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

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Student Saturday: What Waits in the Water by Kieran Scott

 


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Horror
Student Reviewer: Alyssa O.

The story What Waits in the Water written by Kieran Scott is a scary and breath-taking book. This book makes you want to keep reading. The setting of this book takes place at an older lake house. The main character Hannah is spending a weekend at the lake house. The lake next to the house starts to seem creepy. I relate to this story by being scared to go somewhere. Although the places I had to go are not actually scary this story is scary. I would read this story many more times again. I recommend this to middle schoolers or older. 



Saturday, May 18, 2024

Student Saturday: The Lost by Natasha Preston

 


Genre: Young Adult, Thriller/Mystery

Student Reviewer: Benjamin T.   

This book is about Piper and Hazel, two teenagers with Hazel having curly hair and usually being a strong person, and with Piper, the main character and which the point of view is from. Piper has dark hair and learns to become hard-minded and is the most rational out of them. Teens in their neighborhood have been going missing and everyone says that they are just runaway teens, as their area is small and there is a bigger city a bit far from there. One day, Piper and Hazel get kidnapped, and they are led to a big old building that was renovated and has a lot of doors and confusing pathways. It has 6 rooms for different physical and mental challenges. As well as other rooms for the group to stay in, with a bathroom and sleeping area. Room 0 puts two people up against each other and there is water, sound, temperature, sleep deprivation room etc. There are some other people there, Theo, Lucia, and Priya, who Theo has been in there the longest, tall, and calm while Lucia has just been put in for a few days and is short and blonde. She also has a temper. Priya is the one who comforts everyone and has been in there for a few weeks. The main antagonists are three people, Matt, Caleb, and Owen who love twisted games and seeing people suffer. They lure in people by trying to be their friends or showing interest. The story follows as Piper goes through the rooms and they plan to break out. Will they escape? What will happen in room 0? Will the three masterminds get caught? If i were in their situation, I would immediately try to create a plan to escape, instead of waiting a bit, but their plan was very thought out and is what I would’ve done in that situation.

Overall, I was not expecting anything from this book, but as I read it more, it became increasingly interesting to me. In all, I liked this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Mystery or psychological thrillers. The ending was surprising, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Student Saturday: The Circus of Stolen Dreams by Lorelei Savaryn

 





Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Mystery, Fantasy
Student Reviewer Olivia S.

In the book “The Circus of Stolen Dreams” Andrea is a 12-year-old girl that has suffered many losses, such as her parents divorcing, but she has always had her little brother to stay by her side and to comfort, until he mysteriously disappears one night. Three years later and they still find no trace of him. Andrea has hardened her heart and has shut herself down for three long years struggling with the loss of her shadow, until she smells sweets and popcorn in the air along with a chance of relief. Andrea is given a chance to go into the magical world of Reverie in exchange for a memory, dream, or nightmare, and she knows exactly what she wants to forget. What Andrea does not know is Reverie is not all that it seems and entering the magical world of Reverie means a chance at finding her brother. Willz Andrea find her brother before it’s too late, or will she fall prey to the trap that is Reverie, like so many children before her?

Andrea is a 12-year-old girl from Ohio who during most of the story feels guilty and sad. Throughout the story, Andrea is shown as brave and resilient. She is not afraid to face her fears to find answers. This book reminds me of “Percy Jackson the lightning thief,” since Percy loses his mother and blames himself, while Andrea loses her brother and blames herself. They both lose their loved ones and go through trials to find them. I would recommend this book to nine-year-olds through fourteen-year-olds since this book does not have many plot twists and you can predict what is going to happen before it happens. This book met my expectations, and even though the book was mostly predictable, it was still nice to see Andrea's healing process throughout the story and to see her love for her brother.


Saturday, December 9, 2023

Student Saturday: One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

 


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller 
Student Reviewer:  Campbell P.

