First line: She first spotted him at Bobbie’s Coffee Shop on Twenty-Second Street.
Summary: Just days before her wedding to millionaire, Bruce Lamb, the one night stand from her bachelorette weekend shows up trying to convince her to not go through with the wedding. She tries to ignore his attempts but then he appears at her wedding too. But she thinks that his stalking is over until he appears at the secluded island on her honeymoon. Does she tell Bruce or try to solve the situation on her own?
My Thoughts: When I looked at the rating for this book I was kind of surprised that it was so low. I found the book to be rather enjoyable with lots of dark and twisted moments. I found it to be more like an eighties horror movie than psychological thriller. And part of that can be found that several reveals were rather predictable. But I had a lot of fun reading it nonetheless.
Even though the island is supposed to be secluded and good for getting away from technology it also seems rather scary. You are secluded. On an island. With little communication. What if something bad happens? Well this book answers that question. And it was thrilling and scary.
“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.”
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , by Mark Twain, is about a young boy, Huck, in search of freedom and adventure. The shores of the Mississippi River provide the backdrop for the entire book. Huck is kidnapped by Pap, his drunken father. Pap kidnaps Huck because he wants Huck’s $6000. Huck was awarded $6000 from the treasure he and Tom Sawyer found in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huck finally escapes from the deserted house in the woods and finds a canoe to shove off down the river. Instead of going back to the widow’s house, he decides to run away. He is sick of all of the confinement and civilization that the widow enforces upon him. He comes across Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, and together, they spend nights and days journeying down the river, both in search of freedom.(www.bookrags.com)
This book is a classic that I think everyone should read. Some people say that you need to read Tom Sawyer before you read Huck Finn. I read Huck Finn first and had no problem understanding it. I like this book because it teaches the values of friendship, as Huck learns these values so do we. When reading this book I laughed, cried, and got mad several times all while going on an adventure with Huck and his friend.
Summary: This book puts on display a set of inspiring poetry about a group of young black boys. It speaks of their virtues, and insinuates their innocence, kindness, and goodness. Each page reads like its own poem, but they flow together to form a larger piece.
Maggie: 5 stars (2 – 4 stars after it made her emotional)
Conor: 5 stars for page 23; 0 cares of all other pages
Mama Lala: 5 stars
Their Thoughts: Maggie says, “Its like when you go home after a bad day, and you just sit on your bed… and your mom brings a blanket and just holds you. It feels good. Like that.”
Conor: My assumption of what he would say, “the picture on page 24 is pretty! I want to touch it!”
My Thoughts: This book was beautiful and inspirational. It can be (and should be) read both with and without the context of race. These statements and lyrics should be felt by all young people. That said, this book provided an excellent opportunity to discuss race and the issues surrounding race at this time.
I should note, Maggie said this was a 5 star book before I had this conversation with her. After I provided the context of the dedication page, she became emotional. I told her about Trayvon Matin, who was still a child when he’d been attacked. I told her he was about the same age as one of her cousins. This made the tears flow (which made her star count drop).
I explained to her that these conversations are sad and uncomfortable, but important to have.
Summary: It’s 1714 in a small village in France. A young woman of twenty-three is being forced to marry but she does not want to be tied down. She wants to live and see the world. So she makes a bargain with one of the old gods. She promises her soul for the chance to live forever. But there is always a catch. No one will remember who she is.
For centuries she lives her life by stealing, lying and relying on “strangers.” Love has come and gone for Addie but nothing ever lasts when everyone she meets forgets her as soon as she is out of sight. Until one day she meets a young man who remembers her.
My Thoughts: At the beginning I was enthralled by the story and the idea of this book. How can a person live when no one knows who you are? While I was reading I kept thinking that things wouldn’t be hard to live like this until I remember that from one minute to the next every person becomes a stranger again. You could not have an apartment, a job, friends, or anything really. Sounds terribly lonely.
I liked being able to see Addie change and make her way through the turbulent 300 years from the beginning of her curse and meeting Henry. She learns very quickly how to get by on her wits and luck. But as I continued through the story I felt it getting a little repetitive. The author did throw in some twists to the story which helped liven up some of the slower parts.
But the ending was the best part of all. It was imaginative and perfect for this story. I won’t spoil it but I will say that I cannot think of a better way to end the story.
First Line: Bridget was gone. And Nova was broken.
