Sunday, March 29, 2009

In My Mailbox - March 29

This insight into my mailbox is brought to you courtesy of the Story Siren. Check out her blog for more books to add to your TBR pile!

Books I Bought:

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare


Although not the best books I've ever read, the Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare, are entertaining. I borrowed the first two from the library but we didn't have City of Glass and I wont get it till sometime late in April. So I bought this one. And read it in two days. I still love Simon.

Pure by Terra Elan McVoy


WORD bookstore is hosting YA Not - Introducing a new event series at WORD: YA NOT? A literary salon for not-so-young adults. This series seeks to bring YA writers, editors, librarians, teachers, and other not-so-young adults who love teen fiction all together to talk about fantastic YA books, why we love them, and how we can spread them as far as possible. (Teens welcome too, of course!) I dont actually live in Brooklyn but thought I'd read the books they are talking about as part of my own personal bookclub. Follow the events on Facebook.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


I love LHA! Each book I read brings new insights. The only problem I'm having is I brought this to school and one of the students "borrowed" it when I wasn't looking. I won't see her again until Tuesday! She will pay!

Evermore by Alyson Noel


I love the cover of this one. Unfortunately also borrowed from me!

Death Run by Jack Higgins


I loved Sure Fire. One of the 7th grade students gave a book talk on it and I bought it and read it right away. I just donated it to the library. Saw this one and bought. I will be reading it soon.

The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston


The cover is very eye-catching. It also goes along with my personal multicultural challenge, which I'm doing well on.

Books I begged for:

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (ARC)
pub. date - May 2009


I requested this one because the girl, Kyra, visits the book mobile, or Mobile Library on Wheels. When I was a kid, that's how I got my books. It was so awesome. It's part of the reason I became a librarian.

Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee


I actually won this one from Laura from Laura's Review Bookshelf. Love the cover and look forward to reading. BTW, she also included chocolate truffles. Enter her contests, they are worth it.

Books I Borrowed:
I bought these for our school library as two series I think boys might be interested in. The Ordinary Boy series appears to be for middle grades and the Young Samurai is YA. I took them home to read and then I will give them to specific boys to see what they think.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface


The first book is actually called The Hero Revealed. There are 3 books in the series so far and we own the first two. When I place my April order, I will order the third one. I hope to have them all read by summer.

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford


That cover is super fantastic! I think this book would also be a welcome addition to 7th grade Social Studies when they study early Japan.

Well, that's all I have. A good week but now I need to get reading!

What's in your mailbox?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Five

I'm not sure who started this meme but I saw here and liked the sound of it. Cheryl Herbsman is the author of Breathing, which comes out April 16th. Our 7/8 Non-Fiction teacher does a Friday Five also. The students write down and talk about their five favorite what have yous. Mine will just be five things I'm thinking about!

1. City of Glass - bought this and almost done with it. We have the other two at school and I will definitely have to purchase this. A few twists and turns and some predictability too. I have about 40 pages left.

2. Rock Band - played this once. It's FUN! Look forward to not being the only grown up playing tonight, hopefully! :)

3. Spring Break - best thing about April! Perks of working in a school. Really need it right now.

4. @Bizarrobama - FUNNY STUFF. Follow him on twitter!

5. Old Books - what do you do with yours? I've tried sending them to Powell's - still waiting to see if they received the books. Tried Bookmooch - takes too long and too much work going to and from the post office. Plus, no one seems to have the books I want!! Should I just give them away? Really trying to cut down on buying books but not sure I can. Patience is lacking.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Waiting on Wednesday comes to you courtesy of Breaking the Spine. One of the books I'm eagerly awaiting is

Because I am Furniture
Thalia Chaltas
Pub Date: April 16, 2009


Two reasons I want this book: 1 - Cool cover and 2 - the title totally reminds me of I am the Wallpaper by Mark Peter Hughes and it would be cool to have furniture and wallpaper...I know, it sounds crazy...

Here's a review from Publisher's Weekly:
Chaltas's novel of poems marks an intensely powerful debut. Anke and her older siblings, Darren and Yaicha, may appear typical teenagers in public, but their home life is dominated by their father. Though he is verbally, physically and sexually abusive to her brother and sister, Anke seems beyond his notice (“with a sick/ acidic/ burbling/ bile/ i want what they have/ as horrible/ curdling/ vile/ as it is/ darren and yaicha/ get more/ than/ me”). The distance between the family members—separated by their silence—is palpable, as is Anke's growing sense of strength, partly due to her participation in volleyball at school (“My lungs are claiming expanding territory./ This is my voice./ This is MY BALL”). Though the pace is quick, tension builds slowly, almost agonizingly, as acts of abuse collect (a large bruise glimpsed on Darren's torso, muffled sounds from Yaicha's room that can't be tuned out). Readers will recognize the inevitability of an explosive confrontation, but the particulars will still shock. Incendiary, devastating, yet—in total—offering empowerment and hope, Chaltas's poems leave an indelible mark.

