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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: book review, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,715
26. Fever of Animals

I can’t remember if I put my hand up to review Miles Allinson’s Fever of Animals or if it was sent to me because the publisher’s PR team thought it might be up my alley. Either way, I was pleasantly and slightly surprised and confused when it arrived. The winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier’s […]

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27. Book Review: Next Move, You're Dead (The Next Move, You're Dead Trilogy Book 1) by Linda L. Barton

Description from Amazon Homicide Detective John Cooper has always followed the evidence to solve any case; that is until a mysterious caller begins to make him question that evidence. With the murder...

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28. Book Review: The Job by Craig Davis

Description from Amazon Joe B. enjoys the sweet life as a vice president at a huge conglomerate, Universal Whirligig. But along with the Big Boss' favor, he has also gained the notice of a bitter...

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29. Book Review: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman

Description from Amazon How can a boy succeed where an army has failed? Tjaden, a young man who aspires to be an Elite soldier, blames himself when Elora’s beautiful face is disfigured by a...

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30. All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder

Emerson and Vince are walking through the streets of Portland and it's pretty quiet...not a lot of traffic, not a lot of businesses open, very few people out.  It's been this way for awhile because everyone is spending time with their loved ones.  You see, in 28 hours, a meteor will hit the United States and those who survive will be few and far between.

Emerson and Vince just have each other.  They've been living on the streets and there is no one closer than each other.  With not much time left, both of them have made a pact to see the end of their world on their own terms, and with this in mind, they go to that jumping point in the city....and it's there that will change their lives.

Carl is standing on the bridge Emerson and Vince go to, and he saves their lives.  He tells the story of how he met someone who made a wish come true for him.  In turn, Carl is to pay it forward to five people, and Emerson and Vince will make his fifth wish happen.  When asked what they want, both of them reply with the only thing they've never really had an abundance of - money.  Carl gives him his wallet filled with money and has only one request...pay it forward.  People will be easy to find, you just have to look and see which ones have wishes or regrets and make them happen.

Emerson and Vince don't know what he's talking about until they meet people along the way as they make their way through town.  Until they see the one person who always wanted to go to Paris...and they make it happen for her.  They take two little girls home, but also take them on an adventure through a fairy tale.  And slowly, their friendship begins to change from that of friendship to one on a deeper level.

Emerson has a regret she's not sharing with Vince...the one that makes her want to go home one last time.  She knows if she tells him, he'll want to change the regret into reality, but it's so hard to go back after what she's been through...and it's too late, isn't it?

Part novel in verse, part prose, Schroeder is the weaver to lives.  Although many of the people Vince and Emerson meet are strangers, there is an invisible string that will weave their stories into one.  It's a story about what people do knowing their living their last days, but more than that, it's about the impact relationships have on one another, especially when viewed through different perspectives, even if it's the same situation.  Excellent quick read for high school!
Link to book trailer

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31. Picture Book Roundup - October 2015 edition

This edition of the Picture Book Roundup features three funny books, a hilarious cautionary tale, and a sweet bookish story to melt your heart. Enjoy!

Review copies of Night Animals by Gianna Marino (Viking, 2015) and In! Over! and On! by Ethan Long (Penguin, 2015) were provided by the publishers at my request. The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear (Tundra, 2015), Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015), and Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy (Candlewick, 2015)

If you can't access the slide show with reviews below, you can see it on RiffleBooks at this link. [https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/185319]

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32. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

HMH Young Readers, 2015

I picked up this graphic novel because I was intrigued not only by the cover, but by how this non-fiction GN would stack up to what happened....I wasn't disappointed.

At this moment in time, there are two very significant historical moments high school students have lived through and will tell their grandchildren they were alive when it happened.  Most students can tell you about the 9/11 tragedy because there is a memorial set up, it's been televised and Youtubed, and schools usually honor those who died every year.

