Monday, January 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 1/31/2011

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at The Printed Page.  You can read all about it at the Mailbox Monday blog.  Well, the mailbox has gone on tour.  This month's host is Rose City Reader

I love this meme because it lets me take a peek into other bloggers' mailboxes and find out what they received over the last week.  I will warn you, it does lead to more books as you will find many that you want because of others mailboxes.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, post about your books and link up!

This was a pretty big book week for me, especially with children's books, which are hard to see when taking pictures only of the spines, so I've spread them out in groups and that's how I'm sharing them with you this week.  I can't wait to dive into these and start posting reviews.

These four titles were waiting for me at the post office on Tuesday.  They were sent for review from Charlesbridge Publishing.

Raj, the Bookstore Tiger by Kathleen P. Telley, from Charlesbridge Publishing
Silverlicious by Victoria Kahn, from HarperCollins - I am so excited about this one!  I have previously purchased Pinkalicious and Purplicous for my 2 oldest granddaughters.
There's a Dragon in the Library by Dianne de Las Casas, from Pelican Publishing
For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart by Elizabeth Rusch, from Random House - I plan on gifting this one to the music teacher at my school when I've read and reviewed it.

Cahoots (ARC) by Karla Oceanak, from Bailiwick Press - I have enjoyed the first 2 books in this series, so the publisher contacted me and asked if I'd be willing to review the 3rd book.
The Radleys by Matt Haig and Goodnight Tweetheart from Simon & Schuster as a Book Club Advisory Member.
Kat Incorrigible (ARC) by Stephanie Burgis, from Simon & Schuster

This was an email request to review, from the publisher.  Richard Fast has a series of these 29 Days books.  I chose 29 save money and acheive financial independence, as saving money is something I could use a little help with. 

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sunday Salon - My First

This is my first The Sunday Salon post, ever.  Since starting my blog, I have read many other bloggers' Salons, but I've never participated.  Most of the bloggers with whom I first connected participate, but for whatever reason, I thought it was for a "specific group."  Well, it is a group, but specific it is not.  Anyone can participate, so here goes!

If you're like me, and you're wondering what this Salon is all about, you can check it out on Facebook.  There is an open group for The Sunday Salon.  Here are the details of the meme, from the site:

The Salon is open to anyone who'd like to discuss books of a Sunday (or, frankly, any other day of the week). We've actually been around for some years -- see -- but managing the group via that site became a problem because of its size and we had to limit membership to a little over 500 members. I'm now throwing the doors open to anyone who'd like to participate. Discuss what you're reading here, or link to relevant blog posts, or comment on one another's posts. Enjoy.
My week in books:  hmmm....well, I didn't finish a single title this week, thanks to a crazy work week.  I did start 2 new books this week though.  It's been a while since I've had more than one book going at a time.  Here's what I'm reading:  Little Princes, which has been all over the blogosphere, and Enclave - book #1 in the Razorland series.  Enclave, though marketed as Teen Fiction, is dystopian, which for some reason, seems to be a lot of what I'm reading lately.  Not exactly my genre of choice, but it is what is out there, in YA right now, and I am drawn to it.  Right now though, they are beginning to get predicatable; the people in the "world" seem to be kept down and the "other" world or the world that used to be is kept secret from them, for some reason.  Each book I've read have had different "worlds" but they have many similarities.

I completed the Comment Challenge this week, hosted by Lee Wind and MotherReader.  It was a great 21 days for me, even though I didn't reach 100 comments.  I love the premise behind this challenge - create a habit, share the blogging love, meet new bloggers, and get comments on your blog.  There are so many benefits from participating.  I hope you will join us next year!

Since this is basically the end of the month, I should talk about how I'm doing with my New Year, Renew Blog.  I didn't make personal New Year's Resolutions, but I did make blogging goals for the year.  I know, it's only been a month, but they say habits are created in 21 days, and I'm thinking "so far-so good!"  I have been blogging more consistently, commenting more, cleaning out my reader at least every other day and re-connecting with my blogging community.  I feel wonderful about renewing my blog.  It is fun for me again and that, to me is what it's all about.  Blogging is not my job, I don't stay at home during the day, so I don't have a lot of time, but I'm learning to maximize my online time, schedule posts, and just enjoy this hobby I have.

Like I said, I had a very busy work week, so my week wasn't as bookish as I'd have liked it to be, but some weeks are like that.  The only full days I spent at school were Monday and Friday.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons were spent at different trainings.  We are at the beginning of the testing season here in Texas, and with that brings the busyness of the school year.  I am not going to let it get me down or keep me from continuing with my blogging.  It is time that I prioritize my life, and that is just what I plan to do!

