Tag Archive | Summerthrowdown

More Summer Reading

Well, I am not going to lie.  I am reading much less this summer than I thought I was going to.  Wedding planning has taken over my life.  With that said, I have read 10 books since school let out and 43 books in 2012, so I am proud of that overall!  I have read a few other books in the last few weeks that I want to share my thoughts on.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

My amazing co-teacher Jacqueline, one of my go-to book people, told me about this book.  Veronica Roth raved about it on her blog and Jacqueline was looking forward to reading it.  The price was reasonable on my Nook so I downloaded it.  I am torn on this book.  There are things I loved and things I was not too crazy about.  I love that this book is set in Russia.  I am so intrigued by Russia and love books from there.  I am really not sure why; I just do.  I was also very interested in Alina’s world and learning about the ways of the Grisha.  It was incredibly fascinating to dive into this brand new world.  I was also impressed with the writing in the book.  However, some things did bother me.  First of all, Alina’s excessive whining about herself – she is not pretty enough, she is not good enough, there is some mistake about her.  That was a bit much.  I know she is a teenage girl, but she honestly had nothing to positive to say about herself.  I also would have liked to know more about her and Mal’s past but I supposed there could be more revealed in later books.  There was also a lack of action for me…too much build up of the main conflict.  However, I overall enjoyed the story and am interested in reading the rest of the series. 

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo

I downloaded this book last summer for a beach read but fell into Divergent instead.  I wanted something fun and light-hearted to read so I went back to this.  Overall, I enjoyed the book.  First of all, anything in London will have me hooked.  I like the information I learned about Austen and references to her books.  I also appreciated the ending as it was not what I was expecting and not what is usually found in “chick-lit.”  I gave this 3/5 stars of Goodreads because ti was fun and I enjoyed it but there was really nothing that blew me away.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

This is another books that has been sitting on my TBR pile for over a year and was also recommended by Jacqueline.  I was hooked throughout most of the book.  I had never heard of Vel d’Hiv before, so this was educational in that respect.  I also think it could be a good title for some readers for my historical fiction project.  I really liked the book when it alternated between Sarah’s story as a young girl – heartbreaking as it was – and Julia’s life in 2002.  It was fascinating learning stuff about the even as Julia did and I wondered if it is viewed with as much passiveness in Paris as the book suggests.  I was starting to lose interest in the end and wasn’t sure how it would end up.  It was very different than I expected but overall I am glad I read it to learn more about WWII history.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

It is hard to be reading YA and teaching high school without hearing about Dessen.  With that said, I only ever read one of her other books Just Listen.  I have three of her books in addition to What Happened to Goodbye in my classroom and they do get checked out on a somewhat regular basis by my female students.  Something was really pulling me to this book over the others.  I absolutely loved it!  I love the character of Mclean.  She seems so real and likely to be in my classroom.  Her struggle to find out who she really is definitely speaks to high school students – or even me when I was a college graduate!  The other characters in the story were likable as well.  Of course Dave was fun but I also had a strong connection to Deb; must be the type-A personality.  Many of the characters were rather complex which made them very fun to read and get to know.  I can see this one being popular next year in my classroom.

I have a number of books sitting on the TBR pile still for the summer.  Currently, I am reading The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  I also cannot wait to sink my teeth into Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches.  I hope to be sharing my thoughts about these and other titles soon!

#Summerthrowdown Week 1

This summer I am taking part in a fun competition known as #summerthrowdown between teachers and librarians to see who can read the most books. Over the last week, I have read 6 books that count toward my numbers, plus one I was over half way done with come Monday. Here are some of my thoughts on what I have read so far.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I was actually rereading this book in preparation for the movie coming out this fall. I remember just loving it the first time I read it in my early college years. While I still enjoyed the story, I was not as crazy about it as I remember. It may be an age thing. I think I connected more with the characters when I was 18 and setting out into the world and figuring out who I was. I still love the story and Charlie, Sam, and Patrick as characters but not as much as I remembered. I am still excited to see the movie this fall, especially since Emma Watson is starring in it!

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Thank goodness for Twitter and Goodreads or else I would miss out on so many amazing elementary and middle grade novels that I would not have heard of otherwise. This book made me laugh and I found it to be incredibly entertaining. I love the Star Wars draw in and the many different voices of the students brought into the narrative. I think that some reluctant readers in my classroom would still enjoy this. I can’t wait to get my hands on Darth Paper Strikes Back.

A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M Martin

I had no idea Martin wrote other books besides BSC books, which I grew up on. I found this book as well as Everything for a Dog at the Scholastic Book Fair. I was looking for a light read one night and got through this in one sitting. I don’t mind books from an animal’s POV and found Squirrel to be a lovable dog. Some parts were sad and made me angry to see how people will treat animals, though I know it is true. Overall, it was a sweet story I read in one sitting.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I have been following Johnson on Twitter for some time before reading any of her books. I find her to be an absolute riot! I loved this book! I love that the setting is London. It made me want to travel back to London the entire time I was reading it. I love the pull in of Jack the Ripper, one of the most terrifying murderers of all time. I love the supernatural aspect in this. And the cliffhanger ending makes me wait in anticipation for the next book in this series. I cannot wait to read more of Johnson’s work.

Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville

I came across this book thanks to my coteacher. She added her vase YA collection to our classroom library this year. She recommended Armageddon Summer and I was intrigued so I packed it up with my other summer reading books. I found this to be very intriguing. First of all, there is something to be said about the whole cult following and mind set of people in that. The alternating point of views between Marina and Jed showed two different approaches to Revered Beelson and his followers. And despite the extreme conditions of being in this camp awaiting the end of the world, they go through typical questions and discoveries many people of all ages do. I liked the suspense I felt as I wondered what would happen on July 27.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

This one was recommended by my good teaching friend Sarah over at YALove when I was planning my first Donors Choose Project. It was very hard for me to read this school year because so many students checked it out. I knew it was coming home with me this summer. I found Knowles’ writing to be honest and heartfelt. Again, I love alternating points-of-view and the idea of four in this one was amazing. There is a string message of how teen pregnancy affects many people around the mother and father. I found Ellie’s struggles to be very strong. I really felt for Corrine as the friend trying to be there for Ellie while also coming to terms with everything herself. This will be another one I will promote hard next school year.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

On the recommendation of a Twitter friend and fellow #nerdybookclub member, I listened to this on audio. This is one of the best books I have ever listened to and it is making it hard to listen to something else. Rex’s writing is hilarious and I love J-Lo and Gratuity both. There are also some strong messages that really make you think about our actions in the past. I have the paper copy of this in my room as well and will talk it up. The idea that this will be a Dreamworks movie starring Jim Parsons in 2014 makes it that much better.

Didn’t read as much this weekend as it was my birthday and I was visiting Shawn. Going to enjoy this beautiful day in the patio with my next #summerthrowdown book and I will share some more titles and thoughts next week!

Happy Reading!