Thursday, October 19, 2017

YA Review: Guest Review: Carve the Mark

Guest Review by Oscar Porras, Library Media Specialist at Ysleta Middle School in El Paso, Texas. Follow Oscar on Twitter @oporras_LMS

Carve the Mark
by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegan Books
2017
480 pages
ISBN: 9780062348630

For fans of space operas comes an intergalactic journey that flips the stereotypical gender rules on its head.

In Carve the Mark, everyone has a gift or  currentgift, bestowed by a magical current that surrounds the galaxy. While the currentgifts are considered a blessing, for Cyra and Akos, they are a curse. Cyra's power is to deliver intense pain, while Akos's power controls others' powers. He alone can stop Cyra from feeling pain. 

Akos's father is murdered by the neighboring group, the Shotet because Akos and his brother are favored--meaning that their fate will never change. Akos is sent to train with Shotet warriors and gifted to Cyra to help control her currentgift. Akos and Cyra go from subordinate to equals as the book progresses. Cyra trains him to fight with grace and Akos teaches her to make a potion that will control her pain. In return, Cyra is compelled to help him and his brother escape the Shotet and asks the rebels for help. Nothing is ever as it seems and the book lends itself to the next in the series

Recommended with Reviewer's Note* for grade 8 and up due to violence. Fans of Roth's Divergent are sure to read this one.

Reviewer's Note: "This book proved to be an infuriating read. The overall supporting character cast has caused some consternation with other reviewers. Roth writes that the Shotet people (Cyra is Shotet) are an inferior dark skinned race who act like barbarians, their language coarse and rough, while the Thuvhe (Akos) are light skinned and seen as superior and far more intelligent that the Shotet, their language graceful." -Oscar Porras, LMS

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


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Big Foot Hunters Pick: Sasquatch, Love and Other Imaginary Things

Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things
by Becky Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw
Merit Press
2017
270 pages
ISBN: 9781507202807

A fun frolic of a rom-com meets reality show and Jane Austen, Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things is a sure winner!

Sam's Jewish family is big on Bigfoot and she is happy to help her father on "Myth Gnomers," a reality television show, to hunt Sasquatch. Her dad is an expert in the field of cryptozoology and a respected sasquatch hunter in their home state of Ohio. Sam's sisters and mother go along in support, but her father relies on Sam in all his hunting adventures. While Sam's sisters preen for the camera, Sam's mother has trouble keeping her lipstick on her lips and off her teeth. The cameras catch every cringe-worthy moment and make Sam aware of how unrealistic reality t.v. really is.

The family meets their match when they go head to head with a fancy prep school team whose equipment probably cost more than Sam's family's car. Sam was excited by the prize, thinking she could use the money for college, but she is even more determined to win when she finds out their home is in danger of repossession. If  she can help her father win that prize, they can stay in their home!

Sam doesn't trust the other team. They are a bunch of rich, spoiled brats she believes until she realizes that Devon, like her, is a person and has his own problems. The romance blooms and it is precious but not too sweet.

Readers will love Sam and her no-nonesense view of television and popularity.

Recommended grade 7 and up.

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



Thursday, October 12, 2017

YA Pick: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
by Lynn Wiengarten
Simon Pulse
2017
304 pages
ISBN: 9781481418607

Available October 31, 2017 

Xavier has just turned seventeen and best friend Sasha is eager to celebrate with him. She weighs each moment deciding when will be THE moment to tell Xavier that she loves him. LOVES him, loves him. As more than a friend. When she spots Ivy, Xavier's no-good, cheating ex-girlfriend, she knows the moment has passed. Later, she spots Xavier in Ivy's arms and knows that he'll never give her up.

Sasha knows that Ivy is a dangerous drug. She knows she can help Xavier break the habit if she can show him just how devious Ivy really is. Sasha posts a fake profile on social media and pretends to be a guy interested in Ivy. When Ivy goes for the bait, Sasha gets drawn in deeper. The thing about pretending to be someone you're not is that you might actually become someone you're not!Twisted acts and personalities keep the pages turning.

 Teen readers may not empathize with Sasha as she tries to "help" her friend. She is, after all, helping Xavier out of personal gain. She hopes he will run into her arms and that Ivy's true colors will emerge. In this tale of teen passion, it seems, everyone loses.


Perfect cover art will sell this book off the shelves

Recommended for readers who like a twisted love tale.

Grade 9 and up. Mature situations. NOT for middle school readers.

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Picture Book Pick: Rodzilla by Guest Reviewer Jenifer J. Hansen

Rodzilla
by Rob Sanders
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Margaret K McElderry Books
2017
ISBN: 9781481457798

Guest Review by Jenifer J. Hansen, Principal, Horizon Heights Elementary School, in El Paso, Texas. Follow Jenifer on Twitter @HHeights_ES

Wobble-woble-wobble. The distant sound of a giant monstrosity can be heard as Rodrizlla tears through the city of Megalopolis. He ducks behind a row of giant skyscrapers. Down below, news anchors try to keep him in their line of sight as they dodge slime missles coming right at them!

Rodzilla holds his tummy. Could it be? Yes, it looks like he is hurt. No, it seems that nothing can stop him. He continues his destruction through City Central Park as he wobbles down the street overpowering the high pressure hoses the firefighters are unleashing on him. He countinues. Seems that Rodzilla is unstoppable.

Brave citizens stare up above as he commands a toothless grin. Could he actually be smiling at them?

Told as a news report, this quaint encounter with a little monster is sure to bring smiles. Even a sweet child can be a rambunctious toddler sometimes.

Preschoolers are bound to say, "Read it again!" Rodzilla is a gem!

Highly recommended ages 18 months-4 years.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Jenifer Hansen did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Middle Grades Pick: My Top Secret Dares and Don'ts

My Top Secret Dares & Don'ts
by Trudi Tureit
Aladdin Mix
2017
261 pages
ISBN: 9781481469043

Guest Reviewer: Shanon Ortega, Library Media Specialist, Horizon Heights Elementary School, El Paso, Texas.

Follow Shannon on Twitter @SOrtega_HHES

Twelve year old Kestrel "Little Bird" Adams is looking forward to spending the summer before middle school with her best friends. That is until she learns her family has to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, to bail out her Grandmother Lark's ski lodge.

The Blackcomb Creek Lodge was built from the ground up by Kestrel's grandfather and is her grandparents' dream. It is in danger of going bankrupt due to numerous online negative reviews. Kestrel can't believe someone would try and sabotage her grandmother's dream. Enter Breck, a cute boy who works at the lodge, a famous rock star, evil twins who try to thwart Kestrel at every turn and millions of tiny, endangered toads.

A fan of list making, Kestrel invites readers into her mindset throughout the investigations. Kestrel learns and grows in her appreciation of nature and family. This enjoyable read is full of heart and humor. This entertaining read will appeal to middle grade readers who love a spunky heroine.

Highly recommended grade 4 and up.

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