How was your reading week?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snapshot Saturday - January 29

This picture was taken by a very good friend of mine.  She lives down near the Texas coast and this past week, woke up to this gorgeous sunrise on a cold winter's day.  She shared it on Facebook, and I thought it was so beautiful.  Even on a dreary winter day, there is still beauty to be found!

You can participate in Snapshot Saturday by linking your photo to At Home With Books.  Your photo can be anything that you like, as long as it's one that you, a friend, or family member has taken.  Thanks to Alyce for hosting this meme every week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 1/28/2011

1. Up up and away.

2. A bad case of the flu is going around.

3. Coats and scarves, mittens and boots: blizzards and snowstorms, snow and ice .

4. I deserve a nice back rub.

5. I'm thinking about being hungry.

6. Let me be me.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner with my hubby, tomorrow my plans include walking and an FFA show and Sunday, I want to read while it rains!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best Books for Little Ones in Glasses

Today, I welcome Sara Roberts, a guest poster from Just Eyewear.

Best Books for Little Ones in Glasses

Every adult will agree that a little kid with glasses is as cute as a button. However, sometimes the little ones don't see themselves in such an endearing light. Other children can sometimes be cruel and quick to point out their differences, so it’s up to us as adults to make the little ones feel comfortable in their hip and happening glasses.

Media is one of the best opportunities to educate children on the importance and stylish appeal of wearing glasses, with books being the most intimate form of positive reinforcement. Reading inspiring stories together of kids who wear glasses removes the stigma and replaces it with a sense of cool and personal pride, just the way it ought to be.

Books About Children With Glasses
Even if your child does not wear glasses, there are many wonderful books out there to open his mind regarding friends and siblings who need a little ocular help. I Wish I Had Glasses Like Rosa, by Kathryn Heling, is a heart warming story about a little girl who wishes she had a pair of glasses like her best friend because "they make her look so beautiful". Kids need to learn than our differences should be celebrated and admired, a skill that will take them far in life when they grow up.

Fancy Nancy Explains Her Spectacles
Fancy Nancy Spectacular Spectacles, by Jane O’Connor, is a story about Nancy taking an eye test at the optometrist's office, and relating her new experience before her schoolmates in class. Nancy explains how the eye chart test works and how her new glasses "are like magic". This simple illustration goes a long way with teaching little ones about the real world and not to fear a vision exam.

Pinky Sees The World
A great reader for younger children is What Can Pinky See, by Lucy Cousins. It is a lushly illustrated story about a cute pink bunny that puts on a pair of glasses and suddenly sees new and exciting things. In addition to making a positive imprint on young readers who wear glasses, Pinky is an excellent vocabulary builder with interesting places and animals to "see".

Books About Getting or Wearing Glasses
A few additional books that are great to read with your little one in glasses include the following:

The Pirate of Kindergarten, by George Ella Lyon
Bumposaurus, by Penny McKinlay and Britta Teckentrup
Arthur’s Eyes, by Marc Brown (popular Arthur series)
Don’t I look smart?, by Meredith & Joshua Braunstein
Bear’s New Glasses, by Martha While
All The Better To See You With, by Margaret Wild

Sara Roberts is a content contributor for Just Eyewear, a prescription glasses and prescription sunglasses retailer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Comment Challenge Wrap-Up

Don't you just love that logo?  Many thanks to Lee Wind and MotherReader for hosting this year's comment challenge.  Lee created the logo which is made up of the mastheads from the 131 blogs that participated in this year's challenge.  Can you find mine?  Do you see headers from other blogs you read?

The goal was to comment on at least 5 blogs a day for 21 days.  At the end, we should have made 100+ comments on various bookish blogs.  So, how did I do?  Well, I didn't make 100, but I wasn't far off.

  • Over the 21 day challenge, I left 99 comments on blogs.
  • I was introduced to some new to me blogs.
  • Not commenting on the weekends kept me from meeting my goal.
  • Taking time to clean out my reader every night has become a new habit.  It's manageable and helps me to stay connected with my friends in the blogging community.
  • I am now responding to comments left on my blog.
  • I am now hopping over to other bloggger's posts when they comment on my blog and reciprocating the comments.
  • I feel reconnected to my kid-lit blogging community, which I had lost by getting lost in my work.
  • New habits have been formed and the momentum will keep me going.
So, even though I didn't reach the goal of commenting 100+ times, I still feel successful with this challenge.  Will you join us next year?

