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A middle school librarian who reviews Mg and YA books.
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3 soft & chewy snickerdoodles.
This is one of those covers that I feel would be better in person than a digital file. I don't love it, but I think if it was in my hands I would feel different about it.Why I Wanted to Read This:
I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Witherwood and Obert Skye is a popular middle school author so I decided to join up! Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves. Romance?:
Not that kind of book!My Thoughts:
This story started out laugh out loud funny. The first chapter when Tobias and Charlotte played their prank on their "nanny" was at times both funny and sad. For a dad who seemed to love his children as much as theirs did, he was certainly clueless when it came to his children's needs and who was watching them. But the description of the prank was gross and funny. It would make a good read aloud.
I loved the author's style of writing. I am not sure that authors like being compared to Roald Dahl, but that is was kept coming to mind as I got started reading this. Fortunately kids really don't get tired or reading the wacky and unbelievable if there is a good dose of humor with it. I haven't read any other Obert Skye books but was pleased at this style of writing. And a boarding school is always a good setting for the fantastic to happen.
I liked Tobias and Charlotte, very relate able characters. Tobias dives right in without thinking ahead and Charlotte observes more, but goes along with Tobias. They are fiercely loyal to each other and when they find themselves at Witherwood they are worried, scared and lonely. Kind of like kids starting middle school for the first time!
Witherwood is a great setting, perhaps evil, certainly not normal and a little scary. I loved the illustrations and glad they were included. This book could get away without the, because of the authors clear descriptions, but I felt they added to the reading for me.
This is a series, so intends with no real resolution, which I didn't love. It's a reason I never read the whole Series of Unfortunate Events. I like a little more of an uptick at the end of my books, even ones that are series. However, it never seems to bother young readers. This one will fit comfortably on my middle school library shelf, but not for long because I think it will be very popular.To Sum Up:
I think this would be a great beginning of the school year read aloud, but also just a fun read for older elementary and younger middle school readers.GIVEAWAY!
Macmillan is offering a copy of Witherwood Reform School to one of my readers. Please fill out the form below to enter to win. US residents only, contest runs through March 15.
Please visit the other blogs involved in this tour:
2/18: Little Red Reads
2/19: A Reader’s Adventure
2/20: Stories & Sweeties
2/23: The Hiding Spot
2/24: Bumbles and Fairytales
2/25: Manga Maniac Café
2/26: The Book Monsters
2/27: Mundie Kids
3/2: Milk & Cookies: Comfort Reading
3/3: Green Bean Teen Queen
5 oatmeal butterscotch chips cookies.Cover Love:
I don't love it but I do like that it is generic and a boy could be seen reading this as easily as a girl.Why I Wanted to Read This:
I actually wasn't caught up by the synopsis and hadn't planned on reading it, but all the buzz and gushing reviews (some by people who don't normally gush) got me interested. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.Romance?:
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
Oh yes!My Thoughts:
This book was very moving. You can't help but feel for Sky because she needs to get out of Creek View. There is no getting around that. She has to go to save herself and everyone knows this--her best friends, her mother, even Josh. But, she has a hard time actually taking the steps. Even though everything is in place, her acceptance and scholarship to college, I think she spends most of the summer looking for excuses as to why she shouldn't leave. Oddly enough, Josh never becomes an excuse, it mostly has to do with her mom. I think this is very typical because most teens really want to leave home, but a lot of them have a hard time actually doing it. Sometimes, they need a push.
I loved Skylar though. I hardly ever got frustrated by her actions. The author did a great job of helping us understand the situations Sky encounters so that how she reacts seems very realistic. Once again, it all comes down to communication and when she and Josh finally are able to really talk great things happen.
I loved Josh. Although very little of the book was written from his point of view, what we saw was painful and real. There are so many layers to what he has to get through to figure out what he finally wants to do with his life. He has so much survivor's guilt and so little self worth. He is a very well written character. Already in his life he has had to deal with things many of us never have to see.
Sky and Josh coming together is so natural. She doesn't treat him any different than before and she doesn't Florence Nightingale him. Their attraction is real and wonderful. This book made me cry and smile and blush. I just adored reading it!To Sum Up:
I feel this is a little mature for my library--lots of swear words and sex talk and acts. But, if I were a teen girl this book would be one I would read over and over.
4 soft and sweet frosted sugar cookies.
