Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What I've Read This Summer!

I've been reading A LOT this summer and I'm loving it! I wish I had more time to do so during the school year. I've been reading for personal enjoyment, but also some chapter books I think my 5th graders may enjoy reading. I want to be able to give some great book commercials (if you haven't read Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild-what are you waiting for?!?! Pick it up now! She discusses this in her book). Here are my reviews from last weeks great books.

The Fault in our Stars, By John Green Synopsis
The Fault In Our Stars is a fabulous book about a young teenage girl who has been diagnosed with lung cancer and attends a cancer support group. Hazel is 16 and is reluctant to go to the support group, but she soon realises that it was a good idea. Hazel meets a young boy named Augustus Waters. He is charming and witty. Augustus has had osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, but has recently had the all clear. Hazel and Augustus embark on a roller coaster ride of emotions, including love, sadness and romance, while searching for the author of their favourite book. They travel to Amsterdam in search of Peter Van Houten the author of An Imperial Affliction. While on their trip Augustus breaks some heartbreaking news to Hazel and both of their worlds fall apart around them. If you enjoy young adult books, full of witty humour and heartbreaking events, this book is perfect for you. Expect to laugh, cry and smile throughout this novel. (The Gaurdian)
My Thoughts on the Book
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was witty and has an unflinching look at mortality. It was an easy read and at times difficult to put down. This is definitely a book for high school aged students (in my opinion). There are some topics that deal with sexuality and I wouldn't feel comfortable with a student in my class reading this or even in middle school/jr. high. I haven't seen the movie yet, but will once it comes out. I'm always curious to what is better the book or the movie and more often than not the book is way better.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, By Ransom Riggs Synopsis
 Jacob has listened to his grandfather’s mysterious and fanciful tales about his childhood all his life, but he always assumed they were exaggerations.  That is, until one day, when sixteen-year-old Jacob finds his grandfather dying after some sort of vicious attack and sees the monster that murdered him, something right out of his grandfather’s stories.  Desperate to understand what has happened, Jacob travels to a small island off the coast of Wales in order to find the truth about his grandfather’s past. (S. Krishna's Books)
My Thoughts on the Book
This book started off with a bang! It was so suspenseful and I was hooked right from the beginning, but midway through the book my interest started to fizzle, just a bit. I do like the vintage photos that were used throughout the novel. They added to the mystique of the story line. It was definitely an interesting and unique book. The cover does give the book a creepy feel, but it isn't as scary as it may seem. There are some frightening elements, but it is more of a fantasy than anything else.

 The Seer of Shadows, By Avi Synopsis
Newbery Medalist Avi weaves one of his most suspenseful and scary tales—about a ghost who has to be seen to be believed and must be kept from carrying out a horrifying revenge.

The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.

Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.

Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.

Rich in detail, full of the magic of early photography, here is a story about the shadows, visible and invisible, that are always lurking near.(

My Thoughts on the Book
This was another quick read, I was able to read it in a day. I enjoyed it (but I've always loved a great ghost story/suspense novel). I like the historical setting in which the book takes place. It deals with race relations during that time period and includes some historical language. This book is probably not a book for a sensitive reader since  it has some frightening elements...ghosts can be scary and death is involved in the story line. The publisher suggests the book is for children ages 9-12. I think depending upon the child, a good age would be 11 and up.
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  1. Oooh, I must check out the Avi book...LOVE all Avi books, never disappointed! I read Miss Peregrine a few weeks ago and I'm still not quite sure what to think. This book is one of six selected for our county wide English Festival for grs. 7-8. Have you read Unwind by Neak Shusterman? ANOTHER dark novel for this age group.


    1. I haven't read Unwind, I am going to add it to my list! Thanks for the recommendation. I read somewhere that next year there will be a movie based on Miss Peregrine with Tim Burton directing it. I'm curious to see how the movie turns out.

  2. I loved The Fault in Our Stars . It was such a fantastic book! I am afraid to see the movie because the book was so fantastic. I had a similar experience with Miss Peregrine as you. I really enjoyed the beginning, but had to push myself through it toward the middle and the end. I totally didn't get that "bummed it's over" feeling I usually get with a good book when I finish. I have to check the Avi book! Sounds great. :) Thanks for the great recommendation!
    PS- it drove me nuts that I couldn't underline the titles of the books, so please just pretend I did. LOL :)

    Caffeine and Lesson Plans

    1. I agree! The Fault in Our Stars was such a great book. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, but I know I will most likely be disappointed. The movies are rarely as good as the book. I recently finished The Book Thief and then watched the movie...the book was SO much better!

      Haha, they need to fix the comment section and allow us to underline! :)

  3. The Seer of Shadows was on the Sunshine State Young Reader Award list in Florida a few years ago. It was so funny to listen to the kids talking about it as they were reading. Some kids really wanted to read it and others not so much because they were scared. I never did end up reading it. I don't do ghosts....or clowns. LOL!
    Rockin' and Lovin 'Learnin'

    1. No ghosts or clowns?!?! I think if you kept the lights on and read it during the daytime you would be ok. :) Just wait until I review another book I read...it was a favorite of mine when I was a youngin' and it was scary!


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