Friday, July 25, 2014

Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller

A gun goes off in the cafeteria, and Wayne, the school bully, is blamed for it.  But, Colin Fischer is not convinced.  His mission becomes figuring out who brought the gun to school and exonerating Wayne.

Now, this in and of itself would make an interesting book. Colin Fischer has Asperger's Syndrome which makes him extremely aware of details, but he is awkward when it comes to social skills.  Sherlock Holmes is one of Colin's heroes, and he approaches the gun at school in the same way.

This book was very well written and you cannot help but root for Colin Fischer.  I highly recommend this one.  This book trailer actually does a fairly good job of explaining the plot of the book.

Book 18

The Julian Chapter by R J Palacio

If you know me at all, you know that I fell in love with the book Wonder and passed it to so many people who passed it to other people, etc. In this book, Palacio told the story from different viewpoints, but she did not give the bully's story.  This is his story.  I have to give it to her.  I felt empathy for Julian, the mean kid, even in the original book.  But, I always wondered what was behind his actions.  I found out in this slim book.  I loved the relationship between Julian and his grandmother.

I have read several books about grandmothers this summer.  I had two wonderful women as grandmothers, but I only got to know one of them.  She played a huge part in shaping me to be the person I am today.  She read the newspaper every day.  She loved to read and tell stories.  It is no surprise that I love both as well.  But, back to my thoughts on this book...

When I was a kid, I listened to Paul Harvey.  He was a great orator who told wonderful stories over the radio.  Now, we always had a television--I am not that old.  But, I loved listening to him.  He would tell a part of a story--then he had a segment that I really loved.  He would say, "Now, for the rest of the story".  This is a phenomenal concept because so many times we make assumptions and judgments based on the little that we know and even on what we think we know.  I love point of view books because I feel as though they give more of the story.  Because we only see portions of a story, and when we can look at a different viewpoint, it tells more about life in general.  If more people took the time to do that, we could not help to choose kind.  Which, is the theme of the book Wonder.  Well played, Palacio, well played.

Book 17

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge--a confession

Well, if you have been following my progress on instagram and/or twitter, you will see that it does not seem as though I can count.  Now, I don't even really know who to blame except the person I see in the mirror every day.  I just lost count.  I think I have figured it out.  I went on vacation, and while I was visiting college campuses with my son--I had books in hand.  I read quite a bit that week, but I did not log it on instagram and/or twitter.  If you have been following this blog, you know that I have been very lax with keeping this up to date.  Yikes!
The great thing is--you see that I am human.  I understand the fact that it is hard to remember when I read something if I don't write it down.  I mention this because I know that some of you will have problems in turning in documentation for the summer reading challenge. Please, I beg you--write it down, take a picture that you number correctly, keep them all on a shelf in order, OR--use the documents I provided.  I know...that may take some time.  I get it, but I promise you--it will be worth it.
Now, I was getting down on myself for not meeting my goal of reading 60 books, and I am not sure that I will meet it.  But, once I took the time and did the math--I am much closer than I thought.  I am actually reading books 33 and 34 right now.  One is non-fiction and one is fiction.
That is exciting.  I usually read a lot over the summer, but now I have a record of exactly what and approximately the time at which I finished them.
So...your librarian is not infallible, but I am reading for myself and for you.  I cannot wait to see all of you and share what I have read.  And, hear about what you have read.

Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinken

Grave robbers.  I'd heard of them before, but I had no idea that they actually attempted to steal the bodies of dignitaries. this book, you get to learn the real-life story behind the attempt to snatch Lincoln's body and holding it for ransom for the country's best counterfeiter.  That is right--not only do you get to learn about body snatchers, but you get to learn about counterfeiting and the beginning of The Secret Service.  And, oh by the way, it was about my favorite president as well.  No offense to the others--but I love Abe Lincoln.  My dad dressed like him for a parade during the BiCentennial--in 1976.  I've loved Lincoln ever since.  But, enough about is a trailer for this one.

Really interesting read..

Book 16 in Summer Reading Challenge.

