Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday




Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 




This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books I'd Like to Read with My Book Club

As a high school librarian, I actually DO run a book club.  When we choose books, I make a list of 12-15 books in a particular genre and then all the kids vote on the top 3 they want to read.  The book with the most votes is the one we read.  Sometimes, though, I really wish they would choose something different from what they do, so here are some that I would love to read with them.  I'm dividing it into 2 sections:  book I've already read and I want to talk to someone about them and books I'm dying to read so book club would give me the nudge to read them.

Books I've Already Read

1.  The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I love this series so much and even though I have read all 3 books, I really want to fangirl about it with a large group of people, so I wish they would choose it!


2.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Love, love, love this book!  I think this book would be fabulous for an "academic" style discussion with students.

3.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This is one of the best books I've ever read.  I recommend it to perfect strangers.  I wish they could teach this book at my school, but since they can't, book club would be the next best thing.


4.  This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
I really want to read this book with the girls in my book club so that I can squeal like a 14 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.  Without being completely embarrassed about it.  An alternate to this one would be Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.


5.  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
This would best be read and discussed with an Honors English class actually because I think it's such a great example of satire.  I would love to compare this novel to Jonathan Swift and discuss it with a group of kids who can understand the brilliance of this book.


6.  Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really want to share the awesomeness of this book with lots of people.



7.  Anything by Gayle Forman
I would re-read any of her books with great joy and then fangirl in ways that a 45 year old woman probably shouldn't in public.  Just sayin'...........



Books I Really Want to Read

1.  Wither by Lauren DeStefano
I have been wanting to read this book forever, so doing this book with my book club would give me a chance to read it. Also, I'd like to discuss the whole thing with teen girls to get their perspective on it.

2.  The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford Wong by L. Tam Holland
I hope t his book is very funny yet deep in the way of Sherman Alexie.  I mean, I know it won't be as wonderful as Alexie's book, but I want to read it and find out.



3.  The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This book has been on my TBR list for a while.  I don't tend to read lots of mysteries and thrillers, so I think a book club choice would get me to read this one sooner.



4.  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
I hand this book to kids all the time, so it never seems to be checked in!  If I had to read it for book club, I could justify buying a copy of it for myself!



5.  Paper Towns by John Green
I am dying to read a John Green book with my book club and since this is the only one I haven't read AND it's in movie production, it seems like the perfect choice.



So, my slightly more than ten Top Ten Tuesday list!  What do you think?




Monday, January 26, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?





It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  It's designed to let readers know what books you have just finished reading and what books are next on your TBR pile.

As part of my great catch-up attempt of 2015, I am going to really try to get these regular features up and going again in my blog.  So here goes nothing!

Currently reading:

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor


I love this series!  It's so different!  So far, I'm enjoying this one, but I really need a big chunk of uninterrupted time to sit down with it.  It weighs in at a whopping 624 pages, which is great, but it also means I need a whole day to really get somewhere with it.  If only I could get a snow day.......

Just finished:

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken


THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SERIES EVER!!!!!  I fangirl over this series so much and I try to send it out with every kid in my library.  I loved this book and I will post my review soon!

Up next:

                  

I love both of these series, so I can't believe I've waited this long to finish them.  I'm looking forward to reading both of them!

What are you currently reading?  Any thoughts on the books I have here?



This whole Marie Lu series is a Champion!

Book:  Champion
Author:  Marie Lu
Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile
Date:  November 2013
Source:  My library
My grade:  A+

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Initial reaction


::sits down to calm heartbeat::  The feels, people, the feels!!  At my age, the angst at the end of this series could have caused a heart attack!


Cover story


This is the only part of this book that doesn’t just bowl me over.  I mean, the cover is ok.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not anything special either.  It certainly doesn’t reflect the awesomeness of the story held within its covers.


What’s the story?


