Monday, August 26, 2013

New School Year

I have a love/hate relationship with the new school year.


  •   New books
  •   New students
  •   Fresh pens, pencils, notebooks
  •   Back to the routine
  •   Seeing all my favorite readers
  •   New clothes 
  •   New shoes
  •   Huge TBR pile
  •   New technology


  •   Taking last year's seniors out of circulation
    • accidentally taking out one of this years too soon!  
  •   End of summer
  •   Less time to read
  •   Getting all the stickers and plastic covers on the new books!
  •   Teacher's meetings
  •   Putting on makeup 
  •   Huge TBR pile
  •   New technology

Hmm, some of the things are the same.  Oh well.  Here's what's on my desk to read at school:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April G. Tucholke

Strange things happen after River West shows up in Echo; children claim to see the devil, a young girl disappears, then reappears, terrible murders are committed by ordinary people’ but Violet can’t quite put the blame on the handsome and mysterious stranger.  He disturbs and soothes her at the same time.  What is he?  

By JJ Harrison ( (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Characters:  Violet- formerly rich, shy but direct 17 year old girl, with a twin brother.  
River-mysterious, dangerous boy/man who rents Violet’s guest house.

Setting:  run down mansion by the sea, present day.

Atmosphere:  gothic

Symbol/Image:  glow

POV:  Violet-first person

Theme:  Sometimes those we love aren’t nice people.

Rating:  ✰✰✰✰✰

Favorite quotes:
 “Violet, Violet. You curl up next to me, nap, and leave.  What is this, some sort of one-nap stand?” (loc 516)

“The cemetery. . .was the kind of place someone like Edgar Allen Poe would want to rot away in. . .drippy green leaves and twinkly starry silence.”  (loc 601)

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe

Deepest Night starts not long after Sweetest Dark ends.  I do think this series should be read in order.  There is more emphasis on the ongoing world war this time because of Mandy/Armand’s brother Aubrey, who is a soldier and behind enemy lines.  Eleanor is still dealing with issues from the last novel and not interested in a more romantic relationship with Mandy, even though he desires it.  Eleanor’s ability to become a corporeal dragon/drakon becomes a major apart of the plot line in this novel, and that drives the storyline more than the romance aspect. 

I’ve ordered both books in this series for my high school. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shadowlands series by Kate Brian


First impression:  murder mystery/thriller
Second impression:  woah, paranormal stuff?

After finishing this book I am left with so much to think about.  I wasn’t expecting the switch, and I want to know why people keep disappearing.   I need the next one right now, to hopefully answer the many questions I have floating in my brain.  I won’t list them because they’ll cause spoilers.  I’m definitely buying this for the high school; I have students who’ll love the twist, and some who’ll come back in and yell at me after they are done.  Whatever—I love a reaction.  It moves the books! 

“Life” continues for Rory and her family at Juniper Landing, the limbo world where their souls are living while waiting for unfinished business to be finished. But someone is changing the way things work, and the balance is shifting--more souls are going to the Shadowlands than the Light. Juniper Landing is dying and some of the locals want to blame Rory.

I was excited about this second book in the series and was enjoying the build of the mystery only to be stopped at the cliff, literally and figuratively. While I enjoyed the ride, the ending colors everything gray, much like the soul sucking fog. This trend of the second book in a series just feeling like a place filler and teaser annoys me. In spite of all of that, it read fast; Hereafter did not feel like 320 pages on my Kindle. I’ll definitely buy it for the high school to add to the series. I hope the ending isn’t too far away--I’ll have cranky seniors if it is. :)

Click on the titles to link to the Goodreads summaries.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Slammed series by Colleen Hoover

I read all three of these books in the span of two days.  I simply could not stop.  I realize that I am late to the party, Slammed came out in Sept of 2012, after all.  But, I am glad I waited so that I could read all three at once. If you click on the titles above, you'll be kicked to Goodreads for the summaries.

Lake’s point of view in Slammed drew me in and tugged at my heart.  I loved Kel, her strange little brother, and Eddie, the positive girl, who became Lake’s friend whether she wanted her to or not.  The poetry slams were an excellent device to share the emotions of the characters, and back stories without feeling like you were being taken out of the story for a “flashback.”  I had issues with Will being so young for a teacher, until I remembered my own son will graduate college early, and wondered if maybe the teaching credential rules are a little different in Michigan.  I know you couldn’t do your student teaching, in MIssouri, without a cooperating teacher in the room.  I also was taken out of the story when Lake would say ”y’all.” I know she was from Texas, but that was the only time we really got a hint of the southern accent, so it was jarring to me.  Also, after almost day to day plotting, we suddenly jump months at a time at the end.  Even with those things--I gave it five stars.

Point of Retreat was from Will’s POV, and I enjoyed knowing his thoughts and feelings.  I have never liked the plot device of “secrets kept for someone else’s good,” so when that came back to bite him, I felt like it was deserved, but I hated it!  Vaughn does bring up some pretty good questions though. Julia, Lake’s deceased mom, still has a lot of influence on the couple (paper stars instructions here). I hope I would be so proactive if I were dying.  Point of Retreat is not smooth sailing to the HEA for our couple, more tragedy (almost over the top to me) awaits them, with a very easy “hey! everything’s going to be okay now!” wrap up.  I gave this one four stars.

This Girl made me feel cheated.  There was very little new story.  I wanted so much more than Will’s POV from Slammed.  I realize Jamie McGuire used the same device to get two books out of Beautiful Disaster.  Maybe because I liked Travis the best I was okay with Walking Disaster being a retelling, just not this time.  I did love finding out the ocean was Vaughn’s eye color; knowing that makes the declaration love poem that much more meaningful.  The epilogue satisfied me some, but there is so much more to know, in my opinion.  Eddie and Gavin’s story should be a novella at least.  I gave this one only two stars.  I will buy the whole set for the high school--I know plenty of my girls who will love this series.

I do think that Jutine Timberlake does a great job of summarizing the story.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Toucing Melody by RaShelle Workman

What if the boy you loved was related to the murderer of your parents?  

Awful hook--I know.  I can see why this would appeal to female readers of a certain age, but the story has frequent flaws and plot holes.  Gina, Maddie’s roommate, may or may not have been raped early on in the novel.  Gina is certainly making bad choices, not sure why, I guess that’s the setup for the sequel.  The ending felt rushed and our heroine started to cross the line in to TSTL (too stupid to live)  territory.  The writing wasn’t bad, and the dialogue felt fairly natural.  There are better NA books out there, if you could get this cheap or for free, it would be better.  Amazon has it for $ .99.

Maddie--sheltered freshman college student, orphaned as a child, has a piano scholarship
Kyle--sophomore college student, former best friend of Maddie, abused as a child, piano player, also.


present  day, small college

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

I bought this graphic novel because of the reviews, but thought I'd better read it before I put it out on the high school shelf. Just 90 minutes later-Wow. The reviews were right. I'm glad I bought it. I was a bit worried that it would be a glorification of Dahmer; it's not, what it is, is a recollection of a classmate and criticism of 1970's education. Dahmer's daily alcohol use would not be tolerated in today's zero tolerance climate. Perhaps the bullinging that went on would have been stopped.  Who knows what changes could have been made if someone had realized the stange state of Dahmer's mind and tried to do something helpful. 

My Friend Dahmer is a compelling read from someone who was horrified to realize they'd been friends with a boy who became a monster.