May 30, 2012

Mother/Daughter Book Club Winner!

The winner of the Mother/Daughter Book Club by Scholastic is:

Tammy S. (entry #5)

I'll email her now.  She has 72 hours to respond or it will get passed on to another.

Thanks for entering and reading The O.W.L.!!

May 29, 2012

Book Review: Transcendence by C.J. Omololu

I'm super excited today to kick off the blog tour of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to read and review this book!

Title: Transcendence
Author: C.J. Omololu
Publisher: Bloomsbury Teen

When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider. 
As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both. 
Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?

My Review

For a long time I've been looking for a young adult book that would get me out of my funk with young adult books.  I needed a book that I didn't want to put down.  A book that had characters I liked.  A book that had a plot that grabbed me and pulled me in.  I found it with Transcendence. From the first pages I was completely enchanted with the story and the characters.  I can get a little picky about girl characters in books because it annoys me when they come across as weak and needy.  I didn't find that with Cole.  She definitely knew who she was.  Of course she was a bit shaken by what Griffon shares with her (who wouldn't be!), but she doesn't let it knock her over.  Actually at one point she almost decides to be too strong and stubborn! Although I have a soft spot for stubborn characters since I happen to be a bit stubborn myself!  

What I also completely enjoyed was the mystery built into the story.  It wasn't just about Cole learning about her past lives.  It was also about that past coming after her in a way she didn't understand or why.  I loved watching her try to fit all the pieces together to find that answers. And the author did such a great job weaving these clues and hints within her memories that I was kept guessing and wondering and thinking right along with Cole and Griffon.  And the ending! LOVED IT! It wasn't what I thought it would be - or was guessing along - IT WAS BETTER!!!!!

I think what I really liked about the book was that in a genre that seems filled with cliches and the same story just different names - this one didn't seem to fall those traps.  It struck me as very fresh and original.  I didn't seem like I had read the story before.  Which would be the exact reason why it brought me out of my YA reading funk :)

Final Thought: Past lives never looked so good!
Best stick-with-you image: Right before the execution
Best for readers: Who like urban fantasy
Best for ages: 12+
For the Guys? No not really.  Yes Griffon has a pretty strong role, but not enough to make it a guy book.

May 24, 2012

7's UP Guest Review: My Favorite Mistake

Today I have a review from one of my great students! 

She is reviewing

My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg

What I love is that she rides horse, so reviewing this book was perfect for her.  

Title: My Favorite Mistake
Author: My Favorite Mistake
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Tommi, Zara, and Kate are all elite riders on the A Circuit. Tommi, the billionaire heiress, is training a young horse to prove she can make horses a real career. But when her new beau, Alex, convinces her to skip a horse show to party in the Hamptons, the results could be disastrous. Zara, the celebutante wild child, is finally taking her riding seriously. Until the new "nanny" her dad hires threatens to upstage Zara's party girl status. Then there's Kate. She doesn't have money to burn like the others, but she does have Fitz, the barn's resident hot guy. But when the pressure of being a working student builds, Kate's perfectionist tendencies threaten to get in the way of her relationship and her riding.
Readers who are growing out of the Canterwood Crest series or searching for an A-list fix have found just what they're looking for in the A Circuit series.
Take it away Miss K!

Why did you decide to pick up this book and read it?
I read the first book and loved it and when my teacher said she had been asked to review it I offered to do it for her.

What part did you like the best and why?
The part I like best is really when ever Fitz around and adding commentary, because Fitz just doesn't have any care and is just funny to listen to.

Did you like the book? Please explain why you liked it or not.
I really liked this book. I liked i a lot because it was fun to read and the characters are really fun, and realistic. I also like how the story was set up, it was new a different from other pieces I've read, especially books with horses as their focus.

Tell me what you thought of the main character(s). Did you like him/her/them? Did you like how they acted/reacted to events in the story?
There's three main characters Tommi, Zara, and Kate. I actually like all three which is odd because main characters that are girls tend to get on my nerves because they whine a lot and a really needy. But all three are fun to read about and very rarely make really stupid decisions.

Would you recommend this book to a friend?
I would recommend this book to friend because even though they don't ride the book dose a nice job explaining what they mean when they use riding terms others may not be familiar with. Also its a fun read, with good humor in it.

Tell me anything else about the book and your opinion of it that you want to share!
Loved the book soooo much!!!

I love what she has to say about actually liking all three main girl characters.  Miss K comes in my classroom to talk books a lot, and I know whiny, weak, indecisive girl characters.

May 23, 2012

Book Review: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

A few weeks back I started something new on The O.W.L. What to Read Wednesday.  I asked my readers to pick a book for me to read.  They picked Three Times Lucky.  Today I have the review :)

Title: Three Times Lucky
Author: Sheila Turnage
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: May 10, 2011

A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime. 
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

My Review

I love middle grade books.  I've talked about this before.  How they can be sweet and cute but cover tough topics.  How they can have strong characters that we get the joy of watching grow up.  A good middle grade book leaves me loving the characters, happy for them and so very proud of their growth.  This book gave me all three.

Although Mo drove me a little nuts at points (just had an inability to stop talking sometimes!) I did like her.  I could completely feel for her and her need to find out her past.  To not know anything about where you came from and who her you mom was would be hard.  As an adult I know that families come from those around you who care for you, and she seemed to get that too, but yet she still wanted to know.  That need of hers kept a soft spot for her in my heart.  And to see how she learns and grows with this is pure delight.

Now beyond Mo there is a wonderful cast of characters.  I grew up in a small town, so I love books set in a small town.  And within this small town are some great characters.  I loved the Azalea Club women.  The Colonel was very interesting.  I loved how he was gruff but tender at the same time! The characters that come on and out of the cafe so reminded me of when I  waitressed at my local cafe.  I could see so many of the regulars I waited on in the characters in the book.  

Now about the mystery in the book.  This was just fantastic.  So very well done.  I was completely hooked on trying to figure out what was happening and why.  Dale's whole part in the mystery was great!  I giggled a lot at the beginning of it. And in the end I like how this part of the story wrapped up.  Well done!

I actually loved how the story has a whole wrapped up.  I felt completely satisfied at the end.  I walked away from the book feeling like I had met some wonderful people that I knew would live on even after I closed the book.

Final Thought: Mo was a great character to remind us what family is
Best stick-with-you image:  When Mo tries to sneak up and see what the investigators are doing in the water.
Best for readers who: Like a mystery with heart
Best for ages: 9+
For the Guys?  I'd like to say yes.  Ok so Mo is a girl, but honestly she's a tomboy girl that I think the boys could relate to.  Plus her best friend Dale adds to the boy appeal.

May 22, 2012

Scholastic's Mother/Daughter Book Club +GIVEAWAY

I was very excited when I was approached to help promote Scholastic's new Mother/Daughter Book Club.  My daughter and I read many of the same books, and it is always fun to hear her thoughts compared to mine.  We've never done a book club before, but some day I hope to.

About the Mother-Daughter Book Club:
Start a tradition of reading with your daughter with a Mother-Daughter Book Club! Scholastic’s monthly selections will help you choose books that you and your daughter will enjoy!

The book club launched May 1 with 4 titles: Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood, Pie by Sarah Weeks, The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone, and Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates by Eva Gray, and there will be 2 new featured titles each month.

Along with book selections, the Mother-Daughter Book Club website also features discussion questions and snack suggestions for your book club meetings and a monthly Skype sweepstakes where you can enter to win a Skype visit from one of the authors at your next book club meeting. May’s sweepstakes author is Augusta Scattergood, author of Glory Be.

I was lucky enough to receive a complete set of the books for May.  And what a great selection. Here's my pictures of the package I received.

I didn't know where to start first! They all looked so good! But here's my thoughts on the choices.

Some of them I knew about already like The False Prince.  I loved that that one was included, but it wasn't a girly-girl book.

Glory Be looks absolutely amazing, and it was the one I was drawn to the most.  Lately I've been reading a lot of books set in the 1960's.  There is such history during that time is so many ways and this book about a young girl caught up in her own struggles set against the struggles of civil rights in her town sounds completely interesting.  Besides I've always loved the idea of teaching history through literature. My daughter loves historical fiction, and I know she'll read this one!

Pie looks to be one of those wonderful "growth" novel that I see so well done for the middle grades.  What I love for a personal reason is that it's by the same author as SO B. IT.  We read that book in lit circles, and I love that my girls who love that book have this one to turn to next.

What I really love about the choices is the variety! Tomorrow Girl's shows that.  Dystopia is a huge genre right now, so to include one is great.  I also like that it seems the girl's are strong, courageous and smart.  Great models.

The Boy on Cinnamon Street - WOW sounds fantastic and talk about a strong sounding girl.  (more about this one below)

And the last option just sounds fun Whatever After #1: Fairest of Them All. This one just looks super cute and super fun.  Besides who hasn't wanted to fall into a fairy tale!

Now fun part! I took the whole set to school and invited my girl students to look at them and tell me what one they'd pick for a mother/daughter book club.  Every book was picked by at least one girl, and that shows that strength of the choice - the great variety. BUT two did rise to the top and they were The Boy on Cinnamon Street and Whatever After.  Over and over I heard that they sounds great.  Whatever After sounded fun and The Boy on Cinnamon Street sounded awesome.  They did admit they liked that there was a "crush" in that one.  I asked if they would be ok reading that with their mom and they all said yes without hesitation! It was so fun to see them dig through the pile and really look at what one they'd like the most.  I loved it! I'll be looking for a way to get a Mother/Daughter Club started in my area!

To learn more about the book club check out THIS LINK to the Scholastic site about the club!

Now the even more fun part! 
A giveaway!!!!

One (1) winner receives:
Copies of all May book club titlesGlory Be, Pie, Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates and The Boy on Cinnamon Street!

Must be a US resident
Must be at least 13

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May 21, 2012

Cover Crush: Live Through This

I love book covers.  Love love love them! I've been known to drag my sister around Barnes and Noble and show her all the covers I like. I'll hunt down certain students in the morning because I know they'll love a cover as much as me.  I really think I develop a crush on certain covers!

Today I'm crushing on:

I absolutely love this cover! I love covers that have emotion coming off of them, and I completely feel that from this cover.  You can feel the sadness and almost an emptiness in the girl.

Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . . 
From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe. 
But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.
Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect in this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel

May 18, 2012

Team OWL Review: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Today I have a guest review from a 7th grade student.  She is here to review Dreamland.

Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen

"Wake up, Caitlin." My English teacher wasn't the only person who'd noticed. 
"Caitlin!" the dance coach barked as I flubbed another cartwheel. 
"Caitlin?" Rina, my best friend, asked. "Hello? 
And finally, the one voice to which I snapped to attention, every time.
"Caitlin," Rogerson said, and I listened so hard, trying to tell just by the cadence what might happen when we were alone. 
What they don't understand is that Caitlin can't afford to leave this dreamland, this half-sleeping state where everything and everyone can be kept at arm's length. Because then she'd have to face the ugly truth about her relationship with Rogerson: magnetic, fascinating--and very dangerous--Rogerson. What is it about Rogerson Biscoe...and why can't she leave him? 

Guest Review

Why did you decide to pick up this book and read it?
I was looking at Ms.F's bookshelf and I saw it and I heard that Sarah Dessen is a good writer so I read the back and the first 2 pages and I really like the book.

Did you like the book? Please explain why you liked it or not.
The reason why I like the book dreamland is because it made me want to keep reading.

Tell me what you thought of the main character(s). Did you like him/her/them? Did you like how they acted/reacted to events in the story?
I like the main character she had a lot of different things that I didn't except to happen.

What part did you like the best and why?
I think my favorite part in the book dreamland is when the main characters older sister runs away and then her mom and the main character find out that her sister is on a TV show.

Would you recommend this book to a friend?
Yes I would because my friend it is hard for her to find books that she really likes and I think that she would enjoy reading the book dreamland.

Tell me anything else about the book and your opinion of it that you want to share!
It’s hard for me to find books that I really like but Sarah Dessen I think is a good writer and her books make me want to keep reading.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Dreamland! I have so many girls that love Sarah Dessen books! Especially my ones that don't like books that aren't "real"!  