Yes! I like having a visual for Anna on the front.Why I Wanted to Read This:
Because I had just read Isla and the Happily Ever After and I wanted to see Josh and Isla from Anna's eyes. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. Romance?:
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
There are a few reasons I didn't read Anna and the French Kiss when it first came out. I actually had started it, but gave up pretty quickly because I didn't think I could get over a few things. One was the gap in Anna's teeth. That drives me nuts, but I found it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Second, the fact that St. Clair had a girlfriend. I do get tired of unrequited love. Third was that it took place in Paris. For some reason I do not love books that take place in foreign countries, not sure why. But I had just finished Isla and the Happily Ever After and knew I wanted to give this one a try. Glad I did!
I very quickly got over all my issues and dove right into the story of Anna and St. Clair. Stephanie Perkins does such a good job writing true teenagers, even the secondary characters. I adored St. Clair, almost as much as I loved Cricket Bell (from Lola and the Boy Next Door). I enjoyed Anna and the growing she was able to do during her year. I liked getting to know these two, but wished that they got together earlier in the book. The unrequited part, on both their sides, lasted a bit too long for me. And there was the whole other wrinkle of Meredith liking St. Clair too. I wish that hadn't been in there to layer guilt upon Anna and St. Clair.
I actually really liked the setting. I always wanted to go to boarding school (never in Paris) so I loved reading about these teens learning to live on their own. (Now that I am a parent I couldn't even imagine sending my own child away to boarding school!!)
The chemistry! Oh, man, it was so good. I longed for Anna and St. Clair to just finally get together!!To Sum Up:
Another great teen romance! I do have this in my library and while there was some sex talk and swearing, it seemed to be the lightest of all Ms. Perkins books.
4 chocolate chocolate chip cookies.
: I liked the other two covers really well (Anna and the French kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door) and was kind of bummed they changed all three covers before this one came out. But I do like this one.
Why I Wanted to Read This:
I adored Lola and the Boy Next Door, Cricket was my favorite. So, I checked this one out from my public library to see if it would be as good. (I had not read Anna and the French Kiss at the time). Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. Romance?:
Yes. Lots.My Thoughts:
I have to say that I think I like YA romances a little better when the characters get together early on in the book so the book focuses more on them working through issues than simply getting together. Isla and Josh do get together early on in the book, so we get to see a lot of them working through problems and misunderstandings and finding a way to be together.
I liked that Isla had a good relationship with her parents and that Josh's parents were actually supportive, in their own way. They were trying, he just made it pretty hard.
Josh did not become my book boyfriend, even though I did adore him. I liked how he gave himself over to Isla and the relationship and was willing to try being together even when she was not, but there was just a little bit of desperation to him that I didn't love. And I did adore Isla, but get so tired of those girls that give up their relationship because of problems that don't exist.
There was one quote that this book had in it that I would like to give to any teen struggling in high school:
"For a certain type of person, high school will always be brutal," the head says. "The best advice I can give you is to figure out what comes next and work toward that."
This is just brilliant and I wish more kids could see beyond the trees and look forward. They get so caught up in the high school-ness of high school that they forget their WHOLE LIFE is ahead of them. I loved high school. I don't look back with regret, but I have also loved every day since high school more and more. For kids who are having a hard time they need to look forward.
I do like how Josh took this advice to heart and knew exactly what he wanted and worked toward getting there. But it was also ok for Isla to not know. How can you really plan for what you want to do for the rest of their life at 18?!
I really did like the relationship between Josh and Isla and hope they make it through the hard times. I know they are young, but there is something to be said about becoming adults together and being able to work through things in a mature way.
To Sum Up:
It might be a little mature for my library, but the romantics in all of us girls would be happy to fall in love with Josh and Isla!
Tonight as I was reading Isla and the Happily Ever After, blushing along with Isla and developing my own crush on Josh it hit me like a ton of bricks. I know why I love YA romances.
In my world as an adult, in my circle of friends and acquaintances, in the couples that I know who have gotten divorced it's been because the woman has left the man. Almost 100% of them have been initiated by the woman. I often would wonder why because I can't believe they would think something better was out there. I know that the reasons are varied, but the way some of them act right after the separation/divorce leads me to believe one thing: they are looking for is that rush that you get from first realizing you are attracted to someone. And the bigger rush when you realize they are attracted to you.
It's why romance novels are so popular and romantic comedies and cheesy romances on the Hallmark channel and Edward and Bella and Christian Grey and Anastasia. Seeing it played out in someone else's world helps you feel that rush for a little while.
But, when you read a young adult romance novel written by an author who gets it, who can write that first glimpse of love developing from a crush, it takes you to the place you want, even if you didn't realize you wanted it.
Remember seeing your crush walking down the hall towards you? Remember seeing him at his locker with his friends? Remember when your eyes met in the cafeteria? Remember him liking you back? Remember that first kiss? If you want it back, read a young adult romance and you feel it again, I almost guarantee it.
Young adult authors understand that teenagers are beautiful. All of them. I am around young teens everyday in my job and around my house. They are beautiful! And it's not really how they look, its the youth. It's the glimpse of the young men and woman they will become. It's the promise of a whole life ahead of them. It is beautiful. You can see it in all of them if you look--even the ones who are hard edges due to their lives not holding a lot of promise. You can see it in the ones on the fringes and the ones that are considered popular.
If you look you can see it in all of them. Young adult authors see it. And they write it so you see it too.
In young adult romance books, I really want to see the romance blossom, even if in real life I might think 17 is too young for such intense romance. I jump into it wholeheartedly in young adult romances. I blush along with the girls, develop those same crushes, cringe at the embarrassing moments, get upset at misunderstandings, and sigh when it all works out in the end.
I am living vicariously through the characters in young adult romances and I feel fulfilled. I don't have to go search for that rush of being attracted to someone new, because I feel it every time I read a good YA romance. And it's wonderful and I will keep reading them. And I will keep seeing the beauty in the teens around me.
I LOVE it when a movie based on a YA book sneaks up on me. That happened to me this weekend.
A few years ago I had a teacher recommend I read DEATHWATCH by Robb White. I liked it and was glad I read it. I recommend it to a lot of my readers who like survival stories. The fact that this one has the thriller element in it as well makes it a very popular book in my library. I just added a few other copies to my spring order because the one I had was falling apart.
So, imagine my surrpise when I cheked out the new trailers up on IMDB on Friday and saw one for a movie called Beyond the Reach starring Jeremy Irvine and Michael Douglas.
You guys, it is DEATHWATCH!!
I am so excited about this, you have no idea. I think it will make a tremendous movie, intense and exciting.
Check out the trailer for yourself, then fond a copy of the book to read too!
This was a great weekend for reading. I started out Friday by reading Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. After that I had to go to my library to grab Anna and the French Kiss because that was the one book by Stephanie Perkins I had not read. (By the way, how jealous are you that I can run to my school library to get books whenever I want?)
I won a contest and got a Kindle copy of Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. I had wanted to read this one for sometime so I was excited to win this contest! (It was a twitter contest I stumbled across being sponsored by Jen at Pop Goes the Reader, adorable blog! Check it out.)(I don't have a kindle, but this past fall I got a Samsung Nook Tablet and downloaded the Kindle app so now I can use both stores for books!)
This past week I was lucky enough to get auto approved for Scholastic egalleys on Edelweiss. Do you know how excited I was when this happened?! I downloaded a few I have had my eye on:
Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton
Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger (companion to the DUFF!!)
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Neilsen
What did you add to your TBR this week?
3 chocolate no bakes.Cover Love:
Yes, it's pretty cool. Definitely eye catching!Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis really intrigued me. It sounded like a cross between fantasy and dystopian. Here's it is from GoodReads:
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.Romance?:
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
A little bit.My Thoughts:
This was a book I really enjoyed reading--it kept me interested and kept me picking up the book all the time. I was interested in the plot and felt for Mare being stuck in a world she wasn't born into. However, I mostly was interested in reading it because I was pretty sure of where a few of the relationships were headed.
The whole idea of Reds and Silvers was intriguing, but I wish the author would have gotten into why or how the division came about. Was it because of something environmental? Was it aliens? I know that most dystopian books don't go into what happened to change the world from what we know now, but it would have helped me buy into the story more.
I didn't love Mare very much, she was so full of hate and so judgmental. I did like the love triangle between Mare and Cal and Maven a lot. Cal was wonderful and Maven was understanding. Mare was a better person when she was with either of them. I could kind of see the writing on the wall for the love triangle, but I did hope my suspicions wouldn't come true. They did and it was written well enough to turn my stomach. Love it when a book gives me a physical reaction.
So, I liked the world and the love triangle, not the main character so much, and I didn't mind the cliff hanger, but for some reason, I don't feel that anxious for book two. I am not sure how quickly I want to go back into that world. I am going to get this for my library because I know that many of my students will love this book. To Sum Up:
A good start to a new series, one that I am sure will be very popular with it's intended audience.eGalley requested and received from HarperCollins via Edelweiss. Thanks!
