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A middle school librarian who reviews Mg and YA books.
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1. Blog Tour & Food From Fiction: Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Etsby Dagg


Today is my stop on the SWEET HOME ALASKA blog tour.  I adored this book and will be reviewing it in a couple days.  Today I am welcoming the author to my blog for a Food From Fiction post.  The main character, Terpsichore, loves to cook and bake and when we meet her she is the main cook for her family due to a deal she made with her mom.  A lot of food is mentioned in this book and more than once I got to thinking about making cookies after reading a few chapters.  I asked for a recipe from the author and she provided one that is discussed in the book.  Thanks for visiting today Carole!
Since the old-timer, Mr. Crawford, recommended this recipe and it is the star of Terpsichore’s best-selling cookbook at the Palmer Fair, the obvious choice is Jellied Moose Nose. 
After all, in the wilds of Alaska, you don’t want to waste a smidgen of the moose you just shot. 
If you actually make it and eat it, you will have earned the right to milk and cookies for the rest of your life. 

From the Recipe Book of Terpsichore Johnson 
Jellied Moose Nose 
Put a large kettle of water on to boil. 
Hack off the upper jawbone of the moose just below the eyes and boil it for forty-five minutes. 
Dip the jawbone in cold water and pluck the hairs from the nose. 
Wash the nose thoroughly. 
Boil the nose again in fresh water with chopped onion, garlic, and pickling spices until tender. 
Cool overnight in the water it was boiled in. 
The next morning, remove the meat from the broth and remove the bones and cartilage. 
Thinly slice the meat, pack it in a glass dish with high sides, and cover with the broth. 
Season with salt, pepper, or vinegar to taste. 
Refrigerate. 
As the mixture cools, it will jell so it can be sliced. 
P. S. I’m a pescatarian, so that’s my excuse for never having tried it.
 
I am not a pescatarian, but I still don't think I would try it because I am also not an adventurous eater!
Pick up a copy of Sweet Home Alaska today. You will enjoy thoroughly enjoy Terpsichore and her adventurous, positive spirit!

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2. Obsessing Over #3: The Last Place on Earth


This book hit my radar about two weeks ago.  The synopsis really caught my eye and I wanted to read it ASAP.  I checked to make sure it wasn't for download on edelweiss.  It wasn't so I wrote the release date in my calendar.
Then, one night before bed I was looking over my "to read" shelf and I discovered that I already had an ARC of it!  Macmillian does a great job of having bloggers request ARCs, but for some reason this one just went right on my shelf and I hadn't posted and "added to my list" about it.  So here I was, obsessing over this book when I had it already to go!
It is next up when I finish SWEET HOME ALASKA and THE YEAR WE FELL APART!

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3. My Thoughts: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

4 yummy ice cream sandwiches.

Cover Love:  I do love this cover!  I love that it celebrates the friendship that is a focus of the book rather than the romance.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I have had this as an ebook for awhile, but hadn't taken the time to read it.  Then this week, this book was available during my library's book fair. Everyday I would pick it up and read a little bit.  Finally I just gave in and read it all!  Here's the synopsis from Good Reads:
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?
Romance?: Yes!

My Thoughts:
I liked the romance in this book, but the memories of Sloane and Emily's friendship is really what drives this book.  Emily is so sure she is lost without Sloane, but when she opens herself up to a world without Sloane she learns she is not lost, she is fun and worth knowing.

I liked how the author kept the story fast paced and moving forward, giving us new characters and giving Emily new experiences, yet slowly doling out information about Sloane.  Sloane was the catalyst for Emily's story, but she wasn't the focus.  The book really focused on friendship.

I didn't love the absent parent aspect, why do young adult books always have to invent a way for parents to not be present?  Although Emily's parents are around, they aren't available.  But, they don't sound like horrible parents, just really caught up in their work.  I think this story would have been fine if they had been present, just working normally.

The author did a great job of giving us a picture of the girl Emily was before she met Sloane and the girl she thought she became when she had Sloane with her.  Emily had no confidence or strength of character on her own, she thought she got it all from  Sloane.  She did a great job of taking steps to realize she was strong on her own and she was also different than Sloane.  She didn't need to be a copy of her.

I adored Frank!  Perfect book boyfriend and one that I was glad to see developed a friendship with Emily before it went anywhere.

To Sum Up:  A great summer novel about friendship and romance.  Fun read!

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4. Weekend Reading #8


I am finishing up SWEET HOME ALASKA.  Next week I will be part of the blog tour for that book.  So excited for that post (on February 4!)

THE YEAR WE FELL APART has gotten good reviews and I love a good contemporary romance.  This is the physical book I am reading right now.

I started THE CRESSWELL PLOT the other day and am not quite sure how I feel about it yet.  Castella seems really immature, but then again, she has been raised in the woods by a crazy father.

I am enjoying all three of these books and am looking forward to getting some reading time this weekend.  I might have to enforce some SSR on myself!

What are you reading this weekend?

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5. Currently 1-24-16

Currently:

Watching:  Schitt's Creek.  This is a Canadian comedy that I have been waiting to watch since I first heard about it last spring.  Right now the first season is on Amazon Prime Video and it's hysterical.  Seriously.  Give this one a try.  It's only 13 episodes and I predict you will find yourself watching them more than once.

Listening:  A friend of mine recommended this podcast and I am really enjoying it.  It's just two next door neighbors sitting around discussing a topic of the week.  Since I am in the car more and more by myself (Max got his license, by the way) I have more time for podcasts.  I love discovering new ones to enjoy!

Reading: I was invited to be part of a blog tour for this book, Sweet Home Alaska.  It's actually a very fascinating book.  It takes place at the end of the Great Depression and is the story of a family that takes part in an Alaska settlement program.  I had no idea this even happened so I am learning new things as I read!

What are you currently enjoying?

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6. Added to the List #20


Over the past week I have picked up and been sent a lot of new books, it's been exciting.  Here are my first impressions of the ones I was sent and the reasons I checked out the ones I did.

Jacob Have I Loved:  I am working on filling some gaps in my reading of YA/MG "classics."  This one has been on my list for a long time so I grabbed it off my library shelves and am going to read it next month.

Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade:  This one was a surprise mailing from HarperCollins (thanks!)  Haven't heard much about it but the cover is darling and it looks like it would be a fun read.  If I don't get around to reading it, I will put it in my collection and have a few of my middle schoolers read it.

Finnikin of the Rock:  I told my partner librarian to read this over the summer because I had always heard good things about it and she loved it.  We have since bought the whole trilogy and several other teachers have read them as well.  I don't want to be left behind so I pulled this one off to read this winter.

Sweet Home Alaska:  I am reading this one for a blog tour.  I was so excited to be asked to be a part of this because this book was one I was really looking forward to reading!

The Treasure of Maria Mamoun:  This looks like such a fun adventure/mystery for middle schoolers.

The Secret Sea:  I really enjoyed Barry Lyga's Jasper Dent series so I was excited to get this one.  Looks like a suspenseful and intriguing read.

All the Feels:  Love those teen contemporary romance type books.  This looks like it will be a fun read about a girl who is a fangirl whose favorite character in a movie series dies.

A Week of Mondays:  This one caught my eye when it was described as a Groundhog Day for teenagers.

Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions Book Two: Gorilla Tactics:  I am not sure why the first book in this series was never on my radar, but these look so cute!  I put them both on the most recent order for my library!

Welcome to Night Vale:  This is one of my favorite podcasts! So excited for this book to enrich the story of Night Vale. Checked it out from my public library.


What have you gotten recently?

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7. The Hunt for Books

Lately I feel like I am back in high school.

I was the type in high school that loved to flirt and loved to have crushes and loved the hunt.  But shortly after the object of my affection started paying attention to me, my interest would wane.  And I would slowly back away and move on to someone else.  This cycle repeated itself a lot.

And I feel that's what is happening with books a lot lately.

I really wanted you, book.  I coveted you! I flirted online and obsessed and finally, finally you came around to me.  But now, I think that other book I just got might be better. It's not that I don't like you, book, or am not interested, it's just that this one might be better.

It's driving me nuts.  I am into two perfectly good books, Homecoming and My Diary at the Edge of the World.  I like them both and read for a good chunk of time whenever I pick one of them up.

But this week I got Sweet Home Alaska in the mail (for an upcoming blog tour) and Welcome to Nightvale from the library.  They both look so good!  They just might be better books... Read the rest of this post

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8. Teen Frankenstein Blog Tour: High School Horror Stories & Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on the Teen Frankenstein Blog Tour!  High school can be one long horror story for some people.  In fact, I am pretty sure I just blurred out my first two years because as I wracked my brain for a horror story I came up with several cringe worthy moments.  Like the time, during my sophomore year, when I finally got some playing time in a varsity basketball game.  I was pretty excited and after our team meeting went bounding up the bleachers to chat with my parents.  Gracefully, I slipped and fell very hard on the old wooden bleachers.  In front of several senior boys, one of whom I had a crush on. Came away with quite the colorful bruises! 

Or the night after a volleyball game, when my parents had finally decided they had enough with my slouching, so my dad came up with a catalog to discuss how many models don't have boobs, so even though I didn't have any, I should still stand straight and be proud of myself.  MY DAD!!  Yes, that happened (Luckily didn't happen in front of any friends or schoolmates, I still cringe, and it still was during high school).

But, I made survived!!  I was given this "horror story" to post by a Macmillan employee who shall remain nameless!  As you can see, we definitely had something in common in high school:

It was 1997 and, for some strange reason, I didn't have a boyfriend. I was confused. If you asked me, I was pretty fly. My braces were color coordinated to match my glasses. My hair was a lovely shade of pale orange (thank you, Sun-In). I owned purple jorts! What more could you want?
'Well,' a friend said after I expressed these doubts at a sleepover, 'it's probably your lack of development...in the chest.' And just like that, my abnormally robust confidence was thrown into a tailspin. It was true. No amount of Bonne Bell lip gloss could make up for the fact that I was as flat as an ironing board.
But I was a woman of action. And if my pituitary glands weren't going to cooperate, I was going to take matters into my own hands. And this began a life of deceit. It started with wads of paper towels, stuffed into the ample space my training bra still provided. When I got tired of that itchy discomfort, I graduated to rolled up athletic socks.
And wouldn't you know it, it worked. Less than two weeks after I 'went sock,' whose attention should I catch, but that of Clive Schindler, one grade below me, but a foot taller, and exponentially more attractive. We met at a roller rink, and one 'couples skate' to KC and JoJo later, we were officially an item. Our relationship mostly consisted of awkward weeknight phone calls and one movie date, chauffeured by my father, who gripped the steering wheel so hard, I thought it might cease to function. Ah, young love was a glorious thing.
And then came the Day of Reckoning. It was actually a day I'd been looking forward to for some time- Trampoline Day in gym class. Unfortunately, it hasn't occurred to me that my, er, 'girls' might need some extra security. As I waited in line for my turn, I had no idea that my life was about to be irreparably changed. When my turn came, I executed my pike jump with enthusiasm that turned to dread as I hit the trampoline...because as I flew back up into the air, so did my carefully placed athletic socks, right out of my shirt. The left one hit poor old Ms. Zazanis in the head.
It was all over. By the last bell of the day, Clive had given me the ‘let’s just be friends’ speech. And while it was in many ways a valuable lesson about self-acceptance, I’ll never look at a trampoline the same way again.
Teen Frankenstein is written by Chandler Baker (who is so darling I  have a hard time believing she ever had a hard day in high school--seriously, check out her instagram--DARLING!).  Here is the synopsis from the Fierce Reads website:

Tor Frankenstein is, let’s call it obsessed, with reanimation or resuscitation, but experiment after experiment with lab rats fails. But on a dark and stormy night Tor hits a boy with her car. And kills him. Instead of calling the cops and ruining all her chances of winning a Nobel Prize by the time she turns eighteen, she decides to try her experiment out on him. It’s a success. But the experiment isn’t over yet. She must incorporate him into daily high school life for it to be a true success, and when students start being murdered, she fears the worst. We’ll leave the rest up to you to find out what happens to Tor and her monster.
Get to know Chandler at her website or on Twitter or Instagram.

