Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 2018 Reads


Adult: 10
Middle Grades:  1
YA:  2

Audio: 7
eBook:  6

5 Star:  3
4.5 Star:  3

Mystery:  6
CRF: 3
SciFi: 1
Romance:  2
Dystopia/CRFish : 1

Total Pages: 4149 pages (laid up with bad knee for over a week!)

59.  Massacre Pond (#4 Mike Bowditch) - Paul Doiron, Audio 320  pgs. (19,019 pgs.)
60.  Losing It - Cora Carmack Audio 189 pgs.(19,208 pgs.)
61.  Only the Lucky (#8.5 Kate Burkholder) - Linda Castillo eBk (4) 56 pgs.(19,264 pgs.)
62.  The Color of Our Sky - Amita Trasi - 2017 eBk (4) 419 pgs. (19,683 pgs.)
63.  Deep Freeze (#10 Virgil Flowers) John Sandford - 2017 Audio (4) 399 pgs. (20,082 pgs.)
64.  Fields of Corn - Sarah Price - 2010 eBk (2.5) 272 pgs. (20,354 pgs.)
65.  Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel - Kimberly Willis Holt - 2017 eBk (5) 336 pgs. (20,690 pgs.)
66.  Far From the Tree - Robin Benway - 2017 Audio (5) 374  pgs. (21.064 pgs.)
67.  Nyxia (#1 Nyxia Triad) - Scott Reintgen - 2017 eBk (4.5) 384 pgs. (21,448 pgs.)
68.  A Gathering of Secrets (#10 Kate Burkholder) Linda Castillo - 2018 Audio (3) 308 pgs. (21,756 pgs.)
69.  The One - John Marrs - 2016 eBk (5) 416 pgs. (22,172 pgs.)
70. Play Dead (#1 Elise Sandberg - Anne Frasier - 2014 Audio (4.5....5?) 366 pgs.
71.  Stay Dead (#2 Elise Sandberg) - Anne Frasier - 2014 Audio (4.5) 310 pgs.

71. Stay Dead by Anne Frasier

#2 Elise Sandberg, Savannah homicide detective
listened on Audible
20014 Thomas & Mercer
310 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 7/31/2018
Goodreads rating:  4.13 - 4910 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting: contemporary Savannah, GA

First line/s:  "The voice on the phone was hesitant."

My comments:  I loved the unusual way this book came together...Elise surviving a harrowing kidnapping, but we don't know of any of the details of the case or the crime.  They emerge slowly, intertwined with present happenings.  Very cool, and a good way to present the story.  I love these characters - all of them, even the bad guys!  The Savannah setting, the Gullah culture, the wonderfully written characters, and the touch of will-the-or-won't-they combine to make this a terrific read!

Goodreads synopsis:  New York Times bestselling author Anne Frasier takes readers back to her dark, enchanting Savannah—a place as terrifying as it is mesmerizing.     
          Homicide detective Elise Sandburg is traumatized after her run-in with a madman the press has dubbed “The Organ Thief." As Elise takes refuge in her deceased aunt Anastasia’s abandoned plantation to investigate and recover from her ordeal, she begins to question everything—from her dangerous line of work to her complex relationship with her handsome, tortured partner, David Gould. But with a madman on the loose, and her mother’s claims to still hear from aunt Anastasia, she may have more immediate problems on her hands. In Elise’s world, where cold hard crime mixes with the local Gullah culture, nothing is ever what it seems, and no one is above suspicion—not even the dead.

Library Requests and HOLDS

As of  3/21/20

American Dirt - Cummins (CCLS 2/20) #18 on 5 (TPPL 3/16) #128 on 25
Alone in the Wild (#5 Rockton) Armstrong (CCLS 2/6/20) ##2 on 1
Flatshare, The - O'Leary (TTPL 1/23) #14 on 2 (CCLS 2/6) #12 on 2
Glass Hotel - Mandel (out 3/24) (TPPL 1/23) #26 on 1 not yet 
The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3) - Johnson (CCLS 2/6) #4 on 1
The Huntress - Quinn (CCLS 1/5/20) #5 on 2 copies
The Night Watchman - Erdrich (TPPL 3/14) #37 on 6 copies
Once Upon a River - Setterfield (CCLS 3/21) #3 on 2
Salt to the Sea (Sepetys) (CCLS 3/16) #1 on 1
Silent Patient -Michaelides (CCLS 12/4/19) #7 on 5 copies
The Starless Sea - Morgenstern (CCLS 1/17/20) #8 on 3
The Sun Down Motel (St. James) (CCLS 3/7/20) #14 on 2
Yes No Maybe So (TTPL 2/26) #7 on 2