I got this idea from Jill of the OWL. Just a quick snapshot of what I am reading today.
It's rought when you go from reading a book you LOVED to a few that you are not quite as into. So, I have ended up reading a few books. I am going to finish these three before I start anything new (all three are ebooks so these cover images came from GoodReads):
This one is darling. I LOVE the voice of Hazel Wong and know that I will enjoy it all the way through. I started it last October but tabled it when I realized the publication date was so far out. Glad to get back into it though. So cute!
I am not loving this one as much as I did Bossypants by Tina Fey, but am determined to finish it out because I don't hate it either.
I was so excited to get right into this one after finishing Seraphina, but the other two I am reading loom kind of large so I haven't been reading this one as much due to that fact. I need to get a little more caught up!
4 thickly frosted sugar cookies.
I don't love this. It makes the book look too fantasy, which it is, but it might not be as eye catching to some readers who would end up loving it.Why I Wanted to Read This:
I have heard so many positive things about this book and saw that the sequel was coming out soon, so I decided to give it a try. Plus it is part of my library collection so I was able to fit it in that challenge! Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.Romance?:
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
Yes. Sigh!My Thoughts:
I gave this book only four stars rather than five because I found the fist third pretty slow moving. There was a lot of set up with world building, lots of new vocab, politics and characters to introduce. It was a lot to take in and there were times I almost gave up. Luckily the author introduced a few very interesting characters quickly on and that caught my attention and kept me reading.
I have to say, I love dragons. Always have and always will. I don't seek out every book about dragons, but I do really like them. I don't love the idea of dragons as human and wonder why that had to come along. However, it really works for this book because there would be no Seraphina if there weren't dragons as humans.
I loved the characters! Seraphina was awesome and even though she thinks everything she did was to hide her secret, she also really wanted to know the answers. And to help others, especially those like herself. Princess Glissenda will prove to be an amazing queen--she is loyal, smart, trusts her instincts, but is very open to learning from others. (I am hoping that what I am reading between her and her lady in waiting turns out to be true.) Prince Lucian Kiggs--oh man! So smart, inquiring, noble, sweet. Everything you would want in a Prince. Orma, no matter how much he strove to keep himself above the emotions of humans, he was such a good uncle. So kind-hearted and wise. What a good teacher for Seraphina. Even the people in Seraphina's garden that we got to know were great characters. Such a wealth of awesome.
The set up for the conflict between the dragons and the humans was very good, almost too much with the politics but I am glad I know about it. It will make the second book go even faster and this is a world I want to return to. I want to know what happens with Seraphina's "romance" and how this war gets resolved, but I would also want to read about how the treaty came about or how Seraphina's mother and father fell in love. This is a rich world with a lot of possibilities for stories.
And the romance. I am such a sucker for romance. I loved the build up, it was slow and they became friends first. And even though we could see it coming from miles away, the ending was both satisfying and heart breaking. But I didn't mind it. And I think the third part of this triangle knows it is happening and is pleased because they are two of the people she cares about and trusts the most.
To Sum Up:
This book is part of my middle school library collection, but I think it has to be a pretty mature reader to stick with it. The set up is slow, necessary but slow. I will be recommending it to the fantasy lovers I know.Side Note:
Sometimes I give up on books too early. A book like this reminds me that the climb might sometimes be slow, but the other side makes it SO WORTH THE TIME! This is one I almost gave up on and I am so, so glad I didn't!
I received an invite to join a blog tour for Seraphina and/or it's sequel Shadow Scale. At that point I hadn't read either of them. So I checked Seraphina out from my library and whipped through it (I will be posting my review tomorrow). At the same time, my oldest son introduced me to Settler of Catan which is a super fun game. Those tow things have given me a hankering for fantasy reads and these are the ones I have added to my "to-read" pile:
I really enjoyed Grave Mercy, the first book in the Fair Assassins series by Robin LaFevers, but haven't made time to read the next two, so they are going on my list. I already started Shadow Scale
, the ARC of it is available on NetGalley. Seeker
looks like a fantasty book, but I couldn't tell by the synopsis if it goes more into the sci-fi realm. A Wicked Thing
is a retelling, or post telling, of Sleeping Beauty. And I am probably most excited for Uprooted
, which kind of sounds like a Beauty and the Beast type story, but with dragons!