I also get to give a copy of Teen Frankenstein away!  If you'd like to win a copy fill out the form below.  I will pick a winner on January 20th after the last stop of the tour. (US only please)!Loading... Read the rest of this post

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9. My Thoughts: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

3 M&M Cookies.

Cover Love:  Yes!  I adore the cover.  But I don't think it fits the tone of the book enough.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The author and the cover were big reasons.  The synopsis helped.  Here it is from GoodReads:

Recklessly loyal.

That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.

Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.
Romance?: Yes. But not quite what you'd expect from the cover.

My Thoughts:
This was an interesting book because it wasn't a flat out romance.  It was much more about Arden coming to the realization about who she is and who she wants to be.  Her opinion on what love is was really, really annoying to me at the beginning.   It's can't be all about the other person.  Love isn't feeling like you have to give up everything for someone else.

I was so glad that the author made Peter out to be pretty different from his blog.  If I was a teen I would be glad to read that as another reminder that people often have an internet persona and a real life persona.

Arden made a lot of strides towards growing and changing, but I felt that there just wasn't a lot that happened in this book.  You met Arden, she complained about people in her life, she ran off to New York, which was actually a small part of the book, then it was over.  I liked the realizations that Arden came to and hope she continues to make changes, but I just didn't love her.  She was so intense.  It was hard for me to relate to her.

However, I do feel that there are a lot of girls in the tween and teen years who could relate to Arden so well, because feelings during the teen years ARE so intense!  In that respect, this is a great book for its audience.  I will be buying this for my library.

To Sum Up:  I didn't relate to the main character well, but I know many girls who would!  Good stuff for teenagers.

Book checked out from the public library.


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10. Weekend Reading #7

I am really enjoying My Diary from the Edge of the World.  Hoping to get that done this weekend.  I do think I will finish Homecoming.  I took a break because it was making me cry.  What are you reading this weekend?

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11. Reading the "Classics"

Since becoming a librarian eight years ago, one thing that has become clear is that there is a gap in my reading.
I was in elementary school through the 70's and early 80's.  I read a ton growing up at that time:  Nancy Drew, Little House series, etc.  In 7th grade I started Sweet Valley High and series such as that.  While I read a lot of books that would now be considered "classics" there are a lot I didn't read.  (I didn't even read A Wrinkle in Time until I was in my 30's!)
This year one of my challenges will be to read twelve such classics, to get myself caught up.

I am starting with Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt.













I have a few others on my list, but I need help.  What do you feel is considered a classic middle grade/young adult book?  What was one you remember reading when you were young that you loved?  I need some ideas!

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12. Obsessing Over #2


I just discovered that Stephanie Perkins is doing another romance anthology.  I adored her My True Love Gave to Me anthology of Holiday romances.  This one comes out in May and focuses on summer romances--I cannot wait!  So many good authors!  I cannot stop thinking about this book!

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13. 2015 Reading Challenges Recap

I set a few reading challenges for myself in 2015 (check out the post here).
Here is how I did:


I challenged myself to read 75 books but I only got to 66.  I am okay with this because I hit a huge slump in the fall.  I was on a good pace during most of the year, but in November and some of December I had a hard time finishing a book!  But, I read more than 2014 (54) and feel really good about getting over 65.




I wanted to read 20 middle grade books but only read 12 that I classified as middle grade.  I should've done better with this so I will keep that challenge for next year.  There are A LOT of middle grade books I want to read!


I was hoping to read 10 "new to me author" books.  I got to 20 with this challenge.  Pat on the back!




I wanted to "re-read" 10 books. I don't think I re-read one book this year!  Pathetic!

Lastly I wanted to read 20 books from my library collection.  I got up to 18.  The problem is that some of the ones I read before they became part of my school collection (I read the ARC then bought the copies for school).  I know when I put that goal up there I wanted to read 20 books that were already on the shelf, but I think this works anyway.

I also added some new features to my blog that I am pretty pleased about--added to the list, obsessing over and weekend reading--along with using more tags.

I will be posting soon about my 2016 reading challenges!

How were you with your reading goals for the year? 

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14. My Thoughts: Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

4 frosted brownies.

