Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore mixes books and research with romance and friendship to make a fun, light story. Pop culture references make this book feel a bit like Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, but the prevalence of Google and ereaders ground the story in the present.
Jacob Portman loves his grandfather, who tells him fabulous stories about his childhood adventures and kids he once knew. As Jacob gets older, and his grandfather disappears on mysterious hunting trips, they start to grow apart. Jacob begins to doubt the truth of his grandfather’s stories, and asks him whether they really happened. His grandfather pulls out some faded photos of childhood friends, and they are very peculiar. After this Jacob begans to doubt the truth of the stories.
"Mission Unstoppable" is the exciting first book in the Genius Files series by Dan Gutman. Coke and Pepsi are twins who are being chased across the country by people who want to kill them! In the first chapter alone, the twins are jumping off a cliff to save their lives...you want to know more, don't you?
This fun series is recommended for grades 5 and up.
I came to become a fan of Ivan Coyote through seeing videos of her telling stories. My interest in reading her first novel, Bow Grip, comes from feeling connected to her as a person through her stories. You can have this same experience easily as she's got quite a few videos embedded on her site at: http://www.ivanecoyote.com/videos
Wonderful book. The lighthouse captivated me right from the start. Seeing them in New England when I was a child gives them a special place in my imagination. I have always wanted to stay in one. My mother has told us only recently that dad actually thought about chucking it all and buying one. But back to the book. I loved it and had a hard time putting it down. The characters were alive, and every single thing felt real. There is much pain and sadness, but you feel it inside yourself without actually having to wade through depres
Volume 1 of Bakuman introduces Moritaka Mashiro, an 8th grade student with decent grades and a habit of drawing in his notebooks during class. His drawing talent is noticed by Akito Takagi, fellow and best student in Mashiro's class. Takagi attempts to persuade Mashiro to join him in creating manga--he'll write and Mashiro can draw. Takagi's a skilled operator and manages to get Mashiro's crush, a classmate named Miho, involved, climaxing with a humorous scene in which Mashiro ultimately agrees to Takagi's plan.
Tana French is a master of tension and mystery. Her latest novel, Broken Harbor, tells the story of Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, one of Dublin’s top murder detectives, as he attempts to solve the murder of a young family in a largely abandoned new housing development. Only the mother has survived, and she is in the hospital in critical condition. Although Brianstown, the location of the murders, is the site of a major trauma from Kennedy’s youth, he feels like the case will be a simple solve that will make him untouchable on the murder squad.
This early chapter book is an abridged version of the 1964 collection, “The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales” written by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst and illustrated by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King award winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney.It’s part of the level 4 Passport to Reading series.According to the i
The "Rules of Civility" is a delightful tale that parachutes the reader straight out of the Manhattan skyline into the lives of three friends poised to resurrect leftover dreams placed on hold during the era of the Great Depression. Author Amor Towles begins the story starring two best friends and one wealthy, eligible bachelor by igniting the promise of a hopeful future on the eve of New's Years 1938.
Libba Bray's The Diviners mixes mystery and supernatural horror and sets in Prohibition Era New York. The effect is excellent--if I were a wine connoisseur and this book were a wine, I'd note hints of HBO's Carnivale, Stephen King's novels, and a liberal peppering of 1920s slang. I'll hold back from getting cutesy using the slang in this review.
Okay, I'll admit it, I've never actually read J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, so I began reading this only knowing the Disney movie version of the story. This is Tiger Lily's story as told from Tinker Bell's point-of-view and it works marvelously! Folks expecting a nice, neat Disney tale are in for a rude awakening.
Sadie Turner is still reeling from a nasty divorce. She needs time away from her controlling mother and cheating ex-husband, so on a whim, she decides to pack up her kids and spend the summer at her eccentric Aunt Dody’s beach cottage on Lake Michigan. Sadie had spent many wonderful summers there as a child and figures it may be just the place to get some peace and quiet. Little does she know that her two cousins are also living at Dody’s cottage, one of which is flamboyant Fontaine, who can’t wait to get his hands on Sadie’s boring and mundane social life.