May 15, 2012

2K12 Guest Post: Katherine Longshore Author of GILT

A long while back I was approached by Caroline Starr Rose to help promote the fantastic group of authors in the Class of 2k12.  These are a group of authors being published in 2012.  I jumped at the chance to help out.  
What we came up with was a series of guest posts.  The topic: 
 Since I teach 7th grade I live and breath middle school (ok some of you can stop shuddering now). 2

So over the course of 2012 you will get to hear from some the the 2k12 authors and their memories/thoughts about that time in their life.  I thank each of them for jumping in a tackling the subject!
To learn about all the 2k12 authors check out their site: Class of 2k12: Fiction that Rocks

Today our 2k12-er is:

Katherine Longshore

Book: Gilt
Release Date: TODAY!!!

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--and love comes at the highest price of all. 

When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

Welcome Katherine and let's here how middle school was for you!

Middle school. Ugh. I guess most people believe they go through an awkward phase in middle school, but I think my phase was especially awkward. I was short, skinny, shy, socially awkward, bossy, and hopelessly, endlessly devoted to Star Wars. Not only this, but I harbored an intense and secret desire to be an actress.

So imagine this: a tiny little girl with big hair and no figure to speak of, braces, and a bit of an attitude. The boys I had crushes on had no idea I existed. The cool girls already had boyfriends and threw dance parties. I spent my afternoons at home, scribbling alternative tales in which I was Luke Skywalker's cousin and stalking celebrities in clandestinely purchased People magazines. And every Sunday I watched two or three classic movies on my town’s single cable channel, falling in love with Clark Gable and Errol Flynn.

I was very fortunate to have two best friends – twins – who were supportive and loyal despite my bizarre habits and uncool interests. They tried in vain to help us become more popular, volunteering, joining clubs, and somehow managing to get us invited to the big end of the year party just before he graduated from the 8th grade.

But even then, I lived in my own little world, one in which knights really did rescue maidens on the backs of white horses, in which good always triumphed over evil, and in which one day I would get the lead part in a play.  This life didn’t integrate well with the reality of junior high.

The crazy thing is that I never shared my passions, not even with my best friends. I think they may have guessed how obsessed I was with Star Wars and old movies. They had no understanding of my desire to be on stage. And I never once told them the name of the boy I had a crush on. At the time, I think I thought it was self-protection. That if my dreams didn't come true, at least no one knew about them, so I didn't have to be ashamed.

But I've learned, recently, that sharing dreams can make them stronger. I’ve been writing, off and on, for many years. The people I'm close to have always known. Some even read my very first book, the one I never revised. That book never went anywhere (which is probably a good thing), but that didn't matter. Because I had done it. The thing I wanted to do most. And that was worth celebration.

Dreams are worth celebrating, just for their very existence. I wish I'd known this back in middle school. It would've made those awkward years of little more fun.

Yes dreams are worth celebrating! I wish my students knew that now.  Especially the ones that were just like you.

To learn more about Gilt and Katherine visit the sites below.

May 11, 2012

Review: Riley Mack and Other Known Trouble Makers by Chris Grabenstein

On Fridays I like step back and make sure that I am addressing boy readers.  It's so easy to review and highlight books for girls, but I also teach boys, so I need to make sure to find books for them!

Today I have a book review.

Title: Riley Mack and Other Known Trouble Makers
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: HarperCollins

When former improvisational comedian and screenwriter turned award-winning mystery author Chris Grabenstein writes a kid's book, he delivers page-turning plot twists, pitch-perfect dialogue, and one-liners that pepper the text like exploding firecrackers. Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers, the first book in a hilarious new action-adventure series, is a classic crime caper, a funny, fast-paced mystery/comedy with lovable characters, non-stop action—and a barnful of dogs.
Seventh-grade mastermind Riley Mack and his best buds always come to the rescue when family or friends are in trouble, even if it takes some high-octane subterfuge and fifty pounds of dog food. Kids ages 8-12 will root for Riley and his "Gnat Pack": tech-savvy Jake, dramatic Brianna, big-guy Mongo, and brainy Jamal. They'll hiss for the bad guys, too—the bully Gavin Brown; his father, Fairview's crooked police chief; his conniving grandmother, who runs a filthy puppy mill; and Fairview's gambling-addicted bank manager, who tries to frame Riley's mom. Throw in one stolen goldendoodle, two bumbling bank robbers, and plenty of duct tape, and the action never flags.

