Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Break Reads

I am planning on getting a lot of reading done over Winter Break while in Jamaica.

Book Description
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (The New York Times Book Review). “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants,” said The Washington Post, “they should be well worth waiting for.”

Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.

Elliot Rosenzweig, a wealthy Chicago philanthropist, is attending opening night at the opera.  Ben Solomon, a retired Polish immigrant, makes his way through the crowd and shoves a gun in Rosenzweig's face, denouncing him as former SS officer, Otto Piatek.   Solomon is blind-sided, knocked to the floor and taken away.  Rosenzweig uses his enormous influence to get Solomon released from jail, but Solomon commences a relentless pursuit to bring Rosenzweig before the courts to answer for war crimes.  Solomon finds a young attorney, Catherine Lockhart, to whom he recounts his family's struggles and heroisms during the war, revealing to her that he and Piatek grew up as brothers in the same household.  
Once We Were Brothers is a contemporary legal thriller and a poignant look back into the lives of small town Poland during World War II.  

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is the current "it" book right now. Everyone is talking about it and reading it. I had to read it as well. From the first page I was hooked. The book is a thriller dealing with a missing Wife and a Husband who appearts guilty. Everyone knows the Husband always did it, right? This was quite a page turner and I couldn't wait to get through and find out who did it! I highly recommend this read for Adults. As for the students it has mature language and violence.

Book Review
Marriage can be a real killer.
   One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
   On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
   As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
   With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

I have been a fan of Mitch Albom's since the beginning. When I heard he had a new book out I immediately ordered it for the Library. I brought it home last weekend and finished the book within the hour. I truly enjoyed this book. In typical Albom fashion,  he wrote a short, sweet novel that makes you think about life. The Time Keeper is about the beginning of time, or father time to be exact and how the world has changed so much since the invention of keeping track of time. We move to the present time and meet two characters. One fighting for more time and one who wishes time would speed up. It is up to Dor or Father time to educate both people on the meaning of time. I thought it was a lovely read and recommend it to all.

“The Time Keeper” attempts to discover what people would change if they could control time. Albom focuses on the origin of Father Time and how he must return to Earth to save an old man and a teenage girl.
The character Dor becomes “Father Time” after he creates the first ways to measure time. Dor is banished into a cave to be bombarded with all of Earth’s pleas about time – to get more, to stop, to slow down…
Two particular characters stand out from the din – Sarah Lemon, a seventeen-year-old with way too many problems, and Victor Delamonte, a man dying from cancer who also happens to be the fourteenth-richest man in the world.

Super Freakonomics Steven Levitt & Steven Dubner

I loved Freakonomics and I was very excited to read Super Freakonomics. I have to say I was very disappointed in the follow up to the best seller.  
But perhaps the best example of incentives colliding with unintended consequences is, well... Super Freakonomics. The original Freakonomics  --  a bestselling, entertaining work published in 2005 by the duo of famed economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner --  did a grand job popularizing economic analysis and convincing people that enough economists armed with enough data could not only solve most of the world's problems, but be wry and interesting along the way. Freakonomics was followed by a rush of economists-explain-it-all books, including Tim Harford's Undercover Economist, Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist, and Robert Frank's Economic Naturalist.

Seriously, I'm kidding by Ellen Degeneres

I bought this book for the Library a year ago. I have been waiting to read the book, but it was always checked out. I finally got my chance and I was so excited to read this book. What a let down. Degeneres spends the whole time just blabbing about nothing. There were no funny, haha moments. No insight into her life as a talk show host, wife, celebrity. She simply talks about nothing, and not the good kind of nothing like Seinfeld. I honestly didn't even finish the book because it was such a waste of time. My recommendation is to skip this one anc check out Bossypants by Tina Fey or Is Everyone Hanging out Without me by Mindy Kaling.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

We read this book for Book Club and the students really enjoyed the book. I found it frustrating at times because I just wanted to know the answers.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

