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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

This Is What Happy Looks Like Review


 In This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith, seventeen year old Ellie O'Neill gets more than she bargained for when she falls her Internet friend.  It turns out he is none other than famous teen heartthrob Graham Larkin, and he just happens to be shooting a movie in her home town.  

I was charmed as the two main characters tried to find a balance between their obvious attraction to each other and their need for privacy.   As the paparazzi gets increasingly closer to discovering their romance, can they just be allowed to be normal teens?  

As with the author's other novel, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the impact of family situations and absent fathers plays a significant role in the book.  And that is what gives these books so much heart.  Everyone longs for the comfort and love of parents.  When we compare our lives to others, we often think one or both parents come up short in a myriad of ways.  It takes maturity to realize what you have is already special.  And that growth is one of the many payoffs in these books.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Review of Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, is co-written by John Green and David Levithan.  The writers alternate chapters between two teenage boys who happen to have the same name. As with any good book, the stories appear to have nothing in common and then gracefully intertwine.
At first, I couldn't warm up to one of the Wills.  But, as he says later in the book, "I guess I'm not the same Will Grayson as I started out to be".  I eventually found him to be a very endearing character.  That is what an interesting book should do:  take us on a journey, show us how the people in the story grow and change.
Aside from some very crude bits (I suppose that's how guys talk), I thoroughly enjoyed Will Grayson, Will Grayson. 
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ghost Bride goes beyond Historical Fiction

Ghost Bride, by Yangsze Choo, is hard to categorize.  Is it historical fiction, fantasy, horror?  I went into this experience with certain expectations.  I wanted to learn about an entirely new society, to understand the phenomenon of a young woman agreeing to become a ghost bride (essentially a virgin for life).  While I did finish with some insight into Chinese Indonesian culture, I also traveled through a fantasy of heaven and hell.  It was creative and mesmerizing to glimpse into the mythology of ghosts, ancestry, and the afterlife.  

While I certainly found this book a delight, if you're looking for a straight up historical fiction story, don't read this book.  If your want to explore a rich cultural landscape, then Ghost Bride is just the book for you.
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We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart packs an emotional punch



At first, I didn't know what to make of We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart.  The first person book is narrated by Cadence, a rich girl who has had a mysterious accident. She describes an idyllic life of privilege where her family summers on a private island.  Everything seems shiny and pristine, but something is amiss under the glittering surface.


I had trouble warming up to the story and characters at first.  Their world was such a bubble it was hard to break through and empathize.  As the story picked up, however, I could start to see the chinks in the armor and understand the complex emotions presented in the parents and children of the story.


The ending was riveting and forced me to look back in the book to look at some of the situations in a new light.  I know I am being deliberately vague here, but I don't want to give anything away.

Overall, I was surprised and moved by the book.  It has much to say about youth, maturity, mistakes and forgiveness.  I look forward to E. Lockharts next endeavor.
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2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


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