Showing posts with label Young Adult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adult. Show all posts

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Dawn of Dreams (Destiny Book 1) by Bronwyn Leroux

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Jaden and Kayla’s lives couldn’t be more different. It’s 2073 and the two strangers are living worlds apart. Then something strange and terrifying brings them together. No one can see the hideous, malevolent creature but them. 

As if that wasn’t enough, the two discover that the beast stalking them isn’t the only thing they have in common. Venturing further down the path they have been forced onto, they join forces with strange and unusual comrades, suffer attacks from enemies beyond their imagination and begin unraveling the complex mystery of their mission. 

But discovering the answers to their questions comes with a price. Their lives will be forever changed. In a world on the verge of destruction, can this unlikely couple find a way to save it, all while trying to make sense of this inexplicable connection they feel for each other?

My Thoughts:
From the minute you begin this book you know something is not right in this world. The author has taken something as benign as a hike into the mountains and set the ball rolling into something that becomes terrifying for one of the  hiking team.  Jaden keeps seeing a creature and feeling its evil while no one else on the team can. They think he is losing it.

The second chapter introduces us to Kayla, a very likeable person from the very start. She reminded me of kids I’ve known who have had to move every couple of years because their parent(s) are in the military. You have just enough time to make friends and then poof they are gone. Kayla was lucky in that she found a friend by doing what she loved the most, running. However, like Jaden she too has seen the creature and felt its evil.

The first two chapters set everything up for an adventure I dove into head first. I liked both Jaden and Kayla. The connection they felt between each other seemed intense. However, they kept pulling away from each other and that annoyed me. The fact that there are secrets being kept and the story unfolds a little at a time is what kept me reading. Each of them discovered a medallion that had been in their family and passed down through the generations.Then there is the strange librarian, a mysterious book, a strange owl like creature who tells them they are the hope for the world Add the strange reactions of their mothers and you know the suspense can only get better. The book was so intriguing I had to know if the sequel was out. I am happy to say the second installment, "Dogs of Doom" came out in July. Yes, I did purchase it and will be reading and reviewing it soon. I also purchased a copy for my classroom shelves. This is exactly the type of book my kids will love. I am looking forward to continuing this awesome and at times terrifying journey with Jaden and Kayla.

 Author Bio From Amazon
From the gold mines of Africa to the glorious Bay views from Golden Gate Bridge to the spectacular Rockies, Bronwyn is an explorere at heart who loves to solve mysteries and avidly listens to audiobooks while playing in her sandpit (aka gardening). When she's not juggling the many balls she has in the air, she's following her passion and writing books for young adults.

You can find her::

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Pain Less Ordinary by L.V. Pires

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads
Becca's life is anything but ordinary. 

At fifteen, she's already experienced her share of pain. With a mom who drinks too much, a revolving door of father figures, and struggles at school, Becca wonders if she'll ever have a chance at a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane is her little sister, Chloe; that is, until her mother's breakdown leads to her sister's disappearance.

A PAIN LESS ORDINARY follows Becca as she figures out life on her own while searching for her family and her new role in the world. 

In this powerfully moving novel, L.V. Pires explores Becca's struggle with abandonment, drug abuse, homelessness, relationships, and how pain connects her to others.

My Thoughts

This is an amazing book.  I kept thinking that Becca could be any one of my students. The problem is I could name some of them who have been in a situation similar.  As I was reading this story I thought back to two years ago when a student came and talked with me. She was extremely depressed.  She lived with her aunt and her mom was trying to re-establish contact. She didn’t know how to feel about it. Her mom had been an alcoholic and a drug user.  She and her younger sister, who was two years old,  were always hungry. Her younger sister tried to open the open the oven door. The stove was propped up in the back and was unstable enough it fell on her crushing her. This young girl spoke of trying to lift the stove off of her sister. She spoke of trying to wake her drunk mother up and hearing her mother blame her.  I had not thought of that until I read this book. There are so many Becca’s out there. Their story is just as heart-wrenching.  Yet there is hope for them. Sometimes it comes from the unexpected.  In this review, I am not going to speak more about the book.  This was one of those that caused me to make a connection to real life. Enough said.  I would highly recommend this book and will purchase it for my shelves at school. Like I said, there are other Becca’s out there or people who know Becca’s and they need to read this story.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Shadow Stalker by Renee Scattergood