4 soft snickerdoodles (for both books)
Yes, I love the flirty style of both of these covers.
Why I Wanted to Read These:
I love Jennifer Echols and contemporary romances. How could these be wrong? Here are the synopsis for each book
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.
Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid back swagger.
As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated.
As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents' bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.Romance?:
Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they've found themselves drawn together--first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.
The trouble is, though they're very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?
Of Course!My Thoughts:
First off, I don't like either of these summaries because it gives so much away. These have all the same earmarks of contemporary romances--misunderstandings, listening to rumors over your own instincts and heart, flirting and experimenting. But they have one more thing that helps so much, Jennifer Echols is great at writing chemistry. You can't help but root for both of these couples to get together!
I took a longer time getting into Biggest Flirts because I didn't like Tia in the beginning at all. It was hard for me to root for her to get with Will because she shirked from everything. I understand her reasoning for not wanting to get close to boys, but for someone who so desperately didn't want to follow in her sisters' footsteps, she was really irresponsible. I would've expected her to be way more straight edged, kind of like Harper.
I really liked Will and did root for Tia to calm herself down enough to see the good in front of her. And I adored Harper and Brody, all the way through.
Kind of off topic: When I was in high school we didn't do superlatives, however, I am not sure I would've won anything. They do them now and next year my son will be a senior and I gotta say, I kind of want him and his girlfriend (if they are still a thing next fall) to win cutest couple. They are so darling together!
Anyway, these are two sweet books, romantic but typical. Getting close, misunderstandings, not listening enough to your own heart and listening too much to other people, but with good endings. Not anything too out of the ordinary, except the chemistry. And that is enough to keep me going! To Sum Up:
Just a bit mature for my middle school library, however, I could see many 8th grade girls getting into them. Love these kind of romances!
Have you been watching this yet? It is so good! The first thing that caught my eye was Robson Green, I have adored him for years. Then, I watched Happy Valley over Christmas break and James Norton was so good and scary as Tommy Lee Royce. I wanted to see how he would do as a good guy because he was so perfect as a psycho. (If you haven't watched that on Netflix, do so now!) Plus, it is British and a mystery series set in the 50's. My excitement level for the first episode was through the roof. And it is good! So good! I really wish I had waited until all 6 episodes were out so I could binge watch, however, I like having something to look forward to every Sunday night. But, here lies my problem. These mysteries are based on a books series by James Runcie. I guess the format is a little unusual because the whole first season--6 mini mysteries--is based on the first book. And since I am loving the world of Grantchester so much I really want to read the first book. But, I don't want to know all the answers. I did put books 1 & 2 on hold at my library and there is no guarantee that I would get them before the show is done airing. I might never read book 1 if I don't get it until after the show is over, but I will read book 2!
It's just hard to think of anything else right now...
Tuck Everlasting was a book I missed out on reading until I was teaching fourth grade a few years after college. I adored the book and had several amazing conversations with my students. Almost without fail they would tell you they would drink from the spring. I guess when you are 10 and 11 forever doesn't seem like anything at all. Back then I knew I wouldn't want to drink from the spring, but I thought about it longer.
Then I became a parent.
I would never want to outlive my children. Never. And there is a part of me that thinks I wouldn't want them to drink from the spring either. I have loved growing and maturing and getting older and I want that for my children. I want them to experience the full circle of life, because I have loved most every stage of my life.
The things that the Tucks had to do to avoid suspicion, like separating for years at a time, makes me sad. But then again, living together for eternity probably wouldn't be good either--can you imagine how on each others' nerves you'd be?
Now that I am older and have lived, I truly cannot see an upside to living forever.
What about you? If you had the chance, would you want to live forever? Would you drink from the spring?
I adore young adult contemporary romance novels. They are my candy--I can read through those so fast, I just love them. And I normally completely buy into the romance. It doesn't matter to me that they are in high school, and sometimes early high school, if the characters are written well and them chemistry is strong, I buy into it. I rarely think to myself, "they are too young!"
However, my son is almost 17. That is around the age that a lot of the characters in these teen romances are when they fall in love. I look at my son and think, "That's too young!" But I don't think it when I am reading the books.
It's a weird double standard I have going on.
(For the record, my son is a junior, very cute (at least according to me), kind-hearted and very much in love with his first girlfriend. It's too young!!)
