February 29, 2016

SnapShot Reading: Maybe a Fox

To keep blogging simple I like to just share a picture of what book I'm currently reading.


Today's snapshot is:



Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

I'll be reviewing this soon AND hosting the authors.  

February 24, 2016

WoW: Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier

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


Today I'm Waiting On:

Release Date April 5, 2016


It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Quire.



Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she works as a bookmender and dreams of leaving the confines of her city walls. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up searching for a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.



Why?

I had many kids that read and enjoyed Peter Nimble, so I'm happy to see there is more to the story to tell! 



February 23, 2016

Book Review: Mouse Scouts by Sarah Dillard

Title: Mouse Scouts
Author: Sarah Dillard

Meet Violet, Tigerlily, Hyacinth, Petunia, Junebug, and Cricket, six new Mouse Scouts who are trustworthy and strong, thrifty and brave . . . and destined to be friends to the end! Best friends Violet and Tigerlily can’t wait to start earning their merit badges. But their troop leader, Miss Poppy, is one strict rodent. And earning their first badge—planting a vegetable garden—is hard work. Will the troop drive unwanted pests from the garden and earn their Sow It and Grow It badge? And will they ever get Miss Poppy to smile?

The first thing I said when I open the package with these books in it was “These are so cute!”.  Just the cover and coloring was adorable.  Yes they were “girly” colors but they weren’t flashy shiny pink.  They have such soft pretty colors! Actually they almost look retro with the coloring, lettering and illustrations.

Ok now about what was after the cover! This was just a fun little story with a nice message.  The girls have to work hard, and work together to get their garden to grow and to solve problems that crop (see what I did there!) up like bugs and lack of water.  It was nicely done with ideas coming in different ways.  The girls didn’t always see eye-to-eye on what to do, but in the end they worked it out.

I really kinda liked that Miss Poppy was stern and almost crabby.  I know it’s weird to like that, but I was glad it didn’t fall into the pattern of the overly sweet troop leader that teaches them everything.  Instead, because of how Miss Poppy is, the girls step up and figure things out themselves.  Much better!

Final thought:  Cute series that will appeal to young girl readers – especially those in Daisy Scouts!

February 18, 2016

Book Review: Dumpin' by Julie Murphy

Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.


Simple Version: I absolutely adored this book and Willowdean

Long Version:
I’m a very character driven reader.  I have to like a character either because they’re just that awesome or just that bad.  If I don’t like or care about the character I really don’t care what happens to them.  I don’t care if they character changes and grows – I can’t get over my initial dislike.  Well Willowdean is a character I loved from page one.  I loved how, at the start, she was very self-confident.  She works at this hotdog shop and kids from work come in all the time.  This makes her uncomfortable but she doesn’t let it take over.  I loved that.  Yes kids make fun of her or weren’t always nice but that didn’t seem to shut her down.  That just really made me like her! But – here’s the deal I loved even more that her world was rattled and she began to question what she always thought about herself.  That just made her all the more real and likable.  She began to really question if her confidence – her acceptance of herself was just an act it she really stumbles for a while.  I loved watching how she worked through this.

I also like that although the beauty pageant is a big part of Willow’s life and the book it isn’t the only focus.  There are actually parts of the book where the pageant is a side-note.  I really thought it was going to be the main focus of a huge chunk of the book, and it wasn’t.  I preferred it that was because it added more depth to all the characters from Willow to the other girls she becomes friends with.  I got to know them for who they are before the pageant really started. 

The ending, although realistic, did frustrate me just a bit only because I wanted the nice neat bow around all the frustrations Willow was having.  I wanted everything 100% wrapped up, but that doesn’t happen.  You see where things are headed, but they aren’t there yet.  That was realistic.  These were things, like her relationship with her mother, that have been set for many years, so they aren’t going to change overnight (although one scene with her mom goes through the night and it does change things!).  I like that the author kept it realistic but a small part of my heart wanted the perfect happily ever after. 

