Last Five Posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog Tour - Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmesab and Darcy Vance

geekgirlsguidetocheerleadingI am so excited to interview Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance - authors of Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading. GGG was released in May and the ladies have been pretty busy. They've spent most of June showing up at a variety of blogs and here you can find out a little more about them!

Readin'
The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading
Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
Simon Pulse
324 pgs
Time: 3 hrs

Summary - from book jacket
When Bethany -- self-proclaimed geek girl -- makes the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there's one thing worse than blending in with the lockers: getting noticed. She always felt comfortable as part of the nerd herd, but being a member of the most scrutinized group in her school is weighing her down like a ton of textbooks. Even her Varsity Cheerleading Guide can't answer the really tough questions, like: How do you maintain some semblance of dignity while wearing an insanely short skirt? What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party? And how do you know if your crush likes you for your mind...or your pom-poms?

One thing's for sure: It's going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.

charitytahmaseb and darcyvanceAn Interview with authors Charity Tahmaseb (C) and Darcy Vance (D)

1. Urban Fantasy and paranormal are really hot in the YA book world right now. Have either of you ever written, or considered writing, a book in either of those genres?

C: A (long) while back, I wrote a paranormal romantic mystery from the point of view of a ghost who was haunting his ex-wife (whom he still loved very much). Despite the fact I consider myself genre savvy, I completely missed the memo about the alpha male in paranormal romance. No one wanted a metrosexual ghost who eventually learned how to manifest in his favorite Armani suit. That, and I totally messed up the whole ghost/human happily ever after. #paranormalfail

D: The first novel-length fiction I wrote contained some magical elements, but it was really more of a ‘quest’ story. The third novel I wrote had some spooky stuff going on in it, but it all turned out to be explainable in the end. I’ve had an idea about a girl who can fly stuck in my head for about four years now – but so far I can’t get her to come out.

2. Do either of you read urban fantasy or paranormal? If yes, who are your favorite authors in the genre?

C: Melissa Marr’s and Libba Bray’s series are on the top of my list. Also, in looking at my reading log, I seem to have a fondness for dystopian fiction (The Hunger Games, How I Live Now, Life As We Knew It). I also really enjoyed Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.

D: I love Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series but I liked Peeps even more! I’m also a pretty big fan of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle books. I’ve been pretty busy lately so I haven’t read A Sweet Far Thing yet though. I’m excited to say it is next on my To Be Read pile!

3. Did you read Urban Fantasy or paranormal books when you were a teen?

C: I loved the Chronicles of Narnia. I’m not sure The Lord of the Rings trilogy qualifies, since I didn’t read that until college. What’s great is I’m revisiting Narnia with my kids. My daughter in particular is very taken with the series.

D: Urban fantasy is a fairly new genre, and I’m a fairly old person. I did read a lot of other fantasy though. I loved Mary Stewart’s series about Merlin. And, as a certified geek, I am required by law to be a Lord of the Rings fan. (I’d be a fan even if it wasn’t required though – Frodo Lives!)

4. If you were required to place a paranormal element in The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading what would it be?

C: When my son took an ARC of The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading to school to show teachers/friends, the girl who sat next to him in orchestra asked why we didn't "write something like Twilight.” So … I’m going with vampires. I’m not sure how we’d get them into the story, but we’d get them in there.

D: I think I’d choose to have Elizabeth Bennet’s (From Pride and Prejudice) ghost following our main character (Bethany) around. She could give her some really great advice, though I think there are things in the modern world that Lizzie would not approve of.

5. Unicorns versus zombies?

C: Since I am a charter member of the “Unicorn Sisters Club” (as started by my daughter), I’m going to have go with unicorns. Besides, zombies scare me.

D: I <3 zombies but I have to take unicorns for the win. They are faster! And they have horns!

Read Chapter 1 of Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading!

