April 30, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Winner!

The winner of Abandon for the Hoppy Easter Eggstravanganza is:


I'll be emailing you!
She'll have 72 hours to reply.

April 29, 2011

Book Review: Trauma Queen

Title: Trauma Queen
Author: Barbara Dee

Every tween girl knows what it's like to have a mom who can be a little embarrassing at times. But for Marigold, it goes way beyond embarrassing. Marigold's single mom is a performance artist, meaning she stages dramatic, wacky performances to express her personal beliefs. Things like wrapping herself in saran wrap for a piece on plastic surgery, or inviting people over in the middle of the night to videotape her sleeping. In fact, Marigold's mom's performances caused such a ruckus in their last town that the two of them, along with Marigold's little sister, have just had to move. Now Marigold's starting a new school, missing her best friend like crazy, and trying to fit in all over again in the shadow of a mom who's famous for all the wrong reasons. As if that's not bad enough, Marigold's mom takes on a new job--teaching drama at Marigold's school! Now all the kids know instantly just how weird her mom is, and Marigold's worried she'll never be able to have a friendship that can survive her mother.

The Review
This book brought me back to junior high and all those feelings that went with it! It's been awhile since I've read a book that really made me remember what that time was like.  I cringed with Marigold, felt her confusion and generally felt 12 again!

The Characters:  Barbara Dee did a great job creating a very realistic tween girl in Marigold.  She had all the confusion, want to fit in and concerns that girls this age face.  The way she reacted to events - like showing up to school in PJ's on a day that WASN'T PJ Day was perfect.  I could completely see the students I teach having the same reaction.  The way she over-reacted to things was perfect too.  Things were either black or white, good or bad - no where in the middle.  I see that over and over in my own daughter! There is no gray area, no pause to think clearly - just pure emotional reaction.  Now much what she reacted to was justified (I would've moved out if my mom did what hers did!!!!!), but of course some was way out of line.  As an adult I understood why her old friend did what she did.  And really wearing pj's to school for the day would be fantastic!

Her mom:  Ok I'll be honest - I really didn't care for her mom.  I got the whole "she's being herself" thing and greatly appreciated that message, but what she did when another mother angered her was too much.  Yes she acknowledged her actions later, but to me it didn't seem to be enough.  I thought she should've taken more responsibility when instead it seemed like Marigold backed down more.  Now understand - a lot of why I felt this about her mother was because I was reading from an adult's perspective.  I think the tween girls reading wouldn't be bothered by it the way I was.

The Plot:  I liked that swung back and forth between what had happened to what was happening now.  It didn't fully explain what had happened in the past right away, so you were definitely intrigued by that.  I also like that it didn't drag out the story and the conflict forever.  It told the conflict - showed it happening - and then allowed it to take it's course.  Barbara Dee didn't keep throwing things into the plot just to drag out the story.  It was realistic how it all came together.  I know many readers will like that because it kept the book moving at a stronger pace. 

The ending was good.  It wrapped everything up nicely with just enough lose ends to keep it real.  I finished the book feeling my questions and concerns were answered but also know that Marigold had more to face but would do so with more maturity than before.

Final Thought: Very realistic tween story with great voice.
Best stick-with-you image: When Marigold freezes on stage.  Glad it played that way!
Best for readers who: are girls!
Best for ages: 9-12

Remember to enter the giveaway Barbara Dee is having for Trauma Queen.  You can find the information about it HERE in Barbara's guest post. 

April 27, 2011

Blog Tour, Guest and Giveaway: Barbara Dee Author of Trauma Queen

Today I am welcoming Barbara Dee author of Trauma Queen (stay tuned for my review later today!)  She also has a fun giveaway! 

Barbara has a great guest post on writing and middle school.  Welcome Barbara!

Writing About Yourself In Middle School

Sometimes kids ask me where I get my ideas. They wonder if I’m writing about my own middle school experience. My answer is: No. And also Yes.