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Brief Synopsis:
A young shadow stalker is destined to enslave the people of the Serpent Isles, and the Galvadi Empire want this child of prophecy dead. Auren Trasks perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

Auren has literally lived a fairly protected life. She has lived with her step-father Kato whose job was to protect her. Protect her from what?  Ahhh… there are so many secrets that slowly unfold.  Auren like a lot of teens rebels against her step-father. When their land is invaded Kato whisks her away where she learns who and what she truly is. He trains her harder. This of course makes the tension greater.  The author leaves you asking so many questions as she complicates Auren’s life.  The world building the author has done is extraordinary.  For me I loved the fact that this is written as a series.  I loved how real Auren’s character felt.  Her teen behavior is spot on.  This book grabs you from the very beginning. I am always telling my students that when they write, their hook must grab the reader or else they have lost them from the very beginning. Scattergood’s story hooks you so well you can’t help but go along for the ride. The pacing is nice. We watch Auren change and grow in so many ways. She had created characters that you both love and hate. Kato was one of those characters.  I loved how protective he was of her, but really hated the way he demonstrated his protection at times.  If describing this book to my students, which I will, I would tell them that the scenes are electrifying.  I could picture this book as a movie in my head. The tension is tight enough you want to hold your breath to see what will happen next.  Although I received a copy of this first book to review, I have purchased #2 and #3.  I can’t wait to read them.  Well done Renee Scattergood.

You can visit her author website here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I Am Sleepless: Sim 299 by Johan Twiss

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own,

In some ways this book reminded me of the Ender’s series, because the hope of success in the war are children. However, that is where it deviates. The powers in charge have used human babies and injected them with something that often kills the baby. If they are lucky the serum works and they become one of many  species with specific gifts. Aiden is a freak among these freaks. He has two gifts. When they are in the pit practicing against each other he is suddenly able to meld his two gifts together. In this way he is able to anticipate his opponent’s moves and win.  This creates some enemies.  Each of these “gifts” comes with a defect. For Aiden the defect is he never sleeps. I loved that these species had identifiable characteristics. Aiden has the gift of a vibrant and a puzzler. He has green hair and gray skin. Most vibrunts are blind, but he is not. He also has the gift of a puzzler where he can figure complex things out.
They get the shakes and usually can’t sleep. Aiden is the youngest person to make it through most of the simulators. He is currently in sim 299. Three of his rivals end up with an invitation to that sim. They enter to seek revenge. They end up needing each other. Dixon is an agulator who can change the density of his body. Zana is a Mek. She is blue and although she is a dwarf, her engineering genius holds lots of promise. Unfortunately they usually sabotage their own work.  Aiden has two other friends  that help him . They all become like family.  But things are about to take a twisted turn. Someone doesn’t like what is happening and enters the game to shake things up.

It took me a little time to get the different type of characters straight and understand their gifts and defects. Once I understood it, I loved it. The world this author has created is beautiful.  It seems it is a simple world and then you realize how complex it is. The plot is fairly complex as well. There are a lot of hidden secrets. I loved the book so well that I bought the second book. I am really looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Edge the Bare Garden by Roseanne Chen

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

My Thoughts
Agnes has never fit in. She has accepted this. She is bullied. When she finally reaches her breaking point, she takes matters into her own hands. She starts a blog where she starts telling secrets she knows about those who have tormented her. However, as things usually happen, things get out of hand. I would start the reading of this book by asking my students to answer the question; is it ever okay to seek revenge? What are some possible consequences of taking matters into your own hands?

