August 21, 2018

Cover Crush: Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling

I love book covers! I love walking around bookstores just looking at all the different covers.  

A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

Image from Goodreads

About the Book from Goodreads:

Alyce's mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch's mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she's been sealed off from -- a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she'll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother's past.
But as her journey continues, another war rages: a hidden war of the supernatural, of the living and the dead. Good and evil are blurred, and nobody's motives can be trusted. And Alyce finds herself thrown unwillingly into the conflict. Struggling to understand her own powers, she is quickly drawn into a web of secret, lies, and dark magic that could change the fate of the world she is just coming to know.

Why I'm crushin':
The colors used are just amazing! I love the coral-type color with the grays.  Just so pretty.  I also love how the bird flows into the full image and how the crown is a part of it.  And did you notice the sun and the moon in the lower corners??? Great detail! On top of all of that, I think the description sounds great too!  

August 20, 2018

Book Review: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth by Sheila O'Connor

Title: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth
Author: Sheila O'Connor
Copy Obtained: From publisher for an honest review

Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, one young girl is determined to save her brother from the draft--and gets help from an unlikely source--in this middle-grade tale, perfect for fans of The Wednesday Wars 

When eleven-year-old Reenie Kelly's mother passes away, she and her brothers are shipped off to live with their grandmother. Adjusting to life in her parents' Midwestern hometown isn't easy, but once Reenie takes up a paper route with her older brother Dare, she has something she can look forward to. As they introduce themselves to every home on their route, Reenie's stumped by just one--the house belonging to Mr. Marsworth, the town recluse. When he doesn't answer his doorbell, Reenie begins to leave him letters. Slowly, the two become pen pals, striking up the most unlikely of friendships.

Through their letters, Reenie tells of her older brother Billy, who might enlist to fight in the Vietnam War. Reenie is desperate to stop him, and when Mr. Marsworth hears this, he knows he can't stand idly by. As a staunch pacifist, Mr. Marsworth offers to help Reenie. Together, they concoct a plan to keep Billy home, though Reenie doesn't know Mr. Marsworth's dedication to her cause goes far beyond his antiwar beliefs.

In this heartwarming piece of historical fiction, critically acclaimed author Sheila O'Connor delivers a tale of devotion, sacrifice, and family.

One sentence review: It took me a bit to get into it, but once I did I had to know what happened to Reenie, her family, and Mr. Marsworth. 
Best for readers who: Like historical fiction.  Also a good book for a child who has lost a parent or someone close to them. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: Any run-in Reenie has with Rat and Culter (two boys that bully her). 
Library Thoughts: I would get this for the library mainly because there are not that many books like it.  Yes, we have ones about that time period and the Vietnam War, but nothing like this.  Nothing from this viewpoint.  

I'm going to be honest.  Like I said above, it took me a bit to get into this book.  I'd read a bit and put it down for a while, and then pick it up again.  But slowly I wanted to know more and more.  I wanted to find out what was happening with Reenie and her family.  I really really wanted to know if Billy would end up going to college or not - or if he'd be drafted.  And I so wanted to learn more about Mr. Marsworth.  What was his full story?  How did he know Reenie's mom? Really I just started caring about them all.  I didn't want to them to be hated because of their view of the war, and I didn't want to see them bullied or picked on.  Although I got it - I got that during this time period what was shown was very realistic.  And I think that would be good for kids now to see and understand.  So much about our viewpoint of war and fighting since Vietnam, that I think it's important for kids to see how it once was.  

But that's not the only reason I think kids should read this book.  I love how it just shows a friendship between a kid and an adult.  You don't see that has often.  It's a positive example.  And what I like is that Reenie doesn't really change who or how she is with Mr. Marsworth.  I mean she does a little, but not too much.  She's just fully who she is and Mr. Marsworth, while trying to calm her down, does accept her for it.  And he supports her.  He listens and takes her seriously.  Love that! 

