Heather's books

Sarah's Key
Room
Rainwater
The Help
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
New Moon
Eclipse
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, October 27, 2014

Another great by Cat Winters

The Cure for Dreaming
The Cure for Dreaming

By: Cat Winters

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Published: 2014

Read: October

4.5 out of 5


Another outstanding novel by Cat Winters. Honestly, I can’t decide if I enjoyed this one or In the Shadow of Blackbirds better. They both shed light on true historical events and included photographs while adding a haunting and paranormal flare. Simply put, Winters is an amazing writer and I feel her books should be read by both teens and adults. I was disappointed when In the Shadow of Blackbirds did not make the Teens’ Top Ten for 2014 (although it was a nominee). I hope this one has the honor in 2015 among other awards. I believe Winters is my favorite author in the historical fiction genre. I now have to wait until sometime in 2015 for her third novel. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Companion graphic novel to Smile

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Sisters

By: Raina Telgemeier

Genre:  YA Graphic Novel

Pages: 208

Published: 2014

Read: October

4 out of 5

This is a companion graphic novel to Smile. They are both biographical in nature. This one is about her relationship with her younger sister. I really like the fact that she tells two stories in one. When her younger sister and brother were born and then when they were older and went on a three week road trip. This one was just as cute as Smile, if not more so, but I felt Smile was funnier. In the back of this one, she included actually photographs of her and her sisters. I would recommend this graphic novel to all middle school girls.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

A coming-of-age book for boys

Full Service by Will Weaver
Full Service

By: Will Weaver

Genre:  YA Historical/Realistic Fiction

Pages: 240

Published: 2005

Read: October

2 out of 5

This book was a fast read and OK story. The best aspect was that it takes place in 1965, so some of the references are fun. The premise is a mother from a very religious family, similar to the Amish community, encourages her son to get a job at a full service gas station in town. Against her husband’s wishes, she wants him to see other experiences. There he meets many unique individuals and supposedly gets involved in the other side of life. However, I felt the story fell way short. The story needed to go more in-depth about the religious aspects; what they are able to do/not do and how sheltered their life is because I felt he wasn’t exposed to anything unusual for a teenage boy; nor did he act like he was much. I wanted him to be more rebellious.


Horrible Book - worst of 2014

Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

By: Cokie Roberts

Genre:  Adult  Nonfiction

Pages: 384

Published: 2005

Read: October

1 out of 5


This book was supposed to be about the women that played significant roles in our history. It was definitely an informational text, but read more like a history textbook and could be used in the C.O.R.E curriculum for high school. In fact, that would be the only reason I would suggest reading it. Not only that, but very little was written about the women. It was more about the men and what they achieved. I know the men played a more significant role in our history, but that wasn’t how the title or summary depicted the book. All I learned was the Benjamin Franklin was a male slut and the women very rarely went by their given name. As this was a book club choice chosen by the members I am very interested to learn what they thought.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

LOVE IT!!

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe
The Girls from Corona Del Mar

By: Rufi Thorpe

Genre:  Adult Fiction

Pages: 256

Published: 2014

Audiobook: 8 discs (9 hours 30 mins)

Read: October

5 out of 5


Some readers enjoy plot-driven novels, others prefer the scenic descriptives and still other readers desire specific genres of books. While I enjoy a variety of books, my favorite in literature is the character-based and character-driven stories. This story definitely fits that criterion.  Mia and Lorrie Ann are life-long friends; this story tells of their laughs, cries, successes and struggles. A lot of joys and catastrophes happen to the girls, however the story spans over fourteen years. This makes the story believable and enables the readers to really know Mia and Lorrie Ann. I love listening to this type of novel because by hearing “their” voice I feel as though my friends are right next to me. As an added bonus, the two narrators are the same two from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, another favorite audiobook.

Fictional Account of a True Crime

Quiet Dell

Quiet Dell

By: Jayne Anne Phillips

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Published: 2013

Read: October

4 out of 5


This novel is a fictional account of a true crime in 1931. Taking place in the Chicago area, a man that was known by several pseudonyms seduces widows and then murders them and their families. Because you know it is fictional, you will forget it is based on true murders. However, at the same time, because the characters feel so real you will forget that Phillips invented some of them, their dialogue, and circumstances – it is so realistic, yet a horrendous reenactment of the crime. Phillips does a great job developing the characters and unfolding the events with vivid descriptions. Included in the novel are several actual photographs of the Eicher family, town and other crucial events. This is an excellent choice for book clubs, historical fiction fans and true crime readers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Better than Twilight

