April 30, 2010

Friday's For the Guys - Bran Hambric

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:
 
Bran Hambric - The Farfield Curse
by Kaleb Nation
 
My 11 year old daughter (yes I know she's not a boy!) just listened to the audio book for Bran Hambric, and she LOVED it.  Seriously I had to make her put her ipod away.  At school when she couldn't listen, she'd read the book. 
 
Why boys might like it:  There is a ton of action mixed in with some suspence and mystery. The main character is a boy they can relate it. If they liked Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, they'll find some similarities here.
 
From Goodreads
Bran Hambric was found locked in a bank vault at six years old, with no memory of his past. For years, he has lived with one of the bankers, wondering why he was left behind- until one night, when he is fourteen, he is suddenly confronted by a maddened creature, speaking of Bran’s true past and trying to kidnap him. Bran finds that he is at the center of a plot which started years before he was even born: the plot of a deadly curse his mother created…and one that her former masters are hunting for him to complete. Haunted by the spirit of his mother’s master and living in a city where magic is illegal, Bran must undo the crimes of his past...if it's not already too late.  
 
Check out the offical website as well!
Lots of great things at the website.

April 29, 2010

7's Up! Two Book Covers

The first is for the cover of The Iron King. Based on the cover and summary I asked my students if they’d want to read it. Results were pretty much what I expected.


  
  • 18 girls said yes
  • 6 girls said no
  • 1 boy said yes
  • 23 boys said no

 Those that said they wanted to read it were really interested in it - as opposed to just being slightly interested.
 
NOTE - I have more than 49 students but the rest did not choose to participate.

 

 

 The second cover is for Hexhound (the sequel to Firespell) by Chloe Neill. For this one I asked if the cover would make you pick up the book. Here’s what they said:

 
Yes – cool green fire and hex is a curse so cool
Maybe – she looks really scary and weird
It looks interesting
Yes – she’s hot! (that was one of my boys)
Yes it looks good
It looks creepy
Yes because it looks cool and awesome
Yes because I like the color green (two said this)
Yes it looks magical
No it looks kinda creepy.

 
I will say they were very interested in the cover whether they liked it or not. It elicited quit a response. But the weirdest one was when one of my students said the girl on the cover looked like Michael Jackson

April 28, 2010

Summer Reads Wish List

I was bumming around Barnes and Noble's website and found several soon-to-be released middle grade books that I want, so I thought I'd share some of them with you. 
 Consider this my summer reading wish list!


Henrietta Hornbuckle’s Circus Life
by Michael de Guzman
May 11

Henrietta cherishes her family’s kooky existence working as clowns for a small, shabby traveling circus. As far as she is concerned, she has it better than any twelve-year-old on the planet. But one shocking day, life throws a pie right in her kisser—in the form of a hitand-run accident that takes away a loved one. Henrietta must use all her clowning skills and a whole lot more to pick herself up and face a future full of change.


The Wide Awake Princess
by E.D. Baker
May 11

In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie?blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic?can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.

But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.

The Book of Elsewhere: The Shadows
by Jacqueline West
June 15

Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there’s something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.

As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It’s up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.

Windblowne
by Stephen Messer

May 25

Every kite Oliver touches flies straight into the ground, making him the laughingstock of Windblowne. With the kite-flying festival only days away, Oliver tracks down his reclusive great-uncle Gilbert, a former champion. With Gilbert's help, Oliver can picture himself on the crest, launching into the winds to become one of the legendary fliers of Windblowne.

Then his great-uncle vanishes during a battle with mysterious attack kites—kites that seem to fly themselves! All that remains is his prize possession, a simple crimson kite. At least, the kite seems simple. When Oliver tries to fly it, the kite lifts him high above the trees. When he comes down, the town and all its people have disappeared. Suddenly the festival is the last thing on Oliver's mind as he is catapulted into a mystery that will change everything he understands about himself and his world. (from Random House)

Livvie Owen Lived Here
by Sarah Dooley
August

Olivia "Livvie" Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they face eviction again, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.

The problem is, Livvie burned down that house.
But she's not giving up. Here is her story.

The Ring of Five
by Eoin McNamee

May 11

Here's the first book in a brilliant new trilogy by the author of The Navigator. The Ring of Five, set at a school for spies, is full of surprises as well as fascinating questions about loyalty, destiny, and what it means to be a spy.