Rithmetic
I really enjoyed this book. I was expecting fluff but got a wonderful full-fledged story instead. The romance between Bethany and Jack was well-developed. You were able to see how both of them changed and became more sure of themselves. The book was fun and funny. Lot's of great one-liners and the cheers really brought back my past! I would have liked a better cover - the girl on the back looks to old to be in high school. Other than that, highly recommended. I give Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading 4 copies.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Monday, What Are You Reading - 6/29

WAYR629
It's Monday, What Are You Reading is the place I try to decide how I'm going to spend my week and is hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Lately, I haven't been meeting my goals. So during What Are You Reading 6/22, I decided to stop looking at the number of books I read and focus instead on how many pages I've read. Let's see how I did:

Finished
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (330) - read it in two sittings!
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog (248) - loved this one!
The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul (180/390) - I reviewed The Vanishing Sculptor and have a copy to giveaway.
The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand (111/359)- blog tour July 9th and Contest Monday July 13th.
ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley (328) - Contest Monday giveaway - tomorrow!
Game On! Diet Challenge by Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson - I reviewed Game On! and talked about how I'm going to try and incorporate this with some other bloggers.

How did I do? I read 1,295 pgs and 3 of 4 books I wanted to finish plus 2 other books! I'm predicting a comeback!

Abandoned
Being Nikki by Meg Cabot - I just didn't want to put any more time into reading this. I feel so much better!

Started
Emma by Jane Austen (12/438)
The Heights by Brian James (17/246)
The Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiana (26/269)
Wings by Aprilynne Pike (43/290)

Upcoming
This week I want to start my Shakespearean Summer Challenge, Everything Jane Austen Challenge, and read some of my library books. I have 32 books checked out!!!!!! Luckily, I only work 2 days this week (yeah!) although I do have homework (boo!). Ok, here's what I'm thinking:

Emma by Jane Austen (426/438) - love Austen!
The Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiana (243/269)- Library book (lb)
Wings by Aprilynne Pike (247/290)- lb
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (100) - lb and I can finally read
Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (134) -lb and Are You My Newbery?
The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu (246) -lb and homework
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (287) - No Fear Shakespeare version with complete text and side by side translation!

Ok, that's 1,683 pgs - 667 more than last week. I should be able to do it though! Right?

What Are You Reading?


In My Mailbox - June 29

InMyMailbox629
I'm running three steps behind everyone this week. Need to take a breather! In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Each week I give you an extra special glimpse into what books have made their way into my house! We talk about books we bought, borrowed, or begged someone to send!

Bought
I had book lust this week and plunked down some cold hard cash for:

Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie - Word Ninja Ink. author!
When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright - bought one for Color Online and got myself one too!
Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart - to show that book bloggers can make a difference
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog - another Word Ninja Ink. author!

Borrowed
When The Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton - great reviews and possible Newbery
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mic Cochrane - possible Newbery
Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell- looks fun

Begged
Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond - won on Twitter - great cover and summary
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima - Wo0t!
Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick - won in contest
Zombie Love T-shirt - won in contest

Course, at this moment, I have no idea when I will get to these books! Check out It's Monday, What Are You Reading if you want to know what books I'm focusing on.

Review - Game on! Diet by Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson

GameOn Diet Readin'
The Game on! Diet
Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson
HarperCollins

Writin'
A new way to get healthy for those of us who love a little competition! As I mentioned in my Friday Five, June 26, I heard about this through The Book Club Girl. I read most of the book online and am waiting for the print version to be released. You and your team members earn points each day. The most you can earn is 100 pts.

The Good - earning points daily for:

  • Eating - 5 meals

  • Exercising - 20 min

  • Sleeping - 7 hrs

  • Drinking - 3 ltrs water

  • Dropping a bad habit

  • Adding a good habit

  • Talking to ur friends(and enemies!)


The Bad - losing points daily for:

  • Weighing yourself - more than once

  • Snacking - in between meals

  • Trickstering - with the enemy

  • Drinking - alcohol that is!

  • Changing your dropped/added habits

The Pretty - cool stuff:

  • You get a day off!

  • You get a meal off!

  • You can get a 100 cal bonus!

  • Focuses more on being healthy than losing weight!

  • If you do lose at least 1% of your weight per week - you get bonus pts!

