Sunday Shelves Jan 31st




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:

Jazz from Miss Danaidae

Below are pictures of her bookshelves followed by her guest post about them. Be sure to click above and check out her blog!






We may perceive people by the types of books they read, but what do our book shelves say about us? Looking at these three spaces where I keep my books, I see the scattered person that I am. Everything is organized in a way that only I understand until I get fed up with the clutter and clean it to a pristine quality. But what is more important to me is the fact that I have so many spaces for books among movies, school assignments, costumes, and clothing. It tells me beautiful words will be with me wherever I go.

What do your bookshelves say about you?
5

In My Mail Box or Shopping Bag

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

I got several books this week! Very excited by them.




Won
Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma (from KidsBuzz)

The next six books all won from Gayle Forman
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
The Everafter by Amy Huntly
Paper Towns by John Green
Impossible by Nancy Werlin

For Review
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

Bought
Kissing the Rain by Kevin Brooks

I'm most excited to read The Everafter and If I Stay.  I can't wait to get to them.
17

Friday's For the Guys

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




Conspiracy 365 by Babrielle Lord
Released January 2010
Check out the offical website for the series.

From Goodreads on the first book Conspiracy 365 January

On New Year's Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Forced into a life on the run, Cal finds himself hunted by ruthless criminals and the police. Somehow he must uncover the truth about his father's mysterious death and solve the Ormond Singularity, a secret from the past, before the year is up. But who can he turn to when the whole world seems to want him dead? The clock is ticking. Any second could be his last. Callum Ormond has been warned. He has 365 days. The countdown has begun ...
 
 
It sounds like a great series full of action.  From what I can gather there will be a new book out for each month.  My media specialist is loaned me the first one, so I can see what it's like.  So far it's looking like it could be a hit especially for reluctant readers.  In the first few pages his boat capsized and he was surrounded by sharks!
 




4

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin Group 2005

From Goodreads:
Before - Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole life has been one big non-event. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-butboring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into a new life, and steals his heart. After - Nothing is ever the same.

My Review:
I don't even know how to start this review.  First I'll state that I hate all the summaries out there for this book.  They just don't capture the true feeling of the book.  Second I'll state: I LOVED it.  I really did.  It had me laughing at some points and crying at others.  The characters were so real I felt like I knew them personally - like they were my friends.  Miles is made very likable even as he struggles to figure out how to manage the new world he finds himself in.  He messes up and makes some bad choices but that keeps him real.  Sure there were times I disagreed with what he did, but that was me (an adult) shaking my head at the choices of a teenager.  I understood why he made them, I just wished he would've done it differently. 

The organization of the novel adds to the brilliance of the story.  The first part of the books is labeled "before", and the second part is labeled "after", so you know something is going to happen, but you don't know what.  I had no clue what the event was, and I was completely blindsided by it.  For me that was ok because it made me feel what the characters felt.  That connection made my reaction to the story even stronger.  I struggled with them to understand why. As they came to understand it, so did I.  By the end I felt I had learned and grown with them. 

Final thought: A strong story that pushes the reader to face the reality of friendship, love and growing up.

Best stick with you image: The first scene in "after".

Best for ages: 16+  This one is definately for older teens due to language, mature scenes and themes.
9

Thinking on Thursday - How Often to Post

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 how often to post.  I pretty much put up a new post every day.  I may miss a day here or there, but it's usually one new post a day.  Some days tho, I'd like to post twice.  Usually it's because I have a review I want to get out there, but I also don't want to miss one of my weekly posts.  What stops me sometimes is that I don't know if it's too much to have two posts go the same day.  Will one not be seen? Do I post one in the morning and one in the afternoon? Do people even care????????

Ok so this isn't a very important topic, and there are tons of other things I could be giving my attention to, but it's a topic that's been floating around in my brain for a little while now.  Maybe I'm giving it too much thought and really what I need to do is just post them as I see fit, and people will decide if they want to read it on their own.  In the end, that's probably what I'll do - at least until people tell me I post too much!

