Tag Archives: Hope to Die by Sara Shepard

WWW Wednesdays – October 9, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

Wow, I’m sooooo behind on my book updates, and it’s not for lack of reading. Let me catch up with what I’ve read, as well as feature a few great children’s books we’ve run into recently. I’ll share more of those in future posts as I get caught up with my backlog.

My bookshelf

Defending Jacob by William Landay– What I’m currently reading 
Defending Jacob by William Landay. An interesting story on a district attorney’s teenage son being accused of murder. I’m curious to see how it all ends, and I’ve had a pretty big suspicion since almost the beginning. Argh, I hope I’m not right about this…
The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin. Carrie at The Write Transition must have had a fit when I told her I was finally reading her book. What can I say? I didn’t have an ebook reader when her book came out last year. I recently won a free electronic copy of her book and my kids were kind enough to share their new tablet to let me read the book on it so I don’t have to use my computer. I’m enjoying the read so far!

– What I recently finished reading
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil PostmanAmusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. A fascinating read on the state of television in the mid 1980s. You’d think this book was outdated in today’s world, but it’s even more relevant with all the new technologies and the many changes that have happened on TV since then. I bet Neil Postman would roll his eyes in his tomb if he could watch only 5 minutes of the many reality shows that fill the screen every night. I enjoyed his journey explaining how writing in its own way replaced oral storytelling, and how television was the next progression. This book is filled with a lot of analysis on various TV programs, including the news and even Sesame Street. It explains how we fill our lives with so many trivial facts that really make no difference in improving our condition. Throughout the book, Postman refers to Husley’s 1984 novel and in the end, concludes that Huxley’s made-up world is not far off from where we are. A very compelling case on our addiction to the many forms of entertainment available out there.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book but I’m glad I finally did! It was so interesting to read L’Engle’s interview at the end of the book, including the hard time she had to find a publisher for this specific story. This was the very first sci-fi/fantasy book written for young adults and she said it was too different for publishers to take a risk at the time. I really enjoyed her storytelling, how each character was likable and made me feel for them. And the moral of the story is a universal truth: only love can conquer evil. I can’t wait to read the next books in the series. I recommend this book to anyone age 9 and up.

To Dance With The White Dog by Terry Kay. A blogger recommended this story on her blog a few months ago and I feel terrible because I can’t remember who it was. If you recognize yourself, please chime in, as this was a great recommendation. This book tells the beautiful story about an old man losing his wife and living on without her. His children live nearby and do their best to make sure dad is OK, as dad tries hard to maintain his independence. As he starts telling his children about the white dog that has suddenly appeared but only he can seem to see, they (and the reader) start wondering if he’s losing his mind. This is a tender story about life, love and perseverance. I really, really liked this book and highly recommend the short read.

Cross My Heart, Hope to Die by Sara Shepard, the fifth book in The Lying Game series. After reading about a hundred pages of this book, I decided to put it down. As much as I’ve enjoyed reading the series so far and crossing off suspect after suspect from the list, I’ve reached my limit. This book is more of the same, making you wonder if one of the characters is the murderer or not, and it’s getting old. I think I’ll read the very last book of the series when it comes out, just to find out how it unravels.

Echo Burning by Lee Child, the #5 book in the Jack Reacher series. One thing I like about the Jack Reacher series is the consistency of the main character’s behavior and action. I enjoy discovering new aspects of his personality and skills in each book. The one thing I like best is how every book is different and keeps you guessing until the end. This one did just the trick. I scratched my head trying to figure it out as the story was bouncing me around from one possibility to another. The ending was quite a surprise and I enjoyed this book very much. Can’t wait to read the next one!

– What I think I’ll read next
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. I saw this book at my kids’ school book fair recently and thought it could be an interesting read. 

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
Chowder and The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder by Peter Brown. These are some of the funniest books we’ve read in a while. Peter Brown is a talented illustrator but he also happens to be a children’s book author with a great sense of humor. And he’s not worried about pushing the envelope and going where no other children’s book author has gone become. Chowder is a bulldog who behaves more like a human than a dog, in many ways. My youngest told me I should share the first page of Chowder and he even took this photo with my phone.

Chowder by Peter Brown

I have to admit it took us a few minutes to stop laughing long enough so I could continue reading. It didn’t help that a few pages later, I misread that Chowder’s owners bought him “toy dogs” to keep him busy, instead of “dog toys” (wouldn’t toy dogs be really funny?). We’re definitely going to read these two hilarious books a few times more before we decide to return them to the library.

 – What they recently finished reading
Elmer the patchwork elephant by David McKeeWe’ve finally read a number of Elmer the patchwork elephant books by David McKee. Elmer is not only different looking physically, but he also is a great jokester with the other elephants and animals. Now, if you can get past the elephants, lions and tigers (yes, tigers) living happily all together. Oh, and a few kangaroos too… I guess that’s what happens in a borderless world.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – August 28, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

Wow, can you believe it’s been four weeks since my last WWW Wednesdays update? I have no idea what happened to this summer, but it seems to have flown by. I still managed to do some reading in the past few weeks, probably not as much as I like to. The books I’ve read were great, so I can’t complain. The kids have been pretty happy with their picks too.

Echo Burning by Lee ChildMy bookshelf

– What I’m currently reading
Echo Burning by Lee Child, the #5 book in the Jack Reacher series. I started with book #1 earlier this year and I only enjoy learning about Jack Reacher’s character even more with every book. He’s quite an interesting guy, that’s for sure! 

– What I recently finished reading
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder by R.J. Palacio. What a wonderful book on not just physical differences but life in middle school – you know, that age when you’re not a kid anymore, but not a teenager yet. August’s extreme facial deformities and his first year of not being homeschooled are described from several points of view. I usually don’t enjoy books with different POVs but it didn’t bother me here, as the narrators tend to pick up the story where the previous narrator left off, while adding some insight on their relationship with Auggie. I think what I liked best about this book is how genuine and realistic every character’s behavior was, not too tame, not too extreme. Warning: I had to use a few tissues at the end of this book, but it filled me with hope and happiness. A must read for everyone  probably age 9 and over.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron. A very entertaining novel on the breaking up of a marriage that seemed doomed – or very happy, depending on how you see it – from the beginning. Although the story’s events are nothing to laugh about, Nora Ephron made me smile or laugh out loud at every chapter. It was hard for me to understand why the main character Rachel didn’t walk away from her cheating husband many years before and this short book felt a little too long in my opinion, but the funny ending made up for the wait.

Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, the sequel to the Relic thriller. Another great thriller from Preston & Child and an interesting follow-up to Relic, even though you don’t have to read Relic to understand this story. It’s probably not a book to read late at night though. The gruesome details will keep you up and the suspense will make you want to read the next chapter. I guess that’s what good books do to you.

– What I think I’ll read next
Cross My Heart, Hope to Die by Sara Shepard, the fifth book in The Lying Game series. There will probably be another five books after this one before I find out who the real killer is, but at this point, reading this series is more of a guilty pleasure, especially since it’s an easy read.

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
In the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori MortensenIn the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori Mortensen. A super cool book on bees, with very short, rhyming phrases on every page, as well as a short blub on the life of bees on the opposite page. My kids really like this book and we’ve learned quite a few things about bees. The detailed illustrations are beautiful and very helpful in understanding more about bees.
19 Girls and Me by Darcy Pattison. John Hercules is worried about being the only boy in his kindergarten class, especially since his older brother keeps teasing him he’s going to turn into a “sissy”. But once John gets the girls to join him on his wild imaginary play at recess, he has a great time. What will his brother say though, as he sees him surrounded with girls at play? This is a great book to show how girls and boys can play together and all bring their personal ideas to make the play even better.

 – What they recently finished reading
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff KinneyThe Diary of A Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. My oldest just turned seven and recently finished reading book #7 of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He’s read every book in the series before this one several times and seems to really enjoy the stories. The only thing that bugs me  is that this series describes life in middle school but it’s written in such an easy format that my son could read these in first grade (OK, he’s reading way beyond his grade level, but still). It seems few books out there cater to the young but advanced readers. The books he likes to read deal with issues he won’t get to experience for several years and he may not have the maturity to understand them all. If you know of some great books that are challenging but appropriate for a seven-year old, please let me know. He’s read plenty already, but I’m sure there are some we don’t know about.
Santa Calls by William Joyce. This is another GREAT book that belongs on the permanent shelf of classic children’s books. When Santa invites Art Atchinson Aimesworth, his little sister Esther and his best friend Spaulding to join him to the North Pole for a special mission, they jump to the occasion. But when they reach the end of their adventure, they wonder why Santa needed their help after all. Only the reader and Esther find out the real reason, and it’s a great one. A wonderful story to read anytime of the year, and definitely to siblings together.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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