Monday, January 31, 2011

shiver by maggie stiefvater

shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
390 pages
Gateway Nominee

(from jacket cover)
the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf-her wolf-watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. and then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human-and Grace must fight to keep him-even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

I know that I am definitely in the minority that didn't care for this book. I don't know if it was the short choppy chapters, which would be a plus for reluctant readers, or simply the fact the Sam isn't Jacob, but whatever...

Misc. Textbooks.

Misc. Textbooks. Total pages: 596

Norton Anthology of American Literature: 260 pgs

Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems: 10 pgs

Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction: 56 pgs

Literary Theory: An Anthology: 46 pgs

The Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe: 127

Understanding English Grammar: 97

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
199 pages
Gateway Nominee

(from jacket cover)
When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero.

There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can't quite put all the pieces together.
Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad-Justin, Wolf, and Charlene-the soldiers who have become his family during his time in Iraq. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty if very complicated indeed.

This is a very good book. But reading through it was deja vu for books. This is a similar storyline to a book I've read or a movie I've seen. Couldn't figure it out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Grandfather's Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen

subtitle: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging

376 pages
6 hours 16 minutes

This book has become a touchstone for me.  Filled with stories of spiritual growth and renewal, I highlighted sections of almost every page.  I intend to use it in sort of a bibliomancy style.

This book is an inspirational read.  I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Soul Music by Terry Prachett

373 pages
3 hours 7 minutes

I don't enjoy the Death books as much as the Tiffany Aching books.  Moving away from Discworld, so to speak.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner

388 pages, 6 1/2 hours

Another of Lisa's stories about female detective D.D.Warren. Who is apparently randomly killing entire families? The healing "shaman", the nurse in the pediatric psych ward who lost her entire family in one felled swoop, the male aide who lost his parents at a young age due to poisoning!!!
Or is it someone else! Nothing seems to connect.

I did not like this one as well as some of Gardner's other books.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff
311 pages
Gateway Nominee

I almost groaned out load when I cracked this one open...'oh great. another book about a fat kid' (their words). I didn't much like Fat Cat, so I wasn't enthused about this one. But, it turned out to be very good.

(from the back of the book)
Life used to be so simple for Andrew Zansky-hang with the Model UN guys, avoid gym class, and eat and eat and eat. He's used to not fitting in; into his family, his sports-crazed school, or his size 48 pants.
But not anymore. Andrew just met April, the new girl at school and the instant love of his life! He wants to find a way to win her over, but how? Discover a hidden talent for football, of course. When O. Douglass, the quarterback and high-school legend saves his from getting beaten  p by the school bully, Andrew see his chance to get in the football crowd.
Is it possible to reinvent yourself in the middle of high school? Can a fat funny kid be friends with a football superstar? Can he win over the girl of his dreams?
Andrew is about to find out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica

Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica
244 pages
Mark Twain Nominee

(from jacket cover)
What would you do with a million dollars?
Nate Brodie is nicknamed "Brady," and not just for his arm. He's the biggest Tom Brady fan in all of New England. He's even saved up to buy an autographed Brady football. And when he does, he wins the chance at something he's never even dreamed of-to throw a pass through a target at a Patriots game for one million dollars. On live TV!
Nate should be excited. But things have been tough lately. His dad lost his job and his family is struggling to keep their home. It's no secret that a million dollars would go a long way. So instead of being happy, all Nate feels is pressure, and just when he needs it most, his golden arm begins to fail him. Yet his best friend, Abby, refuses to let him feel sorry for himself. Not with what she's going through.

This is the first Lupica book I have read, mainly because he writes sports novels. This one if about football (obviously from the cover) and is full of terms and jargon that made absolutely no sense to me. To be honest, I would have recommended this book to teens, because I always here people and kiddos raving about Lupica. But I never would have picked it up for myself if I wasn't working on reading all of the honor nominees. But, in the end, I was amazed...wonderful, touching story line. You almost ache for Nate and everything his family is going through...Dad loses his job and has to take part time work at an athletic store, with Mom working two jobs. Then you have Nate's best friend, Abby, who is going blind from an eye disease. Then Nate gets the chance to go to the field on Thanksgiving night...if he can throw the ball through a hole 20 inches wide from 30 yards away, he could win one million dollars...and that money could do a lot to ease the pain and suffering around him. To be perfectly honest, I finished this book with tears in my moved me so much, after the 2011-2012 nominees are read, I will have to see what else Mike Lupica has in store for teen readers.

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

352 pages

This is the second book of "Ember".  The two people groups are learning to live with one another.  It is amazing to see how one person can change the course of events for so many.  An interesting commentary on life as we currently know it.

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going
310 pages
Gateway Nominee

At first I did not like this book at all. It is about a super spoiled rich kid who screws up one too many times with his dad, and gets booted out of the house his Senior year of high school. He decided that the best way to win his dad over is to stop being popular, buckle down and study hard. But, he screws that up, and lands smack in the middle of the most popular crowd in school, has the head cheerleader chasing after him, and lands a modeling job. So...I was kinda irked at the whole thing. I got my mind stuck on the fact that he has everything, and is trying to throw it all away. warm up to Liam very quickly. It is a heartwarming story that reminds you that even though a person seems to have everything, they have their own issues too.
Interesting part of the book? Liam goes to live with his homosexual uncle in a trailer park. Aunt Pete performs in a glam rock band. Made for a very fun read! Would definitely recommend for any teen reader!

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 2011 issue of Library Journal

sometimes reading carefully -- sometimes skimming.

96 pages (I didn't count the 48 pages of ads)
30 minutes

Riveting! (just a wee bit sarcastic when referring to the reviews).  But I greatly enjoyed the article on Nancy Pearl.

Survivors Club by Lisa Gardner

The survivors of assault and/or rape form a club to cope. 358 pages 8 hours.

On the day scheduled for the trial of the rapist, he is shot by a sniper from the roof of the court house.

Soon there is another victim with findings of the DNA from the dead man at the assault site.

Amazing Grace by Danielle Steel

Young, beautiful girl plans "The fund raiser of the year" . 324 pgs 6 1/2 hrs

Danielle keeps you riveted with this one, it has been one hundred years since the last earthquake of this impact. The quake interrupts the gala fund raiser and destroys the plans of the husband of the woman who plans this event.

The aftermath of the earthquake is pictured vividly and so many lives are touched; a grammy winning singer and her entourage, a nun, a recovering alcoholic photojournalist, an investment counselor and his family, etc.

Does not disappoint.

Alone by Lisa Gardner

Gotta love Lisa Gardner, her books are always good reads. 322 pages 6 1/2 hours

Echoes by Danielle Steel

Echoes is a great read 325 pages 6 1/4 hours

Danielle Steel starts this novel around the beginning of World War I, continues the story of a Jewish girl who turns Catholic, marries, has children and continues to and through the 2nd world war.

I have read Steele periodically for years and I think this is the BEST one of hers that I have ever read.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

This Harlan Coben Novel is full of suspense and twisted plots...................
Does not stop until the last page.

339 pages 5 1/2 hours.

Treasure Hunt by John Lescroart

Featuring the "Hunt Club" investigators. 354 pages 6 hours.

As usual, Lescroart keeps you in suspense until the end.

After by Amy Efaw

After by Amy Efaw
350 pages
Gateway Nominee

This is a story about a 15 year old girl, in complete denial that she ever had sexual intercourse, or became pregnant, or gave birth in her apartment, or gathered that baby up with the trash, tied the trash bag shut, and threw it in a dumpster out back. It was a very sad book, but written with very mild details of the crime, which of course was appreciated. I cannot describe this book any further, it is definitely one you would have to read yourself to truly comprehend it.

(from jacket cover)
Who would leave her own baby in the trash to die?
Certainly not someone like Devon-straight-A student, soccer player with Olympic dreams, more mature than her own mother. But desperation and panic drover her to do what most people can't even imagine. Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, charged with attempted murder. If she's tried as an adult, she faces life in prison.
Does Devon deserve that punishment? Your answer depends on whether you believe her story-that she didn't even know she was pregnant. Was she buried in a denial so deep that she was unable to register the seemingly obvious signs of pregnancy? Or were her actions the result of a more devious, premeditated plan?

Friday, January 21, 2011

if i stay by gayle forman

If I Stay by Gale Forman
196 pages
Gateway Nominee

It took me quite a while to get through this book, but that is no reflection on the story, or the writing. I go in spurts. I had read so many deep books at the beginning of the year (seems this year's theme for award books is definitely dark issues) I guess my brain needed some down time to not think about anything. (Good thing Jersey Shore started back up!)

(from jacket cover)
"Just listen," Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.

"Stay," he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones. Stay true to her first love-music-even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

Mia and her family are driving to their Grandparent's to visit on a snow day from school, when they get into a vicious car wreck. Mia is alive, but barely.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain.

187 pages.

I'd read this in high school, but I always get something new out of it every time I read it. It's always a good time.

Control the Spotlight (an article) by Jonah Lehrer

 4 pages
10 minutes


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Prachett

340 pages
5 hours, 25 min.

The fourth book in the Tiffany Aching series was just as satisfying even with the formulaic nature of this series.

I have enjoyed being introduced to Terry Pratchett's writing through the Tiffany Aching books.  I believe I may start on the Death and Susan series when I next pick up one of Pratchett's books.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

307 pages
5 hours

Despite that fact that the title sounds like a bodice-ripper, this book was a joy to read.  It was like eating flan.  You know how flan looks like a deceptively simple dessert and how it slides down your throat with such pleasure? But if you ever try to make flan, you understand that making it is really more an work of art than a task.

de los Santos' first novel is full of poetry and light and makes you feel like you're eating flan.  And you know all the while that this author is so talented that she can make it seem easy to write a book this wonderful.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford
313 pages
Gateway Nominee

Loved this book! It is nominate for a teen book award, but you will find it in the adult section of the library.
Christopher starts out telling you how much his life changed after killing someone at 2am in a public place. The story follows him at his job at the morgue, which he took to further his pursuit into being a private eye. Good quick read, some surprise twists.

Spock Must Die! by James Blish.

118 pages.

Have you ever read a book so bad that it's good? That pretty much sums up Spock Must Die! My friend gave it to me as sort of a joke Christmas present, and I was intrigued--not only for the subject matter and suggestive title, but by the fact that it was written in 1969, scant months after the show was canceled. The intro is so sad--this guy actually thinks that by writing this, he will inspire the renewal of the show. I chuckled, with the bitter gift of hindsight. Also, holy crap, why can't I get paid to write and publish fanfiction? Because that's basically what this is.

Plot-wise, it's an intriguing concept: Spock gets accidentally duplicated in a transporter experiment, and it's up to Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty to figure out which one is the original. Oh, and there's Klingons trying to kill them and stuff. There are some amusing moments and interesting ideas about whether or not a replica can be considered a real person, but overall the book was a little flat. There wasn't a whole lot of insight into the emotional state of the characters. They just did things. Plus, this guy is just a terrible writer. I chuckled at several points, just like "Really?" This short book is chock-full of just plain weird analogies and really confusing sentence structure.

But what the hell, it's Star Trek, right? Of course right.

Anyway, definitely not a repeat read. I'll leave you with a lovely quote taken totally out of context that made me chuckle quite a bit. Enjoy trying to figure out in what context it could possibly mean anything other than what your first impression is bound to be. ;D

Kirk, to Spock: "...But there still exists another Spock, or rather a pseudo Spock, at large somewhere--and furthermore, he's wearing my ring, which I would have given to no other man in the universe."

Snakecharm by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Snakecharm is the second book Amelia Atwater-Rhodes series. I have to admit I liked this book less. This book is more like a wrap up for the first so in my opinion that plot wasn't as complete.

Hawksong by Amelia Atwaters-Rhodes

Hawksong is amazing. It's a book about a world where everyone is connected to animals in a way that's linked to thier very soul. And in this world the Hawks and Snakes are at war and only the forced union of the hwk princess and snake prince can restore a somewhat hostile peace. However aside from thier resentment of each other there are other forced whom are willing to kill to preserve war.
I loved this book, its easy to become addicted to this supernatural world that has the undercurrents of modern politics and the world around me.
p. 256
1hr 10 mins

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faeries by Holly Black

Valiant is actually a great modern story about all the reasons why faeries where revered creatures. This book shows the dark nature of what some people only relate to disney's tinkerbell. Black has a wonderful writing style that is very current and easy to read in my opinion. I loved this book. :D
p. 320
1 hr 25 mins

Foiled by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro (ill.)

160 pages
1 hour 25 min.

Graphic novel.  Interesting first book in a new series.  Enjoyed the chapters named after fencing terms.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke

I've read her books before and enjoyed them, but this one was disappointing. I knew the murderer very early in my reading. Then I thought maybe the clues were too obvious and meant to distract me from the real killer. they weren't. This book was enjoyable for a Christmas book, but not up to her usual caliber. This is a Hannah Swensen novel which takes place during the Christmas season in Minnesota. Hannah runs a bakery and, of course, she has to determine who killed crazy Larry who runs the Christmas tree lot.

405 pages 3 hours

submitted by Mary Slater

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner

The story of what appears to be a perfect family, Mom disappears leaving husband and four year old child, suspense until the end, you never see it coming. You just never know what's happening!

420 pages 5 hours.

Dead Irish by John Lescroart

A very good mystery/suspense novel, first in the Dismas Hardy series, I certainly will be reading more in this series. Hardy is an ex cop, ex lawyer, working as a bartender? Lots of twists and surprises in this one.

5 hours reading 432 pages.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret

Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret
197 pages
Mark Twain Nominee
This was an okay book. Nothing bad, nothing grand. Sunny's mother and grandmother are killed in a car accident when she is three years old. Sunny goes through a series of foster homes, missing her twin and wondering what happened to her. She decides one day to run away and track down her sister.
I've been hooked by a series of mysteries featuring Ohio Amish country.  Another, secondary reason I like them is that the main character is a professor at a small liberal arts college.  I feel a connection with him!!

These mysteries, by P.L. Gaus, provide a wonderful description of Amish life, and even describe the difference between Amish, Mennonite, and the various sects associated with both.  Their co-exist with the "English"  provides tension in each book.

The title I stayed up way too late to read last night (!) was Cast a Blue Shadow.  Murder, sibling rivalry, sexual abuse, and college shenanigans are all won't be disappointed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney
213 pages
Truman Nominee

Great book! Transformed me back to my childhood when I first started reading her. A family is torn apart after their mother dies after making the choice not to take chemo while pregnant with their little brother, Tris. But then Tris at 2 yrs old pulls the brake on the family jeep, killing their father. The sibling fall apart, going off to separate hidey holes...but will they be able to pull it together to learn the truth about their father's death?

My Life With the Lincolns by Gayle Brandeis

246 pages
3 hours 10 minutes

This book is certainly an interesting twist on the coming of age story.  It was very realistic how confused people can act when trying to stand up for social justice for the first time.  The scene where Mina's father fires their maid is stuck in my mind -- he cut off the maid's source of income as an attempt to set her free.  I felt sorry for the maid who had to figure out how to get another job.

King Lear by William Shakespeare.

So ashamed that I had never read this before. It's a good time. It's certainly not my favorite of Billy Shakespeare's plays, but it's got plenty of crazy people, which I enjoy. ;D Gotta love dem crazies. The ending seemed a little slapdash, though. I mean, I'm used to his tragedy endings where everyone dies, but they usually seem justified. It seemed like in this one he was like "Oh crap, I haven't met my death quota! Uhhh, EVERYONE DIES, THE END." But like I say, it was still a very enjoyable read overall.

Vida by Patricia Engel

182 Pages
about 4.5 hours
NPR's top 10 books of 2010

This book deals with being an outsider. It caught and kept my attention because of the focus on ethnic struggles. Loved the crazy (in a good way) characters!
Decent read. Definitely not going to be added to my personal collection.

One Year Chronological Bible 200 minutes (so far)

So, I am in the process of reading the One Year Chronological Bible.  I was just wondering if each book counted as a book or if the whole Bible counted as one book.  Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Fat Cat by Robin Brande
327 pages
Gateway Nominee

This book was really hard to get started. Cat is a heavy set girl who is determined to not look for love, or relationships, or anything that does not revolve around her love of science. For a science experiment for a major class, she decides to take on the life of ancient human lives. She will not eat any manufactured food, she swears off all technology, in the pursuit of finding if life was better.
There is a lot of negative self talk that is hard to wade through, but has a nice, neat little ending.

The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison

232 pages
1 hour, 35 minutes

This book is the third in a trilogy.  I have to say that I felt Harrison was trying too hard with this one.  The first book was good, the second was more confusing and this one tried to wrap everything up in a neat bow.

I think Harrison has talent but these seem to be freshman efforts.  I would like to see what she writes next.

We Were Here by Matt de la Pena

We Were Here by Matt de la Pena
Gateway Nominee
356 pages

Very good book. Very sad and deep though. About three boys who are sentenced to time in a residential group home. Rondell, Mong, and Miguel escape one night, and decide to make their way to Mexico. This story is told in Miguel's diary.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

299 pages
4 hours, 43 minutes

I recommend this book to everyone.  The subtitle is: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence.  de Becker does a fantastic job of showing how "random violence" isn't random in any way and how to recognize the signs that could save our lives.

Hearts Divided by Macomber, Stone, Dyer

Three stories in one book about grandmothers, and how their generation lived through war and peace, good times and bad.

5-B Poppy Lane by Debbie Macomber 113 pages 1.25 hour

The Apple Orchard by Katherine Stone 298 pages 3 hours

Liberty Hall by Lois Faye Dyer 213 pages 2.25 hours

These books were light romances filled with the love of grandaughters for their grandmohers and vice versa.

Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel

A Famous American actress vacationing in Europe is involved in a terrorist bombing attack, found in a coma by her ex-husband. When she regains consciousness she has lost all of her memory.

362 pages 4.5 hours

Lessons Learned by Nora Roberts

A fun romance between an egotistic Italian chef /Cookbook author and his American publicist as they tour the United States to promote the cookbook.

488 pages

5 hours

Predator by Patricia Cornwell

Predator features my favorite character, Kay Scarpetta, forensic pathologist. 453 pages 5 hours.

Wintersmith by Terry Prachett

446 pages
2 hours 44 minutes

I'm on a roll with the Tiffany Aching books.  This is the third in the series.  The tone was a bit more serious in this one.  (I didn't have to stop reading because tears of laughter were rolling down my face.)  But it was a very enjoyable read because we get to see Tiffany growing up.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thud! by Terry Pratchett

Thud! by Terry Pratchett
382 pages
Estimated 4 hours

Pretty typical Pratchett, but that's what I read 'em for! There's some books that you just read even though you know they're formulaic to a certain extent, and it's because the formula is freakin' gold. The Discworld series belongs firmly in that category. Love it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

book cover of 
The Cupcake Queen 
Heather Hepler

The Cupcake Queen
by Heather Hepler
242  pages
Truman Readers Award Nominee

This book isn't what I usually go for, but it was good. Penny is a 14yr old city girl who ends up moving back to the small town her mother grew up in as a young girl. Her parents are doing a trial separation, and she cannot wait to get back to her city life. But the opening of the cupcake bakery indicates this might be a longer stay than what she would like. Their are the typical aspects...the bullies, the new best friend to confide in, and the boy she is crushing on. No big surprises, but plenty of warm fuzzy feelings at the end.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The House of Dies Drear

I picked this book out of a box of free books at Holiday Project and found it again at my house the other day so I picked it up and have started reading it.

The story is about a family who bought the house of Dies Drear who was part of the Underground Railroad. The main character is Thomas who is the oldest son of the family. He has heard that the house is haunted and is discovering all the secret passageways.