Time magazine recently published a list titles "The Best 100 Young Adult Books of All Time" While this list contains many books that are more MG than YA it is still a pretty good list for readers who want to try out some YA. Candlewick Press was excited to see that SIX of their books made the list! To celebrate they are offering up a prize package of all SIX to a lucky reader of my blog!
The books up for grabs are:
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness (amazing book, wonderful series. One of my most recent favorites!)
A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness (another great one, this man can write!)
TIGER RISING and THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE both by Kate DiCamillo (have only read Edward Tulane, but I have read others by Ms. DiCamillo and know that she is a great writer!)
FEED by MT Anderson (this has been on my to-read list forever
. I guess now I will have to read it, no excuse--it would fit under my library collection goal to!)
BOY PROOF by Cecil Castellucci (I haven't ever read this one either, but it looks awesome.)
If you would like to win a copy of all these books, please fill out the form below. And take a few minutes to check out Candlewick Press:
Twitter - @Candlewick
This giveaway will end on January 30
. Good Luck! (US Only Please)Loading...
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This year I will hit 1000 posts. It should be sometime this summer if I keep posting about 10 times a month. I am pretty excited about this, so I think I will probably do a giveaway for that.
I also want to do more on the features I have started: Wonderful YA Boys, Tween Tuesdays, Series That Sizzle and Series That Fizzle. I haven't posted in a few of these for quite sometime.
I will be participating in the Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Blog Tour later this month and would like to participate in a few more. I get asked a few times a year but this year I turned most of them down. I would like to get back into that.
I also want to review more books, even if it's just a short blurb. I read a few this year that I didn't review and I always feel badly about that.
I really like that I allowed myself to relax with my reading and blogging this past year and I feel re-energized now. It feels good to have a plan.
What are your blogging goals for this year?
I am not good about joining challenges, but I wanted to set some targets for myself. Here are some reading plans I have for 2015:
*I want to read more than last year because I feel I am in a better reading space than last year. I am not going to hold myself to this though, because slumps can creep up without warning.
*For the next few there can be overlap but I want to read more middle grade books this year than I did last year. I seemed to really stick to YA books this past year and I don't want to just do that. I remember loving some middle grade books and I want to get back to that.
*I have a list of books by authors I either didn't read when I was younger or haven't read now. I plan to get on that this year.
*For example, I would like to re-read some Harry Potter, but never feel like I have time. This year I am going to give myself permission to re-read some of those books I remember loving.
*I have to read more from my shelves. Every summer I bring home stacks of books from the library and don't even get most of them read because I get so wrapped up in ARCs. This year, I am going to read more from my shelves.
So there it is, my reading goals for 2015. Have you set any or joined any challenges?
4 yummy snickerdoodles.Cover Love:
Meh. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. I think it would be eye catching to readers.
Why I Wanted to Read This:
It came in a box of new books I had ordered for my library and it was just so shiny, and I liked the title. I couldn't remember what it was about so I read this inside blurb and then the first few pages. Hooked me right in! Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.Romance?:
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.
Yes, a little bit. But it is not the focus of the book. My Thoughts:
Here is why I LOVE these kind of books. I see girls all the time that assume that people don't like them so they never reach out. So because they aren't nice, people aren't nice either, because if you are a teenager, you normally aren't the first one to be nice. But then it validates the first girl's thoughts. And they get such a big chip on their shoulder that they can't even think it might be coming from them. That people would be friends or at least friendly, if you are friendly too. I seriously had an 8th grade girl who felt all blonde girls were mean. I am sure there was blonde in her past who was mean, or she just got that impression from all the movies and books who make blondes out to be mean girls. So, when she moved into my school she wouldn't give any blonde, cute girls the time of day. And because she wasn't friendly, they weren't and it validated her feelings.
You'd think in this story Justine would know that the way people are perceived by others is rarely the way they are, after all, that is the story of her life! But she is so withdrawn and almost angry that she looks at some of the others that were int he movies with her--namely Nate and Keira--and just assumes that they don't want to be her friends. She judges them exactly as she hates others judge her.
Justine has such a huge chip on her shoulder. It drives me crazy when characters in books say things like, "I don't know how popularity works." It's so self-pitying. And the way she mopes around in the first few chapters makes me really wonder why she would have ever been the one to shine on camera.