Here’s the complete list of everything I’ve used from my own tween years:

My writing journal. Like Cassie in Just Another Day In My Insanely Real Life, I wrote in a notebook every day. But I didn’t turn my family life into a fantasy novel, and I never wrote an anti-journal as a protest. However, once I was convinced that my teacher wasn’t reading my homework, so I wrote “scrambled eggs” in the middle of a paragraph, just as a test. And I guess he’d been reading my work after all, because he wrote “SCRAMBLED EGGS? WHAT???” in red ink.

Weird sandwiches. My friend Debbie used to eat pastrami-and-Fritos-on rye bread. In Solving Zoe, the main character eats tuna-and-potato-chip sandwiches every day—until one day she decides, Eww.

A wild friend. When I was in middle school, I had a free-spirited BFF. She was nothing like Francesca in This Is Me From Now On, but she jolted me out of my comfort zone. Mostly in a good way.

That’s about it. What I do use from my own life are strong memories of how I FELT as a middle schooler—all the pain and embarrassment and giddiness of those years are still very real to me. Of course, to create characters and stories I also use my imagination. (Writing would be no fun if you didn’t!)  And I get plenty of ideas just from observing people—Starbucks and trains are my favorite places for eavesdropping.

Let me tell you how I got the idea for my new book, Trauma Queen. One winter morning, I was driving my daughter to her middle school. It was during the annual Spirit Week, when you were supposed to dress in costume. That happened to be Pajama Day, and as we pulled up to the school’s parking lot, a girl got out of the car in front of us. She was wearing pink jammies—oversized, flannel, probably, with some sort of retro pattern.

Cute, I thought.

Then I realized she wasn’t moving. She was just standing there, in the parking lot, hunched over, her arms crossed over her chest.

And you could tell exactly what she was thinking: Wait a minute. It IS Pajama Day, right? I didn’t get the calendar wrong, did I? I won’t be the only kid dressed like this? Omigod, please tell me it’s Pajama Day!

Just then a school bus pulled up, and kids poured out, most of them wearing their pj’s. And as soon as she realized she was dressed like everyone else, her body unfroze, and she ran up to the entrance.

But by then my mind was spinning. What if she’d gotten the calendar wrong, after all? And what if the reason she showed up in pj’s was her mom’s fault? And what if her mom did stuff like this all the time? Okay, but why?  How could it be that her mom was always mortifying her? Wait! How about if….

I drove straight home and started typing.

Memories of middle school mortification + imagination + observation = story.

Now for the giveaway!!!!!!

Trauma Queen fab giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy of TRAUMA QUEEN by Barbara Dee along with a limited edition t-shirt! To enter, send an e-mail to TQgiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, have a parent enter for you). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 5/13/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/14/11 and notified via email.

Barbara is a featured author on a new website called VYou. Readers can submit questions and chat with her! Just go to:  http://vyou.com/barbaradee

Barbara Dee's next stop on the tour is YA Books Central at http://yabookscentral.blogspot.com/.
AND I will have my review up later today! :)

April 25, 2011

Catching Up Readathon Final Post

I participated in the Catching Up Readathon hosted by Bookworming in the 21st Century over the weekend.  I didn't do fantastic, but I need get some reading done. 

 Here's what I read:

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp
Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
Gone by Michael Grant (huge portion but not finished)
Started: Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz

Not fantastic, but with Easter, coloring Easter eggs, making Rice Krispie Eggs, cleaning etc I think I did ok. 

There is another readathone happening like this weekend.  I might jump in on that one too! Stay tuned.

Thanks Kristen for hosting this Readathon!

April 22, 2011

Team Owl Review: Conspiracy 365 Series

Title: Conspiracy 365
Author: Gabrielle Lord

Summary of Book #1
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 ...

Team Owl Review
The Conspiracy 365 series is amazing.  I loved this series so much.  I'd stay up late at night, so I could find out what happened next.  I just couldn't put it down!

