Friday, August 31, 2012

September is for Sequels Challenge

Have you noticed that the longer you've been blogging about books, the more books that get added to your TBR pile?  And that all those pretty, sparkly, new books grab your attention first, leaving sequels to other series sitting on the pile for longer and longer? Well, it seems to be happening to me!!  Then, a month or so ago, I saw an idea for a sequel challenge in September on Ems Book Reviews Blog.  She's only doing a 3-day weekend for her challenge though, and since I'm now back at school teaching, I can only read 1 book (hopefully at least a whole book) in that time period.  AND, since I've been thinking about a whole month of sequels since I first saw the idea, I decided to host a month long challenge in September (and I did get permission from Ems to do something similar to her idea).
I'm hoping there are other people who might want to join in as well, and so I've set it up with a prize at the very end!  So far I haven't been able to create a button for this, but I'll let everyone know if I get one up for you sometime during the month.

To read and review a minimum of 4 sequels between the dates of September 1st and 30th, 2012.

My goal is to read 8 books, that's two a week, a pretty normal number for during the school year.  Which ones I actually read may change, but here are the 8 I plan to read:

  1. One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
  2. Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
  3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  4. Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
  5. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
  6. Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Stolarz
  7. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
  8. Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

  • It would be good if you had a blog to post reviews, or you can be a Goodreads Member and post your reviews on the site.
  • The book must be a sequel - it can be any # in the series, just not the first book.  Prequels can count if they came out AFTER the first one in the series.  You can do e-books, even ARCs or e-galleys, as well as good old fashioned books.  And, I'll even let you count the little 1.5 novellas that are often published as e-books only.  
  • The deadline to sign up and participate is September 15th.  
  • You must post on your blog an entry that has a list of the sequels you're planning to read, but it doesn't have to be complete, or you could even just post your goal, do you plan to read 8, or more?  You can always go back as the month proceeds and enter the books as you read and review them.
In the sign up from below, you need to give me your name and blog name, Ex:  Lisa (Lisa Loves Lit) or just your blog name is okay, and then a link to your original post that set your goal or books you were reading.  If you are not a blogger, and can't do that post, if you only review on Goodreads, then leave me a link to your profile page on Goodreads so that I can follow you to see your reviews.  Everyone who signs up to participate will be entered once into an end of the month giveaway of a $20 Gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon if you prefer, and I may increase the amount of the gift card if I get very many people signed up to participate!  I'm hoping to have some smaller giveaways each week too.  There will also be a way to post a link to each of your reviews in order to earn extra points into the giveaway, that will be with the Rafflecopter below the Sign Up form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Publishing Company Feature: Move Books

I believe it was around this time last year, fall anyway, that the Community Resource Manager at the Barnes and Noble where I work gave my name to a friend of hers who was getting ready to start a new publishing company.  Since that time, I have been so excited to be part of this new adventure.  Eileen Robinson had the idea from her years working in publishing, as well as from her own family experiences, that it is hard to get boys to read, especially middle grade boys.  And she's right. As a middle school teacher, I see more girls with books than boys.  Now, I agree with a certain favorite author of mine that I follow on Twitter, no names, but there are lots of good books out there for both boys and girls.  But I don't think it hurts to go out with this idea in mind, to do something to work on this issue.  So I was happy to read through the manuscripts Eileen sent me, giving my opinions on the stories, as well as how I thought they would appeal to this age group.  And now, the first book from Move Books is going to be published this October.  I posted my review of The Mapmaker's Sons by V.L. Burgess earlier this week.  I asked Eileen to help me celebrate my 3rd Blogoversary with an interview.  Here's what she had to say:

1.  Can you tell my readers a little about your background in the publishing industry?
I landed in children's book publishing by accident.  Never gave a thought to becoming an editor but have always been an avid reader and I loved to write.  Spent many summers in the library.  I began in educational publishing, moved into school and library publishing and got the opportunity to work with Scholastic magazines, scholastic trade, book clubs and book fairs.  Went on to help authors shape their manuscripts and now there is Move.

2.  What made you decide to start Move Books?
My son, my nephews, and their friends.  Every time I'd ask any of them about school, they preferred to say as little as possible about it.  If I asked their favorite subjects, most responded gym, recess and lunch.  When I asked if they liked reading, for the most part I received a "no" or a shoulder shrug but sometimes they'd show me a book they happened to be reading at the time.  My son didn't like to read.  It was like pulling teeth.  He and other boys I talked to thought of reading as a chore, something you did in school.  And most of the time it was because they couldn't find things they liked enough.  Until one day, my son came home talking non-stop about this book he was reading in school.  It was Diary of the Wimpy Kid.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention my 5-year old nephew who reads fluently and has been doing so since he was about 3.  He actually is one of two readers in his class and reads out loud to the rest of the students!  Reading is definitely recreation for him.

