March 31, 2010

Review: Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

Title: Dreaming Anastasia
Author: Joy Preble
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 310

From Goodreads
Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

My Thoughts
I had shared the book trailer for this book with my students and had the book out to show them.  They were working on some assignments, so I picked it up and thought I'd read just a bit at the beginning to get the feel for it.  I do this often, so I can book talk a book better.  Well to my suprise it really hooked me and pulled me into the story!  I took it home and finished it that night! From the start I liked Anna. She seemed like a really nice girl caught up in something she didn't understand. And the mystery surrounding Ethan really intrigued me.  The story is completely unrealistic, but like Anna I found myself believing in it!  As I kept reading I was more and more curious how it was all going to end - especially because the story of Anastasia is true.  I found the author worked out the ending perfectly leaving me satisfied and not rolling my eyes in disbelief.  (trust me I've seen endings that had me rolling my eyes because they were so silly). But what I really found interesting was the play of present day against history and against the world of folktales. The author did a great job threading the three together. Throughout the whole book she brought all the different threads together seamlessly, even adding in a few suprises.  At the end I left the book very satisfied. OH the only thing I would've liked more of was a bit more romance, but I guess that wasn't the focus of the book so it made sense to not have much!

Final thought: Good book that had mystery, suspense and a few suprises

Best stick-with-you image: Baba Yaga's hands detached running around!

Best for ages: 12+

Side note you should know - there are a few pages written in cursive.  I could read them, but they did slow me down.  They CANNOT be skipped or you'll miss important details. 

Waiting or Wanting to Read Wednesday

This is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. In this post I talk about books yet to be released that I'm excited about OR already published book's I've seen that I'm really wanting to read.  I also like to try and find books other bloggers aren't sharing so that more books are shared!

This week I found:

Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Why I'm Interested in this book
The premise sounds soooooo fun! It's kinda Alice In Wonderland, but yet not.  And cases of mistaken identity are always interesting- being mistaken as the worse witch in fairyland sounds super fun!

From the book jacket:
B z z z z z z z

The buzzing sound?

Do you hear that?

There it is again.

B z z z z z z z

No? Well, I really shouldn't have asked. Most people can't hear it, anyway. But, if you could, you'd think it sounds like you're teetering on the edge of the universe. That's what Isabelle Bean thinks...and she's not that far from the truth.

B z z z z z z z

You really don't hear that?

Well, it's actually not that great to have a buzzing in your ear. It's distracting for one thing. And when Isabelle starts listening to the buzz instead of, say, her boring teacher, strange things happen. She gets sent to the principal's office (that's not so strange), but then while awaiting her punishment, she tumbles into an adventure -- into another world that's a little bit different, a little bit Hansel & Gretel-y, a little bit like a fairy tale, which would be great, but...did I mention that Isabelle is an unusual dresser? When she shows up in fairy-tale land wearing her favorite high, pointy boots, the fairy-tale people start thinking that Isabelle is a witch -- and not just any witch, but the witch!

Here's another cover I found.  I think I like the one at the top of the post better!

March 30, 2010

Tween Tuesday: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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:
Smile by Raina Telgemeier

I just got this book in my classroom library, and it doesn't stay on the shelf!  They all want to read it.  It does look pretty cute.
I think it's for two reasons:

1. It's about getting braces - something they can relate to
2. It's a graphic novel.

From Goodreads
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there's still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.

March 29, 2010

Some Contests Around the Web

I wanted to let you know about 5 great contests going on around the web.

1.  La Femme Readers, a long with A Good Addiction, are having a fantastic giveaway  - one that will blow you away - with 6 winners! Some of the books you could win include, Linger, The Tenstion of Opposites, Sea and Rules of Attraction! Go HERE to get the full story and enter. 

2.  Faye over at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm wants to be your book fairy.  She's having a contest where you could win For Keeps, Shade or Mistwood.  You'll get to pick 12! - yes 12! books.  Go HERE to get the details and enter. 

3.  The Bookologist is having a Mega International and Fantastic YA Book Box Contest.  The winner will get to choose one of three boxes fill with amazing YA books. Here's what's in each box:

Box 1:
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride (ARC)
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ARC)
Sea by Heidi R. Kling (ARC)
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway (ARC)

Box 2:
My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day (ARC)
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (ARC)
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala (ARC)
Winter Longing by Tricia Mills (ARC)

Box 3:
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (ARC)
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (ARC)
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti (ARC)
Everlasting by Angie Frazer (ARC)

Go HERE to get the details and enter. 

4.  Stories and Sweeties is having a 75 followers contest. She is giving away three April releases: The Reckoning, Whisper, and The Clearing.  There will be two winners with the first winner getting the choice of 2 books.   Go HERE to check out the details and enter. 

5.  The Undercover Book Lover is having a "Pick Your Publisher" contest.  You get to pick a box of 3 books by one publisher - there are 7 different publishers to pick from.  Some great books are up for grabs including The Unwritten Rule, Forgive My Fins and Shadow Hills.  Go HERE to check it out and enter. 

March 28, 2010

Sunday Shelves March 28

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:
Kathy from Inside of a Dog
Make sure to check out her blog after you see her shelves.

She sent me some great pics of her collections along with a video! Yes I said a video! What fun :)

She says that she does have the shelves alphabetized but not the stacks. 

 YA Books

Middle Grade Books

Recent Adult Books


Remember if you want me to feature your blog and your shelves
fill out THIS form!

March 27, 2010

Blog Changes and Contest Reminder

Lately blogging has become work, and I don't like that! For that reason I'm making a few changes :)

1.  I'll no longer do In My Mail Box - in honesty what does it matter what I got in the mail :) Besides I always did it Saturday morning, and that meant I didn't get to relax and just drink my coffee.

2.  I'm not going to do What Are You Reading Mondays.  You'll know what I'm reading by what I review.  And besides, what I always put down for what I planned to read changed! I probably won't post anything on Mondays - a day off!

3.  I'll take two days off from posting - Mondays and Saturdays (this Saturday excluded of course!)

4.  On Wednesday I'll still participate in WoW, but I'm going to promote books that are lesser known.  It's not worth my time to promote one that everyone else is doing as well.

5.  I'll keep Sunday Shelves.  People seem to like this one even if they don't add comments :) BTW if you want to be a guest blogger for Sunday Shelves fill out the form hereTo see the explanation of Sunday Shelves click HERE.

6.  I'll keep Tween Tuesday and Friday's for the Guys because - hey I teach tweens and guys!

7.  Adding 7's UP.  The reasons I started blogging was for my students.  I've gotten away from that.  7's UP is a post that has to do with my 7th graders or 7th graders in general.  This will be random when I see it fits.

8.  Lastly I'm going to be very picky about what books I take for review.  I'm hating that "review" books are getting in the way of me just reading what I want to read, when I want to read it! I'll still take some, but very limited.

Thanks everyone for supporting my blog! I'm in awe of the fact anyone really cares to read what I write!

March 26, 2010

Friday's for the Guys - March 26 Fablehaven

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 week I'm highlighting:
 Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
well the whole series actually :)

Now I'll be completely honest.  I haven't read this series, and only recently did it come to my attention.  BUT now that I've really looked into it, it sounds fantastic! For boys who love fantasy books this one is a winner.  Em over at Super Reader Girl's (I know girls not boys) Book Reviews did a great post about the series/last book.  It was fantastic and told me a lot of what I needed to know about the series.  You must check it out HERE!!!!!

Let me share a summary from Goodreads about the first book:
For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...

Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

Doesn't that sound great?!?! Wanna know what I also like - that it shows a strong girl character as well as a strong boy one.  That's great to see. 
Here if that summary and Em's post aren't enough check out the trailer for the last book, Keys to the Demon Prison

March 24, 2010

7's UP - What They're Reading

Lately I've been getting away from who this blog is really for, and to a degree about - my students' reading  If you aren't aware I teach 7th grade English and LOVE it.  I use to do a 7th Grade Saturday post, but I didn't like that it was always tied to Saturday.  Because of that I've created 7's UP.  When you see 7's UP any time during the week know that it has to do with my students - or maybe it's even written by my student.  I've bugged a few about doing a guest blog. 

So for this week's 7's UP I'm doing something I haven't done in a while - a list of some of the books my students are reading. 
Remember these are books they - real live 7th graders - are reading.  Authors and publishers take note.  These are your buyers!
(click the title to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book)

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden (this series could be a big hit)
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Dork Diaries by Rachel R. Russell (this one has been REALLY popular)
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Murtagh Paratore (new series for me!)
The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Wereling by Steve Feasey
Gone by Michael Grant
The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

So have you read any of these???? :)

March 23, 2010

Review: It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder

For this addition of Tween Tuesday I'm reviewing It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder. 

From Goodreads
Lisa Schroeder gives readers a sweet treat in her first non-verse novel, It's Raining Cupcakes.

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.

My Thoughts:
This was a really cute and sweet book that is perfect for the tween set.  I really liked the main character Isabel.  Many times in middle grade lit I'm distracted from the story but an overly unrealistic main character.  I know kids that age, and sometimes the character doesn't ring true.  This didn't happen with Isabel! She was nice, determined and smart. She never came across as judgemental or mean towards everyone around her - even when she could've easily been. I liked how friendly and accepting she was of people around her. How could I now like her? What a great role model for readers of this book.

What I also really liked about her was how she delt with her mother.  Isabel's mom tends to be a bit emotional, and Isabel knew help her. Instead of just throwing up her hands and giving up on her mom, Isabel does everything she can to get her where she needs to be.  What's really cool is that by helping her mom Isabel learns a huge lesson about herself. A lesson she openly accepts and, by the end, grows from. And about the ending - I will say I was a bit suprised by it, in a good way, and I'm glad it ended that way.

Before I end I have to talk about the cupcakes.  Each chapter title is a type of cupcake!  By the end of the book I was soooooo  hungry for cupcakes that I found myself hanging out in the bakery area a little too long!

Final thought: Sweet story that can teach us all a lesson about believing in ourselves. Definately one I can recommend without worry.

Best stick-with-you image: Dr. Seuess Cupcakes!

Best for ages: 10-13 (or anyone who likes cupcakes!)

Tween Tuesday was started by Greenbeanteenqueen.

March 20, 2010

In My Mailbox and 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. Remember to click the title to be taken to the Goodreads page for the book.

Here's what I got:

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
Snow Queen by Emma Harrison and I Was a Non Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott
Both won from Tera Lynn Childs

From Bookmooch

Bought (from Books for Grabs)
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

For Review
Happyface by Stephen Emond

Owl of the Week
Ok this guy is a little freaky, but cute too.  My daughter found him in the Easter stuff at Walmart.  My 2 year named him Baby :)

March 18, 2010

Thinking on Thursday

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:

Why I Stink at Reading

Ok I'm an English teacher, so many people believe I should be this perfect reader that never gets it wrong. The truth is - there are many ways I stink at reading and do things that "good" readers don't do.  Here's just a few.

1. I skip parts or skim.  Some people think you have to read every single word.  I don't.  If I hit a part I find boring, instead of quitting the book all together - I skim til my interests perks up again.

2.  Be ready to gasp! I read the ending of the book first.  Well ok not first, but by a fourth of the way through the book I usually jump to the end and read the last page.  It's always ONLY the last page regardless how long or short it is.  The only book I wouldn't let myself do this for was the last Harry Potter book.  I wanted it to be a suprise. 

3.  I can't read two or more books at once.  If I try this I get the stories and characters confused.  If I start a second book I always have to stop one until the other is finished.

4.  If I don't know the meaning of a word or how to pronounce it I keep reading and skip it.  I don't have time to leave the story to stop and check it out!

5.  I don't remember names of characters.  Really! I just finished I Am the Messenger, and I had to stop and really think about what the main character's name was (for the record it was Ed Kennedy).  The sad part - his name was said over and over! For some reason they just don't stick with me. 

6.  Classics?  What classics?  There are so many "classics" I haven't read! Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, East of Eden - the list goes on and on and on. 

So there ya have it.  I stink at reading! But here's the deal.  I do one thing that over-rules all the ways I stink.  I KEEP reading.  I read and read and read.  And to my 7th graders - that's what I try to get them to understand.  They need to just keep reading.  Reading will help them succeed.  All those other myths about being a good reader go out the window when you just keep reading. It's when you stop reading that you really begin to stink at it :) 

Now how about you - how do you stink at reading?

March 16, 2010

REVIEW: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Title: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

From Goodreads:
Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. . . .

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

My Thoughts:
This was a very good book.  I had no idea what to expect, so maybe that helped - it couldn't let me down! I found it one day browsing through a stack of books.  The author sounded familar (yes he wrote The Book Thief), so I started the first chapter.  I was hooked! I mean how could I not be - it starts out in the middle of a bank robber and the main character and his 3 friend start back talking to the robber! They actually try to get each other in trouble with the him- making comments back and forth.  It was great! I was giggling to myself through the whole scene. 

From that funny start you would think the rest of the book is nothing but silly - it's not.  It has humor but it's a dark humor - I was laughing, but at the same time telling myself I shouldn't be! More it's the story of Ed coping with these mysterious missions he's being sent on. Each arrives via names or clues on a playing card.  I felt for the guy because they weren't easy.  The first one almost takes your breath away.  I seriously didn't know how that one would turn out! Time and time again, though, he figures out what needs to be done - and does it.  Watching the results were inspiring, and seeing Ed change was heartening.  By the time the last card arrives you know Ed will succeed - even at what seems to be his most difficult tasks. These last tasks scare him. Failing at them would be far worse than failing at any of the others for they are closests to his heart. Through this part of the book I felt pulled forward into the last mission whether I wanted to be or not - just like Ed. 

In the end I was satisfied with what I learned but still without all the answers.  Just enough was left untold for me to have to think and work out for myself. The lessons Ed learned are still in my mind - sticking with me and making me look at life differently. But that's ok, after all, isn't that what a good book does?

Final thought: Great story about doing - not just being.

Best stick-with-you image: The description of how his dog, The Doorman, smells!

Best for ages: 15+ because of some mature language and scenes  - and also because younger kids might not understand the meaning it's trying to convey. 

Tween Tuesday March 16

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:

A Whole Nother Story as told by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

I first saw this book in our latest Scholastic book orders and thought it looked cute.  Then I saw the book trailer for it (look for it below) and thought it looked even cuter! My students even said it looked funny. It looks like just a fun goofy read. Don't we all need a book like that sometimes??

From Goodreads:
The three Cheeseman children, their father, and their psychic dog are all on the run. From whom? Well the CIA, naturally. But also corporate agents #5, #29, and # 207, plus two international superspies -- one of whom happens to be a chimpanzee. They all want Dr. Cheeseman and his late wife's greatest invention–a machine with unspeakable powers–OK, I'll say it. It's a time machine. But it's not working right yet, so put all ideas of time travel out of your head.

Instead, please enjoy this high stakes, high action, hijinx-filled chase, and the bizarre characters our Cheeseman friends will meet as they protect not just their parents' invention, but their mother's sacred memory. It's an adventure novel like no other.

Oh yeah, and did we mention the entertaining, plot-exposition filled, unsolicited advice you'll receive along the way? So you didn't ask for it? Yeah, that's why it's unsolicited.

Unsolicited Advice #1: Read this book

The book trailer

March 15, 2010

Monday Readng Merriment

This is a weekly meme inspired by one ran by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. 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 by also looking at various other reading events.

This Week I Read:
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
I'll be reviewing this later this week.  In short - I really enjoyed it!

I Plan to Read:
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder.  This book just looks plain cute!
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzia.  This book is about a topic not written about too often.  I'm hoping it's done well. 

Books Coming Out This Week: BOTH look awesome

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Released: March 16

From Goodreads:
When a well-dressed woman steps out of a bubble and wants to know if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you

A) run
B) faint
C) say yes?

