Category Archives: Audio Alerts

What Am I Reading? Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

 

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

allegedly

When she was nine years old Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. The infant died while in the care of Mary’s mother. Mary never said she killed, but  the media filled in all the blanks. Mary spent six years in “baby jail” and at the age of sixteen moved into a group home. Here she is abused and tormented by the other residents and the adults turn a blind eye. Her only solace is Ted. When Mary gets pregnant she realizes that in order to protect her new and growing family she has to set the record straight. The odds are stacked against her, but she is smart and determined. Hopefully that will be enough.

This debut novel is so heartbreaking. I just started listening to the audiobook today and am about half way finished. I will definitely be watching for more books by Tiffany Jackson!

Happy Reading

~Megan

 

 

 

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Audio Alert: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

My nearly 8 hour round trip to Cincinnati to see Carrie Ryan allowed me to finish listening to Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I am very happy that I finally got to this fun little gem of a story.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, 2010.

On a cold Chicago night two teens, both named Will Grayson meet under unusual circumstances. Their meeting sets in motion a series of events that will forever change the way the Wills think of themselves as they each have a romantic change of heart. One Will Grayson must choose between his self-imposed rules for living (1. Shut up 2. Don’t care) and a shot at a real relationship with Jane. Will’s flamboyant and enormous (and ironically named) friend Tiny Cooper, when not busy writing his musical, Tiny Dancer, plots ways to bring the two together, despite Will’s resistance. The other Will Grayson’s world is shattered the night of the random meeting of the Wills, but with the help of Tiny Cooper he begins to see his life in a new way. He works up the courage to tell his mother and friends he is gay, he meets new friends, and slowly lets go of some of the anger he has kept bottled up for so long.

There is a lot going on in this book! Ever wonder what goes on inside a teen guy’s head? Ask a Will Grayson. John Green and David Levithan are both giants in the YA literature world, and for good reason. They each have the ability to create characters who realistically embody the teenage experience. They are masters of teen angst without the cliché, and with the exception of Tiny Cooper, they once again succeed in presenting readers with an honest and complex portrayal of teens. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Tiny is not realistic. I know flamboyantly fabulous men are out there, but I thought Tiny’s character came dangerously close to being a caricature. For me, his saving grace was his heartbreaking honesty during his private moments with both Wills. Publically, he was a walking stereotype. That being said, the rest of the novel was fantastic. The audio was a special treat because I actually got to hear Tiny belt out musical numbers from his show (he’s not a very good singer, bless his heart). It took a while to get used to the different Wills, as the narrators sounded similar. But once I got to know the characters it was easy to tell them apart. This book is smart and sassy, heartbreaking and hopeful and a must read for romantics everywhere. Guys and girls alike will be able to relate to any number of characters and the struggles they face as they try to figure out who they really are. I loved this feel-good story! A word of warning, the teens in this book are realistically foul-mouthed (I now have a new favorite curse word, but I can’t say it here!).

Fans of John Green and David Levithan will not be disappointed. If you enjoyed this, you may also like Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

 

Audio Alert Saving Ceecee Honeycutt

Hi Everyone! Today is the big day-I get to hang out with Margaret Peterson Haddix! She will be talking about her books here at the Rocky River Public Library this evening at 7:00pm. She will also be signing books. The event is open to the public, so feel free to join us. Don’t worry, I’ll take notes and picture for those who can’t make it.

I have a quick little review for you today, and it’s not a YA book, shocking, I know. I just finished listening to Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.

 Twelve year old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt lives in Willoughby, Ohio with her mentally ill mother. Camille Honeycutt was a Southern Belle, and the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen, but her illness has made her the laughingstock of Willoughby, much to CeeCee’s shame. When Camille suddenly dies CeeCee is sent to live in Savannah with her great-aunt Tootie. She leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known to begin a new life among strangers. Over the course of the summer Tootie, her housekeeper, Oletta, and a cast of larger-than-life Southern women  become the safe and loving family that CeeCee has always wanted.

This book was like a tall glass of sweet tea on a hot day-refreshing and sweet. While the plot is a bit predictable, the lush setting of 1960s Savannah and the charming Southern ladies will keep you turning the pages, hungry for more of this heartwarming tale. As I listened to this book in my car the dreary February landscape melted into the background as I found myself immersed in the sunny Georgia gardens, surrounded by wise and eccentric women. I kept picturing scenes from movies such as Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes. Give this to fans of Sarah Addison Allen.

I finished this just in time to get the third Flavia de Luce mystery, A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley. I love the narrator of these wickedly entertaining mysteries starring 11-year old Flavia, a budding chemist with a passion for poison. Yay!

Ok, off to prepare for this evening.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Audio Alert: The Wake of the Lorelei Lee

This post may contain some spoilers, so if you are new to the Bloody Jack series STOP READING!!! Then again, I am not revealing anything more than the book jacket, so maybe you should read on. It’s up to you.

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Adventures of Jacky Faber on Her Way to Botany Bay by L.A. Meyer is the eighth, but hopefully not the last, book in the Bloody Jack series. This book picks up where the last left off. Jacky uses her newly “found” wealth to purchase a new ship, the Lorelei Lee. Her name has been cleared of all charges and she sets sail to finally be reunited with her beloved Jaimy. When she arrives in London she is met with an unpleasant surprise. She is arrested, tried, and sentenced to life in the penal colony of New South Wales. The journey from London to Australia is relatively smooth sailings, with only a minor hiccup in India, until they reach the China Sea and encounter a notorious pirate. From this point on it is non-stop action as Jacky once again tries to wriggle her way out of trouble.

