Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Monday: What Are You Reading? 1/30/12

Check out Teach Mentor Texts with Jen and Kellee to find more #kidlit bloggers joining in this special meme.

In The Past
These are some reads over the past two weeks.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - This started out strong for me but then it felt draggy. I realy didn't like the parts with Valentine and Domosthenes either.  I thought those parts could be left out. I also thought it could have ended after the twist or the trial. The speaker for the dead felt like an unbelievable add-on.  Could it just have been because I was listening to this?

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand - I liked this one almost as much as Unearthly. I thought it could have been much shorter - parts with Clara's vision of the cemetery repeated too often. I didn't like Clara or Angela in this one, either. Christian and Tucker were still awesome but Tucker made a choice I didn't think he would based on what we'd learned about his character. I loved the history of the Mom/Dad and finding out about Jefferey, both of which made up for the "shortcomings".

Jane by April Lindner - Read this as part of the Classic Double Challenge. I'll be comparing/contrasting this with Jane Eyre, which I hope to start this week also.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis - Follow up to Bud, Not Buddy. I wonder if I needed to re-read that one first? Maybe I need to re-read this one.

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henke - Great story about a girl, Martha, coming of age during a family vacation. Very well done.  Read for booktalks at school.

Legacy and Ignition by Clifford Riley - Short background stories about the characters in the 39 clues series. They are each only 30-40 pages long, I think.  Reading them on Kindle Fire - no page #s.

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan - Book 2 in The Immortal Beloved series.  It's nice to read a YA book where the characters are over 100 and so are the love interests.  I liked this one a lot but I felt she spent too much time re-hashing the first book.

In the Present
Reading Jane Eyre and listening to Friday Night Knitting Club.

In the Future
I'm finally going to start my Printz challenge! Plus I'll attempt to read the 2012 Newbery winner as well as finish Jane Eyre.  I am also blowing through the 7 books in the Rapid Fire series as I wait for the next Cahills vs Vespers book in the 39 Clues series.

Reviewing This Week
I hope to review these two titles this week for my Cybils Sci/Fan challenge.

Ok, I think I've given quite enough information! What are you reading this week?

Monday, January 23, 2012

My ALA Experience!

ALA was in one word, amazing. Seriously. There were so many people and so many books! Most everybody was super amazing and nice and polite. I met some really nice bloggers in line while I was waiting for Bitterblue. And yes, I got Bitterblue! I'm still excited over that!

Isn't that just a gorgeous cover?! I'm still so excited I got it! I'm going to be re-reading Graceling and Fire before reading this book, but expect a review sometime in the future.

The books that I got:

Yeah, so alot right? My favortite titles that I got were:
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore [DUH!]
The Catastrophic History of You and Me
There is No Dog
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff
... and basically all the other books I got. I loved everything!

ALA was such an exciting and new experience for me. I loved being in a place where everyone loves books, which is definitely not the case at my school! I also got a chance to meet a few other bloggers, who were super amazing. Plus, I got the opportunity to meet Heather Burch, author of Halflings, who also signed my book. She was wonderful and super kind. I can't wait to start her book!

Overall, my first ALA experience was amazing, and I can't wait until the next time I get to go! =)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Sunday Salon - Are You My Newbery 2012 - What the Students Think

We had our final meeting! And the Mock Newbery winners are:

Winner: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Honors: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
             Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

 The titles we read were:
  1. City of Orphans by Avi
  2. Sidekicks by Jack Ferraiolo
  3. Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer Holm
  4. Icefall by Matthew J Kirby
  5. Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai
  6. Apothecary by Maile Meloy
  7. The Adventures of Sir Gawain The True by Gerald Morris
  8. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  9. Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
  10. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  11. Bigger Than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder
  12. Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
  13. Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  14. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  15. Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by M Wolizter
Somehow, I'd forgotten some of us met over summer! I forgot to include True...Sort of and Between Shades of Gray on the published reading list!

This year's club was fundamentally different than last year's.  We didn't have any sixth graders and ended up with half as many students.  You can tell that most were older by the titles that won!

Also, due to budget constraints, we didn't get the books until late and didn't have many copies of each. Since many students use the school library as the place they receive books - some dropped out because they couldn't get the books in time.

One thing that was the same; it was requested that we do a "popular" book club.  I think I will move my focus next year.  Maybe read books that are/were on the Battle of the Kid's Books.  As of next month, I'll be moving to a lunch time read for each grade.  3 book clubs per month!! For sixth grade, I'll continue using the above list. For 7th graders - which has one boy - I'm going to use fantasy and for 8th - a mix of contemporary romance, fantasy, and mystery.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows- Review

Reviewed by: Aneeqah's Not So Real Life
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Genres: Dystopia, Paranormal
Release Date: January 31, 2012
My Review:

First off, thank you so much to HarperCollins for giving me an ARC of this book!

In this story, we meet Ana. She is a totally new soul. In her world, souls have been reincarnated for thousands of years. But before she was born, a person named Ciana died. Ciana should have been reborn, but she wasn't. Instead, Ana, a totally new soul, was born. In the history of their world, this has never happened before. Obviously, people don't like the idea of this. So when Ana travels to the City of Heart to find some answers, she doesn't expect anyone to be nice to her at all. But Sam is.

The world-building was very intricate in this book. The whole thing with reincarnation was really cool, but there were also lots of different creatures, like dragons, sylphs [which are shadow-like things], centaurs, and a bunch of other things. It was really neat, and well-done, except it was a tad bit creepy that you could be reincarnated to be a boy or girl. And that your parents could become your children when they get reincarnated. It's complicated, and yes, a little disturbing, but it's still pretty easy to grasp the idea of this whole incarnation thing.

I liked Ana. She wasn't perfect, not even close to it. She started out insecure, because of all the lies her meany mother told her. But she slowly changed when she realized everything her mother told her was a lie [her mother was a really mean and cruel to her, by the way]. I think her switch from non-trusting to trusting was good, it wasn't too fast or anything. Overall, she was just trying to find out who and what she was supposed to be.

I also liked Sam. He was super sweet and kind, and helped out Ana alot. My only concern was that he was a little too perfect. Just a little. He was always there for Ana, always knew what to say, etc. He didn't really have any bad qualities at all. I really liked that he was sweet, but I also enjoy a flawed character too, but I didn't get that with Sam.

The romance wasn't insta-love, which made me happy! I hate, hate, hate insta-love so much, so I was thrilled when it wasn't the whole love-at-first-sight thing. However, that being said, the romance was just alright for me. I didn't really see a connection between Ana and Sam, except for one thing [which I won't say here, because I think it's a little spoilery]. Maybe I'm just being critical of romance now that I've read Under the Never Sky [because the romance in that book was AMAZING!], but the romance... didn't work. I did appreciate the un-insta-love though.

There was lots of action in this book that really kept me hooked. Lots of unexpected things too, which I loved. There were things that I never say coming and I was like "BAISJFASDVP;OIUA!". I love being taken by surprise, and that happened in this book! And whenever you thought things were getting a little dull, the author always threw something in the book to keep you wanting more. This book had it all, action scenes, running scenes, getting shot-at scenes, slow scenes, and even a big glittering party scene!

The reason this book didn't get a full 5 stars was probably because of Ana. I did say I liked her, but she wasn't unique. For me, she was just your typical girl protagonist. And then the whole creepy thing with incarnation. I just couldn't get over that fact.

Overall, this was a very unique story that I would recommend to anyone looking for a interesting YA story that has it all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton - Review

Reviewed by: Aneeqah's Not So Real Life

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genres: Mythology, Paranormal
Release Date: January 24, 2012
My Review:

First of all, thank you to HarperCollins for giving me an ARC of this book!

In Everneath, we meet a girl named Nikki Bennett. She traveled to this place called The Everneath [shocking, yes, I know!] and this guy named Cole 'Fed' off of her energy. So, 6 months later in human years [100 years in Everneath time] she 'wakes up' and chooses to return to her old life. But she only has 6 months.

Obviously, this book is hard to explain, and I didn't do such a good job... If you're still confused about what this book is about [which, you probably are!] check out the Goodreads summary HERE which does a much better job explaining than I do!

First off, let's talk about that cover! It's beautiful! I love the swirling red dress, which is absolutely gorgeous. Overall, a really great cover.

I really liked the mythology in this book. It got confusing at times, but it wasn't any mythology that I've read before, so it was interesting for me to find out more. I'm a huge mythology fan, so this aspect of the book was great!

I also like how layered this book was. It had a whole other side to it, that applies to real life. Nikki was faced with the choice of staying in the real world, where life is tough, and going back to the underworld with Cole, where life is easy. There's alot of those types of choices that we have to make in our life, you know, the whole easy path, hard path thing? And it also touched on addiction a little too. For Nikki, being with Cole was almost an addiction, something she craved, and she had to fight that. So there's alot of undertones in this book, which is something I really enjoyed.

Nikki's old boyfriend, Jack, is a character I really liked. He was so sweet, and he was always there for Nikki. But, he seemed a little over obsessed, to the point where it seemed creepy. He also seemed like "the perfect guy" we so often see in YA. I wished he would have been a little more unique, although I still liked him.

The main thing I didn't like about this book was that it was pretty predictable. I mean, I guessed what was going to happen at the end, and I guessed a few of the things that were supposed to be totally shocking for us. I love it when I guess something in a book, and it turns out totally wrong, but unfortunately, that doesn't happen.

Also, Nikki was kind of irritating for me. When she returns to school, she's so quiet and she whispers everything. It made me want to slap her and say "SPEAK UP!". And she was so blind at times too. Definitely not one of my favorite main characters.

Overall, however, it was a pretty good read! I enjoyed the story and the mythology a lot, so if you a person who loves mythology, give this book a shot.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Monday: What Are You Reading 1/16/12

Check out Teach Mentor Texts with Jen and Kelley to find more #kidlit bloggers joining in this special meme.

In the Past
Last week was a slow reading week for me. Deliberately. I'm trying to slow down and read less and do more stuff around my house and outside of it.  We'll see how it continues!

Fault in Our Stars by John Green - I adore John Green's writing. Have read all 3 of his solo ventures as well as Will Grayson, Will Grayson. His writing is distinctive and intelligent.  This book is no exception. This will be a Printz contender for 2013, no doubts.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt - I re-read this to see if it stands up to Newbery Medal and I think it still does.  It did get a little annoying towards the end with the constant repetition but overall, it has to win something.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler - Why do I keep wanting to call this the Complete History of Why We Broke Up? Was it originally called that? Anyway, I think this is actually a Printz contender for 2012.  The drawings, the stream of consciousness writing, the story line.  It has a chance.

Trying to do at least one NetGalley book per month.  Those publishers who approve me are so generous! I want to pay them back! I mean I do, I buy the books for school, but I want to review them too.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Another re-read. Or in this case, a re-listen.  Loving the audio on this one. It's done by Brilliance Audio so there are several voices reading which adds to the illusion of varying characters.  There were several moments I felt like crying in this book that I don't remember doing when I read it years ago.  There were also several moments I had to resist going to pick up the hard copy - because I wanted to rush and finish! Will be using this for a book club pick over Spring Break.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand - I read and enjoyed Unearthly last year so I'd been looking forward to this one.  It comes out Jan. 17th but I was lucky enough to pick it up on NetGalley.  It will also count for my YA/MG Fantasy challenge.

In the Future
I'm ready to start working on some of my challenges! I'm starting with #nerdprintz, #classic2, and 1 historical fiction read.

That's it for me this week! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sunday Salon - The Best

from What I Wore tumblr
I found this tumblr What I Wore and fell in love with it! I checked out Jessica Quirk's book, What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style from the library and decided I needed to own it.

See, I just buy stuff. And most of it looks the same.  This year, as part of taking better care of myself, I want to look my best too!

The book is divided into sections: Getting Started and then one section for each season.  I'm in the Getting Started phase.  I took EVERYTHING out of my closet and drawers and went through it! The first round was divide into keep, maybe, toss.  I sent 3 garbage bags of clothes to goodwill! Some I'd never even worn and wasn't sure why I bought it! Then I went through the maybes and divided them again - another bag gone.  I was down to a big pile of clothes that Quirk directed me to try on. So I did! Each and every piece. It was at turns, exciting, fun, and depressing.  I divided these clothes into yes, maybe, repair, no.  I put the maybes in a drawer - these were clothes I thought I might be able to fit into later this year. If they were wintry - I put them away.  Then I took the clothes and I hung them all in my closet - by color.
I pretty much just owned gray, black, tan and blue clothes! So sad! Now I need to pick a core color - black, charcoal, or brown. I chose gray cause I like it best of the three. Now I need to build a core collection - just like in the library! I need: blazer, cardigan, camisole,trousers, skirt plus white button-up, lbd, dark jeans and tights.  Can you believe I don't own a white button-up? Not even an off-white one! How could I not??? So I'll be heading out to pick up some things plus decide on my secondary palette  to add some color!  Another thing I like about this book are the sketches - these are real clothes Quirk owns! Makes it seem more doable.
from What I Wore tumblr
Although it's weird to barely have enough clothes to fill a closet - I know I wasn't wearing the rest of it anyway! This past week back to school, I've gotten compliments on what I wore! So, I'm really jazzed to work farther into this book! I also hope to start taking pics of what I'm doing but think I will post those over on tumblr! 

Are you making any fashion resolutions? Check out BlogHer - Year-Round Fashion Resolutions for tips! Leave a comment and then go  Enter to Win a Kindle Fire by sharing other things you are doing to make this year your best yet!

Saturday, January 14, 2012 by KE Payne - Review


Is it ever impossible to fall in love with someone you've never even met? Immy Summers think so... because it happened to her.

Immy is 18 years old living a normal life, has a very normal family... and a somewhat normal boyfriend, but she quickly starts falling in love with a girl on a message board. Her name is Fickle.

As her relationship grows stronger with Fickle, Immy finds another friend on the board, named Joey. And with another person in the picture things are bound to get complicated.

My Review--

For me this was a hard read, yet any teen could probably relate to this, if they were going through the exact situation. I found the parts where you don't tell your parents, family members, and anyone around you anything, realistic. It is what most teens would do in this situation.

In some ways I saw that Payne might have been trying to ease the fear that some teens may have about any of these situations. However, I did notice that some parts were for the most part... Unrealistic. The fact that her friends would immediately accept it. In reality it would more than likely need it's time. Not in the snap of a finger it would be fine.

As mentioned before I think this would be good for anyone struggling with this kind of confusion, and friends that may have a friend going through this.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for getting to read this book.

Loving to Read one Step at a Time


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross - Book Trailer

Tempest: A Novel (Tempest - Trilogy). Cross, Julie. St. Martin's Griffin. 352p. $17.99. 978-0312568894.

If that cover doesn't suck you in -  I don't know what will! Oh, maybe this awesome trailer!

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps– it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Still need more? Check out The First Four Chapters here!!

Ivy and the Meanstalk by Dawn Lairamore - Review

Ivy and the Meanstalk. Lairamore, Dawn. Holiday House. 227p. 978-0823423927.

Courtney Says:

The book Ivy and the Meanstalk was a delightful new tale woven in with some old classics. Being a 14 year old girl, I rarely find myself picking up books in the children's section of Barnes & Nobles, but for this book it was different, I found the idea intriguing. The thing I liked most was the way the author, Dawn Lairamore, took a different outlook on the old tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. It was a whole new story but with references to a tale everyone knows and loves.

The thing I hate most in a book is when the beginning is slow and it takes forever to get into. But with this book that was not the case. It got into the main part of the story within the first 30 pages. And even better it practically never slowed down. From the beginning to the very end I found that it was always making me want to read the next page.

And let me just put this out there. The ending made me want her to write another book in the series so bad. I found myself asking my sister, Sydney, "There is going to be another book right? Because if there isn't I don't know what I'll do".

Although it was written for the 9-10 year old, I thought it was written just as well, if not better, then lots of the books I find myself reading these days. Personally though I think the rating is just right, because I don't imagine myself recommending this book to a kid my age, but would surely suggest this to my 7 year old sister or anyone around her age.

So in the end I enjoyed reading this book and the one before it, Ivy's Ever After, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone but most likely the younger kids, as in tweens.

Sydney's Says

The book Ivy and the Meanstalk was a great new twist on a classic tale that gets to its point fast. I have read many books, some crawl by and I have to force myself to continue to read them, but with this book though I did not need to.

This book may be written for 9 to 10 year olds but it was written very well or better than some novels I've read. It was intriguingly fast, with many twists and turns. It never slowed down, with some books they start really slow , but then get faster this book it was fast from the start.

This book was different from other fairytales because it was not a story about classic princesses and glass slippers, no this was a story about a rebellious princess, harp, and a golden egg-laying chicken. Some stories have cute little birdies, while this book had a talking goat.

I might not recommend this to nonreaders, but I might too a "super" reader. And I would definitely recommend it to a 3rd or 4th grader.

I enjoyed how this book was different from others, but I definitely think that this book would be a hit for a younger audience.

Thanks to Holiday House and Blue Slip Media for the books!


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