Of Neptune by Anna Banks

Banks finishes this trilogy with Emma and Galen going to Neptune at the request of Emma's grandfather.  Emma is thrilled to be there because there are many Half Breeds.  Galen is still concerned with the law, so he does not relax.  He cannot relax.  They fight and Galen storms off, but he is kidnapped.  Emma does not immediately look for him because she thinks he is mad.  And...there is a Half Breed named Reed who is rather interesting to her.  Emma is torn between her love for Galen and her ease in this society.
I enjoyed this very much.  I could not put it down.  I was really excited about how much action was in this one.  Many times authors spend their time tying up loose ends and don't tell a good story.  But, that is not the case here.  I highly recommend the entire series beginning with Of Triton then moving onto Of Poseidon and ending with Of Neptune.

Here is a book trailer done by a fan.

Book 15 of Summer Reading Challenge.

Alida's Song by Gary Paulsen

Gary is now 14 and life is tough for him.  He has a newspaper route and picks up the odd job at the bar down the street.  He has decided to sleep in the basement so that he can avoid his parents.  Until...he gets a letter from his grandmother.  She tells him that she has a job for him, and he needs to take it.  He boards a train and spends the summer with her on a farm.
I read this in one sitting.  It was absolutely a beautiful story, and it made me miss my grandmother.  She died 20 years ago, but the time we spent together has shaped me into the person I am today.  The same goes for Paulsen.  I highly recommend this wonderful slim book.  If you are a teen, you will like it.  If you are an adult--get the tissues.  It speaks to all of us--just in different ways.

Book 14 in Summer Reading Challenge.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

The place is the island of Blessed and the characters do not change, but there is time difference in the stories.  Huh?  Yes, that is how I felt at first when I was reading the book.  However, once I realized how intertwined the stories were--it made perfect sense.  And, I really did enjoy it.  The main characters keep finding themselves at this island.  What is the midwinter blood?  How does it affect the lives of everyone on the island?  Very interesting take on this book that takes place over different time periods.  No, they don't travel through time exactly--they are living different lives.
I really liked the book, but in my opinion--just know that you need to stick with it.  It will all come together very interestingly--but it will take a bit.

Book 13

The Quilt by Gary Paulsen

In this companion to The Cookcamp, 6 year old Gary is with his grandmother.  A cousin goes into labor with her first baby, and every female relative in the area comes to help out.  They also work on a quilt that has everyone in the family in it.  As they work on this quilt, they tell stories about the people.
It. Was. Wonderful. I loved the stories, and it made me remember my precious grandmama.  She used to tell me such great stories of her family.  My mother has a great memory and is full of those super stories as well. This multi-generational story really spoke to me, and I highly recommend it.  It was a short book and took a short time to read it.
LOVED IT.  Book 12

Num8ers by Rachel Ward

Jem has a special gift--though it is not something she would wish for anyone else.  When she looks at a person, she sees the date of his/her death on the forehead.  She first realized it when she saw her mother's date on her forehead.  Jem did not realize what it was until the day that her mother died.  The odd thing is--this happened when Jem was very young.  She then goes to different foster homes and does not want to get close to anyone because she knows exactly when she will lose them.
One day--her defenses were down, and when a boy befriends her, she decides that she will spend time with him.  She goes to his house and immediately his mother knows that she has a gift.  The problem is--Jem has seen his number and it is in a couple of weeks.  Jem thinks that maybe she can help to change the number, so they start spending a lot of time together.  They decide to go to the London Eye, and Jem notices that several people have the same number on their foreheads.  And, it is that day.  Something is going down, but she does not know exactly when; she only knows that they need to get out of there.  So, they run.  Not the best idea when it goes down later.  Everyone is looking for them.  The police want to know if they are part of the terrorist plot.  What did Jem get herself into?

This was a fast-paced story that kept me wondering what was going to happen.  I have to tell you though--it is definitely for a mature reader.  I don't want to take too much away from the story, but there are some situations that I just want to let you know are in the book.  Just so you are prepared as a reader.  One last warning about this the last part of the book, it completely left you hanging.  It will make you totally want to read the next book in the series.  Of course, I won't tell you what that cliff hanger was--just know there was a good one.

Definitely a good read.  Book 11