impressionistic, if you can call a book such, without being helpful or charming.  First rate author, first rate illustrator – I’m not sure why this is what they created.  I can only see this as being liked by diehard Burton fans.

GIFT – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Monday, August 21, 2017

I Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino -- ADVISABLE

Yaccarino, Dan I Am a Story. PICTURE BOOK. HarperCollins, 2016. $17.99. Content: G.

Stories have been told, shown, sung, sewn into tapestries, acted out, and otherwise shared through many centuries. I Am a Story demonstrates ways in which stories have been passed down. It would be especially good as a beginning-of-the-year book for library time, or for when discussing the origins of ancient stories such as cave paintings or constellations.

EL (K-3) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Once Upon a Time by Laura Cantu - ADVISABLE

Cantu, Laura C. Once Upon a Time (Betwixters #1), 288 pages.  Winterwolf Press, 2017.  $17.  Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some bullying and danger).

The fairy Neevya knows that of all the different worlds, the human world is off limits.  While she is fulfilling her duties of catching sunbeams and planting acorns, she is dragged through a Precarious Portal and into the human world.  Noah, Ethan, and Skye exist day-to-day in their bully-ridden school in England.  Running from the biggest bully one day, they escape to The Dark Wood.  They find Neeyva, who has been injured and pledge to do what they have to in order to return her to her home.  The trio will encounter danger unimagined in their quest to help their new friend.

Cantu has crafted an excellent beginning to a new fantasy series for younger readers.  We do spend a lot of time meeting the friends and learning about their situations; my hope is that means we will have more adventures coming quickly. 

EL – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher