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review 2016-06-12 00:13
Eighth Day series
The Morrigan's Curse (Eighth Day) - Dianne K. Salerni
The Inquisitor's Mark (The Eighth Day) - Dianne K. Salerni


If you haven't read The Eighth Day, stop reading and see my review. This may give away details of the first book.


I loved this series. Unknown to "normals," there is an eighth day between Wednesday and Thursday called Grunsday. The people that know about this day are descended from King Arthur, Merlin and others from that time. Some of them are "transitioners" who are able to live in normal days as well as Grunsday. Some are "kin" and are stuck only living on Grunsday. Merlin created the eighth day to trap the kin and Merlin's descendants are the ones keeping the magic of Grunsday alive. There are only two descendants of Merlin left and everyone wants to protect or control them.


That's the basic idea, without giving anything away from the second and third books. Basically, if you like fantasy or adventure, read this series. I loved it!!

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review 2016-01-20 03:16
A Future of Killer Tornadoes & Monster Storms
Eye of the Storm - Kate Messner

No one is safe... except the people who live in Placid Meadows, a one-of-a-kind community that even the worst tornadoes seem to pass by. Jaden Meggs is about to spend her summer there while she attends Eye on Tomorrow, the exclusive science camp that her father created. At camp she befriends Risha and Alex, and the trio sets out to find a way to stop the storms. But when they discover a dark secret about Jaden's father, their summer of cool science turns into a heart-pounding race to save lives and face down the biggest storm of all.

--from the back cover


Looking at the cover of this book and reading the title, I thought it would be a book about storms. I didn't realize at first, that it is set in a dystopian future where these crazy storms are a part of everyday life. I feel like the cover doesn't do the book justice in terms of conveying what the book holds in store for the reader.


Regardless, I enjoyed the book very much. The kids are courageous, smart and tenacious. They want to solve the storm problem and they won't let anything or anyone stop them. The action is heart-pounding, the suspense is intense. There is a bit of twist towards the end that many readers (especially the younger ones, won't see coming).


Recommended to:

Students in grades 5 - 8, especially kids who like adventure and suspense with kids as the heroes.

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review 2015-09-08 02:04
Historical Fiction emphasizes hope
Kizzy Ann Stamps - Jeri Watts


I never thought I'd write to the teacher at the white school. I don't know as I've ever thought about the white school, really, before all this integration business got started. But here I am, fixing to go there come September.

--Chapter 1


This historical fiction novel tells the story of integration in a small town and how a young girl sees things. Kizzy Ann Stamps is a young girl of color who doesn't really want to go to the "white school". The book is set up as letters Kizzy writes to her new teacher and once school starts, a journal. Each chapter is a letter and later a journal entry. Kizzy loves to write and enjoys telling Miss Anderson all about her and her dog Shag in her letters.


Kizzy is very honest in her letters and expresses what she is feeling about whatever is going on in her life. As the story progresses, we see that Kizzy has a strong personality and sometimes speaks when she shouldn't and it gets her in trouble. But, Kizzy is also very smart, very determined and very resilient.


The author writes beautifully and really captures the voice of a young black girl during the time of segregation. At least as far as I can tell, being pretty far removed from that myself. I guess what I'm saying is, Kizzy is a compelling character and she seems real. Kizzy goes through some highs and lows. She is kept from doing some things because of the color of her skin, but she does break some barriers.


To me, this novel speaks of hope. How even though things seem set in concrete, there are always people with open minds who are willing to see the benefits of change. Of course there  are those who are dead set against change, but that doesn't mean we stop trying to make life better.


Enough preaching. Here are some quotes that I especially liked.

I cannot believe the upside-downness of the world. One day your biggest problem is whether you feel like you can work with a man whose eyebrows are alive, and the next minute your problem is that your country's president is dead.

How can one man dying make the whole world hush?


He's my daddy, you know. But sometimes, I just don't know what's right. He'll do something and it feels, um, ugly or mean or something. I get mixed up then. I just don't always know what's right. You know what I mean?


The makeup didn't bring back the old me. It wasn't the old Kizzy Ann. It was just some other girl, someone I didn't know. It was a disguise, just a disguise.


I was not amazed at the hug from you -- I know by now that you really do love me even if you are white and I am not -- but when the crowd gasped, I thought we were in trouble.


I looked to my friends, my friends who were there for me, there with me, this finest moment in my life. I knew that it didn't matter whether we won any place at all. For that experience, on that course, I was an equal.

I enjoyed this book very much. Historical fiction seems to be growing on me. I used to think I didn't like this genre much. But, recently I've read several historical fiction books that touched me. It's always fun to discover something new that you enjoy.


Recommended to:

Readers in grades 3-5 that enjoy historical stories or stories about young girls overcoming odds.

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review 2015-09-07 23:20
And you thought the SATs were bad.
The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau


The best leaders make mistakes and then learn from them. The best leaders never make the same mistakes again. The only way you can learn is if you understand the mistakes that were made.

--Chapter 17


Imagine a dystopian future where only certain people are selected to take the test to go to college. Then, that selection, once made, is not an option. If you are selected, you must participate in the testing. The testing itself is not as simple as filling in some blanks. And not everyone will complete the process. But, what happens to those who don't finish and will those who do finish ever be the same again?


I loved this book. Malencia (Cia) is a 16-year old girl with dreams of changing the world and making a difference. I enjoyed her character. She has doubts along the way but she tends to follow her instincts. She is fiercely loyal and, despite a warning not to trust anyone, she cannot help but trust people who have given her no reason to mistrust them.


While reading, I felt immersed in Cia's world. I could picture what the landscapes looked like after their world was destroyed by

the Seven Stages of War - The Four Stages of Destruction that humans wrought on one another and then the following Three Stages in which the earth fought back.

And I was afraid for her when she was out in the wilderness alone. There is plenty of danger and drama during the testing, including edge of your seat moments when you don't know who will survive and some surprises that I didn't see coming. And a love interest, but no real triangle (hooray!).  


The minute I finished this book, I downloaded Independent Study and started reading. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. It can be so satisfying to read a series after it has been completed, never having to wait for the next book to come out. But, sometimes I do like going crazy waiting for eagerly anticipating the next book.


Recommended to:

Grades 6 and up (or high readers in 5th grade). There is some violence but it is not widespread. And, of course fans of YA Dystopian books. The writing, the characters, the story itself - all very well done.

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text 2015-08-29 03:37
Reading progress update: I've read 110 out of 336 pages.
The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau




 A moment later a nail imbeds itself in ******'s eye, and he drops to the floor like a stone.



Um..... What????

Where did that come from?

I mean, I knew something was coming, but really???

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