When asked what the other significant historical moment happened during their lifetimes, most had to think about it until I showed them the cover of the book.  Don Brown, who wrote and illustrated this GN, tells the tragic story of not only Hurricane Katrina the natural disaster, but also the tragedies that happened to those who stayed, the heroes and the villains, and how this natural disaster was SO overlooked not only by the state, but also by the federal government.  Brown's illustrations depict the sadness and desperation people felt, from those at the Superdome to those trapped in their homes, to the patients in hospitals left behind and based on factual evidence.

Brown also injects sad truth into the book as well.  Authorities in charge of the city from the top down weren't available or around during the aftermath.  Some in the police force abandoned their posts and the companies who volunteered their services  before the hurricane hit to transport those who couldn't get out were turned away...but there were the unknown heroes as well, who used their boats and other water vehicles to help those stranded on their rooftops.

While booktalking this book last week, I asked students to recall the heat in Texas in August, when temperatures easily reached into the 100s.  Would they be able to stand on a paved road for 24 hours with little or no water or food?  Coupled with extreme humidity, raw sewage, toxic water and the smell of death in the air....that's what people went through who were left behind.

This is the powerful image Don Brown creates, not only physically but emotionally as well.  And it is also something students need to know more about instead of compartmentalizing it as another hurricane that wrecked a city.

This is an important book to have in any library because it tells a story needing to be told in a format conveying more than words on pages.  Highly recommended.    

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33. Review: Vicious by VE Schwab

In light of VE Schawb recently announcing on twitter that Vicious is getting a sequel (!!), I decided I needed to review this book here. ASAP. Because it is glorious. It’s about super villains! It’s dark and scary and evil and full of anti-heroes with complex backstories and warped thinking to justify their evil intentions. Also […]

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34. Kishaz Reading Corner: Caged Warriior by Lindsey Piper

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.

Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.

Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

This book was a "stumble upon" one for me at the local library. Our library has a romance section so I decided to start with "A" last names and work my way forward.

The cover caught my eye as did the blurb. I'm glad I picked this one up because, for me, from the very first chapter to the action-packed ending, I was invested.

Audrey and Leto were an amazing pair and watching the byplay between them as well as the heat and intensity of attraction kept me riveted.

Audrey's backstory, her brutal honesty and her reason for fighting just made me want to see the two of them succeed even more. Leto was no slouch and was just as interesting a character as Audrey.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would.

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35. A Day of Fun and Reading With the Penderwicks

We’ve spent a lot of time lately at the Blount County Library in Maryville, Tennessee. When asked which book I should review, all of the kids gave a resounding answer; The Penderwicks.

The Penderwicks: A summer Tale of Four Sisters,Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall is filled with adventure, mystery, suspense, friendships, and villains–all of these ingredients mixed together make the best summer ever for the Penderwick sisters Rosalind, Jane, Skye, and Batty. Rosalind, the oldest, assumes the responsibility of taking care of her younger sisters. Jane just wants to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Skye wants to finish her novel. And Batty…wants to be a butterfly. When they arrive at Arundel Hall for the summer with their Botanist father and their dog, Hound, the girls had no clue what was awaiting them behind the high walls of the Arundel house.

The Penderwicks

During their stay at Arundel, they make lasting friendships that make the summer worthwhile. When Mrs. Tifton’s son Jeffrey gets pulled into the Penderwick family, problems run rampant. To Mrs. Tifton, the Penderwick’s just aren’t the right kind of people. When they learn that Jeffrey’s mother is planning to ship him off to military school, the summer takes a turn for the worse. Now they have to save Jeffrey from this most undesirable fate and still manage to enjoy their summer.

Can the Penderwick’s save Jeffrey? Will Batty ever have the courage to stand up to Mrs. Tifton? And will Skye finish her novel? Join the Penderwick sisters, learn the family oath, and save Jeffrey during this wonderful, adventurous summer!

We absolutely adored this story. It has a good old fashion storytelling feel  to it. There is such solidarity in their family life.

Having fun with The Penderwicks

We especially liked the way the sisters formed different configurations to have secret meetings, complete with oath taking.The girls have MOPS (Meeting of Penderwick Sisters) and MOOPS (Meeting of Older Penderwick Sisters). I love how Ms. Birdsall made each of the girls so realistic for their age. They are all very relatable for all age groups.

