Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2016

Marrow | Tarryn Fisher

“The loss of innocence is the most severe of growing pains.” 
Genre: Dark Thriller.  Number of Pages: 296. Perspective: First.  Location: Washington.
Marrow is the story of Margo, a girl who is struggling to escape from her neglectful, prostitute mother. She also desperately wants to get out of The Bone, her town of misfits and drug addicts. The murder of a young girl in Margo's town sets her off to take the fate of this town — and the people who live there — into her own hands. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I finished this book several weeks ago and I have been having a hard time deciding how to properly review it. I expected it to be a dark and depressing book, but I don’t think there was any way to prepare myself for this book. It started out extremely strong and I was immediately drawn into the story. The first few chapters were some of the most interesting chapters I have ever read in any book. About half way through the book the story started to get too bizarre for me.…

Never Never: Part Two | Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

This is the continuation of Never Never: Part One. See the review here
“I'd rather love you at the bottom than despise you at the top.”
Genre: Young Adult Romance.  Number of Pages: 158. Perspective: First Alternating.  Location: New Orleans.
Never Never is the story of a couple that keeps simultaneously losing their memory. They have to solve the mystery of what happened before they lose their memories again. 
I really enjoyed Part One, but this was rather anti-climatic. I have to reiterate my frustration with this book. They took apart a normal sized novel and released it in three parts over the course of a year. I like to finish one book at a time, and I hate series. So reading this was torture. I realize it was an issue with their contracts, but it is still extremely frustrating as a reader. There’s no resolution at the end of each of the parts (except the third part, I am hoping). 
Because it is so short and the way that it is written, it is a pretty quick read. You can probably…

Book Chat: The Nightingale | Kristin Hannah

**WARNING: This is for people who have already read this book. There will be spoilers! If you do not want the book's wonderful surprises to be ruined, read my review of the book, read the book, then come back to read our chat. Thank you!**

Amber: So I want to start out by saying that I usually do not like historical fiction books. I have read a lot of World War 2 stories, and sometimes it can feel redundant, but this was different. I thought it was more about bravery and how that can be portrayed in different ways. Isabelle is originally known as being immature, but she is quickly seen as being very brave. Whereas Vianne does not think of herself is brave at all until the very end. What is your opinion of the two sisters and their transformation throughout the book? 
Jenny: I love historical fiction especially WW2 and I agree it can feel redundant. Most of the time the female characters are brave because they hid Jewish people from the Nazis. I had a hard time getting started on th…

Q & A with Author Amy Koppelman

Hi, Amy. Thanks for joining me today! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world? I know my writing is hard—isn’t a “good time” per se but I think it’s part of a larger dialogue women are having about what it means to be a good mother, a good partner, an honorable woman. I want my characters to have a chance to be part of that conversation. I can’t make people love them the way I love them or care about them or empathize with them the way I do. I understand that. So for me, my goal is to find a way to give my characters a voice, give them a chance to be heard.Every time I’m able to do that feels like a victory because a lot of mainstream editors and critics seem to turn away. Sure, my characters aren’t always good people. Often they hurt the people they love.But who hasn’t been hurt or been hurt by love? So thank you for giving me the chance to speak about them and about books and writing in general. I really appreciate it! No pro…

25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom | Judith Dodge

“How else can we ensure we are addressing students’ needs instead of simply teaching them what we think they need?”
Genre: Education and Teaching.  Number of Pages: 96.
This book is meant to provide quick and easy formative assessments [ongoing assessments, observations, summaries, and reviews that inform the teacher’s instruction and provides students with feedback on a daily basis] for students in grades 3-8, but a few of them can be applied to older grades, especially as exit tickets. It also includes a CD of all of the forms, data collection sheets, and assessments to download, which is very easy and nice to have!  This is a pretty short book. The first part talks about what formative assessments are and how to use them to inform your instruction.  The second part is 25 examples of formative assessment. Each one contains a description of the strategy, step-by-step instructions, practical applications, tips for tiering, how to integrate technology, and samples of student work.  This …

Everyday Editing | Jeff Anderson

"Many writers say they learned a lot about writing from reading."
Genre: Education and Teaching.  Number of Pages: 176.
Wow, this book was incredible! It is an amazing resource for any grade level English teacher (yes, even college) to teach students how to learn to refine and edit their own writing. I even learned a few new things about grammar.  It starts off with pedagogy for a classroom where students learn to not hate grammar and editing. The point is to provide valuable learning experiences so that the students learn grammar through application, not drills and lectures. Most of the lessons in this book involve exploring mentor texts (quality writing) and dissecting why it is successful. That allows the students to understand why something works in a sentence, rather than only pointing out what is wrong. The mentor texts in this book are incredible and make this book invaluable. The author just saved every teacher a million hours in work searching for the perfect sentence…

Nonfiction Craft Lessons | Joann Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher

"The best nonfiction writing begins with a writer's passionate curiosity about a subject." Genre: Education and Teaching.  Number of Pages: 148.
This book is meant to teach information writing in elementary and middle school, but I think that it can also be useful for high school and college English courses. I think that the instructor would just have to take some of the ideas and alter it to fit the age of the student. However, there are many older students that still struggle with the foundations of writing nonfiction, so these lessons are very helpful. They do not feel intimidating.  This book is amazing for detailed writing lessons. They break it down by each specific writing skill, and include a discussion of the lesson, how to teach it, and a list of resources to use in the lesson. It contains ways to set up your classroom’s framework to be prepared for nonfiction writing to be seen positively. Then it splits into sections of lessons (K-2, 3-4, and 5-8). But, like I …

Exploring Writing in the Content Areas | Maria Carty

“Every writer approaches the task of writing in a different way. It is unrealistic to expect that every student’s writing will progress through the same steps in common sequence.”
Genre: Education and Teaching.  Number of Pages: 128.
This book is meant to help teachers other than English teachers (i.e. math, science, social studies) incorporate writing into their classes. It could also be used to integrate other subject areas into an English course. I think this is meant for elementary and middle school, but I think some of the strategies are good for high school, or even college.  This book contained a ton of super helpful graphic organizers and charts that could be used to aid in a student’s research or writing process. I just wish that they had come on some sort of disc. It is easy to scan in the pages, but a disc would have been even easier.  This book is broken down by: the processes in writing, the purposes of writing, and how to provide feedback. I think that feedback is a crucia…

Q & A With Author Camilla Isley

Hi, Camilla, thanks for joining me today! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
My main ambition is to write books that people will love. You know those books that when the last page arrives you’re sad the story’s over and you miss the characters a bit already. Books that you can’t put down because you have to know what happens. In short, I would love to write the kind of novels that have readers read past their bed times.
In an ideal career world… I would love to hit the bestseller list maybe just that once.
What’s your guilty pleasure TV show?
Ha! I have so many. From The Vampire Diaries to The Bachelor to Project Runway to Master Chef. I can never pass up a rerun of Beverly Hills 90210, Sex and the City, or Friends. Oh, and I've watched The Bold and the Beautiful since the eighties—this one is my dad’s fault for getting me addicted. 
Oh, the Bachelor and Project Runway are on my list too! Do you believe in fate or lov…