Monday, August 22, 2016

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes (M. Miller)

     This story, by an author I just plain enjoy, focuses on a painting called "The Girl You Left Behind". It is  two stories wrapped into one. The first takes place during World War I in occupied France. It follows the difficult life of Sophie LeFevre and her husband, Edouard - a painter. The second takes place in modern day London. This one centers on Liv Halston, a young widow trying to get out of debt, think about new relationships, and find her way in the world. She owns a haunting painting of Sophie given to her by her late husband and painted by Edouard. The painting has come under investigation as one of many pieces of stolen art during wartime. The main investigator is Liv's possible love interest. In typical Moyes fashion, the writing tugs at your heartstrings occasionally, makes you chuckle occasionally and draws you right into the lives of her characters so that you just want to keep reading. This story is not for young kids, but is most appropriate for adults and young adults (grade 10 and up).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

X (N.Weakfall)

With the recent events in our country surrounding race relations and the Black Lives Matter movement, the reading of this book could not have been more timely.  This is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction that tells the story of young Malcolm X.  As a young boy, Malcolm was often in trouble for stealing food and was eventually taken from his family and sent to an alternative school.  While at this predominately white school, Malcolm was popular and was even voted in to be the president of his class.  One day after class, a conversation with his teacher changed his path drastically.  When asked what he wanted to be, Malcolm shares that he would love to be a lawyer.  His dreams are shattered by this teacher who tells him to be realistic, that's not a job he could possibly hold.  This conversation sets him on a path of drug dealing, hustling, and womanizing until he was eventually imprisoned on burglary charges.

Bone Gap (N. Weakfall)

Winner of the Printz Award for YA literature, Bone Gap is full of mystery, heartbreak, and a little bit of magic.   Finn and Sean are brothers who were abandoned by their mother when Finn was still in high school.  Sean has put his dreams aside to take care of his younger brother.  Finn seems a little "out there" with his odd expressions and strange distractions.  He swears he saw the man who abducted Roza, the beautiful woman who mysteriously appeared in the barn, but he cannot describe who took her.  No one believes his stories and the town mourns when Roza goes missing.

Though I enjoyed the book, I am not a huge fan of magic mixed in with my fiction unless I know I'm reading a fantasy book.  This would be a great book for anyone who does enjoy that little magical twist.  The chapters alternate the storytelling from a different character's point of view and it is intriguing how all these small town characters come together.

Every Last Word (N. Weakfall)

"If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling."

Sam is a junior in high school and even her best and closest friends don't know her biggest secret.  As she struggles with acceptance from a superficial group of girls, she stumbles upon Caroline who challenges her to step away from the fake and mundane and begin to love who she really is.  Through Caroline, Sam discovers a love for words she never knew existed, and in the meantime, finds a high school sweetheart.  This book is full of twists and turns and the tears shed over mental illness.  It is truly one of the best YA books I have read this year!  This book would be excellent for any high school student who struggles with confidence or attempts to be "normal."

New to writing book reviews? This can help!

So I'm brand new to this whole book review thing!  I found this website to help me get started.  I hope it can help some others, too!

Monday, July 18, 2016

My Summer Reading (So Far) (M Rousell)

This is my first blog post! Yay! I have many good books on my list this summer. I have read Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K . Johnston, which was an extremely good book about finding yourself again after a traumatic experience,
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle, which had a narrator who was very skilled in the art of making self-deprecating jokes,
 and The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe, which was a ghost story that wasn't that creepy because half of it was told from the ghost's point of view, and she was very confused about what was going on.
Right now I am currently reading The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, which is so so so good I read for about two hours straight this morning. It is set in Regency London, and I don't want to give too much away but I will just say that when you can do weird things in the 1800s, everyone either thinks you're an angel or a demon.
On my TBR list is Summer Days and Summer Nights, which is a collection of short stories by 12 YA authors, Beastly Bones, which is the sequel to Jackaby by William Ritter, Riders by Veronica Roth, and Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler. 
        I also am going to the library to exchange some books tomorrow and I am very excited about that. :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor (M Miller)

    What a heartwarming and uplifting story! Perry T. Cook was born and raised at the Blue River Correctional Facility. His "family", besides his mother, is the warden and the residents. When the new DA hears of this situation, he has Perry removed to live temporarily with his family. That family turns out to be that of Perry's best friend Zoey, which is a win; but, everything else seems to be in upheaval. Perry is a smart, thoughtful, and resourceful boy and what happens will warm readers' hearts (and, occasionally tug heartstrings) as he works to right what he feels is wrong. He is a good student, a hard-working library volunteer, and a great friend and son.
     This is a fresh and inspiring example of realistic fiction; filled with wonderful characters and just perfect for middle school age students.  :)