September 30, 2009

Welcome to October!

Just a quick post about some of the things you'll be seeing at The O.W.L. during October. Here's what you have too look forward to:

  • New Whoooooo's That Author spotlight and give-away
  • New weekly post "7th Grade Saturdays"
  • Book Blog Tour for Random Magic by Sasha Soren
  • Teen Read Week Celebration Oct 18-24
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Give-away
  • Scary Stories

October also has some awesome book birthdays.  Books coming out this month include:

Ghost in the Machine by Patrick Carman October 1
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater October 1
Fire by Kristen Cashore October 5
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld October 6
The Maze Runner by James Dashner October 6
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney October 12
The Islands of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer October 20
Tempted: House of the Night by P.C. and Kristin Cast October 27

Go here to see the complete list of books coming out this month.

I can't wait to get the month started! It's going to be a lot of fun! The kick off will be tomorrow when I shine the spotlight on another author. Make sure to check it out.

Now, I've shared my excitement about the month, is there anything you're looking forward to in October?

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I have two books that I’m waiting on this week.

Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks

I think this one just plain sounds interesting!

Summary from Barnes and Noble

Prepare to enter the Mirrorscape–a world where the bizarre is commonplace and logic makes no sense.
Melkin Womper is thrilled to escape his dull future as a village weaver and develop his artistic talent when he’s apprenticed to Ambrosius Blenk, one of Vlam’s most famous masters. Mel is especially excited by the colors that he’ll be able to use, since color is a very expensive Pleasure, strictly controlled by the sinister Fifth Mystery.

Mel can’t wait to enjoy the wonders of the grand city and begin his important work for Blenk. Instead, his dreams are quickly crushed by the reality of days filled with unimportant tasks and bullying by the other apprentices whose wealthy families have purchased their positions. Still, the promise of working under the great Blenk and studying his legendary paintings makes the misery bearable.
But when Mel and his new friends, Ludo and Wren, inadvertently stumble into a battle between the Fifth Mystery and the Rainbow Rebellion, an underground band fighting to make Pleasures affordable for all, the trio must step through Blenk’s paintings into the Mirrorscape. In this alternative world, the friends encounter monsters, mazes, talking houses, angels, and more.

Released: October 13

From: Egmont USA

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This one has be showing up everywhere. I love the Midnighters and Uglies series both by Westerfeld, so I’m super curious about this book – the first in a 4 book set.

Summary from Barnes and Noble

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Released: October 13

From: Simon and Shuster Children’s Publishing

Book Orders

This past weekend I had to enter my orders for Scholastic book orders. Remember those? Even before being a teacher I loved book orders. I was the geek that was excited when the teacher put them out. I’d page through them carefully reading the summary for each book. Each one I wanted would be circled, and then the whole thing would be given to my mom to see what she’d let me order. The fantastic mom that she is, would always let me order at least one book. Even better than ordering would be the day they arrived. I would be so excited about getting that new book placed in my hands, the little order sheet tucked in the front cover. It was like Christmas!

Now that I’m an English teacher I’m the one handing out the order forms and the books when they come in, but my excitement isn’t any less. When the pack of order forms arrive in my mailbox I eagerly go through them (yes circling what I want!). And the day that books of book arrive, I’m more excited than the students! In every order there is at least one book for me. Ok ALWAYS more than one book!

I don’t know if you know this, but teachers get bonus points for each dollar spent. This last time I had over 1600 points! What a dilemma to figure out what to use those points on. In the end, between points and free books, I got 30 new titles for my classroom library! What I tell the kids is that even if you can’t order – you all get new books to pick from. Even my nonreaders get a little wide eyed when I share the new books for the bookshelf with them.  It's a great day of school when the new books come in.

Do you remember book orders? Or am I the only book order geek out there??

September 29, 2009

Today Is My Birthday!

Today is my birthday.  I'm 39! One of my students asked me how old I was and another told him you're not suppose to ask that! In all honesty, I have no problem saying how old I am.  So I'll say it again - I'm 39!  To celebrate I thought I'd make a list of 39 books, series or authors that have been a big part of my reading life.  Here they are:

  1. The Outsider by S.E. Hinton
  2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (first book I taught to students)
  4. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  5. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
  6. "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
  7. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  8. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
  9. I'll Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
  10. Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
  11. Inkheart by Cornelia Funk
  12. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  13. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  14. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  15. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  16. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  17. Light in August by Willian Faulkner
  18. Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
  19. Brown Bear Brown Bear by Eric Carle
  20. Hatchet by Gary Paulson
  21. Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos (first book I read aloud to my students)
  22. Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson
  23. Trixie Belden Series by Julie Campbell
  24. Bopsey Twins Series by Laura Lee Hope
  25. Cricket in Time Square by George Selden
  26. Sweet Valley High Series by Francine Pascal
  27. The Stand by Stephen King
  28. The Shining by Stephen King
  29. Shindler's List by Thomas Keneally
  30. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  31. Rules by Cynthia Lord
  32. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  33. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
  34. Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
  35. Sunflower Series - multiple authors
  36. John Saul
  37. Danielle Steele
  38. Jonathn Kellerman
  39. Patricia Cornwell
I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that came to mind! In some way, shape, or form these books have played a role in my life whether as a child, teenage, college student, teacher, mom or adult.  They have, in some way, become a part of who I am.  39 years! Can't wait to read through the next 39!

September 28, 2009

Book Signing with Maggie Stiefvater!!!!!!

So a few weeks back I was complaining that authors never come to Minnesota.  Well lo and behold Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver, announces she is coming to Minnesota!!! I didn't care where she was going to appear, I would be there.  Turns out she was appearing at a Barnes and Noble not too far away. Dragging my sister along, I went to the signing on Saturday night. She was appearing with two other YA authors that are published by the same publishing company as Maggie, Flux Publishing.  We got there and got seated.  I was happy to see several young girls there, so I knew they would ask questions. 

The event started with each author sharing a little about themselvs and their writing process, and then they opened it up to questions.  Another author on the panel, Kristen Cronn-Mills, had a question for the group.  Her publisher wanted to know if teenagers had to have the main characters in a novel end up together or was it ok if they didn't.  A great discussion started - boiled down to NO as long as there was a good reason for them to be apart.

The Q and A was great.  I learned a lot about Maggie, her life and her writing process.  Here are a few things:
  • she legally changed her name when she was 16 years old
  • she was homeschool, so loves going to schools so she can steal characters for her books
  • she takes great glee in putting her characters through difficult things.  She commented that when she learned Sam in Shiver couldn't look at bathtubs because of childhood trauma, she knew she'd force him into a bathtub at some point during the book!
  • She almost had to change Sam's name in Shiver, but was able to leave it as is
  • she wrote Shiver because she cried at The Time Traveler's Wife and wanted to make people cry
  • after writing Shiver she had to write Ballad to counter act the sweetness of Shiver.  She said she had to burn someone at the stake!
  • she is full of energy and had us all laughing several times.  I think if I spent the day with her, she'd wear me out! 

After the questions they all stayed to sign books. I had Maggie sign all three Shiver, Lament and Ballad.  I also bought the books by the other two authors, Margaret Willey and Kirsten Cronn-Mills because they both sounded great.  I'll be highlighting Kirsten Cronn-Mills at some point.  I read the first few pages of her book The Sky Always Hears Me and was hooked!

I'm so glad I went! And between you and me - I think my sister enjoyed it too!

And this last pic is to enter Maggie's incrediable give-away.  Go here to see what it is!

What I'm Reading Monday

This is a weekly meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week on Monday we tell what we read the previous week and what we plan to read in the upcoming week.

This week I'll be reading Random Magie by Sasha Soren.  I am reading this for a Blog Book Tour through Other Shelf Tours.  I'll be hosting my leg of the tour in mid-October.  Look for upcoming information about the book and author. 

I will say only a few pages in and it's seeming like a really fun read! I'm excited to see how it all works out.

Here's the summary from Amazon

When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes. Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is. Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Struths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time.

September 26, 2009

In My Mail Box Sept 26

In My Mailbox is a meme started by Kristi at The Story Siren.  In it we share what great new book arrived at our doorstep this week.

I had a great week of packages! Next week I'll probably get nothing, but hey I'll take what I can get!


For Review
Random Magic by Sasha Soren (this is a blog tour through Other Shelf Tours)

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro

Got From Books For Grabs
Snap by Carol Snow

(both from The Book Depository)
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
(yes this is the one you'll win in my give-away!)
Unwind by Neil Shusterman

And last my latest Owl purchase :)
For my desk at work.  I'm think hand sanitizer should go in it!

And yes my sister rolled her eyes at it!

September 25, 2009

Coming home to this makes me happy :)

Hooked on Books

I thought I'd share with you some of the books I've already gotten my students hooked on this year.

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer
I've gotten several kids hooked on this series.  Right now they are fighting over who gets to check out a book in the series next.  When I handed out book order forms and showed them the books were in there, many said they needed to order.  One boy is bummed because he's now read all three and has to wait for the fourth one!  Great series that I have enjoyed too.  Heather Brewer's website can be found here

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
Several really showed an interest when I explained how there are video clips that go with the books.  I shared how one video clip even made me jump! My copy has been checked out.  Next month I'll be doing a spotlight of this series in conjunction with Halloween!

Midnighter Series by Scott Westerfeld
When I told them this series was by the same author as the Uglies series, many wanted to read them.  All copies from my bookshelf were checked out as well as the ones from the library.  One girl checked out the first two saying she would finish them over the weekend! 

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This book really stuck with me, and I explained that when sharing this book with my students.  Several are reading it now.  You can read my review on it here.

I love to see my students get excited about books.  Not every kid is of course, but I'm working on that.  I figure the more I share books, the better chance I have of finding something that interests everyone!

So, have you read any of these book? What books would you suggest I try to hook my students on?

September 24, 2009

Review: The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler

Summary from Barnes and Noble

She blisters after just moments in the sun, communicates with her dog, and has correctly predicted the weather every day for more than two years. But that's not so weird, right?

Then one day, Fern closes her eyes and opens them seconds later to find herself on a sandy beach, miles away from school. And when she disappears again—this time to someplace far more dangerous—Fern begins to realize just how different she is.

With the help of her twin brother, Sam, Fern struggles to gain control over what's happening to her. Yet the arrival of a sinister stranger—a vampire—soon leads her to question her very identity. Before she knows it, Fern finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old battle—one that puts more than just her own life in danger.

I have to admit that I bought this book mostly because of the cover.  Yes I admit it - I judged a book by it's cover.I'm hanging my head in shame.  I will say that the summary sounded good too, so it wasn't on cover alone!  (but the eyes are really stunning) After reading the book I'm glad I saw the cover.  It was a fun read. Fern is a character you can really feel for. She's picked on - called Freaky Fern for things she can't control.  I loved her character because she was real.  Sometimes she was strong and other times she just wanted to run away - pretty realistic for anyone is a tough situation.  I will say that I was suprised by the fact she was 12 years old.  The summary and cover made me think she was older.  Had she been older though, I don't think the story would've worked as well.  My only small complaints with the book are that it did get a big long and there were a lot of characters to keep track of.  But the plot contained enough twists and turns to make up for that.  The ending definately left room for a sequel.  If ones comes out, I will want to read it to see how Fern develops. 

Bottom line:  a fun read that has a bit of a different slant on the other world of "other" creatures.  I'm glad I read it. 

Best for ages: 10+

Throw Back Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme started by Taste Life Twice and is a post about a book that has been out for a while that deserves to be talked about again because yes, it was that good!

My Throw Back is:

Rules by Cynthia Lord
I read this book about two years ago and fell in love with it. I've now read it to my students twice.  It's about a middle school age girl who has a brother that is autistic.  She doesn't like when kids tease her brother, but she feels resentful of having to stand up for him and of all the attention he gets from her parents.  She meets a young man confined to a wheelchair, and he helps her see and cope with her feelings towards her brother. 
I have found it to be a great book for teaching my students about autism and being more accepting of people with disabilities. 
Here's the summary from Barnes and Noble
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"---in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.

But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

September 23, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I am Waiting On:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I know this is a well known "soon to be released" but I hadn't heard of it until about 2 weeks ago (or paid attention till then I guess), and the more I read about it, the more I want to read it!  Go to James Dashner's website, The Dashner Dude, for all the news, and go to the website for The Maze Runner.  It's got lots of fun things including an excerpt from the book! Pssst - The excerpt is what really pulled me in. 
Summary from Barnes and Noble
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
Release date: October 6

September 22, 2009

Whoooooo's That Author: Brightening the Spotlight

I have some more fun info about my spotlight author Pseudonymous Bosch and the Secret Series. First take a look at the UK and the US covers for The Name of This Book is Secret.  I love to see the different covers used in different countries.  Which one do you like better?  I think I like the one from the UK better - it seems more mysterious!(UK is on the left and Us on the right)



Now I also found a fun UK site for Pseudonymous Bosch and The Secret Series.  Check it out here.  It has some fun games and information.  As always warning you to stay away and refusing to give away the real name of the author.

I found a couple of more sites that reviewed The Name of This Book is Secret and provide some more links. 

IMCPL Kids and Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book

I'm working on my 10 year old daughter to write a review for the first two books.  Apparently she's got something called homework to do.  She is bugging met to buy the 3rd book. SSHHHHH don't tell her, but I ordered it from The Book Depository!

If you missed the kick-off post for this spotlight author, Pseudonymous Bosch, and the give-away, check it out here.

As always - happy reading!

Review: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix (mg)

Summary from Goodreads:

Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adoped, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you."

Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere -- and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives.

Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?

I really really really wanted to love this book.  I've read Among the Hidden and loved it.  I have students who have read the whole series and loved each book.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't love this book.  The concept was great - a plane full of babies just appearing.  Where did they come from?  Why were they there?  Two young boys trying to find the answers.  Much of the book was intriguing.  There was a clear mystery I wanted to know the answer to, but I found the answer to those questiong unfulfilling.  Even worse, I found them confusing.  Maybe they were confusing because I was no longer paying close attention to the story.  Even the cliffhanger at the end didn't make me want to run out and read the next book.  I will probably try the next book Sent just to see.  I hope it will live up to the promise I had for it. 

Why YOU might like this book:
Although it wasn't a hit for me, you may still enjoy it!  If you like mysteries and a plot with some twists and turns, give it a try.  It may be a better book for you than it was for me!

Lexile: 750
Best for ages: 11+

September 21, 2009

What Are You Reading Monday

This is a weekly meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week on Monday we tell what we read the previous week and what we plan to read in the upcoming week.

This week I finished When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  An amazing, amazing book.  Be sure to check out my review for more!

I also started The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler.  The cover totally got me. I'm enjoying it.  It's not a knock you out of your socks read, but just a fun read.  Watch for the review.

September 20, 2009

Awesome New Place For Books

Hey everyone I just found an aweseme new place to buy books.  Check out The Book Depository.  They have great prices on books - just released books too!  I bought seven books (several hardcover) and saved more than I spent!  I believe it was Kate at The Neverending Shelf that was tweeting with another blogger about it.  Check it out - you won't be sorry you did. 

September 19, 2009

In My Mail Box

In My Mail Box is hosted by The Story Siren.  In it we explore what fun stuff we got in our mail box.  I'm so excited because I actually get to participate this week! Here we go......

Two things I won:

School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari
A super fun swag pack for Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink.  I especially like the cd that came with it.  Great music!

I bought:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Tithe by Holly Black
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (I'm veeeeeerrrrry excited about this one!)
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

And I know this is suppose to be about books BUT I got some cute owl stuff for my classroom :) My family all groaned!

September 18, 2009

Wanna have a chance at winning a ton of books?????

Would you buy a book if you knew you were getting 14 more free? Plus a $15 gift card and some fun swag for different books? I bet you would!  Well if you buy one (or all) of four books you can enter the Summerland: Mega Summerland Contest! All you have to do is buy one (or more) of the Summerland books between August 31st and September 30th! Then just send a picture of your receipt or packing slip (make sure the date is visible) to! The more books you buy, the more entries you get!

Here's the four fantastic books you can buy to enter:

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Faketastic by Alexa Young
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Now get this - 10 more runner-up winners will win a fun swag pack full of bookmarks, postcards, stickers, bracelets, pins, signed bookplates, and more!

Bloggers you can enter to win a huge lot of books too!  Just review any of the four books for an entry. 

Go to the Summerland website to get the full story and enter.

BBAW: Setting Goals

As BBAW wraps up it's time to look towards the future.  More specifically the future of our blogs.

Since my first post of July 11th I've learned a lot and come a looooong way.  I did not have a clue about the whole book blogging community I would find and how it would push me to make my blog as good as it could be.  I'm moving towards the blog I invision, but there is a lot of work ahead!

My goal for the next year:

Although I'm striving for a both  middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) lit on my blog, I want to have a clearer balance. I find myself leaning more towards the YA end mainly because I enjoy reading it and because that's what I see on other blogs. I can point my students to numerous blogs about young adult or teen books, but there are very few geared just towards the middle grades.  I want my blog to fill that gap. I've thought about going completely middle grade, but I know I'll miss an entire group of students that want to read books with older characters and teen issues. I can't ignore their needs. So my goal for the next year is to also feature more middle grade authors and books.  A clear balance between the two is what is needed, and it's what I'll strive for over the next year.  I hope you join me on the journey!

(ok that was longer than 50 words! oops!)

Friday Find

This is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Each Friday we share what great books we found this week.

YA book: Swoon by Nina Malkin

From Goodreads:  Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

MG book: Spellbound by Anna Dale

From Barnes and Noble: An innocent summer holiday turns out to be anything but for Athene and her younger brother, Zach, when they find themselves caught up in a skirmish between two groups of gnome-like creatures: The Humble Gloam live above ground and get along with humans; the Low Gloam live below ground and despise everyone. But when Zach stumbles into Low Gloam territory, Athene disguises herself to rescue him--and discovers a secret that could bring the two Gloam tribes together--if it doesn’t tear them apart first.

September 17, 2009

Review: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (MG)

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

I’m going to review this book exactly how I told it to my students. I think they thought I had lost it.

I just finished When You Reach Me, and all I can say is wow. Wow. Amazing. I don’t even know how to begin to tell you how good this book was and how much I liked it. I had heard good things about it – the reason why I picked it up. When I first started reading it I was “this is good. Not wow wow wow good, but it’s good.” Then I finished a certain chapter and my jaw dropped. I kid you not! The book took a whole new turn and became unbelievably amazing. From there on out it just got better and better. I was floored at how well the plot was constructed and how the story unfolded. Amazing. Absolutely the best book, hands down, I’ve read all year! I’m gushing I know, but it’s true. I’m debating about reading it aloud to my classes. All I know is that it has become dear to my reading heart.

Now I can’t or won’t tell you anymore because I’m so afraid I’ll give something away. You’re just going to have to read it!

Um what are you waiting for? Log off and go read it now!
Lexile: 750
Best for ages: 11+

Throw Back Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme started by Taste Life Twice and is a post about a book that has been out for a while that deserves to be talked about again because yes, it was that good!

My Throw Back is:
Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
I read this book several years ago and loved it.  I started reading it aloud to my students, and read it aloud for 3 years in a row.  Last year Ben Mikaelsen came to our school for an author visit.  He was the kindest man and treated the students who got books signed as if he had all the time in the world for them.  The highlight was when he came into my classroom unexpectedly to say goodbye to my students. 
If you haven't read this book I suggest you do.
Summary from Barnes and Noble
Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage, and hate. Cole has been stealing, fighting, and lying for years. His attack on a classmate has left the boy with permanent physical and deep psychological damage and Cole in the biggest trouble of his life. To most, Cole seems beyond hope. But when he's offered a chance at an alternative path called Circle Justice, based on Native American tradition, Cole finds himself banished to a remote Alaskan island, where his rage and isolation lead him to another brazen attack. This time, his intended victim is the Spirit Bear of Native American legend—and the clumsy assault ends with Cole mauled nearly to death, desperately clinging to the life he has tried so hard to waste.
Rescuers arrive to save Cole's life, but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that is the start of Cole's long journey to accepting responsibility for his life and saving his soul.

September 16, 2009


In this post I'll attempt to answer a few of the questions posed by the fun organizers of BBAW.  For most I'm going to answer in 5 or less words! Trust me - as an English teacher thats tough to do. Hope this helps you get to know me better as a reader  :)

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
         Never, never, never! 

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
         Bookmark - OWL one right now

Laying the book flat open?

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
         Fiction forever

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
        A chapter break please

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
       Why would I do that???????

What are you currently reading?
       Just finished When You Reach Me.  AMAZING

What is the last book you bought?
       When You Reach Me

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
       Over and over and over and over

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
       Scott Westerfeld

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
       You can organize your books? Who knew?

I will do my best to get on and read a bunch of other bloggers' posts.  I'm feeling bad that I'm not having as much time as I'd like!

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I am waiting on:

Ballad: The Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

From Goodreads:

In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.

Release date:  October 1, 2009

September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)  
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My book is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I was freaked.  Mom was freaked.  She took the morning off and had the locks changed.

Dare ya NOT to read it after that :)

September 14, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Book Blogger Appreciation was started by Amy Riley of My Friend Amy in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.

The first Book Blogger Appreciation was observed in the fall of 2008 and occurs every September. The week spotlights and celebrates the work of active book bloggers through guest posts, awards, giveaways, and community activities. Book Bloggers are encouraged to register their participation for inclusion in a database of book bloggers.

I'm excited to be able to be a part of BBAW this year.  Just think, a few short months ago I didn't even know there was such a week.  Be sure to check out the BBAW website for all the events happening. Here's what you can find:
  • Winning blogs
  • Contests and give-aways
  • Directory of blogs participating
  • How and where to buy BBAW gear
  • Calendar of events across the blogging community
I'm amazed at how helpful my fellow bloggers have been.  Here are a few I've looked to for help and inspiration

Korianne at Korianne Speaks
Juju from Tales of Whimsy
McKenzie  at The Book Owl
Thanks to everyone! Now go enjoy the events :)

What Are You Reading Monday

This is a weekly meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week on Monday we tell what we read the previous week and what we plan to read in the upcoming week.

Ug - going back to work has really slowed down my reading.  Must not let work take it away!  Ok this week I finished one book and started another.
Finished:  Here Today by Ann M. Martin.  Read my review on it here.

Started:  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  And yes I did say last Monday I was going to read it last week.  See work is in my way!  I'm really looking forward to this one because I've heard good things.  The bit I've read has been good :)  I WILL have it done by the weekend!

September 12, 2009

In My Mailbox

This is a weekly meme started by Kristi at The Story Siren.  In it we share what came in the mail (or from the store or library!) each week. 

Being back to work made this a slow week.  I've got a few things winging their way to me, but the only new book that landed in my house was Night Runner by Max Tunner. 
I had seen this book on another blog and the cover pulled me in, so when I saw it at Target I knew it had to come home with me.  I shared it with my students, and they were wowed by the eyes.  Several wanted to known it would be available for checking out.  Always love that when it happens! 

"World of" Weekend meme

For this meme, tell if you would like to live in the world of the book you're currently reading. Would it be fun? Would it be dangerous? Who would you most like to meet in that world? What would take some getting use to? Tell us anything! Be sure to include the author, and make sure to link back. Remember this is a weekend meme, so you have all weekend! :)

This week I read Here Today by Ann M. Martin. (my review is here) This book takes place in 1963/64 a bit before to a bit after the assassination  of President Kennedy.  I would not want to live the main character's life during the book because she is tormented by her classmates, and her mother leaves the family.  But I would've liked to have seen first hand the events after President Kennedy's death. It's something I've only read about or seen on tv shows.  To see that historic event would've been very sad, but amazing at the same time. 

So how about you and the world of the book  you're reading?

ps - don't forget about my give-away.  Check it out here