That Amazing, No, Addicting Thing Called BookBub

Have you heard of BookBub yet? It’s a really nice resource if you’re looking for new books to read. It’s a great way to access books you might not consider. I was introduced to BookBub by a coworker who loves to read.

This website is a great tool for any bookworm. BookBub allows you to create a free account. From there you select your favorite book genres. Based on your choices, you will receive an email every day from BookBub with books suggestions based on the categories you selected. All the book suggestions are titles that have many reviews, and the best part is that these books range from $0-$2.99 in price. How about that for a great deal! It’s an amazing tool, and I enjoy reading the book descriptions and choosing new books to read that I might not otherwise consider reading. Sometimes books I really want to read show up in my BookBub email update. The other great thing is that they only send one email a day, and I never receive any other email from them. They do not flood your inbox. BookBub gets to the point because they know your time is precious and they know you want to read the next book.

What are you waiting for? Go to bookbub.com and sign up to receive your free daily email update. You’ll be happy you stopped and dropped to read this email. I promise!

Long Time, No Reading

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve blogged here. I wanted to blog regularly about different books that I’ve read. My goal for this blog was to share my personal opinions about books that I’ve read so others can decide if they would like to read some of those same books. My other goal was to help parents find books that might be good to share with their families. As a teacher and a new mother, that is my goal for this blog more than ever.

I want to share books that are fun, encouraging, uplifting, and helpful. Reading has been a passion of mine before I even started going to school. I have always loved books and reading.  I hope I can pass that on to my daughter. I’m already starting her own little collection of books, and I enjoy reading to her even at eight weeks old!

Since it has been about a year since I last wrote anything here, many things have happened. I began my second year of teaching, and it was a wonderful year. I learned so much right along with my students. I also got pregnant with our first child, and she was born (three weeks early) on July 6. She brings so much joy to our lives, and we couldn’t be happier. While I absolutely love teaching and watching my students learn and grow, we made the decision that I would stay home with our sweet baby this year. It was a decision that we thought about for quite a while, but I know it was the right thing for us. Now that I am home full-time, I am caring for my little one, and I would like to start blogging again. Although I have not been writing, I have not stopped reading. I am looking forward to sharing some of the great stories that I have read over the last year as well as some cool resources for finding new things to read. I’m thankful for the journey and the opportunity to share the things I love. I invite you to join me on this reading adventure!

Kindred

Perhaps you remember reading Anne of Green Gables as a child. Do you remember what Anne called her closest, dearest friend? If not, I will remind you– kindred spirits. If you ever hear the word “kindred,” this might be what you think of. You have probably figured out by now the word “kindred” reminds me of Anne. There is a small word within the word kindred (kin). Now, what do you consider “kin” to mean? So what if your kindred spirit was someone related to you, someone that lived generations before you, and there is no possible way you could ever meet? I know sounds weird and possibly crazy. However, that is the logical, factual belief because we cannot travel back in time.

Kindred is a neo slave novel that begins its story with a black woman married to a white man in the 20th century. That alone could be troublesome in some parts of the country, even in the 1950s. Add in the ability to travel back in time to a time when slavery was still in existence and something interesting is bound to happen.

I really enjoyed this book because of the sense of mystery and suspend Octavia Butler continues to build. This story is great to use as a supplemental text when studying US History during the time of slavery. The text could also be used in an American Literature class, which is precisely why I read this book. A warning to teachers, parents, and students– language is a recurring issue in this book. Abuse and rape are also present themes that were often associated with slavery. If used as a resource, it may be a good idea to put forth this information for parents so that they are aware. However, these topics can be tactfully discussed. I recommend that students read Kindred with guidance of a teacher. Have you read Kindred? Do you think it is appropriate for teens? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Where does fault lie?

fault-in-starsFor a young adult/teen fictional book, this story has a deep philosophical perspective. The thing I love about this book is that even though it is fiction, it could be a true story, I can picture a child/teen going through a difficult situation and having the opinions and personalities similar to Hazel and the other teens. The thing we have to understand is that while this may be a story about a girl with a terminal illness, it also is a story about how difficulties come at many ages and stages in life.