PICTURE BOOK - Islandborn by Junot Diaz

llustrated by Leo Espinosa
2018 Dial Books
HC & price
48 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.52 - 1290 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers: lime green palm trees and city buildings
1st line/s:  "Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else."

My comments:  Huge cudos for this wonderful picture book! My only problem with it (nothing like beginning with the problem, right?) is that it's written for an older kiddo or needs a bit of explanation for younger ones.  And as an adult, the explanations don't come until the whole book is read.  As an adult, I love the mystery of the beginning, trying to figure out what's going on and where the story is headed.  And what a great history!  A short author's note at the end of the book would have been GREATLY appreciated!  Wonderful illustrations.  Wonderful book.



Goodreads:  From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.
          Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places.
          So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: “Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you.”
          Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves.
 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream: A Mathematical Story by Cindy Neuschwander

Illustrated by Liza Woodruff
Math activities by Marilyn Burns
1998, Scholastic Press
for K - 3
available at Bosler Library N-bins
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.08 - 171 ratings
My rating:3.5
Endpapers:  rolling hills with helmeted sheep riding bicycles
Illustrations go from edge-of-page to edge-of-page.  Look like pen & ink drawings that heave been colored with water color.  Very nice, simple

1st line/s:  "I am Amanda Bean and I love math.  I know all about counting.  I am very good at it.  I can count by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  I can add up anything.  The kids at school call me Bean Counter."

My comments:  Simple book that introduces the concept of multiplying, that it is easier than adding or counting.  Excellent introduction.  Ends with three pages of activities/ideas to extend kids' learning about multiplication, but Marilyn Burns, mathematics idea guru extraordinaire.

Goodreads:  Amanda Bean loves to count everything, from the books in the library to the popcorn in her bowl. If only she could count faster! Her teacher tries to persuade her of the virtues of multiplication, but Amanda remains unconvinced--until she has an amazing dream. Full color

PICTURE BOOK - The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine

Illustrated by Sebastia Serra
2011, Dutton Children's Books
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.84 - 478 ratings
My rating:  2.5
Endpapers:  Bright yellow-orange

1st line/s:  "One Chinese New Year's Eve, a poor couple sent their son, Ming, to the market."

My comments:  What a great story, with really fun illustrations, with one not-so-tiny flaw.  Set during the Chinese New Year in Beijing, China, a wok steals from the rich and gives to the poor.  It also kidnaps the rich and gets rid of them (we know not how or where) forever.  What???  The beginning of the story seems based on Jack and the Beanstalk, the next based on Robin Hood.  But outright stealing and kidnapping instead of something more magical and legal would fit the bill for me a bit better.  I still can't rate it down too TOO much because the illustrations and the Chinese culture that shines through are wonderful.  Not to be missed:  The author's note and the "Festive Stir-Fried Rice" recipe at the end of the book.


Goodreads:  When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family's house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man's home with a feast in tow!
          With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.

70. Play Dead by Anne Frasier

#1 Elise Sandberg, Savannah homicide detective
listened onAudible
2014 Thomas & Mercer
366 pgs.
Adult Police Procedural/Mystery
Finished July 28, 2018
Goodreads rating: 3.84 - 7445 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting: contemporary Savannah, GA

First line/s:  "Savannah medical examiner John Casper believed in what some scientists termed the cluster effect."

My comments:  I really enjoyed this book, it was different than "typical" murder mysteries in that an element of the story was about southern Gullah hoodoo witchery, embraced by the protagonist.  Having visited historic Savannah for a week two months ago, I was very familiar with some of the setting, including the extraordinary Bonaventure Cemetery and even my favorite restaurant whilst there, Gryphon.  There are three major storylines twisting and turning together in this book - the murders they were investigating (involving deaths that used a toxic found in puffer fish which renders its victims unable to more of feel, but able to hear and think), Elise's background and ancestry, and the mysteries surrounding Elise's new partner, ex-FBI agent David Gould.  It was a fascinating story with a vibrant setting.  I wish I had read this book before I went to Savannah because I would have checked out a few more of the places described in the book.  Next time....

Goodreads synopsis:  No one is more familiar with Savannah's dark side than homicide detective and native resident Elise Sandburg. She's been haunted for years by her own mysterious past: she was abandoned as a baby in one of the city's ancient cemeteries, and it's rumored that she is the illegitimate daughter of an infamous Savannah root doctor. The local Gullah culture of voodoo and magic is one that few outsiders can understand, least of all Elise's new partner. Now someone is terrorizing the city, creating real-life zombies by poisoning victims into a conscious paralysis that mimics death. As the chilling case unfolds, Elise is drawn back into the haunted past she's tried so hard to leave behind.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rotten Tomatoes' Best of 2018 So Far.....

Rotten Tomatoes' Best of 2018 
(as of 7/25/2018)

100 %
     Paddington 2;  Leave No Trace; Summer 1993; Oh Lucy!; McQueen;

99%
     Won't You Be My Neighbor;

98%
     Eighth Grade;

97%
     Black Panther; The Rider; The Endless;

96%
     The Death of Stalin; Foxtrot; Three Identical Strangers;

95%
     A Quiet Place;  Sorry to Bother You; Zama; Sweet Country; Filmworker; Western; 24 Frames;

94/%
     First Reformed; RBG; Beast;

93%
     Incredibles 2; Loveless (Nelyubov); Custody (Jusqu'a la Garde);

92%
     Lean on Pete;  Revenge; Journey's End; Blindspotting;

91%
     Love Simon

90%
     Isle of Dogs;  Hearts Beat Loud;

89%
     Heriditary; The Insult (L'Insulte); Pope Francis; A Ciambra;

87%
     Ant Man and the Wasp; Annihilation;  Tully You Were Never Really Here;

86%
     Thoroughbreds; Grace Jones, Bloodlight and Bami; Mary and the Witch's Flower;

85%
     America Animals; Let the Sunshine In (A Beau Soleil Interieur); Upgrade; Mountain;

84%
     The Third Murder; Disobedience; The Final Year;

83%
     Avengers, Infinity Wars; Deadpool 2; Games Night; Blockers; Borg vs. McEnroe; Early Man

82%
     Ghost Stories;

81%
     The Party

80%
     Unsane; Chappaquidick; Where is Kyra; Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

69. The One by John Marrs

read on my iPhone
2018 Hanover Square Press (2016/2017 in England?)
416 pgs.
Adult CRF/Mystery/tiny hint of Fantasy...
Finished 7/24/18
Goodreads rating:  4.13 - 10,98 ratings
My rating: 5 Stars!
Setting: Contemporary England (with a bit in Australia)

First line/s:  "Mandy stared at the photograph on the computer screen and held her breath."

My comments:  Oh my goodness, what a clever, addicting book! Not the greatest cover, though, right?  I couldn’t put it down. Never a dull moment!! There were so many things I loved about this book: all sorts of twists and turns, following five different people that were easy-to-remember in an uncomplicated way, being left on the edge-of-your-seat short chapter after short chapter, and a premise that made you think, wonder, and rationalize throughout. A real winner. (Told in FIVE distinct, unique voices that were all wonderful.)

Goodreads synopsis:  How far would you go to find The One?
          A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.
          That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.
          Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…
          A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.

Monday, July 23, 2018

68. A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo

Kate Burkholder #10
listened on Audible
2018 Minotaur Books
308 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 7/23/18
Goodreads rating:  4.45 - 1047 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting:  Contemporary Amish Country, Ohio

First line/s:  "She didn't sleep.  Hadn't slept through the night in a long time.  There was too much darkness, not the kind that was restful."

