Please browse here to find books that I think are worth your time.... or are real stinkers. I will let you know what I REALLY think of what I am reading. You might not find the newest and most popular books here, but I would LOVE it if you find something unexpectedly great!

I will indicate on each post the Lexile level of the book.
To find out more about Lexile levels, go HERE.

Use the labels list on the right side of the screen to find a title about something you are interested in. You can also search by Lexile levels.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rebecca

By Daphne Du Maurier= 880

Rebecca is the kind of book you read because you have to, because it is an assignment. In fact, this was a re-read for me. I originally HAD to read this for a college course. I recall liking it, but had never tackled it since. In my mind, it seemed to loom large as an "assignment" book. Well. I sped through this! It was pretty easy, actually and so fun to read! Here's the story:

Rebecca is dead. I am sure we could have some argument about if she is the main character of the book... but she is definitely dead. Her husband, Maxim de Winter is vacationing in Monte Carlo when he meets a much younger woman and ends up marrying her and taking her back to his legendary home, Manderley. But the specter of Rebecca invades every corner of the grand house. The new Mrs. de Winter is naive and unsure of her role. She thus allows the creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, to control both her and the house. The new bride (we never know her name) second guesses herself constantly, creating fantastic scenarios in which her husband doesn't love her, the staff hates her, and happiness eludes her... all due to Rebecca. Can't even begin tell you all the blunders she makes.

Du Maurier is a master at slowly unfolding the secrets of the plot. Twists and turns abound here. Read the book first, then enjoy the Hitchcock version. There are many film adaptations. Enjoy!

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah
Lexile = 740

This is the story of sisters: Vianne and Isabelle. It begins just before World War II in France. Vianne is married to her school sweetheart and lives on the small farm that has been in her family for generations. Next door is her best friend, Rachel. Life is sweet and simple. Isabelle is 18 years old and is dismissed (again) from a finishing school. Isabelle is rebellious and unpredictable. She returns to the farm because she has no place else to go.

Vianne's husband, along with most of the men of the village, head off to fight against the Nazis. When France capitulates to the Nazis, the Vianne's farm house is assigned as a billeting location for Nazi officers. Isabelle can't keep her mouth shut and leaves so as to not put the little family in danger. Isabelle's choices are much braver than her family gives her credit for and Vianne must decide how much bravery she has to risk.

Watch a great interview with the author HERE!


Monday, April 16, 2018

Jenks Book Reviews


















Please respond in the comments with:

Your name
The Title of the book you read
A nice, chunky paragraph with a summary of the book. Include details!
A second nice, chunky paragraph with your detailed, specific, personal thoughts about the book.

I suggest to create your review as a google doc and then copy and paste it into the comment form.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Catalyst

By Kristin Smith
Lexile = ?

I think I bought this book by accident. Someone recommended The Deception Game and this is listed as Deception Game, Book one. Although this is solid YA fiction, I don't think it is the one I was searching for and now I can't find the other! Anyway....

Catalyst reminds me of The Testing by Charbonneau, and Uglies, by Westerfeld.

Here is the story: Sienna Preston was NOT genetically modified like many of her generation. She was also not matched at birth with her future perfect spouse like many of her peers. When her Father is killed (page 4... no spoilers here), Sienna becomes defacto parent to her little sister as her Mother spirals into drink and depression. Sienna accepts work as a thief-for-hire and takes on a job that is WAAAY out of her league.

It seemed that the author really wanted to get into the conflict of the story a bit too quickly. Page one, Sienna is at her school fussing over her red hair and freckles. Page eight, a meeting with the "Devil". Page fourteen, she has a miniskirt and a Harley and forced into accepting a murder for hire job. Huh. Once the story settled down, I was ok with it, but that first part moved too fast for me. Not enough character development....

Sienna's story becomes more compelling and a love triangle develops. We have the sequel here in the library as well. Oh! And this was published by CleanTeenPublishing, so it's not too edgy, either! Watch a trailer made by the publisher HERE.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Someone Knows My Name

By Lawrence Hill
Lexile = ?

I was a bit nervous going in to this novel, because I didn't want to read a book about slavery. I was also put off by the other title of this, "The Book of Negroes". But this is a book about Aminata. Her life is told in several "chunks" as she is bought and sold over time. She longs to return to Africa, but soon the people that she loves are in America. Eventually she becomes a figurehead of sorts for abolitionists working in England.

The Book of Negroes is an actual historical document made by the British at the end of the Revolutionary War in which they recorded the names of "loyal" freed slaves. Thousands of former slaves escaped to Nova Scotia with the British, only to find broken promises and much colder weather.

Not sure if this has a happy ending or not. Aminata's life is unbelievably difficult, but many conflicts are at least resolved. This book is now a mini-series! Watch a fantastic trailer HERE.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate
Lexile = ?

Heartbreaking. Before We Were Yours falls smack dab in the middle of my favorite category: historical fiction that flashes back and forth with the "now" story. Since you know the "now," you know that everything turns out ok, but getting there is pretty painful in this case.

12-year-old Rill Foss thinks her life is pretty perfect and then on the night her mother is about to give birth to twins, she ends up in charge of four younger siblings and so very alone. The intriguing part of the "flash forwards" is that everyone's names are changed... so I was unsure of who was who. Rill tries valiantly to save and protect all those kids from the evil adults in their lives. I can't tell you if she is successful or not.

Makes me think how vulnerable children are.... and they don't even know it. Luckily, they are also resilient.

Listen to an interview with the author HERE. (It's kinda long....)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds
Lexile = 720

Our copy of Long Way Down doesn't look exactly like the cover here. Since I bought it, Long Way Down has won a ton of awards, most importantly the Newbery Honor. I always feel a bit of pride when I pick a book up before it has been discovered by the masses. Not sure this is for kids though.... some rough language and it's all about gun violence. I think of Newbery books as being for children, but this particular winner is what I classify as "edgy".

Will's brother has been killed on the streets and Will knows he has to get revenge. Although he has never even held a gun, he takes the gun his brother had hidden in his drawer and rides down the elevator at their apartment building with the intent to exact that revenge.

What follows is almost like Dickens' A Christmas Carol as Will is visited on the elevator by several ghosts. It is indeed a long way down.

Read or listen to an interview with the author done by National Public Radio HERE.