Another aspect we liked in the book is the idea of family honor. Penderwick Family Honor! Whenever a situation arises in which the girls have to make a judgement call – and plenty do – they always revert back to Penderwick Family Honor. I love this because honor is clearly a value that’s been stressed as an integral part of the identity of this family. This is a family that values bravery, loyalty, integrity, imagination, learning, all things I’ve instilled in my own children. Mr. Penderwick has his hands full with his four creatively active daughters. He has taught his daughters values and trusts them to live accordingly. The Penderwick Family Honor is the code they live by.

The one thing you have to know about this great read is that it’s just lovely–mystery, adventure, and fun all wrapped into one. Mr. Dupree is the best villain and Churchie the best cook. I don’t see how you can’t fall in love with the Penderwicks and their new friends.

I just shared this last bit of news with my children, it’s a series! There’s so much more fun to be had with the Penderwicks and we’re so happy about that.

Add Something To Make

Mr Harry’s Tomatoes

Mr. Harry plays a fun role in the story. I asked the kids, “What are all the things we can do with Harry’s Tomatoes ?” After thinking of everything from tomato sauce, to eating tomatoes raw, the kids wanted to know if it’s possible to make ketchup or do we “have” to buy it in a bottle ? So there it was, we made a batch of homemade ketchup and I think this is the way we’re going to eat ketchup from now on.

Ketchup Recipe


This turned out so well and was so easy to make. We found it on Allrecipes.


  • 2 (28 ounce) cans peeled ground tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 whole clove


1. Pour ground tomatoes into slow cooker. Swirl 1/4 cup water in each emptied can and pour into slow cooker. Add sugar, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and whole clove; whisk to combine.

2. Cook on high, uncovered, until mixture is reduced by half and very thick, 10 to 12 hours. Stir every hour or so.

3. Smooth the texture of the ketchup using an immersion blender, about 20 seconds.

4. Ladle the ketchup into a fine strainer and press mixture with the back of a ladle to strain out any skins and seeds.

5. Transfer the strained ketchup to a bowl. Cool completely before tasting to adjust salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper.

Take a Quick Quiz

Which Penderwick Sister are You ? Or are you one at all ?

Each sister in the story is distinctly different. Each with their own personality, likes and dislikes, plus they had a variety of adventures.

Which Penderwick sister are you ? Or are you Jeffery ?

Here’s a quick review:

Rosalind is the oldest and very sensible. She is also very responsible and takes care of her younger sisters very well.

Skye is the beautiful blonde of the family who also happens to be a tomboy. She is very logical and adventurous.

Jane is a writer and very outspoken. She is a good athlete and very caring when she is saying something she shouldn’t be.

Batty is the youngest and very shy. She loves animals and considers them to be her best friends.

Jeffery is the son of a rich woman who lives in upper crust society. Jeffery loves having the Penderwick sisters as friends. He loves to play soccer and is a very good pianist.

Let’s Solve a Puzzle

Civil War Word Search

Cagney the teenage gardener loves anything having to do with the Civil War. Test your wits and see how many of these Civil War words you can find.

Civil War word search


Now Answer This!

Family Oath

The Penderwick family has a family oath which defends their family honor. What values are important to your family? What would your Family Oath Be? Create a family oath and then come back and share it here.

**Some of these links are affiliate links. I was give a copy of this book for review. Opinions expressed are purely my own.

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The post A Day of Fun and Reading With the Penderwicks appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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36. The Beast of Cretacea - a review

The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser 
(Candlewick, 2015)

Seventeen-year-old Ishmael has volunteered for a dangerous assignment - a vaguely outlined stint on Cretacea, where he will work with other adventurers in an untamed environment, harvesting resources bound for Earth. Only the dismal outlook on Earth makes this option seem appealing. Stripped of its natural resources, covered in a perpetual shroud, and dangerously low on breathable air, Earth holds few attractions for Ishmael. His foster family is his only concern, but his foster brother is now headed for assignment, too, and Ishmael hopes to earn enough money on Cretacea to pay for passage from Earth for his foster parents. 

