Review Goodness

BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman

IMG_3242Could. Not. Put. This. Down.
I started BLACKHEARTS yesterday, but I had to work (gah! – but I’m a LIBRARIAN! Can’t I read while I work? Pretty please?) I snuck it in my purse and read a few chapters whenever I thought I could get away with it. Which is why I’m not “sharing” this on Facebook. Too many work acquaintances. 😉

Now, I’m not a huge fan of romance. My boss teases me every day that I should write historical romances and I hiss at her. But Anne and Teach had me HOOKED. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t watch Mission Impossible with the rest of the fam. I don’t like swoony romances – this is not one. Anne is such a smart character; I loved that she didn’t fall head-over-heels in love and act like a love-sick ninny. I also don’t like quicky romances, you know – met you today, in bed an hour later = true love. Blackhearts is not one of those, either. I LOVED the slow, sweet way these two fell in love and I couldn’t wait to read more.

I really, really, REALLY hope there is a sequel!

Review: Now That You’re Here

nowThatYoureHereIt’s been a while, but I’m going to try to read (and review!) more books in 2015 – starting with NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE by Amy K. Nichols.

I was excited to read NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE because the parallel universe concept seemed unique and it didn’t disappoint. I was a little afraid that it would be too science-geeky for me and while a few of the concepts were over my head, the author did a fantastic job of making me NOT feel like an idiot while I was reading. 😉

It was so nice to have a book where the characters were smart and not superficial, and nice to have a YA book that didn’t try to push the envelope. I can already think of some of my science-loving students who are going to love reading this.

Can’t wait for the next book, WHILE YOU WERE GONE coming out on August 4th! (I thought I loved this cover, but WHILE YOU WERE GONE’s cover makes me swoon with all kinds of colory-starbursty love. Check it out and pre-order it while you do!

Middle Grade May – Stargirl

Recently for Children’s Book Week the entire school dressed as their favorite book characters. It was a fun day!

Of course I dressed up (um…Librarian? How could I not?) — here is a photo of my daughters and I. Can you guess who we were?
Our fourth grade teacher dressed in a flapper costume and said she was Stargirl. I loved her costume, but hadn’t read the book yet. Time to fix that!
I read it in a few hours. Loved it! Couldn’t put it down. I don’t understand why it took me so long to read it.
Stargirl makes her own name(s), dresses however she wants (and not how everyone else dresses), brings a ukulele to school with her and serenades people on their birthday, makes random cards for people and delivers them, and all other non-conformist things. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
At first, the other students love her and her differences, but after a while they turn on her for being so different.
Throughout the whole book I was either like, “OMG, that is SO me!” or “OMG, I wish that was me!” I think everyone who reads this (boy or girl) will see at least a little of themselves in Stargirl.
This is such a fantastic story about fitting in and even more importantly – not fitting in.
If you haven’t read it, then please do! It’s the best book I’ve read so far this year. Can’t wait to read LOVE, STARGIRL.

Middle Grade May – The One and Only Ivan

I decided to read only middle grade books in May (hence the name — Middle Grade May!) and I thought I’d share a few of the ones I’ve been reading on my blog with a little review.

The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate

I wasn’t sure what to think of this one, animal stories aren’t usually my favorite, but I’ve seen it on just about every list, so I thought — why not?

I downloaded it before I left for an all-night mall lock-in with my daughter.

Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
Even with dance music from the DJ blaring in one ear and hundreds of screaming, dancing, running girls blaring in the other one.

This is the first book I’ve ever read of Katherine Applegates, even though my students adore her Animorph’s series. I don’t know if this is her normal style of writing, but I LOVED it. Simple and beautiful. The characters she created were wonderful and I used four kleenex’s when I read it. That’s my idea of an amazing book.

In fact, I loved it so much that I downloaded it on my 10-year-old daughter’s Nook for her to read. I asked her for a quick review for the blog, so I’m sharing it here. She took the word “quick” seriously. 😉

Audrey’s (Age 10) Review:

It was cute and one of the best books I’ve ever read. I liked how the chapters were small and my favorite character was Bob.

Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

A few years ago, after I’d written my first book, I looked online for a beta reader. I was SO lucky to find Kellie! She is such an amazing reader and “got” my story – and let me tell you, that’s the best feeling. Over the next few years we’ve kept in touch and I’m SO EXCITED that Kellie wrote her own novel and I’m just as excited to be a part of her blog tour for Mortality!
SynopsisAfter surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death. 

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore. 
Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.
Read more about Kellie:

Claim To Fame Review

I recently finished reading “Claim to Fame” by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Being one of the biggest Haddix fans out there, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one.

I love surprises and Margaret’s books are chock full of them. This book did not disappoint. Lindsey Scott is a former child star who can hear everything said about her — good or bad. I love books about people with unique powers that cause problems. This one was so bad that Lindsey never wanted to leave her “safe” house until she is kidnapped.
The ending was a surprise which I love, but it did seem to wrap up a little quickly.
I can’t wait to add this book to the library shelves as soon as I get back to school on Monday — I already know some students that will love it!