Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

Katie Alender- Scholastic Press

The details:  296 pages, 2 sittings to read. I received the ARC of this book at ALA Annual 2013.

Summary: (From Goodreads) Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

Review: I recieved this book at ALA, and I was ECSTATIC. I had been looking forward to this one, and it looked sooo promising. Well, let me tell you, it lived up to my expectations. However, my expectations of this book were more for use in my middle grade school than for myself. 

I trully enjoyed this book. I liked the story line, and the 'mystery'. The mystery is a bit underwhelming and easy to guess early on, but the interest was still there. Katie Alender did a good job at creating an easy to read, well flowing book that has just enough mystery to keep any reluctant reader engrossed. 

I loved reading about the catacombs and Versailles, and the descriptions of Paris seemed to come from a true love of the area. However, I was disappointed in the relationships and character development. It's obvious that Collette is pretending and masking who she is, to be friends with the popular girls. She admits she doesn't want to not be seen 'with' them, although she always ditches them. She doesn't fully come across as somone who isn't vapid and shallow, although we are supposed to sympathize with her. She has her bitchy mean-girl moments, and while the book pushes the idea of 'being nice is doing something without wanting something in return' she STILL does things so that she can have the life she wants. It's annoying, how fake this character seems throughout the book. It's also annoying how the book plays up a 'love triangle' when there really is nothing of the sort. (Scholastic Book trailer, I'm look at you!) The love story of the book is pretty minimal, so it can trully interest those looking for an action packed historical fiction. (Ok, again, reluctant middle school readers here.)

However, I also fully enjoyed the book, so if you haven't picked this one up yet, you really should. You shouldn't be disappointedA.
  Rating: Personal 4 stars. For my students: 5 stars. I would recommend this book to my students, especially to some of my reluctant female readers.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

HO HO HO Holiday Read a Thon!

Baby it's cold outside... which means THE HOLIDAYS ARE NEAR!

There is something to be said about holiday cheer. Warm-fuzzies, Gingerbread Lattes, sappy lifetime movies... You must be a scrooge to not to enjoy the season!  Curling with with a (usually) romantic holiday read to end the night is one of my holiday must-haves. With that being said, it is a no-brainer that I am joining The Bawdy Book Blog and The Caffeinated Book Reviewer's HO HO HO Holiday read-a-thon.

This read-a-thon runs November 7th-November 11th, and features holiday-themed reads. (Duh!) If you would like to join and experience holiday warm-fuzzies, please follow this link!

Now, to dig through my Holiday Stash! Hmmm.... with a few days left, here is my tentative plan, based off of my current NETGALLEY shelf:

Are you joining? What books would you like to read this holiday season? Let me know below!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Confessional! (#2)

I've decided to start my own meme, based off of the recent post by ALA in which librarians posted their secrets and confessions.

On Sundays, (or Mondays if I forget) I will post a confession related to my job or books. If you would like to join in, go ahead! Share with me your book-related confession!

Today's confession:

When a student brings in a book damanged, I am supposed to charge them for the cost of the book, + the 3.00 it takes to prepare the books. (Barcode labels, spine labels, stamping cards, laminate, and if needed the book glue and tape.) 

I do not seem to have the balls to fully charge these students, so unless the book is brand-new, I do not charge them the 3.00. (To be honest, for missing or damaged books, I might see only 2-3 of them actually paid or replaced.)

I am also pretty lenient on late-fines. We charge 5 cents a day that it is late, not including weekends. 

My library needs the funds, but sometimes I feel it's better to keep books in their hands, then to charge them.

So tell me, what are YOUR book related confessions?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (#6)

Another School Edition!

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and gives us a chance to share with you what books we have recently bought, won, been given, or stole. ;-)

This week, I am featuring MORE books I bought to add to my school library. We hosted a school book fair at Barnes and Noble on a night that Johnathon Rand would be there. (Author of Michigan Chillers/American Chillers.) Unfortunately, we only raised $800 in sales, and a good $100 of that came from me/the library alone. (The teacher running the fundraiser then only gets to keep $80 bucks. It was WAY more hassle than it was worth, and they failed on many aspects.)

So, here are the books I bought!

