September 28, 2018

In the Library

I am a middle school media specialist - grades 5-8.  

Here are some things happening in our media center! 

I plan on making this at least a bi-monthly post on Fridays.  We'll see if life gets in the way!

Maud Hart Lovelace Book Nominees

One of the biggest things done since the media center opened was getting all the Maud Hart Lovelace book nominees, cataloged, stickered and out.  That was for a total of around 50 books which is a lot at the start of the year.  I'm happy to say they are all out and read for the kids to start reading.  

Here's the display

We also got new furniture.  That was exciting!

And I put up some other displays

By the Numbers

Current Number of Books Circulated 


Number of Book Currently Checked out


Number of books added so far this year


Top 5 Books Checked Out

Girl Stolen
The Maze Runner
El Deafo
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cabin Fever
Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Third Wheel

September 27, 2018

Cover Reveal: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Today Melissa Landers and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for BLASTAWAY, her new Middle Grade Sci-Fi which releases Summer 2019! Check out the awesome cover and the excerpt!

On to the reveal! 


I LOVE IT!!!! So cute! So fun! And I really see it as a bit different from other covers out there, so it won't blend in with everything else!  
If I was wandering around Barnes and Noble and saw this cover I would pick it up for sure.  And actually - I can't wait to see it in person!

About the Book

Author: Melissa Landers
Pub. Date: Summer 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads

Pitched as "Home Alone in space," a young science prodigy who runs away in his family spaceship must team up with a plucky mutant to save the Earth from destruction.

Scheduled for publication Summer 2019.

Exclusive Excerpt!

At some point, I must have fallen asleep.

I say that for two reasons. First, my chin was wet with drool, and I hardly ever slobber on myself when I’m awake. And second, I was no longer on Earth.

I sat bolt upright and stared out the window as distant stars whizzed past in a blur. There were no planets in sight, and judging by the swirling purple nebula ahead of me, this wasn’t the way to Nana’s house. I checked the navigation screen and felt my mouth drop open. The flashing beacon that represented my ship was halfway between Earth and Fasti.

(So you see, it is totally possible to steal a spaceship on accident.)

I guess my hand hit the EXECUTE button when I fell asleep. And because it would take just as long for me to turn around and go home as it would to finish my journey, it made sense to keep going, right? Either way, my parents would ground me into the afterlife, so I might as well earn the sentence, right?


An electric thrill rushed through my veins when I thought about the possibilities that lay ahead of me. Anything could happen on this trip. Literally anything. I could discover a brand-new element. Or meet a secret race of aliens. Or invent a new energy source. Or eat so much chocolate that I puked. Either way, I had complete freedom to make this journey into whatever I wanted, and once I realized that, there was no freaking way I could turn back. It was like the universe had dropped a gift in my lap, a gift I had no intention of returning.    

I wiped the drool off my chin and smiled.

“Hold onto your stars, Fasti. Here I come.”

About Melissa:

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati in the town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.”

September 25, 2018

Cover Crush: Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge

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:
Ivy Bloodgood’s mother is dead, and she should probably be sad about it. But she isn’t. Myra Bloodgood was confusing mix of protective and abusive, a manipulative personality who never told the truth—about where she came from, who Ivy’s father was, or why they were living their lives on the run.

Now that Ivy has been sent to Darkhaven, an island off the New England coast, to live with a rich uncle she didn’t know existed, she is forced to reckon with her mother’s past. Ivy can tell right away there are long-held family secrets buried within these walls, but when she wakes up from one of her nightmares covered in someone else’s blood, Ivy fears that whatever demons her mother battled while she was alive have come to roost in her own mind. Scared that she can no longer trust what she sees, Ivy seeks the help of a boy who thinks her episodes are connected to the sordid history of Darkhaven—but what they don’t know might kill them both.

Why I'm crushin':
Seriously this cover is so awesome.  I love how the smoke(?) curls around.  It makes it seem so mystical or magical.  Then when I follow it down I see the building and that makes me even more curious! Is it a house? A school?  It looks like it's out in the middle of nowhere, so then that makes me think it's eerie! And the tag: It's all in her head..... LOVE IT! Just a great cover all the way around! 

September 23, 2018

I'm a Cybils Judege!!!!

So very excited to share that I am a Cybils Round 1 judge for Middle-Grade Fiction!  I'm super honored to be a judge, and I can't wait to get exposed to a ton of new middle-grade books!

Here's my whole judging team:

Sarah Sammis

Julie Williams

Jill Lurie
The OWL 

Beth Mitchell

Brenda Kahn 

Debbie Tanner

Shannon Griffin

If you don't know about the Cybils Award here's a bit from their website.

Cybils Awards MissionThe Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

Book nominations start October 1st and run through October 15th.  So go nominate books you think should be honored.  
Check HERE for all the info about the Cybils.  

Now for me - Let the reading begin!  

September 19, 2018

Blog Tour: Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond by Max Brailler

Very excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Last Kids on Earth! 

Title: The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond
Author: Max Brallier
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book
It's the first winter after the Monster Apocalypse. For Jack and his buddies, that means sled catapults, epic snowball battles, and one monstrous Christmas celebration. But their winter wonderland turns dark when a villainess begins hunting them. And this villainess is different--she's a human. 

When the villainess steals Jack's prized monster-slaying tool, the Louisville Slicer, he vows to get it back. But it won't be easy. Jack and his friends soon discover that the Louisville Slicer is the key to a dark plan that threatens the entire world--and beyond . . .

About the Author
Max Brallier ( is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books and games, including the previous books in The Last Kids on Earth series. He is the creator and writer of Galactic Hot Dogs, an ongoing middle-grade web serial and book series with Aladdin. He writes for licensed properties including Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Uncle Grandpa. Under the pen name Jack Chabert, he is the creator and author of the Eerie Elementary series for Scholastic Books. In the olden days, he worked in the marketing department at St. Martin's Press. Max lives just outside of New York City with his wife and daughter.


Douglas Holgate has been a freelance comic book artist and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia, for more than ten years. He's illustrated books for publishers including HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, and comics for Image, Dynamite, Abrams, and Penguin Random House.

I'm constantly looking for great series to get my students hooked on.  For most middle school students, they need a book with action.  Without action, for a lot of them, they cannot stay with a book.  Here's a book that has it! This is a book series that I know will capture them from the start and pull them all the way through to the end.  I couldn't ask for anything more! This book is a great addition to the series. Plus - I Love Jack!  Great character, but yet a typical kid.  I think I've seen this type of kid several times throughout my teaching career! 

I also love that it has the dystopia angle but without it being too much for this age group.  It's just the right amount.  Plus it has zombies!  I love zombie but books with them for this age group are hard to find.  And when I do find them I know they aren't for every reader because they could be too graphic.  Again this book fills that slot!  

Lastly - this has some nice little humor and references to things kids will recognize.  I love when books do that, but not overdo it.  This book has that!  

Definitely a book/series to add to the media center! 

Check out some other stops on the tour!

September 17 – Gravity Bread  – Tween Review
September 18 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review
September 19 – The O.W.L. – Review
September 20 – A to Z Book Reviews – Review
September 21 – Pink Polka Dot Books – Listicle  

Waiting on Wedneday: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

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

Here's where I share! 

Due Out: January 8th, 2019
Five years.

That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

Five years.

It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.
Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished—the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box—she knows she'll do whatever it takes to get back in time to save it. So she hatches a crazy plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it.

Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”

Why I'm waiting:
This just sounds really good.  I know some people don't always like the "problem" books in middle grade, but I know there is a group of students that would benefit from reading this.  

September 18, 2018

Cover Crush: Since We last Spoke by Brenda Rufener

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:
When true love is shattered by tragedy—how much would you risk to save it all?

When Aggi Frank and Max Granger finally admitted their feelings for each other last December, it felt like love was beautiful and endless... until it wasn’t.

A fatal car accident involving their older siblings throws their lives into sudden chaos. And with a restraining order now in place between the two bitter households, Aggi and Max’s love runs cold. Being together again seems like a distant fantasy, even though they share the same driveway.

Still, Plum Lake is a small town, and staying apart can’t last forever. Aggi and Max eventually reunite at a lake-house party hosted by a mutual friend and break the ice after a year of silence. But just as they begin to rebuild their relationship, the unthinkable happens when Aggi’s little sister, Grace, flees from home after their father spirals into a fit of rage. With a support system of friends close by, Aggi and Max must confront each other and their families in the hopes of mending all the broken pieces.