"Waiting on" Wednesday - So Shelly

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

So Shelly
By Ty Roth

Publication:  February 8th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
from Goodreads - 
Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.

Why wouldn't I want to read a book that has my name in the title?  I mean, who wouldn't?  But, aside from that, it sounds very interesting and the cover is so great! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Because of A Book with Hannah Daniel

Today's Because of A Book guest is a blogger.  Please help me welcome Hannah Daniel to the blog!  Here is a little about her:

Hannah Daniel read everything she could get her hands on as soon as she learned how at age five, and she hasn’t stopped since. She continued her love of reading and writing with a journalism degree from The University of Texas. Now she writes for a company that helps people find an affordable dental insurance alternative and manages the 1Dental blog.

One of my favorite books growing up was “The Phantom Tollbooth,” by Norton Juster, published in 1961. It’s a fairy tale of the most peculiar kind, beginning when a little boy named Milo is bored and comes home from school to find a large package addressed to him. It contains a magical tollbooth, and as soon as he drives through it in his toy car, he’s off on an adventure.

Rather than running into your average dragon or evil stepmother, he faces foes like the Senses Taker and the very short Officer Shrift. His faithful companion is a “watchdog” named Tock with a large timepiece in his side. He must travel from Dictionopolis to Digitopolis and rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason before discord and disharmony take over the Kingdom of Wisdom.

They run into many unusual characters along the way like the Dodecahedron, who has 12 faces, each with a different emotion. Many of his situations come from taking English idioms literally. For example, when he makes an assumption early in the trip, he is whisked over to the Island of Conclusions. He learns why it’s important not to jump there again, because it can get you into trouble.

The play on words is even more brilliant for adults than it is for children, who may just find it an interesting adventure story. I loved to read as a child, and my mother took the time to explain the plays on words to me. I reread it several times and got something new out of it every time. To this day, I love all the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the English language. I owe that love largely to this book.

I love words, and I really enjoy writing – it’s part of my profession. The Phantom Tollbooth introduced me to the vast world of language, and how it is much bigger than it seems at first glance.

The pictures are some of the most charming I’ve ever seen, but this is no mere picture book. If you have any love whatsoever for letters or numbers and their nuances, the small novel will enchant you from page one.

About The Phantom Tollbooth:  This ingenious fantasy centeres around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked "Which," Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the "impossible" mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom... 

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at Indiebound

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 1/24/2011

I am late posting my mailbox today because I had 3 packages waiting at the post office.  It has been raining here in South Texas off and on for 2 weeks, so my 800 foot long, dirt driveway is really, really muddy.  So muddy that the mailman won't even attempt driving even a little ways down it, so I'm getting notices in my mailbox to pick my packages up at the post office.  Stopped today to pick up last week's and got home to another notice from today.  2 more packages are waiting for me to pick up after 8 AM tomorrow.  Oh boy!!

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at The Printed Page.  You can read all about it at the Mailbox Monday blog.  Well, the mailbox has gone on tour.  This month's host is Rose City Reader

I love this meme because it lets me take a peek into other bloggers' mailboxes and find out what they received over the last week.  I will warn you, it does lead to more books as you will find many that you want because of others mailboxes.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, post about your books and link up!

This week was a light one, so I'll post summaries for you.

Three Seconds by Roslund & Hellstrom, from Sterling Publishing
Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he's become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden's prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country's most notorious jail.

But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens--a man who never gives up until he's cracked the case. Grens's determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman's true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop by Devon Kinch, from Random House

retty Penny has lots of big ideas. For instance, she wants to throw a birthday party for her grandmother, Bunny, but there is only one problem—she doesn't have any money! What's a creative, industrious girl to do? When Penny notices that Bunny's attic is cluttered with old things that still have value, Penny has an idea—create a "Small Mall!" Penny will have to clean up and set up shop in the attic to sell the old items to earn the money for Bunny's surprise celebration. Author/illustrator Devon Kinch has created a charming, stylish character with a signature look, just like such classic children's book characters as Madeline, Eloise, Pippi Longstocking, and Olivia—Penny is never without her fuschia purse! With Pretty Penny's help, kids can get money savvy!

Enclave (Razorland #1), ARC, by Ann Aguirre, from Fiewel and Friends
In Deuce's world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed 'brat' has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms.

Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember. As a Huntress, her purpose is clear--to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade.

When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning. Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn't like following orders. At first she thinks he's crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don't always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth.