My Thoughts 

What a super cute book! Riley Mach was a fun read.  You know what it really reminded me of -the Disney movies I grew up with! Really!

Here's what I liked:

  • It started of right away! Love the whole beginning scene where the bully is taken down
  • Although the kids were a bit unrealistic I could completely buy into them.  And they were LIKABLE! Many times in a book like this the characters will be so over the top that I can't like them.  I didn't have that problem in this book.  Riley was great and so was his team of various characters.  
  • There were parents! Yes actual parents in the book.  The mom in particular was great.  It was nice to see that the parents were OK and not completely left out.
  • It has dogs!  I love dogs, so how could I not love it.  And then the cute little shaky French bulldog.  Awwwwww!
  • It's a "caper".  You know those stories.  Bad guys.  Good guys.  A plan to stop the bad guys.  Lots of action some of it silly.  Again - reminds me of a Disney movie!!!!
  • Equal parts boy and girl book.  Love that even tho the main character is a boy (Riley) so that will appeal to boys, there are some great girl characters (Briana) so girls will like it too. I'm always looking for more books like that.
  • I love books where the kids take the lead and save the day.  And that definitely happens here.  
  • Riley is such a great leader and planner, but one that lets others shine too.  What a great role model! It seems like there are several TV shows where the main characters is kinda yucky and rude and you don't see that here at all.  It's refreshing! Plus it's makes it a great book for me to recommend to my students.

OK as you can see I liked the book.  It's fun.  It has a bunch of action so it keeps the readers interested and reading (a plus for those reluctant readers!).

Final thought: A great caper in the vein of those classic Disney movies
Best stick-with-you image: The first time they see where all the dogs are.
Best for readers who: Like some action, kids that take charge and some awwwwww moments
Best for ages: 9-12
For the Guys? YES! They'll love this one.  Riley is a very likable character

Check out the book trailer.  Soooooo cute!

May 7, 2012

Duel Review: Endure by Carrie Jones

Title: Endure (Need #4)
Author: Carrie Jones

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

Sorry! I meant to get this up yesterday, but I'm putting my house on the market and had to do stuff with that!

Ok!!! Today I get to do a fun duel review with one of my students.  She loves this series as much as I do, so I thought it would be fun to compare our thoughts.

Why did you decide to pick up this book and read it?
Nicole: My KORT teacher recomended the first book and after reading it i was completely sucked into the series.

Me: I picked it up, or should I say danced around with it when it came in the mail, because I so loved the rest of the series and NEEDED to know what happened to Zara, Nick and mostly Astley.  

Did you like the book? Please explain why you liked it or not.
Nicole: I really liked reading Endure. It was such a roller coaster ride. Every time you thought you had it put together BAM something else comes along.

Me: Did I like it?  No. Nope.  Nah uh.  I LOVED IT!!!!! It was everything I wanted.  Full of action.  Seeing Zara accept her role and step up.  The way the other characters each seemed to shine in there own way.  It was fantastic.  The problem is, it's really hard to talk about why I liked it because I so don't want to give anything away.  Just like Nicole said it was a roller coaster ride, and if you know where that ride is going to take you it won't be as enjoyable.  And trust me it was enjoyable.  

What I really liked - is that it ended the series well.  You never ever know if you'll like how you'll leave the characters.  Will you be annoyed?  Angered?  I was so very satisfied to see how everything came together.  I really think it was a great end to the series.  

What part did you like the best and why?
Nicole: I loved the entire book! It all fit together so well you cant pick a favorite part.

Me: Oh goodness do I have to pick just one?? Honestly I think I loved every part where Zara realizes her strength and knows she can do this - lead even tho Astley is her king.  She can step out on her own and lead.  

