August

The Street Lawyer John Grisham
Another good one. After a life-threatening incident our lawyer hero changes his entire life. From plans of millions of dollars income, he take a job as a street lawyer helping indigent, homeless Americans. Lots of intrigue too as he steals a file that shows malpractice by his previous firm related to a homeless eviction process. OK for YA

A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius by Stacey Matson
Arthur Bean knows he can write well, but the pressure of a contest just about kills him. His mother has just died and he's quite the mess. I really liked this one for voice and metacognition. Great interplay of the bully and Arthur as they are forced to work together. Growth on both sides. YA for mild romance and angst.
The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase by Wendy Mass
Dragged a bit through this one. The foursome from the first book are back looking for the perfect chocolate that they had incorperated into their prize-winning Harmonicandy. I'd like more action and less introspection in this one. 4th +

The Broker by John Grisham
Probably my least favorite of the summer reads. It wasn't bad, just a tad boring. Lots of Italian translations, and city sites. The Broker is a confusing character and you want to like him just because he's the protagonist. But meh.

The Dip by Seth Godin
Know when to quit and when to press on.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling et al
Mildly disappointing. It was nice to meet old friends and be introduced to new ones. But the play script format was off-putting, and the character growth wasn't believable to me. Harry is back to his angst-ridden self. I did like the relationship between Scorpius and Albus, and the theme of self-sacrifice. But...;meh.again.

She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Laureth is blind but doesn't feel badly about it. Invisibility is more than what you see or don't see. Her 7 year old brother Ben has an unusual ability. Laureth is convinced her dad is in trouble in NYC and takes her brother as her eyes to find her dad. From London. There are elements of this story that are hard to understand--why bother with Ben's ability as a story element, and all the philosophy/science about coincidence gets a bit much. Not sure if I liked this or not. YA for the science/philosophy thing.

Stand There! She Shouted by Susan Goldman Rubin
The Life of Julia Margaret Cameron, photographer in the Victorian era. Easy read for a quick biography, and interesting in terms of the life of a "proper" British wife who loved her photography. Good read and solid research

Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty
Didn't grab me. At least it wasn't a cliffhanger at the end. Although there were plenty of cliffs in this story, literally. Serafina grapples with her shapeshifting geneology as well as her home at Biltmore Estate. There is more magical evil afoot that presents a danger to all she loves. Pretty scary in parts. 5th+

The Mischievians by William Joyce
This is pretty much a picture book.But it's long. Each page has a full page of text about a creature that causes mischief, like the Itchy that makes you want to scratch where you can't reach. Cute

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Wow. I don't know how I've missed this classic. Just a bit to realistic for me--so super scary. After a terrorist bombing in San Fran. our teenage protagonist, Marcus, is grabbed (literally and roughly) by DHS Department of Homeland Security who proceeds to terrorize just about everyone.Lots of super techy cyber security talk here. Also a bit of torrid sex. YA obviously.

Ellie's Story by W Bruce Cameron
Typical Cameron book written from the dog's perspective. From life as a puppy to being trained by Jakob and then Maya, Ellie finds her purpose--Work. Find. Show. This is a quick moving story with lots of highs and lows. I don't think I could read it aloud if you counted the number of times I cried while reading it alone. Not a difficult read. Yea! 3rd+

The Family Romanov: Murder Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming
This author does really simple picture books. So different! This is the history of the last Romanov czars. You are tossed between finding them affectionate and devout and then callous and antisemitic. It certainly raised issues in my mind as to what devotion is and true faithfulness. Rasputin was clearly a charlatan, but the Romanovs believed he spoke for God. So many weird turns in their story. YA for the violence of the era, war and its descriptions. Excellent narrative.

All My Patients Have Tales by Jeff Wells
Being a Colorado veterinarian this had great connections and familiarity Every kid who wants to be a vet should read this. Of course it's funny in most cases, but it's also hard and occasionally heart wrenching. Dr Jeff handles cats and dogs and buffalo and porcupine attacks. It's graphic with lots of excrement and blood and pus, but that's the point. YA for anatomical situations. ha. .

Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger
Excellent story of the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. Includes the preCivil War stories of these slaves. Then post war difficulties in joining society where racism ruled. Lots and lots of photos.

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Hawaii by Patti WheelerAnother great mystery. Lots of cultural information and geographical highlights. The twins are looking for the burial place of Hawaii's last king. But so are evil land developers. Enough so that an archeologist is found dead, mysteriously. Excellent. 3rd+