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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Where I Belong (YA)

Book #126 Read in 2014
Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn (YA)

Brendan is having trouble fitting in at school; he is considered the weird kid.  He would rather hang out in the treehouse he built than hang with the other kids.  He meets a man who he believes to be the mythical Green Man and Brendan eventually makes another friend of the new girl from summer school--Shea.  Brendan is bullied and feels as if his foster mother does not understand him.  He finds solace in nature and books.  Nothing really prepares him for the understanding that not fitting in can actually put him at great risk.  This was a good, quick read and I think middle schoolers would enjoy it.  I borrowed this book from my town library.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Noggin (YA)

Book #125 Read in 2014
Noggin by John Corey Whaley (YA)

The premise of this book is an interesting one.  Travis is a teenager with cancer.  He decides he wants to try experimental treatment which consists of his head being removed from his body and frozen.  Eventually, doctors hope to have the technology to attach his cancer-free head to a healthy body.  After five years, Travis wakes up and it feels as if no time has passed.  His new body is healthy.  But fitting back in to his life is not as easy as he thought it would be.  Travis is still in high school and his friends are now in college.  His girlfriend has moved on with other relationships.  This book details the difficulty Travis has with getting his life back.  Overall, a good read.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reading in the Wild

Book #124 Read in 2014
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller

This is a book that readers will love.  It is about books, reading and why readers read what they read.  A Middle School Teacher, Miller shares her love for books and reading with her students and strives to instill a life-long love of reading within her students.  She gives tips about how to recommend books, how to find genres that students might want to try and how to value reading, both in school and at home.  Her writing style is not preachy or textbook-like; this book flows like a good fictional read.  The appendices in the back have great resources to use in classroom.  A colleague and I will be offering a book study on this book to faculty in the summer; I look forward to hearing how our teachers find things to read, how they became readers and how they instill a love of reading in our students.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lending a Paw

Book #123 Read in 2014
Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass

This is the first in a cozy mystery series.  Minnie is a small-town librarian who has just introduced a bookmobile.  She also has just found Eddie, a stray cat.  Eddie seems wise beyond his feline abilities, which will come in handy as Minnie tries to solve the murder of Stan, the bookmobile's benefactor.  The mystery was well-written; I was not sure of the murderer's identity until the reveal in the storyline.  Minnie is an intelligent and interesting character and the town is a wonderful setting, as is the library and the bookmobile.  Of course, I love Eddie.  I highly recommend this to cozy mystery readers and book #2 is in my TBR pile.

Girl Before a Mirror

Book #122 Read in 2014
Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

Anna Wyatt is in advertising.  She likes to control things (work, family, personal life).  Anna decides she wants to land a shower gel account and try to move up the ranks in the agency.  With help from artist Sasha, Anna heads to a romance books convention to try to land the account...and a cover model for the campaign.  Along the way, she meets Lincoln and that is more than she bargained for.  Anna begins to take stock of her life and realizes that control doesn't always mean happiness.

This was my first book by Palmer; I liked her writing style and read others by her.  This was more substantial than chick lit, which is sort of ironic since it is heavily set on romance novels and their readers.  Anna is a character women can relate to and understand. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review from the Amazon Vine program.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Case of the Missing Moonstone (YA)

Book #121 Read in 2014
The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford and Kelly Murphy (YA)

This is the first book in a young adult/middle readers mystery series.  Based on real people, the main characters are Ada Lovelace and Mary Godwin.  The two, paired up to share a tutor, decide to open their own detective agency.  They get their first case and use their intelligence and wits to solve it.  This book had a good plot and humor in it.  I enjoyed viewing the historical figures as they were portrayed in this book.  This was a good, quick read and I will continue this series.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and the Witchy

Book #120 Read in 2014
The Good, the Bad and the Witchy by Heather Blake

This is the third book in a paranormal cozy mystery series. Darcy is a Wishcrafter....she can grant other people's wishes.  Set in a magical village, this series is a comfort read for me; I enjoy the characters and the setting.  In this book, local crafter Michael is murdered and his ghost has imprinted on Darcy.  To help him find peace, she wants to solve the murder.  To try to do so puts her at risk.  This series has the cozy mystery element, a paranormal element, humor and romance.  I enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Testing (YA)

Book #119 Read in 2014
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (YA)

This is the first book in a young adult dystopian trilogy.  Similar to the Hunger Games, there is a completion or a "testing" of young people selected from each colony.  Those people are tested on a variety of elements and the failing of such tests can have dire, even deadly, results.  Cia is one of the forerunners of the testing.   Will she be able to retain herself and her humanity and survive the selection process?