  • It's only four weeks!
There are 3 teams playing this game for the next four weeks. Most of them are book bloggers!! If you want to follow our conversations look for the #gameondiet hashtag at Twitter!

The Ho-hos
Gung Ho-ho (that's me) - @thebrainlair
The Starr Ho-ho
Bros b4 Ho-ho
The Dirty Ho-ho
Vasilly - 1330V Blog

The Twinkies

Dawn – She is Too Fond of Books
Jenners – Find Your Next Book Here
Jenn – Jenn’s Bookshelf
Candace – Beth Fish Reads
Denise – M. Denise C.


The Ding Dongs

Tina – Book Chatter and Other Stuff
Amy – My Friend Amy
Jill/Softdrink – Fizzy Thoughts
Jill – Rhapsody in Books
Julie - Booking Mama

My team, the Ho-hos, are mostly friends from Facebook so I will be chronicling our trials over on The Brainlair's Facebook page. I will post my challenges and victories on there and will include a wrap-up here.

My new habit will be decluttering my house in order to have a graduation party for myself! I get my Master's in Library Science (MLS) in August complete with a School Media Specialist certification. This will allow me to keep my current job (yay!) as well as qualify me for some public library positions (double yay!). My dropped habit will be using technology after 9pm. I use the computer for school, work, blogging, twittering, facebooking, etc! It has become way too important!! So, I really need to cut out some time!

'Rithmetic
I really enjoyed the portions of this book that I had a chance to read. The authors sound like friends of mine instead of "experts". The book included excerpts from others who've played the game as well as emails from past games the author has played. I found I hated reading online though. The font size wasn't adjustable and the print was very light. It did help us to get a jump start on the game though, since the book doesn't officially release until June 30th. You can no longer look inside the book but you can read an excerpt on The Maplewood Boot Camp blog. They've included a video from the authors as well as a score sheet and a menu for the first week.

I can't wait to receive this book and really start the contest in earnest. I recommend it whether you want to lose weight or just get back to healthier eating. It also helps you examine your values and actions when determining your habits to drop/add. What are you doing that interferes with the values you set for yourself and your family? Plus, I can still drink coffee!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review - ghostgirl and ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley

ghostgirlReadin'
ghostgirl
Tonya Hurley
Little, Brown
328 p.
3 hrs.


ghostgirl: Homecoming
Tonya Hurley
Little, Brown
284 p.
2hr. 15 min.
ghostgirlhomecoming


Writin'
In ghostgirl we met Charlotte and she'd totally transformed her life. New hair, new makeup, new clothes, new attitude...she was going to conquer senior year! And Damen. Damen is the most popular guy in the school and Charlotte has a huge crush on him. She's assigned to be his lab partner but then things go wrong. Dead wrong.

In ghostgirl: homecoming we are re-introduced to Scarlet, Charlotte's possession buddy. Scarlet's sister, Petula, gets a staph infection and is in the hospital. She's in a coma and they are not sure she'll get better. Scarlet decides to find Charlotte so that she can help her save Petula.

'Rithmetic
ghostgirl starts out strong: great premise, funny writing but then it kinda dwindles. Each part of the story is interesting: changing your life for someone else, dead education to help you cross over, trying to possess someone to get what you want, and a haunted house halloween party. Would probably have been better as four separate books. Also, Hurley seems to be cutting down a variety of people but I hope it's just some sort of tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. My main problem with ghostgirl is I didn't really feel a connection with any of the characters.

ghostgirl: homecoming featured much tighter writing. As with ghostgirl, there's more than one story line but Hurley is able to keep you focused on the main one. We get a better picture of Scarlet and understand that her trying to save Petula is motivated by her insecurity in her new relationship. This was a much better and faster read.

I give both books 1 copy. I'll get 1 copy of ghostgirl: homecoming and we already have ghostgirl.

Want to win a copy of ghostgirl and ghostgirl: homecoming? Check out Contest Monday!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Five - June 26

NothingButGhosts
Hello All! I hope you all had a wonderful week. Mine has been very busy. I've only had time to finish 2 books so far this week. I drive to/from Indy for class tomorrow and am hoping to get an audio book in!