My comments:   Hmmmm.  They're starting to sound more and more alike.  Similar phrasing, similar reflections, similar characters.  Maybe I should read the next one with my eyes, not listen with my ears.... I used to rush to read these the moment they came out, but that enthusiasm is waning, darn it... 2.5

Goodreads synopsis:   When a historic barn burns to the ground in the middle of the night, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate. At first, it looks like an accident, but when the body of eighteen-year-old Daniel Gingerich is found inside—burned alive—Kate suspects murder. Who would want a well-liked, hardworking young Amish man dead?
          Kate delves into the investigation only to find herself stonewalled by the community to which she once belonged. Is their silence a result of the Amish tenet of separation? Or is this peaceful and deeply religious community conspiring to hide a truth no one wants to talk about? Kate doubles down only to discover a plethora of secrets and a chilling series of crimes that shatters everything she thought she knew about her Amish roots—and herself.
          As Kate wades through a sea of suspects, she’s confronted by her own violent past and an unthinkable possibility.

MOVIE - Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

PG-13 (1:54)
7/20/18 Wide Release
Viewed 7/23/18 at Carlisle with Laura and Ella
IMBd: 7.3/10
RT Critic: 79   Audience:  76
Critic's Consensus:  Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again doubles down on just about everything fans loved about the original -- and my my, how can fans resist it?
Cag:  4/Liked it a lot - the music is awesome
Directed by Ol Parker
Universal Pictures
Based on the music of ABBA  (a 1970s rock group from Sweden)

Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Andy Garcia, Cher, Meryl Streep


My comments:  Dancin' Queen....You can dance....you can jive....having the time of your life.....
I just returned from seeing this movie.  With some of it was disappointed, but with some of it I felt giddy.  Yup, giddy.  And the grand finale was GRAND!  Best part of the movie!!!  The scenes with the younger versions of the couples seemed over-acted to me, and a teeny, tiny bit off.  Loved it when the three females were performing together, young OR old.  The modern-time numbers were really wonderful.  As is the scenery...how would ANYONE want to leave that place?  Fantastic costumes, too.  And including Cher was a blast.  So. Much. Fun.  Ella really loved it, and immediately wondered if they'd make a number three!
      Perfect movie for three generations to watch together.



RT/ IMDb Summary:

PICTURE BOOK - Dangerous Jane by Suzanne Slade

Illustrated byAlice Ratterree
2017, Peachtree
HC $17.95
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.19 - 172 ratings
My rating: 4.5  (just a tiny bit too simplistic...)
Endpapers: Beige
1st line/s:  "Jane was born beside a sparkling creek on an Illinois prairie in a friendly town called Cedarville."

My comments:  Beautifully illustrated and simply told, the story of Jane Addams is intriguing and informative.  Although she was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she was named by the FBI as "the Most Dangerous Woman in America" just 12 years prior!  Why?  For being a woman, and caring about people and peace - people and peace beyond American borders..  I sure want to read more about her now!

Goodreads:  Jane's heart ached for the world, but what could she do to stop a war? This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on the peace work that won her the Nobel Peace Prize. From the time she was a child, Jane's heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, shed helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace. Suzanne Slade's powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree's stunning illustrations bring Jane Addams and her world to life. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

67. Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

#1 Nyxia Triad
read on my iPhone
2017 Crown Books for Young Readers
384 pgs.
YA SciFi
Finished 7/22/18
Goodreads rating: 4.12 - 2514 rtings
My rating: 4.5 (Maybe even 5.....)
Setting: Outer Space a few years from now

First line/s:  " 'You all know why you're here.'  There are ten of us at the table.  We all nod like we even have a clue."

My comments:  Others have compared this book to a sci-fi Hunger Games, and other than having slightly more than one winner at the end, that’s pretty much what it is. I loved the entire premise from the start and was pulled into the story immediately, which hasn’t happened a whole lot lately. Nothing like “coming-of-age“ in outer space! Loved it - 4.5.