Thanks for listening to my babbling about this not real important topic! If you have thoughts about it, share.  I'd love to hear them!

ps: I'll posting my review of Looking for Alaska by John Green later today, so make sure to come back to see what I thought of it.
8

Want to Read Wednesday


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

The book I want to read this week is what I'd call a "fluff" book.  It's purely for fun.  That book would be:

You're So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay

I'm into zombie books (I've mentioned that before).  I bought the sequel Undead Much, so now I need the first book, so I can read them both.

From Goodreads
Q: HOW MANY ZOMBIES DOES IT TAKE TO RUIN A SOCIAL LIFE?



A: NOT MANY.


Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a whole bunch of semi-dead people with killer issues. All Megan really wants is to go to homecoming, but when you're trailed by a bunch of slobbering corpses whenever you leave the house, it's kinda hard to score a date. Let's just say Megan's love life could use some major resuscitation.

Megan's convinced her life can't get any worse - until someone in school starts using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into scary, hardcore flesh-eating Zombies. Now it's up to Megan to stop the Zombie apocalypse. Her life - and more importantly, the homecoming dance - depends on it.


If you know of any other fun zombie books let me know!
I know of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie and the Generation Dead series.
5

Launch Party and Giveaways for The Mark!

Hey everyone just a quick heads up.  Jen Nadol is celebrating the launch of The Mark (which came out on the 19th).  She's giving away 10 different prizes.  Well, the giveaways started on the 26th, so now 9 are left.  Go over to her site to get the full details and to enter yourself!  Check out the the summary of The Mark below.  I've heard great things about it!!!

From Goodreads:
Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?
1

Tween Tues: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

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 Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
This book was just awarded a Newberry Honor.
I haven't read it yet, but it sounds great. I'll get to it soon!

 
From Goodreads
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
4

Monday Reading Merriment


This is a weekly meme inspired by one started by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week on Monday we tell what we read the previous week and what we plan to read in the upcoming week. I like to put a spin on it to also look at various other reading events happening this week.

First - Yesterday I was creeping up on 175 followers!!!! When I hit 175 I believe a contest will be in order, so keep posted :)

What I Read Last Week:  I finished Looking for Alaska by John Green.  Look for a review this week.  In brief - loved it!



What I'm Reading Now: Wereling by Steve Feasey I got this one for review, and I think it looks pretty good.

Up After That: Candor by Pam Bachorz Yes it's high time I read that one!!!!

Books coming out this week:  Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Released January 26

From Goodreads:
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...


Teens Read and Write is having an awesome giveaway for reaching 500 followers.  Here's the list of books the winner has to choose from:

1) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

2) The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
3) Fallen by Lauren Kate
4) Darklight by Lesley Livingston
5) Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
6) City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
7) Wish by Alexandra Bullen
8) Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
9) Sceptor of the Ancients by Derek Landy
10) Candor by Pam Bachorz
11) Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley
12) The EverAfter by Amy Huntley
13) Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser
14) Invisible Lines by Mary Amato

AND they'll add books and winners for every 25 more followers there get.  Head on over there to check it out!
3

Sunday Shelves Jan 24


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 stealing a post from:
(shhhhhh she doens't know yet!)



She originally said she couldn't participate because she had recently moved and had her books in boxes.  But like the rest of us readers, she has some books out for her TBR pile.  Head on over to her blog to see her picture.


I also thought I'd show you a picture of Neil Gaiman's bookshelves if you've never seen them.  All I can say is WOW!!!



And remember if you want to be part of The Sunday Shelves fill in the form below if you haven't yet.


8

In My Mail Box and Shopping Bag Jan 23

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



Won
The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus (Thanks Juju at Tales of Whimsy She's so sweet and awesome. Visit her blog!)
Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr (Thanks Leap Books)


Won and Bought
Undead Much by Stacey Jay (I'm starting a zombie collection!)



Bought
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
I've never read a book written in verse before, so this is a trial for me :)

Owl of the Week
This cute pencil holder - Barnes and Noble back in the fall


13

In the Middle Reading Challenge


In place of Friday's for the Guys I want to kick off the In the Middle Reading Challenge.  Just a quick reminder of the rules for the challenge:
1. You must read middle grade books. These are books deemed right for kids ages 9 (sometimes 8) - 12. Harry Potter would be considered a MG book. If you look for them on Amazon you need to look under children's ages 9-12.

2. Challenge starts Jan 17, 2010 and ends Dec 31, 2010. All books for the challenge must be read in that time frame.

3. Books for this challenge can cross over to other challenges.

4. Audio and ebooks count for sure!

5. There will be 4 levels:

5th Grader: At least 4 Books
6th Grader: At least 6 Books
7th Grader: At least 8 Books
8th Grader: At least 10 Books

Ok so the challenge is offically underway! In a few months I'll post for updates, and at that point I'll draw for some fun prizes! Good luck everyone.  Can't wait to see what you read.

To see the original post with the Mr. Linky click here.
And remember to grab one of the two buttons in this post.
2

Thinking on Thursday - REVIEW Interwined by Gena Showalter

On Thursdays I'm going to 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!


From Goodreads:
There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High . . .



Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:


One can time-travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can tell the future.
And one can possess another human.


With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now, they’re causing him all kinds of trouble.
Like, he’ll blink and suddenly he’s a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he’ll change the future. Or, he’ll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she’s going to die.


He’s so over it. All he wants is peace.


And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, for as long as he’s with her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He’s a loner; she has friends. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, he should stay away. But it’s too late. . .
Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own and a vampire princess Aden can’t resist. Two romances, both forbidden. . . doomed. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger. . . but not everyone will come out alive. .

My Review:
This was a pretty good book.  I expected it to follow the usual pattern I've seen lately with the boy sharing a secret, the girl being drawn to him, they fall in love.  Interstingly it didn't completely follow that pattern! It had a bit of a different take.  I liked Aden, and I found the four souls who lived in him amusing.  I liked how they bickered with Aden and with each other.  I couldn't imagine trying to live with that going on in your head! It really made me feel for Aden.  The story also contain quite a bit of mystery that held my interesting.  When the whole story was finally revealed I was suprised - not having guessed it all before. 

I did have some issues with the book.  Mary Ann is suppose to be smart, but she did some pretty dumb things I felt.  It was hard to believe she would do some of the things she did.  Also, there was a ton going on in this book, especially towards the end.  I began having a hard time keeping it all straight.  I don't know if more needed to revealed sooner, so I had more time to work it out in my mind OR if it should've been kept for the next book.  It just seem, at times, like a bit much.

Final thought: I enjoyed it - it wasn't "wow the best book ever" but it was a good read.

Best stick with you image:  The description of the wolf that follows Mary Ann. 

Best for ages: 14+ One of Aden's souls likes to say some rude things that may not be best for younger readers.

The second book Unraveled is set to come out in September.  I'll be interested in reading it. 
7

Want to Read Wednesday Jan 20th

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


 
My Want to Read book is:
 
Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

From Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him. When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue). In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.


I've heard great things about it, but once again I just haven't gotten to it.  One thing I really like about the meme is that it forces me to look AND REMEMBER all the great book on my shelves that need to be read!
5

Tween Tuesday REVIEW: The Lightning Thief

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


This week I'm reviewing The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. 
 
From Goodreads:
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
 
My Review:
I have no clue where I've been since 2006 when this book first came out and why I hadn't read it yet.  I mean I've seen it around, but never paid it much attention.  It wasn't until I saw the trailer for the movie coming out February 12th that my eyes were opened to this books.  I knew I had to read it.  And boy am I glad it did! It was great.  I totally understand why my students love it.  From pretty much page one the action starts and it never stops.  There was so much action I would have to take breaks from the book just to have some time to breathe!  Percy is a great character that is very likable.  I wanted him to succeed, and, at the same time, I wanted to see him grow as a person.  Grow he did! To go with Percy, his two companions were great and likable too.  At first I wasn't sure about Annabeth, but she grew on me.  And I loved Grover! He made me laugh several times.  The story was also well constructed.  Great mystery that kept me guessing.  I did NOT have the ending figured out until Percy explained it all. 
 
As a teacher - I loved all the mythology.  What perfect way to help students learn who all the gods and goddesses are along with their history.  Even I learned a ton!
 
Final thought:  Simple: love it! Can't wait to read books two - The Sea Monsters
 
Best stick with you image:  The fields of Asphodel in Hades.  Sad and scary all at once.
 
Best for ages: 10+  I think this is a great one for adults as well as kids.
8

Monday Reading Merriment Jan 18

This is a weekly meme inspired by one started by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week on Monday we tell what we read the previous week and what we plan to read in the upcoming week. I like to put a spin on it to also look at various other reading events happening this week.



Last week I finished The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Look for my review on Tween Tuesday. (a hint: I'm looking for book 2)

Reading this week:
After hearing from tons of great things about it I'll be starting Lookin for Alaska by John Green.  Here's the summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious.

Hopefully I'll like it as much as everyone else!

Coming out this week:

Since I'm loving zombie books more and more I have to feature Undead Much by Stacey Jay being released on the 21st.  It is a sequel to You're so Undead to Me


I've been looking at and reading zombie books so much that I actually had a very "Forest of Hands and Teeth" dream! Kinda freaky!!!!!!








Contest to enter:
I Want to Read That reached 100+ followers and is having a great contest.  The winner gets:
The winner of the contest will have £30 to spend on a shopping spree

Isn't that great?!?  Go here to get all the details and to enter. 
6

Sunday Shelves Jan 17th - Ariel from Reading Rocks


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.  Last Sunday I kicked it off by featuring my bookshelf. 


This week I'm featuring Ariel from Reading Rocks

Here's her shelves and her guest post about how a books earns a spot on her shelves and why she arranges them the way she does.



My bookshelf is probably my favorite place in the world. When my bookish companion Elise (co-administrator of Reading Rocks) comes over, we gravitate toward it by default. It is my sanctuary, my pride and joy. I spend endless hours counting and caressing and smelling (hehe) my book collection. It dominates my room, and that is how it should be.
Only a special kind of book gets the honor of being placed on my shelf. Only those books that touch me, that change me and make me squirm with the overwhelming joy that accompanies a truly good story. It's a simple ceremony, but one that I perform with reverence.

After I finish a book, if I own it already and if it meets the qualifications, I place it gently on my shelf right next to the previous one. Then I step back and gaze at it for a few moments, taking in the beauty of all those spines and all those colors and all those covers, all those pages that I have read and loved. I am hit once again by the power of these books, of literature in general, and I am happy.

My bookshelf is organized meticulously in a way that I am sure no one but me will understand. That's because it is completely nonsensical, but if a book is even slightly out of place, it messes with my mind, like an itch I can't scratch, until I put it back in it's proper place. The sequence begins on the fourth shelf from the top, on the left side. The first book is Ophelia by Lisa Klein. It continues along that shelf and then to the one above it, then to the one above that, all moving from left to right. But on the top shelf, it shifts. That shelf is organized right to left (why, I don't know). After that it continues on the very bottom shelf, where, you can see, the shelf is not full. The second-to-bottom shelf will be the last in my sequence, and after that I have no idea what I'll do with all my books. But I can't wait to face that dilemma. There's no such thing as too many books!

The order is the most bizarre thing about my shelf. Why? Because there isn't an order. It's not alphabetical, not organized by author, not always accompanying other books of its series. It really depends on when I acquire the book, if the others in the series are out yet, and how full the shelf is. Because I feel awful uprooting books that are already comfortably situated between two others just so it can rest next to others of its kind.

I currently have 152 books on my shelf. I add to it anywhere from once to eight times a month, depending on my financial situation at the time and the abundance of my mailbox. When I lend books out, I keep a sharp eye on the temporary keeper of my beloved books and make sure I'm not missing them for too long, for both my books and I have separation anxiety. They are my children, my babies, my loves, my favorite objects in the world. Food, water, oxygen? Whatever. Books?

Thanks Ariel for sharing! I love how books earn a place on your shelves! Be sure to check out her blog for more about her and what she reads.

If you want me to feature your shelves, fill out this form. (if you've already emailed me - you're good!)


6

7th Grade Saturday - Book Cover for Dani Noir

I haven't done a 7th Grade Saturday in a while, so I thought it was time for it.  Recently I did a review for Dani Noir, so I thought I'd get their take on the cover. 