Every DayThis book was recommended by Michael Cart as one of the best books of the year. I thought this was a fantastic read and such an unusual idea. I truly enjoyed this read and highly recommend it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Unwind is probably one of my favorite books in the Library. In my two years at Lincoln Park that book has gone missing several times. As a result I now have multiple copies of Unwind. A few weeks ago I saw something on about a sequel to unwind. I immediately ordered two copies of Unwholly. Oftentimes I find a sequel to be very disappointing. Neal Shusterman did not write Unwind with the intention of turning it into a trilogy. I felt satisfied with the original ending but was overjoyed that there would be more. Shusterman opened this sequel in a way I wish all authors would in the YA genre. He created a glossary reminding the reader of all the terms and definitions we were introduced to do in book one. I read Unwind over three years ago, there was no way I would remember every character and every new word created. I was so appreciative of the glossary. Bravo Mr. Shusterman. Unwholly was fast-paced, and quite a page turner. I was excited to learn about all the old characters and enjoyed learning about all the new characters as well. This is quite a challenge and I wish Mr. Dashner took some advice from Mr. Shusterman on how to write a series and make the reader care about all characters. I give this followup to Unwind 5 Stars


Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.      Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.      Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kill Order by James Dashner

After finishing the Maze Runner Trilogy I was angry. I felt as if the author left so many loose ends on the series. I was thrilled when I found out a week later that he would be writing a prequel. Finally, I will get the answers to all of my questions that were never resolved in book one, two and three. Boy was I wrong. The Kill Order was a completely new story with new characters and did not touch on ANYTHING I was hoping to be resolved. This book was horribly written and created hundreds of new questions. We start off with a compound of people being attacked by a berg (a mix between an airplane and a space ship). Who were the people attacked, who were the people attacking, why were the people attacked, what is the gun loaded with. I do not want more questions. I was looking for why did the sun flares happen? How did the Earth get destroyed. Why were Thomas and Teresa recruited and finally is WICKED good or bad? I feel so disappointed after spending three years on this series.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
I am a huge fan of this author. I read Tea Rose and Winter Rose over the summer and still need to read Wild Rose. While researching the author I discovered she had written a YA book and immediately purchased it for the library. I read this book over the summer but remember being so engrossed in the story and the two plot lines. I would recommend this book for students who have not tried historical fiction as a genre. I think this would be a neat book to read to get your feet wet in a new genre. Fingers crossed that Jennifer Donnelly has many more books coming as I adore her.

Swallow the Ocean by Laura Flynn


When Laura Flynn was a little girl, her beautiful, dynamic mother, Sally, was the center of her imagination. It wasn’t long, however, before Sally’s fun-loving side slowly and methodically became absorbed by madness. As Laura’s parents divorced and her father struggled to gain custody, Sally’s symptoms bloomed in earnest while Laura and her sisters united in flights of fancy of the sort their mother taught them so that they might deflect the danger threatening their fragile family.
Set in 1970s San Francisco, Swallow the Ocean is redolent with place. In luminous prose, this memoir paints a most intimate portrait of what might have been a catastrophic childhood had Laura and her sisters not been resilient and determined enough to survive their environment even as they yearned to escape it.

I am a huge fan of Memoirs lately and enjoyed this book. It certainly is not one of my favorites but I thought it was an interesting read. For family drama memoirs I would recommend The Glass Castle, House Rules or Three Little Words over Swallow the Ocean.

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

This was on the best seller list this year so I bought it for the Library. I could not finish this book. It is not enough that I don't finish a book and give it time to get good. I read half of  this book and didn't care how it ended and decided to just stop. I spoke to a fellow teacher and they felt the same and also stopped reading mid-way through. I just found this book to be boring and blah. That is my opinion and you might find the book to be incredible.

