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 »

Friday, January 30, 2015

A fictional, but true story

It's Kind of a Funny Story
It’s Kind of a Funny Story

By: Ned Vizzini

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Pages: 444

Published: 2007

Read: January

3 out of 5

It was strange reading this book after the fact that Vizzini committed suicide in 2013. This book is a fictional story about a teenager who spends 5 days in a psych hospital. Then at the end of the book, Vizzini shares that he actually spend 5 days in hospital for mental illness in 2004. He wrote the book the month after getting released. The story itself was good, but I don’t believe a person, that is supposedly clinically depressed, could be considered cured enough to be successful in the “real world” after only 5 days. The book also didn’t mention any group therapy sessions, just fun activities – cards, movies, and art. This was very unrealistic to me. Furthermore, I don’t think the title was a good choice, but maybe that was because he was depressed when writing it – because it wasn’t very funny. I believe It’s Kind of a Hopefully Story would have been a better choice.  

Too high of expectations....

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

By: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Pages: 183

Published: 2006

Read: January

2.5 out of 5

I have never read Cohn, but I am a huge fan of Levithan. My favorite is Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which he co-authored with John Green (also a huge fan). However, this one bored me for the most part, plus I thought it was way too offensive in language and overly graphic for YA. I read this book in hopes to have it be book club choice for my teens. I feel as a teen librarian I cannot promote this book.  I was not offended and would not discourage older teens from reading it. However, I would not put it in their hands. Overall, I believe my expectations may have been too high and I was disappointed. 

YA by Kathy Reichs

Virals by Kathy Reichs

By: Kathy Reichs

Genre: YA mystery

Pages: 448

Published: 2010

Audiobook: 10 hours 31 mins

Read: January

3 out of 5

I have never read a Reichs novel before and didn't really have a strong interest. Her young adult book was recommended by one of my teens. It was okay and  I definitely see how certain readers can like it. What I appreciated the most was that Reichs seems to do her research while writing her books and I felt this book could interest both male and female readers. It contains some paranormal aspects but still involves a great mystery. Even though I haven't read any of her adult novels I believe they are probably comparable and just involves adult characters. This one evens has mention of some of the adults from her Bones series. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

a YA nonfiction

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body

By: Martin Pistorius

Genre YA nonfiction

Pages: 286

Published: 2013

Read: January

4 out of 5

When I started this book, I didn’t realize it was nonfiction. So that took me for a surprise. As heartbreaking as the story is I appreciated it more knowing it was all true. I can’t imagine what happened to Martin happening to one of my children or myself. The most mystifying and terrifying aspect (to family, doctors, and the readers) was Martin was not born with the degenerative disease. When he was 12, Martin woke up feeling sick and continual worsened until he couldn’t feed himself, talk or walk.  This should be read by anyone who enjoys nonfiction or enjoyed the fictional novels, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper or Petey by Ben Michaelsen.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Sailing Adventure...

The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong

The Great Wide Sea

By: M.H. Herlong

Genre YA Realistic fiction

Pages: 288

Published: 2008

Read: January

3.5 out of 5

This book started out slow, but definitely picked up at the climax of story. Unfortunately and to my great disappointment, the climax is revealed in any published summary of the book. While a father and three sons are sailing the father disappears and the boys have to survive by themselves. The characters are well developed and due to that I felt much anger for the father and sympathy for the sons. The father is extremely hard on his sons and expects a lot from them, especially after their mother just died in a tragic car accident. If you like adventurous sailing books, this is a great read. If you cry easily at books, be prepared.

No Originality, nothing special

Matched (Matched, #1)


By: Ally Condie

Genre YA Paranormal

Pages: 369

Published: 2010

Audiobook: 9 hours 40 mins

Read: January

3 out of 5

I read this book after all the hype was over with the teens. I do agree that fans of paranormal fiction will definitely enjoy it. For me though, there was nothing original from the other similar trilogies – Divergent, Delirium, The Giver, etc.   The communities are divided by skill, personalities, or other characteristic then either work together or compete against each other. In each trilogy, there is always a governmental department that controls the communities and eventually one person or group fight back. Guess who wins in the end?? In my opinion, for an authors to succeed in this genre they need to develop more original ideas. However, the books still seem to be very popular with the teens and I’m glad they are reading. I do plan on listening to the rest of trilogy, if for nothing else but see if there ends up being an originality.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Entertaining and Musical...

