Posted in 2020 Books, Book Reviews, NetGalley

Four Days of You and Me

Amazon.com: Four Days of You and Me (9781492684138): Kenneally ...

Goodreads summary:

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.


I joined NetGalley to help me find more young adult literature for my classroom library, but also because I love to read. And for as cheesy and corny as young adult literature can be, there are some really great books out there. Books that can appeal to both teens and adults.

This is not one of those books. This book is strictly for teens; it is 100% a teen romance. I do not know a single adult who would enjoy this book, but again, it wasn’t written for them.

Teens, probably love-sick teens who think you can only find your true love during the four years of high school, they will love this book.

What I Didn’t Like:

The main character was not likable to me at all. I feel like I didn’t know her. She is a writer and an artist, but there isn’t anything but perhaps a paragraph that lets the reader know why this book she is writing is so important to her. Her friends are all more likable than she is, especially her best friend, Max. I liked his character a lot.

The time shifting. I usually like this writing style, but in this book, it was just confusing.

The fact that this book perpetuates the lies that high school is where you find your best friends and your true love. Teen Romance as a genre probably just isn’t for me.

As a middle school teacher, I couldn’t put this book in my 8th grade classroom. There are multiple sexual scenes that are pretty graphic (in my opinion) for a teen book.

So. many. clichés. I rolled my eyes quite a few times throughout the books. I had never read this author before and kept telling myself that this was probably her first novel. It definitely is not.

What I liked

Max, her best friend, is really enjoyable and a good best friend to a girl who, quite frankly, is extremely self-centered.

.

.

.

I’m sorry, I really am. I just can’t think of anything else that I liked about this book.

Posted in Book Reviews

Hideout – Review

Goodreads Summary

Twelve-year-old Sam has been given a fishing boat by his father, but he hates fishing. Instead he uses the boat to disappear for hours at a time, exploring the forbidden swampy surroundings of his Gulf Shore home. Then he discovers a boy named Davey, mysteriously alone, repairing an abandoned cabin in the deep woods. Not fooled by the boy’s evasive explanation as to why he’s on his own, Sam becomes entangled in his own efforts to help Davey. But this leads him to telling small lies that only get bigger as the danger increases for both boys, and hidden truths become harder to reveal.

I kept putting this book off because I had read the back cover, and it just didn’t seem that interesting to me. I finally picked it up again when school started last week. It is the 2nd to last Truman nominee for the 2019-2020 school year that I have to read, and then I can focus completely on the 2020-21 list.

This book definitely surprised me. The first chapter, I actually had to look up what some words meant, because I know absolutely zero about boats or fishing.

Hideout was the first book by Watt Key that I have read, and I really enjoyed his style. The book was simple to read (which is great for middle school students), suspenseful, and funny (in places).

The main character, Sam, is at an interesting place in his life where he wants to prove to himself and others that he is brave. This desire comes from having a dad who is a police officer and the fact that he got beat up pretty badly in front of the prettiest girl in school.

This desire to prove himself leads him on an adventure to help Davey, but in doing so, he starts lying to his parents and fighting with his best friend. I liked Sam’s character a lot, and honestly, with how creepy the front of the book looked, I thought Davey might be some sort of ghost. I was wrong, and I’m not ruining the story by sharing that. Just showing how my mind works.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and I am looking forward to putting more of Watt Key’s books on my to-read shelf!

Four out of five stars!

Posted in Book Reviews

Impostors Review

I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago, but I also started back to teaching last week, and blogging (while I love it) has been on the bottom of my ‘to do’ list.

This book was on the first list of 50 possible Trumans for the 2020-21 school year. My friend, Casey, and I set off on the list at the beginning of the summer, and she did far better than I did with getting through them. I made it through 9 before school started, and she made it through 17.

Last week, we got the shorted list of 22. Only 4 of the ones I read this summer made it to the shortened list, and Impostors was one of them.

Summary from Goodreads

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.

With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies a world full of twist and turns, rebellion and intrigue, where any wrong step could be Frey’s last

My Thoughts

This was another book I listened to while at the gym, and I really enjoyed it. I will say that if you have not read the Uglies series (like me), this book will give away how that series ends. I was a little irritated about that because it was on my radar to read that series. Now I’m not so sure I need to.