Why I'm crushin':
I love the simplicity of this cover, but yet it says so much.  The paths through the snow are awesome.  I live with snow, so it's something I can really relate to! I also love the colors used.  Coral is one of my favorite colors.   

September 12, 2018

Blog Tour Book Reivew: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm +GIVEAWAY

Today I am part of the blog tour for The Third Mushroom 

hosted by Rockstar Book Tours!

About the Book:
Title: The Third Mushroom
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Pub. Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 240

"Believe in the unexpected" with this hilarious, heartwarming, and much-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Fourteenth Goldfish!

Ellie's grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator--and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie's cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected--and wonderful--results.

About the Author

Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. Her new novel is THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

There are not many middle-grade books that make science fun. This is one!  I adored this book.  I will be honest - I haven't read the first book (The Fourteenth Goldfish), so I was a bit lost now and again, but not really much at all.  I do know that I will need to go back and read it now! Can I just say that Melvin is a hoot?! I love the mix of a crotchety old man in the body of a kid.  The juxtaposition was fantastic!  I think I've actually had a few students like him.  They are an old person in a young person's body! 

I think what I really liked about this book that it's more than just a silly story revolving around these fun characters.  It gets the reader to question a few things and learn along with Ellie.  It's hard to have a balance of both in a book for middle schoolers.  Sometimes it can come off too heavy-handed.  This book avoided that.  

I do have to mention the cat, Jonas Salk.  I love cats, and this cat was the best!  I wanted him to walk off the page and snuggle with me.  

And lastly, I want to talk about the parents in the book.  Well, Ellie's mom and stepdad at least.  I thought they were portrayed really well.  You see so much of absent parents or parents that are shown as just clueless.  That wasn't the case here.  I liked that Ellie got along with her stepdad.  Too often the stereotype would've had that the opposite.  Just glad to see parents written well! 

Want a chance to read the book for yourself?  Check out the giveaway below.  If you want to see more of the tour see the schedule below as well! 

Blog Tour

9/10/2018- For the Love of KidLit- Interview
9/11/2018- YA Books Central- Interview
9/12/2018- The OWL- Review
9/13/2018- Book-Keeping- Review
9/14/2018- Two Points of Interest- Review

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE THIRD MUSHROOM, US Only.

September 11, 2018

Blog Tour: The Law of Finders Keepers by Shelia Turnage

Title: Laws of Finders Keepers
Author: Sheila Turnage
Copy Obtained: From publisher

Pirate fever sweeps through the town after an opportunistic treasure hunter shows up looking to lay claim to Blackbeard's lost gold buried somewhere in Tupelo Landing. When the (probably) world-famous Desperado Detectives--Mo and Dale and Harm--are hired by Mayor Little's mother to find the pirate loot for her, and the high-stakes race for riches is on!

But that's not the only treasure hunt in town. Mo LoBeau unearths shocking new clues that may lead to her long-lost Upstream Mother--in the riskiest, scariest, and possibly richest case of her life.

Will Mo find her Upstream Mother? Can the Desperados sidestep Blackbeard's curse and outsmart a professional treasure hunter? Will Dale faint under the pressure of Valentine's Day? Could the stakes be any higher? Yes. With twin treasures hanging in the balance, Mo, Dale, and Harm realize one of them may have to leave Tupelo Landing. For good.

One sentence review: Great mystery especially for the middle school set.  
Best for readers who: Simple - good for readers who love mysteries and love trying to put the clues together themselves to see if they can solve it.  
Best Stick-with-You Image: Any scene with Dale.  He makes me laugh.  
Library Thoughts: I'm always having kids ask for mystery novels, so yes for sure I'd add this one! I also like that it is part of a series, so they'll have more to read. 

I love mysteries.  I always have.  When I was younger I read so many of them.  And I especially loved mysteries that kept me guessing right until the very end.  This was one of them.  I had read the first book in this series of mysteries, so it was fun to revisit the characters and see what new ones were added.  The Desperado Detective agency was a great fun! And can I say I just loved how the book starts almost with the voice of your old-fashioned black and white detective movies??  I could almost hear it as a voice over while the scene played out with the stereotypical old movie PI scene.  Such a great way to start out the story! And about the beginning - I had to giggle since they are all excited about the possibility of snow.  I live in Minnesota so it just made me laugh to see their reactions to the idea! 

The plot was good.  Twists and turns as should be expected with a good mystery.  The characters are quirky but not too the point of being over-done.  They each have a great personality that made me like them (or not like them depending!).  A cast of characters that added to - not distracted from - a plot that kept moving.

I'm glad I had the chance to read and share this one! 

Check out more stops on the tour!


September 3 – Just Commonly – Image Puzzle
September 4 – Comfort Books – Spotlight
September 5 – Trissinalovesbooks – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 6 – Ireadtilldawn – Review
September 7 – Jactionary – Listicle   


September 10 – Word Spelunking – Review
September 11 – The O.W.L. – Review
September 12 – Teachers Who Read – Q&A + Classroom Activity
September 13 – Prose and Khan – Review
September 14 – YA Books Central – Giveaway

About the Author
Sheila Turnage is from eastern North Carolina, just like Miss Moses LoBeau, the protagonist from the Mo & Dale mystery series that began with Three Times Lucky. Three Times Lucky is a Newbery Honor Book, a New York Times bestseller, an E. B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book, and an Edgar Award finalist. It has been nominated for nineteen state awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet Master List, and has been licensed in five countries. Her follow-up book, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, also a New York Timesbestseller, received five starred reviews and was a SIBA Winter 2014 Okra Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection. Sheila is also the author of two more books in the Mo & Dale Mystery series, The Odds of Getting Even and The Law of Finders Keepers, and the nonfiction adult books Haunted Inns of the Southeast and Compass American Guides: North Carolina, as well as one picture book, Trout the Magnificent, illustrated by Janet Stevens.

September 10, 2018

Blog Tour: I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz

Today I'm posting as part of the blog tour for a great new book out! 

Title: I Do Not Trust You
Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Copy Obtained: From publisher

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, authors of Sanctuary Bay and the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong, are back with a story that features their signature plot twists and uneasy ever-changing alliances. 

I Do Not Trust You is a thrilling journey at every turn that asks – what would you do to save the ones you love? Memphis "M" Engel is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long-lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she's awesome. Ashwin “Ash” Sood is a little too posh for M's tastes, a little too good looking, and has way too many secrets. He desperately wants the ancient map M inherited from her archeologist father, believing it will lead him to a relic with the power to destroy the world. M obviously can't trust him.

Equally desperate to find the relic for reasons of her own, M forms an uneasy partnership with Ash. From the catacombs of Paris, to a sacred forest in Norway, to the ruins of a submerged temple in Egypt, together they crisscross the globe in their search. But through it all, M can never be sure: Is she traveling with a friend or enemy? In their latest collaboration, Burns and Metz prove once again the magic that happens when two talented mystery authors work together. Going on M’s journey will have readers’ hearts race with every page. With its dangerous secrets and dark mythology, I Do Not Trust You is irresistible to any fan of YA thrillers.

About the Authors
Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including Sanctuary Bay, Crave, and Sacrifice, as well as the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong. They have also written for the TV shows ROSWELL, 1-800-MISSING, and THE DEAD ZONE. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

One sentence review: Combines Egyptian mythology and modern-day archeology into an action-packed ride that gave me a whole new view of hieroglyphs, history and finding treasure.  
Best for readers who: Like mystery, action, and tension.  And who are interested in archeology and Egypt.  
Best Stick-with-You Image: Can't say or I'll give something away! 

I just finished listening to Throne of Fire, and that book uses Egyptian mythology as its base.  So when I first started reading this book I felt like I had a leg-up because I knew who Set and Horus were! Actually having that background really helped pull me into the book even more.  I kept thinking  - I know this! But it was fun to see it in a different light.  The idea of Set and Horus had people who still believed in them and wanted to bring them back - was fun!  Ok beyond that I loved all the talk about the "map" and hieroglyphs and ancient languages.  I'm a former English teacher, so the structure of language - any language is interesting to me! 

Ok enough of that - the characters.  I really enjoyed Memphis and Ash.  Memphis was a beast.  That really is the best way to describe her.  She had no fear to do what she knew needed to be done.  And then, of course, she did it!  And I loved how that kept throwing Ash for a loop! Kinda made me giggle.  It was also nice to just have a girl who didn't need saving.  She was very capable of saving herself! 

