Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Talking In The Dark a poetry memoir by Billy Merrell

As a high school student, Billy Marrell had to face who he was and who he wanted to be. He shares his struggles, his life, and his loves as a young gay man in poetry. Beginning high school he started to realize that he didn't like girls but boys. He knew he couldn't tell everyone; only a few that wouldn't judge him. As a gay teenager, he discovered what love really was with every experience that he had.

Some of his poems quote song lyrics and authors that told what he meant to say. In every relationship he had, he was learning what was the real feeling of loving your partner and not feeling lonely. His mom knew his secret but didn't put pressure on him to tell her the truth. When he told her his secret, she became the one to whom he told his love experiences. After finishing high school he continued his life now knowing what love really was and trying to forget Ed, his only love that died.

Many people will connect with his poems because some of his lines connect with people's lives. Some poems were kind of confusing because it was hard to figure out who he was talking about and to whom. Some poems were easier to understand because he went through troubles that everyone has gone through.

Rating: 3

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Jade Kelley wasn't the most popular girl in school. She had moved from her old home in Massachusetts to her new dream home in Boston. Being 17 years old and in her senior year in high school didn't make it easy for her to make friends. Finding out that her house was part of a murder scene was horrifying but discovering that her dream house was being haunted by Kayla, the girl who had died in the house, was unbelievable.

Her five-year-old half-brother, Colby, was the first to see the ghost of Kayla. Kayla possess Colby to find out who murdered her. Jade tries harder to find out who murdered Kayla so she'll leave Colby alone. Jade deals with her stepmother who won't believe her, a love triangle that involves the boy who was in a relationship with Kayla and a boy who was Kayla's best friend and her investigation of the unsolved murder.

Kim Harrington has created a book worth reading. Just like her series of books called Sleuth or Dare, it is filled with suspense, mystery, and horror but also with a touch of romance. Expect to read a book that you won't be able to put down.

Rating: 5

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just One Day By Gayle Forman

Allyson Healey is on a school trip to England after just graduating from high school when she meets Willem De Ruiter, a charming Dutch boy, starring in an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Allyson feels there's something between them, although she is not quite sure if it's genuine. And so she does something out of the ordinary and embarks on a amazing journey. Allyson and Willem jump on the Eurostar and head to Paris for the day, even though Allyson will have to be on a plane home in a few days. She doesn't speak French, she's never been to the city before, and she is hopeless at reading maps, so she leaves it up to Willem to show her the beauty of the city--until he disappears and she is left stranded.

I picked up Just One Day and assumed that Willem would leave Allyson. From the beginning of the story you know he is going to leave; you suspect as always that there will be a happy couple, but no. Willem leaving makes for a much more interesting and emotional novel.

Just One Day really shows us the briefest of romances. We can see how both Allyson and Willem get caught up in the moment, in what Paris means to them. In reality it's not romantic and life isn't a movie and no, an inspiring movie score will not suddenly start to play. I liked Just One Day because it wasn't your ordinary romance book; it has a twist that you see coming but the story keeps you interested.

Rating: 5

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rose Madder by Stephen King

She lived a nightmare with Norman for fourteen years. Rose met Norman in high school He was strong and an 80's type of cool. When he proposed matrimony straight out of high school she thought she would be very happy.

Sadly she was very mistaken. For fourteen years, every time that Norman did something abusive to her she just said "Oh, it's my fault." Eventually, she finally woke up and realized that if she didn't do something he would eventually kill her.

She had to evaluate her options. Leaving involved so many things. How would she try to go who knows where on her own? Also, where would she get the money from? Knowing Norman, he wouldn't let this pass lightly.

This book is intended for young adults, and there are many concepts that led me to believe that this book was advocating for women's rights. I like how King wrote the book because it makes you want to keep reading. The only thing I didn't like was the very supernatural aspect that a painting she had bought "solved" her problems. However the concept is understood. I overall recommend this book.

Rating: 4

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini has been a life-changing book for me. It is about redemption and how it's never too late to fix a mistake. In the story the main character, Amir, lives with his father in Afghanistan. His father, Baba, is well known and wealthy. Amir's servant and closest friend, Hassan, is a Hazara. Amir and Hassan spend their days happily flying kites and reading stories by a tree in the local cemetery.

During this time period Afghan people did not accept and looked down upon Hazaras because of their difference in ethnic backgrounds. Due to this reason, Amir never said in public that Hassan was his best friend. But Hassan was still a loyal friend. This loyalty made him undergo a violent encounter. Amir knew of this but did nothing to stop it. Amir carried the guilt with him throughout his life.

                 I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read a book that you won't want to put down. I like how the author describes how the characters are feeling and describes the setting. It makes you feel like you truly are there. By reading this book you will find out how Amir tries to fix his past mistakes to continue with his life.

Rating: 4

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Cassie isn't your typical "run for your life" teen, but evaluates her next moves mindfully, anticipating danger around her as she fights for her survival. This book takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth. Extra-terrestrial beings invade Earth to exterminate the human race through a variety of attacks we humans call Waves--the worst thing next to death is surviving these waves when all hope is lost.
In this book, Yancey exceptionally expresses hopelessness, desperation and loneliness. He is a brilliant story-teller with the ability to make readers experience the story first-hand because he uses the first-person point of view. I love how the book is set in a wartime-like setting--broken buildings, fallen ceilings, cracked floors, and rotting corpses that lay unburied. The author makes death seem ubiquitous to the Cassie's environment. The mystery of finding out what the fifth wave is, is what kept the fire of my attention burning bright.

Rating: 4

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LOTR The Fellowship of the Ring by J R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring by J R.R. Tolkien, the first book of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, begins the tale of hobbit Frodo Baggins's journey to save middle earth and continues the story of the dark and powerful ring that began in The Hobbit.

Frodo Baggins--nephew of Bilbo Baggins, who was a bearer for many years of the one ring of power made by Sauron, dark lord of Mordor, to wield--is set on this quest which unfortunately fell in his lap when his Uncle decides to call it quits on his "peaceful" time in the shire on his one hundred and eleventh birthday, leaving all of his belongings including the ring to his nephew. Frodo's quest is to destroy that one ring. Sauron seeks to increase his already immense power by reclaiming that One Ring that he has lost. The wizard, Gandalf, warns Frodo that he should leave the shire and keep the ring out of Sauron's hands. Frodo must destroy the ring by throwing it in the fiery pits of mount doom in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom and cease his only opportunity to enslave all of middle earth. However the chances of Frodo successfully ending the ring's existence seem slightly dim. Not only is Sauron building an army of Orcs, Trolls, Variags and so on to capture Frodo, the ring too has a weapon of its own. It has the power to reel in anyone who possesses it and ultimately drive them mad. This is a burden that Frodo is brave enough to take on but not without help; thus the fellowship is formed. The author does such a good job introducing you into this fantasy world of good and evil that you'll become invested from the first page. The characters are uniquely built and it'll be hard for you not to love them. Friendship, honor, loyalty, and sacrifice encompasses the entire book and it's simply an amazing experience; it is greatly recommended.

Rating: 5

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

World War II Life as a POW by John F. Wukovits

World War II: Life as a POW is a very informative book about how soldiers survived in German, Italian, and Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II. It tells of the horrors of the Bataan Death March, the concentration camps, and the treatment of prisoners. Included are short recollections of some POWs. World War II: Life as a POW does a good job providing information to students. If you want to read more about POWs read Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell.

Rating: 2

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

     Nicholas Sparks' The Last Song is a love story with a twist. Ronnie Miller was as angry as any teenager can be. Who could blame her--her parents were divorced and she was being sent to boring old North Carolina to live with her dad for the summer. Compared to the Big Apple, North Carolina wouldn't be much of a vacation. All Ronnie wanted to do was alienate herself from everyone. Too bad the town's hunky hero wasn't going to let that happen; she had made a bigger impression on him than he did on her. Not everyone was friendly to Ronnie and her family-- her dad had been convicted of burning down the town's church. 

