Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Change Your Bookmarks!

Rather than continue authoring two separate blogs, I've decided to combine Mrs. Hill's Book Blog & PamelaHill.org  into one. So, all my book reviews from this blog have been merged into my other blog - PamelaHill.org. Click below to continue to read my book reviews, as well as other fun stuff. Typically I write about libraries, mobile technology, and productivity applications. Focusing on just one blog means I'll be able to post more often with more quality information. At least that's the goal!

Don't forget to change your bookmarks and add me to your RSS readers. :)




Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jennifer Roy. MINDBLIND

Fourteen-year-old Nathaniel Clark, who has Asperger's Syndrome, tries to prove that he is a genius by writing songs for his rock band so that he can become a member of the prestigious Aldus Institute, the premier organization for the profoundly gifted.

I was drawn to this book, because I was curious to view the world through a character with Asperger's. I enjoyed Nathaniel's journey to become a "true" genius, but I enjoyed even more his quest to relate to people in social situations. He has trouble reading people and their emotions. It was humorous when he spouted off facts in a situation when the person really just wanted a little sympathy. This gives you a glimpse into the minds of people with Asperger's or Austism and how difficult it must be for them. Most of us take for granted the ability to read people and judge situations based on nonverbal clues and facial expressions. But there many people who don't have this luxury. Life is very different for them.

What I really loved most was how his mother supported him. She deserves mother of the year for her fierce loyalty and creative ways of supporting Nathaniel. I also appreciated Nathaniel's friends for accepting him with all of his quirks. Great characters all around!!

Check out the author's website for more. You'll find out that she writes with authority and experience in regards to Asperger's.






Tuesday, April 16, 2013

C. K. Kelly Martin. YESTERDAY

In 2063, Freya and her mother are captured and taken away. When she wakes up, she doesn't remember anything and....it's 1985. This is weird for us, but not for Freya, because she doesn't remember anything, at first. But she slowly begins to feel like she doesn't belong. She begins having nagging feelings that she can't explain. She even runs into a guy that she feels she's met before, although he doesn't remember her. The circumstances around her father's death are also sketchy. She begins investigating the few details she has about his death and her past.

This is an ambitious book. The author takes on time travel, dystopia, global warming, ESP, the 80's, as well as robots. For the most part she succeeds. I began to care about the characters, and that usually is the saving grace for me. If I can't care about the characters, then it's downhill with no going back on my part.

I enjoyed the time spent in 1985, but I felt the author was a little heavy handed with the 80's details. Maybe it was because I recognized them and felt they were gratuitous  Maybe I wouldn't have noticed it so much if it had been a time period I wasn't familiar with? I don't know. I'll be interested to see if other readers felt that way too.

One other aspect that I want to comment on was the chapter long exposition that took place in the middle of the book. It couldn't be helped. But it was still jarring. Since the main character left 2063 so quickly at the beginning of the book for the mystery to begin, the reader didn't know anything about her world. So, this forced the author to tell us all about it in the middle of the book. I'm not sure she had any other way to go about this large task. Nevertheless, it interrupted the flow of the book.

There were many other aspects that I did enjoy. Again, I loved the two main characters, and the relationship they formed. I liked the way the clues seeped into Freya's life in interesting ways to help her figure out the mystery. Finally, I was intrigued by the future society that Freya lived in. I was interested enough to want to read more about that, even if I was troubled by the premise of how the society ended up the way it did.

If you're intrigued by the idea of someone being thrown into the past, without any clear idea why, you'll love this. Read more about the book and the author at her nifty website below:





Friday, March 29, 2013

Mary Amato. GUITAR NOTES

Tripp and Lyla have nothing in common, except that they use the same practice room in the orchestra hall. Tripp uses it on odd days; Lyla on even days. At first, they begin leaving each other snarky notes displaying their prejudgement of each other. But as they keep writing, they begin to see that they have more in common than they realized.

Tripp's mom doesn't understand his love for playing the guitar. She thinks it absorbs too much of his time. She feels he should be spending his time making friends and doing "normal" things. Lyla's dad thinks she should continue to spend all of her time on her Cello and preparing for her blossoming career.

Both love music. Both are miserable because of it. As they continue writing to each other, they discover that together they may be able to improve both of their situations.

I adored this book! You can tell that the author is a talented musician, because she makes the songwriting process seem so enjoyable and much easier than I'm sure it is in real life. I could relate to both Tripp and Lyla's passion for music. Even though I'm not a music creator like them, I'm a huge music consumer. Music accompanies me throughout most of my day.  I loved the way the author wove the characters, the music, the writing, and the science of sound all into this wonderful story of joy. It made my heart sing!

If you are interested in the songs or songwriting in general, you must check out the book's website: www.thrumsociety.com You can hear all of the songs in the book and learn a lot more. But read the book first! You don't want to read any spoilers. You want to experience the book fresh. But you can certainly check out the trailer now. There are no spoilers. Enjoy!