Tag Archives: nyc

York #1: The Shadow Cipher (Laura Ruby)

26 Jul

Codes, ciphers, secrets?  Count me in!  If you want an adventure that requires a bit of thinking and a lot of running, you’ll definitely want to pick up Laura Ruby’s York: The Shadow Cipher.

 

York 1 - Shadow Cipher

Squinklethoughts

1.  I have been waiting and waiting for the next great puzzle adventure, and I’m glad that it is the York series.  We love The 39 Clues (by various authors) and The Copernicus Legacy (by Tony Abbott), and now, we’ve got York to add to the list.

2.  I’m not a fan of time-travelling stories, but I LOVE stories where people in the past leave clues for folk in the future.  In 1798, Tess and Theodore Morningstarr begin their work of revamping New York City using mysterious technology that is super avant-garde.  Just before they disappear, they leave behind a puzzle called the Old York Cipher.  How cool is that?  If you like stories with advanced technology, you’ll love all the gizmos and gadgets in this one.

3.  Fast forward to the present day, and Tess and Theo Biedermann, along with their friend, Jaime Cruz, go all around the city, trying to solve the puzzle that no one has been able to solve since the Morningstarrs bequeathed it to NYC.  And for them, it’s not a matter of just getting the right answer … because solving the puzzle could mean saving their homes.  I love it when characters are tasked with impossible tasks.

4.  The twins are great in this story.  They don’t always get along; in fact, they often get on each other’s nerves.  I like that Ruby decided not to have twins who are completely in synch with one another.  This way, there’s more excitement.  And since this is only the beginning of the series, I do wonder if Ruby will make her readers gasp by … separating the twins at some point.  Oh, boy, would that be fun to read.

5.  Jaime’s story is one I definitely want to know more about.  Ruby’s given us bits and pieces, but I want more.  His and his grandmother’s close relationship is very enviable, and, I think, a great, calming force in the story.

6.  Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, which makes for an interesting read.  In the beginning, I had to flip back to the first pages of the chapters to remind myself who was narrating, but you get used to it.  It’s a great way to get to know more about the characters through what they want you to know about them.

7.  This is an excellent book for school and classroom libraries.  I will probably be adding this to my curriculum next year, so check back to see the questions and activities I create!

 

4.5 Squinkles

 

Laura Ruby’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Chapters/Indigo

Thank you, HarperCollins and Walden Pond Press, for sending me a copy of York 1: The Shadow Cipher in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Bookcation 2016 #9: Towers Falling

18 Mar

It’s been 15 years since the Twin Towers in NYC fell, and it seems simultaneously too long and too short a time since it happened. I was still a student then, finishing up my undergrad and getting ready to join the workforce. It was quite a challenge getting to classes that day (there were so many people gathered around TVs that normally ran a continuous loop of the weather – in various cafeteria, student lounges, and building lobbies) and getting through classes that week (profs and students alike were more keen to discuss the implications of what had just happened). For an event so clearly etched in my mind about where I was and what I was doing when I heard about it, I can hardly believe that a decade and a half have already passed since.

 

Towers Falling 

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes is set in 2016 (and will pub this summer), and it discuss the events of September 11 through the eyes of Deja. Deja is in the fifth grade and, along with her friends Ben and Sabeen, wasn’t around when IT happened. But she knows it happened. She didn’t have to be alive then to feel the ramifications of that fateful day. She knows its significance because at school, their lessons revolve around American pride and community growth and healing. And she definitely feels it whenever Pop gets angry every time she mentions anything about the towers.

I haven’t managed to get a copy of this book yet, but I am quite excited to read it. Our world today is very different from how it was 15 years ago, but for those born after 2011, this is the only world they’ve (you’ve) ever known. I’m curious about what Deja and her friends discover about the past, their families, and themselves, and how it feels to live a life that doesn’t have a pre-9/11 memory.

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile (Marcia Wells)

14 Oct

I was very happy to discover the Eddie Red Undercover series last year, and after reading it with some of my Squinks this past month, I’m happy to tell you that they loved it as well.

 

Eddie Red - Mystery on Museum Mile

 

Eddie Lonnrot is in grade 6 at a private school that he loves to attend. But financial troubles are threatening his attendance for the next school year. How will he find enough money to pay for tuition? Luckily (or maybe not), a situation presents itself in the form of helping to catch a mastermind art thief and his cohorts that have the NYPD stumped. And luckily (though not for the thief), Eddie has a photographic memory, which is just what the detectives need to nail the Picasso gang. With a little bit of reluctant acceptance from his parents and a lot of support from his best friend, Jonah, Eddie Red is born.

Squinklethoughts1. When I read books like Eddie Red Undercover, I always find myself lamenting over the fact that I didn’t have these books to entertain me while I was growing up. I would have loved to have immersed myself in Mystery on Museum Mile if for nothing else but that it was really fun and easy to read.

2. Eddie’s a great character who knows his place. He celebrates his skills, but he knows his shortcomings. He handles Jonah and his sometimes-wacky ways, which I give him a lot of credit for – I definitely do not have the same kind of patience he has. I wasn’t particularly fond of that one scene where he begs his mom to let him work with the NYPD, but I could see how a sixth-grader could do it. I also like that he celebrates his love of knowledge. Eddie likes many of the things that I do, including solving puzzles, looking at maps, and learning languages, which endears me to him. And the fact that he draws so well when I draw so NOT well only makes me applaud him more.

3. I don’t know anyone (adult or child) who doesn’t want to someday visit New York City or who didn’t enjoy his or her trip there. I, for one, really love it when I get the chance to explore the Big Apple because it just doesn’t run out of things to see and do and experience. I liked learning about Fifth Avenue and the various museums on Museum Mile, including the Neue Galerie, which I hear about far less often than the Guggenheim or MOMA.

 

Eddie Red - 5th Ave

 

4. The illustrations in this book are fantastic. I’m really really terrible at drawing, so I always appreciate artists who can draw faces and people without requiring divine intervention of some sort. The only thing I wish is for there to have been more of a variation of pictures. Although there were a few other things, most of the illustrations were of people. At some point, it’d be nice to see what else Eddie sees to really enhance my appreciation of the story.  All that aside, Marcos Calo does a truly phenomenal job.  I encourage you to look at his other works.

5. Wells is funny. The one-liners that Eddie has, especially in reaction to Detective Bovano, are just chortle-chortle funny, which is my kind of humour. It wasn’t only once or twice that I heard giggles from a student reading this book because he had just read another one of Eddie’s gems about Bovano warming up to him.

6. One of my Squinks wants to know what happens to Detective Bovano at the end of the story. We’d like to think that he’ll pop up every once in a while in the other books – maybe if Eddie visits a spaghetti place or something. We had fun coming up with names of these pasta restaurants. “Sauce Boss” and “Meatballs for Mobster Nappers” were at the top of our list.

7. The next two books, Mystery in Mayan Mexico (April 2015) and Doom at Grant’s Tomb (April 2016), will definitely find a home in our school library.

 

Eddie Red - 2nd and 3rd

 

8. Eddie Red is über cool.  You should definitely check him out.

 

4 Squinkles

 

Marcia Wells’ Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Chapters

Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for sending me a copy of Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Bookcation 2015 #3: City Scratch-Off Map: Paris

28 Jun

One word that very aptly describes me is “wanderlust”, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that Bookcation Book #3 has to do with wandering all over the place! I saw the Paris one in a bookstore first, and since j’adore voyager, il est donc parfaitement normal que j’aie hâte de voir cette ville et toutes les autres dans ces livres! Even though I’ve already (only) visited San Fran and NYC, I know there are always more things to discover in great cities as these, so I’m so eager to get each and every one of these titles. But how can I choose amongst all these pretties?

 

CSOM - Paris 

If you could only choose one city to visit and/or one scratch-off map to get, which would you choose: Paris?  San Francisco?  New York?  London?

 

CSOM - Mixed

A to Z: R is for Rules of Civility

18 Apr

R is for Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility.  It’s a novel about life in New York City between the two World Wars.  Good solid prose and interesting characters … give this a try if you haven’t already!

 

R - Rules of Civility

 

Isn’t the cover just gorgeous?  (The texture’s pretty awesome, too!)  What do you think of Tinker Grey?

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