Summary: In this historical middle grade novel, Planet Earth is Blue follows twelve-year-old Nova, who is autistic and nonverbal, as she adjusts to a new foster family. Nova and her older sister Bridget both love astronomy, but when Bridget goes missing, Nova eagerly counts down the days until the space shuttle Challenger launches, which Bridget promised they would watch together.
This story is really heartwarming. I loved seeing Nova become friends with her special education peers and feel more at home with her foster family. Though Nova is nonverbal, Panteleakos richly conveys Nova’s inner world through her letters to Bridget and flashbacks depicting their relationship. Each letter followed a regular chapter, giving insight into Nova’s thoughts and actions, and the flashbacks intermingled throughout the book perfectly capturing the tone and Nova’s emotions.
Nova and Bridget’s strong relationship made me eager to read what happened, as well as Nova just being a great character. She is deeply imaginative and passionate about space.
The narrative also always treats Nova with respect, and her autism is never framed as weird or a punchline. Panteleakos is autistic herself, and she crafts a sensitive, nuanced depiction. She makes it impossible not to care about Nova.
This book is written beautifully. Its prose is simple but well-crafted. References to space, David Bowie’s lyrics, and The Little Prince are interwoven throughout the book and add depth to the story. All of this builds to heartrending climax and ending. It broke my heart but also filled it with hope.
Planet Earth is Blue is a heartwarming story about finding strength and hope in the midst of tragedy, and Nova is the kind of character that will live in readers’ hearts long after the book is finished.
This is the story of a dragon, and two children– Sylas and Freya. No one has ever seen the dragon, but there are many stories about him; stories to put fear into the minds of most. Freya and Sylas are not afraid, though. When the town says the dragon is at fault for their latest plight, the two children set off to make things right… and discover something new about the dragon.
First Line: “Once upon a magic kingdom, before fire ever existed, there lived a terrifying dragon near a village.”
Summary: This is the story of a dragon, and two children– Sylas and Freya. No one has ever seen the dragon, but there are many stories about him; stories to put fear into the minds of most. Freya and Sylas are not afraid, though. When the town says the dragon is at fault for their latest plight, the two children set off to make things right… and discover something new about the dragon.
Maggie: 5 stars
Conor: One big smile
Mama Lala: 4 stars.
Their Thoughts: Conor was mostly uninterested in this story. He did, however, LOVE the giant fold out picture of the dragon!
Maggie enjoyed this story. She said she enjoyed the adventure, and the “moral of this story” ending. She believes the lesson to be learned here is not to judge a “dragon” by the words other people say about him. She says because of this lesson, it is a good story for all ages.
My Thoughts: The illustrations of this book are beautiful and vivid. I, also, enjoyed the giant fold out picture of the dragon. I also, as a parent, appreciate the teachings this book holds. Maggie was correct about the moral of the story, but there was one more: friendship can warm any heart.
First line: Nineteen years before she decided to die, Nora Seed sat in the warmth of the small library at Hazeldene School in the town of Bedford.
Summary: Nora Seed has decided to die. Everything is falling apart around her. She is single, her cat died, she lost her job, her parents are dead and her brother won’t talk to her. What’s the point anymore? As she dies she finds that there is a library filled with possible other lives that would have existed had she made different choices. The librarian directs her to the books of these alternate lives where she can decide if she would rather live in those instead. Which one will she choose?
“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. At the beginning it can be depressing as Nora keeps having her world fall apart around her. It almost seems like an It’s a Wonderful Life situation. But this is more inventive and adds another dimension to story. Rather than seeing the world without her, it looks at the world if she had made different choices.
I liked how different each life was because of one small choice. It’s the Butterfly Effect. One decision can change so much for you and every person you come into contact with. But we also see that what may appear to be perfect can still have its challenges. Nothing is perfect.
Everyone has things that they regret. I know I do. I wish I had spent a year abroad in college. But if I did that I would never have gotten my dog, Winston. I regret not staying at K-State in order to save money on college but if I hadn’t I would not have traveled around Europe with a group from Tabor College. There is always something that could be different but with every regret there is something good you would lose too.
Even though this sounds like a depressing book, it is really uplifting. It has a great message to anyone who is struggling with life choices and how to make the best of what we are given. Find joy in the small things.
FYI: Trigger warnings: suicide, drug overdose, language.
