Monday, August 10, 2015

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Book blurb from Amazon:
Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.
Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

My thoughts:
Wow!  I am not entirely sure where to start.  
I received this book from a young boy.  We were chatting one day and I asked him if he was a reader and if so what his favorite book was; his reply was immediate - 
"The One and Only Ivan.  Have you read it?" 
I replied that I had heard of it, but not read it, although I had a copy in a box at home.  He told me he would bring me his copy so I didn't have to look through boxes and I could read it right away.  This was a Thursday and I didn't see him again until the following Monday.  As soon as he saw me on Monday, he called out to me and took the book out of his backpack, he told me I could have it.  He had remembered  - I had forgotten he was planning to bring me the book.  
I absolutely loved this book.  It will go in my stack of "Must reads" for all the children in my world.  I found myself totally absorbed in the story - laughing aloud at times, and crying tears of both sadness and joy.
I will always be thankful that a young boy from a poor neighborhood cared enough about this story to give me his book - it is inspirational, heartbreaking, heartwarming and wonderful. Truly a book that should be read by everyone.

Biography (from Amazon)
Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the "Shopping Mall Gorilla." The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas, and was well known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumb-print.

Katherine Applegate's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, a picture book entitled The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel, Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Yearly Duluth trip ~always a huge success!

Every summer, I go to Duluth for a few days to hang out with my friend Kathy.  We have been doing this for a number of years now - it is my favorite part of summer.  

This is me at Splitrock Lighthouse - standing by the anchor from The Madeira, the ship that was the inspiration for building the lighthouse.

Couldn't resist sharing a picture of the middle falls at Gooseberry Falls.

The glory of the north shore - it's beautiful!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Veil: A Devil's Isle Novel (Book 1) by Chloe Neill

Book blurb (from Amazon):
A brand new series from New York Times bestselling author Chloe Neill.  
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

As more and more Sensitives fall prey to their magic, and unleash their hunger on the city, Claire and Liam must work together to save New Orleans, or else the city will burn…

(I am a Chloe Neill fan, so I was thrilled to find a new series. I was fortunate and won a signed ARC from Chloe Neill (I am so luckY!!!) and so I was able to read it right away.
The release date just happened to fall during my vacation, so it was perfect.)

My thoughts: 
I liked the beginning so I was all in from the start.  
The characters are wonderful; well created and realistic.  The relationships between the characters are  interesting and believable.  I found myself invested in them and their lives right away, on the edge of my seat with worry, anticipation and hope.
The plot is creative, clever and has a depth that was surprisingly multifaceted (not that I should have been surprised, it is Chloe Neill after all).
The story is packed with emotions; family, loyalty, mixed loyalties, betrayal, belief, friendship, trust and of course love.
I enjoyed the story, it was both interesting and entertaining.  I was sad to reach the last page and felt like I wanted more, so I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this newest series.