On Cretacea, a prophetic warning from an old neighbor haunts Ishmael as he works onboard the Pequod under the command of the mad Captain Ahab who has set the ship's course to capture the Great Terrafin, a deadly sea creature of near mythical proportions. For Ishmael and his onboard companions, adventures abound in this cleverly crafted homage to Moby Dick. References to Moby Dick (for those familiar with them) are plentiful; however, despite its similarities to Melville's classic, The Beast of Cretacea is a sci-fi book for the modern age. The Beast of Cretacea confronts modern issues of environmental degradation, resource depletion, wealth and privilege, scientific possibility, and of course, the transcendent coming-of-age issue. Breathtaking excitement is measured with thought-provoking ideas, a rich plotline, and occasional flashbacks. At least one great twist awaits. 

For ponderers, sci-fi enthusiasts, and adventure fans seeking a little something extra. Best for ages 12 and up.

On a shelf near you 10/13/15

Members of my monthly book club recently Skyped with Todd Strasser.  They were impressed by his perseverance (only a summer's worth of reading kept him from repeating the 3rd grade!) and the sheer volume of his work (more than 140 books!). They appreciated his affability and willingness to delay an afternoon of surfing to accommodate us.  As an added bonus, when his daughter (who created the beast on the book's cover) accidentally passed in camera view, he introduced us and gave us a short lesson in the evolution of a book's cover art.

I have two copies of The Beast of Cretacea.  One was provided at my request from Todd Strasser, and the other was subsequently provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers.  Both will given to members of my book club who cannot wait to read it!!

 More fun Beast of Cretacea content:

A Beast of Cretacea Quiz created by the author:https://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/1115313-do-you-know-the-beast 

A humorous video trailer:

The Beast of Cretacea from todd strasser on Vimeo.

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37. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

I have to say that several generations of this family have been greatly inspired by Albert Einstein. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky is a brilliant work of art and incredible simple, clean and concise storytelling leaving the reader inspired and ready to embrace their own questions to discover the awe and wonder that lay behind them.

beam of light

{click to tweet} “Suddenly he knew there were mysteries in the world-hidden and silent, unknown and unseen.”

From the very beginning Albert was unique. He couldn’t talk until he was 4 years old. When he did start talking he couldn’t stop asking questions. His father gave him a magnet and he wondered why and how it always pointed north. He became fascinated with light and sound, heat, gravity, but most of all numbers. Albert loved number. They were like a secret language for him.


He asked tons of questions and even with all of those questions he kept wondering, so he kept reading and learning to find answers to those questions.

After Albert graduated from college he wanted to teach all of the subjects that fascinated him.  But he couldn’t find a job as a teacher so he worked in a government office instead. Still even as an adult, Albert kept asking questions. Whether watching a lump of sugar dissolving into tea or smoke from his pipe swirl and disappear. Albert kept asking “how does that happen?”

As he continued to think and ask, Albert thought about the idea that every single thing is made of teeny, tiny bits of stuff called atoms.


He continued to think about atoms which led to him thinking about motion and the idea that everything is always moving. All of these thoughts about movement led him to incredible ideas and thought about time and space.

Albert sent his new found ideas to magazines which would publish and print anything Albert wrote. Soon he was asked to teach. Now, finally everyone thought Albert was a genius. He could spend his days imagining, wondering, figuring, and thinking.

He loved to think in his sailboat. He loved to play violin. He said it helped him think even better.

Did you know that Albert even chose his clothes for thinking ? He even word his shoes without socks. He said now that he was a grown up, no one could tell him he had to wear socks. He loved to walk and wander around, often times while eating an ice cream cone.


While doing all the things he loved, he tried to figure out the secrets of the universe and that beam of light he rode on a long time ago as a child.


Albert figured out that NOTHING could move faster than a beam of light.

Until his very last breath “Albert asked questions never asked before. Found answers never found before. And dreamed up ideas never dreamt before.”

His wondering, thinking and imagining helped us understand our universe like no one else has.

This book is a must have for the family library. It’s an incredible biography told in a very artistic and captivating way.