Quick thought: I loved Bo too! Nice, sweet, frustrating, honest boy.  Well done!

Final thought:  I wish Willowdean was my friend, and I miss her now that the book is over. 



February 16, 2016

Spotlight: The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan

One of my biggest pleasures in life if finding books and sharing them! 

And to me blogging isn't just about reviewing books, it's also about introducing you to books you may not know - even if I haven't even read them yet! 
They look so good I just need to shine the spotlight on them!

Today I'm spotlighting:



Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.

But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill's fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They're going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

Laura Shovan's engaging novel is a time capsule of one class's poems during a transformative school year. The students grow up and move on in this big-hearted debut about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.

This is one of those books that I wish I had thought of writing just because I can see the strength in it!

And I absolutely love the idea that it is in verse.  

If I ever teach 5th grade I will use this book for sure!!!!!


February 15, 2016

Pre-Order Giveaway: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter


New books are amazing. New books that come with free gifts are even better!
Debut Young Adult author Kerry Kletter is giving you just that!

Pre-order THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED on or before March 14th, 2016 and you’ll get a signed poster and bookmark! Supplies are limited to 50 sets, and ship ONLY in the US.


Getting your free poster and bookmark is as easy as 1..2..3..4..

1. Go to whatever book seller you like and pre-order THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED (links below in case you need them!)
2. Screen shot your reciept!
3. E-mail that reciept to meandmyshelf(at)gmail(dot)com  ATTN: TFTSD Pre-Order
4. Fill out THIS FORM so Kerry knows where to send your goodies!



Synopsis:
Cassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, she enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But as she struggles to find her way forward, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie's childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is the truth? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself,  The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

Book links:

PRAISE:
Blurbs: "Beautiful and passionate . . . [Kletter is] a writer of great distinction and infinite promise." —Pat Conroy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad

"A lovely and haunting keep-you-up-all-night heart-wrencher that is both beautiful and raw, painful and uplifting. An incredible read." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

"Sentence by sentence . . . one of the most lyrical novels I’ve ever read. Haunting and exquisite." —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

"The First Time She Drowned is an exquisite and masterful dive, a brave exploration into the complexities of family, and the saving grace of friendship. Kletter’s writing is hypnotic, her characters alive, her story tragic, beautiful, hopeful. Simply put, this book is stunning." —David Arnold, critically acclaimed author of Mosquitoland


AUTHOR BIO:
Kerry Kletter has had a lifelong passion for story. She holds a degree in literature and has an extensive background in theater, having appeared in film, television, and onstage. When not writing, Kerry can be found surfing, running, working with animals, or singing loudly in her car while stuck in LA traffic. A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Kerry now lives in Santa Monica, California, with her partner, screenwriter David Zorn. The First Time She Drowned is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @kkletter.


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

February 11, 2016

Book Review: Bone Vol. 7: Ghost Circles

Title: Bone: Ghost Circles
Author: Jeff Smith

A long-dormant volcano explodes, blacking out the sun, mowing down trees, and filling the land with soot and ash. The Lord of the Locusts is released with the eruption. Against this apocolyptic backdrop, the Bone cousins along with Thorn and Gran'ma Ben struggle to reach safe haven in the city of Atheia. Meanwhile, Lucius Downs lies severely wounded and trapped with the villagers in the camp at Old Man's Cave. 

For the class I'm taking in my school media specialists license I have to read a bunch of YA books (oh darn!).  One genre we had to read from was graphic novels.  I picked a Bone book because I've seen them around forever but never read one!

Did I like it?  Yes it was good.  I wasn't blown away or anything, but I seldom am when it comes to graphic novels.  I struggle with graphic novels because I want to just read.  I don't want to have to interpret things from the pictures to help tell that story! That's too much work! I could see why kids would like this series.  It had some good humor between the characters that made me chuckle a few times.  Plus it had good action that helped pull the story along.  That action would hook in the reluctant readers or the readers that just like a book that moves.  

