Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (6)

Book Blogger Hop

This weekly meme is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. This week's question comes from Ellie who blogs at Musings of a Bookshop Girl:

"If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?"

Well, I know I would certainly buy The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan. But if we're pretending we can buy books that are about to be published, then I would add the third book in the series, along with The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I discovered the book trailer for The Forest of Hands and Teeth and became captivated. I didn't know much about the books up until this point, but now I want to read them. I showed the trailer to my students, and now everyone in the class wants to read the book. Ah, the power of media. I think I would also pick up a few more copies of The Westing Gameby Ellen Raskin and Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. I love these books.

This weekly meme is hosted by parajunkee and features (this week) Ashley from Bookaholic Does Blogging. This week's question is: Just like Ashley said (love it) "Ashley the girl..." who are You the Boy/Girl, instead of You the Blogger?

  Behind "The Flashlight Reader" I am Alanna, a 28 year old mother of two boys (8 and 3), and an English and Reading teacher at an Urban middle school. I teach grades 6th - 8th. I've been married to my husband for almost 10 years. We hope to celebrate the decade in Alaska next summer. (Cross your fingers.) Our family is also made up of two stray dogs that we rescued, Roscoe and Lilly. Roscoe is a chihuahua that literally walked into our garage one day and never left. Lilly was found floundering in a marsh near my uncle's house. We instantly took her in as well. I think the dogs are just as spoiled as the kids. They even get to go spend the night with the grandparents when the kids go!
  When I'm not working (which is rare), I enjoy reading and doing crafty things. I also like traveling and camping. Oh,  I am also obsessed with all things Disney. I would spend all of my extra weekends at the Magic Kingdom if I could afford it. The place just brings back fond childhood memories, I guess.

Review: The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test
Aimee Carter

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (April 19, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0373210264
ISBN-13: 978-0373210268
Source: e-galley from NetGalley

**** Spoiler alert ****

Kate Winters has spent the last four years of her life taking care of her sick mother. Now, her mother has decided she wants to return to her home of Eden, Michigan for one last time before she dies. Kate isn’t thrilled with the idea of moving from New York City to a small town in the middle of rural Michigan, but she would do anything to make her mother happy. As soon as they arrive, however, things get complicated. Kate has to start her senior year over as a new student, to make matters worse, she clumsily bumps into the super jock boyfriend of Ava—the school’s most popular girl and cheerleading captain. Needless to say, it is not an instant friendship. Ava is not thrilled with Kate’s presence (and the attention she seems to be drawing from their school mates), but she shouldn’t worry. Kate is not interested in anything or anyone, except taking care of her mother.

When Ava invites Kate to a bonfire in the woods, she reluctantly agrees to join her. Once they arrive at the party, however, Kate realizes that it was a set up. Ava brought her to the woods—alone—to torment her. When Ava dives headfirst into the river, Kate is left standing on the bank fuming with anger. She is stranded in the woods at night with no way home. Pulled from the middle of her thoughts, Kate realizes Ava has been knocked unconscious… or so she thinks. Faced with the choice to face her terrifying fear of water in order to save Ava or to let her drown, Kate finds herself rushing into the freezing water and pulling Ava to safety. Only, Ava isn’t unconscious. She is dead.

Desperate to save Ava, Kate hastily makes a deal with the mysterious (and gorgeous) Henry. In return for saving Ava, he requires Kate to live with him during the winter. At first she refuses, but she eventually finds herself living at the elaborate Eden Manor. Thinking that Henry is a complete lunatic (he claims to be the god of the dead, after all), she plays along with her role in the deal. While living at the Manor, Kate has to face several tests that will determine if she is worthy of becoming the queen of the dead and an immortal. If she fails, she returns to her previous life with no memory of her stay at the Manor, and Henry dies.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this book is a modern retelling of the story of Persephone. I just adore Greek mythology (ok, all mythology) and this book did not disappoint me. Too often I find retellings strained and disappointingly unoriginal. However, this book was great. The plot had plenty of similarities to the myth that we all know, which satisfied me. But it also added several original elements that I think enhanced the storyline. I loved that Kate was a strong-willed, kick butt female type. I also thought showing Henry as a compassionate and caring form of Hades was a nice touch. The characters were so well developed that I found myself tearing up a few times during the touchy mother-daughter scenes between Kate and her mother. At the same time, I found myself so completely irritated with some of the characters that I felt like I could strangle them with my bare hands if they magically manifested in my presence. It takes a very talented writer to take a reader through such a broad spectrum of emotions in one novel.

As far as the plot is concerned, it is certainly a quick, easy read. I found it hard to put down. There were several twists in the story that I didn’t expect. I had my suspicions at times, but the story kept me guessing until the end. I did figure out the role of James long before Henry confirmed it, but that’s ok. There was a pretty heavy hint that made it pretty hard to ignore. I mean, Henry said, “You’ll see.” You had to know something was coming.

I’m disappointed that this book doesn’t hit the shelves until April of this year. That means I have to wait until 2012 to read the next book! I love how the story ends at the perfect place for a continuation. The dynamics between the characters is so well thought out that there seems to be an endless possibility for what might happen. I am anxious to see how Kate and Henry fare during the following winter, and to see if the friendship between James and Kate recovers. I would certainly recommend reading this book if you like mythology retellings. I read an e-galley from NetGalley, but I’ve already pre-ordered my paper copy for the bookshelf. This book is worth having in paper form.

In My Mailbox (3)

I am so lucky this week! The Jacksonville Public Library had their bi-annual Friends of the Library Book Sale. Man, did I rack up! I went after work Friday and bought this box.

I think there are about 30 books in the box, plus what I stuck on my bookshelf to read before giving them to the kiddos. Then, I went back today and took advantage of the $10 bag of books. Anything you can jam in a paper bag was only 10 bucks! Let me say, I am a PRO at cramming stuff in to tight spaces. My bag might have been about to burst, but I got my money's worth! I even scored a few audiobooks and videos. =) The highlight of my trip was my leather-bound 3rd edition of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle for an amazing $3!! What a steal. The pages are in great shape and hardly show any discoloring. WHOOP.

Now I have to wait until October to do it again.

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2017 Reading Challenge
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader) has read 5 books toward her goal of 100 books.

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