Nicholas Spark's books are mainly about forbidden romance. Many do not know that he is the author of the famous book The Notebook. Hollywood adapted that book into a film and it became popular as one of the greatest romance movies of all time. The Last Song, which also was adapted into film, has become just as well-known as The Notebook. His stories have set unrealistic expectations for what love is suppose to be like. I believe that is the reason why we hope for happy endings when it comes to love. 

It is a must read, especially if you want to find out if everyone truly gets their happily ever after.  

Rating: 3

Monday, April 7, 2014

fallen in love by lauren Kate

Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate contains four short romantic paranormal stories that take place on Valentines Day. In these four short stories the fallen angels try to take care of the humans that they've fallen in love with. Lucy, the main character, dies four times and is reincarnated and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Lauren Kate makes you feel like you can be in any place at any time. The way she paints the story for us is simply beautiful. You can almost smell the beach as you stand on the cliff over looking the Atlantic ocean. Each time Lucy travels into another time zone or another country in Europe you can see, hear, and even sometimes taste the air. When you're in the hospital wing you can picture all the brave soldiers on the cots with their wounds. Lauren Kate makes it seem like all these characters are real. The reader can connect to them. You can't help but feel you want to just jump in the book and tell Lucy that what she is doing to try to end the cycle of rebirth is wrong and will cause her and Daniel to cease to exist. It's a love story like no other.

Lucy goes through time period after time period on a quest to find out why she gets reincarnated. All she ever wants is to be an angel with Daniel. If you read the first three books of the Fallen series you must read this book to see if Lucy breaks the cycle and what happens to her relationship with Daniel. Grades 6-11 will love this series. Its for anyone that will love a adventurous love story.

Book 1 Fallen
Book 2 Torment
Book 3 Passion
Book 4 Fallen In Love 
Book 5 Rapture

Rating: 3

No Choirboy By Susan Kuklin

No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin is a very intense, heart breaking, and violent nonfiction book about juveniles on death row. If you know anyone in prison, you would get a glimpse of their daily lives.

In the book, the inmates tell you about life in prison and how it changed them for the best. In some ways jail made them grow and mature. The author shows a photograph of every troubled youth in each chapter. When you look at their pictures and read their stories, you feel as if you know them and who they are.

The writing style was very interesting because it contains interviews between the author and inmate. Also the author gives her point of view on how the inmate responds.

Other nonfiction books by Susan Kuklin are Beyond Magenta, Families, Thinking Big, and many more.  Kuklin's main focus is to get the truth and give her subject a chance to speak about their thoughts.

Rating: 4 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

 Veronica Roth ends her Divergent series in her third installment, Allegiant. It follows up where Insurgent stopped and artistically ties together the story threads of the other two books. Veronica Roth made a worthy ending for the Divergent series. I highly recommend this book for people between the grades of six and twelve who enjoy the action, suspense, and romance genres; good-looking, intelligent, and  badass characters; and tragedy. The plot runs smoothly and jumps to a fast past in certain sections of the book.  Some adults may also find joy in reading Allegiant. If you loved the first two books, then it's a must read.

Rating: 4

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is an allegory of escape. Gregor Samsa worked every day and did the same boring routine job. One morning, he has mysteriously transformed into an insect. Gregor's world slowed down and his life was now at a turning point. Gregor cannot get any medical help to return him to his human form. Is there any way he will be able to turn back into a human?

The word "Kafkaesque" has entered our culture. The word means "relating to or suggestive of Franz Kafka, especially having a nightmarish, complex, bizarre, or illogical quality." There are cartoons and TV shows that are related to this, Franz Kafka's most famous story. The author has written many stories that are all eerie and dark and that are similar to The Metamorphosis. I recommend this novella to anyone. I enjoyed how the author wrote specific descriptions of Gregor's body and the structure of the insect as he changed physically. I myself have not read a book that caught my attention as much as this one did. By reading the book you will find out what happens to Gregor as he goes along his journey as an insect and how his family's lives changes dramatically.