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review 2016-09-30 17:44
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane review
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Bagram Ibatoulline,Kate DiCamillo

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is one of my all time favorite books. I read this book countless times as a child and was so intrigued by the adventurous nature of the book, the different places Edward went, the different Characters that he met, and how his own personality changed throughout the text. I would use sequencing activities and character charts for this book. I would also have the students write about a special toy that they have in their reading journals. I would use this book in 3rd - 5th grade. The guided reading level is Q and the Lexile level is 700L.

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review 2015-06-16 05:37
So much fun!!! (plus footnotes)
The Truth Commission - Susan Juby

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Reasons to read The Truth Commission


1. The Writing Style. This book is written in a fun, witty style that will make it impossible to stop reading (unless you just happen to have exams pop up… like I did). What makes this book so much fun to read is the fact that it’s written as a non-fiction novel, where the main character is telling her story to the readers. I always enjoy reading a book structured like that because it helps forge a strong connection between the reader and the main character (IMO). It helps you get to know them better and through "the main character's" writing, their characteristics shine through. That was definitely the case in this book and the footnotes made it all the more charming.

2. THE FOOTNOTES. Holy crap those footnotes were SO MUCH FUN TO READ. That is all I have to say.

3. The Main Character. Normandy is one of the most relateable main characters ever and I LOVED reading her story. I am not even sure what exactly makes her so fun to read about. In part, it’s probably the writing style but I also think it's just her. She is so real. She is in denial about her feelings about a certain someone, she can also be envious of other people without even acknowledging the fact she is envious but she is also a great friend and person. She is someone who internalizes her feelings but given the way she grew up with a speshul snowflake sister, I am not surprised. I loved watching Normandy find her inner strength and watching her shine like the awesome human she is.

4. The Friendships. The relationships in this novel are complex but the bond between Normandy and her friends is great. That isn’t to say they never had any sort of drama but its understandable drama because no friendship is perfect! And none of the individuals within this group are. What is also awesome is the people they meet along their journey to seek the truth and the bonds they forge with other people.

5. The Plot. The way things unfold in the book is brilliant. It adds a layer of mystery to book and if you know me, you know how I love my mystery. I also just love how people and things come together in this book.

Other awesome things include: (some) Diversity, deals with slut-shaming (to a certain degree), lack of ANNOYING drama.

A Few Criticisms


1. Kiera (AKA Norm’s older, famous sister). Kiera was a character with potential and I feel like that potential remained unrealized. Maybe I just kept on wanting something more positive between her and Norm and when things turned out the way they did, I ended up feeling disappointed.

2. Norm's family. Norm’s parents aren’t the worst parents in town but they aren’t winning any awards either. Their passiveness just rubbed me the wrong way and I wish they were able to stand up for themselves but also for Norm. I would like to say that I do like how things ended with Norm and her dad but I still wanted more.

3. I cannot say much else (because spoilers)but the way rape was used in the novel bothered me. It isn’t used in a really horrible or even realllly offensive, but it just doesn’t work for me as a reader and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me, but I do think the issue could have been handled differently.

Verdict: This is a book I’d definitely recommend. There is only one thing that really bothered me but I was still able to enjoy the book and hopefully you will too since it is so much.

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review 2015-04-25 23:44
Amahzing
Rook - Sharon Cameron

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

When I read the blurb for this book, I knew I would love it. It sounded like such a Rashika book and I could already imagine how much fun I would have with the book.

We are thrown right into the action so it was, at first, quite hard for me to keep up. I was confused about what was happening and as I progressed, the initial confusion made it so that I would have to flip back to the beginning to understand what was happening. So yes, that did become a problem for me (to the point where I wasn’t sure of a character’s approximate age until the end of the book, and I was off by a LOT) but, once you get into this book, it will suck you in and have you flipping pages and looking at the clock, hoping that you still have plenty of time left to read.

The identity of the Rook surprised me a little (you find out early on but the only reason I won’t mention it is because it’s fun to find out for yourself) but I am glad the author chose that character to be the Rook because they are so strong and clever and just so fantastically themselves.

Sophia is a great main character. She is badass in the actual sense of the word. There are so many things she pulls that made me want to high five her. She is the kind of character I love in spite of her faults. Never once did I want to shake her, even if she did something I wasn’t completely okay with me because I was a 100% on her side.

Rene was a beautiful creature and I beg that you keep your slimy little paws off of MY RENE (yes I just laid my claim to a fictional character in my review for the book). He is just so fantastic and I imagine that had this been an adult book rather than a YA, there would be cold showers involved. He is a swoon worthy character AND I LOVE HIM. He is more than just a love interest. He is a fishy little creature who is clever and won’t fail to charm your pants off.

Their relationship is also a thing of beauty. They get off to a rough start and once the sparks start flying, the lack of relationship drama is actually surprising. There are so many ways the author could have made their relationship a hot and cold thing yet it was never that. It was  just pure gorgeous development with one major bump. They trust each other, she confides in him and she actually, for the most part, doesn’t have secrets from him. ISN’T THAT BEAUTIFUL?

