Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller


I started this book when it came out, but had to put it down and read something lighter, because I was coming off some pretty dark books and needed a break.  I loved Ms. Doller's first novel Something Like Normal(click title to get to review) I’m glad I picked this back up to finish.

Callie has been with her mother traveling from place to place, never going to school, and becoming a parent to her mother as life has progressed.  When Mom is stopped by the police, Callie is surprised to discover that she’s considered a kidnap victim and has a father who wants her.  Callie has a lot to think about and deal with; she suffers from PSTD, while she wrestles with a painful mix of relief and guilt over not being with her mom.  She’s used to being able to make her own choices, so struggles with authority.  But her freedom is not something she’s ever hoped for, so we worry about her and wait on edge to see/read which way she’ll choose.  Stay with dad? Or leave with mom?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

 Those Maddox boys,   you gotta love ‘em.  And while I enjoyed this one- I feel short changed.  There is so much more to this story.  I have questions and I want answers now!  If we’re getting a companion book I want an actual sequel, not just the same story from Trenton’s point of view.  Been there, done that.  It was cool the first time- but I don’t want to go there again, with and epilogue at the end.

No worries about the companion.  I got to see Jamie in St. Louis and she said the next book is about Thomas.  It was interesting talking to other readers about this book.  They said after a reread, the ending was not such a surprise.  Hmmm.  I doubt I reread.  I have too many books yet to be read.  My biggest issue with this one was the secrecy.  It felt like cheating.  I loved Trenton and wanted him to be able to be a public boyfriend, not just a bed buddy.

Oh, even though I have the other books in my HS library, I won't put this one in, it's just a bit too steamy for my comfort level for them.

Goodreads summary

The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones


This book was a roller coaster ride for me.  We know Colette is lying, she tells us over and over.  I had to find one of my students who’d read this to see if I was going to be upset at one point – I was afraid Connor, the love interest, wasn’t real at all.  I actually asked for a spoiler!  So much happens and then it hasn’t happened that it’s almost hard to keep track of the plot line, but I wanted to finish this book, and did in just a day. 

I have a cadre of kids who love books in verse.  I’m glad I found this one for them.  There in even a lesson, about the power of words, that’s not too heavy handed to swallow.

My favorite lines:  

“Change how you see.  Not how you look.” (on a mirror) Page 83    
Connor laughs –
a deep, throaty laugh. 
And the sound of it

vibrates all through me…
like I’m a wind chime
and he’s

the breeze.  Page 98

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guest Post by Danika B. Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano


          Working to get a science scholarship, Nearly Boswell is also working against the clock to find a murder that is targeting people she tutors…The only thing I got out of the blurb. The one thing that made me want to read the book.

          I loved the way Elle Cosimano incorporated science into the mystery, making me want to continue reading. With all of the characters keeping some secret away from the others and weird clues as to what will happen next in the newspaper, I felt sucked into the story. The way the story ended left me wanting a sequel, or a companion book to go with it. This isn’t because it was a cliff-hanger, but because I feel that Cosimano can take Nearly and her friends further in development. All in all, I loved the story and how it was written. I would easily pick up another one of Elle Cosimano’s books.

Guess what?  It does have a sequel, Guess I'll have to buy it for her.  (Mrs. C)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas


If you like fantasy series like Graceling, Five Kingdoms, Septimus Heap, and Frontier Magic, then you will enjoy The Burning Sky.  There is mystery, magic, disguises, adventure, dual identities, and a little romance.  It starts with a female character, Iolanthe, frantic to prove herself.  It could be a bit of a slow start for some, but quickly picks up once we shift to Titus’ point of view.  Both boys and girl readers will likethis novel.  I worried about our characters as the book progressed.  I felt vested in both Iolanthe and Titus. Watching them work together to form a real friendship was gratifying in a way that I did not want to see destroyed or damaged at the end of the book.  Fortunately when the book ends, there is more story left to tell, but no cliffhangers.  Thank goodness.  I’ll read the rest. 

The Burning Sky does have footnotes.  I read a kindle edition so I don’t know how intrusive they are in the paper version.  I only read a few of them, so they are not necessary to understand or enjoy the story. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Izzy has spent her life hunting and fighting monsters (vampires, ghosts, demons, etc.) with her mom and sister.  But sister went missing on a mission, so Mom decided that an easy hunt, where Izzy can spend some time as a “normal” teen would be a good idea. 

This story had things I liked about it:  Torin, trapped in the mirror; Izzy, though a misfit, finds real friends; and Dex, who is sure of himself in his uniqueness.  But there are small plot issues that stuck with me.  If they moved to a different house for this mission, how is Izzy able to go into her sister’s room, to look at stuff?  Did they move sister’s stuff?  That doesn't make sense to me.  They aren't planning on staying in this house.  That said, I probably won’t work real hard to get the next one before my students.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Guest post! Review of Popular, by Maya Van Wagenen


As I was casually searching for books, Popular, by Maya Van Wagenen, caught my eye. I have to admit, I love anything retro. So, I did judge the book by its cover. However, when I started reading it, I could not put it down. Then, when I found out that a 15 year old wrote it, I was shocked; probably because I teach freshmen and can't imagine getting something of this caliber. The book is funny and the writing is very well developed. 

We meet Maya, who is in middle school and trying to find the secret to being popular. After finding a 1950's popularity guide by former teen model Betty Cornell, Maya decides to follow the steps. What follows is hilarious. Her bravery and persistence throughout the process is endearing. I especially love her parents, who are supportive from day one. 

I wish I could have all my freshmen girls read this novel. It was so refreshing to read about a girl who has so much self confidence and who fully embraces her quirky ways. While she does have self doubts sometimes (wearing a hat and gloves is not normal teenage behavior), she quickly bounces back and moves forward. 

I finished this book in five hours. Yes, the house didn't get clean and dinner wasn't made, but it was well worth it!

Tracy Fountain
9th grade Communication Arts

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys

I did not expect to get sucked into this book.  I hadn't paid any attention to the cover, or read the blurb.  I did know several of my students loved it, and it was on my Gateway read-down.  But—once I started, I savored it.  Lauren Fortang, the narrator of the audio-book, has the perfect voice for Josie.  When Ms. Fortang’s voice changes for the other characters, the differences are there to recognize each individual person.  As I got closer to the end, I gave up and read the last chapters, in a physical book(!) because I could read faster than it was being read to me and I needed to know what happened!

Josie’s character comes off as very naive occasionally, even though she was not sheltered at all by her background.  Her need to do everything for herself frustrated me, even as I realized I really liked Josie.  I wanted her to succeed to be happy, to get out of the Big Easy, and to have her happy ending.  One of my friends who also read this thought things wrapped up in too nice a bow at the end—but I liked that, and wasn't disappointed.