January 31, 2011

Monday Cover Love: Banished

I love book covers.  LOVE THEM! On Mondays I take time to share some of my favorites or, occasionally, one that I hoped had been better. 

Today I'm sharing:

I love this cover.  It catches my eye everytime I see it.  Actually though, the first time I saw it, I thought it was the cover for Extras by Scott Westerfeld.  It is very similiar.  This one has the pretty scroll-work that adds to it as well as the blue eye that just pops.

I also asked my 7th graders what they thought of it.  Here is what they said:

Looks creepy (said many many times)
Looks girly
Dark yet attractive
Her eyes stand out
Very interesting
Sort of disturbing to my eyes

So as you can see it was a pretty mixed bag.  The ones that new the Extras book thought they looked the same as well.

Here's Extras to compare:

January 21, 2011

Friday's for the Guys: Guest Student Review - Kevin's Point of View

On Friday's I highlight books that are great for boys. 
Today I'm very excited because I have my first BOY guest reviewer!

Kevin's Point of ViewTitle: Kevin's Point of View
Author: Del Shannon

From Goodreads
To escape the emotional turmoil of his father’s death 12-year-old Kevin Tobin has retreated inside himself, developing his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes everyone with his superhero antics, his ability to escape inside himself becomes critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father’s death. When a mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted by a ruthless villain who is determined to retrieve the package, which holds the key to his plans for world domination. After enlisting Kevin’s teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the group escapes into the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado and eventually discover that Kevin’s entire existence is because of the love of someone we never expected.
Student Guest Review

*Likes: I liked the 3rd point of view of almost every character.  I like that Kevin somehow ends up with a device that he doesn't even know what it does.  He soon finds out after clicking random buttons.  He blows a hole right threw his wall!  A person called Devin was the person who was gonna get it and as you heard Kevin got it instead.  Devin soon finds out who gets it and he goes after him with no stop!
*Dislikes:  Well nothing really but this that wonders me how Kevin's dad was alive again and Devin disappeared and another thing u will find out later in the book.

*Main characters: Kevin,Devin,his best friend,his sister, and his sisters boy friend
*Setting: Boulder, Colorado USA

*Plot:  Kevin gets a device that controls something that is beyond power imaginable,  and a evil guy named Devin is after him and he wants the device called the influxitron.

January 20, 2011


I have two winners to announce.

Dogsled Dreams:  Meredith M.

Dreaming of Book - Radiance: Allisonrocks

I'll be emailing both of you. 
You'll have 48 hours to respond.  Congrats!

Student Book Review: Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Cover ImageTitle: Vixen (The Flapper Series #1)
Author: Jillian Larkin
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

Student Review
I liked Vixen, but didn’t love it. I didn’t love it because it was kind of hard to follow at times. Between who was talking and what they were talking about. Also it was kind of slow in the beginning. But on the contrary after you get past the slow part it’s pretty good. It’s also pretty funny throughout the book. So all in all it was OK but not in my top ten, but not in my bottom ten either. Just sort of in between.

Cover Image

Book #2 in the Flapper Series - Ingenue  - is set to come out in August.

January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Closer

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.

Closer (Tunnels, #4)This Week I'm Waiting On:

Roderick Gordon
Release Date: May 2011

Why I'm Waiting
I've had several boys read this series and really like it, so I'm glad to see another book in the series.  I read the first book Tunnels.  You can read my review HERE.

From Goodreads
(small but enough)
At the centre of the Earth, in a world that no one knows exists, Will is in trouble. His enemy, the Styx, are close behind. They'll pursue him to the ends of the world - any world. Meanwhile Drake - with help from the unlikeliest of allies is preparing to fight the Styx from above. But will his daring plan bring him closer to victory ...or to certain death?