For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for some glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C). Desi has a rare ability: with the help of "Royal Rouge," she can temporarily transform into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras.... In this winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.
Split by Stefan Petrucha
Released March 16
From Goodreads:
Wade Jackson has always felt split, his love for playing and writingmusic competing with his ambition to do well in school. But when his mother dies, this need for order competes with his desire to leave it all behind. What follows is a split in his consciousness that takes him to two very different worlds.
Told in alternating chapters that together form one cohesive story, Split follows both Wades as they pursue what they think is the correct path. One Wade continues working hard in school, pulling all-nighters towrite a computer code he believes will save the world. The other Wade pursues the dreamof being a dive-bar singer, pulling all-nighters to party, gamble, and live on the edge. But when these two worlds begin to collide, each Wade will need to find a balance between control and abandon, order and chaos, lifemissed and life lost, in order to save himself.

March 14, 2010

Bookmark Day!

Monica over at The Bibliophilic Book Blog is doing something really fun.  She's dedicating a whole day, Monday March 15th, to bookmarks! Isn't that awesome?  To promote her bookmark day I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on bookmarks.

 First tho some links to her blog posts about Bookmark Day. 

Her first post on it can be found here.
And her follow up post laying out more details can be found here.

Make sure to head over there on the 15th for lots of fun and prizes!

Ok now my thoughts on bookmarks:
When I was younger I had a HUGE bookmark collection.  I don't remember exact numbers or anything, but I know it wasn't two or three.  I just loved having different bookmarks.  When we'd go to the mall on the weekend I'd always go to the bookstore (B. Daltons) or Hallmark and check out their supply.  And often times - I'd buy one.  Of course as a young girl ones with kitties or puppies were top on my list, but any cute or pretty picture would work.  Some days I wish I still had that collection.

Fast forward a good 20 years, and I once again find myself in love with bookmarks - but now I like many different kinds. First here are some things I've used as a bookmark lately:

  • a receipt

  • pictures of my kids

  • an owl notecard

  • cute magnetic owls

  • valentine's card

  • post-it note

  • notecard
I have to explain the Valentine's Day card. 
As an English teacher my students are always asking for something to use as a bookmark.  I can't afford to buy "real" bookmarks - even the large packs of them.  One year I was at Target right after Valentine's Day.  I had a lightbulb moment! At 75% off I could get packs of 32 "bookmarks" for pennie's a piece.  Ever since then I buy several boxes.  The kids love them.  You should see them dig for one they want - picking from Barbie, Toy Story, Incrediable Hulk, Spiderman, Dora and puppies or kitties.  They work wonders, and I highly recommend them to other teachers needing bookmarks!

I'm loving the magnetic ones.  I want these owl ones from Amazon.

I really like how the magnets work and they don't fall out.  I have found that I need to be careful tho to not rip the pages when I take them off. 

And of course Etsy has tons of great bookmarks!  Here's a few.  I've linked the Etsy store that sells them.

Ladybug ones at Cute N Creative

Books at Fallen Peach

Paperclip ones - LOVE theses at Pure Vintage Gold

So - share your favorite bookmarks AND go to The Bibliophilic Book Blog to join in bookmark day on the 15th (psssst - that's tomorrow)

March 13, 2010

In My Mail Box and Shopping Bag March 13

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.

This week I got:

From Book Orders (for my classroom)
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
The Roar by Emma Clayton
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
The Princess Plot by Kirsten Boie
Ruined by Paula Morris
Bones of a Fairie by Janni Lee Simner
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Switch by Anthony Horowitz
Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor
Jack's Run by Roland Smith

Morganville Vampires - Books 1 and 2 together by Rachel Caine

Won - Both Signed!!!
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (won from Carrie Ryan)
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (also from Carrie Ryan)
The cute book thong from Cym Lowell.  He also sent me a copy of his book Riddles of Berlin.


Owl of the Week
Wa-lmart had a huge amount of owls in their Easter stuff! I got all this, and I didn't get everything owl they had!!!   :)

March 11, 2010

Thinking on Thursday - 3 Mini Reviews

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 MINI REVIEWS!

Over Christmas break I read a ton, but with all the holiday madness I didn't get around to reviewing a few of them.  I've seen other bloggers do a quick mini review, and allthough I feel bad for not giving them more time, that's what I'm going to do.

