May 31, 2010

June Releases That Caught My Eye

We are just one day away from June (and 4 from the end of my school year but who's counting!). 
With that in mind here are some middle grade books coming out in June that have really caught my eye. Hope you find some that catch yours too!

The Titlting House by Tom Llewellyn
Release Date: June 8
Publisher: Tricycle Press

“Whaddya say you boys and me take five and poke around a bit?”
“Poke around where?” I asked.
“Around our new house. I’ll bet if we look in every nook and cranny, we’ll uncover a secret or two.”
“A secret?” asked Aaron. “What kind of secret?”
“I don’t know.” Dad grinned as he struggled to get up from the tilting couch. “A house built with tilting floors has got to have secrets."

Talking rats
Growth potions
Buried treasure

Brothers Josh and Aaron Peshik are about to discover that their new home with the tilting floors hides many mysteries. When the boys and their neighbor Lola discover the hidden diary of F.T. Tilton, the brilliant but deranged inventor who built the house, they learn a dark secret that may mean disaster for the Peshik family. Can the kids solve the riddles of the tilting house before time runs out?

Mad science, mischief, and mishaps combine in the suspenseful and imaginative tale of The Tilting House.

After All, You're Callie Boone by Winnie Mack
Release Date: June 8
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Ferrets, belly flops and a broken friendship.

It’s the worst summer on record for Callie Boone. Not only has she been ditched by her best friend for someone more “awesome”, but she may never live down her recent humiliation at the community pool.
The only things keeping her afloat are dive practices with her dad and a secret Olympic dream. That is, until a boy named Hoot moves in next door and teaches a reluctant Callie the true meaning of friendship.
But just when everything seems to be going her way, disaster strikes and it’s up to Callie to grow up fast and hold on tight to what matters most; her friendship with Hoot, the love of her family and a newfound belief in herself.

Growing Up Ivy by Peggy Dymond Leavey
Release Date: June 1st
Publisher: Dundurn Press

Living in grim Depression-era Toronto with her actress mother, Frannie, Ivy Chalmers has never met her father. In 1931, Frannie sends 12-year-old Ivy to stay with her paternal grandmother in Larkin, Ontario, while she seeks stardom in New York City. When Ivy's father, Alva, arrives unexpectedly in Larkin, he turns out not to be the Prince Charming she imagined, but an illiterate peddler. Rescuing Ivy from her uncompromising grandmother, Alva takes her with him for the summer, wandering the countryside by horse-drawn caravan and selling shoes.

In the course of their travels, Ivy meets teenager Charlie Bayliss, orphaned as an infant and raised by his aunt on a farm outside Larkin. Ivy has a flair for writing and boundless imagination; Charlie loves baseball and loathes farming. Unknown to both of them, though, is a secret connection they share. When the final pieces of the puzzle of their lives fall into place, nothing will ever be the same.

The Talent Thief by Alex Williams
Release Date: June 10
Publisher: Philomel

Adam’s sister is a singing sensation and he is her biggest fan. Unlike his superstar sibling, this twelveyear- old boy excels at absolutely nothing—although his sister would argue that he’s the master of getting on her nerves. But when a mysterious creature as old as time steals her talent, it’s Adam who fearlessly leads the charge to retrieve it and stop the creature before it can take the talents of other children.

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Release Date: June 10
Publisher: Dial
Moxie Roosevelt Kipper has endured thirteen years of being an ordinary girl with an unordinary name. Now that she’s entered boarding school, the time is ripe to reinvent herself. She’ll become unusual, outlandish, unexpected, sassy—someone worthy of a name like “Moxie.“ But who exactly? From Mysterious Earth Goddess to Hale and Hearty Sports Enthusiast; from Detached, Unique, Coolly Knowing Individual to Assertive Revolutionary Activist, Moxie tries them all, while keeping her true talent for piano-playing a secret. But at boarding school, Moxie isn't the only one who isn't what she claims to be.
Magie Below the Stairs by Caroline Stevermer
Release Date: June 10
Publisher: Dial
Young Frederick is plucked from an orphanage to be a footboy for a wizard named Lord Schofield in Victorian England. Is his uncanny ability to tie perfect knots and render boots spotless a sign of his own magical talent, or the work of Billy Bly, the brownie who has been secretly watching over him since he was little? No matter, for the wizard has banished all magical creatures from his holdings. But Billy Bly isn’t going anywhere, and when he discovers a curse upon the manor house, it’s up to Frederick and Billy Bly to keep the lord’s new baby safe and rid the Schofield family of the curse forever.

May 30, 2010

Cinderella Society Bookmark Winner and Young Writers Award

The winner of the glass slipper bookmark for the official Cinderella Society Launch Tour is:


I've emailed her, and I'm just waiting to hear back.  Thanks everyone for entering.


Also for you today is info on new campain by Little Tiger Press to promote literacy and creative thinking in kids.

The Little Tiger Press Young Writer and Illustrator Awards are designed to encourage reading and creativity in children from an early age. It is an annual competition aimed at schools, charities and organizations in the UK.

It aims to promote a life-long love of books and to give children a sense of enjoyment and confidence in reading, writing and illustrating.

For more information, tips and tricks from the authors and illustrators at Little Tiger Press please visit:

Make sure to check out the prize page to see what you can win! It looks awesome.
So if you're in the UK make sure to share this will all the teachers, librarians and parents you know!
I'm all for promoting literacy!!

May 29, 2010

Summer Reading List (Will I Read Them All???)

So I only have 3 days left in my school year, and then I’ll be on summer vacation! Wahoooooo! Last summer I made a “summer reading list”. It was just a list of books I had hoped to read over the summer, but it wasn't set in stone. On top of that I kept track of the number of pages I read. This year I decided to do the same, but always wanting a challenge I decided that this summer I’d also track the number of minutes I read. I had bought my kids a bookmark timer/trackers (Click HERE to see one. You can buy them at Barnes and Noble too), so I got one for myself. I’ll use it to track my minutes. We’ll see how that goes.

Of course even THAT wasn’t enough for me, so I opened up a challenge to my students. They can challenge me in minutes or pages and try to do more than me, or they can just guess how much I’ll read. The closest guess in each category will win a Barnes and Noble gift card. If they read more than me, they’ll get a candy bar. You can see the form by clicking on the link in the first box on the right hand side of the blog.

Now for my 2010 Summer Reading List Summer
(click on the cover to be taking to the Goodreads page for the book)

Do you have a summer reading list or a book you really want to read this summer?

May 27, 2010

Review The Jaguar Stones Book One: Middleworld by J&P Voelkel

Title: Middleworld
Author: J&P Voelkel
Publisher: EgmontUSA

From Back of the Book:
Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy, video-gamer extraordinaire, is furious when his archacologist parents cancel the family vacation to go on a dig in Central America.  But things go from bad to worse when Max is summoned to join them, only to discover that his parents have vanished.  With the help of Lola, a fast-talking, quick-thinking Maya girl, Max embarks on a quest to find out just what's going on.  Soon Max and Lola are running for their lives in the perilous rainforest, as they unlock ancient secrets, meet mysterious strangers, and begin to understand that, in San Xaxier, nothing is ever as it seems.

Fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to Max Murphy. But can a teen whose biggest talent is for video games rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save himself from the villainous Lords of Death?

My Review
I love the Indiana Jones movies with all the adventure mixed in with fact, history, legend and lore. When I saw the summary for Middleworld I was immediately intrigued because it reminded me of a story you might see Indiana in! I was also interested because it told about the Mayan culture - something I knew very little about. With fingers crossed that I would like the story, I began to read.  I will be honest and say the preface really made me worried about the rest of the book.  The preface takes place during Mayan times, and I was confused throughout most of it.  If the rest of the book took place that far in the past I didn't know if I could finish it! BUT when it switched to present time it took off! Within the first chapter Max's parents leave him to go off on a dig.  Max was not happy and, to tell you the truth, I didn't blame him! Here he was all excited to go on a family vacation to Italy, and his parents cancel it and leave him alone. Any kids could relate to Max's reaction and be on his side.

Soon tho he's pulled from his safe home and summoned to his uncle's house in San Xavier near where his parents are on the dig.  Within hours of meeting his uncle the action starts when he watches his uncle do business with a very evil seeming man.  You know right away there are a lot of secrets surrounding his uncle and even his own parents - who seemed to be missing. I like that it jumped into the action right away because it kept me from getting bored, so I knew it would be the same for my students.

Not long later Max sneaks out in the middle of the night thinking he can help a situation he sees.  Instead he becomes lost in the jungle.  He is found by Lola - a girl I loved! She was spunky, smart, outspoken and self confident! Max, on the other hand is not impressed.  He complains to her- a lot - about everything! Honestly if Max hadn't realized how bad his behavior was when he did - I don't think I could've taken him much long.  His whining was getting to me!

Shades of Indiana Jones come in as Lola and Max find her friend Hermanjilio, and expert in Maya culture.  They go after the Jaguar Stones - bringing the past into the future in the form of two howler monkeys.  I loved the use of the monkeys.  Lady Coco - who I thought I wouldn't like at first - turned out to be fantastic! She made me laugh several times because she loved the fact she didn't have to be so ladylike in her new form.

Ok after rambling through this review I'll give you my short version.  I enjoyed the action.  I loved learning about the Mayans.  I adored how strong Lola was.  I loved the lessons Max learned.  And I laughed at Lady Coco.  I'd definately read the next book :) Clear enough for ya?

Final Thought: I believe my final thought is best said by a quote from the book
       "As I see it," said Max, "all that stands between humankind and the end of the world is two talking monkeys, a crazy archaeologiest covered in red paint, and a couple of kids with blowguns. Am I right?"

Best stick-with-you image: Um, Lady Coco letting out some, um, unlady like sounds to distract bodyguards.

Best for ages: 12+ I think even adults could learn from this book

To learn more about the authors and their adventures and the series you must check out the website for The Jaguar Stones
GO HERE! to see it.

And pssst-teachers and librarians - they have some good stuff for you!

May 26, 2010

Book Release Giveaway for Countdown by Deborah Wiles

I'm super excited about Countdown and the chance to bring it to you! It's not often that a historical fiction book comes out that just flat out looks amazing.  As a teacher I'm constantly digging for some good ones to share with my students.  I think this is clearly one that will be great for readers of all ages.

I have just started reading Countdown, and I'm already hooked.  Not only is the fictional story great, but I love all the historical photos and news clippings surrounding it.  I've learned a few things, and I'm just at the beginning.  Watch for my review soon!

About the book
Countdown is the first in a new trilogy of “documentary novels” set in the 1960s- a fascinating historical documentary in a unique style and format. Filled with photos, news clippings, and songs of the era, this novel tells the story of Franny Chapman, an eleven-year-old girl living in Washington, DC, set against the backdrop of one of the most politically and culturally defining periods in history.

It’s 1962, in the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the world seems to be on the terrifying brink of nuclear war. But for Franny Chapman, everyday life goes on. While doing “Duck and Cover” drills at school, Franny must face tensions with her younger brother, and worry about her older sister— is she a secret spy?— while learning to look beyond outward appearances.
Check out the website for it HERE
About the author
Deborah Wiles is the author of National Book Award Finalist Each Little Bird That Sings; as well as Love, Ruby Lavender; and The Aurora County All-Stars. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her website can be found HERE
Here's the widget for Countdown. It'll take you to the offical site and author's site as well.

The publisher has offered up a great prize back for the release of Countdown
One lucky person will win a copy of the book AND a Countdown branded canvas tote!
To enter leave a comment and an email address. 
Contest ends in two weeks so June 9th at 11:59 CDT.
Additional Details:
Retail Value: Books are valued at $17.99 each.
Shipping Guidelines: This book giveaway is open to participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prizes by mail).

May 24, 2010

Owl of the Week and a Winner!

 I just bought a Nook and On Etsy at the shop Hob-op I found the cutest OWL!!! Nook cover.  I'll be ordering it I do believe :) Make sure you click on the link above and check out the super cute Nook, Sony and Kindle covers she has made.

Now for the winner of the breast cancer awareness goodie bag.  Remember to keep clicking at The Breast Cancer Site, so more women have the chance at getting a mammogram. 

The random number generator spoke and picked:

Raelena of Through The Haze!

Congrats and I'll be emailing you for your details.  If you see this first, feel free to email me at foltzsfantasticbooks at

May 23, 2010

Sunday Shelves May 23

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:

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! I asked her if I could share these posts, and she agreed!

Here are her shelves.  Click on the color for each shelf to be taken to her post about it.

Her Purple Shelf

The Red Shelf

The Green Shelf

The Orange Shelf

The Yellow Shelf

Now isn't that a cool way to arrange your shelves?!?! Love it!

May 20, 2010

***The Official Cinderella Society Blog Tour Giveaway****

Hey everyone as you may be aware I was able to participate in the official Cinderella Society Blog Tour for the launch of The Cinderella Society.  The kind and wonderful author Kay Cassidy did a guest post on my Sunday Shelves feature telling what other book characters Jess from The Cinderella Society might be friends with.  If you missed the post click HERE to see it.   I also reviewed the book.  You can read my review HERE

Well Kay as given me the chance to pass on a little of the magic from The Cinderella Society.  She has offered this awesome glass slipper bookmark.  I won this through another contest, and it is the cutest bookmark!  I love this it because it helps me remember the story and the idea of being proud of who I am and the body I have! I absolutely love the message of The Cinderella Society - the idea that every girl is special and important, so I'm very happy to have that chance to pass a little reminder on to someone else!

To enter just fill out the form below! The giveaway will end in one week - May 27th at midnight CDT. 

May 19, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Dork Diary #2

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:
Dork Diaries Book #2
by Rachel Renee Russell
I have soooo many girls that love this book.  I know they are excited for the second book coming out June 8th.
Here's the summary from the Dork Diary website (be sure to check that website out!!!)
Settled in at her new school and flanked by awesome friends Chloe and Zoey, life is looking up for Nikki Maxwell, especially since her crush, Brandon, asked her to be his lab partner—a seriously awesome development. However, when Nikki overhears mean girl Mackenzie bragging that Brandon’s taking her to the Halloween dance, a bummed Nikki signs on to spend Halloween at a kids’ party with her little sister, Brianna, instead. After she finds out Mackenzie was lying and her dream of going to the party with Brandon could be a reality, Nikki has two events to juggle . . . plus plenty of other entertaining trials and tribulations along the way.
Here's the trailer for the first book.

May 18, 2010

Tween Tuesday-The Wish Stealers

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 Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas

Why I think tweens would like it:
The idea is that someone steals the coins out of wish fountain and is cursed by it.  I asked my students if the thought of taking a coin out of a wishing fountian had ever crossed their minds.  Many of them raised their hands.  That tells me that they might also be interested in a book that actually has the character do that!

Here's the book trailer for it.

Summary from Barnes and Noble
Griffin Penshine is always making wishes. But when a sinister old woman tricks her into accepting a box of eleven shiny Indian Head pennies from 1897, Griffin soon learns these are no ordinary pennies, but stolen wishes.

This box of labeled pennies comes with a horrible curse: People in possession of the stolen coins are Wish Stealers, who will never have their wishes granted.... In fact, the opposite of what they've wished for will happen. Griffin must find a way to return these stolen wishes and undo the curse if her own wishes are to come true.

But how can Griffin return wishes to strangers who might not even be alive? Her journey leads her to ancient alchemists, Macbeth's witches, and a chance to help people in ways she never imagined, but the temptation of the Wish Stealers' dark and compelling power is growing stronger. Can Griffin reverse the curse in time to save herself and the people she loves?

May 17, 2010

Owl of the Week and Contest Reminder

This week's owl come from my 8 year old son.  Even he knows mom likes owls, so he drew me this fantastic picture of one.

Isn't it cute!!?!!

Don't forget the Race for the Cure goodie bag giveaway I'm having.  Enter it HERE.

And as far as contests go - I'll be having several once summer starts.  I'm weeding through my bookshelves to give away some YA I know I can't put on my classroom shelves.  They are ones I've read and liked but don't feel the need to keep.  Stay tuned for those!

May 16, 2010

Sunday Shelves - My Classroom

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 thought I'd rerun one of my first posts showing my classroom bookcases

There are 500+ books for students to check out.  In these pictures you'll see the bookcases (4 of them), the area where I'll highlight books, reviews etc, and all the owl stuff I've bought to tie my blog to my classroom.  You'll also see my rain gutters.  These are at the front of my classroom, and they allow me to display books cover-side out.  I see students picking up these books more than any other ones in my room.  Lastly you'll see how I'm able to display my blog on the Smartboard in my room.

In my classroom my book are arranged alphabetically by title so they are easier to find.  That is if the students put them back in the right place :)

If you click on the little speech bubble on the bottom left, you'll see picture descriptions. Enjoy!

May 15, 2010

Race for the Cure Pictures and Small Giveaway

Last Sunday my sister, my oldest children and I went to The Race for the Cure. It's always and amazing event. 50,000 people were the to help raise money to find a CURE for breast cancer. Something I hope happens soon because I know way to many women who have died from it.
Here are a few pictures of us

When you go to The Race for the Cure there are many booths set up giving out info about treatment, detection or companies raising money to help find a cure.  My son doesn't usually want the stuff they hand out because it's pink, so I thought I'd give one follower his goodie bag! You only need to do two things to enter.

Go to and click to give free mammograms
Come back here, tell me you clicked and leave your email. 
sorry but US entries only

I'll pick a winner next Saturday May 22nd! :)

Here's what you get:

pink ribbon bag from Health Partners
water bottle
Scotch tape pop up tape
tape measure
make-up bag
a few pink ribbon or support pins
bandaide holder
two scarves - one is the Ford Warriors scarf
pink ribbon shoelaces from New Balance
various other info

Thanks everyone for your support!!!!!

May 14, 2010

Friday's For the Guys - Shadow Children Series

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 highlight:

Shadow Children Series
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Why I think Boys Will Like It

This series got one of my "nonreaders" reading so much we had to take his book away from him! Love it!

This series is about a boy, Luke, who is a third child in a world where it is illegal to have more than 2 children.  Luke must be kept hidden.  Of course he doesn't! Boys like this series for several reasons.  They like Luke and the fact that he doesn't always listen to the rules - that he takes risks even if it means getting in trouble.  They also like that the book moves at a steady pace.  There aren't lags in the action, so there isn't much chance for boredom to set in.  And - they aren't deterred by it's size.  The books are on the short side, so many of my boys are willing to give them a try.  In contrast I was talking about The Red Pyramid (a book I know they'd love!). It is 530 pages.  Many boys were intersted until they heard the length! They won't do that with the Shadow Children books.

I also like that there are 7 books in the series, so if they do get hooked, they'll have several books to read.

From Goodread about book #1
Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.
Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to? 

May 13, 2010

Review: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Title: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Author: Tom Angleberger
Publisher: Amulet Books

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.

My Review
What a fun book! For me this was a really quick read - I started it last night.  But part of the reason it was quick was because I couldn't put it down! Like Tommy and the students in his class, I had to find it if Origami Yoda was real and if he should be believed.

I liked the main narrator Tommy a lot. I think many boys could relate to him. He's in a constant state of uncertainty. Should he ask the girl he likes to dance? Should he be friends with Dwight? Should he listen to Harvey (more on him later!) and most importantly - Should he believe in Origami Yoda? He takes the scientific approach. The stories in the book are his case study on the advice Yoda has given - they are his evidence. But even with all of them, in the end Tommy has to figure out what HE believes - not what his friends believe.

Dwight is quite the character - he would be considered the odd kid of the class who becomes even odder when an origami Yoda he made starts giving out advice.  The interesting thing about Dwight is that I got the feeling he was way smarter than he let on.  Through Yoda he gives this fantastic advice but then does something completely off the wall like handing Tommy a wad of never signed In-School Suspense slips and answering yes or no questions with the word purple! I kept thinking either this kid was super odd or an amazing genius! As the story went along I began to see the wisedom of his ways and (shhhhh don't tell anyone!) but I kinda wanted to ask Yoda a question! To tell you the truth I still don't know what to make of Dwight, but his charachter just goes to show that great advice can come in strange ways.  Something I think even Tommy was figuring out in the end. 

Tommy has a friend named Harvey. The role that Harvey plays is to argue against Tommy's evidence and make sure to confuse Tommy as much as he can.  He's constantly pointing out problems with Yoda's advice and arguing they are all crazy for believing in Origami Yoda. Tommy wants to do the right thing, but Harvey is constantly confusing him and making it diffucult. At one point Harvey goes as far as creating is own Origami Yoda because he thinks he can do it better. This causes even more confusing for Tommy.  I think many students have a friend like Harvey and maybe by watching Tommy deal with him they could learn how to deal with the Harvey's in their life. 

As far as the ending goes, it was satisfying. I was very happy to see how it all worked out, and how Origami Yoda's advice came all together. At the end I really wondered if Dwight was a genius! The ending didn't give me all the answers. I had to come to my own conclusion on many of my questions- something some students may find frustrating.  BUT I think that is the better ending.  Tommy had to decide on his own whether to believe in Origami Yoda or not and so should the reader :)

Final Thought: Read it you should.
Best stick-with-you image: Middle schoolers doing the twist
Best for ages: 10-13

May 12, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - 39 Clues Books 9 and 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 books I'm waiting on are:

Storm Warning: 39 Clues Book #9
by Linda Sue Park
To be released: May 25


Into the Gauntlet
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
To be released: August 31

Why I'm waiting for these books:
I am currently reading the first book aloud to my students.  They seem to really be enjoying it.  One student took her dad to Borders and tried to get him to buy her all the books published so far! Any series that can get kids that interested needs to hurry up and get here! Another student got on the computer to find out what branch of the family he is (I told the kids I'm curious if any of them are the Lucian branch.  I'm Ekaterina.). And to top it off the series has actions, mystery and great characters! Anyone else waiting for these?

From Goodreads for #9
On the hunt for The 39 Clues, Amy and Dan Cahill uncovered shocking information about their past - from what happened the night their parents died to the shattering discovery about their family branch.

But the biggest secret of all remains behind Grace Cahill's alternate will. Now, Amy and Dan are about to discover a long-hidden secret of the Cahils - a secret so dangerous that people died to protect it. Will this be the end of them? Or just the end of everything they think they knew?

From Barnes and Noble for #10
Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan Cahill have uncovered history's greatest mysteries and their family's deadliest secrets. But are they ready to face the truth about the Cahills and the key to their unmatched power? After a whirlwind race that's taken them across five continents, Amy and Dan face the most the difficult challenge yet- a task no Cahill dared to imagine. When faced with a choice that could change the future of the world, can two kids succeed where 500 years worth of famous ancestors failed?

May 11, 2010

Tween Tuesday - The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

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 Summer of Moonlight Secrets
by Danette Haworth
From Amazon
At The Meriwether, Florida’s famous antebellum hotel off of Hope Springs, nothing is quite as it seems. Secret staircases give way to servants’ quarters and Prohibition-era speakeasies make for the perfect hide-and-seek spot. Allie Jo Jackson knows every nook and cranny of The Meriwether—she’s lived there her whole life—and nothing surprises her, until the first time she spots the enigmatic and beautiful Tara emerging from the springs. Tara’s shimmery skin, long flowing hair, and strange penchant for late moonlight swims disguise a mysterious secret—and once Allie Jo and her friend Chase discover Tara’s secret, nothing will ever be the same.
Why I Think Tweens Will Like It
I have a couple of reasons why tweens might like it.  I think the idea of the hotel full of secret staircases and hiding places would make them interested - I mean who doesn't like the thought of staying in a place where you could disappear behind the woodwork so to speak! I also think they'll like it because it's a mystery waiting to be solved.  And they'll be intrigued by the idea that the answer to this mystery could change everything.
Release date: May 25th

May 10, 2010

Owl of the Week

This week's owl is super sweet because if was made just for me! I won a guest post giveaway at The Book Rat, and she made me this super cute owl necklace (i couldn't get a picture that did it justice tho!)! I love it, and I'm in awe of her creativity especially since I have none :) Thanks Misty!!!!!

