Thursday, June 25, 2015

Last Man Out:The Story of the Springhill Mine Disaster by Melissa Fay Greene

861343GENRE:  Nonfiction, History
This is a compelling story of miners who were trapped underground. In [Last Man Out] [Melissa Fay Greene] does an excellent job of capturing the emotions of those trapped as well as the families above ground. She also connects the political and economic climate of the time by telling the story of how these Canadian miners ended up connected to Georgia's fight for tourist dollars and caught experiencing segregation first hand. This is an emotional and well told story on many levels.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street by Clara Bush

20486650GENRE: Science Fiction, Coming of Age, Serial

[Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street] by [Clara Bush] starts out really strangely with a language that is not recognizable. Do not let this deter you from reading on because it will all come together later. Also this book is not exactly what it may seem to be even as you read it.

The story is character driven with the main character being Wyso, a young girl whose parents are not capable of caring for her. Throughout the story we get to see her grow up with the help of the boys in her neighborhood who take care of her.

They all meet in their Alien Hunter clubhouse even as they get older. All of the children are a little odd but they are also normal kids growing up and falling in love. The supernatural twists that this book takes will not disappoint readers but also does not overtake the plot from the fabulous characters.

The Big Burn by Jeanette Ingold

883118GENRE:  Historical Fiction, YA

[The Big Burn] by [Jeanette Ingold] is an excellently written historical fiction that deals with an interesting topic. The plot is focused around three young people: Elizabeth, a homesteader with her sister, Jarret, a fire fighter, and Seth, and African American soldier. The even that brings them all together is the forest fires of 1910 in Idaho and Montana know as the Big Burn.

[Ingold] tells a fast moving tale through the various perspectives of those involved. The fact that she chose very different characters but remained historically accurate says a lot about the skill of the author. This book is a welcome addition to any classroom library, especially for those reluctant readers.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

First Plane Home by Jon Tait

24705499GENRE:  Literary fiction

Everyone has events that they can use to track life's milestones. In his novel [First Plane Home] [Jon Tait] tells the life of Andy through Scotland's World Cup chances. This well written novel shows what growing up in a country going through some changes is like. The hope of young Andy becomes the cynicism of a teenager and all throughout there is Scotland's football team and their never give up attitude.

The Survivor Chronicles: Book 1, The Upheaval by Erica Stevens

18874151GENRE: Apocalyptic, Survival, Action/Adventure

[The Survivor Chronicles: Book 1, The Upheaval] was an entertaining, well paced story. [Erica Stevens] did an excellent job of creating a character driven plot although at times it was too predictable.There are so many end of the world novels out there that it is hard to make a new one stand out. Also this first book lacked explanation for some of the events, particularly with the animals. Having some sort of character that could explain a little more may have made it more cohesive. Perhaps that will happen in the second book.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

22642971Genre: Science Fiction, YA

[Beth Revis] does it again with [The Body Electric]. In this futuristic world things are not always what they may seem. Ella is miserable due to the death of her father and the impending death of her mother. She just wants to be happy and make her mother happy. Unfortunately there are dark secrets hidden that will turn her world upside down.

If you have been wise enough to read the [Across the Universe] trilogy (and if you haven't you should, NOW) you will recognize the wonderful writing style and storytelling as well as references to Godspeed. [Revis] imagines a dark yet hopeful future. She does a magnificent job of showing both the good and evil of the human spirit.

After The End by Amy Plum

13601681Genre: Action/Adventure, YA, Coming of Age

[After The End] by [Amy Plum] has a deceptive title because it leads you to think it is an dystopian novel. Although I love those books this was a welcomed surprise. It turned into more of an action/adventure with a little coming of age thrown in for good measure.

[Plum] did an excellent job of developing a creative, fearless, intelligent character in Juneau. Although she is naive due to lack of exposure she know how to survive. Her loyalty to family, even though they hurt her, is endearing.

Miles, on the other hand, is a spoiled rotten brat who has had the easy life. He starts out for his own gain but what he really gains is a new insight about life and love.

This story has some supernatural aspects but over all is more of an exciting journey of discovery for two young people who have a lot to learn from each other.

Shots On The Bridge by Ronnie Greene

24042780Genre: Non-Fiction

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

[Shots On The Bridge] by [Ronnie Greene] is a good piece of investigative journalism about one of the most notorious events in post-Katrina New Orleans.

As most people I was glued to my TV all throughout Katrina and I remember the news reports of a shoot out on a bridge involving police. As I recall the news reported that it was gangsters and looter shooting at the police. There were many reports of this nature in the confusion following one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. We now know that most of these reports were embellished at best or just down right lies.

[Ronnie Greene] did an excellent job relating the events as they occurred and giving a voice to the victims. The fact that these families were just trying to cross a bridge and came under fire by an overly armed unit of police is disconcerting enough but the fact that the police conspired to cover it up makes it even worse. Although it was wrong I could understand the officers reaction to the call of shots fired given the trauma that they had also been through. It is the cover up and lies that compound the wrongfulness of their actions.

I though [Greene] did a good job but he seems to jump around a bit too much. There is a lack of fluid transitions. Also, I feel his view was very one sided. I know that the police did something horrible but they were victims of Katrina as well and probably should not have been on duty at that point. If the correct relief and support had been provided this whole situation may have been avoided.