Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper  By: Sarah Addison Allen  Willa Jackson is working in a nature store in the town of Walls of Water where she grew up. She is not exactly happy with the life that she is living but feels the need to make up for what she thinks made her Dad disappointed in her as a teen.  She is taking off guard by the events that occur when she is  invited to a gala at the former home of her grandmother.  She has no intention of going until some strange events begin to occur.  A boy from her high school shows up all grown up and shows an interest in her. His twin sister who is in charge of the event also places a personal invite into the invitation as it was their grandmothers who started the club that is being honored. Add a little mystery surrounding a skeleton uncovered at the house site, with some history that points to foul play and a little mystery begins.  I loved the book because it kept you guessing and hoping that the characters would find who they were and fall in love. This book is sure not to disappoint you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

After Midnight

After Midnight: A Youngbloods Novel by: Lynn Viehl  Catlyn is tired of starting over. She has moved with her brothers many times and has been in 14 different schools. Finally her brother and guardian Patrick “Trick” has decided that they will stay in Lost Lake, Florida.  Cat really wants to be home schooled but her brother says no way, so her and her other brother Grayson head off for their first day of school together.  The first few days of school are not great for Cat as she seems to have made an enemy of the most popular cheerleader at school.  Then she sneaks out at night to ride her horse and meets Jesse Raven who she just can’t get out of her mind. She knows there is something different about Jesse and just can’t figure it out, (hint, he can only go out at night and the sunlight burns him). Then Cat finds out that her brothers have been keeping secrets from her about who her family really is that might keep her and her new friend apart.  While all these things are happening to Cat at home she is also feeling the stress of being an outcast at school.  The enemy of the cheerleader and the attention of the football star really start to get to her, then she finds out that he brother is dating the cheerleader. Many events lead up to a surprising twist at the end of the book that was great. I really liked the book for the many surprises at the end. At first I thought it was going to be a typical girl meets vampire and falls in love book like many that are out there right now, not that that is a bad thing because I like those books too. But at the end the Viehl created more depth because she threw in a few twists that I really didn’t see coming and really enjoyed, like Patrick having the ability to change and erase other people’s minds.  It will be interesting to see what other adventures Viehl creates for Cat and Jesse and to see if their bond really will hold up against what appears to be many people keeping them apart.
Thank you to my friend Anna Dougherty for sharing this book with me. 
Check Anna out on her blog 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Vanished Books 1-4 by: Met Cabot (writing as Jenny Carroll)  Jessica Mastriani is a typical high school girl who has some anger management issues. Most of the time this is about people making comments about her best friend Ruth or her brother Douglas who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder. She is serving a year long after school detention stint because when she gets mad she usually hits someone.  She tells her parents that she has joined the band and so far they have not figured out the truth.  One day while walking home with her friend Ruth, they get stuck in a thunderstorm, and so they run to the worst place they could, under the bleachers. Here Jessica gets struck by lightning and that is when her normalish life goes to abnormal. Jessica finds out that after her lightning experience she now has the ability to find missing children.  If she sees a picture of a child that is missing she will dream about them at night and in the morning she knows the exact place that they are located. Think of how much this can help the government. So these special government agents come and take her away. She then escapes from them and then tells them that her powers have gone away just so that they leave her family alone.  But do they really? No and the books are all full of her adventures with finding people, dealing with her family that is not so normal, and trying to make Rob love her back.  I loved this series. It was full of adventure and things that you do not expect to happen. Jessica consistently puts herself in dangerous situations so that she can help others and I really liked that about her character.  This is a great young adult series that anyone could get into really quick. The way that the stories are written you get hooked right away and do not want to put them down so that you can find out what happens. Jessica's character is fun to read about and you just hope for the best for her.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Name is Maria Isabel

My Name is Maria Isabel by: Alma Flor Ada  Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez is nervous about starting her new school.  She is afraid to start after the school year has begun and doesn't want to go. When she gets to school her new teacher says that there are already two Marias in the class and she will be called Mary Lopez. This is sad for Maria because she likes her name because it was her grandmothers' names.  She is not in the school play because she is afraid to ask to be, and she is not a good listener in class because it is hard for her to remember to answer when the teacher calls her Mary.  At the end of the story she finally comes up with a solution. Again this book is a book in the reader for 4th grade. It is a great story about not being afraid to tell someone who you really are and what you would like them to call you.  It would be a good story for a 4th grader, and even a 5th grader.

