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The Librarian of Auschwitz (Antonio Iturbe)

"Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope." The sentence, at the end of The Librarian of Auschwitz's back cover synopsis, is the best way to describe this book.

Dita is an amazing character because she brings life and light to a dark place. Her sense of honor and duty, despite difficult (understatement) challenges is encouraging. She was a great protagonist to some of history's most horrendous real-life villains. Knowing that Dita was based on an actual Holocaust prisoner just made me appreciate her character even more.

There were parts of the story that had my heart thumping in my chest with anticipation. Antonio Iturbe did a splendid job of building suspense. When Dr. Mengele made an appearance, I was instantly thrust into worry for Dita. I am not a Holocaust researcher, but I know enough to know that he was a horrible person. While reading The Librarian of Auschwitz, this video popped up on my Facebook…
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YA Books with great mothers

One of my many roles in life happens to be that of being a mom. It's a pretty awesome gig 99% of the time. 

As I was perusing the book shelf looking for something to read this weekend, I realized that this weekend happens to be Mothers' Day. I haven't thought that far ahead about the special day to honor moms around the globe; life in this house has been pretty hectic lately. (Raising teenagers is busy business!) 

Thinking about the holiday reminded me of all the YA books that I have enjoyed because of the mother-character relationships. If you're looking for something to read this weekend, you may enjoy one of these: 








P.S. - Don't forget to give your mom some much deserved love and appreciation this weekend. :)

Review: Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…


I am always on the look o…

Hanging out at ILA's annual convention (International Literacy Association)

If you do not know, I am a teacher. That's how I started blogging many years ago, and also why I sometimes have lulls. Teachers stay busy! I am always scouting out new reading material for my students and ways to grow as an educator. Every few years, ILA (formerly IRA) comes within driving distance. Recently, the conference has switched to a summer schedule. That makes things great for me, but not so great when it also runs up against San Diego Comic Con. (I mean seriously, who books a literacy conference back to back to a HUGE event like that?)

This year we planned a mini vacation near the event so I could hop over to a few sessions during the weekend. Unfortunately, most of what I attended didn't teach me anything new professionally, but I did discover some AMAZING new books coming our way!

I also learned that graphic novels are the publishing world's new craze. Look for many more to be popping up over the next year as one representative said, "we're finally ca…

The Winner's Crime ( Marie Rutkoski)

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.





















What is this woman doing to me? I loved The Winner's Curse and didn't know if …

Review: The Winner's Curse (Marie Rutkoski)

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.



I have checked out this book at least twice from the library over the last year and returned it unread. …

Minute Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed …