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 »

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A great YA graphic novel memoir

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

By: Liz Prince

Genre:  YA graphic novel memoir

Pages: 256

Published: 2014

Read: August

5 0ut of 5

For being a graphic novel, this book HAS feeling.  I smiled, laughed, turned red, cried, got angry and almost throw up - while reading this book.  And, of course, it's a memoir, which is my favorite variety of graphic novel. Prince is brutally honest in the retelling of her childhood, where she felt she never fit in.   She is a girl, but not a girly-girly. She looks like a boy, but is not a lesbian. She is all girl, but just a TOMBOY.  I enjoyed the variety of graphics included - drawings, diary entries, charts and graphs.   Although I have to admit that some of my fondest for this book is definitely related to the fact that there are a lot of 80's references (Prince was born is 1981). 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A YA crier...

There Will Come a Time

There will come a Time

    By: Carrie Arcos

   Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction

   Pages: 315

   Published: 2014

   Read: August

    5 0ut of 5

This book was AMAZING! I read it in two days and that was only because it was evening when I started; it was so gripping it could easily have been a one day read for me.  It’s been a while since I have read a YA book that evoked so much emotion in me. Argos really knows how to write.  Most people have experienced losing a loved one, but not everyone experiences losing a twin.  Arcos puts you in the mind of seventeen year old Mark, who not only loses his twin sister but was in the car when it happened. Not many books make me cry, but I got teary-eyed with this one.  Fans of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green will love this book. In my eyes, this was much better!  I really hope this book wins some awards this year, especially Teens’ Top 10 for 2015. This would also make an excellent movie.  

If I Stay sequel

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
Where She Went

By: Gayle Forman

Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction

Pages: 264

Published: 2011

Audiobook: 5 discs (5 hours 30 mins)

Read: August

3 0ut of 5

This is the sequel to If I Stay, which I loved. This one was worth the listen, but not nearly as good. The overall premise is for Adam to work through the reason that Mia left him, which I felt should have been obvious so the build-up to the resolution was a letdown for me. The entire story was predictable with nothing shocking happen. I did like that fact that the first book was from Mia’s perspective and this one was in Adam’s voice. In my opinion, If I Stay did not need a sequel and the future would have been better left to the reader’s imagination. However, when there is a sequel, especially to a book you enjoyed, you have to read it. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A horror Graphic Novel

Through the Woods
Through the Woods

By: Emily Carroll

Genre:  YA Horror Graphic Novel

Pages: 208

Published: 2014

Read: August

3 0ut of 5

This graphic novel is divided into seven short horror stories. Some of them are good, others are just okay. However, all the pictures are great. They were definitely my favorite part. I think I have a hard time getting scared by reading a book. I was hoping the stories would be more terrifying, but they were at least interesting. I recommend this book to teens who enjoy graphic novels and some blood and guts. I will be purchasing this graphic novel to add to the library collection.

Not a good historical fiction



By: Anita Shreve

Genre:  Adult Historical fiction

Pages: 284

Published: 2006

Read: August

1 0ut of 5

This book was bad for several reason. Nothing much happened until the very end and then it happened so fast it was ridiculous. Where was the chemistry?  Then the book switched character point-of-view and it was hard to figure out whose it was until after a paragraph or so. I often had to reread after figuring out the point-of-view just to follow. Plus, there were only four chapters in entire book, which was frustrating. I felt I was getting nowhere. I have read Anita Shreve before and enjoyed the ones I read, especially The Pilot's Wife, so was surprised at how poorly written this one was. I would have given up, if it wasn't a book club book.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Is it scary enough?

Darkness Creeping by Neal Shusterman
Darkness Creeping: Tales to Trouble Your Sleep

By: Neal Shusterman

Genre:  YA Scary Short Stories

Pages: 126

Published: 1993

Read: August

3 0ut of 5

I have been a fan of Shusterman's since reading Unwind. I guess I just can't a story to scary me, however these stories were better and scarier than Schwartz.  He definitely completed each story and I felt the writing was better.  I enjoyed the illustrations more as well.  This book is not published in audio, however I think it would be a great choice, especially with a narrator that can create a creepy scary voice. This would be a good read for older junior high and high school teens.  There is also a sequel titled Darkness Creeping II: More Tales to Trouble Your Sleep.  Check them out if you dare.

Not Scary...