I have decided to promote this throughout my school. This is a book that needs to be in each of my department’s classroom. As a middle grade English teacher I definitely could see this happening to any of my students. I have seen some of the things they post online to each other. It is so easy to be so nasty to each other. Teens today don’t consider it is the same as walking up to that person and saying it to their face. The major difference is that online, it is open for anyone and everyone to see. It becomes very public. They detach themselves from what they have written.  I understand why Agnes did what she did. However, I think she could have handled things differently. Once something is out there online, you can’t take it back.  This comes with questions in the back which help out the teacher.  Every parent should read this with their child or along with them to facilitate those all important discussions.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Burning by D.E.L. Connor

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I purchased it

This is the third book in this wonderful series. The characters in this series are connected to animal spirits. For those who love to read Native American stories, then this is the series for you. These teens have done battle before.  They have been fighting the evil spirit of Machayiwiwi, who was at one time a very powerful medicine man. The teens are guided and helped through visions given them by ancient chiefs.

This book is full of real life. Each of the teens deal with personal things in their own life. There are so many things happening that any reader will find something t identify with. There are many teens who deal with divorced or alcoholic parents. These teens deal with their feelings of love and jealousy. This author really knows how to keep the story real, but include the elements of magic in just the right does.

This book doesn’t have teens just jumping in trying to fight the evil. You see them actually live their life and get involved in things that aren’t always right or best for them. In other words it is todays reality.   If you haven’t read the other two books in the series you need to do just that. Make sure you have plenty of tissues handy. The author doesn’t sugar coat her plot. People die and teens must deal with it. Pull up a chair and prepare to read a book you can’t put down. Join Emme, Ollie, Charlie, Bets and their friends for an adventure you won’t soon forget.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Rise of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I purchased a copy

From Goodreads:
Reeling from what the students at Excelsine University are calling "Bloody Tuesday," Ren is determined to regather her magical family. But the events of the attack were not without multiple costs. Magically broken and exposed, Ren is ripe pickings for multiple factions that want to use and chain her, and the Department is the scariest of the pack.

With only a limited amount of time to save her friend, and confined with the rest of the student body awaiting their fate, Ren stands a mere hairsbreadth from losing her freedom completely with each and every decision she makes.

My Thoughts:
I thought that this was the final book in the series, and was surprised to learn it is not.  Ren’s character continues to grow.  She continues to be the best friend that she can be. She still puts herself on the back burner for her friends. The bond between all of them is strong.  In this book we see more of the contrast between Dare and Constantine.  Ren’s magic makes her a target which in turn puts her friends in danger.  The loyalty and disloyalty in this book has been taken up a notch. Fighting the “Department” was terrifying to read.  This book in my opinion is much darker and more violent. Don’t get me wrong, I love dark novels. This one seemed to end so abruptly that I can’t wait to read what will be in the next one. I will warn that this one is a lot more violent.  I enjoyed it immensely.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Protection of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Barely surviving her first term at college, all Ren wants to do over break is relax and bond with her roommate—not get eaten by a sentient building or attacked on the street. But with increasingly open warfare brewing between the magical factions and Layers of the world, this time, Ren will not fail in making sure everyone she loves stays safe and protected. 

That includes doing things like filling her parent's house with personal art heavily embedded with wards, bubble-wrapping her increasingly imperiled roommate, and even making sure that a certain sexy thorn-in-her-side continues to breathe free air.

Finding herself on duty protecting the entire university alongside campus god Alexander Dare...was not what she'd had in mind. 

But this time it's not only her life on the line. And Ren will do anything to protect those she loves.

My Thoughts:

While I loved the first book in this series, the second was even better. We get to see the characters grow throughout the story. No stale, static characters here.  I really enjoyed getting to know Dare better.   Excelsine, the world the author has created just keeps getting better.  Ren has worked her magic when it comes to friending people. Olivia has started to come around now.  Reading this book is like peeling an onion one layer at a time. The story line gets sweeter and sweeter.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Awakening of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

From Goodreads:
Ren Crown is a high school senior searching for her identity when a devastating attack on her twin brother thrusts her into a hidden world of magic. Fighting forces that she is woefully unprepared for, Ren illegally enrolls in a prestigious secret university where magic is plentiful and danger is absolute.