Danny Caulfield doesn't know how he ended up at a mysterious academy called Wilsons. A few of the students are pretty scary. Someone tries to murder him. Even the ravens that haunt the school seem to be against him. Yet he also finds friends: Les, an exceptional thief; Dixie, who has an unsettling talent; and Vandra, a physick with special powers.

It turns out that Danny is destined for a terrifying mission. As he embarks on his training, he is shocked and secretly thrilled to discover that he seems to have all the natural gifts of the perfect spy—most importantly, the ability to betray.

April 27, 2010

In the Middle Reading Challenge Update WINNERS!


Wow great reading everyone! I found some new MG books to add to my TBR shelf :)


The first winner is:
Natalie from The Purple Crayon
You get to pick either Savvy, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda WITH A SIGNED ORIGAMI YODA FROM THE AUTHOR! or Umbrella Summer

The second winner is:
GreenBean TeenQueen at GreenBean Teen Queen! You win some various swag some of which will be signed!
And if you read MG and want to promote it more - make sure to join her meme "Tween Tuesday" where we highlight great books for the tween set.

Ladies I'll be emailing you shortly, but if you see this first feel free to contact me:
foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com


Thanks everyone for reading and reviewing MG! We'll have another update contest in a few months.

If you missed it, my blog will be switching to a mainly MG focus with only occasional YA.  I have a few YA books I need to read and review yet, but then The O.W.L. will be MG only (well 90% at least). I really believe MG books need much more attention then they are getting, so I want to promote them more.  I hope you'll all help out!

April 26, 2010

Owl of the Week - April 26 Plus a fun Swap to Join!!!

This week's owl are the cute flip flops from Target.  Too bad they are for little girls and don't fit me :( But I did hang them up in my classroom!


JOIN THIS SWAP!
Shooting Stars Mag is having a really fun swap.  Here's the description from the site:
Instead of focusing on what your partner enjoys, I thought it would be fun to make a basket with all of YOUR favorite items and giving them to someone else to enjoy/experience. A lot of my swaps have the partners be the same and I think I'd like to stick with that. Meaning if I had "Tracy" then "Tracy" would have me. Make sense? No surprise, but you can talk to each other via email if you need and that helps! And you can always check out their blog and see what you have in common, so you can think of adding something you KNOW they will like...but it's not mandatory. Just make it fun.

Here's THE LINK to the post and to sign up.

April 24, 2010

April 23, 2010

Friday's for the Guys - Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer

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:

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
by
John Grisham

I'm curious about this series since John Grisham's adult novels have been so popular.  I'd like to see what he can do with a MG (this sounds more MG to me) novel.  I know his adult books have a lot of suspense and mystery, so I'm hoping this would too.  I think that would appeal to the boys I teach. It would be great to have a new series to introduce them to - and then maybe keep them reading as they get older by moving them into Grisham's adult novels. 

From Goodreads:
A perfect murder

A faceless witness
A lone courtroom champion knows the whole truth . . . and he’s only thirteen years old
Meet Theodore Boone

In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.

But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.

The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.

Brimming with the intrigue and suspense that made John Grisham a #1 international bestseller and the undisputed master of the legal thriller, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer will keep readers guessing and pages turning.

April 22, 2010

Review - The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

Title: The Cinderella Society
Author: Kay Cassidy
Publisher: EdmontUSA
Pages: 320
Book from: Cinderella Society Tour by Daisy Whitney

Summary From Goodreads:
When the Prom Queen becomes your fairy godmother…


Sixteen year old outsider, Jess Parker, gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society of popular girls dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. The Cinderella Society guides all new recruits through its top secret ultimate life makeover. It’s all part of preparing them to face down the Wickeds and win. Determined not to let the Cindys down, Jess dives in with a passion. Finally, a chance to belong and show the world what she’s made of.


… be careful what you wish for.


Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of her dream crush and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a high stakes battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself.


What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?

My Review
I thought for awhile how to review this book, so I went with what I'd tell my 7th grade girls.
This is a book I want my daughter to read, because this is how I want her to see herself.  Jessica is a girl that does all the things that should make her proud of herself.  She volunteers.  She works hard at school and her job.  She helps at home.  She's kind to others.  But even with all that she has a lot of Wicked Chatter (negative inner talk) all because she's not in the popular group.  How many girls do I know that fit that image perfectly?  In the book Jessica learns how to be comfortable in her own skin - something at 39 I'm not always capable of!  Yes looking good is still important, but it's looking good in what fits for you.  I like that.  I like that she also has to learn to own her flaws and learn how to work with them. By own them I mean -  name them and then learn to accept them instead of letting them make us feel bad about ourselves.  How many of us - how many teenage girls - get bogged down by what they see is wrong with themselves never to move beyond it or embrace it and make it a strength?  If they all could learn to do that, think of what they could accomplish.  Maybe by reading this book, they'd take a step in that direction. 

