October 30, 2018

Wicked Reads Blog Tour: Why Books are Better than Candy! Plus Highlight On Monstrous Devices by Damien Love @penguinkids #wickedreads

A few weeks ago I was approached by Penguin Young Readers to participate in a super fun blog tour called Wicked Reads. 
They paired candy up with several books.  I picked a candy and got that book. BUT the book was a surprise!  We then post about the book along with other fun material. 
I jumped at the chance to participate because it sounded like so much fun.  

I picked:

And got the book:
On a winter's day in a British town, twelve-year old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. "This one is special," says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly.

Right as things get out of hand, Alex's grandfather arrives, pulling him away from an attack--and his otherwise humdrum world of friends, bullies, and homework--and into the macabre magic of an ancient family feud. Together, the duo flees across snowy Europe, unraveling the riddle of the little robot while trying to outwit relentless assassins of the human and mechanical kind.

Sounds like a super fun book!

But I have even more fun!  

As great as candy is (and trust me I love it!).
Here is why Books are Better than Candy

  1. First of all, books are calorie free!  Seriously all that fun and no calories!  How could you not be excited about that?!?
  2. Books are sugar-free.  Well ok, they may be sweet at times, but you won't get a real cavity from them! 
  3. You can borrow and return them!  Not so much with candy.  I don't think anyone wants me to borrow their candy and then return it!
  4. Books don't melt in your hands or pockets.  Can you imagine if they did! You'd never ever be able to read outside!
  5. Books can be read over and over.  Candy can't be eaten over and over. Yuck!
  6. Books last longer.  It would take me several hours to read Monstrous Devices and only about 5 minutes to eat a box of Whoppers!
  7. Books show you care more than candy. If my husband gave me a book instead of a bag of candy I would know he was thinking about me more!
  8. You want to share books!  I read a great book - I want to share it! I eat a great candy bar - no way I'm sharing that thing!
  9. No need to brush your teeth after reading a book! Read away!
  10. Lastly - books can take you on great adventures, allow you to meet famous people, let you solve mysteries, and learn new cultures.  Not so sure the last time my Milky Way let all that happen! 
So you tell me - for you why are books better than candy?????

October 29, 2018

In the Spotlight: Nonfiction Inspried by Halloween!

Sometimes I want to post about books that just need to be spotlighted.

In the spotlight today:

Halloween Inspired Nonfiction!

First are two books I've read:

Zombie alert! Meet the real-life monsters of the animal kingdom and explore the gory, gross, and creepy behaviors these creatures have honed in order to survive.
Do monsters really exist? Find out for yourself in this fun-filled book, featuring some real-life wonders of nature: zombifying parasites, bloodsucking vampires, aliens, sea beasts, ghosts, and more. Discover more than 50 creatures with unusual talents, find out what makes each animal tick, and whether they are truly "monsters" after all. Features include eye-popping photography, spine-tingling scientific info, the most up-to-date research, and fun facts for extra knowledge. You'll also meet the "Mad Scientist" experts who study these creatures, explore the creepy origins of their mythical counterparts, and learn how these spooky adaptations help them survive.  

I was sent this one for review and LOVED it.  I love zombies, so reading about real-world examples of zombie-like behavior happening the animal work was so cool! Note - it's all about zombie-like behavior.  It's just lots of other insects/animals that have bizarre and creepy or just plain annoying behavior.  There's a whole spread on mosquitos.  We have so many of them, so that was super interesting to read! 
As usual with the National Geographic books - amazing photographs to completely add to the information.  

Curious kids itching for real-life Indiana Jones-like intrigue will get swept away with the next book in this spine-tingling series about solving puzzles of the past--from whole civilizations that have vanished to mystifying monuments and urban legends.

