Sunday, 12 April 2020

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

It was the cover that first attracted me to this book.  It makes me envision what it was like to be a teenage girl (oh so many decades ago).  Finally, after seeing the book on the shelf for months in the store where I work, I decided to read it and find out about it's continuing appeal.  I am glad that I did.

This book is sweet and honest, like a fresh breath look at romance.

Lara Jean is the middle daughter in a single parent family.  For years she has handled relationship issues by writing breakup letters to the boys involved.  She has never mailed them.  Soon after her eldest sister leaves for college overseas, she learns that these letters have been delivered to at least two of the boys.  These events change her life in ways she could not have imagined.  She begins to question what she wrote and how she feels about those boys in the present.

I loved this story.  It was fresh and imaginative. Having the family lead by a busy male parent who loves his daughters unconditionally but is yet a little clueless about girls was good.  He didn't jump in with all the answers to resolve their issues, rather let them work things out.

Lara Jean is a bit insecure about lots of things in her life; driving, running the household, but the what high-school junior wouldn't be.  She need the opportunity to climb out from under her older sister's enormous and very competent shadow.  It was great to watch her blossom.  I could see where this story was going, but couldn't predict how it would get there.  I must read the follow-up P.S. I still love you and see want happens next.

#IndigoEmployee

Friday, 10 April 2020

The Secret Explorers and the Comet Collision by S. J. King

Great science based adventure for middle school readers.  While based on hard science, it has just enough magic to make these adventures come alive the  eight students involved.  Love the idea of Roshni's tent turning into a portal to the Exploration Station.

This is the second adventure of the Secret Explorers; eight students with different skills and interests who help to solve scientific dilemas.  Don't worry if you haven't read the first book, you can jump right in an start learning along with the explorers.

This book and series should appeal to all with an inquiring mind.  The kids have to use their powers of observation, their imagination and their background knowledge to discover and solve the problems that they meet.  There are no adults to help them, just a wacky shape shifting dune buggy that converses with them in beeps and boops.

This book is planned for release on July 7, 2020 along with the first book in the series The Secret Explorers and the Lost Whales.  Additional titles are to be released in October 2020.  It will make a great additional to all classroom libraries where students can't get enough STEM materials.

* I received and advanced reader ecopy of this book from DK Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee




Tuesday, 3 December 2019

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

This is the sweet, but humbling story of how a school and church learned the true story of Christmas.

The Christmas pageant was the big highlight of the season.  The same church lady had arranged it for years and she chose the same children to the play the roles year after year.  This year she was sick and another mother volunteered to organize and run the rehearsals.

Meanwhile, at school, the Herdmans were running/ruining everything.  They were the worst kids at school and their mother had no control over them.  Inadvertently they were invited to church by a classmate.  When the six Herdmans learned about the pageant, they took over and ended up with  every role.  That is when the learning and fun started to happen.

Every one else knew the story of Mary and Joseph and trip to Bethlehem except for the six newcomers.  They asked all sorts of questions which made the rest stop and think about the true meaning behind the play.

This is one of those books that you are going to want to keep at hand and reread every year even when your own children think they are too old to be read to.

#IndigoEmployee

Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby


The Fashion Committee
I had put off reading this book as I thought it was going to be a sappy romance that only talked about boys, clothing and make up.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  It's about a couple of kids trying to win a scholarship to a prestigious high school.  Excellent.  Better yet, they have to design and sew an outfit for a fashion show as their entry.  Cool.  All for young people being creative and taking charge of their futures.
From there is got better and better.  We learned a lot about both Charlie(f) and John(m) and the challenges they face in their daily lives. You can't tell much about a person's home life by how they appear at school.

I ended up really enjoying this story and am sad that I waited so long to read it.

would also appeal to readers of :

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner
Geekerella by Ashley Poston


I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & music in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Friday, 1 November 2019

Cell by Stephen King

It's been quite a while since I read a book by author Stephen King; it was time to see what I was missing out on.  My sister has quite a collection of his titles on her shelf, so we picked out one for me together.  We settled on Cell, it's not as long as some of his others, but creepy enough for full effect.

An extreme number of us are totally dependent on our cell phones.  We can't leave home without them or make a decision without referring to them.  Now imagine that some one decides to use these devices to attack the world population.  Your phone rings, you answer it, and poof, your mind is zapped.  Stephen King did just that.

How do you continue if you are one of the few who didn't answer that call for whatever reason.

I loved this apocalypse novel.  It neatly did away with most of the population in dramatic fashion, but left enough of a variety of survivors to keep it interesting.  It was fairly condensed with regard to time scope to stay realistic.  In short, it was wonderful.  I did have to put it down every so often to allow for life, but really, I could have read it through in two sittings otherwise.

I certainly will be looking to read another of his works, probably The Institute, soon.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others by Robert Glazer

Wow, I really liked this book. When my sister suggested that I read and review it, I wasn't sure what it would be like.  I researched the author and he seemed legit and it was being published by Sourcebooks, which is a publisher that I've come to greatly respect over the years I've been reviewing books (since 2007).  I decided to find a review copy and read.  I was not disappointed.

Most people who say they want to improve themselves never do anything about it.  They wait for some outside force to magically make them a better person.  I won't happen. Author  Robert Glazer gives examples and concrete activities to undertake to improve, or rather, elevate ones self.
He talks about four elements of the self : spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional.  He emphasises efforts in all four areas at the same time for a balanced growth.

It is clear to me that Mr. Glazer lives what he talks about.  This is well thought out and supported by outside research from a wide variety of resources.  He provides a bibliography for those who want to do further readings, and you will if you are planning to follow his activities.  Though this is a slim volume, it contains a wealth of information and much that you will find yourself pondering.  For example: what are your core values and your goals in life.  Not only your career goals, but your personal goals.  Do your goals match up with your values.

Now that I have read an e version, I am going to purchase a paper copy as I know I'll be coming back to this book again and again as I work my way through the suggested activities.  One of my favourite is making a list of the 30 most significant people in my life.  Each day of the month your are to pick one and have a meaningful contact with them.  A phone call, email or letter, your choice.

Special thanks to my sister for recommending this book.  She has been on Mr. Glazer's mailing list and read his Friday Forward message for quite some time.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Edelweiss and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

I remember the mid 80's when there was lots talk about this new disease that seemed to be plaguing the gay population.  Very quickly we learned that people from all walks of life very dying from what became known as AIDS.  This is the book for those who weren't around at that time but who are curious about it was like to grow up then.  

Michael , James and Becky are teen  best friends living in New York City.  They are trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.  Michael is gay but can't tell his family and his older brother was kicked out of the house when he came out.  James is also gay and trying to make a name for himself as a performer.  Becky is dating Andy, though doesn't know if they should remain together.  One thing they all have in common, is that they are scared by this new plague that is striking down so many people in their city.  They are either at risk of catching it, or seeing their friends become sick.  

These are thoughts that teens should not have to deal with.  Their lives should be safe, their parents should want to protect them and not kick them to the street just because they are different.  I remember, at that time there was a saying 'sex is death'.  If that isn't scary to a 16 year old, I don't know what is.

I feel that author Helene Dunbar has handled these topics carefully and respectfully.  She hasn't diminished the importance of them, nor has she glorified any one sides views.  She has been honest and I would say, blunt.  I could almost feel James' fear as he considered when and how to tell his parents that he was gay.  It would never be a good time to tell his dad, but it was getting harder and harder to live with his true self hidden away.

A wonderful book that should appeal to young people as well as those who remember the 80's.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee