Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thoughts On: The Secret Sky

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi is a tale of forbidden love in Afghanistan. Women aren't allowed to speak with men who aren't part of their family. It will bring dishonor to their family and clan. But Fatima and Sami were friends as children. And when he comes back to the village after years away, it seemed only natural they would still want to be friends.

Their perfectly innocent friendship upsets many people though. Not just because they aren't related, but because they are from different clans and tribes. Both their families are angered and Fatima and Sami are faced with nothing but harsh options.

The Secret Sky is told in three voices: Fatima, Sami and Sami's cousin Rashid--a devout boy who thinks he is doing the right thing by reporting their meetings to family and "religious" leaders.

Abawi intricately weaves in differing Afgani voices--the traditional, the young and the old who had hoped for change. Also the discrepancies between Islam and the Taliban and men who pretend to be either are brought to the foreground. She presents a scary world, where it is hard to know who to trust and where innocents must suffer for the actions and beliefs of others.

This is a powerful book. Four stars.

***ARC received from publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thoughts on: The Here and Now

In Brashares, The Here and Now, Prenna is living in the present on a mission from the future to save society from a deadly virus that will destroy life as we know it. Unfortunately, the group she is with is more concerned with secrecy and control than actually making changes.

Then a mysterious visitor takes Prenna aside and charges her with a society saving task. In order to complete this task she must set out on the run, along with the one "time-native" boy who knows the truth.

Much more of a romance than other survival, pre-apocalyptic(?) novels, this book is perfect for getting readers to explore new genres.

***ARC provided by publisher through netgalley.

Thoughts On: Can't Look Away

Donna Cooner's newest novel: Can't Look Away tells the story of Torrey, the famous you tube fashionista. However, now she is known for something else too--her sister's tragic death.

This is an engaging read with a new look on popularity. I would have liked more about her online life--I think Cooner could have delved a little deeper. But teens will related and certainly pick up this book after the success of her first novel, Skinny. I also really liked the layout.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgally.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thoughts on: Like No Other

Una LaMarche has written a beautifully crafted, realistic and diverse romance. Teens and adults alike are sure to be drawn to the lives of Devorah and Jaxon.

After meeting in a hospital elevator during a hurricane the two are inexplicably drawn to one another. Devorah, who has only known her strict Hasidic upbringing isn't supposed to even talk to a boy like Jaxon, or be alone with him, or think about him. But after their encounter she keeps sneaking away and making plans with him. She starts looking for alternatives to marrying and having children at 18, like her older sister Charlotte. But her family doesn't understand her actions and they won't let her destroy her life easily.

Told in the alternating voices of Devorah and Jaxon this is a story of love, identity and family.

4 Stars


Incredibly sad, I appreciated the authors ability to provide a realistic ending and I enjoyed watching the characters learn to trust themselves and be who they wanted to be.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thoughts on Jackaby

A paranormal Sherlock Holmes? How could this book not be a hit?

R.F. Jackaby is intelligent and eccentric. Abigail Rook, who is on the run from polite society and newly arrived in New England, is up for any adventure. Plus she needs a job. Assisting Jackaby provides many surprises.

The characters were engaging and the plot was interesting. Ritter needs to polish his writing just a tad but then his books will be unstoppable.

Which leaves me with two questions:
1--This is the start to a series right?
2--What else is William Ritter going to write?

Thoughts on Atlantia

I was so glad this book wasn't about mermaids. I was really afraid it would be with a title like Atlantia. But there was little to correlate this tale to the common ones of Atlantis. And for that I was really grateful.

Rio and her twin sister are part of a society that lives below--below the sea in a man built "bubble" where the air is clean and they are fated to live long lives. But this society is completely dependent upon those that remain above, on the earth. Because of that, each year a new group of teens from Atlantia gets to choose life above or life below.

Rio has always dreamed of going above and her sister Bay was always meant for below. But only one can go above and Bay surprises everyone by making the choice.

Rio must come to terms with Bay's decision, attempt to learn more about her mother's mysterious death and find away to join her sister above.

Atlantia is first portrayed as a beautiful paradise, but as Rio discovers more and more of the truth, the decay of Atlantia becomes evident.

Thoughts on: Tear You Apart

I absolutely adored the world created by Sarah Cross in Kill Me Softly. I immediately bought that book for my library and continue to put it in the hands of teen readers. So of course I was extremely excited when I found another book written in that same world.

Tear You Apart is Viv's story. A Snow White curse with a delightful dalliance in the 12 Dancing Princesses and even a bit of the Persephone myth. This is another definite must buy. An interesting look at families, fate, friendship, and destiny.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Thoughts on: They All Fall Down

Roxanne St. Claire has created a suspenseful thriller about murder--or curses and mixed in the stress of high school popularity.

In They All Fall Down the girls that make the "Hottie List" are subject to "accidents." They have been for years. Kenzie doesn't care that she made the list--all she is worried about is getting into a good college. But that doesn't keep her safe.

This is a fun read that won't need much in the way of recommendations to fly off the shelf. This is a definite purchase for the library.

Thoughts on: Gracefully Grayson

This. Book. Was. Awesome.

When does it come out--not soon enough, I want to start recommending it now.

Grayson is a girl, in a boys body. His parents died and left him living with his Aunt and Uncle when he was around five years old. He has never felt in all that time that he is who he belongs. Trying on skirts at a local thrift shop is fun--but he can't do it often and it is never enough.

Alone, miserable and lying about who he is, Grayson decides to try out for the school play. For the female lead in the school play. And the adults in his life (most of them) are absolutely wonderful. But they also aren't perfect. This isn't an idyllic world--it is real life and Ami Polonsky gives it wonderful, beautiful justice.

Not just an important book for transgender youth, Gracefully Grayson is a book about love, identity and tolerance. It can and will resonate with all youth--as long as they pick it up. So recommend, recommend, recommend. Cause this book is good.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thoughts On: Chloe by Design

Billed for fans of Project Runway, that is exactly what Chloe by Design: Making the Cut is. Margaret Gurevich has recreated the show for the teen audience and put it in book format. Fluffy and fun to read, it probably will have a niche audience. But, Brooke Hagel's illustrations--drawing sketches and watercolors and beyond beautiful. They were my favorite part of the book!

*** ARC provided by publisher at BEA.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel

I was super excited to hear about Sara Farizan's first book If You Could Be Mine and was so happy when I learned about her new book Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel.

It does not disappoint. Keep writing Sara Farizan!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thoughts On: Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Annie has decided to run a marathon in honor of her boyfriend who died before he got the chance. She is not a runner. Has never been one, but she is determined and she has a good coach.

Starting months after Kyle passes away, after they had broken up, Annie is still stuck in her grief and trying to pull her life back together. But rather than dwell on her sorrows, Kenneally, addresses them, deals with Annie's emotions well and then tells a story of triumph, recovery and new beginnings.

Not quite fluffy, but an engrossing chick-lit book none the same, I can see why Kenneally has become popular so quickly. Breathe, Annie, Breathe is already on the shelves at my library.

Oh, and the running coach's adrenaline junkie brother makes for a great romance.

***ARC provided by publisher.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Thoughts On: Skink--No Surrender

I love Car Hiaasen's books and Skink, No Surrender was no exception. (Although I am still very partial to Chomp). In this book, the beloved character of the former governor of Florida and vehement if unpredictable environmental activist teams up with a teenage boy attempting to find his abducted cousin.

Richard comes across Skink on the beach where he is impersonating a turtle nest in order to catch a poacher. Not that he turns the bad guy into the authorities or anything. And despite Skink's disturbing actions and appearance, Richard trusts the man and tells him all about his cousin, Malley, and her disappearance. So Skink investigates and then reports back with news that Malley is in more danger than previously realized. What follows is a desperate chase into the wilds of Florida where Richard, Skink and Malley face off against weather, crocodiles, and the kidnapper.

Skink is an extremely interesting character, and one I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Hiaasen discuss at the BEA Children's Authors and Illustrators breakfast. I can't believe people now send him roadkill recipes. Actually, I can. But I just love that this means Skink is such a beloved (am I really describing him like that) character.

***ARC received at BEA.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thoughts on: Stone Cove Island

When a violent hurricane reeks havoc on the tourist destination of Stone Cove Island, a decades old mystery has come back to haunt the islanders.

