December 31, 2014

WoW: Shutter

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Today I'm waiting on:

Shutter by Courtney Alamenda

I love creepy and this looks to be creepy!
Released: February 2

December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Goals

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

As I was explaining in an earlier post, I want to keep blogging but in order to do that I really need to simplify what I do.  

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome weekly meme, but I just can't do 10! I don't have the time.  
So I'm going to keep it simple and to the point and only share 1-2 picks for the week's current topic.

Today the topic is:
Goals for 2015: Reading, Blogging or Otherwise

I have three

Read the books on my shelves.  Yesterday I posted about a challenge I'm participating in where I'm only going to read books I own right now and not buy more books.  Eek! I can do it tho I know I can!

Blog my way on my time and not worry about views or comments or offers from publishers.  I just want to share my love of books, so I want to blog in a way that lets that come through.

Non-Blogging goal:  Writing.  I have a goal to get the story I'm working on finished.  

December 29, 2014

Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge

Show Your Shelf Some Love, No Book Buying Challenge 2015 Kickoff
Ok I don't typical do challenges because I completely and utterly fail at them.  That said, this is one I really really really need to do.  
This is a challenge to not buy books and instead read all the book sitting on my shelves and in my ereader.  

I hang my head at the thought of all the books I have sitting there but haven't read yet.  It's horrible! 
So I'm going to take this challenge.  

The Details

Hosted by: Second Run Reviews and Chapter Break (click those links to get the full details!)

What is it: No books for a year?! The goal of this challenge is simple — for one year abstain from buying books (or set a monthly book budget) — and focus on clearing physical and virtual to-be-read book shelves. This challenge begins Jan 1, 2015 and ends Dec 31, 2015.
What’s the point? To read as many books as you can that you already own, either on your physical bookshelf or on your e-reader.
My level:  51+ books: my shelves and I are going steady I chose this level because I need to read my shelves I really do.  My Goodreads goal is always 52 books (one a week), so I figure that's a good plan.  

Some people are setting exceptions.  I have three:

Gift Cards:  People tend to give me gift cards a lot to places like Barnes and Noble. So if I am given them I can spend them :)

Book Signings:  If I go to any author signings I can buy ONE book by them

Edelweiss: I'm only allowed ONE book each month from there but ONLY if I've read and reviewed the one from the previous month!

Each month you'll see my update my progress!  Wish me luck!

December 26, 2014

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly Book Blast! +GIVEAWAY

I'm excited today to be a part of the book blast for Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly.  


They're out for your soul.
And they don't have heaven in mind...

Willow knows she's different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people's dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from.

But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he's one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems; least of all good and evil.



Lee Weatherly was born in 1967 and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. She lives with her husband in Hampshire, England, where she writes, goes on walks, tries out new recipes and has a cat named Bernard.

L.A. Weatherly is the pseudonym for Lee Weatherly. You can follow her on Twitter at @LA_Weatherly

Book Trailer

6 Winners will receive a Copy of Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly.
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

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December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Dear Santa Can Bring Me

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

As I was explaining in an earlier post, I want to keep blogging but in order to do that I really need to simplify what I do.  

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome weekly meme, but I just can't do 10! I don't have the time.  
So I'm going to keep it simple and to the point and only share 1-2 picks for the week's current topic.

Today the topic is:
Books We Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Us

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

I'm trying to get back to running, so that part interests me, but I've also read some good reviews.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

I love her Jenna Fox series, so I want to read this one now. 

December 19, 2014

Author Signings

I've been to a few author events lately, so I thought I'd share some quick pictures.  

The first was for the author Nancy Farmer.  
I loved her book The House of the Scorpion, so I was really excited to see her.  She talked about her life and how different people helped her become a storyteller.  
Fascinating stories!

Nancy Farmer 

My friend and I.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  Someone took it for us!

Then I went to a middle grade author panel at Addendum Books (love them!)

I got to see:

William Alexander author of Goblin Secrets

Kelly Barnhill author of The Mostly True Story of Jack

Brian Farrey author of The Vengekeep Prophecies series

Jacqueline West author of The Books of Elsewhere series

December 18, 2014

Free Book: Rogue Wave

I was sent this book without requesting it.  
Does anyone want it?  
I haven't read the first book Deep Blue, so I know I won't read this one.  
First one to say they want it - gets it!

