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Showing posts from February, 2014

A celebration of middle grade literature - and a readathon too!

Thanks to Ms. Yingling Reads, I just found out about Middle Grade March, a month-long celebration of middle grade literature. Since I'm trying to get through my son's Battle of the Books selections, and since I have a few middle grade books for review, I thought I would join in the fun!

The celebration starts with a readathon tomorrow, so I plan to spend some time reading and hope to get through at least two of the books I have in my pile. I started Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai last night, so if I don't finish it tonight, that will be my first book of the readathon. I also have Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen and Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon on deck. I'm really looking forward to this! I hope you'll join in too!

Book Review: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

When Will Schawalbe's mother is suddenly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he wants to find a way to connect with her during whatever time she has left. He asks her what she's reading, and that is how their book club begins. In The End of Your Life Book Club, Schwalbe tells the story of their last two years together, the connection they form through the books they read together, and the memories he has of his mother and the people she has affected throughout her life.

This is a book that I read for book club, and although many of the women in the group really enjoyed it, I had a tough time getting through it. I love the concept of the story, and his mother, Mary Anne, is truly an inspiration. But I felt there was a lack of emotion on the author's part. I didn't feel a lot while reading this book, despite the fact that his mother is dying. I would have liked to see more feeling from Schwalbe, although as we discussed in book club, perhaps the issue is that he and his m…

Week in Review

Good morning. I guess this is actually two weeks in review since I didn't manage to post last week. I have to admit that the Olympics took over all of my reading and blogging time. I got a bit behind! But the games are over and I'm ready to get back into my normal routine again!

Blog Posts and Reviews
I reviewed The Free by Willy Vlautin last week. It's a really interesting contemporary novel that gets you thinking. I highly recommend it so be sure to check out my review.

Reading
Tonight is book club. We'll be discussing The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, which I finally finished. It took me a long time, partly because of the Olympics interfering with reading time, and partly because it was really slow at times. I'll post a review later this week.

Once I got through the book club book, I started Divergent by Veronica Roth. No, I haven't read this one before. I'm fairly certain that I'm one of the only book bloggers who hasn't. I r…

Book Review: The Free by Willy Vlautin

Leroy, an Iraq War veteran, wakes up with a clear mind after several years of being unable to care for himself or think clearly. In his clarity, he decides he would rather die than go back to the way things were. But his suicide attempt fails. Freddie, who works at the group home where Leroy lives, has his own issues, working two jobs and never making ends meet. Pauline is a nurse at the hospital where Leroy ends up. She is so focused on helping everyone else, she has a hard time helping herself.

In The Free, Will Vlautin tells the story of each of these characters, alternating chapters between them. We get to know Freddie and Pauline as they interact with Leroy, each other and many other characters along the way. And we get to know Leroy, his mother and his girlfriend through his dreams as he recovers in the hospital.

When I first started The Free, I had a tough time figuring out who everyone was and what was going on. Leroy's sections were particularly jarring. But as I read fu…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had a great week. I celebrated my birthday last week by taking the day off from work and relaxing. It was great. Part of my day was spent in my big, comfy chair reading my book. I didn't get a lot written last week, but I did make some progress in my reading.

Blog Posts and Reviews
I reviewed The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. It's a cute middle grade fiction book that my son enjoyed a lot more than I did!

Reading
I finished reading The Free by Willy Vlautin, which I will be reviewing later this week for the book tour. I also started my book club's February selection: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.

My son, C, has been re-reading all of his Diary of Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney. M has been reading some of her Rainbow Magic books by Daisy Meadows.

What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too. You can also chec…

Book Review: The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin is another book on my 9 year old son's Battle of the Books list. He is an "expert" on this book so I decided to read it myself as well. Here's what my son, C, said about the book:

"A dog named J.J. Tully has a chicken named Millicent come to his dog house and ask for help finding her baby chickens. J.J. was a rescue dog so he knew how to find people and she figured he could find chickens too. J.J. agrees to help in exchange for a cheeseburger. But he wasn't very happy about having to help chickens.

"I liked that it was a mystery. It was hard to figure out. It was kind of written like a Kane Chronicles book because it was written from two points of view: JJ's and Vince's. Vince is another dog who lives in the house. He has a gigantic funnel on his head because of chronic ear infections."

From my perspective as an adult, The Trouble with Chickens was just okay. J.J. Tully is a sleuth. The book is wri…

Week in Review & Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

It's Monday again. Last week was a bit unusual. My kids were home for four out of five days because we got an inch of snow. Yes, I'm serious. I was glad to see them enjoy sledding, building a snowman, and playing with their friends in the snow. We haven't had that much snow in about 3 years! Unfortunately, Frosty only lasted a few hours, but the kids had fun building him before he took a face plant into the ground!


Now on to reading and blogging updates...

Blog Posts and Reviews

I reviewed Savvy by Ingrid Law, another book from C's Battle of the Books list. It was an interesting story and I know that C is looking forward to reading the next book in the series, as soon as the battle is over!

I also put together my January month in review post. I am hoping to keep up with this every month, so I've created a rather simple template to use. I didn't keep track of statistics last year, and I'm regretting it. So I'm hoping to get back to it in 2014.

Reading
I …

Month in Review - January

Here's a recap of my reading and reviewing for January. This is pretty simple, but I figure if I keep my monthly recaps simple, I'll actually publish them!!

BOOKS READ IN JANUARY: 7
REVIEWS WRITTEN IN JANUARY: 5

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman
Savvy by Ingrid Law
The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
YEAR-TO-DATE READING TOTALS:

Total Books Read: 7
Total Reviews: 5

Historical Fiction:2
Middle-Grade Fiction: 5
Contemporary Fiction: 0
Mystery/Thriller: 0
Nonfiction: 0
Memoir: 0

For review: 1
For book club: 1
For me: 5