Something to Do

Magnets: Make your own Compass

To always keep yourself pointing north, make your very own compass. Here’s a great one from Steve Spangler.

make your own compass

Nearly everything you wanted to know about Magnets

Here are some really fun and entertaining activities to do with magnets, as well as an overview into the world of magnets.

activities with magnets

Scavenger Hunt

Don’t forget to do a magnet scavenger hunt around the house. Give your children a magnet and have them search all over the house for things the magnet sticks to. Have write or bring those things back to “home base” to see what magnetic items are laying around your house.

Light and Sound

Enjoy learning about light and sound on this incredible experiment page. This will create hours of fun for you and your family.


There is something for everyone on Gravity Day. This page has overviews and activities for all age groups.

gravity day


Wanting to know more about numbers? Want to improve or learn some math? From the very beginning I have always been so impressed with Khan Academy. It started with Sal Khan sending his niece math tutoring  help over youtube videos. Then everyone started watching them and working their way towards math comprehension. Now Khan Academy is being used all over the world not only as math tutoring but math instruction. They have other courses as well in science and language. Little by little I’ve been bringing back my own math skills by following their learning map. It’s an incredible program and it’s absolutely FREE. Want to wonder about numbers just like Albert Einstein? Head on over to Khan Academy.


Don’t forget our ginormous Back to School Library Book Bundle Giveaway!


Right on time for back to school, KidLit TV is teaming up with Pragmatic Mom, Jump into a Book, Franticmommy and Multicultural Children’s Book Day to give parents, teachers, and librarians a chance to win a multicultural book bundle for their school library.

School libraries play an integral role in the life of students. Many students can cite their school library as a place where a love of reading and learning is fortified. Throughout the country, budgets for school programs are being slashed, school libraries have been heavily hit. Hours for library time are cut in some schools, and non-existent in others. Furthermore, the tight budget impacts a school librarian’s ability to secure funds to purchase new books.

GO HERE to enter to WIN!

The post On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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38. Storytime picks for Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, I try to do something new for Hispanic Heritage Month at the library.

This year, I fell in love with Susan Middleton Elya's, Little Roja Riding Hood (Putnam, 2014), so I based a program around that title.  We had a fun time retelling the classic story as we knew it, recreating it with felt board pieces,  reading Susan Middleton Elya's version, using the globe to find Spanish-speaking countries, playing a game of Color, Colorcito, and finally some free play with the felt board pieces and a rojo coloring page.

Below is a slide show with reviews of other bilingual favorites that I've used for storytime.  I also have a list of fun preschool songs, music, and activities for Hispanic Heritage Month.  Feel free to ask me about them.  If you have trouble seeing the slideshow, you can access it on Riffle. [https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/181065]

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39. Tracked by Jenny Martin

A short review: 
Martin takes racing to a new level in this science fiction book about racing, freedom, and corruption.  Readers will relate to Phee, the main character in the book, whose tough as nails and doesn't let anything stop her.  Although the main character is female, she packs a punch, which makes this appealing to all readers.  The secondary characters round out the book by strategically placing not only teens, but adults in the narrative that aren't just stock characters. 
Vividly descriptive, this book will take any reader to the end.  Like Hunger Games and other dystopia books, it shows not only how far humanity has traveled off the path of democracy, but also how the main characters are willing to sacrifice to make a change.
Highly recommended JH/HS

Links to book trailer:


NHS Digital Book talk:


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40. Review: Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks’ new novel is quite simply superb. Tackling themes he has explored before Faulks delivers an original novel that is haunting, beautiful and profound that will resonate all the way through you. Dr Robert Hendricks is a veteran of the Second World War who lost his father in the First. These two wars have […]

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41. Review: Rogue (Talon #2) by Julie Kagawa

I absolutely fell in love with Talon by Julie Kagawa, as you might recall from this gushing review of mine last month. What’s not to love?! Dragons! Guns! Missions! The occasional delicious summery smoothie? Consider me 100% hooked. So of course I had to get my hands on the sequel: Rogue. And of course I must gush about […]

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42. Kishaz Reading Corner: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Over the last three books, Ms. Hamilton has slowly restored my faith in the Anita Blake series. For a long time it felt like the story had derailed and devolved into too much gratuitous sex and not enough plot or character development.

