Monday, July 4, 2016

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

The premise of this novel is preposterous, but if you can get past the implausibility, as I did, you might enjoy it.

Kendra Donovan is a present day, tough FBI agent. After a mission goes horribly bad, she goes rogue and takes off for England to exact revenge on one of the men to blame. While taking part in a reenactment dressed as a 19th century maid, she escapes into a secret passageway in an old English manor. Something happens, and she emerges in the same manor in the 19th century.

She plays the part of a Lady's maid at a manor house party while trying to figure out what has happened to her. She is absolutely hopeless, of course, and very American to boot. (That is used as an excuse for almost everything she does wrong.) Then a woman is found murdered, and her FBI training kicks in.

As I said at the beginning, it's preposterous to think that upper class English men of the 19th century would allow a woman, a servant no less, to investigate a murder, interview her betters, and watch post mortem exams. But the writer did a good enough job convincing me to play along that I quite enjoyed it.

There were some plot twists I did not see coming, and the interactions between the modern day American woman and the 19th century English men were a hoot. Kendra is a strong female lead who foolishly allows herself to get trapped in  a dangerous situation but gets out of it without any help from a man.

If you like mysteries, Regency romance, historical fiction, time travel, strong female leads, or some combination, you might want to read A Murder in Time.

A Murder in Time is the current Big Library Read through the Alliance Digital Media Library, the Galesburg Public Library's download service from Overdrive. Borrow and download the book now through July 7 with your Galesburg Public Library card here:
http://alliance.lib.overdrive.com/

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Submitted by teen reviewer Natalie:

Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen is the second book in the Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans. In this book, Michael and the rest of the Electroclan have made it out of the Elgen clutches and are now heading back home to start searching for Michael's mother. Little do they know what is in store for them.

Michael finally makes it home, but the Elgen are again one step ahead of them. Michael then finds many Elgen guards waiting for him at his old apartment. In search of places to hide, they end up getting messages from an anonymous voice. This voice claims to not be with the Elgen and that it is trying to help Michael and his friends, but anyone who has information about the Elgen might not be able to be trusted. Finally they find out where Michael's mother is, but it's not anywhere close -- in fact, they have to make their way to Peru!

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Michael does decide to trust the voice. Personally I liked this addition to the series because it reminded me of someone who works behind the scenes, yet is still important to the character and the rest of the story.

I would give this book a 9 out of 10 because I really enjoyed the secret voice, but it did kind of bother me that the author didn't even give a hint of who the voice could possibly be. Age-wise, I would recommend this book to sixth and seventh graders. The book does have quite a bit of action, but nothing too bloody or gory. Not to mention I don't think many eighth graders would be interested in the plotline. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can't wait to start on the third book in the series.

Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen is available in libraries and bookstores now.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Submitted by teen reviewer Natalie:

Three Times Lucky is about a girl named Mo who has always wondered where she came from, ever since she was found in a hurricane. But after a murder in their small town, some things have changed. Mo has always had a knack for figuring out mysteries. When a detective (who is known as Detective Starr) comes into town asking about a murder, people start acting weird and some of the closest people to Mo are disappearing. Mo decides to get into this mystery to save the ones she loves.

My favorite part of the book is when Mo realizes that she doesn't have to find her birth mother to love someone dearly. She loves the people who have raised her ever since they found her.

I would give this book a 9 out of 10. When the mystery was solved, I never would have expected who it turned out to be. I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Three Times Lucky is available in libraries and bookstores now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Submitted by teen reviewer Camellia S:

Love and Gelato is about a girl, Carolina (or just Lina). She has to follow her mother's dying wish to meet Howard. Lina assumes that Howard is her father and decides to stay with him in Italy just for the summer, and then she will go back to her boring life. In Italy next to her father's cemetery/house, she meets the dashing Lorenzo, aka Ren. The handsome soccer player makes Lina question her choice to just stay for the summer. Also another mystery pops up: her mother's journal about the year she lived in Italy, and all the secrets hidden inside it.

I absolutely enjoyed this book! The characters are full of life and they have tons of detail. The plot twists throughout this book are amazing. On a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate this book a 10. It is an adorable story about a girl learning about herself and discovering the trail her mother left behind. I hope you decide to read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

Love and Gelato is available in libraries and bookstores now.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Submitted by teen reviewer Camellia S:

Flawed is a dystopian novel written by Cecelia Ahern. It is about a girl named Celestine and a sudden choice on a bus that could change her life forever. In Celestine's government, people with "flaws" are branded on their head, right hand, sole of their foot, their chest, or their tongue. The person who got the most brandings ever only received three. Celestine is put on trial in her messed up community for having compassion for an old man... wait for it... who is flawed. One of the brandings is for being disloyal to the society (aka helping or aiding another flawed person). It doesn't help that one of the judges has it out for her. Celestine is going to need a lot of strength and help from others if she wants to survive.

Celestine is a force to be reckoned with. She is a strong female character and doesn't trust many people, which is a good thing. With not many to trust and many people after her for many reasons, Celestine is on the brink of survival multiple times.

This book is probably a grade A+. I bawled my eyes out multiple times throughout the book. On a scale from 1 to 10, it's a definite 10. This book is a roller coaster ride full of emotions! I hope you will want to read this book and find out what happens to Celestine. I know you will enjoy it.

Flawed is available in libraries and bookstores now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Posted for teen reviewer Savanna A.

The Heir is the fourth book in the "Selection" series. King Maxon and Queen America have their firstborn child Eadlyn. When the country is at risk due to unhappiness over the old caste system, the King and Queen decide it is best to start a selection. Eadlyn hates the idea. She isn't ready for marriage - if she'll ever be ready at all. Thirty-five suitors in three months. Who will win her heart? Eadlyn starts realizing that some of these young men aren't so bad after all. So find out what happens next in The Heir.

I give this book and series 10 out of 10! The drama and romance are so amazing! I would recommend it for 13+ or mature readers. I think even adults would like it. It makes you feel like you are a part of the book.

The Heir is available now.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

From the publisher: The story follows Irene, a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. Along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

The Invisible Library is an enjoyable mash up of too many things to mention. There is a Sherlock Holmes-like detective, dragons who can take human form, werewolves, vampires, the Fae, a mysterious Library, a mysterious language that is almost like magic but not quite - all set in an alternate Victorian London.

The world building is fine, given that we’ve already visited parts of it in many other fantasy novels. The characters are interesting. The dialog is entertaining. The plot is frantic and engaging. I didn’t worry too much about things that reminded me of other things – I was too busy enjoying myself.

A couple of the things I especially enjoyed:

When Librarian Irene and her student Kai are sent to an alternate world, they are instructed to claim to be “barbarian visitors from Canada.” (“Do you suppose barbarian Canadians wear jeans? “I hope female Canadian barbarians wear trousers….They’re easier to run in.”)

When Irene is invited to a party by one of the local Fae lords, he tells her, “I’ve invited all the best people. Lords, ladies, authors, ambassadors, debauchers, grave-robbers, perverts, sorcerers, courtesans, deranged scientists, and doll-makers.” Doll-makers, ha!

The Invisible Library is a ton of fun, and I look forward to book 2, The Masked City. Recommended for fantasy lovers looking for a fun romp

The Invisible Library will be published on June 14 and will be available at the Galesburg Public Library in print and as an ebook