December 14, 2020

Audiobook Review: City Spies by James Ponti


Title: City Spies
Author: James Ponti
Read by: Lisa Flanagan
Genre: Mystery/Spy

About the Book
Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Before she knows what she’s doing, Sarah is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team.

My Thoughts

What a fun book! I loved it from the first few minutes I started listening. It had some action and tension so that kept me listening. I was hooked! And can I say that I really liked Sara (well all the kids). She was smart and funny, and I loved that she cared about others around her. She wasn't selfish even though the circumstances of her life could've led her to be. If I was her age I would want her has a friend! 

The other kids were great too. I liked that it didn't seem to be this huge rivalry between all them.  Yes there was teasing etc, but nothing that was cruel. I needed a book like that! 

About the reader - What a great job Lisa Flannagan did! Wow I could not have done all those accents! I loved it. I would definitely listen to another book read by her.

In the end - read if you like books that involve fun gadgets, tension and seeing a girl gain confidence in who she is and what she is capable of. 

December 8, 2020

Review: All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

Title: All Thirteen

Author: Christina Soontornvat

Genre: Narrative Nonfiction

About the Book

On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave in northern Thailand seeking an afternoon’s adventure. But when they turn to leave, rising floodwaters block their path out. The boys are trapped! Before long, news of the missing team spreads, launching a seventeen-day rescue operation involving thousands of rescuers from around the globe. As the world sits vigil, people begin to wonder: how long can a group of ordinary kids survive in complete darkness, with no food or clean water? Luckily, the Wild Boars are a very extraordinary "ordinary" group. Combining firsthand interviews of rescue workers with in-depth science and details of the region's culture and religion, author Christina Soontornvat—who was visiting family in Northern Thailand when the Wild Boars went missing—masterfully shows how both the complex engineering operation above ground and the mental struggles of the thirteen young people below proved critical in the life-or-death mission. Meticulously researched and generously illustrated with photographs, this page-turner includes an author’s note describing her experience meeting the team, detailed source notes, and a bibliography to fully immerse readers in the most ambitious cave rescue in history.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book.  I've gotten into nonfiction lately, and this one was just what I was looking for.  I remember very well when the story was all over the news and hoping they all got out ok. It was very exciting when we knew they were all safe, but I often wondered what it was like for them while the rescue took place.  This book answered all those questions and then some. I really felt like I  understood what led up to them being trapped, the rescue and after. The author did an amazing job bringing in the details, but not weighting it down with them. The book didn't seem dense and hard to get through.  I'm sure all the photographs and illustrations helped! Those were great too.  They really added to my understanding of what happened. 

To note also - there were sidebar parts that helped explain some of the culture, and I really liked that. It gave me a more complete understanding of the events and the people involved. 

I'm glad I picked this book up! If you want to learn more about this story, or wants to learn about the incredible dedication and courage of all involved I highly suggest you read this book. 

May 26, 2020

Book Trailer: Nightmares by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Title: Nightmares
Authors: Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Book Summar
Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!

Charlie Laird has several problems.
  1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
  2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
  3. He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.
 What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.

 And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

Book Trailer