02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart, read by Sarah, on 04/01/2014

  This was a haunting book that will keep you guessing until the very end.  A family of three (mom, dad, and Ellie) are in a terrible car wreck on their way to their new home and one of them doesn’t survive.  How would you cope if one of your parents died?  Ellie’s mind is a beautiful and terrible thing.  I would love to tell you more, but you have to read it for yourself.  It will touch your heart and leave its mark on you forever.

17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 03/04/2014

Ok, so I read Divergent and Insurgent…wonderful…then I read Allegiant.  First, the idea behind it was great.  It starts off right where Insurgent left off and leads into Tris and Four joining a group to find out what is on the other side of the fence surrounding their city.  They discover they are part of an experimental group with genetic implications.  New allies and enemies are made in the compound where they are staying.  I have mixed feelings on this one.  The other two were told from the exclusive point of view of Tris while this one bounced back and forth between Tris and Four.  Sometimes, the continuity was not there to keep up with the story.  Although it was helpful to hear Four’s view, I enjoyed Tris’s storyline better.  Their relationship was tested, and they alternate between loving and fighting.  Overall, it did not live up to my expectations, but it was still pretty good.

01. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Revived by Cat Patrick, read by Sarah, on 01/30/2014

  What if there was a drug that could be administered when you die that would revive you?  Daisy has been revived five times in her short life and is a part of a secret government case study.  Each death means a move to conceal the secret, so putting down roots has been a problem until she moves to Omaha.  Here she makes good friends with a brother and sister who make her realize that she wants more of a normal teenage life.  This experiment is more sinister than Daisy realizes and a thriller ensues that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.  This was a very enjoyable book!  I had read Cat Patrick’s The Originals last year and loved it, too.  I highly recommend it!

13. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 01/09/2014

  Beatrice Prior (“Tris”) was a divergent who chose to join the Dauntless faction when she turned 16.  This book continues exactly where Divergent left off with death and destruction fresh in Tris and her boyfriend, Tobias’ minds.  They have to figure out what is happening and how to stop the simulations.  This book explains a lot more of what is happening between the factions and makes you realize that each faction needs the other to survive.  This book was fast-paced and full of twists and turns that leave you breathless.  You have to read it to believe it.

13. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 01/03/2014

  Divergent is an awesome, thrill-ride full of an attempt at a utopian society, romance, death-defying experiences, and life choices that will change the world.  Society is divided into five different factions with each focusing on a different personality characteristic that is believed to be the best.  Courage, pursuit of knowledge, selflessness, and peacefulness are a few of the ideal traits.  When a person reaches 16, he or she can choose which faction to join for the rest of their lives.  This decision can make all the difference in how your life unravels afterward.  I highly recommend this book.

31. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker, read by Sarah, on 11/23/2013

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.

But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family.

16. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky, read by Sarah, on 12/13/2013

 How would you like to be solely in charge of your manic-depressive mother at 16?  What would you do if you came home to find her passed out with a bottle of spilled pills all around her?  Sophie has had an interesting life dealing with and managing her mom’s ups and downs.  At this point, her mother is hospitalized and Sophie has to stay with other family.  But the freedom that comes with her new situation makes her wonder….does she really want her mom to come back home?

This is a heart-wrenching story with strong-willed characters and a realization that sometimes we can’t do it all on our own.

09. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Sarah

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, read by Sarah, on 12/07/2013

This book is a challenge to Christians to stop being “fans” of Jesus and start becoming a completely devoted follower. Mr. Idleman is a pastor at a megachurch in Louisville who believes a majority of us are just fans of Jesus who do not fully give over our lives to him.  It is very insightful making you want to further your own relationship with God.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg, read by Sarah, on 11/24/2013

  Clare is raw after the death of her mother.  Her dad, a doctor, has decided to take her with him to Malawi for a nine week stay while he works for a hospital there.  Clare is immersed in the culture going to a local school and making friends with the natives.  She struggles with how to carry on and discovers she is more like her mother than she realized.

This touching story was pretty slow at first with lots of Malawian vocabulary words thrown in.  It improved as Clare opened up, and made friends with the locals, and I got more drawn into the story.  It was pretty good.

18. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Humor, NonFiction, Sarah

Fakebook by Dave Cicerelli, read by Sarah , on 11/16/2013

Ever feel like you life is in a rut?  Wonder what it would be like to quit your job and start hiking across America?  Dave Cicirelli does just that, on his facebook profile.  Only a few people know the truth, he is still employed and has not “travelled” anywhere!  This book is good fun for the facebook addict.  Dave plays on people’s emotions and gets real responses to each of his updates.  Some people applaud him and others cajol and reprimand him.  This experiment to see what would happen if he made everyone believe he had jumped off of the deep end, takes over his life for about 6 months.  He discovers through this process that his previous perception of facebook aka fakebook, may be a little off.

This was a great read complete with fakebook updates and pictures to fill out the story.  It has some strong language at times, but it doesn’t detract from the story.

04. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

The Last Present by Wendy Mass, read by Sarah, on 11/03/2013

Willow Falls is an absolutely enchanting place to live.  Wendy Mass has written several novels concerning a magical old woman, Angelina De’Angelo, who has the power to see the future and change the past.  She often involves unwitting children in the town to help her with her schemes.  Birthdays are very important, and when Grace goes mute on her tenth birthday, they gang realizes that Angelina must be involved.  Through a series of time travels and great investigative work, the kids finally figure out the best way to help Grace.

This book was wonderful.  I would say so much more, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises!!  Characters from “Finally,” “11 Birthdays,” and “13 Gifts” team together to solve this mystery.  I have to say, that I figured it out before they did!!!  I highly recommend it for the Willow Falls’ fans.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Pretenders by Lisi Harrison, read by Sarah, on 10/17/2013

This book is told through journal entries from 5 different people attending high school during their freshman year.  Each one of them has an interesting back story that leads them to intertwine with the others.  Secret crushes (and obsessions!), a gay friend, movie-star wanna-be’s, basketball stars, hurt feelings, muddled grades, previous home-schooled experience….these kids have a lot on their plates.  AND they are each pretending to have it all together on the outside, while things are really falling apart.

This was a pretty good book, but confusing to keep track of who was talking during each chapter.  There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to the order of their freshman year being told out during the book.  The ending is a cliff hanger that screams for a sequel, so if you can’t stand to wait….read this after the next one comes out!!

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Fiction, NonFiction, Sarah

Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder, read by Sarah, on 09/27/2013

  This book was fascinating to me.  Lynn Wilder and her husband joined the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) when they were newly married as a result of a couple of young men knocking at their door to share their testimony.  Lynn is an educator who is world renowned for her special education ideas and work with special needs children.  For 30 years, she raised her children to believe that if they worked hard enough, gave to the temple, and followed their callings with the church, that they would go to heaven.  Mind you, there are different levels of heaven in the Mormon church.  More good works equals a higher ranking in heaven.  Through a series of God-moments, trials, and tribulations, God reveals to Lynn’s son, Micah, that Jesus Christ is the only one to follow; not Joseph Smith’s teachings.  Lynn’s family is thrown into turmoil as they try to figure out the truth.

I had several close Mormon friends when I was growing up and this book opened my eyes to many of the things that go on behind closed doors in that church.  It really held my attention.  I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Mormon church or evangelical Christians.

 

 

19. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea, read by Sarah, on 09/14/2013

This sequel is good, but not as engaging as the first one (Because of Mr. Terupt).  Mr. Terupt is a teacher who gets to move up with his fifth graders into the sixth grade and his projects are just as challenging as last year.  The same seven students are followed with many storylines including getting in with the wrong crowd, abandonment, ladies growing up, finding out truths from the past, and land wars.  Each of the children mature even more this year and have a special project planned for the end of the year that will leave everyone smiling.  I recommend it, but…I listened to it with my 4th grade son and 6th grade daughter.  A few parts made me uncomfortable to hear with my son, but he took it in stride.  Guess mom needs to grow up!

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult, read by Sarah, on 08/27/2013

I seem destined to pick books told from different viewpoints!  Charlotte’s second pregnancy seems to be going perfectly fine until an ultrasound shows that her daughter has a brittle bone disease and has already broken 7 bones while still in the womb.  Willow is extremely fragile so her older sister, Amelia, can not play with her normally or share her love of ice-skating with her.  Through a series of unfortunate events, it becomes clear that this family is struggling financially and emotionally to deal with the day to day tasks.  An opportunity arises that might give them a way to provide for Willow for the rest of her life, but is it worth trading off important relationships?  This story is very moving and really makes you think about what you would do for YOUR loved one if you were in the same situation.  This story is not for the faint of heart.

09. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Romance, Sarah, Teen Books

The Originals by Cat Patrick, read by Sarah, on 08/08/2013

The Originals is not your typical high school romance.  Triplet “sisters” (really clones) are raised together using one identity that the rest of the world sees.  Elizabeth Best.  They split their day into thirds with only one sister out in the world at a time.  This works for them until a switch, a sweet guy, and a desire for individuality overcomes them.  This was a really good read with drama, tension, and mystery as the reader tries to figure out what the Mom is really all about.  This just goes to show that three girls who look alike on the outside couldn’t be more different on the inside each with their own quirks and unique personalities.

31. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Sarah · Tags:

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea, read by Sarah , on 07/26/2013

Because of Mr. Terupt is a wonderful book that will leave you smiling (or crying, as the case may be!)  Mr. Terupt is a fifth grade teacher in his first year and his class is full of children with a range of personal issues that they are dealing with.  Some of the kids think he will be easy to fool since he is new, but Mr. Terupt proves to be very perceptive and deals with the kids in a mellow manner.  When he is finished, the kids know that he still loves them, and they know that their behavior will not be accepted.  Each of the kids form a special bond with Mr. Terupt, because they understand that he really cares about them.  Relationships break and form, kids learn more about themselves, and forgiveness is key to happiness.

Mr. Terupt reminded me of a couple of teachers I had the pleasure of working with.  My kids and I listened to the book on cd version and many times had to sit in the garage for “just a few more minutes!” to find out what was going to happen next.  I really liked how Mr. Buyea wrote from the viewpoint of each child in the class.  It was fun to listen to the different characters and see what each one of them was experiencing in the different situations.  We highly recommend this book!

Pie

29. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah · Tags:

Pie by Sarah Weeks, read by Sarah, on 05/08/2013

pieAlice’s best friend, Aunt Polly, was a kind-hearted woman who made pies and forged friendships like no other.  When she dies, she leaves her award-winning pie crust recipe to her cat, Lardo.  Alice is left in charge of Lardo, Lardo disappears, pie making fever abounds as a pie baking contest looms closer, Charlie works with Alice to find the cat thief, and Alice comes to realize that her gifts are worth sharing.  Aunt Polly always brought out the best in people, even in her death.

This was a slower moving book but it had a great message.  I enjoyed the peek into the future in the epilogue.  This was a 2013-2014 Mark Twain Award Nominee.

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, read by Sarah, on 05/21/2013

going vint.

After a break-up with her cheating boyfriend, Mallory swears off of all modern technology until she can complete a list.  Her list is borrowed from her Grandma’s junior year in high school and includes such things as make a homecoming dress and find a steady.  Mallory learns a lot about herself and her family during her two week quest to go vintage and live like they did in the ’60′s.  She thinks that being a teenager was so much easier during that time, but she learns that adolescence is hard regardless of the time period.

I enjoyed the bantering between Mallory and her younger sister.  They had a great relationship and were able to tell each other what they really thought without fear of losing each other.  Also, Oliver’s unique personality added charm and comedic relief.  I enjoyed Going Vintage.

26. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, Fiction, Romance, Sarah

The Chance by Karen Kingsbury, read by Sarah, on 04/25/2013

If you had only one chance to meet up with your childhood sweetheart, would you take it?  Even if it meant admitting that you’ve made some poor choices along the way?  Ellie was forced to move from Georgia to California with her father when she was fifteen years old.  She lost touch with her mother and her best friend, Nolan, for eleven years.  Nolan has grown closer to God during this time, but Ellie has decidchanceed that God can’t possibly love her for so many terrible things to happen to her.  They made a pact the night before Ellie left that in eleven years they would return to their spot in the park to dig up letters that they wrote to each other that night.  Will they keep that pact?  Or let the time slip away from them forever?

This book was emotionally and spiritually very powerful.  God is willing to give us a chance if we just give him the opportunity to work in our hearts.  I highly recommend it.