I also bought the following book because I picked up the sequel at ALA, which looks to be pretty interesting, and a few students mentioned being interested in.

**Please note, ALL book covers on this blog link to their page on Goodreads.

Again, I actually have quite a few book from my netgalley that I NEED to read/review. Does anyone know if there are any netgalley knockouts going on this month or next month? I'd love to participate!

Review: Picture Me

Lori Weber-James Lorimer and Company

The details: Will be released in 2014,  168 pages, 1 sitting to read. I received the ARC of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: (From Goodreads) When a well-meaning English teacher has overweight student Krista read aloud a poem about body image titled "Barbie Doll" in class, she ignites a simmering bullying event based on Krista's appearance. Krista's best friend, and witness to the event, Tessa, is suspended for fighting to defend her friend. The girl who bullies Krista seems unaffected by the incident at school and more concerned with what an older guy thinks of her. But as the three characters' paths intersect, their inner lives are revealed. Each emerges as a much more complicated individual than their simple bully, target, and witness labels.

Review: I wanted to like this book. I was really hoping to find a positive story line, to show that bullies are not always mean without reason. I really wanted a book to put on my library shelves that would spark my students interests, to start them on an internal investigation, learning to over-come bullying, understand what makes a bully....
This book falls short. The premise is there, the framework is there, but it doesn't go beyond that. Let me start by saying that I was a victim to extreme bullying, even from teachers. I was an over-weight cheerleader, and that seemed to offend people. I am very overweight now, but when I look back at my middle school years, I was only 20-30 lbs overweight. I was a size 15. I was large, but I felt even larger and ended up with body dysmorphic disorder as well as bulimia. Bullying is a real threat.

When I read the synopsis of this book on Netgalley, I HAD to read it. I was interested in Krista, the overweight girl who is the victim of bullying, due to her weight. However of all the characters, we learn the least about her, and her character development is completely missing.

This book is told through her, her bully, and her friend. This is confusing in the beginning of the book, as I thought the book was being told in third person, of Krista. But it wasn't. It took me a bit of time to realize that it was another character's point of view.

In the beginning, Krista is described as a girl who ignores her weight. She doesn't seem to care about her weight, and ignores the bullies. However, once a picture is taped to her locker, she becomes obsessed with losing weight and taking diet pills, no matter the cost to her health. She ignores her best friend, and becomes practically a hermit, never leaving her bed. By the end of the book, it's hard to be sympathetic to her, even though I have first hand experience of being that girl. I feel like the author did a piss-poor job at fully showing the TRUE danger of this behavior, because of how bitchy she made this character. (No, not every book should have a 'lesson' but this is a dangerous spot to be in.)

We learn more about the bully, and find that she does not have the happy-home-life like she appears to have. Throughout the story we see her fall in with the wrong crowd, and we are alluded to a situation that is unpleasant, and one can assume what happens, HOWEVER. This is where the book ends. There is no closure at all for the bully and the victim. This story just ends. I have a major problem with this. This book's synopsis makes the reader believe we will be reading a story about bullying. Instead, we learn more about the friend, and she is the only character to have any sort of resolution by the end. It left a bad taste in my mouth. 'Oh look, the bully isn't happy, the bullied isn't happy, LETS TALK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE!' It's obvious while reading that the focus isn't on the bullying or bully at all. It's about the friend and her home life.

This book is misleading and stops in middle of what I felt to be the climax of the story. There are other things I would like to say about this book, but I can't seem to articulate well WHY this book is nothing but disappointing. This is NOT a book I will be purchasing for my school library. I'd rather spend my money elsewhere.

Rating: 2 stars. Stay away, unless you really really really enjoy punishment.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Re-Alive (Dirt Side Up)

Scott Grimon-Indie Author

The details: First in a trilogy, indie author, 251 pages, 3-4 days to read.

Summary: (From Amazon) Lucca Thompson was just an average kid who had an unfortunate run in with a Buick. Average, that is, until he was brought back to life. Now he’s in a battle against magic, warriors and his own hormones to complete three tasks for a nameless Wizard. Will he win his freedom or go back to pushing daisies?