Let's see what else did I like about the book? I liked the idea that there is a organized group of young women and adult woman working together to support and encourage each other and to help out everyone.  I liked that Jessica wasn't perfect - that none of the Cindys were. I liked that Jessica grew throughout the book and became more confident and sure of herself. I liked that it showed girls being smart and strong.  Every one of the girls in the Cinderella Society used their brain instead of relying on looks.  I liked how all the girls supported Jessica and helped her become who she was meant to be - the real her that she should be proud of. 

My one small problem with the book was how quick some things happened - especially with Nick (Jessica's crush).  And what happens between them was, at times, a bit much.  I would've liked to have seen Jessica strong and on her own more before Nick entered the picture.  I did LOVE tho that the boys were very supportive of the girls - not treating them like airheads :)

Final thought: Girl Power X 1000!
Best stick-with-you image: Heather in tears - ouch!
Best for ages: 12+ There is a bit of teenage "stuff" but it's minor and the message is good for a younger age as well.

CymLowell

April 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday April 21 - Middleworld

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'm waiting on:
 
The Jaguar Stones, Book One Middleword by J&P Voelkel
Released April 27 by EgmontUSA
 
Why I'm interested
Action, adventure and learning about an ancient civilization - sounds perfect! (Oh and did you see it says zombies in the summary? Score!)
 



From Amazon:

Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in the tiny Central American country of San Xavier. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. When he's mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they've had a change of heart.


Upon his arrival, Max's wild adventure in the tropical rainforests of San Xavier begins. During his journey, he will unlock ancient secrets and meet strangers who are connected to him in ways he could never have imagined. For fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to this pampered teenager. Can Max rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save the world from the Lords of Death, who now control the power of the Jaguar Stones in their villainous hands? The scene is set for a roller-coaster ride of suspense and terror, as the good guys and the bad guys face off against a background of haunted temples, zombie armies, and even human sacrifice!

April 20, 2010

Tween Tuesday April 20

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:

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
by
Tom Angleberger

This book looks absolutely cute! The layout reminds me some of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid but not so much of a graphic novel.  It has less pictures.  I just bought this book this past weekend, so I'll be reading and reviewing it super soon!

CONTEST ADDITION: this book is one of the options if you win my In the Middle Reading Challenge Update.  If you pick this one Tom has offered to send the winner a signed oragami Yoda! How cool is that! That contest ends today.  CLICK HERE if you still need to enter. 

From Goodreads:
In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.

April 19, 2010

Owl of the Week and HELP Please!

This weeks owl of the week is this cute wallet owl from Wal-Mart. Once again thanks to my sister!




AND HELP!!!!!
My husband is going to Europe soon and all I want are some YA/MG books that have different cool covers in the UK or France.  Can you suggest some good ones?  I know Shiver has a good one, but what others???

April 18, 2010

Sunday Shelves April 18

Normally on Sunday Shelves I highlight a blogger and their bookshelves.  This week is a bit different.  A few weeks back Cym Lowell linked to an amazing story on his blog.  It is the story of a man who over came big health issues to make a library for his brother. 

It may sound cheesy or simple, but what this man's story reminded me is that there is so much more to life than collecting the books I want to read.  Life goes beyond that.

One picture of this library is below.  Please go to the original blog for the full story of Do You Believe in Miracles?

April 16, 2010

Friday's for The Guys

Ok I'm really gonna cheat this week and refer you back to my Waiting on Wednesday post on the new series by Rick Riordan - The Red Pyramid.  Sorry - I know it's lame but really it's gonna be a great book for guys - I just know it! Here's how I know it.

  1. Adventure
  2. Action
  3. SAME AUTHOR AS THE PERCY JACKSON BOOKS - for the amount of boys I have reading Percy Jackson right now, the only thing I'll need to say is that it's the same author.  I know they'll try it!
  4. My commenters are right - thanks all!- it doesn have similarities to the 39 Clues books.  I'm reading the first one aloud to my 7th graders right now, so I can use that to promote it!
Ok go back to my WEDNESDAY POST and be reminded how great the new Rick Riordan book sounds :) and next week I promise I'll be less lame!

April 15, 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 personal 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 Might Change My Overall Focus on the Blog

Lately I've been thinking a lot about middle grade vs. young adult lit.  I haven't been thinking that one is the better than the other.  Instead I've been thinking about where my heart is.  Is it in YA or is it in MG?  I've come to the conclusion that my true passion is for middle grade lit.  I've read some fantastic YA books (Hunger Games, Before I Fall, The Line etc), but when I really think about what books make me excited to promote - it's middle grade books.  Then I looked around the blogophere and I was kind've saddened to see the lack of promotion for these great middle grade books I read.  There are so many great YA blogs that do an awesome job getting the word out on all the wonderful amazing YA books being published.  I want that for middle grade books as well! I mean here are some great books I can't wait to share:

Owl Keeper
The Red Pyramid
Powerless (well ok I reviewed this one but I want to do more!)
Kid & Squid
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
A Whole Nother Story
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z
Mamba Point

And many, many more! I want people see these as more than just "kids' books" or "childrens' books".  They are wonderful stories.

So what does that mean for the blog? Over the next few months I will be converting over to about 90% middle grade books.  Yes I'll still read YA (I love the stuff!), and I'll be sharing the YA that can easily appeal to, and is appropriate for, middle schoolers.  But the main focus will be on book specifically geared towards kids "In the Middle"!  I mean after all this is The O.W.L. Outrageously Wonderful Literature From the Middle Grades!

My one fear:  I'll lose followers.  BUT that said I completely understand if people leave. They followed under one idea, and I'm changing that idea.  I just hope you'll stick around because I promise to share with you some fantastic books.

April 14, 2010

Cinderella Society WINNER!


And the winner of a copy of The Cinderella Society is:

Ari!!!

Here's what she said:

I would say an example of Girl empowerment was when Judge Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice. Her story was so inspring and she cared herself with such poise and grace. She's accomplished a lot and I'm sure she's going to continue to prover herself a great asset to the Supreme Court. To a young Latina like myself, she is a true inspiration and role model. Work hard and never give up.



Also I think one of the BEST quotes about female empowerment comes from the great Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I think girls, more than guys, have a tendency to really get stung by criticism and accept the notion that they are inferior (baloney). We girls face this not only from males, but from other girls as well. Especially in our teenage years. This quote keeps me going and reminds me to keep my head up, to dissect the criticism to see if it's worth my time and if is, I try and fix it. If not, I ignore it and move on.

I'll be emailing Ari to get her info and then she is entered for the grand prize That grand prize winner will receive a signed copy from Kay as well as a The Cinderella Society swag bag! And a $100 donation to Girls Inc. in the name of the grand prize winner. (Kay is a big supporter of Girls Inc.)


. Make sure to check out Kay Cassidy's website as well as Daisy Whitney's - she's the one that organized this whole giveaway!

Waiting on Wednesday April 14

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'm waiting on:
The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

From Goodreads:
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.



One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.


Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Why I'm Interested! Why are you not interested????? I mean really after the amazing Percy Jackson series how coud you not be excited for this one??? What's really great is that now I can move my readers who love Percy Jackson to this series since it's by the same author.  There is a great chance they'll enjoy this one too.  Besides all that the story sounds great.  Lots of action and suspense.  So now to just get to May 4th!

April 13, 2010

Tween Tuesday April 13 - The Palace of Laughter

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:

The Palace of Laughter:
The Wednesday Tales No. 1
by Jon Berkeley



From Barnes and Noble:
Miles Wednesday, orphaned, unwashed and living in a barrel, has never been to a circus before—but then the Circus Oscuro is no ordinary circus. There's a strange beast called The Null and an array of sinister-looking clowns, and when an unusual little girl with wings falls from a tower during the performance, Miles's life is changed forever. As Miles and Little embark on an extraordinary journey to rescue two friends who have been captured at the Palace of Laughter, they discover nothing less than the power of friendship and the gift of family.

This is the first book in a series that already has two other books, The Tiger's Egg and The Lightning Key. To me they have shades of Fablehaven, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.  Young kids going into suspenseful situations often fill with mystical or magical things.  My daughter read this one and really enjoyed it.