Her partner confuses her; she's never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace. As Deuce's perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy... but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.

Sing You Home (ARC) by Jodi Picoult, from Atria Books via ShelfAwareness 
Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true – she is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare – one that takes away the baby she has already fallen for; and breaks apart her marriage to Max. In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist – using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with the present; to provide solace for hospice patients. When Vanessa – a guidance counselor -- asks her to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by herself and Max.

Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle – until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor – Clive Lincoln – has vowed to fight the “homosexual agenda” that has threatened traditional family values in America. But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child. 

Review: The Fates Will Find Their Way

Author:  Hannah Pittard
Publication Date:  January 25, 2011 by Ecco
Review Copy Provided by:  publisher

About the Book - from Goodreads:  Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing. And the neighborhood boys she's left behind are caught forever in the heady current of her absence. As the days and years pile up, the mystery of her disappearance grows kaleidoscopically. A collection of rumors, divergent suspicions, and tantalizing what-ifs, Nora Lindell's story is a shadowy projection of teenage lust, friendship, reverence, and regret, captured magically in the disembodied plural voice of the boys who still long for her.
Told in haunting, percussive prose, Hannah Pittard's beautifully crafted novel tracks the emotional progress of the sister Nora left behind, the other families in their leafy suburban enclave, and the individual fates of the boys in her thrall. Far more eager to imagine Nora's fate than to scrutinize their own, the boys sleepwalk into an adulthood of jobs, marriages, families, homes, and daughters of their own, all the while pining for a girl–and a life–that no longer exists, except in the imagination.

My Thoughts:  When I first read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was YA, but as I read, I thought it might be adult fiction.  How could I have those thoughts?  Well, the book begins with everyone as teenagers, in high school, doing things that teenagers do.  But, the book is told in more of a "looking back" mode.  The characters are adults recalling their teenage days and how they got to where they are now.

This was a different read for me, because it is told from the male point of view.  While different, I enjoyed it.  Girls, women, are always wondering how the male brain works, and Pittard does a good job of getting into the male psyche for us.  There are many stories that relive high school from a female point of view, but it was amusing to hear it from the opposite sex.  They truly do think a lot about the female anatomy!

When Nora Lindell, age 16, disappeared, it left her sister and their group of friends wondering just what happened to her.  Although Pittard never really tells the reader the whole truth, we can piece parts of it together based on present day happenings in the book.  The boys in the group do a lot of speculating about what happened to her though.  Some scenarios are more plausible than others.  Nora is never forgotten, as some of the guys think they see her in various places as they are growing up and starting their own lives.

I think Pittard does a great job of putting into words and story form, what many of us do throughout our lives, wonder "what if."  What if we had done this, what if she had never disappeared, who would she have married?  Admit it, you've done it.  As an adult, I think we all wish we could go back to high school and maybe "do-over" some of our not so great moments.  We have all had those what if thoughts, and Pittard brings them to life, through the eyes of the boys.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: The Book of Tomorrow

Author:  Cecilia Ahern
Publication Date:  February 2011 by Harper Collins
Review Copy Provided by:  publisher

About the Book - from Goodreads:  Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin.When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.  

My Thoughts:  This was an interesting read.  I always had a thought that there was more going on than the author would let me believe, but the more I read, the more convinced I was that there was something eerie about this story.  

Tamara, the main character, is very independent.  She's used to being able to come and go as she pleases, but not anymore.  It seems as though she's always being watched.  Since her father's death, she has been forced to move to "nowhere" with her aunt and uncle.  Tamara has no access to the internet, no malls, nothing she is used to, so she's forced to find other things to occupy her time.  One of which, is a book.  This is not an ordinary book though.  The book writes itself, in Tamara's handwriting, and tells about tomorrow.

What a concept for a story!  I loved this one and I fell in love with Tamara, even though I thought she was a snob at first.  Throughout the story Tamara learns more about her family than she's ever known, but what she really learns is about herself and that she has to make her own tomorrows.

Ahern does an excellent job of keeping the reader in suspense.  There's something new around every corner, but she keeps you second guessing yourself, just like Tamara is second guessing the people around her.  This one had me predicting right up till the end, even though some of my predictions weren't what really happened.  I loved that as a reader, I was able to make those predictions.  The author didn't just reveal everything all at once.  As the story unfolded, so did the lies, or the truth, however you choose to read it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - January 22

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky over at Alyce's blog, At Home with Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. 

This is not the best picture, as it was taken with my mom's phone, but it is one of my favorite pictures of my nephew.  He has loved books since he was big enough to hold on to one!  My brother, who doesn't read unless he has to, has a hard time understanding my nephew's fascination, but Aunt Shelly continues to spoil him with books.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 1/21/2011

1. So many of us look forward to Friday.

2. Keep a smile on your face, even in hardship.

3. Those who are accepting of you for your true self are your true friends.

4. Tomorrow is waiting quietly.

5. Light is in both the heart and eyes of a child.

6. Make the best of all that is ordinary.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to continuing the book I started last night, tomorrow my plans include catching up on blog posts and Sunday, I want to watch football with my hubby!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Blood Red Road

Author:  Moira Young
Publication Date:  June 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry
Review Copy Provided by:  publisher

About the Book:  Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. 

My Thoughts:  This was my first read for 2011, and I loved it!  Saba is a very strong willed, independent kind of girl, who loves her brother, and will do anything to find him, even if it means taking her bratty kid sister along for the ride.

From the fist page, to the last, I was hooked.  Young took me into Saba's world, and allowed me, the reader, to escape from this world into one that was filled with wastelands, savages, girls who fight in cages, and a King.  I wanted to be there every step of the way with Saba and Young made me feel as if I was right there through her writing.

Saba didn't t know anything other than Silverlake, except for what she had heard from her father.  After her brother is taken away, she embarks on a journey that will lead her to places she's only heard of, allow her to meet some rogue characters, and help her discover things about herself that she didn't know, which cause her to grow into a strong woman.  Saba's sister won't be left behind, after all, Lugh is her brother too.  Lugh is Saba's twin, and her little sister will just get in the way, but throughout the book, she continues to find Saba and get her way.  I loved the way the sisters' relationship grows and blossoms as the story unfolds.  They start out in a love/hate relationship and end up in a loving one, the way sisters should be.  Saba also learns about romance, something she tries to avoid throughout the story.  She is strong and independent but the reader learns that she also has a soft side.

This is a book that I really enjoyed.  It doesn't come out until summer,  but if you get your hands on an ARC, I encourage you to read it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Waiting on Wednesday" - Haven

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

By Kristi Cook

Publication:  February 22nd 2011 by Simon Pulse

From - 
One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

I've always been a fan of books, tv shows, movies, etc. about people with powers.  Which is why I love Ghost Whisperer, Charmed, and many others.  This book sounds like it's goes right along with those.  I'm anxious to see how this one turns out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Because of A Book with Suzi Katz

I am so glad to be bringing back my Because of A Book feature this year.  I love this feature because I get to meet so many wonderful people and find out what their bookish influences were as a child.  This week's guest has been on the blog before.  Please help me welcome back Suzi Katz!

As a working mother, volunteer and passionate youth advocate, Suzi Katz focuses her energy on teens and helping them build positive futures. Her commitment to young people drives her personal and professional lives, and her latest venture as an author is no exception.
With the release of her debut novel A Life Revealed, Suzi Katz launches Suzi Katz Books, a publishing house dedicated to exploring the lives of young adults and the complicated choices they face each day. Following her support of children’s causes, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of A Life Revealed will be donated to the International Child Art Foundation, a non-profit organization that integrates arts with science, sport and technology for the development of children’s creativity and empathy.
Katz earned a Masters of Science in Sports Management from Northeastern University in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science in Communications/Media from Fitchburg State College in 1992. Originally from Boston, Katz resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband Jay Slowinski and their daughter Maia.

One book was all it took. When I was a kid, I read assignments for school because I had to. But it wasn’t until I read, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, that my love for reading and writing blossomed. Like so many other writers, Judy Blume inspired me to do both. I loved her characters, the lessons they learned and the fun they had. I can still picture Margaret raising her eyebrow, Deenie finding out she had scoliosis, and the day that Blubber became the name of a fifth grade student, bullied by her classmates. I could see myself running away from egging a home on Halloween, to raking fall leaves with blisters on my hands. Those books have lived inside of me for years.

How do I know I love a book? When I open the cover, I feel like I am walking through a door to each character’s world. I love feeling like I’m a part of their world and what they’re doing.

Along the way, I discovered so many other great authors like Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Julie Reece Deaver, Shel Silverstein, Elie Wiesel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more. In school, one of my favorite things to do was sit on the carpeted rug outside my classroom and listen to my teacher read to us.

When I’m writing, I try to be as real as possible. Not every character is perfect, they don’t always make the choices I would, or speak perfectly. They are themselves and develop into people who carry the story from beginning to end. It’s what makes the story move along.