3.  What have you enjoyed the most about starting this company?
I am enjoying the process but am humbled by it.  I've learned for as much as you think you know, there is so much more you don't.  And for me that's building a business while simultaneously being the editor I still want to be.

4. I have a few followers that are also writers/aspiring authors.  If they had a story they thought would be good for this project, what should they know if they want to become a part of this endeavor in the future?
I look for authentic middle grade voices.  Do you know your readers and what motivates them to read?  The books I'd like to be a part of creating are entertaining and give the reader a level of comfort but also challenge them.  I want boys to care, making the same emotional investment that girls do but in their own way.

5.  On a more personal note, how has my reading the manuscripts helped, and what ways could I improve my input for you?
 Lisa, you are absolutely wonderful and your experience has contributed to some of my decision-making.  It's important to look at a story from different viewpoints.

Thanks Eileen for stopping by and answering my questions!  For all of you who read my review and might be interested in ordering the book, it is now available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble HERE.

And again, don't forget to enter my current contests going on with the links below.  AND, stay tuned for tomorrow when I will post my very first Challenge, and I hope you'll all sign up and participate!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Fuse (Pure #2) by Julianna Baggott

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting. The book I've chosen to discuss this week is one that is a sequel to a unique dystopian called Pure, and you can read my review of it HERE.  

Here is the summary from

When the world ended, those who dwelled within the Dome were safe. Inside their glass world the Pures live on unscarred, while those outside—the Wretches—struggle to survive amidst the smoke and ash.

Believing his mother was living among the Wretches, Partridge escaped from the Dome to find her. Determined to regain control over his son, Willux, the leader of the Pures, unleashes a violent new attack on the Wretches. It’s up to Pressia Belze, a young woman with her own mysterious past, to decode a set of cryptic clues from the past to set the Wretches free.

An epic quest that sweeps readers into a world of beautiful brutality, Fuse continues the story of two people fighting to save their futures—and change the fate of the world.

I think it sounds like an interesting sequel to the original.  Which left us kind of hanging, wondering what our protagonists would do next.  And again, the cover is really cool looking!

So what book are you looking forward to this week?

Also, while you're here, don't forget to drop by and enter some contests!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mapmaker's Sons by V.L. Burgess

You may have heard me talking occasionally about the new publishing company I was getting the chance to help start by reading manuscripts to help pick which ones to publish.  The company is called Move Books.  And they have a goal to help get more boys reading.  Now I know that there are some of my favorite authors who don't agree that there aren't good books out there for boys, (I won't mention names), and while I do agree, there are tons of awesome books!  I do see in my classroom that there are less boys out there reading.  And it isn't just that there may not be good books, it is just getting them to the boys.  I am excited to be a part of this process to help get more books out there for these boys, as well as sharing my experience and what I know about boys from teaching to help.  So, the first book they are publishing is called The Mapmaker's Son by V.L. Burgess.  It is coming out this October, but in order to start getting the publicity rolling, they've asked reviewers to go ahead and review, so here is mine!

The main character is a boy named Thomas Hawkins.  He is in a private school, an orphan, and he seems to have this need to get out and explore the school grounds, even when it's past curfew.  And not just the grounds, but the rooftops!!  It is one night when he is out with his friends, planning a bit of a prank, to silence the bells of The Lost Preparatory Academy, which ring all the time, to send students here and there, that he gets the surprise of his life.  Real pirates, who seem to be out to get him!  A man with a peg leg turns up just in time to save him, and it seems this man knows about his past.  And has come to take him back to the land from which he came.  Where his father was a mapmaker, and he has a brother!  This land is like a time in the past, with horses and swords, and not at all like the present day world that Thomas comes from.  And in this land he finds that there is a prophecy which he must work with his brother to solve, in order to save the land from an evil ruler.

The book has adventure, and a good look into how boys might act.  It also is a quick read, no parts where you are turning the pages, wondering why you must read through all this strategy/background.  The revelations that are needed to get the story going, are told at appropriate times and in a way that keeps the story going.  Middle grade boys will enjoy this, yes there is fantasy, but not to an extent that will scare away boys who don't like that, but enough to draw boys who do like fantasy in.  I will be handselling it in my store, and recommending it to the boys in my school!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Featured Blog: Sodaro's Stories

Another friend of mine has graciously volunteered to be a part of my 3rd Blogoversary celebration.  She is a blogger, but again, not really a book blogger, at least not in the way that I am.  My friend Michelle is a writer!  Yes, she does read, but her blog is more about her writing adventures.  I was hoping to be able to surprise her with doing a review of her book with this post, but unfortunately, while I did get started on it last week, I realized I had 2 e-galleys from Netgalley that I wouldn't be able to read after September 1st, so I'll have to save my review for a later day.  I will say that what I've read so far is intriguing!  First Michelle wrote a little paragraph about both how we are friends, as well as her blog.  Then I decided to interview her.  So without further ado, here is her post!

Lisa and I met the way all bibliophiles should a bookstore. We both worked there and had a connection because not only were we both avid readers, we were also teachers...and we wondered about each other's respective sanity as she taught middle school and I taught high school. My friendship with Lisa reminds me of the friendship I have with my favorite books: I always know that I can pick up the conversation (or the book) and it will be just as intriguing as it ever was. Lisa taught me that there are some really amazing stories out there that are designated as Young Adult that I might not have picked up otherwise...and my life would not be as colorful without those stories. She also inspired me to start a blog.
I started my blog ( as a way to talk to my readers (though at the time I started it, I didn't have my book published) about the things I think about as a writer, the questions I have, the process I go through when I am taking a story that exists only in my head and putting it in a format that it can exist for others as well. I have had many people (previous students, friends I know in real life, and friends I have made via the internet) tell me that they want to write a book and that my blog helps them. I like the feeling that I get to "talk" to people about writing about being an author. Sometimes I will respond to a quote or a song lyric, sometimes it is a trouble spot in one of my projects, sometimes it is just my thoughts about writing in general. While my blog is only one year in the making, my goal is to keep it going and seeing what it can become. 

1.  So Michelle, where do your ideas for your stories come from?

 Does it sound like I am cheating if I say everywhere? Haha...but honestly my ideas come from my dreams where I might see a snippet of something acted out for my subconscious, my ideas come from bits of conversation that I may or may not be actively involved in (people watching is one of my favorite past times as it helps me make my characters real), and my ideas come from a random question or thought that just appears in my head (what would happen if characters in a book could talk to you, was the premise for Whatever you Make of it, which was the first book I self-published. So, it sounds like I'm cheating, but really anything and anyone could spark a story for me. I've even had stories start because a relationship ended and I start to write about the what ifs...what if he stayed, what if I had said this instead of that...I've joked that writers should come with a warning label that any and all interactions with us could end up in a story. 

2.  Do you feel like your stories model the books you read the most, or are closer to your life experiences?

 Most of the time when I am writing, I try to forget the books I have read and my life experiences, but of course everything plays a role. There are aspects of different characters I have admired in the characters I create, and often I use writing to work through this life experience or that life experience. That is what I wrote my Master's thesis on...the use of writing to work through the things life throws at us. One of the stories I am currently playing with (I call it playing until I am about 10 chapters in because by that time the story has taken hold and has a solid shape) deals with the death of a lover that stems from a similiar experience I went through a couple of years ago. The story will be recognizable for those who went through it with me, but not so much that everyone will see the parallels. 

Mostly...I write stories with characters I would like to meet. I write stories that I would like to read. 

3.  When you begin your stories, do you know how it's all going to end, or do you just write and it all comes out as you write?

 Sometimes I know the ending before I have any idea how I am going to get there. Haha. Sometimes it starts at the beginning and sometimes it even starts with a scene in the middle and I have to figure out not only how to get there, but what to do after that scene. That is actually how my the novel I am self-publishing right now started. There was a scene where the prince suggested to Arianna, the heroine, that she could be his mistress. Her reaction was my first meeting with the story idea and when I finally got to the part in the plot where that scene fit in, I was thrilled. 

4.  Do you set aside time to sit and write every day?  Do you fit in writing whenever something strikes you and needs to be written down?

I really try to write every single day. It may be for 20 minutes or it may be for 5 hours, depending on my schedule, but I really try to put pen to paper every day. It is the best of any kinds of vitamin. 

5.  What made you decide to self publish, and how do you feel that process turned out?  Would you recommend it to others?  Pros and cons?

I had sent out Whatever you Make of It to a few publishers and had gotten back official rejection letters and realized that the Catch-22 that existed in so many aspects of life was also true with publishing. No one wants to publish your work until you are published. I like that I have the ultimate say with my books. I get to design the cover (with amazing help from people with far more skill than I possess). I get to have the final say on how my words look on paper, how my story looks overall...and I like that. I think that more and more people are going to self-publish and even more than that, I think that more and more people are going to strictly e-publish...though I hope for the sake of us bibliophiles that this is not true and paper-copies of books still exist forever. 

Thanks Michelle for stopping by my blog!  And thanks for your answers.  I hope any of my followers that are aspiring writers will take something from your answers!

And if you're interested in checking out Michelle's book, it's called Whatever You Make of It.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In My Mailbox - August 2012

I haven't participated in too many of these, because I forget about them, and then I forget what books I got when, etc.  But, once again in honor of my 3rd Blogoversary celebration, I'm going to participate, but do it as a whole August compilation.  Now, I know, there's been a lot of controversy recently regarding The Story Siren who hosts this, but as she is one of the bloggers that I feel really got me more involved with the whole book blogger community thanks to her Debut Author Challenge, and I feel like she's said she was sorry, and it's time to move on, AND she was really nice to me when I went up to say hi at BEA, I'm going to continue to participate in this meme when I remember, and also follow her.  I hope that doesn't offend any of my followers, but I'm kind of a live and learn, and let live person.

I know a lot of people are doing vlogs for this post, but I'm not a fan of seeing myself on camera, or listening to my voice, so I'm just going to do a normal blog post.  First, a picture of all the books, other than e-books from this month.

  • The first book in the picture, The Mapmaker's Sons, is one I'm very excited to talk about, and will be reviewing this upcoming week, so stay tuned for that post.
  • The 2nd book in the picture is The Slayer Chronicles: Second Chance by Heather Brewer.  She had a contest/post on her Facebook asking reviewers to email and request the book.  I did that, but figured I was not in the first 19 or whatever number she asked for, and I also emailed and asked if she might do a guest post for my blogoversary.  Now, this was actually back at the end of July, beginning of August, and then the other day I got an email back from her saying she'd try to get a post done for me, and was sending me an ARC, and it came this past week and I was soooo excited!
  • The 3rd book is another exciting story involving the author, Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry.  He also made a post on Facebook, his was asking for ideas to help name his next short e-novella.  So one of my first suggestions was Tooth & Nail, which he liked, so I won, meaning he's going to name it that, PLUS I got an ARC of Flesh & Bone.  
  • The 4th book is called The Coffin Quilt and it is by Ann Rinaldi.  This is one I bought.  I really enjoyed the History Channel's The Hatfields and McCoys, and so began looking for books to read more.  While this is fiction, and is a kids' level book, it seemed like a good one to get, by a good author, and one I could put in my classroom library when I was finished with it.
  • The 5th book is one I won!!  I got Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross from Nori's Closet's Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway.  It's one I have seen on the shelf at the bookstore where I work, and I've picked it up and read the back of it a lot, but haven't ever bought it, so was glad to win!!
  • The 6th book is another purchase.  I didn't want to read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter  by Seth Grahame-Smith until after I'd seen the movie.  I just thought it might be better that way, so I wouldn't be disappointed if it strayed too far from the book.  And I loved the movie, so when I saw we had the book on our bargain table for $5.98, plus my 30% employee discount, I couldn't pass it up.
  • And the final book is another ARC  I got in the mail.  Another of my favorite series is by Jasper FForde, and this book comes out in October, The Woman Who Died A Lot, part of the Thursday Next series.  Now, I'm actually a book behind, haven't read the one before, One of Our Thursdays is Missing.  But I made sure to order it and intend to read it in September as part of the Sequel Challenge I'm going to hold, so also, watch for my post on that this upcoming week, and join in!

Now, I've also got some e-galleys from Netgalley, and one e-galley I got as a free deal.  The free deal was Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey.  From Netgalley I've also got on my Nook right now Archived by Victoria Schwab, which I'm guessing a lot of other people got too, and also The Future We Left Behind by Mike A. Lancaster.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?  And don't forget while you're here to go enter my Giveaways:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Featured Blog: The Confounded Cook and Giveaway!!

My next featured blog again is not a book blog, per se, although he does sometimes talk about cookbooks and books.  Greg is a friend of mine from the Barnes and Noble where I work.  He is one of those blogs that has kept me going as well.  Reading his blog, and wanting to keep up with mine and do as much with my blog as he was doing, well, my competitive side needed that to keep going sometimes.  Greg got a new job a while back, and it has slowed down a bit his blogging, and it took him away from the bookstore, and I really miss getting to talk to him on the nights I'd come in after teaching all day, and he'd be there for a half hour more before his shift was over.  Okay, without further ado, read about The Confounded Cook!

