Unbroken (teen adaption) by Laura Hillenbrand

FullSizeRender (1)

Goodreads Blurb

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Review

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don’t normally read biography/memoirs. And if I read anything remotely “historical” it’s usually historical fiction. If you can even really call that reading history.

I read an excerpt of this book with my class when we were going over types of non-fiction. I was surprised that so many of my kids enjoyed it! I made a replica of the raft the men were stuck on, on my floor using duct tape so they could see how big it was and I would have 3 of my boys in each class come sit in it so they could visualize how much space they had.

We looked at pictures from the time period and watched interviews of Louie Zamperini. Some of the kids enjoyed the book so much that they wanted to form a book club to finish reading it. So I got on Amazon and ordered 11 books and we read the teen adaption version. I haven’t read the original adult version but I heard it was more graphic.

It’s so amazing what Phil and Louie survived. From a plane crash, to great white sharks, to Japanese bombers, to POW camps, starvation, etc. They don’t make people that tough anymore.

I think the hardest parts to read in the book were the POW camp parts and the parts where it was describing his life once he came home and had to adjust to being a civilian again. He struggled with trying to find his love of running again,flashbacks, PTSD, alcoholism, and was abusive to his wife when she was pregnant. It’s so sad to think that someones life can change so drastically and how it’s almost worse for them when they come home. They don’t know how to be normal again after all of the trauma and struggling to survive for so long.

I plan on reading this book again with my students next year. I love seeing them get excited about history! And when they like what we’re reading! We watched a small part of the film too. Just the part where the men are on the raft. I have finished watching it yet but I hear the rest of it has graphic parts, sexual innuendos, and cussing.

Advertisements

Game of Thrones Season 6

I read these books back in college. I began watching it as my parents were finishing the first season. As soon as I finished the last episode, I went to Hastings in Tyler and bought the first book and second book. I think the first season was the closest to the story in the book. It was pretty much identical minus a few small things here and there but the plot was essentially the same.

The second season is where the writer’s of the show, Weiss and Benioff, began changing the plot a little. Maybe to fit the elaborate story into a 10 episode season? I don’t know but I’m not too mad at them. The story is just as entertaining as the one in the books.

When my friends who aren’t avid readers ask me if there are any of the books they can skip and just begin reading I usually just recommend skipping the first one because they are so similar. But really I think everyone should read them because they’re so fantastic!

I was a little apprehensive going into season 6… Mostly because The Winds of  Winter us not out, but also because I haven’t heard if George R. R. Martin is helping much with this season. If he is, is he going to give away how the book goes? Or are they going in a completely different direction?

To be honest, I’m still patiently waiting for Catlynn to come back in the picture. And Coldhands! Where is Coldhands??? He’s one of my favorite characters. And is the other Targaryan going to pop-up like in the 5th book? Why are they leaving his character out? It was the juiciest part!

If anyone knows any of the answers to these questions please let me know!

I think the writer’s definitely seem like they are winging it a little more. The episode from this past Sunday seemed a little rushed like they were trying to tie up loose ends. I don’t want it to end but the GoT seasons always feel too short and we have to wait a whole year for them to come back on. I guess because they’re so elaborate. They are one of the only shows that pull off the Fantasy genre off. Often times, it can be cheesy if it’s not done well but everything they film is amazing. And I love all the characters. Even the bad characters I love to hate. There’s none that I think should be left out or killed off.

I bawled like a baby last Sunday when they showed Hodor’s character history. Poor guy. He’s so sweet and loyal! He didn’t deserve any of that. It was heartbreaking.

Obviously this season is going to end in all out war across Westeros. I just they don’t end the season when it’s just beginning. The suspense will kill me!

Reawakened by Colleen Houck

IMG_5106

“Eternity is a long time to exist without something to remember.”
Colleen Houck, Reawakened

Goodreads Blurb

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

Review

Go buy this book! That’s what I want to tell everyone about this book. I loved loved LOVED it. I started reading Collen Houck’s Tiger’s Curse series in high school. Like Reawakened, it’s about a couple of princes who are brought back to life by a young girl. But in Tiger’s Curse, they are from India, not Egypt. I love reading books about different cultures and learning about their mythology. It’s fascinating! I think that’s why I have always loved her books. They are very similar but I can never get enough.

And I always fall in love with the characters. I thought I wasn’t going to like Liliana Young at first. She’s a wealthy New Yorker, who seems to have everything handed to her, even though she’s not snobbish about it. Her parents have groomed her into a well-behaved, socialite.

So when she is visiting the Met in New York and stumbles upon a newly resurrected Egyptian Prince she jumps at the opportunity to have an adventure and get away from the life that has been made for her. She’s tired of never having a say so in her life. Amon, the prince gives her a taste of life and adventure. At first, she is a little apprehensive, afraid to leave her comfort zone but she eventually gives in. It’s doesn’t hurt that Amon is beautiful and charming.

I was on the edge of my seat the entire book. It was exhilarating, just like her other books. They must race across the world, to Egypt, in order to complete a ceremony to keep the evil god Seth at bay for another 1,000 years. Lily discovers a new side to herself. She discovers happiness and what true love is. Her parents are so stiff and treat her as if she is a show pony and not their daughter. Lily, in the end, must complete a heart-wrenching ritual to save the world. And like always, Fate is against the lovers, along with Anubis, god of the Egyptian Afterlife.

I’m not sure how I will survive until September when Recreated comes out. I need it now! I need to know if Lily and Amon can be reunited. Reawakened actually made me cry, real tears! Ugh! If you have not read any of Houck’s books you need to go buy them right now. Whether you are a lover of mythology,  teen romance, adventure, fantasy, etc. you will love these books!

My Forbidden Face by Latifa

I read this book in high school for our book club. We all picked a nonfiction book to read and discussed it with the club.  If it was over a different culture or country we brought a type of food that was common in that place or we would play music or show the book club pictures of art that came from the region. My Forbidden Face was the first nonfiction book I ever read voluntarily. It came out not long after all the struggle that was going on in Afghanistan with the Taliban, post-9/11.

I had heard that the culture was extremely different but as a 16 year old girl I didn’t fully understand the strife that women had to go through. I knew women wore chadri’s but I thought this was a choice and just what they did over there. It was eye-opening learning about how women had to give up their jobs, education, social lives while the Taliban were in control.

Latifa, was a teenage girl who was recently accepted into the University in Kabul but could not attend because the Taliban basically put all the women under house arrest. She had a mother who was a doctor and a sister who was a flight attended and they were both forced to give up their careers.  Women were not meant to be educated and had to cover head to foot so as not to be shameful. Women were beaten on the streets for minor infractions or signs of rebelling. Not even their brothers or fathers could help them.

There were several accounts of what happened to women not obeying the rules in this book and it was enough to churn your stomach. And to know this is a true story! One woman was beaten in the streets for wearing the wrong shoes. In some instances, women were stoned as punishment.

Latifa and her family have since escaped Kabul and created a life in France. But she and her family were forced to change their names due to death threats they were receiving. She cannot even live her life fully after running away. I really hope she was able to attend a university to pursue journalism there. I’ve been rooting for her ever since!

I think I initially connected with Latifa because she was a teen who wanted to be a journalist but also because she was so normal. Her life was the same as mine in many ways except for the culture and where she lived. We were both interested in writing and fashion, hanging out with friends, and planning for college, etc.

I still have this book on my bookshelf and I blame this book for piquing my interest in The Kite Runner and it is the reason I took Middle East Lit class in college. I’ve been fascinated with the culture ever since.

Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes Comic Books

Ms Marvel

Ms. Marvel is the first comic book I have read since college. For awhile during my third year at Texas State I was obsessed with The Walking Dead comic books. My roommates boyfriend had them all and he would let me borrow two or three at a time. I’m not sure why I liked them so much because they are very dude-ish. Maybe because that’s when I got hooked on the show.

I picked up Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes at our school book fair this Spring. I was seeing them all over Instagram and the covers are hard to pass up. And who doesn’t love Marvel Comics?

Synopsis and Review:

Kamala is a teenaged, Muslim girl living in Jersey City. She writes Fan-Fic (of Fan-Feek as Ammi calls it!) for the Avengers, and they talk about the Avengers as if they’re real people in the Comic of course. Kamala really struggles with figuring out who she is. She feels as if her parents are raising her as if they live in Karachi and not Jersey. She wants more freedom and independence. She wants to be able to do all the things the other teenage girls are doing in Jersey.

So she wishes that she could be more like Captain Marvel one night after she has snuck out for a party. A mist takes over the city and she has a vision of some of the Avengers telling her she’s about to get what she wished for but that it won’t be what she actually wants.

Kamala can now turn into the blue eyed, blonde Captain Marvel. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. She’s not getting any credit for saving the day! And her parents are just not understanding this double life she has to live.

But Kamala refuses to give up. She is serving justice to Jersey and for the first time she feels as if she has a place in the world. But she has not faced her biggest trial yet as Ms. Marvel… The Inventor is coming after her.

I give this comic 4/5 stars. I really like Kamala and Bruno, for that matter. I’m just not sure about all the weird Sci-Fi robots coming from the Inventor. And I want Kamala to accept who she is and be proud of herself! Maybe in the next one.

Lumberjanes

Here’s a picture of Pancakes recuperating with me after my ER visit. She likes to read too 🙂

I finished reading Lumberjanes yesterday afternoon. I originally learned about this comic when I was researching Nimona, which I don’t actually own but would like to one day. I really like the graphics in this one. They remind me of cartoons I used to watch when I was little.

Synopsis and Review:

Anyway, Lumberjanes is a total girl power book. It’s about a group of friends at a summer camp where they earn badges for different survival skills. The HBIC of the camp is named Rosie and she’s a little eccentric and adventure seeking. She approves of this cabin of girls because they’re daring and nothing scares them, at least not Ripley!

They come across these 3-eyed foxes in the woods and follow all of these clues to figure out what’s going on in the forest. It’s almost like an all-girl version of Scooby-Doo mixed with the girl camp from The Parent Trap. They battle river monsters, tattooed Yetis, poison ivy, zombie girly-boy camps, and decipher booby traps all in search of the Holy Kitten.

I am really excited about the next one. I want to know what happens when the boy camp attacks again. They don’t have a prayer against the Lumberjanes. I gave this comic 4/5 stars as well.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey

alfred kropp

Goodreads Blurb

Alfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy’s coming of age.

Review

I fell in love with Rick Yancey when I read The 5th Wave. I loved the alien twist in it and I loved Cassie. So when one of my students told me about The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, I immediately bought it on Amazon. I tried finding it at Barnes & Noble (in store) first but they didn’t have any of the Alfred Kropp books. I perused Yancey’s Facebook page as well wanting to know more about the book and saw him advertising it that day. Apparently Alfred Kropp was his first young adult series, it was just never as hyped up as The 5th Wave. And after reading it I understand why.

I didn’t hate the book I just thought it was okay. I think it’s geared mostly to middle grade-teen boys. I found Alfred hard to relate too. In the beginning of the book he seems so simple. There’s not a lot of depth to him. Granted, his entire world is crashing around him when his mother dies, he stands out in a crowd because he’s bigger than everyone, then his Uncle is kind of a loser and isn’t that nice to him, etc…

I didn’t get invested in the story until Bennacio came along. He was one of the only characters I enjoyed in this book. I liked Alfred more by the end, it seemed as if Yancey wanted to show how he grew into a man by the end of it. He didn’t seem like the big, doofy 15 year old he was in the beginning. I think most of his growing up was because he needed a fatherly figure around (Bennacio) to guide him and show him his place in the world.

One things I absolutely loved in this book was all of the tying in with King Arthur and Excalibur. I wish there had been some flashbacks in this book, between Alfred and Bennacio and Arthur and his knights back in the day. I think that would have added the depth the book was needing. And maybe some flashbacks of Mogart’s relative. It felt like a half-baked plot. It had so much potential but was lacking in some areas.

I gave this novel 3/5 stars. I’m not sure if I will read the next books. I’ll wait awhile and see if I run into the physical copies at Half Price Books or something.

I’ve been reading quite a bit the past few days because I’m recovering from an ER visit this weekend. I went in with terrible side pains and found out I had kidney stones. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced in my life. They triple dosed me with morphine and it did nothing. I just puked and itched the rest of the day after I passed the first stone. And my CT scan says I have one more. Yikes!

So while recuperating this weekend I also finished reading Ms. Marvel the comic book. Review coming soon!