This story was about more than just Stone and Johanna. You also got to meet the matriarch of the McNair family - Stone's grandmother, Mariah McNair....more This story was about more than just Stone and Johanna. You also got to meet the matriarch of the McNair family - Stone's grandmother, Mariah McNair. She is definitely the glue that holds the family together. The other blood relatives include Amethyst and Alexandrite or Amie and Alex, Stone's twin cousins. Johanna is like a granddaughter to Mariah though, being practically raised on the ranch where her father worked and herself now living and working there.
Stone and Johanna are sent out on this test because Mariah has found out she has an unoperable brain tumor. This shocks all the grandkids but affects Stone the hardest. He was raised by his grandmother as his mother was/is a drug addict - in and out of rehab continuously. He didn't find out who his father was until he was 25, and decided that he was better off without him. He made some decisions during that time that would affect his future in ways he could not imagine.
I liked the love of animals that is also portrayed in this book, and the care they took in finding these dogs homes. Makes me want to go find another furry friend to replace one that we lost to diabetes a couple of years ago.
All in all it was a quick read. I like those stories that don't lose speed and have some heat between the main characters. You knew there was attraction between Stone and Johanna, even though they both fought to ignore it. I liked it that they didn't just jump into bed with each other at the first sign that the spark was still there, but you get to feel their frustration and their confusion. Looking forward to the next book in the series. (less)
I have been trying to find more middle grade books to read and share with my son, and I think this may be a good one. In the book Marten is eleven (a...more I have been trying to find more middle grade books to read and share with my son, and I think this may be a good one. In the book Marten is eleven (almost twelve) and I think that would be a good age to target for this book.
The book starts out with Marten, his best friend Paul, his little brother Aldrin and his mom laying on the grass outside of a hotel in Texas in the middle of the night. They are watching for a meteor shower and according to Marten's mom, if you see one you are to make a (silent) wish. Marten has been doing this for years with his mom and so he is kind of bored. He doesn't believe in wishes and finds it ironic that his mom, a scientest, does.
As things often go between siblings, Aldrin and Marten get into a fight. Towards the end of it, Marten sees a shooting star and makes a fierce wish that he wishes his brother wasn't there. When he opens his eyes he is a little disappointed, but not surprised to see his little brother still standing there. But sometimes wishes take time to come to fruition and it isn't until the next day that Aldren disappears right in front of their eyes.
Well, you can imagine that Marten and Paul are distressed as they can't believe what they have seen. Soon, a spirit being from the star that was wished on appears and a series of adventures ensues as Marten tries to figure out how to get his brother back and undo the wish.
This was a quick book to read at 150 pages and I finished it in one sitting. I really thing my son would like it as it is quick, with lots of information about space, stars and super novas. There are also some subtle lesson squeezed in along the way about love, family and responsibility. At the end you will find an index with links to lots of things "space" like a meteor shower calendar, links to the Hubble telescope, the Spitzer telescope and the solar system. I must admit I have already visited some of the links provided. (less)
I really enjoyed reading this book. It held a secret that I didn't see coming, and it was revealed in such a way that I had to go back and read it ag...more I really enjoyed reading this book. It held a secret that I didn't see coming, and it was revealed in such a way that I had to go back and read it again. It wasn't a big game changer, but it did put some things in perspective. There are other secrets revealed that have a larger impact, but I felt this first one gave depth to the relationship between Steve and Jenny that I didn't think was there yet.
Steve had been good friends with Jenny and Gabe before Gabe died, so it was natural for Jenny to turn to him to lean on. He was engaged, but his fiance was not someone that Jenny had every approved up. Being so wrapped up in her grief and legal battle that she isn't even aware when Steve breaks things off with his fiance. And she is even more clueless when it comes to his feelings for her.
Like life, this one is messy and the ending leaves some things unresolved and surprised me. While I do think it is a happy ending, it didn't end the way I expected it to, and that was a nice change! (less)
Ever since the movie, Titanic, came out I have been obsessed with things Titanic. My son even loves watching the movie, but I suspect that was just b...more Ever since the movie, Titanic, came out I have been obsessed with things Titanic. My son even loves watching the movie, but I suspect that was just because he liked watching the ship sinking. It wasn't until we read a kid's book about Titanic together that he realized that it actually happened and that there were a lot of people who died.
So anyway, when the offer to review this book came out I jumped on it! I like the way the story is told between the events that led up to Maggie and her companions traveling on the Titanic back in 1912 and how finally sharing her story comes to affect her great-granddaughter Grace and the path that her life takes in 1982.
There were times when I was reading about when they were all on the ship that I wanted to wring the necks of some of the first class passengers and how cavalier they were towards the third class passengers in steerage. I would say the majority of the story was told from the 1912 perspective, as it should be, as that was when the tragedy occurred. You don't really learn much about what happened between 1912 and 1982 other than to know that Maggie survived and went on to have a family of her own. This made it kind of fun at the end when you did get a glimpse of those years.
Though Grace wasn't involved in an ocean liner sinking, she did have tragedy befall her when she was just a little older than Maggie was while on the Titanic, and some of the things in her life paralleled Maggie's in that they were derailed for a short time before being able to put the pieces back together.
I enjoyed the way the author used the cherry trees back in Ballysheen to represent people and how cherry blossoms figured heavily throughout Maggie's life.
I would like to share one of my favorite passages from the book:
It was a moment Grace would never forget, watching this dignified old lady whom she loved so much, as she stared into a small case which she'd last seen when only a girl. A lifetime of memories flooded Maggie's lined face; a lifetime of forgetting was washed away. It was a moment of silent reflection; a moment laced with poignancy. (p70, Advance Reader's eproof of The Girl Who Came Home).(less)
At just over 70 pages, this novella was a quick read and gave an interesting twist to the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.
While it starts with the...moreAt just over 70 pages, this novella was a quick read and gave an interesting twist to the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.
While it starts with the cast of characters that we all know - Abigail, Elizabeth, Ann and Tituba, Oliver portrays the origins behind some of Ann's accusations in a new light. While I think most people believe that these girls were all pretending for fun and attention that got out of hand, reading Lies gave me another perspective to think about - how it might not have been all about the girls, but how there might have been other adults who were really running the show.
I enjoyed reading Lies and it was a quick escape from the present. I would also like to offer that the author, Oliver Dahl is just 16 years old and this is the third book that he has written. (less)