Monday, June 30, 2014

(39) The Girl With All The Gifts

Title: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
408 pages
Genre: Dystopian/sci fi/ fantasy

I received an advanced e-copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for a fair review. 

Synopsis: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Review: This book is not at all what I expected, I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't this. I don't want to give too much away because this book had a lot of twists and turns and I really never knew what to expect.  I was shocked, angry, sad, happy and stunned at different points throughout this book.

All Melanie knows is a small cell and being strapped to a chair every day in order for her to go to class.  She doesn't find this strange because she doesn't know any different.  When the outside world comes literally blasting into her world she discovers that outside is very different than everything she knows and who she thought she was is also called into question.  As Melanie, her teacher Miss Justineau and a few others flee the base that they have called home for years to find a safe place they encounter many dangers, some are even traveling with them.

I really found this book to be different and compelling.  Melanie's self awakening is slow and well planned.  You see her mature in the book despite her age.  By the end she is no longer the innocent child she was when she lived in her small cell, and those traveling with her all have their roles to play in helping her mature even if they didn't realize the role they were ultimately going to play in her life.

About the only thing I can say about this book without giving it away is that if you like post apocalyptic thrillers run don't walk to the nearest store or download the ebook immediately...don't read the back cover just start the book.  You don't want anything to ruin the ride for you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

(38) Some People Have Two Mums, Some People Have Two Dads

 Title: Some people have two Mums by Fabri Kramer & Luca Panzini & Some people have two Dads by Luca Panzini & Fabri Kramer
Publisher: Somefamilies.net
36 pages
Genre: Children's books (lgbt families)

Synopsis: Some People Have Two Mums:Milo is a happy little boy with two mums. We follow him through his bedtime routine and learn how his mothers were helped by a donor to bring Milo into their lives.

Some People Have Two Dads:  It's Daisy's birthday and her two dads give her a portrait of their family. She asks them to tell her about her birth story and afterward she proudly shows off her family portrait to her friends.

An increasing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples are having children through surrogacy, co-parenting, donor and adoption. The Some Families books have been written to show that families come in many different combinations. Every child deserves a book that reflects their lives. At some point you should explain to your child about same-gender parents. I have written this book as an educational tool to help people understand that families come in a variety of different combinations.

Review: These two books are very cute and would make for a good bedtime read which will probably be followed by them wanting to know their own birth story. In the two Dads book, the couple used a surrogate and in the Mom's story they used a sperm donor. But despite this you could still use this book if you had adopted as a stepping stone to tell your child's adoption story or if you are a heterosexual couple you could use this book to teach your child about other types of families. The pictures are sweet and diverse and they both touch on the many different ways families are formed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

(37) One of Us

Title: One of Us by Tawni O'Dell
Publisher: Gallery Books
304 pages
Genre: Thriller

I received an advanced e-copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for a fair review. It is due to be released August 19, 2014.

Synopsis: Dr. Sheridan Doyle—a fastidiously groomed and TV-friendly forensic psychologist—is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office whenever a twisted killer’s mind eludes other experts. But beneath his Armani pinstripes, he’s still Danny Doyle, the awkward, terrified, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family, plagued by panic attacks and haunted by the tragic death of his little sister and mental unraveling of his mother years ago.

Returning to a hometown grappling with its own ghosts, Danny finds a dead body at the infamous Lost Creek gallows where a band of rebellious Irish miners was once executed. Strangely, the body is connected to the wealthy family responsible for the miners' deaths. Teaming up with veteran detective Rafe, a father-like figure from his youth, Danny—in pursuit of a killer—comes dangerously close to startling truths about his family, his past, and himself.

Review: I originally requested this book because the main character is from Philadelphia and since I live there I thought it would be fun to read about different places I've been, but while the main character lives there most of the story takes place in Lost Creek.  Lost Creek is a struggling coal mine town where the family that owns the mine's also owned most of the people.  Throughout the years the mine owners have kept the town under their thumbs, but now the mines are drying up and the town is struggling even more. Developers want to come in and tear down some of its history to build structures that it says will bring money to the town, but the ghosts of those wrongly punished and hung (referred to as the Nellies) seem to be enacting their revenge and people are dying.

Sheridan Doyle is a direct descendant of one of the "Nellies" he grew up in the small town but has shunned its way of life and the town itself.  Wearing expensive suits he returns home to help his grandfather and finds the local police turning to him for help to stop the killing, but he doesn't realize that he may be connected to the killings in ways he wouldn't have thought possible.

Quirky characters and a man struggling to reconcile his past with his current self help move the story along.  I found this to be a quick read and engrossing story.

Monday, June 23, 2014

(36) And she was

Title: And She Was: A Novel of Suspense (Brenna Spector Novel) by Alison Gaylin
Publisher: Harper
389 pages
Genre: Mystery/suspense

Synopsis: Brenna Spector, a missing persons investigator afflicted with Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a rare disorder that enables her to remember every moment of every day of her life. A twisting mystery, both chilling and surprising, And She Was sets the haunted investigator on the trail of a missing child who vanished more than a decade earlier—a case with disturbing echoes in Brenna’s own scrupulously remembered past.

