*This book took me a while to get into, but once I did, I had to know how it ended. I loved the unique narrator and the fairy tales throughout. I will*This book took me a while to get into, but once I did, I had to know how it ended. I loved the unique narrator and the fairy tales throughout. I will say half way through the book changes directions drastically and it surprised me, but the ending redeems and weirdness about the change. overall a beautifully written book full of mystery....more
This book is full of crazy information that students are going to love. Information about ghosts, aliens, zombies, pixies, mummies, and crazy other things. The book is a perfect mix of text and photos/illustrations that will keep middle grade readers turning the pages....more
4.5 stars Wow. I am very reluctant to read “scary” books because I too often find that they rely too much on the scary and not enough on the writing. However, with Doll Bones, Holly Black was able to write a well-written middle grade novel with a good plot arc and characterization mixed with a lot of creepy. Within her “scary” book, Holly Black is able to capture a very awkward time in one’s life– middle school! –in a very realistic way. Her characters are believable, completely filled with the internal debate of growing up or staying a child a bit longer. Then, on top of her great middle grade story, she has included a completely creepy aspect of the story that I even had to put down a couple of times because I knew I was reading some creepy stuff too close to bedtime. ...more
3.5 stars 5 stars for the writing 3 stars for the story 4 stars for the characters
I am not a big fan of magical realism, but this book balanced out my di3.5 stars 5 stars for the writing 3 stars for the story 4 stars for the characters
I am not a big fan of magical realism, but this book balanced out my distaste with beautiful writing. The Green Man is a book devoted primarily to poetry and poets and takes place in a bookstore - it is very much a love story to the written word as well as a look into the mental health that goes along with being possessed with the need to write. Now this much wouldn't have been much of a story though it was fabulous to read; to make it more of a story, there is a ghost story thrown in. That is what I was not so sure about. It is almost subtle enough that it never took over the book and didn't take away from what I think made this book special; however, it was just enough that it added a bit of plot twists in to make the story a bit more of a story (though I personally would have been okay with just the coming of age story).
Primarily the parts I truly loved about this book are just parts where the author is either A) Writing so lyrically and poetically that I wanted to reread it over and over or B) Writing about poetry, books, writing, etc. in a way that only someone who is a poet, reader or writer understands. There are plenty of mentor text moments for poetry, imagery, metaphors, etc. and these are really the moments I loved.
This book is going to find a very special place with a very special reader - one who is patient, smart and sees the importance in poetry and books that is very much necessary to enjoy this book.
Snatch of text: "Some people lead epic lives, long and full. Some lead lyric lives, short and too soon over. Her mother led a lyric life." (p. 37)
"Over time, a bookshop will take the shape of its owner. Emily had been at the Green Man so long that it had grown around her like a second skin. The books were her flesh; the words that flowed through them were the blood that ran through her veins. The poetry section was the beating heart of the collection." (p. 66)
"She learned that the Green Man had been adopted by medieval stonemasons and wood-carvers as their special symbol. They tucked the figure in out-of-the-way places in the vast cathedrals they built, as a sort of signature of their work. He was connected to what creativity meant for them. The vines that spilled from his mouth symbolized the outpouring of inspiration. He stood at the gateway between the two worlds, at the place where imagination passed into creation." (p. 91) ...more
The series redeemed itself a bit for me with this one. Very similar to Anna Dressed in Blood and Cabot's Mediator series, but still a pretty good paraThe series redeemed itself a bit for me with this one. Very similar to Anna Dressed in Blood and Cabot's Mediator series, but still a pretty good paranormal romance. ...more
What I loved about this novel: that it was about more than just the story. It was about identity and love and fate. Some reviews have pointe4.5 stars
What I loved about this novel: that it was about more than just the story. It was about identity and love and fate. Some reviews have pointed out plot holes or coincidences, but I feel like David Leviathan made all of these decisions because this book was about the heart at the center of the book not the plot.
What I only liked about this novel: (view spoiler)[ The ending! I felt that it was such a scam that A was so easily replaced. I almost wish there wasn't a "happy" ending as anyone reading the book knows that there was going to be one. I usually try not to dwell on something like this with books because I try to respect the decisions the author makes; however, I just wonder why this was the choice he made? I wonder if there were other options he was considering? (hide spoiler)]
I am not the demographic for this book, so I tried to rate it based on how middle school boys would like it.
Summary: The second volume of Jon Scieszka's Guys Read short story collections are filled with all types of mysteries and thrillers- from ghosts to monsters to life and death situations to bad guys to a train accident to other exciting stories. What Kellee Thinks: This short story collection was touch and go for me, but we have to remember that I am not the demographic for this short story collection. I think that all of my boys (and some of my girls) would truly love this collection. When I gave my reading interest survey at the beginning of this year, so many of my students wanted scary books or ghost stories- this collection is right up their alley.
My favorite story in the bunch was Walter Dean Myers's story "Pirate" which is a thriller in a different sense than the other books in the collection. Myers's story is about Somalian pirates and is a true life and death situation that kept me on the edge of my seat. It is was also so beautifully written; most of my snatches that I marked in my Kindle were from this story.
I also truly enjoyed "Ghost Vision Goggles", "Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter", and "Thad, the Ghost, and Me". The three of them are all such fun stories filled with mystery. "Nate Macavoy" even finishes with a cliffhanger and now I want another!! Matt De La Pena's story "Believing in Brooklyn" is a touching story as well as a mystery. I felt that Anthony Horowitz's short story "The Double Eagle has Landed" is a great introduction to the Diamond Brothers and it was the first Diamond Brothers story I've ever read and now really want to read some of the novels. I'll also now be able to book talk the series and I think many students would love the mystery and humor aspects of these stories. ...more
I think that this is one of those times where listening to the audio took away from the book. A lot of the reviews I read stated that the illustrationI think that this is one of those times where listening to the audio took away from the book. A lot of the reviews I read stated that the illustrations and design were the best aspects of the book and you miss that with the audio book. I also was not a big fan of the narrator. She never sounded sad, which is Frannie's emotion almost all the way through the book. I also felt that she didn't differentiate between people's voices enough, but tried to. If you are going to do different voices, own it.
*Some minor spoilers maybe*
I had trouble with this book. I really liked it at the beginning. It felt like we were going to go through the grieving process with Frannie who's father died 2 months ago, right before her birthday. The exposition of this book is devastating. Frannie is who finds her father after his heart attack and she is traumatized by his death (as she should be). All of her behaviors at the beginning of the book seemed to fit the potential plot, but then the puzzle entered the story. Although it seems to fit the story at the beginning, Frannie then begins "falling" into the puzzle and seeing her father there. At first I thought it was going to be a dream, but then it became such a large part of the story and it was just... weird. It was here in the middle that the book really lost me. It just was not drawing me in.
In the end, it turns out that we have gone through the grieving process with Frannie, because it ends with such a positivity; however, we had to go through her weird trips into the puzzle and talking to her dead father to complete the process. If I take out all of the puzzle business, I really enjoyed the writing, humor, and process of this book; but, I just can't get past the weirdness.
This book shows, once again, that I am just not a fan of magical realism. I'd like you to pick either fantasy or realistic fiction please. ...more
In the world of paranormal romance, Spellbound is a book full of cliches, but fights them and actually stands alone pretty strongly. Overall, a fun romance with action, legends and great music references!
Cliche 1: Emma moves to NYC to live with her rich aunt after a life of loss with her family and has to start school at a posh private school. At the private school she meets: 1) Kristen- A blonde *itchy girl who hates her right away; 2) Anthony- An aggressive, *ss hole rich jock who harasses her; 3) Brendan- A hot, rich jock who she falls in love with at first site; 4) Cisco- A gay best friend; 5) Angelique- An outcast, scholarship kid who accepts Emma for who she is.
Overcoming cliche 1: Emma is quite snarky and keeps you on your toes while reading her narrative. The rest of the characters may fit into cliches, but they are struggling to crawl out of the box. Although the snobby girl and the a-hole boy fit their niche pretty exactly, the rest don't. Cisco is essential in making Emma feel comfortable at her new school (although naming a gay guy Francisco seemed a bit too predictable) and Angelique becomes quite important when the paranormal aspect of the story enters. I was sad that Cisco faded as Emma's relationship with Brendan came into focus. And Brendan....
Cliche 2: A girl falls in love with a bad boy (who is described surprisingly like Edward...) Brendan is a misunderstood bad guy and Emma is just the person to figure him out.
Overcoming cliche 2: Brendan is so cool! He is a gentleman (most of the time...), has great taste in music, is one of the smartest boys in the school and is just, so... hot! Usually when I read a paranormal romance (ala Twilight or Hush, Hush) the man is always so overbearing, aggressive, masculine and negative. Brendan, though mysterious and protective at times, is likable. A nice touch to actually have the protagonist fall for a likable guy.
Cliche 3: Their cursed to love each other and will eventually result in one of their dooms. (Seemed very Impossible by Werlin to me.)
Overcoming cliche 3: The build up to the curse, the curse reveal and the result of the curse are quite entertaining. I found parts of it predictable, but other parts came out of nowhere and shocked me. Quite fun!
Cliche 4: Girl cannot live without boy. They are sole mates.
Overcoming cliche 4: Well, this one is not really overcome. They are soul mates, but it is less of a needy situation than other romances I've read. Yes, Emma loves Brendan and fantasizes and daydreams about him, but Emma also has her own personality. She is strong and not afraid to stand up for herself. She is not always relying on Brendan (though he does seem to be there for her a lot).
So if you are looking for a fun read that may be just a bit different than the other paranormal romances you've read, you should pick this up. ...more
Suze's roller coaster filled with ghosts, boys and drama continues. As strong as the other books in the series and is a great set-up to the final bookSuze's roller coaster filled with ghosts, boys and drama continues. As strong as the other books in the series and is a great set-up to the final book in the series. ...more
What a great ending to the series! My favorite one! This finale ties up ends, but not in an expected way and even adds more dimensions to the series.What a great ending to the series! My favorite one! This finale ties up ends, but not in an expected way and even adds more dimensions to the series. The resolution of the series is worth waiting for. ...more
In a book about werewolves unlike any I've ever read, Bryn is a teenage human who has been raised by werewolves. When her parents were killed when sheIn a book about werewolves unlike any I've ever read, Bryn is a teenage human who has been raised by werewolves. When her parents were killed when she was 4 by a rogue werewolf, Callum, the alpha of a pack, saved her and marked her as his own. Since then Bryn has been raised in the pack, but has never fit in with either the werewolves or humans.
In this world that Jennifer Lynn Barnes has created, werewolves are born, not bitten and changed. That is until a young boy named Chase is found attacked and alive. He was bit and is now a werewolf. This is not something that happens. How did it happen?
I had many different people recommend this book to me and it did not disappoint. Bryn is strong and resilient; such a great character. This is a book about family and bonds and love just with werewolves :)
I learned a lot from this book. The author, Tracey Porter, researched for 5 years to make sure her depiction of what Billy experiences. I love how sheI learned a lot from this book. The author, Tracey Porter, researched for 5 years to make sure her depiction of what Billy experiences. I love how she used names of children that dies in coal mining accident throughout the book to pay homage.
But, I think I don't like magical realism. This is the second book in a row where overall the book was realistic, but it has fantasy elements. In Billy Creekmore, Billy can feel spirits. Although Tracey made the fantasy part fit, I just wish that is was only historical fiction. I LOVED the story of Billy's adventures and life, but the "seer" aspect turned me off from the beginning. ...more
Sad the series is over, but IMO this one did not disappoint.
(view spoiler)[I found Annah to be the most easy to understand of the 3 protagonists in thSad the series is over, but IMO this one did not disappoint.
(view spoiler)[I found Annah to be the most easy to understand of the 3 protagonists in the 3 books. While Mary seemed selfish and Gabry was whiny (both had reasons, but still...), Annah seemed strong and brave. It was nice to see.
