August 30, 2018

Book Review: This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis



Title: This Darkness Mine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Copy Obtained: Bought

About the Book From Goodreads
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.


Short Version: Holy cow what a ride! 



Ok so I LOVE unreliable narrators - I ones that might be.  I love stories that I don't know what I can or cannot trust.  Like those are some of my favorite kind of books.  And this one fits the bill completely.  I never knew if I could trust Sasha.  Like never! I'd think I could but then something would happen and I would question it.  I mean knew parts of it were true - like the fact she was a twin and that twin absorbed.  But after that - no clue! 

So many times too, this book had me saying "Wait what? Did I read that right??".  It took a turn about halfway through that completely through me.  But it worked.  I liked it because it through the story in a whole direction I wasn't expecting.  When a book can throw me off like that it's great! 

I do have to comment on Sasha and whether I liked her or not.  I fluctuated all the way through the book.  Sometimes I really really felt for her, but other times I was like "Girl calm down". She was just all over the place! 

Ok I know this is kinda vague review, but there is so much I'm afraid to give away, so I'm just going to leave it at that.  

Best stick-with-you image: Knife and tree.  WOW!
Best for readers who: Reread my first paragraph under LONG VERSION. 

Library Thoughts: As much as I loved this I won't put it in my middle school library.  I have 5-8th grade.  This book is young adult for sure, so it's not a right fit for my library.  

August 29, 2018

Book Trailer Blast: Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes +GIVEAWAY and PRE-ORDER Incentive!

Do you like suspense? Do you like to be kept guessing?  Check out the trailer for HIDDEN PIECES!



Doesn't it look fantastic!!???!!


SYNOPSIS

Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.



Praise for HIDDEN PIECES

“Stokes makes the landscape an integral part of the story. Characters, even minor ones, are well developed, as are the subplots. With overtones of Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973), this has the OMG quality that makes you afraid to wonder what will happen next.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“A character-driven mystery perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.” ―School Library Journal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM PAULA STOKES


Pre-Oder Incentive

Everyone who orders a new hardcover or e-book of Hidden Pieces, from any store or website, by Aug 31st, 2018, is eligible to receive 2 signed bookmarks, a signed bookplate, a magnet, and 2 stickers. 

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

1 Winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon, B&N, Etsy, or Society6.
1 Winner will receive a Choice of any Paula Stokes YA Novel.
3 Winners will receive a Hidden Pieces Swag Pack.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about the blast check out the tour link:

August 28, 2018

Book Blast: The Missing by Dan Poblocki +GIVEAWAY

Super excited to be a part of the book blast for 

Shadow House: The Missing by Dan Poblocki!

For any of you that know me, you know I love spooky books, so this series falls right into that.  I have so many students that get reading because of these books!

To find out more about the tour check out the link: 

SYNOPSIS

Shadow House never sleeps . . . Five children have been lured into Shadow House, all for different reasons. None of them knows the others. And none of them knows what do to when they can’t find a way back out.

But something is different inside the house. Someone – or something – there knows a little bit more than they should. Only how are the kids supposed to decide if that someone is trying to help them . . . or trap them there forever?

Enter Shadow House . . . if you dare. Don’t just read about Shadow House—step inside with the free SHADOW HOUSE app. Each image in the book reveals a haunting in the app, where the choices you make determine your fate. For tablet or phone: scholastic.com/shadowhouse.


Praise for THE GATHERING (SHADOW HOUSE, BOOK 1)

"Shadow House has everything I love -- strange characters, magic and the supernatural, endless danger and adventure -- and a mystery I dare any reader to try to solve." ―R.L. Stine, author of Goosebumps

"Poblocki's meticulously crafted narrative is chilling . . . A thrill for any reader who knows the only thing more frightening than an unopened door is being locked behind one." ―Kirkus Reviews



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Poblocki is an American author of mystery and horror novels for young people. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island. During his pre-teen years, his family moved to Basking Ridge, New Jersey. His books have been translated into French, Greek, and Polish. Dan currently lives in Kingston, NY with two scaredy cats.

Dan graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in theater. Subsequently, he toured the United States playing ultra-challenging roles such as Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Shoemaker in The Shoemaker and the Elves to packed houses filled with literally thousands of screaming children. (He hopes they weren’t screaming in fear.)

Dan ended his promising acting career to focus on other endeavors. While exploring various artistic options, he held a number of jobs in New York City including: a floral groomer, an audience-wrangler for a popular game show, a computer analyst, a chemotherapy-unit assistant, and a traveling bathing suit sales-dude.

That’s right. A traveling bathing suit sales-dude.

Dan now writes full time. He's probably working on something new this very minute! .

PHOTO CREDIT: NIC DESTEFANO   

TWITTER: @DanPoblocki

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

3 Winners will receive a Copy of THE MISSING (Shadow House #4) by Dan Poblocki. 
1 Winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon/PayPal Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 24, 2018

Blog Tour: A Room Away From Wolves Review +GIVEAWAY

Excited to be a part of the blog tour for A Room Away From Wolves blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club!

TOUR SCHEDULE


ABOUT THE BOOK


A Room Away From the Wolves
by Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery

Synopsis:

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.

Find Nova online at novaren.com and on her blog distraction99.com.


Two sentence review: Who do you believe?  What do you believe? Mystery and ghosts all mixed together. 
Best for readers who: Are ok with being kept in the dark some - not having the whole picture. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: The opening scene - grabbed me right away.
Library Thoughts: If I had a high school library I'd consider it, but it's really not for middle-grade students. 

This is a story that captures your attention from the beginning and doesn't let go.  I've loved previous books from Nova Ren Suma, so I was super excited to jump into this one.  I wasn't disappointed.  As usual, I questioned what was happening.  Did a trust what I was being told?  Could I believe it?  It wasn't until the end that I felt like I had all the answers - well at least enough to be satisfied.

I liked the character of Bina - well mostly.  At first, she was really hard to like!  When you first meet her, her mother is sending her away for issues with her step-sisters.  I wanted to believe that it was all their fault - that they were mean to Bina, but there were hints that I shouldn't completely believe that.  BUT as the story went along, she really grew on me!  I found her strong, smart and willing to act.  She drove the story and at times it was a bumpy ride. 

I love ghost stories and mysteries, and this book had some of both.  And in typical Nova Ren Suma style that mystery is created by a writing style that is both detailed and shaded.  I had to get used to it again, but once I did I fell into the world and got swept away with Bina.


GIVEAWAY
Prize: 1 copy of A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES by Nova Ren Suma
US Only

Starts: 8/20
Ends: 9/5

August 21, 2018

Cover Crush: Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling

I love book covers! I love walking around bookstores 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:

Image from Goodreads

About the Book from Goodreads:

Alyce's mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch's mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she's been sealed off from -- a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she'll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother's past.
But as her journey continues, another war rages: a hidden war of the supernatural, of the living and the dead. Good and evil are blurred, and nobody's motives can be trusted. And Alyce finds herself thrown unwillingly into the conflict. Struggling to understand her own powers, she is quickly drawn into a web of secret, lies, and dark magic that could change the fate of the world she is just coming to know.

Why I'm crushin':
The colors used are just amazing! I love the coral-type color with the grays.  Just so pretty.  I also love how the bird flows into the full image and how the crown is a part of it.  And did you notice the sun and the moon in the lower corners??? Great detail! On top of all of that, I think the description sounds great too!  

August 20, 2018

Book Review: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth by Sheila O'Connor

Title: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth
Author: Sheila O'Connor
Copy Obtained: From publisher for an honest review



Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, one young girl is determined to save her brother from the draft--and gets help from an unlikely source--in this middle-grade tale, perfect for fans of The Wednesday Wars 

When eleven-year-old Reenie Kelly's mother passes away, she and her brothers are shipped off to live with their grandmother. Adjusting to life in her parents' Midwestern hometown isn't easy, but once Reenie takes up a paper route with her older brother Dare, she has something she can look forward to. As they introduce themselves to every home on their route, Reenie's stumped by just one--the house belonging to Mr. Marsworth, the town recluse. When he doesn't answer his doorbell, Reenie begins to leave him letters. Slowly, the two become pen pals, striking up the most unlikely of friendships.

Through their letters, Reenie tells of her older brother Billy, who might enlist to fight in the Vietnam War. Reenie is desperate to stop him, and when Mr. Marsworth hears this, he knows he can't stand idly by. As a staunch pacifist, Mr. Marsworth offers to help Reenie. Together, they concoct a plan to keep Billy home, though Reenie doesn't know Mr. Marsworth's dedication to her cause goes far beyond his antiwar beliefs.

In this heartwarming piece of historical fiction, critically acclaimed author Sheila O'Connor delivers a tale of devotion, sacrifice, and family.