Here's the Cover



Here's Their Thoughts:

Looks kinda spooky (said many times)
I like the grey with only one other color
Mysterious (said many times)
Needs more color
Looks French
Different in a good way
Sad
Really sad likes she's neglected or because she's been ditched
boring
Really awesome cover I like the lights

Their thoughts didn't overly suprise me.  I do this without telling them what the book is about, so I just get their thoughts on the cover alone.  I didn't think all would like it or "get" it especially the old movie feel. I did like that many got the mystery part and the sad because there is both in the book.
A mixed bag, but leaning more towards positive of the cover.

Your thoughts?????
6

Friday's For the Guys

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

This Friday I'm highlighting:

The Alfred Kropp Series

I read the first book in this 3 books series, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, a long while back now and really enjoyed it.  I liked that the main character isn't your typical hero.  He's not some perfect kid that knows all the right things to - he doesn't but that makes him more likable. 

Here's the summary from Goodreads:
Alfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur—the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy’s coming of age.

Like the summary says, it's a very fast paced story that has, at least in my opinion, quit a bit of blood and gore.  Not overly so, but way more than I expected.  I have yet to read the next two books (see below), but I plan on getting to them.  This series hasn't gotten much attention, and I'm not sure why.  The covers may be a factor.  The one for the first book isn't that exciting, and they kept changing them for the other books.  All I know is that every chance I get I suggest this book to the boys I teach.  If I get get them to ignore the size of it (they think it looks too long), they really enjoy the story when they are done. 

                    Book #2: The Seal of Solomon
7

Thinking on Thursday - Old School Book Series

Ok so not long ago I wrote a post about my thoughts on all the books coming out that are part of a series.  That same week I got a book from a series I read as a teenager.  Getting that book got me thinking,  thinking about the book series I read as a teenager - well probably more a middle grader.

The First Series I Loved:
The Sunfire Romance Series put out by Scholastic. 
Here's what Wikipedia had to say about them.
The Sunfire books contained two themes: history and romance. Each book featured a teenage girl who experienced a particular period or event in American history. At the same time, with very few exceptions, the girl was torn between two potential lovers.
The girl was typically ahead of her time in ideas and actions and the suitor she almost always chose was the one who approved of or accepted her actions. The cover art always featured the main character flanked by her two potential lovers, along with scenes from the historical event or period that was the setting for the book.
The books were written by a group of authors, Vivian Schurfranz (9), Jane Claypool Miner (6), Candice F. Ransom (6), Mary Francis Shura (6), Jeffie Ross Gordon (2), and Willo Davis Roberts (3).

Let me share of picture of my favorite three titles so you have a visual.  Seeing the covers might also jog some memories out there.




I loved these books! I remember getting so wrapped up in wondering what boy she would choose.  Would she get to do what she wanted?  The girls were always on some sort of adventure, and she always seemed so brave and strong.  These girls never had plain, dull, boring lives like I felt I had when I was 12.

A few years ago I was recovery from surgery.  My friends gave me some gift cards.  I remembered these books, so I used the money to buy as many of the books in the series that I could.  I have no where near all 32 books, but I will at some point!

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The Second Series I Loved:
Sweet Valley High 
Now I don't mean Sweet Valley Twins.  I mean the original ones.  I would check out the bookstore everytime we went to the mall to see if the new book was out.  I think they came out like once a month or something.  I remember the excitement of getting the new books and having it in the crinkly orange B. Dalton's bag.  I'd tear into it when I got home, having it done by the next day for sure.  Then of course I reread them over and over.  I wanted to be Jessica or Elizabeth.  Oh and I wanted a lavalier necklace just like them.  I still don't know excatly what their laviler necklace was, but here's what I found when I Googled it. 
Again from Wikipedia:
A lavalier is a type of jewelry, consisting of a pendant with one stone, suspended from a necklace. It is named for the type of pendant popularized by the Duchesse de la Vallière, a mistress of King Louis XIV of France. Within the fashion world, the name was eventually shortened to "lavalier(e)".

Just recently I got a copy of the first book: Double Love.  I started to reread it.  I'll finished it soon, but I think somethings are better left to memories!

Here are some of the covers form the orignial series.




So, what series do you remember reading when you were much younger?
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Want to Read Wednesday


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

This week my "Want to Read" book is Candor by Pam Bachorz.  I'm had this book for awhile, but for some reason I keep picking other books.  I think the concept of the book sounds awesome, and I've read some great reviews.  Hopefully I'll get to it soon.

Here's the Goodreads for it.
Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.

And here's the book trailer for it.

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Review: Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma (Tween Tues)

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


Title: Dani Noir
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Aladdin
Released: September 2009
Book Source: Other Shelf Tours

From Goodreads
Zoom in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. The summer before eighth grade, Dani is stuck in her nothing-ever-happens town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art movie theatre to keep her company. But one day a real-life mystery begins to unravel—at the Little Art! And it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights... Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and a knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery and learns more about herself than she ever thought she would.

My Review
I liked this book.  It was a sweet story of a young girl maturing and beginning to look beyond herself.  If you're like me tho, you will have been mislead by the summary.  The summary makes it sound like a complete mystery story.  It's not.  I'm glad that's not all it was, because I think what it really was - was much better.  Instead of it being only about Dani chasing around town looking for the mysterious girl in tights.  Had it just been about that I would've never finished the book. What it's mostly about is Dani dealing with her parent's divorce, he father's infidelity and now remarriage.  At 13, those are all tough subject to tackle.  Throw in friends who are no longer friends and a massive amount of distrust and you've got the makings for a young girl to start doing what people might describe as crazy things.  And that's what Dani does "crazy irrational things" because she doesn't know what else to do or how else to cope. The crazy things Dani does could've be seen as over-the-top and unrealistic making it hard to buy into the story, but Nova Ren Suma kept it real.  She never let Dani go too far or make her seem completely bratty and unredeemable.  As much as her actions and thoughts were irrational, they were also realistic. I could see a 13 year old acting and thinking the way Dani did. This realism kept me reading.  I also kept reading because I liked Dani, and I wanted to see how and if she would grow.

I do want to talk about the movie references in the book.  Dani is obsessed with Rita Hayworth and old movies.  She tends to see her whole life in comparison to a movie.  This is interjected throughout the book.  Dani will describe what's happening as if a camera is filming it.  A few times it felt a bit over-done, but for the most part it blended right into the story.  By the end I was use to it, so it flowed without giving me any reason to pause.  I will admit that I do want to watch a Rita Hayworth movie, so I see a femme fatale in action!

Final thought: Good book with a likable character.  I'm glad I meet Dani.

Best stick with you image: Whenever Dani described Rita Hayworth and her movies.  I could really picture them.

Best for ages: 10-13  Kids older than 13 will see Dani as too much of a little kid to relate to

This book was provided through Other Shelf Tours.  Check out the website for more information about who they are and what they do.


CymLowell
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Monday Reading Merriment

This is a weekly meme inspired by one started by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week on Monday we tell what we read the previous week and what we plan to read in the upcoming week. I like to put a spin on it to also look at various other reading events happening this week.

Well last week I read Dani Noir.  I'll be reveiwing it tomorrow for Tween Tuesday. 

I haven't decided what to read next.  It's either going to be Beautiful CreaturesLooking For Alaska or The Lightning Thief.  I'm kinda leaning toward The Lightning Thief because I want to read it before the movie comes out Feb. 12th.  If you haven't seen the trailer check it out below.  After seeing this trailer I knew I needed to read the book.



Book coming out this week

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn - being released Tuesday the 12th
      I'm addicted to my Blackberry, so this book really interests me!

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab - being released Tuesday the 12th



A Great Contest

Steph at Hey! Teenager of the Year is holding an awesome contest for aspiring YA authors.  Here's the info straight from her site:

I am giving away First Five Pages critiques! So if you're an aspiring YA novelist, interested in getting a bit of feedback from, um, me (a soon-to-be published YA author and real live bonafide teenager), this is the competition for you! There will be five winners, but if there are over 100 entries I'll announce a few more.

If you think you'd like to enter.  Click here for the full post! It ends January 18th, so you need to hurry!
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