Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Radiance of Tomorrow

By Ishmael Beah
240 pages

Lovely and lyrical. A sad but hopeful tale and a very enjoyable read.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Fatal Waltz

Suspense, as it says. It is the third in a series. They keep feeling as if they're going to veer into a romance novel, but that hasn't happened yet.
It's okay, but not great.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Still reading; love this chapter.

Page 153

Some Kind of Fairy Tale

By Graham Joyce
308 pages

It's the story of a girl who has been missing for twenty years. She shows up with a fantastic tale of having spent the last 6 months in another realm, that some might term fairy land. Naturally, everyone thinks she is crazy.
I found the ending pretty unsatisfying, but generally enjoyed the book.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Collector of Lost Things

By Jeremy Page
373 pages

Not my typical book. A naturalist, a hunter, and a woman all set sail for the arctic. They visit some glaciers, some villages, search for an extinct bird species and look for seals to shoot.
It's strange, often sad, and often gory. Wouldn't read it again, but am glad that I read it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs
YA Lit
Hardback 348 pages

This book was one of the choices for World Book Night, so I've been curious about it for a long time and finally put it on hold at the public library. It was strange and interesting. It didn't go the way I expected, which is good, but I also had a problem with the ending. Hmmm. Overall I enjoyed it.
One of the interesting hint about the book is the photographs. They come from collectors and, if I remember correctly, the narrative was woven around or inspired by the pictures. The pictures are weird. Actually, from glancing through the pictures in a bookstore once, I expected this to be a horror story, but it's not. Instead, it is an interesting adventure story.
It starts out pretty horribly, not bad writing- the grandfather of the protagonist is gruesomely murdered. Jacob, the protagonist, is pretty much treated like a mental patient for the next couple chapters. Then, with the support of his therapist, he makes a trip to an island...

The Rook

This was a big thick grownup novel. A student recommended it to me, and I enjoyed it a lot. It is sort of James Bond meet the X-Men with a bit of an army vibe. Very strange and interesting. The protagonists are one likeable lady. Two voices, two personalities, one human. It's very strange and not as confusing as one might fear. I didn't find it to be the page turner that she did; I didn't stay up until three in the morning on a school day reading it, but I enjoyed it immensely.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

Short and quirky, this book is a fantasy romp through the English countryside. It was quite enjoyable and often surprising.
The protagonist is a young boy who, after his kitten was accidentally run over, is drawn into a land of mystery and magic.
I would probably read this again.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Women from the Ankle Down

By Rachelle Bergstein
237 pages

I picked up this book on a lark. Something about the.cover just appealed to me. But then I didn't read it for a couple weeks.

I began it yesterday, and enjoyed it immensely. It is conversational and entertaining, factual without being heavy.
Each chapter focuses on a particular movement and change in the world of footwear, and explores it in reference to the corresponding social movements, mostly in the States.

It discusses Monroe, Garland, Wonder Woman, and many more. The author has a friendly easy style and a good sense of humour.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Apple Crisp

No, this post is not about a book. This post is about the most delicious apple crisp that I have made in a long time. It started with 6 golden delicious apples that have been hanging out in the fridge for an unusually long time. Add to that a slightly rough day at work, and apparently I'm baking. Yum!
Then, we have some canned whipped cream that we bought for the kids for a school party. I guess that we need to replace that...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Books of Ember

I read all four City of Ember books. They were pretty enjoyable; I'm curious to see the movie that they made out of the first one. Books one two and four all form a continuous narrative. The third book feels very disjointed, mostly due to fact that it is a prequel to the series. However, it does fit nicely into the narrative. I was thrown by it, but I don't think I would have wanted to read them in another order.

They are young adult fiction books. The three are about two teens in the dying city of Ember who want to change things and save the city. (And what happens next...)

The setting is interesting and the society is believable.

Monday, May 26, 2014


By Brandon Sanderson
Hardback; 384 pages
YA fantasy

A page turner! Set in a future or alternate Chicago, this book is about one teen's mission to revenge his father's death.
It's an interesting world, and does have some surprising twists. Also, I love the constant and purposefully bad metaphors sprinkled throughout the book like pepper. Because you sprinkle pepper on things. I can't do bad puns as well as he can.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ranger's Apprentice

Over the last couple weeks I read this series. (Books 1-5 are already back at the library.) Sam is also reading them, she's on book 9 right now. They are maybe a middle school reading level, probably closer to 6th grade.
Each one is a simple adventure story, although sometimes the books do lead one right into the next without having resolved every detail of the preceding plotline.
Although the majority of the major characters are male, there are two girls who are also main characters, and I like that they are not wimpy stand on the sidelines and let someone else do the fighting characters. They actually do stuff. Important stuff. And they can fight but aren't crazy ninjas or anything. And when one character says something sexist, the others all scold.
Speaking of, a lot of young adult fiction ends up talking about sex in some way. I think mostly it is used in ways that are completely irrelevant to the story itself. This series doesn't do that. Aside from a brief conversation in which an older character lies to another about the profession of women in super short skirts... But it's such a small conversation that I know will go right over my daughter's head.
A good series, not deep or complex, but fun.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Are books allowed to tell me that they are about to engage in irony? That seems weird to me...