Scary Stories: The Complete 3-Book Audio Collection

By: Alvin Schwartz

Genre:  Juvenile Short Stories

Published: 1991

Audiobook: 3 discs ( 3 hours 3o mins)

Read: August

2 0ut of 5

I expected much better. Schwartz is very well known for his Scary Stories Collection, but I am not sure why they are so popular. I realize they are written for younger children, however often I felt he would get to the climax of story and it would just end. “And the dead man walked down the stairs…” The End…WHAT?? You can’t even tell it’s the end except the next story begins.  There were a few good stories, but they were funny rather than even the slightest bit scary. Schwartz does include some great campfire and other haunted games and I thought those were the only worthwhile stories.  I much preferred Neil Gaiman’s audio book collection, which were more unique weird adventures than scary.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A short story audio collection

The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection CD by Neil Gaiman
The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection CD

By: Neil Gaiman

Genre:  Juvenile Fantasy/Short Stories

Published: 2004

Audiobook: 1 disc (50 mins)

Read: August

4 out of 5

This collection of short stories will have listeners of every age smiling and laughing. I believe not every author is the best narrator for their audiobooks, however Gaiman pulls this off fantastically. (Another one of my favorite author/narrator is Richard Paul Evans). Gaiman states that he writes some stories that he intends to only be published in audio form and includes some of them in this collection. Usually with short story collections there is one or two (or more) that I don’t care for, this was not the case for this collection. Fans of Gaiman and/or Shel Silverstein will love these stories. I must say though that my favorite part was the interview of Gaiman at the end of disc which was conducted by his daughter. Absolutely adorable.  

Plainsong #2

Eventide by Kent Haruf


By: Kent Haruf

Genre:  Adult fiction

Pages: 320

Published: 2005

Read: August

5 out of 5

Haruf continues to write beautifully about simple life with simple people in a simple town. He has such a way with words that you feel as though they live in the same town and the characters are your neighbors.  Some of the stories are a continuation from Plainsong; others are new neighbors you will meet. Either way you will become friends or enemies, whichever you choose Haruf will provoke your emotions. My only criticism is that I wish Haruf included the chapter headings that he did in Plainsong, so you knew which character’s point-of-view that specific chapter was told. Overall, he once again did not leave me disappointed and I will be reading Benediction very soon. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

More believable for me than some nonfiction...

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
If I Stay

By: Gayle Forman

Genre:  YA fiction

Pages: 201

Published: 2009

Audiobook: 4 discs (4 hours 48 mins)

Read: August

4 out of 5

This story is told by the perspective of 17-year-old Mia who, along with her family,  is in a tragic car accident. While in the hospital, she has out of body experiences and realizes the decision "to stay" is hers, and hers alone.   Since I believe that a person may experience a transitional stage while they fight for life or death, this story was more believable and realistic than even some stories claiming to be nonfiction, such as Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. Of course, this is my own personal opinion.  I enjoyed the audio so much I am listening to the sequel, Where She Went, next.  It is told by the perspective of Mia's boyfriend, Adam.  The movie, If I Stay, is released in theatres this Thursday and I look forward to seeing it. I recommend this book to all fans of YA realistic (or tragic) fiction.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A good graphic novel for the boys


By: Doug TenNapel

Genre:  YA graphic novel

Pages: 264

Published: 2010

Read: August

3 out of 5

This is a hard review to write because while it was well-written and illustrated, Ghostopolis is not the type of graphic novel I enjoy. With the ghosts, violence, super heroes and paranormal themes, I would much rather read an in-depth novel. There are too many unanswered questions. Plus, the subject matter is definitely geared more towards teen boys. I did find this story more entertaining than other similar graphic novels I have read.  For a change, the illustrations were bright and colorful. The plot reminded me of the movie Beetle Juice and the book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  Since I was so indecisive on this book, I have asked a teen boy to read it and let me know his thoughts. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Educational, Funny and Entertaining

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1-2)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

By: Marjane Satrapi

Genre:  YA graphic novel

Pages: 160

Published: 2004

Read: August

4.5 out of 5

Reading this graphic novel, reconfirmed that my favorite graphic novels are biographic or historical in nature. I think this is because they are usually simply written without overwhelming you with facts. Since I didn’t enjoy history when I was younger and still can’t get into long-winded nonfiction books; well-written and illustrated graphic novels are an enjoyable way to reeducate (or learn something completely new) myself. This is definitely a great example. Persepolis is about a young girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is not only educational, it is surprisingly funny, entertaining, and a true eye-opener. I highly recommend it to everyone. 

Local author Stacey Kade...

The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)
The Rules

By: Stacey Kade

Genre:  YA Sci-Fi

Pages: 432

Published: 2014

Read: August

3 out of 5

This book started out very intriguing - a teen girl who is half human and half alien attempting to live in the human world and not be discovered. However, it quickly turns to a teen romance novel more than Sci-Fi. There are some YA novels that don't necessarily appeal to the adult audience and I believe this is one.  The teen romance was too cliché for me and I wanted more of the alien side. I do believe that teen girls that are fans of dystopian and sci-fi will love this book. The ending does wrap back around to focus on the Sci-Fi aspects and definitely leaves you wanting more.  I will finish the trilogy because I need to know how it ends, but I am more anxious to try one of Kade's adult novels.   

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why was this a childhood favorite?


