It’s Monday, March 23, 2015! What are you reading?

23 Mar

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I know I’m posting a little bit later than usual, but it’s better late than never!  Here is a quick update on my reading life lately.

What I’ve read lately

I actually slowed down a little bit on reading.  The week of finals for trimester two was super busy, and then I found myself getting set up for trimester three, including teaching a class for the first time.  I actually had to put The Family Romanov on pause.  I just have not had the attention to give it that it deserves. I was enjoying it and it stretches me into a different genre, but I need to give my full attention to it later.  Maybe my upcoming spring break will be the perfect time.

I did read Dreamland by Sarah Dessen last week.  I wanted something to get my back in my groove after dragging a little.  I enjoy Dessen’s books and know they are usually a quick read.  I did finish this one quickly.  Overall, I liked it, giving it 3.5/5 stars.  It deals with an important issue I think teens should read about.  My issue, and maybe it’s petty, is how Dessen handled the cheer team Caitlyn is a part of.  It was full of stereotypes and really not how I experienced cheer as a cheerleader or coach.  Some parts will a little rushed for me as well.  I appreciate that this was first published in 2000 (I was in high school!) and I know I like more of Dessen’s later work much more.

What I’m reading this week

I received the Arc for Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin thanks for my friend Beth who picked it up at ALA Midwinter.  The concept fascinates me: science has progressed to pinpoint a person’s actual date of death.  You live your life knowing when you are going to die.  Denton’s Deathdate is tomorrow. I wanted to read this in order to share it with my students.  So far, I am really liking it and can see how my students will enjoy it too.  I plan on a full review once I am done.

I also hope to finally get to Glory O’Brien this week.  I just had to renew it from the library.  I am picking up my reading groove again so I am sure I will get to it soon.

What are you reading this week?

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It’s Monday, March 9, 2015! What are you reading?

9 Mar

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I was pretty sick last week.  I had a bit of that stomach flu that is going around.  It was a pretty rough few days.  I did read some, but a lot of my time was spent sleeping.  I am feeling much better this week and am looking forward to some of the books I have on deck.

What I read last week

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

I wanted to like this more than I actually did.  I loved the way Sylvia Plath was intertwined in the story.  I really loved getting to know the characters.  But the ending was so rushed.  There were so many important issues that Wolitzer could have explored much deeper.  So much was glazed over that I feel it could have been more powerful had more time been spent on developing the ending.  3.5/5 stars

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I love this book!  I love how for a little bit, I was confused but I still wanted to read it.  It is such a beautiful story!  I went through so many emotions while reading it.  I am so happy I read it!  5/5 stars

What I am reading this week 

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

I had a very successful trip to the library last Monday.  I have been wanting to read this one for awhile.  I have been very interested in the Romanov family for quite a long time.  Plus, this is helping me to shake things up and read some nonfiction this year, too.

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Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by AS King 

I think I made it pretty clear in the past that I love AS King.  I was so excited to come across this title as well in the library.  I have heard many positive things about this one.

What are you reading this week?

Afterworlds: A Review

4 Mar

Title: Afterworlds

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Format: Hardcover borrowed from library

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads): Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

So much drew me to this book.  First, I liked the idea of two books in one.  Second, it seemed Darcy would be living my dream come true: move to NYC to be a writer.  Third, once again, friends of mine had a lot of positive things to say about it.  I saw it on the NEW ARRIVAL display at my public library and knew I had to grab it.  Overall, I really enjoyed both stories in the book.

I really like the novel Afterworlds that Darcy is writing in the book.  Lizzie’s story was a page turner.  Sometimes, I found myself hoping to rush through the chapter about Darcy so I could see what happened next in Lizzie’s world.  The beginning of that novel in the airport was so suspenseful that it set the stage well for an amazing story.  There were twists and turns I did not see coming.  The ending was awesome as well, something Darcy struggles with throughout the writing of the book.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy reading about Darcy as well.  It was fascinating to learn about the publishing industry and what it is like.  There is a lot I never knew.  I also appreciated reading about the struggles Darcy had as a writer and how she worked through them.  There were times I wanted to felt frustrated Darcy for how she was acting, but I know her age had a lot to do with that.  I think she was a realistic eighteen-year-old to read.  I think Darcy grows and matures realistically throughout her story as well and it was great to read that transformation.

One tiny thing bothered me.  I am not one to be against behaviors in books like underage drinking.  However, the fact that Darcy, at 18, had no issue ordering a beer anywhere she went in New York without once being asked to show an ID kind of irked me.  I found that unbelievable.  Or it may be sign that I am getting old.  🙂 But I digress.

If you like a supernatural story as well as a realistic one, Afterworlds is a book for you.  Do not be intimidating by its size; it can be a surprisingly quick read.

4/5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorites from the last 3 years

3 Mar

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they post a new list for bloggers to answer.  This week’s topics is ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the last three years!  Here are my favorites from 2012, 2013, & 2014.

Disclaimer: Okay this list was hard.  And I learned that 2013 was an AMAZING reading year for me.  It was really hard to not pick almost all of them from that year.

