March 28, 2019

Audio Book Review: People Like Us by Dana Mele - Read by Erin Spencer

Title: People Like Us
Author: Dana Mele
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.

One sentence review: I'm still up in the air about whether I liked it or not. Lots of twists and lots of bird-walks. 

Longer thoughts: So seriously I don't know how I feel about this one. It was one of those books that I didn't know who to trust and who to believe (if anyone!). But also I had things figured out several chapters before the reveal. Ok, I had the big thing figured out not another detail that was yet to come out. I didn't like the main character, Kay. She was not a nice person and how she treated people was horrible. But I also didn't like any of the secondary characters. They were all rude and mean and self-centered. I found this so even for Nola the one girl that kinda befriends Kay as all this stuff is happening. So why did I keep reading then - I did want to find out what happened and who caused it. That part was interesting. And actually really interesting because I found myself wanting to get back to the story. But not at all because of the characters!  I just don't know in the end if finding all that out was enough to make me like the book a ton. And the reveal at the very end (yes like last two pages) didn't help that. I'll guess I'll go with - It had parts that kept me interested when the characters could've driven me away. 

Best stick-with-you image: Kay talking about her brother when he lost his life. 

Thoughts on the audiobook: Very well done.  Lots of voices to differentiate, and she did a great job! 

March 15, 2019

In the Library

I am a middle school media specialist - grades 5-8.  

Here are some things happening in our media center! 

Our local Friends of the Library were very kind to us in honor of Read Across America Day. They bought us 10 books of our choice (and gave us a bonus book!) as well as provided the prize for a Create a Bookmark contest we had. We were very thankful for their kindness and generosity! 

Yes this is me being a goof!

I also have to share this picture. When our students come into the library they have to have a pass, and they set that pass on our counter, so we know they are there. 
This was during homeroom one day (it's 25 minute period). Let's just say it was a tad busy, but I LOVE it!

March 14, 2019

Unpopular Opinion Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Copy Obtained: Purchased

About the Book from Goodreads
Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

One sentence review: Clearly not a book for me. I was confused and didn't care about the characters. 
Best for readers who: Like books that blur reality and fantasy
Best Stick-with-You Image: Not sure....
Library Thoughts: I probably won't put it in my middle school library, but if I was in high school I would

Super unpopular opinion, but this book just wasn't for me. I probably got about half way through and just gave up. I kept hoping it would get better, but it just didn't. My main issue - I didn't care about Scarlett at all. She annoyed me, I didn't find her realistic and I didn't care about anything that happened to her. It made me very frustrated that she knew Caraval isn't real but kept "forgetting" that. Also - I felt it meandered around too much and that made it hard for me to follow what was happening. So in the end, I just couldn't finish it. Sorry, all you that love it! I really really wanted to because I heard such great things about it! 

March 11, 2019

Book Review: What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

Title: What Waits in the Woods
Author: Kieran Scott
Copy Obtained: Purchases

About the Book from Goodreads
It's a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie's new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail. The four friends are embarking on a camping trip -- a trip that immediately goes awry. They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives. And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances. 
One sentence review: Perfect mix of tension, mystery and a dash of "who do I trust?". 
Best for readers who: Like a book that keeps you guessing and trying to figure things out. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: When Callie wakes up in the middle of the night and hears something. So scary! 
Library Thoughts: We have this in the media center. I think it's perfect for fans of spooky books and books that keep you on the edge. I like that it's more YA but a younger middle school student could still ready it.

I really enjoyed this book. It was just a fun tension-filled read. I spent the entire book trying to find clues, put them together and figure out what was going on. I did figure out a few things before the characters (proud of myself for that!), but I didn't know it all. That I liked. Callie was a great character. She definitely showed growth and that was awesome. I like characters that grow and change. I will say that it did nothing for my thoughts about camping! I'm not a fan, and this didn't help that at all! Callie would wake up in the night and hear things - that's the part that always scares me! 

Well done.  Will be reading What Waits in the Water! 

March 9, 2019

Book Review: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for AllTitle: Once and for All 
Author: Sarah Dessen

This is only the 2nd Sarah Dessen book I've read (well listened to in this case). I really enjoyed this one. It had lots of heart. I really felt for Louna. She had been through such a difficult situation that my heart went out to her. But I really admired how strong she was. That was great to see. I think something else I really liked was her relationship with her mom. It was a great example of how teenagers and parents can be close, and how parents can be included in the story. Very well done. So many times the story defaults to absent or never talked about parents, so this was a positive to see.

I also liked that Louna didn't need Ambrose to come in and make everything better. She was working on that on her own. He just happened to be part of that process.

I'm glad I read this one. Encourages me to read even more of her books.

Note: This definitely falls in the upper young adult category. Luona is graduating from high school so keep that in mind. I work with middle schoolers, so I wanted to make sure that was noted.