Growing up, my bedroom was filled with the little blue notebooks. The books we used in school to write our test answers in. I used each and every one to create a new story. I wish I knew what happened to them over the years. It would be interesting to read them now. While most of my books have disappeared over the years, the stories have not been forgotten.

One of the most important things I do in my life is helping in my community. It has always been a rewarding experience for me. Now it is even more rewarding, as my daughter, who is almost 8, is really involved with the work I do. I now consider it, the work we do.

While we volunteer at a women and children’s living center and can offer toys, clothes and those things needed on a daily basis, one of the most important things I can offer them are brand new books. Books, with stories that will hopefully last a lifetime in their hearts. Books that might make them love reading, or inspire them to become writers.

I feel like I’m starting over again reading for my daughter. While she is becoming a reader herself, I love reading to her, using a different voice for each character in each story. I can’t wait to introduce her to the books I loved during my childhood, and to the incredible new writers who have added to the great books since that time.

About Are You There God It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume:
No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it's not long before she's found a solution.
Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound

About A Life Revealed by Suzi Katz:
Tragedy can strike in a split second. But what if that tragedy brings with it both heartache and mystery? After her parents are killed, seventeen-year-old Chloe Jacobs discovers that she's been part of the Witness Security Program her entire life. While enduring twenty-four hour protection from U.S. Marshals, Chloe secretly searches through her tangled family history...and realizes that in order to find the truth, she'll have to fight for her safety, dreams, love...and ultimately her life.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells

About Hiding in the Open by Suzi Katz:  coming out soon!
The long-awaited sequel to a life revealed

When Chloe Jacobs became Caiden James, life was supposed to be perfect. However, life doesn't always go as planned...especially when it is in a directions you shouldn't be heading. How will Caiden handle the real truth, about herself and her family? And how can she keep her past from the one she loves...and keep her worst enemy from taking it all away

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 1/17/2011

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at The Printed Page.  You can read all about it at the Mailbox Monday blog.  Well, the mailbox has gone on tour.  This month's host is Rose City Reader

I love this meme because it lets me take a peek into other bloggers' mailboxes and find out what they received over the last week.  I will warn you, it does lead to more books as you will find many that you want because of others mailboxes.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, post about your books and link up!

This week's mailbox will be done differently than my past mailboxes.  It takes so long to create my post when I add summaries for every book, so I'm going to show you what I got, and then link to Goodreads so that you can click through to learn more about the books you want to know about.  I hope you enjoy!

Share with Brother by Steven Layne, from Pelican Publishing
Pretty Penny Sets up Shop by Devon Kinch, from Random House, won on Twitter
Attachments (ARC) by Rainbow Rowell, from Dutton
Other Word for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, from Delacorte Press
Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang, from Delacorte Press
Badd by Tim Tharpp, from Knopf
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow, from Algonquin
Paris was Ours by Penelope Rowlands, from Algonquin
Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt, from Algonquin
Bitter Melon (ARC) by Cara Chow, from Egmont
All That's True by Jackie Lee Miles, from Sourcebooks, email from publisher
Real Live Boyfriends by  E. Lockhart, from Delacorte Press
It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare, from Sourcebooks, for blog tour

What books came into your house?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - January 15

Saturday Snapshot is a weekly meme hosted by Alyce from At Home With Books.  To participate, all you have to do is post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on Alyce's blog.

We had family pictures made for Christmas.  This is my husband, Willie, and me, on the rocks. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 1/14/11

1. Right now I need to get a lot done.

2.Diet Coke is what's in my glass.

3. A copy of this letter should not be seen by others.

4.Ice cream is best with a spoon.

5. The best movie I've seen lately is Knowing.

6.Easy to like; hard to love.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner with my wonderful husband, tomorrow my plans include relaxing and lunch with my family and Sunday, I want to work around the house!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The "Launch" of the Good Ship Godspeed!

Today is the BIG day...ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is released today!!

Thanks to Jeremy from Novel Thoughts for creating the header for us to use today.  I hope you are excited...lots of the blogosphere is!  Beth Revis, the author, has this to say...

About the book, from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at Amazon

You can find Across the Universe on Facebook or at the website.
Check out Penguin Teen online at their website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Beth Rivas can be found at her website, blog, and on Twitter.

Want to be enticed some more?  From 11:11 AM Eastern to 11:11 PM Eastern on 01-11-11, that's today ONLY, io9 is posting a 111 page excerpt.  Be sure to check it out!