(Ranger's Apprentice book 9)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Carpet People; Emperor's Soul

Carpet people, about people who live in carpets, was interesting without completely being my cup of tea.

Emperor's Soul I loved, a really fast read.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eleanor & Park

By Rainbow Rowell
Ya lit
323 pages

A girl with a messed up family comes home after a year and her family is still messed up. She starts at a new school, doesn't know anyone, and is constantly made fun of.
The kids she sits next to on the bus is a decent guy and they develop a romantic relationship.
It captures the "end of the world" quality that I often observe in the relationships of my students.
It was a fast and interesting read, but I don't think I'll ever read it again.

Code Name Verity

Historical fiction.

Here's the weird thing: I read a large print version of this book - all that the library had- which made it feel so slow. But, It's actually a fast paced book about a captured spy and pilot. Both protagonists are women. It's set during WWII. it made me cry. A seriously good read; I'm glad I got it for world book night.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Way of Kings

By Brandon Sanderson
1007 pages

I really enjoyed this book. It's grownup epic fiction, which is quite different from all of the YA fluff I've been reading lately. A whole different mindset required. Lots of characters, story threads, and other elements to keep track of. Many names with K's in them.
A compelling and intriguing storyline. I am eager to go to the next book in the series, but I have a couple other hooks lined up before I get there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

All Our Yesterdays

By Cristin Terrill
360 pages

Time travel and all the troubles and paradoxes that entails. Well done and interesting!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


By Laurie Boyle Compton
306 pages

High school girl goes for the wrong guy, makes a stupid mistake, and suffers the social consequences. Not amazing, but okay. Plus, nice art.

Ranger's Apprentice Book 1: the Ruins of Gorlan

By John Flanagan
249 pages

Pure adventure! I know that there are a dozen books in this series. I can see the set-up of the "fellowship" that will be the support network of the protagonist.
The world is an interesting one; the book a coming of age medieval fantasy.
I am eager to continue the series.

Undead and Underwater

By Mary Janice Davidson
331 pages
A trilogy of novellas, all set in the same world. The first features a reluctant superhero, the second vampires and mermaids, the third werewolves. All of them, of course, feature the snark characteristic of this author. A fast, enjoyable read.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


#3 in the series by Ally Condie
512 pages

A very satisfying ending to a trilogy! Enough ambiguity left for believability, enough items neatly tied up for satisfaction.

The Dark and Hollow Places

By Carrie Ryan
Frost of Hands and Teeth #3
374 pages

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

By Laurie R. King
346 pages

An interesting take on the Holmes mythos. After his retirement, Holmes lives in rural England, tending his beehives. Along comes Mary Russell, a teenager wandering aimlessly around the moors. The two strike up an unlikely friendship and embark on a crime fighting partnership with occasional cameos from Watson and Ms. Hudson.
The mystery is dense and layered, the characters are believable.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote
Nonfiction novel
343 pages

In a small town, one evening, a family is brutally murdered. This book follows the crime, the killers, their pursuit and execution. It's an odd book. It was interesting, a little slow in places, and oddly literary in others.
A student recommended it to me, and I think that fact surprises me more than any other. What is it about this book that captures their attention? Maybe because it's a true story.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Avoiding reading.

I have not read a book since my last post. I blame work. There's a book, a good book, interesting, and engaging. I'm about to dive into a unit teaching it to just over half of my students. So I'm rereading it. Well, trying to. I just... don't want to pick it up. I keep carrying it around in my bag.
I'm obviously a terrible teacher if I am not even reading the book I'm about to assign.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Absolute Gentleman

An interesting take on the serial killer. I, in fact, kept forgetting that the protagonist was a killer. According to the author's note, this story was inspired by her interactions with a real serial killer, and this inspired the book. It is disjointed, but purposefully. It feels very human, very real. It was a good book; although, it was not so riveting that I will read it again.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Last Templar

Not young adult fiction. At all. (And less sex than most YA lit, which I find disturbing...)
Mostly set in modern times, this story concerns the race to recover the lost treasure of the Templars. It begins with a bold and gruesome attack on the NY Met, where the archeologist and FBI agent are drawn into the story. The archeologist sets off on the world spanning chase of the treasure and the FBI agent stays in close pursuit.
It takes a few unexpected twists. An enjoyable read.

