October 30, 2009

Friday's For the Guys

Everything Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I'm not saying girls wouldn't read these books, but they are clearly "guy" books. This Friday I'm highlighting:

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers is one of my favorite authors for young adults - and an awesome one for boys.  Rarely do I have a student read one of his books and not like it.  In my opinion he is one of the hidden treasures in YA and MG.  More people should be reading his work. 
From Barnes and Noble
A coming-of-age tale for young adults set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, this is the story of Perry, a Harlem teenager who volunteers for the service when his dream of attending college falls through. Sent to the front lines, Perry and his platoon come face-to-face with the Vietcong and the real horror of warfare. But violence and death aren't the only hardships. As Perry struggles to find virtue in himself and his comrades, he questions why black troops are given the most dangerous assignments, and why the U.S. is there at all.

I read this book several years ago and remember just loving it.  The battle scenes were very realistic as well as the actions of the young men in Perry's platoon.  Although I had no background in common with them, Myers wrote such a powerful story that I felt and understood all their anger, grief, disbelief and frustration.  At the same time I gained an understanding of what the soldiers went through in Vietnam - and more specifically African American soldiers.  It is a book I have recommended time and time to boys.  They always love it.  I do warn all of my students that this book is a realistic portrail of battle.  It contains graphic scenes and a lot of swearing.  If either of those things bother them, they shouldn't read it. 
Side note: In 2008 Myers released Sunrise Over Fallujah.  It isn't a sequel in a traditional sense, but it is very similar to Fallen Angels.  And like Fallen Angels - boys love it. 

October 29, 2009

Two Awesome Contests

I don't do posts very often about contests for books.  But these are two awesome ones.  One is awesome because of the amount of books being given away and the other because of the book alone.  Here they are.

First One:
The Book Pixie is having a mega mega contest for her 17th birthday.  You wouldn't believe the books being given away to 3 different winners. Here's the books the winners have to choose from (taken from her site):

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (HC)

Signed! Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie (HC) (Donated by C. Lee McKenzie)
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (PB)
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (PB)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (PB)
Signed! Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle (PB)(Donated by Marissa. Thanks!)
ARC of Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle
ARC of Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
ARC of Candor by Pam Bachorz
ARC of Hold Still by Nina LaCour
ARC of Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
ARC of Secret Society by Tom Dolby
ARC of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

WOW!!!! If you want a chance at them go here to see how to enter.

Second One
The Undercover Book Lover (not really) is giving away an ARC of Captivate by Carrie Jones.  This is a sequel to Need a book about pixies.  I read it a while back and really like it.  I'd love to get my hands on the ARC. 

Here's a little about Captivate:
Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

I can't wait for this book to come out in January.  If you want to find out all the details about this contest go here

October 28, 2009

Watchya Readin'? (2)

In Watchya Readin' Wednesday I share what my students are reading. This allows me to focus on what's really going on in the reading life of 7th graders. Hint hint - any publisher or authors reading, this is what 7th graders are REALLY reading not what I, the teacher, WANT them to read :) Let's get started on this week's addition!

This week instead of looking at what they are reading, I asked what they are waiting to read - a book they want to read but haven't been able to yet.  Here's what they had to say:

Maze Runner by James Dashner
Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz
Vladimir Tod Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer
Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
Breaking Dawn (2 students) by Stephenie Meyer
Tempted by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (2 students)
Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Series of Unfortunate Events #13 The End by Lemony Snicket
Cut by Patricia McCormick (2 students)
New Moon (3 students) by Stephenie Meyer
Diary of Wimpy Kid 4 (3 students) by Jeff Kinney
Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe
Cirque du Freak Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan
The Ghost of Fossel Glen by Cynthia DeFelice
Blad of Fire by Stuart Hill
Fallen by Lauren Kate

Isn't that an awesome list of books?? I take credit for getting some of these books on the list.  I've talked a ton about Fallen, The Maze Runner and Never Slow Dance With a Zombie.  I will admit that most of these are on my TBR list as well.  How old am I again???

October 27, 2009

Tweener Tuesday

Tween Tuesday was started over at Green Bean Teen Queen as away to hightlight awesome books for the 9-12 year old set. AKA Tweens.

This week's book is:
39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her descendants an impossible decision: "You have a choice - one million dollars or a clue."

Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what's important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.

Not only do you read the books, but you become part of the story by taking cards that come with each book and going online to try and solve some of the clues.  Up for grabs: $100,000 in prizes!  Who wouldn't like that? The website can be found here.

There are to be 10 books in total with the last book coming out September 2010.  What's really interesting is that the books are being written by different authors.  Authors that have written so far include: Rick Riordan, Patrick Carman, Jude Watson, Peter Lerangis and Gordan Korman.  Students that have read these have really enjoyed them.  My daughter, who is 10,  loves them.  I would say that older kids aren't as interested in them.  The best for ages seem to 9-12.  Perfect for tweens.

October 26, 2009

Review: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

Title: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Secret of Indigo Moon
Author: G.P. Taylor
Publisher: Tyndale

From Goodreads:

Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds. Confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and whom it’s safe to trust

A bit about the layout of the book: This book is a blend of regular and graphic novel. I found this description on Barnes and Noble of how it’s written: This book is in an exciting new format called an "illustra-novella," in which the story is told alternately in graphic novel format and plain text with occasional illustrations. I had never read a novel written in this style before, it didn’t take me long to get use to the way the book was written.

My review

For readers who need constant action – this is the book for you! This is a very fast paced novel that kicks off from line one and doesn’t slow down! Within a few short pages the main character Erik is already following shady characters into dark tunnels. Soon the other two main characters, Sadie and Saskia have joined in the pursuit. As the night goes on, one thing after another happens to these three characters. Once one situation is resolved they land right into another tight spot. This neck breaking speed continues until the mystery is solved and those responsible are caught. I found that with a pace this fast I felt I need to read the story fast too. I raced through it like Erik, Sadie and Saskia raced through the night. If you are someone that doesn’t like to read – I think once you get going on this book, you’ll never slow down enough to think about quitting! Nor would you want to.

One small complaint: the end of the book came very quick, and I was left feeling like there wasn’t enough of a wrap up. This is part of a series, so I’m assuming future books will provide that. Also, this is the second book, and I hadn’t read the first one. It didn’t interfere with my reading too much but there were a few minor things I was uncertain of.

Bottom Line: fun fast paced novel perfect for reluctant readers.  Be sure to check out the website here.

Best for ages: 10+

Book received from publisher

New Book Monday

I've decided that on Mondays I'll also share a few books coming out this week that I think my follwers, my students (and me of course) might like.   I'll also mention what book I'm reading just because it's a Monday habit.

There are several coming out this week that look good.

Powerless by Matthew Cody.
Will be released: Tuesday
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
I haven't seen this book anywhere, but doesn't it look like it has tons of potential? 

From Goodread:

Twelve-year-old Daniel, the new kid in town, soon learns the truth about his nice—but odd—new friends: one can fly, another can turn invisible, yet another controls electricity. Incredible. The superkids use their powers to secretly do good in the town, but they’re haunted by the fact that the moment they turn thirteen, their abilities will disappear—along with any memory that they ever had them. Is a memory-stealing supervillain sapping their powers?

The answers lie in a long-ago meteor strike, a World War II–era comic book (Fantastic Futures, starring the first superhero, Johnny Noble), the green-flamed Witch Fire, a hidden Shroud cave, and—possibly, unbelievably—“powerless” regular-kid Daniel himself.

Superhero kids meet comic book mystery in this action-filled debut about the true meaning of a hero.
Charmed and Dangerous by Lisi Harrison
Will be released: Tuesday
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Ok folks we've got a PREQUEL to the Clique series! I know many students (girls) that will be excited to see this one. 
From Barnes and Noble
Once upon a time, in Westchester and Orlando, there were four betas just waiting for their alpha. It took a miracle to bring the Pretty Committee together--or rather, a New Year's Yves party. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it just cliques.

The next book I'm reading:  Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance by Glenn Dakin.  Click the title for more about it.

October 25, 2009

In My Mailbox Oct 25

This is a weekly meme inspired by Kristi at The Story Siren.  In it we share what books arrived at our house via mail, bookstore or library. I had a pretty good week! Bought some and got some.

Books I bought at the book fair at my school:

Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez
Never Slow Dance With a Zombie by E. Van Lowe
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

For review:

Fallen!!!!!!! by Lauren Kate I can't believe I got this!
The Illustrated Guide to Mythical Creatures
Explorer X-Alpha by L.M. Preston

I won the t-shirt.  Pretty cool isn't it?
And I had to give a full shot of Never Slow Dance just because I think is looks so fun! And because I've been telling my students that zombies are the new vampire. Look around - they are!

Lastly my owl of the week.  I found this cute OWL bag at Target.  It works perfect for a new diaper bag. Although my sister said I was just using needing a new diaper bag as an excuse to get it. (but really my old one was stained!)

October 24, 2009

More Fun at Princess Bookie

The fun keeps coming as Cindy reads her way through the Read-a-Thon.  This one I can do.  For a chance at a great ARC I need to blog about 8 of my favorite things.  Here's what she had to say:

Post The Mini Challenge On Your Blog and link it back to me so everyone can participate:

Name 8 Of Your Favorite Things (not all books either LOL)

My List:

1. Tootsie Rolls

2. Big Bang Theory

3. Loud music in the car

4. Listening to my 2 yr laugh

5. Seeing what my 8 yr old creates out of legos

6. Seeing my daughter at school

7. Bookstores

8. My Blackberry :)

Go her post to see what Cindy had to share - and what other bloggers add.

I SOOOOOOO Want These!!!

Ok so Cindy over at Princess Bookie is having all these awesome give-aways going on and there are two that I want super super super bad.  The first is a four ARC buddle of: The Unwritten Rule, The Dark Divine, Voices of Dragons and Bleeding Violet.  Why do I want these???? Because the Unwritten Rule and The Dark Divine are all over the blogger world about how great these are.  I NEED NEED NEED to find out for myself.  Go here to see this give-away.

The other one I want is the Captive.  This is the sequet to Need by Carrie Jones.  I have been waiting for this sequel since I finished Need :)  But the real reason I need it - for my 7th graders! They need the sequel!!!!  Go here to check out this one. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me :)

7th Grade Saturday - Snackin' and Readin'

Ok this week was a simple one.  I asked them to share their favorite, while reading, snack food.  Here's SOME of what I got:

Diet Coke
candy bars
Gold Fish Crackers
fruit snacks
Wheat Thins (healthiest I saw)

The best was the small arguement that broke out about whether you should eat snacks that are messy because they'll get all over your pages! Some thought that was a crazy idea.  Others thought it was crazy to care. 

I also loved that no where did I see things like: carrots, apples, yogurt, grapes and milk! Hmmmmmm, I'm thinking that books=unhealthy snacks! ;)

October 23, 2009

Mega Huge Lots O' Books Give-Aways

Cindy at Princess Bookie is have many, many, many, many contests for some fantastic books!  She's doing this to make the upcoming Read-a-Thon more fun.  You need to get yourself over there and enter for some of these books.  Ones already posted include:

Hush, Hush
The Tear Collector
Secret Society
Taken By Storm
Certian Slant of Light
Take Me There

and many, many, many more!!!! 

Friday's for the Guys: The Compound by S. A. Bodeen

Friday's For the Guys!

Everything Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I'm not saying girls wouldn't read these books, but they are clearly "guy" books. This Friday I'm highlighting:

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

This is a great book! And an awesome one for the guys.  I read it last spring and really enjoyed it.  It hooked me in so much that I was reading it between classes! When my students were working on an assignment I had to resist the urge to sit at my desk and read it.  Why did I like it? Yes the concept of the book is unique but what really kept me going was trying to figure out the truth.  Who did I trust?  Who did I believe? And if the truth was what I thought - then what would they all do?? I had to find out!  It's kind of an unknown book, but I think it deserves more attention. 

Boys - why might you like it? It has some great action, but also keeps your brain thinking.  Just when you"re sure you have it figured out, it changes again and again. These changes happen faster and faster until you're not sure if you believe anyone. And you wonder if the truth will come soon enough. Trust me, you won't be bored. 

From Barnes and Noble:

Eli’s father built the Compound to keep their family safe. Now, they can’t get out. He won’t let them.

Published by: Square Fish, April 2008

Review: Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

From Goodreads:

A teenage boy.

A dark wizard.

A mystic scroll.

And the fate of a world hangs in the balance...

When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help a young princess, named Dara, save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies.

Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a fearless African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk.

Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.

I'll be completely honest, when I first got this book I was very skeptical.  I read the first few pages and was really worried.  It wasn't that the writing was terrible (it wasn't), but it seemed to set up as a very typical fantasy book.  I don't do full fantasy books - urban fantasy yes - but not more classic fantasy.  Well it's good that I kept reading because I found out it wasn't full fantasy at all!  The whole concept of Alex being pulled into a fantasy world was great.  Yes that's been done before, but Shiraz gave it a unique feel.  Then to pull in other characters from other times and places and the story became complete.  I was hooked.  I enjoyed the play between Dara and Alex. It was nice to watch Alex grow into his "hero" roll.  The book has a little of everything - action, tish of romance, magic, comedy and heart.

Only a few minor complaints - Dara was suppose to be 11, but honestly she felt much younger.  I have a 10 year old daughter and when comparing her to Dara it didn't feel like only a year different. She seemed more 7 or 8. Not too big of a deal though.  Also, some of the action and battles scenes could've been edited down, but that's just kind of a personal thing.  I tend to get bored with too many.  Lastly - the ending!  I won't give anything away, but I wasn't prepared for that, and I hate being caught off guard! This ending isn't bad, it just frustrated me because I went into it clueless.

Final thought: Fun read.  If you like books that are a mix of fantasty and real world, give it a try.  I'm glad I didn't give up on it right away!

Check out the offical website here.  There are two trailers to give you a feel for the book.

Book provided by author.

October 22, 2009

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!

This week we throw back to:

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I LOVE this book.  I've been teaching it to at least three different class periods every year since 1996! I never tire of it.  What I love most about it is that it hooks even my most reluctant readers.  I just warn them to hang on past the first chapter.  Every year I have at least one student that tells me it is the first book they've actually read and FINISHED in a long time. Thank you S.E. Hinton for that!  Of course I make sure to hand them all the other books she's written, so they'll keep reading. 

Side note: a few years back they re-released the movie finally including all the deleted scenes cut out from the original release.  It's something like 20 minutes of addition scense.  Those scenes made the movie even better - following the entire book not just the rumble and the issues between the Socs and the Greasers.  There are also some fantastic extra features including a news piece about the kids that started the ball rolling on the film.  My students love seeing that.

If you haven't read The Outsiders ever or in a long while I suggest you pick it up!

From Barnes and Noble: (I've never actually read a summary of The Outsiders before.  I didn't like any of them!)

Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents' death, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society in which they find themselves "outsiders." 

From Shelfari:

Ponyboy lives with his two older brothers, hanging out with his gang of Greasers. The gang is like a family, they look out for each other, protecting themselves and each other from the Socs. Ponyboy cannot see why the Socs, rich west side kids, always make life miserable for the Greasers.

October 21, 2009

Winner of Breast Cancer Awareness Gift Pack

Thank you everyone who entered! I loved hearing what you all are doing to raise awareness but also helping fund the fight for a cure! Thank you , thank you, thank you for that!!!!! 

And the winner is:

I will shooting you and email.  You have 72 hours to repsond with your address.

Thanks again everyone!

October 20, 2009

Watchya Readin'? Wednesday

I love Waiting On Wednesday, but to be honest I feel like I'm just repeating what other people say, and I want to starting including more thoughts, ideas and suggestions from my students.  I started this blog for them, and I feel like I haven't been making sure they are the focus.  In that vein I'm starting Watchya Readin' Wednesday.  Each week I'll ask me students what books they are reading, and that will become my weekly Wednesday post.  This way I'm focusing on what's really going on in the reading life of real 7th graders.  Hint hint - any publisher or authors reading, this is what 7th graders are REALLY reading not what I, the teacher, WANT them to read :)  Let's get started on this week's addition!

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
The Upstairs Room Johanna Reiss
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Life as We Knew It (2 students) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You Ally Carter
Shiver (2 students) Maggie Stiefvater
Specials and Uglies Scott Westerfeld
Dial L for Loser Lisi Harrison
The Last Olympians Rick Riodan
Pendragon D.J. McHale
The Lost Boy Dave Pelzer
Dork Diaries Rachel R. Russel
Scat Carl Hiaasen

Isn't this a great list of books??? Look at the diversity.  That would be why I read both middle grade and young adult lit.  Check back in next week to see what's new.

Tween Tuesday

Do you like fantasty? Are you looking for a new series to start? You need to try the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan.  I got the first three books in my series for my classroom library.  Honestly I'd never given this series much attention.  My students made sure to change that. I asked if anyone had read them and MANY raised their hand telling me how great they were.  I guess a teacher read the first one to them, but many had gone on to read more.  I hear good things about books, but this was an over-whelming push from them to read this series! Guess what's in my TBR pile now? 

Here's a summary of the first book in the series, The Lightning Thief (it's kinda long but I think you need to hear it all!)

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself.
Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.
Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he's coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he's angered a few of them: Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends–one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena–will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
If you want to know more check out the website for the series.

October 19, 2009

What I'm Reading Monday +extras

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.

Ok this week I finished Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz.  Watch for my review later.  I'm still listening to Wednesday Wars and Wintergirls (wow that one is interesting!) Watch later today because I'm going to post a What I'm Reading from my students since this is Teens Read Week!

I'll be starting The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor.  I received this one for review.  Looks interesting.  A mix of regular and graphic novel. 

I'v decided that on Mondays I'll also share a few books coming out this week that I think my follwers (and me of course) might like. 

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson.
Released Monday Oct. 19

From Amazon
Meli Lleshi is positive that her drawing of her teacher with his pelican nose started it all. The Lleshis are Albanians living in Kosovo, a country trying to fight off Serbian oppressors, and suddenly they are homeless refugees. Old and young alike, they find their courage tested by hunger, illness, the long, arduous journey, and danger on every side. Then, unexpectedly, they are brought to America by a church group and begin a new life in a small Vermont town. The events of 9/11 bring more challenges for this Muslim family--but this country is their home now and there can be no turning back

Katherine Paterson is a long-timer in middle grade lit.  She has written some fantastic books including: Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
Released Monday Oct. 20

This one just sounds interesting and the cover has me captivated! Warning: it doesn sound way more Young Adult that Middle Grade!

From Amazon
After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back.

There's so much to do to people when you're angry. Kyra's about to get very busy.

October 18, 2009

In My Mail Box Oct 17

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.

Pretty good week of actually getting stuff in the mail box not just buying it!

First ones I bought:
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Looking for Alaska by John Green

In the mail:
Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
Candle Man by Glenn Dakin

And now for the OWLs of the week! (cuz I know you all missed it last week)

My sister found the cute box of tissues in the travel sized section at Target, and I found the stickers at Target too :)

October 17, 2009

Random Magie Blog Tour Has Started!

This is my first blog tour, so I'm super excited to announce its start! The blog tour for Random Magic kicks off today at Michelle's Book Blog.  The rest of the tour dates are listed below.  My stop happens on November 3rd.  As that date gets closer I'll be posting some fun things to get your interest going.  Be sure to be watching for them. 

Oct. 18

Oct. 20

Allison at Well-Red Reviews

Oct. 22

Oct. 24

Oct. 25

Oct. 26

Trisha Lynn at Trisha's Book Blog

Oct. 27

Becky at The Bookette

Oct. 28

Brande at Book Junkie

Oct. 29

Jenny at Take Me Away

Oct. 30

Elnice at Ellz Readz

Oct. 31 (Halloween)

Nov. 2

Cat at Beyond Books

Nov. 3

Jill THAT's ME!!!!!!

Nov. 4


Charity Lynn at Keep On Booking

Nov. 10

Nov. 11

Nov. 12

McKenzie at The Book Owl

Nov. 13

Willow Raven at Red House Books

Nov. 15

Nov. 17

Nov. 18

Nicole at Books!

Nov. 20

Nov. 21

Nov. 23


Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) at Strange & Random Happenstance

Nov. 25

7th Grade Saturday - Scary Books

This week I asked my students for titles of scary or spooky books they've read and enjoyed.  I got several titles but the over-all winner was:

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

One student wrote it down, and it had multiple arrows pointing to it saying "I agree".  I haven't read this one, but I'm thinking I need to listen to my 7th graders and read it!

