Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

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I loved this memorable and touching children’s story about a little girl who lives in a graveyard in the Philippines with her mother and her struggle to find her mother when she goes missing. Appropriate for grades 4 to 7, in my opinion, it sensitively tells Nora’s story while focusing on themes of friendship and loyalty.

I was fascinated with this idea of living in a cemetery, and here’s a great article with pictures in it from the New York Times about North Cemetery in Manila, where this story takes place.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my review e-copy! This title publishes in the beginning of October (2018).

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Two Spells by Mark Morrison

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Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure, an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner-sanctum of the second dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures.

The children are emboldened with a wondrous mystical gift that no other being has ever possessed. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous inter-dimensional war that disrupts the fabric of time and space spanning multiple universes, tearing destiny a new and savage pathway.

The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by a demented dark-wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They will either assimilate or be exterminated.

Will they be the saviors the prophets spoke of, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland?

 

I received a pdf of this novel from the very pleasant author, Mark Morrison. My daughter, who is 14 and loves fantasy, was my reader for this one. She loved it! She read it straight through in a few days as she couldn’t put it down. She liked the storyline and the characters a lot.

This is Mr. Morrison’s first novel for YA/kids, so we hope it won’t be his last!

Here is a bit about him via Amazon:

Biography

Mark was born number seven of eight children in a small town in Ohio. His family moved to Florida where he grew up, met an incredible woman, got married and raised four fantastic children, three boys and a girl.

Many years later, an empty nest left him to his true calling, storytelling. His first remarkable story is about a heroine whose courage and unrestrained personality—like his daughter’s—breathes passion and fervor into this adrenaline-packed story.

 

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THE CLUE IN THE TREES by Marji Preus

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IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

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Net Galley has a section where you can “wish” for a book — it’s not readily available for request or to all audiences. Well I wished and got this one – and I’m so happy I did! While this is billed as a “Cinderella story”, I found it to be a well-written and insightful YA novel about a teen girl dealing with coming of age issues. I’ll be recommending it to my 14 year old and to my middle schoolers.

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Thank you SO MUCH for making me part of the “wishes granted” group. I feel like Cinderella!

You can find this book at your local library or favorite indie — or online at Amazon, where I am an Associate:

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Armstrong and Charlie by Steven B. Frank

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I loved this thoughtful kids’ book about two boys in 6th grade and their friendship. Sensitively covering issues of race, grief, class, and peer relationships, this little book has a lot of punch packed between its pages. Highly recommended for middle grades – I’d love to use it with my own students next year!

Thank you for my e-copy which  I got through Net Galley.

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GREYSON GRAY: RUBICON by B.C. TWEEDT

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I was excited to be offered to highlight this book on my book blog during its blog tour, since it was billed as an engaging choice for reluctant readers (especially boys). My son, who just turned 12 yesterday, is a good reader, but tends to gravitate to Minecraft or LEGO’s rather than picking up a book. I asked him if he’d like to take part in this post with me and he agreed.

First here’s the overview of the book and series (via Amazon):

When the world grows more dangerous, so must its heroes.

The epic adventure described as “perfect reading,” a “high-octane thrill fest,” and “just basic fun,” is cranking the action dial up to full-throttle. Rubicon releases Greyson in a tumultuous America rocked by real, relevant issues it faces today. With the daring and endearing energy you’ve come to expect, Greyson dives head-first into a battle to save U.S. Will he do it? Or will secession tear the country apart? Find out now!

The startling events of Deadfall force the government’s heavy hand – prompting it to enact a harsh new law to rid the country of Pluribus.

Meanwhile, Greyson and his weary friends retreat to Colorado with the paramilitary group, Rubicon. It isn’t long, though, until Sydney and Nick are called on a mission, leaving Greyson with no choice but to patiently recover and train, ready to take on Pluribus whenever he may be called.

A year passes, and the country is still suffering from the fallout of the new law, with divided neighborhoods, nationwide protests, and renewed threats of secession. Even worse, Pluribus and its new Wolf teams have worked under the radar on a bold, crippling attack that they hope will send the country over the brink, spiraling to unavoidable civil war.

When Rubicon finally calls Greyson to mission, he must wield new ammunition and work with friends across the country – both old and new – to face the incredible threat. In a frenzy of explosions, deadly drones, and dazzling new technology, Greyson fights the terrorists in urban streets, snow-covered mountains, and towering skyscrapers in pulse pounding action that challenges Greyson to his core.