April 12, 2010

Owl of the Week

Here's this week's owl!
A cute notebook from the Dollar Spot at Target.
Could it be any more perfect for me???
I bought four :)


April 10, 2010

My very sad Read-a-Thon update

I was sidelined with a headache! BUT a nap has cured it, and I'm back on.  I'm reading the book The Doom Machine.  Very cute middle grade book!  I've put the summary from Goodreads below.

The Doom Machine
When a spaceship lands in Vern Hollow, Jack's hometown, he and his no-account inventor-uncle Bud are busy trying to fix a car driven by Dr. Shumway and her daughter, Isadora. Although Uncle Bud secretly knows the aliens are after one of his inventions, everyone is surprised when the space aliens capture seven of Vern Hollow's residents and take them into outer space on a wild adventure. . . . (more)


After a series of twists and turns, all of them are taken to Skreepia, the aliens' planet, where they have to defeat the Skreep queen before she can use Uncle Bud's invention to take over planet Earth. Filled with wonderful detail, humor, inventive dialog, and irresistible black-and-white spot art, THE DOOM MACHINE is a tour de force by one of America's most beloved storytellers.


Readers will be caught up in the page-turning action, while at the same time they will love Mark's beautifully drawn evil space aliens--and an unlikely friendship between Jack and Isadora, who seem to have nothing in common at the beginning of the tale. As with the best science fiction, this novel speeds along without a hitch, and carries readers off into a brand-new world. A fantastic and accessible read for middle graders.

Read-a-Thon Kick-Off

Ok I'm actually getting read to start! First a few things about my reading.  I guess you kick off with this info :)

Where Are You Reading From? I'm reading from Minnesota on the comfort of my couch or love seat - depending on which one isn't in use by someone else today :)  As it moves into night I know for sure I'll be on the loveseat because it's much more comfortable!

3 Facts About Me

I'm a 7th grade English teacher
I have 3 kids (that will be surrounding me as I read!)
I'm 65,000 words into writing my first novel!

How many books in my TBR Pile - honestly IDK.  I listed about 7 that I'd like to read but I many deviate from them

Goal: Two of them.  I have to read The Cinderella Society for a blog tour and i want to read 8 hours total.

Any advice - nope never done it before! :)

Ok time to get reading!

April 9, 2010

I'm Doin' the Read-a-Thon!!

Ok so it's a last minute entry BUT I've decided to do the Dewey Read-a-Thon. I'll be up anyways because my daughter is having a birthday party sleepover.  I might has well read :)  Right now I plan on getting 8 hours of reading in.  I know it's not a ton, but it's the best I can do this time around. 

Books I plan to read:

The Cinderella Society
The Doom Machine
Hunted: House of the Night Book 5
The Body Finder
Hex Hall
Undead Much

I'll try to update every 90 minutes - 2 hours.  (and hee hee I'll be able to update on my new netbook!!!)

Ok wish me luck.

The Cinderella Society Contest!

I'm sure many (if not all) of you have heard about Kay Cassidy's soon-to-be released book The Cinderella Society.  When I first started seeing this book I jumped to the conclusion it was another "princess" book.  I learned I was completely wrong.  Instead it's a book about girl empowerment! As a 7th grade teacher I'm aware of the need for this type of book.  The more books I can hand to my 7th grade girls that show strong girl characters - the better it is.  I want them to have that kind of role model. 

Well......I was lucky enough to get in on a great blog tour and giveaway for this book. It is being hosted by Daisy Whitney author of The Mockingbirds.  She loves the message in The Cinderella Society and wanted to promote it. This contest is a bit different than others you might have seen.  Here's how Daisy explains it on her blog:

The contest is designed to celebrate the the theme of the book so we’ll be inviting blog readers (and anyone!) to share a story/line/quote/thought about what it means to be empowered as a teenage girl. Each blogger will pick a winner for her blog and when the book releases I’ll send a copy of the book to each blog’s winner. Then the eight of us will pick a grand prize winner at the end who’ll receive a signed copy from Kay as well as a The Cinderella Society swag bag! And I’ll also make a $100 donation to Girls Inc. in the name of the grand prize winner. (Kay is a big supporter of Girls Inc.)

To enter this contest you'll need to share your example/story of "girl empowerment". This could be something you've read about, heard about or exprerienced yourself or it could be a quote/line/poem etc.  Anything that you think shows girl empowerment. I would define "girl empowerment" as any time a girl does something positive for themselves or for others. Here's my example - at our school talent show these three girls got up in front of the whole school and performed a song.  We are talking 800+ kids! What a moment of strength for them! You have to understand - these weren't the type of girls that are always being noticed.  These were quiet more shy girls! It took a lot of courage and a lot of "girl power"! :)

Fill out the form below.  The winner will be pick at random, but then entered in the final contest for the grand prize.

I'll be getting a copy of the ARC soon, so watch for my review!

April 8, 2010

Review: Before I Fall


Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 489

From Goodreads
What if you had only one day to live?

What would you do?
Who would you kiss?
And how far would you go to save your own life?


Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.


Instead, it turns out to be her last.


Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Thoughts
I've put off writing this review for awhile just because I didn't know if I could do the book justice.  I've decided to just let the review come from my heart and leave it at that.  This book is amazing and painful, hopeful and sad all rolled into one.  When I started the story I hated Sam and her friends.  And I'm not exaggerating when I say hate.  They are the typical mean girls.  This was hard for me because, being a 7th grade teacher, I see things like this starting.  And being the mother of an 11 year old girl - my heart hurt thinking she might encounter girls like these.  When I got done with chapter one I saw no way that Sam could be anything but what I saw of her in that first chapter.  But then, like the summary said, she gets a second chance.  Throughout this second chance I wanted to shake her.  She just couldn't get it! Everything was so self-centered! But as the story goes on, Sam learns.  Much of what she had going on inside her was able to come out into more of the person she should be. By the end, I didn't hate her anymore - not even a little.

Before I Fall is a difficult book.  As an adult I had a hard time reading it.  I was starting the last chapter at school, and I had to stop because I was crying by the second paragraph into it.  This book hit my at my core.  I'm not a high schooler living in the midst of that like the characters were.  But I see these characters in real life walk the halls of my school.  Lauren Oliver made them extremely real.  Maybe just a little too real at times. I honestly believe that this is a book many girls should read because it might help them take a good hard look at themselves and how they are treating those around them. My fear is - that even after reading it, they wouldn't see themselves in it. I worry the whole point of the story might be lost.  I know it wasn't lost on me, and I walked away from the story changed. 

Final thought: A hard look at how we treat each other and why.
Best stick-with-you image: the whole book
Best for ages: 16+

Word of warning to parents: this is a very mature book in content, language and situations.

April 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Title: Paper Daughter
Author: Jeanette Ingold
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Released: April 12, 2010

Why I'm interested in this book:
It sounds like the main character is a strong determined girl, and I want to add more books like that to my classroom library.  I also like that it might teach some about Chinese history. Here's the author's website if you want to find out more about her.

From Goodreads:
Maggie Chen was born with ink in her blood. Her journalist father has fired her imagination with the thrill of the newsroom. But now Maggie’s father has been killed, and she is determined to keep their dreams alive by interning at the local newspaper. While assisting on her first story, suspicion of illegal activity falls on Maggie’s father, and she knows she must clear his name. Drawn to Seattle’s Chinatown, what she finds is far from what she expected: secrets, lies, and a connection to the Chinese Exclusion Era. Using all of her newspaper instincts and resources, Maggie is forced to confront her ethnicity—and a family she never knew.

April 6, 2010

In the Middle Reading Challenge UPDATE TIME :) +prizes

UPDATED BELOW IN RED!!!

Hey everyone it's time for an update on your progress for the In the Middle Reading Challenge.  If you don't know about the challenge - HERE'S the original post.  After posting that I decided that people could enter the contest whenever. But to reward those that were signed up by the deadline, you will get an extra entry in this update's giveaway!

Here's what middle grade books I've read: (I've linked to the review if I did one)

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (although I'm on the edge as to whether this one counts)
We the Children: Keepers of the School by Andrew Clements
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder
SPHDZ by Jon Scieszka
Dani Noir by Nova Rem Suma
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (I never officially reviewed this one!)

Now here's what I need from you. 
  1. You do NOT have to do an update post!
  2. Instead just link using Mr. Linky below to any reviews you did on a middle grade books for the challenge.  For each review you link you'll get entered in the contest for this update. 
  3. Remember if you did a post about the challenge and linked by the cut-off date, you'll get an extra entry. 
  4. You will only be able to enter a review once.  That means if you already finished the challenge, and you link all your reviews, you won't be able to enter at the next update.
  5. ENDS APRIL 20th
  6. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BLOG!!! You can rate them on Goodreads, Shelfarie, Amazon etc.  In the comments for this post, just tell me who you are there and I'll find them :)
PRIZES! 2 Winners.