The book "One of us is next" is a part of a suspenseful mystery series. The story is based on a group of kids called the Bayview four, who recently solved a mystery on their friends' death. It takes place in the town of Bayview in present times and contains much high school drama as well as a dangerous game of truth or dare. The three main characters, Maeve, Knox, and Phoebe are all very determined to solve this mystery of who runs the truth or dare game. This book reminds me of the book A Good Girl's Guide toMurder,   as they both feature friend groups being the target of someone's plan. This is a very suspenseful, yet a must-read book that I would recommend to readers who love thrilling, mystery, and good plot twists.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Watchman's Keep by Alfred M.Struthers

 


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

Each book in this series gets better and better. The amount of research that goes into the details in the book are extensive. In this story we find Nathan once again in the thick of things. After the man who had tried to kill him is put in prison, Nathan goes back to his old job of sorting books.  His best friend and side-kick Gina is once again helping him solve a riddle.  Nathan's mentor in all things regarding the bookcase has flown to Europe. He is hot on the trail of Ginette, the sister of Edouard Dampierre who now sits in prison.  Tobe expected she is not there, but in the United States looking for Nathan. One call is all it took to keep Gina and Nathan confined to their house.  Jamieson is sure Ginette is after Nathan and to take over the business her brother was running in the states. Unfortunately for her things are not going to go as planned.

One thing I absolutely love about the books is the massive amount of research that goes into each one. The author has compiled information in the back of the book to help those less acquainted with fine art. I may not have known the artwork of many of them mentioned, but understood what sgrafitto and slump molds were. Both have been used by my husband and myself when we owned a ceramic business and my husband worked with glass.  The complexity of each book increases, which is why I said it is for young adults as well.  The danger level rises, more secrets are unpacked. I look forward to reading the next one in this series, "Tears of the Empress".  To learn more about this author and his wonderful books, check out his website.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Noises From the Other Side by Tabatha Shipley

 


Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

This was one of the quirkiest books I have read in a long time. Annie Lewis and her mother move into a duplex after her parents split up. It's bad enough being pulled away from all of your friends your senior year. However, Annie begins hearing noises from the other side of the duplex that is empty. I have lived in duplexes before and they can be quite creepy.

This is where things are quirky, and I mean that in a good way. I believe it is a ghost, so I read on trying to figure out who would be haunting the place. Like Annie I missed so many clues along the way. The author did a great job building the world in this book. It takes place in reality and then also in an alternate reality. That's all I will say about that. I didn't see the person who ends up as the antagonist as the one. The pacing and the twists and turns kept me reading non-stop. I literally read this book in a little over four hours. Would I recommend this book? Definitely! I love the way this author thinks as they write. Awesome book!


Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Lonely Dead by April Henry



Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy

I love April Henry's books. I chose this book for my "First Chapter Friday" read. I want to entice my students to read more. I had this at home to read and loved the first chapter. Since we read the rest of the period after I read the first chapter, it was the perfect time for me to finish the book. 

Adele is a young girl who lives with her grandfather. Both of her parents are dead. When she was young her grandfather took her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with schizophrenia. They determined it ran in the family. But what if it isn't schizophrenia? What if her ability to see and speak to the dead is real. She has taken medication for years to keep her from seeing and hearing the dead. All it took was for her to miss one dose and realize how much of life she has missed out on for her to make a conscious decision to not take any more.  

Adele is invited by her former best friend to a party at her house. After a few drinks that lead to a mistake she can't take back, she is ousted from her friend's house in front of everyone at the party. It isn't until she is walking home through the park that she comes across her friend. The problem is that her friend is dead.  Now Adele has become the prime suspect and possibly the target of the real killer.

The characters were spot on. You have Adele who has gone through a lot of hardships. Then you have her ex-best friend Tori who has issues of her own. All of the characters are believable. April Henry did such a wonderful job of creating her setting I could see it in my head. What I like most is the tension she creates in her novels. It steadily builds. It eases up just a bit then full steam ahead again. There are so many more of her books for me to read. I just have to get them away from my students. It seems that once you talk up any of her books the kids can't keep their hands off of them.  I highly recommend this and all of her books.


Friday, June 10, 2022

The Lake Never Tells by Alex Tully

 


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

I won this book from LibraryThing a while back and finally got the chance to read it. I am sorry I waited so long. I sat and read it through in four hours. I will definitely be looking for more work by this author. I couldn't sleep and got up at 5AM and started reading this book. I am so glad I did.

Zoe and Patrick have about five years difference in their ages. They are like sibling. They live in the same trailer park. Meredith is Zoe's best friend, the daughter of the local sheriff and tormenter to Parker. Ethan is the rich kid who spends his summer at the lake with his twin sister and divorce attorney parents.

All of these kids have issues. Zoe's mother wants her to call her Debbie instead of mom. Zoe is okay with this because she has pretty much raised herself. Her mom drinks and parties with Zoe's friends. Parker lives with his grandmother since his mother died.

