Wednesday, July 30, 2014

INGREDIENTS OF YOUNG OUTLIERS by John Shufeldt

Ingredients of Young Outliers: Achieving Your Most Amazing Future

This is written for teens and young adults to encourage them to develop character qualities that will help them stand out from the crowd. These qualities are highlighted to help students maximize their potential and become "an outlier" - someone who can achieve "extreme success." Qualities include integrity, gratitude, perseverance, guts, etc. Really, readers of any age could read this and find something for personal growth.

This was well done! It has a friendly tone and is story-based. Lots of inspirational quotes - I jotted a bunch of those down! The chapters are short which would make this a great small group or classroom resource. This would make a great graduation gift or a tool to use in a mentoring relationship or between parent and child.

4 out of 5 stars

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, July 28, 2014

MISSION TO MURDER by Lynn Cahoon

Mission to Murder (Tourist Trap Mystery Series #2)

Jill has a lot going on in her life. Her business neighbor is a huge pain in the business community. The mayor's wife hates Jill just as much as her husband does. A friend's creepy boyfriend leers at her and makes crude suggestions every time she sees him (but the girlfriend blames Jill). Her aunt has planned a secret author event at Jill's store. And another business owner is challenging Jill's claim of an historic site on her property. It's a lot to juggle! As if all that isn't enough, one of her foes turns up dead after two arguments with Jill - she is suspect number one! Anyone who really knows her knows she'd never o that - but she's going to have to dig up the truth before she ends up in jail.

Such a lovely, comfortable read - great, familiar characters (even after several months between books). Nice balance of protectiveness and collaboration between Jill and the police chief boyfriend, Greg. The mystery kept me guessing, and the solution was satisfying. I am looking forward to the next book in the series! Thanks to Kensington publishers for an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

4 out of 5 stars.

Book 3 - November 10, 2014
If the Shoe Kills

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, July 25, 2014

I AM ROSA PARKS by Brad Meltzer

I am Rosa Parks

This is book three in Brad Meltzer's fabulous Ordinary People Change the World series. I love these biographies because they focus on character qualities rather than just a recitation of life events. In this volume, the famous story of Rosa on the bus is just one example in a series of situations in which she stands up personally and/or publicly for what is right.

I highly recommend this series for school libraries and elementary classrooms. These are short enough to read aloud to a class. Perfect for close reading/active literacy and also for classroom units on kindness and other character qualities.

5 out of 5 stars
No AR level at the time of this writing

Future stories in this series:
I am Albert Einstein     I am Jackie Robinson
   Sept 16, 2014             Jan 8, 2015

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PARDON ME! by Daniel Miyares

Pardon Me!

A little bird is annoyed and put out when other animals start encroaching on his perch, but he is in for a surprise!

This reminded me of the brilliant I Want My Hat Back and was one of my favorite picture books from this summer. Very simple, yet very clever story. I might also pair this one with Scowl and talk about character and moods, and how books can help readers think about emotions.

5 out of 5 stars!
No AR rating at this time

Monday, July 21, 2014

ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments: A Novel

Lincoln is the guy who screens emails for inappropriate content. And he's not proud of it. But it's just a job - a means to an end. Then he gets drawn into the email exchanges between two women at the newspaper where he works. He should send them the warning email or report them, but he can't bring himself to do it because he's got a crush on one of the emailers, even though he has never met her. He starts to feel creepy about the voyeuristic nature of his interest in this email exchange, but he can't tear himself away, either.

This felt mostly like a character study with a tinge of romance thrown in, and I really enjoyed it. Lincoln is a great character - almost thirty but still trying to figure out who he wants to be. Living at home, working a less-than-satisfying job, recovering from a years-in-the-past break up. The author does a great job telling stories of the three primary characters considering they barely ever meet in person. The book takes place in the midst of the newspaper preparing for Y2K which was amusing. Some language.

4 out of 5 stars

Friday, July 18, 2014

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Lara Jean writes a "farewell" letter to the boys she loves when she is ready to let them go emotionally. She writes the letter, gets some closure, and then she saves it in a special hatbox her mom gave her. But when two of the boys walk up to her, holding her letters in their hands, Lara Jean's secrets are out and she'll have to figure out where she stands.

This was a fun "what if" story that is well-balanced with a strong family story. Lara Jean is still growing up and figuring out who she is and who she wants to be -- at home, at school and in her personal life. And these letters really complicate that process for awhile, but they also force Lara Jean to look at her life and her choices from a different perspective. Great read!

4 out of 5 stars
This is a story for teens/young adults/adults due to language and adult themes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LENDING A PAW by Laurie Cass

Lending a Paw: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery

Minnie is the assistant director of the library in Chilson, MI, and she made the county bookmobile dream a reality thanks to a generous donation from Stan Larabee. On the bookmobile's maiden voyage, Minnie and her cat, Eddie, find Stan's body in an old farmhouse. Stan was part of a long-standing family feud and was also manipulative in business dealings, leaving Minnie with several suspects for his murder.

This was a delight to read! A good mystery with a lovely setting and characters. Eddie the cat is fabulous. The author does a great job describing cat behavior! Minnie is likable and the core group in her community makes for great support for the main story. I will not hesitate to read more books in this series!

4 out of 5 stars - great for fans of cozy/light-hearted mysteries. Book 2 (pictured below) is out now.

Tailing a Tabby: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery