The Zoo Box

The Zoo BoxThe Zoo Box by Ariel Cohn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Erika and Patrick’s parents leave them home alone one night and they decide to play dress-up in the attic. Patrick finds a magic box under one of the beds in the attic and it unleashes a whole slew of animals. They follow the animals out of the house and down to the zoo. This zoo seems different, the animals are ticket sellers, security guards and concession stand workers. Then they realize this isn’t an ordinary zoo where humans come to see animals, it’s a zoo where animals come to see humans. They are suddenly in danger of being caught, rush to get back home before their parents arrive home from their night out and hope the box will help turn the world back right.

What a fun graphic novel for middle grade kids. It makes you wonder what things would be like if suddenly the animals took over one day.

Read: August 22, 2014

View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

Bug on a Bike

Bug on a BikeBug on a Bike by Chris Monroe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bug rides around on his bike inviting everyone to follow him. When they ask where to, Bug says, “It’s a surprise.” Several of them ride bikes, the ants roll on a log, Bunny rides a skate board and others walk, fly, ride or slither along a trail, across a river, ride a rail and through forest until they come to Bug’s birthday party. There it’s everything a party should be – a pool, nachos, cake, etc.

It’s a repetitive book describing the animals as they follow Bug to his party. Rhyming will work great for read-aloud and younger kids.

View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

Landline

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book the second time as much as the first.

Review posted to Kansas City Public Library Unbound Blog:
Reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell made me long for the old-fashioned landline phone – for the days when a phone fit your hand perfectly and your ear with the warmth of the voice at the other end, for the excitement a phone ringing and not knowing who was calling.

Landline is a unique story about a marriage and a landline telephone with a time travel element. One person has been in the marriage for fourteen years, while the other hasn’t yet proposed. It’s about the wonderful and complicated moments of falling in love, being in love, and the complexities of marriage, work, and children. While it may sound a bit like The Time Traveler’s Wife, it couldn’t be more different.

Georgie McCool — yes, that’s her real name — is a successful TV sitcom writer. She and her writing partner have landed the perfect opportunity and have about a week to pull together four episodes for a meeting with the executive at their dream network. The week falls during the Christmas holiday and Georgie decides she needs to stay home to work instead of heading to Omaha with her husband Neal and two daughters. Once again Georgie’s career takes priority.

Her mother insists she come over for dinner the first night Neal is gone. Has Neal become fed up and left for good? She can’t stand the thought of going home to her house alone and stays at her mother’s house. She finds an antique yellow rotary phone in her childhood bedroom closet, and plugs the phone in to give Neal a call. He sounds different and over a few phone calls Georgie begins to realize that landline-Neal is in 1998. She realizes this may be her chance to save her marriage. Humor and flashbacks to their early relationship help Georgie with the struggle of talking to Neal without ruining their future together. Landline-Neal doesn’t know how she’s screwed up.

While I was reading Landline both times, I couldn’t help but recall the days of lying in bed or on the couch talking late into the night with a boyfriend. Those late nights when all that mattered was that time on the phone, and it was worth losing sleep and waking up groggy the next morning. The warmth and closeness of someone’s voice on a landline is lost with cell phones. Now there is the delay or tunnel sound to deal with and the nights of long conversations have moved into short conversations or conversations over text. I wonder how teens and twenty-somethings fall in love now without those long heart-to-heart conversations over the phone?

Rowell’s fans of Eleanor & Park and her earlier book Attachments will fall in love with Georgie and cheer for her and Neal. I’ve determined that Rowell’s books are dangerous to my sleep, because each of her four books have kept me up way past my bedtime reading.

First read June 18-25, 2014
Second reading July 11-17, 2014



View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

The Good Girl

The Good GirlThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**Advanced reading copy received from NetGalley**
Addictive, suspense novel that will make you pay closer attention to the people around you on the street. One of my favorite books of the summer with a mind-blowing ending.

Colin has been following Mia for a while. One night, Colin kidnaps Mia as a job. He’s to hand Mia off to another guy but Colin changes his mind at the last minute. He takes Mia to a remote cabin in Minnesota.

Mia is from a prominent Chicago family. Her father is a well-known judge. Her mother is very concerned about Mia’s whereabouts.

Told three perspectives from Colin, Mia’s mother and the detective searching for Mia, we learn more about Mia’s life before and after the kidnaping as well as Colin’s life before the kidnaping. Short chapters that switch between the three narrators made this a hard book to put down.



View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern ParenthoodAll Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent read for any parent, no matter what age of your child. Review on KC Library Unbound Blog:

As a parent of a seven-month-old, I was curious about All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood as it made the rounds through my friends’ Goodreads accounts. My interest was piqued by friends’ reviews and with Jennifer Senior’s visit to the Library in early June. I’m not big on parenting books except when I want to know what new thing my daughter may be doing this month. But nearly everything that I read I think, “my child isn’t doing that” or “that’s not my experience.”

I could only fit this book in by listening to the audiobook. When I started it I had no idea what I was in for. Senior narrates the audiobook with enthusiasm and a heart for the material. She’s obviously a parent herself not just from the material but also in her inflections. My plan was just to listen to the first few chapters about parenting babies and young children. Soon, though, I was so drawn into this book that I had to finish it.

All Joy and No Fun covers the years of parenthood from birth through late adolescence. She shares many stories of parents and grandparents who are raising children, backing up those experiences with serious research. No topic is off-limits, from sleep deprivation of new parents to how children affect marriages to dealing with identity issues as parents of teenagers.

