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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Humming Room (YA)

Book #69 Read in 2012
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter (YA)

This book was inspired by the classic book, The Secret Garden.  Roo's parents are murdered and she is sent to live with her uncle, whom she has never met before.  Roo is exploring her surroundings when she hears humming.  She tries to locate the source but cannot.  She does, however, find a garden that has been so neglected that it is almost dead.  She vows to bring it back to life.  Shortly after discovering the garden, she meets Phillip, her cousin, who is the mysterious hummer.  He is basically trapped in his room and is trying to grapple with his mother's death.  Roo decides that bringing the garden back to life will invigorate Phillip as well.

This was a quick read.  Roo is an interesting character--she is tough yet caring.  She says she is better with animals than people.  She connects though with her cousin Phillip, more than she believes she is capable of doing.  There are good secondary characters in this book such as Violet, Jack and Phillip.  The plot can be a little slow as not much happens on an action level in this short book; the action is more psychological in nature as you see Roo and Phillip change.  The book has an element of mystery and ghost story to it which will interest a certain type of reader.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Undertakers 2: Queen of the Dead

Book #68 Read in 2012
The Undertakers 2:  Queen of the Dead by Ty Drago (YA)

This book picks up right where the first in the series left off--and the action is non stop!  Will Ritter is still fighting the Corpses and is feeling a bit smug about killing Kenny Booth.  But now the Queen of the Dead has come to stop the Undertakers and Will--and she means business.  She will use Will's mother and sister to try to get to him.  But the Undertakers hang tough and have some help for a somewhat unexpected source--a FBI agent that they rescued from the Corpses.

This book has tons of action in it.  Boys would love this series.  Along with the action are great characters such as Will, Helene, Burgermeister, Tom and Sharyn.  These characters are tough, resilient and loyal.  There is humor in the book and a hint of romance between various characters. I enjoy this series and look forward to the third installment.

I received this book from the publisher, Sourcebooks, in exchange for a review.

Now on Twitter

I'm now on Twitter--you can find me as melissapalmer40

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Soldier Bear (YA)

Book #67 Read in 2012
Soldier Bear (YA) by Bibi Dumon Tak

This book was based on the true story of a bear cub, adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II, and his place in their patroon.  The soldiers decide that the bear, named Voytek, is their mascot and they bring them along with him--even though he steals their Christmas dinner, even though he begs for food, even though he takes up most of the bed.  Voytek also brings them joy, love and a connection that they desperately need in a horrific time in their lives.  

This book is geared for younger readers (I would say 6th grade and below).  The chapters are short and the writing is simplistic but it is a good story and would interest reluctant readers.  The book contained pictures of the real Voytek and his soldier family.  I enjoyed this book.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crow (YA)

Book #66 Read in 2012
Crow (YA) by Barbara Wright

This was a great young adult historical fiction read.  Moses is a young African-American boy.  He has been taught by his value that education is valuable.  He is taught legends and superstitions by Boo Nanny, his grandmother, who was a former slave.  Along with these influences, it is a time of strained race relations, white supremacy and lynchings.  Moses is forced to grow up quickly in this environment.  

This book is disturbing to read, as it is a harsh reminder of a horrible time in our past.  Wright vividly describes the tension and violence of this time period.  She has created wonderful characters in Moses, Boo Nanny, Jack and Sadie.  Readers will feel a connection with them immediately.  Wright has a wonderful writing style that will draw readers into the book.  This was a quick read.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Lions of Litlte Rock (YA)

Book #65 Read in 2012
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This is a great historical fiction book for young adults.  This book is set in the late 1950s in the south and address the issue of segregation of races in schools.  In this book, Marlee is very shy and basically doesn't talk to anyone outside of her immediate family.  Then she meets Liz, the new girl at school.  The two strike up a friendship.  Liz wants to help Marlee speak more so they work together on an oral report for class.  Then Marlee finds out that Liz is actually an African American passing as a white person and that Liz will no longer be attending the same school as Marlee.  Marlee does not want to lose her as a friend so she ends up contacting her, not truly understanding the danger that this friendship can cause the girls, their families and their communities.

This book was extremely well written and gave an accurate view of a horrific time in our not so past history.  The characters are well developed and interesting.  This book sucks you right in and is hard to put down.  I really enjoyed it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dreamsleeves (YA)

Book #64 Read in 2012
Dreamsleeves by Colleen Murtagh Paratore

I enjoyed this book a lot.  This book was written by an author who lives locally and I loved reading about colleges and cities that I know.  Additionally, the characters in this book were ones I immediately cared about and they felt like family.

Aislinn takes care of her younger siblings.  Her father is an alcoholic; her mother tries to keep things peaceful in the house so that her husband does not fly off the handle.  Aislinn's dream is really for her father to stop drinking.  Aislinn comes up with an idea she calls "dreamsleeves", writing one's dream on a label sticker and sticking it on her shirt sleeve.  She does this and her younger siblings do as well.  

One day, she wears a dreamsleeve to church which says her dream of her father stopping his drinking.  The priest comes to their house after church that day and speaks to her father.  He flips out on Aislinn afterwards and accuses her of lying to the priest.

Readers will have their hearts ache for Aislinn, her mother and her siblings.  This book has drama, humor and a touch of young romance.  I enjoyed this book.

Readathon update #2

So for the first readathon I accomplished:

14% Code Name Verity
160 pages (a little over 1/2) of Dreamsleeves (YA)

And some bonding with my new Kindle Fire

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Readathon update #1

So I haven't been reading as much as I should have been--

Watched 2 movies (Sherlock Holmes #2 and John Carter).  
My Kindle Fire arrived so needed to set that up.

However, so far today I have read about 14% of Code Name Verity.

Back to reading shortly--Jack Frost is waiting for me to come snuggle on the couch with him.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

Tomorrow will be my first time participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon--

Of course I won't read 24 hours straight because I need sleep and food--

And if my Kindle Fire arrives tomorrow like it's supposed to, I'm sure that will distract me :-)

My books for tomorrow will be:
Dreamsleeves (YA) library book
The Undertakers 2:  Queen of the Night (YA) review book
Code Name Verity (YA) Kindle

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sophia's War

Book #63 Read in 2012
Sophia's War by Avi (YA)

This book is excellent young adult historical fiction.  It tells the story of Sophia Calderwood, a young lady who ends up being a patriot spy during the Revolutionary War.  Sophia ends up working in a British household and ends up discovering important information about Benedict Arnold and where his loyalty really is. . . 

Avi is a hit or miss author for me but this book I really liked; I read it in a day.  Sophia is a great character--courageous yet human, intelligent yet self-doubting.  There are interesting secondary characters as well.  The chapters are short which would help a reluctant reader, especially with this genre where readers seem to either love the books or hate the books.  This book was a quick read full of action.  I recommend it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wolfishly Yours

Wolfishly Yours by Lydia Dare

Including characters from Dare's other boosk, Wolfishly Yours tells the story of Liviana and Grayson.  Livi is sent to her grandfather so that she can learn how to become a lady.  Grayson would like to teach her other things.  Both share a common trait that they are surprised about--they are both lycans.  They are drawn to each other in spite of themselves. 

Dare's characters are interesting and complex.  Grayson is a scoundrel with a heart of gold.  Livi is a bold young lady who does not want to live by society rules.  Dare strikes a good balance between historical romance and paranormal romance.  There is also humor and action in her storyline.  This book was a fun read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Sourcebooks, in exchange for a review.