Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scan by Sarah Fine and Walter Jury -- OPTIONAL

Jury, Walter and Sarah Fine Scan (Scan #1), 336 pgs. Putnam Juvenile, 2014. $17.99. Language: R (90+ swears; 22 'f'); Violence: PG-13; Sexual Content: PG-13.

Tate's father is demanding, cold, and tough. He's also an inventor with a dangerous secret. When a shootout at Tate's school results in his father's death, Tate and his girlfriend Christina are forced to go on the run in order to protect the older man's invention: a scanner that can distinguish humans from their nearly-identical alien invaders.

Scan is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller with enough action, suspense, and explosions to keep readers turning the pages. Tate's relationship with his girlfriend is well-developed, and I appreciated their coolness under pressure. While the strong language makes this one optional instead of advisable per Kiss the Book guidelines, in this case the swearing rarely seems gratuitous, considering the extreme situations the characters find themselves in and the many villains they are up against. The multiple unresolved plot threads make it clear that this will be the first of at least two books, if not more.

HS -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Caryn

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just my Lost Treasure by Mercer Mayer -OPTIONAL

Mayer, Mercer Just my Lost Treasure 24 pgs. HarperFestival, 2014. $3.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G
When Little Critter is sent by his mom to find his missing socks, he sets right out. But what he finds instead is tons of missing ‘treasure’, from toys to instruments to clothes. He is so excited to find each new thing, but still hasn’t found the socks!
Of course, adorably illustrated, this book is filled with cute animals and bright colors. I don’t really like the lesson here though. It grates at me that Little Critter has so many toys and is so irresponsible with them. Especially true after reading the Rent Collector for my last review, where a family lives at the dump and each item they use really is a treasure.  

Pre-K, EL(K-3) – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright –ADVISABLE

Wright, Camron  The Rent Collector 288  pgs. Shadow Mountain, 2013. $15.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG13 Violence: PG.
Unbeknownst to most of the world, there are many families who live right at a garbage dump called Stung Meanchey, a real place in Cambodia. They make their living scavenging and selling, a grim existence made dangerous by disease, lack of essentials, danger from the garbage itself, and roaming gangs. We follow the story of Sang Ly, a young mother trying to raise an ill son and wanting to learn how to read. When she discovers the rent collector, a grumpy horrible woman, can read, Sang Ly is determined to learn.  Turns out there is more to the rent collector than anyone could possible guess.
This is a wonderful and eye opening story! It’s such a different point of view on literature -one that is fresh to the joy and desire to learn to read. The host of characters are interesting and well developed. I think high school students would do well to read about this very grim place, yet a place so full of hope. Adults will love this surprising read as well.

HS –ADVISABLE  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More by Jane Fonda - - PUBLIC ONLY

Fonda, Jane Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More, 288 pgs. Non-Fiction Random House. $17.00. 

Illustrated with drawings and complete with an index (so you can look up what you want to know and skip what you're not ready for) this clear, up front book for teen boys or girls is about everything from emotional health to sexuality to dealing with relationships. It is WAY too mature for a school library, but as a resource purchased for the right girl, this subject matter is valuable. 

PUBLIC ONLY Lisa Librarian

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck - - Advisable

Peck, Richard The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail, 223 pgs.  Dial Books for Young Readers 2013.  $16.99. Language: G (0 swears) Violence: G; Mature Content: G.  

A little mouse who has been raised by his Aunt Marigold and attends the Royal Mews Academy, runs away from school on the eve of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Celebration, to seek an audience with the queen and to find out why he doesn’t have a name. “Nameless is Blameless” his Aunt always tells him, but maybe there’s more to this mouse than he thinks.  

Peck continues to delight children’s fiction readers, this time with an adorable mouse.  Not as laugh aloud funny as A Year Down Yonder, but still, a well written story. 

EL MS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan -- ADVISABLE

Morgan, Page The Beautiful and the Cursed, 341 pgs. Random House Children's Books, 2013. $18.99. Language: PG-13 (92 swear words, although technically 80+ of them refer to hell as a place instead of as a swear since demons are involved; no 'f'); Violence: PG-13; Mature Content: PG-13.

In 1899 Ingrid and her sister Gabby move to Paris to escape a humiliating past, but when they show up nothing is as they had expected. Their new home is an abandoned abbey with creepy gargoyles ringing the roof. A city-wide curfew is in place to protect girls from a recent series of violent and unexplained murders. A mysterious servant with arresting eyes seems abnormally interested in them. Worst of all, Ingrid's twin brother, who had arrived early to prepare the abbey for their presence, has disappeared. Searching for Grayson is dangerous, but Ingrid and Gabby aren't the type to sit at home and wait, even in a city where mishaps are not only tinged with violence, but with a sense of the otherworldly.

With its gorgeous and evocative description, historical setting, and sense of impending doom, this carefully-spun tale has the feel of a gothic horror novel, with some tantalizing hints at future romance woven in. Ingrid and Gabby are both strong characters, and they grow well throughout the novel. While the ending has some wonderful twists and a suspenseful climax, several unresolved threads will clearly be carried into the sequel.

HS -- ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Caryn

Friday, July 18, 2014

Of Neptune by Anna Banks - ADVISABLE

Banks, Anna  Of Neptune (The Syrena Legacy, #3), 327 pgs.  Feiwel and Friends, 2014.  $17.99  Content: Language: PG (2 swears); Violence: PG; Mature Content: PG-13.

Emma, a half human/ half Syrena (mermaid) loves Galen, the Triton prince, and they have planned their future together.  But when Galen’s friend Rachel dies, he starts to question their plans and wants to go with Emma on a road trip to grow close together.  Emma’s grandfather, the King of Poseidon wants Emma to visit the town of Neptune where she will meet other half-breeds.  Neptune causes Emma to wonder about her plans with Galen and they find people with evil intentions.

This is the third and final book in the Of Poseidon series.  It has an action packed story line with interesting new characters.  The ending is satisfying and I enjoyed the whole series.  It’s great for those readers who like mermaid stories.

MS, HS-ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.