I also was afraid, after the first two, that there was no such things as happy endings in Carrie Ryan's world, but I think this one ended in the happiest way it could (after a lot of intensity!). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Tom is a loner. He always has been- since he was abandoned in a department store when he was a year old. He's moved from foster home to foster home. TTom is a loner. He always has been- since he was abandoned in a department store when he was a year old. He's moved from foster home to foster home. The only constant has been Brian, an older mentally challenged boy who has moved from the last couple of foster homes with him. One night Tom (and Brian) go to the construction sight across from their school. Tom had felt a pull to the hole ever since they started working on it. The hole is surrounded by a tent and there is a night watch guard, but he MUST go to it. When he does, he is sucked into a world that will teach him so much about himself.
Heneghan mixes the story of Tom's life as a foster child with the story of his journeys in Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine in 1847. It is a good mix between the realistic fiction and historical fiction, although sometimes the jump from one to the other is unexpected. I do love that the book touches on two topics: foster care and the Irish Potato Famine.
* * *
For a challenge that I participated in, I made a playlist for the novel: 1. Live- Alone 2. She & Him- Black Hole 3. Gorillaz- Don't Get Lost in Heaven 4. Hanson- Crazy Beautiful 5. Beatles- A Little Help from your Friends 6. Nine Inch Nails- Big Man with a Gun 7. Al Green- Ain't No Sunshine When Your Gone 8. Eric Carmen- Hungry Eyes 9. Rock Kills Kid- Run Like Hell 10. Ok Go- Hello my Treacherous Friends 11. Jet- Move On 12. John Williams- Finding Satsu 13. Nine Inch Nails- Dead Souls 14. Hanson- When You're Gone 15. Adele- First Love 16. Jill Scott- Family Reunion
I chose the songs based on the plot and feelings portrayed in the novel. ...more
The best way to describe this book is as a combination of "Mean Girls" and "Groundhog Day", but it is so much more beautiful and meaningful than thatThe best way to describe this book is as a combination of "Mean Girls" and "Groundhog Day", but it is so much more beautiful and meaningful than that makes it sound.
Sam Kingston loves Cupid Day. She is pretty, popular, dating a jock and cupid day is the day she gets to flaunt it. It is also the day that she is going to die. But before she falls, she has to live the day over and over. While her day is on repeat, Sam begins to reflect on her life and realize that all that she has may not be worth the consequences.
There are some amazingly beautifully written moments in this book which is what pushes it from a 4 to a 5. The way that Lauren Oliver writes some moments were some of the best descriptive language I have ever read (see pg. 418 for an example).
(view spoiler)[I would like to say that I didn't like that on Sam's real last day that she never confronted Lindsay about Juliet. I know she wanted it to be perfect and I do like most of the choices she made, but I think that though Sam sacrificed herself, her friends may not understand or change and everything will just be the same the next day. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really liked the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It answered many of the questions I had before and I really liked Gabry as a protagonist.I really liked the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It answered many of the questions I had before and I really liked Gabry as a protagonist. It even made me like Mary more. I almost wish I had read this novel before the other. I am now very excited about a third novel!!...more
I love Sharon Creech and I love how she writes. This book is no exception. The idea of an unfinished angel narrating the book is so unique. I loved thI love Sharon Creech and I love how she writes. This book is no exception. The idea of an unfinished angel narrating the book is so unique. I loved the angel's thoughts about the world around us- "Behold the sky, pinking with morning. Behold the soft white moon going to sleep mow. Behold the blue mountains, so tall, all around us, with the white snow far up on the tops. Behold the green trees and the yellowy stone houses and the rock paths terracing up the mountainsides. Take a big gulp of air. Ahhh." I also really enjoyed the angel's insights in the the humans around him/her and specifically when it came to the end. Although the broken English was very hard at first, it made the angel seem more innocent and unfinished, so I ended up feeling that it added to the story.
However, I have a couple wishes now that I have finished this book. I really enjoyed a lot of it, but I really think I would have enjoyed it more if... 1) It was written in 3rd person so we could hear more thoughts than just the angel's; 2) Chapters switched between Zola and the angel; 3) The book had either focused on the story of Zola, the children and the town OR had focused completely on the angel's observations. I just had a really hard time jumping from the angel's thoughts to the story back to the angel. I really liked both parts of the story, but I almost wish it'd been two different (longer) books. ...more