What Have I Read Lately? Glad You Asked!

Ordering new books is one of the most awesome parts of my job, but then I want to READ all of them! Never enough time to read them all, but here’s what I’ve read over the past several weekends:

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The Templeton Twins Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner (J-Fic)

I love a snarky narrator and this book has one of the snarkiest narrators EVER! Abigail and John are the 12-year-old twins of a very famous inventor. (They also have a ridiculous little barking dog named Cassie.) When their father takes a job at a new university in order to complete his research on one of his coolest inventions, their lives become terribly complicated and dangerous! Can the twins examine all the clues in time to save themselves and their father’s inventive reputation?

What Came From the Stars by Gary Schmidt (YA Fic)

A planet in a distant galaxy is under attack, so the heroes decide to pour all of their civilization’s beauty into a single necklace and send it out into the universe hoping for a safe landing. Of course, they could never have imagined it would land in the Ace Robotroid lunch box of 6th grader, Tommy Pepper. What powers does the necklace contain? How will it change the lives of everyone in Tommy’s town? And who is ransacking everyplace in sight trying to get it back??

Zip by Ellie Rollins (J Fic)

Lyssa’s mom was a bona fide Texas singing star and their lives were full of concerts and music and creative people. When her mother dies, Lyssa and her stepfather relocate to Washington State to try to start a new life away from all the memories. It’s not a bad life, but feels so ordinary and dull that Lyssa is restless and edgy. Then word reaches Lyssa that their wonderful old house in Texas is going to be torn down and she knows she has got to go to Austin to stop it. But how?

Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood (J Fic)

Prairie Evers has always lived in the mountains of North Carolina, where life is a cozy quilt of family and farm life. Homeschooled by her Grandma and happy with the creative freedom that comes from being so involved in the natural world, she is content. Then her parents have an opportunity to take over a much larger farm in New York state and Prairie finds herself uprooted from everything she’s ever known and plunked down in public school to boot! Can this country girl find a place, a pal and a purpose?

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (YA Fic)

When Amy’s dad dies in a car crash, everything changes for her family. Her mom has to look for a new job, her brother falls into bad habits and Amy just feels lost. Then her mom decides to accept a job on the opposite coast and makes arrangements for Amy to ride cross-country with the son of an old family friend. Amy can’t think of anything more unpleasant – but when they decide to take an epic detour – life may just turn around for everyone!

Splendors & Glooms by Amy Schiltz (J Fic)

The master puppeteer, Grisini is truly talented and a more than a bit frightening. But orphans Lizzie and Parsifal are happy to have become part of his troupe and have grown used to their new responsibilities and hardships. But when they do a puppet show for the very rich Clara Wintermute’s birthday party and she turns up missing the next day, their lives may never be the same. What magic is afoot? Where is Clara? And is running from Grisini taking them toward someone even more dangerous?

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel (YA Fic)

The sequel to This Dark Endeavor finds Victor Frankenstein’s family devastated by the death of his twin brother, Konrad. Despite all the alchemy and sacrifice and terrifying schemes Victor and his friends attempted in order to save Konrad’s life, it was to no avail. In despair, all the materials from his grandfather’s secret library are thrown onto a huge bonfire and the tower room is to be permanently sealed to avoid any further entanglements with such experiments. Yet, as Victor views the smoldering rubble, he finds a metal book, and inside another key that could be the means to bring his beloved brother back to life. Could it be possible that he might truly succeed this time?

The Agency by Y.S. Lee (YA Fic)

Twelve year old Mary Quinn is an orphan and a thief on the mean streets of London. As the story opens, she has been condemned to hang for her crimes and accepts her fate as an expected way out of her wretched life. Knocked out with chloroform by the warden, she awakes in a private boarding school which specializes in reclaiming the lives of young girls such as herself. But when she turns 17, Mary discovers that the school is really a cover for a secret spy agency that uses brave young women as agents to unravel all manner of criminal cases. Assigned her first case, Mary has a small crisis of faith – can she really pull off life as a spy?

Fourmile by Watt Key (J Fic)

Foster may only be 12, but he knows that his mom’s new boyfriend is not a good guy. But since his dad died, she’s been so lonely and sad, that he feels badly about having such a negative attitude when she seems to feel happier. Without his dad on the farm, they’re unable to keep up with things and are planning to sell the farm. Then one afternoon, a stranger and his dog come walking down their dusty rural Alabama road and all of their lives come rushing toward one explosive moment.