We are finally getting back to plot and character development and it is nice seeing Anita finally tackle the difficult things in her personal life as well as the changes that are happening in her professional life. Anita has always been more than a pretty face and getting to see her back in action and in her element has made me a happy reader.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. Ms. Hamilton has come back to the Anita we know and love.

0 Comments on Kishaz Reading Corner: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton as of 9/14/2015 1:13:00 PM
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43. Review: Some Luck by Jane Smiley

I missed this book last year and picked it up after a customer raved about how this and it’s sequel were among the best books they had ever read. And after finishing this she may well be right! This is the first book in The Last Hundred Years trilogy. Book two, Early Warning, is already […]

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44. Review: Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt

Patrick deWitt’s follow up to the brilliant The Sisters Brothers is just as described by the publisher on my advanced reading copy, “incredible”. Continuing on with the subversiveness that made The Sisters Brothers such a magnificent and unique take on The Western, deWitt turns his hand to another genre to create a darkly comic romp that […]

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45. Book Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Book: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Published: 2015
Source: Review copy from publisher via NetGalley

After decades of gender selection, the ratio of boys to girls has become 5 to 1, and the tiny country of Koyangar has instituted elaborate tests for girls to pick their mates. The winners will get marriage, money, and a life of trying to breed more daughters. The losers will get menial jobs or worse, sent to the wall that separates Koyangar from the rest of the Indian subcontinent, an almost certain death sentence.

Sudasa is the granddaughter of a highly-placed woman in the government, and knows that she is expected to select a particular contestant. But she keeps getting distracted by Contestant 5, who helps out the other contestants and shows compassion for the injured that are ignored by every other boy. What she doesn't know is that Contestant 5 has come to the Tests without any intent of winning a wife. Instead, he plans to escape, because anything is better than Koyangar.

Initially, Contestant 5 disdains Sudasa as spoiled and corrupt, and Sudasa can't fathom why he would risk the wall rather than try for a life of comfort and plenty as her husband. But as they get to know each other in stolen moments, they come to understand that they both want the same thing: freedom.

I have to be honest: I've been completely over the whole novels in verse thing for awhile, so while Sudasa's free-versified thoughts and feelings were interesting, I was always relieved when I got back to the prose of Contestant 5's sections. That being said, seeing Sudasa slowly realize that there was a life for her outside of Koyangar, and her grandmother's control was a fascinating character arc. I just wished it had been more fleshed out. Free verse tends to be extremely spare, without a lot of detail. This is obviously a personal preference, so your mileage may vary.

With its themes of gender inequity (girls are still treated like property, their rarity adding to their value like precious gems, locked away in a safe most of the time) and political corruption (always, always political corruption) this book fits into the usual run of current dystopian fiction. The non-Western setting and culture makes it stand out, but at only 246 pages (and about half of those in free verse), it feels like we skimmed over the setting and honestly, everything outside of the Tests themselves.

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46. Review: I Kill The Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is a gloriously witty and murderous book and I can’t love it enough! It’s a book about books (bookception!) and how can an avid bookworm not love and adore that?! If you geek out over books and authors — this was built specifically for you. Obviously it’s about the infamous To Kill a […]

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47. Review: The End of All Things by John Scalzi

John Scalzi returns to the Old Man’s War universe for his next fantastic installment. Following on from The Human Division, which was told over thirteen episodes, this time Scalzi tells his story over four novellas and once again demonstrates his total mastery in whatever form or perspective he chooses to tell his stories. Have firming […]

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48. Review: Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

I am a huge fan of Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series so when I saw he had a new book coming out I had to read it. On the surface this appears to be a cyber-thriller about hacking. But in the hands of Chuck Wendig it goes somewhere quite different. The book opens and we are […]

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49. Book Review- This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Title:   This is Where It Ends

