Book (10)

Book Review: One Second

Book Review:
Any Second by Kevin Emerson
Pub. date: November 20, 2018
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5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review!
I cannot wait to get this book for my high school's library!

My students are taught to be an upstander instead of a bystander. In Any Second, Maya did this... and beyond. Kevin Emerson wrote a story that is both unique and scarily possible, which is what makes it such a compelling read.

Emerson did a great job with the pace of the storytelling and the points at which the narrator's focus switched between Maya and Eli. There was also enough detail to create mental pictures without being grossed-out to the point at which the story's narrative could have been overshadowed by the horror of the circumstances. There was enough to make the reader squirm without having to be told the minutia of Eli's torture and captivity.

The author created an atmosphere that allowed the reader to be drawn into Maya's and Eli's decision making. As a reader I was being told things each character couldn't know, and since I had no way of telling them, I had tension, sympathy, relief, anxiety, and hope right along with them.

The main characters had consistently true personalities, which helped this reader connect with the plot and action. The minor characters never felt extraneous and were used well to move the story forward. One Second will appeal to many different kinds of readers and could be recommended to readers of realistic fiction as well as of action/adventure or suspense fiction.

[The only negative critique -- a hiccup I encountered -- is in chapter 17, where Eli contemplates "how some commentators said Eli's disappearance would have been a bigger deal if he'd been white." Emerson has already made the book uber-inclusive (ex., religion, sexual orientation, gender roles, class, etc.), so this one line struck me as intrusive to the flow of the story, an extraneous or obvious attempt to highlight what the author had already made clear about Eli's ethnicity when discussing Eli's names.]

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Book Review: Girl on the Run

Girl on the Run
by Abigail Johnson
Pub Date: 06 Oct 2020 
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LOVED IT! Is there such a thing as a 6 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐review? 
Fast paced and tight, I read this book in an afternoon. I was engaged by the characters and the plot. I enjoyed being able to anticipate where things were going or where they had come from. I sometimes get frustrated trying to follow a thriller's flow of information, and I sometimes think the authors do it on purpose for some kind of gotcha. Abigail Johnson didn't confuse me, purposefully or not. She allowed the readers to explore both with the characters and to make suppositions on their own without making the readers feel duped or slow-witted.
Recommend this book to readers who like Amazon's Hanna.
As an aside, it did help that I grew up and worked near the story's setting; although, the geography itself could have been anywhere with regards to the story. It was just fun for me to read of places I know: Bridgeton, Cheltenham, Perkasie, Elkins Park, etc. 
I can't wait to put this in to my high school readers' hands.
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Book review: Whisper by Lynette Noni

I wanted to like this more than I did. I just felt like in our current social culture, it was another you-don't-know-who-to-trust and everyone-who's-not-like-you-is-to-be-approached-with-caution and look-what-we've-done-to-our-world... I know that's what dystopian fiction is, but this wasn't unique enough to wow me.  Noni did her best to make the reader flip flop as to 'who's to blame,' but it was too easy to figure out, which made me lose a little sympathy for our hero (victim?). I'm no longer a YA, so perhaps YA readers will enjoy the challenge more of deciding which side deserves their loyalty. Characterizations are diverse enough to get to know them as individuals - this is a plus. In spite of my critique of the thematic premise, the plot was interesting enough that I do plan on reading the next book in the series. My curiosity is piqued.
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Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga

Blood Of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)Blood Of My Blood by Barry Lyga
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know how sometimes the final book is not always as great as the others in the series? Well, not this one!!! I could not put this book down. It was full of tension, anger, hatred, as well as love, friendship, and humor. Billy Dent has his hooks in Howie, Connie and Jasper and he delights in telling them they will all die horrible deaths. If you like serial killer books, this last book will make you sick, but I couldn't stop reading it---I was mesmerized by what these lunatics did without a care for others. Will Jazz rid himself of his father or will his father claim his son as the Crow King he thinks is his son's just title? Lyga's books will entice you, repel you, and give you lots of gore.