It was clear that this was the 7th book in a long series.  I should've started with book #1, but I got it from the library, so I just went with the one they had in.  I do like that it's part of a long series, because then it keeps kids reading since they can just go on to the next book.  

Final Thought: Over-all it gave me a good idea what the series is like and about.  If I was into reading graphic novels I would definitely keep on with the series, but because I'm not I won't read any more.  BUT it is one I would for sure recommend to my students.  

February 10, 2016

WoW: Summerlost by Ally Condi

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


Today I'm Waiting On:


Release Date: March 29, 2016

It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar. 

Why?
As I said before I'm a firm believer that middle grade books (or all books) should reflect to people their lives.  You should be able to see yourself in the books you read - see your life.  I think this is a prime example of a book that some kids need to see and read because it reflects their lives.  And if it doesn't - it might reflect the lives of someone they know, so it will give them an understanding of that.  

February 9, 2016

Release Day Celebration: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard +GIVEAWAY

GLASS SWORD (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

ABOUT THE BOOK
GLASS SWORD
Red Queen #2
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Pages: 448

Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS:
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?



BOOK LINKS


Can I just share here - my son is reading the first book - The Red Queen - for a lit circle in English (yes I was surprised he agreed to read it!), and he's enjoying it.  He told me I had to get the ebook, so I could read along with him.  I did, and I am.  And I'm really liking it too!!!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Victoria Aveyard is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Queen. Victoria was born and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a small town known only for the worst traffic rotary in the continental United States. She moved to Los Angeles to earn a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She currently splits her time between the East and West coasts. As an author and screenwriter, she uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies. She has sold several television pilots and feature-length screenplays. You can visit her online at www.victoriaaveyard.comor on Twitter at @VictoriaAveyard.





GIVEAWAY

One winner will get a RED QUEEN Prize pack from HarperTeen, which includes:
- 1 Physical Copy of CRUEL CROWN (0.1 & 0.2 Red Queen)

- 1 Red Queen foam sword that reads “Kneel or Bleed”
- 1 Scarlet Guard scarf

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US only | 
See Terms & Conditions for full contest rules before entering some restrictions apply


February 8, 2016

Cover Crush: Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne


This cover just pulls me in!!! I wasn't thrilled with the hardcover version, so when they changed it to this one I LOVED it.  It seems to tell me a bit more about what the book is about or at least more the feel of the book.  

Questions I have when looking at it:
Is that blood?
Why is it blood?
Why the stuff on her lips?
Why does it seem as if she's surprised or shocked?
What does that tag mean??????
What is going on????

February 7, 2016

Books and a Cuppa Swap Reveal!

I participated in the Books and a Cuppa Swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps.
I've done several swaps through them and have loved them all!

For this swap you sent and received a book off your wishlist and a cup! 
I'm a huge coffee drinker so this swap was perfect for me.

My swap partner was Maggie from The Novel Orange.  

Here's what she sent:

First this is how it arrived.  Super fun!

When opened.
The coffee is called Kicking Horse coffee.  It's really good!!!

And a copy of Everything Everything!!!!! I've wanted this book.
Of course the amazing owl coffee cup.  Love this one.  In the inside it says "Don't forget to stay awesome".

Lastly a super cute bookmark - and do you see how it matches the book and the coffee cup?? 

Thank you Maggie and the Chaotic Goddess hosts!


February 5, 2016

In the Spotlight: Secret Series


One of my biggest pleasures in life if finding books and sharing them! 

And to me blogging isn't just about reviewing books, it's also about introducing you to books you may not know - even if I haven't even read them yet! 
They look so good I just need to shine the spotlight on them!

Today I'm spotlighting:

Secrets
It's a 7 book series written by 7 different authors. 