However, it wouldn't be such a good book if Justine didn't make some major changes and she does. she learned a lot about herself and the others in the movie and she grows and changes. This is why I loved the book. Justine's path seemed natural and true to the story. Everyone had something big to reveal or overcome and most of the obstacles acme about because of the second movie. It was like they were all stuck back at eleven. The author did a great job leading us on their journey and I enjoyed going along for the ride!To Sum Up:
Great teen book that could teach a lot of readers something about judging others from afar and allowing yourself to open up to possibilities!
So this is off topic from books, but because most book lovers are also writers at heart (even if it's just journals or list making) and writers love pens I have to share my new pens with you!
There are the prettiest, best pens I have had in a long time. I first saw them on instagram and quickly tracked down a place I could buy them (pengems.com). And now look-- I have five of them! You get free ink refills with each one you order. They come in black ink but if you ask when you order they will send you blue ink refills. So I have some in blue and some in black!
Look how nicely they match my notebooks!
The other day I brought one out to use at school and a girl commented on it. So then I pulled out all five and I had a whole row of middle school girls gasp at their loveliness! I am going to have keep an eye on them so none of them disappear from my desk. (Actually right now I tote them back and forth because I don't want to leave them at school).
You can buy your own pen gems here: pengems.com
3 chocolate chocolate chip cookies.
Cover Love: I do think this is an eye catching cover. I love the simple title and how it bisects the cover.
Why I Want to Read This:
I always get fascinated by stories of people living off the grid or making their way in the wild. In this day, when there is so much technology and so many people it just doesn't seem possible. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…
Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.
Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.
As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?
Yes. One of the taglines I read has this as a YA Tarzan retelling and I think that's a good description.My Thoughts:
I felt it took to long to get to any answers about Cade. I almost gave up because I really wanted to learn about what caused his mom and dad to take him into the woods.
Dara's mom and dad were very bothersome. For two people who were used to working with at-risk youth I understand that they were suspicious of Cade. However, neither of them seemed to get over their biased at all to see that he wasn't acting, he wasn't lying, and that he was terrified. Seriously, it made me really wonder for what kind of cop Dara's dad really was--not very good if he can't get a read on a person he is questioning!
I also wonder why nobody thought to take Cade back out to the woods, either to prove or disprove his story. They were so intent on not believing him that they didn't even think he might be telling the truth.
When we got to the reason that Cade's parents took him into the forest I had a hard time buying it, mostly because there were two people making the decision. I can understand the knowledge of what goes on in this world, and what could possible go on, weighing a person down so much that they feel the need to escape. However, I have a husband to balance me out and family to talk me out of anything rash. It's interesting that Cade's father just went along with it. We don't learn much about him though.
I didn't like the ending. There will be a spoiler here so highlight if you want to read it:I just don't think Cade could go back. He knows too much now, let alone the fact that what his parents thought would happen, didn't. He also has felt love and knows there are other people who care about him in the world now. I don't think he could last back out in the wild. It would make for an interesting sequel if he decided to come be part of civilization.
To Sum Up:
Interesting read that I think will be a big hit with my middle schoolers--romance and adventure and taming a wild boy--it has a lot of attractive elements!Book from my school library collection.
5 soft and spicy gingersnaps.
I love this cover and one thing I realized is that each pair of skaters is modeled after a romantic pairing in the book!Why I Wanted to Read This:
I love little Christmas stories so I checked this out, but wasn't sure I would actually get it read. Then I read the forward and when Stephanie Perkins talked about her love for cheesy Christmas movies and how that brought about the idea for this book I knew I had to read it!Romance?:
In every story!My Thoughts:
This book is wonderful and perfect for the Christmas season. Magical things can happen during Christmas and that's what this book reminds us.
There are a few YA authors with stories in this book that I haven't read before and this allowed me to sample their writing. In particular, my favorite story was the one by Kiersten White. I have always meant to read her books but just haven't gotten around to it. I think I will give them a try now because I loved her story. Same with Matt de la Pena's story.
All in all, there wasn't a story in this book that I didn't like. I whipped through it and was sorry to see it end!To Sum Up:
Wonderful Christmas romance story anthology. One I can see myself re-reading each holiday season!
3 soft snickerdoodles.
No, but I saw there were several editions of this book and many other great covers.Why I Wanted to Read This:
My library has a bunch of Jacqueline Woodson books and I keep meaning to read some of them. I saw mention of this one in an article so I went to my shelves right then and checked it out. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
Marie, the only black girl in the eighth grade willing to befriend her white classmate Lena, discovers that Lena's father is doing horrible things to her in private.Romance?:
You know, when I, as an adult, hear a story about a kid keeping a monumental secret I can't help but wonder "why didn't they say anything?" But I am older and have more experience with life so it would seem natural to me to tell or to get help. It's not natural to kids and when they have a friend telling them something that they absolutely cannot tell anyone else, then they don't.
