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Is a Worry Worrying You?

Everyone worries from time to time, and dealing with those worries often seems monumental, especially for children. Ferida Wolff and Herriet May Sevitz have addressed just this issue in their book, Is a Worry Worrying You? With beautiful full color illustrations by Marie LeTourneau, the book manages to discuss worries and introduce brainstorming possible solutions of how to deal with them in a light hearted manner, opening up further discussions. It’s a fantastic picture book and one that we have checked out from the library several times over the years due to the story alone.

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Bearded Women Stories

Dehumanized by a world  which has used their oddities for entertainment purposes, the women in Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women Stories challenge our thoughts on genetic variances and humanity and how we view our own selves. With wit and charm, she beautifully weaves short stories about women who are as real as we, who are strong in the presence of adversity, and whose only desire is to live their lives, embracing those aspects which make them so different than those around them. These stories of women cause us to examine our own thoughts and challenge the big top freak spectacular.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Sleepwalkers

Caleb’s life is all set. He has his plans laid out for after high school graduation until the arrival of a letter from an old childhood friend. Shortly after, he sets out on a road trip with his best friend, Bean, to find out what is going on. Arriving at his old hometown, he finds that secrets have been kept there for years.

J. Gabriel Gates’ The Sleepwalkers brings a new scene for teen horror. Reminiscent of Stephen King and John Saul, the story is artfully written and skillfully suspenseful. While I found I had many questions about some of the story’s end, it merely added to the disquieting feeling of the book.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Fallback Plan

 

Esther has just finished college and moved back in with her parents. Recognizing that her childhood is now over, she realizes that the next stage in her life is ready to begin. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know what that next step is. Pushed into a babysitting job by her mother in an attempt for her to do something other than eat cereal in her pajamas, she spends a good portion of her time imagining that she is the mother of her charge and the lover of her charge’s father. The rest is spent smoking pot with some friends and sleeping with the guy she is attracted to but doesn’t like.

Leigh Stein’s The Fallback Plan is nothing if not consistent. Mirroring the main character’s aimlessness, the book drifts along without any real purpose. Perhaps those in a similar situation would find the book enjoyable, but it is hard to rally for characters who are apathetic about their own selves.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Shadowing

Callum Scott is predominantly a normal boy. He does well enough in school, plays rugby, and keeps a low profile. The only problem is that for as long as he can remember he has seen ghosts. Now his premonitions are growing and he is being chased by a large creature from another place. Life is about to get interesting.

Adam Slater’s The Shadowing: Hunted would be a mediocre paranormal young adult novel with characters who are screaming to be further developed. However, he has managed to weave new aspects into his brand new paranormal series which may just set the foundation for a great story.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Cold Light

Mothers will do anything when it comes to saving their children, including setting out on a suicide mission. Emma’s daughter has been stolen by raiders and no one is going after them. Emma makes the choice to set out before an in coming storm. She faces raiders, animals, and the ever pressing mist that threatens everything it touches. She is joined on her journey by a diverse cast of characters devoutly loyal to her, and in the end, there will be a choice.

Cold Light, by Traci L. Slatton is a dystopian novel with a constant flux of action. Though well written, I found the premise of the mists to be unbelievable and the ending to be too pat. A decent read, the book didn’t have me clamoring for another book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Dragon Keeper

In Ancient China, a young slave girl suffers the abuse of her cruel master, making do with what she can scavange, her life looks rather bleak until the last remaining Imperial dragon makes an escape, taking her with him. Finding herself on a journey she never imagined and finally with a name to call her own, Ping agrees to help Danzi reach Ocean with his precious dragon stone. Faced with foes and falsely feared as a sorceress, Ping must use her creativity and cunningness to save them from enemies. Along the way, she not only learns from the ancient dragon, but finds herself and her own power as she learns that she is truly the last Dragon Keeper.

Carole Wilkinson’s Dragon Keeper is a hit with the young dragon loving audiences, but more importantly it showcases a strong female lead, something often not seen in popular children’s books and rarely in such a traditional male role, as the book discusses. I enjoyed reading the book with my children almost as much as they enjoyed listening. Many discussions ensued regarding Ancient China, Chinese culture, and the role of girls.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Pure

Julianna Baggott’s new young adult dystopian novel, Pure,promises to deliver. Touted as the new The Hunger Games Trilogy and with movie rights already sold for the first novel, the hype is indicative of a best selling book.

Baggot’s descriptive writing pulls the reader in, and the premise behind the book is horrifying. Atomic bombs, set by those wanting to purify the Earth, have drastically changed the world. Secret agendas abound and the main character, a strong female lead, starts out strong. However, after the initial chapters, the book seems to be carried by remaining momentum rather than driving to a capitulating climax.

My main complaint, and one that I can’t let go of, is that the science in the book moves is so far removed to make the book fantasy rather than science fiction. With all of its promises and good points, for me the book failed to deliver.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Catch and Release

Polly Furnas had a plan. Graduate highschool. Marry her sweetheart. Go to college, and have children. MSRA was not in the plan. Neither was spending weeks in the hospital and loosing her eye. Somehow, out of everyone in her hometown who survived the infection, she survived, along with a fellow highschooler, Odd. Now she has a choice. She can lie around wallowing in self-pity or take Odd’s offer for a fishing trip. She can choose to fight to live or slowly die inside her new body. Plans change.

Blythe Woolston’s Catch & Release is interesting, a bit disturbing, and just perfect for analyzing our views and anger. With writing and a story line that gets under your skin, Woolston wraps it up with Odd’s letters to his grandmother, effectively putting a balm on the infected story. A new book with merit for discussing what we make of life and those around us, Catch & Release is certain to find its own among teens looking for something out of the ordinary.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Beyond the Grave

It’s hard to have a normal life when your parents are paranormal investigators. Charlotte’s mother is in a coma after a previous encounter with The Watcher. Her father and sister are struggling to live, the business if falling apart, and Charlotte is left floundering, trying to hold it together and spend time with her boyfriend who is becoming more secretive each day.

Mara Purnhagen’s Beyond the Grave is the third and final book in her Past Midnight series. The book is strong enough to stand alone for those of us who haven’t read her earlier novels, but the characters seem a bit flat and the build up and discovery drags. Luckily, the action at the end mostly makes up for the slow clues.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

This was previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.