Ethan is recovering some something that happened to him the year before. That is the main reason they are at the lake. He still has to see his psychiatrist each week. Together these kids join together as friends and help each other deal with things that have happened to them in the past.

Then Parker finds a dead body on the beach and things really take a change.  I loved the relationship between Parker and Zoe. They truly did act like siblings.  I enjoyed Ethan's attitude. Where Parker and Zoe envied the things that Ethan and his sister own, they soon realize that no matter how much money you have everyone has problems.  Parker's grandmother Shirley was the glue that held them all together. You just didn't see it until farther into the story. I definitely didn't like Zoe's mom and didn't care for Zoe's best friend Meredith. The author did a great job of making them unlikable.  Through the eyes of these kids we learn that when it comes to people, no matter hat your financial situation, people act the same. You have your good people, your weak and needy people, your selfish people and your just down rotten people. The only difference as my dad would say is the size of their toys.  I highly recommend this book. Although I could have done without the F-bomb, it wasn't used so much it took away from the book. If I was going to criticize anything it was the repetitive way the author switched from one character to another. I probably would not have noticed this a few years ago until it was pointed out I had done this with my own first book.  Still it didn't annoy me to the point of taking away a star in my rating. Like I said, I look forward to sharing this book with my students. It is definitely recommended for the older students due to some language and situations. However, I consider it a must read.


Saturday, May 28, 2022

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Cece Louise



 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery

Source: I received a copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I had a conversation with two colleagues on the last day of school. All three of us were discussing the types of books we like to read and our choices for the summer. None of us like gushy romance. What I read in Cece Louise’s book, In A Dark, Dark Wood is the exact type of book I will recommend to them. Calia is trying to save her sisters. She goes to the castle hoping to secure employment for herself and her sisters. Instead she concocts a plan that will secure her sister’s well-being, free her brother from a prisoner ship and solve an issue for the King and Queen. Since she resembles their missing daughter, she will go to Ebonwood to marry the prince in their daughter’s place. This is important since their kingdom is on the edge of ruin.

                Calia is not exactly welcomed by the Prince. At first he come off as very cynical.  As I read further into his story I realized the effect abusive words and betrayal had on him. It is Calia, a survivor who has the ability to change all of that. She is willing to sacrifice everything, including herself for her siblings. How far will she go to help this prince she is slowly falling in love with?

                This book had it all for me. A touch of romance that builds slowly and is not shoved in your face. A mystery that must be solve. Since I had not read this author before I was surprised by how well written the mystery is. I was completely blindsided. I loved the darkness of this book. To me there is a difference between downright evil feeling darkness in a book and mysterious, murderous darkness. This had that dark gothic feel that I love.  Can’t wait to share this with my two friends. I love this author enough I have purchased the first three books in this series to read.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Grim Fugue by Alfred M. Struthers


Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Mystery

Source: I reviewed a beta copy and purchased a copy.

I have loved all of the books in this series.  This one was by far my favorite. First, I have to say that the story took the suspense and fear to a whole new level. I felt fear for Nathan and Gina. In this book we learn something new and surprising about Nathan’s father. I loved the science aspect included in this book. We also find out something new about Jameson and why he is so passionate about this. In this book we are introduced to a new character named Burk. Loved his character and hope to see more of him in the future. I loved the way the author tied up one part of the mystery only to open the door to another part. I think the level of writing was stronger in this book. What I mean is that there was more conflict that kept moving the story forward. I would just catch my breath and then was hit with another wave of suspense. I feel I know Nathan well enough that I knew he would respond in a way that made me even more nervous for Nathan.  There is so much history here as well as science. It is obvious that the author did a lot of research.  I absolutely love when I read a book that is so well written that I can’t put it down. I also love a book where I learn something new.  This author has a tendency to do this with all of his books. It is such a loved series I have students fight over his books in my classroom. I recommend this book to everyone I can.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Dead Girl Under the Bleachers by Donna M. Zadunajsky



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

I sat and read this book in one sitting. The opening chapter hooks you. It starts from the perspective of a girl who is being attacked. The books is written from three unique perspectives. You have Scarlet, the queen bee of her school, Rachel who hangs with Scarlet, and Laura, Rachel's one time best friend. Although the author put the name of the character with the chapter number the reader quickly learns the voice of each character.

Scarlet is a snarky rich girl who loves taking people down. She has a boyfriend named Kyle who is just as mean. They are the type who plans whose life they will ruin.

