Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December already!?!

Has it really been since September that I have posted. I have read so much since then, but not a lot of time to post about it. I will hopefully catch up over the holidays. I hope all my readers have a great holiday season.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (spoiler alert!)


I remember picking up the Hunger Games and finishing it in about 5 hours without putting it down. When I got to the end of book 1 and realized it was a trilogy I was wondering how I could wait that long for the ending. Well, here it is: Mockingjay. If you have not read the other books, read them first. I also recommend re-reading Catching Fire before starting Mockingjay. I don't want to give away too much, so this may be brief.

Mockingjay begins with Katniss walking through the remains of burned out District 12. We find out that her family is safe and the survivors of District 12 now live in the Underground of District 13. Gale is also safe, but Peeta's fate at this time is unknown. The story takes us through the rise of the rebels against the Capitol.

Katniss has many struggles: the struggle of becoming the Mockingjay, the symbol of the uprising; the struggle of how to protect her family; the struggle of who to believe; the struggle of what to believe; and the struggle of who to love.

While reading, you realize that most of the time there is a sense of maturity in Katniss that I don't think we saw in the other books. She has her moments of immaturity, but, for the most part, the things she has done and overcome have made the character more mature. Watching Katniss mature throughout the story was interesting.

I think that Gale is a pretty consistent character, he will fight for what he believes is right. Peeta's character was a surprise to me in this story. I think it was his character that I liked the most in Mockingjay. His struggles and changes while harsh, made him endearing.

I knew someone had to die and was surprised by some of the characters that did. I found myself crying at the bombing death at the end of the Uprising. I was not prepared for that one. The choice that Katniss made at the trial was no surprise, but did add to her maturity.

I think that the choices that Katniss made were good. Choosing the dandelion over the fire was the right way to go. It was a  great ending to choose  "rebirth over destruction". The epilogue was a nice tie-up. Overall, I think this was a satisfactory ending to a wonderful trilogy, although, I think that Hunger Games will always be my favorite.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I have finished the book, but I need awhile to digest before I type my review.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I haven't posted many reviews lately because I have been busy getting ready for the new school year and my new job as an elementary librarian. I am so excited and so nervous. I will start reviewing more books soon, I promise!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Movie: Beezus and Ramona

I know that I review books, but I feel it is entirely appropriate to review movies based on books.  So, I am going to review the new movie Beezus and Ramona. Just a reminder that this book is based on the Ramona the Pest books by Beverly Clearly.

As a kid, I loved the books. Ramona was constantly trying to make things better only to have things get worse. Reading about her adventures often made me laugh out loud. The movie did not disappoint. Joey King who plays Ramona is adorable. She has that look that makes it hard to be made at her even when creating havoc. Selena Gomez as Beezus was good. She made the perfect big sister. As my 11 year old daughter said, she was "awesome".  I think the movie was very well done.

If you like moviews like Cheaper by the Dozen, you will enjoy this movie. You walk out feeling good and enjoy the few hours you spent in the movie. It is appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cool

What a cute story! Celeste is an industrious mouse who likes to weave baskets. She is picked on by two mean rats who want her to get them food. Finding food in the Oakley Plantation located near New Orleans, requires a watchful eye for the cat.

Celeste ends up making a home in the show of Joseph, the young apprentice of the artist John Audubon. Joseph shows Celeste kindness. They develop a friendship; Joseph even draws a portrait of Celeste.When Joseph gets hur, Celeste thinks only of going someplace safe, of going home. Celeste ends up going on an adventure outside of the house and meets many new friends along the way.

As the summer is ending, she realizes Joseph will be leaving. She had found such comfort being with him, that she starts to question whether it is worthwhile to make a friend even though they have to leave at some point. She comes to realize that friendship is an important part of the place in which you live feeling like home.

This book is appropriate for new chapter book readers and would make a great read aloud. The pen and pencil drawings throughout the book are very detailed and pull the reader into the story. This book would be a great family read aloud.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Jacinda is special member of the pride to which she belongs. A pride of draki, descended from dragons. The draki and able to shift from dragon to human to help protect themselves. Jacinda has a unique, dormant for genrations talent, so she is considered special. She is meant to marry the son of the alpha draki.

Jacinda and her friend end up almost breaking the most sacred tenet of the pride, so her mother decides to leave the pride before something happens to Jacinda. Jacinda has a hard time trying to adapt until she runs into Will, a human she has meet before.

Will and his family are hunters of the draki. He feels strangely drawn to Jacinda and wants to protect her from everyone that wants to harm her. Jacinda knows that keeping her secret can be dangerous to those she loves, but she will try at whatever the cost.

Firelight explores a world that appeals to lovers of the paranormal. The exciting twists and turns, the character development, and the love aspect keep the story moving at an exciting paste. It was hard to put this book down.