This book also had a very enjoyable plot line even if I wanted more in terms of action. It isn’t that there isn’t much going on -- the stakes were pretty damn high – but I just wanted a little more in terms of what they were doing and how they were doing it, and just some more of ass-kicking ya know?

I also found the plot to be pretty believable considering that the Rook isn’t actually old. The Rook doesn’t do all the things on their own, the Rook actually has a group of people they trust to help them and I also really liked the way things worked out. With the people taking charge of their situation instead of the Rook. The Rook, while having seen their suffering and the pain, cannot possibly take leadership for something like that since they haven’t had to put up with it and I really liked that.

I also really liked the secondary characters! My favorite being Tom, followed by Benoit. I love that none of these secondary characters are just there, they actually play a part, and they have stories that we get to know. They have miniature arcs and along the way, we get to learn more and more about them which just made me love them all the more.

I was a little disappointed by the world building. This book is set in such a gorgeous location and I wanted to see that explored a little more. This book is also set in a post-apocalyptic world but we only get minimal information on that, just enough for us to understand the world some and while I was upset we didn’t get more, it was also understandable since there are other things going on in this story for everything to be fit into one standalone novel.

This was such a spectacular read and I loved almost every minute of it.  It does take a while to get into but once I adjusted to the situation, I devoured the book and had lots of fun. It is definitely a read I’d recommend to all you readers who is looking something adventurous set in the future.

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review 2014-02-24 17:20
Creepy as fuck and highly entertaining
Donners of the Dead - Karina Halle Donners of the Dead - Karina Halle

***This review has also been posted on Tangled in Pages 

 

A while ago, for a Top Ten Tuesday post, we were asked to list the top 10 books we wished would exist. One of the things I wanted more of was a historical romance book that wasn’t set in England or Europe for that matter so you can imagine why I wanted to read this book so much (not considering the fact that I love everything written by Karina Halle). I wasn't disappointed. Karina worked her magic and out came a highly entertaining historical romance. 

 

Eve is a young woman who lives with her uncle. Her father died a while ago and it affected her mother so profoundly that she stopped talking. As a half breed, she is shunned by society and doesn’t get the same opportunities as her cousin. She isn't seen 'fit' enough to engage with society but her best friend, Avery, is a champ and helps her out the best he can. Her uncle only tolerates her and wouldn’t think twice about championing her out if that meant he could get more money (in my opinion). Avery’s life changes when a band of Texans come. They are looking for a tracker to help them get through the mountains. They also pay handsomely so she joins their group with her best friend and a companion but little does she know what she’s getting into *cue dramatic music*. The mountains are hiding something terrifying, monsters no one could have dreamed of. Will they survive? Or will they turn into the same monsters they are running away from?

 

Eve was a very likable character. She was brave but she also possessed survival instincts. She was smart and instead of giving up, tried to find alternate solutions. She was a survivor. I think one of the the best things about her character is that it is very easy to imagine her in that time period. She is not a lady because of who she is, a half breed, society cannot bind her but at the same time she isn’t so out of place for the time period this book took place in.

 

I had mixed feelings about Jake though. He was an asshole at first, referring to Eve as a savage and hating on her Indian heritage. As you get to know more about him, it becomes clear that there is a reason for his hatred and when you learn his story his actions are easier to swallow. My biggest problem with him was well, him. He bears scars from something that happened in the past but all of that is forgotten as soon as he becomes infatuated with Eve. On the positive side though, he really was a fun male lead. Perhaps not as wonderful as some of Halle's others but yeah.

 

The romance did not work. It pains me to say this but it did not work. It was insta. Jake starts being a jealous creeper even though they’ve barely known each other for a hand full of days for half of which he was rude to her. The romance could have been more developed. There was some obvious chemistry between the two but the romance itself wasn’t strong. I wasn’t swooning. Towards the end, the romance did become easier to swallow but it disappointed me since I can usually count on Karina to develop the romance really well.

 

With that said, the creepy in this book was WONDERFUL. I was legit scared and oh my god the cannibalism and the beliefs surrounding it was so wonderfully executed. I had goose bumps and was on the edge of my seat and scared as fuck.

 

The plot was excellent. It was just straight forward adventure and survival and there were tons of hardships. The author did not cut back on the gory and gave us all she had. The journey was exciting and the author never took the easy way out. The turns this book took were also realistic (in terms of the situation they were in).

 

The ending was slightly cheesy though. I don’t know what it is with me but I cannot stand those kind of endings. I am not the biggest fan of epilogues and I don’t see the need for them for the most part.

 

All in all, Donners of the Dead was an exciting read that combined history and romance with a lot of horror that resulted in a book that can be quickly devoured and is extremely satisfying. You cannot expect anything less from Karina. 

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