Monday, March 28, 2016

Last Shot by John Feinstein

Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol entered a writing contest and have won spots to cover the Final Four tournament.  Both are very excited to be so close to famous college players and coaches.   As they wait to interview the hot shot player of the tournament, they stumble upon a conversation between this player and an unknown adult.  This adult is telling him that he must "throw" the final game so that Duke can win instead of his school.  By stumbling on this story, Stevie and Susan know that they have to get to the bottom of what is going on at the tournament.  Will they find out the truth?  Will they find out the truth in time to help out the star player?  Or, will the Final Four tournament be in ruins?  Find out in this quick reading mystery.

I was inspired to read this during March Madness this year.  If you are a college basketball fan, you will see many familiar names and places within the pages of this novel.  If you are not a college basketball fan, well...why not?  Seriously, you will find a story here that will interest you.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Like a River by Kathy Cannon Wiechman

Leander Jordan is the younger brother, and he is always being compared to his older, smarter, harder-working brother, Nate.  He is tired of hearing how he needs to be more mature.  When Nate gets hurt, he is told that he now needs to do the work of two, but Leander wants to do something besides stay on the farm where he is constantly compared.  Nate's best friend Giv comes by to tell everyone goodbye before he goes off to war which gives Leander an idea.  Even though Leander is not old enough, he decides that this is his opportunity to prove himself.  So...he convinces Giv to let him go along.  Leander gets into the Union army, but he soon realizes that war is not glamourous.  Leander gets wounded on the battlefield and is sent to a hospital where he meets Paul Settles. Paul is there to take care of his dad and cares for the rest of the patients as well.  Paul and Leander both have secrets that could cause major problems for each of them.  Will their secrets be revealed?

Wiechman did a super job of weaving these two stories together.  Since we had just set up a Civil War hospital up in the library a couple of weeks ago, this book was extremely interesting to me.  I appreciated how she explained the hospital setting.  Good historical read!

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Grandpa Ephraim tells of a magical circus where a girl can fly, an elephant can talk, and a special man is there called the Lightbender. He tells the story so well that Micah, his grandson, believes in magic with all of his heart.  Micah loves living with his grandpa until his grandpa gets sick.  Then, Aunt Gertrudis moves in to take care of them.  But, she is a bitter old woman and blames everything on magic specifically the magical circus, Circus Mirandus.  Grandpa Ephraim hoped that she had mellowed over time, but when he sees that is not the case, he knows that it is time to call in a wish to the Lightbender.  The Lightbender is the only one who can help them, but will he be able to grant the wish that Micah and Grandpa Ephraim so desperately need?  Find out in this quick read.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One of Us by Jeannie Waudby

K is caught under the train in a deadly bomb attack by the Brotherhood.  Thankfully, she is saved by Oskar.  Oskar recruits her to infiltrate the Brotherhood so that they can be taken down for good.  K has to take on a different identity as well as live and go to school with the very people who she believes are responsible for her parents' death.  As she gets to know the other students at the school, she does not know if what she has been told about the Brotherhood is entirely accurate especially when it comes to Greg.  Oskar tells her to be steadfast in catching the criminals, but her heart is telling her a different story.  As time goes on, she is not sure who to believe.  Who are the bad guys?  Who is she really?  Don't miss this page turner.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz

Kai lost almost everyone he cares about in the tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.  He is offered the chance to meet people who were affected by 9/11, so he takes it because he will get the chance to see his father as well as attend the tenth anniversary of Ground Zero. In this novel in verse, Lowitz brings the characters together to show how the power of knowing that you are not alone can be to people in crisis. 

Kai helps you understand what children felt who lost so many in the tragedy.  I particularly liked how the author brought in a separate tragedy and how those who had been affected during that time could help their Japanese counterparts.   I highly recommend this title.