Determined to set her family back to rights, she is blocked at every turn and faced with a new reality of boundless fascination and possibility. Animated creations, enchanted gadgets, and marvelous machines vie with the students themselves: mischievous engineers, diabolical tacticians, battle-hardened warriors, and terrifying roommates.

But even amidst an eclectic student body, there is something off about Ren's magic...and the wrong people have started to notice.

Caught in a tightening web, Ren's values stand trial, as does the fate of the world.

My Thoughts:
I loved how thought out the characters were. They became real on the pages. The love Ren feels for her twin brother goes above and beyond. It made me ask how far I would go for one of my siblings, and would I know when enough was enough? I really liked that the romance/crush wasn’t over done in this book. I hate mushy romances, always have. We didn’t find what is found in so many stories, instant love. Instead the author let feelings develop slowly and naturally. The creation of all of the magical creatures shows how well developed the author’s imagination is. That for me is a big plus.
The title was the best at describing what happened to Ren, her magic awakens.  Awesome characters, great world building, make this a series to be read.   Come back tomorrow for the second book in the series, The  Protection of Ren Crown and then Saturday for the final book in the series, The Rise of Ren Crown.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Escape From the Past: The Dukes Wrath by Annette Oppenlander

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he's sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn't realize that 1) He's been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game's rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past—forever.

Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets' nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

My Thoughts:
I love time travel books. This one here was over the top. You have a kid transported to another time through a video game.  Every kid today will be able to identify with that. Imagine going from current time to medieval times. No matter what you have read in books, you would not have everything you need to fit in.

I loved that you were brought into the book and into the time period. This is what great Historical Fiction does. Students will be so enthralled with Max and his situation they won’t even realize they have been learning history until they start talking with each other. Through this book  readers will learn what life was like for everyone during this time from the lowly peasant all the way up to the life of a knight.

My problem with a lot of time travel stories is the manner in which the author chooses to  bring their character back to present time. I’m often left feeling cheated. I can tell you up front you won’t feel that way with this book.  You will love it.  This is a series I can say I will enjoy from beginning to end. I can’t wait for my first student to read it.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Key to Tartarus by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
When Evangeline's best friend and "almost" boyfriend Raphe is kidnapped by a sinister, supernatural being, she must use her magical powers and wits to try to save him. Her journey takes her into a mythical underworld where she battles furious spirits, her own self-doubts, and ancient, cruel Gods, as she struggles to find Raphe. In the end she will be forced to make an unbearable choice. Either save Raphe, or condemn him, and others she cares about, to be tortured for eternity...

My Review:
How far would you be willing to go to save a friend. Would you go to Tartarus, the pit below hell? Evangeline, the latest descendant from Pandora does just that.  She has already lost so much. She lost her best friend who belonged to a secret sect that exists to protect her and all descendant of Pandora.  When people stopped believing in the Gods they began to wither away. Zeus has never forgiven Pandora for trapping annihilation in the box. He will do anything to make that happen. If he can just kill the one who holds Pandora’s key, then someone else will be able to take the key and open the box.

Zeus earns Evangeline’s trust. As an old man receiving chemo, he has convinced her to read to him. She is a volunteer at the hospital where her current guardian, a doctor works. This is the same doctor who is helping to keep her mother alive as Evangeline tries to find a way to break  the curse Zeus placed on her and her ancestors.  When he convinces Evangeline to bring her best friend Raphe to the hospital things are set in motion. A gate to the underworld appears in his room. He grabs Raphe and goes through the gate.  Even though it may cost her the life everyone is trying to save, she goes anyway.  The only other way to enter the underworld is to die. Many will be willing to sacrifice their lives so that she can live. Zeus is sure to change the rules if Evangeline is to survive.