To find out more about the book, click the title to be taken to the Goodreads page.

Author: Carrie Ryan
I LOVED this book.  The whole concept just worked for me.  The thought of the village surrounded by, well zombies, that constantly moaned really created a strong setting that I was pulled into.  I could almost hear their moaning throughout the whole book.  Over and over I found myself asking what I'd do in Mary's position.  Many times I agreed with what she did, and other times I wanted to scream at her to stop being selfish!  In the end tho, I think it was her selfishness - or unwillingness to give up - that helped her survive.  I was a little disappointed at the end because I wanted to know more of what happened to her.  Although the companion book The Dead Tossed Waves is not a true sequel I do hope it gives some answers. 

Title: The Line
Author: Teri Hall

Great dystopic novel that was well plotted.  At first I didn't get what the big deal would be.  I mean I knew something would happen with Rachel and the Line she lives near, but the way the whole plot built up to why and how she would be forced to do what she never thought she would was very well done. All the pieces fell together beautifully.  I liked Rachel - and for me to really enjoy a book I need to like the characters.  She was a smart, strong girl that even when she was afraid, refused to turn back.  I can't wait to see where her strength takes her.  After I finished the novel I tweeted to the author to ask how long I had to wait for the sequel.  You this was in December when The Line hadn't even been released yet!

Author: Simon Holt

I had been hearing a lot about this book on different blogs and how scary it was.  I liked it, but I'd hope for more tension and suspense.  Yes it had some scary parts, and there's a scene in the basement that is quit tense but I had really wanted more.  I think I might have enjoyed it better if I hadn't heard over and over how good it was.  The hype made me expect more than I should have.  That said tho - I do want to read the sequel Soulstice and probably the third book Fearscape due out in October, because I want to know how it all works in the end.  I'll just know not to expect so much :)  I love the premise - and it's one that many people would find very freaky so I can't lose with that!

March 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday March 10

This is a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. In this post we talk about books yet to be released that we are excited about. I do that, but sometimes I also like to talk about great books I have, but are waiting to read. I also like to try and find books other bloggers are using so that more books are shared!

The book I'm waiting on is:

The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Why I'm waiting on it: My sister always talks about karma, so when I saw this title I had to check it out.  I also saw the the book trailer (see below), and the idea that when you mess with the universe you throw things off sounds interesting.  It also just looks like a fun book. Word of caution for my younger readers - I think it is definately young adult not middle grade focused!

From Goodreads:
Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. It’s that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know—do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what’s coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act.
But when Mason Brooks, Maddy’s boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them—except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That’s why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club—a secret, members-only organization whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they’re modifying Heather Campbell’s acne cream as part of “Operation Butterface,” or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade’s own slimy exes, they know they’re just doing what Karma should have done in the first place. They’re taking care of one another. Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. Because it turns out, when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back. Now Maddy must find a way to balance her life for good, even as everything around her seems to be toppling to the ground.
Here's the book trailer:

March 9, 2010

Tween Tuesday - REVIEW: SPHDZ Book #1 by Jon Scieszka

Title: SPHDZ Book #1
Author: Jon Scieszka
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Released: June 22, 2010

From back of book: (Sorry that I couldn't find a better summary, but there just isn't one out there yet!)

Meet SPHDZ.  Be SPHDZ.  Save the world. The first day at a new school, in a new town, with new kids.  Can Michael K.'s life get any weirder? Yes. It can. Much MUCH weirder. 

My Review:
This book is intended for the 7-10 yr old set, and I think they'll love it! I giggled at parts of it! The book is clearly a set up for the rest of the series, but I still good on its own right.  Poor Michael K (K because there are several Michaels) starts his first day of school getting "stuck" with two very odd kids that seem to quote tv commercials every other line.  They claim to be from another planet and believe only Michael K can help them get 3.14 million kids to say they are SPHDZ or Earth will be shut off! Of course Michael K doesn't believe them and thinks they've totally lost it.  Add to that an agent from the AAA (Anti-alien Agency) who messes up everything and it's a goofy story that is highly entertaining.  I particulary liked the scene at the grocery store where it becomes clear how much of the aliens' knowledge of Earth is based on advertisements. Super cute!

