Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Did you ever read a book that you liked - enough that you couldn't put it down -  but at the same time found it disturbing?  That was my experience with this year's One Book Nebraska - Teens choice, Blank Confession.   In some ways it reminded me of Bruiser by Neal Shusterman. Written in alternating points of points of view, Blank Confession tells the story of a small, rather geeky high school freshman, Mikey, who befriends a new boy at school named Shayne Blank.   After Mikey is bullied by a notorious drug dealer, Shayne takes it upon himself to stand up for his friend and what is right.  The story begins with Rawls, a police investigator who has just had a boy turn himself in for killing someone.  Rawl's experience with the confession alternates with that of Mikey and his daily battles with school bullies and trying to figure out his new friend Shayne. 

This book will be placed on our young adult shelf due to language and topics.  If you would like to see a video book trailer of Blank Confession, Click Here.

Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson

Wildfire Run will appeal to readers who love adventure and survival stories.  The story begins with Luke, the President's son, enjoying a  relaxing retreat at Camp David.  It soon turns deadly after a faraway earthquake sets off a chain of disastrous events that trap Luke and his two friends within the compound.  Luke is forced to summon strength, courage and leadership skills he didn't know he had in order to give the three of them a chance of surviving.  From earthquakes to wildfires, this is a real page turner to the end!  

Wildfire Run is nominated for the Intermediate Golden Sower Award.  EMS readers have rated this book 5 stars in Destiny. 

 To see a video book trailer, Click Here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, on her 12th birthday, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. Nineteen schools and one messed up Prom later, Sophie finds herself at Hex Hall. This is the school for messed  up Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, warlocks, fairies, and shapeshifters. That's not the worst of it, her MIA dad is the one who sent her to the isolated school.

By the end of her first day among the teen-freaks, Sophie has made enemies with the three most powerful, supermodel looking witches, developed an extreme crush on an unavailable warlock, and acquired a new roommate, the most hated person at school, who also happens to be the only vampire. Worse, Sophie learns that there is a predator going around and attacking students and her only friend is the first and only suspect.

As the mystery of the attacks continue, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient society dead set on destroying all Prodigium, especially her.

Click here to view a video book trailer.  To read an ex excerpt, click here.

Venom by Fiona Paul

Cassandra Caravello is a wealthy, 14 year-old, aristocrat who has lived in a mansion with her Aunt Agnese since her parents’ unexpected deaths 5 years ago. Cassandra has lived the routine life of tutors, lessons, balls and parties until she meets a handsome artist’s apprentice (far below her class in society). Together this unusual and improper pair stumble across the murdered body of a young woman with an X carved into her chest. Cassandra is determined to solve the mystery of the murdered girl. She also must balance her feelings for the artist’s apprentice with loyalty to her fiancé whom she hasn’t seen in years. This pampered young lady is in for the ride of her life as she steps away from the protection of her societal class and into the dangerous underbelly of street life in Venice. 
This book is for people who like historical fiction, mystery, intrigue, sitting on the edge of your seat while the heroine and her partner get into and out of sticky situations. If you are a fan of murder mysteries…this is your kind of book. It is set during the Renaissance period in Venice, Italy
Although it is not my current, favorite genre, (I have been going for fantasy lately), I really liked this historical fiction mystery. There was lots of intrigue as I read to find out if Cassandra and Falco would be discovered in several scary situations. It was interesting watching Cassandra evolve from a protected and naïve girl to meeting and learning about a class of society that has been kept from her completely. There are a couple of very well-written subplots that help keep the story interesting.       Thanks to Mrs. Matuella for this submission. 

Click here if you would like to read a part of this book.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a book that makes you think about what great opportunity we have in the United States and what extreme challenges people have in other countries.  It's a story about war and tragedy, but also a story about hope and perseverance.  The story takes place in war-ridden Sudan and exposes readers to issues such as extreme poverty, racism, religious intolerance and genocide.

This book tells two stories.  One about a boy named Salva, the other about a girl named Nya.  Salva was one of the lost boys, who was separated from his family and had to learn how to survive as a young boy in a country torn by war.  Nya walks miles every day just to provide her family with water so they might survive one more day.  Nya's and Salva's stories are separated by time, but intertwined by location and reinforces how the work of one individual can make such a profound difference in the lives of many.

Click here to view a video book trailer.

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

Aldwyn, a mangy alley cat, is not welcomed into many places. As a matter of fact, the bounty hunter, Grimsdale, would love to catch him and keep a paw for a souvenir.  Aldwyn is amazingly adept at quick escapes, but his last attempt at stealing fish was disastrous, but he did manage to escape  into a pet shop, one that sells companions, called Familiars, to wizards.  His cover is effective, but he didn't plan on Jack coming into the store and choosing him to be his Familiar.  What seems like a cushy job at first quickly turns into a very dangerous adventure when Jack is kidnapped, along with the two other young wizards in training.  The fate of their companions is now up to the Familiars.  To save the young wizards, Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert set out on a treacherous course, facing fierce foes, unearthing a shocking centuries-old secret. and discovering the destiny that will change everything. Magic isn't just for human wizards anymore!  Fantasy readers will like this one.

Click here  to view a video book trailer.