Review: When most people hear 'Indie Author' they tend to think of people who aren't good enough to catch a publisher, and unfortunately many of these books go unpurchased. When my Wife told me one of her friends wrote a book and that I should read and review it, I was ready for the challenge. See, I almost ALWAYS read indie books. I'm pretty cheap, so being able to read 5 books for the price of one, is pretty awesome. I'm also of the opinion that most indie books are a tad 'different' and edgier then what I find in most main-stream books. (However, there have been several duds, too.)

So as I said, I was ready to accept the challenge. Mind you, this was before I even knew what the book was about. When I did get around to reading the summary, I figured the book would be something I'd enjoy. I was correct in that assumption, but there were also times where I was pleasantly surprised.

For example, the main character was not very accomplished in fighting when the book began. So I believed part of the book would be dedicated to his training, but that was not the case. This book picked up right away into the drama and plot. Along with the story line, Scott Grimon uses witty one-liners and comebacks, that do not seem forced or cheesy. His dialogue feels real and flows naturally. 

Within the plot of the book, I do not want to give much away. This book is the first in a trilogy and while it does a great job as to setting up the full story, it still seemed to be a finished stand-alone. I have read somewhere where someone mention that this book was similar to Harry Potter, and while I see some similarities, I can not say it's truly similar.

This story is about a teenage boy who your 'average Joe' type but ultimately ends up dead. Thankfully, our hero is brought back to life. In order to complete the process, he must complete three tasks. This book follows the first task. This book does not lag in parts, and I never felt like I wanted to rush through any parts. As a gamer, I am easily excited when I find a reference to, or feel like the author draws influences from games I enjoy. As a reader, I am even more excited when those references are done so seamlessly. In Re-Alive are nods to popular culture, including BioShock and Indiana Jones.

I will be watching Scott for the next two books, and any other works he has written. Out of the literally hundreds of self-published books I have read, this is one of the best, and I am surprised that Scott has not been tapped by a publisher yet.

If you enjoy Harry Potter, witty one liners, and fantasy, you really should look for his book on Amazon. Good job, Scott.

Rating: 5 stars (For the record, I feel $1 is underpricing this book. I would actually pay full cover price for this one.)

WW update!

I was going to pos a WW readathon update on Thursday, but it became crazy hectic at the school! I had to help set up for a motivational speaker at the school. I arrived an hour earlier than usual, and spent the entire morning doing tasks related to that. After that, I had a cry-fest in the library with the school counselor because a student came forward with a sad story that reminded me of my own high-school self. Then, once my emotions were drained, I had to meet with a local farmer who was donating 100 pumpkins to the library/art class. After unloading his truck, I then had to hand-wash, hand-dry, and relocate each and every pumpkin. It took me over 2 hours! I personally am over pumpkin season. ;-)  Then to top it off, the one book I wanted to read during the WW read a thon.... I LEFT AT WORK! ARG!

Then I had a friend come up to visit my husband and I, and to run a 5k. According to the results I finished in 28 minutes, and was the 13th overall women finisher. I can tell you that that is not true, and that I was one of the LAST finishers.  So basically, I haven't read at all since Wednesday.  Go me....

The basic details: The WW Read-a-Thon runs October 11th-20th, and is hosted by My Shelf Confessions. There will be twitter parties and challenges! (#WWreadathon)

You can find details about and join the Wonderfully Wicked RaT (tee-hee) here.

So far I have finished:
I started at page 84 in The Long Walk and page 30 in An English Bride in Scotland.

I plan on also starting this tonight: 

So, there you have it.I read/finished 3 books, and will be starting a 4th tonight. This was a pretty great Read a Thon, even though I was busy. Do you know of any other read a thons about to start? Let me know!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (#7!)

Truthfully? I'm starting to hate Tuesdays. I forgot my phone at home, I have to stay late at the school due to state testing, and I feel like crap for giving excuses YESTERDAY for not excercising. Damn. Anywho, on with the show!

 I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ellen Hopkins. She is a genius, I tell you. I first read Crank because it was popular in my school. I have since read quite a few of her works, so I was THRILLED when Smoke was released. Smoke is the sequel to Burned. If you enjoy contemporary YA, and like reading about 'dark/hard/real/tough' subjects, such as drug abuse, rape, physical abuse etc. and have not yet read Ellen Hopkins, you really should.

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading, in which we post a little *non-spoiler* teaser of the book we are currently reading.

What Do I Do
                To become invisible again,
                to melt into the background
                like a crayon in the sun?
                How do I outmaneuver the
                that wait around every
                corner, and more, how do
                I silence the voices that
                inside my head, an accusatory
                rumble belonging to
                the dead? If only they’d talk
                perhaps I could understand
                the intention of the drone.
                Is it meant to flip me crazier
                I already am,  a healthy
                dose of lunacy wrapped
                up in isolation? My heart
                for forgiveness, cries
                out for love.

See what she did there? I first 'read' Crank by audio book. It's OK to do that, but you will miss the subtleties of the actual art that is her writing. Ellen Hopkins, I bow to you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wonderfully Wicked Read a Thon!

I just discovered that My Shelf Confessions is hosting a Read a Thon this week! YAY!

The basic details: The WW Read-a-Thon runs October 11th-20th, and is hosted by My Shelf Confessions. There will be twitter parties and challenges! (#WWreadathon)

You can find details about and join the Wonderfully Wicked RaT (tee-hee) here.

I will be posting a mid-challenge update on Thursday, and then on Sunday I will post my final update. Capiche?

For this challenge, I am hoping to finish:
I started at page 84 in The Long Walk and page 30 in An English Bride in Scotland.

I want to read the following during this week as well:

So far, I have read MOST of The Long Walk, so it appears I'm making decent progress! Who else is participating? LET ME KNOW BELOW! :)


Sunday Confessional! (#1)

I've decided to start my own meme, based off of the recent post by ALA in which librarians posted their secrets and confessions.

On Sundays, (or Mondays if I forget) I will post a confession related to my job or books. If you would like to join in, go ahead! Share with me your book-related confession!

To start off:
I have a shelf behind the checkout desk that I use to hold books that have not yet been entered into the library database. When a student asks me to check out one of those books, I feel selfish and territorial. I let them, but I can't stop the feelings of 'those are MY books!' 'I want to be the first to read them!'

As I said, I still let them check it out, and I love hearing them tell me if they enjoyed the book. It's hard for me to make the difference between 'my' books and library books that I bought for them. 

Ugh. Sometimes it's hard to be a book lover and a librarian.

So tell me, what are YOUR confessions?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #5

School Edition!

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and gives us a chance to share with you what books we have recently bought, won, been given, or stole. ;-)

This week, I am featuring the 3 books I bought to add to my school library. The first two I am not posting a link/picture of. I bought 'Frankenstein' and 'The Strange Case of Mr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." These were $1 books from Target, and I thought would make a great addition to my Halloween display. They are easier adaptations, and perfect for some of my reluctant readers. 
The final book was something my husband actually picked out. As a Gaiman fan, I thought this would be something fun. My library is seriously lacking in graphic novels, and I do want to add more to our system. Unfortunately, they are SO EXPENSIVE! My library is completely self-funded, so the only $ we get, comes from our annual book fair. As you can imagine, that money only goes so far. :-/
**Please note, ALL book covers on this blog link to their page on Goodreads.
The following books are books on NetGalley that I've had but forgotten about. (I fail! Sorry Netgalley!) These are books that I think would be good additions for my library, and I am reviewing them in hopes that I will buy them for that purpose.

I actually have quite a few book from my netgalley that I NEED to read/review. Does anyone know if there are any netgalley knockouts going on this month or next month? I'd love to participate!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ah, Middle School.

I decided to post once again on the topic very near and dear to my heart: being a school librarian.

If you recall, I work in a middle school. I have 6th-8th graders, and in one day I check out on average 300 books. Now, if you look back at your middle grade years, I am going to assume you cringed. Puberty is the worst, cliques are the worst, bullying is the worst... it seems that that age is universally 'the worst.'

It is difficult working with them. These kids now have an attitude and know how to use it. They understand sarcasm. They no longer want to be seen as 'cool' by the teacher, they want the students to. They have an opinion and by golly it must be FACT.

It is awkward. It is hard seeing the great divide between 'cool' students and the not-so cool students.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, because I had to see fellow book lovers bashed in my library yesterday. I know, it's heart breaking to hear of students feeling self-conscious just because they like to read.