December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Books of 2014

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

As I was explaining in an earlier post, I want to keep blogging but in order to do that I really need to simplify what I do.  

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome weekly meme, but I just can't do 10! I don't have the time.  
So I'm going to keep it simple and to the point and only share 1-2 picks for the week's current topic.

Today the topic is:
Top Books I Read in 2014

Well last's week's Top Ten post would cover this as well.  You can find it HERE.  
But I do have a couple I could add.

Awesome book that I read because I was using it with one of my classes.  

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
I've seen mixed reviews on this one, but I really liked it because of how unique it was.

Just a cute, uplifting middle grade book.

December 15, 2014

Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

I'm going to be perfectly honest - I wasn't overly excited with how this series ended.  I really enjoyed the first two books, so I jumped right in to this one.  At first it was great. I loved how it started - very tense, very suspenseful - it grabbed me right away! But then it started to fizzle.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I think it went too much into the conspiracy angle, and to me that became very convoluted and too much.  And as it went along I lost interest in it. There were a few points were the action built up, and I was drawn back in more, but there wasn't enough of them.  But I kept reading because there were unanswered questions I had.  Sadly for me, I never felt like I got all the answers I needed or if they were answered I had a hard time buying in to the answers.  I felt almost frustrated at the end because I felt like I still didn't know what I wanted or needed to know to feel satisfied.  Sigh.  I had such high hopes because of how much I loved the first two books, so it's hard to not love this one. For those of you that have read the first two - I say read it.  I've read other reviews where they really enjoyed this book, so maybe it was just me!

December 13, 2014

Are You Tired of the Changes Yet????

Ok I promise I'm done!!!!!! 
I loved the Bare Bones Reading idea.  I really really really did.  BUT I realized how much my blog is known for it's owls and to remove that I really remove part of what this blog is.  

So I did some searching and found this really cute template at Blogaholic Designs.  
(boy do they have some cute pre-made designs) 
I loved the colors.  I loved that it wasn't owls, but yet I could use all the owl graphics I had created.  
I just plain loved it.  
So I bought it, installed it and felt happy.  

I promise you I am done.  
This is The O.W.L. 
It will always be The O.W.L.
Thanks for sticking with me!

December 11, 2014

Cool Book in the Mail

A few weeks back our doorbell rang and it was the FedEx guy.  He's a pretty regular visitor to my front door :)
My husband answered it and came back with a box.  I opened it and found a great surprise package!

It was a copy of Mike Lupica's new book The Only Game as well as a gym bag!

I love Mike Lupica because my boy students love Mike Lupica!

If you are looking for some books for middle school boys I suggest you check out his books!

December 10, 2014


My daughter is helping me with some inspiration for a piece of writing. She did this in like 5 minutes. She amazes me.

December 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

As I was explaining in an earlier post, I want to keep blogging but in order to do that I really need to simplify what I do.  

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome weekly meme, but I just can't do 10! I don't have the time.  
So I'm going to keep it simple and to the point and only share 1-2 picks for the week's current topic.

Today the topic is:
New to Me Authors in 2014

I have two:

Mary Amato author of Guitar Notes


Stephanie Kuhn author of Charm & Strange.  

I really really loved the books I read by these two authors.  Well done, and I can't wait to read more!

December 6, 2014

Several Months of Book Hauls!

Stacking the Shelves was started by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.

This is a fun meme were people share the books they got this week. I won't participate too often mainly because without teaching I don't buy many books on a weekly basis anymore! So once in awhile I'll share some of the books I've gotten.

So I haven't done a book haul in a looooooooooong time, so I thought I'd share some of the new books I've gotten.  

And I'm really feeling like the first 6 months of 2015 I need to not buy any more books! Who is with me??!!?? 
Wanna make a pinky swear together? :) 

Birthday Purchases
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang (heard awesome things about it)
Winterkill by Kate A Boorman (bought on a whim because it reminded me of the movie The Village!)

Thank you Penguin! Got these in the mail.
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Atlantia by Ally Condie
I'll Give You the Sun by Jenny Nelson

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 
Some Thing Real by Heather Demetrios

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (finally!!!!)
Endgame by James Frey (again a whim purchase!)