1. Sadness - can u believe both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died this week? It makes me feel old as I grew up listening to Michael as part of the Jackson 5 (yes, I'm that old) and watching Charlie's Angels. I have a pic of me and 2 teacher friends dressed alike and doing the classic Angels pose. I'll have to try and find it.

2. ADD Meds? - This has been a tough year for me and it's only June. I'm ADD and my meds have lost their effectiveness. I've known this for awhile but it was really brought home when a friend mentioned that normally I'm keeping him on track and he wanted to know what was wrong! I use a non-stimulant and am reluctant to go to a stimulant so have been ignoring the problem. Anyone have any good stories/websites before I make an appt?

GameOnDiet3. Game On Diet - Heard about this via @BookClubGirl and was intrigued. I was reading the book online and decided to form a team and join the challenge. Reading is not a full-body sport! These past 3 yrs have seen some weight increases that I only fully acknowledged in a pic of me last week. Yes, I knew it was happening but I hadn't seen it! I'm very adept at avoiding mirrors! Anywho, we will be going against 2 other teams formed by She Is Too Fond Of Books. Look for our posts on Monday!

4. Contests - I am running contests each Monday until I don't know when. I start back full-time August 10 so at least until then. I have some ideas of books I will be giving away. Check out the link and tell me what you think. Also, take a look in the left sidebar for a few other contest ideas!

5. Book Sales - @myfriendamy and @lenoreva are running an experiment to see if book blogging actually increases book sales. They are asking u to buy a copy of Beth Kephart's Nothing But Ghosts. My Friend Amy has a review and info about the drive and Presenting Lenore has an interview and a review. They have some really nice prizes. If you were buying the book anyway, why not do it now and enter their contest?!?

Enjoy your weekend. I have a few reviews coming up, including one for an abandoned book! Which book couldn't I finish? Tune in to find out! LOL!

ps - someone asked about those nav tabs at the top but I can't find ur email but if you go here, you will find great tips on that sorta stuff, specially since GoofyGirl actually did mine!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What My Daughter is Reading - June 25


What My Daughter is Reading is brought to you courtesy of Jill at The Well-Read Child.

The Amazing Dancer is out of town. I won't see her until Sunday. We've communicated on Facebook and txt. Course when I reminded her to wear sunblock (on Facebook) I got the typical teenage response - OMG! MOM! Hey, I just want her to be safe!

This week she is reading Hero-Type by Barry Lyga. On the one hand, I'm glad she's reading while hanging with her cousins but on the other hand, I haven't read this yet. She also took two other books: Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading (great book) and Hunger (I'm sad cuz I wanna read it).

Anywho, that's what's on The Amazing Dancer's plate. Makes me wanna go read now...

Blog Tour And Giveaway- The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul

Vanishing SculptorReadin'
The Vanishing Sculptor
Donita K. Paul
Waterbrook/Multnomah
Pgs: 398

Writin'
22 yr old Tipper is not sure what to do. Her father disappeared long ago leaving Lady Peg, and her, with the care and upkeep their estate, Byrdschopen. Tipper keeps hoping her father will appear as the money is starting to run out and she has had to sell some of sculptures to pay the servants and buy food. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse Tipper's father, Verrin Schope, returns. Sort of. He had been whisked away to a gateway that has become unstable. This unstableness meant that he could disappear again at any moment. Each disappearance/reappearance degraded Schope's health and he needed to find three of his sculptures to stay in this world. Unfortunately, Tipper had not only sold the sculptures, she didn't know who the final recipients were. Tipper, Verrin Schope, and Bec, her parrot guardian set out on a quest to retrieve the sculptures before it's too late.

Rithmetic'
Donita K. Paul introduces us to a world that is not quite different enough to make us forget our own. Couple that with a host of characters and the reader spends a lot of time trying to organize things. This proved to be distracting at times. As this was my first encounter with Paul's work, I'm convinced that being unfamiliar with her writing style was what stopped me from fully immersing myself in The Vanishing Sculptor.