January 18, 2011

Tween Tuesday- Book Review: The End of the World Club

The End of the World Club (Jaguar Stones, #2)Title: The End of the World Club (Jaguar Stones #2)
Author: Jon Voelkel and Pamela Voelkel
Publisher: Egmont USA

From Goodreads
With the end of the Mayan calendar fast approaching, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy and his new friend Lola, the modern Maya girl who saved his life in the perilous jungle, are racing against time to outwit the twelve Lords of Death.  Following the trail of the conquistadors, their quest takes them back to the wild heart of Spain - a forgotten land steeped in legend, superstition and ever more bizarre tourist festivals.  With a pack of hellhounds on their heels and the cape-twirling Count Antonio de Landa in hot pursuit, the teens must face madness and betrayal, bluff and double-bluff, to uncover the terrible secrets of the long-lost Yellow Jaguar.  But no matter where they run, all roads lead to Xibalba.  There, in the cold and watery Maya underworld, we finally discover why only Max Murphy can save the world from the villainous Lords of Death.
My Review
To be honest when I first started this book I was annoyed.  In the first book I was very happy to see the growth in Max - he matured so much.  But when this book started it seemed like he had slid backwards.  He was almost back to his self-centered annoying ways.  When him and Lola join up again it became really clear.  I wanted to shake him and remind him of all that he had learned! Thankfully as the story went along he gained by the mature growth I'd see before.  If he hadn't I fear I might have given up on the book!

Ok beyond Max's behavoir the story was really strong.  Once again it took the reader on a roller coaster ride through action packed adventures.  The action started strong, and it really pulled me through the story.  I found myself on the edge of my seat a few times wondering how they were going to get out of their current situation.  I also liked that this one didn't just follow the same pattern as the first book.  It went off on it's own, going places I never saw coming.  I liked that because it made the story fresh.  So many times I read a sequel and it's just the same story pattern repeated.  The End of the World Club had events that I would've never thought could happen.  Seriously a few times I really did think "wow didn't see that coming!".  How fun is that when reading a book!

I want to comment on Lola just because I love her character.  She was just as great in this book but in new ways (see it really kept thing fresh!).  I so loved how she was able to just keep calm in situations where Max was kinda freaking out or, at the beginning of the book, sulking.  It's because of her character that I recommend this series to girls in my class.  She's a fantastic role model.

Final thought: Once again action packed with great fresh twists
Best stick-with-you image: The wedding announcement "party".
Best for readers who: Like action mixed with ancient history
Best for ages: 10-14

Tween Tuesday was started by GreenBeanTeenQueen!

January 17, 2011

Monday Cover Love: The Secret Year

I love book covers. LOVE them - some more than others of course. I love hearing what others have to say about them.
On Mondays I merrily share some of the good ones I've seen, find out what version of a cover you like better or express my disappointment in a cover that could've, in my opinion, been better. As always, click on the image to see its Goodreads page.

Today I'm in love with:

The Secret Year
I thought the hardcover cover was great, but I really like this one!!!
Now I just need to get around to reading it!

January 16, 2011

HELP WANTED: I HEART Lois Duncan Month

Hey all, I'm in love with all books by Lois Duncan and would like to do a month featuring her books.  I'm aiming for February, but if time is a factor March.  What I'd like is to find out if anyone would like to help and/or participate in a challenge. 

Please fill out the form if you would like to help.

January 14, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hope

Hello all welcome to the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop.  This is a great way find a lot of great new blogs AND sign up for some great giveaways - two of my favorite things :)

My giveaway is for a copy of:

by Alyson Noel

To enter simply leave a comment with two things:

Your email address
The name of the last fantastic book you read

Other requirements:
Must be a resident of EARTH - yes that means it's open internationally :)
No PO Boxes
Ends Midnight CST Monday January 17th
You must reply within 48 hours to winning email or it will be passed on

Now be sure to hop along and enter the other giveaways!

January 13, 2011

Hexbound Blog Touring Stopping Here Today

I'm so very excited to host today's stop on the Hexbound Blog Tour.  I absolutely loved Firespell - it was actually one of the first books I read on my Nook.  I read it while traveling across South Dakota, and it really made the miles pass.

Before we get to the interview with Chloe Neill let's look a little at Hexbound.

From Goodreads
Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

I cannot wait to see what happens.  Hexbound is on my Nook waiting for me to finish my reading for my Cybils judging!

Ok - I was able to ask Chloe a few questions.  Here's what she had to say:

1.  How long did take you to write the book?  Did you have to revise much?

It takes me 3-4 months to write each book (depending on their length), and there's usually three to four months of editing after that. Penguin uses a four-stage editing process, so it takes some time to complete.

2.  Have you always wanted to write?  Did you write a lot when you were young and in school?

I didn't want to write at all until a few years ago. I hated writing--and was very intimidated by it. But then I had a couple of jobs and some college which required me to write a lot. I learned by practicing and by reading a lot.

