Rummanah Aasi
  After finishing Ferraris's debut novel, Finding Nouf, I wanted to know more about leading detectives Nayir and Katya. I was also interested in learning about the everyday life in Saudi Arabia from an author who personally lived there herself. City of Veils avoids the sophomore slump. In addition to a good mystery, we are also watch the characters grow and get a glimpse of their personal lives.
Description: The body of a young woman is discovered on the grimy sands of Jeddah beach; soon afterwards, a strong-minded American woman finds herself alone and afraid in the most repressive city on earth when her husband suddenly disappears. 
  Investigating police officer Osama Ibrahim, forensic scientist Katya Hijazi and her friend, the strictly devout Bedouin guide Nayir Sharqi join forces to search out the truth in the scorching city streets and the vast, lethal emptiness of the desert beyond.

Review: Ferraris's enjoyable and thought provoking second novel is again set in Saudi Arabia and features the desert guide Nayir Sharqi and forensic scientist Katya Hijazi, introduced in Finding Nouf. While I recommend reading Finding Nouf to get a better understanding of the leading detectives, it is not necessary. City of Veils could be read as a standalone.
 Nayir and Hijazi gingerly probe the death of an unconventional young woman found mutilated and half-nude on a beach near Jeddah. Ferraris takes her time in unraveling the identity of the victim, creating an image of a woman who is far from the stereotype of a Saudi woman: she is loud, flouted religious custom while making provocative films exposing the seamy side of Jeddah and even questioned the purity of the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam. The list of suspects who would harm her grows by the hour.
  While the aspect of questioning the purity of the sacred book was unsettling to me as a Muslim, I can see what the author was trying to do-not impose a religious opinion but rather show the intolerance of critical thinking. I was interested in finding out the "inconsistencies" and though the author refers to certain passages from the Quran, there are no notations of the passages.
  As Nayir and Katya work together, they also stumble upon the disappearance of an American security contractor, who, to the dismay of his American wife, had a "summer marriage" with the victim. Ferraris presents a complicating and at times searing portrait of Saudi Arabia. Though there are many indications of social injustices particularly where women rights are concerned, you can also see the lighter appreciative aspects of the culture as well such as dinner gatherings with friends.
  What draws me deeper into the story isn't necessarily the mystery, which is good, but rather the central characters. Nayir is a a sensitive, but traditional and orthodox Muslim. He battles himself with coming to terms with his own desire to be with Katya. I also find him inching toward realizing that a working relationship requires an equal balance. While independent-minded Katya struggles to establish her own identity as a professional woman and must pretend to be married in order to work as a technician in Jeddah's homicide force. In the Saudi society, women and men can't have any other relationship other than familial or of wife/husband. Katya's boss, Det. Insp. Osama Ibrahim, also goes through a personal change and loses his progressive self-image after he discovers his wife wants a career more than she wants his children.
  Readers looking for something more in their ordinary mysteries should definitely give Ferraris's book a try. The social commentary of the Saudi society, which is much hidden from our eyes, isn't heavy handed but engrossing. I'm also very curious to see if Nayir has the courage to propose to Katya and if she will accept. I look forward to picking up the next book in this series.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Strong violence, most of which takes off the page, and some language. Recommended for teens and adults who enjoy learning about different cultures along with solving a good mystery.

If you like this book try: Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris, Collaborator of Bethlehem by Matt Rees
Rummanah Aasi
  The Newbery Awards were announced earlier this week. Flora and Ulysses, a novel I thoroughly enjoyed was named the winner and Holly Black's spooky middle grade fantasy, Doll Bones was a Newbery Honor book. While I didn't enjoy Doll Bones as much as Flora and Ulysses, I still think there is a lot that young readers will enjoy: an action packed adventure, a ghost story, and a little hint of romance.

Description: Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.

Review: Doll Bones is a middle grade fantasy that also works quite well as a creepy ghost tale that delivers the ever-changing nature of friendship, the price of growing up and the power of storytelling. Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends ever since they were little and enjoy spending their time in their joint creation, an epic role-playing saga of pirates and perils, queens and quests. As they approach 12, their interests are changing along with their bodies.
  When Zach's father trashes his action figures and commands him to "grow up," Zach abruptly quits the game even though a large part of him doesn't want to. Poppy begs him to join her and Alice on one last adventure: a road trip to bring peace to the ghost possessing her antique porcelain doll. The ghost is supposedly a princess who was brutally murdered and her soul has been transferred into the porcelain doll. While Zach is reluctant to join the adventure, his draw to the adventure and one of the girls takes over and he changes his mind. As they travel by bus and boat (with a fateful stop at the public library), the ghost seems to take charge of their journey--and the distinctions between fantasy and reality, between play and obligation, begin to dissolve.
 The book moves quite slowly at first, but once the trio go on their journey and the tale of the porcelain doll is slowly unraveled, the pace picks up quickly. Black packs both heft and depth into a deceptively simple narrative. A lot of the metaphors glide their way into the story and you don't really notice it until much later. Each of the characters are given time and space to talk about their own family issues from Zach's bitter relationship with his father to Anna's chafing at her overprotective grandmother to Poppy's resignation with her neglected relations, however, I really wished these relationships were further explored. While we see the trio complete their journey and the fate of the porcelain doll, I was left wanting to know what happened next. Spooky, melancholy, yet ultimately hopeful, Doll Bones is a story of that confusing time when adolescents shed of their childhood innocence and jump into the murky waters of adulthood.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images and violence that is associated with the doll but they are toned down a bit and take place off the page. Recommended for strong readers in Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn, Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
Rummanah Aasi
 Today I would like to introduce you to a award winning artist and author, J.B (Bridget) Chicoine, who has just released her first book, Portrait of a Girl Running, in a YA/New Adult series featuring Leila Sanders. The interview below gives us a glimpse into the author's latest novel and her main character.

Before we get to the interview, here is the description and the cover of Portrait of a Girl Running:

All Leila wants is to get through her senior year at her new high school without drawing undue attention. Not that she has any big secret to protect, but her unconventional upbringing has made her very private. At seventeen, she realizes just how odd it was that two men raised her—one black, one white—and no mother. Not to mention they were blues musicians, always on the move. When her father died, he left her with a fear of foster care and a plan that would help her fall between the cracks of the system. Three teachers make that impossible—the handsome track coach, her math teacher from hell, and a jealous gym instructor. Compromising situations, accusations of misconduct, and judicial hearings put Leila’s autonomy and even her dignity at risk, unless she learns to trust an unlikely ally.

What inspired you to write Portrait of a Girl Running?

Well, I have always been intrigued with unconventional relationships (romantic and otherwise) and what makes them endure or fizzle, especially when a lot is working against their success. Girl Running—and also Protégé—aren’t really about taboo relationships as much as they are about the twisted road that love sometimes takes, about letting to of old baggage and grabbing for something far more enduring that lust.

  In Portrait of a Girl Running, the main character, Leila, is seventeen and living on her own after being raised by two biracial fathers, both blues musicians. She plays blues piano herself, and later meets Clarence Myles, a math teacher, who also has an interest in the blues. What spurred your interest in this particular type of music?

I’ve always leaned toward having the blues, so maybe that genre just naturally appeals to. So, when I was developing Leila’s character, I didn’t want her to be typical 17-year-old, and blues is not typically what teenage girls listen to. Blues is unpretentious, like Leila, and I think it suits the tone of the story.

  At the novel’s start, Leila meets Ian Brigham before learning that he is a track coach at her new high school. They develop an obvious attraction for each other, which is an important plotline in the story. What made you want to write about a student/teacher relationship, and how would you characterize theirs?

Leila and Ian Brigham’s relationship is based on not just a physical attraction and compatibility, but on a growing emotional dependency. Although their developing relationship is a major plot point, Leila’s relationship with her curmudgeonly math teacher, Mr. Myles, ends up impacting her life more than Ian, filling her need of a true friend and father figure.

  Both Portrait of a Girl Running and its sequel, Portrait of a Protégé, take place in the Northeast. How integral is the setting to these two stories?

I think both of these stories could have taken place anywhere—I simply chose settings I was most familiar with. That said, the racial “geography”—the line between the black and white sides of town—is important in Girl Running. Millville, the fictitious town based on where I grew up, fits the criteria for that time period in a unique way.

  Leila has a number of interests, including running and painting. How does your own career as an artist inform your work?

I have to admit that Leila and I share a similar style of painting—very controlled and detailed. Of course, Leila is a far better artist at seventeen than I ever was. By the end of Protégé, she has conquered a lot of the fears I still struggle with, so I guess I tried on her daringness just to see how it felt.

 Are you working on another novel? If so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes—it is a psychological drama about a young man whose delusional mother believes he his blind. His story is told through an enigmatic young seamstress, hired to alter the young man’s trousers when he returns from England for his father’s funeral. It is set in New England, of course.

 About J.B. Chicoine

J. B. Chicoine was born on Long Island, New York, and grew up in Amityville during the 1960s and 70s. She has lived in New Hampshire, Kansas City and Michigan. She enjoys setting her stories in New England. She has been writing stories since she was a girl, but didn't complete a novel until she was nearly thirty. Since then, she has completed four more novels: Uncharted: Story for a Shipwright, Spilled Coffee, Portrait of a Girl Running and its sequel Portrait of a Protege
  J. B. Chicoine's novels are character driven, (though she does love a plot twist). As a watercolor artist, people are one of her favorite subjects. She says that developing a character is so much like painting a portrait--adding layers as she goes--creating depth. She also enjoys designing covers and binding her novels. She blogs about her painting and writing. When she's not writing or painting, she enjoys volunteer work, baking crusty breads and working of various projects with her husband. 
For more information about J.B., check out her art blog, writing blog, website, and on Goodreads
Rummanah Aasi
  Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. In Volume 15 of Boys Over Flowers, Tsukasa learns what retribution means and we meet Tsukushi's harshest enemy yet!

Description: Junpei has promised to protect Tsukushi and always be there for her. His promise comes just in time, since Tsukushi has been given another of the infamous "red slips," the mark of someone targeted for abuse. Meanwhile, Akira and Sojiro are desperately looking for Tsukasa, who has been gone for days. It turns out that Junpei harbors a terrible grudge against Tsukasa and is using Tsukushi as bait to get him! This has shockingly violent results. Later Tsukushi gets dressed up and attends Tsukasa's birthday party. Little does she realize the implications that attendance has!

Review: One of the main themes of Boys Over Flowers has been bullying. For most of the series thus far, those who are less well off have been the victims of bullying; however, things change when Tsukasa becomes the victim and like the cliche goes, gets a taste of his own medicine. I liked how the author does a role reversal and questions if getting revenge does make things even or just keeps the cycle of violence repeating. While I felt bad for Tsukasa as he gets severely injured, there was a small part of me felt that he needed to understand how others feel when he puts them down. Will Tsuskasa's violent behavior change? Yes and no. After reading up to volume 20, I do see him changing in that he begins to understand other people's feelings.
  In addition to the bullying plot, we are introduced to Tsukasa's intimidating and stone cold mother. Tsukasa's mother has her own plans and doesn't plan on using her children as pawns to get her way. I definitely see where Tsukasa gets his aggressiveness from and I wonder if the author is trying to make her readers understand why Tsukasa behaves the way he does, but interestingly enough she doesn't seem to condone his behavior. At the end of the volume, Tsukasa clearly states his feelings for Tsukushi in front of everyone at his birthday party and for once there is nothing to impede Tsukushi's understanding. How does Tsukushi exactly feel about Tsukasa? Is she willing to give a relationship with Tsuskasa a chance? I guess we'll have to find out in the next volume!

Rating: 4 stars 

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence and minor language. Recommended for teens and adults.