Overall I give The Vanishing Sculptor 1 copy. I will purchase it for the school library but I will only booktalk it to specific audiences.

Author Talk
DonitaPaul Donita K. Paul is a retired teacher and author of numerous novellas, short stories, and eight novels, including the best-selling DragonKeeper Chronicles, a series which has sold more than a quarter million books to date. The winner of multiple awards, she lives in Colorado Springs , Colorado , where she spends time mentoring and encouraging young writers. Visit her online at donitakpaul.com.

You can also find Donita K. Paul on Goodreads.

I have ONE copy of this book to giveaway! Just leave a comment and your name will be entered into a drawing! US residences only. The contest will run until July 8th, 11:59 PM, EST! Good luck!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Sent

Sent (The Missing, Book 2)
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon and Schuster
August 29, 2009

I enjoyed the first two books in Haddix's Shadow Children series, Among the Hidden and Among the Imposters. They are short, fast reads. They give students just enough to have a great discussion on right vs wrong, gray areas, and who should be in charge of what.

I'm not a huge series fan, give me a trilogy at best, because I just don't have enough time with all the wonderful books releasing each month! That's the reason I haven't finished The Shadow Children. I know just enough to recommend the first two books and then students decide if they want to continue so I'm good.

Found, the first book in The Missing series, was a huge hit with me and the 6th graders this past school year. It has just enough intrigue, just enough action, just enough history, to make it interesting but not bogged down. Although longer than The Shadow Children books, it is still a fairly fast-paced read!

Sent promises to focus on a few of the characters we met in Found. They are "sent" back to their regular time-period from whence they were kidnapped many years ago. Unfortunately back then, they were supposed to be killed! How will this issue be resolved? We shall see in August!


That's what I'm waiting on, how about you?
For other Waiting picks - see Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Contest Monday - June 22, 2009

Once Dead, Twice Shy


Contestmonday
I'm borrowing this idea from The Shady Glade. Check out her blog for more contests to enter. Every Monday in June I will give away a book. This week I'm giving away


Signed Hardcover of Once Dead, Twice Shy
by Kim Harrison


This is the first in the Madison Avery series and I really enjoyed it. You can read an excerpt at the link as well as browse inside the book. I got it signed during the Supernatural Summer tour.


Rules: US Addresses only. To enter:


+1 - comment with email address telling me why you want this book.
+1 - you start to follow me.
+2 - you are already a follower.


Contest will run until Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 11:59 pm. Remember tell me why you want it and leave your email address. Leave your following information in a second comment. Thanks! Good Luck!

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 6/22

IMWAYR622
Normally I post this over at Book Blather but I've decided I want to do it here instead. Each week bloggers review what books they've finished, started, and what their reading plans are for the upcoming week. I do this because it helps me to see I'm not very good at planning my reading! J/K! If you want to play along, sign up at J. Kaye's Book Blog.




Finished
Lost and Found by Andrew Clements (161) - Great book about twins. One brother's file gets misplaced at school and they decide to take this time to pretend there's only one person not two. Not only does it give them a chance to feel what's it's like NOT being mistaken for someone else but 1/2 the time they don't go to school! Win-win right? Definite school purchase.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (383)- Another Dessen romantic hit. It was awesome. Read my review here. Definite school purchase.

As you see, I didn't finish a single book that was on my original plan list.

Started
Being Nikki by Meg Cabot (124/336) - good but not keeping my interest as well as Airhead.

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand (248/359) - really enjoying this one! If only I didn't have to work!

The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul (210/390) - good but not engrossing. I wrote about it on Sunday Salon.

Upcoming
Well, I feel better when I look at my page count - 1,126! I'm not slacking after all! I'm reading more than my avg 240pg - 4 books per week. I think I'll continue listing page count as it gives me a different perspective.
The Vanishing Sculptor - Blog Tour and Giveaway - June 25

Ghostgirl (328) and Ghostgirl:Homecoming by Tonya Hurley (285) - Author Interview - July 1 Contest Monday - June 29

The Castaways - Blog Tour - July 9 Contest Monday - July 13

Looks like a goal of 1,016 pgs. I should then have time to get caught up on reviews too!


Well, what are you reading this week?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Salon - June 21, 2009



This was not my most productive week. I barely scratched the service on my to-do, to-read, or to-blog lists. I've been watching a lot of DVDs though. I started the first season of Felicity and have been watching Shakespeare Retold - modernized versions of some of Shakespeare's plays. James McAvoy is in the Macbeth one and I do enjoy watching him. He plays Joe Macbeth who's working in a restaurant he hopes to inherit. He decides to have his successor killed so that he doesn't have to wait so long. He sings in this one too!

The best thing I've done this week is participate in the Bloggiesta that was hosted by MawBooks. Even though I didn't get much done, it had me thinking again of the direction I want this blog to take. I'm getting better at reviews - now I just have to start linking them on the review page. I learned alot about favicons, gravatars, commenting as a way to develop relationships, and had The Brain Lair graded.

In terms of reading, today I'm reading The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul.

It's had a very slow start but is finally starting to pick up. In the beginning we meet Tipper, a 22 yr old emerlindian and Bec, a giant parrot. They have been selling her dad's sculptures to keep the estate running. Tipper's dad disappeared about 15 years ago and she and her mother are starting to run out of money and things to sell off.

Thankfully, her dad reappears...but only temporarily. He's caught between two worlds and needs three of his sculptures to help him return fully and completely.

Unfortunately, Tipper doesn't know where those statutes ended up. So Tipper, along with her Dad, Bec and some other characters, two from another world, head on a quest to retrieve the sculptures, repair the gateway and bring her Dad home for good.


I should have this fully read, reviewed and posted by Thursday. I will also host a giveaway.

Happy reading everyone!

Bloggiesta Wrap-up



I didn't accomplish much during my first Bloggiesta! I totally forgot about a couple of parties I needed to attend. I did do three mini-challenges - Gravatar from Hey Lady! WhatchaReading, Grader by BookishRuth and Blogging Tips from Book Blather. I also completed one review.

Far short of my goals but I had a fun weekend. I hope to go back and do more of the mini-challenges. Maybe I will need to do my own personal bloggiest before I go back to work in August! I thank MawBooks and all the other bloggers for this opportunity though. This is something we should do at least twice a year!

In My Mailbox - June 21

BrennanLookHanDionne
In My Mailbox attempts to give the reader a simple glimpse into the books that have made their way into our homes. Check out The Story Siren for information. Books we bought, borrowed, begged for, etc.

Bought
The books I bought were not for me but for Color Online. As part of my 48hbc I pledged a book for their book drive for every book I read. I finished with four books completed. They received:

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
Pemba's Song: A Ghost Story by Marilyn Nelson - here's a review from TheHappyNappyBookseller. I want to read it myself!
Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper - this is the second book in the Hazelwood High Trilogy. I've read this and Tears of a Tiger.

I'd also ordered When the Black Girl Sings by Bill Wright but didn't receive it. I will find a replacement asap!

Borrowed
I really went crazy at the library this week! I see these books that I want and I just grab them - even though I don't have time to read them right now!

Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan - even though that cover is cheesy, the reviews have been encouraging! Check out this one from
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, Schools and other Scary Things by Lenore Look - young girl came into library looking for books with Chinese characters, gave her Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything and grabbed this for myself both brought to my attention, again, by TheHappyNappyBookseller.
Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne - work assignment.
One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte - work assignment
Olympic Dream by Matt Christopher - work assignment
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han - couldn't resist the title!

Begged
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters- for a future Zombie blog tour
Owly by Andy Runton - from The Picnic Basket review for possible school purchase

Summer is usually my time of reading but with this internship, I'm falling behind. It's at least a month after I get a book before I can read it and that's just YA/MG stuff. The adult books are taking me even longer to start reading. I'm looking forward to a late July slowdown!


So, that's what I have. What's in your mailbox?