Author:  Marieke Nijkamp
Series:   N/A
Published:    5th January 2016
Length:  292 pages
Source: The #TIWIEUKTour organised by Luna of Luna’s Little Library
Summary :  10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Review: This is the story of a school shooting, told as it happens from the perspectives of the shooter's sister Autumn, Autumn's girlfriend Sylv, Sylv's brother Tomás, and the shooter's ex-girlfriend, Claire. 
I wanted to read this because it's an amazing setup, and Marieke is brilliant on Twitter.
This was a would-be-one-sitting-if-life-didnt-get-in-the-way book.  It starts normally, setting up friendships and relationships (quite a few, and it’s a little confusing   because there’s lots of people introduced at the same time but you pick it up as you carry on)  to start with it’s just a normal school day  but after 10.05 it's full on until the end. There's books where you can't stop reading, then there's this.
I liked the multimedia approach, showing tweets, blogs, and texts from those involved and on the outside. The helplessness of everyone on the outside comes through, and I liked the way Marieke showed how tragedy doesn’t just affect those there.
Emotions. All the emotions for everyone. Particularly on page 212 of the proof, where one character slips into the conditional and that’s one of the most heartbreaking parts in the book (there's a few). But everywhere you see characters you know and don't know and fear for them and need to know what's going to happen.
I think the biggest thing about this book for me is how immediate it is. I’m  someone who’s grown up in the UK, where the last school shooting happened in 1996, before I was born, and was followed by pressure groups and the banning of handguns. As a result, when we hear of things like this happening, it’s horrifying and upsetting but you still feel distanced because, despite knowing that this could happen anywhere, living in the UK with its strict gun control laws makes it  harder to imagine a society where there’s the possibility of something like this happening and you practise what to do if it does, despite knowing that this is some people’s reality.
 TIWIE does one of the things I like most about reading contemporary/realistic fiction: make different situations real. The fully diverse cast of victims, survivors, and shooter is developed, and we see their dreams, their experiences, and lives. We see the people involved as people, not just names in a news report, which is, I think, why TIWIE is so hard hitting.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to one of the most intense books I've ever read.

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50. Need by Joelle Charbonneau (trailer included)

2015, HMH Books for Young Readers

In the small town of Nottowa, people aren't aware of what's truly happening....

Kaylee Denham needs something. Her brother is slowly dying and there doesn't seem to by anyone that can help him, nit even her best friend Nate, who needs to pass a final after winter break.

Amanda sees their friendship and doesn't understand why Nate would even bother with Kaylee. Another one of Amanda's worries is trying to get those concert tickets. Everyone would be so jealous!

Jack, Nate's brother broke his phone again...and he was the first to get what he needed. There are others....Bryan wants a gun, Syndney needs money and the list goes on and on. And that's when the website Need came into their lives.


  One click of a button and an answer to the question posted on the site: WHAT DO YOU NEED? After Kaylee, Hannah, Nate, Jack and the other click on the button, their request is processed.

Everyone on the Need site knows each other because it's only for their high school. What they don't know is who is behind the site. What they care about is getting their requests fulfilled. What they don't understand is that you never get anything for free. All you have to do is a little harmless errand, something as simple as a note slipped somewhere, cookies delivered to someone's door, a simple receipt put in among the others.

  But it's all of those little things that begin to snowball, and now people are dying and lives are in danger. Kaylee is beginning to see the pattern, but it still isn't clear who is behind Need and the errands that are slowly becoming more malicious and complicated. There is a pattern..but is it too late?

NETWORK MEMBERS—657 NEEDS PENDING—652 NEEDS FULFILLED—109 The site is slowly growing, but membership is slowly dropping....

Joelle Charbonneau has written a fast-paced novel that will keep readers entranced not only in the story, but in the character development that happens alongside the plot. Written in small chapter and in various character voices and point of view, Charbonneau creates a web of lies and deceit that the reader will become entangled in, wanting to know the final answer. Quick, smooth, and electrifying, once the page is turned, there's no going back for the reader. it takes awhile to fully realize the characters because of so many voices in alternating chapters, but Charbonneau sharpens the reader's insight the more they read. It's definitely a book where you have to become invested in all of the characters, not just one. Highly recommended for HS

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