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
329 pages
Gateway Nominee

I really enjoyed this book. Blake, a young photography student is torn between Shannon, the girlfriend he feels he is in love with and Marissa, the best friend who needs him. His voice throughout the book is sarcastic and hilarious, even when his jokes fall short of his mark. Marissa has family troubles, with a meth addicted mother, and he chooses to help her out despite what his girlfriend might think. Adding to the story is Blake's father, who is a medical examiner (Blake chooses to eat breakfast at the counter when he finds a head saw on the table) and his mother, who is a hospital chaplain, and his brother who is too cool for his little brother, but of course steps up when he is needed. The story is up beat and light until the very end, but what would you expect when reading about a love triangle and methamphetamine? I would definitely recommend this one...especially to anyone interested in photography. There is a lot of impressive lingo that sounds true, if I had any idea what any of it meant.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger

211 pages
56 minutes 

This book is the sequel to Geography Club.  I think I liked the first book better.

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Prachett

375 pages
3 hours, 28 minutes 

If I thought the first Tiffany Aching book was funny, it was NOTHING compared to this one.  I laughed so hard in spots that I had to stop reading before my sides burst.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Gateway Nominee
229 pages

Caitlyn's best friend is Ingrid. They have been together for years, and know everything about each other. Or so Caitlyn thought. So how did she not see the fact that her friend was contemplating suicide? After Ingrid is gone, Caitlyn discovers her friends diary she left under Caitlyn's bed.
This is not a typical suicide survivor story. Through Ingrid's diary, we see her sinking deeper and deeper into depression. At the same time, we see Caitlyn's healing, and how she is able to move forward without leaving her friend behind. Very good book, and not as dark as you would think after reading the jacket cover.

 Check out the book trailer for Hold Still by Nina Lacour! 

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So, to recap...this year I have read about polygamists, Hispanic gangs, African American gangs,  and school shootings. I am in the middle of Flash Burnout, a story about a guy who takes a pic of a homeless woman passed out on the street. That woman happens to be his friend, Marissa's, mother who disappeared a year ago while fighting an addiction to meth. I think in the middle of all of this, I will tackle The Cupcake Queen. I am in serious need of some fluff.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Muchacho by Louanne Johnson

Muchacho by Louanne Johnson
Gateway Nominee
197 pages

This book didn't impress at all. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't a good book. When I was done, it was like...ok, what now. Teens might connect with it a lot more than I did.

What to read?

I am sitting here trying to decide what to read next. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

 Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Gateway Nominee
408 pages.

Have been anxiously waiting to read this book, and it was worth the wait. Valerie and her boyfriend take a red spiral notebook, the Hate List, and fill it with the name of every person who has bullied them, or made fun of them, or couldn't be bothered to acknowledge them. For Val, it was all about being able to confide in someone, to tell someone how much her life was hurting. But for Nick it is so much more. He opens fire in the commons, taking out those who had done him wrong. Now Val must return to school in the aftermath of the death and injuries.

If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser

If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser
Gateway Nominee 240 pages

Very good book about growing up impoverished and hungry among those who have chosen to take the gang life. DeShawn's character is a very realistic one...he doesn't aspire to be a gang member so that he can have the money, the ride, the car, but he also doesn't think he will make it big one day. The writing is excellent for a Young Adult audience, and I could easily recommend this to any age.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

375 pages
3 hours, 28 minutes 

Oh my gosh!  This is my first Terry Pratchett novel.  I laughed aloud many many times.  I can't wait to read the next Tiffany Aching book.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

2011-2012 Gateway Readers Award Nominee
213 pages.

This is a book so powerfully written it literally made me bawl my eyes out, put it down, and go hug my children. It is a very quick read, I finished in just a few hours. Although this is a Young Adult Novel, I will not be recommending this to teens unless they specifically ask for it. This story of a thirteen year old girl born into a Polygamist sect is filled with torture, brutality, and despair. I literally wanted to fling it away from me when I was done.

And it's on!

I officially declare the competition open!  (On a personal side, I am entering DiscWorld of Terry Prachett for my opening salvo.)