Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

I wanted to finish the book I was reading and took advantage of the snow day to do so before posting this.

Burning Midnight
One day, brightly colored spheres showed up on earth. Much like the Gold Rush, at first they were just there for the taking, but after awhile, they became sparse. At first, no one knew what they did, until it was discovered that burning (placing them at your temples) a colored pair would have certain outcomes depending on the color. Some make you smarter. More attractive. Faster. Give you the ability to function on little sleep. Like most things, the rarer the sphere, the more amazing the outcome, the more that sphere is worth.
Sully is a teen who makes his living dealing spheres at a flea market. He's notorious for finding the cherry red spheres that triggered a second wave of spheres. As the second wave is running out, Sully and his friend Hunter intensify a search for more rare spheres.
This book was entertaining and unique. I loved the idea of something like this just happening, as well as the way different people reacted. It was definitely not without a sci-fi twist to it, too.

The Sky Is Everywhere
This is by the same author of I'll Give You the Sun and was so very good. Bailey's sister dies suddenly while rehearsing for Romeo & Juliet. In the wake of her death, Bailey is left reeling and unsure of how to move forward. Lennie attaches herself first to her sister's boyfriend, then to Joe, the new boy at her school. She struggles to connect with her grandma and uncle in the way that she did before Bailey's death and she feels that no one quite understands her pain.
I really enjoyed this book. It was realistic and messy.

All the Birds in the Sky
This book was okay. I felt like it was trying to be dystopian, fantasy, coming of age and sci-fi all at once and that didn't really work for me. However, it has good reviews on Amazon, so it could work for you! It begins with Patricia and Laurence, children who are both misunderstood. Patricia wishes to talk to animals and can't figure out how to handle her abusive older sister. Laurence is scientific minded and resents his parents trying to make him like nature. It then moves onto their teenage years, where Patricia ends up at a school for children with magical powers and Laurence ends up at boot camp, following an assassin turned guidance counselor plotting to get rid of him. It finishes with Patricia and Laurence as adults where maybe the world is possibly ending. It just didn't mesh for me. I was hooked at first, but it started to drag after awhile.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

This extended weekend was beneficial to my reading time! I could use more of those.

Front Lines
I love this whole theme of re-writing history from the "what if" point of view. In this case, what if women were allowed to fight on the front lines during WWII? Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman all sign up to fight, all for different reasons. Rio signs up with her friend Jenou, Jenou hoping to escape a horrible home life situation, Rio to honor her sister who was killed at Pearl Harbor. Frangie signs up to get money for her family, in a heavily segregated world where black girls don't have many other options, while Rainy signs up because she's Jewish and the disturbing lack of contact from her Jewish family in Europe gives her the drive to kill as many Germans as she can.
Each story is well told and leads up to the moment where all intertwine. I definitely enjoyed this one!

After Tupac and D Foster
Neeka and her best friend (our unnamed narrator) are growing up at a time where Tupac is very much alive and very much an icon. When the girls meet D Foster, the three create a bond that transcends their issues--the narrator and her single mom trying to make ends meet, Neeka's brother in prison and her crowded home, and D's foster situation in which she hasn't seen her mom for years. This was a short book, but thematically heavy. Prison among African-American males. Homosexuality. Abandonment. Racial and societal pressures. It was a powerful read for any young reader.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
I held off on reading this book because I feel like I always struggle with books translated from Swedish. However, I fell in love with this book and the characters pretty quickly. Sara travels all the way from Sweden to the tiny town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet up with her penpal Amy. When she arrives, she discovers that Amy has died of a not entirely unexpected illness. As Sara stays in Broken Wheel and begins to know--and love--the people in the town, she decides to open a bookstore, although it is arguably the last thing Broken Wheel could use. This book was written in a tone similar to Fried Green Tomatoes or other books about small town nuances where you fall head over heels for the characters. I couldn't put this one down, so much wanting to know what would happen to Sara and Broken Wheel.

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel
Lucy Barton is hospitalized following what should have been a routine appendectomy. Her mother, who she hasn't seen in years, comes to stay with her in the hospital and keeps her entertained from stories of those they knew in their small Illinois town. In the midst of this, Lucy weaves together glimpses from her past, the poverty and abuse that surrounded her, as well as flashes forward to the future she will have beyond her hospitalization. There were points where I wasn't sure if Lucy was an unreliable narrator or if her mother was unreliable, but it was a great narrative.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

Slow reading this week because I've been too tired to stay awake very long at night.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
Andrew Brawley lost all of his family in one night, in a horrible accident for which he blames himself. Since then, he's lived in the hospital where his family members breathed their last. He works in the cafeteria during the day and sleeps in an empty wing at night. His truest friend is a comic he created, about a man named Patient F. His enemy is a social worker who he refers to as Death because she always shows up to when people are dying. Drew is drawn into the life of Rusty, a patient who is brought in with severe burns on most of his body, a victim of a hate crime. I loved this book. There were parts of it that seemed almost surreal, but in the end, the author brought it all full circle.

Orphan X (Evan Smoak)
Evan Smoak was a boy taken out of the East Baltimore projects to become a government weapon. He breaks free from the program and uses the skills he learned to help people who are desperately in need of this help. As good as he is at covering his tracks, he isn't perfect and he soon realizes that someone is after him.
This was a good thriller crime novel. It was an easy read that kept me engaged.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

Fallout (Crank)
This is the last book in the Crank trilogy. It's told from the POV of three of Kristina's children and basically chronicles the fallout of Kristina's addition and choices through the lives of her children. I didn't like it as much as the other ones, but it still provided an interesting and sad perspective.

We Are the Ants
This book was so engaging. Henry Denton periodically gets abducted by aliens. He never knows when it will happen, and he never knows where or when he will be returned (usually missing some of his clothes). The aliens tell him the world will end on January 29, 2016 (hilariously, I started reading this book on January 28), but Henry has the power to stop it by pressing a red button. Henry, however, isn't sure he wants to, after all, he doesn't know if life is worth living. His boyfriend killed himself and left no reason behind. His brother is a bully and loser who drops out of school and gets his girlfriend pregnant. His beloved Nana has Alzheimer's. His mom is a sad, tired waitress and his dad, well, he's been out of the picture for awhile. In the midst of this, Henry is being bullied by a popular classmate, one who professes his love to Henry behind closed doors.
Most of the book is set in the reality of Henry's life, mixed in with wondering if he should press the button or let the world end how it may fall.

The Whites: A Novel
I started reading this book and then I brought it to school for silent reading time. Then I left it at school and had to stay home with a sick Tommy the next day. Then I managed to leave it at school again, so to say my reading of this book was choppy would be an understatement. However, I still enjoyed it.
Billy Graves is a nightwatch sergeant who keeps in touch with old police friends from the wilder days. Each person has a white, a criminal who got away with murder. Suddenly, the whites start dying and Billy is trying to piece together who is behind it and why, all the while struggling with whether he really cares.
I did struggle to keep track of the many different characters in this book, but that could have been due to my choppy reading. Overall, it was a good detective novel!

Quake (Pulse)
The last book in the Pulse series. I enjoyed this one, it was a good mix of sci-fi and dystopia.

What are you reading?