Monday, January 12, 2015

Reading With a Younger Sibling

Winter is a wonderful time to read. The weather keeps you indoors, at home (such as today, in my case). However, it can be fun to share a book rather than reading alone. Just as having a parent read to you as a child is special, being a teen and returning the favor to your younger brother or sister is both enjoyable and rewarding. You get to introduce them to your favorite books from when you were younger, and spend time with them doing a quiet and relaxing activity. I have had many good times with my little brother, who is now an advanced and enthusiastic reader on his own, but we still enjoy reading together. Here are a few good choices of books to share with a younger audience:

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- My brother read some parts with me and others by himself. It is one of his- and one of my- favorite series. If you have a fantasy-loving sibling, you can't go wrong.
The Theodosius Throckmorton series by R. L. LaFevers- This series has history, magic, and adventure all in one, with a clever, curious girl as the main character. My brother and I are currently on the third book out of the four that have been published, and a fifth one may be published at some point, though when is unknown.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer- This scifi/fantasy series follows the story of technologically advance fairies hidden from the human world, and what happens when their world meets the world of Artemis Fowl, a very young criminal mastermind, and his companions. The series is action packed and humorous. I started reading it to my brother and he has gone on reading it on his own.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart- This series follows the adventures of four talented children when they get a mysterious chance at "special opportunities." I read the first book to my brother, and we plan to read the next two books. I also recently discovered a book that tells the tale of one of the other important characters in the series, Mr. Benedict, but I have not looked at it yet.

Above all, find books that both you and your little brother or sister will enjoy together. Happy reading!

Monday, April 14, 2014

National Poetry Month

This is the poet-tree (poetry) tree in the YA section of my local library. April is National Poetry Month. The first time we decorated the tree, last year,  it had poems on it so that people could take a poem and leave a new one in its place. This year, there are writing prompts on the tree instead. This idea is loosely based on the graphic novel, Page by Paige, and I think it is a great way to celebrate poems.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

I recently read the book Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen, and I thought I'd share a summary I wrote for it:
Will Scarlet is known as a thief, a young fugitive boy with a scarred face who is good with knives. What few realize outside of Robin Hood’s band of outlaws is that his famous shadow is really a girl. Hiding from a dark and haunting past, Scarlet helps protect the people of Nottingham from the cruel sheriff who has been put in charge of the land that rightfully belongs to Robin. However, her past refuses to leave her, and the arrival of the thief taker Lord Gisbourne, hired by the sheriff to destroy the outlaw band, only threatens to uncover her secrets. As the danger nears, Scarlet is forced to either confront her past life and help save the people of Nottingham or to run away from the friends she rejects but has come to genuinely care about. Her decision is only made more difficult by the complex emotions she feels for the flirtatious outlaw, John Little, who seems to have grown attached to her, and by the strange effect Robin has on her. Scarlet is not afraid to fight and even die to save others’ lives, even if she is conflicted about her identity, her feelings, and her worth. The choices the young girl has to make uncover the true meanings of friendship, love, and trust, while making her realize that she may be more than just a black-hearted thief...
I would recommend this book for teens ages fourteen and up, since there is some violence and gore, but that's kind of necessary for something based on Robin Hood legends.
I give it a ten out of ten. and I can't wait to read the sequel, Lady Thief. I'm not sure how long the series is going to be. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Widdershins Adventures

I discovered this series, by Ari Marmell,  last year at my local library, but I never blogged about it.
The first book, Thief''s Covenant follows the story of Widdershins, a young thief who had a chance at a better life, but had to go back to thievery.  She also has a god in her head, Olgun. As his only remaining follower, they will both die if she is killed. In the city of Davillion, where she lives, there is an evil monster after her. She is also in a dispute with an influential member of the Finders' Guild, the group all thieves in the city belong to. On top of all that the city watch wants to arrest her, even though she hasn't done anything illegal...well, at least not in front of them. When the Archbishop William de Laurent. comes to Davillion, his life is in danger and things get even more chaotic. 
Delivered in chapters that vary between the past events that led Widdershins to abandon her name and return to the streets, and the present, in multiple perspectives, Thief's Covenant is a wonderfully crafted novel.
The characters are witty, clever, and funny. Widdershins is a great character if you want a quick, slightly smart-aleck character with potentially questionable morals, but a good heart.
The second book, False Covenant, is out and I just read it. I think it is an excellent continuation of the series. There will be a third book coming out soon. 
I would recommend this book for teens thirteen or older. it has some violence, given several monster fighting scenes and some mildly inappropriate language, but it is an excellent story. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Horror

This blog is entirely suited to my taste of literature, which means that I usually don't cater at all to those teens who love horror books. Having been given a rather overactive imagination, I tend to steer away from the genre. But, I've decided to make a few suggestions based on what I have read.  To be frank, anything that  is on the list below is there for the sole reason that it gave me trouble sleeping when I accidentally read them (and it is entirely all too possible to accidentally read horror... I know form, personal experience).
1. Gone by Michael Grant (series)
2. Jade Green  by Phyllis Reynolds (It sounds like a it isn't scary based on the title but it is actually a very frightening ghost story)
 3. Deep, Dark, and Dangerous by May Downing Hahn (Don't ask how I accidentally read that one. I was a sixth grader with my head in the clouds when it happened. I somehow convinced myself that it wouldn't be scary. I also may have thought it was a story with magic. It isn't, unless  you count the very disturbing, angry ghost of a drowned girl as being magical.)
Again, these are not on here because I enjoyed them. They terrified me. But then again, I don't do horror, but I think that anyone who likes the genre should enjoy these. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Reading Promise

The Reading Promise, by Alice Ozma, was given to me by my father. You can be pretty much any age to enjoy it, and it is one of the sweetest books about a father-daughter bond that I have ever read. It is an autobiography of the author's childhood.
When Alice's mother left, her father raised her and her older sister. As an elementary school librarian, he loved to read to Alice before bed every night. When she was in fourth grade though, he became worried that she would eventually want him to stop reading aloud to her. Making a promise to read together for 100 consecutive nights and succeeding, they decided to keep 'the streak' alive as long as they could. They managed to do so until the time she entered college 8 years later. The story tells the story of Alice growing up and the adventures and books she shared with her father. It is also an excellent example of the improtance of reading. I think it is a must-read.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A World Away

I read A World Away, a realistic fiction novel by Nancy Grossman, several months ago, while on vacation, but  never got around to writing about it. The story is written from the perspective of sixteen year-old Eliza Miller. As an Amish girl, Eliza has never experienced life outside her community. When she gets an opportunity to baby-sit for a family living in the Chicago suburbs for the summer, she can't wait to try out new things. She meets Josh, a boy who shares his love of music with her. As the summer winds on though, Eliza finds that she misses her life within her simple and pious community, but she also is in love with Josh. She must choose between the new world she's discovered and Josh or the life she has back home. Either choice, she knows, will mean making a sacrifice.
I recommend this book for teens 14 and up, because there are a few scenes in the book that might not be appropriate for younger teens.