I am starting a book club. While I was telling this to my students, I had a handful of students who were eager to get a flier from me, and were asking me questions about the club. (It is going to be a laid back/geeky club, rather then everyone reading the same book and then discussing it. It's going to be more book-talks, and fun activities like looking for book covers that use the same image. I'M EXCITED!)

When the teacher dismissed her class, a student yelled 'Yeah book club!' It was obviously very derogatory, and hearing it just made my heart sink. I stole a quick glance to the table of girls that were holding the flier and you could see they looked confused. Why must students be so incredibly cruel?

After the class left, the student and his teacher had a discussion in front of me. His teacher asked him why he didn't pick up a flier since he was 'so enthused' about the club. Of course he scuffled his feet, and avoided looking at us. After telling him we knew it was obvious he was NOT doing it to be nice, she asked him why he did it. His response was a cop out. "I don't understand the idea."

Instead of letting it go, his teacher asked him 'Do you ever people ask you why you like to get sweaty and roll around other guys?' He nodded, and then said that comments like that didn't bother him. The teacher told him that it was good for him that he might be able to not care why others didn't understand his love for wrestling and 'didn't get it' but that not everyone is like that.

In the end- I'm not sure he is truly sorry for making the comment he did. He thinks that reading is uncool, which in turn makes it OK to make fun of it.

As a mother- I am terrified of when it comes time for my daughter to be in middle school.

Right now, there are several students interested in the club and I am happy for them. Maybe this will help them- even if it means taking verbal abuse from their peers.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Wicked Jealous

Robin Palmer - SPEAK

The Facts:272 pages - Paperback- 2 sittings

Summary from Goodreads: Simone never saw herself as the “cute girl”—she was always the chunky, band tee wearing, France-obsessed smart girl. But now that Simone’s a few pounds lighter and sporting a new retro style, things have gotten, well, weird. Her crush Jason seems to actually know she exists. And when Simone’s soon-to-be stepmonster Hillary stops ignoring her, Simone knows something is up. When Simone’s brother offers to let her move in with him and his six roommates on the beach for the summer, Simone jumps at the chance. But living with seven very different college boys isn’t exactly helping her land her very own happily ever after.

My Review: Do you know what makes a book 'good' to you? How do you rate and review a book knowing that the intended audience isn't actually for you- does that affect how 'good' you think it is?

When I am reading a book for my school library, I am not always looking for what I consider to be 'great literature.' I am looking for interesting books, that will help a reader cultivate their own opionons. I am not a fan of 'easy' books. I do not like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Goosebumps. The kids in my school are pre-teens/teens. They should be pushing themselves to read more difficult books. However I know that these kids actually ENJOY the books, so I will not remove them. (Hmm. Perhaps I should write a blog post about this?) If a student is actually enjoying the book- I will consider it a 'win.' Why force a kid to read a book he has no interest in? It will only make him hesitant to read at all. Afterall, how many adults do we see reading YA? Just because I am an adult does not mean I wish to read Tom Clancy or Jane Austen every time I pick up a book.

So when I say this book is a 'cute, easy read' I mean that the story was cute enough that I was able to ignore the flaws of the book and enjoy what I was reading. I read this book in two sittings. It's fast, and for the most part, we understand the basic plot. It is a modern re-telling of Snow White, after all.

The main character becomes annoying- often. She is an overweight girl who kicks her snacking habit and starts going to Zumba. She sheds weight almost instantly it seems, and her personality changes a bit too- and not for the better. She becomes superficial. She becomes your 'normal' drama-filled, boy crazy girl.

The boys in the book are also very stereotypical at points, and it's hard to imagine a group of boys who all of a sudden care deeply for their friend's sister. (Yeah, I can't imagine a frat house calling a meeting because a girl looks sad.)

With that said the book is cute. It's enjoyable. And while the book is 'easy' it makes me want to pick up another book just to keep the warm-fuzzies going. And THAT, my dear readers, is what I call a 'good' book.

My Rating: 4 stars. If Simone had better character development, I would have given this 5 stars, easily.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (#6)

It's Tuesday, already?