Donavan's Word Jar

Donavan's Word Jar by: Monalisa DeGross   Donavan is a collector like many of his friends. But Donavan collects something many people do not, Words! He loves words and finding out what they mean. Each time he adds a word to his jar he looks them up in the dictionary and finds the definition then he adds them to his jar. But his jar is now full and he doesn't know what to do.  He asks many people for advice on what to do with his words but does not like any of their answers, until he goes to his Grandmothers apartment and finds that maybe giving words away is the best idea. This was a great short book for me.  I read it because it is in the book for school for next year so I wanted to know what it was about.  It is perfect for 3rd or 4th graders but maybe to simple for end of the year 4th grade readers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz by: Donald Miller  This book is the journey that Donald Miller took to come to the basis of his faith in God. He talks in short chapters about different topics that are based on his experiences with learning about God and finding God.  It was actually quite fascinating because it was interesting to see his connections to being a Christian and seeing his feelings about what he believed.  I really enjoyed his book because it was like listening to someone talk with you about their faith and their life.  I found many of the things he said great and lots of great quotes.  I really liked the quote from page 323 that says... "And this is the prayer I pray for all my friends because it is the key to happiness.  God's love will never change us if we don't accept it."  It is so true and simple yet hard to do at times.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Morganville Vampires Books 1 & 2

The Morganville Vampires Books 1 & 2  Glass Houses and The Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine  Claire Danvers is a prodigy.  She is sixteen years old and ready to attend college. Her parents make her choose a small Texas college close to home because they feel she is to young to be on her own. Little do they know that they town that her college is in is full of secrets.  It does not help that she makes a very powerful enemy in Monica Morrell, Monica is set on making Claire pay and is very violent. Claire flees the college dorm in search of a better place to live and finds the Glass House. It is here that she finds out about the towns history of vampires and protected houses, meets Michael who is only awake at night and never leaves the house, Eve who works at the coffee house and has a strange tattoo, and Shane who has just come back to Morganville after leaving when his sister is killed in a house fire. Claire's presence just keeps bringing up problems that eventually lead to many secrets being told and many promises made between characters and the vampires in the town. To tell you more is to give away an exciting plot that makes you want to figure things out as you go along.  I really liked the book and did not want to put it down. It was a suspenseful book that made you want to cringe when bad things happened and want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. It is a series and there are more books to follow so it was left with  a little cliff hanger about what choice Claire will make.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dragonfly: An Epic Adventure of Survivial in Outer Space

Dragonfly: An Epic Adventure of Survival in Outer Space By Bryan Burrough   This book is a document of the American and Russian space travels to the MIR Space station from 1192-1997.  It tells the story of the American and Russian astronauts that were living on the space station at that time.  It documents the history of the two countries working together/or not to send people to the MIR space station. It records the events of the astronauts dealing with a fire on board and the events of when the supply ship collided with the MIR causing much damage to the space station.  I will admit I did not read the entire book. It was very detailed in its descriptions and I found that it was hard to read. I did read the specific parts about the major incidents that occurred and am amazed that the astronauts were able to handle the situations they were faced with at all.  It was sort of interesting to see what was shared with different groups of people about what happened. It seemed that the Russians did not share as much because they wanted things to sound as if they went smoothly no matter what.  If you like documentaries this book would be a good choice for you. It really wasn't something I would read but I found parts of it interesting.