This book was written in the 90's but Marie's father remembers too well segregation and blacks struggling to be considered equal, so he is suspicious of all whites, including Lena. Mostly he is worried that Marie will end up hurt by Lena somehow. But as the cover says "friendship is more than skin deep" and that's really true in this book. Not only are they girls different colors, but different socio-economic classes as well. That was also worrisome for Marie's father. Really they have two hurdles to overcome.
The ending was interesting because sometimes people come in and out of your life quickly. The sad part is that while you, as a reader, hope that Lena and Dion (her sister) make it to a better life, the reality is that they probably ended up somewhere worse. If only a grown up had known what was going on...To Sum Up:
This is one of the types of books that kids in my library enjoy because it gives them a glimpse of a life that most of them don't experience. Now that I have read it I can book talk it effectively and I know that I will have several interested readers. And that this can spark some great conversations!Book from my school library.
5 soft and warm chocolate chips cookies.
Yes! Fits in perfectly with the other one and shows so much without showing anything.
Why I Wanted to Read This:
I adored the first book. So much action! Such an interesting premise. Couldn't wait for this one! I begged any and all Random House people I knew for a copy, then waited to read it because now I know I have to wait even longer for book #3, which is called CALAMITY. Perfect! You can click here for the synopsis
, but I don't want to post it in case you haven't read Steelheart. (Click here for my review of that one
So, or at least talk of feelings and stuff. We do see Megan again and the reunion is happy, and sad, and mixed and wonderful.
I was so excited when I finally got a copy of this in the mail. I feel like this is a series being overlooked by many. It is so action packed and the premise is so amazing and David is so noble. I just loved Steelheart. (In fact, it was in my Scholastic book fair this fall and we sold out of it the first day because I gushed so much when I booktalked it to my students). But, for all that, I took my time getting into this book. Steelheart had me from the first few pages and while this one did too, I felt moved slower when David and the Prof headed off to Balibar. However, the last quarter went so fast I want to go back and re-read it to make sure there wasn't any little thing I missed!
David learned so much more about Epics, what caused them, how to kill them and maybe, just maybe, how to make them into heroes. A lot of questions were answered and David is kind of, maybe, set up to be something way more than he thought he was--maybe the Savior of them all? All Epics should fear him now! The set up for the third book is amazing. Sparks! I wish I had waited to read this whole series after all of them were out.
This is one world where it would be interesting to see other cities and other people planning on fighting the Epics. There have got to be more people out there learning all they can as well.
And Calamity. We finally find out a little more about that. And wow, mind blowing (ours and David's!). The thing is, there is hope that all of this could be over and maybe there will be Epics that turn good and maybe, the population can get rid of the bad ones, however, the world is still a mess. I would feel like giving up for sure if I was part of this world.To Sum Up:
Action packed, character driven story that fans of Steelheart will love! Can't wait for book three!
Book requested and received from Random House. Thanks so much!
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Going into last summer I was in a reading slump. There was so much to read but nothing was really keeping my attention. There were a few I read that I enjoyed a lot, but overall it was a slow reading summer and a slow reading year. In the past I have set a summer goal of 30 to 35, this past summe rI read 12. TWELVE books. Sheesh!!My True Love Gave To Me Side Effects May VaryDorothy Must DieFirefightHalf BadThe SwapThe Fault in Our StarsThe Shadow ThroneEleanor & Park
But this fall I kind of readjusted my thinking. My priorities have shifted a bit and if I don;t get everything read and reviewed I am finding ways to be okay with that. I only read 55 books this year, my lowest in the past 8 years by far, but that's ok too. My main goal each year is a book a week. My lofty goal is 100. I completed my main goal and I am okay with that.
My favorite books of the year were: (links take you to my reviews)
These are all five cookie books except for Half-Bad. That is my only four cookie book on this list. I added it because the world Sally Green created was so interesting and I am highly anticipating the sequel (which is on my Nook right now so I will be able to continue on soon!). There were several other four cookie books I read, but these are the ones that really stand out for me.
I also discovered I didn't review Eleanor & Park even though it was one of my favorite reads. Maybe I will have to do that sometime this year.
Coming up...my 2015 reading goals.
How did you do in 2014?