One sentence review: It took me a bit to get into it, but once I did I had to know what happened to Reenie, her family, and Mr. Marsworth. 
Best for readers who: Like historical fiction.  Also a good book for a child who has lost a parent or someone close to them. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: Any run-in Reenie has with Rat and Culter (two boys that bully her). 
Library Thoughts: I would get this for the library mainly because there are not that many books like it.  Yes, we have ones about that time period and the Vietnam War, but nothing like this.  Nothing from this viewpoint.  



I'm going to be honest.  Like I said above, it took me a bit to get into this book.  I'd read a bit and put it down for a while, and then pick it up again.  But slowly I wanted to know more and more.  I wanted to find out what was happening with Reenie and her family.  I really really wanted to know if Billy would end up going to college or not - or if he'd be drafted.  And I so wanted to learn more about Mr. Marsworth.  What was his full story?  How did he know Reenie's mom? Really I just started caring about them all.  I didn't want to them to be hated because of their view of the war, and I didn't want to see them bullied or picked on.  Although I got it - I got that during this time period what was shown was very realistic.  And I think that would be good for kids now to see and understand.  So much about our viewpoint of war and fighting since Vietnam, that I think it's important for kids to see how it once was.  

But that's not the only reason I think kids should read this book.  I love how it just shows a friendship between a kid and an adult.  You don't see that has often.  It's a positive example.  And what I like is that Reenie doesn't really change who or how she is with Mr. Marsworth.  I mean she does a little, but not too much.  She's just fully who she is and Mr. Marsworth, while trying to calm her down, does accept her for it.  And he supports her.  He listens and takes her seriously.  Love that! 

Do I think kids will like this book?  I do, but I fully admit it's not for every kid.  Some will really struggle with it fully told in letters.  Some will find it too slow.  But I know there is a chunk of kids I would recommend it to that will understand, learn from and enjoy it.  I will also be recommending it to the English teachers in my building for possible use as a class novel. 







August 17, 2018

I Now Know My Weekend Plans! Down a Dark Hall is out!!! #downadarkhall

I LOVE Lois Duncan's Books.  I have since I was in middle school!  

My favorite book of her's:


Down a Dark Hall! 

LOVE IT!


I did a search for all my posts mentioning Lois Duncan.  You can see them HERE.  
And more specifically HERE is my review of Down a Dark Hall.

So a few months ago I found out they had made a movie of this book.  I was soooooooo excited.  Yes, yes I know - they've changed it from the book, but I can handle that.  I go into every movie from a book knowing it will be different.  In my opinion, it looks like they did a good job though. 

So this weekend I will be getting it from Amazon Prime and settling in to enjoy! 

Here is the poster for the movie:


A clip from the movie:


And the trailer:


A bit about the movie

DOWN A DARK HALL
In Theaters, On Demand, and On iTunes Today!

Kit (AnnaSophia Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Uma Thurman) and meets the school's only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

Based on the classic gothic YA novel of the same name by Lois Duncan - author of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" - and produced by Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight, The Host), DOWN A DARK HALL is a supernatural thriller directed by Rodrigo Cortés (Buried), from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling, and stars AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer, The Carrie Diaries), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Victoria Moroles (Teen Wolf), Noah Silver (The Tribes of Palos Verdes), Taylor Russell (TV's Falling Skies), Rosie Day (Outlander), and features a truly memorable turn by the iconic Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vols. I & II).

Summit Entertainment presents, a Temple Hill / Fickle Fish / Nostromo Pictures production.

Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, and Uma Thurman
Directed by: Rodrigo Cortés
Produced by: Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Meghan Hibbett, Adrián Guerra
Written by: Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling
Genre: Horror

August 16, 2018

Book Review: The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn


Title: The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Copy Obtained: From publisher



About the Book from Goodreads
A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules's parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can't stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?

Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover—and change—the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago.

Two sentence review: Great new addition to Downing Hahn's collection of scary stories for the tween set.  It has a bit of a twist on the traditional ghost story, so that was cool. 
Best for readers who: Like a bit of a scare and have read all her other books. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: The ghosts pounding on the door while Jules and her friend are in the room! 
Library Thoughts: Of course.  It's really hard to find scary books aren't Goosebumps and are a good fit for middle school students. 