This is the second book in the trilogy. The third book “Fate’s Key” will be out this spring. This series is a definite must read.  The first book sucks you in, the second book thrusts you forward into her life and adventures, making you want her to succeed for all of mankind.  What will the third book hold? I guess that in some ways we are all like Pandora, curious.  It is this curiosity that will drive you to read this series.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Three by Jeff and Erynn Altabef

Second Chances by Jeff Altabef adn Erynn Altabef
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Short Story
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
One night changes everything.
One chance meeting forces a young man to make a choice.
Will he do what’s right?
Or what’s easy?

Ayden is forced to remember old secrets he’d rather not reveal when his daughter returns home with questions about his shadowy past and dangerous legacy. Will she understand when he tells her about the night mysterious strangers came to his sleepy Arizona town looking for a local medicine man?
As his tale unfolds, Ayden pieces together the mystery that connected a recent murder, the strangers, and the medicine man’s bizarre behavior. Will he allow old demons to rule him, or will he get a second chance?

My Thoughts:
This book is a short story that fills in the gaps after Wind Catcher. It is precise and not only answers questions you had left, but leaves you with more so that you must read the next book.   It is a must read, eventhough it is short.

Brink of Dawn by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabeff
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The Opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
They walk among us as if they are gods.
Only the Chosen know what they are.
Only the Chosen know to fear them.
And only the Chosen can defeat them.

Evolved Publishing presents the second book in the multiple award-winning Chosen series of young adult mystery thrillers, which feature an American Indian fantasy and supernatural theme, from the same author who brought you the award-winning thriller Shatter Point, and his daughter.

Juliet Wildfire Stone and her best friend, Troy Buckhorn, barely escaped their sleepy Arizona town alive. Now they’re speeding to New York City to find the three other Chosen. The Chosen must band together to face an ancient foe that threatens all humanity.

Yet Juliet doesn’t know whom to trust, and strange things are happening in the City.

The Chosen will be tested, their resolve questioned, and their flaws exposed. Each must decide whether he or she will fulfill their destiny—or run. To defeat the enemy, they must stop battling among themselves and overcome their own struggles.

Only one can lead them. Will Juliet embrace her powers in time?

My Thoughts:
This is the second book in the Chosen series. I reviewed Wind Catcher here. In this book we find Juliet and Troy trying to locate the other “chosen”. This is the only way they can battle the Deltaite and have a chance of winning. Juliet and her friends must each learn to control the special ability or ‘gift’ they have.  Juliet has a gift of “seeing visions” yet she doesn’t trust herself enough with her gift. This is what makes this book stand out among others with similar plot lines. You have characters, who have a gift, yet they are not robotic. They are very dimensional and fleshed out. They are flawed and we the reader are privy to their flaws. This makes them a character the reader can relate to.
There is enough here to make you wonder if they will be able to save the world; just enough to keep you coming back for more. Definitely an author you want to watch.

I am looking forward to the final book in the trilogy, Scorched Souls.  As far as I’m concerned it can’t come soon enough.

Enemies of the State by Jeff Altabef
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Short Story
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Steven Cabbott is fighting some serious personal demons, and with America on the brink of civil war, knowing whom to trust is almost impossible. Especially when the person he trusts least of all is himself.
After joining a special operations unit at a young age, the government turned Steven into a killer, and worse—someone who enjoys killing. He tells himself that was a different version of him, and he has changed. Yet one simple question haunts him: does he really want to change?
As civil war threatens to rip America apart, he yearns only for redemption and a good night’s rest. Two young dissident leaders may hold the key to Steven’s absolution, and to peace, but the government is poised to abduct them.
Faced with near impossible odds, Steven must extract the dissidents, but he encounters treachery at every turn, and he’s running out of time. Can he keep his personal demons in check long enough to save the rebels, or will the government claim them all as Enemies of the State?

