Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

Title: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War 
Author: Steve Sheinkin
Publication Date: September 22, 2015 
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press 
Source: Bought   
Format: E-book
Age Group: Teens
Genre: Nonfiction-History

From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Newbery Honor Book Bomb comes a tense, narrative nonfiction account of what the Times deemed "the greatest story of the century": how whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into "the most dangerous man in America," and risked everything to expose a government conspiracy. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these files had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, including an attempt by Nixon to foil peace talks, these papers revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests. The investigation--and attempted government coverups--that followed will sound familiar to those who followed the scandal surrounding Edward Snowden.

I am not a person that will go around stating that nonfiction writing nor anything pertaining to history is my favorite. However, I do believe that a book could change that and for me this was this book. Being pulled into a story that tells a troubling time for America was not a story I thought would want me to know more but it did. 

The book follows Daniel Ellsberg as he makes a decision that changes American's people's view on leaders by publicizing documents known as the Pentagon papers. With these papers we are able to learn what risks different presidents would take to make sure that they did not lose this war. Even if meant sending Americans off to their death. 

I do not know how many times my jaw dropped while reading this book. I remember learning about the Vietnam war and most importantly what American soldiers faced when returning after the war. But this deception that was going on and what was being told and what was being hidden makes you wonder if our leaders really have our best interest at heart. I know this is bold statement but where is the line of holding back information to protect a person's view of something so terrible. 

I think what really kept me reading was the idea that this was told in narrative. I am a person for stories and Sheinkin did a brilliant job of telling this one. I am intrigued to read more by him and see what else I can learn. 

This is the perfect book to teach for students. Sheinkin writes to educate but does it in a way that anyone can understand. I do think that students will need to have some prior instruction on the Vietnam War before diving in. Sheinkin is an author to keep on your radar for nonfiction writers and I know I will be reading more by him. 

I give this book 5 souls!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. We love getting new books and seriously can't wait to dive into them. How about you? What new books did you get?


Happy Reading!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl

Title: Royce Rolls
Author: Margaret Stohl
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Freeform Books
Source: ALA Midwinter   
Format: ARC
Age Group: Teens
Genre: Contemporary-Reality TV

Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family's reality show, Rolling with the Roycesand a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley's family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear--without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable--save the show. But when her future brother-in-law's car goes over a cliff with both Bentley and her sister's fianc inside-on the day of the big made-for-TV wedding, no less-things get real.Really real. Like, not reality show real.

The first thing that came to mind when picking up this book was Jersey Shore. I do not know if many people still remember that show or not or if you even watched it. I think I was one of the few people who knew about it but avoided it at all costs unless of course I was at my friends. And then I was on my own. However, I think what excited me most was this book was written by Margaret Stohl. I know, you know, we all know that this book was going to live up to its expectations. 

I do not know if I would have the patience to be on a reality show. Even if I was paid well for it, I do not know if I could act a certain way, especially if it meant me being a turd to people. And yes I said turd. (There are plenty of other words I could use but let's not get into that). The effort it seems to take makes me want to just nap. 

Bentley and I seem to be on the same page when it seems to be wanting this reality (nightmare) to be over. And by over, she means over so that can she pursue her dreams of going to college. However, when is the show is on the brink of getting cancelled, Bentley's dream of finally getting her freedom is soon on the rise. But that is not going to stop her over the top sister and mother (if that is what you want to call her) from doing everything they can to save the show. 

I cannot recall ever reading a book in which there were foot notes. But the key to enjoying this book is not going in pretending it to be like any book but as if you are reading a script. I kind of liked it but i did have to read slower, and I wanted to skip the foot notes but then I thought that would be cheating me out of technically reading the whole book. 

Besides that I am curious to see what other books are out there with a similar format. That is something besides Harry Potter (that is all I know). Margaret Stohl has done it again by wowing me. Taking a step away from her supernatural home to one of contemporary realism Stohl writes a script show worthy. If you have a chance, read this. It is a read you won't want to pass. 

I give this book 4 souls! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Rebels of the Lamp by Michael M.B. Galvin & Peter Speakman

Title: Rebels of the Lamp
Author: Michael M.B. Galvin & Peter Speakman
Series: Rebels of the Lamp #1
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Disney- Hyperion
Source: Publisher   
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy

Life is a blast when you have your very own genie. But when Parker Quarry is shipped from sunny Los Angeles to live with relatives in a quiet New Hampshire college town and releases a 2,000 year-old jinn from an ancient canister "borrowed" from the university building where his uncle works, the biggest blasts comes from the millennia old power struggle he reignites.Now it is up to Parker, his mild-mannered cousin, Theo, and their wiz-kid classmate, Reese, to stop a battalion of battle-ready jinn from re-starting an all-out war one with humanity in the crosshairs

I am not going to lie when I say that the first thought that came to mind when seeing this book was Disney's Aladdin. But that wasn't the case with this book. With just the first chapter I was transported to a car chase with three kids and a genie. Although there is much more than just that and I was ready for the least I thought I was. 

Who wouldn't want to have a genie. I know I would as well as Parker. Reese and Theo are a little on edge at first and just as they are about to side with Parker...things hit the fan. With everything that happens, I do not know if having a genie is really worth the effort. Even if the entire world could be on the line. 

Parker is a rebel, an adventurer, some might even say he is a troublemaker. Although, he makes rash decisions he was this character that was genuine and threw himself in danger to protect his friends and family. He sort of reminded me of this person with these crazy ideas and Theo and Reese being his reality check. Now does anyone have a friend/s like that. Cause I know I do. 

What I liked was learning the backstory of Fon-Rham. We learned how sometimes we lose ourselves to power and need to get lost to really find ourselves. Fon-Rham and Parker's relationship made the story for me. There was this constant sarcasm that can make this book appealing to the younger readers.  

The story moved with ease, I was on my toes constantly, and the story hooked me till the very end. Galvin and Speakman write a fantastical middle grade novel that leaves me wanting more. Filled with fighting genies, high speed chases, world traveling, this  book will leave you wishing for your own magic lamp. 

I give this book 4 souls! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

Title: Blacksouls
Author: Nicole Castroman
Series: Blackhearts #3
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ALA Midwinter   
Format: ARC
Age Group: Teens
Genre: Historical Fiction

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships. Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands. Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined. 

I first have to graciously thank the AMAZING people at Simon and Schuster for giving me an ARC of this book. It was a series I kept pushing off and my friends kept telling me to read it and when I finally did, I was a changed reader. 

There was much patience (not really) from those who read the first book hoping there would be a second book following. Introducing us to Teach and Anne, we didn't feel anything but love for them. The emotion that we felt at the end of the first book, how could there not be a second book. 

I do have to admit that I was scared going into this book because of the whole second book syndrome. However, that was not the case but I did feel like I reading a different book. And I was intrigued with every page turn and new chapter. Readers, Nicole Castroman has not fallen victim to this curse of the second book. 

Moving on though. The thing I loved most about this book was how much darker, grittier, and "thank the pirate gods for this" more of a pirate book. I felt the inner Jack Sparrow letting loose inside of me as I was reading and all I could think about was...

The plot moved and I was enraptured by the thought that was take to craft this pirate masterpiece. The characters were real. I could feel myself standing right next to them as the pistols found their targets, as the look of true love was told through words, and the goosebumps forming from a book that was just radiating with emotion in leaving us, the reader, with only a guess of what could happen next. 

Nicole Castroman is truly the captain of this series and the pirate world as she impressively writes a novel that challenges the very idea of pirates. Is there a third book coming? What do you think...All I can say is people better be  prepared for a novel to leave you on the tips of your toes as you wait for that final shot...

I give this book 5 souls!

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. Here is what we Finished, Currently Reading, and what is Next In line. How about you? These were some fantastic reads and we are so excited to share what we think with you! So make sure you keep your eyes out for our reviews!

Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid 
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Contest   
Format: ARC
Age Group: Teens
Genre: Contemporary 

Never date your best friend. Always be original. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school. Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

I think I was the kid that always saw or read about these lists of things to stick by when going through school or work or even life. However, I was also, and am still, the kid who also said yes to everything. But what is so cool is the idea of working towards something, to hold yourself accountable. Although, what sounds more like fun is looking at these rules you created so you could follow and do the opposite. 

David and Julia were the kids who never wanted to be tied down to a status quo. To be tied down to these "cliches" was not part of their agenda. However, when the idea of breaking their list of "nevers" starts off as a joke but slowly starts to build into something more, they soon realize what they have been missing and unlock something inside of them. 

I think it is always hard to tell your best friend what your true feelings are of them. Trust me I know. But holding feelings inside and allowing them to grow and grow is not the answer easier. Sometimes you find out how much a person really cares about you when tensions rise and emotions fill the space between each other. These are just my thoughts though. 

There were times that the plot did fall short for me and moments where I put down the book down to take a little break but after my little break I was ready to jump right back in. I am not a reader who really enjoys love triangles but I am always intrigued to see how they play out. I do not know if it was because I was involved in one and they are the greatest of things or the fact that I liked comparing fictional tensions to my own issues. Weird, I know. 

Overall this was a cute read and I am excited to read more of Adi's works and see if contemporary is where he will stay. I think this may be a book where you either enjoy it or put it down and for me I was throughly enjoyed. If you have a curious mind and have yet to pick up this book, please do. A cute read that brings to light how cliches are important to have even when we feel otherwise. 

I give this book 4 souls!