This series is just your average boy meets girl, boy loves girl,girl loves boy but girl still tries to kill boy, boy and girl try to overthrow evil totalitarian government story…………


Not exactly.  Of course, all those things happen, but the complexity of these characters and the nuances of this story make this series so much more than your average dystopian fare.  I love the characters in this series.  Marie Lu has done such a great job of making everyone so believable.  Also, I love that there are no absolutes in this story.  No one was purely evil and no one was wholly good.  At times, I sort of wanted to everyone to win.  Except for Captain Jameson.  She was actually evil.  But it turns out that the Republic, the Colonies, Day, June and even Thomas are more gray than black and white and I really liked that.


The story had me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel.  There was a ton of action and plenty of heart fail to be had.  I just sat in my reading chair and raced to the end in about a day.  I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what was going to happen.


I love the world that Marie Lu created in this series.  It was fun to see Antarctica and Africa as major world powers.  I think that Lu has a lot of timely warnings for us in this book as well, without being preachy and in your face.  The fact that empires rise and fall is a nice warning to those folks who think that western civilization is invincible.  Of course, the environmental cautions are there and I love the way she works in some cautions about powerful corporations with the Colonies.  All in all, she does a great job of working in some very timely issues without being preachy.


So, I’m rolling along, just loving the book and then I reach the end and it’s like…..pow!





Thank goodness I turned the page and found the epilogue and then I was more like:





I closed the book totally satisfied with the series and the ending.


The Soundtrack


Mad World by Gary Jules




Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve




So far Away by Avenged Sevenfold




unforgettable


The next 2 songs come from Marie Lu’s playlist.  You can find the whole thing here.


She by Abney Park




Copper Down by The Boy Who Trapped the Sun




The Final Grade

My final grade for this novel and this series is an A+.  In a sea of dystopians, I think this series really stands out.  It’s a fast-paced, thrilling story with a host of complex characters and a great ending that doesn’t feel forced by isn’t completely tragic either.  It also serves as a pretty decent cautionary tale dealing with some timely issues.  I highly recommend it.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Series Enders Challenge 2015


I am soooooooooooooooooo behind in blogging and series reading, so I have decided to try and catch up  in both areas!  How, you might ask?  By signing up for a challenge, of course!  Here it is:



This wonderful little challenge showed up on my Bloglovin' page as a suggestion, so I clicked on it and discovered the goodness!  This is hosted by Somewhere Only We Know and Words Fueled by Love.  Go check out their blogs!  Interested in signing up yourself?  Here's the sign-up page!  You don't have to have a blog, you just have to link to books you review on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, Amazon or wherever....

I'm going for the Level 4 challenge which is 15+ series enders!!!  Here's my list:


  1. In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
  2. Champion by Marie Lu
  3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  4. Boundless by Cynthia Hand
  5. The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
  6. Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
  7. Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
  8. Of Neptune by Anna Banks
  9. Infinite by Jodi Meadows
  10. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  11. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
  12. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
  13. Unhinged and Ensnared by A.G. Howard
  14. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  15. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  16. A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
  17. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
  18. Opal, Origin, Opposition by Jennifer Armentrout
  19. Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  20. Beat the Band, Call the Shots by Don Calame
  21. Awkwardly Ever After by Marni Bates

Only the last book in the series counts, so on a couple of them, I have to read the previous books to get to the ender, but that's cool. I have already completed the first two on the list and I'm working on the third! Go me!!!!

I'll post reviews soon for the first two and I'll try to make them as spoiler-free as possible. I'm really excited about this. I had already decided that I wasn't starting anything new until I caught up with all these series. So the only new books I will be reading will be the ones that my book club chooses. Otherwise, I'm tackling this massive list of books!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about any of these. Also let me know if any of you decide to join the challenge!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Who R U Really? blog tour


Welcome to my stop on the Who R U Really? Blog Tour!  Read my review first and then keep scrolling for a chance to win a free copy of this book!


who are you
Book:  Who R U Really?
Author:  Margo Kelly
Publication Date:  September 18, 2014
Publisher:  Merit Press
Source:  Blog tour
My rating:  A
Status in my library:  On order!!!

Thea’s overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She’s living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.
Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really “gets” her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.
First impression

OMG!  I have to start monitoring my 16 year old on social media a LOT more!  No, nix that.  I need to cancel all her use of social media.

