It's Monday again and time to check in with Jen From Mentor Texts and Kellee and Rickie from Unleashing Readers to discover what other readers who participate in #IMWAYR, the children's lit version, have been reading and what they think of those titles. It's guaranteed to get you excited about a few new reads!
There's only one week left till school starts and I return to work, and only 6 days or 5 sleeps till my son's wedding! There are lists, and then lists of lists. I've managed to get this post under control only because I've been writing bits as I finish reading or listening. I hope to read as many posts as possible this week, but may not take time to comment. I promise to try and be back in form in a couple of weeks.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer narrated by Rebecca Soler
Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic to support her family. While working one day, Prince Kai showed up asking her to fix an older android that had sentimental value to him. It turns out that the prince didn't tell her everything about it.
Cinder lives with her two stepsisters and stepmother, who is her legal guardian. When the younger of the two girls, Peony, became ill with the plague, her stepmother donated Cinder for plague research. Cinder survived her time as a research subject and returned home, knowing that it was only a matter of time before her stepmother tried to get rid of her again.
Meanwhile, Prince Kei has his hands full with an evil queen from the moon who plans to achieve a peace treaty by forcing the prince into marrying her. His only hope is that rumors of the evil queen's mysterious niece being alive are true.
This was such a good read I'm looking very much forward to the next in this series! In fact it's on my overdrive bookshelf now!
The Atlas Of Water: Mapping the World's most Critical Resource by Maggie Black
I borrowed this from our public library to preview it before purchasing if for our library. A group of grade 5/6/7 teachers will be starting off the year with a unit on the hydrosphere and this book will be a fabulous resource for them. Each page is loaded with information on different aspects of water. It clearly articulates our relationships with it across time and space. The charts, maps and diagrams make complex material accessible.
The section on aquifers shows where different ones are on a map, as well as informing the reader how much water is left, how fast it is being drained, and how fast it replenishes itself. This is chilling information.
I'm certain the teachers and their students will appreciate this book. My only complaint is that the text is very small!
The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This book was a stunner. It is beautifully crafted with characters that captured my heart. While I have problems with parts of it, including some plot aspects and the one dimensional characterization of the children's mother, it is such a fine read otherwise that they are insignificant quibbles.
West of the Moon by Margi Preus
I started out liking this book, but about halfway through began to lose focus. I read other books and kept trying to come back to this one, but just couldn't find enjoyment in the read anymore. After about three tries, I read the ending, hoping it would stimulate my interest to go back and try again. Alas, it just didn't work for me. Maybe some other time I'll have another go at it.
Nest by Esther Ehrlich
I've just about had it with children's books where a character has to deal with the death of a significant person in his/her life. Otherwise, this book was ok.
When I read books where a parent has a chronic illness, I am always looking for connections to my own life. My father was injured in a logging accident when I was five. After this, he was in and out of hospitals on a regular basis. He wasn't expected to live beyond 30. He never really accepted that he would have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, although he got better at coping with this reality. I tell you this, so you will understand that when I complain about authenticity in books like this, I speak from experience.
After receiving a diagnosis of MS, Rachel and Chirp's mother sunk into a debilitating depression. After she returned home from treatment, she wasn't the same person, and shortly afterwards, committed suicide.
Parts of this book spoke truth to me. At the end of chapter four, Chirp has an aha moment and realizes that everything has changed. She engages in magical thinking hoping to fix her mother. Rachel, Chirp's older sister, takes on the role of caretaker.
What didn't work for me was the suddenness of the mother's descent into madness and her suicide upon her return home. On top of this, that her husband, who was a psychiatrist, wasn't aware of her emotional state just didn't seem plausible. There is a secondary issue where Chirp's friend, Joey, lives with an abusive father. I don't like that the two children accept that they will have to deal with this on their own. Ok, so the story is set in the early 1970's, when this might have been more the way it was, but I still don't like to see this as a solution in a modern book for children.
I wanted to like this book more, but even with all the pathos, and drama, it didn't make me whimper, never mind cry.
A better book that deals with a family in the middle of coping with a chronic illness is The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern.
The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill
I gave this book 4 stars, but after writing a review of it, I can't help but wonder why I didn't give it 5, so I'm changing it here to 4.5. I adored this magical tale that filled me full of wonder and dread at the same time. Barnhill has created characters that I couldn't help but care deeply for. The medieval world she's fabricated is haunting and rich with history and myth that act on its present day characters. If you haven't already, you should read this book .
I'm listening to The Forbidden Stone (The Copernicus Legacy #1) by Tony Abbott and narrated by MacLeod Andrews. While travelling with my mother and brother to Oliver, BC for a friend's 90th birthday celebration, we started The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2) by Caroline Carlson. I'll get to finish it, but they will have to check it out from the library on their own to find out what happens to Hilary.
I'm back working at getting my 2015 to read list under control, so I've just started Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco and will go on to Jinx by Sage Blackwood after that.