In early June 1964, the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls burns to the ground, and its vulnerable residents are thrust out into the world. The orphans, who know no other home, find their lives changed in an instant. Arrangements are made for the youngest residents, but the seven oldest girls are sent on their way with little more than a clue or two to their heritage and the hope of learning about the families they have never known. On their own for the first time in their lives, they are about to experience the world in ways they never imagined…






Here's the trailer for it:



This whole series intrigues me!
Has anyone read any of these??? Have you seen reviews???
I haven't seen much about them.  

Here's a link to the website about the series:

February 3, 2016

WoW: Dark Energy by Robinson Wells

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


Today I'm Waiting On:


Release Date: March 29, 2016

WE ARE NOT ALONE

Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest, killing thousands of people. Since then, nothing–or no one–has come out.

THEY HAVE ARRIVED

If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching all of this on the news from Miami, Florida. Instead, she’s the newest student at a boarding school not far from the crash site–because her dad is the director of special projects for NASA, and if anything’s a special project, it’s this.

AND THERE’S NO GOING BACK

A shell-shocked country is waiting, glued to televisions and computer screens, for a sign of what the future holds. But when the aliens emerge, they’re nothing like what Alice expected. And only one thing is clear: Nothing will ever be the same again.

Why?
Um, UFOs - need I say more?? Ok, so it also reminds me of The 5th Wave, so I like that.  And honestly I don't jump on every alien book, so the fact this one really does appeal to me says a lot! 

February 2, 2016

Review - Via My Son: Stinky Cecil: Terrarium Terror by Paige Braddock

Title: Stinky Cecil
Author: Paige Braddock

Stinky Cecil is back in a hilarious new adventure!

Cecil and his amphibian pals are taking a well-deserved break after saving their pond from freeway construction when a third-grade science class shows up for a field trip. The kids nab Cecil for their classroom terrarium!

At first Cecil is terrified, but he quickly gets used to being a class pet. That is, until Nesbit the chameleon shows up. Nesbit wants to be just like Cecil, so he matches his colors and follows him all around the terrarium. He’s driving Cecil crazy!

Meanwhile, Cecil’s pals back at the pond are planning a rescue mission using Jeff the hamster’s radio controlled helicopter. But what will they do about Nesbit?

Join the whole pond gang for this second delightful environmental romp.


This review is based completely on my 8 year old's reaction with the book.  A while back I reviewed the first book in this series (see it HERE).  When I got that book for review, I showed it to my son.  He was interested, but didn't take it right away.  But what I noticed was that slowly it kept disappearing and ending up in his room.  He liked it but didn't want me to know.  

Now this one shows up.  I have it sitting out, and he noticed it.  

Here's what went down:

Son looking at the book trying not to look interested, "Mom, what's that?" Pointing shyly at it.

Me looking around to see what he means and spotting the book, inside I start to giggle because I know he's interested but doesn't want to say, "Oh that's a book I got for review."

He's silent for a minute just kinda staring at it. 

"Do you want to look at it?"

He nods, takes it.  Walks off.  It hasn't left his side since then. 

Seriously it hasn't! He loved it!!! He's read it several times, and he keeps showing me the picture of a worm (or is it a snake) with glasses on and giggles.  What makes me excited about this is that I've been arguing with him lately to read something beyond Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  So to see him get pulled into this one makes me very happy!!! 

In full disclosure I haven't read this book, but I'm guessing it's a lot like the first one.  And I really don't feel I need to read it this time in order to review it because the reaction of my son speaks volumes for me!

February 1, 2016

Stacking the Shelves for January

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

I've decided to do Stacking the Shelves only once a month.  So this is the round up of what arrived at my house this month.

First this is my dog checking out a stack I got one (yes one) day! 
It was a day I happen to be sick, so it was spirit-lifter.

Top row won and bottom row for review.
I Know How the Story Ends by J.B. Cheaney
The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

For Review:
Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

Won
Ravenous by Marcykate Connelly 

For Review
The Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey


Bought
Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin

Won (and sorry I took a picture of Ravenous twice!)
The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin


And then my book subscription boxes!

Owlcrate

Uppercase

Book Riot

Book(ish) Box

Ok that's all :)
Get anything fun this month???