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Shelly Burns has commented on (4) products.

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
The Fates Will Find Their Way

Shelly Burns, January 23, 2011

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was YA, but as I read, I thought it might be adult fiction. How could I have those thoughts? Well, the book begins with everyone as teenagers, in high school, doing things that teenagers do. But, the book is told in more of a "looking back" mode. The characters are adults recalling their teenage days and how they got to where they are now.

This was a different read for me, because it is told from the male point of view. While different, I enjoyed it. Girls, women, are always wondering how the male brain works, and Pittard does a good job of getting into the male psyche for us. There are many stories that relive high school from a female point of view, but it was amusing to hear it from the opposite sex. They truly do think a lot about the female anatomy!

When Nora Lindell, age 16, disappeared, it left her sister and their group of friends wondering just what happened to her. Although Pittard never really tells the reader the whole truth, we can piece parts of it together based on present day happenings in the book. The boys in the group do a lot of speculating about what happened to her though. Some scenarios are more plausible than others. Nora is never forgotten, as some of the guys think they see her in various places as they are growing up and starting their own lives.

I think Pittard does a great job of putting into words and story form, what many of us do throughout our lives, wonder "what if." What if we had done this, what if she had never disappeared, who would she have married? Admit it, you've done it. As an adult, I think we all wish we could go back to high school and maybe "do-over" some of our not so great moments. We have all had those what if thoughts, and Pittard brings them to life, through the eyes of the boys.
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Infinite Days (Vampire Queen Novels) by Rebecca Maizel
Infinite Days (Vampire Queen Novels)

Shelly Burns, July 13, 2010

When I finished this book, I tweeted something like this; "Just finished Infinite Days. All I can say is WOW!!" And now, a week later, as I write this review, I am still in awe and wish the 2nd book were coming out next month. But, it's not. This book releases then, and, if you're a fan of books about vampires, then rush out and get it; you won't regret it!

There are not many debut books that grab me and won't let me go, but this was one of them! I picked it up on the afternoon of one day, and finished it the afternoon of the next. As soon as I did, I handed it to my favorite teenage reader and said, "I just finished this...you have to read it." So, she started it that night.

Rebecca Maizel does such a great job with this one! What author has taken a new spin on vampires lately? Make the vampire human? That's one we've never heard of, but she does it so wonderfully because I was intrigued by the idea the minute I started reading.

Lenah has the chance that vampires don't usually get, being human again, and she falls in love with it. Not only does she fall in love with being human, she falls in love which is something she thought she'd never do. My favorite part of Lenah being human is her pure innocence about everything. She'd never known what things felt like, tasted like, didn't know about 21st century things like Lacrosse, but it didn't take her long to learn. It is so refreshing to read her naivety and innocence about every little thing. It adds humor to the story.

Everyone thinks there's something different about her, Lenah, the new girl on campus, but she just wants to fit in. She's befriended and is soon learning about her new world, finding love, and "feeling" a kiss for the first time. That is until the bad news...the coven will hunt for their queen. Will Lenah be able to save all that she has come to know and love, or will she lose it all again?

Ms. Maizel has crafted a dark, romantic story that will stay with you long after you close the cover and put the book down. It's unlike any other vampire story you've read in this genre! I fell in love with Lenah, was sad, but applauded Rhode, felt indifference towards Vicken, and was scared for Justin. Very touching, very emotional, very good!!!
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Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L Holm
Turtle in Paradise

Shelly Burns, July 10, 2010

What a good little book! It took me about 2 hours to read it all because I wanted to know what happened. I love that it is based on real people, places, and events. Jennifer Holm does a great job with this story for 9-12 year olds.

I have to say, that I love Turtle! She is just so tough and sweet at the same time! How horrible, to be sent to live with your aunt because your mom's boss doesn't like kids. Probably didn't make her feel good, but she made the best of what could have been a real bad situation. Her aunt didn't know she was coming, her cousins don't want to share the house with a girl, and she misses her mom! But, she grows to love Key West and you will too after reading this.

Holm's descriptions of Key West are so vivid that you can almost see it, and feel as if you are there right alongside Turtle as she walks the streets with her cousins and the "Diaper Gang." What's great is that at the end of the story, Holm gives us actual photos of some of the people and places that are mentioned in the book, or the people or places that they were based on. I love having that to compare with my "mental movie" of the book! It really brings the book to life.

What was once her most prized possession, a pair of shoes, becomes something that's no longer needed at her new home. I felt like the shoes were a pivotal part of the book. Turtle holds on to those as if that will keep her from forgetting her past, or the future that she and her mom have planned with Archie. But, when Turtle loses one shoe, she seems to lose part of her hope that mom will come back. She is growing to like it in Key West and proceeds to become one of the barefoot neighborhood traipsing children. As a matter of fact, she realizes that Key West just might be the future she wasn't looking for.

Turtle learns a lot about herself in this book, and the author does a great job of letting the reader figure it out slowly. It is really fun to see how the story unfolds and everyone fits together. If you have children who love a good story and want to learn a little about the past in a place they may not know about, then pick this up for them. You might enjoy it as well!
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Dear Teacher by Amy Husband
Dear Teacher

Shelly Burns, July 8, 2010

This is such a cute book for the start of the school year! It was released this month, so if you're a teacher, librarian, or otherwise involved with school age kids, you may want to check this one out.

I was hooked at the cover, which is made to look like a large envelope, with postage and all! It even opens like one...what kid wouldn't love that?! Once inside, it reminded me a lot of The Jolly Postman, which I used to enjoy sharing with my kindergartners. The difference with this one is that the letters/post cards are the story, don't come out of the book, and are all written by the same person, until the end.

Michael writes to his teacher before school starts, in response to her "Welcome" letter, that many teachers today write to their students. He uses different correspondence forms: letters, a telegram, and a post card. The book even shows Michael mailing the letters in different mail boxes. Most of the book is made up of letters from Michael, so it would be a good book to use when teaching letter writing as well. Michael always includes a P.S., which is something that a lot of kids don't know about.

Michael's whole intent, is to let his teacher know why he will not be at school on the 1st day, and what an imagination he has! He talks about travels to other cities, countries, climates, etc. Amy Husband does a wonderful job of not only telling about the places Michael travels, through his letters, but also illustrating the highlights of that place. The illustrations are child like, so it really looks like Michael has added drawings to his letters to help his teacher understand where he is and what he's doing. Very eye-catching, bright, vivid illustrations that children are sure to love!

I'm sure there are many children who feel like Michael, not wanting to go to school on the first day, the end to summer vacation, and having to let go of all they have been doing. What a great way to express those feelings, through letter writing! Wouldn't that be a good lesson/activity for the first day/week of school? Write a response to your teacher's welcome letter. You could use any correspondence format: post card, letter, etc. I can see a whole slew of ideas coming from teachers with this book! May be I'll challenge my teachers to see what they can come up with? There's so much: letter writing, geography, story telling, etc.

I'm always on the look out for books to start the school year with, and will definitely be sharing this one with the teachers on my campus!

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