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A middle school librarian who reviews Mg and YA books.
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1. Added to the List #24 & Road Trip Reading #1 & Weekend Reading #9 & Giveaway

Last week I was so excited to get this pack of Lisa Graff books in the mail.  She is a staple here in my library, perfect for middle school readers.  I read Umbrella Summer years ago and enjoyed it greatly.  I haven't read any of hers so this weekend, while I am at my sons' soccer tournament (a three hour drive away).  So I am taking A Tangle of Knots and A Clatter of Jars with me on the trip.  And, I already had Lost in the Sun checked out from my library to read over the summer, so I was very excited to get my own copy.  I will be reading that this summer as well!

Penguin has graciously offered to let me giveaway a set of Lisa's paperbacks:  A Tangle of Knots; Lost in the Sun; and Absolutely Almost.  Fill out the form below if you'd like to win your own copies of these awesome books!

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2. My Thoughts: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

4 fulfilling blondie brownies.

Cover Love:  Yes.  I think this cover is very eye catching!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis was intriguing to me, it made me want to more as soon as I could so I read it!  Here's the synopsis from Good Reads:
Seventeen-year-old David Sullivan’s life is about to change—all because of one tiny, priceless item found in the murky bottom of a Brooklyn water tower.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the more expensive—and the greater the improvement.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is worth millions, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.
Romance?: Yes. Sully and Hunter have some good chemistry.

My Thoughts:
This book was a really good read:  quick and interesting.  The author did a great job doling out information slowly, but not too slowly.  Just enough to keep you going to the next page to get more about the world Sully lived in.  The most interesting thing is that this world is one that is everything like ours, except there are these spheres that enhance the people who use them.  There are spheres that enhance hearing or make you faster. Sully is a sphere dealer.  He sells them, but has never used them himself.  However, he is famous because he found the most rare sphere ever, a Cherry Red.  He sold it to a collector for two million dollars, but when this collector "burned" them (you need two of the same color to use them) and they didn't enhance anything for him, he voided the check he had given Sully.

Nobody knows where the spheres had come from, but everyone tries to get their hands on them.  This is a very interesting world the author has created.  There are super common spheres and really rare spheres.  There are books about what spheres can do what and how much the rare ones are worth.  Sully is an expert on spheres so when he meets up with a girl, named Hunter, who wants to hunt spheres with him, he jumps at the chance.  And soon they find the most rare sphere of all, a Gold.  Having this very rare sphere makes Sully and Hunter a target from powerful people who will stop at nothing to get this sphere.

I liked the pacing of this book.  Once the Gold spheres gets burned the information comes quick and I liked how the "climax" of the story is not drawn out page after page.  I also appreciated the ending because I don't mind a neatly tied up finish to a book.  And I know that my middle school readers will appreciate it as well.  This will be a great book to hand to a reader who just wants something "different."

To Sum Up:  I am excited for next fall to get this book into the hands of readers who want something interesting with action but don't want to commit to a series or one with a lot of pages.

Book bought for my school library collection.

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3. Added to the List #23

The other day I was lucky enough to get a finished copy of Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle in the mail.  This is a book that was high on my TBR list for this spring so I squealed a bit when I opened my package.  Thanks so much Katherine Tegen Books and Harper Collins.  Here is the synopsis:

On the third night of the third month after a girl’s thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes.

The first wish is an impossible wish.
The second is a wish she can make come true herself.
And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart.

Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be...noticed.

So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined.

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4. Finish It May

My brain has been occupied with many, many things.  I have found it hard to focus on much of anything so my reading has fallen by the wayside.  I have a lot of books that I have started but not finished so my goal for May is to finish books I have started.  Here are four that I need to finish in May.  I would like to go into summer with a clean slate because I have a lot of books I want to read this summer!

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5. Obsessing Over #4

I know that the reason I am obsessing over this book so much is because of the cover.  It just appeals to me so strongly!  The synopsis isn't that bad either, but it's a book I know that I want to hold in my hands.  I have ordered a few copies for my library and can't wait until they come it.  This is going to be a must read right away!  Here's the synopsis:

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

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6. Added to the List #22

Last week I got a fun pack of middle grade books from HarperCollins.  There were a few in here that had escaped my attention so it was nice to see them in person!