Cover Love:
Yes.  This has such a creepy feel to it.  I love the font and I love the tagline at the top.  It all works!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis caught my eye right away.  It seemed like such a weird and scary idea.  Here it is from GoodReads:
On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.
Romance?: We come in at the start of a possible romance between Line and Marin.

My Thoughts:
The world of YA and MG books has been so saturated with dystopian books that I forget there are straight up fantasy/sci-fi books that aren't dystopian.  This is a fantasy book, set in a world vastly different than ours.  It's not futuristic, it's just not our world.  And I loved that about this book!  I loved the setting and getting to know the rules right along with Line, Marin and Kana.  But I felt it moved a bit slowly in letting us learn anything.  It didn't dissuade me from wanting to know, though.  I just wish information would've come a little bit quicker.

I like the little added mystery, it was the kind that an experienced reader (adult) picked up on pretty quick, but a younger reader would be wowed with the twist!  I liked all three characters with Kana being my favorite.  The circumstances that lead up to them being left on the island were plausible.  The only thing that made me question is why they ever go back to the island.  They live 14 years away, why would they even both coming back after that time.

There was enough darkness and things that go bump in the constant night that I was having a few nightmares.  The ending was very satisfying for me and it wrapped everything up.  I would like another book in this world, but I don't have to have the same characters.  I would love to know why they feel the need to go back to the island after 14 years away!

To Sum Up:  This one is going to be a big hit in my library.  Creepy, but with some good twists, I think that middle schoolers will love reading this story!

Book from my personal and school library.

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15. Added to the List #19


I got some great looking books from the Simon & Schuster Education and Library Marketing Department.  So exciting to open this box and see all the amazing books they sent me.  Here are my first reactions:

1.  Valkyrie by Kate O'Hearn:  I am going to give this to one of my students to try because she loves Kate O'Hearn's Pegasus series.  I will be ordering this for my library for sure!

2.  Shades of Darkness by A.R. Kahler:  I always love a book that takes place at boarding school!!  This one has a murder and some mystery and maybe supernatural elements.

3.  Other Broken Things by Christa Desir:  I think this one is at the top my list.  It just seems so interesting and real and a little disturbing.  I also think this is an issue a lot of teens grapple with, not only admitting they have a problem and getting help, but being dumped by friends who only want the "party girl."

4.  Bounders by Monica Tesler:  I already have this one on my spring order.  It looks like a fun read and I think it will be big with middle schoolers!

5.  The Case of the Missing Tiger's Eye by Walker Styles:  Another one I already had on my spring order.  I think my younger middle schoolers will enjoy this one.

6.  Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn:  I am not too sure about this one, but I do think it might be funny.  Very weird concept but I think that is what might make it a more interesting read.

7.  OCDaniel by Wesley King:  This one came to my attention awhile ago, so I was happy to get a physical copy.  Looks like a good coming of age, overcoming type story, with a boy as the main character.

8.  We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson:  I think this one looks like such a good read because the idea of holding the fate of the world in the hands of a teenager is so scary.  They are so emotional!  I bet that's how the idea for this one came about, dealing with emotional teens.

9.  The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin:  This one looks like a good contemporary romance, but not a light-hearted one.  Some heavy issues here I think.

10.  Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix:  Always one of my favorite middle grade authors.  I was super excited to get this one, very excited to see a new series from Haddix!

11. Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine:  I hadn't heard of this one until I got this copy.  Looks like a good fantasy!

12.  The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith:  Dealing with date rape, this one looks very powerful.  Again something I think a lot of girls deal with without a lot of help.

Thanks so much for the awesome box of books Simon & Schuster Education and Library Marketing team, you are amazing!

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16. Mini Reviews

In an effort to catch up on some of the books I have read but not reviewed I am going to do some mini reviews.

The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine.

4 chocolate no bakes.

Sweet little romance. Robin Constantine is becoming one of my favorite contemporary YA romance authors.  She has a way of creating chemistry on the page that is amazing!



I Was Here by Gayle Forman

3 frosted ginger cookies.

This one didn't quite have the magic that If I Stay did, but a good mystery/romance/coming of age book.


Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

3 soft snickerdoodles.

Interesting mystery with some good twists.  Kept me interested, but ultimately unfulfilled.  Stephanie Kuehn definitely writes psychological mysteries where nothing is as they seem!