Review: This book reminded me of the show "Unforgettable" in fact I was wondering if the TV show was based on this book but it wasn't, it was based on another book very similar to this one.

This was a good quick read.  The characters were interesting and believable, the dialogue kept me interested but the drifting off into different time lines did get a bit clunky at times.  The play between Brenna and her assistant was fun and a nice break from the dreary topic of a missing child, missing woman and a stalker man who doesn't seem like he has any good intentions toward anyone.

There are a lot of different twists and turns to this story and when you think you may have it figured out it goes in an other direction. Very entertaining.

Monday, June 9, 2014

(35) Finding A Family

Title: Finding A Family: A Journey Through Infertility and Adoption by Tina Nelson
Publisher: Nelson Novels
45 pages
Genre: Adoption, Embryo Adoption

Synopsis: One couple takes you on a compelling journey through their infertility and snowflake adoption story. Their struggle highlights the value of families and faith. An insightful read for anyone dealing with infertility or helping someone who is.

Review: Tina and her husband struggled with infertility, the tried adoption but waited for years with no results when Tina heard about a new option, Embryo adoption. They contacted an agency and decided to give this a try.  Through Embryo adoption Tina and her husband were able to experience pregnancy and give birth to twins.

Tina and her husband are very religious and rely on their faith to get them through this difficult period in their lives.  They felt that their Heavenly Father would see them through and enable them to have children and raise a family.  You really live Tina's grief of being unable to have children and the joy of finding out she is pregnant.  If you are interested in embryo adoption this is a good first hand account of what it entails.

Friday, June 6, 2014

(34) 10 Adoption Essentials

Title: 10 Adoption Essentials: What You Need to Know About Open Adoption (Guide to a Healthy Adoptive Family, Adoption Parenting, and Relationships) by Russell Elkins
Publisher: Alcha Publishing
36 pages
Genre: Adoption

Synopsis: These are the ten things you wish you knew before choosing adoption—the things adopted kids wish their adoptive parents knew before making the adoption decision. Many people begin to consider adopting a child without understanding how much adoption has changed over recent years. That’s understandable. The concept of having a relationship between birth parents and the adoptive family is still foreign to a lot of people. While open adoption has become increasingly more common, the tragedy is that so many hopeful adoptive parents don’t understand how their life will change once birth parents become part of the picture. Too many adoptions start out open only to close communication when things get difficult. Every open adoption is unique and complex, but the basics are the same. 10 Adoption Essentials simplifies the open adoption relationship. Those who know the basics of open adoption will be better prepared for the difficult times. And those who are better prepared for the difficult times will have the tools they need to build what has the potential to be a beautiful and rewarding relationship for everyone in the adoption triad.

Review: This book is a good starting point for families exploring open adoption. It is very short and gives a great overview of some very important elements to open adoption, sharing information, taking the open adoption relationship seriously, working through jealousy etc..There is some good information in this little snippet of a book. A great way to start exploring the world of open adoption and really diving into the different feelings that it can invoke.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

(32) Pricess Pink and the Land of Fake Believe & (33) Cleopatra in Space

Title: Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe #1: Moldylocks and the Three Beards (A Branches Book)- by Noah Z. Jones
Publisher:Scholastic 72 pages
Genre: Beginning reader Grades 1-2

I received a free copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In the Land of Fake Believe, Princess meets a strange girl named Moldylocks. When Princess's stomach grumbles, Moldylocks takes her to the home of the Three Beards. The girls sit in the Beards' chairs, eat their chili, and jump on their beds. The Three Beards are not happy when they get home--and they are very, very hungry! Will Moldylocks and Princess go into the chili pot? With easy-to-read text and engaging full-color artwork throughout, kids will be drawn right into this very funny land of fractured fairy tales!

Review: This is a fun book that would appeal to both boys and girls. It is very refreshing to see a main character who is diverse in color in a children's book. The main character Princess is a girl of color (she could be spanish, middle eastern, or mixed or light skinned African American) this is a new trend in publishing that is refreshing and been a long time coming.  The story is whimsical and a great weird take on fairy tales.I'm sure this series is going to be a huge hit.Its a beginner chapter book geared toward kids in grades 1 -2. The second book in this series is due out in August 2014.

Title: Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack
Publisher: Graphix - an imprint of Scholastic
176 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel -

I received a free copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo's style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she's going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

Review: This is a graphic novel geared toward kids 8-12 in grades 3-7. Cleopatra from Egyptian history finds a special scroll as a young girl and is thrust forward in time to become the savior of the galaxy. This is just the first of her many adventures. For fans of comic books with female heroines this book is fun and empowering. Cleo, as she likes to be called, is an excellent shot and great at hand to hand combat but really wants nothing to do with book learning, most of all algebra! Nothing like Ancient Egypt in Space to get your imagination churning!Unfortunately we are going to have to wait until 2015 for her next adventure.
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