July 31, 2011

A New Poll: IMM Do You Want an IMM Post?

Hey all another quick poll for you.  I stopped doing IMM posts awhile back, but I'm curious.  Would you like an IMM post from me?  Do you like them because it give you a fill for what I read and like so hence what the focus of my blog is?  Do you not really care about IMM posts and skip them?  Just your thoughts please.  

And please please please I'm not bashing in any way the IMM posts if this even hints at it! I stopped doing them because they took time!  But I'm wondering if it's something my readers would like to see.

If you could take the  poll on the right that would rock!
Thanks all!!!!!

July 29, 2011

For the Guys - I Am Number Four Series

On Friday's I like to highlight great books for boys.  I see tons of YA/MG books for girls, so I think it's important to showcase books for boys too!

Today it's the I Am Number Four series.  I know that most of you know of I Am Number Four especially since it was made into a movie, but if you don't here's the summary:
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. 
The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next. 
I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth. 
I had a bunch of boys (yes and girls) read this book and really enjoy it.  The fact they made it into a movie really really helped!  What? You didn't see the trailer for the movie.  Here is it :)

What I always like with boys' books is when they are part of a series.  I Am Number Four is!  Coming in Aug 23rd is the sequel:
 The Power of Six!!!!

Here's the summary for that one!
 I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us. 
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together? 
 Now if that wasn't enough, they've also released a novella!
 It's titled: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Legacy. 

It's available now exclusively as an ebook! 

Number Six—when John meets her in I Am Number Four she’s strong, powerful, and ready to fight. But who is she? Where has she been living? How has she been training? When did she develop her legacies? And how does she know so much about the Mogadorians?In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy, discover the story behind Six. Before Paradise, Ohio, before John Smith, Six was traveling through West Texas with her CÊpan, Katarina. What happened there would change Six forever….

So glad there is this series for boys.  I know the boys I teach were interested in I Am Number Four because the main character is a boy - and a seemingly strong confident boy.  And they could tell it was going to be full of action, and they liked that.  I'm hoping The Power of Six delivers as well!

July 27, 2011

Interview with Taylor Morris and GIVEAWAY

Yesterday I was able to review the tween book BFF Break up by Taylor Morris.  A good book about that dreaded fear of losing your BFF.  Today I get the pleasure of sharing her answers to some questions I was able to ask.  Make sure to look below the interview for a two SIGNED book giveaway!

Welcome Taylor Morris to The O.W.L.!!

For BFF Breakup - what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?
In BFF BREAKUP, I’m proud of how I handled the actual fight that led to Brooke and Madeline’s breakup. I wanted to write something that the reader could empathize with from both sides. I didn’t want there to be a hero and a villain. Or even so, perhaps one reader was on Brooke’s side and another was on Madeline’s. I just didn’t want it to be obvious which character was at fault because in the end they both were, in their own ways.

Tell about your writing process. How long did it take you to write BFF Breakup from idea to finish? Please tell about revision is you can!
I started thinking about BFF BREAKUP months before I began writing, which is usually the case. I start with an initial idea—like, How about a story about best friends who get in a huge fight and break up?—and then start thinking about who the characters are, who their friends and family are, what lead them to the fight, what exactly the fight was about, what happens afterward, etc. All that plotting and planning will hopefully make for a better book and an easier write. I thought about BFF BREAKUP for about nine months before I started writing it, and then it took about three months to write. That’s a pretty short writing time but I was on a steep deadline with a series I was about to begin.

Is the story and/or characters based on anything/anyone in your real life?
Sadly, yes. My best friend and I had into a huge, ginormous, awful fight that had us not speaking for three years. I assumed we would never talk again. In the meantime, an acquaintance friend of mine got angry at me for something I did and sort of wrote me off and I started to think, What is it about me and girlfriends? Am I a bad friend? Or do I choose bad friends? I looked back on all my friendships and really started to think about it. Then, my best friend and I started talking again—very slowly and tentatively—and I thought that the story of best friends was so simple and yet complex, not to mention relatable that it would be a good story to tell. BFF BREAKUP is not the story of me and my friend, although I can certainly understand the emotions my characters, Brooke and Madeline, experience.

I really think this is something most girls and women can relate to!

Why MG instead of any other grade level?
I have sharp memories from that time in my life so I started from there. When I wrote my first novel, CLASS FAVORITE, I had the main character as 16 but my agent felt like she acted a bit young and asked if I’d consider changing her to 13. And like that, I became a middle grade writer and have had five novels published with more on the way. I’ve written two other books for young adults—one that will never see the light of day, and another that I will edit and resubmit to agents. I’d like to have a hardcover YA book but beyond that, I love writing for and about teenagers and have no plans to stop writing middle grade books. I have no desire to write for adults. 

Ok once the story was done - How much say did you have in the cover of this book? What is the process for creating a cover (my students are always curious about this!)
Absolutely zero say whatsoever. They did email me and ask me what I thought about it but I’m pretty sure it was just a courtesy. For my series, Hello, Gorgeous!, I didn’t even see the cover until it was finalized. Generally speaking, unless you’re some big-selling, fancy author you usually don’t have much say in your book cover. Sometimes the editor will ask if you have an idea for a concept before they begin designing and they might take that into consideration. But the ultimate decision is with the publisher’s art and marketing departments. That’s their job and their strength. Leave the writing to me. (For more on covers, got to Melissa Walker’s blog for Cover Stories where she has authors talk about their experiences with this.)

Now for a nonwriting question that my students are always curious about- What kind of student were you? Was English your favorite subject in school and did you always write?
I was a completely average student! Truly, there was nothing special or outstanding about me. I made average grades, had an average amount of friends, was of average popularity. I did some writing when I was in elementary school (including a 12 page handwritten novel called Love At First Sight, starring two of my classmates) but after that I didn’t do much writing until college. English was definitely my favorite subject—I always liked stories but also I always got As so of course I liked it!

And because it's the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? Whoooo are your favorite authors now and when you were growing up?
I read shockingly little growing up. Some Judy Blume in elementary school. In junior high I read the Flowers in the Attic series and for some reason, Drew Barrymore’s autobiography Little Girl Lost. By high school I was reading Gone With the Wind. Other than that, it’s strange to say I wasn’t much of a reader. I loved reading, but I never knew what books to buy or get at the library.

As for authors from today who I admire, I love Maureen Johnson’s wit and Meg Cabot’s humor. Barbara Dee’s middle grade books are adorable and full of heart. The Harry Potter series will always be in my top five—what an incredible writer and storyteller J.K. Rowling is!

Thanks for hanging out with us today!

Now for the giveaway.  
Taylor Morris has provide the first two books in the Hello Gorgeous series: Blowout and Foiled

Now that she's had her thirteenth birthday, Mickey's finally old enough to work at her mother's super glam hair salon-Hello, Gorgeous! And true to the old cliche about people confiding in their hair stylists, Mickey starts getting an earful right off the bat. Customers love talking to her because she's so empathetic, but what happens when she starts getting overly involved in their dramas?

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Ends Aug 3rd

July 26, 2011

Book Review: BFF Breakup by Taylor Morris

Title: BFF Breakup
Author: Taylor Morris
Publisher:  Aladdin Mix

Brooke and Madeline have been best friends since they first met. And now they're going to be best friends in high school, then go to the same college where they'll be roommates, date—and marry—boys who are also best friends. Finally they'll live next door to each other and go on family vacations together. Nothing could possibly change that, right? 
Well not so fast. A new school year brings new challenges, and suddenly Brooke and Madeline’s friendship isn’t looking so solid. When the cracks in the relationship become chasms, is there anything worth salvaging at all? 
Taylor Morris has written a laugh out loud funny, touching, novel about what happens when "Best Friends Forever" becomes "Best Friends No More."