Today middle class parents are more likely to have lead productive, full lives for several years before children enter in the picture, which explains the difficult transition to parenthood. No books or classes fully prepare you for the first few months as a parent. Sleep deprivation takes on a whole new meaning, as you have no idea how you’ll ever be able to leave the house in one piece or if you’ll ever experience a quiet moment alone ever again.

In her recent interview with Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up to Date, Senior mentioned how many parenting books today seem to be about either postpartum depression and troubled child problems or how to enrich your wonderful life with your child. Very few books discuss the day-to-day craziness of parenting and how some days you begin to wonder, “is this what I really signed up for?”

She also follows a history of the family through the 20th Century and how parenting changed drastically over the last 100 years in ways our grandparents would barely recognize. Working parents have new demands that they didn’t even have 15 years ago with smart phones and the expectation of being connected even after leaving work.

While Senior discusses many of the struggles of modern parenting from living far from relatives and the role of technology on parents, she also discusses the the wonderful things about being parents. The last chapter in the book is all about joy, making a strong distinction from happiness. While we focus so much on happiness, it doesn’t encompass those transcendent moments of pure joy and grace.

All Joy and No Fun begins a dialogue about how children change their parents. It made me realize that my experience as a parent is very normal and that many of my emotions during the rough times are what many other parents experience. My hope is that this will start a dialogue about what social structures we lack in our country to help support families. It’s an essential book for parents of children of any age to read, including grandparents.

Senior spoke at the Library on June 5, 2014. You can watch
the full video of her talk here.



View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

We Are the Goldens

We Are the GoldensWe Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nell and Layla have always been close. So close that Nell thought her name was Nellayla when she was little. Lately, Layla has become more distant and is harboring a secret, a secret relationship that could ruin so much. Rumors circulate every year around school that an art teacher is involved with one of his students. This year, the rumors are true. Nell and Layla’s relationship as sisters changes and Nell’s perception of Layla changes as more of the secret is revealed.

I thoroughly enjoyed Nell’s story. The writing style addresses Layla directly, it was actually done well here. It’s failed with too many other books.

I really enjoyed this book but there was that spark missing. Reinhart’s “Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life” had that spark. I appreciated the ending and how the secret was handled. With that spark, the book would have received a five star rating.



View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

We Were Liars

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this book this morning at breakfast and I’m still in shock. This book should come with a warning that it require coffee or a meeting with a friend to discuss it afterward.

Cady spends the summers on a private island with her mother, aunts, cousins and grandparents. They’ve spent every summer there as long as she can remember. She’s especially close with the cousins her age, they call themselves the Liars.

Everything is wonderful with the Liars until what Cady calls Summer Fifteen. She’s involved in an accident that summer that changes everything, she just can’t remember what happened and no one will tell her. Slowly she begins to piece Summer Fifteen together.

After seeing E. Lockhart at BEA and hearing other authors talk about her narrator in very vague terms, I realized I needed to finish this book that I’d waffled through for the first 100 pages. On the plane home from BEA, I couldn’t put it down. The last 100 pages I wanted to stay up and read all night. Sadly, sleep always won.

View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

Torn Away

Torn AwayTorn Away by Jennifer Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gripping! Jersey lives in Missouri with her mother, step father and younger half-sister. Her little sister is annoying and constantly wants Jersey to be part of her song and dance.

One afternoon, Jersey’s mom and sister are off at her sister’s dance class when the tornado sirens go off. Jersey heads to the basement not thinking anything of the routine some of us get into in the spring in the Midwest. This time is different, this storm is different. In a matter of minutes, Jersey’s world is torn apart.

After losing her mother and sister, Jersey is sent to live with her biological father and his family, and learns that putting her life back together is going to take strength she didn’t know she had.

Growing up in Kansas, I was always fascinated by tornados until the tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas and my cousin’s wife’s family’s homes were completely destroyed. They all survived by seeking shelter in their basements. After that I’ve developed a fear of tornados. It wasn’t helped by the fact that my husband and I were traveling through Missouri and exited the highway to seek shelter the day the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri.

This might send teens and adults who have lived through natural disasters into adrenaline pumping territory.

View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

Binky Takes Charge

Binky Takes ChargeBinky Takes Charge by Ashley Spires

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gotta love Binky the Space Cat. What’s not to love about Binky, he’s cool, he protects his humans from aliens and we share the same birthday. I only wonder if my cat has a secret life that I don’t know about. What does she do in the basement and come upstairs looking so dirty?

In Binky’s new adventure, he’s been promoted to lieutenant Binky within F.U.R.S.T (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) and is training a new recruit. When the new recruit arrives Binky thinks there must be some sort of mistake. The new recruit isn’t a cat at all but a dog. Can Binky train this dog into being a great space cadet or will they both fall flat on their faces?



View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments

Tiptoe Joe

Tiptoe JoeTiptoe Joe by Ginger Foglesong Gibson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe has a secret something he wants all of his animal friends to see. He asks them to tip toe quietly through the forest to see his secret something. As we meet eat animal friend, they make a certain sound. Donkey makes a clop, clop, Rabbit makes a thump, thump, and Beaver makes a slap, slap. A fun way to introduce different sounds animals make as they walk through a forest. The rhyming story and sounds are repeated as more friends join in the parade to see the Joe’s secret something. When they arrive at Joe’s den they see, there are two baby bear cubs fast asleep in mama’s arms.

On the dedication page, there is a map of Joe’s journey through the forest and surrounding land. I noticed that there are dots on the map and then as I looked at each animal closer, I realized each animal wears their own color, Joe wears red sneakers and the other animals have their own item, such as a bandana, vest, necklace or even glasses. It’s a fun way to go back and see which animal lives where in the forest.

Recommended for toddlers and preschoolers.

View all my reviews

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS
Read Comments
 Page 1 of 27  1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »