Friday, September 22, 2017

YA Pick: Warcross

Warcross
by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam's Sons
2017
353 pages
ISBN: 9780399547966


Goggles on. Enter Warcross. 

Warcross is not just a game; it's an alternate reality lifestyle embraced by millions worldwide. In a decade, professional gamers and ordinary people have become hooked on a lifestyle that enables them to escape the mundane of every day. Hooked is the key word. Some people are so wrapped up in Warcross, they illegally bet all their money and end up homeless or dead.

Warcross inventor Hideo Tanaka becomes a billionaire. Emika Chen is just a girl when she sees his photo for the first time. She follows his career and learns code due to her infatuation for him.

Emika  is a bounty hunter who collects money when she catches illegal betters on Warcross, but she's beyond living paycheck to paycheck. She's living meal to meal and her landlord is threatening eviction. Emika corners a criminal worth a hefty $5000 only to lose him again.  Distraught, Emika is about to give up and become homeless when she slips on her Warcross  neurolink.

Emika is not a pro by any means but she knows code and she's discovered a few weak areas  of the game.  Never before has she thought of sneaking in, but times are tough. Emika slips into the game and steals a valuable piece which captures  Hideo's attention. She is just the type of girl he's looking for. Hideo contacts her, pays her debts and hires her. Hideo needs someone for security. Someone sneaky. Someone no one in his company knows. Emika is the perfect person. No one will suspect a player to be security.

Soon Emika becomes a worldwide celebrity of the game. The matches are bigger than the Super Bowl, but Emika has a job to do. She has to find out who is bugging the game and why. Emika is living a surreal experience: she has fantasized about meeting Hideo for years and now she's working for him. All is not as it seems.

Warcross is a slam dunk and a high powered adrenaline rush. Gamers will delight. If someone doesn't develop Warcross as a real game, it's a missed opportunity. Cover art is spectacular. Kudos to the marketing and graphic arts team.

Highly, highly recommended grade 8 and up. Reluctant readers who enjoy video games may be intrigued.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.




Thursday, September 14, 2017

Middle Grades Giveaway: Quicksand Pond


Quicksand Pond
by Janet Taylor Lisle

I LOVE this book! Read my review here


I have FIVE FREE copies of Quicksand Pond up for grabs! Post a comment on the blog. Include first name, city, state and email contact. Winners will be selected by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is September 21 at NOON MST. Winners will be contacted on Sept. 21. Please check your email on that date. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will by shipped by the publisher from New York.

Good luck and start posting!
Pamela

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

YA Pick: A Map For Wrecked Girls (Guest Reviewer Oscar Porras)

A Map for Wrecked Girls
by Jessica Taylor
Dial Books
2017
368 pages
ISBN: 9780735228115

"An exciting, high-stakes adventure." --School Library Journal 

Guest Review by Oscar Porras, library media specialist,  at Ysleta Middle School in El Paso, Texas. Follow Oscar on Twitter @oporras_LMS

A Map for Wrecked Girls is a gripping gem that YA readers will fall in love with. Emma narrates the story of her life both before and after she is shipwrecked with her sister Henri (Henrietta) and a boy named Alex who will change their lives.

Before the wreck, Henri and Emma live in San Francisco. Their father left the family to begin a new life with his girlfriend. The sisters'  lives are upended and their relationship falls apart. They travel to Puerto Rico with their mother who is attending a conference there. The three teens are shipwrecked together and forced to survive the island and each other. The two sisters must confront their past as they struggle to see a future. This is a book of survival, growth, personal demons and forgiveness.

Readers who are drawn to romance, thrillers and survival stories will love A Map for Wrecked Girls.


Highly recommended for grade 9 and up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.




Friday, September 8, 2017

Middle Grades Mystery Pick: Twisted Summer (Guest Reviewer Julia Evans)

Twisted Summer
by Willo Davis Roberts
Simon Pulse
2017
186 pages
ISBN: 978148148623

Guest review by Julia Evans, Library Media Specialist from Hueco Elementary School in El Paso, Texas. Follow Julia on Twitter @jevens_hes

Fourteen year old Cici is excited to return to her family's summer home in Crystal Lake, Michigan, after missing last summer. Cici cannot wait to see her crush Jack. Things are not as she hoped they would be. Jack is not around and Jack's mother, who worked for Cici's family is not at the lake house as usual. Cici finds out that Jack's older brother Brody has been wrongly accused of strangling Zoe, a girl they all knew.

Jack and his mother believe in Brody's innocence but everyone else is convinced he
is guilty. Cici sides with Jack and his mother. She feels compelled to find out the truth about the murder, solve the mystery and free Brody once and for all,  but the answers she finds lead to her own family. Just what happened at Crystal Lake? Could Cici be the next victim?

Highly recommeded grade 6-8.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review nor did the reviewer.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fantasy Pick: Dividing Eden (Guest Reviewer Erin Sanchez)

Dividing Eden
by Joelle Charbonneau
HarperTeen
2017
336 pages
ISBN: 97800032453846

Guest review by Erin Sanchez, library media specialist at Helen Ball Elementary School in El Paso, Texas. Follow Erin on Twitter @librarian_HBES

Twins Carys and Andreus have always been close, so much so that Princess Carys hides her brother's secret, tarnishing her own reputation and watching as her brother gains his way into the hearts of their people. Older brother Prince Micah is to inherit the throne of their father, but when their father, the king, and the crown prince are assassinated, the Queen is next to ascend tot he throne.

The Queen is mad with grief and it is left to the Council of Elders to make the drastic decision of trusting Imogene, a seer, who reveals an option for crowning the successor. Carys and Andreus will compete for the throne of Eden.

The kingdom of Eden is on a dark path. Andreus betrays his twin as tragedy and secrets unfold. A hidden curse comes to the surface. Many things are possible as the first book ends. Readers will have to wait until book two to discover Eden's secrets.

Dividing Eden is the first of two books in this YA fantasy duology.

Recommended grade 8 and up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation nor did guest reviewer Erin Sanchez.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Guest Review: Middle Grades Pick: Who Killed Darius Drake?

Who Killed Darius Drake?
by Rodman Philbrick
The Blue Sky Press
2017
192 pages
ISBN: 9780545789783

Available September 26, 2017

Professional Reviews: 


"A smart and worthy mystery."--Kirkus Reviews 

"Dropping tantalizing hints of grisly events to come, Philbrick leads readers to a melodramatc denouement. 
An artful mix of clues, cons and violence with prizes at the end that glitterr both literally and figuratively." --Booklist

Guest Reviewer Julia Evans, librarian at Hueco Elementary in El Paso, Texas. Follow Julia on Twitter @jevens_hes

Guest Review:

What reader can resist a mysterious letter written in BLOOD? Philbrick dangles this enticing carrot in front of middle grade readers and every reader will be up for the mystery.

Bully for hire Arthur Bash agrees to help genius orphan Darius Drake uncover the culprit behind the bloody letter, and he agrees to join the hunt for the price of two mere candy bars. Little do the boys know that they are about to uncover a perilous secret from the past. Darius's grandfather was involved in the disappearance of a priceless diamond necklace. The boys decide to become sleuths and find the necklace themselves. They are not the only ones looking for the loot.

As the duo uncovers clues and unearths secrets, they are in danger. Someone is watching their every move. They discover the car accident that killed Darius's parents was no accident at all. They were murdered and the murderer is still out there.

The boys learn more about themselves as the delve deeper. Arthur is a big presence due to his size but his body hides his inner fraidy cat. Scrawny Darius hides a massive brave lion. Together they are unstoppable.

This fast paced read drops clues like breadcrumbs for hungry readers. Who Killed Darius Drake? has it all: mystery, murder, theft, buried secrets, treasure, jewels, and an unlikely friendship.

Highly recommended grades 3-7.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review, nor did Julia Evans.