In this series a 15 year old boy named Callum Ormond is on the run to finish what his dad started.  His thrilling adventure will keep you constantly asking yourself "what will happen next?".  Along the way, he'll meet many people, and he (and you) will have to decide if they can be trusted.  Along with is heart-stopping journey Cal will discover a secret that has been hidden from his his entire life.  Each book will start and end at an even bigger cliffhanger than the last book.  It all leads up to December, the biggest cliffhanger of all.  See how it all ends and read the Conspiracy 365 series.

My Thoughts
I read the first book aloud to my students, and most really enjoyed it, but boy where they mad when it ended in such a cliffhanger! They almost demanded I get the second book and read it as well.  You can read my review of Conspiracy 365 January HERE.

Two words of warning if you read and get hooked on this series. 
  1. Like the reviewer said - they end in huge cliffhangers.
  2. Be prepared to order them online.  They are almost impossible to find in a store.
Here's a pretty good trailer for the series

April 19, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!!!!

Yes it's that time again!! Time to hippity hop around the blogosphere and enter some giveaways!  It's the

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza!!!!

I'm giving away:

Abandon by Meg Cabot
What a great book for spring since it's a modern retelling of the story of Persephone!

From Goodreads

To enter
Leave a reply
Leave your email
In honor of spring: Tell me your favorite flower.  Mine is a daisy!
US only
Ends Monday April 25th

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Hop along to the other giveaways!!!

Book Review: The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1)

Title: The Fairy-Tale Dectectives
Author: Michael Buckley

From Goodreads
In book one of this bestselling series, sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm. The sisters learn they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files. The girls are the latest in a long line of fairy-tale detectives, and their new hometown is filled with Everafters (as magical folks like to be called)—some good and some very, very bad. When a mysterious Everafter sets a giant loose on the town, it's up to the Sisters Grimm to save the day

My Review
My daughter has been bugging me for a looooong time to read this series. I set it on my desk to add to the TBR pile.  Well that day I was avoiding work, so I picked it up and started reading.  I was immediately pulled into the story, and that pull took me all the way through to the end.  What a great ride it was!

The Characters:  I liked Sabrina and Daphne.  Sabrina was a very protective older sister who didn't want anything bad to happen to her little sister.  This was so clear that I didn't find it annoying when she did certain things because I knew she was just worried Daphne would be hurt.  I liked that Sabrina was a take charge kind of girl that was willing to bend the rules a little (ok a lot) to do what she felt needed to be done.  Daphne, on the other hand, was the perfect opposite of her.  When Sabrina wanted to play it safe.  Daphne wanted to jump in with both feet!  When Sabrina tried to be rational, Daphne accepted the what was happening without question.  It completely balanced the story.  Many times I wanted to be Daphne and jump in, but sometimes I wanted to be Sabrina too and just be safe!  Being able to relate to both sisters made the story much richer because I could see it from many sides.

The Plot:  From the start I knew something was up with Grandma Relda.  It was kind of set up that the reader got things before the girls.  This can be hard to do right because sometimes the reader can be left rolling their eyes at characters that are far too clueless.  Michael Buckley walked this line well.  He clearly let the reader know their was more to the story, but at the same time kept them discovering with the girls.

What I've heard over and over about this series is the pace of plot - that it doesn't stop even right at the end.  I couldn't agree more!  There really wasn't a dull moment.  I think that's why, even though I started to read to avoid work, I couldn't put it down.  From the time the girls got off the train at the and into the old rickety car, the story spun out.  I had to know how would the girls work things out?  Could they trust who they turned to? Should they just give up?  Would they ever believe their grandmother?  What happened to their parents? How bad are giants!?!?  It was fun!  And as it twisted and turned to the final scene I was glad I had avoided work so that I could discover with Daphne and Sabrina who they really were and what they were capable of!

Oh I did have one complaint.  I wasn't a fan of Puck. He was just basically annoying to me. I hope he's a character that grows on me as the story goes along.

