Book Blog: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint AnythingThat moment when the list of book reviews you need to do is over one page…and you realize that you haven’t blogged since October…and you can’t decide where to start…yeah. Sooo….without further ado:

Book Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

When Sydney’s brother is arrested, she is left to deal with the aftermath. She is conflicted because she feels a sense of duty to both the victim and her brother. Normally hiding in the shadows, Sydney struggles to find her place in the family now that the roles are starting to change. When she meets new friends, they help her face the future by first better understanding herself. 

Quotes
It wasn’t that I’d broken down, but that I hadn’t been alone when I did so. You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.

I was used to being invisible. People rarely saw me, and if they did, they never looked close. I wasn’t shiny and charming like my brother, stunning and graceful like my mother, or smart and dynamic like my friends. That’s the thing, though. You alway think you want to be noticed. Until you are.

Recommended Grades: 8-12

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Overall Opinion: Recommended

Source: Audiobook

Book Review: The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

geeksBook Review: The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

Graham has been in love with Roxy most of his life. The trouble is that she doesn’t know. This year, he plans on telling her at Comic Con, after he arranges the perfect day. Will things go as planned? Of course not, or no one would want to read the book! HA HA.

First, can we just take a moment to love on this cover. You have to admit this is stunning! I think my students who love all things geek will really like this book. It was cute and true to comic con/sci-fi fans. You can tell that some research was done! The plot was quick and will have appeal for reluctant readers. For me, I loved the love affair with writing more than the love affairs in the book!

Quote about writing

“I know what is has to feel is epic. But also sweet. Like the romantic subplot of a superhero movie. Like that rainy, upside-down kiss in Spider-Man. But knowing what something is supposed to convey and actually getting it to do that is hard. Ask any writer.”

Recommended Grades: 12
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Average
Source: Book

Book Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

ivyBook Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Ivy is set to enter into an arranged marriage, but her ultimate goal is to kill her new husband so her father can overthrow the government. The problem? Her new husband is actually a great guy. It’s dystopian, so of course the main character has to question everything and start creating a plan of her own. HA! BUT Ivy is more broken than she realized, and keeps getting in her own way.

I read this book and the second book back to back on audio (minus the few days I had to wait for the someone to finish reading the second one. I really enjoyed this series. I thought there was an honesty about love in this book, and although similar to some other dystopian works, it kept me reading because it was more a study of human nature than anything. The second book is just as good as the first.

Quotes: (listened on audio, so punctuation might be wrong). The second one made me stop and actually rewind. Such powerful words!

“Love isn’t something you can legislate. Love is more than charts and graphs and matching interests. Love is messy and complicated, and it is a mistake to deny its random magic.”

“He didn’t save me though; he allowed me the freedom to save myself, which is the very best kind of rescue.”

Recommended Grades:8-12
Genre: Dystopian
Overall Opinion: Average only because I’ve read so much dystopian, but probably would have rated above average if I’d read a few years ago. I’m curious to read her other book now to see how it compares. I really do enjoy her writing.
Source: audiobook

Book Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

starsBook Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

This short story collection features the much anticipated back story of some of your favorite characters in the Lunar Chronicles, as well as a few lesser known ones. I mean really…who doesn’t want to be a part of the wedding? And the proposal??

This is a nice addition to any collection that has the Lunar Chronicles. I love the voice in this series, and readers will like the deeper look into some of these plots. The collection flew off the shelf in my library as soon as I added it on display. The audio for this is also very well done. I love that it’s been the same person through the whole series.

Quotes: None because they weren’t the same taken out of context…and didn’t make sense without too much information.

Recommended Grades: 7-12
Genre: Science Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: Audio

P.S. Sorry for the missing posts this month. Back to school craziness…blah…blah…mostly just lazy about blogging!

Book Review: Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

wordsBook Review: Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Set after the Taliban have left Afghanistan, this novel is a beautiful story of a girl named Zulaikha. Zulaikha’s story involves learning to read, meeting an American soldier who arranges for a surgery to help fix her cleft lip, and the realities of life for a woman in her culture.

This story is sure to capture your heart. The audio for this book is very well done and the story moves quickly. My heart broke for Zulaikha and her family and my head shook at how sometimes we get things wrong even when we try to get them right. Great for fans of Shabanu, but a quality book all on its own.

Quotes: None

Recommended Grades: 7-12
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Above Average
Source: audiobook from Audiobooksync.com

Book Review: Booked by Kwame Alexander

bookedBook Review: Booked by Kwame Alexander

Nick is great at soccer, but not so thrilled about reading. On top of teachers making him read novels in class, his father is making him read the dictionary, and  his crazy librarian keeps trying to get him to join book club! Good thing there is soccer, his best friend Coby, and his crush April.

Told in verse, this is a beautifully written story. So much happened in the plot, but it didn’t feel forced. There are moments of poetic brilliance in this book. I also love the books Alexander chose to highlight at the end. Other great examples of novels in verse. I’m excited to read other books by this author.

Quotes…since I can’t quote as much as I’d like, here is a great discussion on parents between Nick and Mr. Mac (the librarian)

Why do parents suck?

Try a different word.

My bad, Mr. Mac. Why do  GUARDIANS SUCK?

Ha! Ha! Who your parents are now is not who they were or who they will be. You may not like them now, but you will.

Doubt it.

Recommended Grades: 7-12
Genre: Novel in Verse
Overall Opinion: Recommend
Source: Book

Book Review: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

beautyBook Review: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Book three of The Remnant Chronicles starts off right after Lia and Rafe’s dangerous escape from Venda. Once they are safe, they are quickly faced with the decision of how to save two different countries. A change in Rafe’s status means that they are forced to make some tough decisions. But can they act in time to save the people they love from Venda?

Sigh. I couldn’t read this book fast enough. Such a great series. I was very pleased with the ending (eventually). I also appreciated that we learned a little more about Pauline but still kept true to Lia, Rafe, and Kaden’s journey. Definitely don’t read this series out of order.

Quotes

On change:

“You are who you needed to become, Lia. We’ve both changed out of necessity.”

On things being for the best:

He nodded. “You’re right. It’s probably the best.” Bitterness rose in my throat. I hated things being for the best. They never really were. It was a phrase that sugarcoated the leftover crumbs of our options.

On love and choice:

“Everyone deserves to be loved, General, and not because a piece of paper commands it. Choice is powerful and can lead to great things if not held in the tight fists of a few.”

Recommended Grades: 7-12
Genre: Action Adventure
Overall Opinion:   Highly Recommend
Source: ebook from Edelweiss