Monday, November 27, 2017

YA Giveaway: The Last Magician

I have FIVE FREE copies of this fantastic, magical YA book. This is the best YA I've read all year, so I'm super stoked to offer this giveaway! For your chance to win, post a comment here. Include your first name, city, state and email. Winners are chosen randomly using Randomizer. Deadline for entry is noon MST on Dec. 13. I will notify winners Dec. 13 shortly after noon MST. Please check your email on that date. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Simon & Schuster! Thank you and good luck. Start posting! Pamela

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sci-Fi Pick: The Rains

The Rains
by Gregg Hurwitz
Scholastic Inc.
2017
352 pages
ISBN: 9781338216486

The Rains is an exciting and entertaining science fiction YA  book that (almost) delivers on premise. A meter shower occurs and soon after even stranger things begin to happen. Plants grow in seconds and their spores infect people turning them into monster/machines. . At least all adult people. Anyone who is eighteen or over is infected with whatever "disease" or air-borne pathogen was released by the "invasion." Brothers Chance and Patrick have always been close and hard working. They have no idea how their brotherly bond will be tested over the next days and weeks.

The adults aren't just infected they are controlled  by something or someone. The men walk  in patterns: right angle, march, march, march, right angle with their eyes downcast as if they are mapping the terrain. Their eyes are no longer eyes but look like lenses or cameras. The teens don't know who is filming the terrain and what they are doing with the information.

The teens and children are able to set up camp in the local high school. Chance and Patrick see other children and teens being rounded up and put in cages by the infected adults. Whatever is in store for them can't be good. The brothers have become the leaders of the group and must decide to stay or to go for help.

The deus ex machina insertion of a "good" alien in the end was not only far-fetched but unbelievable and a tragic flaw from both the author and editor.

Recommended grade 8 and up. This book is on the middle school book fair for Scholastic Books.

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


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Magical Pick: The Last Magician

The Last Magician
by Lisa Maxwell
Simon Pulse
2017
512 pages
ISBN: 9781481432078

Magical, captivating, entertaining, and a delightful romp from present day to 1902 New York where thieves and thievery are celebrated and men in charge become powerful through tricks of magic and tomfoolery (sounds like modern day politics!). The Last Magician is the best book of this year!

Few people have an affinity (magic) in present day New York and those who do are afraid to show it. The Mageus have been underground for decades, prisoners in Manhatten. They dare not leave the island as they will die on the Brink, a dark force placed there to hold them prisoner by the Order. Esta is a practiced thief. She can steal anything and escape before anyone knows she's even been there. Her affinity allows her to move and travel through time. The Professor is counting on her to travel to 1902 and find the ancient book, steal it from the Order, bring it to the present and outsmart the Magician.

Most of the tale takes place in 1902 where Esta meets politicians, bosses, mobsters, second story men, thieves, brutes, policemen and magicians. She will have to find her way into the heart of the Order's fortress and steal the book. Her future depends upon it. Trouble is, the Magician is quite taken by her. One chance meeting and he is smitten. Esta is taken aback by the Magician. He is charming and witty. Surely this is not the man who destroys the future!

Esta is one moxie heroine! Readers will want to be her and travel with her. She is gritty, savvy and perfect in every situation.

At 512 pages, this read may frighten some readers. Please hold their hand and tell them it will be okay. This is by far the best 512 pages I've read this year!!!! Readers will feel all the feels and embrace 1902 New York like a native. Maxwell manages to take readers on a journey into brothels, dark streets, cramped tenements, high stakes poker games, dens of iniquity and mansions of New York mobsters and bosses.

If you haven't read The Last Magician, RUN to the book store, click the ICON, ORDER this book into your HANDS and ENJOY. You're welcome.

Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up. Some adult situations and seedy (but AWESOME) characters. Honestly, this book is a crossover into adult. It is less YA than adult but the heroine is a teen. Adults will love this book even more than YA readers.

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Middle Grade Pick: Hello Universe

Hello, Universe
by Erin Entrada Kelly
Greenwillow Books
2017
320 pages
ISBN: 9780062414151

Guest Review by Timothy Judd, Library Media Specialist, Ernesto Serna School 
(grades K-8) in El Paso, Texas. 

This sweet coming of age story is told through four middle school points of view. Eleven year old Virgil was sent to the resource room for extra help with his class work gaining the attention and full wrath of the school bully who calls Virgil "Retardo" every chance he gets. Virgil's best friends are an eleven year old psychic and Gulliver, his guinea pig. 

The characters are well developed and diverse and readers will be drawn to Virgil who is quiet and kind. The universe, coincidences, visions, and crystals all play a part in the story and Virgil learns about real friendship. 

Recommended grades 4-6. This book is available on Scholastic Book Fairs.

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