Monday, April 29, 2013

Ashes by Ilsa Bick (Abe Lincoln Book)

Ashes is on the Abe Lincoln list this year as well as one of our Book Club picks. We are going to be reading Ashes this month in Book Club so I thought I would get a head start on the book for the students. The premise of the book is similar to many popular reads right now. Something strange happens to the planet (not defined in the book) and millions of people drop dead, lots of people become changed ( similar to a zombie) and very few humans are remaining. We follow Alex as she makes her way through this new world making and losing friends along the way.

I thought the book was good but not great. It ends in a way that forces the reader to continue on to the next book. I'm not so sure I will continue with the series so I will never know what happened and why it happened.

It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Battle Dress by Amy Efaw

Amy Efaw's first book  After is a hugely popular book at LPHS. I read it with book club and book talk it all the time. When I saw Amy Efaw wrote a new book I had to read it. While I enjoyed this book about life at West Point fof the first six weeks of BEAST training I dont see it being a favorite at LPHS.

Andrea Davis accepts an appointment to West Point, knowing its reputation for strenuous training but believing it can't be any worse than surviving her abusive mother, her silent father, and constant family fights. Andi believes her dysfunctional family has prepared her to meet all challenges. The story chronicles "Beast," the aptly nicknamed new-cadet program, from a female plebe's perspective. Nothing is left out, from arrival blitz through grueling physical training, "square" meals and lack of sleep, military science, and the daily regimen of marching and torment from upper-class cadets. Team building is always the training focus. Andrea confronts stereotypes and negative attitudes toward women in the military, fights her own fear of failure, and pushes herself to prove her abilities and worth. Based on Efaw's experiences, the novel provides insights into long-held traditions at a mostly unfamiliar, formerly male-dominated institution. Intense depictions of pain and the mental and physical near atrocities plebes suffer make this compelling, at times stomach-turning, reading.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller is Jodi Picoults newest release. I was very excited to read this book and saved it for my Spring Break. The book is about a girl who is mourning the loss of her Mother and Father. Sage has a scar on her face and hides from everyone and took a job as an evening baker to not have to be around people. Sage meets an elderly man named Josef at her grief counseling session and the two strike up a friendship. After bonding, Josef confesses that he used to be a Nazi and askes Sage to help him die. He believes he is cursed and unable to die at the age of 95. Sage can't believe what she is hearing. Her Grandmother is a Holocaust survivor and she can't believe this man could be capable of what the Nazis did during WWII.
The story takes a turn and we follow Josef and Sages Grandmother as they tell their own stories about the Holocaust. Once again, Picoult does an incredible job painting a picture for the reader. I have read countless Holocautt books before and never did I feel as if I was in the story as I did with The Storyteller. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Jodi Picoult, reading about the Holocaust, or is looking for an engaging read. I could not put this book down.

'Never has a work of fiction seemed so realistic to me, all of the different stories magnificently intertwined to create a book which is truly on a new level. There are certain books that leave you bereft knowing that there is no more story to tell and this is one of them.' -- Amy, Waterstones, UK 'Beautifully written, compelling fiction. I couldn't put it down. I'm now bereft!' -- Ros, Burway Books, UK 'Hard to put down. This book lingers with you after you've finished ... It has compassion, anger, and a small touch of happily ever after that doesn't destroy the realism of the main events. If you can stomach a story based in the horrors of Nazi concentration camps then read THE STORYTELLER. It's worth the time you'll spend lost in its pages.' -- Sarah Talbot, UK bookseller Praise for LONE WOLF -- : 'Picoult fans will love it' -- Sunday Express 'LONE WOLF could have been an overblown sob story, but the excellent Jodi picoult moulds it into superior literary ficton in a gripping human story.' -- Mail on Sunday 'There are many aspirants to her throne, but nobody in commercial fiction cranks the pages more effectively than Jodi Picoult' -- USA Today 'Never one to shy away from moral and ethical dilemmas, or from presenting every side of the debate, Picoult gives her readers all the virtuosic plotting, cliffhangers and twists they've come to expect' -- Daily Mail 'Picoult tackles this sensitive subject with her usual flawless research and convincing characters ... as is Picoult's signature style, the reader is left just as torn as the characters over the best solution. Thought-provoking and gripping.' -- SHE 'Picoult as usual probes intriguing matters of the heart while introducing her fans to subjects they might not otherwise explore. You can always count on Picoult for a terrific page-turner about a compelling subject.' -- Publishers Weekly 'It's as fascinating as eavesdropping.' -- Saga 'An absorbing read.' ***** -- Woman's Own 'Heartache and an unbearable decision are at the centre of Jodi Picoult's latest powerful book.' **** -- Star magazine

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Girl Child by Tupelo Hassman

This is one of the new books I just ordered from the Library. I saw this book reviewed in a magazine recently as an upcoming popular read. I immediately grabbed it and brought it home for Spring Break. I truly enjoyed this coming og age novel of a young girl trying to find her way with an unreliable mom and an interesting community of latch key children. I recommend this one for kids and adults.

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Rory Hendrix, the least likely of Girl Scouts, hasn’t got a troop or a badge to call her own. But she still borrows the Handbook from the elementary school library to pore over its advice, looking for tips to get off the Calle—the Reno trailer park where she lives with her mother, Jo, the sweet-faced, hard-luck bartender at the Truck Stop.

Rory’s been told she is one of the “third-generation bastards surely on the road to whoredom,” and she’s determined to break the cycle. As Rory struggles with her mother’s habit of trusting the wrong men, and the mixed blessing of being too smart for her own good, she finds refuge in books and language. From diary entries, social workers' reports, story problems, arrest records, family lore, and her grandmother’s letters, Tupelo Hassman's Girlchild crafts a devastating collage that shows us Rory's world while she searches for the way out of it.

Variant by Robison Wells

We read Variant for Book Club. I didn't know anything about this book when I selected it for Book Club but truly enjoyed the read. I thought it read very similar to the Maze Runner by James Dashner, which is funny considering Mr. Dashner wrote the review for this book. This is the first installment of a trilogy. Upon finishing the book I immediately went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the sequel for the Library. One of my book club students checked it out immediately. I hope to get a chance to read it over the summer.

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence, where video cameras monitor his every move—and where breaking the rules equals death.
All Benson wants is to find a way out. But when he stumbles upon the real secret the school has been hiding, he realizes that escape may be impossible.