A captivating unique tale of star-crossed lovers. The story of Will and Jacinda definitely generates some heat. I would highy recommend this book for readers 12 and up.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees

I am reviewing a book outside my usual genre. Fool's Girl is a historical fiction book set in the Elizabethian time period. It is the story of young Violetta and the jester Feste.

Violetta and Feste have escaped their pillaged city. They meet the young William Shakespeare and hope that he can help them recover a religious artifact that is important to their city. Through the telling of their story, they intrigue Shakespeare enough for him to help them. The story is based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It includes romance, gender bending and intrigue, just like the original work.

The book was a fast read and very entertaining. I would recommend this book for middle school readers and up. This book would be a great follow-up or even introduction to Shakespeare's works.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Pocket Watch by Ronnell Porter

Imogene Stromholdt was having strangely realistic dreams. She then notices someone following her. She hears her father arguing with a strange woman in her kitchen, and then a strange boy with a Scottish accent comes to live with Imogene and her father.

Imogene and her friends are thrown into a strange world of wraiths, magic, vampires and monsters. As Imogene learns about this world and adjusts to becoming a member of the House of Becker, she learns about herself and her history, the good and the bad. Imogene learns that being the only human member of the house of Becker is itself unique. She works hard to make her place.

In the end, she turns out to be the key to saving the world. Imogene has to make some hard decisions that have lasting consequences. She is seen by others as a hero, but doesn’t feel the hero.

The Pocket Watch has many of the elements of a great saga. The main characters are well developed. As you read, you feel connected to Imogene and her feelings. The action scenes are chock-full of action. The twists and turns and trying to discover who is good and who is bad makes you want to continue reading. There is even the hint of a love story.

Although there are places where the story becomes confusing, and there are a few spots when I had to flip back and go “Wait, how did we get here?”, I enjoyed the story. It was reminiscent of Harry Potter as Imogene learned about the magic world around her and worked to discover her place within it.

This book is appropriate for readers 4th grade and up . I would recommend this book to lovers of Harry Potter, Charlie Bone and other magic books. The paranormal elements will appeal to readers of that genre. I thought the back story behind vampires was unique. It will be interesting to see if the vampire story develops in subsequent stories.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I can fianllly breath a big sigh of relief! Most of you know that I have spent the last week researching and writing to complete my Capstone, which is the final step of my MLS. I can breath easily...I finished yesterday! I am awaiting my results.

Since I have been working so hard, I have not had much of a chance to read. I actually have lots to read and will be writing some reviews of books that were submitted to me by an author.

Please keep checking me out!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

How much do the secrets of our anscestors affect life today?

Jill Jekel is a shy smart girl whose father was murdered. After his death, rumors of his thievery, experimentation and deception affect Jill and her mother.

Tristen Hyde is a good looking intelligent violent loner. Tristen feels his ancestoral beast legacy growing inside him. He has some deep dark secrets; and is chocked when he discovers his psychoanalyst father has some beastly secrets of his own.

Can Jill and Tristen work together to tame that beast that is both Jill and Tristen's legacy?

Using the story of Jeykell and Hyde, Fantaskey creates an intriguing love story. Just when you suspect the story is ending, surprising plot twists pull you further into the story. Watching the struggle the characters go through unfold really makes it hard to put this book down without finishing it in one sitting.

Somewhat disturbing dreams intertwined with slight graphic violence make this book appropriate for mature readers (14 and up).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine

This is the eigth book in the Morganville Vampire series. It helps to have read the others in the series before reading this one, however, this one can almost stand on its own.

After Amelie and her minions defeat Bishop, the town of Morganville is slowly getting back to normal. Of course normal in Morganville is not normal anywhere else. Morganville is a town of vampires and humans. Their is also a university, but they stay within the gates, and don't know the real Morganville.

Clare and her group of friends are under the protection of Amelie. Claire's friends consist of Eve, a beautiful Goth girl, Michael Glass, a vampire and Eve's boyfriend, and Shane, Claire's boyfriend.

Before being turned into a vampire, Michael had a promising future as a singer. Now, he has received the call he has been waiting for; a chance to cut a demo in Dallas. The only way they are allowed to leave town is if Oliver, the towns meanest Vamp, comes as their chaperone.

Of course this crew of people can't go anywhere without trouble following. Their first bit of trouble comes in the form of outsider vamp Morley, who is trying to get out from being under Amelie's rule. They end up in a town being chased by "sick" townspeople.

In the end, help comes from the most unlikely place.

It is amazing that after seven previous books, they series is still good. The characters of Claire and her friends are very entertaining. They have stayed consistent throughout all the books. This story line is a great way for Caine to spread out her story.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crazy time!

Ok, I know I missed a week, but the end of the year is a crazy time. I will catch up starting next week because the last day of school (with kids) is June 2. Yeah!!!! I am ready for a summer of reading!

