February 28, 2010

Sunday Shelves Feb 28 - A Look Around the Web

I am weirdly facinated by other people's bookshelves and why they arrange them how they do. I took this and created a weekly feature, Sunday Shelves. In this feature I highlight the bookshelves of different bloggers and readers.

This week I'm highlighting some shelves fellow bloggers have recently posted.

Misty over at The Book Rat has been posting pictures of her different colored shelves.  She groups books of the same color together.  The result is pretty cool! Check out her orignal post HERE.
Here's her purple shelf.  Doesn't it look cool??

Nicole of at WORD for Teens did a whole post about her TBR shelves.  You've got to see it! Lots of pics.  She her post HERE.

Valerie at I Should Be Writing has a really cool shelf she shared.  I'd love to have that one in my house! Check it out HERE.

Tynga at Tynga's Reviews has some great shelves as well.  You've got to see the pics.  Check it out HERE.

And lastly I found these shelves that I'd love to put in my house.  Aren't they cool??

As you can see I got the picture from a website called The Lavender Barn.  They have some really cool shelves.  I just love the thought of having a library big enough to need a ladder!

February 27, 2010

In My Mail Box or Shopping Bag Feb 27

This is a weekly meme inspired by Kristi at The Story Siren and Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. In it we share what books arrived at our house via mail, bookstore or library. Remember to click the title to be taken to the Goodreads page for the book.
 Here we go!

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols - SIGNED! (thanks Books Obsession)

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga AND the cool little Kyra figure
(won at Barry Lygo's website.  I had to ask Kyra two questions. You've got to read her answers! CLICK HERE FOR THEM!)

Albatross by Josie Bloss (won from Flux Books)

Undone by Brooke Tayler

Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler

Owl of the Week
Cute little owl notpads from the Dollor Spot at Target :)

February 26, 2010

Friday's for the Guys - Cirque du Freak

Every 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 Cirque du Freak Series
by Darren Shan
This is a series that has been around for quite some time.  I always thought it would become more popular than it has.  Only this year have I finally seen several boys/students pick this series up and read it.  I do give some of that credit to the movie that came out.  What's cool is if you like the first book you have plenty more to read - there are 12 in the series.  That is always a positive when hooking my reluctant readers.
To check out a website about the series CLICK HERE
My thoughts on book two: The Vampire's Assistant
I read it this summer and enjoyed it.  It's a much darker story that some other vampire books.  As I told my boys - it's not a sparkly girly girl version of vampires.  This has more action and gore (not super gore, but more than some other vampire books I've read).  I like main character Darren. He seemed realistic especially with not knowing how to deal with everything that is happening to him.
I plan on reading the next book in the series, and I almost bought the movie tonight at Target!
Cirque du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare
Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy who enjoys hanging out with his three best friends. Then one day they stumble across as invitation to visit the Cirque du Freak, a mysterious freak show. Only two tickets are available, so they draw straws to see who will go. As if by destiny, Darren wins one, and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires. This is Darren's story.
Cirque du Freak #2: Vampire's Assistant
The Vampire's Assistant chronicles his new lonely life as a half-vampire, pumped with the cursed blood of his vampire guardian, Mr. Crepsley. Darren has much to learn about his freshly supernatural state. He doesn't grow fangs, for instance, like he thought he might. And he can't change shape or fly. Garlic just gives vampires bad breath... And they eat bagels. Some of the hardest lessons of all come when he joins the traveling freak show Cirque Du Freak, the show that got him and Steve in trouble in the first place. Readers won't be disappointed by this fast-paced, gory, but strangely amiable sequel. In fact, the plot is much better paced than the first and the dialogue far more natural. Deadly pythons, a snake boy, Cormac Limbs (bite off his finger and it grows back!), and an entire cast of dreadfully creepy characters offer excitement beyond expectation. Along the way, we come to really like Darren, who will do absolutely anything for a friend.
And if you haven't seen it - here's the movie trailer

February 25, 2010

I Love to Read Month at My School

I don't know if you know that February is I Love to Read Month.  We celebrate it at my middle school every year.  One of the really cool things we do is create "book posters".  Each homeroom picks a middle school chapter book and recreates the book cover in a poster form.  These are then hung up down our main hallway.  The results can be pretty amazing.  I've put together a slide show of this year's posters. 

February 24, 2010

Wanting and Waiting on Wednesday Feb 24

This is a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. I've got THREE this week.  I've been avoiding doing other things by trolling for books on Amazon and BN.  (see Monday's post for proof!)  These three books come out in the month of March, and they look like good ones. 

Title: It's Raining Cupcakes
Author: Lisa Schroder
Released: March 9 by Aladdin Books
Why I'm Interested: It sounds like a fun read that would be perfect for my middle school girls

Summary From Amazon
Twelve-year-old isabel is dying to get out of Oregon. She spends her free time in the library, reading and dreaming about faraway places. When her mom decides to open a cupcake shop in their little town of Willow, Isabel feels just like buttercream frosting to a cupcake - stuck.

It seems as if it will be another disappointing summer, until Isabel learns of a baking contest. If she can come up with a winning recipe, she might have a chance of competing in the bake-off in New York City!
 But Isabel's best friend, Sophie, is also entering the contes and things always seem to go Sophie's way. To make matters worse, Isabel and her mom don't exactly see eye to eye on the type of recipe Isabel should enter.

In this sweet treat by popular teen author Lisa Schroeder, Isabel discovers that maybe it's not about where you go in life as much as it is about enjoying the view from wherever you are.

Title: Addicted to Her
Author: Janet Nichols Lynch
Released: March 15 by Holiday House
Why I'm Interested: I like that it's about a boy.  I find very few of books with lead boy characters.

Summary from Amazon
Monique is as beautiful and unobtainable as an Aztec goddess. Or is she? When Rafa sees Monique burst out of her boyfriend's truck during an explosive fight, he offers to drive her home. However, it is Rafa who is in for the ride of his life. Soon he is basking in Monique's attentions, but at a cost. To keep her Rafa must quit the wrestling team, blow off family responsibilities, join her in her risky behavior, and worst of all lie. How can Rafa let everyone, including himself, down? But how can he say no to the mesmerizing Monique?

Title: Unwritten Rule
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Released: March 16 by Simon Pulse
Why I'm Interested: Haven't we all been there????

Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

February 23, 2010

Tween Tues - Finally by Wendy Mass

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. Any book highlighted on Tween Tuesday does count for the In the Middle Reading Challenge. This week's book is:

by Wendy Mass

I've read several books by Wendy Mass and enjoyed them all. To prove that I overhead one of my 7th graders reading 11 Birthdays tell her friend it was an awesome book! 
You can read my review of another of her books, Every Soul a Star, here.
This is her new book due on March 1st.  With the great track record I've seen I'm sure this will be a good one. 

From Goodreads
You can pierce your ears when you're twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you're twelve. You can babysit little Timmy next door when you're twelve. You can get a cell phone when you're twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front passenger-side seat when you're twelve.

When you're twelve, when you're twelve, when you're twelve . . .

My name is Rory Swenson, and I've been waiting to turn twelve my whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen.

My life will officially begin.

February 22, 2010

Monday Reading Merriment - Books I Found and WANT!

Usually on Monday I talk about what book I've finished and what books I plan on reading next.  But I was looking at books on Barnes and Noble online and found a bunch of books I want.  So I thought I'd share them!

Epitaph Road
2097 is a transformed world. Thirty years earlier, a mysterious plague wiped out 97 percent of the male population, devastating every world system from governments to sports teams, and causing both universal and unimaginable grief. In the face of such massive despair, women were forced to take over control of the planet--and in doing so they eliminated all of Earth's most pressing issues. Poverty, crime, warfare, hunger . . . all gone.

But there's a price to pay for this new "utopia," which fourteen-year-old Kellen is all too familiar with. Every day, he deals with life as part of a tiny minority that is purposefully kept subservient and small in numbers. His career choices and relationship options are severely limited and controlled. He also lives under the threat of scattered recurrences of the plague, which seem to pop up wherever small pockets of men begin to regroup and grow in numbers.

And then one day, his mother's boss, an iconic political figure, shows up at his home. Kellen overhears something he shouldn't--another outbreak seems to be headed for Afterlight, the rural community where his father and a small group of men live separately from the female-dominated society. Along with a few other suspicious events, like the mysterious disappearances of Kellen's progressive teacher and his Aunt Paige, Kellen is starting to wonder whether the plague recurrences are even accidental. No matter what the truth is, Kellen cares only about one thing--he has to save his father.

We Were Here
 When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home—said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.

But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.

Life usually doesn’t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.

Eli the Good
Bicentennial fireworks burn the sky. Bob Seger growls from a transistor radio. And down by the river, girls line up on lawn chairs in pursuit of the perfect tan. Yet for ten-year-old Eli Book, the summer of 1976 is the one that threatened to tear his family apart. There is his distant mother; his traumatized Vietnam vet dad; his wild sister; his former warprotester aunt; and his tough yet troubled best friend, Edie, the only person with whom he can be himself. As tempers flare and his father’s nightmares rage, Eli watches from the sidelines, but soon even he cannot escape the current of conflict. From Silas House comes a tender look at the complexities of childhood and the realities of war — a quintessentially Southern novel filled with music, nostalgic detail, a deep respect for nature, and a powerful sense of place

Me, The Missing and the Dead
Me: Lucas Swain—I'm nearly sixteen years old and live in London. I was fairly normal until the night I found Violet. Then everything changed.

The Missing: Dad. He disappeared five years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him, and nobody cares except me. It's enough to drive you crazy.

The Dead: That's Violet . . . in the urn. Speaking of crazy—I know she's trying to tell me something, and I think it's about my father. . . .

A dead lady may not be much to go on, but my dad's out there somewhere, and it's up to me to find out where.

Because I Am the Furnature
Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.
Boy Crazy
How to Date Like a Guy:

1. Flirt constantly.
2. Keep your options open.
3. Don't get attached.

Cassie and her two best friends, Greta and Keagan, are so over boyfriends. But just because the girls are anti-boyfriend doesn't mean they're anti-boy. So they make a pact for the summer: They'll each kiss ten different guys before school starts—no commitments, no drama, just fun. Sounds easy enough. Then Cassie meets the perfect guy (nine boys too soon), and the pact starts to seem like a terrible idea. Not to mention Boy Number One turns out to be her best friend's ex. Ugh—Cassie's summer just went from carefree to complicated faster than she can say ."

February 21, 2010

Sunday Shelves Feb. 21

I am weirdly facinated by other people's bookshelves and why they arrange them how they do. I took this and created a weekly feature, Sunday Shelves. In this feature I highlight the bookshelves of different bloggers and readers.

This week I'm featuring:

Here's what she has to say about her shelves:
In my cramped living space, my books are pretty much all over the place. I have a total of six bookcases, five shelves (walls and desk), two drawers, and a cabinet full of books. My favorite shelves are the ones in my closet because the contain most of my adult and YA fantasy.

Even though I'm a librarian, the books aren't put in any clear manner. Some of them are alphabetized, some of them are stacked by size. All of my shelves are full, so my organization system is basically whatever fits wherever I can fit it. I try my best to keep series together, but it's not always possible. What's funny about it is that if you name a book, I'll be able to give it to you within a few seconds -- I remember where every book is.

What I really like about my bookcases (besides the books) are all the little reminders of things I love -- my Broadway mugs and snowglobes, mockingjay pin, pictures, some scrapbooking supplies, and souvenirs from trips. I like seeing my interests together, having a visual representation of my favorite things all the time.

One day, I'd like to separate my YA books from my adult books. And also to break down YA by genre. Well, that and manage to have the library from "Beauty and the Beast."

If you'd like to participate in Sunday Shelves fill out the form!

February 20, 2010

In My Mailbox or Shopping Bag Feb 20th

This is a weekly meme inspired by Kristi at The Story Siren and Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. In it we share what books arrived at our house via mail, bookstore or library. Here we go!

I've got two weeks worth of books, so there are several!

 The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz
Game by Walter Dean Myers
Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Evernight by Claudia Gray
The Luxe by Anna Godberson
I Am Apache by Tanya Landman
(a bunch I got at Amazon in their bargain book section!)

 That's Life, Samara Brooks by Daniel Ehrenhaft (from my children for Valentine's Day)
Free Fall by Roderick Gordon (from one of my students - he was done with it!)

Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi (won from Melissa Walker)
Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron (won from YA Books Central)
Signed Shadow Hills bookmark (from A Passion for Books)
Death by Latte by Linda Gerber (won at my school for I Love to Read Month!)

For Review
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
SPHDZ Book #1 by Jon Scieszka

The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld 

Owl of the Week
My Daughter bought this owl, decided she didn't want it anymore and gave it to me! I was having my students help me name it - something to do with books.  They came up with Bob, Fred (nothing to do with books! Paige and one of the owls from Harry Potter) I settled on Scout from To Kill a Mocking Bird

February 19, 2010

You have $10 to Spend on a Book - WHAT DO YOU GET?????

Barnes and Noble has a deal that if you order at least $10 in books you get free shipping. 
I only want to spend $10. 
 What should I get????
Please suggest :)

February 18, 2010

Thoughts on Thursday: Winter and Books

On Thursdays I take time to step back and just share my thoughts on things related to reading. Sometimes these may be my thoughts or thoughts I've gotten from my students. It depends on the Thursday. It depends on the topic. It depends on the week!

Today I'm thinking a lot about winter. 
You see I live in a state that gets snow.  A lot of snow.  And it gets cold.  Really cold.  About February I'm done with it all.  I don't want snow anymore.  I don't want cold anymore.  I'm tired of bundling up myself and three kids when we leave for school each day.  I want summer and tanktops!
With this attitude towards winter I know I have one of two choices.
1.  I can stay negative and crab everytime I look and go outside
2.  I can find something positive about winter
I pick #2. 
And what I choose to focus on is the amount of reading I get done because (for me) it's too cold to do anything else! And I decided to troll through Barnes and Noble online and find some books with pretty "winter" or "snow" covers. 
Here's what I found.  I have to admit all the blues look pretty together! Now I haven't read most of these, but right now I'm just into the prettiness of them.  Yes I'm judging a book by it's cover :) But since it's helping me hate winter less, I'm ok with that.

Now it's time for you to share.  If you love winter WHY? If you don't, what do you do to make it better? OR What "winter/snow" book have you read and enjoyed?

February 17, 2010

Waiting and Wanting to Read on Wednesday: Boys Without Names

Robbie over at Boy With Books started this meme, and it fits my Wednesday needs better. Each week we share a book in our TBR pile that we just haven't gotten to yet, but we really want to read it or a book that's already out that we really look forward to reading.  This week it's also a book on my wish list because I don't own it  - yet!

Boys Without Names
by Kashmira Sheth

This is not a book I've seen all over the blogosphere.  I've seen it one, maybe two places, but it sounds amazing.  Read the summary for yourself!

From Goodreads:
For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. So they must flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family until school starts, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.

But Gopal has been deceived. There is no factory but, instead, a small, stuffy sweatshop, where he and five other boys are forced to make beaded frames for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. In this atmosphere of distrust and isolation, locked in a rundown building in an unknown part of the city, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.

Then, late one night when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys' key to holding on to their sense of self and their hope for any kind of future. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape.

February 16, 2010


Hey everyone I want to announce the winner of the contest for any book in the Vlad Tod series.  I had 37 people enter with 112 entries!  At first the most popular book was Eighth Grade Bites but at the end Elevnth Grade Burns challenged it! 

Ok the winner is:

She picked Eighth Grade Bites
I've emailed her, and she has the next 72 hours to get back to me.
Thanks for playing everyone, and I promise my 175 follower contest will be up this weekend!

Tween Tuesday: Toad Rage

This is just a fun, all-be-it juvenile, book.  It would be fun to read right now because it centers around the Olympics.

I read this book several years ago and laughed my way through it. I then read it aloud to my students for a few years.  They laughed at all the humor because it was right where they're at!  And the antics of Limpy's cousin just adds to the fun.  A plus for me - it tied in with our 7th grade science curriculum.  They were talking about invasive exotic species - and that's what cane toads are! The book covers this directly, and it was fun for the kids to see the connection to something they had learned about.

If you want a just plain fun read I say check it out, BUT be prepared for three things 1. to laugh 2. to cringe 3. to learn a bit about judging people.  Also, be prepared to fall in love with a "cute" toad that in really life might be a little hard to find warm fuzzy feelings over :)

From Goodreads:
Limpy’s family reckons humans don’t hate cane toads, but Limpy knows otherwise. He’s spotted the signs: the cross looks, the unkind comments, the way they squash cane toads with their cars. Limpy is desperate to save his species from ending up as pancakes. Somehow he must make humans see how fabulous cane toads really are. Risking everything, he sets off on a wart-tinglingly dangerous and daring journey to . . . the Olympics?

This is the epic story of a slightly squashed young cane toad’s quest for the truth.

February 15, 2010

Monday Reading Merriment Feb 15

This is a weekly meme inspired by one started 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. I like to put a spin on it to also look at various other reading events happening. EDITED TO ADD! This meme has been passed on to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books!

First I'd like to give a shout out to my big sis Penni! It is her birthday today! Happy Happy Happy Birthday Sis!!!!!
If you'd like, leave a reading suggestion for my sister.  She is my greatest success in turning a "non"reader into a reader.  She's read the entire Mortal Instruments series, the entire Wake series, Generation Dead, Fallen Angel (which FYI - she didn't like!), Need and Captivate.  Let's keep her reading ;)  I'm also trying real hard to get her to guest post with her review of the Mortal Instruments series.  Hopefully I'll talk her into it soon!

Ok on to my reading: Well this week I was kinda a slacker.  I was a slacker in reading.  In blogging.  In general! I did start Untamed, and I'll finish it (my worst guilty pleasure!), but that's it.  I'll plead sickness.  I was sick Friday/Saturday - thus my no IMM or Sunday Shelves.

This week I plan to finished Untamed and Before I Fall.  I'm hesitating on Before I Fall just because I know it's gonna be a powerful one and sometimes I need to get myself ready for those books.

I'll be announcing the winner of the Vlad Tod book this week AND I'll be announcing my 175 follower (ok now like 183) this week as well.

Reggie as The Undercover Book Lover (not really) is having a huge HUGE HUGE birthday giveway.  This girl is crazy generous.  You must go over there and check it out.  I've listed below, ok cut and pasted from her site, the list of books she's giving away. And get this ONE winner gets them ALL!!!!!

1 Finished copy of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
1 Finished copy of The Sight by Judy Blundell
1 Finished copy of Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
1 Finished copy of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
1 Finished copy of The Line by Teri Hall
1 Finished copy of The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
1 Finished copy of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
1 Finished copy of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
1 Finished copy of Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
1 Finished copy of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

February 12, 2010

Friday's for the Guys REVIEW: Paper Towns by John Green

Every 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:
Paper Towns by John Green
As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, a thing I really struggle with is finding good books for boys.  After reading Paper Towns, my second book by John Green I realized he is a GREAT author for boys! Ok, not for my 7th grade boys, but even better, for older boys, probably the group that's the hardest to find books for.  Why is he a good author for boys?
1. His narrators are boys so boys can relate
2. His characters aren't always the ultra smooth have-it-all-together boys.  They are real!
3. They like guy things
4. They show that guys think and care and feel way more than we believe sometimes!
5.  They can help guys grown and learn about the world
If you have never read a book by John Green before I suggest you do! Now!
Ok to go with this, here is my review of Paper Towns
From Goodreads
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.
My Review:
Ok I'm going to get this a bit brief because I'm afraid I'll give things away if I say too much!  I really liked this book.  Right from the beginning when Margo climbed in Quentin's window, I was hooked.  I had to know more about these characters.  I will tell you, I didn't always like Margo.  She seems selfish at points, but I think I needed to think that, so I felt some of the conflict that Quentin felt.  And at times he frustrated me as well! But what made this book amazing was to watch the changes take place in Quentin as he searches for Margo.  He learns so many things about life and people - things we all need to learn.  And on a personal note,  I really liked that what helped him gain these understanding was the poem "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman, one of my favorite poets! (I named my dog after him!) Through the lines of this poem, Quientin learns how to truly look at the people around him.  It's very clear he hasn't been doing that. And it held up a mirror to how I live my own life.
As Quentin and his friends set out in search of Margo, I felt his urgancy and his need to find her. So when the final scenes play out, I felt all he did as well.  It was a roller coaster ride, but one I'm glad I took.
Final thoughts: Boys can relate to Quienten, and we can all relate to what he learns.
Best stick with you image: The fish exploding in the car.
Best for ages: 15+ at least due to mature language and scenes.

February 11, 2010


I just want to remind you all that my contest for ANY BOOK in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series ends on Saturday night.  Fill out the form here to enter!

Also just wanted to give you a heads up on a great V-Day Contest over at Reverie Book Reviews.  Go here to check it out!  She has four more books to give out, but enter fast or it drops to three!

February 10, 2010

Waiting to Read Feb 10th: Sweethearts

Robbie over at Boy With Books started this meme, and it fits my Wednesday needs better. Each week we share a book in our TBR pile that we just haven't gotten to yet, but we really want to read it or a book that's already out that we really look forward to reading.

