Goodbye Days

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Wow, just wow.  This book is amazing, it hits right in the heart.  The story of four friends, three killed in an accident and the fourth feeling he is to blame.  Throughout the story there are flashbacks to the four together so we get to know them as a group.  We also see the raw emotions of those that are left behind. It is a grim reminder of why texting while driving is such a bad thing.  And I’m not gonna lie, this book invoked tears from me on more than one occasion. It is a MUST READ.

The Dead House

Three students: dead. 
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace. 
Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.” 

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson. 

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it. 

I had a bit of trouble getting into this book but, wow, once in….  So many questions – what happened to their parents, who is the girl, where is Juliet, what is the incident…. But no I am not going to answer any of them for you, you will just have to read the book yourself.  Yes, this book sucked me in but midway through the “witchcraft/voodoo” stuff did get a little tedious and I had the Shyan figured out long before Kaitlyn did. That being said I still wanted to know all the answers to my many questions so I kept reading, and I did get answers.  So if you like books that are a little twisted this one is for you.

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I had a tough time when I started reading this book due to the African American vernacular in which it is written but a few chapters in I didn’t notice it anymore.  This book gives a first hand look into life in the ghetto, what is is like to live in a world filled with drugs and gangs. You see how racism can result in life changing events that perpetuate the distrust on both sides.  This is an easy read with a good message and will be an eye opener for many.

 

Terminate

Josie’s friend Amanda is missing. But because she’s a runaway with a history of drug use and other risky behavior, no one seems to care. Clem, the owner of the community kitchen in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where Josie works in exchange for food, advises her to just leave well enough alone. Then a young man whose friend is also missing asks her for help. Josie learns that she, along with the other teens who helped her bring down the cop responsible for the death of her entire family, is becoming known on the street as a person who makes sure justice is done. When the battered bodies of homeless teens start filling the city’s morgue, Josie and Team Retribution suspect a connection to their missing friends and begin investigating. They discover an underground fight club where at-risk youth are being forced to fight and even kill each other for sport. Josie is captured and may have to enter the ring herself to save her friends.

This is an action packed, fast moving book based on the streets of Vancouver giving a glimpse into the lives of its street people.  You see the hopelessness of the lives of the runaways who live there and how they are drawn into bad situations.  It also shows how friendships can be made and the lengths people will go to to help their friends.  I enjoyed this book as it was action packed and a quick read.  I was disappointed in the end as it leaves you hanging, not really sure what has happened to resolve the situation.  I also found it strange in the beginning when the murder of Josie’s family is brought up as it doesn’t add to this book and must have been written in just to draw the reader’s curiosity enough to read the book that does deal with that topic.

Highly Illogical Behavior

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.

I really had no idea what to expect when I started to read this book.  It is a story that shows what true friendship can do for people and how important it is to be honest with your friends.  It was a short book and I quite enjoyed it.  There are quite a few Star Trek references that would definitely make more sense to Trekkie people but even if, like me, you aren’t a Trekkie it is easy to understand.  The book depicts an “easy” fix to mental illness but does acknowledge that this really isn’t the case and the right treatment is needed and may take many years.  It also acknowledges that people with mental illness are people too and should be treated as such.

       image taken from Goodreads

HIT List Prize Draw

A Pizza Party was held on Wednesday, February 7 to make the first semester prize draws.  Students won Big Mac Coupons; Booster Juice Coupons; Taco Time coupons; Burger King coupons; MH Lodge Waterslide passes; Tim Hortons $5 Gift Cards (Emily Stock and Sierra Gold); Tigers game tickets (2 – Reinhold Knauer and 4 – Emily Stock); Cineplex 2 for 1 (Sierra Gold) and Kobo Aura eReader (Chase Hart).  Thanks once again to all our sponsors:

Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club Ltd.

EIWM Holdings (Tim Hortons)

Booster Juice

Burger King

Taco Time

Medicine Hat Lodge

EBHS Chess Club

Illuminae

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

When I read the overview of this book I thought it sounded like a pretty good book.  But I’m not going to lie, when I started it, my thought was, this is going to be a long and painful read as sci-fi, space ships and computer hacking are not my thing.  I kept reading (mostly because I felt I had too, it’s my job) and can honestly say it did improve.  There is a lot of action with a really good story line.  The book is a series of email discussions, thought processes, observations and spaceship schematics which make it a more interesting read (although some may find this confusing).  In the end a good book especially if you are into spaceships, intergalactic travel and wars.

Here is a fantastic trailer for this book, enjoy:

Rodent

Just when Isabelle thinks her life can’t get any worse, something happens to her at school that makes her wonder how she can continue to look after her younger siblings, Evan and Maisie, work at the local mini-mart and deal with her alcoholic mother. It’s more than any sixteen-year-old should have to bear, but Isabelle can’t think of a way out that won’t hurt her brother and sister.

When Isabelle punches a girl at school, only one teacher sees past Isabelle’s aggressive behavior. Challenged to participate in a group writing project, Isabelle tentatively connects with a boy named Will and discovers an interest in (and talent for) the only kind of drama she can control–the kind that happens on the page.

I really enjoyed this book.  It has great examples of dysfunctional families and how the behaviour is perpetuated as well as issues of bullying.  Isabelle is the main character who has to deal with all of these issues and her strength of character is to be commended.  These are issues which quite often are hidden and those who are living it are not always provided the assistance they need to break the cycle.  This is a great book for anyone to read with a strong teenage lead.

image taken from Goodreads

“Sirius”

The remarkable story of a little dog who changed world history.  Berlin, 1938: Sirius, a dashing fox terrier, lives a charmed life with the German Jewish Liliencrons. But, with the rise of Nazism, the Liliencrons decide to leave Berlin for Hollywood.  Sirius takes his destiny into his own hands with the kind of melancholic mirth exclusive to his breed. He becomes a celebrated film star and circus performer, friend to Rita Hayworth and Cary Grant. But, when a magic trick goes wrong, Sirius ends up back in war-torn Berlin. Never one to despair, he finds himself in the Führer’s headquarters as Adolf Hitler’s lap dog… and an informant for the resistance.

This book caught my attention right from the first look at the cover but that is of course because I am a dog lover.  It also sounded like it would be quite interesting because it was dealing with Hitler and the Second World War.  Although it turns out that it isn’t really all that much of a historical fiction book it is a good read.  It’s great to follow Sirius through the different phases of his life, where he ends up and the people he meets (there are quite a number of big names dropped in this book).  There are historical references and in the end it is a really good book that I enjoyed reading.  And as an added bonus this is an excellent trailer for the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvBfxrBEV-s

image taken from Goodreads

“Spill Zone”

Nobody’s ever really explained the Spill. Was it an angelic visitation? A nanotech accident? A porthole opening from another world? Whatever it was, no one’s allowed in the Spill Zone these days except government scientists and hazmat teams. But a few intrepid explorers know how to sneak through the patrols and steer clear of the dangers inside the Zone. Addison Merrick is one such explorer, dedicated to finding out what happened that night, and to unraveling the events that took her parents and left her little sister mute and disconnected from the world.

Apocalyptic books and graphic novels are not really my thing so reading them seems like a chore to me. That being said this one draws you in, wondering just what happened in Poughkeepsie.  And what is continuing to happen there as there are talking cats and apparitions. The illustrations are well done and work very well with the text. I wasn’t that keen on the end, like that’s it that’s all.  Guess we will all have to wait for the sequel?  All in all a better book than I was expecting and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by the majority of people who read it.

image taken from Goodreads