The book was engaging and kept my interest.  Cia was a brave and intelligent main character.  The plot had good twists and turns and the story had a complex set of secondary characters.  I will read the other two books in the series.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Maggot Moon (YA)

Book #118 Read in 2014
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (YA)

This book is a young adult dystopian book.  It is a "what if" in regards to putting man on the moon...detailing what could have happened in that ended differently.  Standish is a 15 year old who can barely read or write, but he is intelligent (he has a great vocabulary), brave and resourceful....all traits that come in handy in this "Big Brother" like world.  Standish lives with his grandfather; his parents disappeared after his mother was physically abused for speaking out against the government. 

I read this book in one sitting.  The chapters are short and interesting; this book would be ideal for a reluctant reader, especially males.  It flows well and has a lot of action throughout the book.  I recommend it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

All Fall Down (YA)

Book #117 Read in 2014
All Fall Down by Ally Carter

This is the first book in the Embassy Row series.  Grace's grandfather is the American Ambassador and she has grown up in the political scene.  Three years ago, her mother died and Grace is convinced that she was killed by a man with a scarred face.  When she goes to live with her grandfather, she doesn't expect to find that man there...but is he really a killer?  Or is this a way that Grace has made up to cope with the loss of her mother.  At times, Grace was unlikable but overall she was an interesting character.  The plot had good elements of mystery and humor and had an interesting cast of secondary characters. 

I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fallout (YA)

Book #116 Read in 2014
Fallout by Todd Strasser (YA)

This book takes the premise of a nuclear bomb being dropped in 1962; only Scott's family has built a bomb shelter.  What happens when neighbors want to stay in it too?  Will Scott's father, who took the threat seriously enough to build the shelter, have stocked in adequately in preparation?  What happens when a group of adults and children are stuck in a bomb shelter for a few weeks in close  quarters?  This book reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies set in a bomb shelter.  It was a good, quick read.  I think this book is more geared towards boys.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tombquest: Book of the Dead (YA)

Book #115 Read in 2014
Tombquest: Book of the Dead (YA)

This is the first book in a new YA series.  Besides the book, there is a companion game that I can see kids getting into.  In the book, Alex is a sickly youngster.  When he takes a turn for the worse, his mother, who is a Keeper, uses the book of the dead to bring Alex back to life.  But this also brings other things back to life that probably should have remained dead.  Alex's mother is kidnapped so Alex, along with Ren (his best friend) try to find his mother and figure out a way to stop more dead things from coming back to life. 

This was a good, quick read.  Reluctant readers would enjoy this fast-paced book.  Alex and Ren are intelligent and brave characters who are interesting to read about; this book also has elements of history and paranormal to it.  I will read more of this series.  I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Book #114 Read in 2014
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

This classic novel has been on my shelf for years.  In the mood for a meaty read, I decided it was time to read it and I enjoyed the gothic novel.  Rebecca was the first wife of Maxim de Winter and she died.  Max seems to be moving on when he meets a young lady and marries her shortly after.  He brings her home to Manderley and she realizes that not everyone is happy about there being a new Mrs. de Winter.  As layers are pulled back, revelations that are not necessarily cheerful occur.  This book reminded me of another favorite of mine, Wuthering Heights.  I found both books to have lush writing.

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Reads

November Reads:

1.  Under the Egg (YA)  4.5/5  library book
2.  First Frost (5/5)
3.  Blood of my Blood (YA)  5/5  3rd in series
4.  End Times (YA)  4/5
5.  Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits (YA)  5/5
6.  The Graveyard Book (YA)  4/5
7.  Quarantine #2:  The Saints (YA)  5/5
8.  The Here and Now (YA)  4.5/5  Kindle
9.  The Spiritglass Charade (YA)  5/5  2nd in series  Kindle
10.  How to be a Heroine (5/5)

113 books read in 2014