My Thoughts:
This short story is sure to get your blood pumping. Steven has lived a life full of killing. He grew up in the ghettos where he saw his mom deal with her own demons. He escaped the ghettos and signed up for the military where he became a special asset, a killer. He could kill without blinking an eye. Then one day he walked away from it all. He hired out to work for a man who lives in one world, but he believes truly wants to make a difference in the world Steven came from. When one of his bosses' employees ends up dead it is his job to interrogate the killer and do what he has to do to protect his boss.  The question is, can he keep his demons at bay or will they resurface and turn him back into the man he tried to leave behind?  This is going to be one great thriller. This short story is like a prequel to what is to come.  Love reading the work of this author.

I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Diary of an Ugly Sweater by Cassi Eubank

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I have read books from many different perspectives. This is the first time I’ve read a book told from the perspective of a sweater. That made this book very interesting. Sophie is the sweater’s name and she is a Christmas sweater. Her story is told in diary form. The beginning is charming. She describes her family as the “Tree with Pom Balls” family. She is a sweater with a Christmas tree on the front and pom poms that decorate it like ornaments. She refers to other sweater families such as the “Santa Sitting on the Toilet” family. From the different “families” she mentions you get the idea of what each sweater looks like. She addresses issues such as judging others based on looks, attitudes, how to get what you want out of life. This is a unique way  to teach life lessons. The story is charming and the lessons are subtle enough not to detract from the story. It is so well written that you can feel the emotions throughout the story.  This is a book that is for young and old alike.  I don’t think  I will ever look at an “ugly” sweater the same way again, and never without thinking about this story.  This is the perfect read for the Christmas season.

Author Bio from her Site:
Results Coach Cassi Eubank is passionate about showing women how to create extraordinary success and fulfillment in their life by changing their BS (belief system) and connecting with their purpose and passion. After spending over a decade studying the psychology of success, she has created an innovative and effective system, implementing techniques which will unconsciously keep you motivated and focused, increasing your level of success and abundance in all areas of your life. As a speaker and author, she shares with others to guide them to the results they desire and deserve through her Train Your Brain for Rock Star Success programs. She is also passionate about health and wellness and hosts a KYSS Retreat (Kickstart Your Skinny Self) which is mostly about taking care of yourself and having a mindset for living a healthy, active life. That with her famous accountability calls will give you results in your waistline and your frame of mind. Visit her website to learn about upcoming speaking engagements, workshops and events where you can connect with Cassi, or to read her blog along with other valuable freebies that will be gifted to you.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Annexed - Sharon Dogar

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy.

I grew up with the story of Anne Frank and her diary. I was thrilled when I was younger to discover we shared the same birth date.  For these reasons I decided to read this book that is wonderfully told from Peter Van Pels point of view.  It was interesting to note that Peter saw Anne as a very annoying child until they had shared the annex for a couple of years. We then find his opinion of her changing. He has begun to fall for her. I kept wondering, if they had both lived, would they have ended up together? Anne tried to look at the good in people and God, whereas Peter kind of took the other road. Anne always expressed herself through her writing. Peter liked to express himself through his drawing.  What is interesting about this book is that we look at Peter’s life once he is sent to the concentration camp. No, we don’t really know his story. The author has done a lot of research into what it would have been like. She based it on the accounts of survivors.  It is often hard to tell what is actually true and what is fiction because the writing has so beautifully intertwined the facts with fiction.  I did enjoy the end of her book where she tells the reader what happened to Anne and those who spent all of that time hiding in the Annex. This is definitely a book not to be missed. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading

Genre:  Middle Grade , Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

The 13th of each month is a very special date for Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers. They are brand new members of The Dragon of the Month Club. Their adventure begins with Ayana, hiding in the library after a run in with her worst nightmare, Heather van der Sloot, who constantly bullies her. It was because of her hiding in the library that she meets and becomes best friends with Tyler.  While sitting in the library she finds a magical book. They take the book and try to conjure up a dragon. They are finally successful.  One bad spell attempt and they find themselves traveling through strange worlds. These worlds are related to the books lying around Tyler’s world. Now all they need to do is find a way back home.  They meet several people along the way who try to help them, and some not so nice people.

