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 through 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.  

October 4, 2018

Book Review: Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

Title: Fake Blood
Author: Whitney Gardner
Copy Obtained: Purchased

About the Book from Goodreads
It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires.

When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer.
Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School. 

One sentence review: What a fun book! 
Best for readers who: Of course, love graphic novels but also for readers who have done something silly to show they aren't alone
Best Stick-with-You Image: The fake blood dripping!
Library Thoughts: Yes this will be a great addition to my graphic novel section

Each month we get a box of Junior Library Guild books.  This was in a recent box.  As soon as I opened it and saw it, I knew I had to read it!  I was completely in the Twilight craze and loved it all, and I've always liked vampire books.  The fact that this was a graphic novel just added to its appeal.  It didn't disappoint.  I love the fake that AJ fakes being a vampire.  Such a tween thing to do! And then to think he could get away with it - even better! The characters in the book are fun and very much like the students I know.  Silly, emotions pinned to their sleeve, obsessed with fitting in.  This is not only shown through AJ but also with his friends.  His two best friends are constantly trying to one-up each other in all different ways.  AJ tolerates it, but also gets annoyed by that - very typical.  I found his friends funny! And I liked that they were good friends who supported AJ.  Great model for kids.  

In the end, the pretending to be a vampire has a nice twist and lots of fun! Glad I picked it up! 

October 2, 2018

Book Review: Skylark and Wallcreeper by Anne O'Brien Carelli

Title: Skylark and Wallcreeper
Author: Anne O'Brien Carelli
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book from Goodreads
While helping her granny Collette evacuate to a makeshift shelter in Brooklyn during Superstorm Sandy, Lily uncovers secrets of her grandmother's past as a member of the French Resistance during WWII.

Queens, 2012.

Hurricane Sandy is flooding New York City, and Lily is at a nursing home with her grandmother, Collette. Lily visits Collette often, as she is beginning to lose her memories. When the National Guard shows up to evacuate the building and take them to safety at the Park Slope armory in Brooklyn, Lily's granny suddenly produces a red box she's hidden in a closet for years. Once they get to safety, Lily opens the box, where she finds an old, beautiful Montblanc pen. Granny tells Lily that the pen is very important and that she has to take care of it, as well as some letters written in French.

But Lily loses the pen in the course of helping other nursing home residents, and as she searches the city trying to find it, she learns more about her grandmother's past in France and begins to uncover the significance of the pen with the help of her best friend, a quirky pen expert, and a larger-than-life, off-Broadway understudy. Told in alternating sections (2012 and 1944), this engaging book explores a deep friendship during difficult times and the importance of family.

One sentence review: Great historical fiction that gives a view of WWII that isn't as prevalent in middle-grade books. 
Best for readers who: Enjoy history - specifically WWII history.  Also, readers who can hand a more serious book
Best Stick-with-You Image: When Collette was almost caught delivering messages
Library Thoughts: Although I don't think it's a book every kid can read I think it brings to life a part of WWII not often shared with middle-school students, so yes I would put in the media center. 

I am not a huge historical fiction fan.  I like it, but it's not my first choice when picking a book to read (unlike my daughter who loves historical fiction!).  But this one intrigued me because of its subject and how it is written.  I loved that it went back and forth between current time and the past.  It gave me a cool perspective on Collette (the grandma) and reminded me that when we see the elderly to not forget they can have some of the most amazing pasts.  We need to learn those pasts so they aren't lost.  

The story of the resistance was great.  So many books look at the Holocaust during WWII which is very important, but it was nice to see what else was happening and how people fought back.  I learned a lot and feel I have a better understanding now! This part of the story was also hard for me just because I feel things so strongly when I read, so I felt so much stress and nervousness! 

The whole story with Lily looking for the pen was great.  Some fantastic characters came into play.  Some may think their big personalities weren't necessary to the telling of the story, but I liked them! This is a long book, and adding these characters in kept my interest.  And I felt like they were well woven into the story.  

In the end, I enjoyed it.  I do know that it's not a book that any middle school can pick up and read.  The size alone will scare some, but it's one that I know if I book talk to students I know well, they'll read it and be able to talk it up to others!