I'll leave you with the ATU trailer for your viewing pleasure!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 1/7/11

1. It's 2011; I know it's going to be a great year!

2. I love bread and butter pickles.

3. Thankfully I have my health.

4. Friends are the best things in life.

5. I am so ready for some "me" time.

6. Cotton bowl fever is alive in TX and LA.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing at home watching the Cotton Bowl, tomorrow my plans include walking with my friends in the morning and Sunday, I want to rest because it's going to rain all day!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Read to Me - Picture Book Reading Challenge

Okay, okay, I know I said I wasn't going to join any challenges this year, but I can't really fail at this one, since it's what my blog's all about.  So, I'm joining the Read to Me - Picture Book Reading Challenge!

This is the first of it's kind challenge, and I'm so glad that Danielle Smith, aka The1stdaughter, over at There's A Book created and is hosting this one.  For all the details, check out her challenge page.  Here is the overview:

  • The objective of the Read to Me Challenge is to read with the kiddos in your life and/or enjoy picture books in general.
  • Books must be ones written expressly for children ages 9 and under. Board books, early readers, picture books, etc.
  • Print or eBook format is acceptable.
  • Anyone can join. You don’t have to be a blogger, and you don’t have to live in the United States. Open worldwide.
  • You do not have to have an blog to participate.
  • You can join at anytime. Deadline to join is November 20, 2011. (not 2010 you still have PLENTY of time to sign up!) The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.

There are different levels to the challenge, some for Reading with a Child and some for Reading On Your Own.  I am going for the Reading On Your Own set of levels.  Many of you know that I have grandchildren, but I don't want to count on them being around enough for me to play in the Reading with a Child zone.  So, I will enjoy the picture books on my own as I read and review them for this blog.  Here are the levels for Reading On Your Own:

Reading on Your Own:
  • “Board Book” – Read 12 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Unjacketed” – Read 36 picture books on your own during the year.
  • Jacketed – Read 72 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Early Reader” – Read 120 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Chapter Reader” – Read 200 picture books on your own during the year.
I will be going all out, for the Chapter Reader level.  After all, if you're going to get into the challenge, you might as well go for the gusto!  So, 200 picture books it is, along with all the other books I'll be reading this year...what a goal!  I love it!
Will you join us in the challenge?  Grab a button, create your own post, and link up with Mr. Linky on the challenge page!

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    "Waiting On" Wednesday - Where I Belong

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

    Where I Belong
    By Gwendolyn Heasley
    Publication: February 1st 2011 by HarperTeen 
    From Goodreads:
    Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems.... 

    How could I not read a book set in Texas, my home state?  

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Interactive Storybook Apps for iPad

    I thought that some of you might be interested in this!  I know I was!


    I Love You Through And Through, The Magic School Bus: Oceans and Go, Clifford, Go! Offer Enhanced Reading Experiences For Kids

    NEW YORK – January 3, 2011 - Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced the introduction of its “Touch & Tilt” line of iPad book applications on the iTunes App Store. The three apps, I LOVE YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH, THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS: OCEANS and GO, CLIFFORD, GO!, introduce age appropriate, re-playable reading experiences and leverage the unique technology of the iPad to bring the books to life. These interactive storybooks allow the youngest of children to read and play independently on the iPad – seamlessly combining how they naturally want to interact with the story and characters with the unique capabilities of the platform to provide hours of reading and play.

    “Interactive media is all about kids owning the experience, and Scholastic is delighted to introduce interactive reading experiences that truly put children in the driver’s seat,” said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc. “With the design of engaging, humorous enhanced interactions that kids will want to do over and over again, Scholastic is confident these apps will foster a love of reading for generations to come.”

    The new Scholastic “Touch & Tilt” Apps for iPad include:


    * Based on the Scholastic book by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church (More than 1.8 million copies in print)
    * Age: 2 and up / $4.99 U.S. Only
    * Perfect for preschoolers, this app focuses on “emotional play” – encouraging children to understand the moods, sentiments and emotions that bring characters to life
    * Simple “Touch & Tilt” animated interactions make it easy for the youngest of children to engage with the story
    • Touch the words to hear the story and then touch again to pause; touch characters or objects to watch a fun animation and see them move
    • Tilt the iPad to watch the story characters lean and move, bringing them to life

    * Lively narration, original music and sound effects make the story come alive
    * Individual words highlight as they are read aloud, to aid reading skills
    * Options allow parents to turn off music and narration so the child can read the story on his/her own, or have the story read to them—just like a physical book