For me, this is important because it can serve as a reminder that we all go through trials. It does not matter how old we are. Fact, sometimes kids get cancer and other types of terminal illnesses. It’s a big deal to anyone at any age. Had the author not used this extreme, we probably would not appreciate the story near as much, and it certainly would not impact such a large audience. The fact of the matter is that all people go through different things throughout the stages of life. Being not too far removed from the teenage life, I understand that a crisis or family matter has a strong impact on them and the decisions that they make. So often I feel as though we dismiss the crisis and writ it off as “teen drama.” Don’t forget, you were there once. I digress…

In case you haven’t figured out through my ranting, The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl that has a terminal cancer and it affects her lungs to the point that she has to be on oxygen. Hazel hates that her luna fail her, and she especially hates that her parents are “burdened” with the constant care the believe Hazel needs.

Hazel’s mom encourages her to go to a support group for young cancer patients. Hazel greatly dislikes going, but she agrees to go for her mom’s sake. One day a new boy shows up, and he seems interested in Hazel. He insists on learning her story (not her cancer story). They become very close friends very quickly. For Hazel, this friend shows her that life goes beyond her cancer story, and he helps her realize that it’s important to continue living rather than to focus on dying.

While I truly love and enjoy this story, I am slightly concerned about the use of language and the acceptance of some actions of the teens. I understand that these kids are hurting and need a way to express that, but using foul language is really not the best, most constructive way to get that out. The second issue I have is the idea that because they are going to die a premature death anyway, they get a free pass to do whatever they want even if it is sexual in nature.

Overall the story is amazing and the author has a way drawing you in. I highly encourage you to read the book before watching the movie. You will appreciate the intelligence and research by John Green to write such a beautiful fictional story.

 

Reading While on Break

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post. Last fall I was student teaching, and it was INTENSE. I’m happy to say that part of my training is complete. I was blessed to be hired as a teacher just two weeks after I completed student teaching. God was really watching over me and totally had His hand on the entire situation. I started teaching right after Thanksgiving, and Christmas break began three weeks later. Over the break, I had some time to catch up on some reading, and I finished reading the Divergent Series. I had already read the first book, and one of my favorite bloggers wrote a review of the series which made me that much more interested in them. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the series.

In the first book of the trilogy, Divergent, we are introduced to several people who all live in different factions (four to be exact) Each faction serves a different function to make the whole work. The series can be viewed as a “coming of age” story since the story begins with an aptitude test for young teens to see which faction they fit in best. These factions take pride in their work and duties, and they do not like overlapping. That overlap causes big problems for some characters such as Beatrice Prior (Tris) and Four. Divergent means something, and it has a negative connotation with it for the factions. As you read the series, divergence becomes empowering rather than debilitating. That is one positive aspect I love about these books. The things that are seen as negative influences become empowering in a good way, or at least with good intentions. Insurgent and Allegiant are no different.

Insurgent and Allegiant will keep you on the edge of your seat as Veronica Roth leaves little surprises around every corner. This book series is both captivating and full of surprises. Each twist and turn along the way made the journey more and more interesting. Roth does such a wonderful describing the characters. I have left this review a little open ended because I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that I was somewhat surprised by the ending, but one thing the author makes clear is that sometimes we all have to make sacrifices at some point in our lives. Those sacrifices come in different forms, but the lesson to learn is be sure you are spending time desiring and trying to make a difference.

So, who is this book series good for? Well, the series was written for teens ages 14-17 according to Barnes & Noble, but I think it is also good for older readers as well. The series can be compared to the Hunger Games, but the violence in the Divergent Series is different. In my opinion, these books would be suited for mature readers (both boys and girls) according the age range previously stated. If you have read the series, I would love to hear your thoughts on it as well. For all of those at home due to snow, grab a good book, blanket, and curl up on the couch to read for a little while, and enjoy the day.