Monday, June 23, 2014

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. 

The One (The Selection, #3)
You'll want to take this series along to the beach and read it with your tween/teenage daughter. All her friends will want to read it, too (and maybe yours). It's like getting together on a Monday night for "The Bachelor" - yes, I do that with my friends! Don't you love the gorgeous cover? This is just a fun series, and your students will love it.  I know mine do - we've all been fighting over the copies I bought for the classroom. :-)
Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)
Another gorgeous cover!  For some reason, this took me a while to get into - I even considered abandoning it at one point. I'm so glad I didn't. I learned to love Seraphina and her journey of self-acceptance. Hartman created a complicated world - be sure to make use of the glossary in back!    I'll be book-talking this one to my sixth graders in the fall, especially to those who loved Eragon.
Little Bee
I know I'm behind on this one.  It's been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I finally picked it up.  Oh, this novel is heartbreaking, excruciating, devastating, and beautiful. Cleave's writing in this novel is brilliant. I admired the way he could build tension and go seamlessly back and forth between the points of view of a British white woman and a young Nigerian teen. The violent scenes were so graphic and so horrible, and yet there were so many points of hope, humor, and beauty. I loved Little Bee and Charlie. I loved the symbolism and the circular structure. I loved Little Bee's survival instincts.  Favorite passages:

"Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." - p. 9

"In your country, if you are not scared enough already, you can go to watch a horror film. Afterward you can go out of the cinema into the night and for a little while there is horror in everything. Perhaps there are murderers lying in wait for you at home. You think this because there is a light on in your house that you are certain you did not leave on. And when you remove your makeup in the mirror last thing, you see a strange look in your own eyes. It is not you. For one hour you are haunted, and you do not trust anybody, and then the feeling fades away. Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself you are not suffering from it." - p.45

"A story is a powerful thing in our country, and God help the girl who takes one that is not her own." - p. 79

"Even the missionaries had boarded up their mission. They left us with the holy books that were not worth the expense of shipping back to your country. In our village our only Bible had all of its pages missing after the forty-sixth verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of Matthew, so that the end of our religion, as far as any of us knew, was My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me? We understood that this was the end of the story." - p. 182

My other favorite passage is on page 264, but it is a spoiler, so I won't include it here.

This is one of those books, much like Khaled Hosseini's, that is hard to just recommend and hand over to someone.  You have to warn her/him in a way.  You have to say, "This is going to be hard to read, but you'll be in the presence of a brilliant writer. Godspeed."

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1)
(Be sure to sign up for e-mails from this summer.  You'll get an opportunity to download free audio books.  That's where this title came from.)
My family loves to read, too!
Katie (18) just finished:
The Summer of Letting Go
Libby (21):
I and Thou
My dad:
The Keystone Kid - A Frank Roderus Western
My mom:
The Headmaster's Wife
Off to read what all of YOU are reading!


  1. I can't wait to read The summer of Not Letting ago. I've had it since it came out. I guess I've been waiting for summer :) I've seen Cass' series but haven't picked them up. They sound good! I finished China Dolls this week and really enjoyed it. See you soon at nerdcampmi?

    1. Michele - be sure to read The Summer of Not Letting Go. It's wonderful! Unfortunately, I decided not to go to NErDcamp this year. :-( Just too much being away from home. You'll have a wonderful time, though!!

    2. I want to read Seraphina! Glad you ended up liking it! The Summer of Not Letting Go is on my list, too.

  2. I'm currently listening to the audio of The Summer of Letting go and I am LOVING it. I almost didn't read this one because I thought it was going to be too much of a fluffy summer read, but I was oh so wrong. I absolutely adore Frankie Sky.

    1. Oh, sweet Frankie Sky! Yes - this is not just a fluff read!! I'm ready for Gae to write another book now. I LOVED The Pull of Gravity and now this one. She's an awesome writer!

  3. The Polisner books are always good, & I'm glad she finally published another-it is good. I'll need to check out The One, Holly, sounds interesting. Thank you!

  4. I am so glad you stuck with Seraphina! It is one of my favorite books of last summer. Her ability to create a believable world is brilliant plus I really enjoyed the characters. It's been hard waiting for the sequel. Have another great reading week.

  5. Love the notes from Little Bee. I saw your stickies sticking out of the picture on FB and now I see why. I totally get what you mean about recommending it. I have been recommending The Fault in our Stars the same way. "Oh, you are going to love when you cry with this book." I still can't get anyone to go see it with me.
    Do you have a recommendation for a fantasy book to listen to? I do not read fantasy. I am committed this summer to reading middle grade. I am about to finish listening to The Graveyard Book. Our library has Rick Riordan and Cornelia Funke and others. I must do at least one.

    1. The first one that came to my mind, Margaret, is The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. Have you read it yet? The audio is excellent, and you will be hooked on the whole series! If your library has Cornelia Funke, I enjoyed The Ghost Knight on audio. I believe it won an Odyssey. I also listened to The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan and liked it a lot.

  6. I saw your review of Little Bee on GoodReads earlier and decided I should probably reread it. I didn't love it the first time, but your review made me feel like I COULD love it! Thanks for sharing these books. I hope you enjoy All Our Yesterdays. I thought it was a good one. :)

  7. I read Little Bee last year and found it very powerful. I need to read Seraphina this year. The author is local and we have a mutual friend so we've met at kid birthdays and such.

  8. You had some excellent reading this week! I love The Selection series and Seraphina. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Little Bee. That one has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. I am glad to know that even though it is hard to read, it will be worth it. Have a great reading week!

  9. These books look great, especially Serafina and Little Bee. These are new to me. Thanks Holly!

  10. Hi there Holly. I own a copy of Little Bee and its sequel - but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm so glad to read your glowing reviews of the novel. I shall definitely try to find the time to pick it up soon after reading how much you enjoyed it. I love powerful novels. Seraphina sounds exactly like the kind of novel that would transport me somewhere else - just what I need as I face looming deadlines. :)