Sinister Scenes is the 3rd book of the series about the eerier town of Spooking. Joy Wells is the heroine of the book. When a movie company comes to Spooking to film a movie based on one of E. A. Pengeot’s horror books, Joy is convinced that Spooking will be recognized as the hometown of her favorite author.
I really loved this book! One of the blurbs on the back references Charles Portis, and the voice of this story's narrator, Eli Sisters, reminded me very much of the narrator of True Grit. I feel like I got to know Eli better, and liked this story better than True Grit, not that they need to be compared as they are both enjoyable stories. But, if I'm left with only the two books to read and have to choose one to read first, this would be the one.
Middle school student and troublemaker Donovan Curtis is well known for his pranks around school. Due to a big mistake and miscommunication, Donovan is transferred from his "normal" middle school to the "Academy for Scholastic Distinction" for highly gifted students. Multiple characters, including adults, take turns telling the story, and it becomes clear than Donovan doesn't belong at ASD due to his ungifted status, but could it be that the students at ASD need Donovan, as he slowly leads them to normalcy?
Logan suspects that missing pet dogs are being dognapped by invading aliens and forms the Intergalactic Canine Rescue Unit with his friends. He communicates with a female alien who speaks for the big Boss alien, is kidnapped himself, and through quick thinking and clever negotiating, Logan becomes a hero. Dognappers is a fast read appealing to middle-graders with its gross humor, surprising adventures with aliens and mysteries.
Another just plain fun read! If you like the Stephanie Plumb books, you'll like this series too. Diesel, one of Ranger's employees, breaks out on his own set of adventures. They are full of the same madcap mayhem we see with Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger, but these add a layer of magic and mystical powers. Lizzy is a pastry chef in Salem Massachusetts who also happens to be a "finder". Her talent is sensing special properties of inanimate objects. Lizzy and Diesel are off on a mission to find another one of a set of magical stones before Wulf or any other bad guys can get it.
In this second book, Goldie Roth is accompanied by her friends from the first book on another adventure. New characters are introduced and assist Goldie and Toadspit in their adventure. Goldie is reluctant to become the fifth Keeper of the mysterious Museum of Dunt. Even though she wants to be a keeper, she feels a duty to protect and take care of her sick parents.
Russian Winter is a novel about jewels, ballet, love, betrayal, and secrets. It centers on Russian ballerina Nina Revskaya, The Butterfly, a star of the Bolshoi Ballet in communist Russia. The tale weaves back and forth from her life in Russia to present day America, where she is auctioning all of her jewels.
Seventh grader, Marley Sidelski is a self-described geek and Star Trek fan. He gets a lot of practice running from school bullies. In fact, he's so good a running that he gets the attention of the gym teacher, who wants him on the track team. Finally, Marley gets a taste of popularity, in this less than believable but very funny book about surviving middle school. Recommended for grades 5-8.
The short version: The story of a break up from the very beginning of the relationship, starring authentic characters and presented in a unique format--each chapter starts with an object from a box of mementos Min collected and is giving to her ex-boyfriend, Ed. For more details, read on.
Roger, a long sausage dog, is looking for more meaning from life. When life hands him potatoes, he creates a French fry stand, and his French fries become famous around the world. But Roger worries that people only love him for his fries, and he looks for even more from his life. When Roger meets Charlotte the Corn Cob Queen, a whole new adventure begins. The illustrations are charming, and this book has been a hit with every school age group I've read it with. A recipe is included at the back of the book.
A hilarious take on a 7th grade boy's life from the pen of Tim Carvell, head writer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The book is in diary format and follows Tad on various adventures & life lessons throughout the year.
Welcome to Icicle Falls, home of the Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company, which has been run by the Sterling Family for generations. Samantha Sterling has just been given a heavy burden. Her recently deceased step-father, Waldo, has left the company near ruin and it is up to her as the eldest daughter and newly appointed CEO, to save the family business. To make things worse, there’s a new bank manager in town, the handsome Blake Preston who has given Samantha less than two months to repay the company’s debt. Can Samantha and her family save the chocolate factory in time?
