Category Archives: Reviews

Gag me with a Silver Spoon

Okay I just dated myself,  I know it and I embrace it.  But it helps me with this post.  When I hear this phrase I think of girls who are rich, popular, and oh yea SPOILED!!!   It is Friday, my last full day of school before the summer (woohoo) and I have a book to review. This book was given to me by one of my students who eats books up.  I can’t give her enough.  Seriously.  She takes a few at a time, returns them within 3 days and has more sitting at home.  Its crazy.  But anyway…so my student gave this book and I promised her I would finish it before the end of the year. I finished it in 4 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Spoiled tells the story of a young girl, Molly, who finds out that her biological father is actually a famous movie star. Molly is interested in learning about her father and moves to LA to live with him and get to know him.  Just as she is adjusting to the red carpet lifestyle she meets her half-sister Brooke, who is as Beverly Hills as you can get.  But in a town where image is everything, and the smoke and mirrors cover more than eye can see, Molly gets a dose of reality and learns that everything is not what is seems.  I enjoyed this book for many reasons.  The tongue in cheek manner in which the authors wrote the book is wonderful, they take what we as non-celebrities observe to be true and run with it.  We all know that celebrities are just like us we read it in US Weekly and In Touch every week (wink wink), but they write this world in a way that allows us to feast on that lifestyle.  Plus this story is not told only through Molly’s eyes.  Brooke is also a narrator, and this is key, because if you only read from Molly’s eyes you would get a one sided view of a character that though is a mean girl on the outside does have some redeeming qualities.  This is a great book for YA readers and for middle school.  This shines a new light on the mean girls, and celebrity story, by adding that small touch of heart to it.

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Time to Sit Down to Dinner

I was lucky to see the play God of Carnage when it was playing in New York starring the late James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis, and I loved it.  I also enjoyed the movie version (simply called Carnage) which starred Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz and was pleasantly surprised.  The sheer fact that you could not get over how uncomfortably each character was during the scene was brilliant.  I cringed during the awkward silences, the passive aggressive looks, and the final moments when they confronted each other about views on life, marriage, and parenting styles.  If you never got a chance to see either please check out the movie.

This brings me to the meaning of my post today.  I recently finished (finished I tore through it) the book The Dinner by Dutch writer Herman Koch.  I have never read anything by him before but I promise you will be picking up some more items now.  This book reminded me so much of the play and movie that I wanted to see how the characters would deal with the situation they find themselves in.

9780770437855_custom-0fec8d6bec6f0261063ff3be14ce66895270b9a5-s6-c30In the book, two couples come together to have what else Dinner.  The men are brothers, one is an ex-teacher, the other the shinning star of a political party who looks to be next prime minster.  The wives, are supportive and loving towards their husbands and each other, but they are especially devoted to their children.  Primarily their sons, who are the same age.  The boys become involved in a crime that shocks the country, but they are never identified.  Each parent finds out in their own way and has their own views on how to handle the situation that will be beneficial to all parties.  The book is told from the point of view of Paul, the ex-teacher, and you see how he handled his own personal struggles, how he feels about his brother and his political aspirations, and how he interacts with his son, and wife.  During the course of the dinner you can feel the tension building during each course, as the small chit-chat and pleasantries make way for the discussion that brought them all together.  The situation involving their sons.  It was a book that grabbed right away. I couldn’t put it down and wanted to learn more about each character.  Koch did a phenomenal  job of creating the sort of tension one feels with family when dealing with a crisis with such ease that you feel you are at the table next to them spying on their conversation.  It is a great book and I highly recommend it.

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Where’d Ya Go Review?

This is review is for a book I read a while ago but it is so good that I wanted to talk about it. Plus the movie rights have been acquired and I really hope this comes to the big screen.  I love it that much.  If you haven’t read this book already I highly suggest you pick it up. It is great for a summer read on the beach, lounging in a hammock, or just sitting in you back yard.  You will love this.