Author: Raymond Khoury
Pages: 404

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hey love designs Valentine snail mail exchange

I signed up for a wonderful snail mail exchange and had this lovely card sent to me by someone in Alexandria. My card winged its way up to MA last weekend.
It was so nice to have a friendly card come in with all of the bills and advertising circulars. The card itself had a bit of a rough time coming through the mail, but that just means that I handed the loose rhinestonesto my children, who were immediately happy as well.
I like the idea of nice messages being sent to random strangers.

Double Dexter

I've read this one before. I didn't realize it until I was about 50 pages in. Didn't have a clue. It slowly felt more and more familiar until I realized that of course I must have already read it.
I did like it. It's an interesting plot, beginning with Dexter being seen commiting his foul nefarious act of murder....

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fight Club

Strange and interesting. Well done. It's been years since I've seen the movie, but I think that the two are pretty similar. Now, I want to go watch it again.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Perks of Being a Wallflower

It was an engaging book. Written in letter format ( just from the protagonist, no replies) and detailing the trials and tribulations one of his teenage years... Don't get me wrong, the character has got some legit baggage.
I didn't really like the end though. I both expected the big reveal and didn't really like how it was pulled off.
Overall though, I thought that it was a worthwhile read.
I'm curious how they translated it to the big screen... I wonder if it's on netflix.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

This was recommended to me, but I just couldn't get into it. At all. I didn't like the language, wasn't interested in the story.
Am I missing something?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Super interesting zombie read. Not too much given away, some mysteries intact. The protagonist is a young girl, a bit of a misfit. Her village falls to the Consecrated (zombies) and she and a few friends go down the forbidden path into the forest looking for safety.
Tons of people die in the book and it can be a bit sad.
The ending doesn't tie everything up neatly, some unanswered questions and some futures not certain.
I liked it.

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3)

An interesting end to the series. At times it felt as though events weren't making sense (through the entire series) but it did come together in the end. Lately, I've been pretty disappointed in the conclusions of trilogies, but this one was pretty well done.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rooftops of Tehran

A really engaging read so far. I don't know a lot about the culture, but that is in no way hindering my understanding or enjoyment of it.
Set in the 70's, the novel is following a teenage boy as he explores love, friendship, and politics. It's much more interesting than I just made it sound.
Page 143/345

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I'm on page 68 and so far this book is really boring. I keep feeling that something interesting is about to happen, and then it doesn't.
I'll give it one more chapter before giving up...

Monday, January 20, 2014


I saw the movie years ago and enjoyed it, but I don't really remember it anymore. I have the overall impression that the book is darker than the movie.
It has lively, well drawn characters, an interesting plot, and mouthwatering descriptions of food.
Page 181/306


Middle of the Matched trilogy. It had been a long time since I read Matched, but I picked the plot back up after the first two (short) chapters.
This book doesn't fall into the "kind of boring but important development because it's the middle book" trap. It stayed engaging and interesting.
I do have a couple questions about the end, but I guess that is what the last book is for...

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Not as sci-fi as the cover makes it look. Has little to do with the blurb on the jacket, which pretty much just describes the inciting incident for the main plot.
Set in London, which I was not expecting. A bit jarring, but the lingo wasn't totally unfamiliar to me.
Bittersweet ending.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Forever (Shiver, Linger, &...)

So this was the third book in the series. As endings of trilogies go, it was actually quite good. The characters remained true and believable... Well, as believable as werewolves can get...
It wasn't amazing, but I don't hate that I read them.
Interestingly, the copies I borrowed from the library at work were all signed by the author and this book in particular was dedicated to the students. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Plus, all the words are in burgundy. It makes it kind of fun to read just because it's different.
Hardback; 383 pages

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Allegiant (Divergent #3)

I don't enjoy the constant perspective shifting that the author had introduced in this book. However, the story itself is still pretty interesting.
Also, this passage about relationships really caught my attention.
Page 372/526

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Insurgent (Divergent Sequel)

Still interesting. The characters make a couple of stupid choices. The timeline seems a bit too compressed for believability. (Beatrice 2nd gen?)
I do want to read the next though, so that's promising...