I also loved all the scenes at Hel.  Fantastically done! The description of the place was so detailed.  I could clearly picture it all. Of course I can't tell you anything that happened there because that would give away things that you must learn on your own.  

Tell me what you thought of the main character(s). Did you like him/her/them? Did you like how they acted/reacted to events in the story?
Nicole: I had mixed feelings about the main characters in this book. In the first three books you get so used to the way Zara and Nick act together, but in this book its completely different.

Me:  You know how when you'd come back to school in the fall and just fall back into your group of friends and it felt so natural, and you were just so happy to be back there?  Well that's how I felt from page one of the book.  It felt so good to see Zara and Nick again.  To cheer for them.  To wonder what would happen.  I loved them all.  

The character tho that I really started to like this time around was Issie.  She just really grew on me this time around.  Her kinda of silliness wrapped around a strong girl was refreshing in a book with a lot of tension.

And to comment on what Nicole said - it was hard to see Zara and Nick act some differently together, but I liked that because it brought a freshness to the story and showed their growth as characters.  

Would you recommend this book to a friend?
Nicole: I would totally recomend this book to another person! Its such an amazing book I couldn't put it down.

Me: Of course!!! And I do all the time.  I'm so very excited to see that more and more girls are picking it up.  Actually - very rarely do I have all four books checked in at one time.  The girls seem to pass them around.  As one finishes one book it's passed right onto another.  And when they saw Endure on my desk they went nuts!  Love it :)

Tell me anything else about the book and your opinion of it that you want to share!
Nicole: This book was the right one to end such an awesome series. It really tied up all the lose ends in the other books.

Me: This book had so many unexpected things happen.  Things that made me gasp - on involving Zara that I NEVER saw coming or thought would happen.  It held my interested from the time I started until the end.  

Final Thought: Satisfying ending to an unbelievable series.  I will miss it.
Best stick-with-you image: Hel for sure - all the scenes in Hel - oh and the description of Hel the person :)
Best for readers who: Like action and characters who change and grow
Best for ages: 12+
For the Guys?  No not really but I really wish they'd give it a shot.  I think the action in it might grab them some.

Don't forget to read my review with Carrie Jones.  Find it HERE.

May 6, 2012

Author Interview: Carrie Jones of the Need Series

I was so very excited when Blombury contacted me and asked if I wanted to be part of the blog tour for the last book in Carrie Jones' Need series - Endure. I absolutely love this series, so being asked to be part of the tour was a dream come true! And then I was given the oppurtunity to ask Carrie Jones some questions. Even better!

First Let Me Tell You a Bit About Endure

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

O.M. Gosh!!!! When I read that I couldn't wait to read and find out what happens! I will have a duel review up later today. One of my students loves the series almost as much as I do, and I was able to work it so she could read and review it as well.

Ok enough of that. I'll be able to gush more later :)

Now I'd like to welcome Carrie Jones to The O.W.L.!!!!!!

A bit about Carrie

Carrie Jones
 is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Need series, as well as After Obsession with Steven E. Wedel. She is a distinguished alum of Vermont College's MFA Program, and a part-time police dispatcher in Maine because she likes cop stories. Really. She blogs about her dogs, cops, and a bit about writing too at

We'll start with the easy questions
Point of View - 1st or 3rd:  First.

Boy or Girl main character: Girl
Genre: Fantasy

Middle Grade or Young Adult: YA

More boy or girl book (stereotypically): Girl

The Serious Questions!
I absolutely love the Need series! And as the books have gone along I have loved them more and more. Mostly because who I thought the characters were is not who they completely were – I thought I had them figured out but then they showed much more of themselves. This happened with the events too! I’m curious then - what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?

Oh my word, this is such a hard question that I actually started off by writing, “Oh my word.” That really says something. I think that the last book is actually the one that I’m the most proud of because it had some really emotionally difficult scenes for me to write and Zara had to really put it all out there. I’m proud of her for that. That sounds terribly cryptic, but I’m trying not to give out too many spoilers. Maybe I can rephrase it a little bit… A lot of people in my life have died, and right now my mom is dying, and I have randomly found a lot of dead people and witnessed a lot of accidents. In ENDURE, Zara has some really tough and emotional scenes with people who are dead. I’m proud of her for going beyond her comfort zone there. I’m proud of her for becoming a leader and accepting responsibility in the fourth book, too.
And that is so nice of you to tell me you love the series and why! That really is kind, and I am so glad that you do.