Fans of Night at the Museum and the Indiana Jones saga will be fascinated by these real-life mysteries: Is there any truth to the legend of Bigfoot? Why have planes and ships suddenly disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle? Is there really a lost city of gold in the jungle of Central America? The next book in this exciting new series will cover even more of history's most fascinating head-scratching conundrums, including the curse of the Hope Diamond, King Tut's tomb, black holes, the puzzling disappearance of ancient civilizations, cryptic creatures of myth and legend, long-lost treasure, and so much more. Kids can dig into these mysteries, uncover clues, and ponder leading scientific theories to help decipher what really happened. Chock-full of cool photos, fun facts, and spooky fun, this book is sure to keep curious kids engaged as they try to piece together these puzzles of the past! 

Ok this book is great! I loved how it was organized.  It gives the background, the details and the theories on different mysterious places and events around the world.  I really liked the Shroud of Turin and Craters in northern Russia.  I think will really enjoy this one as well.  What's great is that can read the whole book or just the stories that interest them! 

Other Halloween Inspired Reads

Love to tell scary stories around the camp fire? Like to solve mysteries? Brave enough to hear the truth about some pretty freaky phenomena? Then cuddle up with this spooky spine-tingler, filled with delightfully frightful true stories of real-life monsters, doomed domains, menacing mysteries, strange disappearances, and so much more.

Meet ghosts, ghouls, and zombies. Go inside haunted houses, hidden graveyards, and deadly secret passages. The Fright-o-meter rates each story for its level of scariness. Full of thrills and chills, this book will have you sleeping with a nightlight for sure. Read if you dare, but don't say we didn't warn you!

Filled with broken hearts and black ravens, Edgar Allan Poe’s ghastly tales have delighted readers for centuries. Born in Boston in 1809, Poe was orphaned at age two. He was soon adopted by a Virginia family who worked as tombstone merchants. In 1827 he enlisted in the Army and subsequently failed out of West Point. His first published story, The Raven, was a huge success, but his joy was overshadowed by the death of his wife. Poe devoted his life to writing and his tragic life often inspired his work. He is considered to be the inventor of detective fiction and the father of American mystery writers. His work continues to influence popular culture through films, music, literature, and television. (less)

This series of books is great!  I love how factual they are at the appropriate level for the intended reader.  My son learned so much reading them.  And what one could be better than this one for Halloween! 

Featuring photos and stories from the world's scariest prisons, discover why prison is to be avoided at all costs!

World's Scariest Prisons will explore the most terrifying prisons of all time. From the Roman Coliseum to the Bastille, the Tower of London to Alcatraz, World's Scariest Prisons will captivate young readers! Each prison will receive its own photo-intensive overview as well as a sidebar, a break out fact box, and a quote. Each prison profile will be followed by a feature spread that explores high-interest topics such as prison slang, prison clothes, and prison food, as well as little known details about kids in prison, famous escapees, and ghost stories. World's Scariest Prisons will be equal parts informative and fun. Perfect for reluctant readers, the text will be simple and engaging.

Lastly, one for the candy we all enjoy on Halloween! 

So there you go! Some great nonfiction inspired by Halloween! 

October 26, 2018

BookNerd Book Blast: The Oracle of Doom by D.J. MacHale +GIVEAAWAY


Check out a book and read your future. . . . It’s another page-turning adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling author D. J. MacHale!

Marcus is an agent of the Library, a place filled with tales that don’t have an ending. Puzzles that won’t be solved until Marcus and his friends step in to finish them. This time it’s their own stories at stake.

Theo just visited the Oracle Baz, an old amusement-park machine that spits out fortunes for the cost of a quarter. Fun, right? The only problem is, the oracle’s cheap predictions have been coming true . . . and Theo’s fortune says that life as he knows it will end on his fourteenth birthday! Plus, Lu’s cousin, who also went to the oracle, is missing.

Marcus knows where to find help for his friends–the Library. It turns out that the Oracle Baz was a real man who died in a fire long ago. Can a glimpse into the fortune-teller’s past change all their futures?  


“MacHale once again pens a page-turner that adds just the right amount of humor.” —Kirkus Reviews


“MacHale deftly pulls readers into this page-turning adventure, well-choreographed chapter transitions defying them to put it down.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Readers who love action and adventure, lightened with a bit of humor, will look forward to meeting Marcus, Lu, and Theo again.” —Shelf Awareness  


D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies. As an author, his ten-volume book series: Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.

He was raised in Greenwich, CT where he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm; engraving trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse…in between playing football and running track. D.J. graduated from New York University where he received a BFA in film production.

His film-making career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director making corporate videos and television commercials.

D.J. broke into the entertainment business by writing several ABC Afterschool Specials. As co-creator of the popular Nickelodeon series: Are You Afraid of the Dark?, he produced all 91 episodes. D.J. also wrote and directed the movie Tower of Terror for ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney. The Showtime series Chris Cross was co-created, written and produced by D.J. It received the CableAce award for Best Youth Series.

D.J. created and produced the Discovery Kids/NBC television series Flight 29 Down. He wrote every episode and directed several. His work on Flight 29 Down earned him the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Children’s Script and a Directors Guild of America award nomination.

In print, D.J. also authored the supernatural Morpheus Road trilogy; a whimsical picture book The Monster Princess; and The SYLO Chronicles, a thrilling sci-fi trilogy. He also wrote Voyagers: Project Alpha, the first of a six-book science fiction adventure.

D.J.’s newest book series is The Library, a spooky middle-grade anthology about a mysterious library filled with unfinished supernatural tales, and the daring young people who must complete them.

D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers, and skiers. Rounding out the household is a spoiled golden retriever named Casey and an equally spoiled tuxedo cat named Jinx.  



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

-3 Winners will receive the Ultimate The Library Swag (Signed Copy of Black Moon Rising, Signed Audio Book of Black Moon Rising and Surrender the Key) from D.J. MacHale.

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October 25, 2018

Nonfiction Review: Food Fight: A Mouthwater History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages by Tanya Steel

Title: Food Fight: A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages
Author: Tanya Steel
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book from Goodreads
Grab your knife and fork and get ready to dig into human history through the lens of food and the struggle to acquire it with award-winning celebrity food editor and author Tanya Steel. This book includes 30 kid-tested and approved recipes inside!

Did you know that Christopher Columbus set out on his most famous voyage in search not of the new world, but cinnamon? Or that rich people in the Middle Ages served flaming peacocks and spun sugar castles to their lucky dinner party guests? Did you ever wonder why M&Ms were invented? (Hint: That candy coating isn't just for decoration!) The quest for food has inspired all kinds of adventures and misadventures around the world, and this book explores the wildest and wackiest of them all, from prehistoric times through modern day.

Hungry readers can go on a finger-licking romp through the ages to discover the origins of today's common foods, yucky habits of yore, marvelous inventions that changed the way we ate and cooked, and the weirdest menus on record. Amazing stats and fast food facts are featured throughout, along with 30 original recipes, each specific to a particular time and place. So, if you are curious about how food shaped global history and culture, put this book on the menu.
One sentence review: Food.  Fights.  History.  Great recipe (yes, yes I did!)
Best for readers who: Love nonfiction and love learning about the unique parts of history. 
Best Stick-with-You Image: Some of the descriptions of historical food.  So different from now! 
Library Thoughts: I already have in the library and kids wanted it before it was even ready to go! 

National Geographic for Kids always does a good job with the books they put out.  This one is no exception.  From the color graphics to interesting facts, it's a book that teaches kids a part of history we don't always think about.  The organization is great and easy to follow, and the pictures just add to the understanding and fun.  I've had several kids already check this book out, and we haven't had it for long.  Our FACS teacher has also checked it out to look at and share as they start to move into their Foods unit.  As I continue to build a nonfiction section that is filled with high-interest books, this book is at the top of the list.  I know it's one that will be checked out a lot! But not just checked out and looked at - also learned from.  And that is what I appreciate - books that pull kids in AND teach them something.  Well done! 

