Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gateway 2012-2013 Nominee 2: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, as I started this book, I really didn't think I was going to like it because the main character, Sam, is just so unlikable. And I know that was the whole point of it, but still, I just didn't think I'd ever feel sorry enough for her that I could get into it. And that was disappointing because I loved the book Delirium (Delirium, #1)by the same author. And it was also bad because it is one of the possible nominees for next year's Gateway books that I have to read since I am a reader/selector again. It just seemed to me like a cross between the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.

However, once I got into the book, I got sucked in. Every morning that Sam woke up, I wanted to see what she would do differently. It was the whole chaos theory in action. What did Sam need to do differently, first to save herself from dying. And then, when that didn't work, and she woke up again, what was it she actually needed to fix in order for it all to end? And how would she get it fixed? In a way, it brought my thoughts back to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The reason I think this, is because even though the main character is so unlikable, just seeing how each little detail of what she did, or changed, affected those around her, well I think it's something good for teens/people to read. All these titles make me think of the book How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life, a book my school district used as kind of a theme one year for the school year. It's a book I think everyone should read at some point in their life, the younger the better. I just think sometimes, myself included, that people don't realize how something they say off-handedly or out of their own frustration can really hurt someone else in a way they never intended.

So even though I was sure I was not going to give this book any higher than 3 stars, I ended up with 4, which is pretty good for me with a character I didn't like. Once you get into it, like I said, it's hard to put down until you know how each day ends, and if what she's done will fix it.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

200th Follower Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to those of you who entered the contest. I did what I said I would, wrote your names on paper and threw them in a bowl, then pulled one out. The name that I pulled out was Liza over at Book Crook Liza. Congratulations Liza! Thanks for entering, and I'm now following you as well!

I'm so excited to go see Scott Westerfeld tomorrow night. However, I just figured out tonight that I only own the first two books in the Uglies series. I must have checked the rest out from the library. So now I must decide, do I go ahead and try to find time tomorrow night to run to Barnes and Noble, the store I work at, to buy them with my 30% discount, or should I just purchase them from the bookstore, our local independent competitor, at least for getting in authors, that is actually hosting him. Now, we have a location of our store right almost across the street from where this is going to be, so maybe I'll just go there and get them so I can get my discount. 30% is 30%. Although I swear somewhere up there is another of the books that I haven't read before, so need to go do some digging and make sure before I buy it again.

Again, congrats to Liza, and I'll be emailing you after I publish that to find out how you'd like it personalized, and to get your mailing address. As I live in Missouri, it shouldn't take long for it to get to you in Kansas!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gateway 2012-2013 Nominee 1: Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers

LockdownLockdown by Walter Dean Myers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, this is the first book I read for the 2012-2013 possible Gateway Award nominees through the Missouri Association of School Librarians. I've already 2 others on the list, but that was a while ago. Anyway, on with this review. It's also the first book that I ever checked out as an e-book from our public library! Very cool. And one other first, the very first Walter Dean Myers book I've ever read. Lots of firsts for this book.

This book reminded me of a few that I read for the Gateway award last fall, specifically We Were Here. Both were good, and while not normally the type of book I would pick out to read, I can totally see the audience in my classrooms who would really want to read them. I'm so glad that I've gotten the opportunity to be a reader selector for the past few years for the different Missouri award book nominees. It has really given me more insight into books for all readers, and if I ever get the chance to be a school librarian, I'll feel even more prepared.

The main character is Reese, short for Maurice. He is in a juvenile detention center, jail for juvies basically. His crime was stealing prescription pads and giving them to someone so that person could then write fake scripts for drugs to sell. We start out the book with Reese hearing he has a chance to possibly get out early, and part of it is being a part of a new work program the center is trying. This center is called Progress. The job is working at a retirement home. At this home he meets a man named Mr. Hooft, who really is of that generation that doesn't trust black people and judges him as a criminal. Meanwhile, Reese is dealing with the other kids back at the detention center. While he's not in for a violent crime, he can lose his temper so quick and become extremely rough. And he actually does this most of the time in order to protect another inmate who keeps getting picked on, to the point where Reese is afraid this kid will be killed. But fighting is fighting, no matter why, and so he gets punished every time as well as the other person. And keeps putting his chance of early release in jeopardy.

I really liked the story between him and Mr. Hooft. It had parts that made me smile. I liked that deep down this kid was good, that he wanted to be good, but there were things in his environment that just kept getting him down and pushing him a step backward from his goals. I think the portrayal of the people working at the center is probably realistic, and kind of sad to think of. I know kids I can recommend this to, and I will. Good book.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

200th Follower Giveaway! (A little late, but better late than never!)