3.  Did you base this book on anyone/thing from real life?  What one idea sparked it?

Neither my Dark Elite books nor my Chicagoland Vampire books are based on real life per se, although I do write down interesting comments and ideas as I come upon them in "real life." My books are usually mixes of stuff that I run across.

4.  And since this is The O.W.L. Whoooooo is/are the author(s) you look up to - ones that inspire you?

I LOVE Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon and J.D. Robb. I think they all write great characters and have fascinating ideas and use of detail in their works.

That fact that she didn't start writing until later gives me hope, since I'm really just started getting into my writing.

Thanks Chloe Neill for stopping by The O.W.L. today!
Now everyone - GO BUY THE BOOK! :)

January 12, 2011

Dark Days of Supernatural

I'm soooo excited about the Dark Days of Supernatural Tour for many reasons!

Great books
Great authors
My students want these books
It's coming to a bookstore near me!

If you haven't heard about it, here's the description from Harper Collins:

Do you crave the dark world of paranormal romance, supernatural thrillers, and haunting mysteries?  Discover five new books from acclaimed authors ELLEN SCHREIBER, CLAUDIA GRAY and KIMBERLY DERTING as well as from debut authors CYNTHIA HAND and COURTNEY ALLISON MOULTON.

The series of paranormal thrillers, supernatural romance and otherworldly adventures, features the five new titles:

            - Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber (released 12/28/2010)
            - Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (on sale 1/4/2011)
            - Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (on sale 2/15/2011)
            - Desire of the Dead by Kimberly Derting (on sale 2/8/2011)

            - Afterlife by Claudia Gray (on sale 3/08/2011)

And here's the fantatsic trailer!

To learn more check out these pages for it:

Watch for reviews of these books and a post of the book signing I'll be going to. 
Let the Dark Days begin!!

January 11, 2011

Tween Tuesday: Dogsled Dreams With a GIVEAWAY!!!!

  Tween Tuesday was started over at GreenBeanTeenQueen.  Each Tuesday I highlight a book that is great for the 9-12 set or what is also known at the Tween Set.

Today I'd like to highlight:

Dogsled Dreams
by Terry Lynn Johnson

So many of my boys loved Gary Paulson and his tales of dogsledding.  Now girls will read them to, but what an awesome thing to have a book about dog sledding with a GIRL as the main character! This is not something I see very often, so I was super excited when Terry Lynn Johnson asked if I'd like to host a giveaway and share this book with my readers. 

Here's a bit about it
Twelve-year-old Rebecca dreams of becoming a famous sled dog racer.

She's an inventive but self-doubting musher who tackles blinding blizzards, wild animal attacks, puppy training, and flying poo missiles. All of her challenges though, seem easier than living up to the dogs' trust in her abilities.

Rebecca runs her huskies along the crisp trails near Thunder Bay, Ontario, where northern lights flare and dangerous beavers lurk.

Through the bond she shares with the dogs, Rebecca learns that hard work, dedication and living in the moment bring their own rewards.

Doesn't it sound like just a fantastic middle grade book!

I was able to ask Terry Lynn Johnson something my kids always want to know - how long did it take to write the book.  Here is what she said:

Dogsled Dreams took about a month to write. It was quite fun to do because I was telling the story about my actual sled dogs.

The manuscript needed many revisions after that. I may have done four or five complete revisions. Then I began to submit it. After thirteen rejections, I took it back and rewrote the first chapter. It was accepted right away after that in October 2009. Then I worked with an editor and completed more revisions. After that, came the copy edits. All that took about six months. So from the moment I started it to the day it was published, was about a year and a half, which is very quick in publishing time.

Check out the trailer.

Make sure to visit Terry Lynn's WEBSITE for lots of goodies including a TEACHER'S GUIDE and the chance to read the first chapter.
After all of that if you want to BUY IT - follow this link :)

Now for the giveaway. 
I've got one copy of Dogsled Dreams up for grabs. 
To enter fill out the form.
+1 for leaving IN THE REPLIES your favorite dog.  (See mine below!)
Must be US or CANADIAN resident.
Ends in one week January 18

Ok here's my favorite dog - our Bichon Poodle Mix - Griffin.  Definitely not a sled dog!!