The Applewhites at Wit’s End by Stephanie Tolan (J Fic)

The crazy Applewhite family has always managed to squeak by just fine on their dilapidated farm. One or the other of the eccentric, artistically talented family members always manages to find a way to bring in some money to keep them afloat…. until this year. In desperation, they decide to become a sleep away camp for promising young students of the arts – a plan that is half-baked at best. Add to the mix some very unhappy campers and a sneaky spy set on closing the camp down and you have quite a summer underway!

Hurt Go Happy by Ellen Rorby (J Fic)

Joey has been in a silent world for nearly 7 years – ever since she lost her hearing. Her mother has never allowed her to learn sign language, which has made it harder for Joey to adjust to her situation. Everything changes when she accidentally meets Dr. Mansell and his baby chimpanzee and begins to learn sign along with them. Her life is better than ever until her new chimp friends’ lives are threatened….. 

Almost Home by Joan Bauer (J Fic)

Sugar and her mama have not been dealt a good hand. Her grandfather died and her father is gone again and the bank has evicted them from their house. Bravely, they set out to start over in Chicago, but times are hard there, too, and they end up in a homeless shelter –  along with the puppy Sugar accepted from a little girl outside a grocery store. Sugar’s always been told to see the good in things, but if things get much worse, she’s not sure she and her mama will be able to keep smiling – especially if they can’t even find a way to stay together.

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (J Fic)

Georges and his dad have just moved into a big Brooklyn apartment building. While storing some things in the basement, they discover a notice announcing a meeting of the spy club. Georges dad encourages him to check it out, which leads him to meet Safer and his very unusual family. Safer considers himself the consummate spy and enlists Georges help in tracking a mysterious tenant in the complex. Soon the spying goes to levels Georges is not really comfortable with and he has to decide how far he will go for a new friendship.

The Whisper by Emma Clayton (J Fic)

The sequel to The Roar finds the captured children able to communicate telepathically in order to defeat the power-hungry man who has imprisoned them to be used as his own private army. The children know that it is up to them and them alone to find a way to overpower the mastermind and his henchmen and then disarm the rest of the warring world in order to find peace and bring harmony back to the planet. A very tall order, even for the mutant leaders of the children’s army. Can the healing breath of the Whisper defeat the jangled cries of The Roar?

Son by Lois Lowry (YA Fic)

Lois Lowry has revisited this story four times now, creating an intricate quartet of viewpoints and characters that are interwoven between the books. SON is the fourth book in the series (The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Messenger) about a futuristic society in which personal choice is no longer an option and families and jobs are chosen by the Society not the Individual. SON is a marvelous finishing touch to the series.

Sammy Keyes & the Power of Justice Jack by Wendelin Van Draanen (J Fic)

Sammy Keyes ought to know that Santa Martina is full of weird people and events, but no one was really prepared for Justice Jack. A doughy guy in a homemade costume and mask, he rides around on a dirt bike looking for crime to stop. Quirky and harmless – until the residents of her grandmother’s high-rise hire him to look into a missing resident and one of her best friends applies to be his new sidekick!

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (YA Fic)

The sequel to The Girl of Fire & Thorns, this novel finds Elisa a young widow and new queen  in the capital city. What should be a time of triumph and healing after winning a war against dark forces is instead one of despair and unrest. When emissaries of the dark begin arriving to capture Elisa and her powers for their own use, she must set off on a perilous journey to stop their power at its very source. Another great installment in this great trilogy about a girl chosen for greatness whether she finds herself ready for it or not…..

The Diviners by Libba Bray (YA Fic)

I am not a fan of scary books. (If you’ve ever asked me for a recommendation for a scary one, you know this is true.) But I’d read other books by Libba Bray before and had heard some great word of mouth about this one…. so I read it. It is set in 1920’s New York City where a party of flappers and dandies are fooling around with a Ouija board. Little do they know that they have just unleashed an evil spirit from the past that will wreak havoc on the Big Apple in terrifying ways… can a brash young flapper-wanna-be from Ohio be the one to discover the way to defeat the devil? Amazingly detailed and truly frightening… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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