I have but haven't read the first Ivy Pocket.  The covers are amazing, a little bit of goth and whimsy mixed.  And they look like such fun reads.  I need to read the first one soon!  I put them both on my last book order of the year.

This one also is the second book in a series.  The Backyard Witch is such a fun character, can't wait to see what is happening with her in this story!

Eleven and Holding by Mary Penney:
 This is a middle grade book that had escaped my attention before I got it in the mail.  It looks so good and like it would be such a good addition to any library.  I might not be able to read this one yet because of emotions, but I will hopefully sometime this summer.  Ordered it for the fall for my library.

5 Times Revenge by Lindsay Eland
Another one that had escaped my attention until now!  Looks like such a fun middle school romp, can't wait to give it a try!

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7. My Thoughts: The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

4 Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cover Love:  To be totally honest, I don't love this cover.  But I know it appeals to young readers because when I display this book it gets checked out a lot.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
This is one of those books I bought when it first came out because I knew I would want to read it myself (one of the biggest benefits of being a librarian).  Then it got buried in my immense TBR pile.  I have had quite a few students check out this and book #2 (The Mad Apprentice), but I still hadn't gotten around to reading it until I was contacted about book #3 and taking part in Penguin's blogging event around the release of book #3 (The Palace of Glass).  I read The Forbidden Library and am hooked on this series!  Here is the synopsis:
Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.
My Thoughts:
This was such an inventive idea.  There is a little of Inkheart, in that a person can read themselves into a book.  But it's not like they go into the story, it's like they become the story, or a big part of the story.  These people are called Readers.  And they can't go into just any book, it has to be special books.  Alice discovers she is Reader quite by accident.  But, as you get to know Alice you realize, SHE CAN HANDLE IT.  She is amazing, on the level of Hermione Granger.  She is practical and smart and keeps her head about her.  I LOVED Alice!  She is a problem solver and that makes for the best kind of Reader.

The catch with this awesome ability is that the books that Readers can enter are basically prisons for all manner of creatures and the only way for a Reader to get out is for another Reader to get them out...or they can defeat the creatures.  Along the way Alice meets Ashes, a talking cat, Isaac, another young reader and her "uncle" Geryon.  There are several other characters as well, and you just know that nobody is telling Alice the whole truth and that everyone has different motives for using Alice and her powers.  There is also a little of a "there can be only one" attitude by some of the older and more powerful Readers.

Alice has her own mystery to solve, that of what happened to her father.  This world she is thrust into would me many a person curl up in a corner and wait for death, but no Alice.  She takes it on and makes it her own.

To Sum Up:  Great middle grade fantasy book with interesting characters and an awesome premise.  I will be finishing this series soon!

Penguin has offered up a copy of each of the books in The Forbidden Library series including the third book, The Palace of Glass, which was just published.  Please enter below (US only).  I will pick a winner on Saturday April 23.

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8. Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Yesterday was Beverly Cleary's 100th birthday!  So amazing.  I have written about my love for her work numerous times on this blog so I thought I would link up some of my previous postings about her.

*I wrote a series of post called "Books I am Thankful For" and Ramona the Pest was at the top of my list!

*After my boys and I listened to all of the Henry Huggins books on CD one spring we made a pilgrimage to the Beverly Cleary Tribute Garden in Portland Oregon over spring break.  Such a fun memory!  (By the way, the BEST part of listening to Henry Huggins is that Neil Patrick Harris does the narrating.  He is amazing!)

*Ramona the Pest and Henry Huggins are on my Top 10 List.

*I used to do a Tween Tuesday feature and I wrote about Henry Huggins one day.

*Another Books I Am Thankful For post but this one about Henry Huggins.

Share some of your fondest memories of Beverly Cleary books with me!

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9. Added to the List #21

Yesterday I got such a nice surprise in the mail!  WOLF HOLLOW by Lauren Wolk is a book I have had my eye on for sometime.  It's got a gorgeous cover and the synopsis wounds wonderful.  I will be reading this one soon for sure!  

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

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10. Update

Just a quick update:

My life is crazy busy and I have a lot of brain power being occupied with the other things that are happening.  So, my posting here will be very sporadic at least through April.  I am not giving up my blogging, just not finding the time to get any done.

Hope you are all having a fantastic spring and reading a ton!

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11. 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. 
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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. Currently 1-24-16


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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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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22. 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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23. 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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24. 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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25. 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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