Natalia Stefanovi, a doctor living (and, in between suspensions, practicing) in an unnamed country that's a ringer for Obreht's native Croatia, crosses the border in search of answers about the death of her beloved grandfather, who raised her on tales from the village he grew up in, and where, following German bombardment in 1941, a tiger escaped from the zoo in a nearby city and befriended a mysterious deaf-mute woman. The evolving story of the tiger's wife, as the deaf-mute becomes known, forms one of three strands that sustain the novel, the other two being Natalia's efforts to care for orphans and a wayward family who, to lift a curse, are searching for the bones of a long-dead relative; and several of her grandfather's stories about Gavran Gailé, the deathless man, whose appearances coincide with catastrophe and who may hold the key to all the stories that ensnare Natalia.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves--fifteen years in the future

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long--at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates--it's all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right--and wrong--in the present.

My thoughts
 I was so excited to read this book after Jay Asher's debut novel Thirteen Reasons Why. I absolutely LOVED this book. It might have had to do with the throw back to the 90's and remembering my first experience with the AOL CD-Rom disk that arrived in the mail but I LOVED this book. I thought it was a cute idea taking facebook into the future and I loved the idea of trying to change your future of your destiny. I highly recommed this one as a light fun read.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. Some of the students were assigned this book for class and I thought I would assign it to myself as well. I found the book very interesting. I am not much of a non-fiction fan but felt as if this was a well written engaging read. I would highly recommend this book. Now I need to read the follow up Super Freakonomics.

Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand

I just finished reading Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand and all I can say is WOW. My sister finished this book last week and was raving how much she loved it. A year ago, someone told me it was the best book they had ever read. I had high expectations for this book and they were all met. Unbroken follows the true life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian, WWII VET, POW and a survivor of a plane crash. Mr. Zamperini had such a full life it is hard to believe that everything in this book in true. Not only was I taken by Mr. Zamperini's story I learned so much about WWII and the situation with Japan. Often times in school we focus on the war in Europe. I felt as if I learned so much about the war in the Pacific. For history lovers I cannot recommend this book enough. For everyone else, I still recommend it as an American hero tale.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is John Greens newest arrival to the Library. I am a  big fan of John Green so I was looking forward to reading his latest novel. There were moments in the book that I was no very engaged but in the end I was in tears and truly fell in love with the two main characters. If you are a John Green fan I think you will enjoy this one, but I wouldn't recommend it for a first time read.

My Bloody Life by Reymundo Sanchez

The students are always asking about this book and it was checked out all year long. I knew the premise of the book was about a former gang member but I wanted to make sure there was a positive message in this book discouraging gang violence. This summer, my friends were looking for a book for our book club, so I suggested we read My Bloody Life. I started it the last week of school and voraciously finished this book. The topic is obviously captivating dealing with several Chicago gangs and their violent activities with shootings, drive bys, fights, and drug dealing. This is an eye opening account of what life is like for gang members and why young children would partake in such behavior. This was a great book, but sad for all those who lost their life for the purpose of owning 'turf'.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dear Bully

This is a must read for EVERYONE! Dear Bully is various authors recounting their own history of being bullied, witnessing bullying or being the bully themselves. I found this book to be engrossing and heartbreaking. As a teacher I ponder the question of what we can do right now.  The message we preach to kids is that it gets better, but what can we do right now to stop the bad behavior? I think a good start to addressing the bullying situation is reading this book out loud as a class. I think we need to talk to students about making fun of other students and the damage and hurt that is caused by teasing. Sometimes, a student is causing harm just by standing aside and letting someone else be bullied. I think everyone should read this book as it is eye opening to the pain that can be caused with words.