If you like this book try: Boys Over Flowers Vol 16 by Yoko Kamio, Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
Rummanah Aasi

Description: It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.
  Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

Review: John Searle's Help for the Haunted is an uneven coming-of-age/murder mystery. The book has a promising start, but losses its steam towards its resolution. Readers looking for the literal sense of "haunted" a la the Paranormal Activity movies will be disappointed as the haunted in the case of this book is more of the metaphorical sense of the word.
  Sylvie Mason's parents are renowned demonologists until they were brutally murdered in a church on a snowy night. Devoutly Christian, her dad zealously worked the lecture circuit while her mom had the talent to soothe the haunted humans who came to them for help. The specifics of what Sylvie's parents' job is shrouded in mystery and unveiled slowly in the book due to Sylvie's own ignorance.
 When her parents are murdered, Sylvie is the sole witness but doesn't fully remember what happened. In the custody of Rose, her spiteful, rebellious older sister, Sylvie struggles to reconcile her bleak new life with her slightly less-bleak former life. In the past, Sylvie was dubbed the good daughter who obeyed her parents, but now she is by her peers, and the fate of the murder suspect rests in her unsure hands.
  Searles successfully jumps back and forth in time to let these stories unfold, sewing clues and strange details along the way. What frustrated me the most about Help for the Haunted was that there were so many subplots that were really intriguing, but instead of delving deeper and exploring these routes they were abandoned. Despite these frustrations, the author maintains his suspense by having Sylvie slowly coming into her own person and sets her journey to uncover greater truths about her sister, herself and what happened the night of the killing. Though the focus of the story turns to the mystery, her parents remain murky set pieces, their paranormal abilities and activities are never wholly understood. Other parts of the narrative veer toward over-explanation, but some moments are deftly eerie especially scenes with a creepy looking china doll and so-called cages her parents kept in the basement. The book does keep readers guessing until the final reveal but the ending is unsatisfying and puzzling as if the author wasn't sure how to end the book. Overall is Help for the Haunted is a somber story that had a lot of potential to be great. I would recommend this book to readers looking for psychological thrillers.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images, strong violence, and language in the book. Recommended for older teens and adults.

If you like this book try: Songs for the missing by Stewart O'Nan, A complicated kindness by Miriam Toews
Rummanah Aasi
  Flora and Ulysses is an original, touching and oh-so-funny story starring an endearingly implausible superhero and a not-so-cynical girl. I would recommend this book for young readers who want a short, quick, and fun read.

Description: Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo. It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

Review: Flora and Ulysses is an adorable middle grade read that has plenty of laughs, a tinge of sadness, and some depth for a good book discussion. The story begins unlike any other children's book I've read thus far with a super powerful vacuum cleaner...and a squirrel. To paint a clearer picture, a hungry squirrel en route looking for acorns who gets sucked into a Ulysses Super Suction wielded by Flora’s neighbor, Mrs. Tickham. The rather hairless squirrel that is spit out is not the same one that went in.
  The squirrel is feared dead until the comic book obsessed Flora remembers CPR and rescues the  squirrel, newly named Ulysses, is still hungry, but now he has many thoughts in his head. He can understand Flora talking to him and can communicate with head gestures, which convinces Flora that Ulysses is a superhero like The Amazing Incandesto, whose comic-book adventures Flora read with her father. As we all know every superhero has a super villain to overcome. In the case of Ulysses, the villain is Flora's mother, an author of romance books who loves her career more than her lonely ex-husband or equally lonely precocious daughter.
  Since Flora’s father and mother have split up, Flora has become a confirmed and defiant cynic. She is sequestered in her room by choice and has very few friends. Her cynical heart begins to melt when she forms a bond with Ulysses who can type, compose poems, fly, and adores Flora with all of her quirks and flaws. Flora and Ulysses go on many adventures that is triggered by a chain of events that is sparked by Flora's mother attempts to kill Ulysses. During these adventures we not only see how heroic Ulysses can be, but also Flora's character growth in believing in possibilities and the importance of forgiveness.
  Th text is extremely witty and droll. There are some big vocabulary words sprinkled throughout the story which I liked because it challenges readers to figure out the meaning using inference and context clues. The vocabulary also demonstrates how precocious Flora really is and her love of books. The story is accompanied by comic-book--style black-and-white illustrations perfectly relay the all-too-hilarious adventures of Flora, Ulysses and a cast of eccentric characters that bring this story to life. I wasn't the biggest fan of Because of Winn-Dixie and didn't really understand the appeal of DiCamillo's work until reading this one. I do plan on reading her other books.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution:  None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny: Detectives extraordinaire! by Horvath, Polly
Rummanah Aasi
  Brigid Kemmerer's Elemental series is going strong in its fourth full length novel, Secret. This series is incredibly addicting, compulsively readable, and well written. Readers who are a bit burnt from the whole paranormal romance genre should consider giving this series about a band of brothers a chance. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of Secret. Secret will be released by on January 28th.

Description: Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point. Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown. Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family. Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner. Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.
Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

Review: Nick Merrick has a secret. He is terrified that when his brothers find out what he is hiding they will despise him and worse, be very disappointed in him. The stress is tying him in knots, while a potential relationship is making him come undone. How long can Nick separate himself as two people and keep his secret under wraps?
  It's been far too long since I read a book in a sitting. I had to force myself to put Secret down at times because I knew I was going to burn through the pages and be sad that I would have to say goodbye to these terrific characters after I finish the last page. The pace was terrific considering there is more character development than action in Secret, however, there are battle scenes that heightened the suspense enough that I couldn't read fast enough to find out what was going to happen.
  Kemmerer deals with a sensitive issues in this fourth installment of The Elementals Series. She handles it with sensitivity, dignity, and seriously without being heavy handed or preachy. Nick's struggle with his own identity is well written and realistic. Like his other brothers, Nick struggles with his own demons. He is terrified of disappointing his brothers. He is known to be reliable, smart, and the level headed one. He knows what is expected of him, but is that the real him? Is he selfish in wanting his own future that involves college, not working in his brother's landscaping business, and a real relationship? Nick's fear is very real and tangible. Readers like me who understand how debilitating it can be to let the people you love down and disappointed, can understand a little of what Nick is going through. His fear consumes and paralyzes him. He represses his own desires and anger until he can't handle the pressure anymore. Kemmerer stays true to the characters her fans have come to know and love. Their strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and failures are laid out for us to see from one chapter to the next.
  If you've read the novella Breathless, you already know Nick's secret, but Kemmerer has other startling plot developments that keep the readers hooked. this novel has many surprises that I did not see coming.
One of the biggest surprises for me was that my opinion of Quinn has changed. I didn't really care for her as a character. Before this book she came across as an obnoxious and reactive drama queen, but we do get to understand her better in Secret as we witness her broken home first hand. Plus there is an unusual ally that the Merricks find in this book who I never thought to sympathize and like.
  Once again The Elemental series proves to be not your ordinary paranormal romance. Characters who could easily be written off as flat and forgettable are transformed into people who tug our heartstrings and make our eyes watery. Secret leaves plenty of questions and I really wish the next book isn't called Sacrifice because it's making me incredibly anxious.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language including slurs, crude sexual humor, some underage drinking, and a few heavy make-out scenes. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Chronicles of Nick series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Intertwined series by Gena Showalter, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Rummanah Aasi
  Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. Boys Over Flowers is not overly romantic than the other shojo mangas that I've read. Though there is chemistry between Tsukushi and Tsukasa, there are plenty of moments and instances that suggest they are not right for one another. Perhaps this will change as the series comes to its climax?

Description: Tsukasa's raucous behavior at Tsukushi's junior high school class reunion has her fed up with him once again. Tsukasa is crushed by this but is too stubborn to apologize. Later, Tsukushi is assaulted by two school girls and then rescued by a "young nerdy boy" who returns out to be Junpei, a famous male model who has been dying to meet Tsukushi! Her dumb luck then gets her involved in a photo shoot with him, and she ends up on the cover of a famous magazine. This causes quite a scene at school, but not nearly as big a scene as when Tsukasa finds the two of them together!

Review: Boys Over Flowers manga series can get a bit repetitive in terms of plot, but it still manages to pique my interest with how the characters deal with a particular situation. This volume begins with a dramatic start. Tsukushi is enjoying a reunion dinner with her junior high friends at a local restaurant. Tsuksasa and the rest of the F4 appear and begin making fun of the group. Tsukasa sneers at their lower social status and even begins a fight! Tsukushi is humiliated and furious so much so that she smacks Tsukasa for his unruly behavior in front of everyone and tells him she never wants to seem him again. Everyone in the manga gasped and I did too! I never thought Tsukushi would have that much guts in her.
  News of the argument between Tsukasa and Tsukushi spread like wildfire at school. Tsukushi is mistreated by Tsukasa's groupies and later saved by an unnamed, mysterious boy named Junpei.There is something sinister about Junpei in that he is super sweet. Tsukushi actually finds out that he is the brother of one of her junior high friends and is a very famous model who disguises himself like Clark Kent.  Meanwhile Tsukasa is no where to be seen. The F3 look for him and tell him that he was in the wrong and should apologize to Tsukushi. The proud Tsukasa has never apologized in his entire life and doesn't know how! Once Tsukasa gets the courage to apologize to Tsukushi, he finds out that she is spending time with Junpei who he has known in the past! Who is Junpei really? What is his connection to Tsukasa? We'll find out in the next volume!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and violence. Recommended for teens and up.

If you like this book try: Boys Over Flowers Vol 15 by Yoko Kamio, Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
Rummanah Aasi
  This round of picture books are either Caldecott winners or honorees. The Caldecott award is given to the best picture books for young readers. This year's Caldecott winner and honorees will be announced by the American Library Association on January 28th, 2014.

Description: Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, always made time to visit his good friends: the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl. But one day - "Ah-choo!" - he woke up with the sniffles and the sneezes. Though he didn't make it into the zoo that day, he did receive some unexpected guests.

Review: A sweet heartwarming tale of friendship, A Sick Day for Amos McGee does require a bit of suspension of disbelief when it comes to the activities and the behavior of the animals, but the relationship between the friendly and beloved zookeeper and the animals surpass even the most cynical adult. Like the story, the pictures are quiet and the illustrations are composed of pencil and woodblock color prints, are both tender and hilarious. Each scene captures the drama of Amos and the creatures caring for each other, whether the elephant is contemplating his chess moves, his huge behind perched on a stool; or the rhinoceros is lending Amos a handkerchief; or the owl is reading them all a bedtime story. A Sick Day of Amos McGee is a great story for those looking for a pet-bonding theme as well as animal lovers. It is a good story to snuggle up to on a cold, wintry night.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades PreK to Grade 1.

If you like this book try: If a Beaver Had a Fever by Helen Ketteman, Farm Flu by Teresa Bateman

Description: In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true.

Review: Me...Jane is a great introduction to biographies for younger readers. In a just a few pages, this picture book is rich in information on the account of the childhood of Jane Goodall, the famous animal behavior scientist. Those familiar with Patrick McDonnell's Mutts comic strip (one of my favorites) will recognize its ink and watercolor sketches in his popular style. Jane's passion for science, particularly studying animal is clearly shown as she hides for hours in the hen house to observe egg-laying, a practice which anticipates her long vigils watching and recording chimpanzees in the Tanzanian game reserve. There are pages of animal puzzles drawn by a youthful Jane and photographs of her as a child and as a grownup.This account shows how her childhood dream of helping animals in Africa became a reality. The engaging narrative ends with an inspiring message from Dr. Goodall saying that "each one of us makes a difference in the world." On the last few pages of the book includes a page of information about Goodall for adults. Young readers interested working or taking care of animals would thoroughly enjoy this picture book.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Grades K to Grades 3

If you like this book try: The Amazon by Jane Bingham

Description: Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farm boy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten.