Final thought:  Giants and pixies and the big bad wolf oh my!!!
Best stick-with-you image: Going into the mirror
Best for readers: Who like action, twists and girls who know how to use their brains
Best for ages: 9+ (really anyone, any age, who enjoys a good story)
Similar Stories: Fablehaven Series

April 18, 2011

Cover Crush: Frost

I saw this cover on another blog (sorry I don't remember which one), and it was an immediate crush!  That cover is:

Frost by Marianna Baer

The girl almost looks like she's lost in the ocean, but yet it's not because of the house behind her.  I'm so curious how that house plays into the story.  It looks so empty and foreboding.  And the leafless trees behind it (aka dead trees) make it seem super creepy. 
 It definitely gets my attention and my crush this week!

April 17, 2011

There is No Try April 17

So as you might have noticed I've skipped a few weeks of my Sunday writing post.  Why?  Ooooooh well maybe, just maybe because I didn't write :(  I've had a very hard time getting my bottom in the chair.  Excuse after excuse has flown out of me:  I'm tired, migraine, my mom was here, I was sick - on and on and on.  Today I said ENOUGH.  I grabbed my writing bag, made sure I had my netbook and headed to Starbucks.

<note to self: Starbucks is rather busy on a Sunday morning!>

I got a white chocolate mocha with raspberry (and please oh Starbucks gods - get SUGAR FREE raspberry!), put my bottom in a chair and spend 90 writing/revising/rearranging!  It was awesome. I feel like a made a slight dent in the first corrections.  And the neat part - I was once again pulled into the story by Maya my main character.  Ok this may sound weird, but I <3 that girl, and I know I have to tell her story.

So where does that leave me now? I have my calendar out and I'm scheduling writing!  My next writing day is Tuesday!

So for once I can say I had a huge DO and not a DO NOT!  It feels great!

Question for all you writers:
Where do you write?  Do you prefer someplace like Starbucks where there is noise, but no one there to specifically distract you? Or do you prefer someplace silent and alone?  Just curious.

There is No Try!

April 14, 2011

Book Review: The Body Finder

Title: The Body Finder

Author: Kimberly Derting

From Goodreads
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
My Review
Ok so I was really slow in reading this one, but I've wanted to for a long time. I'm so glad I finally got to it! It was truly one of the best book I've read in a while. 

The Characters: I really liked both Violet and Jay.  They seemed "real".  And what I really liked was their relationship was it also seemed realistic for a high school romance.  For once in a long long time the main characters in the book didn't fall in love after only knowing each other for a few days.  It was awesome to see how they had been friends for so long and only now were developing feelings.  Violets actions towards Jay were perfect as she realized she had feelings for him.  She didn't know what to do with those feelings, so as she struggled with that she did very typical teenage things.  She ignored them, over reacted because of them, and became genuinely confused.  It was perfect. 

To go with that I also liked how Violet dealt with her "ability".  I have no clue how anyone would deal with it, but that fact that she kept it almost low key and not consuming her life seemed the perfect way to handle it.  The way Jay dealt with it was perfect as well.  He was there for her whenever she needed it, but he didn't push her to do or say more than she was ready.  He just accepted the way she was and moved on from it.  Don't we all need a friend like that???

The Plot:  I really liked the mystery in the story.  I was kept guessing about who the serial killer was and how everything was being done.  I especially liked how the point of view would switch to the killer sometimes.  That gave some very creepy insight into his mind.  It really built the tension.  I also liked how the tension came and went, so you always felt kind of off balance.  Could you trust that everything was ok or did you still have to worry? Perfect for keeping me turning the pages.  The ending wrapped everything up nicely, so you could stop reading the series after this one.  There wasn't one of those maddening cliff hangers!  But honestly I don't know what you'd stop after this one!

I did have a couple of problems with choices Violet made in the story.  A few of the things she chose to do I just wanted to yell at her about.  They were necessary to the advancement of the plot, but boy did I question her rationale for doing them!!  But all-in-all I understood that at her age and knowing what she did, she did the right thing for the situation from her point of view.  But as a "grown up" I wanted to shake her!

Final thought: Great mystery + great cute romance = awesome story!
Best stick-with-you image: When she finds the first girl right away at the start of the story.  Wow!
Best for readers who: Like a mystery and are ok with romance mixed in.
Best for ages: 13+


April 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Ashes, Ashes

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:

Ashes, Ashes
by Jo Treggiari
Release Date: June 1

Why I'm waiting
There has been so much dystopic coming out lately that some are starting to run together.  This one sounds more original.  It seems to have maybe some paranormalcy or something within the dystopia.  I also like that the main character seems to be a strong girl.

From Goodreads
A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.
Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

April 12, 2011

Enclave Book Trailer of Awesomeness!

Ok so I've been seeing the book Enclave around on different blog but honestly didn't give it much thought.  Then I watched the trailer! Now I'm super interested in it!!! I'll be sharing it with my students as well, and I think it will definitely get their attention!

See for yourself

And if you don't know what it's about here's a summary

Ann Aguirre, author of the Corine Solomon Series & the Sirantha Jax Series, releases her first -ever Young Adult dystopian novel, 'Enclave':

"New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known."

Find out more about 'Enclave' here, including the first two chapters, the book cover and an interview with the author!

Audio Review: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)

Today for Tween Tuesday I have an audio review.  Tween Tuesday was started over at GreenBeanTeenQueen.

Title: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)
Author: Jacqueline West

From Goodreads
 Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there's something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.
As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.
My Review
When I saw the book trailer for this one I definitely wanted to read it.  I thought it looked really fun especially for the tween set.  So when I saw our library had it in the audio version I grabbed it.  After convincing my daughter that we should listen to it, I popped it into the CD player, and we began to listen.  In the end we all ended up enjoying it.

The Characters: Olive was a cute girl that I think a lot of tween girls could relate to.  She isn't this "has it all together knows what she's doing girl." Most of the time she's scared and uncertain.  She second guesses herself over and over.  That's why I liked her! Teacher middle school - I see a lot of girls just like her.  Olive would be a girl I could easily imagine in my class.  At the same time though, she had this fantastic strength running through her.  As scared as the events in the story are for her, she doesn't back down.  She pulls all her nerve together and steps up.  Olive always looked at what was going on, came up with a plan and carried it out. 

The characters that I really think stole the show were the three cats - Horatio, Harvey and Leopold.  Those cats were so funny! Without them the story would not have been as strong or fun.  We would laugh a lot at their actions and thoughts.  The reader did a great job with each of their voices bringing them even more alive.  I'm so glad they were a part of the story.  Not only did they help Olive, they also helped make the story fun.

The Plot - The story builds pretty quickly which it has to because it's a pretty short book.  It isn't long before Olive is pulled into the secrets of her new house.  From their it builds up nicely with some good twists and turns making you realize you can't trust any of your first thoughts - or can you??? It has a healthy dose of mystery along with the spookiness, so that really keeps the reader guessing. The final climatic scene really builds the tension nicely.  You the scene is going to have a great conclusion, but you aren't sure how Olive is going to pull it off.  The scariness of the plot was just right for the tween set.  Suspenseful, a bit spooky and lots of last minute escapes.

The reader:  She did a great job bringing the story to life - especially the cats like I said.  All the the voices were well done and different.  Her pacing was perfect and over all it was great.  I did occasionally get annoyed by the voice of Olive because at points it would be a little too little girlish.  Thankfully she didn't keep that all the time.  It would just come and go.

Final thought:  Perfect spooky mystery for the tween set.
Best stick-with-you image: The final scene when Olive was being talked to in the dark
Best for readers who: Like a little spookiness
Best for ages: 8-11

The book trailer

April 11, 2011

Cover Crush: Reckless

I love book covers.  Book covers draw me to a book.  I've been known to find a book with I cover I love and pick it up and show it to everyone.  I do get cover crushes. 