 With Halloween just around the corner, I decided this month I would devote to Stephen King. My husband owns all of his books, and I have read a couple of his before. I KNEW I would be reading Doctor Sleep, but my husband has been insisting for over a year now that I read The Long Road. Well, last night I picked it up finally. Why did it take me so long to do so? Stephen King, you are a mastermind, a scary genius who has a way with words.

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading, in which we post a little *non-spoiler* teaser of the book we are currently reading.

"Garraty wondered how it would be, to lie in the biggest, dustiest library silence of all, dreaming endless, thoughtless dreams behind your gummed-down eyelids, dressed forever in your Sunday suit. No worries about money, success, fear, joy, pain, sorrow, sex, or love. Absolute zero. No father, mother, girlfriend, lover. The dead are orphans. No company but the silence like a moth's wing. An end to the agony of movement, to the long nightmare of going down the road. The body in peace, stillness, and order. The perfect darkness of death.
How would that be? Just how would that be?"

I went upstairs to read at 8:30 last night. (What, my baby was asleep before 9?!?!) I put the book down at 10:30, and still couldn't sleep because I wanted to finish the book. Damn! Please, do not tell my husband he was 'right' about something. I will never head the end of it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on the Titanic

Gregory Mone - Roaring Brook Press

The Facts:240 pages - Paperback- 1 day

Summary from Goodreads: A stowaway, a stolen book, a murderous villain: an adventure on the most famous shipwreck in history.
The great ocean liner Titanic is preparing to cross the Atlantic. On board is a sinister thief bent on stealing a rare book that may be the key to unlocking infinite treasure, a wealthy academic traveling home to America with his rare book collection, and Patrick Waters, a twelve-year-old Irish boy who is certain that his job as a steward on the unsinkable ship will be the adventure of a lifetime. Disguises, capers, and danger abound as the ship makes its way toward that fateful iceberg where Patrick will have to summon all his wits in order to survive.

My Review: I bought this book to add to my school's library from Scholastic. Unfortunately, historical fiction is rarely read in my school and I wanted to find books to draw students into the genre. This book appeared to be all that I could hope for- and it was! 

The stories surrounding the Titanic tend to me popular anyways, but adding the actiony mystery to the mix was a nice touch. Part of the build-up of this book IS the fact that we know the Titanic will sink. While we get caught up in the 'what is going to happen to the characters?!' the story-line does stand on it's own. 

Students will  enjoy the action, the fighting and disguises, and might even become engaged in historical fiction! (Might I add- it does NOT feature a love story!) The historical aspects of this novel are spot on- and gave myself even a greater appreciation for those who worked in the boiler rooms. 

This book took me maybe 2 hours to read, however that while being interrupted by classes. I could not wait to finish the book, and when I did to look up the author to see what other books I could add to our collection. 

If you enjoy Middle Grade books, work with kids, or want to buy HF for a reluctant reader, this would be a great place to start. 

My Rating: 4 stars. The ending moved pretty quickly so I had to re-read a chapter to fully understand who was doing what, but other than that, this book will be a great addition to my library.


Stacking the Shelves (#4)

Yay! A new Stacking the Shelves post!

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and gives us a chance to share with you what books we have recently bought, won, been given, or stole. ;-)

These books are ones I bought either this week or last, as I don't exactly remember which book came from which trip! ****** Dirt Side Up: Re-Alive is written by a pretty awesome person, so I HIGHLY urge you to check it out! Bonus: It's only $1, and it is lend-able! I am willing to 'lend' to another book-reviewer, if you would please review it for him! *****************

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books they can not WAIT to be released!

This week's OMG IS OUT NOW!!!! book is...

Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams
Unfortunately, I do not have a cover to show you, because while this is a sequel, the first book hasn't been released yet, either! The first book, Forgiving Lies, will be released October 29th. I was fortunate enough to recieve a copy of this book from the publisher at ALA this past summer.
Forgving Lies was a great book, and the ending kept me up all night! In fact, I was two pages from the end when my husband complained about the lights being on and trying to sleep! Whopos! However, *mild spoiler here* the ending will make you angry the sequel is not released!
So go check out Forgiving Lies when it is released, and be ready to pre-order Decieving Lies which comes out in March, 2014!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (#5!)