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
The Silver Kiss

By: Annette Curtis Krause

Genre:  YA Paranormal

Pages: 198

Published: 1992

Read: October

3.5 out of 5


Krause is one of my favorite paranormal authors. In fact, I don't understand how the Twilight series was the series that made vampires and werewolves such a popular read with all ages. By far, both this novel and Blood and Chocolate were better written and more interesting. She also wrote a short story, Kissing Dead Boys that I highly recommend.  I still find the concept of humans falling in love with vampires/werewolves so quickly and the females being so vulnerable unbelievable. However, I didn't feel the humans in Krause's novels were quite as ditzy as Bella in the Twilight series. If a fan of Twilight, I recommend Krause and dare you to compare. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Another Neil Gaiman Audio

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants

By: Neil Gaiman

Genre:  Juvenile fiction

Pages: 104

Published: 2008

Audiobook: 2 discs (1 hour 30 mins)

Read: October

1 out of 5


I have learned that I either love or hate Gaiman's stories. The ones that are all fantasy I can't get into as much as I would like. My favorites of his are The Graveyard Book and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  With that said, I listened to this one on my Ipod while cleaning my house, so I was a little distracted.  I continually drifted off and when I started paying attention again I was lost. This story just couldn't hold my interest.  I, personally, didn't care for the story, however I do recognize that Gaiman's storytelling is superb and particularly his narration of his books. I recommend this book to young children, age 7-12, especially boys and girls loving the fantasy genre.   

The Value of Reading

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared

By: Alice Ozma

Genre:  nonfiction

Pages: 304

Published: 2011

Read: October

3.5 out of 5

I loved the project this father and daughter conquered. Reading together at least 10 minutes a night for 3,218 days. It started when Ozma was in 4th grade and continued until the day she left for college. Her father read to her every time. Her father was a school librarian, so obviously he taught the value of reading, but he also taught the value of reading out loud. As Ozma didn't know she was going to write a book on The Streak, as they called it, she didn't remember every book they read but the ones she does are listed in the back. The story itself was more about how their reading bonded the two of them more than the books themselves. It is a pleasant story, however the last 5 chapters or so were my favorite - what happened after The Streak.


  

Another Teens' Top Ten nominee

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
Six Months Later

By: Natalie D. Richards

Genre:  YA Mystery

Pages: 323

Published: 2013

Read: October

4 out of 5


This is one of those books that immediately grab your attention, but you remain leery of it. Will it be able to follow through on the mystery, but also hold the realistic feel?  Chloe falls asleep in study hall to wake up 6 months later remembering nothing – How is that possible? This was a quick, fast-paced and intense book. Every time I thought I figured it out, a twist occurred. However, the characters could have been defined more, especially Blake and Adam. I also found a small discrepancy in the book, but because of the intense pace of book my guess is most readers won’t catch it.  I hope the incident that caused Chloe’s memory loss could never happen in real life; however it was not disappointing or so unbelievable that it ruined the book. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A collection of Horror Short Stories

The Restless Dead by Deborah Noyes
The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural

Edited By: Deborah Noyes

Genre:  YA horror

Pages: 272

Published: 2007

Read: September

3 out of 5


These stories varied in content and interest level- a great quality for a collection of short stories. Because it is difficult to rate as a whole, I will review my favorite and least favorite stories. My favorite was Kissing Dead Boys by Annette Curtis Klause (author of Blood and Chocolate) who writes an incredible story on revenge for her sister’s death. In the author’s note, Klause explains how the plot of the story came about. My least favorite was No Visible Power by Deborah Noyes (the editor). The story had a good promising premise, but quickly became disjointed and difficult to follow. It was as though it was originally a longer story and sections were cut so it could be included in this collection of short stories.

wasn't very realistic to me

Side Effects May Vary by Julie  Murphy
Side Effects May Vary

By: Julie Murphy

Genre:  YA realistic fiction

Pages: 330

Published: 2014

Audiobook: 8 discs (9 hours 15 mins)

Read: September

2.5 0ut of 5

I was really bothered by the main character, Alice. She was a manipulative, back stabbing, friend-using witch. Usually getting emotionally charged by a book doesn’t negatively affect my passion for the story, however I never understood why Alice was more upset about her cancer going into emission then when she found out she had it in the first place. This would have more sense if it foreshadowed that Alice was suicidal or depressed; to me she just seemed wicked. I have never heard or met anyone who decides to seek out revenge and “use” their best friend upon discovering they have cancer. I felt sorry for Harvey; he was na├»ve. I expected the story to be more realistic. But I guess side effects may vary, right?