I reached over 200 followers thanks to Parajunkee and Alison Can Read featuring me a couple weeks ago on their Feature and Follow Friday. But with being so busy back to teaching my darling middle school science students, I haven't had a chance to do this. And, also thanks to being so busy, I'm going to just do a plain old comment type entry. This week I'm planning to go see Scott Westerfeld when he comes to town. I plan to get his latest book in the Leviathan series, Goliath autographed by him and give it to the winner of this contest. So, if you are interested in winning this book, all you have to do really, is be a follower of my blog and then comment that you would like to win this autographed copy. On Wednesday at 3 pm CST, I will choose a winner from the comments by putting their names on a piece of paper and throwing it in a cup and pulling out a name. I will email that person and ask what name they would like to have it autographed to, as well as their mailing address. If I don't hear from the winner before I head down Thursday night, I will just get a generic autograph. I hope people are interested in getting this. Can't wait to see him myself!


The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

The Way We FallThe Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was unsure whether to go ahead and post a review of this since it doesn't come out until January, but saw that everyone else seemed to, so here goes. First I'd like to also mention that I got this as an egalley from Netgalley.

Again, people call this a dystopian book, but to me this isn't what I consider dystopian. It is science fiction to me. There is a disease that starts to take out a whole island population, I think in Canada. Of course the government decides on a quarantine to keep it contained. This virus starts by making you feel like you have the flu, then you become really friendly and gossipy and will say whatever is on your mind. The main character is Kaelyn, and she first is introduced to this virus when her friend's father who has been sick says some really kind of prejudiced things to her when she is at their house one day. The story is told through her letters that she is writing to a boy who used to be her best friend. She is writing him because she was not nice to him right before he left the island. So we get to see the whole thing through her eyes. We get to hear about the people of the island panicking when they feel that the government has left them to die. Her father is actually a doctor who deals with this type of issue and so he is at the hosptital constantly and Kaelyn and her mother and brother must make it without him. She also has an uncle and cousin on the island, who it ends up they must take care of them as well at a point.

I like the science details, not too detailed for just anyone to read, like a teen, but enough that as someone who would have been really into the science at that age would be sucked in. Maybe it is the fact that I just saw the movie Contagion recently as well, but it was a good book, and I was hooked. Like another review on Goodreads said, it started a bit slow, but once the disease started taking over, I was at a point I didn't want to put it down. Can't wait to put it on my recommendation table at the bookstore where I work!

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

100 Most Popular YA Books - How Many Have You Read?

I saw this on the Bookish Brunette, as well as another blog a while back, and kept meaning to do it. The book I just finished isn't published till January, so I need to check with Netgalley to see if that publisher wants me to wait till closer to publishing time to review first.

The books:
I've read will be in bold

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Callagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3, 4)
18. Christopher Paolini – Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket – Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld – Uglies (1, 2, 3)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)

97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog, as I am planning to give away an autographed copy of Scott Westerfeld's new book: Goliath, 3rd in the Leviathan series. And if I can get the contest closed by this Wednesday, then I will be able to get it personally addressed to the winner when I meet him Thursday night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve (The Eve Trilogy, #1)Eve by Anna Carey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More review later. But for now I'll just say thank goodness I know there is going to be a 2nd part, I need to know what happens next!

Above is what I first thought after finishing the book, and below this is my full review.

So, I got this book from Netgalley. I've been looking forward to reading this ever since I first saw it on some other bloggers' sites. The story is another dystopian setting. However, I read one or two reviews, and got kind of nervous about it. Someone said it was the same thing as some other recent dystopian novels. So I was worried I might feel that way as well. However, once I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised that it was different, and it did grab me to where there were times I didn't want to put it down to do what I needed to do. Were there similarities to books like Delirium? Yes, but not enough that it wasn't its own story. The fact is that in this future time, there is a virus that has killed off many people, and girls are now put in schools to make sure they are raised properly, and can go out into the world ready to be successful. It turns out though, that this bright future Eve has worked so hard for, even coming in at the top of her class, is all a lie. So she runs away.

She runs into Caleb, who at first she fears as she has been taught to do all her life in school. But soon she comes to trust him and think that life might actually be okay out here, as long as she can be with Caleb.