Rachel comes from a loving family. She follows Scarlet because she likes her, the popularity, and because she doesn't want to be on the receiving end of Scarlet's meanness.

Laura is a nobody. She and Rachel were at one time best friends. She tries to stay hidden at school. She wants to stay off of Scarlet's radar. Scarlet has decided that she will be her next target. Laura has learned to trust no one. After the death of father and brother in an accident, she learns she can't even trust her own mother. Things change after Scarlet and Rachel go to Laura's house to study. Things get worse at home. Rachel and Laura reconnect their friendship and this makes Scarlet mad. But things aren't always what they seem.  This book is full of secrets and lies. Can you really justify murder?  I would definitely read more by this author.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

After You’ve Gone by Kay Kendall




Genre: Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Source: I purchased a copy.

This was a fun book to read. We start with a twenty-three-year-old character named Walter MacGregor, Wallie for short. Walter was named after her father who is a judge in Gunmetal, Texas.  Wallie, whose mother is deceased has been raised by her father with the help of her two aunts. Her favorite thing to do is read Sherlock Holmes books. That is as close as she figures she will ever get to an adventure. When her uncle Rory shows up she is very intrigued. He claims his life is in danger and he needs his brother’s help. There is definitely some contention between Rory and his older brother. It is obvious that Rory, a rum-runner is nothing like her father, the well-spoken judge. However, his lifestyle intrigues her, even if she doesn’t agree with it. There are family secrets, and a stranger watching the house. No one will talk to her about her uncle or why he left so suddenly twenty years before. When Rory is found dead, it is ruled an accident by the sheriff. Wallie doesn’t believe this was an accident. Her perceptive Aunt Ida, knowing her niece won’t let this go, proposes a trip so Wallie’s father can grieve, while secretly helping Wallie find the information she wants. But things are worse than Wallie could imagine. She and her aunt find themselves knee-deep in gangsters and women they would not usually associate with. Throw into this mix two young men who are after Wallie’s heart and you have a charming yet mysterious story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I loved this for several reasons. We start off with Wallie writing to her sixteen-year-old granddaughter about Rory. It seems that her granddaughter, Austin Starr is as curious as her grandmother was as a young lady. The time period was one I am not familiar with in books. There seems to have been a lot of research that went into this story to make it accurate. The roaring twenties was a time of prohibition and rum-runners, as well as gangsters. We get an idea through this book what life for a young woman would have been like during that time. Anytime Wallie tries to step out of the acceptable role for women she is treated like she has no brain. She holds out hope for women as they have just won the right to vote. I loved that Wallie assumes she will never marry since she doesn’t want to be reigned in by a man. The story is a remembrance of a time in Wallie’s life that provided the adventure she longed for.
The author does such a wonderful job of putting twists and turns in that I had to sit and read it from cover to cover. I could not go to bed until I had finished it. I truly had no idea who the murderer was or why until near the very end. Well done. I definitely want to read other books in this series as this was a prequel to the Austin Star Mystery series. This is a book for adults, but I would recommend it to young adults because it is a clean read with the occasional swear word.



Kay Kendall is an award-winning author of two historical mysteries. Her second book, RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015), won for best mystery and best book at Killer Nashville in August 2016. It is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series, published by Stairway Press. The first was DESOLATION ROW (2013).
In her previous career, Kay was an award-winning international PR executive, working in the US, Canada, Russia, and Europe. She has graduate degrees in Russian history and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 
Kay and her Canadian husband lives in Houston, Texas. They’ve rescued abandoned pet bunnies for twenty years and currently have three rabbits and a bemused spaniel, Wills.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

When Work Gets in Your Way or How to Forget to Post Reviews You Wrote

Every year I find reviews that I had written and never posted. How does that happen you ask? Well usually it happens when I have had a couple of days of downtime and tell my family that I am going to work on my book stack. My days are finished I go back to work and think to myself, "Well, I have an extra ten minutes of my planning period. I think I'll try to work on reviews for the books I read this weekend. "  Along the way the pages get ripped from my notebook and put into my calendar to be typed up. They get moved from there to any number of places and then forgotten. As I do every year at the end of the year I try to organize and clean up before I leave school.  When I am finally home I begin to do the same thing, clean and organize things on my bookshelves, my notebooks, and folders.
In this case, I was going through my composition notebooks preparing for my writing retreat and came across all types of papers. Some were notes to go into my writing notebook and some were school papers I'd scribbled a valuable writing idea on and kept the whole paper until I could transfer that small idea. In the midst of all of those papers I found not one book review, but ten I had written and never typed up.  So, I might as well get them up now. I have a couple of other books that when I see them on my TBR list I keep searching for their review because I've read the book but can't find where I wrote the review, and I know I wrote it.  Guess I need to just rewrite them and post them, because who knows when or where I will find them?  I hope you enjoy these reviews. These have been some of the most popular books in my classroom or with other teachers in my school.


Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Source: Classroom shelves

This series has been one of my favorite. It is also one of the most stolen series in my classroom. I don’t know if they are keeping them, passing them on and they never return or what. I have bought this entire series twice just this year. Desires of the Dead is the second book in the Body Finder series. Violet has always been able to locate dead bodies. That doesn’t mean she can go into a graveyard blind folded and point them out. I’m talking about those bodies that have been disposed of.  Her family has been very supportive as has her boyfriend Jay.  This “gift” has been passed down in her family.  Unfortunately, in this book she has two people after her, the FBI and a creepy stalker. We see her relationship with Jay build, we meet new characters, Rafe and others. We see the toll this “gift” take on her and her relationships.  This is a series I would definitely recommend to more mature readers. On my shelves this one required parental permission because of some of the content and the fact I was teaching 6th graders.  I definitely recommend this book.



Skull Creek Stakeout by Eddie Jones
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: Classroom Shelves

This is the second book in the Caden Chronicles and is what I call a clean read. Nick Caden has so many qualities for a reader to like. First and most important to me he loves to solve mysteries. He is trying to discover who murdered a man found dead on a golf course. As a fourteen year-old boy, Nick is a very likeable character for all ages who read this book.  My students will love the fact that he puts himself in danger to solve murders. In this book they will love the creep factor of an old mansion. Who wouldn’t feel creeped out if locked in a creepy old mansion? Dead Low Tied is the third book in this series. I have not yet read it, but it will be purchased for my shelves at school. If you have read any of Max Elliot Anderson’s “Sam Cooper” books you will definitely enjoy this series. Highly recommended and on the to be purchased list for my granddaughter for Christmas.



Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Classroom Shelves

As so often happens I plan on reading a book, but because of all the hype behind it my students get before me. It doesn’t matter I have four copies of this book on my shelves. That just meant more students would get their hands on it. I will always let a student read it first unless they find it on my desk because I am trying to read it for a requested review from the author. Okay, sometimes I let them read it before me.  This book was awesome. In this conclusion to the trilogy we find those we loved throughout the books coping. They are coping with the devastation of a war that was largely thrust upon them. They are coping with physical and mental loss.  One thing I really loved about this book is that the author didn’t take the easy way out. She lets us see the effects war has on all parties and how each deals with it. She tied everything up neatly, yet for some they will hate the ending. Me, I loved it. Everyone wants a happily ever after ending. But, this is a realistic outcome.  I like that even better. It makes it relatable to everyone. Listening to my students talk about the book before I could read it and seeing the connections they made to real life and how something like this could really happen opened my eyes to how deep some of my students are.  Books like this make them really think about their future. That is why I loved this book and will continue to recommend it to my students.



The Cassini Code – Dom Testa

Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult Science Fiction
Source: Classroom Shelves

The Cassini Code is the third book in The Galahad series. If you haven’t read the first two you must. I’ve had this book on my shelves for quite some time. The problem has been my students have had it checked out so much I’d not gotten to it. I took advantage of it coming in on a Friday to read it. Each book in the series seems to be better than the previous one. That to me is amazing since the first book has long been one of my favorites.  It becomes very obvious why Triana was chosen as leader. We have a new leader emerging. Merit has started a movement to return to Earth.  This discord keeps the tension going throughout the book. We have the same excellence with all of the other characters we’ve come to love, or hate and those who are freshly introduced to us.  My favorite is and probably always will be ROC. If you don’t know who this is then you definitely need to get the series and read it.



The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlit
Genre: Children, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Classroom Shelves

I first purchased this book because of the cover. That rarely happens. This is a beautiful book both in story and the pictures within. Flory, a night fairy has lost her wings in a tragic accident. For most fairies this would have caused them to give up. Not so with Flory. She can’t fly, but she can survive and make the best of the situation. She makes friends with a squirrel and goes about life the best she can. Her one dream is to be able to fly again. This is a hopeful book, full of adventure. I am sure it will be loved by all who read it.