January 10, 2011

CSN Comes to the Rescue Again

So my husband just got a new job that he's super excited about. I want to give him something to celebrate.  He hasn't gotten a new briefcase in years, so I thought that would be a great gift. 

Where else would I look but the great stores at CSN?  They have over 200 stores, so I knew I would find something that would work. I immediately found a great leather briefcase (or 4!).  Now I just need to narrow my chose down to one really like. 

I like these two the best:

Decisions, decisions.

Stick around to see if I get him one or if I decide to get something (like a cute new bag, bookcase or fun book display holders for school) for myself!!!!

January 7, 2011

For the Guys: Notes From the Midnight Driver

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

This week I'm highlighting:

Notes From the Midnight Driver
by Jordan Sonnenblick

Why boys might like it:
It has a fantastic male narrator that I think many boys could relate to.  He makes a huge mistake and is now dealing will the fallout from it.  But it's fallout that leads to an outcome he never expected.  This turn of event will keep boys reading as well as the way Alex tells his story.  His voice has such a ring of realism that boys won't feel manipulated or that it's a "girly" book even though it has some very touching scenes.  These scenes though, won't turn off boy readers because Alex keeps the story in a "guy" tone.

Why else:  It is by the same author as Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pies.  I have so many students that love that book - boys too! - that I know I can get them to try this one for that reason alone.  The beginning will grab them right away and the rest will keep them reading.

Please note - this is more a YA boy's book than a MG boy's book.  I can see 7th graders reading it, but younger boys might not understand completely what is happening and why. 

From Goodreads
16-year-old Alex decides to get even. His parents are separated, his father is dating his former third-grade teacher, and being 16 isn't easy, especially when it comes to girls. Instead of revenge though, Alex ends up in trouble with the law and is ordered to do community service at a senior center where he is assigned to Solomon Lewis, a "difficult" senior with a lot of gusto, advice for Alex, and a puzzling (yet colorful) Yiddish vocabulary. Eventually, the pair learn to deal with their past and each other in ways that are humorous, entertaining, and life-changing.

January 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Gossip From the Girls' Room

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:

Gossip From the Girls' Room: A Blogtastic! Novel
by Rose Cooper
Release Date: Jan. 11

Why I'm Waiting:
This book just looks fun, and it kinda reminds me of the Dork Diaries books.  I have so many girls that love those books, so it would be great if this could be one they might try too.

From Goodreads: (it's not a lot, but enough to get me interested!)
In Sofia's words . . . Mia St. Claire is only the most popular girl in all of Middlebrooke Middle School. For three very obvious reasons:1. She's very rich.2. She has tons of money.3. She can buy anything and everything she wants. And she does.I'm sure people like her for other reasons too, but none of those reasons are obvious enough for me to really know. Or care about, for that matter

January 4, 2011

Tween Tuesday - Wait Till Helen Comes

Tween Tuesday was started by GreenBeanTeenQueen.  In it we share books that would be great for the tween set, ages 9-12.

This week I'm sharing:

Wait Till Helen Comes
by Mary Downing Hahn

Every students I have that has ever read this book has loved it! They all talk about how creepy it is.  What I love is that they get so excited about it and enjoy it so much that they go on to read more books by Mary Downing Hahn.  I could do a whole feature on her as an author (mmmmmm thoughts for later!) because of how much my students love her books.  If you're looking for a good book for a reluctant reader, I suggest you try this one!

From Barnes and Noble
Twelve-year-old Molly and her ten-year-old brother, Michael, have never liked their younger stepsister, Heather. Ever since their parents got married, she's made Molly and Michael's life miserable. Now their parents have moved them all to the country to live in a house that used to be a church, with a cemetery in the backyard.
If that's not bad enough, Heather starts talking to a ghost named Helen and warning Molly and Michael that Helen is coming for them. Molly feels certain Heather is in some kind of danger, but every time she tries to help, Heather twists things around to get her into trouble. It seems as if things can't get any worse.

But they do — when Helen comes.

January 3, 2011

My Cybils Judging List

Well I got the list! The list of books I will be reading for judging The Middle Grade Fiction category for the Cybils Award. 
Here they are!

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Betti on the High Wire by Lisa Railsback

Crunch by Leslie Connor

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

I've read Origami Yoda and The Kneebone Boy, and I'll be starting Crunch.  Cannot wait to see how this all turns out!!!

Check out the Cybils website if you want to see the final lists for all the categories.