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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Student Book Review: Witch & Wizard (Patterson)

Another of our Student Book Reviews. This review comes to you from a 6th grader at Evergreen!

Title: Witch and Wizard
Author: Patterson
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Mystery

Pages: 314
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

From the publisher:
A sister and brother, along with thousands of young people, have been kidnapped and either thrown in prison or turned up missing after accusations of witchcraft were made against them, and the ruling regime will do anything in order to suppress life and liberty, music and books.

From the student:
"Whit and Wisteria Allgood live a perfectly normal life...until now. When their neighbor accuses them of witchcraft, some members of the New Order throw them in jail. Could this witchcraft thing be a mistake or more than that?

I read this book because the book sounded interesting and had a good summary. Someone else would want to read this book because it has a cool cover and title.

I gave this book 5/5 stars because it had such a good plot, I couldn't put it down! It was full of adventure and plenty of romance for a wonderful story.

Fans of Harry Potter or Maximum Ride would also like this book, which is the first book in a series."

To be honest, I haven't read this series by James Patterson. But this review makes me think I should put it on my list to read soon!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Student Review: Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Smith)

Over the next several weeks/months, I am going to be posting Student Reviews here while I am busy with chemotherapy treatments. I am reading a ton, but may not get to writing up my reviews. In the meantime, it's always enjoyable to read what students think about the books.

This review comes to us from a student at Mark Morris High School. I am friends with the librarian there, and she has sent me this review. (Just an FYI: I LOVE THIS BOOK! It is one of my favorite books published this year).

Title: Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Smith
Genre: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Love, Travel

Pages: 236
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (based on the review; it was not rated)

From the publisher:
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

From the student (edited only for length):

"Of course the romance between these two is delicious, but it also is realistic and serendipitous. Neither character is perfect, which makes it all the better. There is astonishingly true-to-life dialogue. The banter between Hadley and Oliver is witty, but completely plausible. Their flirting is just as awkward as it is clever. Hadley’s guessing at Oliver’s possible research studies was absolutely delightful. The way they learn about each other through questioning is wonderful character development. By the time they’re stepping off the plane, you really know the both of them. 

Moving beyond this though, the story line with Hadley’s parents was a very profound piece of the novel. Putting oneself in that situation with her, of knowing one parent had left the other for someone else, it truly blows one’s mind. This book is written in such a way you feel the confusion and pain with Hadley. You feel the way Hadley both misses and hates her father, as well as her determination to hate his new life along with it. You are literally sucked into her shoes while reading this book. 

If I have any complaint at all, it would be that because it was written in third person, some of the dialogue got confusing with pronouns and such. All in all, I honestly could not put this book down. Once I really started it I finished it in a day’s time and was left with the need to tell everyone I know to read it."--Alyssa

I completely agree! Thanks for your insightful and well-written comments.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Seraphina

One of the better fantasies that I've read recently. Very sophisticated, great world building, political intrigue, assassination plots, and lots of secrets...oh, and there's dragons.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Blogtastic! series

This is an enjoyable series, especially for girl fans of the Wimpy Kid books who always ask me for a Wimpy Kid book for girls. These are the books for you!

Trailer Tuesday: Planet Tad

One of the funniest books that I've read in a long time. I love Tad! I hope there's more to come!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday 15: Soldier Stories

Veterans Day is right around the corner, so I thought I would honor all those who have served our country by posting my Top 15 favorite books about soldiers. In no particular order:

 (1) Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. Okay, I lied about no particular order. This biography of Pat Tillman is one of my all-time favs for several reasons. One, it's Jon Krakauer, so it's well-written and completely engaging. Two, it tells not only Tillman's story, but the history of Afghanistan and the region which I think is important for everyone to understand. Is there bias in Krakauer's narrative? Sure, but the story is still one that should be read. And three, it's about a true American hero...someone I admire and hope my children will grow up to be like.

(2) The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. Another complete favorite of mine! I spent the year this book came out recommending it to EVERYONE, adults and teens alike. Although they have never gotten along well, seventeen-year-old Levi follows his older brother Boaz, an ex-Marine, on a walking trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. in hopes of learning why Boaz is completely withdrawn. A must-read!

(3) Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant. True, not about American soldiers, but I enjoyed this book about the Crusades. A special horse named Hosanna changes the lives of two English brothers and those around them as they fight with King Richard I against Saladin's armies during the Third Crusades. Fans of "War Horse" will want to read this series starter.

(4) Five 4th of July by Pat Hughes and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson are two terrific novels about two young men from completely different circumstances fighting during the Revolutionary War.

(5) Kipling's Choice by Geert Spillebeen. A moving, fictionalized biography of eighteen-year-old John Kipling, son of writer Rudyard Kipling, who remembers his boyhood and the events leading up to World War I, as he lies dying on a battlefield in France.

(6) Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. When Thomas Peaceful's older brother is forced to join the British Army, Thomas decides to sign up as well, although he is only fourteen years old, to prove himself to his country, his family, his childhood love, Molly, and himself.

The next 5 are all stories set during WWII:

(7) A Boy at War by Harry Mazer
(8) Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac (pair this with the non-fiction title Navajo Code Talkers by Nathan Aaseng)
(9) Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley (this title for adults also has a young reader's edition).
(10) Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
(11) Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall

(12) is shared by two similar stories, both equally intriguing. Cracker!: the best dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata is the story of a young soldier in Vietnam and how he bonds with his bomb-sniffing German shepherd. Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock tells thirteen-year-old Mark's story after he donates his dog, Wolfie, to the Army's scout program in Vietnam, and then learns that the Army refuses to say when and if Wolfie will ever return.

(13) A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. This autobiography about a boy soldier plucked from his village in Sierra Leone at the age of 13 is not for the faint of heart. But it is a powerful memoir that is the unfortunate story of many around the world.

(14) Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins. Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other.

(15) Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am...another title by Harry Mazer (himself a Veteran). Ben leaves everything behind after graduation to enlist in the army. His convoy gets caught in an explosion, and Ben ends up in a coma for two months. When he wakes up, he doesn't know where he is or remember anything about his old life. His family and friends mourn what they see as a loss, but Ben perseveres.

To all our Veterans out there...THANK YOU! If you have not served, please remember to thank a Veteran on Sunday, and every day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Dark Lord: The Early Years

This is one of the funniest, yet oddest, books that I have read in a long time. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think this is a perfect book for middle school boys! It was so hard to write a review of it because it is so quirky...luckily the trailer speaks for itself.


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