I am currently reading the lastest Morganville Vampire book by Rachel Caine and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Killer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I actually finished this book 2 days ago, but I haven't been able to put my thoughts into words. This book is the sequel to Shiver,and it has lingered in my mind.

Shiver was told from two different points of view, Grace and Sam. Linger is told from four points of view: Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole. All four of these character's stories are enticing.

Grace and Sam are uncertain of what the future holds for them. Sam realizes he finally has a future to plan for while Grace is trying to figure out what form her future will take. Isabel is trying to deal with her feelings for the new "guy" in town-Cole. Cole is struggling with his own inner demons.

Their struggles are captivating from the first word to the last word. This book was difficult to finish because I didn't want it to end. I highly recommend this series of books for 7th grade and up. Lovers of Twilight will love these books.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I had seen this book awhile ago on my friends bookshelf. I have never really gotten into the werewolf stories, so I was not planning on reading it. Then one of the ladies I went to ALA with was raving about this book and could not wait to read the next in the series Linger. I luckily got an ARC of Linger, so of course I had to read Shiver first.

I had no idea what I was missing!

As a young child Grace was dragged from her porch swing by hungry wolves. She was saved by a lone wolf who protected her. As she was growing up she looked forward to winter time when she know the wolves would be back. She felt a tie to them that she did not understand. She would oftern feel "her wolf" watching her and felt him howling for her. 

When she is in high school, her friend Olivia, a budding photographer, captures pictures of the wolves. Grace sees her wolf and, for the first time, he allows her to touch him. She is mesmerized by his golden eyes.Then a classmate of theirs, Jack, is killed by the wolves. The town's men decide to get rid of all the wolves; Grace finds out and tries to stop the hunt. As she goes back to her house, she finds a bleeding boy on her porch. He has the golden eyes of her wolf and then she's him.

She learns his secret. A secret that she feels bound to keep. Bound by the wolf pack. Then Jack's sister starts asking questions. Olivia pulls away from Grace, and has secrets of her own to keep. Sam and Grace relish the time they have together, as the weather gets colder, and as Sam's inner wolf tries to escape.

If you enjoyed the love story of the Twilight Saga, this series of books will enthrall you. I am halfway through Linger, and will blog about that next week.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


I am super busy this week, so I will double blog next week.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

This book was actually an ARC that I received at last year's TLA conference. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was a Newbery Honor book for 2010. Oh, the treasures you pick up at TLA.

Minli is a  poor young girl who spends her time working hard in the fields with her mother and father. They live in a poor village. At night, Minli's father likes to keep her entertained by telling wonderful tales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli's mother is unhappy with their poor life and thinks the stories are silly and worthless.

One day, a goldfish peddler comes to town and Minli spends half of her life savings (1 copper piece) to buy a beautiful goldfish. Little did Minli know that this goldfish was on a journey. So begins the story of Minli's search for the Old Man of Moon who can help her and her family have a better life.

This was a very sweet story. The interweaving of Chinese folklore and Minli's story was flawless. The pace of the story was good. Following Minli's journey and in the end finding that it is important to spend time appreciating what you have makes for a good read. I think readers of all ages will appreciate the themes of appreciation and friendship.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

It is so exciting to be writing this review a week before the book comes out!

Regrets. Those choices we make in life that we wished would have turned out differently. In high school, there were a lot of those. Wouldn't it be nice if we could tell our younger self not to make certain decisions.

In Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski, Devorah Banks (Devi) gets that chance. High school senior Devi is wallowing in pity following the break up of her four year romance with Bryan. She drops her phone in a fountain and realizes that the only number she can call is herself...three years ago. Devi seizes the opportunity to help her freshman self make different, and supposedly better, decisions. The decisions and choices, of course, have consequences.

As in the Magic in Manhattan series, Mlynowski gives us a fast, entertaining read. The plot is quick moving. It was easy to follow with each chapter alternating between the freshman and senior Devi. Devi (both as a freshman and a senior) is a realistic, mostly likeable character.  The supporting cast of characters were believeable and likeable. It is a well written twist on the Back to the Future theme. Young adult readers age 10 and up will appreicate this tale.

What I Am About

I am a middle school reading teacher who is finishing up my last semester to earn my Masters in Library Science. I recently attended the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio. I left with A LOT of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) that look great. They are all different types of genres, and they are mostly young adult.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about how I can share my feelings on the numerous books that I picked up. I have decided to try an blog about them. Who knows, maybe I will become viral. Maybe my blog will become widely read and I will become an expert reviewer. Maybe, I can take over the world! Just kidding.

Since life is busy, busy, busy during the school year, I am going to set a going to set a goal of reading and reviewing 1 book a week. During the summer, I will try to read and review 2 books a week.

If you read this or any of my blogs, please comment! I look forward to hearing what you have to say.