Dodger is a tosher, a cheeky, enterprising young man who knows the sewers of London like the back of his hand. He searches in tunnels below ground to find lost treasures like coins or rings, always hoping to find the mystical Tosharoon—a conglomeration of treasures wrapped up in mud, and worse.
This easy to read mystery takes place in an unusual setting. The story depicts the legends centering on Iowa City’s Oakland Cemetery’s Black Angel monument. Linc (Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw), 12-years-old, and his mother, Lottie Landers, an absent-minded professor who studies burial customs, live in a house bordering the cemetery. Linc’s struggle in starting public school and leaving his private Home-Away-From-Home School, known as the Ho-Hos brings many challenges.
Maria Semple relates the tale of where Bernadette went and why using emails, letters, reports, articles, and other short pieces created by or relating to the characters. Interspersed are passages of Bernadette's daughter Bee's narration. With all the variation in modes of writing, I was surprised at how smoothly this story read.
I first read this book when it was hot off the press in 1977. I finished it one morning right before going in to work at an Owensboro, KY department store. It was hard to get my mind on work after experiencing the traumatic events at the Overlook Hotel.
The Age of Miracles is the story of Julia as she comes of age in suburban California, featuring bullies, young love, cliques, loneliness, parental troubles, bra shopping, soccer practice, grandpa, and reading in the library during lunch at school.
The short version: You like doing things outdoors--hiking, hunting, cross country skiing, etc.--and read up on those hobbies. You've had a close relationship with a pet. You don't mind reading about the end of the world as we know it. If that's you, you'll like this story.
The short version: This collection of the compelling first 12 issues of the mystery-horror comic book series set in a twisted boarding school is a satisfying hook that will make fans of readers who enjoy grim graphic stories with a dash of the fantastic, like The Walking Dead or The Unwritten. Enticed? Read on.
Nick Spencer's Morning Glories is one of those comics that keeps you in the dark about what's going on. I'd say it keeps you guessing, but it would be a rare success for any reader to guess the what's happening in an issue/chapter. And this is fun--an excellent hook.
Adults who love Alexander McCall Smith's Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series will be thrilled to introduce their children to Botswana's Precious Ramotswe. When items start to disappear from students' lunches, Precious is on the case, even defending the boy who everyone at first assumes to be the culprit. Unfamiliar words are defined and pronunciation guides are given. Illustrations only add to the charm of the story.
May Elizabeth Bitterly lives on the Kansas frontier with her family. May wants to study and become a teacher, but her father needs her to earn some money for the familiy by living and working on the neighboring Oblinger homestead, but just until Christmas. Mr. Oblinger has made a rustic sod house for his new young bride, who is not use to the roughness of life on the frontier. May cooks, washes and offers Mrs. Oblinger lessons of life on the frontier. Mrs. Oblinger does not return May’s kindness.
The first sentence sets the perfect tone for this wonderful debut novel from Alice LaPlante. "Something has happened." With so much attention on Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, this book provides a thoughtful but thoroughly terrifying portrait of a victim. Dr. Jennifer White is a renowned orthopedic surgeon.
Ned Vizzini's The Other Normals tells the story of Perry Eckert, a young math whiz whose divorced parents' lawyers agree that it would be cheaper to send him to summer camp than to feed him at home, and since he got kicked off the summer math team, there's no reason to keep him around. Also, socializing with other kids at camp could be good for him--his parents and brother think he spends too much time alone creating characters and reading rulebooks for the role-playing game Creatures & Caverns.
The main character of this novel is one of the most despised people in America: he’s a lobbyist for the smoking industry. He’s not friendless, however. His frequent lunch companions include the chief representatives for the gun industry and the alcohol lobby. They privately refer to themselves as “The MOD Squad” (as in Merchants of Death). In this hilarious novel, Buckley not only skewers the tobacco industry, but Washington, Hollywood, the press, and modern society in general. The book is also the source of an excellent movie of the same name.