Review: The concept behind Grandpa Green is not new, but Smith pulls it off flawlessly. Smith uses the conceit of a garden as a metaphor for lock-box of memories. The story begins with an elderly unnamed person, however, readers see a fairly modern-looking boy tending to an increasingly impressive topiary garden featuring creations sculpted to visualize each stage of the person’s life. The garden morphs seamlessly with the text, never missing a beat. For example, when the unnamed boy has chicken pox, they are represented by berries across a humanlike shrub’s face. Going off to war is visualized by a cannon-shaped shrub with branches shooting from its muzzle. What I loved most about the illustrations is that though they are creative and clever, they are also very poignant—especially after it is revealed that the boy is the great-great-grandson of the old man whose life is being described, and whose failing memories are contained in this garden. I was really impressed that this story was only told in a four-page fold-out spread. Though the very young readers may not understand the overarching theme in Grandpa Green, I really think this is the perfect book to help kids understand old age.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K- Grade 2.

If you like this book try: My garden by Kevin Henkes, And then it's spring by Julie Fogliano,
Rummanah Aasi
  Carrie Mesrobian's debut novel and Morris Award Nominee, Sex and Violence, is not a book that will suit everyone's tastes. Crass, crude, yet an accurate portrayal of language of teens coupled with a balance of harsh moments and sensitive character transformations make Sex and Violence a very interesting book to discuss with mature teens and adults, but I would not be surprised to see this title grace the list of books for Banned Book Week.

Description: Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time. After an assault that leaves Evan scarred inside and out, he and his father retreat to the family cabin in rural Minnesota—which, ironically, turns out to be the one place where Evan can't escape other people. Including himself. It may also offer him his best shot at making sense of his life again.

Review: Evan has been the perpetual new guy for far too long. He relocates constantly with his unsettled, non-communicative widower father, hence never making any real friends or lasting connections. Evan, however, he has no problem scoping out "easy girls" to add to his growing and alarming list of conquests in whatever town they happen to land.
  At his last school, a boarding school in North Carolina while his father is working overseas, Evan hooks up with the wrong girl, a schoolmate Collette who comes on to him faster than you can say her full  name, which leads to two dangerous and violent encounters: Evan severely beaten outside the group showers by two stereotypical big jocks and Collette viciously rape by the same boys. Although Evan's badly scarred body heals, needless to say that his wounded spirit struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. He completely alters his looks by avoiding the shower at all costs, avoid looking at man who have strong physiques, cutting his hair completely short, and dramatically decrease his flirtatious behavior.
    In an effort to become a good parent, his father moves them to the family's lake house in rural Minnesota and enlists a helpful therapist. Evan slowly works through his fears and awkwardness to gradually connect with a whole new cast of teens who offer friendship, partying, sexual, and even romantic potential; gets a job and a car; and slowly begins to resolve his feelings about the assault against him and Collette by writing therapy-prescribed unmailed letters to her.
  Evan is a very hard character to like, especially in the callous ways he sizes up, uses, and disposes females. His viewpoints of women are disgusting. I wouldn't want to be in the same building as him but I also couldn't help but see how wry and intelligent he is. He knows he is first class jerk (that's an understatement) and he doesn't hide it. It's a fact. To Evan women are seen as trophies to showcase his masculinity and victories, but these are the themes that Mesrobian expertly weaves into the story without being heavy-handed. Stripped from a mother's love and only shown affection and intimacy through sex, Evan is not sure what it is to be a man and above all what it means to be loved.
   Evan's character growth seemed realistic to me. While he was persistent in his negative behavior and once again found himself in trouble, he does finally have an epiphany and might finally learn a genuine lesson. He even develops a somewhat healthy relationship which I wished was a bit more fleshed out but I think it does give readers some comfort in knowing things are bright in Evan's future. Though readers may have a low tolerance for Evan initially, after witnessing his horrifying ordeal he transforms into someone with and for whom readers will eventually sympathize, want to shake into sensibility, and feel hope. Evan is a character that is unlike anyone that I've met in 2013 and very unlikely to forget.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: Strong language, violence (Evan's assault and Collette's rape happen off the page though we are given vivid flashbacks), sexual content and teen drug usage throughout the book. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt, Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Rummanah Aasi
  Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. Bullying rears its ugly head once again in the Boys Over Flowers series.

Description: It's Tsukushi's first time abroad, and she and her friend Yuki plan to tear up the slopes on a Canadian snowboarding adventure. But how much fun can Tsukushi really have with Tsukasa and those nasty Eitoku Academy girls always hanging around? Not much, it seems, because Tsukushi is sent out on a wild goose chase to rescue Yukui in below freezing temperatures. But who will rescue Tsukushi?!

Review: Tsukushi, and her best friend Yuki join the F4 to a trip to Canada. The purpose of the trip is to bring Tsukushi and Tsukasa closer to becoming an official couple, however, our romantic leads are not talking to one another after their horrendous date at the zoo. To make troubles worse, Assai and the nasty group of rich girls from Eitoku Academy has overheard Tsukushi telling Yuki about the trip before they left and have managed to follow the F4 all the way to Canada! Assai and her gang have only one goal in mind: get closer to Tsukasa by any means necessary. 
  Bullying is a constant theme running throughout the Boys over Flowers manga series. At times the bullying highlights the socio-economical differences between the different classes at the Eitoku university and at other times the bullying spotlights the unfair gender roles. In this volume of Boys over Flowers, the bullying is an attempt to show Tsukushi's caring side as a flaw especially when Tsukushi puts her life in danger to help Yuki who is supposedly lost in a snowstorm. Unlike the bratty gang of girls, the F4 doesn't see Tsukushi as weak but a strong girl who willing to do anything to save her friend and they start to devise a plan to help rescue her. 
  Tsukasa, our mercurial "hero" shows his soft and sensitive side in taking a lead role in finding and rescuing Tsukushi. There are many cute moments between these two in this volume. The romantic tension increases between the two characters. While Tsukushi does acknowledge that Tsukasa has saved her life, she is rightfully still leery of him due to his wild mood swings. Meanwhile Yuki who envied Tsukushi for being enrolled in Eitoku Academy and part of the F4 now understands that Tsukushi's life isn't as glamorous as she once thought.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and crude sexual humor. Recommended for teens and adults.

If you like this book try: Boys Over Flowers Vol. 14 by Yoko Kamio, Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
Rummanah Aasi
 One of the movies that I can't wait to see is Spike Jonze's Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson which has graced many movie critics best movies of 2013 lists. The plot of a lonely writer who falls in love with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need is bizarre but is it really that far from reality as we become more and more attached and obsessed with technology? I'm not entirely sure. Siri and Me, a comic graphic novel, by David Milgrim was published in 2012 and also has the same tone as the movie Her, except it loses its charm very quickly.

Description: Dave's never met anyone like Siri. She's helpful, smart, and easier to talk to than any girl he's ever known. She really gets him. Siri and Me is a love story for our times. A must read for all of us in a codependent relationship with our gadgets. An instant classic in a world of instant everything.

Review: When I picked up Siri & Me, I was hoping for a quick fun read that would have some depth and interesting conversations on how humans use technology. While the book was fun and a very short read, it move beyond the gimicky story of an ordinary man named Dave who displaces his fundamental relationships with living humans for Siri, the operating system of his iPhone.

  When the iPhone 4 came out there was a plethora of comments and jokes about Siri and her limitations. There are even websites that range from ridiculous to crude questions that you can ask Siri in order to get fun responses from her, but in Siri and Me, Siri demonstrates a very high intelligence you would see in a Asimovian book. There are moments where I was chuckling while reading Siri and Me. Dave is an amiable doofus, too self-absorbed to notice the way his actions hurt other people around him; the machines in his life in contrast demonstrate a humanity the humans seem bent on abandoning.
  The format of Siri and Me is very stripped-down and the illustrations are like cartoons, and the premise of the story is very catchy. Just don't expect a lot from it. I'm really hoping that the movie Her will fill in what was lacking in this graphic novel.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some crude humor. Recommended for teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Goodnight Ipad by Ann Droyd
Rummanah Aasi
  As a younger reader, I devoured mysteries. I would read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books that I can find. I think the younger me would get a kick out of Doreen Cronin's canine sleuth J.J. Tully and join him in his investigations.

Description: J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he's not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work - or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that's right in front of him?

Review: The Trouble with Chickens invokes the style and sense of classic hard-boiled mysteries in its deadpan humor and wonderful cast of colorful taking animals. Our narrator, J.J. Tully is a retired search-and-rescue dog who reluctantly undertakes the case of the missing chicks. J.J. may be a good at his profession but he is definitely not quite as clever as he believes himself to be, allowing readers to gently laugh at as well as with him.
  In he illustrations J.J. reminds me a little of the cartoon classic Scooby-Doo though his focus is much sharper on solving the mystery of the sudden disappearance of the two chicks. In contrast the chickens, mother and four chicks are seriously silly looking and very cute especially when they continue to challenge and exasperate J.J.  and fits their well rounded characters too. "Vince the Funnel" a character who has dark undertones also evokes our sympathy and a raised eyebrow at his cunning abilities.
  This slim book is a nice segway between chapter books and novel length books for younger readers. Though the font size is large the chapters are short, and there frequent illustrations, there is also sophisticated vocabulary and a complicated plot that makes this book appropriate for a wide range of readers. I also loved Cronin's constant word-play that made the pages go faster. The Trouble with Chickens is a great pick for young mystery readers as well as animal lovers.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for strong Grade 2 readers and up.

If you like this book try: The Legend of Diamond Lil (A J.J. Tully Mystery) by Deoreen Cronin, Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Rummanah Aasi

Welcome to my new feature called Forbidden Reads! Join me in celebrating your freedom to read. My goal for this feature is to highlight challenged and/or banned books from each literary audience: children, YA, and adult. Not only will I be doing a review of the book, I will also include information as to where and why the book was challenged/banned. Today I'll be reviewing one of my favorite books of 2013, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

Description: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Review: I've read many glowing reviews and heard lots of buzz for Rowell's Eleanor and Park, which made me hesitant to read it right away in fear that I wouldn't like it as much as I have been burned before with other hyped books. It languished on my Mount Everest-like to be read reading list for several months and was forgotten until it came back into the spotlight surrounding a controversy during Book Banned Week in Minnesota.
   Eleanor and Park is not your typical YA contemporary romance. It is abrasive, prickly, heart warming, tear-jerking, and heartbreaking look at imperfect first love. Eleanor and Park are an odd couple. They are both awkward misfits who feel comfortable lurking in the background and going unnoticed. They don't have a cute meet-up story. They meet vexed on the school bus, trapped into sitting together by a dearth of seats and their low social status.
  Park is the only half-Korean fan of punk and New Wave music at their high school. He is by no means popular nor gorgeous, but he benefits from his family's deep roots in their lower-middle-class neighborhood. Meanwhile, Eleanor's physical characteristics alone, wildly curly red mane and plus-sized frame, would make her stand out like a sore thumb and a target for bullies even if she weren't a new student, having just returned to her family after a year of couch-surfing following being thrown out by her odious drunkard of a stepfather, Richie.
  What draws Eleanor and Park together is their commonality of just surviving high school on a day by day basis and hopefully making it out alive. I loved how Eleanor and Park stand out physically and sartorially. Interestingly enough Rowell doesn't spend much time overly describing the physical features of her protagonists, however makes it an important aspect of their lives emotionally and economically. For example, Park always wearing band T-shirts whereas Eleanor is always displaying menswear from thrift stores.    
  Despite not meeting on the best of terms, Eleanor and Park grow attached to one another when they realize they share many interests. It is this small thread of friendship that continues to grow and strengthen throughout the book. Park wants to become part of Eleanor's life but is frustrated when he is unable to due to Eleanor's phobia of becoming attached to anything. Through Eleanor and Park's alternating voices, we get to see their insecurities such as Eleanor's survival of grim, abuse-plagued poverty and Park's own imperfect but loving family life. Rowell beautifully captures both the light and dark aspects of life. Though the ending is unusual for a romance, it fits perfectly for our protagonists.