How many of us have gotten into fights with out best friends?  Fights so bad you aren't sure that you'll ever be friends again?  I know I have! And then throw into the mix a group of new friends seemingly taking your best friend away.  Isn't that a lot of tween girls' fear?  Well that's what BFF Breakup is all about.  Having a best friend and losing her.  It's such a realistic premise that many girls will be interested just because it's something they can so completely relate to.  What's great is that the story goes beyond just an interesting premise.  The story itself is well written, true to the age of the character and reader and it doesn't sugar coat going through something like this.

I've said it before, but it needs to be said again.  One thing that I find wrong with some middle grade (tween) books I read is the voice of the characters.  They don't sound like kids I see and hear everyday at school.  This wasn't really an issue with Brooke and Madeline.  Their reactions (the cute boy you like sitting next to you), their language (deciding the word disco would  mean whatever you wanted it to) were spot on.  But what was more completely tween was how they reacted during the fight.  Avoiding each other, refusing to look at each other, blurting out things they have no clue where it came from, saying bad things about the other to new friends because of anger.  It was all there.  I think the most realistic was when Madeline sent Brooke and apology email thinking it was worded just perfect not at all realizing how it might sound to Brooke.  I've heard apologies like that!  Their reactions rang true to me.  Kids are really are really turned off by books that don't represent them accurately.  I don't think that would happen with this book.

A secondary story is Madeline's parents separating.  I think this too is a situation that some tweens could relate to.  And I did believe Madeline's reaction to it.  She was angry and confused which all seemed natural.  I did think the parents handled it a little dis-functionally, kind've letting the kids deal with in on their own, but it wasn't bad enough to really bother me.  Having Madeline going through this crisis added another layer to the problems between her and Brooke.  Not only were they growing and changing, but now they had to figure out how to handle a crises with one of them.  It also set up nicely why Madeline thought her new friend Susanna was 'better" than Brooke.  And it helped show some of Brooke's naivety.  I wondered if this story line was really necessary - could it have just focused on the first - but I realized it was really needed.  It pushed along a lot of what happened and fueled the emotions both girls were feeling.

There were a few scenes that I did have a bit of a hard time believing.  They mostly involved Brooke and a boy named Christopher.  Christopher would be seen as a bit odd by most kids this age (he wears ties to school).  Brooke though thinks he's cool.  Some of the scenes where she encourages his personality were a little harder for me to buy into just because I know how kids this age can have a hard time encouraging individuality because it could put the spotlight on them in a wrong way.  It know it was to help encourage being ok with who you are and letting others be who they are, but I also know the struggle with this at 7th grade. This wasn't a huge deal, but it was the one point I wasn't completely sure of.

I won't say what happens in the end, but I was very pleased with how it was handled.  It wasn't all perfection and sunshine and rainbows.  It was more realistic and I liked that.  I think a young reader would take more away from the book because it didn't try to snowball them into believing something they know would be somewhat unrealistic.  Honesty with this age goes a long way and this book was honest.

Final Thought:  Good real look at losing your BFF
Best stick-with-you image:  When Madeline turns really mean to Brooke. Ouch!
Best for readers who: Have every had a fight with their BFF
Best for ages: 9-12

For the Boys?  Nope.  Pretty much a girl topic.

Stay tuned because tomorrow I have an interview with the author and a giveaway!!!

July 25, 2011

Cover Crush: Revolution NEW Cover

I soooo love book covers. Honestly I've been known to drag my sister through the bookstore to show her a cover I like or hunt down certain students to show them.  It really is like I have a crush.  So once a week I like to highlight these covers.