The Real Boy  by Anne Ursu

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Classroom Shelves

Oscar works for the magician Caleb. He works in the basement. He strikes up a friendship with Callie who is an apprentice to the village healer.  He is constantly tormented and put down by Wolf who also works for Caleb and thinks himself so much better than Caleb. One day Caleb disappears and Wolf gets killed. This means that Caleb must leave the basement and wait on the customers. He is shy and backwards, yet he truly has a gift. When the children of the village get very sick, Callie and Caleb set out to find out why, and to solve the problem. I loved the feeling of being vulnerable the author created with Caleb. With the boy ‘Wolf’ she created a perfect bully. One the reader could easily despise. Caleb is happy staying out of everyone’s way in the basement. He reads at night when he’s had nightmares. He waits until everyone is in bed then he sneaks into the Magician’s library and reads.  There is plenty of adventure and suspense in the book to keep you reading. The best part about all of it is the ending you don’t see coming.  This was one book that was consistently checked out of my classroom this last year.  Such an awesome and fun book to read.


Tuesdays at the Castle – Jessica Day George
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Classroom Shelves

I absolutely loved this book. To me Castle Glower was almost like a character itself.  On Tuesday’s in particular the castle would get bored and create a new and hidden room. For our main character, eleven year old Celie would be off exploring the new addition. When Celie’s oldest brother graduates Wizard school her parents go off for his graduation.  This leaves siblings Celie, Rolf, and Lilah in the castle alone. Their parents are attacked on their journey and word gets back that they have been killed. As people from other lands come to pay their respect it becomes clear they are there also in the hopes of obtaining the kingdom. What they don’t realize is that this magical castle hasn’t changed anything in the king and queen’s suite and this lead the children to believe their parents are not dead. With the castle’s help they will defend their kingdom at all cost. This is a wonderfully, adventurous book to read. I really need to read the other books in the series.


Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson
Genre: Adult, Informational, Educational
Source: I purchased

Most books I have purchased in the past along this line give students sentences to correct. Jeff on the other hand has taken sentences from great works and used them to teach students.  These are mentor texts.  You can take examples he has there and use them in your classroom.  Great examples to help you with your classroom writer’s workshop.





Polishing the PUGS by Kathy Ide
Genre: Adult, Informational, Educational
Source: I purchased

PUGS, in case you were unfamiliar with this acronym stands for punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling. Kathy Ide has taken information teachers are always searching for and placed in one book to make a great resource.  I have recommended this to other teachers. However, I find this most useful for my own writing. This should be on every writer’s bookshelves.


Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
Genre: Adult, Educational
Source: I purchased


Donalyn is by far one of my favorite authors when it comes to reading about ways to inspire kids to learn to love reading. I purchased this book and addedbook she makes recommendations about the right way to encourage students to read, the right way to recommend books and genres. The right way to make sure your kids are reading “in the wild”, when they are away from you, instead of only when they are in your class.  This should be a must read for all beginning teachers no matter what subject they teach. In the real world of teaching, no matter what subject you teach, if your student can’t read well then they won’t really do well in any of their classes. All subjects require the ability to read and comprehend.  Put this on your list of must read books for this year.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Three Different Genre's, Three Great Reads

Since I've been going through physical therapy I find I have plenty of time to read. I read while waiting my turn for the therapist. I read while they are icing my knees down and using a tens unit on me.  When I get home and the effects (pain) from the therapy sets in, and I can't move very well, I read.  If I have early morning therapy, like today, then I get several books read.  I hope you enjoy my eclectic reads for the day.

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn
Genre:  Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This was an interesting story because it is told from Chet the dog’s point of view. Chet is a police dog. Bernie is his handler or should I say side kick. The two are tasked with watching over movie star Thad Perry during filming in their town. Thad  seems to have a not so glamorous reputation. In addition to this Bernie’s son has scored a role in the movie.  Bernie’s ex-wife can see a future in this, something Bernie is not real happy about, especially when he realizes how talented his son is.


When a dead reporter turns up Bernie and Chet are on the case.  They realize that this murder is connected to a murder in the past.  They also realize that someone is willing to go to a lot of trouble to keep anyone from delving into the past. While you have this great mystery going on; you have Chet’s ability or lack of ability to always understand humans.  This in itself adds the humor that makes this book so wonderful to read.  So if you are looking for something kind of on the light side then I recommend this book to you.  It is a stand-alone novel even though it is part of a series.  