First Winner: Choice of Savvy, Umbrella Summer OR The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Second Winner: Various swag some signed :)

April 5, 2010

Winner of 200 Followers Giveaway!

Thanks everyone who joined and for all the great book suggestions - plus lots of help finding a place to get pics to use on the blog! I have tons of resources now :)

So the winner of $20 to spend at The Book Depository is:


I was excited that she won because she was one of my earliest followers! I'll be emailing her (if you see this before hearing from me, feel free to email me!).  She'll have 72 hours to get back to me :)   

Owl of the Week April 5

Since I've decided to not do In My Mail Box anymore there is one thing I'll miss - my Owl of the Week! I know it has nothing to do with reading, but it was a fun thing to do :) If you all don't mind on Mondays I'm going to do a quick post showcasing one owl.  I figure I can do these quick enough, and if I don't get one done one week - oh well. 

 So in that spirit here is this week's Owl of the Week!

I was on the blog Shelf Elf, and she highlighted two owls she got.  I sooooooo want one.  They are from an Etsy store called Hilary Cosgrove.  I LOVE these owls! Here's a picture of one. 
Make sure to check out the rest of her store.  She's got some cute stuff. 

Young Adult Reading Challenge

This is being hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.  Here's the info from her site:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.
2. There are four levels:

--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.
--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.
--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, re-reads all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

This one is kinda a no-brainer for me since all I read is YA! I'm going for the Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge! 

I'll use this post to update how my list is coming.

 1. Dani Noir
 2. Eleventh Grade Burns
 3. Paper Towns
 4. Before I Fall
 5. The Lightning Thief
 6. We the Children Keepers of the School
 7.  Conspiracy 396 January
 8.  Untamed
 9.  SPHDZ
10. I Am the Messenger
11. It's Raining Cupcakes
12. Fablehaven
13. Dreaming Anastasia
14. Frozen Fire
15. Wereling
16. Once Dead Twice Shy
17.  The Maze Runner
18.  Firespell
19.  I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You
20.  This World We Live In
21.  The Replacement
22.  The Knife of Never Letting Go
23.  13 to Life
24.  The Pack

April 4, 2010

Fun New Blog for Random Reading Activity Challenges

Karen the Librarian has done some awesome reading challenges in the past (Winter Break Reading Challenge and Spring Break Reading Challenge).  For both of these she created many fun activities for the people participating.  WELL - she has taken this a step further and created a blog for random fun activity challenges!!! She'll randomly post challenges, and if you're up for it you can participate.  To add to the fun - there will be prizes!

GO HERE to see the blog and get the full details! Then become a follower and join the fun!

April 2, 2010

Friday's for the Guys - My Review of Fablehaven

I'm going back to my Friday's for the Guys post last week where I featured the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.  I read the first book over the week, and now I'm ready to give my review :)

My Thoughts (summary of the book below)
This has been my year of introductions to series that have been around, but I hadn't read them.  The first was the Percy Jackson series and now Fablehaven.  For both of them I'm wondering why I hadn't read them before! I really enjoyed Fablehaven.  From the summary you know that Seth and Kendra's grandparents run a sanctuary for magical creatures, but I love how that still unfolds as a mystery. It was fun watching them see what was really surrounding them in their granpa's garden. I felt Kendra's awe when had her eyes opened.  Once they learn the truth the action takes off.  What I really like during the second half of the book is that, in turn, first Seth then Kendra have to show courage and determination.  It's great to see both a boy and a girl in strong rolls.  That also means I can "sell" the book to both my boy and girl students.  Also during this half my annoyance with Seth was gone as he stepped up and showed his strengths. 

This is a great series for all type of readers - reluctant readers will love the action and mystery.  Higher readers will enjoy trying to pull all the pieces together before the characters do.  As the series goes a long I think these two aspects will only become stronger.  It's clear that there is much more going on in the mystical world that what was shown in book one.  A secret society was discussed, so I see them playing a big roll in later books.  I can't wait to see what Kendra and Seth do in return.  Their's is a story I'm excited to follow. 

Final thought: Secrets, action and creatures - Oh my! :)
Best stick-with-you image: The fairies in the garden
Best for ages: 10+

Just in case you don't know the book here's the summary from Goodreads:
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.