This book also has several webpages that go with the book. I really liked the one for the Anti-alien Angency.  It was VERY realistic.  Check it out! I think these add a ton to the story. What also adds to the story are the illustrations.  Super fun.  Many weren't in the ARC yet, but the ones there were cute and well done.  They make the book much more do-able for the younger range of its intended audience. 

Final thought: Super cute book that I think the younger set will get a kick out of. 

Best stick with you image:  The whole description of the AAA Agent getting hit with the ball.

Best for ages: 7-10.  It's clearly for a younger group.  My 11 year old daughter would like it but she'd be done with it in about 30 minutes.

Tween Tuesday is hosted by Greenbeanteenqueen.

March 8, 2010

Monday Reading Merriment March 8

This is a weekly meme inspired by one ran by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. 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 by also looking at various other reading events.

This week I read:
     I'll be doing a review on it for Tween Tuesday

I'm currently reading
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
     I'm reading this for the Flashback Reading Challenge.  The last time I read it my son was just over a month old, so I was reading while he napped and only half awake myself!

Contests to enter:
MINE! to celebrate 200 Followers.  Here's THE LINK to the post about it.

The Book Resort is having a contest for a Sony PRS600 Ereader! She's celebrating her one year blogoversary!  If you haven't been to her site yet this is a great time to check it out! Here's THE LINK for her contest.

Carol at Book-lover Carol is having an awesome give-away that will have FOUR winners. Some books given away are:  The Iron King, Hush Hush, and Will Grayson Will Grayson.  Go HERE to check it out.

Sarah at The Babbling Flow of a Fledgling Scribbler is having a great March Madness giveway with FIVE different and fun prize packages.  Some books include:  The Awakening and The Summoning, The Everafter and Fragile Eternity.  You must check it out.  CLICK HERE! Let her know I sent you. 

New Release:
I'm super excited because The Dead Tossed Waves is be released TOMORROW! This is the "sequel" to The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  I say "sequel" because it's not a tradiation sequel.  I loved TFOHT - so I can't wait to read this one.  And this is horrible because I just realized I didn't review it! I read it over Chirstmas so some got away from me! I'll review it this week :p

March 7, 2010

Thank You for Following Contest!


I can't believe that I hit 200 followers!
I remember when I started the blog and got my first!
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
for following me!

To celebrate I'm having a contest.  The winner will receive $20 to spend on a book(s) of their choice at

You don't need to be a follower (I want you to follow for other reasons than a contest) but it would cool if you were!
International if The Book Depository Delievers to your country for free!
You'll get to spend up to $20.  If you book total equels less than $20 you will not be given the difference.
Must email me with info within 72 hours with our info if you are the winner.
Ends Sunday March 28 at 11:59 Central Time

To enter
I'm going easy on this one and not having any extra entries.
I just don't have the time or energy to look them up!

WAIT I'll take that back!

+1 I'll give you one extra entry if you answer one of three questions IN THE COMMENTS BELOW
1.  What book might you buy?
2. Where can I find free online clipart to use?  I never find good sites :(
3.  What book would you recommend without hesitation - you loved it that much?
You only get +1 even if you answer all three :)

March 6, 2010

In My Mail Box or Shopping Bag +I'M in SHOCK! Mar 6th

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!

For Review
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder (I LOVE the cover to this one!)
White Cat by Holly Black

The Naughty List by Suzanne Young - Thank you Frenetic Reader

Owl of the Week
I found this cute coffee cozy on Etsy at Red Owl Designs.  How could I not love a store with the word OWL in it :) check out all the great things she has for sale.


March 5, 2010

Friday's for the Guys - March 5

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:

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
by Wendy Mass

I read this book this summer before I started blogging.  It was very good - actually I haven't read a Wendy Mass book I haven't liked!