Goodreads synopsis:  Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
          Forever.
          Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
          But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Friday, July 20, 2018

66. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

listened on Audible
2017
374 pgs.
Genre/Level
Finished July 20, 2018
Goodreads rating:  4.33 - 11,799 ratings
My rating:  5
Setting: Contemporary America

First line/s::  "Grace hadn't really thought too much about homecoming."

My comments:  Writing a book is magical, writing a truly good book is mystical.  I have such admiration for an author that can weave together a story like this one.  Getting to know and understand the three protagonists is a slow process and makes the story all the more delicious.  This book is also a reminder that there are more good people than bad in the world and that you don't have to be born into a family to be surrounded by love.

Goodreads synopsis:  A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.
          Being the middle child has its ups and downs.
          But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—
          Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.
          And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

65. Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

read on my iPhone
2017 Henry Holt & Co.
336 pgs.
MidGrade CRF
Finished 7/19/18
Goodreads rating:  4.13 - 317 rtings
My rating:   5
Setting: contemporary just-outside Dallas, TX ad rural LA

First line/s:  "My name, Stevie Grace, was tattooed inside a giant sun on my dad's back."

My comments:  Definitely another winner by Kimberly Willis Holt!  Though touched throughout with sadness, it isn't a sad story. It's about blooming where you're planted, making the best of everything, seeing the good things there are to see, and learning from the mistakes of your parents and grandparents. And it has a wonderful array of cool characters.  I so enjoyed this story! (By the way, she's actually an eighth grader and says she's thirteen at one point...)

Goodreads synopsis  Twelve-year-old Stevie's world changes drastically when her parents are tragically killed and she is forced to live with her estranged grandfather at his run-down motel. After failed attempts to connect with her grandfather, Stevie befriends the colorful motel tenants and neighbors. Together, they decide to bring some color and life to the motel by planting a flower garden, against Stevie's grandfather's wishes. It will take Stevie's departure before her grandfather realizes just how needed she is by everyone.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

64. Fields of Corn by Sarah Price

An Amish Christian Romance (believe it or not!!)
read on my iPhone
2010 published
272 pgs.
CRF - I have read that Amish Fiction is now considered a genre on its own
Finished July 18, 2018
Goodreads rating: 4.25 - 641 ratings
My rating:  2.5
Setting:  contemporary Lancaster County, PA

First line/s:  "The horse, a brown Morgan with a thick black mane, trotted down Musser School Lane, effortlessly pulling the black, box-like buggy."

My comments:  There's a fascination and pull towards the simplicity of the Amish life that more-than intrigues me, especially as I know live near numerous Amish communities.  But my sprirtual beliefs and those of the Amish are so very different that it makes books like these particularly difficult to digest.  The last quarter of the book pulled my rating way down, very hard for me to take.  Or understand.

Goodreads synopsis:  Shana Slater doesn't realize that her life is about to change when she pulls into the Lapp farm in Leola, Pennsylvania, to inquire about renting a small apartment over a mule shed. Yet, the price is right and the rolling fields of corn present a peaceful place for her to retreat when she is not working in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
          Her curiosity about the Amish way of life is piqued when she befriends Emanuel Lapp, the son of her landlord. As she learns about the Amish through his eyes, she quickly realizes that the Amish way of life is more than just religion and a plain way of living. She also discovers that the more she learns, the more she is unexpectedly falling for much more than their plain and simple lifestyle. When two worlds collide, which will survive and at what cost?
          Based in part on the author's experience living on an Amish farm, Fields of Corn presents a sweet and authentic love story.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

MOVIE - Leave No Trace

PG (1:49)
Limited release 6/29/18
Viewed July 15, 2018
IMBd: 
RT Critic:  100    Audience:   87
Critic's Consensus:  Leave No Trace takes an effectively low-key approach to a potentially sensationalistic story -- and further benefits from brilliant work by Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie.
Cag:  5.5 wowzer
Directed by Debra Granik
Bleecker Street

Ben Foster, Thomasin MacKenzie

My comments:  Different.  Satisfying.  Thought-provoking.  Mesmerizing.  Well acted. Loved it.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.

63. Deep Freeze by John Sandford

#10 Virgil Flowers
listened to Audio - borrowed from Library
2017 G. P. Putnams
399 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 7/15/18
Goodreads rating:  4.21 - 10,035 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Minnesota

First line/s:  "David Birkmann sat in his living room with an empty beer can in his hand and stared sadly at his oversized bachelor's television which wasn't turned on."

My comments:  Ahh, did not disappoint.  I love Virgil, still!

Goodreads synopsis:  Class reunions: a time for memories—good, bad, and, as Virgil Flowers is about to find out, deadly—in this New York Timesbestselling thriller from John Sandford.
          Virgil knows the town of Trippton, Minnesota, a little too well. A few years back, he investigated the corrupt—and as it turned out, homicidal—local school board, and now the town’s back in view with more alarming news: A woman’s been found dead, frozen in a block of ice.
          There’s a possibility that it might be connected to a high school class of twenty-five years ago that has a mid-winter reunion coming up, and so, wrapping his coat a little tighter, Virgil begins to dig into twenty years’ worth of traumas, feuds, and bad blood. In the process, one thing becomes increasingly clear to him. 
          It’s true what they say: High school is murder.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - Lucy Loves Sherman by Catherine Bailey

Illustrated by Meg Walters
2017 Sky Pony Press
HC $16.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.96 - 26 ratings
My rating:  4 (I had to take away a point for the red lobster...)
Endpapers"  Cute and simple, 1-inch circles of paler blue on medium blue, with Lucy, Sherman, and her cat's head sticking out of three of the circles.
1st line/s:  "Lucy loved Sherman from the moment they met."

My comments: Oh my goodness, what a cute story!  Clever and illustrated beautifully!  I do have a problem with it, though, and some people would say, "author's license," but it gives kids misinformation....lobsters are NOT red or orange until they're cooked.  98% of lobsters are a greenish brown until then.  But I still loved it....


Goodreads:  Girl meets lobster. Girl loves lobster. But can girl save lobster?
          That’s the question at the center of this sweet and sassy picture book about Lucy, her shell-y friend Sherman, and the seafood-loving town they inhabit.
          Lucy loves Sherman from the moment they meet at Flotsam’s Fish Market. Oh sure, he’s an eighteen-pound, eighty-year-old crustacean, but he’s also polka dotted. And blurble-y. And he smells like the ocean! Unfortunately, Nana is not hooked on the idea of a pet lobster.
          Things only get worse when Lucy meets Chef Pierre and discovers that Sherman’s fate is on a plate! She must rescue Sherman, even if it means getting into hot water with all the grownups. So Lucy takes action. But will the efforts of one little girl be enough to save Sherman from the bib and butter?
          As humorous as it is inspiring, Lucy Loves Sherman explores an unlikely, yet utterly charming friendship, and the challenge and thrill of finding your voice and being an activist.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates & her daughter, Juniper Bates

Illustrated by Amy June Bates
2018 A Paula Wiseman Book
HC $16.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.04 - 442 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  front:  A rainy sky, Back:  A sunny sky

1st line/s:   "By the front door . . .there is an umbrella."

My comments:  As I first read this book, I said to myself....."oh......okay......a magic umbrella that grows as it protects .... until it hit me over the head what it's really talking about.   Inclusion!  A great metaphor.  I'd LOVE to read this to a 4th or 5th grade class and see how long it takes them to come to a similar conclusion.  The mother/daughter (7th grader!) who wrote this book together live right here in my little hometown, and it tickles me to think that like-minded people are nearby in this central PA oasis of red....a wonderful book.


Goodreads:   “A subtle, deceptively simple book about inclusion, hospitality, and welcoming the ‘other.’” —Kirkus Reviews
          “A boundlessly inclusive spirit...This open-ended picture book creates a natural springboard for discussion.” —Booklist
          “This sweet extended metaphor uses an umbrella to demonstrate how kindness and inclusion work...A lovely addition to any library collection, for classroom use or for sharing at home.” —School Library Journal
          In the tradition of Alison McGhee’s Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter with this timely and timeless picture book about acceptance.
          By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.
          Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.
          Lush illustrations and simple, lyrical text subtly address themes of inclusion and tolerance in this sweet story that accomplished illustrator Amy June Bates cowrote with her daughter, Juniper, while walking to school together in the rain

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prevot

Illustrated by Aurelia Fronty
2015 Charlesbridge Publishing
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.28 - 414 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers"  Deep, sleek plum
1st line/s:  "The immense forest around Wangari's childhood home is populated by bongo antelopes, monkeys, and butterflies."

My comments:  Woah, I've read five picture books about Wangari Maathai, but this is the one that's jam-packed with information for older readers, instead of just mentioning things, fleshing them out a little more.  We learn HOW she got to the US for college, HOW she protested, and WHY she ended up in prison.  Wonderful book, perfect to use with 4th, 5th, 6th graders studying the environment, making a difference in the world, activism, trees, Tu'Bshvat,......

Read the Text




Goodreads:  Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter

Illustrated by the author
2017 Beach Lane Books
(Bosler Memorial Library)
HC $17.99
56 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.2 - 447 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Pale, plae, pale green

1st line/s:  "In Iraq, rivers flow throught green marshes.
Wind swoops across sand dunes and through ancient cities.
Zaha Hadid sees the rivers and marshes and dunes and ruins with her father
and imagines what cities looked like thousand of years ago."

My comments:  It's no secret that I adore anything and everything that Jeanette Winter writes and/or illustrates,  but what I really appreciate is the diversity of people that she chooses to research and share with kids!  This book highlights another amazing woman in our world and will inspire kids (and architecture buffs!) in many, many ways.  Bravo!



Goodreads:  Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2017
Parents’ Choice Recommended
          Get to know Zaha Hadid in this nonfiction picture book about the famed architect’s life and her triumph over adversity from celebrated author-illustrator Jeanette Winter.
          Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.


Friday, July 6, 2018

62. The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

read on my iPhone
2017 William Morrow
419 pgs.
CRF (Flips from 1983 to clost-to-current
Finished 7/6/18
Goodreads rating:  4.16 - 3104 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting: Bombay, India 1983 to current

First line/s:  "The memory of that moment hit me like a surging ocean wave -- drawing me into it -- the sour smell of darkness, the sobs erupting like an echo from a bottomless pit."

My comments:  Shifting back-and-forth between the past and the present, and told from the points of view of two young women whose lives and destinies are entwined, The Color of our Sky paints a picture of contemporary Bombay that is fascinating, illuminating, and incredibly sad.

Goodreads synopsis:  A sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends—one struggling to survive the human slave trade and the other on a mission to save her—two girls whose lives converge only to change one fateful night in 1993.
          India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before. As time goes by, their bond grows to be as strong as that between sisters. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room. 
          Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
          Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time.

TV Show - The Expanse

Three seasons complete, the fourth in the works
Premiered:  12/14/15
Number of Episodes:
Length of Episode: 42 * 44 minutes
IMBd:  8.4/10
RT Critic's Consensus:
RT Audience Score:  96
cag: Still TBD
Originally on SyFi, when SyFi cancelled, Amazon bought it to continue

Characters:

My comments:  Three factions:  Earth and the Moon, Mars, and outer stations in the Asteroid Belt (people are called "Belters")

Storyline from Amazon:  The series is set two hundred years in the future, after mankind has colonized the solar system. A hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain come together for what starts as the case of a missing young woman and evolves into a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

Storyline from Wikipedia: More than two hundred years in the future, in a colonized Solar System, police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), born on Ceresin the asteroid belt, is assigned to find a missing young woman, Juliette "Julie" Andromeda Mao (Florence Faivre). James Holden (Steven Strait), the Executive Officer of the ice hauler Canterbury, is involved in a tragic incident that threatens to destabilize the uneasy peace between EarthMars and the Belt. On Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), a United Nations executive, works to prevent war between Earth and Mars by any means necessary. Soon, the three find out that the missing woman and the ice hauler's fate are part of a vast conspiracy that threatens humanity.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

MOVIE - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

PG-13 (2:09)
Wide release 6/22/18
Viewed July 5, 2018
RT Critic:  48  Audience:  51
Critic's Consensus:  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom adds another set piece-packed entry to the blockbuster franchise, although genuinely thrilling moments are in increasingly short supply.
Cag:  3 liked it okay...
Directed by J. A. Bayona
Universal Pictures