May 9, 2010

Me at The Race for the Cure

I'm a 6 year breast cancer survivor. There will be a small giveaway for this later :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

May 6, 2010

Review: Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

Title: Shooting Kabul
Author: N.H. Senzai
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: June 22, 2010

From Goodreads
In early 2001, Fadi and his family hide in a sheltered teashop on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Staring at the full moon, Fadi recalls the first line of the tattered book he found in the black-market, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - “Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away...”

Fadi hopes that his family’s escape will be successful - if they arent', they're going to be in an awful lot of trouble. As the truck rolls into pick them up, the Taliban show up, and in the chaos, Fadi’s younger sister, Mariam, is left behind. Settled in the United States as refugees, in a post 9/11 environment, Fadi tries every hare-brained scheme he can think of to find his sister. As he waits to hear if he’s won the grand prize of a photography competition, which would allow them to travel back to the border to look for Mariam, he wonders if he’ll see his beloved younger sister again.

Shooting Kabul is about the power of hope, love and perseverance.

My Review
This book broke my heart and then taught me about hope.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I started the book.  What I found was a book that taught me a lot about the human spirit to survive, believe and live.  As Fadi's family flees Afghanistan his youngest sister Mariam is lost in the rush.  They are forced to leave for America without her.  Each family member, in their own way, blames themself for Mariam's separation.  I could feel the heart break of each family member, but for me as a mom the hardest grief was that of his mother's.  Yet through it all they remain firm in their belief that Mariam will be found and returned to them.  Their conviction made me believe it as well.  When I thought there couldn't be any hope, the family would express their hope and mine would be lifted as well.  Many times they could've given up, but they never did.  Fadi tried many different plans for returning to Afghanistan to find her.  Plans I knew were foolish, but I kept my fingers crossed for him. 

In the midst of Fadi's family losing Marium and adjusting to life in America, 9-11 happens.  I gained a whole new perspective of that time period by seeing how it affected Fadi's family.  I shook my head again and again at how they were treated.  Fadi's father Habib has a PhD, but people only see him as an uneducated taxi driver.  It reminded me to never judge people on outward appearances because you have no clue who they are, where they came from and what diffuculties they have faced.  Fadi's family handles the treatment they received after 9-11 with much grace and honor.  At Friday prayers during the khutba (sermon) the iman (leader of prayers) talks about a verse from the Holy Qur'an.  The iman explains that this particular verse"is saying is that if we kill one human being, it as if we have killed all of mankind, and if we save one human being, it is as if we have saved all of mankind." What an amazing concept.  It truly made me think.

This is not a book I'd hand to every student.  Some just wouldn't get it. BUT as a teacher it is a book I would use in my classrooms to help students understand not only the Muslim faith and the different ethinic groups in Afghanistan but also to look at about we treat each other.  I think it has some great lessons they could learn from.

Final thought: This book taught me more than I could've imagined.
Best stick-with-you image: The family in the truck when they realize Marium is gone.
Best for ages: 11+

quotes taken from an ARC copy


May 4, 2010

Tween Tuesday and a Reading Challenge

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 I'm taking a reading challenge from KarenLibrarian. She has a fun site where she posts random reading challenge.  Her latest is to tell about the book you're reading in pictures.  The book I'm currenlty reading is a tween book, so I thought I'd combine the two.  To see the full explanation of the challenge go HERE

My tween book is Shotting Kabul by N.H. Senzai.

My first picture is a picture of Kabul.  The family in the story seeks asylum because they are fleeing Kabul fearing persecution. 

My second picture is of a brother and sister.  In the story Fadi's youngest sister is separated from the family as they flee the country.  They are unable to find her and must go to the United States without her.

I've included a camera because Fadi deals with some of his stress by taking pictures.  These pictures play a large role in the book. 

