Saturday, January 19, 2019

Pay Attention, Carter Jones


















Carter Jones has no idea how much his life is going to change when a butler who has worked for his extended family in Great Britain comes to work for his family.  His father is deployed so the extra help is good - especially since his mother still hasn't really come to terms with the death of Carter's brother Currier.  But a British butler, or gentleman's gentleman takes some getting used to... especially when he introduces Carter and his friends to Cricket.

This was a decent story especially as Carter comes to realize what is going on with his dad.  Carter and the butler's friendship is really sweet.  The issue for us American readers will be the cricket rules, references, and play action.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Storm Keeper's Island


















Fionn has never been to the island where his dad died, where he grandfather lives, and which his mother refuses to return to.  But this summer his mom needs a break and Fionn and his sister are sent to the island.  It terrifies Fionn.  He isn't brave and he hates the water.  Soon after they arrive Fionn starts to learn about the legends of the island and his grandfather's magical job as the Storm Keeper.  But where does Fionn fit into all of it and is it his destiny to be the next Storm Keeper.

I really enjoyed the book - good action and a cool folklore bit.  My one criticism is the dreaded sequel - there was a lot of build up for it and not much resolution to this book.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Thisby Theestoop and the Black Mountain


















Thisby has been the gamekeeper of the dungeon in the Black Mountain for years.  It's a lonely job with only her slime, Mingus, for company and it's dangerous as well but it's what she knows.  Then, when the prince and princess come for an exhibition things go horribly wrong.  Prince Ingo appears to have been kidnapped by her boss and she and the princess are trapped.  Can they manage to escape and save the prince or is there more to the story?

Fantasy is not really my favorite with some notable exceptions but I really enjoyed this.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Unteachables


















Ever since the cheating scandal of '92 Mr. Kermit, once an idealistic teacher, has been doing his time counting down until he can retire. Hoping for early retirement Mr. Kermit hopes to just tolerate the special education class he is given.  Meanwhile, the superintendent who also took heat during the scandal, hopes to catch Mr. Kermit in something and get him fired before he can retire.  But slowly the class of unteachables teaches Mr. Kermit that it is never too late to learn and change.

This book was a lot of fun.  A solid book by Korman.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Darkdeep


















Yep, yep, yep - loved this.  It satisfies my Stranger Things and Lost series fixation.  Edgy, creepy, unresolved ...  tick those boxes.  Plus some good friendship, humor as well.  I can't wait to read the next one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Mona Lisa Key


















Well, that was something.  

Mateo, Ruby, and Corey have always been told not to take any public transportation.  Weird but whatever.  But one morning after a series of events make them late and a chance encounter provides them with subway passes they decide to take the subway to school.  But after getting lost they board another vehicle - a time traveling ship with a Captain, a weird compass, and a crew.  Thus begins an adventure filled with conundrums and mystery.  Can they ever get back home and figure out what the Captain is looking for?

This was pretty cool and there will be a sequel coming.  I can see some students totally getting into it.  I wish it had been a tad shorter but...

Genesis Begins Again


















Genesis has self esteem issues in spades.  Her skin is very dark like her father's and she has been picked on for it her whole life - even her grandmother comments on how it would be better if she was lighter.  What's worse - her dad in his drunken states has picked on her and told her that he wishes she were lighter, like her mother.  In addition her family keeps getting evicted - her dad drinks, can't keep his job, can't pay the rent.  When they finally move to a nice neighborhood Genesis sees what life can be like outside of Detroit but she still wishes for lighter skin, straighter hair.  Fortunately in her new school Genesis makes some friends and has a music teacher who helps her find her voice.  Does Genesis have the courage to love herself and begin again?

This was really something.  A glimpse into color - and variations of color and how they impact our perceptions - of ourselves, of others.  It also touches on family dynamics and history.  I felt it went a little long but overall found it to be powerful.