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard

My comments:  EArly afternoon showing to get out of the heat - I haven't seen any of the other Jurassic Parks leading up to this, which is just fine with me.  I like Chris Pratt and it was a pretty interesting storyline for an action/adventure.  The good guys versus the bad guys, and of course they are VERY bad guys.  It was a bit slow and draggy in places.  Midling entertainment, nothing spectacular.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  It's been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who's still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

61. Only the Lucky by Linda Castillo

8.5 Kate Burkholder - Novella/Short Story
read on my iPhone
2017 Minotaur Books
56 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Short Story
Finished July 4, 2018
Goodreads rating:  4.04 - 807 ratings
My rating:   4
Setting:  Contemporary Rural Amish Country OHIO

First line/s:  "Alma Fisher held up the mirror and stared at her reflection."

My comments:  This is the first short story in the series that hasn't seemed rushed and fit really well into the short story category.  The only question I have is who paid for all the food and entertainment of the Amish rager?  Ribs and beer and a live band for 200 people?  Whew!  Not a bad story at all, and it includes a tiny glimpse of Tomasetti, too!

Goodreads synopsis: Bucolic Painters Mill is plunged into darkness in this new short mystery, from the New York Times bestselling author of Among the Wicked, featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder.  
          It’s Friday the 13th in Painters Mill and rumors of an Amish “rager”—a huge outdoor party rife with underage drinking—puts Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her small department on edge. To make matters worse, Painters Mill is in the midst of a county-wide power outage. At the height of the rager, a teenage Amish girl is attacked with a hammer and left for dead. Kate is called to the scene—an abandoned farm teeming with loud music and rowdy behavior—to find the girl unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. With the girl in a coma and an unknown attacker on the loose, Kate must discover who would want to hurt her, and why, before it’s too late.

60. Losing It by Cora Carmack

Listened on Audible
2012, Harper Collins
189 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 7/4/18
Goodreads rating:  3.76  - 94,637 ratings
My rating: 2

First line/s:  "I took a deep breath."

My comments:  As much as I try, I just can't get into romances.  What's wrong with me?  Sure, I like the sexy bits, but the silliness surrounding it all just keeps my eyes rolling.  There was definitely some humor in this one, I snickered occasionally, and I loved all the stuff with the cat, Harriet.  I can't even say it's because I guess I'm getting old, because I don't think I  ever liked romance ....but I keep trying....

Goodreads synopsis:  Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

59. Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron

listened to on Audible
2013, Minotaur Books
320 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 7/3/2018
Goodreads rating:  4.05 - 1966 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting:  Contemporary Downeast, Washington County, Maine

First line/s:  "The first time I laid eyes on Billy Cronk, I thought he was the biggest badass in the Maine woods:  Six-five, braided blonde hair, a tangled mess of a beard."

My comments:  This was an excellent foray into Washington Country, Maine, WAY "Downeast."  Mike Bowditch is such a likable, smart guy, and the voice of the Henry Leyva was great and would have been wonderful if he'd pronounced Maine state Indian tribes and town names correctly.  This was very off-putting, and lessened authenticity each time it happened.  The story was interesting and I learned quite a bit about what game wardens do.  This is a super series set in my favorite state, and I can't wait to read #5!

Goodreads synopsis: On an unseasonably hot October morning, Bowditch is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: the corpses of seven moose have been found senselessly butchered on the estate of Elizabeth Morse, a wealthy animal rights activist who is buying up huge parcels of timber land to create a new national park.
          What at first seems like mindless slaughter—retribution by locals for the job losses Morse's plan is already causing in the region—becomes far more sinister when a shocking murder is discovered and Mike's investigation becomes a hunt to find a ruthless killer. In order to solve the controversial case, Bowditch risks losing everything he holds dear: his best friends, his career as a law enforcement officer, and the love of his life.
          The beauty and magnificence of the Maine woods is the setting for a story of suspense and violence when one powerful woman’s missionary zeal comes face to face with ruthless cruelty.