The Barbie is because his little sister had a Barbie she treasured.  The memory of this Barbie is very hard on Fadi.

This picture is of crying because there is a lot of sadness at the beginning of the book.

Lastly I did this picture.  While reading this book I'm learning a lot of Kabul, the culture, what happened in its history.  I'm also learning a lot about Muslims.

There ya go.  My latest tween read.  I'll be finish this book and writing the review within the next few days.

May 2, 2010

Guest Post - Kay Cassidy and The Cinderella Society

Today I have the honor of hosting Kay Cassidy the author of The Cinderella Society. I was lucky enough to be part of a book tour for The Cinderella Society.  I loved the book and its message of girl power. You can read my review of it HERE.  Kay's guest post is a fun look at what books The Cinderella Society would be friends with.  It's a twist on my Sunday Shelves feature.  Thanks Kay for putting together such a fun post and thanks for writing The Cinderella Society!

Books That The Cinderella Society Would Be Friends With
When Mrs. Foltz invited me to participate in her Sunday Shelves series as part of the official The Cinderella Society launch tour, I was delighted. I love talking about books! To make it fun, I decided to put together a bookshelf of books that The Cinderella Society would be friends. Or, more to the point, YA heroines that Jess from The Cinderella Society would be friends with in real life.

So here are Jess's fictional buddies, in photo order:

Cammie from I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
If you've read The Cinderella Society, you know there's a lot more to the Cindys than playing Cinderella. Cammie and her spy girl buddies would be the ultimate Cindy weapon in their war against the Wickeds. Plus they're all go-getters who are smart and funny – right up Jess's alley.

Abbey from Beauty Shop for Rent by Laura Bowers
Abbey knows what she wants and goes after it, no matter the odds. That's the same thing Jess does, even when she knows the Wickeds have a fierce advantage. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing for the right reasons and hope it turns out for the best. Score one for the Cindy way!

Phoebe from Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
Phoebe is a girl on a mission. Independent, smartly funny, and with a competitive streak a mile wide. Considering that The Cinderella Society sequel is titled Cindy on a Mission, is it any wonder Jess and Phoebe would be fast friends? (Tera concurs, btw – we think they'd have a blast together.)

Kaitlin from Broadway Lights by Jen Calonita
With the worldwide glitz and glamour that lurks beneath The Cinderella Society's high school exterior, Kaitlin would be right at home. She's smart, has a good heart, and keeps her sense of who she is despite being Hollywood's It girl. Total buddy material for Jess and the Cindys.

Sophie from Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Not only is Sophie hilarious, but she's also a fellow outcast like Jess. She doesn't let it get her down, though, and always remembers who she is no matter what her fiendish classmates might say. She knows that unconditional friendship is worth more than all the superficial buddy moments in the world. Rachel and I joke that Sophie and Jess would set the world on fire if there were ever together. (In Sophie's case, it might be accidental!)

Nora from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Nora is smart, tough, and no nonsense. Plus, she's a little too curious for her own good when given the right temptation. :-) Sounds like Jess, right? Definitely a Cindy match.

Desi from Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Desi knows what it feels like to be on the outskirts of popularity. She also discovers she's a lot tougher than she ever gave herself credit for. Jess has to learn those same lessons too. If Desi were a Cindy, Jess would be pressing Gaby to let her be Desi's big Sister for sure.

Alex from The Season by Sarah MacLean
Spunky, stubborn, and willing to buck Regency England's strict traditions to do what's right, Alex is absolutely the kind of girl Jess would want as a fellow Cindy. And given the history of The Cinderella Society, who knows… maybe Alex was a Cindy long before Jess ever was!

Lucy from My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald
Jess and the Cindys are always looking for ways to make a difference in the world, just like Lucy does with her family's pharmacy. When faced with a tough situation, neither Lucy nor Jess back down from the challenge. That's what make them Cindy material!

So there you go! Nine YA heroines who Jess would totally be friends with if they ever ran into each other at a YA heroines conference. (And if there are those kinds of conferences, can I be invited? Please?) Thanks for having me on Sunday Shelves!