Whenever I come across a scary book written for middle schoolers I have to look at it.  I have plenty of kids that ask for scary books, but I know that they need age-appropriate scary books.  Mary Downing Hahn always fits that bill.  So when I received a copy of this book for review, I was super excited.  As usual, the story didn't disappoint.  I like how it starts with some events of the past, so it sets a better understanding for when Jules moves into the house.  And can we talk about the house??? The classic creepy story has to have a creepy house, and this one does.  And I love that Jules is living connected to it! Can you imagine being 12 and living attached to an old abandoned creepy looking house?? Yikes! And right away the odd things begin to happen.  Jules thinks she's seeing people that no one else sees including something in the window of the house.  But what I really like is that as Jules is having these experiences we also get the perspective of Lily the ghost.  The story switches back and forth between the two characters.  No worries about this being confusing to the reader.  It's pretty easy to keep them clear.  I love how Jules makes a friend, Maisie, and together they try to help Lily instead of just fearing her.  That's awesome.  

The ending of the story was different from what I expected, but that was ok.  I felt a little confused, but so did Jules so it was a way to relate to her. Beyond the ghost story ending, I like the ending of Jules' story.  She got a happy ending, and that was nice to see as well.

I will admit I didn't find the story scary, but I'm not 11, so I'm not really the target audience.  I know that my students we be just enough spooked to enjoy it.  The story takes a twist on the traditional ghost story but questioning the idea of alternate realities and switching between them.  This keeps the scary down and the interest high.  That's what matters! 

August 15, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Collectors by Jacqueline West

There are some books I just can't wait for.  

Here's where I share! 


Due Out: October 9th
Van has always been an outsider. Most people don’t notice him. But he notices them. And he notices the small trinkets they drop, or lose, or throw away—that’s why his collection is full of treasures. Then one day, Van notices a girl stealing pennies from a fountain, and everything changes. He follows the girl, Pebble, and uncovers an underground world full of wishes and the people who collect them. Apparently not all wishes are good and even good wishes often have unintended consequences—and the Collectors have made it their duty to protect us. But they aren't the only ones who have their eyes on the world’s wishes—and they may not be the good guys, after all.  

Why I'm waiting:
I just love the concept of this! Haven't you always wondered about those coin wishes you make???

August 14, 2018

Nonfiction Review: Absolute Expert Series by National Geographic Kids

As a media specialist in a middle school, I'm always looking for new high-interest nonfiction.  
My mission is to get and keep middle school student reading, and one way is to hook them into nonfiction.  
So when I was offered this series for review I jumped at the chance! 

Series Title: Absolute Expert
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Copies Obtained: From the publisher





Short Version: LOVED them.  

Why I'd recommend it: 
As usual with National Geographic Kids books, these books are jammed packed with awesome full-color pictures.  I know that I can use that to get a kid to at least look at the book.  And once I have it in their hands that's half the battle! I'd also recommend any of the books in this series because they are NOT just pictures.  There are large sections of text, so they get kids readings as well.  And the text is about interesting things.  I was very interested in the section in the volcano book about Mt. St. Helen's.  It looked at the changes that have happened in the 30 years since the explosion.  I was fascinated! 

I also really enjoyed the soccer book.  I'm super excited to recommend that one because it's harder to find good books about soccer, and I know I have a lot of soccer players at my school (my son among them).  How great to show them a book about their sport.  The first page I'd show them is one that shows the evolution of the soccer ball.  I found that very interesting, and I think they would too! 

Overall- this is a great series.  Wonderfully detailed pictures with interesting information.  They are a great size as well.  Not oversized or super thick, so that wouldn't scare anyone away! Can't wait to share them! 

Best for readers who: Like nonfiction and graphics with their reading. 

Library Thoughts: Yes!!! If you're looking for high-interest nonfiction get them! 

August 8, 2018

Women on Wed - Book Review: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

A few Wednesdays a month I like to feature books that show the strength and diversity of women.  These may be works of fiction or nonfiction.
Today I have a book review.



Title: Amal Unbound
Author: Aisha Saeed
Copy Obtained: Bought

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when—as the eldest daughter—she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal's growing awareness of the Khans' nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
 





Short Version: A wonderful story that teaches the reader not only about the Pakistani culture but also about the power of hope, dreams, and inner strength. 

Long Version: I had been hearing a lot about this book, so I knew I needed to read it.  I knew that it would teach me things about a culture and country I didn't know a lot about.  And I knew that was very important.  But I also knew it would demonstrate the commonality of fighting for what is right.  Right away I felt connected with Amal because she wanted to be a teacher. I'm a teacher, so I understand her desire to want to teach others.  Then I felt for her when she felt that dream slipping away.  It was upsetting to know she might lose that dream because of what was expected of her since she was the oldest.  You could feel her conflict.  She knew she needed to help her family, but she wanted to continue her education.  I loved how dedicated she was that she even kept trying to keep up with her studies even when she couldn't go to school AND how her friends/sister helped her.   My stomach fell through when her frustrations boil over and she angers the wrong person.  It was through this series of events that I really gained an understanding of how her culture and country were different from what I grew up in.  The idea that one man had that much control in her town was something I didn't know.  I felt for her because now she was stuck all because she angered one person.  

Once she starts living at the Khan estate I learned even more about how things worked for her.  I felt the deep sadness she felt.  But as the story goes along I loved watching her grow strength in ways she didn't know she had.  And when she fully uses that strength I felt so proud of her! It was so great to see her stand up like that. 

The story wraps up nicely.  I felt satisfied and confident that Amal would find success in whatever she did. 

Best stick-with-you image: All the description of the food! I looked up most of it, and it all sounded so good! 

Best for readers who: Want to see a young girl learn the strength that lies within her.  And who want to learn about something they may not know.  

Library Thoughts: 100% yes I will put this in the library.  It's a universal story - learning to stand up for yourself! 


August 7, 2018

Cover Crush: A Flicker of Clarity by Amy McNamara

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:


About the Book:
For as long as Evie can remember, she and Emma have been best friends. They’ve gone through everything together—only Evie understood what it was like for Emma to lose her older brother in a car accident. And though they couldn’t be more different—Emma is the life of the party while Evie is shy—the dynamic has always worked for them.

But then Evie makes a careless mistake that ends up having serious consequences for Emma. They’ve had their squabbles before, but this is different. When Evie tries to apologize, Emma ignores her texts, gets a new best friend, and completely freezes her out. Evie didn’t mean to betray Emma in the way that she did, and she’s desperate to get back in Emma’s good graces. Who is Evie without Emma?

Then Evie meets Theo, a kindred spirit unlike any boy she’s ever encountered. With him, she can at least pretend like her life is normal. But just as she’s about to let go and fully fall into whatever is happening with him, Emma resurfaces, miraculously letting Evie back in—though it’s not without consequence. Erratic behavior, drunken incidents, and panicked late-night calls are only some of the hoops Emma makes Evie jump through. All Evie has wanted is to get her best friend back—but Emma seems hell-bent on self-destruction. Evie is used to swooping in to pull Emma out of her troubles, but how do you help someone who doesn’t want to be saved? 

Why I'm crushin':
The colors of this cover are what pulled me to it at first.  I love the way the colors light up the title.  I also loved that as you look at it more you see more of the stars! 

August 6, 2018

MMGM: Spoglight on Bone Hollow by Kim Ventrella


Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday is hosted by Greg 

at Always in the Middle.


As a middle school media specialist, middle-grade books have a very special place in my heart.  I don't always feel they get the recognition they deserve, so I know want to do my part to promote them!For MMGM, on Monday bloggers promote middle-grade books.  For me, that might mean a review or a spotlight.  


To see other middle-grade books, check out Always in the Middle for links! 

Today I'm spotlighting:



Gabe knows it was foolish to save that chicken. On the roof. In the middle of a storm. Yet Gabe also knows that his guardian, Ms. Cleo, loves the chicken more than him. After falling off the roof, Gabe wakes up to find his neighbors staring at him tearfully. To his confusion, none of them seem to hear Gabe speak. It's almost as if they think he's dead. But Gabe's NOT dead. He feels fine! So why does everyone scream in terror when he shows up to his own funeral? 


Gabe flees with his dog, Ollie, the only creature who doesn't tremble at the sight of him. So when a mysterious girl named Wynne offers to let Gabe stay at her cozy house in a misty clearing, he gratefully accepts. Yet Wynne disappears from Bone Hollow for long stretches of time, and when a suspicious Gabe follows her, he makes a mind-blowing discovery. Wynne is Death and has been for thousands of years. Even more shocking . . . she's convinced that Gabe is destined to replace her.

This book just sounds really good.  Such an interesting concept - especially with Wynne as Death.  I know this book wouldn't be for every middle school student, but I know some would be super interested in it.  I'd recommend this to my students that enjoy spooky books and are ready to move into something more.  I think this sounds like it would have some spookiness, but yet more. 

Sidenote: I LOVE this cover!!!  Just love it!