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I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love, love, love this author and this second book by Jandy Nelson has so much to savor and enjoy. I have to agree with my friend, Tiff Emerick, I did not want it to end. I kept reading small bits, hoping that would make the love, drama, brother/sister dysfunction, family sagas, and the art that wove its way through the plot, the characters, and healing last forever. Twins Jude and Noah tell parts of the story at different ages. At a certain point, what they once had so much of- love, honesty, and sharing became jealousy, lies and separation. Nelson's characters affected me deeply- not just Noah and Jude, but their mom (and her ghost), their grandmother's ghost, Brian, the English model and the crazy artist who takes Jude on as a student. There is so much to love about this novel, but I will leave you with the beauty of Nelson's words as Noah describes Brian, "I swear I can see sound, the dark green howling wind, the crimson crush of rain- all these sound-colors swirling around my room while I lie on my bed thinking about Brian. His name when I say it aloud: Azul." This is a must read; you will laugh, cry, sing, and sigh. The words evoke such wonderful colors, images, and emotions.

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read a book by Holly Black that I didn't like- Tana is a character I loved getting to know. She is a teen who likes to rescue people, but she also gets herself into trouble because she won't back down. I liked how the reader knew Tana was scared to death but the people around her never see her fear. She had a strong sense of concern for others and didn't hold a grudge. Waking up after a party she doesn't remember, Tana saves her old boyfriend (who has been bitten), Aiden and a vampire, Gavriel who is chained to Aiden's bed. Gavriel is a monster who has lived for hundreds of years but looks like a teen. It is Tana's saving of Gavriel that sets the tempo for their friendship. Gavriel has been to hell and back; suffered monstrously, been betrayed by everyone and locked up and tortured for over a hundred years. But it is all of this history that makes him a very, very strong and powerful vampire but we don't find this out til much later. But Gavriel will not forget Tana's kindess and Tana is freaked out that she is attracted to him as well (you will love them!!!) The Coldtown she takes them to is for infected Vampires. Many teens who watch the video feeds think Coldtowns are glamorous and run away to these forever horror-filled places. I would love to see this book become a movie (and I would love to see a sequel); Holly Black's writing was very visual and downright scary. But it was also sensual, especially with Tana and Gavriel- you have to read it!!! I could not put this book down; with all the blood and gore, this horror book is a must read!

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Treasures Just Waiting To Be Discovered

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.-Chinese Proverb

This year I have been included in a special group of Alabama School Librarians from my region to learn ways to improve our school libraries from each other and master teachers, Sandra Hornig and Anita Meadows. 

This past week we learned how to use VoiceThread.  Ridgecrest Elementary School Librarian, Jamin Ellis, started a fantastic VoiceThread designed for School Librarians to share how they have designed interactive areas in their school libraries for students and/or teachers.  


Share treasured ideas from your library by adding to this VoiceThread!

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Checking Out

According to the website:

Whichbook gives readers an enjoyable and intuitive way to find books to match their mood.

Instead of starting from the overwhelming choice of books available, whichbook starts from the reader and enables each individual to build theelements of that elusive 'good read' we are all looking for but don't quiteknow how to define.

The standard way of organizing books for choice, on shelves in a library or a bookshop, or on the web, starts from the products available - the authors,titles, publishers or genres. Whichbook enables, for the first time, the choiceof book to start from the individual reader and what they are looking for.

This site looks like fun. I am going to try it with my students.

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I'm taking part in a fantastic on-line conference with hundreds of authors and dozens of brilliant teachers. Some of my workshops include: Adding Suspense to your novel, Fine Tuning the Senses, Creating Teacher Guides, Getting to Know your Characters, How to Write Power Sentences, First Pages in the YA Market, Assulting a Writer's Thinking, Before Copy Editing, Tightening Up your Writing, Finding your Voice, World Building, and Creative Block Busters. I just may have overbooked myself. I'm on information overdrive.Wait, I'm not done yet. I was also given the opportunity to meet and chat with publishers and agents. They give invaluable information like what they are looking for as far as genre, and even style. It doesn't hurt to be able to mention in a cover letter that you met at the Muse Conference.There are chat rooms designated for mingling with the other authors, too.Finally, I got the opportunity to pitch my new picture book to an excellent publishing house. I got positive feedback and was asked to submit my manuscript. Keep your fingers crossed.The very best feature of this conference is that I attended it in my PJs in bed. If your interested in writing, I highly recommend you attend next years conference. By the way, it's free.Sign up for my free monthly newsletter, Movement and Rhythm on my blog.My blog: http://educationtipster.blogspot.comMoving Through all Seven Days link:
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