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1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (2014)

This is a cheat.  This is my favorite book that I have reread more times than I count.  But I reread it last year, so it gets on the list.

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2. AS King Books (2012 & 2013)

This is another cheat.  I have read all four of these in the last three years and I cannot choose just one for this list.  So AS King just gets added on her own.

3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (2012)

This satire is one that I will never forget.  It is hilarious but it also makes you think about the world we live in.

4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (2012)

This is my favorite Courtney Summers book.  I have had so many copies of this one because I cannot keep it on my shelf and it grows legs and walks away.

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2012)

This book.  This book.  That’s all I can keep saying.  It made me cry like I have never cried over a book (and I’ve cried over a lot of books).  Beautiful.  Haunting.

6. Looking for Alaska by John Green (2012)

Hands down my favorite John Green book.  I think everyone should read this one.

7. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (2013)

This book is why historical fiction is so important: it tells a story not usually told.  It is powerful.

8. Sold by Patrica McCormick (2013)

I love Patricia McCormick for telling the difficult stories that need to be told.  Her verse was unforgettable.  This one has also made some rounds in my classroom.

9. One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (2013)

I loved Carley and her story.  I still think of her often.  This is one I love sharing with others.

10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014)

My favorite book of last year.  This one amazed me with both the writing and the story.  I have loved giving it to other readers and discussing it with them.

What have been your favorites over these last three years?

It’s Monday, March 2, 2015! What are you reading?

2 Mar

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Is it really already March?  I cannot believe it!  Where is 2015 going?  Thanks to a cold day last week, I got quite a bit more reading done than I have lately.

What I read last week

Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Dear Stephanie Perkins – Please write more books.  Like a lot more.  I loved all three of these books.  Anna was probably my favorite, but I love how all the stories come together and tie up in the end.  Basically, I will buy whatever you may write, Mrs. Perkins, especially more romances like this.

What I plan to read this week

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer 

I have seen this one all over friends’ feeds.  The mention of Sylvia Plath had me ready to go.  So far, I am liking it.  I am looking forward to learn more about each character’s story and understand exactly how this magical plan may work.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I am putting myself on a book buying ban until my birthday in June (you know, gift cards will be coming).  So I am getting to all these books that have been hanging around my house and classroom that I have been dying to read but haven’t gotten to yet because I buy new ones.  This one won the Printz in 2009 and gets a lot of love from readers I know.  So it is next.

What are you reading this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Heroines

24 Feb

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they post a new list for bloggers to answer.  This week’s topics is Ten Favorite Heroines From Books.

1. Hermione from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

I know it is probably very obvious and we will see a lot of her today, but she is pretty amazing!  Hermione is smart and pretty tough as well.  She is an excellent role model for readers.

2. Vix from Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

This is my favorite book of all time.  I always loved Vix as a character and felt a connection to her even the first time I read this book as a teenager.  Every time I read this book, I connect to a different part of Vix’s life.  She is a character that will always stay with me.

3. Juliette from Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette begins very afraid, being especially fearful of herself and her power.  I love how she grew in the series and learned to control her power and gain confidence in herself.  She was a character I rooted for and loved to watch develop.

4. Melinda from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda is a character I will never forget.  She went through hell and had to fight her way back, but she made it.  I love her voice and her views of the world as well.

5. Tana from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana is another tough girl.  She handles her situation with nothing but fight.  She doesn’t give up even when things seem hopeless and she does whatever is necessary to do what needs to be done.

6. Astrid from Ask the Passengers by AS King

Astrid is all about giving love, even to people she doesn’t even know flying in the airplanes above.  And she just wants to be herself, not just a label.  She is another strong character whom I adore.

7. Rory from The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I am seeing a theme…I love tough heroines that fight on their own.  Rory works with ghosts and is hilarious!  I can’t wait to continue reading her story.

8. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is another character I really connected to.  I loved watching her grow to accept herself.

9. Skeeter from The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Skeeter is a girl who strives to be true to herself.  She follows her dream and she strives to stand up for what she believes is right, even if it means going against the grain.

10. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice  by Jane Austen

What is not to love about Lizzie?  She is another tough girl who stays true to herself through and through.

Who are some of your favorites?

It’s Monday, February 23, 2015! What are you reading?

23 Feb

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It has been a few week since I have checked in with one of these posts!  Here is an update on my reading life.

What I Have Read Lately

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafai

I loved this book and just posted my review yesterday.  Cannot recommend this one enough!

 The DUFF: Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

I read this with movie recently being released.  To be honest, I am a little torn on this one.  I couldn’t put it down, but I’m not sure how much I loved it.  The wanting to keep reading factor had me give it 4/5 stars.  I’m still kind of on the fence though.  I have not been this torn on a book in awhile.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield

I was impressed how quickly I read this 599 page book.  I won’t say much yet because a review is definitely forthcoming.

What I’m Reading This Week

Lola and the Boy Next Door & Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 

I read Anna and the French Kiss back in 2013 and LOVED it!  I am finally getting to the other books in the series.  I have heard that these are great as well!

What are you reading this week?