IMWAYR – September 19, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicHappy Monday!  This past week I really got into a couple of books.  I mean, they were so good that I couldn’t put them down.  Interested?  Let’s check them out…..


First up, we have Shannon Hale and Dean Hale’s story of an awesome, crime-fighting princess, Princess in Black.  In this one we are introduced to our superhero princess, Princess Magnolia.  She has the nosy Duchess Wigtower over for hot cocoa.  Just then, the secret monster alarm goes off.  Magnolia excuses herself and takes on her ninja-like crime fighting identity – the Princess in Black!  The Princess in Black goes to save the goat herd and send the invading monster back to his land.

With gorgeous illustrations, fast moving plot, and engaging action, Princess in Black is a must read for children of all ages!


I then went in a different direction and read an amazing YA novel.  Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, tells the story of Melinda.  Melinda is a high school freshman who is suddenly outcast from her group of friends.  As the novel progresses, Melinda speaks less and less.  The reader discovers why she is not speaking, and the events surrounding the night that changed her life forever.

This powerful novel was a tough one to put down.  It is written without much dialogue, but rather, as a stream of consciousness type narrative.  Laurie Halse Anderson has said that she woke up one night from a nightmare to hear a girl screaming.  That inner girl is the character who became Melinda.  I loved the writing and totally relate to Melinda’s feelings of being lost within oneself.


Finally, I went back to one of the books on my TBR from last fall’s Children’s Lit class.  The Poet Slave of Cuba, by Margarita Engle, tells the story of Juan Francisco Manzano.  Juan was a slave in Havanna who is incredibly talented at reciting and creating poems and songs.  This biographical tale, adapted from Juan’s own autobiography, explores the confusion, frustration, and growth of this amazing poet.

I loved the verse writing style!  She truly attempted to keep close to the essence of Manzano.  His story is one of heartbreak, joy, pain, and love.  This was a true “book-a-day” read as I started and finished it in an afternoon!


Well, that’s what is up for this past week!  I am currently reading a twisted Sleeping Beauty tale and anxiously awaiting the arrival of Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige.  My Amazon account estimates I’ll get that one by Friday – a full 2 1/2 days post publication day.  I guess I have to survive though!

IMWAYR – May 30, 2016

ItsMondayGraphic

It is the last Monday in May!  Yikes – where has the year gone?

This past week I did more traveling back and forth to college.  This meant more audio book time.  I am really enjoying Inkheart as an audio book.  In fact, I am not sure that I will ever decide to watch the movie.  I just cannot picture Brenden Fraser as Mo.  I hope to finish up the audio book sometime in the next couple of weeks!


I finished reading Fallout by Ellen Hopkins.  I really liked how the story is told through the eyes of Kristina’s eldest three children.  I made a lot of connections between the choices they were making and the choices their mother made.  However, I think that the most interesting part is the afterward written by the real “Kristina”.  Ellen Hopkins has made no secret that the story is modeled after the struggles her daughter faced when fighting the Monster.  The afterward explores “Kristina’s” thoughts about the books, her struggle with the Monster, and the choices she has made.  I LOVED that part most!!


Finally, thanks to a long weekend, I completed a #bookaday yesterday.

Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers follows Regina Afton in the weeks following a crazy high school party.  At the party, her “BFF” Anna is passed out drunk.  Anna’s boyfriend Donnie rapes Regina.  Frightened and disoriented, Regina finds herself at “friend” Kara’s house immediately following the attack.  That his where things go upside down and sideways for Regina.

Instead of being supported and embraced by her friends, Regina finds herself frozen out of the friend circle, dumped by her boyfriend, and bullied on a daily basis.  All because Kara told Anna that Regina slept with Donnie.  The novel follows Regina in her attempts to deal with losing her friend group, boyfriend, popularity, and reputation.  Regina starts a very uncertain friendship with an outcast named Michael – but is he all she wants or needs him to be?  How will she survive the rest of her senior year?

This book was intense, but it was great!  I definitely recommend you read it.


So, what did you read this week?

IMWAYR – May 23, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicGreetings readers!

I am not even going to lie.  Not enough reading for fun is going on in my life.

Sure, we all have our excuses.  If you don’t want to read mine, scroll down to the next part and I’ll tell you my progress!

The Excuses (in no particular order)
  1. Taking Block is a lot more time intensive than I thought it would be.  Not only is there class M-F for three hours, but then there are homework assignments too.
  2. Online classes on top of in person classes is actually harder than I thought.
  3. I spent a lot of time getting things organized so I can graduate in a year.  That took longer than I expected.
  4. Driving 6 hours a week is exhausting.  Although, the audio book is going well.

All in all though, I am really enjoying Block.  I love my classmates and it is great to get to hang out together all week!

Now, the reading progress!

The audio book thing is going pretty well for me though.  I’m listening to Inkheart and am really enjoying it.  There are times during my drive when the reader kind of sounds monotone.  I do occasional crank on the tunes instead of the audio book, but I am really enjoying it!

I am also reading through the final book in the Crank series.  Fallout is just as good, if not better, than the previous two.  What is great about this installment is that the narrative POV changes between Bree/Kristina’s various children.  I had to renew it from the library, but I am really, really, really loving it!


Well, that’s it for now!  What have you been reading?

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 – March 21, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I have been reading some pretty great books.  In between all of my awesome reading I have had to do various things for work.  I didn’t find as much time to read as I would have liked, but I for sure read more than the “required” 4 hours.


For book club discussion this week, we read a verse novel.  Crank, by Ellen Hopkins tells us the journey that Kristina experiences as she becomes addicted to meth (aka The Monster).  Kristina finds herself almost becoming a different person – this girl named Bree who doesn’t care about good grades and only cares about having fun and partying.

In the author’s notes, Ellen Hopkins says that this book is entirely fictional.  However, she based the story on the experiences of her daughter, and other people’s children, and their addictions to meth.

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I took a picture of p. 337 & 338 to show the dual readings. Text is copyright the author and publisher.

This book really touched me.  In the way the pages are laid out, you can read almost two versions of this story – one in which you hear all the inner thoughts of Kristina/Bree, and one of what her family sees.  In the pages above you can see how the family may have seen what Bree is going through by reading the left justified words.

This book was amazing.  I know a book is great when I stay up WAY to late to finish it and am dragging the next day because I missed sleep to read!


I also started working on John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.  I’m about half way now, but it has surprised me as well.

Child prodigy Colin has just graduated high school.  He’s just been dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine.  You see, Colin has only dated girls named Katherine (19 of them in fact), and he has been dumped by every single one of them.

Enter Colin’s BFF Hassan.  A year older than Colin, he comes to the rescue by suggesting an epic road trip until Colin is no longer heartbroken.  The boys convince their families and take off on an epic adventure.

So far, they have driven all night, stopped to see some crazy sights (burial place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Gutshot, TN?).  They end up meeting an eccentric company owner named Hollis, her daughter Lindsey, Lindsey’s boyfriend Colin (aka The Other Colin), and a hilarious cast of characters.

Meanwhile, our Colin is working on a Theorem of Katherines – a mathematical explanation of why he is always the Dumpee and why he keeps dating all these Katherines who are, clearly, Dumpers.

I am slowly getting into the book.  Part of me remembers Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and I kept feeling like there needs to be a female narrator/POV/main character.  So far, all Colin here.  However, my nerdy math-literature self is loving the mathematical explanations, the footnotes and random facts, and way that Colin thinks.  I’ll have to fill you in next week on how it ends!


That’s it from here!  What did you read this week?  Have you read Crank or An Abundance of Katherines?  What should I read next?  Let’s talk below…