Now doesn't that make you want to read it!!??! I swear, my Spring Break list is gonna be so long I'm not gonna get ANY cleaning done!!

What's in your mailbox?

Monday, March 23, 2009

In My Mailbox - March 22

This is where I give you the lowdown on books I received the preceding week. I got the idea from The Story Siren who always has wonderful books listed here.

Books I borrowed:
I'm doing some reading for 8th Grade Book Talks that I will give after break. I'm especially trying to find books that would be appealing to boys.

Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

Dope Sick

This was good, I read it in one day. I'm sure the students will love it.

Mutiny: A Novel of the Bounty by John Boyne


I haven't read Boy in the Striped Pajamas yet but the students seemed to enjoy it. I thought this would be a good one to add to our library and for boys looking for a challenge.

The Taker by JM Steele

The Taker

The students loved The Market by this writing team. I thought it was ok. I figured I'd add this to their list of choices.

Books I Bought:
Yes, I swear I'm trying to quit, I just don't have enough patience to wait for the library!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Forest of Hands and Teeth

Everyone was raving about this so I wanted to see what the hype was. Finished it quickly, lots of great writing to entice students.

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith


Book Chic recommends this one. When Book Chic speaks...well as you can see I bought it!

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell


Found this one on Guys Lit Wire. Thought I'd test their knowledge. I'll let you know what I think.

Books I Begged for:

Ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley
ARC - July 2009


My daughter loved Ghostgirl and begged me to beg for this one. I did and Little, Brown on Facebook came through! They rock.

Birthday Book!
Defining Moments in Books

Defining Moments

Future author Candice Beelaert gave me this for my birthday. It's sooo cool. It spans books published in the early 1900s til 2006. It talks about Key Characters, Key Authors, Key Lines, Key Books, etc. You don't have to read it in order and it can be picked up and put down at will. Tres awesome!

Well, that's all for me!

What's in your mailbox!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Short Vacation - March 13 - March 22, 2009

The Brainlair will be taking a week off to get some school work done. She will see you back here on Sunday, March 22, 2008 with In Your Mailbox. Thanks for stopping by and please come back Sunday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer
by Patrick Ness
Publication date: September 2009

I can't believe this isn't coming out until September!! The UK gets it in May. This may not be the final cover, since this is the UK version. You can read an excerpt of this on Patrick Ness' site. I totally snagged this cover from Mr. Ness' site too! We loved The Knife of Never Letting Go and because of the cliffhanger ending, we need to read The Ask and the Answer to find out what happens to Todd.

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to you courtesy of Breaking the Spine, here.

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In My Mailbox - March 8

This is where I give you a glimpse of the books I've acquired in the past week. Thanks to the Story Siren for the idea. Find more details, here.

Books I bought:
I promised myself not to buy a lot of books because I want to start using the library more and saving money for future things. These are some books that I've wanted for awhile and many were in the bargain bin!

Me, The Missing and The Dead by Jenny Valentine

and the dead

This has been on my list since the past summer. I bought it so that I can read it over spring break.

The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo

The Alchemist

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This one's on my classics to read list.

and the dead

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

While I'm not a fanatic, I have enjoyed extensions of Austen's work, such as, The Jane Austen Book Club and Austenland. This seemed like a worthy addition.

The Last Summer

The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares
I am intrigued by this cover. And it was only 5.98!


Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis
This one was only 4.98. It was on a book club reading list too. Thought I'd check it out. Prolly won't read until summer though.


There's No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern
Another book club pick and only 5.98. Like the shoes on the cover. Seems to have more than one title though, saw it listed as A Place Like Here. Also, she wrote PS I Love You, which I didn't read but I liked the movie.

Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
AS King seems like an awesome person. She is on Facebook and Twitter. She has a cool website with a kick a** trailer and she's always running contests. But most important, WE HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY!!! I admit, I'm a tad older than she is, but you can't have it all. Come and join our birthday bash on Tuesday on Facebook! I can't wait to read this!!

In Between

In Between by Jenny B. Jones As part of a challenge by Laurie Halse Anderson to support your local indie bookstore, I bought this book at my church bookstore. It looks like a lot of fun. The main character, Katie Parker, has a great voice filled with sarcasm, my favorite type of voice. I've previewed a few chapters and it's fast and easy. I look forward to reading it over spring break. Here's chapter one for your perusal.