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman
The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman

By: Ben H. Winters

Genre:  Juvenile fiction

Pages: 256

Published: 2010

Read: January

4 out of 5

This was a cute story about a special homework assignment, a secret in a teacher’s past, and a school music competition. This book has just enough angles in it to interest both boys and girls – especially those into music and mystery solving. The music aspect references some popular bands and songs, however they may not be familiar to the age appropriate with reading it. This would be a great step up for the kids that enjoy A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy or The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osbourne. I recommend this book to 3rd to 6th graders. 

Not for the weak...

Comeback: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back
Comeback: A Mother’s and Daughter’s Journey Through Hell and Back

By: Claire and Mia Fontaine

Genre:  Adult Biography

Pages: 311

Published: 2007

Read: January

3 out of 5

I knew this book was nonfiction and deals with a daughter that fights a drug addiction. What I didn’t know was the daughter was sexually abused by her father when she was a small toddler. The story told through the eyes of the mother and daughter duo was the most horrendous and terrifying sexual abuse case I have ever read about. Even though I have never lived through a situation close to Claire and Mia’s their story had me questioning the decisions I made while raising my daughter – much like Claire did. Their story doesn’t end happily ever after, but does end on a hopeful note. The mother daughter duo co-wrote another book in 2012, Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other and the World.

Monday, January 12, 2015

An Oprah's Book Club book

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

By: Ayana Mathis

Genre:  Adult fiction

Pages: 243

Published: 2012

Read: January

3.5 out of 5

I love books told by different perspectives. This one is twelve different chapters each told about one or more of Hattie’s children with the last one being from the perspective of her granddaughter, Sula. Some are narrated by Hattie herself while others are told directly by the child. Due to the format of each chapter this novel could be looked at as a series of short stories, however the reader will gather more insight on Hattie with each telling. The stories are told chronologically from 1923 to 1980. I very much enjoyed the format of the book, however I continually desired more from each chapter/short story. If you enjoy historical fiction, especially from a multicultural aspect you should read this one, an Oprah’s book club choice. This would be a great discussion book for book clubs as well. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Great Fictional book intertwined with some education

All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
All Over Creation

By: Ruth Ozeki

Genre:  Adult fiction

Pages: 432

Published: 2004

Read: January

4 out of 5

I really enjoyed this book - mostly because it has a little of everything in it. The story takes place in a small rural farming community and deals with controversial food issues, such as GMO's, and other gardening hot topics, such as  seed saving and agri-business. This is all surrounding an entire different story about family, friends, and lovers. The very unique genuine characters will make you laugh, cry and smile. I love books in which the story is told by different individuals, however Ozeki changed point-of-view so often and included almost too many voices sometimes it took me a paragraph or two to decipher the character telling the story. Also, I found the ending way too predictable but I still highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Ozeki soon. BEWARE: It is a great gardening/environmental fiction story, but it also has A LOT of sex!!

I was surprised that Ozeki didn't include a list of references or further resources for the readers. Even though a work of fiction, I felt it was clear which side of the fence she is on.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Another mean cheerleader book..LOVE IT

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Queen of the Dead

By: Stacey Kade

Genre:  YA paranormal

Pages: 266

Published: 2011

Read: January

3.5 out of 5

Honestly, I had a hard time following the story at the beginning. I think it was primarily because it didn’t seem to pick up where the previous one left off. This book could almost be a stand-alone because it fills you in on Alona’s past without repeating the entire book. The aspect that I enjoyed most was Alona’s not very nice personality. YES, I have always had something against cheerleaders and it my opinion she is a typical one even in death. I did miss all the encounters with other ghosts. They added humor to the book. Ironically, every time the Order of the Guardians was mentioned I couldn’t help think of Order of the Phoenix and Galaxy of the Guardians. Overall, I look forward to reading the conclusion and will be doing so soon. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Kent Haruf's first book...

The Tie That Binds

The Tie That Binds

By: Kent Haruf

Genre:  Adult Fiction

Pages: 256

Published: 2000

Read: December

3 out of 5

One of my favorite book/trilogies of 2014 was Plainsong, so of course I wanted to read more from Haruf. If I wasn’t comparing this novel to the trilogy, I may have rated it higher. It is definitely worth the read, but I had higher expectations. There are two main reasons it slightly disappointed me. First, Plainsong involved the entire community. Haruf writes as though his characters were your friends; this story focused on only two families so the reader loses that bond.  Secondly, the premise was about an 80 year old woman being on trial for murder. However, that is only mentioned at the beginning and the tail end of story with no outcome mentioned. With that said, Haruf’s writing is still phenomenal and the emotion he can evoke from his readers for the characters is amazing. It’s that when I read the synopsis, I thought it would be different and it didn’t compare to Plainsong.