Shackled by Tom Leveen

4 yummy chocolate chip cookies.

This one probably deserves a longer review but I rad it last spring and want to get some thoughts posted about it.  This was a great mystery.  I felt so much for Pelly who I felt truly believed that she wouldn't heal properly until she solved the mystery of what happened to her friend.  Her friend had been taken from a mall years before, when Pelly was with her (although she didn't see the incident) and it has frozen her.  Her fears and anxieties were so strong she couldn't move forward in her life.  When she thinks she sees her friend at a coffee shop she goes head first into figuring out if the girl is truly her friend.  She does develop a relationship, but not totally romantic, with a guy, David,  she works with at the coffee shop.  This is book moves along at a fast pace and the mystery is very interesting.  You root for Pelly to find Tara through the whole book because if anyone needs to heal, it's Pelly.

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17. My Thoughts: A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder

4 yummy chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

Cover Love:  Oh my yes!!  I love this cover so very much.  It is what definitely attracted me to the book.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The cover drew me in, the synopsis kept me interested.  Here it is from GoodReads:
In a small river village where the water is cursed, a girl’s bravery—and the existence of magic—could mean the difference between life and death in this elegant, luminous tale from the author of Parched and Audacity.

Along a lively river, in a village raised on stilts, lives a girl named Luna. All her life she has heard tales of the time before the dam appeared, when sprites danced in the currents and no one got the mysterious wasting illness from a mouthful of river water. These are just stories, though—no sensible person would believe in such things.

Beneath the waves is someone who might disagree. Perdita is a young water sprite, delighting in the wet splash and sparkle, and sad about the day her people will finally finish building their door to another world, in search of a place that humans have not yet discovered.

But when Luna’s little sister falls ill with the river sickness, everyone knows she has only three weeks to live. Luna is determined to find a cure for her beloved sister, no matter what it takes. Even if that means believing in magic…
Romance?: No

My Thoughts:
This book was written from two points of view, Luna and Perdita.  The chapters for each were short and wonderfully written.  Each of the stories, at their core, were about sisters.  Luna's sister gets sick and she has to find a way to save her.  Perdita loses her sister and needs to find her.  I loved the writing in each chapter.  It flowed so beautifully, it reminded me a bit of The Underneath by Kathi Appelt.  I knew the stories would come together, and was pretty sure how, but the journey to that intersection was wonderful.

I was rooting for both sets of sisters the whole time.  I wanted Luna to find a cure for her sister and I wanted Perdita to find hers.  I felt touched by both Luna and Perdita.  The story moved along so easily, it was impossible not to be caught up in their stories.

I think this has the opportunity to be very popular for it's intended audience.  There are a lot of elements that are attractive to middle school readers--the length of the story, the writing, two main characters you root for, magical elements, and an interesting setting.  I know several readers that will enjoy this story and will passit along to their friends.

To Sum Up:  Magical, lovely short story that will be attractive to middle grade readers.  The copies I bought for my library have already been circulated a few times.  And an amazing cover to boot!

Book sent from Simon & Schuster for review.  


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18. Obsessing Over #1:

Most of the time I can just add a book to my TBR and move along, but every now and again a book comes to my attention that I cannot stop thinking about.  This happens every now and again (Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige; Firefight and Calamity by Brandon Sanderson; all of the Rot & Ruin books by Jonathan Maberry).

Last week I was alerted to the upcoming publication of this book:

The Dark Crystal--one of my all time favorite movies!!
This is a prequel to the movie!!
It comes out in June (JUNE!! That's forever away!)
Bask in the gloriousness of this cover. 

You can see why I am slightly obsessed with this book!


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19. Added to the List #16

I have a lot of added to the list or book haul posting to do.  I need to catch up from September and October. To start, though I am going to work my way back.  Last week I checked out  In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett from my public library.  Both look like spooky, intriguing reads and both have gotten a lot of positive reviews.  Hopefully I will get time to read them before they are due!

I was sent Uprooted by Lynne Reid Banks from HarperCollins.  This looks like an interesting story about World War 2 from a Canadian's point of view.  Plus, Lynne Reid Banks is an excellent writer.

