Heather's books

Sarah's Key
The Help
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Lightning Thief
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Notebook
Eat, Pray, Love
The Time Traveler's Wife
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Heather's favorite books »

Monday, March 31, 2014

A YALSA Great Teen Graphic Novel Winner for 2014

Will & Whit
Will & Whit

By: Laura Lee Gulledge

Genre: YA graphic novel

Pages: 194

Published: 2013

Read: March

2.5 out of 5

The story was just OK. I have read much better YA graphic novels recently and I am surprised this was a winner of the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2014.  Not only did I feel it jumped scenes,  but I feel a few simple changes would make the book more appealing to readers, especially teens. The title and cover are misleading, which by itself is not a bad thing...but the story is not only about Will & Whit, but all of Will's friends AND they are definitely not in a relationship as the cover portrays. However, even a better improvement would be the addition of a little color. The story focuses around creative teens coming into their own and growing together. Color is referenced a lot. I believe splashes of colors would greatly enhance the reading experience, especially blue (Whit's favorite color) and yellow (Will's lamps and electricity). With both of these being bright colors, it would give the story a bright cheerful feeling which corresponds with the story as it continues; without giving it away. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything in This Graphic Novel...

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Friends with Boys

By: Faith Erin Hicks

Genre: YA graphic novel

Pages: 220

Published: 2012

Read: March

3.5 out of 5

This graphic novel contains a little of everything - relationships, family values, drama club, zombies, ghosts, horror movies, high school life, home schooling, theft, single parenting, etc. Every reader should be able to connect with some aspect of this novel. The artistic expressions are realistic and flow nicely with story adding to the dialogue. I found it interesting that Hicks included early sketches of characters and scenes in the back of book. Surprisingly, I found that I preferred some of those better than the ones that made the story. Overall, this is a great graphic novel for teens or adults who want to reminisce about their high school days!  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Want strong character development? This is the book!

Once Upon a River
Once Upon a River

By: Bonnie Jo Campbell

Genre: adult fiction

Pages: 348

Published: 2011

Read: March

3.5 out of 5

This is a well-written book that evokes a lot of feelings towards the characters. As much as Margo tries to be independent, she fails miserably. She becomes dependent on every man she encounters along her travels in search of her mom.  I prefer novels with stronger female characters versus damsels in distress, however I still loved the fact that Campbell developed her characters so well that I become emotional attached to the story. As much as I wanted to strangle Margo at times, I also wanted to cry alongside her. I recommend this book for readers that want strong character development even if the story isn’t happily ever after or a pretty read.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Graphic Novel on the Civil Rights Movement

March (Book One)

March Book One

By: John Lewis

Genre: YA graphic novel (nonfiction)

Pages: 128

Published: 2013

Read: March

4 out of 5

Often times, one hears that graphic novels are a great method to encourage reluctant readers to enjoy the art of books.  After reading March Book One, I would add that a person who is a passionate (obsessed) reader, but ignorant on certain topics should try a graphic novel. Unfortunately, even though I think history is crucial, important and often part of conversations, I find it rather boring and can’t get engaged in it.  This graphic novel provided me with a quick, easy to understand, fun and entertaining way to learn a bit about our history. If you are like me and need quick background knowledge on the Civil Rights Movement and Congressman John Lewis’s influence I highly recommend this book.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Is it actually funny??

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny  Lawson

Let's Pretend this Never Happened

By: Jenny Lawson

Genre: Adult Humor

Pages: 318

Published: 2012

Read: March

3 out of 5

I read very few humor books; mostly because they are usually it short story form (not my favorite) and there is so many literature books I want to read.  However, being a librarian I do enjoy trying different genres every once in a while and you never know what you might find (biographical graphic novels!) I actually enjoyed the fact that this book was short stories because some chapters I hated and couldn’t wait for them to finish, plus I knew the next chapter would be a different topic. I started thinking of her as the “joke explainer” because she could never tell a story without explaining why it was funny. I felt she was her best audience and needed to make herself sound funnier than she actually was. My favorite chapters were her husband rants, post-it notes chapter, and the HR secrets.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Classic

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Bless me, Ultima

By: Rudolfo Anaya

Genre: Classics

Pages: 290

Published: 1999

Read: March

2 out of 5

As much as I try, I tend to not be a fan of classics.  I usually find them difficult to follow because of the older writing style. I did not experience that aspect with this novel.  Ultima is the intriguing person and I loved the relationship she has with Antonio.  I found the plot very interesting, but my mind would start wandering as I read. Certain parts wouldn’t hold my interest and then I realized I  missed something important. However, even more annoying was the fact that Antonio is in 1st/2nd grade for the entirety of the novel but he sounds like he is, at least, in high school. He didn't act, speak or think like a 7/8 year old. I often forgot that he is so young.  I do think others will appreciate the novel, especially those that are fans of classics. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fictional story about a Classical Author

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
Under the Wide and Starry Night

By: Nancy Horan

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 496

Published: 2014

Read: March

3 out of 5

I started this book thinking I would absolutely love it. Not only because I loved Loving Frank, being about an historical author, but also because the story captured me immediately. I should have remembered my review from The Historian- Don’t read books with more than 400 pages.  I was enthralled by the first third of book and the last third, but the middle dragged and most could have been left out. I still thought the book was well-written and I love Horan’s style of writing fictional stories about influential historical individuals

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Every Little Girl's Favorite...

Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)

Little House in the Big Woods

By: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Genre: Juvenile fiction

Pages: 224

Published: 2007

Audiobook: 4 CD’s (3 ½ hours)

Read: March

3 out of 5

This is one of those series that every little girl is supposed to read (and love) during their childhood. I never did! So I decided I should see what it is all about. The narrator was awesome, but I couldn’t get into the story. I know the time period was long ago, but I hated Pa. He favored the boys and wouldn’t let the girls go sledding or play with dolls on Sunday – playing with dolls is NOT work. So I tried to listen as though I am a much younger girl; I still don’t think it would have interested me. I enjoy stories with character development and an exciting plot. I am not saying that hearing about how the pioneers lived wasn’t interesting; I kept waiting for something to happen and I do believe I would have wanted excitement and a climax as a young girl too.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Super Hero graphic novel

Battling Boy
Battling Boy

By: Paul Pope

Genre: Juvenile graphic novel

Pages: 208

Published: 2013

Read: March

2 out of 5

This is not my type of graphic novel. I will admit that I have been enjoying them more than before, however like books a reader must find their genre. Super hero graphic novels are not mine. I did think the unique concept that Battling Boy’s different super powers depended on which of his 12 animal shirts he wore, even though he never wore all 12 L. An owl gave him wisdom and the fox shirt made him sly and silent on the move.  I was confused and bored with the rest of the story, but I can see how boys would enjoy the novel and the vibrant pictures.  I would recommend this graphic novel to reluctant boy readers, between 8 and 15, that are fascinated with super heroes.

A nonfiction novel written by a Johnsburg patron

Vague Memories

Vague Memories

By: Joanna Puciata

Genre: adult nonfiction

Pages: 146

Published: 2013

Read: March

3 out of 5

I heard about and chose to read this book because the author is a patron at the library I work.  It’s a true story about her childhood living in Poland, plus the difficultly of living with a Down Syndrome sister in a society that doesn’t accept that individuals with disabilities should be treated as normal. It definitely opened my eyes to the socialistic government in Poland. I never knew that Poland was ruled in such a manner and could be that controlling of their people. Although it had to be difficult leaving your country and family I see why Puciata made the difficult choice. I enjoyed the artwork included, drawn by Kasia, Puciata’s sister, but also wanted more of the story. Including, but not limited to, how Puciata became high school sweethearts with her husband since he was a different nationality. Why did he live in Poland? I felt the book ended too abruptly. Maybe a sequel?

Not as good as the first time around

Blood and Chocolate
Blood and Chocolate

By: Annette Curtis Klause

Genre: YA Paranormal fiction

Pages: 264

Published: 1999

Read: March

3 out of 5

It seems every time I reread a book, which is usually when it is chosen as a book club book, I don’t like it as much as the first time. I have a difficult time remembering what happened, especially the ending, so I don’t believe that is the reason. However, I think it’s because since the original time reading it I have always read better quality books. This is no exception. While I enjoyed the book (still better than the Twilight Saga books, I felt a lot of the twists were more predictable and just downright silly. Since I like this book more than Twilight, mostly due to the high quality writing, I am shocked to see this similar plotted novel, a teenage werewolf girl falls in love with a meat-eater (human) boy, didn’t become popular when this book was published. I guess the world of teens just wasn’t ready for the paranormal genre.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A poetry novella

Have You Seen Marie?
Have You Seen Marie?

By: Sandra Cisneros

Genre: Adult fiction/Poetry

Pages: 112

Published: 2012

Read: March

3.5 out of 5

I must say I enjoyed the afterword as much, if not more, than the rest of the story.  I wish the afterword was written as a foreword; I believe I would have appreciated this novella more. I didn’t know what to expect from this book. As I began to read it, I thought it was written for children. In her afterword, she states “it is for adults because something was needed for people like me who suddenly found themselves orphans in midlife (pg.92).”  She also explains that the people she talks to along her search are actual neighbors that posed for the book.  The drawings are phenomenal and very realistic. I loved them! I recommend this book, but strong urge readers to read the afterword first.