Tell about your writing process. How long did it take you to write these books from idea to finish? Did they come easier with each book or harder? Was one the most fun or easiest to write? Please tell about revision is you can!

Hm. The first draft of each book took about a month to two months depending on what else I was working on at the time. The revisions come in intensive 1-2 week spurts. There are usually multiple revisions. I have a toughie editor who is lovely and works so hard to make the books the best they can be. In the first revision, I do it myself and look for places where there can be more mushy scenes. Then in every other revision, my editor makes me take out the mushy scenes… She is mean like that.
Usually early in the process I try to put in depth, objective correlatives, layer images, try to get to the emotional truth of the piece by finding where the awkward pauses are. Then I try to align the plot of the novel to the three-act structure. Then, my editor tells me to cut.

The first idea for the book arrived at the Common Ground Fair in 2006, I think. I am HORRIBLE about years and dates. I actually forget my own age all the time. So that number might be a bit off.

CAPTIVATE was the most fun to write, but I think ENTICE was the easiest to write because the plot line was much straighter. It’s a quest. The hardest to write was also ENTICE because my brain tends not to think in straight lines and sequential order. I tend to have thoughts that branch out like tree limbs. This is cool because it makes my brain a not-so-boring place, but bad when it comes to writing books.

One of the things I really like about this series is the start of each chapter with first the phobias and then the bit of information. How did you come up with that idea?

It began with NEED because Zara was obsessed with phobias, but she grows and moves beyond that so by the time we get to ENDURE, those blurbs at the beginnings of each chapters reflect the world around her, the bigger picture. I thought it would be cool for the blurbs to reflect Zara’s development (From self-obsessed phobia girl to someone who sees the bigger picture). It was also a lot of fun to further the story’s tension through the use of those as it does in ENDURE.

How did I come up with the idea? I think it was in the shower when I was eating strudel. I get my best ideas that way.

When you were in middle school kind of student were you? Did you write then?

In fifth grade, I was a total writer-a-holic. We had this thing called AUTHOR OF THE MONTH. Everyone would stand up in front of the class and read the story that they had been working on. There were two winners. The teacher would pick one. The class would vote on the other. I knew that I would never win the teacher one because I didn’t write the way the teacher wanted me to write (full of description, pastoral) and commas and I hated each other. So, I made sure I won every single class vote. I did this by making sure that each story would have:

1. A fight scene

2. Space aliens

3. Cute puppies

4. A musical number

5. Romance (Often between cute puppies and space aliens)

It worked.

And because it's the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? OR WHOOO do you like to read or really enjoyed in HS or middle school?

My favorite poets in the universe as of this moment are Sherman Alexie and Seamus Heaney. I am, however, totally fickle and can be persuaded to love other poets by offers of Nutella and strudel.

I admire pretty much every writer out there. I’m always thinking, “OH man…. That is SO good. Darn it! Why did I not do that? Ugh.”

In middle school, I was totally in love with Madeline L’Engle’s books. I wanted adventures like her characters had. I wanted to be kind, to be awesome, to save the world, and to have massive dogs.

The Fun Questions! (based on what 7th graders do!)
Do you chew gum? Yes or No If yes favorite kind?

I am not allowed to answer this question because my mother might see it but….


Trident. Any kind that pretends to make your teeth whiter. But I am not sure of the point of this because you don’t chew gum on the outside of your teeth.

Do you text?

So much… So, so much….

shakes head

I need to join a support group about over texting, I think.
Was school lunch just as yucky then as it is now?! 

It was so bad… so, so bad…. Think: French fries that were so hard that you could stab people with them. French bread pizzas that you could bludgeon each other with.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sharing your answers!  I too think I need a support group for texting :)  And I loved hearing about your writing process.  It always fascinates me how authors create the works that hit the bookstore shelves.  

Stay tuned.  Later today I'll be sharing my thoughts - as well as the thoughts of one of my students - on Endure.