First line of the book: I never know what condition she’ll be in when I arrive at the hospital – if she’ll lucid, rambling, awake, sleeping, in an altered state, or gone.
Summary and Thoughts:
Joanne Vannicola went through a life of trauma and pain before reaching stardom. All of her childhood resurfaces once her abusive mother is on her deathbed. Vannicola’s life was a tale of eating disorders enabled by her mother, abuse from both of her parents, and sibling bonds torn apart from everything going on. Vannicola also delves into her sexuality, especially when she is entering young adulthood, from small crushes to the people she dated. She doesn’t leave out any part of her life so one can see the bad choices she makes in her life and how her upbringing influenced her growth. Vannicola goes back and forth between the past and present. The little things that her mother says or does currently sourly reminds Vannicola of her troubled family life.
I found myself to be easily lost in her world as Vannicola goes into deep detail of her setting and her strong emotions at the time. Anyone who has had a difficult upbringing will relate to the several ways that Joanne Vannicola tried to forget her living situation, especially during her younger years. My favorite one was the children’s obsession with music and always listening to it together in secret since I like to lose myself in music. I also did find some parts difficult and uncomfortable to read as I am a sensitive person. I believe this read is necessary for that reason; when I felt uncomfortable, I realized the points she was trying to make. If I felt horrible or angry then no doubt Vannicola felt it tenfold and would explain her problematic behavior, which I often got frustrated with. Overall, this book brought me a perspective that I usually find hard to think about.
I caution others that there are strong themes of abuse (self or to others), prostitution, sexual references, underage-drinking, and drugs. The author doesn’t hold back detail when it comes to these things.
*This book can be found via Hoopla or through Interlibrary Loan.*
This classic fairy tale is retold in graphic novel form for elementary aged readers. This version of the story includes the woodsman, red, grandmother, and red’s mother. Red’s mother asks her to deliver moon cakes and steamed buns to her grandmother, but a tricky wolf distracts her and tries to lead her off the path.
First Line: “Once upon a time there was a girl named Red.”
Summary: This classic fairy tale is retold in graphic novel form for elementary aged readers. This version of the story includes the woodsman, red, grandmother, and red’s mother. Red’s mother asks her to deliver moon cakes and steamed buns to her grandmother, but a tricky wolf distracts her and tries to lead her off the path.
Maggie: 5 stars
Conor: One laugh (for mama’s funny reading voice)
Mama Lala: 4 stars
Their Thoughts: This story was different from the other versions Maggie has been told. We haven’t heard of a woodsman in this story before. Grandmother’s role is also different from the version we know. She liked the telling of this story in graphic novel form, though, and didn’t think it strange to be both graphic novel and read aloud.
My Thoughts: This is a fantastic introduction to the world of graphic novels. Aside from the story, there is also an instruction on how to read graphic novels, panels, and word bubbles– perfect for the age group who would be attracted to this book.
The book also included an introduction to the characters and some atypical words within the story (before the story began), and hosted some review and writing prompts at the end of the tale. Those things alone make this book worth reading.
I agree with Maggie that the story was well transferred into a graphic novel. I liked the delivery.
The story itself was nothing new, so it didn’t hold my attention especially well. However, if tried-and-true fairy tales are your “bag”, this is a great option for you!
FYI: This is a part of a series! There are a total of 6 books in the series. Derby Public library currently has two: Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.
Summary: Bree Cabbat has the perfect life; a loving husband, beautiful children and a nice home. But one night she sees a witch at her window and the following day her baby son is stolen from her car with a mysterious message containing instructions on how to get her little boy back. As she follows “the mother’s” instructions she finds that there is more to this diabolical plan than she first thought. Racing against the clock Bree tries to find the secrets that could lead them to her son and “the mother”.
My Thoughts: This is my first book my Joshilyn Jackson. I really enjoyed it. It started off with a bang and continued to have the same high drama throughout which can be hard to maintain. As the story progressed I didn’t know how the author was going to continue because the end seemed so imminent but then whole new mystery appeared. As more layers were added the suspense got even higher until the last chapter. I will finally read her other thriller, Never Have I Ever, which I have checked out numerous times but never read yet.
Listening to the audio book I was a little annoyed at the readers voice. It was rather whiny but that could be because of the playback on the app. I liked the reader’s interpretation of “the mother’s” voice. It was witchy and creepy. And you need to stay focused while listening or you may miss something.