Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.

Here are the books I read this week:
A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner
This story is lots of fun - action, adventure, time travel, history. The series is set up like The 39 Clues, each book written by different authors. This would be a great series to introduce to a kid who liked The Magic Treehouse series and needs more challenging material. Dak and Sera are friends who find a project that Dak's parents have been working on, and they complete it, realizing they have a time travel device. Soon they are swept up into an adventure that includes saving the world from the power-hungry SQ by going back in time to alter history. One of their first stops is to stop a mutiny involving Christopher Columbus. I didn't always love Dak's character, but I think kids will love the humor and action. I liked Kate Messner's Goodreads Review suggesting to pair this up with Georgia Bragg's HOW THEY CROAKED: THE AWFUL ENDS OF THE AWFULLY FAMOUS. I have that book in my classroom library, and kids could get good and grossed out at Columbus's chapter. Kate also has a great idea to use this book as a writing prompt: "What if..." How would changing one incident in history change the course of events? Great cause and effect activity!
A Tangle of Knots

This reminded me a little of SAVVY by Ingrid Law and PIE by Sarah Weeks. I have to say I had a hard time keeping the characters straight, so I'm glad I read it before I started giving it to students. That way I can talk to them about strategies for that. Of course, they may not have any trouble at all!  I'll need to read it again now that I know how the story unfolded so I can pay attention to other details and the richness of the writing. I liked the mystery of the whole thing and how the characters came together. The cake recipes are fun, and I loved the tone. Cady, the 11-year-old orphan who has a Talent for baking just the right cakes for people, was endearing. I loved her story.  This book is getting a lot of attention right now and may be a Newbery contender!
The Higher Power of Lucky (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #1)

This is a quirky story about Lucky, whose mother died from electrocution a couple years previously in a storm. She's kept the urn of her ashes ever since, not being able to part with them. Her father arranged for his first wife, Frenchwoman Brigitte, to come to California to be her guardian. Lucky doesn't quite trust that Brigitte is there for the long haul. The town in which they live, Hard Pan, only has a population of 43, and Lucky has quite the eclectic group of characters as friends: Short Sammy, a recovering alcoholic, Lincoln, a knot tying expert (funny that was reading A Tangle of Knots) and young Miles, who has a missing mother of his own and is obsessed with the book Are You My Mother? Lucky eavesdrops on twelve-step programs while she is earning extra money sweeping up after Anonymous meetings and hears lots of talk about Higher Powers. She wonders what HERS is and seeks to find it. There are some mature discussions in the book, one being "hitting rock bottom" and if that's what it takes to seek a higher power. Since Lucky works at a building where twelve-step program meetings take place, she hears a lot about addictions.  This book also got some controversy with its use of the word "scrotum."  Obviously, the Newbery committee disagreed with the argument that the word was inappropriate and praised the book anyway based on the merits of the story.

The Secret Keeper
Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It
Prodigy (Legend, #2)

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
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What are YOU reading this week?




  1. I loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone, so hope you're enjoying it! I also read Legend, but haven't gottent o Prodigy yet, so I look forward to seeing what you think of it.

  2. :) Another week where we're listening/reading the same book! Really enjoying Daughter of Smoke and Bone...

    1. That's funny! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is very intriguing!

  3. I've had Daughter of Smoke and Bone in my TBR pile for ages. Guess I should try to get to it this summer. Thanks for recommending the other titles.

  4. What a great reading week! Tangle is on my summer list, as is Higher Power (to keep me moving through Newbery books). I really want to read Smoke & Bone too!

  5. Infinity Ring sounds awesome! Definitely adding it to my wishlist. Have a fab week! See what I'm reading here.
    Tasha @ A Trillian Books xxx

  6. Some of my faves here. I really liked A Tangle of Knots, The Higher Power of Lucky and Readicide. I have not read any of the Infinity Rings, but it looks great!

  7. Readicide is amazing. Right up there with Book Whisperer and Book Love.

  8. I loved Higher Power of Lucky. I went on to read the entire trilogy. Those characters in that little small town . . . Just so great. Readicide was such a powerful read. Devoured it in a ferry ride last summer.

  9. The Legend series and Daughter of Smoke and Bone are both books I want to read. I hope you enjoy. And I really love the cover for A Tangle of Knots.

    My Monday post!:)

  10. I like the cover of The Higher Power of Lucky. I'm currently reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.

  11. Love Readicide also! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is so amazingly complex, I just loved it. Everyone loves Higher Power of Lucky, except for me...I just didn't bond with it.