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Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette is different. She is an architectural genius; an unapproachable private-school parent; a stubborn wife; but above all, a loving mother to 15-year-old daughter Bee.  Bernadette causes draws attention, and causes chaos where ever she goes, and this is a no-no in her upper class Seattle area.  Her life and her choices have made her an extreme agoraphobic and relies on a virtual assistant for even the most basic of tasks.  But when her daughter Bee claims her reward of a trip to Antarctica for acing her report card, that really sends Bernadette spinning.  One day, she goes missing and Bee complies emails, letters, notes, official documents the works, in order to try and find her mother.  The roles of mother and daughter reverse in this can’t put down read.

This book is utterly hysterical.  I was literally laughing out loud. My husband looked at me with wide eyes wondering what on earth I was reading.  I could not put this down.  I was reading it every chance I got and I was sad when it came to and end.  I highly recommend this to anyone looking for good laugh.

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If I Stay…or If I Go

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope that you have all had a successful work week and have a very relaxing and fun filled weekend planned.  I have a book review for you today.  Allow me to speak to you about If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

 

81UjVsGy5yL If I Stay was an amazing read.  And a fast one.  It tells the story of a teenager  Mia, who is an extremely talented cello player; has a rock solid relationship with her best friend; a family bond that any kid would dream of; and the love of a rocker boyfriend who sees only the best in her.  Mia’s life is full of ups and downs, but the worst is yet to come.  After suffering through a car accident, that leaves her parents and younger brother dead, Mia now clings to life.  However, she has been given the rare gift to choose, whether to stay or to go.   Mia is having an outer-body experience, witnessing the hospital staff, family and friends visits, and Adam her boyfriend, waiting by her bedside to see which way she chooses.  Told through flashbacks as well as actual time, Mia must decide should she stay with her family, or stay and experience life in a whole new way.

Please do not think that since it the character is having an outer-body experience that this is a supernatural like tale.  Mia is the teenager we all once were.  The one who questions her decisions.  The one who falls head over heels in love, only to be unsure if this is the one she wants.  The teenager who must decide what her future holds, and how she wants to live her dreams.  This is a story we can all relate to, on some level.

This is a must read.  Furthermore, the powers that be have decided that it would make a great feature film.  It comes out this August, please check out the trailer below.

 

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Friday Book Review

so I have mentioned before that I write reviews for an professional magazine (LMC or Library Media Connection).  Here are two titles that I have recently reviewed.

18656207The Meaning of Maggie
Maggie Mayfield is a pre-teen who feels has her life pretty much figured out. She is the product of a two loving parents, has two increasingly annoying older sisters, she is a straight A student, owns a small percentage of Coke stock and is working on her bid to run for president one day.  Every thing is planned accept for her father’s mysterious illness.  You see he can not longer walk and soon Maggie must visit him in the hospital.  And this is one event Maggie could not plan for.   Told from Maggie’s perspective in the form of a journal that is chronicling the past year of her life, Maggie learns that her father suffers from MS.  And it is her goal to help cure him.  This is a beautifully written inventive take on a coming of age story.  The author allows for the reader to discover along with Maggie what is causing her father’s illness.  Peppered with typical family drama, the story flows well and offers  very tender moments between daughter and parent.

MuddyMaxMech.inddMuddy Max and the Mystery if Marsh Creek
Getting dirty and muddy is part of being a kid right? So why does Max have to wear five layers of protective clothing when ever it rains?  Because for Max the mud doesn’t just stain his shoes and dirty him up, the mud gives him super powers.   Max discovers by accident that when ever he comes in contact with Mud he develops an array of super hero skills such as, super strength, speed, and invisibility.  But why did Max’s parent wish to keep this a secret.  It appears they knew about his condition all along and wanted to protect him.  However as Max learns more and more about his abilities with mud he soon learns about the family he never knew about. This was a faced paced graphic novel and is perfect for 3rd to 6th grade readers.

 

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Review Day!!!

I think I will make Friday my book review day.  I will be reading a lot once the summer comes and I can say so long to school and kids.  I love them I really do but they are draining some times.   So let me start this new weekly update with my first of two reviews.


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Slated by Teri Terry
I truly can not begin telling you how much I enjoyed this book.  This is not just another dystopian society book, this has heart and shows how the mind can do amazing things.  Kyla has been slated; meaning her memory has been wiped clean and she is being given a second chance.  When you are slated it means you have done something wrong in your past, something that could hurt the government. And the government, to make sure you won’t do anything like this again, monitors you through a bracelet that shocks you if you dip below 3.5.  But what if you didn’t do anything wrong? what if you were kidnapped, forced to do things against your will, and only after being caught did you get slated?  Kyla soon learns that this might be the case for her.  She is not like the other slated kids her age.  She remembers things, from her past.  With the help of a friend Kyla will have to learn about her past to save her future.  The first book in a trilogy this is a must read.  I loved every turn of the page. Yes it has a strong female lead, and yes it is a dystopian novel, but Kyla’s story is one that you will not be able to look away from.

 

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One + One = Blue by MJ Auch
I must begin by saying when I read about this book I was very excited. The main character is suffering from a condition called Synesthesia. This is when your senses for example hearing is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor. The word synesthesia comes from two Greek words, syn (together) and aisthesis (perception). Therefore, synesthesia literally means “joined perception.”  In this case the main character Basil Feeney associated colors with his numbers. Each number has a different color. Basil thinks he is all alone in the world until he meets Tenzie a new girl at school who has the same condition.  Now this really got me interested because I have never read a book where the characters have this type of condition.  However, suddenly we are learning about why Basil’s mother abandoned him with grandmother when he was 5 and now she wants back in his life.  He must come to terms with this but also try and help Tenzie realize that her home life is not as bad as she thinks.  The only time the mention of their condition is when they are on the road trying to remember a street address and phone number but their condition is having them mix up numbers.  This is a great coming of age story but the addition of the synesthesia angle is lacking. I would have like to have seen more with this.  Overall it is a good book but I felt it needed an extra umph.

 

Hope you enjoy these and I hope you find the reviews useful.

Keep reading my friends. Keep reading

 

 

 

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What a Journey

So I finished another book recently and I am sorry for not posting my review sooner.  But it was a lot to take in and the book was impressive to say the least.  I begin with…

A very big congratulations to JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst for their literary contribution.  S. was a an amazing book, actually two amazing books.  If you are bibliophile and they you must read this.  Because not only is the story well rounded and engrossing, it also touches on many feeling that only a true book lover will understand.

The story or stories center around a fictional writer named Straka, who is a mystery.  He true identity is one that is debated over, with claims being made and debunked.  The authors back story is almost a rich as the rest of the work, and could by all accounts be considered a novella of sorts since though never truly given as much page space as the other two stories, still provides a great tale of a writers life.

The next story the you embark on is the story of The Ship of Theseus.  The last book to have been written by fictional Straka, it tells the tale of a man S. who does not remember his past, does not know where his future lies, but faces a journey that entwines him with a ghostly ship, a charismatic woman, and a dastardly deed that he himself is not sure he can succeed in.

The final story follows the Eric and Jen, two lovers of the written word and obsessed with Straka.  Eric is a disgraced grad student, Jen a senior at the same college who stumbles across Eric’s copy of The Ship of Theseus and while reading it, notices his margin notes.  Not wanting to be rude, she wrote her own note and the two begin a blossoming relationship with communication taking place along the margins of the book.   While their lives begin to mirror those of Straka and S. the two young lovers set out to uncover the true identity of Straka. Along with the margin notes, stuffed with in pages are newspaper clippings,  letters, pictures and postcards, all moving the story(ies) along.

This was an intense read but a good one all the same.  I highly recommend it this to anyone. But take some advice.

1) read book first

2) read pencil, blue and black margin notes

3) read orange and green margin notes

4) read red and purple margin notes

5) read black and black margin notes

You might go through this several times but it is worth it.

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