Well today I'm crushing on:

Reckless by Cornelia Funk

I know the common cover is this one:

And it's okay, but I truly love the first one.  Could it be any creepier!?!The color of the eyes are completely striking.  It so makes me want to know what this book is about. I've shown both covers to a few students, and they think both of them are super creepy. 

What do you think? Could you crush on it?

Cover Crush was inspired by the great bloggers of The Book Worms who started Cover Crazy.

April 9, 2011

Want a New Blog for Your Blog - For FREE???

I've been toying with getting a new blog design, so when I saw this giveaway I jumped at it. 

Lori at Use You Imagination Designs does great work. 
She made a new blog design for The Owl Bookmark (yes another owl!).  Well she liked the design so much she decided to host a giveaway so another blog could get a new look! I love the design (it has an owl so why wouldn't I?) It's super cute.

Check out the giveaway and her new design.  Then enter!!!

April 7, 2011

Why I Love Audio Books

Lately I've really really gotten into audio books.  It started about a year ago with the book The Dead and the Gone.  I had read Life as We Knew It and wanted the second book.  For Christmas I had gotten an iPod dock for my car, so it played through the speakers.  I thought I'd try out an audio book, and The Dead and the Gone was available from the library (which BTW is an awesome way to get audio books!).  I down loaded it and started listening to and from school with my kids. It was great!

We didn't really listen to another one until later.  Then the library in our town open in a new fantastic location.  My daughter wanted to check it out, so off we went.  While we were there I wandered over to the audio books and found Dandelion Fire.  It was a book I had been kind've wanting to read, so I convinced my daughter we should listen to it.  It worked great! You can read my review HERE

We then listened to The Red Pyramid on my daughter's insistence.  Again we loved it! You can read my review HERE.  After that we listened to The Book of Elsewhere #1 The Shadows.  It was after that one that I really realized why I like audio books. 

Here is why:

1.  I get to "read" more books.  My life is busy. I work full time.  I have 3 kids.  I blog.  I write.  Sometimes reading doesn't fit.  But hour to and from school with daycare drop off is perfect for listening.  Books I've wanted to get to are now more possible!

2.  It's exposing my 9 year old to more books.  He reads, but not like me or his sister.  He LOVES Calvin and Hobbes, and I credit Calvin and Hobbes with helping building his vocabulary and reading skills.  But he's not a novel reader.  If it has chapters, he doesn't want it.  I've found that even though he doesn't act like it, he's listening and enjoying the story as well.  My hope is that eventually he'll want to read them for himself.  Fingers crossed!!!

3.  It's bringing my kids and I together.  Instead of being in our own worlds during the morning drive, we laugh over the story, discuss what happened and what we think will happen.  We have "inside jokes" because of the stories we have listened to. I honestly believe that when they get older they'll really remember listening to these books.

4.  I stick with books I would give up on if I was reading it.  Dandelion Fire is the perfect example.  My daughter and I weren't thrilled.  We say "let's give it one more day".  After that day we say "just one more".  By the end we were completely into the story.  If I had been reading it traditionally, I would've given up half way through. 

5.  Lastly, it's helping see how audio books can help my struggling and reluctant readers.  I tell all my kids now that aren't really into reading that they should look into audio books.  I know some people would disagree with me, but if I can't at least get them reading that way..... who knows.  It's funny because I'll tell them they can put them on their Ipod and listen.  AND that no one would have to know.  They can just dance around now and again, and people will think they are listening to music! Usually they laugh at me when I say that, but I do see that they give it a thought!  I'll do just about anything to get a kid reading, and if selling them audio books is the way to do it - then that's what I'll do.

So anyways, those are my thoughts on audio books.  There are a few things I don't like, but in they end the positives waaaaaaay out-weight the negatives.

How about you?  Do you like audio books? 

