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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The President's Shadow, by Brad Meltzer

Book 3 of The Culper Ring Series

A severed arm, found buried in the White House Rose Garden.

A lethal message with terrible consequences for the Presidency.

And a hidden secret in one family's past that will have repercussions for the entire nation.

I'm not sure I can be objective in this review. You see, I seriously seriously  "heart" Brad Meltzer and everything he writes or does with History Channel.

This book is actually the 3rd in the Culper Ring Series. There's a lot of history (George Washington formed the Culper Ring) mixed in to this modern day mystery. The book stands alone, despite being very tied to the series. You don't "hurt" for not having all the details of the back stories, but you'll likely find yourself hunting down books 1 and 2 to get them. 

Meltzer paints pictures. You can't help but vividly imagine locations and scenes. Character development (which I tend to find tricky for most authors) is really well done. Not only are they described in such a way that you can easily visualize and build in your own mind precisely that person--mannerisms, psychological profiles, even speech patterns. I tend to "hear" voices in my head as I read, and there is a distinct voice for each major player in this story line.

In a YA collection, this book might fill a very specific niche (mystery loving future-archivist/librarian sorts) or it might fit a wide-range (mystery lovers, stories with ties to history, people who just enjoy a good story and get invested in characters). It's worth the read, and so are the first 2 books in the series.

**This title will be available June 16, 2015.

Book 1 of The Culper Ring Series
Book 2 of The Culper Ring Series

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Grand Central Publishing through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Day, by David Levithan


 Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.


After reading Every Day, I just didn't think there needed to be more to the story. I liked A, I liked his story, I liked that we were left "up in the air," just as A is every day. I don't think we need closure, because in a life like A's, I'm not sure there's any to be had.

That being said, I enjoyed Rhiannon's point of view regarding their "relationship." I liked the juxtaposition of A's life and how it rubbed against and generally caused turmoil in Rhiannon's. When all you knew was A's POV, it wasn't possible to understand, really, how his constant "make overs" affected someone else.

Again, there was some melodramatic stuff (typical of any teenager) and a bit too much waxing philosophic, but the story holds itself together well. It was important in this story to show Rhiannon's life away from A, and the affect his unplanned entrance into it had on her even when he wasn't around.

There are some life lessons in there and some general "human" lessons, but I won't go into those. This book can flesh out the story for those needing that (though not continue it, per say), or introduce a reader to this world (and send them running for a copy of Every Day.)

Another Day is a companion to David Levithan's novel Every Day. It's a companion book, not a sequel. This book isn't continuing the story, it's telling Rhiannon's side of it, and if you'll recall, A met Rhiannon one day and stayed in touch with someone for the very first time.


What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book for my own enjoyment. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

I'm baaaaaack!

Frankly, I think the lady in the picture above is missing a few hats!

Trying to juggle a baby, a busy career, and a home proved the better of me this last year. Now that I'm back in my groove, things will pick back up here at Mean Old Library Teacher.

I've still been reading, I've still been on the hunt for YA awesomeness...and I'm finding it!

Watch this space for great things!

What do you think??

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Hexed, by Michelle Krys

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn't get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that's seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she's a witch too.
Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie's about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Witches. While I'll admit I read a lot of adult books with witches as characters, I've not really read a lot of YA books that have them. Or at least, not a lot of well done YA books.

Hexed is pretty well done, for a first novel. First novels are frequently hit or miss and this one is a hit, in my opinion.

Indigo's story is really good. She's a typical teenager--well, teenage cheerleader dating the captain of the football team. It's all juuuuuuuust right and perfect in her world, until this guy dies in front of her. From that point forward, the world is a bit more complicated than she ever knew.

It's fairly fast-paced, but not too quick to do the plot justice. It's what you expect--Indigo has to "hit the ground running," as it were, when her life is flipped upside down. There's a steep learning curve (she thought witchcraft was just a quirky thing her mom was wasn't real.), but she handles it well, with help. And the magic isn't there for the sake of having magic. Instead, it's a vehicle for the plot, not the plot itself. wanted to smack the annoyance out of Bishop. He's got that typical teenage "I know I'm hot" guy thing. It's a personality that annoys me, not Bishop himself. He's perfectly written. Indie is amazing. Right on the mark with her voice and personality.

I will say that there was a bit more sex in the book than I'd have preferred. Nothing crassly overt, but it's in there. And honestly, after a bit, the drama of it just got to be too much. 

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Delacorte Press (Random House Chidlren's) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

REVIEW: We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

What an amazing book. I pride myself on being able to sort out the ending for books with a secret central to the story line by about mid-way through. I didn't have it this time. I wasn't prepared for the ending. There were some distinct one-line foreshadowing hints, but they didn't catch my eye until everything was revealed...and then I had an epiphany moment.

The relationships of the "Liars" is intricate and deep. There's an intensity that makes sense, even when the world of the book doesn't. 

The writing style (short sentences and tightly chosen words) and slow-slow-slow plot will annoy some readers, but I really think it's necessary in this story. If you feel annoyed, give it a chance.

I really can't do more with this review without destroying both the secret, and the story itself. Just trust needs to be read.

What do you think??

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Children's through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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