Soul Tracker

Soul Tracker by Bill Myers
This is another indie pick. This is actually an MP3 download though. It's available from Zondervan through symtio. You purchase a card with details on back and then you download from their website. You can purchase ebooks too! You can read an excerpt and then check out other titles here.

Books I borrowed:

I borrowed quite a few books, but in the interest of time, I'm just going to list them. You can get more information about them at Book Blather.

The Makedown by Gitty Daneshavri
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot

Books I begged for:


The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

I won this book in a contest from Kid's Book Club Book's online site. They published a book for children to help them do their own book clubs, complete with recipes. In addition to the giveways, they host recommendations from other children. They also help you do a phone call interview with an author! Check it out!

Well, that's all for this week. I'd better get reading!

What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book Discussion Groups

OMW! Each group has read and discussed two books so far. It has been crazy trying to keep up and, like the students, when I have to do something it takes me a lot longer! Here are some updates:

6th Grade


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson - overall the students loved it and thought it was the best book they've ever read. Some of the students thought Isabel should have been happy being a slave because "that was her place". So we had a big discussion about what they meant by that. Very eye-opening for me.

Wizard Heir

Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima - most of the group loved this one and two students immediately checked out Dragon Heir because they wanted the rest of the story. The group was mixed on whether you could read these books separately or if you needed to read book one to get the full idea of what was going on. Two students didn't like the book - one because she "doesn't like fantasy". We decided to define what we meant by "fantasy" and ran out of time. We are having an extra meeting to continue our discussion.

Next meeting: Counter Clockwise by Jason Cockcroft

7th Grade


Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Boys and girls raved over this one. The gentlemen were skeptical because of the soft colors in the cover. But every person loved this one (20 students!). They argued over whether Katsa and Po should have gotten married, though! They all had great reasons for their position and I pointed them to the website and to their parents! With more time I would have taken a poll on family backgrounds! Not really, J/K!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


No love for this one except for a handful of the students. They didn't get it. These are students who also didn't love the Martian Chronicles. I was hoping to turn them around with this choice but it backfired. They requested something totally different for their next book. Cie la vie!

Next meeting: Epic by Conor Kostick

8th Grade

Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The conversation was fast and furious and went from beginning of the book, to end, to middle and back again. We discussed how the hits just kept coming for Todd but you couldn't stop reading because you just kept believing the hope was coming. They were outrage over the dog and the end. We were left wondering how in the heck did the Mayor do what he did? And the most important question of all - When is the sequel coming out!?!? Check out next week's Waiting on Wednesday for the answer!!

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


It was close to being unanimous - they loved this book. I had one student say it was too slow and she could not get into it. The rest wanted to know if we could watch the movie. We talked about why no one stepped in and rescued Lily. Why it was hard to remember her name - was it the author's way of making it easier more realistic because you could substitute for anyone? We talked about which of the Month sisters we associated with and if we would have had the guts to do what May did. Great discussion.

Next meeting: Separate Peace by John Knowles

I'll be back next month with more news from the groups.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Willow by Julia Hoban


by Julia Hoban

Publication Date: April 2009


This i politely borrowed from the Penguin site:

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.
Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl’s struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy’s refusal to give up on her.

Ms. Hoban sent me an email with a PDF of the full cover - it is totally badass and makes you want to run out and get the book NOW. But you can't because it doesn't come out until April. It will be my spring break though. I promise to read one book per day!! This being one of them!!

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In My Mailbox - March 1

My mailbox was pretty empty this week, boo. That's ok though, I have to catch up on my reading. If you want to see what's in other people's mailboxes, check out The Story Siren, she got 35 books this week!!!

Books I borrowed:

Wondrous Strange by Leslie Livingston

Wondrous Strange

I love the cover of this book. It kinda reminds me of the Wicked Lovely books. I bought it for our school library and decided I should be the first to read it so I brought it home to read!!

You can check out a trailer for the book on Lesley's website.

Books I begged for:

Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin
I totally loved this book. I read it the day I received the ARC from Little, Brown on Facebook. Fade to Blue is not only the title, it tells the story of two characters in the book, Kenny Fade and Sophie Blue. The chapter titles were pretty cool because they go from 0 and count up, then there's a comic, and then it counts down to 0 again. All 3 stories are related. We follow Sophie as she tries to figure out what happened to her dad and why is that psycho ice cream truck always following her! If you like smart, funny reads loaded with pop culture, music references, and sarcasm this is your book. It also has virtual reality and comix! What, what! I have to wait to write a full review because one of my former students snagged my ARC and ran off with it! Please stay tuned for more exciting information!

PS - I snagged the cover from Sean Beaudoin's Facebook fansite because I couldn't find one at my usual source!

PPS: You can read an excerpt, here!

So, what's in your mailbox?


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