Stay Close by Harlan Coben

I have been a big fan of Harlan Coben since I was in high school. I have slowly been adding his books into the Library's collection. I enjoyed this book but it was definitely not one of my favorites. I love a good suspense thriller and I felt as if the suspense was lacking. I had solved who the killer was half way through the book and just waiting to find out I was right for the remaining half. This was a typical Coben novel. I do enjoy the snark and sarcasm he writes for his characters though.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I went out and bought this book the day it came out from the book store. I displayed it on my desk for 2 weeks and the kids voraciously finished the follow up to Divergent. After all the kids read it, I took it home to read myself. I have to say, I didn't love this book. The book starts off directly after Divergent. However, there was no recap and I found myself asking who is Will, who is Peter? who is Marcus? It took about 50 pages for me to remember those characters but now 10 more characters had been introduced. I found this book to be choppy and filled with too many characters being introduced only to die a few pages later. I will finish up the series though. Once I have started I like to finish, but honestly was not impressed with this follow up. I have been a big champion for Divergent, but can not say the same for Insurgent.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

I just finished Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, book two in the rose trilogy. Once again, I couldn't put this book down. I read this book as soon as I woke up in the mornings and before I went to bed for the last week. The formula was very similar to that of Tea Rose with several split second misses but I was so engaged with the characters that I did not mind some of the predictability. I fell in love with India and Sid and rooted for them the whole way. Donnelly does a remarkable job of telling a love story as well as writing a wonderful villian. I might take a break from the rose series for a while but I certainly play on finishing the trilogy with the Wild Rose.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I am J by Cris Beam

I am J was an interesting read. The book starts with the main character J feeling as if he was meant to be born a boy. We follow J on a journey through speaking it out loud to himself and finally to his best friend Melissa and Mother. J learns a lot about himself and those he loves throughout the book. I have not read anything before on transgender teens but thought this was a wonderful insight into a world I am unfamiliar with. I think students would enjoy learning about another teens experience with transgender.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lockdown by Alexander G. Smith

Lockdown is book one of the Furnace series. I am very interested how this series will continue. Alex has started a career as a petty thief. One night a routine break-in goes horribly wrong. Men dressed in all black have killed his best friend Toby and framed Alex for his murder. Alex is on the run for murder. All murderers are sent to "The Furnace" for a life sentence. The Furnace is a brand new prison with no potential for escape. After finishing the book, I still have so many questions. Who were the men in black? Why did the men frame Alex? Will Alex ever get out of Furnace? You will have to read the Furnace series to find out any of the answers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

 I enjoyed Lauren Kate's novel Fallen so I brought this book home a while ago to read. I finished Tea Rose and was looking for something to read over the weekend. I finished this book in one day. The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove was a fast and fun read about the life of the "it" girl in high school vying for the title of Princess for the annual Palmetto court. Natalie will stop at nothing to attain the title. I thought this was a great debut and I think the high school girls will also enjoy this title.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Every once in a while I read an outstanding book and The Tea Rose is one of those books. My sister recommended this one to me over a year ago. I took her recommendation, and purchased the book for the library. I devoured this book. I couldn't put it down and am anxious to read the next two in the series Winter Rose and Wild Rose. The book has romance, mystery, intrigue.
In 1888, Fiona Finnegan and Joe Bristow hoard shillings and pennies so that they can marry and open a shop. But Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of London's East End, and poverty threatens from the shadows. Setting the story in motion is the murder of Fiona's father, a dock worker whose union activities angered his tea-company boss. Fiona and her younger brother must flee to New York City to avoid their own murders. Through hard work and luck, Fiona and her beloved Joe prosper on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Misunderstandings and mistakes keep them apart as they build separate lives and incredible fortunes. Children's book writer Donnelly effortlessly takes her narrative through slums and high society while intertwining a number of subplots without tangling them. Both major and minor characters capture and hold interest and sympathy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I LOVED this book. I read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and wasn't expecting much from this series. I loved every minute of this book and can not wait to start the sequel. With so many series in the library I often don't finish a series or rush to get to the next one. I am torn if I should read Pandemonium right now, or wait until the third and final book in the series is released next year. I thought this book was similar to Matched by Ally Condie and Divergent by Veronica Roth. If you are a fan of the dystopian thrillers you will enjoy this one.
Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure. In this powerful and beautifully written novel, Lauren Oliver, the bestselling author of Before I Fall, throws readers into a tightly controlled society where options don’t exist, and shows not only the lengths one will go for a chance at freedom, but also the true meaning of sacrifice

Monday, April 23, 2012

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor (Book 2 of Looking Glass Wars)

I have been trying to read this book for months, but this book is always checked out. I finally picked it up and brought it home last week. However while I was in the middle of the book a student asked to check it out again. This weekend I was finally able to finish the book. I am enjoying this series and learning all about the world of Alice and Wonderland. I am thinking about reading the original version now after reading this spin off. I find myself rooting for Alyss and hating Redd and Arch. This was certainly a page turner and I am anxious to finish out the series with Archenemy. 