October 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

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

Here's where I share! 

Due Out:  March 12th, 2019
Years ago, the house at the end of the lane burned down. The townspeople never learned what happened, but Rita Frost and her teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth of what happened that summer—and they’ll never say a word. When they were told they’d be spending their summer with their great aunt, Mae and Rossa were anything but thrilled. But nothing at Rita’s is as it appears. Bevan is enthralled by a dangerous power lurking behind the walls of Rita’s home. The power—known as Sweet James—is hungry, and what he wants most is a taste of the twins. And Bevan wants the magic and escape that Sweet James is offering her. But Sweet James is never satisfied, no matter what Bevan brings him. Mae would give Bevan almost anything—she is in the grip of first love, both dying for Bevan’s attention and worried she’ll get it. But Rossa is learning some of the terrible secrets the house is hiding, secrets that paralyze him with fear. As the summer draws to a close, Bevan tries to free Sweet James from his prison within the walls, but is thwarted by Rita and her cat (who is more than a cat), Bobby Dear.

Why I'm waiting: 
This sounds like it's got a bit of everything - tension, maybe spooky.  Plus there is some mystery.  A great combination! 
Also - I LOVE this cover!!!!! It's so cool! 

October 23, 2018

Cover Crush: The First True Thing by Claire Needell

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:
In the two weeks since her drunken bike accident, Marcelle has been forced to look deeply at her own life. She’s clean and sober now, attending a tough-love version of after-school rehab, and barely hanging out with her user friends. Then one night she gets a mysterious text from her best friend, Hannah, asking Marcelle to cover for her.

It’s a small, simple lie. But Marcelle learned in group therapy not to enable her drug-using friends. One lie could lead Marcelle back to a dark, dangerous place. But it’s Hannah: beautiful, messed-up, in-deeper-than-anyone-knows Hannah. So Marcelle gives in.

The next morning, Hannah is missing. Marcelle was the last one to hear from her . . . and now she’s lying to everyone—her parents, Hannah’s mom, and Hannah’s troubled boyfriend. How long can Marcelle go on before she admits to herself what she has to do? If she comes clean about what she knows, can she save Hannah?

Why I'm crushin':
This one just screams mystery!  The black and white - the way the lights are coming through the spokes of the wheels!  Love it all!

October 18, 2018

Book Review: The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Obrun

Title: The Unicorn in the Barn
Author: Jacqueline K. Ogburn
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book from Goodreads
For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away. One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead. When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.

One sentence review: Sweet story that's great for young middle school students, but I hoped for more.  
Best for readers who: Are obsessed with unicorns, but will also understand it's a series book
Best Stick-with-You Image: The baby unicorns
Library Thoughts: I'm not sure if this is one I'd get - only because kids want a fun book about unicorns, and this is a more series book.  

This book was not at all what I expected it to be!  I was thinking it would be more light-hearted and magical since it involves a unicorn.  Instead, I found a book that had a much deeper level of seriousness mixed in with magic and family history.  Eric is a sweet boy that has gone through some changes.  The woods he's lived in forever have been sold off to another family.  The house he visited everyday where is Grandma lived is now completely different.  He has to watch everything he knew change.  That's tough for any kid, but he handles it well.  Now throw in a unicorn, other magical creatures, and a sick grandmother, and you'll see that Eric (and the reader) has a lot going on.  Because of this, the story stayed on the surface quite often.  That isn't necessarily bad, but it did see places where it could've gone deeper.  I don't think this will bother the intended audience at all, but as an adult reading it I did feel it.  

I was thankful that Eric and Allegra become more friends.  I thought at first they would do nothing but fight.  I liked that it shows readers that even with changes if you keep your mind open you can find good things.  Great message to show.