Iain Reading has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I started reading his Kitty Hawk books and now I’m introduced to a fantastical world.  This is the type of book I would have spent hours in my room, wishing I could slip into the pages and have an adventure.

He does an excellent job when it comes to creating characters that the reader can relate to. His world building, as always is excellent.  I loved the idea of being able to call up different kinds of dragons. They aren’t your ordinary dragons. I loved the idea of a fog dragon. Even more than that, I loved the idea of a dragon of the month club where you could summon a dragon each month on a specific day.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. More importantly, I’m looking forward to sharing these with my students.


There is an ongoing contest for readers to win a one-of-a-kind hardcover version of The Dragon of the Month Club with their artwork as the cover.

“Draw a picture! Write a story! Take a photograph! Bake some cookies! Mold a dragon out of clay! Knit one out of yarn! Make one out of LEGO! Whatever you want! Just let your imagination run wild because anything goes – the more creative the better! Send your dragon in and then on the 13th day of every month one entry will be chosen at random and featured on the official Dragon Of The Month Club website. Each month’s lucky winner will also receive a free one-of-a-kind personalized hard-cover edition of The Dragon Of The Month Club book featuring their winning artwork (or other creative content) on the cover or inside the book itself,” says Iain.

To learn more, go to 

About the Author:

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain writes young adult novels. He is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to

Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ghosts of Manitowish Waters - G.M. Moore

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Tess O'Brien finds her life inexplicably intertwined with the rebellious teen Cain Mathews and the conflicted Wesley Thayer as they search the vast Wisconsin woodlands for a mystical albino deer herd.

An ominous curse, a mysterious fog and villainous poachers plague their journeys as the three struggle to come to terms with their lives, their parents and the wilderness they love.

"Ghosts of Manitowish Waters "is a coming of age story about finding your own path and following it. It's a lesson in knowing when to obey your parents and when to have the courage to defy them.

My Thoughts:
So suspensful. I read it in one sitting. What happens when you have an over protective parent? You rebel. I understood Tess's father being overprotective. I became that overprotective parent after my son was run over while playing in our front yard. If it had not been for my marriage to a wonderful man who was patient with me while teaching me it  was okay to give my son and daughter some freedom, I would have remained that overprotective parent.

For Tess, her rebellion causes her to meet Cain and start a quest with him. The quest will put them in danger from poachers. They are trying to protect the white deer. There is a large herd of these albino deer in Wisconsin and the author did a great job of making this plight known through this story.  Sometimes it is necessary to do what you know is right. That is a lesson taught in this book. This is a wonderful, mysterious read. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Good Intentions by Pembroke Sinclair

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Katie has been through Hell—literally—and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.  In fact, she kind of enjoyed it.  She got to be with Josh, found out about her past, and discovered who she wanted to be as a person.  Katie didn’t care that her actions went against social norms.  She was happy.

But things are changing—again.  Wes has come back into her life, and that can only mean trouble.  His presence threatens to unravel her new-found happiness.  She can’t allow that.  She won’t let him back in.  Yet, Katie can’t push him away.

Thrown back into a state of confusion and uncertainty, Katie is once again forced to pick sides, and in the process, she may lose herself.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When the Music Stops by Patty Eger

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I loved this sequel to 84 Ribbons.  After her injury Marta returns home.  At first she just hangs out around the house, most days in her robe.  She still has an issue with diet pills.  Steve has been a big support throughout this whole thing.  He is still supportive when she makes a mistake that could ruin their relationship.  Marta’s biggest issue is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.  Before the accident she thought she had her whole life mapped out before her.  Now she is so confused.  What starts out as helping her mother at the dance studio, turns into so much more?  Will this be what it takes for her to straighten out her life?  When she meets the parent of one of her students she feels conflicted.  Will she still stay with Steve, or will her life take her down a different path?  At times I felt annoyed at her indecision.  I think I felt that way because I am a person who has a difficult time making decisions. Once I’ve made the decision the commitment is there 110%.  I know this is how Marta felt. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who love the world of dance or love to read about the world of dance.  This book didn’t focus on Marta’s dance so much as her dance with life changes. An excellent book.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dragon’s Future by Kandi J. Wyatt

Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Every child of Woolpren dreams of becoming one, but only a few are chosen. Now, ten-year-old twin brother and sister, Ruskya and Duskya, have been selected to join an elite group of riders: dragon riders. Full of awe and excitement, the twins leave their mother, and their home, to train for their new lives.

