July 8, 2018

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate Review

The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this in order to prep our fourth grade reading unit. My students absolutely loved this book! They would constantly as to read it during the day, and they were disappointed when we had to stop reading (which is definitely not the norm for my kiddos!). This book really got my students thinking and talking to one another about so many different topics, like animal cruelty, zoos, and captivity. I know they learned a lot from this book and they had wonderful conversations with one another. I love this book because it allows children to ask and answer questions about their own morals and feelings regarding complex concepts. I would definitely recommend this book for any fourth or fifth grader (some third grade students may also find this engaging). Can be read independently or aloud, depending on the child’s reading level.

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Review

Dark MatterDark Matter by Blake Crouch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

This is something I would typically read, so I’m surprised to say that this was one of the better books I’ve read this year! It’s not my favorite, but it was well written and entertaining to say the least. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending and some of the major plot points felt a little rushed, while others dragged on a little too long. I don’t want to say too much about it because that’s half the fun of this book- you’re left in the dark for a while but you slowly start to figure out exactly what’s going on.

It’s strange and different, which was exactly what I needed when I read this. If you’re into science-fiction or you need something completely different from what you’ve been reading, give this one a try.

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Warcross by Marie Lu Review

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Warcross by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’m writing this review months after reading this book (its July as I type this...) because I dropped the ball on writing reviews. Sorry!! But I’m back and ready to go!

Anyway, this book was well written and I did enjoy the story for the most part. It fell a little flat for me, only because the characters don’t really grow or change much, and the story was pretty predictable. I know I’m not the target audience, so I try not to comment on the content of these books, but I’m so over the romance aspects of the YA genre. It wasn’t the main focus of the book, but Lu focused on the love story a little too often for me.

If you’re into action/ adventure novels with a romantic twist, I’m sure you would love this book! I’m not sure if there are more books in this series, but I’ll probably give the second one a chance later on this year. I’m trying to expand my horizons and read more widely instead of only sticking to YA fiction. Wish me luck!

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Closer Reading by Nancy N. Boyles Review

Closer Reading, Grades 3-6: Better Prep, Smarter Lessons, Deeper ComprehensionCloser Reading, Grades 3-6: Better Prep, Smarter Lessons, Deeper Comprehension by Nancy N. Boyles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I participated in a professional development book club this past school year, and I have to say, I’m so glad I was able to discuss the close reading strategies (and rationale supporting those strategies) presented in this book with fellow reading teachers. I’m not kidding when I say every new teacher should read this text, and I’m not really sure why we didn’t read it in college. As a reading teacher in a Title 1 school, I have students who are several years below a fourth grade reading level. The strategies suggested in this book have already proven to be beneficial for my students, and I can’t wait to see even bigger changes when I implement these same strategies at the beginning of this coming school year.

Definitely check this book out if you have any questions about what close reading is or how to implement effective close reading steadies within the classroom. Sorry for the nerdy teacher post- I just love this book!

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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden Review

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my second time reading this book, and my first time reading it as an adult. I remember liking this book when I was a teenager, but I have even more appreciation for it now that I’m older (and sort of wiser, I guess). The storytelling is absolutely beautiful, the characters are dynamic and relatable, and the overall plot is magnificent. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this book. One of my teacher friends mentioned that this was her favorite book, so I had to re-read it to see if it was as good as I remembered. It surpassed my expectations, which says a lot considering how critical I am of most literature!!

I have a weird habit of wanting to know everything there is to know about certain topics. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Japanese culture; as an adult, I’m still obsessed. My fiancĂ© and I would love to travel to Japan, and this book caused us to add more destinations to our dream vacation itinerary. I will definitely be adding even more books to my TBR pile as well :)

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