Friday, June 19, 2009

Review - Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen


Readin'
Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen
Viking/Penguin
383 pgs
4hrs

Writin'
Auden is in between High School and "real life". She decides to take this time to go and visit her dad, stepmom, Heidi, and new baby sister, Thisbe, for the summer. Her hope is that she will have somehting to put into the tacky picture frame her brother sent her. The one that has a picture of him in front of the Taj Mahal and the words THE BEST OF TIMES underneath. She packs up the frame and her textbooks (gotta get a jump on those college classes) and heads to what she hopes will be her first "best of times".

'Rithmetic
So many times I felt this was partially the story of my life, minus the cute boys and cute clothes! I spent a lot of time focused on my school work and then on my family and now my job. Like Auden, the simple act of friendship was very foreign to me.

"I mean, we just figured you thought you were better than us. But maybe you just didn't know how to hang out." (145)

I liked how Dessen had Auden grow, without losing who she was just more of an adding-on, becoming more 3-dimensional, but not someone else. My other favorite person was Maggie. Maggie works in Heidi's shop and is skilled at finding the right outfit for the right person.

"Finding those slim boot cuts for that woman was work. But it was so worth it. Her butt looked great when she left here." (208)

But like all of us, there's more to Maggie, she's going to the same brainiac genius college that Auden will attend. Dessen makes the point that you can be smart and pretty and whatever else you want. You decide.

The story of Eli fit in nicely with Auden's while his brother Jake could have been left out. The Bike Shop boys, Adam and Wallace, and the two other Clementine girls, Esther and Leah all had something to bring to the party.

The story moved at a steady pace and there were so many wonderful lines I had to stop myself from folding down all the pages. The incessant crying of the baby totally reminded me of The Amazing Dancer girl. She never liked sleep, still doesn't. I could relate. I enjoyed the new terminology: store-goers and snack-bang as well as the constant drinking of coffee! This story brought a smile to my face and led to many thoughtful pauses.

I only had one moment of conflict -
SPOILER ALERT
Auden's mom takes care of Heidi's baby so that Auden can go to the fake prom. Now, I'm amiable with my ex and his new wife and children but I draw the line at babysitting them!! Seems like too much especially when they are only a few months old...but that could just be me!
END SPOILER ALERT

Overall, this book was Sarah Dessen's best so far. I recommend it for middle and high school libraries. I give it 4 copies and know they will always be checked out.

Sarah Dessen on YouTube
talking about Along for The Ride
A book trailer .
Answering Questions
Reading an excerpt

Click here to purchase from Powell's.

Bloggiesta - June 19, 2009

Today is the official start of The Bloggiesta. My goal during this time is to catch up on my reviews, clean up my labels, make reviews easier to find, update my read-it list, add some scrolling bars, make sure I've accepted and acknowledged any awards, create some templates to make posting easier, and do some blog planning!

I won't be spending much time visibly today so let me announce some contest winners. Books will be mailed out Saturday, June 20th!

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Gunn - Lenore and StampedWithGrace

Signed ARC of The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong - Linna

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, Pemba's Song by Marilyn Nelson, Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper, and an unnamed book - Color Online for their Summer Book Drive and my completing the 48hbc.

Ok, hopefully you will soon see the results of this @Bloggiesta! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Pop by Gordon Korman

Waiting on Wednesday gives me an opportunity to let you know what books I'm looking forward to, in addition to the ones on my Wanna Read It list. Cause, I can never have too many books!!

This WOW is brought to you courtesy of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Pop
Gordon Korman
August 25, 2009

I'm a fan of Gordon Korman - loved No More Dead Dogs, The Everest Trilogy, The On The Run Series, and the Kidnapped Series as well as The Son of the Mob books and my favorite Born To Rock. If you are looking for a good audiobook - Check out Born to Rock - it...rocks! Gordon rights good middle school fiction!

Here's the Amazon teaser of this one:
When Marcus moves to a new town, he doesn’t have any friends. While practicing football for impending tryouts, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with former NFL star Charlie Popovich, nicknamed “The King of Pop”. Charlie is a charismatic prankster, and the best football player Marcus has ever seen. But when his behavior starts getting more and more erratic, Marcus learns the secret that Charlie’s family is desperate to hide: Charlie is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s from the concussions he sustained while playing professional football.