Happy Tuesday, folks!

 This year, I created a book challenge for my students. One of their goals is to read a book that I have read this year. This is also challenging me to read books I normally wouldn't, so that I can give a greater area of interest to my students.
Because of that, here's a teaser of a book I am currently reading! This is a middle-grade book, but I absolutely LOVE IT.

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading, in which we post a little *non-spoiler* teaser of the book we are currently reading.

"His beautifully sharpened book knife would have been the preferred insturment, but the interior of ther Titanic was quite simply too white. the splatter of blood resulting from a fatal stab or slice would be terrible- it would torture him to see those clean halls stained. No, the knife would not suffice."
Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on the Titanic

This is the perfect book for some of my reluctant readers, especially for the historical fiction aspect!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Don't Push the Button

Bill Cotter - Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

The Facts: This book will be released in November 2013. I received this Advanced Readers Copy through Sourcebooks at ALA Annual 2013

32 pages - paperback (I believe will be released hardcover) - 20 minutes

Summary from Goodreads: Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading

One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town.

It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

My Review: Oh my goodness! This book is one of my favorites, and I am already reading it often to Taylor. The story is quite simple, and very cute. Everyone's bedtime books are being stolen in the blink of an eye, and Eliza wants to stop it from going on. When she finds out why the books are being stolen by the Snatchabook, she befriends the creature. All books are returned and the rest of the town takes turns nightly including Snatchabook in their bedtime reading routines.

As you can see, this book cam easily demonstrate the power of sharing. Sometimes when people are left out, they will do bad things. Sometimes when people share, people will do nice things. While that is a very simple meaning that can be drawn from the book, it is still a powerful one. The rhyme and rhythm of this book does nothing but justice, creating an easy free-flowing read that helps younger readers to sound out unknown words. The illustrations are beautiful by themselves, creating an adorable animal world, with plenty of visual details that entertained my 6 month old as well as myself.

This is not your run-of-the-mill children's picture book. This one teaches morals, has wonderful illustrations and rhyme, and really remind readers the power and love of a bedtime story.

My Rating: 5 stars, hands down. Go buy this book for your kids or grandkids. It's absolutely wonderful.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hot Shot

Julie Garwood- Dutton Adult

The Facts: 368 pages - hardcover or 10 hour audio book. (1 LOOONG car ride to the mother-in-law’s. My dear husband also listened along.)

Summary from Goodreads: Peyton Lockhart and her sisters have inherited Bishop's Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: The girls must run the resort for one year and show a profit - only then will they own it. A graduate of a prestigious French culinary school, Peyton has just lost her job as a food critic. Out of work and in a bad place personally, a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful. There are countless challenges and too many people who want to stop the sisters from succeeding. Among them are Peyton's contentious cousins, who are outraged that they didn't inherit the resort, as well as a powerful group of land developers who have been eyeing the coveted beachfront property. It's soon apparent to Peyton that their efforts are being sabotaged, but she refuses to let the threats scare her - until she's nearly killed. She calls on her childhood friend and protector, Finn MacBain, now with the FBI, and asks for his help. He saved her life once; he can do it again. Julie's previous two titles, The Ideal Man and Sweet Talk, both debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.

My Review: I am extremely unimpressed with Julie Garwood's newest addition. I used to be a HUGE fan of hers, and her historical novels always work as the perfect pick me up. However this novel lacks everything that makes a Julie Garwood novel great. In fact, her fans will be left wondering if this book was even written by her.

This book features cliche upon cliche, perfect characters meeting perfect characters, and highly unbelievable situations. We start with the swimmer who catches up with his innocent (ahem. VERY innocent) childhood neighbor. Or, should I say Olympic gold medalist? No? How about Record-Breaking Gold medalist. Not enough? He’s also turned into the PERFECT FBI agent who just happens to save the day from crazy men with guns like it is nothing, and who just happens to fall in love becoming the super protector to the one whom he saved once before.
How "perfect" can one character be? As I’ve said before, this book read like an amateur novel, and not Julie Garwood.
Fans of Julie Garwood would recognize she always features a female character who runs, and has freckles. (Green eyes are also common.) None of these are present in this novel.
Beyond the SUPER PERFECT characters, we have the unbelievable situations that seem to be written in the book just to add as filler. These situations do nothing but show off the perfectness of the characters. (OMG! The entire bar recognizes the FBI agent because he stopped a man with a gun! Oh look, he gets to stop a bar fight! MUSCLES!)