Fifteen years later, dragons are becoming extinct and riders are rare. One day, Ruskya is at the general store in town when a man announces that he is recruiting new dragon riders. Ruskya goes undercover, and discovers that there is another colony of riders with their own agenda—a quest to find a mysterious plant that could restore the dragon population, or destroy it. When a battle erupts between the two colonies, it’s up to Ruskya and his friends to fight for their dragons’ future, and their lives.

Follow Ruskya’s quest as he finds courage and friendship in this exciting middle grade fantasy series by new author Kandi J Wyatt.

My Thoughts:
Not since reading Christopher Paolini’s “Eragon” have I read a book about dragons that made me want to be a part of that world.  I felt myself wishing I could be in the procession and chosen by a dragon. The book is full of adventure, danger and courage.  All of these are qualities I look for when searching for books for my students to read.  The author has given special gifts to these dragon riders and used simple plants to create the magic that makes all of this work together.  I read this book much slower than I usually read because I wanted to savor every word and didn’t want it to end.  The world the author created was so well described and authentic I could visualize it.  There are subtle lessons and themes throughout the story about friendship, trust, courage and the abuse of power. This would fit right in with my first or second teaching unit on adversity because the characters face some of the most adverse situations ever.   It is at times an emotional read as you feel the pain the twins feel as the story of what happened to their father is slowly unfolded.  This author is truly gifted at feeding in back story a little at a time in just the right places to keep it flowing. She never creates an information dump.  The book ends with so many possibilities for future books I the series.  I can hardly wait for the next book.

Kandi Wyatt has created a story that keeps you flying high like her dragon riders, making this a story for everyone from the reluctant middle school reader to the adventure seeking adult. This is a book that should be on every fantasy shelf, in every school.

About the Author:

Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.” To learn more, visit:

You Can Find her here:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Dead Lands – Rick Hautala

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Take a mystery, add a ghost into it, tack on a murder and you have the makings of an excellent book.
Abby is a ghost who lives in a cemetery in the Dead Lands. She’s been dead for over 100 years. She’s not sure why, unlike the many that she helps, she’s been unable to move on.  She sleeps until she hears a mockingbird sing, which signals that someone needs her help.  This time it is Meagan who has shown up.  Abby quickly whisks her into the cemetery.  Why?  Abby’s uncle George Wheeler, who was once a pastor chases Abby along with his Hell Hounds.  He’s determined to get her to come to his side of things. Abby must help Meagan find out who murdered her and help her get justice.  She must do this all without being caught by her uncle.  Abby has a protector who quickly comes to her aid.  She doesn’t know who he is or when he will show up but he does.  There is a second story line that flows through this story.  Jim Burke purchased a locket that used to belong to Abby. Inside the locket is a strand of hair and a key. He was originally going to buy it for his mother because she like it, but decided to keep it because he feels strangely drawn to it. This connection is what allows him to see Abby, something no other living being has been able to accomplish. We are left at the end of the book with Meagan’s mystery solved, but not Abby’s.  This is a great set up for a second book. It can be read as a stand-alone book.

When I went in search of this author who was new to me, I was saddened to learn he had died of a heart attack in 2013.  I love his book and would have gladly read the entire series.  It was so good that it only took me a couple of hours to read it.  Now we will never have the answers to the questions we had at the end of the book about Abby and her uncle.  I will recommend this to all of my students.  It is one of the best I’ve read in a long time.