Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Wishbone Come True

This was a very cute, very short book.  Lexi loves dogs but does not have a dog.  When a new pet shop opens where the toy store used to be it seems magical.  So magical in fact, that when Luna does a special trick for her parents they immediately change their minds about letting her get a dog.  In fact, whenever Luna does her trick magical things happen.  Also going on in the story is the fact that Lexi's best friend is moving away and seems mad at her.  But, Luna helps with that too.

As a librarian for grades 1 - 5 I could see this book being popular with the 2nd and 3rd graders.  In my role as a Maine Student Book Award committee member this is a bit low for our grades 4 - 8 span.

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii


Tag is a slave to a trainer of gladiators.  Trained as a medic he would rather be given the opportunity to fight as a gladiator and win his freedom.  Lucia is the trainer's only daughter...only child remaining.  She is pledged to be married to a much older man.  In the weeks leading up to the destruction of Pompeii Lucia notices many strange things that portend of things to come and the two fall in love.

I love historical fiction so I choose this book from Netgalley because of my interest in the topic.  Unfortunately it really didn't do much for me.  Although well researched I found that I couldn't connect to the characters and that the  tragic end didn't really bother me.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cartboy Goes to Camp


I didn't realize this book was a sequel when I requested it on NetGalley.  It wasn't really obvious except that when he was asked about being called Cartboy he said it was a long story and I wondered if there had been a book really didn't affect the reading of the book.

In this book Hal, Cartboy, is sent off to camp for 2 weeks by his history loving father.  The camp is at Jamestown when the campers live and learn about the way off life in Jamestown in 1607.  Unfortunately the school bully also ends up at camp.  Hal is terrible at all the skills but does become involved in a hunt for a missing treasure.

This book was weird to me...a lot of time spent on the treasure but it wraps up too quickly and neatly.  Each chapter title is to some unknown alien reader - maybe I would have gotten that more if I had read the other one?  Parts of it were cute but overall it didn't really work for me.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens


With a title like this it is hard to take the book seriously.  Giant robot chickens, controlled by real chickens who have somehow been able to create these robots and rise up against their masters.  Pretty far fetched.  And yet, funny at the same time...surprisingly so.  Action, intrigue, weird chicken cults, and bad puns. Who knows, the kids might actually like it...stranger things have happened.  I was amused by it.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Circa Now


Circa's parents run Monroe Studios and Circa hopes to follow in her father's footsteps as a retoucher and restorer or old photographs.  But, on the way to deliver a retouched photograph Circa's dad is a tornado.  Can her mother cope?  Can Circa carry on her father's work?  

Things start getting weird when "Miles" shows up - a mysterious boy who can't remember anything before the reunion where Circa's dad was heading.  Circa starts noticing that special embellishments to her dad's photos seem to be real and wonders if that includes Miles.

The journey that Circa takes as she heals as well as her mother, plus the mystery of Miles, and the wonderful conclusion make this a really good story.  I loved it.

Caminar by Skila Brown


When I heard about this book I knew I had to get it.  Like the author I have been to Guatemala several times and have always been curious about the long civil war and the stories that the old ones could tell.  The country is still restless and one can still see and feel repercussions from that time.

Caminar means to walk and this is the story of Carlos and his walk, his journey, his coming of age, and decision making in Guatemala in 1981.  Guatemala is involved in a Civil War but many of the people who live in the villages don't understand the conflict, don't know who to trust, and just want to be left alone.  The army comes to Carlos' village and demands names of Communists and a name is finally given to the army but more out of jealousy than fact.  A few days later a rebel group comes through.  After that the army comes back, maybe thinking the village harbored the rebels and destroys the village, killing many of them.  Carlos had gone on an errand for his mother and hid in a tree.  Once he realizes he is safe he has to decide where to go and what to do.  He decides to go up the mountain to his abuela (grandmother) but along the way he meets the same band of rebels.  Should he stay with them and fight.  Everything comes to a head when he hears the army going to his grandmother's village,

The story is told in poetic narrative and is quite powerful.  I enjoyed the book very question will be what ages will appreciate it and how much my enjoyment came from my background knowledge.