By: Beverly Cleary

Genre:  Juvenile fiction

Pages: 160

Published: 1973

Read: August

3 out of 5

I vividly remember loving this book as a child.  For the life of me, I wish I could remember why.  Don’t get me wrong, this book is likeable and cute, but not much happens. There was a happy cat, the couple has a baby, the cat is forgotten, the baby grows up, and then the cat and baby become friends. I wanted more Lady and the Tramp adventures, more laughs and a much more mischievous cat. Ramona Quimby, the famous Cleary character, was a girl who always got into trouble and was constantly cracking me up.  I thought Socks was going to be the cat equivalent, but (at least reading as an adult) I didn’t see it. Most of my enjoyment of reading this story, this time around, was how dated it was. The few ’60 –70’s references was when a cracked a smile.

Friday, August 8, 2014

YA from R.L. Stine - he should stick with the younger audience


A Midnight Night's Scream

By: R.L. Stine

Genre:  YA Horror

Pages: 250

Published: 2013

Audiobook: 4 discs (5 hours)

Read: August

2.5 out of 5

I am sure it was a coincidence, but as I was listening to this and driving to Chicago I continuous saw flashes of car accidents in front of me. It was so horrific I almost felt the need to turn around and stay home for the day. Keep in mind, there isn’t a single car accident in the book. My point being the story may have freaked me out a little, however I still believe it was too juvenile for YA. Stine is better known for his upper elementary/middle horror chapter books. I felt the only reason this could be classified as a YA novel is because the characters are high schoolers and there is a little drinking. As far as the actual horrific events, middle schoolers could handle it and I would think older teens may find it cheesy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The question is What If?

The Four Doors
The Four Doors

By: Richard Paul Evans

Genre:  adult nonfiction/self-help

Pages: 160

Published: 2013

Read: August

3.75 out of 5

I haven’t read any self-help books in a very long time. I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up except it was short and written by Richard Paul Evans, author of The Walk series which I loved and highly recommend.  Even though all his books can be viewed as inspirational, this is a nonfiction novel from an inspiration speech he travels the world sharing. He calls it a guide to joy, freedom, and a meaningful life, which is something everyone needs. I also found that this was one of those books that the more you think about the more thought provoking it is. I actually increased my rating because of the ways it made me think after reading it. I especially felt inspired by the “What if?” thought process. You never know unless you try, right?

Judging a book by its cover...

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
This One Summer

By: Mariko Tamaki

Genre:  YA graphic novel

Pages: 319

Published: 2014

Read: August

2 out of 5

As many times as you are told “Don’t judge a book by its cover”; people always will – myself included. The illustration and coloring on the cover was exactly what attracted me to this graphic novel. The blue purplish coloring throughout this book was the best aspect of the story. Even though the premise and events that took place were interesting and teens may relate to them; I didn’t see any of them being resolved by the end. Whether in a positive or negative light, you are left with too many open questions. Readers want a resolution or a sequel, this book foreshadowed neither. There are several better YA graphic novels I would recommend reading.

Which Gender will you choose?

 Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray
Maybe I Will

By: Laurie Gray

Genre:  YA realistic fiction

Pages: 200

Published: 2013

Read: August

4 out of 5

Is Sandy male or female? In this unique story you never know; the author leaves that decision to the reader. Her unique style was chosen to demonstrate that sexual assault and the aftereffects happens to both males and females. I had a difficult time with the gender issue because depending on the circumstances and events occurring at the time I simply viewed Sandy’s gender to fit the role. Although for the most part, I pictured Sandy as Sandford. However, I felt Gray did sway the gender issue a tad because Sandy is normally seen as a female name. I would be curious why she didn’t pick a more common unisex name. I won’t be surprised if this makes the Teens’ Top Ten list. Which gender do you read it as?  

A great story about a great little town

Plainsong by Kent Haruf


By: Kent Haruf

Genre:  Adult fiction

Pages: 301

Published: 2000

Read: August

5 out of 5

I loved this story and how it weaved stories of individuals in Holt, Colorado to make one great simple story. The story is told by several different points of views on the events in their life and the community as a whole. There are no major twists and turns, however the events are tragic to the individual affected in their own way. With the in-depth descriptions of the community, surroundings, and characters, the town was colored so beautifully you couldn’t help but feel you belonged.  This fantastic work of literature reminds me of the writing of Jane Hamilton or Andre Dubus II. I will definitely be following the lives of the Guthrie, Ike and Bobby, Victoria and the McPheron brothers in the rest of trilogy. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wanted to hear more of aftermath...

The God of War by Marisa Silver
God of War

By: Marisa Silver

Genre:  YA fiction

Pages: 271

Published: 2008

Audiobook: 6 discs (7 hours)

Read: July

3 out of 5

This book immediately grabbed my attention. It starts with a hidden gun and a 12 year old boy protecting his severely autistic little brother. I was expecting it to go on with a trial and the aftermath. Instead it told about their life before the incident and the older brother's life with a autistic brother. This isn't nothing bad, I just thought it would be more interesting to hear what happened after. It does come back to the gun and major incident, but not until the last disc and in a brief manner. I am also surprised it is considered YA. I believe it is more an adult story and only a few teens would enjoy the story. I feel the teens, like me,  would be more enthralled with the incident itself, the aftermath and a little of the circumstances leading up to event. That would be a much more action packed story.