Thursday, February 19, 2009

Still Reading

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I am still reading. It is taking me longer because everyone in the family is sick--including me. Nothing like a 102.4 degree fever to put a damper on your reading enthusiasm.

I have taken a temporary break from teen fiction to read Janet Evanovich's Plum Spooky. I love her Stephanie Plum books they are hilarious, and I could use a little cheering up. I have started The House of Dies Drear, but I am not sure that I have the patience for that one. I am hoping for some light fun reading for now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak **May Contain Spoilers**

I have finally finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Below you will find my review. This is one book that I am very glad that I read. For some reason I kept putting off reading, finding excuses to put in on the back-burner while I read something else. This has to be the best book I have read in ages.


The Book Thief The Book Thief by Markus Zusak



My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I think about this book all I can say is WOW! This book was intense. I read reviews of other reviewers, who thought that this book was slow, and were unable to finish the book. I have to say that it is well worth the time and effort it took to get through it.

The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who is sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The story is narrated by Death, a somewhat distant character until you get to know him. Death is intrigued by Liesel's story and what happens in her life. He first meets Liesel when her brother dies on the way to the Hubermann's. What follows is the story of a poor German family trying to live through WWII. Liesel Meminger's foster parents are good people in a bad time, and do not agree with the Nazi party. Over time Liesel comes to love her foster parents, and makes friends on Himmel Street where they live. It tells the story of both the good time and the bad, and shows Liesel strength to confront both.

It is a touching story of a young girl who steals books, and finds life in reading them. The ending is heartbreaking, but definitely a wonderful read. Highly recommended!

Cautions for Sensitive Readers: There is a lot of foul language in the book, but no sex (although there is a brief story about Rudy being naked). There is some violence. This story takes place during WWII and the Nazi regime is present--there are whippings of Jews and of Liesel's foster father when he offers a Jew a piece of bread. Liesel too is beaten when she tries to save her Jewish friend Max as he is marched to the Dachau concentration camp. Some fighting and bombings.


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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review--**Far From You** by Lisa Schroeder

Far from You Far from You by Lisa Schroeder



My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
Alice, named after the character from Alice in Wonderland is still realing from the death of her mother. Her father has remarried and has had a baby with his new wife. Alice feels like he is pushing her away and that she isn't part of the family. She resents her stepmother and the new baby and struggles to come to terms with the death of her own mother.

Alice expresses her feelings in her music and to her boyfriend Blaze, but feels largely misunderstood by her father, stepmother, and even her best friend, Claire. When disaster strikes April has to learn to rely on her new stepmother and her faith to see herself through, and learn to let go of her painful past.

This novel written in verse is well written. It is a quick and enjoyable read with well developed characters. It should appeal to fans of Lurlene McDaniel and teens who like a story about finding hope in tragedy.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers: There is some foul language in this book, but it isn't overdone. Alice and her boyfriend talk about having sex and even go to a hotel, but when Alice says no, her boyfriend respects her decision. The situation is handled well. There is no violence in this book


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Monday, February 9, 2009

Still Reading "The Book Thief"

I took some time off this weekend to read Emily Whitman's Radiant Darkness. It was an enjoyable read and a nice departure from the intensity of The Book Thief. Radiant Darkness is due out in May--I can't wait to get it for the library and to see what other reviewers thought.

Review "Radiant Darkness" by Emily Whitman

Radiant Darkness Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman



My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this stunning debut, Whiteman elaborates on the myth often called The Rape of Persephone. Whiteman’s Persephone however, is not the damsel in distress that you often find in the traditional myth. What sets Whiteman’s Persephone apart is that everything that happens to her is by her own choice.

Tired of being treated like a child and ignored by her mother the goddess Demeter, Persephone silently rebels against her mother who refuses to acknowledge that her daughter is no longer a child, but a young woman. When Hades appears to Persephone in the protected vale Demeter has created, Persephone finally has someone who treats her as an adult rather than a child. Hades offers her the choice to stay in the vale or become his queen, and Persephone makes her choice. What follows is the story of how Persephone transitions from self absorbed child to a caring and determined young woman and finally to a radiant queen.

Radiant Darkness was a quick read. I have always loved mythology and truly enjoyed this version of the story. It was engaging from the beginning. Although I felt that it took Persephone a little too long to catch on to both her husband and her mother’s desire for more power, the story is still entertaining. Persephone’s chafing at the beginning under her mother’s over-protectiveness will be something that teens ready to experience their own independence will easily empathize with. Recommend this to teens that enjoy fantasy and the Greek myths.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Persephone is married to Hades, but nothing that happens in the bedroom is shown—everything regarding sex happens off screen. There is no language and no violence.


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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Still Reading--The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I am still reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I am enjoying the book, though I haven't had much time to read lately. I can see why the book is so well reviewed, it is an intriguing story narrated by death. I will definately keep reading, but it is taking a while to get through. I need to move on to other books, and I need more time.

I have been busy trying to select the 10 titles for the 2009 Battle of the Books competition. The non-fiction title is always the hardest, but I think I have a current favorite, Small Steps: The Year I got Polio by Peg Kehret. My only concern is that the book may be too young for the age group (Gr. 7-9). The book meets the rest of the criteria though--more than 100 pages, available in paperback, and there are enough copies available for purchase. Hopefully this will be the one.

Now I just need to choose the other 9 titles...

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