Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Summer Camp Science Mysteries by Lynda Beauregard

Kids are getting back to reading, and today I have a suggestion from one of the staff for a series that might appeal to reluctant readers.  Summer Camp Science Mysteries by Lynda Beauregard are graphic novels for 9-12 year olds that combine science, mystery and summer camp fun in an easy to read full color format.

In each of the 8 volumes in the series so far, the author tackles a different scientific concept like gravity, sound, light, rocks or astronomy and creates a mystery story for the diverse group of kids at Camp Dakota to solve. There is a short description of the concept being explored and then the mystery unfolds and the campers use their scientific know how to solve the puzzle. In the back of each book is a glossary of ‘Mysterious Words’, a few experiments that kids can try for themselves as well as a synopsis of how knowledge of science helped solve the mystery. The books are about 45 pages long each. 

This series might appeal to children who are reluctant to read longer novels, or they may like graphic novels, science, mysteries or adventures - in short they have wide audience appeal.  These are an easy, fun read, that also happen to be educational.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Julie Garwood is an author who has enjoyed enormous success as a writer of romantic suspense.  Her newest bestseller, Fast Track is sure to be enjoyed by her millions of fans around the world.  One of our staff thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cordelia (aka Cordie) Kane was raised by her father and has always had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Aiden Madison. When her father dies unexpectedly, leaving Cordie devastated not only by his death, but with the news that her mother is alive and didn’t die in a car accident as she was told, she decides this is the perfect opportunity to let go of the past and move forward with her life. Her first goal is to find out why her mother left her and her father so many years ago.  With the help of Aiden, a workaholic who is forever wheeling and dealing with his cell phone glued to his ear and his laptop open, Cordie tracks her devious mother to Sydney, Australia.  Aiden plans to leave early and take her with him, but soon the two of them find themselves involved with a dangerous wealthy family who will do anything to keep their secrets buried.

Exotic locales, intrigue, romance, danger and passion – this page-turner has them all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda Brunstetter

What do a middle-aged Amish widow, a Goth-wearing teen, a tough biker on probation, a married couple with problems, the restless wife of a preacher, and a young single dad – have in common?  The answer can be found in Wanda Brunstetter’s Half-stitched Amish Quilting Club, a book enjoyed by one of our staff:  they’re all part of a 6 week quilting course.

Amish widow Emma Yoder doesn’t want to be a burden on her children so she comes up with the idea of giving quilting classes to earn money. When she places her small ad in the newspaper and posts signs in the stores in town, she doesn’t expect the variety of students and their problems that enter her large sewing room.  The people taking the classes are not Amish, and seem to have varied reasons for taking these classes – some quite reluctantly.  Over the six weeks of classes, these people learn interesting things about each other while learning to quilt a small wall-hanging.

Emma is able to encourage each of them through their own trials.  This is the first book in a light-hearted series of 3 by this popular author.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Struggle: Book 1 A death in the family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

My Struggle : Book 1 A Death in the Family  By Karl Ove Knausgaard  is the first book of a six volume memoir written in Norwegian and translated into English by Don Bartlett.  Knausgaard has become a sensation all over Europe and since the first three volumes of My Struggle have been translated into English his notoriety is spreading in North America. The critics have given this work rave reviews and it is considered an important piece of contemporary literature.  

One of our staff says while it is a novel, she had to keep reminding herself that this was a chronicle of real events.  Volume 1 focuses on the author’s relationship with his father and events connected to his life and death.  The moments from a life are often ordinary events, although some are extraordinary.  It is the very personal experience of these moments that we are reading about, and the author gives them a vividness that is hard to describe. The effect of this book is one of being inside someone else’s mind.  

Attempts to deal with the circumstances of living; to try to make sense of emotions; and to find meaning within the mundane are universal themes that cross the divide of nationality, gender and age.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel was forced upon one of our staff while she was in high school and she remembers grimacing at the cover of this book.  Little did she know, this would quickly become her favourite book.

Oppel sets this novel in a historical time not quite our own, where airplanes were never invented, and magnificent airships fill the skies. Matt Cruse feels most at home serving as cabin boy aboard the luxury airship Aurora. When the Aurora stumbles across a hot air balloon hanging limply in the sky, she swings over to rescue the balloon’s ailing captain. To Matt’s dismay, the balloonist soon dies, but not before igniting Matt’s imagination with stories of a magnificent flying creature he spotted in the clouds.  A year passes, before feisty Kate De Vries boards the Aurora, determined to prove the balloonists claims to be true, and Matt is quickly drawn into her search. However, this flight brings on more than they bargained for when the Aurora is overtaken by pirates far out over the ocean. After their ship is looted and they’re left for dead, Matt and Kate find themselves caught up in an unexpected adventure. 

Oppel’s rich first person story telling is captivating and full of surprises.  Matt’s character is endearing - a responsible young man in stark contrast to Kate’s wilfulness and unpredictability. For anyone who loves mysterious creatures, pirates, tropical rainforests, and a little romance, Airborn is the adventure for you.