Sounds awesome! Although, IMHO, Gordon you need a new website!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Book Arrived - Along for The Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for The Ride
Sarah Dessen
Viking/Penguin
pgs. 383

Yeah! It's finally here. This was one of my WoW posts back in February. I've enjoyed quite a few of @SarahDessen's books - Just Listen, Lock and Key, Someone Like You, Keeping The Moon, That Summer, This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever - and looked forward to this being released. And now it's here, and I can barely wait to dive into it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Contest Monday - June 15, 2009


New Feature: I'm borrowing this idea from The Shady Glade. Every Monday in June I will be giving away a book. This week will be a copy of


The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl
by Barry Lyga

I'm going to make this week's contest much easier than last week's! You just need to make a comment telling me why you want this book. Be sure to leave your email address. Only one entry per person. US addresses only.

Contest will run until Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 11:59 pm. Remember just tell me why you want it and leave your email address. Thanks! Good Luck!

PS: Although the Contest Monday idea was The Shady Glade's, the button was created by Liyana! Sorry for not giving you props, Liyana!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Salon - June 14, 2009



About a month ago, Cinda Williams Chima met with my sixth grade book club using Skype. It was a great experience that I forgot to write about. I promised Ms. Williams I would post today and tell you about it as well as her upcoming Seven Realms series.

The Setup
On my end we had two laptops, a webcam, two projectors, and a screen. We were holding the interview during lunch so I also supplied pizza for the students. One laptop, an IBM Thinkpad, had Cinda's slideshow that she'd sent me earlier. The other laptop, a Dell Latitude D620, was for the Skype interview, it was hooked up to the internet via a wire because our school does not have wireless yet. We used a Logitech QuickCam with built-in microphone so that Cinda could see the students.

The Interview
I had a couple of problems connecting to Cinda at first due to our slow internet connection. It finally worked! Having the projector hooked up ensured everyone could see Cinda, as if she was in the room with us. I had her slide slow on the other 1/2 of the screen, ready to go. Cinda would expand on the slide and when she said next, I would go to the next one. It was awesome! We learned about Cinda's writing process as well as her home life. Do you know where Cinda grew up? We even got to see how covers can change. After Cinda finished, each student was allowed to ask questions.

Reference
I must say, overall, this was a fantastic experience. Not only are Skype visits cost-effective, you can schedule them at convenient times. It helped having the Skype video so that we could see and hear Cinda. That made it similar to an in-school visit. I would definitely do this again. It would be great to have at least one author visit per book club.

Our book club met and came up with the questions we would ask Cinda as well as decided who would ask what. Since it was during lunch, I did have a student who wasn't in our book club, but had read Cinda's books join us. Also, that helps, making sure the students have read the books!

It really helped that Cinda sent the slideshow in advance. I had time to look through it and make sure everything was viewable and easy to work with. Cinda and I also did a test a few days before. This helped me ensure my setup was workable. Having two projectors made the interview seem more interactive. It was more like Cinda was there with us.

My major problem was my webcam. You should have at least two with wide-angle lens so that all of the students can be viewed. I did have students go up to the webcam and look directly into it when they asked their question. This gave Cinda an opportunity to really see them. Some of the students were low talkers though. It would have helped to have better microphones. Also, I forgot to take pictures or record the interview! Too starstruck I suppose!

All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to invite another author to our school via Skype.

Here, you can find out how things went from Cinda Chima's perspective! She blogged about her experience with our book club. She also lists other authors who Skype!

Cinda's newest book, The Demon King, will be released October 13, 2009. I can't wait to read it. I know I will have one of our book clubs read this book and hopefully they will want to meet with Cinda too! You can read the first chapter of the Demon King and learn about the background and history of The Seven Realms. If you like high-fantasy with a touch of romance, you will love Cinda's books. I urge you to check them out, you won't be sorry.

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