The book I want to read this week is:
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
From Goodreads:
As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another's only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she's lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she's popular, happy, and dating, everything "Jennifer" couldn't be---but she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

Will someone please tell me why I haven't read this book yet?????? Everytime I read the summary I'm like "this sounds sooooooooooo good!". (oh and the cover makes me want a cookie)

I found what I believe is the German cover for it.  What do you think?

February 9, 2010

Tween Tuesday Feb 9th REVIEW: Keepers of the School

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. Any book highlighted on Tween Tuesday does count for the In the Middle Reading Challenge. This week's book is:

Benjamin Pratt & The Keepers of the School: We the Children
by Andrew Clements
To be released April 2010

I recieved an ARC for this book, and thought it looked like a fun read for the tween set.  My review is below.

From Goodreads:
One secret mission. One secret Society. Once chance to save their school from total destruction.

Benjamin Pratt's harbor-side school is going to be bulldozed to make room for an amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true ... or is it more like a nightmare? Something about the plan seems fishy, and Lyman, the new assistant janitor, seems even fishier. When Ben and his friend, Jill, start digging for answers, they find things that the people with money and power don't want them to see. Could the history hidden deep within an old school building actually overthrow a thirty-million-dollar real-estate deal? and how far will the developers go to keep that from happening? Ben and Jill are about to discover just how dangerous a little knowledge can be.

My Review:
This was a fun read that I think the younger set will really like.  There is plenty of mystery and action.  I particulary liked the clues that Benjamin and Jill had to figure out in order to begin to save their school. Unraveling the clues really pulls the reader into the story, as they try to solve them right along with the characters. The story actually kind of reminded me of Chasing Vermer because of the clues. But it's more that that! At the end some tense action was brought in - keeping the reading hooked.  And of course, it ends with plenty of mystery yet to solve.  I'm curious how it will all play out!

As a 7th grader teacher, I don't see this being a great book/series for my students.  It's marketed to a younger group (7-10), but I do have a few struggling readers that I think this book would be perfect for.  The high action would get them and keep them reading.  Plus it being part of a series will get them reading even more! Gotta love that.

I also want to comment quick on the illustrations in the book.  This being an ARC, not all the illustrations were there and complete, but I could tell that they will add immensely to the story.  I'm sure readers will be searching them for clues.

Final thought: Great high interest book for even reluctant readers.

Best stick with you image: The description of the their school. I want to go to school there!

Best for ages: 7-11

February 8, 2010

Monday Reading Merriment Feb 8

This is a weekly meme inspired by one started 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. I like to put a spin on it to also look at various other reading events happening.

What I Read:

Paper Towns by John Green
I'll be reviewing this book later this week.  In short: it was AMAZING!

What I'll Be Reading:
I got Before I Fall for the Barnes and Noble First Look Teen Club, so I'll be starting on that one.  It sounds like it should be a good read.


Don't forget my Chronicles of Vladimir Tod contest.  It's open until the 13th.  Fill out the form to enter

Want to Win a KINDLE?? Head over to Tartitude to see how.  I mean really how could you NOT check it out :)

ALSO!!! I've hit 175 followers, so I'll be doing a contest for that REAL SOON!!!

Books Coming Out This Week (actually all on the 9th):

Eleventh Grade Burns: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer!!!!!! Mine copy has been preordered :)

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berks - I so want to read this book!

The Life of Glass by Jillian Cantor

February 7, 2010

In My Mail Box or Shopping Bag

This is a weekly meme inspired by Kristi at The Story Siren and Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. In it we share what books arrived at our house via mail, bookstore or library. I got some books this week. Here we go!

I only got a few this week, but I love the ones I got!

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (Thanks YABOOKNERD)

For Review:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
(from Barnes and Noble First Look Club)

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Owl of the Week

This cute little owl bag.  I've had it for awhile, but I just decided to feature it now.  I use it to carry the book I'm currently reading.

February 6, 2010

7th Grade Saturday - What They're Reading

I haven't done this in a while, so I thought it was time.  I like to 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!

Dead is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez
That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Gone by Michael Grant
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Pendragon The Quillian Games by D.J. MacHale
Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz

February 5, 2010

Friday's for the Guys REVIEW of WEREling

Every 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:

WEREling by Steve Feasey
I got an ARC of this book a bit ago, and finally sat down to read it.