Rating: 5 stars

Why it was challenged: On August 7, 2013 the Parent Action League of Anoka-Hennepen Independent School District 11 , the largest public school district in Minnesota, challenged Eleanor and Park and requested it to be removed from the school libraries after it was selected to be the high school voluntary reading program. The Parent Action League cited 227 instances of profanity in the book as well as crude and sexually charged material that was inappropriate for students. According to news article, Rowell's appearance at the Anoka County Library was cancelled when the library pulled its invite. The Anoka-Hennepin school district declined to pick up the speaker's fee the library had offered. Neither the public nor the school district responded to Rowell's offer to come for free and speak. On November 22, 2013 the Star Tribune reported that Eleanor and Park is kept on the library shelves at the Anoka High library shelves.

Words of Caution: There is strong language and crude sexual references in Eleanor and Park. The language is not used for shock value but rather demonstrates how emotionally and verbally abusive Eleanor's stepfather Richie is towards her family. Eleanor is also faced with strong language when she is bullied by some of her classmates. The language is also realistic of teenagers today. I didn't read anything new or shocking than what I usually hear just walking down the hallways of a high school.
 Alcohol is also mentioned in the book too because Richie is an alcoholic. There are only three heavy make-out sessions between Eleanor and Park that are spaced out throughout the book which is uncommon for contemporary YA romances. The characters stop short of sex because they both feel they are not ready. Given the context of the book and its themes, I would recommend this book to readers who are in high school and up.   

If you like this book try: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standford, Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Rummanah Aasi

202/250 books

While I didn't reach my goal of 270 books in 2013, I did make it up to 84% which is still pretty good. This year I'm going to make my goal a bit more realistic and manageable to 250 books. Many thanks to this year's host, Gina @ Book Dragon's Lair, for hosting this challenge.