Bought and Won
Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (sounded good)
Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner (won!)
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (because I loved another book by her)
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins (because I LOVE Rachel Hawkins)

 Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (I love his work!)

Two Audio Books I Won:
The Young World by Chris Weitz (my daughter bought the book because she thought it sounded good when she saw my audio book)
Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson

December 2, 2014

New Look - Temporary

So I'm trying out this new look and new title just temporarily.  I like this look, but I do think it's a bit dark.  I had bought it for another blog I was going to do at one point, so I just thought I'd mess with it.  
I'm looking for someone to make me a new template using some really softer colored skulls. (see below), but I don't want to spend a lot of money!

The skulls from an Etsy seller I'm interested in.

You can find them HERE.

November 28, 2014

Current Read: Get Happy

I read the book Guitar Notes by the same author and loved it. I couldn't believe it when a signed copy of this book showed up in the mail!!! No clue why! Enjoying it so far.

First Line: It starts with the gift.

November 16, 2014

New Books

Today my husband and I were it and about and he asked if I would mind going to Half-Price Books. I laughed.

Our trip was good to me. I really like Just One Day, so I was very excited to find Just One Year.

November 15, 2014

So I'm In a Dilemma.......

I'm trying to decide what to do.  I'm trying to decide if I want to keep blogging or not.  I'm trying to be ok with blogging my way - when I want, how I want - not feel like I to need to write long posts daily - or keep up with the blog next door. I really want to keep blogging because I love sharing my love for books! But I find myself getting caught up in world of comparison. That blog does that - I should too.  That blog posts that - I should too.  That blog has tours and interviews and lots of memes - I should too.  That's my deal, and I need to let that go and blog for what I want without paying attention to number of followers or replies or giveaway entries.  I'm much better at doing that, but I need to do it more.  

Now the other dilemma is my blog "theme".  I loved the owls when I first started, but I'm not feeling it so much any more.  My every day life is filled with owls because of this blog, and they are cute and adorable and I love them, but I'm feeling like it's time to move on from them.  I've been toying with changing the theme.  BUT of course I'm worried that I'm known as The O.W.L. and what will do that do to my branding.  And then I wonder - do I really care???????

What I'd love to change to - Bare Bones Reading.  Why?  That's what I want my blog to be.  Just the bare bones of reading and sharing it.  Nothing fancy - nothing more.  And I'd love the theme to be skeletons and skulls.  I actually love skull patterns (kinda not the owl look is it!??!).  I have shoes with skulls, a backpack etc.  I really do love them!

So my dilemma - do I just in and make a change and with it change the way I blog???????????????? 
I'm going to decide on way or the other by the end of 2014 and this time stick with it!

November 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: What Waits in the Woods

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Today I'm waiting on:

Release Date: March 31, 2015

Why: I LOVE this genre of book. Sounds fantastic and scary and suspenseful. 

An unputdownable thriller with twists and turns the reader won't see coming, from YA talent Kieran Scott. 

It's a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie's new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail. The four friends are embarking on a camping trip -- a trip that immediately goes awry. They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives. And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances.

November 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: When Reason Breaks

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Today I'm waiting on:

When Reason Breaks by  
Release: February 15, 2015
Why:  Because it deals with some issues many teens face.

13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy. 

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

November 3, 2014

Review: Star Wars Poster-a-Page Book

Star Wars Poster-A-Page

Star Wars is an ever deepening, timeless, mythological tale of good versus evil, set in a galaxy far, far away. Filled with noble Jedi Knights, fearsome creatures, and cruel villains, the epic space fantasy introduced "the Force" into the global vocabulary, along with characters such as evil Darth Vader, wise old Yoda, idealistic Luke Skywalker, and lovable Chewbacca. The epic Star Wars saga continues to grow and expand, captivating new generations with its exotic worlds, iconic themes and unforgettable stories.

A new era in the rich history of Star Wars is about to begin with the announcement of a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, starting in 2015, and the announcement of a series of Star Wars spin-off movies, over the coming years
  • Enjoy more than a hundred glossy, full-color images from Star Wars movies .
  • Comprehensive look back at all six movies
  • Collect nine full-size, pull-out posters.
Poster-A-Page delivers children's most popular characters, stories, and memorable moments to them in a unique visual format. With every page a poster, plus 9 supersize fold-out posters inside, this series offers kids ages 4-12 the opportunity to bring their favorite friends and stories into their homes, onto their walls, and become part of their world.