The twists and turns in this were pretty good. There were some sad parts, and some happy parts. As I said in my original review, I'm so glad this is listed as a part 1 of a trilogy, because I need to know what happens after this book ends.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

Cinder and EllaCinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I got this book as an egalley from Netgalley, through Cedar Fort Publishers. It was an interesting retelling of Cinderella. I wasn't so excited by it though, that I couldn't put it down easily. I enjoyed that in this book the prince is not Prince Charming. That the heroes were actually people working for the prince. The stepsisters are just sisters, annoying, but not evil. The mother is also not evil, just absentminded and stressed since their father disappeared. I liked the use of a fairy tale within the fairy tale. The tale of how each person is connected with a tree was an interesting storyline. I'd like to see that a little bit more explored. I didn't like the fact that Cinder and Ella were 2 separate people, that just didn't sit well for me for some reason. Even though it was a very creative way to tell the story, just didn't seem to be my cup of tea. But, it is definitely a retelling of a fairy tale in a new and creative way, and I will recommend it to people who enjoy that type of story. This is a short review as I don't want to say it wasn't good, it just wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

All You Desire (Eternal Ones #2) by Kirsten Miller

First I want to say welcome to all my new followers! I am working on going through all my comments and visiting all of you, but it's slow going as I try to work it in between my Labor Day activities, grading, and trying to read. But I intend to get to all of you in the next few days if I haven't stopped by yet. Also, now that I've reached 200 followers, I believe it's time for another giveaway, and I'm thinking a Barnes and Noble gift card. So be on the look out for that in the next week or so.
I was so excited when this book came out because I loved the first one, Eternal Ones. But since I read the first one as an ARC, it seemed an extra long time since I'd read it. So when I first picked up the book it took a little bit to remember the whole story exactly. But once I got into the story it all started coming back, and I got sucked right into the story. And it got to where all I wanted to do was read, but as seems to be happening since school started back up, I didn't have as much time. My adorable little puppy Dora, also kept me from reading as much. So it took me much longer than it should have, because if it wasn't for the puppy, I'd have probably finished it late one night in bed.
We start off with Haven and Iain in Italy, Iain is thought to be dead, which they did because he was wanted for a murder, that he didn't commit. Also, Adam, the guy who has loved Haven in all her lives, but is evil, has promised Haven one lifetime in which he will let her live her life without his interference. Her childhood friend Beau, who she learned also was with her in past lifetimes, calls to let her know that he has met someone who says he is Beau's soulmate from a past life, and Beau is going to meet him in New York. Shortly after Beau becomes incommunicado, and Haven receives a call from another friend back home, Leah, who can see the future. She tells Haven that Beau is in trouble, and there is a woman in NY that can help her. When Haven tells Iaian who this woman is, he tells Haven this woman is really a fake. But she has to go anyway as she will do anything to save Beau. As Haven is really sure that Adam must have something to do with Beau's disappearance, she accepts the woman's proposal to try to entrap Adam to get him to help her, and maybe find out what he's done. The woman is part of an ancient group of women called the Horae, also reincarnated, who are trying to get Adam away from the world so he will quit causing so many people to die.
But as Haven hangs around with Adam, he tries to show her how he is changing to be a better person for her. Haven is warned that he's opened a school to make zombies out of the young reincarnated kids to make them his slaves. So she goes to visit the school, and is instead very impressed by what is being done for these kids, so they are not made to feel freaks for the very things she had to go through as a child. She begins to really believe Adam has changed for the better, and is not sure she wants to help the Horae imprison him anymore. There are some twists and turns, and the story keeps you guessing till the end on who is really the bad guy in keeping Beau hidden.
As with the first book, I loved again going back to read about the past lives and how history was worked into them. A great book, and I now can't wait to see what happens in the next one as this left off with another cliffhanger in a way.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday #10

Follow Friday is sponsored by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. And this week the Featured blogger on Parajunkee is ME!! I'm very excited about this, and am looking forward to all the new bloggers I will meet this week! Over on Alison Can Read the featured blogger is Once Upon a Prologue. This week's question is:

If you could change the ending of any book (or series), which book would you choose? Why and to what?

My answer to this might be a little different than what you normally see me blog about. I would have to say the first book I thought of is A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. It is the first and only one of his books I ever read. I read it because I heard the movie was coming out, and I like to try to read the books before I see the movie. Anyway, if you've read it, or seen the movie, you know what happens at the end. This book was such a feel good book to me. The popular boy has to make up for mistakes he's made and he ends up having to work with the town's nerdiest girl. But as he works with her, he begins to really get to know her, and even fall in love with her. I loved this story, because I always felt in school like I was the nerdiest girl there. But then, it turns out she has cancer, (I think it was cancer, some deadly disease anyway), and she dies! I was so mad. I hated that this book made me feel all good inside and then jerked the rug out from under me. So I refuse to read anymore of his books.
One other book that I wasn't quite pleased with the ending was Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I didn't like that the ending wasn't any more of a happy ending. I know most dystopian novels are not, but I'd would have liked to see it with this one.