Usually I would go more in depth as to why this book fell short, but doing so would just make me even more suspicious of the true author. Save your money, save your time. Don’t read this book. If you want a romance, read her FIRST books in the Buchanan series, or stick with her historical novels. Once upon a time I would say “You can’t go wrong with a Julie Garwood novel.” Unfortunately that is no longer the case.

Dear Julie: Please re-read your novels from the 80's and help us to fall in love with you again.
My Rating: 2 stars. I really REALLY wanted to like this book. I own all of Julie Garwood’s novels, but this was something I just couldn’t and cannot recommend to anyone. Hopefully this is NOT the book that introduces someone to the romance genre- as it is a fail.



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (#4!)

Happy Tuesday, folks!

Welcome back, folks! There will be reviews up this week as school is finally 'in swing', so keep your eyes peeled!  I'm so excited to be back, talking to students, and adding books to me to-read list.
Because of that, here's a teaser of a book that came out today! I received this ARC through Hyperion Teens at ALA Annual. All reviews, comments or critiques are my own and are completely honest and truthful.)

Rose Under Fire is a companion novel to Code Named Verity, which I recommend reading first.

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading, in which we post a little *non-spoiler* teaser of the book we are currently reading.

"It had never occurred to me that simply being with a fellow prisoner would make me feel like I was still in prison."

I am still reading Code Named Verity (I know, I know!) but I can't wait to pick this book up!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's Up, Jenni?

Yes, the blog has been pretty stagnant.

Why, might you ask?


Well, to be fair a lot of things, but mostly school. School starts in under two weeks, but my work started a long time ago.

Since this is a book-related blog, I figured I would share some posts about my "librarian" life as well, so here is a very quick combined post, for you lovely book readers you.

Looking Back:
Since the last post I have read around 5 books. Authors include but not limited to Molly McAdams, Julie Garwood, and James Patterson.

I have volunteered at school registration.... which was a disaster.

I have printed out my school planner for the year.

I have decided on my bulletin board themes.

I have started to organize my books from ALA.

Looking Forward:

I plan to post the free and adorable planners I use, review said books, and keep up with this blog. I need to input 200 new books to the system and library, and create permission and info slips for my new book club.

Hopefully you will look past our delayed posts, and will enjoy what the upcoming school year has to offer.


Remember, if there is anything you would like to ask me or share about my librarian life, please do!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Gorgeous

Gorgeous-- Paul Rudnick-- Scholastic
The Facts: Signed Hardcover-- 336 pages-- 3 workouts to read

This book was one that I picked up from Scholastic during ALA. This review is my own, and is not biased based on this fact.

Summary: Inner beauty wants out.

When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.

A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.

My Review: This book combines two of my favorite things: finding inner beauty and ROYALS! While this book is not specific to THE Royal family (you know which one I'm talking about) it's practically a mirror image. And who can't imagine themselves as Rebecca, falling in love with Prince William?

This book caught my curiosity by the cover. Isn't it pretty? I picked up quite a few books at ALA, but I picked this one up after someone on my twitter posted a picture of the first paragraph. I loved it enough that from that paragraph alone, I picked this book next. 

I wasn't disappointed, but to be honest, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The hard part, is that I'm not sure why. I enjoyed this book. I liked the plot, I loved the writing, and I enjoyed the characters. Yet I am still left somewhat disappointed. 

I know this isn't the best review, but as I said, I can't quite put my finger on what it was about this book I didn't like. The magic seemed lacking, and the characters seemed somewhat flat. It was hard to follow at points, as characters moved and time seemed to FLY. The plot line seemed to jump around but yet I don't think any of these elements are what I'm annoyed with. I would recommend this book, but it's not a favorite. My students will enjoy this book, as they seem to have a fascination with any book with a love story. Hopefully this might show them inside beauty is what counts. *cough*doubtful*cough*

My Rating: 3.5 Stars