A few weeks back I reviewed the Marvel Avengers version of this book. You can see it HERE.  So when I was offered the Star Wars version I jumped at it! I have a HUGE HUGE HUGE Star Wars fan in my house.  My 13 year old son has all the movies and has watched them so many times he knows minute details about them. Plus he has started reading some of the books.  I knew he would be the perfect audience to review this poster book.

He LOVED it.  He thinks the posters are great and loves that all the movies are in it.  He made sure to find the the book the small poster for every movie so he could get them all hung on his wall.  

Inside page.  Very think paper!

Here are some pictures of some of the posters from the book up on his wall

There are a few more posters left in the book and I believe they'll see the wall soon!

Now his little brother who is 7 was all over the book too! 
Of course he looks up to his big brother, so he wanted to hang posters up too.  One night before bed he went through the whole book and marked the posters he wanted.  Now he has a Star Wars display too.

Here's a pic from his room.

And these are some that will be hung up soon!

These book are great.  If you have a kid who loves a certain fandom, look for these books. You get a lot of great quality posters for a great price.  I know how much individual posters can be!  These books are worth the price.  

October 30, 2014

Blog Tour for THE WALLED CITY - Review +GIVEAWAY

Very excited today to part of the blog tour for 
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin!

About the Book

Author: Ryan Graudin
Pub. Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 448
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run. 

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

About Ryan:
Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at

Her work is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

When I read the blurb for this book I was pretty interested.  It sounded different from books I'd been reading recently, and the concept just sounded unique.  What I found was a fast-paced, at time heart pounding story.

First the story is told by three different main characters.  There is Dai who is full of mystery and ironclad determination.  He is a boy that knows what he has to do and sets out to do it without letting anything get in his way.  I completely admired that about him!  He is also surrounded by a cloud of mystery.  You know he's not like all the other kids in the walled city, but you don't know completely how he came to be there and why.  As the story progresses more and more of his background is shown.  I grew to really like him as a character and wanted him to succeed in this plan he pulls Jin and Mei Yee into.  

Then there is Jin.  I was blown away by her! Here is a young girl in the heart of a very cruel world.  This is a place that will chew you up and spit you out without a second thought! She is pretending to be a boy just to survive - if found out she could end in a very bad situation.  I loved her tenacity.  I wish I had half her fight!  There were times though that I wanted to shake her because of some of the choices she was making. I understood those choices and that she made them out a place of desperation - but man were they hard to watch her live with!  I loved how she ended up at the end of the book.  By the end I had a really soft spot for her.

Now Mei Yee - this girl was amazing.  Jin and Dai both had to learn how to survive on the streets of the walled city, but she had to learn how to survive in a completely different way.  Many girls around her didn't survive it at all, but Mei Yee's ability to figure out what to do to keep herself safe and whole was made me really like her.  I loved that she became part of the fight instead of turning into the one that had to rescued.  She wasn't the helpless girl locked in the tower needing saving.  She helped save them all.  

The plot is almost non-stop action, and when it's not action it's breathless tense scenes where one small move could blow everything.  I felt completely worn out by the time I finished it!

Over-all it was a great book.  The characters were so compelling that I couldn't help but like them and want to see what happened, and the plot pulled me along at such a force I couldn't stop!

One last note - the city in The Walled City is based on a real place in Hong Kong.  I had to stop part of the way into the book and read about.  It was absolutely fascinating.  That only added to how much I liked the book.  

Tour Schedule
 Week One:
10/27/2014- Novel Novice- Interview
10/28/2014- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
10/29/2014- Reading YA RocksGuest Post
10/30/2014- The O.W.L.Review
10/31/2014- ParajunkeeInterview

Week Two:
11/3/2014- Xpresso ReadsGuest Post
11/4/2014- Reading with ABCReview
11/5/2014- Bibliolatry MeInterview
11/6/2014- Once Upon a TwilightReview
11/7/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

Giveaway Details:
(1) Grand prize pack: It includes: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY, rice candy, a miniature lucky cat, a traditional Chinese paper cutout of a dragon, and a pamphlet from the real Walled City Park! US ONLY
(9) winners will receive: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY. US ONLY.

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