Tag Archives: books

Bone Gap: A Review

4 Aug

Title: Bone Gap

Author: Laura Ruby

Format: Hardcover, borrowed from public library

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads): Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

I am not sure exactly how I am going to review this one.  I absolutely loved Ruby’s writing.  It is beautiful. She builds such fascinating characters that keep you wanting to read more.  Her descriptions make you feel as though you are right there in Bone Gap along with Finn and the others.  I can really appreciate the art of her writing.

I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives.  I have written about how much I like this in books before. I was pretty sure there were only going to be two perspectives, but was pleasantly surprised as to how many and which characters added to the story.  All the perspectives are written in third person which I also enjoyed because it is not as common these days.  I have nothing against first person narratives; it was just a nice change of pace.

Where I am struggling is with the magical realism aspect of the book.  I have struggled with books like this before. They just don’t hold my interest most of the time.  I still give them a try and every now and then, I find books with elements of magical realism or fantasy that I really enjoy.  However, I did not understand how it fit into the plot with this one.  There are parts where magic appears that does not seem to fit in with the story.  And I still do not fully understand what happened to Roza and at the end of the novel.  I know many people have loved this book.  I just think this is a genre I do not enjoy as much as others.

There are still strong themes of love, family, and friendship that I also liked.  These are what kept me reading the novel to the end.  This is by no means a bad book; it just was not the book for me.

3.5/5 Stars 

Favorites this Year (So Far)

31 Jul

So this post would have probably been better to write in June, but I just did not get to it.  Here are some of my favorite books I have read (or listened to) so far this year.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I cannot explain how much I love this book!  When it won the Printz, I cheered out loud.  I could not stop reading this one no matter what I was doing.  The night I finished it, I was also cooking dinner.  I let out a sigh and said ‘Wow!’ when I was done.  Make sure you read this one if you haven’t yet.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This is another Printz winner, but I just discovered it this year.  I loved this story.  I was kind of confused when I first started reading it, but once I was into Taylor’s story, I could not stop reading.

Columbine by Dave Cullen 

I was a freshman in high school when Columbine happened.  Reading this brought back memories from that time and I also learned how much I did not know about the tragedy.  Or, rather, how misinformed I was.  Cullen handles this topic very well.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen 

I really meant to review this book.  It has been so long since I have read it, I am not sure I can do it justice.  I absolutely love Maya’s voice as she tells her story.  She was funny, engaging, and honest.  I wish I book like this existed when I was in middle and high school.  I think every middle or high school girl should read this because of the strong message Maya sends about self-esteem and loving yourself.  I hope to read more from this talented young lady.

White Cat by Holly Black

I listened to this one.  I really love Holly Black’s writing which first caught my attention on this one.  Then, I saw that Jesse Eisenberg read it.  I borrowed it from the library.  I liked this so much more than I expected.  The world Black creates that is much like ours bu included Curse Workers is very engaging. I was intrigued to learn more about them as the novel progressed. Plus, Cassel is a pretty interesting character himself.  I plan to listen to the second book, Red Glove as well.

The Martian by Andy Weir

This is the last of my “favorites so far” I am going to share.  I picked this up for a vacation read with some gift cards from my birthday.  I loved this from the very first line.  I love Sci-Fi and this one did not disappoint.  I love the voice of Mark Watney (and like my friend Dana said, I now think ‘What would Mark Watney do?’).  I also love how all the science and technology is explained in a way that wasn’t too difficult or boring.  It is a very engaging, exciting read.  I immediately handed it off to my brother, then my mother. I look forward to the movie in the fall.

It’s Monday, June 15, 2015! What are you reading?

15 Jun

It is officially summer vacation!  Here’s hoping a lot of reading can happen.

Audio Books

I am almost done with The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman.  I have been really enjoying it.  I have a long drive tomorrow, so hopefully it will be done.

I also finally got I Was Here by Gayle Forman back from the library.  We now get two weeks for audio books!  Some walks with Taylor and driving to work for the few days I am going in for curriculum work will be great for that.

Books

I have been saying for along time I want to read Dorthy Must Die by Danielle Paige.  One of my students read it this year and told me how much she loved it.  It will be my first read of the summer break.

What are you reading this week?

It’s Monday, April 20, 2015! What are you reading?

20 Apr

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It’s been a while again.  Things get so crazy!  There has been a lot of reading thanks to Spring Break a couple of weeks ago.  Here’s what’s been going on in my reading life.

What I’ve Read Lately


I really ended up loving Denton Little’s DeathdateThe concept was pretty fascinating.  And I loved the minor characters!  A number of scenes had me laughing out loud.

AS King continues to impress me!  I wonder if there’s anything she will write that I will dislike.  Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future had me thinking a lot.  Her books are just amazing!

I have had Mockingbird on my shelf for years. I finally picked it up.  It was a one day read.  It was heartbreaking but also so beautiful.

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is one of those ‘classic’ YA titles that I have been meaning to read for years.  I am glad I did.I really enjoyed it

I also checked out 2 ebooks from the library recently. The Crossover needs to be on every single middle and high school teacher’s shelf!  I could not stop reading it.  Amazing.  And How It Went Down is so important with everything happening in our country now.  It is another one that really makes the reader think.  These will need to be added to my shelf soon!

What I’m Reading This Week

I have started The Spectacular Now a couple times and couldn’t stay in it.  This time, it is sticking.  I’m really liking the writing.  It just seems so real.

I really want to get The Hunted read before it comes out in May.  I loved The Living and want to see where the story is going.  So thankful to my friend Beth for the ARC.

What are you reading this week?

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?

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