Lastly, I do have to comment on the first time Eric sees the unicorn.  He doesn't have a crazy big reaction.  Yes, he reacts, but I would've gone nuts and questioned my sanity etc.  He does none of that. He really just accepts it!  It was just something I noted.  

Over-all good book for middle schoolers, but as an adult it had some weaknesses.  

October 17, 2018

Waiting (to read) on Wednesdays: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

There are some books I just can't wait for - whether it's waiting for them to be published or for me to just get time to read them.  

Here's where I share! 

Today I'm waiting to read:

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadows of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grow higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.

Why I'm waiting to read:
I loved the Uglies series.  REally loved them, so when I saw that he was coming out with a 5th book in the series I was so excited.  Now just to get it and get it read! With judging for the Cybils it will be awhile before I get to, but I will! 
Now if I could just get him to write a new book for The Midnighter's series!

October 16, 2018

Nerd Book Blast: The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck +GIVEAWAY

Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare. 

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.  


Can I just say that the cover is AMAZING! Wow!!! Well done!  And yes the summary sounds fantastic too! 
To find out more about the tour check out the link HERE


"[Houck] offers a fresh spin on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow...with some genuine surprises in store." —Kirkus

"A wild and seductive adventure...a must-have for YA collections." —SLJ  

New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.  


TWITTER:  @ColleenHouck

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE LANTERN'S EMBER by Colleen Houck

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October 15, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: In Your Shoes by Donna Gephart

Title: In Your Shoes
Author: Donna Gephart
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book from Goodreads
Miles is an anxious boy who loves his family's bowling center even if though he could be killed by a bolt of lightning or a wild animal that escaped from the Philadelphia Zoo on the way there. 

Amy is the new girl at school who wishes she didn't have to live above her uncle's funeral home and tries to write her way to her own happily-ever-after. 

Then Miles and Amy meet in the most unexpected way . . . and that's when it all begins. . . . 

One sentence review: Sweet story that reminds us everyone is going through something.  
Best for readers who: Like serious books
Best Stick-with-You Image: Um I don't think I'll ever get the image of a bowling shoe flying through the air and hitting someone's head
Library Thoughts: Yes I'd get this for the media center because I know some kids really need this mirror reminding them they aren't alone.  

I don't know of any other middle-grade book that contained all the things this book contained.  For one - a bowling alley.  I don't recall a MG book with a bowling alley!  Please remind me of one that I
might be forgetting.  That alone made this book unique.  But in all seriousness, there was more.  Both of the main characters were so interesting and working their way through their own struggling that I couldn't help but feel for them.  Amy's story is so tough knowing that she lost her mom, and now her dad is gone a lot of the time.  I don't know how she dealt with losing her mom and then living in a funeral home where she had to be surrounded by more death.  That would be tough for an adult let alone a 12-year-old.  And when she talked about just wanting to talk to her mom my heart hurt.  It was such an honest statement that anyone who has lost of a loved one knows.  Miles story isn't as tough but he's dealing with something not everyone understands.  I think so many students would relate to his struggle with anxiety.  Like Amy's story, it would help them see they aren't alone.  I really liked Miles.  He was such a real kid  - so believable.  And I love his feelings for his grandpa.  You don't see that as much in books, and I know a ton of my kids are close to grandparents, so that's great for them to see in a book.  

The secondary characters are good too.  I like Tate.  She's her own person, and you have to respect her for that! But at the same moment, she's every middle-schooler all about standing out yet fitting in.  It's a hard struggle! Although very minor characters I also liked all the adults.  Miles parents were great.  They were believable just like Miles was.  Although Amy's dad angered me some just because he left her with her uncle a lot and sometimes didn't seem to be there for her.  I got why he did it, but it was frustrating for me.  

One note - the librarian at Amy's school is Mr. Shu.  I'm sure he's based on the real Mr. Shu and that's cool.  But for me using the name Mr. Shu threw me everytime.  It jolted me out of the story a bit.  It's probably just a me problem but I thought I'd mention it! 