PS - If you haven't check out Audible.com do it! I just joined, and it's way more than I thought!

Books I've wanted to get to are now more possible! I read up on reviews about the best audiobook services at NextAdvisor.com to learn more about the options out there.

April 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Dust and Decay

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.

I'm waiting on:
Dust & Decay
OMGosh!!!!! I knew there was going to be a sequel to Rot & Ruin, but I hadn't seen anything about it.  Then bamm! there's the cover and the release date! I WANT! I WANT! I WANT!
It comes out August 30th.

And what an awesome cover.  I'm loving it big time!

For those that haven't read Rot & Ruin I wrote a review and so did a student on Team Owl.  Check them out.

Summary From Goodreads
Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?
In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.

April 4, 2011

Cover Crush: Betrayal by Mayandree Michel

I adore book covers.  Honestly I truly love and adore them.  It amazes me how beautiful and intriguing they can be.  I do think I develop crushes on certain covers :)  

Today I am crushing on:

Betrayal by Mayandree Michel

Could this cover be any prettier???? The gold colors are something I don't see on a cover too often, so that immediately attracts my attention.  But then it's all in the dress! Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!  Lastly I'm super curious about the light around her hands.  Why is it there?  What does it mean? LOVE IT ALL!!!

Summary from Goodreads
 At seventeen, Cordelia is an ordinary teen with an extraordinary and frightening secret. A secret that induces vivid dreams which she not only experiences true love, but crippling fear while barely escaping with her life each night.

After a life altering event, Cordelia has an unexpected encounter with Evan, the mysterious boy from her dreams, who reveals who and what she is &#x2013; a descendant of the Greek gods. At that moment everything she knows of her world is a lie, and she must leave the present and go into the past to assume the role she was put on this earth for &#x2013; safeguarding her ancient empire amidst evil forces that toil hastily to destroy it.

In a race against time, Cordelia must decide if she is truly a part of this dangerous world, or risk defying the gods, and ultimately lose the boy who has put a claim on her heart.

April 2, 2011

April R.A.K. I Got a Book!

Hey all I wanted to share what I got for my March R.A.K. (Random Act of Kindness). 

Becky from Stories and Sweeties sent me Banished!!!
I've wanted this book forever.  I've always been drawn to the cover.  I even did a cover post about it (you can see it HERE). 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For sending this too me!

R.A.K. was started over at Book Soulmates

If you want to participate in the April R.A.K. here's a bit about it:

Rules:• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.

• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)

• Create a wish list and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}

• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address.

• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!
Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us

For the full April R.A.K. post go HERE.

April 1, 2011

Friday's for the Guys Team Owl Review: TRAPPED

On Friday I like to look at books that boys might enjoy.  Today I have a review from a Team Owl member. 
He has an honest review for Trapped.

Title: Trapped
Author:  Michael Northrop

Book Summary
The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive....
Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision....
Team Owl Review
Trapped is one of those books that is an “OK book”; I wouldn’t really think that this book will become a well known book, at all. There is some emotion, some romance, and some funny parts. The characters are very normal people doing very courageous things. The book did very good at introducing the characters, but the story started to bore me. I mean, what is so important about getting trapped in school? This book needed bigger meaning and more stories behind it.
I would not read this book again. I would recommend it though, if you want a short book that u can read in 1 day to a week. I really liked how the author made the characters. They felt like the characters actually went to a local high school. This book made me think of me and 6 other people trapped in school on a snow storm. If u want to wonder that too, this book will make u think about how will the characters survive. And also you may have your personal opinions on the characters.
What I Thought Of The Cover
The cover actually was the big reason I read the book, it’s very cool and I really like it. On the back there is no summary, it is just a sign covered up saying ‘Dance Friday, Winter Wonderland’ that goes along with the book,  and how they were looking forward to the winter dance.
Overall Thought Of The Book
I have mixed emotions about this book.  I got really bored of it, but some parts I really liked. But I think I could find a way better book to read.