Monday, January 4, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey as a way to share what you have read and/or reviewed in the past week. It's also a terrific way to find out what other people are reading.

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers have given this meme a children's literature focus: picture books, middle grade novels, etc. They "encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting the other bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.
We spent last week in Keokuk, Iowa celebrating the holidays with my parents. We had a wonderful time catching up and toasting in the New Year. Through all of the fun that we had, I managed to read a few novels.
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry  I had the opportunity to read a digital-ARC of this book, provided by There's a lot of action packed into this story of a seventeen-year-old boy, Lucas, whose father is a big-shot developer of resort hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every summer, Lucas comes to the island to live in his father's hotel and hang around with his friends in the old, touristy part of the city. He's a bit of a party-boy who drinks with his friends and finds pretty girls to make out with on the beach.

In the neighborhood streets near the hotel, there's a house around which many rumors have swirled through the years. The legends center around a cursed girl, Isabel. The local senoras tell stories about a witch with green skin and grass for hair. They say the girl eats the exotic, poisonous plants that fill the courtyard garden. Many believe that her touch can kill and that she can grant wishes.

Lucas has always been fascinated by these stories and is drawn to the fantasy of Isabel and her magic. On the same day his new girlfriend, Marisol, disappears he begins receiving mysterious letters. Lucas goes to the cursed house to find answers and finds himself swept into Isabel's dangerous world of poison: her dangerous touch combined with the toxic relationship with her father, a renowned botanist.

This novel has lots of action, interesting characters and an exotic setting to draw readers into this story. For my complete review, visit my blog post:
Masterminds (Masterminds #1) by Gordon Korman    Wow! This was a terrific book. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. The author wrote the narrative of these kids of Serenity, NM from each of their points-of-view. These kids are growing up in a perfect town, a little bit too perfect. When Eli and his friend, Randy ride their bikes too close to the city limits, Eli becomes violently ill and Randy is sent away. When Eli finds a note from Randy warning him that there's "something screwy going on in Serenity", the adventure to figure out what's going on and why begins.

The author captures the voices of Eli, Tori, Amber, Malik, and Hector so effectively. As we start piecing together their narratives, the suspense is outstanding. The action is so well written that I couldn't wait to find out what was happening and why the adults in this town are all lying. Now, I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!
I hope you're having an a great start to 2016 and that you're reading some terrific books. I'm looking forward to all that this year promises.


  1. Wow, both books sounds very good, Jana, more for my list! Hope your week back and of reading goes beautifully!

  2. I grew up reading Gordon Korman, I always loved his fast-paced, well-written stories. Glad to see he's still putting out great stories!

  3. Masterminds is one of Korman's finest I think. He is always there for the fast moving plots, but his characters are better developed here than in any other. A fierce and gripping poison sounds like quite the read!

  4. Masterminds is on my #mustreadin2016 list--I cannot wait to read it!

    Happy reading this week! :)

  5. I have yet to catch up on Gordon Korman's novels - always very fast-paced and quite plot driven.