Do I think kids will like this book?  I do, but I fully admit it's not for every kid.  Some will really struggle with it fully told in letters.  Some will find it too slow.  But I know there is a chunk of kids I would recommend it to that will understand, learn from and enjoy it.  I will also be recommending it to the English teachers in my building for possible use as a class novel. 

August 17, 2018

I Now Know My Weekend Plans! Down a Dark Hall is out!!! #downadarkhall

I LOVE Lois Duncan's Books.  I have since I was in middle school!  

My favorite book of her's:

Down a Dark Hall! 


I did a search for all my posts mentioning Lois Duncan.  You can see them HERE.  
And more specifically HERE is my review of Down a Dark Hall.

So a few months ago I found out they had made a movie of this book.  I was soooooooo excited.  Yes, yes I know - they've changed it from the book, but I can handle that.  I go into every movie from a book knowing it will be different.  In my opinion, it looks like they did a good job though. 

So this weekend I will be getting it from Amazon Prime and settling in to enjoy! 

Here is the poster for the movie:

A clip from the movie:

And the trailer:

A bit about the movie

In Theaters, On Demand, and On iTunes Today!

Kit (AnnaSophia Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Uma Thurman) and meets the school's only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

Based on the classic gothic YA novel of the same name by Lois Duncan - author of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" - and produced by Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight, The Host), DOWN A DARK HALL is a supernatural thriller directed by Rodrigo Cortés (Buried), from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling, and stars AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer, The Carrie Diaries), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Victoria Moroles (Teen Wolf), Noah Silver (The Tribes of Palos Verdes), Taylor Russell (TV's Falling Skies), Rosie Day (Outlander), and features a truly memorable turn by the iconic Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vols. I & II).

Summit Entertainment presents, a Temple Hill / Fickle Fish / Nostromo Pictures production.

Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, and Uma Thurman
Directed by: Rodrigo Cortés
Produced by: Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Meghan Hibbett, Adrián Guerra
Written by: Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling
Genre: Horror

August 16, 2018

Book Review: The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Title: The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book from Goodreads
A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules's parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can't stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?

Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover—and change—the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago.

Two sentence review: Great new addition to Downing Hahn's collection of scary stories for the tween set.  It has a bit of a twist on the traditional ghost story, so that was cool. 
Best for readers who: Like a bit of a scare and have read all her other books. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: The ghosts pounding on the door while Jules and her friend are in the room! 
Library Thoughts: Of course.  It's really hard to find scary books aren't Goosebumps and are a good fit for middle school students. 

Whenever I come across a scary book written for middle schoolers I have to look at it.  I have plenty of kids that ask for scary books, but I know that they need age-appropriate scary books.  Mary Downing Hahn always fits that bill.  So when I received a copy of this book for review, I was super excited.  As usual, the story didn't disappoint.  I like how it starts with some events of the past, so it sets a better understanding for when Jules moves into the house.  And can we talk about the house??? The classic creepy story has to have a creepy house, and this one does.  And I love that Jules is living connected to it! Can you imagine being 12 and living attached to an old abandoned creepy looking house?? Yikes! And right away the odd things begin to happen.  Jules thinks she's seeing people that no one else sees including something in the window of the house.  But what I really like is that as Jules is having these experiences we also get the perspective of Lily the ghost.  The story switches back and forth between the two characters.  No worries about this being confusing to the reader.  It's pretty easy to keep them clear.  I love how Jules makes a friend, Maisie, and together they try to help Lily instead of just fearing her.  That's awesome.  

The ending of the story was different from what I expected, but that was ok.  I felt a little confused, but so did Jules so it was a way to relate to her. Beyond the ghost story ending, I like the ending of Jules' story.  She got a happy ending, and that was nice to see as well.

I will admit I didn't find the story scary, but I'm not 11, so I'm not really the target audience.  I know that my students we be just enough spooked to enjoy it.  The story takes a twist on the traditional ghost story but questioning the idea of alternate realities and switching between them.  This keeps the scary down and the interest high.  That's what matters!