Friday, December 4, 2015


Hi everyone, in case you're wondering where I've been during this break, find me over on Instagram! I'll be posting exclusively on there for a little while.

Thanks for all your support!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


First, some YA books by well loved authors . . .
The Infinite Sea
by Rick Yancey  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Sequel to The 5th Wave--a series that will appeal to a wide audience--not just fans of dystopian like Hunger Games. Think of handing this to readers who love scifi (aliens!) apocalypse fiction, and some romance readers. Although lets be clear, The Infinite Sea is not full of romance--there's lots of action, twists & turns, and lots of what I love in YA--dire dilemmas the characters have to face that force them to ask the tough questions. Not a disappointing sequel at all.

The Young Elites
by Marie Lu  | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
From author Marie Lu of the Legend trilogy-- some survivors of a blood fever have talents that make them more then normal, which in turn makes them powerful enemies that have dark secrets of their own. Expect nothing less than great world building and characters from this author & new series!

by Ally Condie  | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Betrayal by a twin sister, treachery surrounding her mother's death, and making a plan to cross the divide between land and Atlantia, the sea, where the main character Rio lives. Matched triliogy fans will be excited for Ally Condie's next book, and in skimming the reviews, reaction seems mostly positive and excited for this standalone book.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue
by Maggie Stiefvater  | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
I feel like I have to be rather vague in order to not give away spoilers . . . we'll just say that the story of the search continues--only there are more things to search for now, including Blue's missing mother. More Gansey & Blue moments, great character development, poetic writing, and the fascinating myth that this is all based on brings you closer to the moment of truth & death that was predicted in the first book.

Illusions of Fate
by Kiersten White | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Another standalone from a best selling author. The marketing blurb "Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare" seems like a tall order to fill, but reviews have been positive! After leaving her home, main character Jessamin feel like an outcast until Finn. He introduces her into circles of nobility--and all that comes with it, which means she must rely on her own strength to navigate the secrets, the power, and the danger.

The Contract
by Derek Jeter | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
I love that Derek Jeter--the New York Yankee with five World Series appearances, thirteen All-Star nominations, membership in the 3,000 hit club, the legend-- now has his own publishing imprint. This is the debut book and first in a middle grade series based on Jeter's childhood. Hard work and goals are running themes throughout. I love this niche of sports and based-on-a-true-story fiction that this book fills! Jeter's nonfiction title was also a best-seller.

A taste of nonfiction . . .

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
by Randall Munroe | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
The subtitle gives you a good idea of what this is about. Former NASA, currently running the website, Randall Munroe takes on questions about pools & thunderstorms, Star Trek, energy producing capabilities of people exercising, and much more. I can think of such a diverse audience that would love this book! I'm excited to recommend it to people.

Some majorly anticipated fiction by big name writers . . .

by Marilynne Robinson | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
So if you haven't read Marilynne Robinson's Gilead (won her a Pulitzer) or Home (Orange Prize & National Book Award Finalist, you probably should. If you have, and you found out that she wrote another book set in the same town and revisiting old characters, your heart is probably beating really fast.

The Bone Clocks
by David Mitchell | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Hearing that David Mitchell also wrote another book might cause some of your hearts to beat a little fast. Shifting between different points of view, several characters receive an in depth study through a smaller portion of their life story. Each of the characters in some way ties back to Holly Sykes, who throughout her life has been involved--willingly or not--with supernatural happenings and in a few dangerous circles.

And something to think about . . .

The Learning Habit: A Groundbreaking Approach to Homework and Parenting that Helps Our Children Succeed in School and Life
by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, Rebecca Jackson, & Robert Pressman
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
This book talks about the most essential learning habits in the face of the Common Core State Standards, large amounts of standardized testing, screen time, and more.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Happy summer! After the end of the school year (for most of you teachers, students, and parents!) and a much needed break, we are returning with some great books and summer literacy tips over the coming weeks. However, just because we took a break from the internet doesn't mean we took a break from reading--let's be honest, that will probably never happen! So we ran into a bit of a problem, considering the long list of books read in the last month and a half and choosing which ones to post reviews on. We've picked a few of the best to share, starting with Ruin and Rising (a much anticipated trilogy conclusion from author Leigh Bardugo), and as for the rest, we'll refer you to the following links to Goodreads if you want to browse the good and the bad of our summer reading so far!

Boy Snow Bird
A Snicker of Magic
The Winter Horses
The Glass Castle
On the Road
The Brothers Karamazov
She Is Not Invisible
An Untamed State
All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
It Starts With Food
We Were Liars

and now, you should really read this . . .

Ruin and Rising
by Leigh Bardugo
**** 4 of 5 stars

Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 417
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army. 

 Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. 

But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

I love to love the villain. That is where the power in this book--and the series--lies. He was complex and so easily evoked sympathy and interest--you can't help it. This also opened the door for the story to examine issues such as good and evil in individual people. Really, I was hoping that there would be even more scenes with the Darkling, but what there was ended up being pretty satisfying. And if he's not your flavor, there's plenty of other attractive guys to take your pick from.

Some significant details in the ending were surprising, but overall it followed a fairly predictable path. Still, because the characters were so well done--including a great cast of secondary characters--the ending to this series was on point. Because it was easy to read and imagine, I think I'll have a lot of success recommending this book/series.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


We're taking a small break over here at Enjoy A Book, but have some exciting things coming up for the summer book season & maintaining reading & literacy during the summer vacation. See you soon!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


by Amanda Maciel
**** 4 out of 5 stars

Balzer & Bray
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 336
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. 
At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. 

 During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over. 

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.

This book was hard to rate because of what it's about, and the perspective that it uses to talk about bullying, but the added dialogue to the issue has some thoughtful and purposeful moments.

I liked the view that the author provided of Sara and how caught up she was in things, how being angry and mean sometimes felt wrong but sometimes made her feel better, and how she was unrepentant in a world where she was too blinded by her own desires, feelings, and self to see her impact on others. This perspective means that the author didn't really take sides, but allows the reader to react to the situation and Sara's character. You get to see the deeper side of Sara and Brielle, and with it the often complex and short-sided world view of high schoolers who worry about what they look like, what others think of them, and about sex.

Behind the book was the message about everyone having a deeper side or their own perspective and troubles (most blatantly seen in the character of Carmichael), but this is a message that Sara doesn't really get, even by the end. A lot of people might find this hard to read because of how unremorseful Sara is; honestly I'm not the biggest fan of her whining about how everyone else was ruining her life as if she had no control over what happened to her, and because of that throughout the whole book I didn't fully believe that she was sorry at the end or that her character developed much at all.

Some readers feel like they have to like the main character to like the book, and if that's you then you probably won't love this book. But regardless if you liked the main character or not the intent of the book--and the perspective-- makes you think about things that are hard to thing about--who is wrong, to blame, and how the situation should be handled.

An advanced copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


The Here and Now
by Ann Brashares
** 2 of 5 stars

Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: YA, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

 Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 

 From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

The premise was really great, but the plot execution didn't live up to it. I got hung up on some really critical plot points that were resolved seemingly out of nowhere (or were the result of characters not doing things any rational person would have done), and the whole relationship between the two main characters seemed like it sprang up out of nowhere--it would have been nice to see more of a build up to that.

I would have loved to seen more of the back story. It could have really been great: the idea of people time traveling back to the past because the future has become a climate-change pandemic-disease mess is really fascinating and plausible, but the book has very little of this--instead focusing on the romance part. Which, by the way, was able to do silly things like play cards at the beach or go out for mexican food with no real sense of urgency when the plot situation called for extreme urgency. The time traveling from a diseased future idea was interesting and realistic enough for a bit of a thrill--hopefully there'll be more of that in the next book.

An advanced copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I wonder sometimes if it's the best idea to talk about "classics" on a blog that has such strong literacy aims, in some aspects strongly geared toward reluctant readers. But then I think about all the incredible leaders and thinkers in our world, and how many of them were inspired by or had their thinking shaped by "classics" or books with lasting ideas and strong stories. (My favorite list with leaders, musicians, athletes, actors, etc. is You Are What You Read. See booklists from One Direction, Eli Manning, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Kinney, and so much more.) You'll also find that some of them, and even a lot of us "readers" once were reluctant until convinced by such books.

I recently finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, and while it took me a little while to get through--mostly due to deadlines of other books--it was worth every minute I spent with it. Here's my brief thoughts:

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Harper Perennial 
Release Date: this edition--2006. Originally 1967.
Genre: Literature, Magical Realism
Pages: 417
Amazon Indiebound Goodreads

One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of a Nobel Prize winning career. 

 The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America. Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. 

Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.

Not the easiest thing I've ever read, but really one of the most brilliant. Marquez's writing is dreamy and descriptive, and it's as easy to get lost in it as it is to get lost in the plot.

The magical realism was incredible. It seems totally plausible that characters do things like eat dirt, get taken up into heaven admist the laundry, survive insomnia plagues, etc. Sometimes I felt a bit like I was in a thrilling ride through the dryer's tumble cycle--round and round and round--with all the name repetition and of course the idea that history repeats itself, an idea so prominent you'd be as crazy as most of the characters to miss it.