Eliza finds a cryptic note while cleaning up the island's lighthouse. Starting an investigation she learns that this may be an important clue in solving the murder of her mother's childhood best friend. But the islanders don't want the investigation to begin again and by asking around she may be putting herself in danger.

I give this book 4 stars because it is compelling and interesting to someone from New England. There are lots of places like Stone Cove Island out here. But, Suzanne Myers wrapped up the story too cleanly. Or maybe not cleanly at all. I don't want to write any spoilers but while the ending was believable I thought some of the reactions were not in character.

***ARC received at BEA.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thoughts on: Stronger Than You Know

I was so glad I was able to read this book!

Joy has finally found a safe home with people who care about her. Her mom never let her leave their trailer, she and her friends abused Joy for years. Her aunts home is safe, but it will take some time for her to understand and learn to trust.

This is a beautiful story of strength. 4 Stars.

**ARC received at BEA.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thoughts On: Half My Facebook Friends are Ferrets

Half My Facebook Friends are Ferrets by J.A. Buckle is an easy fast paced glimpse into the life of a teenage boy.

Funny and entertaining, I was left with a few questions. Such as, why are half is friends ferrets?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thoughts On: The Art of Secrets

I was expecting a very different story when I picked up James Klise's new novel The Art of Secrets.

This is a story of a community trying to help a family who lost everything in a fire. Actually it is a story of how a community sabotaged each other and suspected each other of one crime after another. It is also about a famous artist's never before seen work--a collection of paintings that could bring substantial money to the family in need and the school sponsoring the efforts to help them. But someone doesn't want that to happen.

A unique mystery told in many voices, Klise takes to heart the voice of the unreliable narrator(s). Who is honest, who is acting in their own best interests, and who is acting against the system?

Four stars.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley.

Thoughts On: A Time to Dance

For some reason I always loved stories about people overcoming physical limitations. At least those that are done well. And A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman is one of these books.

Veda lives to dance. It is all she wants despite her parent's disapproval. But then after winning a prestigious competition, she is in a terrible accident that costs her a leg. Veda must then relearn to do everything that comes easy to her--from walking to her beloved dance. In well-written verse, Veda's struggle is a believable one filled with hope and promise.

Four stars.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley for honest review.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Thoughts On: Coin Heist

I have decided that Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig is the perfect book for reluctant readers because it reminds me of so many movies. 
Four teens band together to try and save their elite school from closing after the former head of school embezzled most of the money. Their target? The United States Mint. Apparently they have really weak security. But it still takes this group months to plan their crime, create alibis, get the necessary tools and grapple with right and wrong. 

There is no clear message, but that does make the ending more of a surprise. I definitely thought it was going to end a different way. I won't share here because of spoilers, but this book will keep teen's interest. 

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley. 

Thoughts on: Surrounded by Sharks

Surrounded by Sharks was the second book I have read by Michael Northrop. The first was Trapped.

This book tells the story of three teens:

Davey: The older brother who just wanted a quiet place to read. And who may have disregarded a sign on an abandoned beach labeled: No Swimming.

Brando: The younger brother who regrets not alerting his parents as soon as he noticed Davey was missing and tries to make up for this error by finding his brother.

Drew: The tourist who saw Davey reading and who joins Brando in his rescue attempts.

Davey wasn't really going to go swimming. He saw the sign. But wading the water quickly changed to floating in deep water, being dragged out to sea and then of course surrounded by sharks.

Just in time for summer and shark week this book is action-packed, realistic and terrifying. The jumps in point-of-view character makes Davey's observation of the sharks nail-biting scary and suspenseful.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley.

Thoughts On...The Eye of Zoltar

The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde is the third book in the Chronicles of Kazam series. 

Snarky, witty, and amazing. I finished this book and before I could even thinking about the next book (how long do I have to wait!) I wanted to re-read this one.

Jennifer Strange and her band of eccentric magicians captured my heart once again. My favorite part of the series, the quarkbeast, did not take a leading role in this book and while that did make me very sad, the selfish yet startlingly economic savvy princess filled the void superbly. I hope we see lots more of her in the next few books.  

5 Stars. No Questions.

Programming Idea: Art contest for the creatures of the Un-united Kingdoms. 

