Teaching Your Love to Those Who Don’t Love It

I was so excited when I got my first teaching job as a Reading teacher in a middle school. I enjoy working with middle school aged kids more than the little bitty ones. The little bitty kids terrify me! I also LOVE LOVE LOVE anything with Reading or creative writing.

I thought I would come in to my classroom and I would share all of my books and passion for Reading with kids. That I would have book clubs full of kiddos who love to read as well and we could talk about all of the middle grade and young adult books that we love…

The harsh reality was that, like Math, kids love or hate Reading. There’s no middle ground. I have bought books to teach kids how to improve their reading and comprehension skills, how to teach phonics, and how to hook young readers. But in all honesty, I have about 10 kids total who are actual serial readers. And don’t get me wrong, I so enjoy talking with them and discussing bookish topics with them but I wish more than anything it was possible to reach more of my students and to teach them that Reading does not have to be a chore. Unfortunately, more kids look at Reading and likes it’s “work” and not “play”.

And those who totter the line between liking and tolerating reading are those who read book to film adaption novels like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Maze Runner, Percy Jackson, The City of Ember. Which are all outstanding novels but there’s more to the world of reading! What about A Night Divided, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Narnia, The Thickety, etc. Those novels deserve love too.

When I polled my kids at the beginning of the year, most of them who enjoy reading, answered that they were read to as a child. Those who didn’t enjoy reading either were not read to or they do not own any books. I can’t imagine living in a home without books!

I keep a pretty well stocked classroom library for any of those who wish to borrow books and I have even tried setting incentives with my students. “Read any 5 books and write me reviews on them and we will have a pizza party!” My mom is the librarian at my school and we started a Reading Program where if the kids read a certain number of books by May then she will get to take them on a field trip to Six Flags. So far I think there is only about 3 in the entire school who will be going.

I can’t tell if it’s the generation, the age they are at or what but based off my poll at the beginning of the year I am definitely going to read to my future children. And if we have time in class I try to read a novel out loud to them. All it takes is for them to find the one books that makes them fall in love with reading or even a specific genre!

Sincerely,

A Hopeful Teacher

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Broken by Susanne Valenti

Broken

 

Goodreads Blurb

Since all of her hopes were dashed, Maya is struggling to adapt to her new life. Where dreams and wishes once kept her going now there is only the burning desire for revenge. She’s changing, hardening into the person she needs to be to hold it together but sometimes the cracks still show. She wants nothing more than to go back and become the person she used to be but sometimes she can’t even remember who that was. Nothing will be right again until she resets the balance. Blood will pay for blood and she won’t give up until the final drop has been spilled. Some say she’s taking it too far, others say it isn’t far enough.

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Review

I’m not going to lie. I was REALLY scared starting this book. The end of the second one was a humdinger of a cliffhanger and I didn’t know if I would be able to come back from it.

I don’t want to spoil the book but there’s something that I was hoping for so hard all through this book but I was scared to get my hopes up. And I’m so glad to say that it was all worth it in the end. 🙂

I love all of Valenti’s books because they’re packed with action and suspense. This one like her novella Cut Glass was a little different. They are both more on the emotional side along with all the suspense so it’s like you’re on an emotional roller coaster with the charaters. And I don’t mean just one or two characters… like all of them. You become attached to each one.

Another thing I love about the characters in the Cage of Lies series is that all of the characters form a family. If you are into the Fast & Furious movies I think you will really enjoy these books. It’s a group of young adults, and maybe a few who are in their twenties, who have a strong bond and fight together like a family. It’s got some “Ride or die” undertones. I love it.

The two main things I loved about this book…

1) The ending as I have already stated. It hits you right in the heart. I can’t give anymore away than that.

2) Lee. I love me some Lee. His character cracks me up. He’s so rough around the edges but also has a big heart. I know he and Hunter are kind of similar because they’re both “alpha males” but Lee is way more lovable and aggravating at the same time. I was scared after the second book that we wouldn’t see him again. It made me sad to think that was all the Lee I was going to get. He is one of my favorite characters in the books. Almost like the Magnus Bane of the Cage of Lies.

One new thing that I can’t wait to see how it turns out in the next book is Maya and Taylor’s relationship. In this book, they have been testing some dangerous, tumultuous waters. Poor Taylor is all I can say. I know Maya has been all over the place and doesn’t know up from down anymore but give the guy a break! Someone is going to have their heart broken… and I don’t just mean floozy, love-starved Crystal. (Even though she seems like she’s been beat with the proverbial wet rope of teen love in this book too.)

In the end, they finally get close to the city but not quite there at the same time. And unfortunately, they have lost many comrades, several of the gang are severely injured, and they have not caught their enemy yet. I need to know what happens from here!

I give this books 4.5/5 stars. If you have not started the Cage of Lies series yet here is a link to the first book Chained. Go buy it now.

To learn more about the author and her other novels go here.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas Review

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“And then I am going to rattle the stars.”
Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire

Goodreads Blurb

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

Review

Okay hands down, this is my favorite book of this series. It’s like they get better and better with each one I read. I am now reading Queen of Shadows and I don’t want it to end. Does anyone here know if Queen of Shadows is for sure the end of Celaena’s story? There could be a million more stories to add! Like if she came across Ansel again, or the merchant whom she was given the spidersilk from, etc. There are so many writing opportunities here!

As for Heir of Fire…This novel was a masterpiece. I was a little nervous about her Chaol and Dorian being split up but it was wonderful. I loved the new characters Manon, Rowan, and Aedion. They all added a ton to the story. My only question is, where does Manon’s story fit in? I feel like she will have a bigger part to play in Queen of Shadows and so will the wyrvens.

I can’t tell who Celaena/Aelin should end up with. A childhood flame/her cousin (weird, I know), Rowan who technically already “rattles the stars” with her and challenges her, Chaol who loves her enough to sacrifice his happiness? I don’t know! I think Dorian at least is out of the picture. I really liked him with Sorscha. The end of their story greatly saddened me. It’s like Dorian can never find a friend who is up front with him because of his princehood. I just want him to find someone who loves him regardless of his crazy father. It’s not fair to him.

Chaol has been sucking off and on. I can’t tell if I like him anymore. He has no convictions other than loving and sacrificing for Celaena but then again it seems like he just loves misery.

Rowan is where it’s at. Could an elf be any sexier? I’d runaway with Rowan, tattoos, broody attitude and all! I love him for Celaena. I think he saw a lot of himself in her and that’s why he finally opened up to her.

I like how Aedion is very balls to the wall. He takes no crap from no one. And his loyalty is unwavering even if his intentions are sometimes questionable. That may sound contradictory, you just have to read his story to understand. I think his love for Celaena is more familial and protective than lover.

I also love how you can tell Arobynn is going to come back into the picture. I’ve been waiting for this moment since the first book! He deserves every ounce of pain Celaena can inflict upon him. He’s comparably as horrible as the King of Adarlan is. I hope he gets what’s coming to him and I hope Celaena is the one to do it.

I think I will be rooting for Manon is Queen of Shadows too. I know she’s a big, mean, scary witch and all but I think she is going to be breaking down the barriers with the witch clans. She seems more intelligent than the rest of them, but also more calculating in a horrifying way.

5 stars for this novel so not seem like enough. I wish I could give it 100. I can’t think of one aspect of this book that I didn’t LOVE. I love it all. What did you think of the Throne of Glass series?

Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

 

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Goodreads Blurb

In this sequel to Doon, Kenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake-choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. Worse, she’s received proof she and Duncan are meant to be, along with torturous visions of the prince she left behind. So when Duncan shows up and informs Kenna that Doon needs her, she doesn’t need to think twice. But even if Kenna can save the enchanted kingdom, her happily ever after may still be in peril.

Review

I enjoyed this book more than the first one, Doon. While I enjoyed the first one, it felt a little too cliche. I like how lighthearted and adventurous these books are. I’ve read the first and second ones in between other series because they make me happy when I read them and I feel as if all is right in the world when I am done.

This book slowed the plot way down. In the first one, Veronica and Jamie’s relationship was a whirlwind and happened way too quickly. It still feels forced in this one. I love McKenna and Duncan though. I like her wittiness but also how self-conscious she can be too. Their relationship feels more real because she did suck in the first book and left him hanging when he was willing to do just about anything for her. She flat out left him waving in the wind.

I think Prince Duncan’s hostility is realistic in the second book. No one just forgives a betrayal like that. The trouble brewing in Doon was more interesting in this novel as well. I liked the cottage in the book that Veronica and Kenna sneak off to. It reminded me of the movie Hocus Pocus. And the black petunias and the mist that was zombie-fying everything was more original that the conflict in the first book.

I do not think these books are great works of literature. Where I like the ideas of them and the characters, I do not like how the writing feels dumb-down. It definitely feels as if the author’s are trying to heard to sound like teenagers and to appeal too much to younger kids. Maybe this book should be in the middle grade genre vs. labeled as a Young Adult book.

My middle school self would have fallen head over heels for this story. The 24 year old me thinks it’s a fun book but not the best writing or plot development. Maybe if it had been slowed down more as well, I would have enjoyed it more.  At this point, I have already read two of these books and I feel as if I need to finish the rest. Shades of Doon is the 3rd installment of this series and the 4th one is going to be titled Forever Doon. That may be the last one but I’m not sure. I haven’t heard too much about it yet other than the title and a picture of it.

The author’s leave you with a cliff hanger at the end of book two and I want to see how it gets resolved. It’s definitely going to be a happy ending. If there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to the Doon books it’s that good always triumphs evil and they all lived happily ever after!