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20. Comfort Reading Istagram!!

I have a few instagram accounts.
My personal one (which can't be too personal because it's not privated and students follow me),
my library one (which I don't post to near enough,
and one that is solely devoted to my obsession with pens, paper and planners. (which I don't like to talk about)(because then I will talk non-stop)

BUT, I decided I wanted one that was book and reading specific.  How is this different from my library one?  Mostly because I am going to post about books I am reading or things I post.  I try to post about events and new books on the library one.

So, I would love it if you would follow me on my book blog specific instagram.  Click here (or click the icon) then click follow!

http://instagram.com/comfortreading/

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21. Weekend Reading #5


I have done better this week, finishing A New Hope: the Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy and Slasher Girls and Monster Boys.  This weekend my plan is to finish Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly.  

Hope you have a great weekend of reading!


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22. My Thoughts: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken


4 yummy and nostalgic soft gingerbread cookies with frosting.

Cover Love:  YES!!!  I love this cover so much I want to marry it.  Even if I didn't want to read these books I would want them displayed on my shelves at home because they are so amazing.  Disney should sell big versions of these covers so I could hang them on my library wall!!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
This is not a novelization of the movie.  If it was I wouldn't want to read this.  This is a retelling for younger readers.  Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:

The galaxy is at war.

Although the Rebel Alliance has won a few battles against the Empire, hope is fading. The Empire is about to unveil the greatest weapon the galaxy has ever seen--the Death Star. The Rebels' only chance to defeat it now lies in the unlikely hands of a princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy....

Romance?: Nope

My Thoughts:
First off, read the Author's Notes at the beginning.  They totally made me tear up.  This movie came out when I was 5 years old and I remember seeing it in the theater.  I remember how much it affected my brother (who was 8) and sister and because they loved it so much, so did I.  The funniest thing is that my impressions of that movie are still young and now watching it I catch things that I never even thought of back then.  And each time I watch it I catch more.  Like the fact that Han, Leia and Luck had only known each other about a day, and when Leia kissed Luke before they swung across on the bridge, she had barely known him for an hour!  Reading this book brought those things to mind.

The first chunk of the movie is told from Leia's point of view in the book, the second from Han's and the third from Luke's.  And that makes sense, because even though we don't see a lot of Leia in the first part of the movie, that is her emotional arc for sure.  And the second is getting to know Han and the third is Luke starting to embrace his destiny.  I am getting more goosebumps just writing this.

I love that this is not a novelization of the movie or a rehash of the script.  I The author has taken the movie, the script, and several other sources to fill in the gaps and flesh out Leia, Han and Luke and she does a great job.  It is a retelling, without being a retelling, if that makes sense.

This book made me want to watch the original Star Wars movie (which was only called Star Wars when I was young, not A New Hope), right now.


To Sum Up:  This is a great introduction to the Star Wars universe for young readers, both ones that have seen the movie and those that haven't. I think these books will be checked out most of the rest of the year, especially after The Force Awakens is released!

Book sent to me by Dina at Disney.  Thanks so much!!

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23. Added to the List #17: Simon & Schuster Edition


I got some awesome books in the mail from Simon & Schuster in September.  I have ordered most of them for my library (I want to read through more of The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch to see if it's appropriate before for my middle school library).

A Nearer Moon and This Side of Wild are already really popular.  How gorgeous is the cover for A Nearer Moon?!  I have heard awesome things about The Nest--supposedly really creepy.  And Kenneth Oppel is always a favorite of mine.

Thanks so much for the books Simon & Schuster!  Always good to discover something new for mine and my student's enjoyment!

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24. Weekend Reading #6

I finished some books this weekend and was so excited!  I loved Since You've Been Gone and A Nearer Moon, and starter reading the Dorothy Must Die e-novella Heart of Tin.
What did you read this weekend?

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25. November 23-Currently


Watching:  Jessica Jones on Netflix.  It is so good!1 It's hard to concentrate on work today because I want to keep watching.
Listening: to a pop culture podcast from Australia called The Weekly Planet.  All about movies and TV.
Reading:  The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.  This one is going to be great, and heartbreaking.
Writing: Christmas lists--all kinds of plans!!

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