IMWAYR – September 12, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicIt’s Monday and I am actually blogging!  Actually, I’m writing on Sunday evening, but still…..  This is improvement!


This past week I finished up a pretty amazing YA mystery novel.  Ripper, by Stefan Petrucha, follows Carver, a young teen in late 1800’s New York.  He is adopted by an eccentric old detective.  His new mentor, Mr. Hawking, wants him to discover the identity of his father from a mysterious note left at the orphanage for Carver.

In the course of his search for his father, there are a series of grisly murders.  Carver, his friends, and the secret detective agency led by Mr. Hawking, work to discover where this Jack the Ripper is, and hope to stop the murders.

I really liked this book.  There were a few chapters in the early-middle that were slow, but I enjoyed all of the action and mystery.  I also liked that the author gave me some clues, just like Carver, but left some unknown.  It made for a great ending!


I also dove into and devoured the second prequel novella to Stealing Snow, the upcoming novel by Danielle Paige.  In this installment, Queen Rising, we find Margot and her brother Go are being sold by their poor, abusive mother for money.  Margot is adopted by the Witch of the Woods and goes to the Hollow to learn magic.

Well, a book isn’t good if there are no twists.  Paige does not fail in this at all!  After a few years, Margot is banished/sent out from the Hollow because she is not learning magic.  Desperate, she ends up taking up with a robber.  He teaches her the trade.  Margot’s brother Go, who has grown up as the companion/friend of the Prince, tells Margot to leave and not visit him anymore.
What’s a girl to do?  You have to read the novella to find out!

Side note:  Someone remind me to not to read Danielle Paige’s prequel novellas before I have the upcoming novel in my hot little hands.  This is really KILLING me waiting until next week!


That’s it for this week!  I’ve got some good ones coming up in the TBR pile.  Tune in next week to see what I’ve read!

IMWAYR – March 28, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis past week was our Spring Break at work.  Lucky for me, I had lots of YA Lit to read!

This week I found some cool resources on the web (okay, not a book, but still).  I finished 2 books this week and made major progress in a couple of other books.  So, here we go!


Around the Web

We spent this past week exploring social media and YA Lit.  Here were a few of my fave links from this week – for both YA Lit class and other bookish things!

Social Media in YA Lit:  Article that looks into social media as a plot device.

Teen Girls and Social Media:  Not about YA Lit particularly, but an NPR article/interview that explores the deeper, darker side of social media.  This interview is especially focused on violence and sexuality among teen girls.

Best Books of 2016 (So Far):  One of my fave reading gurus, Donalyn Miller, has posted a couple of YA books that she loved in March.  I trust every recommendation she has.

Dame Maggie Smith’s Bookish Roles:  Book Riot is pretty hilarious.  They have a list of the best “bookish” roles Dame Maggie Smith has played.  Of course, Professor McGonagall is high on the list.  But, she is one of the best actors ever.

Best Book Nerd Tweets:  Here are some hilarious Tweets curated by Barnes and Noble online.


Books I Finished

This week I finished up An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green.  This was an okay book, but not my favorite.  Colin is trying to get over a pretty horrible break up with a girl named Katherine – the 18th one he has dated.  As Colin and his friend Hassan spend a summer in a small rural town, they both learn a little about themselves and the people that they meet includinoriginal_books-books-on-taigan-john-greens-an-abundance-of-katherines-signedg Hollis (a factory owner) and her daughter Lindsey Lee Wells.

Overall, it took me quite a while to get into the character of Colin – I found I wasn’t really connecting with him.  Once I became invested in his story, the book went a bit faster.

 

After finishing Crank, by Ellen Hopkins, this past week, I really, really wanted to continue to read Kristina’s story.  This week I read the second book in the trilogy Glass.  In Glass, we pick up after Kristina has given birth to her son Hunter.  She is still living with her mom and step-father and her younger brother.  However, she is still fighting her addiction to meth and the overwhelming urge to be Bree.

Kristina/Bree goes through the struggles of trying to find a job, keep a job, being kicked out of her house, trying to take care of her son, and fighting this monster.  I don’t want to put in any spoilers because I know that some other folks are reading it now too.  Let’s just say…..read it.  You won’t be sorry!