Adobe Gold by Robert C. Mowry
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I am one of those people who love historical fiction. Adobe Gold is the first book in the Stone Justice Series. Colonel Tyrone Rafter was sent on an important mission by his friend Abraham Lincoln. While in Mexico looking for an important man. He is captured and imprisoned.  Due to a leg injury and a inept doctor his leg is removed.  He spends seven years in prison until he escapes.  He returns home and learns things have really changed.  He's lost his wife to another man because she believes he is dead. This was enough to change everything. He becomes a very bitter person.  When Lincoln learns he's alive he needs him for another mission.  He is sent back to Mexico to find out if there really is gold in Santa Fe.   I found it ironic that as a professing atheist he is sent back as a minister. While performing the duties of a minister he reads his Bible.  Will this change him from the hardened man he has become?  You really need to read this book to find out.


Chimera by Vaun Murphrey
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
*Parental Warning* There is some sexual content at the beginning of this book.

I have to say right off that I absolutely loved the cover of this book.  It says so much. Once you read the book you will understand what I mean.  At age five Cassandra watched her parents murdered. At age thirteen she is rescued by an uncle she has never known.  While she was held captive she had no one to talk to.  She kept within herself.  That is why I said the cover was so appropriate.  Her uncle takes her to live with them.  The counsel doesn't want her living there because they think she will endanger all of them. She is trained in martial arts and like her family, as a Weaver.  A Weaver is not what you think it is.  Think of a Weaver as someone who is able to use the Internet of the mind. Cassandra has more abilities than the others in the colony.  She also has someone hunting her so she must go into hiding.  This is the first book in the series.  I know there are three others that I've not yet had a chance to read.  Hopefully my schedule will allow it soon.  I believe teens and adults who like science fiction will enjoy this.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Asleep Without Dreaming by Barbara Forte Abate


Pages: 319
Genre: Young Adult, Adult, Mystery
Source: Review copy from author

From Goodreads:
Fourteen year old Willa Burkett has been waiting her whole life to leave Hoosick Falls—a nowhere place that fails to hold even a single good memory.
But, when a series of vengeful incidents stir Willa’s mother Stella to impulsively pack-up and go, it is only to find themselves stranded in yet another ugly, near extinct town, only now, with a broken down car and no ready way out.
Unable to move on until an alternate plan shows itself, they accept a job working for Omega Pearl Bodie, proprietress of the Moonglow motel—a long forgotten, steadily decaying relic, where mostly nothing happens—except now, when everything does.
It is here in this place of desperate loneliness and restless boredom that Willa will have her world rocked to the core in ways she doesn't immediately comprehend. The craziness of the life she’s left behind all but eclipsed by the dark turn of the here and now, as Willa attempts to keep one step ahead of the ever-twisting whims of a mother prone to keeping secrets and telling lies, a murderous arsonist returned to the scene of his earlier crimes to dole out revenge one fiery victim at a time—and Jesse Truman. A boy with indigo eyes that Omega Pearl has hired as handyman at the Moonglow—who Willa longs to save—if only she understood what it is he needs saving from.

My Thoughts:
If you are looking for a feel good book to read then put this down and find something else.  This is one of the most depressing, dark books I have read in a long time.  I loved it.   I have never cared for the syrupy, sweet romances out in the world.  Give me a story full of emotion, no matter how dark and I love it.  I want to feel something when I read a story.  I want to be able to relate.  I want to think I know where the story is going and then have the author surprise me with the ending.  This book is all that and more.

Willa has the most dysfunctional, selfish parents.  Her father won a lot of money and left Willa and her mother with only a thousand dollars.  Her mom Stella is so selfish and disgusting.  She is one of those parents you would like to see locked up.  She wakes Willa up in the middle of the night to leave.  Their car breaks down and they are taken in by the owner of the Moonglow Motel.  Stella is given a job cleaning cottages for a small salary and their room and board. Willa does the cleaning.  Add to this a escaped convict seeking revenge on the town.  Fires popping up everywhere and you have the most depressing town around.  Willa falls hard for the teenage handyman Jesse.  But even that doesn’t go the way the reader thinks it should.  I won’t give away any spoilers.  If you are like me and like those dark novels then this is a must read.  It will keep you turning pages.  This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I am so thrilled to do it.  I love her writing style.