First the story. I was not surprised at all to learn that Jacky was once again in trouble, but I was a bit surprised at the pace of the beginning part of the book. It was slower than most of the previous books and contained a lot of recaps of Jacky’s previous adventures (I actually appreciated having my memory refreshed, but I understand others may not enjoy the repetition). In this book the adventure slowly sneaks up on you. One minute everything is fine, everyone is happy, than BAM! all hell breaks loose and Jacky is off on another wild and dangerous adventure! I am 100% certain that I so willingly overlook the few flaws in this latest installment because of Katherine Kellgren, the narrator of the audiobook. Her voice has some magical, hypnotic quality to it that makes me fairly certain that she would have my undivided attention if she were reading Jacky Faber’s grocery list. Listening to Ms. Kellgren read a Bloody Jack book is like having a full-cast play performed just for you. She does it all: she sings, she dances (in my mind she dances along with Jacky), and she has a different voice for all the characters (I am particularly fond of Higgins). I don’t know how she does it, but boy am I glad that she does!

I think it is good idea to remind readers that Jacky has gotten older and the nature of some of her adventures may not be suitable for younger readers. This latest installment has more bad language than the previous books, there is discussion of prostitution, and there is some violence and murder. I know that sounds grim, but one of the best things about Jacky is that she and her friends always land on their feet.

This wasn’t my favorite in the series (I personally loved Mississippi Jack), but it’s a wonderful addition to the Bloody Jack collection. I highly recommend these books.

Happy Listening!

˜Megan

 

 

 

Audio Alert

I recently finished listening to Virals by Kathy Reichs. Reichs is best known for her adult book series starring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. This popular series is the basis for the hit show Bones. Virals is a young adult spin-off series featuring Temperance Brennan’s great-niece, Tory.

After her mother dies fourteen year old Tory Brennan is sent to live with her marine biologist father on a remote island off the coast of South Carolina. Tory is smart, headstrong, and shares her aunt’s love of science. Her closest friends are the three other teenaged boys living on the island. While exploring the island the group discovers a set of dog tags, which leads them to the discovery of an unsolved murder and a secret experiment being conducted on a wolfdog pup. After stealing the pup from the lab the teens are exposed to an experimental strain of the parvovirus which has some unexpected effects. These side effects come in handy when someone tries to stop them from solving the decades-old murder.

This story was an action-packed thriller. I liked Tory and her rag-tag band of science nerds. The boys are a bit generic, but Tory’s inner dialogue and biting sarcasm are realistic and funny. The story is part mystery, part science fiction, and part fantasy and you have to be willing to suspend disbelief for much of the book. The teens find themselves in and get themselves out of some very tight (and illegal) spots. My biggest complaint-the mean librarian. I really don’t appreciate the stereotype. On the other hand, I really appreciated how the teens went about doing there research-they actually checked the sources for material they found online! I was impressed. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but didn’t love it. Having said that, I think that middle school readers will really like the adventure. I will definitely be recommending both the book and the audiobook to my readers. It’s suspenseful without being scary, devoid of romance, and has only an occasional mild curse, making it a nice selection for middle school readers.

Pair with Maximum Ride by James Patterson, The Walls Have Eyes by Clare B. Dunkle, Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam, or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Audio Alert

In February of 2008 my 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera died. I was devastated. I loved that car and I truly believed we were meant to be together. Afterall, it had been stolen and returned to me not once, but twice. But, I learned the hard way that an oil leak, no matter how small,  is not something to ignore, especially in the middle of a harsh Cleveland winter. The engine will eventually seize and leave you stranded on the roadside in need of a ride, a tow, and a new car. If you are wondering what this sad, sad story of automobile neglect has to do with books, relax, I am getting there. Just as I was working myself into a full-on panic about not having a car, a miracle happened. One of my sisters (I have 5) was getting a new car and was willing to give me a super-sweet sister deal on her old one. Yay! The car itself is not important. What is important is that I was now riding around with modern audio equipment-I could listen to books on cd! Oh, how my life changed. In the three years since then I have listened to 64 books on cd and missed countless hours of horrible radio commercials. So in the spirit of new things for the new year, I present you with my first ever Audio Alert.

Sir Thursday is book four in The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix and stars Arthur Penhaligon, and ordinary teen with an extraordinary destiny. These books really need to be read or listened to in order, starting with Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, and Drowned Wednesday. The fourth adventure finds Arthur enlisted in The Glorious Army of the Architect, led by Sir Thursday, who possesses the fourth key and the fourth part of the will. Back in the “real world” an imposter, known as the Skinless Boy, is taking over the minds of Arthur’s friends and family.

At the mid-point of this series Arthur is finally becoming a good hero. He is making more decisions for himself, rather than just following the orders of The Will. He is also facing his own mortality as it is revealed that he is gradually turning into a denizen whenever he uses the magic of the Keys. He is making smart choices and putting the needs of many before his own needs. He is proving to be a wise teen with obvious leader potential.

This series is cool on a couple of levels. There is plenty of action and adventure and the world-building is complex and detailed. The characters are interesting and engaging. These are all-around good stories. But then, there is another level with subtle religious undertones. For example, the Architect who created the worlds represents a supreme being and each of the seven Trustees represents one of the deadly sins (Monday=Sloth, Tuesday=Greed, Wednesday=Gluttony, Thursday=Wrath).

I have only listened to these books and I really like the narrator, Allan Corduner. Audiobook fans may recognize his voice from Inkdeath or The Book Thief. He is also the narrator of Magyk, a Septimus Heap book. I just love his deep, rich voice and his lovely British accent!

I will wrap this up by saying these are great “guy” books and I would recommend them to middle school readers who enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and Pendragon.

Happy listening!

˜Megan