What’s the Story?
This book is a major cautionary tale that should hit it’s target group right in the gut!  At times, it was a little pedantic, which is what cost it the + on the A, but as I got further into the book, I found myself so engrossed in the plot and all the red herrings about who the perpetrator was that I completely ignored that and just turned the pages as fast as possible.

As a parent, this book scared me.  A lot.  Because even though as an adult I could see all the times that Thea was giving out too much information, I don’t know one high school girl who couldn’t be talked into giving out this same kind of information.  The 16 year old in my home thinks that EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP is the real deal and has a “special, MTB connection”. She would definitely give out this kind of information.  In a heartbeat.

The only thing I didn’t like about this novel is that Thea was sooooooo stupid!  I just wanted to shake her and smack some sense into her, but see the paragraph above.  She had to be written that way because that is the reality of a teenager now.  It didn’t keep me from wanting to strangle her though.  I was just so glad that she had such good friends..

When I closed this book, I felt both relieved and scared to death.  We have become so used to using all forms of social media that I think we all forget just how dangerous it can be, especially when it’s being used by teenagers who have such limited experience with life and bad people.  I think this is a very timely novel that could give readers just the wakeup call they need.

This book is on my book order for my library and I plan to start handing it out to kids as much as possible when it comes in.

Soundtrack:  The Stalker version

Death Cab for Cutie “I Will Possess Your Heart”



Denmark + Winter “Every Breath You Take” (cover of The Police)


The Beatles “Run for Your Life”


Alpha Rev “I Will Come”


Kylie Minogue “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”



The final grade
My final grade for this book is an A.  It was a real page-turner that definitely scared the crap out of me as a mom and an educator.  Hopefully, it will scare the crap out of its intended audience as well.




Praise for the book:
“Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Suspenseful novel that’s guaranteed to give readers goosebumps–particularly as events heat up toward the end. A good choice for families to read together.” –School Library Journal

“Who R U Really? is a fantastically creepy book that is surprisingly realistic and totally engrossing…. Once I opened it, I couldn’t close it. Who R U Really is a satisfyingly unique YA thriller that left me guessing up until almost the very last page…. This book is very realistic and I really enjoyed the writing style.” –Tempest Books

“Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens.” –VOYA Magazine

who are you (1)


Margo KellyAuthor Margo Kelly
Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
Blog Tour Giveaway
1 print copy of Who R U Really?
Open to US only
Ends 1/12/15





Blog Tour Schedule

December 3rd
I Am A Reader – Spotlight
BiblioSmiles – Spotlight
Coffee Books & Art – Spotlight
Author A.B. Whelan  – Interview
Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Tens List
Mythical Books – Spotlight
Becoming Books – Spotlight
Chocolatte Reader – Review

December 4th
Kelly P’s Blog – Spotlight
FLY HIGH! – Guest Post
My Life Loves and Passion – Interview
Shelf of Imagination – Review

December 5th
Addicted Readers – Spotlight
Auggie-Talk – Interview
Spiced Latte Reads – Interview
In This World of Books.. – Review
LexieLäser – LexieReads – Review

December 6th
Into the Mystic – Review

December 7th
Blue Eye Books – Review

December 8th
Julie Antonovich Reece – Spotlight
The Word at My Fingertips – Review
Verbosity Book Reviews – Review
Home Is Where the Wine Is Book Blog – Review
deal sharing aunt – Review
Just Jeanae – Review

December 9th
XoXo Book Blog – Spotlight
Lori’s Reading Corner – Interview
Reviews from a Dreamer – Review
My Creatively Random Life – Review
Mom Loves 2 Read – Review

December 10th
BookHounds YA – Interview
Cover2CoverBlog – Review
A Writer’s Dream – Review
Her Book Thoughts – Review
A Writer’s Life – Review

December 11th
Catch the Lune – Review

December 15th
Mom With A Kindle – Interview
Word to Dreams – Review
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, Sissy, Too! – Review
Book Babble – Review
Confessions of a Book Geek – Review