Parents continue to herald this series for its unwavering commitment to the theme – fighting for what is good and right – no matter the costs. While the truth is sometimes hidden, Greyson searches for it, fights for it, and holds onto what he has. His faithfulness to Sydney and his friends is unparalleled, even in adversity. Kids of all ages love the ceaseless humor, the gritty action, and the mystery that grows deeper and more sinister with each new book. Who can Greyson trust? Will he prevent a new civil war? Keep reading…

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Well, my son was hooked just by the description. When the book arrived I was surprised to see how big it was (over 400 pages) but that was no deterrent. Jack couldn’t wait to start reading.
Now I’ve mentioned that my son is a social kid who’d rather play online than pick up a book. When he was reading, some of his friends would call and he started a routine of reading over Facetime to his bestie. He would read aloud (great practice!) and his buddy would listen and then illustrate the story as they went along. They both got really into it and were excited to “read together”. That said, we didn’t start until after Jack got home from sleepaway camp at the end of August, so as of this writing, they are still reading and enjoying the story!
I think some of the great appeal is that this series taps into my son’s sense of righteous indignation against evil and evil works. Greyson is almost a mini James Bond – and his adventures are exciting. As Jack said, “He’s kind of a kid superhero, but without special powers.”
Here’s some info on Mr. Tweedy, the author, that his publicist has sent me:

B.C. Tweedt lives in North Liberty, Iowa, with his wife, Julie, and their son, Maverick. When he’s not working on his next book, Tweedt volunteers at his church’s youth group as a mentor of young boys, several of whom served as the inspiration for characters in The Greyson Gray SeriesRubicon is the fourth novel in the series, preceded byDeadfall, Fair Game, and Camp Legend. Tweedt plans to continue expanding the series, following Greyson as he grows up in an increasingly divided and threatening world, and is currently working on the fifth Greyson Gray novel.

For more information, connect with Tweedt on his website, or throughFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, LibraryThing or LinkedIn.

Greyson Gray: Rubicon is now available for pre-order exclusively onAmazon. It will be available online at Barnes & Noble and iBookstore in November 2016.

THANK YOU for our review copy and for sharing this story with my son!

Next stop on the tour: http://www.lorisreadingcorner.com/

Lori’s Reading Corner — hop on over!

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The Search for the Homestead Treasure by Ann Treacy

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I do love everything I receive from University of Minnesota Press! All the books I’ve received are for middle grades or YA and take place in Minnesota. They are all well-written, interesting, and well-done. This book was no exception.

Here’s the overview:

Fourteen-year-old Martin Gunnarsson is trying to hold his family together on the homestead where his ancestors died of diphtheria in 1865. Somehow rumors of a treasure on the farm survived, and when Martin discovers Aunt Cora’s journal in a musty trunk in the hayloft, he thinks it might give him a clue. But what exactly is he looking for?

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Ann Treacy is coauthor (with Margi Preus) of A Book of Grace. Her writing has appeared in Lake Superior Magazine as well as Highlights for Children magazine. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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This was a short read (less than 200 pages) and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the character of Martin, and his resilient spirit as he struggles to help his family run their farm. I also enjoy a mystery, and this was woven in, too — the treasure that was hidden somewhere before his grandparent’s family died of illness. Will Martin find it? Where is it? And will his family be able to survive?

Highly recommended for classrooms and middle grade readers who want more than your average pioneer story!

Thank you for my review copy and for having me share my thoughts!

Look for it at a bookstore or library (or online!) near you —

THE SEARCH FOR THE HOMESTEAD TREASURE
Ann Treacy
University of Minnesota Press | 176 pages | May 2016
ISBN 978-0-8166-9956-8 | hardcover | $16.95
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For my ears: ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

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So I’m totally late to the party on this one. I found it on sale on Audible and remembered that I had always meant to read it.

What a great book! I know it’s about teens, but I know that adults would love and appreciate it, too. I look forward to my daughter reading this book so we can discuss it together.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

Audie Award Finalist, Teens, 2014

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.

So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.

I’m not kidding, he says.

You should be, she says, we’re 16.

What about Romeo and Juliet?

Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.

Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.

I’m not kidding, he says.

You should be.

Set over the course of one school year, in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

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This is a sensitively written, multi-layered, insightful story that is not to be missed. I listened to mine as I commuted, and it was ably done in two voices:Rebecca Loman and Sunhil Malhotra.

If you missed this when it came out in 2013, don’t miss it any longer! Look for it at a bookstore or library near you – or online!

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Teen Reading: GOLDFISH by Nat Luurtsema

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I have come across the perfect summer read for the middle schooler in your life (high schooler, too)!

I started GOLDFISH two days ago, not knowing what to expect.The description on Net Galley was fun but a tad vague:

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Two Books that I Could Not Put Down!

I love a good thriller! Recently I have read several good ones via Net Galley and two were publishing this month, so they are hot off the press:

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The YA novel, The Girl I Used to Be,  was a fast-paced read. Here’s the description from NG:

When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

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This was one of those books where I read it almost straight through while thinking, “I think THIS happened” -and figuring out the mystery. This is the kind of YA book I loved as a teen and enjoy as a fast read as an adult. April Henry is a new author for me, but she is obviously well-known and well-liked!

Then I read:

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Don’t You Cry was my very first Mary Kubica book. I’m hooked! I also grabbed her The Good Girl off a Kindle deal and read that one, too. They’ve got that Gone Girl — Girl on the Train — fast-paced, I can’t-put-it-down, scary-thriller feel to them.

Here’s the description from NG:

New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

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It’s a wowza of a ride and I could not put this book down!

I love a good thrill – especially during winter in New England – but these books are good any time of the year!

Thank you, Net Galley, for my review copies!

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