Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Vivian Apple at the End of the World

Coyle, Katie. Read by Julia Whelan. Vivian Apple at the End of the World. Dreamscape Media, 2015. Audiobook.
image from: www.audiobooksync.com

Summary (from audiobook overview):
"Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed 'Rapture,' all that's left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivian Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth."

My Thoughts
From the prologue, this book caught my attention. As I began listening, I wondered what the publishing date was for this book. It seemed to be very timely to events of 2016.

I laughed out loud when Harp exclaims that she's spent 17 years in Pittsburgh living practically on top of each other and all this time there's this empty state out here (Wyoming). I laughed because it's true and also, I visited Wyoming last summer and listened to several audio books while driving through that state. There are parts that do seem desolate (including the sketchy place we stopped in the middle of nowhere where there was this random convenience store, but I digress.).

I listened to this book mostly in the car. While I was listening, I would chuckle or laugh out right and my family would just look at me. I'd smile, shrug my shoulders and mouth, "This book is funny."  I laughed many times.

There are several twists in the story and some predicted outcomes.  There are 22 chapters in this installment.  I will be reading the second book in the series to find out what happens to Viv, Harp and Peter as well as some other characters that are in the story (no plot spoilers here!).

I have this (printed) book in my Religious/Spiritual section in the library.  I think it fits here because after listening, there are definite elements of spiritual belief and questioning here. However, there's also a LOT of cussing (including the "f-bomb), so I may order an additional copy for the "chick lit" section. It will fit there as well. There's some romance and interpersonal relationships.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial

Goodchild, Peter. Read by Edward Asner, John de Lancie, et. al. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial. L.A. Theater Works, 2006. Audiobook.


  • "A recreation of the 1925 trial of young science teacher John Thomas Scopes, which sparked the evolution versus creationism debate."
My Thoughts
I started listening to this audio book while getting ready for my day off of school. I ended up listening to the whole book that day--while cleaning, sorting pictures, making lunch. It was interesting to hear this historical court case "played" out. It was much more interesting than I remember learning about in school. In fact, I think we just heard "Here's a case--know about it---it's important." OK, in fairness, we probably actually talked about it with more detail, but as I was a boy-crazy teenager, I probably wasn't paying attention. 

There are many actors in this play, so at times, I actually wasn't sure who was talking. It didn't matter. The story kept going. I kept thinking about Paul Harvey's "the rest of the story" when hearing the back story of how this monumental court case came to be. 

Glad to have listened to this play. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Cashore, Kristin. Graceling. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. Print.
image from: en.wikipedia.org

My Thoughts
This was a book I've seen go across my check out counter numerous times. A few months ago, I was at a teen event, and this was a "prize" I picked. The book came home with me and sat on the shelf. The other day I picked it up on my way out of the door because I wanted to have a book with me. Good choice!

This is the story of a Graceling--someone "enchanted" with a special ability. Katsa thinks her ability is killing others. She learns that is only part of it.

This book is part feminist tale, part love story. There's definitely a heroine's journey. I"m excited to read the next two books in the series, but I have to get the library inventory done first. I guess these will have to wait until summer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Changing the blog

I'm considering making some changes to my blog.

My goals for this blog:

1. promote books
2. give myself some reminders about what the book is about
3. offer some thoughts about the style, story, characters, my relationship with the book

Obstacles I sometimes have writing this blog:

  • I just don't know how to articulate my thoughts & feelings.
  • I mostly read books I like, therefore, my thoughts seem the same: "great book," "I enjoyed the story," "the characters are wonderful," etc. 

  • I think the reader just has to experience the book. 

  • I read books faster than I can blog about them, or
  • I sometimes take months to read (or listen) to a book, so it looks like I'm not reading because there's lag time between posts, or
  • I am reading several books at one time (pieces here and there), or
  • I want to read an entire series before writing about it. 
  • I forget to include pivotal plot points (see note above about the reader experiencing the book). I've found that I don't always include the scenes that readers may have wanted a warning about (such as a character's death).
  • Should every book I read be included?


1. Quit the blog. (Nope, I don't like this one!)
2.  Just post biographical info, cover picture and make this more of a list (Then why blog?).
3.  Stop stressing about the thing and just keep doing what I'm doing.

Monday, May 9, 2016


Mathieu, Jennifer. Afterward. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016. Print.
Image from: www.fiercereads.com
My Thoughts
I got this book this year at TLA--on Wednesday. I had it read before Friday. The story is compelling and heartbreaking and scary and horrific, yet it is also hopeful. The teaser on the front cover captured my attention: "Ethan went on a bike ride. Four years later, he came home." I thought it was going to be a murder/mystery type book. It has some mystery elements, and I found myself reading like a detective trying to put clues together to create the full story, but it's not like a detective story in a traditional sense. Ethan's story is revealed as his brain allows the memories to surface. He's been through a traumatic experience. He's seeing a psychiatrist to help him deal with returning home.

This is Mathieu's third published book. I read the first one (The Truth About Alice) and bought her second one (Devoted), but I haven't read it yet.

Summary (from back cover): "When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with his kidnapper since he was a young child himself. Caroline wonders what Ethan knows about all that happened to her brother. And Ethan can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But they live in the same small Texas town, and after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs and the families are left to pick up the pieces, both Caroline and Ethan need a friend, and their best option might be each other."

I didn't slow down enough to mark many pages. I marked some plot things that I thought I might want to refer back to as the story progressed---little threads that would tie it all together. The story is a little mystery, but I would describe it as compelling. I had to learn what happened. How & why did Dylan, a boy with autism, get kidnapped? What is Ethan doing there? Will Ethan's therapy (upon returning home) actually help him? Will his parents ever be "normal" again? [Side note--Ethan's mom cracks me up! I can see her checking every few minutes, to the point of smothering, but I understand why. She's lost her boy and he's returned. I'm not sure I'd ever let my child out of my sight again.]

Ethan & Caroline's friendship seems believable. Through music (and their budding friendship), they are dealing with what's happened. At first, I thought this friendship was unrealistic, but as the story continued, I could see the truth of this friendship. It is not fairy tale perfect, which makes it real. They argue and step away from each other. They come together. They talk about nothing and don't talk about the things they should. There are walls and boundaries and respect.

This book releases in September. I already know some kids I will share this book with before my library gets the "official" copy.