Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Slice of Life--Lessons from a Dying Man

Lessons From a Dying Man

Shrouded in my own pain,
Weighed down by disappointment
Lost in would've, could’ve, should’ve
Questioning life, work, God
Unable to stop the tears flowing
At my desk, on my couch, in the car
I find myself searching

I find answers from a dying man
“What the hell is wrong with you!”
“You cannot carry everyone else!”
“Water off a ducks back”
Remember that

My good friend loves this man
This man loves her
Their love and warmth comforts me
You can feel it in the air, in every movement
I find God again

I am pulled from my pit of depression
By this hand, reaching out and
Sharing a rare bottle of wine
One last toast, one last kiss
Just remember
Like water off a ducks back

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

Product DetailsVery funny.  What do you do when your father is the leading mobster in the city?  What if you don't want anything to do with the family bushiness?  What do you do when people meet you, are afraid as soon as they see you?  Can life ever be normal?  THEN meet a girl you really like and find out she is the daughter of the FBI agent bugging your house desperately trying to arrest you dad. I loved this book.

Confessions: The Private School Murders by James Patterson

Product DetailsTandy finds herself in the middle of another murder mystery.  First of all her older brother is in jail for murdering his pregnant girlfriend.  He can't remember anything about the night of her death.  Then we have the mystery of who is killing the private school girls.  As the bodies pile up, Tandy becomes more involved in both murders.  She is still searching for the love of her life....if he is real that is.

How I Live Now by Meg

Product DetailsDaisy is sent to England to live with the cousins she has never met.  Since her step mother came into their lives her only control in life is what and how much she eats.  Her English cousins are eerie and she feels that Edmond can read her mind.  There is talk of war and her Aunt leaves to attend peace talks and never returns.  At the beginning of the book the war seems far away.  Soon, the kids are separated and trying to stay alive.  What will become of them?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

cover_imageThis book includes elements of Little Red Riding Hood and continues the story of Cinder.  At first I didn't like having the story center on Scarlet, but as the book progressed, it is an important part of Cinder's history.  We also add a couple new voices to the story that add more depth.  Waiting for all the characters to collide helps build tension and suspense.

My Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

cover_imageWhen diagnosed with ALS, Stephen Hawking could have given up and waited for his body to fail. Instead, he wanted to make a difference in world and did he ever. This short, narrative biography is very readable with the science discoveries translated into understandable bits. My biggest discovery was that Stephen has a marvelous sense of humor.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (Author), Skottie Young (Illustrator)

thumbnailThis was a fun read. Dad goes out to buy milk and ends up in a fantasy adventure. The good news is that Milk saves the day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachael Cohn and David Levithen

cover_imageI usually don't get excited about the language in a book as long as it feels authentic. I have to tell you, I got really sick of the F word use in this story. I felt it detracted  from its readability. That aside, it is an interesting premise. Two young adults who have just been destroyed by a breakup start with pretending to be dating  to avoid their exes. They are strangers who get to know each other over the course of a night. Each chapter alternates point of view. We step into Nick and Nora's heads and their perception of events. The ending is beautiful and the best writing go the whole book. 

The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After) by Eric Hobbs

The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After)The kids have returned to the world, but something is very wrong. Everything has changed just a bit. By stepping into the World of Oz and freeing the Tin Man, they changed the story. Now they have to go back into the book, face danger, and the Wicked Witch.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

cover_imageSahar wants to marry her best friend Nasrin. Possible? Perhaps, but not in their native Iran were this dream would result in death. Sahar's father is emotionally distance since the death of his wife.  His grief is so deep that he barley notices his daughter. Nasrin is beautiful and spoiled. What will they do Nasrin is faced with an arranged marriage?  Between these pages is desire, forbidden love, and secrets.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

cover_imageMalcolm and Maud are poisoned in their bedroom. The only suspects are their four children. Even our narrator, Tandi, isn't sure if she is the murderer or not. These children have remarkable powers. What is really in those vitamins they take every day? This is a delightful mystery that begs you to read the next in the series ASAP.

    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Interworld by Neil Gamain and Michael Reaves

    cover_imageJoey Harker couldn't find his way out of a paper bag.  Seriously, his sense of direction is horrible.  That is until one day when he walks into alternate world where he is hunted by the Binary (science) and Hex (magical) rulers.   He and his team will be unknowingly drawn in the battle for all the possible world.  

    Heavy science needed to understand the deeper concepts of dark matter, physics, etc.  

    Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

    cover_imageDelightful.  The day Roy notices the Running Boy,changes his life.  He is faced with unanswerable questions. Who is the Running Boy? Where is he going?  What was he doing?  Why isn't he in school? Where the heck are his shoes?

    Three kids taking on a corporation that is planning to build a pancake house in town. What is living on that lot that could cause so much secrecy?  Well, you'll just have to read the book won't you.

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

    cover_imageSonia is a slave to her culture.  One where women are responsible for all of the cleaning, cooking, and child rearing. She wants to do well in school and graduate, but taking care of the family including her "Druncle" proves to be, at times, too much.  She is sent to Mexico to live with her cigar smoking grandmother and cousin Maria for the summer.  There she discovers her roots and the love of Mexico. Her life takes many turns some good, some not so much.  I am very glad I read this book due to the explanation of Mexican culture.  There are mature scenes and language in this story which enhances its authentic voice.

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Eat Brains Love by Jeff Hart

    cover_imageNot my favorite book.  Maybe it is the whole Zombies ripping apart humans.  Blood, guts, gore and romance?  Addition characters are the Psychic Friend, Secret Agents, and Creepy Bow tie guy.  There are some surprises, but the gore factor was too much for me.  I always read before bed and there was no sleeping as I read this book.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

    cover_imageGraphic number two as part of the YALSA Challenge.  I enjoyed this book a lot more than I did War Dogs.  Perhaps that is because the paper is not shiny or quite as colorful.  The most enjoyable part of this book is that the pictures are not only beautiful, but are essential to the story.  Paige's family has moved to New York City.  She buys a sketchbook that is like a journal expressing her feelings through words and art.  I highly recommend it. 

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox

    As part of the 25 book challenge I have read outside my comfort zone. My latest book is a graphic novel. It was difficult for me to read due to the intense colors and sounds written as words. Watching Batman and Robin, the original one, with its bam and smash spelled out was easier. 

    I have studied military history and did not know about the roles canines have played in history. It was fascinating to read and think about these heroic dogs and their handlers. I thought the last segment was the best. It is either due to the graphics being less intense or that I know more about the Vietnam Conflict. At the end of this book there is a text summary of the history of dogs in wartime as well as a bibliography of additional resources. 

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

    Product DetailsI wasn't sure I liked this book at first.  I was going to stop reading it and then gave it one last push.  By the end of the first section I was hooked.  The alien mother ship appeared in the sky.  Were they friendly?  The whole world speculated on the visit.  Then there is an electromagnetic pulse that takes out all electronics.  Then flooding that causes America to lose all of the populations on both coasts.  Third is the plague that wipes out billions of people, then the silencers...who are snipers picking off survivors.  What will the aliens send next?  What if they look just like us?

    Told from multiple perspectives and I couldn't wait for all the characters to collide. The cliffhanger ending surprised me as I disgustedly closed the book.  Now I have to wait for the sequel.   Sigh.

    If you love dystopian literature as much as I do, you will love this thriller that takes place in the near future.

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Beauty Queens written and read by Libba Bray

    cover_imageI checked this book out as an audio-book via Overdrive from the public library.  Wow.  I switched to the print version and found I was much less engaged in the story.  The author does a fantastic job on reading the story using her voice to create a multitude of characters.

    In a society where women are to be beautiful and brainless, there is a plane crash stranding the contestants on a deserted island.  All of the adults have perished in the crash. The girls use their Teen Dream skills to adapt and survive in their new environment.  As we go through the story we learn more about what lies beneath these beauty queens.

    (YALSA HUB Reading Challenge Title)

    The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


    The Aliens are here...they want the earth and the extinction of the human race.

    Wave 1: an electromagnetic pulse rendering all machines useless. Wave 2: tsunamis wiping out coastal cities. Wave 3: the Red Death, a deadly plague carried by birds. Wave 4: Silencers, humans who were implanted with alien intelligence as fetuses. We don’t even want to know about Wave 5—do we?  

    This story is told from multiple perspectives with relatively short chapters.  I wasn't sure I liked it at first, and then WHOSH! I was hooked.  What do we do when the enemy looks like us and knows how we think.  Is there hope for the human race?  

    The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

    cover_imageI have not read a lot of graphic novels, so this contest has provided me the incentive to break out of my comfort zone.  I've always wanted to be a Superhero and this collection of comic strips was a fun read.  Superhero girl is about the challenges of an ordinary teen life told through the eyes of a hapless teenage Superhero.  She is faced with illness, an annoying older brother, and King Ninja.

    (YALSA HUB Reading Challenge Title)

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Hold me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride


    I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  There was a touch of romance, just enough for my tastes.  You will find Good vs Evil and man the evil is intense.  Necromancy, Ware-wolves, witches, hybrids, skateboards, a talking severed head, and more.  I can't wait to read the sequel.

    (YALSA HUB Reading Challenge Title)

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Cress by Marissa Meyer

    Another romp between earth and the moon.  We now have a new character (based on Rapunzel).  Her technological gifts have been used for years with her locked in a satellite.  Follow the maze of twists and turns that leaves you breathless and anxious for the next book in the series.

    Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

    This is an edge of your seat mystery. Jaycee and Rachael have been best friends for like, ever until Rachael changes. It all starts after they go into the old house. Jaycee doesn't know what happened, but Rachael becomes secretive, her personality changes and then she is murdered. It's that last text from Rachael that haunts Jaycee. "...trust no one, not even the police..." As Jaycee begins to investigate the murder of her best friend, her small town becomes a dangerous place. Is California gang behind the murders? 

    Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

    I couldn't sleep until I finished this book.  It is an uncomfortable read regarding girl bullying.  One girl rules the school, everyone else is her minion.  Then things these kids do to each other is unbelievable.
    There are no caring adults in this book, including the parents.  After reading this book,  maybe I'm glad I was never a part of the "in" group.

    Monday, January 27, 2014

    God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant

    cover_imageThis beautifully written and illustrated book is meant to be read again and again.  Thoughtful poems written about God trying everyday activities.  God is depicted in all races and both genders. One of my favorite poems is "God Got Arrested."

    "God--who was only there
    because he liked
    the jukebox--
    lost it.
    And his anger erupted like
    the wrath of...
    Oh, right. Never mind"

    As I read this book I laughed out loud, in the library.  I made students listen while I read poems.  I can't find the words to express how happy I felt as I read these poems.

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    Cinder by Marissa Meyer

    by Marissa Meyer

    I have been trying to figure out a way to review this book.  I came up with the perfect six word memoir.
     Cinderella as a cyborg, 'nuf said

    Of course as soon as I finished Cinder I was on to the squeal.

    Now elements of the children's tale, "Little Red Ridding Hood", has been added to the story. There are a couple new voices added to the story which adds depth.  There was a little confusion at the start of the book with the new characters.  I missed Cinder's voice, then she joined the story, and I couldn't wait for the collision of characters.  It is spectacular.  Of course the next book in the series, Cress, has been preordered for my Kindle. :)

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

    Cinder by Melissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles Book 1)

    Loosely based on the classic Cinderella story, this is the tale of a cyborg who lives with an evil stepmother and two stepsisters. The setting is post World War IV New Beijing. Cinder is the most renowned mechanic in the city and is very surprised when Prince Kai shows up to have his android repaired. Then we learn of the plague which has Cinder's step-sister, Peony, in its grasp as well as the emperor.  Lots of twists and turns in this beautifully written story.  Someone, that's me, can't wait to read part two!

    Living Dead Girl

    Bleak and dark. This story is told in brief chapters of varying lengths. Alice was abducted from a school trip when she was 10. Before she was a stupid girl, now she is dead inside, just a shell. This is an uncomfortable read. The sexual abuse is implied, there is physical violence as well. Now 15, Alice is tasked to find her replacement. A heart pounding read. Mature readers only.

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    If I Stay

    I LOVED this book. I bought five copies for the library. Lexile is 830. It would be good for readers who choose not to read. I felt it was beautifully written. 

    It takes place in Oregon. A snow day turns deadly when the family car is t-boned. Mia, outside her body, follows herself to the trauma unit. Massive injuries and brain trauma, but Mia doesn't feel a thing in this in between place. Her life is told through a series of flashbacks, alternating her views on family and friends who are keeping vigil. With the help of a nurses comment, she realizes she is the one who decides if she stays or moves on.

    This is the best book I have read in quite awhile.

    Check out the information on Shelfari.