This book is also the first in a series. Like all series books, there is a lot of set up in the first one, but I feel like Westerfeld does this really well. There is set up and background information (and spoilers from the Uglies series), but there is also a lot of action.

Frey and Rafi’s relationship is unique, and I really enjoyed reading their interactions. The psychological part of this book is really intriguing. I ended up giving this 5 stars on Goodreads simply because the storytelling was fantastic.

If you are planning on reading the Uglies series, I highly recommend doing that BEFORE you pick up this one.

Posted in Book Reviews

Charlie Hernandez & The League of Shadows

Okay, before I start, overall I liked (not loved, not really liked) this book. The main character is likable, and the concept is pretty interesting. But I felt lost throughout the entire book.

When I finished the book, I realized that this was completely my fault that I didn’t understand it. You know why? Because at the back of the book there is a GLOSSARY of all the mythical creatures and objects discussed throughout the book. I have made a point over the last few months of making myself NOT read the end of the book as soon as I pick it up, so I missed the glossary that would have made reading the book so much easier.

Charlie is the main character, if you couldn’t guess that from the title. We learn early on in the book that his parents have gone missing, and his house was completely burned to the ground. While waiting on the foster care system to find him a placement, he hangs out at the police station and sprouts horns! Yes, horns. A few days later, he starts growing feathers. He has no idea what is happening to him. Luckily, he makes friends with Violet – a pretty, popular girl who is in charge of the school’s newspaper and loves investigating stories. They partner up to find out what has happened to his parents, and to figure out why he is producing animal parts out of his body. Their adventure is (literally) out of this world.

The book is very well written and intriguing, but I highly recommend reading through the glossary and maybe referring to it throughout the book to make better sense of what is happening. There are brief descriptions of some of the mythological things in the novel itself, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from getting confused. So, use the glossary!

Posted in Book Reviews

Inherit Midnight

During summer school, the students have to read silently for 25 minutes each class. So I am going to try to knock out some of the Gateway nominees from the last two years that I missed. I’m starting Inherit Midnight today (Thursday). I’ll be writing down my thoughts as I read this time. Maybe it’ll take me more than a day to get through it.

First stop: Chapter one left me with a lot of questions. I’ve pieced together that Avery is from a well-to-do family, and she is at some sort of boarding school. However, it makes it seems as if it’s more like a prison type school. Not sure yet. After the first chapter, I am not a big fan of the main character, Avery.

Second stop: Still not a huge Avery fan. Her parents are not a part of her life, so she has been raised by her grandmother. I’m at the start of the 5th chapter, and I still do not know why her family is so rich except for the fact they own a company.

Third stop: I think the point is to feel sorry for Avery and the fact that people in her family haven’t been kind to her. But, I’m not having those feelings. I’m sure I will like her by the end of the book, but she isn’t my favorite for sure.

Fourth stop: End of chapter 7 and it’s finally getting interesting. 64 pages in. I am constantly telling my students when they start a novel, you have to give it about 50 pages. A lot of them want to give up after the first chapter. Imagine if we all did that how many of our favorite books would we never have read?

Fifth stop: Okay, I’ll admit, this book has an interesting concept. Avery’s grandmother is the matriarch of a very well-to-do diamond company. She doesn’t think her children and grandchildren understand hard work and how privileged they are, so she sets them off on a series of tasks to prove they understand this and their heritage. Whoever wins the series of tasks gets control of the entire company. The ones that lose, or the ones that decide to quit, get a measly $100,000. I’m finally starting to have positive feelings for Avery, although I still don’t like her.

Sixth stop: pg. 166 – This family is a little crazy.

Seventh stop: pg. 204 – Okay, I’m hooked now. It took me half the book, but now I kind of want to make my students read the entire hour so that I can keep reading.

Eighth stop: pg 281 – I finally like Avery. Not in a complete warm-fuzzy type of way, but I can get behind her as the main character. There isn’t much left in the book, and I’m concerned that the author is going to try to tie up a bunch of loose ends too quickly to really develop them.

Ninth stop: pg 326 – This book, while the story is good, and it is keeping my interest, is really unbelievable.

Tenth stop: pg 356 – Last stop before I finish the book. I sort of saw this coming, but it’s been adventurous.

Finished. Okay, I will say overall the book is well-written, the story is interesting even if it is hard to fathom some of the things the family ends up doing. If you’ve read any YA book with a female lead character, you can probably predict most of what will happen. I will say that the last couple chapters did surprise me. On Goodreads I gave it a 4 out of 5 instead of a 3 simply because the ending wasn’t entirely predictable.

Oh, and I didn’t cry at all.

Posted in Book Reviews

Tell Me Three Things

Day 1 (5/16/19) I’m going to do this blog a little differently. I’m going to write it as I read the book. When something strikes me, or a quote is just begging to be underlined (but I can’t because it’s a library book), I’m going to hop on here and jot it down.

My Facebook friends wanted me to read “The Waffle Book.” Sometimes when I finish a book, I post a few books to my Facebook friends and let them pick the next read, unless there is a book I am just dying to read. The last two times, Tell Me Three Things has been an option, and everyone just called it “The Waffle Book.” It lost last time, but this time, the majority chose the waffles.

When I started reading this morning, I realized that I have started this book before. I’m guessing it was last summer when I was in the middle of grad school, and 11 of the 15 books I had on hold all became available from the library. I probably started it right as another set of classes was starting, and then didn’t get to read for fun at all.

The premise of the book – 16 year old girl (Jessie) loses her mother about 2 years prior to the start of the story somewhat suddenly – stage 4 ovarian cancer. Her dad, a pharmacist, falls in love with a woman he has met online, and they get married. He moves them from Chicago to LA where the woman is involved in film making and extremely rich. Jessie has to start a new school her junior year with completely different people than what she is used to. During her first couple weeks at school, she gets an email from an anonymous person calling themselves “Somebody Nobody” or SN who volunteers to help her navigate her new school.

Three chapters in – “Batman guy”/Ethan is the email guy. Has to be. It is so crystal clear that this is how this book’s romance is going to happen.

Nine chapters in – I find this concept interesting, that some random person at her school has sought her out to be her guide. I’m curious to find out the emailer’s reasons for hiding behind this anonymous email.

Page 74 – the first mention of waffle! “My favorite word, on the other hand is ‘waffle.’ Both a delicious breakfast food and a verb.”

A couple quotes I liked:

“I never asked her. Why didn’t I ask her? One of the worst parts about someone dying is thinking back to all those times you didn’t ask the right questions, all those times you stupidly assumed you’d have all the time in the world. And this too: how all that time feels like not much time at all.”

“By the transitive property you would think I’d be cool here, but no. Then again, I casually reference things like the transitive property, so maybe there are other, more valid reasons for my lack of popularity.”

Day 2 (5/17/19) So, I finished the book last night. I needed closure. I’m actually a little upset with myself that I finished it so quickly and didn’t get to write out all my thoughts like I wanted to. Now, I just will give my overall thoughts.

The book was well-written and I very much enjoyed the first person narrator’s voice. It was interesting to hear her thoughts and listen to her process her grief about her mom. The conversations between Jessie and SN are sweet and fun to read, but they aren’t overly mushy or too over the top.

This is definitely a feel-good, romantic YA book. There are some moments that bring out the feels, so I’m glad I read the majority of the book in the privacy of my own house instead of during SSR time at school.

Easy read (obviously since I read it in less than 24 hours).

How much did it make me cry?

  • Not at all
  • A little sniffle
  • A couple tears
  • A steady stream
  • Ugly Cry
Posted in Book Reviews

Three Dark Crowns

looooooooooooooooooove

Three dark queens/are born in a glen,/sweet little triplets/will never be friends/Three dark sisters/all fair to be seen,/two to devour/and one to be Queen. -Kendare Blake

I have NEVER read a book like this. Okay, let me take that back. I have read plenty of young adult fiction involving queens who have to take the throne one way or another, yes. But…but…they have to kill each other?!?! The madness!

I will admit, the first chapter was 25 pages, and since I usually read in 15 minute increments during SSR time in my reading classes, I wasn’t thrilled with the long beginning chapter. I will also admit that I was extremely confused through most of the first chapter, but like I tell my students, for a novel, you have to give it 50-60 pages before you decide it isn’t for you. (This is so hard for them since they live in a society of instant gratification.) So, I trudged through, and by the end of my three reading classes, I had the first three chapters completed – 56 pages – and I was hooked!

Each chapter focuses on one of the three triplet queens and the people who have raised them. They are raised separated from each other until the year they turn 16 although they do spend the early years of their lives together. It is during the year between their 16th and 17th birthdays that they are to kill each other. Each queen also possesses (or is supposed to possess) some sort of magical quality – controlling the elements, resisting poison? (I feel like I’m still a little confused about this one), and controlling/creating/growing things in nature (the naturalists, as they are called, can cause things to bloom, but also have special connections to animals).

For 100 years, the poison queens have ruled. However, the current poison queen – Katharine – does not seem to be the one who will conquer the other two queens. We learn within the first chapter that she is weak and nothing like the previous queens. Throughout the book, the reader is clued in to the fact that those who help to raise the queens are the ones really in charge.

I never like to write too much when giving a book review because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. I feel like I could write 1000+ word blog about this book. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. It was a Gateway nominee for this school year, but it did not even make the top three. So, as I started reading, I didn’t have very high expectations. Once I got through the necessary introduction/set up of characters and background information, I was hooked. There were characters I hated, and I’m hoping by the end of the series they will meet their rightful end. I am also hoping that the three queens will gain a little more confidence and take more control of what is happening in their lives. Right now, they all seem to be push overs.

I highly recommend reading this book. It will definitely take some endurance through the first part of the book as there is a lot of set up. But, I think the author knew this would be a series, and she uses the majority of the first half of this book introducing the three characters and the people who surround them.

I DIDN’T CRY DURING THIS BOOK! I did audibly gasp on the last page though.

Posted in Book Reviews

Greetings from Witness Protection!

Last fall, I got a list of 21 books that were up for the Truman nominees for the 2019-2020 school year. I set off to read all 21, but I failed miserably because of grad school. I had about 6 books left when they announced the top 12, and of course 4 of the 6 I had left made the final cut.

Greetings from Witness Protection! was a really easy, enjoyable read. I think middle school students are going to like it.

The story starts off in a center for foster children. The main character, you learn rather quickly, has a mom who abandoned her, a dad in prison, and a grandmother who raised her until she passed away. Nicki hasn’t “fit” with any foster family, and she has a past which has led to her have impulse control problems – mainly with kleptomania.

She gets a chance for a new start with the US Marshalls and the witness protection program. I was intrigued by this story line. It definitely made me want to finish the book and find out exactly what was happening.

The book is told in 1st person, but throughout the book we get little glimpses of what is happening outside the main characters point of view. Just a few pages scattered in between chapters. There isn’t a lot of information, but enough to keep the reader intrigued to want to know what will happen with all the story lines.

Overall, the book is well-written. The characters are easy to connect to, especially the main character, Nicki. And for once, there isn’t a dumb, unnecessary romance to get in the way of the actual story!

How much did it make me cry?

  • Not at all
  • A little sniffle
  • A couple tears
  • A steady stream
  • Ugly cry
Posted in Book Reviews

When We Collided

I will admit it. I have about 10 books at home that I am set to read, but I picked this one first 100% based on how much I enjoyed the cover. I read the back cover and decided that this would be a nice easy read after finishing my grad school classes last week.

The book is one of 15 on the list for the Missouri Gateway Nominees for the 2018-19 school year, and while it didn’t win the top spot, I can definitely see why it made the list.

When We Collided is not just a sweet little girl meets boy love story. Following what seems to be a current trend in young adult novels, each chapter is told from one of the two main characters’ points of view. Vivi is completely full of life and seems to live for the moment. Jonah is a quiet guy whose family has just experienced a tragic loss in the past year. The characters overlap early on in the book and the reader is taken on their journey.

You don’t find out for while what is really going on with Vivi, although within the first chapter you know that she is not taking one of her daily pills. She is doing this secretly, taking her pill away from her house and throwing it out into the ocean.

Jonah, we learn, is very committed to his family and their well-being. He carries the responsibilities of making meals for “the littles” and keeping them entertained.

Vivi brings sunshine and happiness into Jonah and his family’s lives, but there is always this feeling that something is not what it seems with her. I’ll stop here with my summarizing before I give anything away.


I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The writing was well done, and the use of 1st person point of view really helped to understand the two main characters. I found Vivi a little hard to follow sometimes, but stick with her, it is supposed to be like this.

How much did it make me cry?

  • Not at all
  • A little sniffle
  • A couple tears
  • A steady stream
  • Ugly cry