Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 in Books

Space Case - Stuart Gibbs - Juvenile Fiction - four stars - This is another of Ellie's battle books.  It's set in the future, and the main character is a boy named Dash whose family is chosen to be one of the first families to populate a moon colony.  One of the team members dies, and he's convinced that it was murder vice an accident.  He sets out to prove that he's right and adventure follows.  This was a fun one and a great book for boys.  It's also the first in a series, and the author has published a number of other books too that we'll be checking out.

The Orphan's Tale - Pam Jenoff - Historical Fiction - five stars - I really enjoyed this one, it's another WWII story about two women who are thrown together, one a Jew named Astrid, the other, Noa, rescues a baby from a train car filled with Jewish babies in a transport.  Much of the story takes place in a circus as Astrid is an aerialist and must teach Noa to perform.  It was a wonderful story, a lot of sadness, but also hope and some surprises too.  Really enjoyed it and will be reading more from this author.

The Last Days of Cafe Leila - Donia Bijan - Fiction - five stars - The story of a woman who returns to Iran after many years having been sent away by her father when she was a teenager for the United States.  Her marriage has just ended and he daughter is pushing her away, but she brings her anyway.  When she returns, she finds her father is dying and she learns the story behind her mother's death.  It's a story about reconnecting with your roots, finding yourself, healing past hurts and relationships, and friendship.  While I wasn't crazy about the ending, I loved the story and the journey.

The World of Yesterday - Stefan Zweig - Nonfiction - four stars - This book took me FOREVER, and I really debated what rating to give it.  It's the autobiography of an Austrian Jewish writer/playwright who lived 1881-1942.  It was referenced by Astrid Lindgren in her war diaries, and I thought it sounded interesting, so I borrowed it from the library.  This book is not for the faint of heart, it is downright boring for the first 100 or so pages when he's describing his youth.  It gets much more interesting once he starts working and as Europe progressed through pre-WWI, WWI, and WWII, but it is basically source material.  As I said, I was torn because while it was a slog and at times bored me to tears, there were all these fascinating accounts and facts, things that you'd never hear about when you are quickly studying WWI in school, but just as we in the US go very in depth into U.S. History, he knows all the details about Austrian history.  This took me about three weeks to read, and I always had another book going because I needed the break from it.  The codicil to this tome is that shortly after he finished it, he and his wife committed suicide, so viewed from that lens it's even more interesting.

Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 - N. Griffin - juvenile fiction - three stars - This is another of Ellie's battle books.  This one was just OK.  It's definitely geared towards the rising third graders (the battle is for fourth and fifth graders), definitely not my favorite, but for kids in the age range, it will keep their attention.

Forty Autumns:  A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall - Nina Wilner - Nonfiction - five stars - I really enjoyed this one.  It's the story of the author's mother and her family.  Her mother fled East Germany and it's a great look at the repercussions for her family who remained behind, their communication, or lack thereof, during the ensuing years, and how things changed in East Germany throughout that period - good times and bad times.  This was very readable, lots of facts, but not at all boring or hard to get through.  Highly recommend it!

Tentacles - Roland Smith - Juvenlie Fiction - five stars - This is the sequel to one of Ellie's Battle Books from the last round (Cryptid Hunters).  We both loved that book and this is just as enjoyable. Marty and Grace, along with Marty's friend Luther set out on an expedition with their uncle to catch a giant squid.  Of course they are being chased by Noah Blackwood, and there are saboteurs on board as well.  Plenty of twists and turns, and we're both looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rich People Problems - Kevin Kwan - Fiction - five stars - This is the third book in the Crazy Rich Asians series, and just as good as the others.  It's a look into the world of very elite and wealthy Asians.  I know no one who even closely qualifies for this category so I have to take the author's word, but it sounds crazy enough to be true.  In this book, the matriarch of the family suffers a heart attach and is near death, so back home come all the relatives, some to make amends, some to ensure their stake in the family fortune, some to say goodbye.  Very funny and very entertaining.

A few folks also indicated that they were interested in a full list of Ellie's Battle Books, so here you go.  I think the librarian at Ellie's school does a really good job picking these.  He balances the level of reading so that the reading level spans fourth to fifth grade, makes them interesting for both girls and boys, and also chooses books in a variety of genres (poetry, historical fiction, detective, science fiction, etc.).  I also love that many of the books are parts of series, so there's lots of opportunity for further reading.

Operation Redwood, S. Terrell French
Einstein the Class Hamster, Juliet Blackwell
Benjamin Franklinstein Lives!, Matthew McElligott
Jack Strong Takes a Stand, Tommy Greenwald
Heartbeat, Sharon Creech
Dash, Kirby Larsen
The Liberation of Gabriel King, K. I. Going
The Terrible Two, Mac Barnett and Jory John (at least one sequel to this)
I, Q., Roland Smith (we love this whole series)
The Batboy, Mike Lupica
Sea of Trolls, Nancy Farmer (This is the first in a trilogy all of which were good)
The Red Blazer Girls, Michael D. Beil
Silverwing, Kenneth Oppel (Also a trilogy and all very good)
How They Choked, Georgia Bragg (this is probably my least favorite Battle Book)
Redwall, Brian Jacques (A series with many books, I’ve read a bunch more and enjoyed them all)
The Map Trap, Andrew Clements
First Light, Rebecca Steed
The Secret Box, Whitaker Ringwald (Also a series, Ellie has read the second one, but I haven’t gotten to it yet)
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, Wendelin Van Draanen
Iron Thunder, Avi
Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (also a series)
Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja, Simon Higgins (I think this one has sequels too)
Travel Team, Mike Lupica
Pugs of the Frozen North, Philip Reeve
Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson
Lowji Discovers America, Candace Fleming
All the Answers, Kate Messner
Cryptid Hunters, Roland Smith (Also a series)
Home Sweet Motel (Welcome to Wonderland, #1), Chris Grabenstein (Also a series)
Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1), Suzanne Collins (Also a series)
Space Case, Stuart Gibbs 
Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11, N. Griffin 
Dream on Amber, Emma Sheva
Oliver and the Sea Monkeys, Philip Reeve
A Whole New Ballgame, Phil Bildner

No comments:

Post a Comment