Review: The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel

30297411The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Mystery

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BLURB:

#1 internationally bestselling author Sara Blaedel, Denmark’s “Queen of Crime,” returns with her new thriller featuring Danish police investigator Louise Rick. Continue reading

Review: The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kay Yeh

20839543The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Contemporary, Friendship, Food

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BLURB:

There’s something about asking for Impossible Things. For one little second, they feel Possible.

Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi. Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the North Shore of Long Island. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets.

That’s the recipe for The Truth About Twinkie Pie, a voice-driven middle-grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship. Continue reading

Review: American Girls by Alison Umminger

30192921American Girls by Alison Umminger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Crime, Family

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BLURB:

Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she’s had it with her life at home. So Anna “borrows” her stepmom’s credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn’t quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls—and although the violence in her own life isn’t the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna’s singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America—in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn’t, in a way not often seen in YA fiction. Continue reading

Review: Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

20344662Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, War

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Ever since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a soldier and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, he just wants to outsmart—and outrun—the rival cross country team, the Palmetto Bugs. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens. It’s quickly discovered that one of the hijackers lived nearby, making Jake’s Florida town an FBI hot spot. Two days later, the tragedy becomes even more personal when Jake’s best friend, Sam Madina, is pummeled for being an Arab Muslim by their bully classmate, Bobby.

According to Jake’s personal code of conduct, anyone who beats up your best friend is due for a butt kicking, and so Jake goes after Bobby. But soon after, Sam’s father is detained by the FBI and Jake’s mom doubts the innocence of Sam’s family, forcing Jake to choose between his best friend and his parents. When Jake finds out that Sam’s been keeping secrets, too, he doesn’t know who his allies are anymore. But the final blow comes when his grandpa’s real past is revealed to Jake. Suddenly, everything he ever knew to be true feels like one big lie. In the end, he must decide: either walk away from Sam and the revenge that Bobby has planned, or become the hero he’s always aspired to be.

A gripping and intensely touching debut middle grade novel by Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Just a Drop of Water brings the events of September 11, which shook the world, into the lens of a young boy who is desperately trying to understand the ramifications of this life-altering event. Continue reading

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

28587957Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Racism, Law, Family

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Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game. Continue reading

Review: Wrecked by Maria Padian

28110862Wrecked by Maria Padian

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, College, Rape, Romance

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BLURB:

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict. Continue reading

Review: The Devil’s Intern by Donna Hosie

20558767The Devil’s Intern by Donna Hosie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Publication Date: August 31st 2014
Publisher: Holiday House
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Death, Fantasy, Time Travel, Romance, Humor

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BLURB:

“How did you die?”

It’s the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil’s intern in Hell’s accounting office. Lately, he’s noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell’s limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death.

Mitchell’s plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking. Continue reading