Fourteen-year-old Mike, a mathematically-challenged young man with dyscalculia, unfortunately has a brilliant engineer/professor father. Mike is forced to live with relatives he has never met for six weeks in summer while his father teaches in Romania. Mike’s father hopes that his son will improve his math and engineering skills by working on a local project.
The story is a typical who-done-it mystery. The story begins with 13 year-old, Oz Keiller opening the refrigerator door at his family's restaurant and discovering the body of Aaron Sneider, a journalist. He discovers that Sneider was a reporter who had accused his deceased father of being a spy and a traitor. His father was accused of stealing nuclear secrets from the company he had worked for. If this isn’t bad enough his older brother is arrested for the murder and Oz jumps into action to save him.
The quick version: The most fun fantasy story--perhaps the most fun novel--that I've read all year, and despite it's "young adult" label, it doesn't feel like a YA novel. Keep reading for the detailed review.
Why is this series not simultaneously published in the US?
Oluwalase Babatunde Benson is the Number One car spotter in his tiny African village, hence his nickname, No. 1. (In his free time, No. 1 and his grandfather like to identify cars by their sounds before they drive past). While he knows that things like skyscrapers, tap water, and electricity exists, in his village they can only dream of such luxuries. When the village's market cart breaks down, No. 1 comes up with a plan that saves the village and allows them to get to the market to sell their goods, involving an old broken-down Toyota Camry.
A co-worker gave this to me to read because she thought it was my kind of book. I had never heard of it, but boy am I glad she thought of me, this book is amazing! Julia, an 11 year old girl in California, is the narrator of the story and the tale she has to tell is riveting. The days on earth are inexplicably getting longer, what they refer to in the book as "the slowing". There is no explanation for why this is happening, but it is soon apparent that this is not an illusion and it also is not temporary. Each day is longer, as are the nights.
Bad Glass has a great premise, especially if you are a fan of “what if” science fiction. The science here is physics, or perhaps metaphysics. We never find out. But weird things are happening in Spokane, WA. The military has separated the phenomena into 4 categories: things that appear that should not be there, things that disappear that should be there, voices/noises that have no apparent origin and “all else”. Most fall into the “all else” category; especially the human body parts that meld into inanimate materials, or that become part of other bodies.
Tomorrow is a River is the story of Caroline, who, with her preacher husband Adam, settled a homestead near the Tomorrow River in Northeastern WI in the late 1800s. After being abandoned by her husband, Caroline and her 2 young children struggle to survive the rugged wilderness of pioneer Wisconsin with the help of a Menominee Indian woman who befriends them. Together they weather many storms, the most terrifying of all, the Peshtigo Fire of 1871.
Life wasn't easy for anyone during the Great Depression, but it could be even harder if you were African American. In this work of historical fiction, Hibernia a preacher's daughter, dreams of becoming a singer. Willie is recovering from a burn that will keep him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a boxer. Otis, an orphan, is struggling to find happiness but finds comfort in his family's radio and the sense of humor that was passed down to him from his father.
In 1923 two sisters set off on a mission to Kashgar, located on the Silk Road, though they speak little or none of the languages in the region. Lizzie is on fire with religious conviction instilled by Millicent, who is in charge of the mission. Evangeline is not convinced of the value of their work, but is coming along to protect her sister as well as to travel and experience the world, riding her green bicycle for hundreds of miles as they travel through deathly heat in the desert, and extreme cold in the passes of the Celestial Mountains.
Book 1 of the Books of Beginning Series. This fantasy adventure story starts off with the main characters, Kate - 14, Michael-12, and Emma – 11 left as orphans when they were taken from their home at night during Christmas. The children are passed from one orphanage to another within a ten year span until they end up at a secluded orphanage operated by Dr. Stanislaus Pym. The mansion is located in the remote town of Cambridge Falls and the children find out they are the only ones there.