***ARC received from publisher at BEA 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Thoughts on: if you want to see a whale

A boy and his dog experience the wonders and beauty of the world while searching for a whale.

The illustrations really capture the majesty of the simplest things as seen through a child's eyes. 

I really like it when the words in picture books tell a good story but are also enjoyable for grown ups. This one makes me want to go to the beach and not read (my second favorite beach activity after swimming) but instead look around and try to see the world as I did when I was five or six.

Thank you to those who created this book. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

I Remember Beirut

I Remember Beirut is a powerful graphic novel set during the fighting between the Christians and Muslims in Lebanon during the 1980s. The author, Zeina Abirached, has written multiple graphic novels about her experiences growing up at this time.

What I found most powerful about this book was some of the opening remembrances. She beings by depicting a childhood of carpools, parents reading aloud to her and her brother, cartoons on television and cassette tapes. It sounds oddly familiar to me. Of course interspersed with these memories are those of fear, of listening to shells rain down and of her brother and his shrapnel collection. Those are not so familiar.

Abirached is extremely talented and her work shows another life experience in a remarkably comprehensible way.

*ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley for an honest review.

A Girl Called Fearless

So I stayed up half the night reading this. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka has that post-apocalyptic semi survival feel without the end of the world. Well maybe "Teotwawki": The End of the World as We Know It.

Hormones feed to cattle and ingested by humans lead to a type of cancer that women in their child-bearing years had no chance to survive. There wasn't enough medicine to go around and only children, older women and long term vegetarian/vegans survived.

While families were mourning their loved ones, a new political power: the paternalists took control of the government. Girls and women are now a highly sought after commodity and the majority of teenage girls have bodyguards. They go to special schools, can only shop in gated stores and are forced into arranged marriages when prospective (and often much older) men purchase them from the fathers.

Avie is one of these girls. Her father treats her well and she can remember happier years when her family was still intact and she was allowed to be friends with boys. Her rushed marriage contract comes as quite a surprise to her as does her future husbands extremely controlling ways. One thing is for sure, once she signs the contract and has her wedding, she will be trapped for life. Some have tried to flee to Canada (they never allowed the beef feed the disastrous hormones) but many fail as well. And Avie certainly can't get there without help.

Haunting and suspenseful, Avie is relatable and likable and undergoes a perfectly paces, realistic transformation. Supporting characters met the same standards. I can't wait to start recommending this book. Readers will be clamoring for future installments (even though I think this will be a stand-alone).

Five Stars.

If you liked this book try these: Wither by Lauren DeStephano and Epitaph Road by David Patneaude.

*ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley for an honest review.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Puppy Birthday

I realize that even with my spotty blogging, I haven't posted anything about cooking or baking in a long long time. Partially, I just haven't been. Too many other things going on. But I did make something (however silly) this week and I thought I would share the cute photos.

This is our dog Rylie on his second birthday--or at least the day we picked as his second birthday. He was a very good boy and didn't eat his hat until after he had his cake and played with his new squeekie for a bit. 

This cake is similar to many recipes for dog birthday cakes found online and on pinterest. It is basically peanut butter mixed with shredded carrots, flour, oil and egg. The frosting is just plain non-fat yogurt. It lasted less that two minutes. Success. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

HUB Challenge 2014 Check In

So the Hub Challenge started two months ago and I have read 17 titles as part of the challenge. Challenges are hard for me, because there are so many books that I want to read and they often take precedence before challenge books. Especially since with a list like this, I have read so many before the challenge began. I re-read a few graphic novels, but haven't taken the time with some of the other books (even those I adored!)

I am going to wait until the challenge is finished to talk about all of the books, etc, but I wanted to take this check in to mention a couple I read because of the challenge and loved:

CLA Book Buzz 2014, First Second Part 1

This week I was very lucky to hear from a panel of publishers on their upcoming books. There were so many (!!!!) that I am going to have to break up reporting on these by publisher and then maybe even by their books.

I am going to start with First Second Book, who came and talked about many graphic novels--several appropriate for teens, and several I was really excited about.

The first book I want to talk about is Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke. I loved the illustrations. They were beautiful, detailed and full of fantasy. A dream come true for any girl or boy. I was trying to explain it to my mother and here is what I came up with:

Julia is sort of a new Pippi Longstocking. It is about making family from friends, taking responsibility. And I think maybe there might have been an allegory about stuffed animals in there somewhere. At least that is what I thought when Patched Up Kitty was introduced.

I give this 5 stars for illustration and 4 stars for writing/content--this could have had so much more and I still wouldn't have tired of the story! But, as I was forewarned, this is more of a graphic novel/picture book and meant for a much younger audience than me.

Here is some of what I want to know:

  • Did Julia's House come to the sea on the back of a turtle? It looks like it. Is Julia friend's with the turtle, does the house move often? 
  • What are some of the creatures that come to the house, I don't recognize all of them and I want to know more. 
  • And please, please tell me about the repairman! 

The next book I read was Andre the Giant by Box Brown. Andre was apparently a very famous wrestler. I assumed I was going to be reading the back story of the character he played in The Princess Bride. Completely my mistake, but if Goodreads can be trusted, I am not alone.

Carefully researched with a detailed bibliography, this is a well-executed graphic non-fiction work. I actually learned quite a bit about the sport and showmanship of wrestling. As it was non-fiction it was more fact based than character driven, and that would have involved me as a reader more--but then it would not be the resource that it is. I wish that the teens visiting my library had to do reports on biographies. I think this would be a great choice for reluctant readers.

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

So this book fits a niche audience. But will also be widely applicable to a larger group. An Armenian-American who discovers he's gay. And there isn't any of that internal panic or homophobia. It's wonderful to read and wonderful for teens to have this book as an example as well. Diversity list, pick up this book! And then maybe start reading about the Armenian people.

However, I really wanted a bit more from the writing. I felt disconnected from Ethan--at times he seemed too much like a skater caricature. But that doesn't mean I didn't like all of the characters. I did, even Alek's very-opinionated, grade-obsessed parents.

This will definitely be purchased for the teens at my library and I am sure it will circulate well.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

So other than being super intrigued by the premise and excited to recommend this book, here is what I have to say:

1. Travis has the best friends EVER! You know that one scene--in the hospital. Trust me, you will know it when you read it.

2. Travis is completely, unequivocally and past the point of understanding self-involved. OK, he is one of two people ever to have a full body transplant and come back to life. But in 4-6 months he couldn't make one thing about his family or friends, it all had to be about him?

Anyway, John Corey Whaley is now on my must read list.
Four Stars, because I really wanted to scream at Travis.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fat Boy vs. The Cheerleaders by Geoff Herback

Fat Boy vs. The Cheerleaders was way better than I was expecting. I practically flew through this book and will be sure to recommend it once it is available in my library.

Gabe, whom everyone--even his grandfather, best friends and teachers call "Chunk" is overweight and underestimated. But when the proceeds from the school vending machine are handed over to the cheerleaders instead of Gabe's beloved marching band, it is time for a change.

Dealing with issues such as the power of words, true friendship / kindness and self identity / strength this is a humorously powerful book. Routing for Gabe is necessary and may just make the reader take a look at their own life too.

Great book!

Books this made me think of: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, a graphic novel where the robotics club goes head-to-head with the cheer leading squad. These cheerleaders are much scarier than in Gabe's world.

ARC provided by publisher for honest review.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Can we talk about how wonderful this book was. How absolutely perfect. 

No one believes Sophie when she says it wasn't a drug deal gone wrong that ended with her best friend Mina murdered in the woods. Not her parents, not Mina's brother, not the police and not the doctors at the rehab facility she was sent to. But Sophie knows the truth and she is going to find and find justice for Mina. 

A hauntingly beautiful mystery. 
Well-developed characters.
Seamless flow throughout several years.

I am so glad I found this book. 

*ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley for an honest review. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Cellar by Natasha Preston

Yesterday, I received a copy of The Cellar by Natasha Preston and I couldn't wait to pick it up. It wasn't a mistake.

Summer is outside at night, along, looking for her friend when a man approaches and begins calling her Lily. Thinking he is just mistaking her for someone else, summer is polite at first,
then scared,
then in the back of his van,
and finally in his secret basement with three other girls: Rose, Poppy and Violet.

She thinks of nothing but escape until her captors deadly habits surface. Now she knows why the other girls play along with their captor, Clover. He thinks they are all one big family and he will do anything to protect his girls. Summer plays along too, but she never stops thinking of escape or of her boyfriend Lewis.

Told in three voices, Summer, Clover and Lewis, The Cellar is a heart stopping thriller. Lewis' story is that of a boyfriend who won't stop searching. Clover's is much worse. The reader is given a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer, a kidnapper and a person who has lost all grasp of reality as he spirals into the most dangerous version of himself yet.

Completely riveting, this is every girls' nightmare come to life. Perfect for fans of Criminal Minds.

*ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Hub Reading Challenge

I tried this challenge last year and failed abysmally. This year I plan to do better. I'll try and post a few updates, but lets face it, I'm not really good at that so you can also see my progress at this Goodreads Shelf.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Author Talk-Lucy Christopher

Last night I went to the new UCONN Co-op Book Store at Storrs Center and saw Lucy Christopher speak. Her focus was The Killing Woods, her newest novel. I reviewed it earlier this month here.


I did something awful in that review and compared it Stolen, her first Printz Honor winning novel because it was closer to that than her middle grade novel Flyaway. Stolen may still be my favorite of her novels, but I learned something that made me want to re-read all of them and gave me a new appreciation for her craft.

Rather than start with a character or a plot, Lucy Christopher begins all her novels and stories with a place. In Stolen that was the Australian Desert, for Flyaway a nature sanctuary and for The Killing Woods it was the woods. This made so much sense to me in retrospect. It really seemed that the Darkwood was a character of its own.

Additionally, she was a great speaker--friendly, engaging and passionate. During the signing, she had accouterments to add to each book, themed from the setting of each story. I also appreciated her anecdotes from asking teens what sort of stories they want to read. She said rather than action or paranormal romance the primary response was dark, honest and emotional. From my work with teens I agree and all of Christopher's works fit into this category. It must be why they are all so good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Killing Woods

Did Emily's father murder the teenage girl (Ashlee) he found in the woods? He can't remember--he was having a PTSD flash back. Emily is sure he is innocent, not that anyone else believes this. Ashlee's boyfriend, Damon is sure he is guilty, but that was before he realized he has no memories from that night.

I have read many reviews comparing The Killing Woods to Christopher's first novel  Stolen. These books can't be compared, but this is still an interesting psychological thriller sure to attract readers. 


Chimpanzees are the closest relative to humans--but in some areas of the world they are hunted for game and for food. Many people, including Jane Goodall, have brought attention to this problem. In Threatened by Eliot Schrefer, a young boy inadvertently becomes one of the chimpanzee heroes. Luc is an AIDS orphan living essentially on his own, trying to make enough to pay back his mother's dept to an unscrupulous money lender. When a professor carrying a metal case comes to town Luc thinks he has found an easy mark. Immediately tracked down, the professor instead pays Luc's debt and takes him "inside" to be his research assistant among the chimps.

Soon left alone among the chimps and other predators, what follows is a beautiful and miraculous story of a boy who saves a pair of orphaned chimpanzees and is inducted into their family. Protected and adopted, Luc makes his home with the only family he has left.

This story is heartfelt and important. As mentioned several times throughout the book and authors notes, we can only protect what we understand and love. Read this book.

Backwards Compatible

Backwards Compatible by Sarah Daltry and Pete Clark is a hilarious and (as you can guess from the cover) geeky read. Costumes, quotes and play by play gaming fill the pages of this love story. I didn't get most of them--just a few amazing Joss Weadon references, but I still found this a page turner. The characters were fascinating, especially Lanyon. And though the language was crude at best--it is how boys talk.

It began with a midnight release of a game. Two people grabbed for it, and only one could walk away holding the game. There was guilt, there was pleading, and there was hatred. But that didn't stop George and Katie from meeting again and again, in the real world and online. Add in a few best friends, gamer acquaintances and a challenge akin to Ready Player One (but on a much smaller scale) and you have the plot to this "geek romance".

This book is geared towards the 20-something college aged crowd, but older teens will enjoy the book as well.

*ARC provided by publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.