From Goodreads:
Fourteen-year-old Trey Laporte is not a kid anymore. Not after the day he wakes up in agony—retina-splitting, vomit-inducing agony. His clothes are torn. His room is trashed.

Enter Lucien Charron, the mysterious, long-lost “uncle” with freakish fire-flecked eyes and skin that blisters in the sun. Suddenly, Trey finds himself living in a luxury penthouse at the heart of a strange and sinister empire built on the powers of the Netherworld—vampires, demons, sorcerers, and djinn.

And there is a girl—Alexa Charron—who is half vampire, half human, and insanely pretty, with powers all of her own. Trey is falling for her.

Trey is training night and day to control the newly discovered power lurking inside him. Now, demons are closing in on every side, and the most psychopathic bloodsucker to rock the Netherworld wants to destroy him. Above all, he must face one terrifying question: Is he a boy . . . or is he a beast?
My Review:
I enjoyed this book!  It starts off strong right away with Trey waking up to a trashed room.  From there the action doesn't stop coming.  What I really liked is that it doesn't play the "try and figure out what I am game".  Instead  you find out quickly what is going on.  I liked that because it allows the story to focus on a bigger problem Trey faces, instead of focusing for pages and pages on hints about who or what he is.  The pace doesn't let up. As soon as Trey finds out the whole story of who he is, his uncle begins to help him control and use the powers he has.  Almost immediately he is forced to use his new powers to fight creatures who are determined to kill him.  These scenes were intense, and I found myself holding my breath during them.  The final fight scene was great - I loved how it was set up to make you question what you thought you knew.  Although the ending left a lot of things unknown, I didn't feel overly frustrated.  Instead I'm anxious to see how Trey finds more answers and battles those against him.
I do have to add that I loved Alexa because she was a strong girl - not a girl only in need of saving.  She is the often the one that helps Trey gain control of himself when his emotions threaten to overrun him.  Its fantastic to have a girl that, although she loves shopping, she's very capable of taking care of herself. 
Final thoughts: Full of action and not just hints.  I see it as a great book for boys who are done with the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series.
Best stick with you image:  When Trey fights Lucien the first time.
Best for ages: 12+

February 4, 2010

Thinking on Thursday Review: Blue Bloods

On Thursdays I take time to step back and just share my thoughts on things related to reading. Sometimes these may be my thoughts or thoughts I've gotten from my students. It depends on the Thursday. It depends on the topic. It depends on the week!

This week I'm thinking about the book Blue Bloods. I read this book in one evening!

Title: Blue Bloods
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Hyperion

From Goodreads:
When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think.

Could those vampire legends really be true?
My Review:
Yes I did read this in one evening.  I'm not sure why I did though.  It was a good book, but it wasn't like wow fantastic crazy good.  There was enough mystery within the story to keep me trying to figure out everything that was going on. I was curious how it would all end. It was clear from the beginning there would be some twists and turns, and there definately was.  A few really took me by suprise.  I liked the characters. They seemed believable especially the main character Schuyler.  She feels like she never fits in, but at the same time doesn't let it bother her too much. Throughout the book her character showed some growth so that was nice to see.  This also happened with another main charcter, Bliss. Her character actually just inched out Schuyler for the most interesting character. I think she's one to watch for in later books.
The book did end with as many questions and answers.  I'm up in the air about whether I'll read any more books in the series.  This book didn't wow me, so I'm not feeling the need to run out and read more. I might try the next book, Masquerade, and go from there.
Final thought: Nice quick read that doesn't pretend to be deep literature.  Read it for fun.
Best stick with you image: Eating raw meat - yuck!
Best for ages: 15+ because of some swearing and adult situations

February 3, 2010

Wanting to Read Wednesday Feb 3

Robbie over at Boy With Books started this meme, and it fits my Wednesday needs better. Each week we share a book in our TBR pile that we just haven't gotten to yet, but we really want to read it or a book that's already out that we really look forward to reading.

The book I want to read this week is:

The Knife of Never Letting Go
 by Patrick Ness

From Goodreads:
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

This was one of the first books I found after I started blogging.  I honestly don't know if I would've heard about it if I hadn't joined the blogging community.  From what I've heard it's fantastic.  Why haven't I read it yet?  I don't know, but it's time to push it to the top of the pile.  And I've got to remember that as soon as I read it I'll need the sequel The Ask and the Answer PLUS the 3rd book Monsters of Men (thankfully  not due out until May)!