Friday, October 31, 2014

The Angel Tree


Every year a mysterious benefactor puts up a Christmas tree, people all throughout town hang wishes on its branches, and the wishes are filled.  At the beginning of the book we meet 4 kids who all have wishes.  As their wishes begin to be fulfilled they decide to try and find out who is behind the Angel Tree so they can thank him or her.  Along the way the four children learn more about themselves and develop friendships.  This was a sweet story of giving and a cute mystery as well.  I enjoyed it quite a bit but wonder how often it will get checked out in my library since it is a "Christmas" book.  I feel good promoting it though.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Unstoppable Octobia May


Set in the 50s this book follows the adventures of Octobia May whose imagination can sometimes get the best of her...or it may turn out that her imagination isn't that far off.  Octobia lives with her aunt who runs a boarding house.  Octobia believes one of the boarders, Mr. Davenport, is a vampire.  Eventually Octobia realizes he is not a vampire but the truth may be just as bad.

There was a lot of action and adventure here as well as a good mystery.  Unfortunately, I felt that there were some gaps in the story - or weird time shifts that weren't really explained.  I liked it but didn't love it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Greenglass House


Milo's parents run the Greenglass House which is an inn.  The inn is normally quiet over Christmas break but this year several visitors come to stay and they all seem to be searching for something.  When things start to go missing Milo and his new friend Meddy try to solve the mystery of the Greenglass House.

This book has gotten great reviews and I have to agree.  It was a fun mystery, full of action, and good character development, especially for Milo.  It reminded me of The Westing Game.  That being said, it was 376 pages and for my students I think it is too long...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere


I read Zane and the Hurricane earlier in the year and was pleased to see a book about Hurricane Katrina.  That being said I felt that there were some flaws in the book and things that were a little hard to believe.  Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere also takes place during Hurricane Katrina and I found it not only more believable but also written better.  

Armani is very excited about her tenth birthday and is a bit put out when an upcoming storm is stealing her thunder.  When her family is stuck in the storm, however, she regrets her attitude and takes a lot of responsibility on herself.  The story is told with honesty, grit, determination, and heart.  I do feel that some aspects were covered quickly - what was going on in the Super Dome for example and maybe a bit more about what actually happened to Armani's dad and Georgie or how her mother ended up at the same shelter - but overall I felt the book was well done.

The Only Thing to Fear


What would have happened if the Nazis had assassinated Roosevelt and won World War II?  This novel investigates that possibility.  It is set 80 years later in a time when Nazi Germany rules over part of the former United States, the master race is in control and children with a mixed heritage like the main character Zara are often in fear of their lives.  To make matters worse Zara has an anomoly - she can control the wind - which is very dangerous.  

Zara wants to join a rebel group but her overprotective uncle tries to just keep her safe.  But the illness of the Fuhrer and an increase in violence push Zara into acting rather than hiding.

There was a lot of action in this book and I found the premise very interesting.  It is a bit old for my students but I would recommend it to junior high and high school students I know.

Meet the Bigfeet: The Yeti Files

I really think my students will enjoy this book.  It is funny and a quick read.  For me it was difficult to read because of the formatting on the Kindle.  There is enough interest in cryptology to make this a popular choice.

I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters


The I Survived series is very popular in my school.  I can see this nonfiction companion book being very popular with those readers.  I hope it will also spur interest in other books about the disasters mentioned in this book.  I will definitely be buying this for my students.

Legacy of the Claw


Bailey Walker has always felt different because he has still not awakened to his animas bond.  When he goes to the Fairmont Academy he hopes to discover his bond and who he really is.  But what he finds instead is a mystery and turmoil of a potential revolution.  Can he solve an ancient riddle and help ensure that the right person ascends the thorn and the animas bond stays preserved?

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a bit long but had great potential.. There will be a sequel but it ended in a good place.