Other books they listed were:

  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

  • The Old Willis Place also by Mary Downing Hahn

  • Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

  • Barney Goes to Halloween Town and There's a Monster at the End of This Book - both from when they were little

  • The Shining by Stephen King

  • Goosebump Series by R.L. Stine

October 16, 2009

Friday's For the Guys

Ok I'll admit it - I stink at making sure I've got books for the boys in my class.  Naturally I'm drawn to girl books.  I never have to search to find them.  I also do good about getting what I see as more gender neutural books.  It's time I make an effort to find fantastic books for boys. So with those intentions I introduce you to:

Friday's For the Guys!

Everything Friday I'll highlight books and authors that are pretty much only for the boys.  I'm not saying girls don't read these books, but they are clearly "guy" books.  This Friday I'm highlighting:

Mike Lupica and his new book, Million Dollar Throw, coming out November 3rd. 

For those of you that don't know Mike Lupica has written several books involving sports, but they always go beyond just the game.  Read the summary of Million Dollar Throw to see what I mean.

From Barnes and Noble

What would you do with a million dollars, if you were 13? Nate Brodie is nicknamed “Brady” not only for his arm, but also because he’s the biggest Tom Brady fan. He’s even saved up to buy an autographed football. And when he does, he wins the chance for something he’s never dreamed of—to throw a pass through a target at a Patriots game for one million dollars. Nate should be excited. But things have been tough lately. His dad lost his job and his family is losing their home. It’s no secret that a million dollars would go a long way. So all Nate feels is pressure, and just when he needs it most, his golden arm begins to fail him. Even worse, his best friend Abby is going blind, slowly losing her ability to do the one thing she loves most—paint. Yet Abby never complains, and she is Nate’s inspiration. He knows she’ll be there when he makes the throw of a lifetime.

Check out the trailer!

He also write a series of sports books called The Comeback Kids.  I'm very thankful for the books Mike Lupica's writes.  I have been able to get many boys reading because they see it's about a sport they enjoy.  From the looks of it,  Million Dollar Throw, will help me hook them as well.

October 15, 2009

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!

This weeks throw back is:

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

This is a book that has been out for a while. It won the Newberry in 1995, but I never read it. I had student after student tell what an great book it was. My own daughter loved it, but I just couldn't get myself to read it. I was afraid that the main character would annoy me as some main characters in serious MG book do. I couldn't have been more wrong! It is a beautiful story that shows not only the love of a girl for her mother, but also what happens when that love is tested. I'm glad I finally sat down and read it, and that I now get why everyone told me I should.

From Barnes and Noble

Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother has disappeared. While tracing her steps on a car trip from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, Salamanca tells a story to pass the time about a friend named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother vanished and who received secret messages after her disappearance. One of them read, "Don't judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." Despite her father's warning that she is "fishing in the air," Salamanca hopes to bring her home. By drawing strength from her Native American ancestry, she is able to face the truth about her mother.

October 14, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Rise of Renegade X

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

Ok so I wasn't planning on doing a Waiting on Wednesday until I saw the trailer for Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell. It sounds fantastic!!! I mean really, who wouldn't love a book that looks at the making of a villian instead of the making of a hero.  So much more fun! That said, the book I am waiting on is:

Rise of Renegade X

From Chelsea's website:

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he only has six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.

To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s “flying lessons” that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city—despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights—thwart the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keep his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.

Will be released on: May 11, 2010 (that's waaaaaaaay too far away!)

October 13, 2009

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary from Barnes and Noble

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

So I guess I had been living under a rock when this book first came out, so I've only just read it.  And to put it simply - it was AWESOME! The concept of the book - the teens fighting to death - could have been done in a very graphic way, but it wasn't.  Instead it focuses more on Katniss's mental survival.  How she is able to figure out ways to get what she needs and save herself.  Don't let that make you think this isn't a book of action tho! It is filled with action - edge of your seat action! But the thought behind the action is shown as well.

I have this thing when I'm really loving a book.  I'll read a few pages, set it down for a bit, pick up and read a few more then put it down again.  It's like I can't bear to get to the end of the book, because I don't want to leave that story.  I don't want the enjoyment to end so soon! I know that if I didn't do that I'd have to book done in one day and then all the fun would be over!  I did the few pages at a time a lot with this book.  I didn't want it to end.

Final Thought: Believe the hype.  It's a great book!

Lexile: 810
Best for ages 13+

Tween Tuesday

Tween Tuesday was started over at Green Bean Teen Queen as away to hightlight awesome books for the 9-12 year old set. AKA Tweens.  I feel I review and highlight a lot of Teen/YA books, and since I teach 7th graders I want to make sure I cover ALL the readers I have in my classes. 

I have two books to highlight today.

Among The Hidden (The Shadow Children Series) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

From Barnes and Noble:

Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend. Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police.

This is the first book in a seven book series.  I've read this book aloud to my students, and they always enjoy it - often begging me to read book 2.  The students I have that are the 3rd or more child in their family are very interested in this book since they would be illigel. 

Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle

This is a new book I've seen around a lot.  I haven't read it yet, but from what I've read about it, it's a great book for tween girls with a great message about being proud of who you are.  And that's a message that girls this age need to hear over and over.  I'll be buying it for  my daughter for sure.

From Barnes and Noble

What do Katie-Rose, Yasaman, Milla, and Violet all have in common? Other than being named after flowers, practically nothing. Katie-Rose is a film director in training. Yasaman is a computer whiz. Milla is third in command of the A list. And Violet is the new girl in school. They’re fab girls, all of them, but they sure aren’t friends. And if evil queen bee Medusa— ’scuse me, Modessa—has her way, they never will be. But this is the beginning of a new school year, when anything can happen and social worlds can collide . . .

October 12, 2009

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 will I will be starting Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz.  I recieved this for review.  It looks like a pretty cool book.  Check out the trailer below!

Summary from Barnes and Noble

A teenage boy.
A dark wizard.
A mystic scroll.
And the fate of a world hangs in the balance...

When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help a young princess, named Dara, save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies.

Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a fearless African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk.

Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.


I'll also start listening to The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt in the car with my daughter since we finished The Dead and The Gone.  See my review of it here.

Summary from Barnes and Noble

Seventh grader Holling Hoodhood has a tough year ahead of him. First of all, his teacher Mrs. baker, keeps giving him the evil eye. Second of all, the class bully keeps threatening to do Number 167 (and you don't even want to know what Number 167 is). Third of all, his father keeps calling him the Son Who is Going to Inherit Hoodhood and Associates. But things are changing, and while reciting his favorite curses from Shakespear's plays, Holling might just find the true meaning of his own story.

I started listening to this while running on the treadmill and laughed so hard I almost fell off!

And lastly, I'll be listening to Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson while I run on the treadmill.  I'm going to start listening to a book sometimes while I run.  It'll help me get through the TBR pile, and since I figured out how to rent audio books from the library and put them on my iPod I have lots of books to get started on.

Summary from Barnes and Noble

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend's memory and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, awardwinning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all—hope.


Last week I finished listening to The Dead and The Gone and and finished reading The Hunger Games.  Watch for me review of The Hunger Games soon!

October 11, 2009

Review: The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This is the first book I'm reviewing that I listened to instead of read.  My husband bought me an FM transmitter for my iPod, and my daughter and I have been listening to it when we go to and from school.  I didn't think my son was paying attention until he got mad that we finished the book when he wasn't in the car!

Summary from Barnes and Noble

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event--an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

You can't call this a sequel to Life as We Knew It because it takes place at the same time as that book.  It is a companion book.  You could read either book first. I was a little hesitant going into this book because I heard it wasn't as good as the LAWKI.  I disagree! I enjoyed (and with the pain in the book it's hard to say "enjoy") this book quit a bit.  While LAWKI seems to focus more on the solitude of Miranda's family - this book shows how a big city might be affected.  The issues that face Alex are different but as horrible - rats, dead bodies, no parents, offers for his sister.  I once again felt dragged through every emotion I had, especially to a place with almost not hope.  Doesn't it sound fun!? Just like LAWKI, it wasn't meant to be.  And just like with that book, the events in this book will stick with me.

Bottom Line:  Read it.  And then wait like the rest of us for the 3rd book, This World We Live In, to come out. 

Lexile: 680
Best for ages: 13+, but my daughter is 10 and loved it.  We did talk about some of the issues in it because some are pretty tough.

Side note:  When NASA shot that rocket thing into the moon on Monday - it scared me because of these books!!!!!