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

I love Neal Shusterman, so was looking forward to reading this book once I saw it on the new Abe Lincoln List for 2013. I felt like the book was very similar to The Green Mile. Misunderstood big man who everyone shuns when in reality he is taking everyone's pain away. I thought the story was good overall but not too original.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

I just finished this book and truly enjoyed the story. We meet Lennie a few weeks after her big sister and best friend Bailey has suddenly passed away. Lennie's life has been destroyed with the death of her sister and she needs to pick the pieces back up. With the help of her Grandma, Uncle Big, best friend Sara and two unlikely boys, Lennie begins to take the steps to healing. They might not be the most traditional steps, like kissing her sisters fiancee but they are the steps she needs to complete the grieving process.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The cover of this book did not do a good job describing what this book was all about. I initially thought The Chosen One was a scary story. The Chosen One is about a religious group practicing Polygamy. The main character learns that she is to wed her 60 year old Uncle and she has no choice about the decision. After her Father, and the boy she loves pleads for the Prophet to change his mind disaster strikes her life. I found the story very interesting and educational about the lifestyle of polygamist colonies.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I finished Before I Fall over Spring Break. Lauren Oliver has a new series called Delirium that is popular in the library right now. Overall, I thought this book was a little slow moving but I did enjoy it in the end.
Samantha and her three best friends are the "It" girls at Thomas Jefferson High School. It’s Cupid Day of their senior year, but more importantly, it’s the day Samantha has decided to lose her virginity with her boyfriend, Rob. After a party that night, a fatal car accident interrupts Sam’s plans. It takes a day or two of reliving those same 24 hours before Sam realizes she must be dead, or in limbo of some kind; she notices that she can alter her actions and their repercussions -- but can she save her own life?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break

Over Spring Break I am planning on catching up on some reading. I am currently reading Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Jay's Journal by Anonymous ( the same editor from Go Ask Alice).

I'm planning on reading....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

In the past year I have come to truly enjoy reading Memoirs. I loved House Rules by Rachel Sontag, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, A Child Called it by Dave Pelzer, and Smile for the Camera by Kelle James. I recently bought Three Little Words for the library. I had been meaning to read this book for a while and brought it home with me for the weekend. This is one of those books that stays with you for a long time and will change you. Ashley Rhodes-Coulter is a remarkable young woman who went through and overcame so much at a young age.
I felt as worthless as the junk in my trash bag . . . once again, I was the one being tossed out and thrown away.” Taken from her mother when she was scarcely four years old, Rhodes-Courter spent the next nine years in foster care with “more than a dozen so-called mothers.” “Some were kind,” she acknowledges, “a few were quirky and one . . . was as wicked as a fairy-tale witch.” She names names in this memoir, which is also a searing indictment of an often sadly deficient system of child care. Given her experiences, one can understand why she is angry and often bitter, but the unrelieved stridency of her tone makes for sometimes difficult reading. Nevertheless, she gives a voice to countless thousands of children who continue to be abused, abandoned, and ignored, and one hopes her book will make a positive difference in their lives. . --Michael Cart 

This World we Live in ( third book in life as we knew it series)

Over the weekend I finished This World We Live In, the third and final installment to the trilogy Life as We Knew it. From the beginning I found this series to me gripping and believable. I have told several people about this story and it made me worry about my own preparedness in the wake of a natural disaster. I enjoyed the series, but I would have to say the first book was by far my favorite.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and the Gone is the sequel to Life as we Knew it. The story follows Alex Morales and his family during their experience in New York City after the moon changes course. Reading the first book in the series had me flipping the pages. However, reading it from a different perspective did not leave me as engaged. I was interested to learn about how others fared during the problem but I found some of it to be repetitive. I'm currently reading the third book in the series, This World we Live in and enjoying that the characters from both books have met.

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This book has been a popular item in the library over the last few months. I found a free copy online and read it last week. It was definitely a quick read, and an interesting story. I am intrigued to see how it will play out in the theaters with the main character crying as often as he did in the story. In today's society we do not often see men or young men brought to tears. The story follows a boy in his freshman year of high school trying to make way with his older brother in college, his older sister, a senior in high school in an abusive relationship and a best friend who committed suicide over the summer. This was a nice coming of age story and I would certainly recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower to all of the students.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

I had the pleasure of meeting Jodi Picoult at her book signing over the weekend. Ms. Picoult was a delight and made it clear why she is one of the most popular authors in the marketplace. I am half way through her newest books Lone Wolf and truly enjoying the book. Ms Picoult spoke over the weekend about the premise of the book and the ethical dilemma that takes place. In our society when someone is in a coma, or considered to be brain dead it is common practice to take someone off life support. However, there have been several 'miracle'stories where someone recovers from bringing brain dead and goes on to live a full life. Who should make the decision about life support? Should it be legal to decide for someone else when they should give up? Per usual, Picoult leaves the reader asking them self what would they do in that situation. I can't wait to finish as i'm sure it will be a wonderful and surprising ending.

Hunger Games Trilogy

I re-read The Hunger Games Series for Book Club and the upcoming movie release of Hunger Games. I loved the series the first time around and I loved it even more the second time around. Although I knew the ending, I still found myself turning the pages and staying up past my bedtime to keep reading. I had to know what was going to happen to Katniss and the other tributes in the Arena. Suzanne Collins, is a wonderful storyteller to keep a reader engaged even after they know how it is all going to end. At school, the buzz is electric while the staff and students eagerly await the release of the movie.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

This book is on the NY Times Bestseller list. I thought the premise sounded interesting. What if JFK wasn't assassinated. How would that one moment in time have changed history. One day, a small town English teacher, Jake Epping, has the chance to alter history. Epping goes back in time to 1958 and re-writes history for every person that he encounters. Knowing about the future, and living in the past posed an interesting lifestyle for Jake Epping. Overall I thought the plot was well written and exciting. However, I believe Mr. King could have shortened the book down to under 600 pages. If you have the time, I would recommend 11/22/63.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Child Called It by David Pelzer

A Child Called It has been on my to read list for a long time. Last week I finally picked it up and had a hard time putting it down. This is David Pelzer's account of growing up with an abusive alcoholic Mother and a Father who stood by and didn't help. There were times during the book that I felt sick to my stomach and had a hard time reading about the torture and abuse he suffered at the hands of his own Mother. Luckily this story has a happy ending and eventually Dave has the courage to report his Mother. This was a tough read but incredible to know Dave Pelzer's story.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I have wanted to read this book for a while, but it was always checked out at the library. One of the teachers donated her copy to the library so I brought it home and finally started the book. Thirsteen Reasons Why is one of those books that grabs you within the first few pages and won't let you go until the very last page. I read a lot of Young Adult literature, but not many stay with me for very long. I will remember this book, the plot and the characters for a very long time.

The book starts with Clay receiving a strange package of cassette tapes labeled 1-13. Once he gets home and plays them he realizes what they are. Hannah Baker, a student at Clay's school, committed suicide a few weeks ago. The tapes are her story. Why she did what she did and the people that led her to the decision of suicide. Clay doesn't know why he received the tapes but he knows he must follow the instructions provided from Hannah. The reader will be intrigued listening to each tape and star of each one.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

The Running Dream was on the ALA list for the Schneider Family Books for featuring characters with a disability. I really enjoyed this books as well as the main characters courage and bravery.

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her