Making Progress (In Progress)

I am also, for probably the first time in my life, trying to read more than one book at a time!  I don’t know how it is really going, but here is what I’m still working on reading.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, is the story of Mo, his daughter Meggie, a crazy “aunt” named Elinor, a mysterious stranger called Dustfinger, and the evil Capricorn.  Sound complicated?  Well, Mo is a very well respected book binder.  He and his daughter love to read and they are like two peas in a pod.  Then late one night, Meggie sees a strange man outside her window.  Mo brings the man in and Meggie learns that a very dangerous man named Capricorn wants Mo and a special, dangerous book.

Mo and Meggie attempt to flee in the morning, but Dustfinger is right there waiting for them.  He climbs into the van with them and they all venture to Elinor’s “house”.  It’s not really a house because it is stuffed full of books without much space for people (my kind of house, really).  Mo and Meggie, and the book, are safe – for now.

But….someone comes and kidnaps Mo in the night.  Meggie and Elinor attempt to find this Capricorn character and rescue Mo.  Dustfinger is along for the ride, or so it seems.

AND that’s as far as I have gotten so far  This monster of a book is lovingly being called “The Doorstop” by my husband – but at over 500 pages, he’s not wrong.  I’m starting to get into the story a lot more.  So hopefully, next week I will have finished it!


That’s it from here…for now!  What did you read this week?  Any great resources about teens, their reading, and social media to share?  Let’s chat below…

 

IMWAYR – February 15, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week was filled with a lot of different reading.  I attempted to read more than one book at a time – I’m not sure it quite worked out.  I feel like I am not making progress on any of the books!

Besides my YA reading, it was a busy week with staff development at work and church activities for Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.  Needless to say, I’m not thrilled with my reading progress this week, but it is what it is.

I was able to spend at least 4 hours reading.  I never actually timed it, so I wonder how much I typically read in a week!  I’d guess between 5 and 7 hours…but now I’m curious.  hmmmm……


The Book I Finished!

This week’s book club selection was a nonfiction book.  The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: The Young Readers Edition, by William Kamkwamba, is the story of young William – a Malawian farmer who builds a windmill.  This memoir tells the story of his growing up, the struggle faced by his family during the years of famine, and his desire to keep learning despite his lack of money to attend school.  William is able to borrow books from his library and gets the idea to build a windmill to bring his family light, electricity, irrigation to their crops, and a better life.

William’s story is inspiring.  I really love how he was able to continue to learn and experiment.  He has such a passion for learning and a desire to keep learning that would be inspirational to students.  This Young Readers Edition reads like fiction – something that appealed to everyone in our book club.  One member even found us some amazing YouTube videos of him speaking.  (Check out his original TED talk here.)

This is a great book for reluctant readers, those who learn by doing, and those who are interested in what inspires others.  It would be an excellent tie-in to a cross-curricular unit with science (physics, energy, electricity) and/or social studies (history of Malawi, rural life in Africa, geography and weather, human-environmental interactions).


This Week’s Book Club Book!

Besides this amazing book, I have also been devouring our next book club selection.  Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan, has been really interesting, and really good!  The book follows several young men over the course of a weekend.  There are the two boys who are attempting to complete a world record longest kiss, their friends and family, and other teens in the area who are struggling with various aspects of their identity and relationships.

So far, it is AMAZING.  I even started a Padlet to house all the life lessons I am finding in this work.  Levithan is a prolific writer who states humanity’s truths in the lines of this work. More to come next week!…..


The Book I Want to Devour, But….

I’m also working on Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare.  Set in Victorian England, Tessa has stumbled upon a world filled with Shadowhunters who battle Downworlders (demons, vampires, etc.) underneath the nose of the Mundanes (regular humans).  She needs to find her brother Nate and fears something happened to him.

Tessa must discover who she is (she can turn herself into the physical bodies of other people – mostly dead), what her abilities mean, find (and save?) her brother, and attempt to understand a world she did not know existed.

I am really enjoying this book.  Here is my problem though – it is 500 pages and I feel like I am not making any progress!  Sure, I’ve read about 200 pages so far this week, not too shabby, but I am not sure that I am making the story go anywhere.  I love Clare’s imagery and the sense of wonder that Tessa explores the world with.  I really am just battling the mental wall of Am I ever going to finish this book?

I am determined to finish it for two reasons.

1. I really am enjoying it.  The people who have recommended it did a great job!

2. I have only ever, in my ENTIRE LIFE, left one book unfinished.  I think it is my book OCD that makes me finish them.  I know, Reader’s Rights tell us we can leave a book, but I just don’t want to!


Alright, what’s a girl to do?  How do you break through the mental wall of a “doorstop novel”?  What should I try to feel like I am making progress?  Let’s talk below…