This week I'm crushing on:

Revolution by Jennifery Donnelly
The new (?) paperback cover

When I saw this cover for Revolution I stopped me in my tracks!  There is just something about it that makes me stare.  There isn't a lot her, but somehow it just conveys emotion - a just type of sadness or longing or something.  Then there's that key.  Why is it there???? Why does it seem so important??  Such a simple cover that totally grabs me.  I was never real fond of the hardcover version, and to be honest I know it turned off some of my 7th grade readers.  This one I think will interest them much more.  
Well done!

July 23, 2011

Weekend Question: Why Do You Read and Owl of the Week

I've been looking for something simple to do on the weekends, and after reading a post that really hit home about showing your followers who you are and letting YOU shine through on your blog, I thought this would be a great addition to my week.  What is this?  It's the Weekend Question hosted by Cleverly Inked.  
Each weekend she poses a question, and we share the answer with our readers.  It's a great way to for us bloggers to get to know a bit more about each other.  
Hope you like it, and if you want to play along, visit Cleverly Inked.

This weekend's Question:

With so many hobbies and tons of activities the can easily fill more then one life time, why do you read?

You know I've thought about that question a lot, and sometimes that answer is "Why do I breathe?".  For me reading has always been as important, as part of my life, as natural as breathing.  I've spent time reading, large amounts of time, for as long as I can remember.  I was THAT girl in high school that always had a book with me.  That was excited about having reading days in English.  It's just a part of me. 

But I guess there is more of an answer than that.  I read because I love getting caught up in the story and lives of the characters. I read because it can take me places I'll never go.  I read because it teaches me.  I read because sometimes it makes me feel less alone in what I'm going through.  It just has always been a comfort to me in some way - in a way I can't fully put into words.  But you know how sometimes when you're feeling out-of-sorts or sad or lonely, so you curl up in a blanket to feel safe, or eat that food that makes you feel like you're home again - that's what reading feels like to me.  Always has.

Ok hope that wasn't too touchy-feelly :)  So what about you?


And, um, I thought I'd sneak in another old favorite of mine - the Owl of the Week!  Don't you all miss it???? Ok here he is:

This adorable Owl Slippers!!!! Check out the Etsy store that sells them,The Little Pea Shoppe.    

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!!!

July 22, 2011

For the Guys - Book Review: The Scorch Trials

I Fridays I like to highlight and review books that would be great for guys.  I find tons and tons of girl books, but those boy books are much harder to come by.  Yes yes girls might like these books too, but they are really great "guy" books.  Today I have a book review.

Title: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2)
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. 
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal. 
The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. 
Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
My Review

Ok it has been my summer of tough books in a series.  The first of The Dark and Hollow Places.  Now this one.  Now I don't mean tough as in bad; instead I mean tough to read because the characters go through some hard things.  That is the complete and utter case in The Scorch Trials.  Now in The Maze Runner the Glade was bad just because they didn't know how they were or where they came from, but they were fed and safe if they stayed out of the maze.  All safeness seems gone now.  Instead there is nothing but harshness - from the fireball of a sun to dust storms with a twist and cranks (nasty sick people) they are hit over and over and over with dangerous events.  It just never stops, and that got hard to read!  I mean I just wanted a breather - a break from the horrors or questions or confusion, but it doesn't come. I think James Dashner sat up night scheming up wicked (haha WICKED) ways to torture Thomas and the other Gladers.  And worse, right when you think you can take a deep breath - you can't!  This is a book where the saying "trust no on or nothing" really really applies.  You can't!  Let me repeat that - YOU CAN'T!

Poor Thomas and of course Teresa, Minho, Frypan etc, but really this was a book about Thomas.  You live inside his head and with him you swirl in his confusion.  Some of his past is coming back, but that is only raising more and more questions.  He doesn't know what he did and why.  He knows what WICKED has told them, but should he trust it?  He knows he knew Teresa, but can she be trusted?  James Dashner does an    awesome job making you feel this confusion that Thomas feels.  Sometimes, unfortunately, you are dragged (literally at points) along with Thomas and you, the reader, are frustrated and confused and everything Thomas feels.  It's great because it really makes the story more real to you, but also it makes it tough to read.  And I'll tell  - this never lets up.  And if you think it does, don't trust it! Thomas felt this way right up to the last word in the book, and so does the reader.  I liked Thomas a lot in this book.  He knows he's the focus, or at least a big one, but he doesn't act all big and important.  Instead he steps back when he knows he needs to and let others take the lead.  That makes him more likable.  But more than that, he just seems more confident, mature and strong in this installment.  He shows growth.

I will for sure want to read the last book, The Death Cure, but I'll need to prep myself.  After this book I know what a ride Dashner will bring me on and I better be prepared.  Can. Not. Wait!!

Final Thought:  Tough, full of questions still unanswered, nonstop fight
Best stick-with-you image:  the giant metal balls
Best for readers who:  Like nonstop action either mental or physical
Best for ages: 12+

For the Guys?  YES YES YES!!!!  Great book for the boy readers.  Thomas is a male character many boys will relate to and like, plus the non-stoppedness (like that word) of it will drag them along.


July 21, 2011

Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers


There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.   
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.  
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

My Review

Ok I held off a bit reading this one.  I really enjoyed the first two books (the second more than the first) and I didn't want to be let down.  Thankfully I wasn't.  I will say though, that at the beginning I wasn't sure! To me this was the darkest of all the books - the most hopeless.  From the first chapter Annah is thrown into a very dangerous world - more dangerous than we've seen.  I kept reading thinking how absolutely hopeless their situation was!  Even what should be bright spots for her (won't say to remain more spoiler free!) have this heavy layer of distrust and guilt and sadness laid over them.  It's like everywhere Annah turns is just more and more reason to give up!  I kept thinking about what I'd do in her situation, and I don't know if I could've kept going like she did.  In the first book Mary was strong, and in the second Gabry was.  But I think Annah outshone them in the strength department.  She clung to everything, digging in and refusing to give up.

As for the other characters, to be honest I felt they paled next to Annah.  She really look over the story, and even though she would never agree - she was the one everyone should look up to.  But like most of the characters in this series she is scarred in some way.  For Annah it is both a physical and mental scar that the must fight through in order to survive.  But this gave her the strength to remind people like Catcher what they must do.

The plot of the story is slow moving.  I really saw it as an exploration of hope and how to have it in a situation that says hope is worthless because everything is gone.  Annah and Catcher have to figure out whether hope is worthwhile in their world or is it a waste.  And if you're going to hope how do you carry that out?  Throughout the story there is a lot of situations that make them question this again and again and again.  It's not something they can just face once and be done because it is such a tough question for them to answer.  It was fascinating watching them work through it.

Final thought:  An ending that holds true to the series as a whole. 
Best stick-with-you image:  Going through the tunnel of ice
Best for readers who: Can handle a story that seems so hopeless and likes zombies
Best for ages: 12+ for sure

For the Guys?  YES! Ok ok the main character is a girl, but there are lots of boy characters that boys should be able to relate to.

July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wed: The Fox Inheritance

The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox, #2)This is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. In this post I talk about books yet to be released that I'm excited about OR already published book's I've seen that I'm really wanting to read. I also like to try and find books other bloggers aren't sharing so that more books are shared.

I'm Waiting On

The Fox Inheritance
by Mary E. Pearson
Release: Aug 30th

Why I'm Waiting

I read and enjoyed The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but always felt like there was more to tell.  I had no clue a sequel was even in the works.  So I'm very curious to see what this book tells us that goes beyond the first book.  I also love that it picks up so much  more later - that always adds a level to the story!


Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.
Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.
Everyone except Jenna Fox.

July 19, 2011

My Favs for Tween Tuesday

Tuesday is Tween Tuesday started over at GreenBeanTeenQueen. On Tuesdays we highlight/review books that are awesome for the tween set - or more commonly known at 9-12 year olds.

Lately I've seen a few bloggers with a post about their favorite middle grade or tween books, and that really got me thinking.  If I had to make a list of my favs what would I put on it???  Here are the ones that came to mind right away.

Savvy by Ingrid Law

I soooooo love this book.  It's kinda different because of the idea that everyone in Mib's (the main character) family has a savvy - or special "magical" gift.  But what I really like about it is her determination to get to her father and try to help him.  That just endured me to her.  I think it's a great book for kids who have felt helpless in a situation because that's how she feels.  Great book I highly recommend.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
I avoided this book for the longest time.  Everyone went on and on about how good it was, and sometimes when that happens I just can't read it.  A few summers ago I decided to try it.  I LOVED it.  The journey that the Salamanca  goes on both physically and mentally is so heart breaking I felt put through the wringer.  BUT they hope mixed in gave me such at uplifting feeling.  I really think Sharon Creech was pure genius when she wrote it because it has so many layers that all fit together seamlessly.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Ok I know not everyone likes this book but a book that literally makes me gasp is going to forever be in my heart.  This book did that.  There isn't a detail of this book that wasn't perfectly placed.  I'm in awe of Rebecca Stead's plotting - seriously! I would never be able to plot out a book out that well.  Complete winner!!

Mile: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg
If you've ever lost a parent or know a tween who has - this book hits hard and close to home.  It starts out slow, and you aren't sure how or where it's going but when the momentum hits it takes you on a roller coaster ride you can't get off.  I cried and cried at the end of this book both from sadness and the hope that flowed in behind it.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
This is still tween right - even tho people of all ages read it??? I love HP because it showed me that fantasy can be good :) and because of all the children I know read because of it.  Nuff said :)

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
Simple reason - my BOYS read it! I <3 any author that gets my boys reading.

Ok there are tons more, but those are the first ones I thought of.  I take that to mean they are ones I really love for one reason or another.  This was fun. I may have to do a part two some time!

July 18, 2011

Cover Crush: Distant Waves

I love book colors - love love LOVE them! Book covers will definitely draw me to a book or, sadly, make me hesitant to take a look at it.  Sometimes the crush in on a brand new cover just released, but I do have favorites that stick over time or are from books not many know about.  When I find one I like, I have to show it to everyone! 
But to put it simply - I have cover crushes!

Today I'm crushing on:

Distant Waves

This is an oldy but a a goody.  This book has been a round for a while, and I'm drawn to it still.  There is something about that dress "floating" that just draws me -especially the absence of a body!  It doesn't hurt that the dress is that old vintage looking style that I really do like.  Every time I see this book cover I remember how much I love it.

July 17, 2011

My New Cat!!!!!!!

Hey all quick quick post for a late Sunday.  I just have to share the excitement at our house this week!

This past week we welcomed a new pet into our family.  My daughter and I have been talking about getting a cat for a little while.  Well Wednesday we decided (along with the two boys) to head to the humane society and see what they had.  After a few failed attempts one of the volunteers guided us to a very cute cat that was said to be super friendly.  We all entered the little room and out came the most beautiful cat!  Calm, soft, pretty and friendly.  He was for us!!!

After changing his name from Swat to Hobbes, he's settling in very well.  The dog and him are actually starting to settling with each other - even sharing food off the same plate!  Hobbes does remind Griffin that he's a cat and doesn't like to be bothered too much, but otherwise they are doing well.

We feel very lucky to have Hobbes and vow to never let him go back to the humane society since his first adoptive parents returned him saying he was too much responsibility.  We can't let him go back again!

July 15, 2011

Welcome to BLOGFEST 2011!!!!

Are you excited??? Are ya? Are ya? I know I am because it's BLOGFEST time!

Ok here's some details about Blogfest over-all.
It runs July 15-17
Each blog will link to 5 more blogs participating.
You can always find the whole list at our fantastic host:
  AND guess what else - you can TRACK your entries through the Blogfest tracking site. Find that site HERE.  For each blog you tract at the tracking site you gain an extra entry in a special giveaway!

Now about my giveaway!

I'm giving away of a copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth

You've got to read this book.  I read it and LOVE it!

To Enter:
Simple simple - fill out the form :)
You don't have to follow.  I only want you to follow if you check out my blog and like it enough to stick around.
Must be a US resident (sorry)

July 14, 2011

Book Review: Ruby Red

 Title: Rudy Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Translator: Anthea Bell


Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
My Review

Ok I'm gonna be up front with you.  When I first started seeing this book around I could NOT figure out what the fuss was about.  And I will admit I based that quite a bit on the cover.  From pictures, the cover just didn't look interesting.  I really don't like the girl on the cover.  She looks waaaaay formal and almost uncomfortable.  Now I made myself look into the book further and read some review.  Ok, so it was about time travel (which seems to be the latest thing).  I enjoyed Hourglass, so when I was offered a copy for review I decided to take it. 

Starting it out I still wasn't sure.  I was a bit confused.  There are many characters all related, and I had a hard time remember who was who and how they were all related.  BUT something about it was hooking me in, so I kept going.  Slowly I was pulled deeper into the story.  I really liked the main character Gwyneth.  She was quirky, smart (in her own way), and not willing to let herself be bullied.  I liked her, and when I like a character I can stick with a story.  So I let Gwen pull me along.  And I'm glad I did!

Now the plot - Again I'll admit that I found parts of it confusing.  There's all kinds of half stories told - things Gwen can't know or doesn't know or people refuse to tell her.  That, for her and the reader, can be frustrating.  But again how Gwen handled it kept me going.  I wanted to see how she would react to more of what was thrown at her - and mostly I wanted to see her succeed and prove her aunt and others wrong.  None of them like what happens with Gwen, and they are very angry at her and Gwen's mother.  This made me mad because I liked Gwen, so they shouldn't be mad at her!  The plot unravels fast but yet slow.  Fast because a lot of information is thrown out at once, but slow because it takes forever for people to be honest with her.  In the end I have a clear understanding of what is going on but I soooooooo need to know more.  And whoa what a shocker at the end!!!

Ok lastly I have to comment on Gideon the boy of the story.  He seems to swing back and forth between being a jerk to being caring, and honestly I don't know which side to trust.  It's like I want to trust him, but he's been a part of this longer than Gwen, so I don't know his deep knowledge might be used against Gwen's naivety.  Even what happens at the end - I'm not sure if I can trust it.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

For the Guys?  Nah not really.

Final thought:  Ok I get the fuss now. I will be looking foward to the rest of the series.
Best stick-with-you image:  Gwen in the fancy dress
Best for readers who: Like time travel, are ok with being in the dark some
Best for ages: 12+

OH! And about the cover..... still don't like the picture of the girl, but I do love the red and silver in person.  Super pretty!

July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wed: Darth Paper Strikes Back!!!!!

Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda BookThis 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:

Darth Paper Strikes Back
by Tom Angleberger
Release: August 1

Why I'm Waiting

I loved Origami Yoda - even read it aloud to my students. It was such a great book and fun!  (You can read my review HERE)  When I told them there was another book, they were very excited because they wanted to know more about what might happen.  I love how Tom Angleberger writes - his characters sound like real kids.  So I can't wait!!!

The hilarious, clever, and much-anticipated follow-up to the breakout hit, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda!

It is a dark time at Ralph McQuarrie Middle School. After suffering several Origami Yoda–related humiliations, Harvey manages to get Dwight suspended from school for being a “troublemaker.” Origami Yoda pleads with Tommy and Kellen to save Dwight by making a new case file—one that will show how Dwight’s presence benefits McQuarrie. With the help of their friends, Tommy and Kellen record cases such as “Origami Yoda and the Pre-eaten Wiener,” “Origami Yoda and the Exploding Pizza Bagels,” and “Origami Yoda and Wonderland: The Musical.” But Harvey and his Darth Paper puppet have a secret plan that could make Dwight’s suspension permanent . . .

July 11, 2011

Cover Crush: Betrayal

I love book covers.  Love love love them! I love strolling through the bookcases at BN and finding all the pretty pretty covers.  I'll find one that just draws me to it.  It's really like I have a crush on it!

Today I'm Crushing on:

Isn't it gorgeous??!!  I can't take my eyes off this one.  Just so pretty! The color of the dress, blues swirling into light purples.  Just love it!And then the look of the girl.  Why does she look so desolate?  What happened?
 The funny thing is, the first cover I saw for it was soooooooo different.  I'm glad they put this on on the print copy.

What do you think?  And as always, click the pic to find out about the book.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Starting Line

Ok folks the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon hosted by Pure Imagination starts today.  I have lots and lots going on, but I'm still going to read as much as I can. Check out the details for the read-a-thon HERE

I'm thinking of reading:

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Mercy by Rebecca Lim
Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Ok For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Wish me luck! :)

July 10, 2011

NetGalley Update and Wanna Buy a Kobo??

Just a really quick update on how I'm doing with NetGalley Month hosted by Red House Books.  Go HERE to find out all about it and sign up!

I've read two books so far.  They are:

The Cellar  - some scenes were quite gory!
The Magnificent 12 - The Trap - fun and quick

Look for in depth reviews soon.


Ok this is a weird mish-mash of a post, but I have a part two.

This past late winter I bought my daughter a Kobo at Borders as it was going out of business.  We both thought she'd use it a lot.  Well she has barely used it, so we've decided to sell it. 

If you thought about getting an ereader here's a really cheap and easy way to enter the market.  A bit about it:
  • It's WIFI ready so you can buy and download straight from it.
  • Kobo is separate from Borders, so the issues with Borders doesn't affect the Kobo
  • You CAN read NetGalley book on it (hey there's how this post ties together) and Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab.
  • Google sells books if you didn't know that - they work on here!
  • I have everything for it including the box
It's a great basic ereader!  I'm asking $50 for it but make me an offer!!!  You'd have to pay through Paypal and pay shipping (which shouldn't be much) US residents only please though.
Here is the link to the Kobo page about it- check out that site to find out about buying books straight from Kobo. 

Email me if interested:  themgowl at gmail dot com

July 8, 2011

Friday's for the Guys: Massive List of Great Books

A while back on Twitter jmaschari sent out a tweet looking for great books for middle school boys.  Of course that caught my eye.  I replied a few suggestions, and asks why she was asking.  She explained she was putting together a list.  After getting the list together, she was kind enough to share it with me so I could share it on the blog. 

So without much more - here's a great list of boys books for boys in the middle!

Books for Junior High Boys
Conspiracy 365 Series
Alibi Junior High by Greg Logstead
Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan
The Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Alabama Moon by Watt Key
Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Anything by Will Hobbs (especially Crossing the Wire, Take Me to the River)
Anything by Mike Lupica
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
Jolted:  Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival by Arthur Slade
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Life as We Knew It and The Dead and Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Anything by Rick Riordan
Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Full Tilt by Neal Schusterman
The Maze Runner Trilogy (The Maze Runner, Scorch Trials) by James Dashner
The Alchemyst:  The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Nicholas Flamel  (series) by Michael Scott
The Roar by Emma Clayton
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac
Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Schooled by Gordon Korman
The Limit by Kristen Landon
Holes by Louis Sachar
Small Steps by Louis Sachar
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Dark Life by Kat Falls
The Line by Teri Hall
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve
The Hungry City Chronicles  by Phillip Reeve
The Dark is Rising (series) by Susan Cooper
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

(sorry I'll link more later! Boy does that take a long time!!!!!)