Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Ten Thousand Skies Above you by Claudia Gray
Release Date: November 3, 2015

I have been playing catch up in several series, so I haven't started this series yet.  I have the first book, but I have been waiting to read it until closer to the release of the second book.  I guess it is time to start reading A Thousand Pieces of You since book 2 is coming out next week.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird, #2)Goodreads Overview:

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions. 

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared. 

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above Youfeatures Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us is about a seventeen year old girl named Caymen Meyers.  Her mother became pregnant with her at a young age and her parents essentially disowned her.  Her father fled before she was born and his wealthy parents paid her mother to keep quiet.  As a result, her mother is the only family she has ever known.  

Her mother used the money to open a doll store, which has been their life ever since.  They live above the store and Caymen helps out whenever she isn't in school.  She has learned from her mother's experience and years of warnings to never trust the rich.  This is why she was immediately put off when the charming, attractive, and obviously rich Xander Spence entered her store.  As their relationship begins to build, she is constantly doubting his motives.  

As the story progresses, Caymen begins to realize her mother has been keeping things from her.  She begins to question everything she was taught and finally allows herself to live her own life and make her own decisions.

First of could anyone not love Xander Spence?  He started out a bit conceited and sure of himself, but underneath the pretty exterior he is very thoughtful and sweet.  Caymen, on the other hand, is sarcastic and snarky.  While it was funny at times, I felt like she was masking her own insecurities and shortcomings by lashing out at others.  Her misguided stereotypes prevented her from opening up to others and expanding her horizons.

I enjoyed the story, but I felt like the fact that Xander is very wealthy and Caymen is poor was a forced subject in the book.  Rather than focusing on the feelings, relationships, and events of the story the reader is constantly reminded of the fact that he is rich....and the rich can't be trusted.  Caymen constantly feels like she is playing Cinderella and eventually the coach will turn into a pumpkin and it will all come to an end, even though Xander never gives her a reason to believe that is the case.

This is the first book by Kasie West that I have read. Overall, I enjoyed the story and characters and thought the dialog was well written.  As her writing evolves, I hope she will give her readers a little more credit and allow them to interpret things for themselves.  Not everything has to be spelled out in black and white and certainly not multiple times.

Pivot Point is the next book by Kasie West that I plan on reading.  I have read some decent reviews and would love to hear your thoughts on that series.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2)

The Copper Gauntlet is the second book in the Magisterium series.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the Iron Trial, I felt like there were a lot of similarities with the Harry Potter series.  This book, however, took the series into a direction completely its own.  Instead of focusing on Callum's second year at the Magisterium, the story follows the characters as they set out on a mission to find a stolen magical object.  This object could cause significant harm to two of the characters, but they put their own safety aside for the greater good.

Good vs. Evil is an important theme.  Callum discovered the real reason his father didn't want him to attend the Magistarium at the end of the Iron Trial.  He has been processing this information, but he is not willing to share this knowledge with even his closest friends.  Instead, he keeps an internal log of all of his good and evil thoughts and actions in the hopes that he can prove his father wrong.  His internal dialog is absolutely hilarious and helps to lighten an otherwise serious situation.  

I often struggle with finding books my ten-year-old son will enjoy.  He likes the Percy Jackson series, but he was a little overwhelmed by the size of the Harry Potter books once he was further along in the series.  This series is fast paced, action packed and should easily capture the attention of young girls and boys alike.  It will not intimidate young readers and is a great introduction to fantasy worlds.  I will definitely recommend it to him.  Hopefully we will be able to read the third book together!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Review: Because of Anya by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Because of Anya

Because of Anya is a short story that my fifth grade son's teacher read to the class.  My son was in and out of school for the better part of a week and ultimately spent four days in the hospital before we got him back on track.  He is doing great now, but he was behind on this assignment and needed to catch up, so we read this book together.

The story is told from both Anya and Keely's point of view.  The girls are in fourth grade and have been in the same class since kindergarten.  They aren't close friends, but they have played together at school for almost five years.  One day, Keely's friends notice that Anya is wearing a wig and assume she must have cancer.  They are concerned about her, but don't know how to handle the situation.

We discover that Anya actually has a condition known as alopecia areata, which is an allergic reaction to her own hair.  We see how Anya and her family cope with the situation and the fears they experience.

I was not aware of this condition prior to reading the book.  The story is very informative and a great way to broach the subjects of illness, empathy, and compassion with young readers.  My son could easily relate to the story since the characters are close to his age.  He understood how something like this could happen to him or one of his friends and the importance of supporting one another.  

I was originally concerned that it would be sad and depressing, but it wasn't.   I would definitely recommend sharing and discussing this book with middle grade children.