    * Based on the Scholastic book “The Magic School Bus: On The Ocean Floor” by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen (More than 58 million books in print of The Magic School Bus series)
    * Age 4 and up / $7.99 U.S. only for full app; Lite Version also available
    * The app takes readers on a wild ride with Ms. Frizzle's class – a field trip to the bottom of the ocean
    • The app embodies the “open exploration” essence of The Magic School Bus brand, which encourages kids to “take chances, make mistakes…and get messy!”
    • The app takes advanced facts from the book and brings them to life so kids can manipulate variables, and see cause-and-effect in action
    * “Touch & Tilt” animated interactions make it easy for children to engage with the story
    • Touch the words to hear the story and then touch again to pause and touch speech bubbles to hear what characters are saying
    • Within seven interactive science explorations, touch characters, animals or objects for fun animations and to see science concepts come to life
    • Tilt to find underwater bubbles that grant access to 26 real photos and 11 videos of underwater animals and plant life
    * Narration & Music
    • Features over 20 individual voices, as well as original music and sound effects
    * Game
    • Features one highly re-playable game with more than 20 animals; children play to earn points for more science facts, and to travel to other areas of the ocean
    * Includes hundreds of facts about underwater life

    * Individual words are highlighted as they are read aloud, to aid reading skills. Options allow independent readers to turn off music and narration, access mini-games and go to specific pages in the story.


    * Based on the Scholastic book series by Norman Bridwell (More than 126 million books in print from the Clifford series)
    * Age 2 and up / $4.99 U.S. only
    * The app combines the beloved Big Red Dog with a topic that all kids enjoy: vehicles and motion. Users play along with Clifford as he encounters trucks, trains, planes, and motorcycles that go whizzing by.
    * “Touch & Tilt” animated interactions make it easy for children to engage with the story
    • Touch the pictures and words to hear the story and see the characters move
    • Tilt the iPad to make the trees sway, waves roll and characters animate
    * Re-playable Game
    • After reading the story, kids can play an action game in which they drive the vehicles featured in the story and collect bones for Clifford

    * Lively narration, music and sound effects make the story come to life
    * Individual words are highlighted as they are read aloud, to aid reading skills. Options allow parents to turn off music and narration so that the child can read the story on his/her own or have the story read to them by a parent—just like a physical book.

    All of Scholastic Media’s book apps (and all of its interactive products) are developed in-house, ensuring fidelity to the tone, look, and feel of beloved Scholastic brands while guaranteeing that parents can trust the apps to be both educational and entertaining. The company’s penchant for developing quality entertainment for children and families on new platforms follows the 2009 release of six Scholastic-branded game apps for iPhone and iPod touch based on the hit children’s properties Clifford The Big Red Dog®, I SPY™, The 39 Clues™, WordGirl® and Goosebumps™. I SPY™ and Clifford The Big Red Dog® apps are also available for iPad.

    For more information on Scholastic apps please visit: or For more information about Scholastic, please visit Scholastic’s media room at

    Here are links to video previews of the Apps:

    Go, Clifford, Go!

    I Love You Through and Through

    Magic School Bus

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Mailbox Monday - 1/3/2011

    It's been a LONG time since I last posted a Mailbox Monday.  Welcome to my weekly post about the books I receive in the mail.  This is my favorite meme of the week, as I get to share what came into my house as well as learn about new books by checking out what others got.  Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at The Printed Page.  She has since turned it into a blog tour.  For all the details, go here. If you'd like to join in, head over and link your own mailbox.  Make sure you visit some of the other linked bloggers as that's what makes this so much fun!

    I didn't get much last week, as the holidays are usually slow as far as book getting goes.  Here's what did come in:

    Teenie, by Christopher Grant - received from Random House
    High school freshman Martine (Teenie for short) is a good student, with a bright future ahead of her. She's desperate to be accepted into a prestigious study abroad program in Spain so that she can see what life is like beyond the streets of Brooklyn. She wouldn't mind escaping from her strict (though lovable) parents for awhile either. But when the captain of the basketball team starts to pay attention to her after she's pined away for him for months and Cherise, her best friend, meets a guy online, Teenie's mind is on anything but her schoolwork. Teenie's longtime crush isn't what he seemed to be, nor is her best friend's online love. Can Teenie get her act together in time to save her friendship with Cherise, save her grade point average so that she can study in Spain, and save herself from a potentially dangerous relationship?

    Blood Red Road (ARC), by Moira Young.  Received from Simon & Schuster
    Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
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