  1. Read, read, read!
  2. There are several levels to choose from
    Level 1: 100 minimum
    Level 2: 150 at least
    Level 3: 200 or more
  3. You may move up a level but not down
  4. You don't need a blog to participate. As long as wherever you link to is public so we can check out your books read.
  5. Reviews are not necessary (but there will be a post so you can link up) but a list of books read is. 
  6. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
  7. Books allowed: Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts. 
  8. Individual short stories in a collection or individual books in the Bible do not count
  9. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
  10. Challenge begins January 1st, 2014 thru December 31, 2014. Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime.
  11. Please sign up with a direct link so the rest of us can find your list of books read.
Books Read in 2014
italics = Reviewed
  1. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (YA) 
  2. She Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta (Adult)
  3. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (YA)
  4. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Childrens)
  5. Boys Over Flowers Vol 16 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  6. Boys Over Flowers Vol 17 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  7. Boys Over Flowers Vol 18 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  8. Boys Over Flowers Vol 19 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  9. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (YA)
  10. Still Star-Crossed by Melissa Taub (YA)
  11. Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #8) *Review coming soon
  12. Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #9) *Review coming soon
  13. Longbourn by Jo Baker (Adult)
  14. Counting to D by Karen Scott (YA)
  15. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (Adult)
  16. Panopticon by Jenni Fagan (Adult)
  17. Boys Over Flowers Vol 20 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  18. Boys Over Flowers Vol 21 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  19. Boys Over Flowers Vol 22 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  20. Boys Over Flowers Vol 23 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  21. One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling by Hanan Al-Shakyh (Adult)
  22. Crash into You by Katie McGarry (YA)
  23. Who is AC? by Hope Larson (Graphic Novel)
  24. Hunted (Iron Druid #6) by Kevin Hearne (Adult)
  25. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (Adult)
  26. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (Hero's Guide #1) (Childrens)
  27. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #3) (YA)
  28. Medea by Kerry Greenwood (Delphic Woman #1) (Adult)
  29. Cassandra by Kerry Greenwood (Delphic Woman #2) (Adult)
  30. Electra by Kerry Greenwood (Delphic Woman #3) (Adult)
  31. XO Orpheus edited by Kate Bernheimer (Adult)
  32. Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Childrens)
  33. Control by Lydia Kang (YA)
  34. Boys Over Flowers Vol 24 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  35. Boxer by Gene Luen Yang *Review coming soon
  36. Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (Adult)
  37. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Adult)
  38. Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (YA)
  39. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee (Childrens)
  40. And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard (YA)
  41. Yotsuba! Vol 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma *Review coming soon
  42. Yotsuba! Vol 3 by Kiyohiko Azuma *Review coming soon
  43. Boys Over Flowers Vol 25 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  44. Boys Over Flowers Vol 26 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  45. Boys Over Flowers Vol 27 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  46. Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Avry of Kazan #3) (Adult/YA)
  47. Returning to Shore by Corrine Demas (YA) 
  48. Yotsuba! Vol 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma *Review coming soon
  49. Yotsuba! Vol 5 by Kiyohiko Azuma *Review coming soon
  50. Yotsuba! Vol 6 by Kiyohiko Azuma *Review coming soon
  51. Clockwork Three by Mathew Kirby (Childrens)
  52. A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Briggs (YA)
  53. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #8) (Adult)
  54. Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman (Adult)
  55. Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Ferrera (Childrens)
  56. Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman (Graphic Novel/Adult)
  57. These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman (YA)
  58. Boys Over Flowers Vol 28 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  59. Boys Over Flowers Vol 29 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  60. Boys Flowers Vol 30 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  61. Boys Over Flowers Vol 31 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  62. Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord (MG)
  63. Love Letters to the Dead by
  64. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (Childrens)
  65. Boys Over Flowers Vol 32 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  66. Boys Over Flowers Vol 33 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  67. Boys Over Flowers Vol 34 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  68. Boys Over Flowers Vol 35 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  69. Boys Over Flowers Vol 36 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  70. Boys Over Flowers: Jewelry Box by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  71. Before I Met You by Lisa Jewel (Adult)
  72. Half Bad by Sally Green (YA)
  73. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (YA)
  74. Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #6) (Adult)
  75. We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt (YA)
  76. Solid by Shelly Workinger *Review coming soon
  77. Vampire Knight Vol 18 by Matsuri Hino (Manga)
  78.  Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkein (YA/Childrens)
  79. Niagara Falls or Does It? by Henry Winkler (Childrens)
  80. A Dog Named Homeless by Sarah Lean (Childrens)
  81. Almost Home by Joan Bauer (Childrens)
  82. Sand Chronicles Vol 1 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  83. Sand Chronicles Vol 2 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  84. Sand Chronicles Vol 3 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  85. Sand Chronicles Vol 4 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  86. The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang (Graphic Novel)
  87. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments #6) (YA)
  88. The Apartment by Greg Baxter (Adult)
  89. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA)
  90. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (Adult)
  91. Ninja Librarians by Jen Downey (Childrens)
  92. In the Shadows by Kiersten White (YA)
  93. Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn (YA)
  94. Sand Chronicles Vol 5 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  95. Sand Chronicles Vol 6 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  96. Sand Chronicles Vol 7 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  97. Sand Chronicles Vol 8 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  98. Sand Chronicles Vol 9 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  99. Sand Chronicles Vol 10 by Hinako Ashihara (Manga)
  100. Durarara!! Vol 1 by Ryohgo Narita *Review coming soon
  101. Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis (YA)
  102. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading by Tim Greenwald (Childrens)
  103. The Dinner by Herman Koch (Adult)
  104. Dream Boy by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg (YA)
  105. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (YA)
  106. Yolo by Lauren Myracle (YA)
  107. The Break Up Artist by Philip Siegel (YA)
  108. Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (YA)
  109. Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs (Adult)
  110. Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things by Ted Naifeh (Graphic Novel)
  111. Animal Farm (Fables #2) by Bill Willingham *Review coming soon
  112. Unmanned (Y Last Man #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (Graphic Novel)
  113. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool (Childrens)
  114. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (Adult)
  115. I Am The Mission by Allen Zadoff (Boy Nobody #2) (YA)
  116. The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder (YA)
  117. The Time of Fireflies by Kimberly Griffiths Little (Childrens)
  118. Revolution by Deborah Wiles (Sixties #2) (Childrens)
  119. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy #4) (YA)
  120. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Graphic Novel)
  121. Zombie Loan Vol 1 by PeachPit (Manga)
  122. Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane (YA)
  123. The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters (YA)
  124. Zombie Loan Vol 2 by PeachPit (Manga)
  125. Zombie Loan Vol 3 by PeachPit (Manga)
  126. Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer (Elementals #5) (YA)
  127. Sisters by Raina Telgeimer (Graphic Novel)
  128. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (Worldwalker Trilogy #1) (YA)
  129. The Blood of Olympusby Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #5) (Childrens)
  130. Scorched by Mari Mancusi (Scorched #1) *Review coming soon
  131. Seventh Grave and No Bodyby Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #7) (Adult)
  132. Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins (Wings of War #1) (YA)
  133. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (Childrens)
  134. Zombie Loan Vol 4 by PeachPit (Manga)
  135. Zombie Loan Vol 5 by PeachPit (Manga)
  136. Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier (YA)
  137. Dawn of Arcana Vol 1 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  138. Dawn of Arcana Vol 2 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  139. Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (Dark Carvan Cycle #1) (YA)
  140. Dawn of Arcana Vol 3 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  141. Dawn of Arcana Vol 4 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  142. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (Adult)
  143. Dawn of Arcana Vol 5 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  144. Dawn of Arcana Vol 6 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  145. Dawn of Arcana Vol 7 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  146. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins *Review coming soon
  147. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (Childrens)
  148. Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #7) *Review coming soon
  149. Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Magisterium #1) (Childrens)
  150. Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks (Graphic Novel)
  151. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale *Review coming soon
  152. Not that Kind of a Girl by Lena Dunham (Adult)
  153. Moriarity: Dark Chamber by Daniel Corey (Graphic Novels/Adult)
  154. Olympians: Zeus by George O'Connor (Graphic Novels/Childrens)
  155. Olympians: Athena by George O'Connor (Graphic Novel)
  156. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (YA)
  157. Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando *Review coming soon
  158. Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham *Review coming soon
  159. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (reread for Book Club)
  160. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes #1) (YA)
  161. Ms. Marvel: No Normal Vol 1 by G. Willow Wilson (Graphic Novel)
  162. Vampire Knight Vol 19 by Matsuri Hino (Manga)
  163. My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins *Review coming soon
  164. Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger (Finishing School #3) (YA)
  165. All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg *Review coming soon
  166. Let's Talk Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris *Review coming soon
  167. Dawn of Arcana Vol. 8 by Rei Toma (Manga)
  168. The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan *Review coming soon
  169. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes *Review coming soon
  170. Zombie Loan Vol 6 by PeachPit (Manga)
  171. Zombie Loan Vol 7 by PeachPit (Manga)
  172. Zombie Loan Vol 8 by PeachPit (Manga)
  173. Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool *Review coming soon
  174. Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell *Review coming soon
  175. Love that Dog by Sharon Creech *Review coming soon
  176. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (YA)
  177. Zombie Loan Vol 9 by PeachPit (Manga)
  178. Zombie Loan Vol 10 by PeachPit (Manga)
  179. Zombie Loan Vol 11 by PeachPit (Manga)
  180. Zombie Loan Vol 12 by PeachPit (Manga)
  181. Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson *Review coming soon
  182. Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Adult)
  183. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder *Review coming soon
  184. Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, Marine, and a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis (Childrens)
  185. The Camelot Kids: Part One by Ben Zackheim (Children)
  186. Crossing Stones by Helen Frost *Review coming soon
  187. Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows (Childrens)
  188. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley *Review coming soon
  189. Reggie and Me by Marie Yates (YA)
  190. The Great Fire by Jim Murphy (Childrens)
  191. Mr and Mrs Bunny Detective Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath *Review coming soon
  192. Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle (Childrens)
  193. Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Childrens)
  194. Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson *Review coming soon
  195. Under the Mesquite Tree by Guadalupe Garcia McCall *Review coming soon
  196. Waddley Sees the World by Julie Davis Canter (Children)

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