January 5th
Shelf Full of Books – Review
CBY Book Club – Interview
Read more-sleep less – Review
Sarah Aisling – Review
Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review
Books Direct – Review
Mel’s Shelves – Review

January 6th
Wall-to-wall books – Review
Romance With A Book – Review

January 7th
StoreyBook Reviews – Review

January 8th
Bunny’s Review – Spotlight
vvb32 reads – Review

January 10th
Bookwyrming Thoughts – Review
ReviewsbyNadine – Review

Sunday, April 27, 2014

It's Not The Fault in Our Stars, the Fault is in My Stupidity

Book:  The Fault in Our Stars
Author:  John Green
Publisher:  Dutton Books
Source:  Purchased on my Nook
My grade:  Can you really grade a novel like this?  An A+ seems so trite and meaningless.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely   rewritten.

Initial reaction
::wiping tears and snot off my face from ugly crying::

Cover story
This cover is perfection.  As is the book that lies within.  You really can judge the book by it’s cover this time.  And why don’t all books have covers this great???

What’s the Story?
By now, everyone out there knows about this book and you’re probably wondering what took me so long to get around to it.  I’ll tell you in one word:

CANCER

I don’t do cancer books.  Why?  See my initial reaction.  But the girls at school have all been horrified by my refusal to read this book, so I caved.  Also, I knew I’d want to see the movie and I had to prepare myself.

This book was amazing and if you haven’t read it, don’t wait any longer.  In other words, don’t be dumb and stubborn like me.  Will you ugly cry too?  Probably.  But some stories are just worth it.

I don’t need to continue to wax poetic about this book.  I’ll just say that this is the book that John Green was born to write.  And now I’ll move on to my soundtrack.

Soundtrack

I stole some of these from the actual movie soundtrack, but just a couple.  You will notice that the Swedish rap song is decidedly missing.  This is a good thing.

Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson


Unfold by Jason Mraz


Heaven by Moonlight & Caterpillars



Not About Angels by Birdy


A Thousand Years by Christina Perry


The Final Grade

Just go read this.  And then go see the movie on June 6th.  And buy a case of Kleenex before you start.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Giant catch-up post #1

I think that everyone knows by now that I am really, really behind on reviews for this blog.  I have been reading, I'm just having a hard time sitting down to write reviews.  Mostly because my 6 year old has decided to re-grow her umbilical cord.  But anyway........

What I want to do for a couple of days is give you some very short reviews of some of the books I've been reading that I really enjoyed.  So, without further ado, here is the first one:

Books that you should read right away


It’s Rainbow Rowell.  I don’t really need to say anything else, but if you have not read this book, drop everything that you’re doing, feed your kids cereal for dinner and sit down and read this book.  I really liked Eleanor and Park, but I ADORED Fangirl.  One of my favorite reads of 2013, this book needs to go on your bucket list, people!






Marni Bates has won me over!  This little set of novels, the Smith High series, was just great!  You can read one without reading the others, but it’s nice to read them all in order.  I didn’t really think I would like Notable because it was about Chelsea, the mean girl.  But this may have been my favorite one!  It had this crazy story line that reminded me a lot of Bridget Jones:  The Edge of Reason.  Plus, this light-hearted fun novel is what saved me from my Allegiant depression.  Just sayin’………




This is one of the loveliest books I’ve ever read.  Ever.  It is a re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and I love the way the author was able to capture the feeling of an Austen novel while still making the story her own.  I could not put this book down.  It was a beautiful, heart-wrenching story that made me smile and cry and it dealt with all those topics Austen addresses so well like class and prejudice.  Just go read it, ‘kay?



This book did not have some grand plot, but what it did have is a truthful and sometimes heart-wrenching look at growing up and first love.  There were some bad reviews for this one, but personally, I think that Lauren Myracle beautifully captured that rush and naivetĂ© of first love.  I felt the butterflies in my stomach with Wren!  The characters were immature at times, but that’s what 18 year olds are like, right?   I sure was.  I just thought this book was very touching.