The plot was great.  Lots of twists and turns which I like.  It slowed down a little at points, but not for so long that I got bored.  The tension builds great throughout the story, but not so much that I was just like - end it!  I get that way sometimes when it seems that too many crises happen.  I was ok with how this one built and finished.

Well done and enjoyed! 

September 7, 2018

Read the Book Book Review: Snared - Escape to the Above by Adam Jay Epstein

A while back I received an email from Adam Jay Epstein.  He asked if I was interested in helping promote his new book Snared.  I said yes right away.  You see I've gotten a ton of kids interested in the Familiars series, so I knew I had to hear about something new from him! 

I was NOT disappointed! 

First about the book

Title: Snared: Escape to the Above
Author: Adam Jay Epstein
Copy Obtained: From author

Chopping blades, scorpion nests, giant spiderwebs—no one makes traps better than Wily Snare.

He has never seen the sun, or blue sky, or even his parents. Wily Snare lives underground, creating traps to keep treasure-seekers away from the gold in an ancient wizard’s dungeon. He spends his days mopping up giant slug slime, avoiding poison darts, and herding undead skeletons. It’s all he knows.

Until an unusual band of adventurers—an acrobatic elf, a warrior with a magic arm, and a giant made of moss—successfully defeat Wily’s traps. And they want the ultimate treasure: Wily himself. His skills can help them invade every other dungeon in the kingdom. He might even aid their fight against the Infernal King, whose gearfolk and prisonauts terrorize the land.

But for a boy who has never been outside, dungeons aren’t nearly as scary as the world above. Or an evil king who builds the trickiest traps of all . . .

Two sentence review: Lots of actions with laughs included.  Great start to what will be a great series!
Best for readers who: Love fantasy, enjoy creating puzzles and traps and wants a book with action
Best Stick-with-You Image: When Moshul (the giant made of moss) is described and you hear it has worms in it! 
Library Thoughts: Yes! For sure! 1000%!

Kids love fantasy book - there is no doubt about that.  And this will be one that they tear through.  How could they not??? First of all the characters - I LOVED Wily Snare.  He's so smart and caring and brave and creative but also a complete kid! I mean some of his reactions to things like the idea of going into the Above - pure kid! I could completely see my 11-year-old acting that way! I just loved him!  And I also really cared about him.  As the story unraveled I really felt for him.  So much of what he knew, or thought he knew, he had spun around on him.  Now the other characters - Just a wonderful group of characters.  Odette the elf is so snarky and fun.  Pryvyd is a perfect character for keeping the calm - the voice of reason a lot of times.  But of course, he has his moments as well! I talked about Moshul above.  So much fun with him.  But honestly, I really liked Roveeka, a hobgoblet friend of Wily's.  So many time she added this perfect light-heartedness to a tense situation.  Epstein did such a great job creating this group of characters making them all unique and all important in some way or another.  I can't imagine the story with any of them missing!

How about that story? Starts off grabbing your interest from the start and holds it the whole while.  At first, just hearing about the world that Wily lived it was fascinating - especially hearing about the traps (or snares) he has created.  They were amazing! I wanted to know more about how he made them! I love creativity like that.  As the story progresses the action and tension increases making it harder and harder to put the book down.  I can see kids staying up to read this one.  Often I wondered - how will they get out of this?  Will they make it?  And mostly - how did he come up with that!?  It was a great ride right up until the end.  So glad there will be more!

One last note - as a child of the 80's that grew loving The Goonies I saw so many similarities between the two.  Traps, snares, treasure, adventure and a rag-tag group of awesome characters.  It did my heart good to feel that connection! 

About Jay Adam Epstein

Adam Jay Epstein spent his childhood in Great Neck, NY when he wasn’t held captive aboard his father’s sailboat. He spent many days sitting in the neighborhood park, traveling to fantasy lands in his head (occasionally when he was supposed to be doing his homework.) In college, he circled the world on a ship and studied film at Wesleyan University.

He is the author of the middle grade fantasy series Snared. The first book in the series, Escape to the Above, comes out on June 5, 2018.

He is the co-author of the international bestselling middle grade fantasy series The Familiars and the middle grade sci-fi series, Starbounders. He has written film and television projects for Disney, Sony, Fox, MGM, Paramount, MTV, HULU, SYFY, and Disney Channel. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two daughters, and dog, Pixel.