Why I think it's good for boys: Well first the main character is a boy :) but of course there is more than that.  The main character, Jeremy Fink, is very likable. On his birthday, the arrival of a box and his search for the keys to open it becomes a search for who he is - in short it helps him find the meaning of life.  I think boys could learn a lot about life, living and being who you are by following Jeremy through his story.  Sometime I think we sell boys short and think they'll only read action/adventure books.  When in reality they might feel just as lost as Jeremy and would be able to relate to this story quite well.  The mystery in the story will hook the boys in that need some action, Jeremy will carry them along.  It's a good solid "thinking" book that we need to encourage boys to read.

From Goodreads
In one month Jeremy Fink will turn thirteen. But does he have what it takes to be a teenager? He collects mutant candy, he won't go more than four blocks from home if possible, and he definitely doesn't like surprises. On the other hand, his best friend, Lizzy, isn't afraid of anything, even if that means trouble now and then.

Jeremy's summer takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious box arrives. According to the writing on the box, it holds the meaning of life! Jeremy is supposed to open it on his birthday, but the keys are missing, and only the keys can open the box without destroying what's inside. Jeremy and Lizzy set off to find the keys, but when one of their efforts goes very wrong, Jeremy starts to think he'll never be able to open the box. But what he doesn't know is that there just might be other ways to find out the meaning of life.

Lively characters, surprising twists, and thought-provoking ideas make Wendy Mass's latest novel an unforgettable read.

March 4, 2010

Thoughts on Thursday - REVIEW of Frozen Fire

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 writing reviews - more specifically how to write a review for a book I really really liked BUT left me confused and left we without an idea of how to explain why I liked it! How do I write the review??? I can't just say - "hey it was fantastic but I don't know why, and oh BTW I was completely confused at the end - hope you figure it out better than I did!" I'm really thinking that's not the best way to write a review :)

The book I'm talking about is Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler.  I'm going to do my best to explain to you my thoughts on it, but it's not (in my opinion) a conventual book, so I'm finding a review difficult.

Summary from Goodreads
It starts with a phone call. “I’m dying,” a voice tells Dusty. Who is he and how has he gotten her cell number? Dusty wants no part of this strange boy . . . until he begins saying things that only someone who knows her intimately could say—things that lead her to think he knows the whereabouts of her brother, who disappeared over a year ago. Suddenly drawn in, Dusty very much wants to save this boy. Trouble is, she cannot find him. Part human, part spirit, he won’t let himself be found. He is too dangerous, he says. There are mobs of people who agree and who want to see this boy dead . . . and who will hurt anyone who stands in their way.

A gripping, hair-raising mystery about a boy not of this world, and a girl determined to protect him.

My Review - the best I can!
This book was amazing in ways I can't even begin to explain.  From the first page I was pulled yanked into the story with such a force I was almost left breathless.  I have never had a book start so strong not only with action but mystery and  intrigue and questions and promise - the promise of never letting up.  And that promise was kept.  I, like Dusty, had to find out who this boy was and how did he know what he did.  Unlike Dusty I didn't want to always go where she went because I was scared of what might be there. And to a degree I was scared of him - who was he? To add to this, the whole story is encased in swirling snow, and that snow adds not only to the mystery but the sense of isolation. I've been in snow storms like the ones in the book, so I know that feeling of blindness and emptiness they can create. She surged forward, and I was grateful she did.  Dusty's personality really did drive this story forward because she refused to give up.

As the pages went on more questions were raised and then - they all begin to unravel.  It's like when you pull a loose string on a sweater.  It unravels slowly at first and then faster.  That's what happened at the end.  The reader is pulled fast and faster into the unknown and then the known.  For me it unraveled so fast that when I reached the last page I wasn't completely sure about what I'd learned. And to a degree I think that's what Dusty felt.  I loved it, but my mind is still putting pieces together, and I finished it on SUNDAY! In all honesty I WILL have to reread it, so I can make sure I've got all the parts.  And I NEED to reread it because I want to enter that world again. 

Final thought:  An amazing swirl of emotions, mystery, isolation, sadness and finally answers.

Best stick with you image:  The first time she sees the boy. He is amazing and scary all at once.

Best for ages: 15 (at least)+ Younger kids just wouldn't get it. 

Here's another cover for it.  I'm not sure which one I like better.