Over all good little book! 

October 14, 2018

Limited Posting

Hey everyone I just wanted to give you a heads up that (except for the posts I currently have scheduled), I'll only be posting reviews for a while.  

I'm a first-round Cybils judge and I really only have time for reading and reviewing.  And the reviews may be short on top of that! 

October 12, 2018

Rockstar Blog Tour: Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks +GIVEAWAY


Graphic novels are huge at our middle school.  I mean I got one kid to read Macbeth because it was a graphic novel! So when given the chance to check out a new graphic novel I jumped on it!

Today I'd like to introduce you to:

Author: Molly Brooks
Pub. Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Pages: 240
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD

Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega are best friends on Wilnick, the dilapidated space station they call home at the end of the galaxy. So naturally, when gifted scientist Sanity uses her lab skills and energy allowance to create a definitely-illegal-but-impossibly-cute three-headed kitten, she has to show Tallulah. But Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds is a bit of a handful, and it isn't long before the kitten escapes to wreak havoc on the space station. The girls will have to turn Wilnick upside down to find her, but not before causing the whole place to evacuate! Can they save their home before it's too late?

Readers will be over the moon for this rollicking space adventure by debut author Molly Brooks.

Does this sound just fun and cute and great?! I know it's one I'll be able to sell easily to my middle school students.  Something I liked about it when just flipping through was the colors.  It's all black, white, grey and a muted pink.  Love it!  Just not colors I typically see in graphic novels! 

Can't wait to read this one! Watch for my review very soon.  

About Molly: 

I’m a freelance illustrator/comics-maker in Brooklyn by way of Nashville.

Website | Twitter |  Goodreads | Tumblr

Check out the rest of the tour:

Week One:
10/8/2018- A Backwards Story- Review
10/9/2018- Christen Krumm, Writer- Review
10/10/2018- The Layaway Dragon- Review
10/11/2018- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
10/12/2018- The OWL- Review

Week Two:
10/15/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review
10/16/2018- Beagles & Books- Review
10/17/2018- Utopia State of Mind- Excerpt
10/18/2018- YA Books Central- Interview
10/19/2018- Eli to the nth- Revi


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of SANITY & TALLULAH, US Only.

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October 11, 2018

Book Review: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Title: The Nest
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Copy Obtained: Purchased

About the Book From Goodreads

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

One sentence review: What an odd little book!
Best for readers who: Ok with books that don't follow normal rules of storytelling and reality.  
Best Stick-with-You Image: The description of the wasps
Library Thoughts: I have two copies in the library because it's a Maud Hart Lovelace nominee this year.  I know several kids have read it, but it's a harder sell.  

I'm not even sure where to start with this review.  I didn't hate the book - I really didn't.  It was very interesting, and it really kept me enthralled.  But it's definitely not a book for everyone.  It has the qualities of mystical realism.  At points, I wasn't sure what to believe if anything!  And then I questioned why any of the events in the story were happening at all.  I've actually kept thinking about, and I finished the book over a month ago!  I can see that Steve is supposed to learn from the events, and I know he did.  And what he learned has stuck with me - and made me continue to think about it.  But in the same breath, I just keep thinking - "What an odd little book!".  I know this is a really vague review, but so much of it, you just need to experience yourself.  

I did like the characters.  Steve was great. He was the right mix of brave and confused and innocent.  I loved his growth, and that was the best part. 

Over-all it's a book I'll need to hand sell to students I know will "get" it.  

Side-note: If you don't like wasps this could be a tough book for you!  My daughter who is really afraid of them won't even think about reading the book! 

October 10, 2018

Cover Crush: The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

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:
Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge. 

When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all—nothing, except themselves. 

Now, Ev spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes. 

Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was. 

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Why I'm crushin':

I just love the coloring on this cover.  All the white with the hints of pink - it's so pretty! Really that's why.  I just don't see covers like this one - the starkness of the white accented and shadows with pink.