Sharing Our Blogoversary (While Cooking With Mortal Instruments)

Could it be three years already, Lisa?  Lisa and I started our little blogs in the same month of the same year and here we are still workin’ it.  We wrote about our passions: in Lisa’s case, it’s fiction mostly of the young-adult variety; in my case, it's life with a food theme….every variety of food.  I started my blog, The Confounded Cook with the intention of documenting my frequently knuckle-headed attempts at becoming a better cook.  Lisa started hers by featuring her favorite books.  Three years later, my blog has turned into more of a personal blog; a roller-coaster of emotional highs and lows down life’s highways and byways that feature cooking, restaurants and food.  My blog has suffered a bit of an identity crisis, but it reflects my ever-chaotic life.  I still love food and blogging though and will never stop, but watch out for my frequent outbursts of ridiculous randomness.  Lisa, however, has remained laser-focused on her books as well as bettering her blog and the results (and number of followers) show it. I couldn’t be happier for her or more in awe of her as a blogger.

Lisa and I share this love of literature and have been out and proud bookworms our entire lives. We worked together at a chain bookstore for several years and it was she who turned me onto young adult literature.  Lisa sometimes winces at my more adventurous palate with food and by the same token, I don’t always share the same taste in books with her.  For instance, as I am a guest on this blog I loathe admitting that I didn’t care for a certain uberpopular young adult series…let’s just say I’m on Team Not-A-Fan.  That said, I totally dug the Hunger Games and Rick Riordian’s Percy Jackson series.  The most recent series that Lisa guided towards was the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.  I was enthralled with the adventures of Clary, Jace, Alec, Magnus and Simon. I loved the dialogue and the characters and in this day and age when everyone and their sister is writing paranormal teen fice Mortal Instruments series is utterly refreshing. One of the reasons I reveled in this series was due to it being anchored in present-day Brooklyn and the cool, hipster lifestyle that Clary and Simon lived; complete with some trendy food settings.  For Lisa’s blogoversary, I cooked up a little chicken salad from East Village Ukrainian eatery and coffee shop Veselka; a little joint that pops up in the fourth book in the series The City of Fallen Angels.  The recipe is from the Veselka cookbook and is featured on another fun blog Cooking With Veselka.  Go here to my blog for the recipe…

Happy Blogoversary, Lisa!  Here’s to many, many more!  

Thanks Greg!  And it's okay if you aren't a Twilight fan, yeah, I know that's what you're referring to.  :-)  And if I can get enough entries, I will giveaway a copy of the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones.  If I get at least 10 people to enter in the Rafflecopter below, I will choose a winner on August 31st, the last day of my month long 3rd Blogoversary celebration!  So whether you're new to the series and want to get started, or just don't own the first book in the series yet, please sign up below!  One rule, you must live where The Book Depository ships.  Check this page to see if you can enter!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday 8-24-12

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you get to learn about two featured bloggers each week, and then can gain new followers as well by joining in to the fun. 

This week's question is a kind of hard one for me:  

What is the worst cover of a book you've read and loved?

Wow, I can't think of a "worst" cover. I agree with another blog that I was reading this post on, the Sookie Stackhouse novel original covers are kind of childish.  The way Eric and Bill look, yuck.  Not attractive at all.  But I'm going to pick a book that I loved, but that I felt the cover wasn't "horrible" it just was a bit too immature for the age level of the book these days.  I choose Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.  I LOVED this book!  So good!!  But the cover makes it seem more like a book for middle grades, as opposed to teen.  I'm comparing based on where we shelve things in the Barnes and Noble where I work.  The cover just doesn't fit in with what else is there, and actually reminds me of certain middle age covers.  I wish I could remember the name of that book so I could post it here for you to compare.  And I feel bad saying it, especially when the author talked about how she was so proud of choosing it or having it chosen. But I just am not a fan.

So, what was your worst cover?

And while you're here, make sure you sign up for the giveaways I've listed below:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Favorite Books to Movies/Television Shows

Today I'm going to talk about the books that I love that have been turned into movies and what I thought of them.  So there are going to be some good ones, and some bad ones here.

1.  I loved the Twilight series.  The books I mean.  Loved, loved, loved them!  I know many people out there do not, and that only bothers me when they have to insult me because I do.  There are books I don't like, but I don't insult the people who like them.  I figure to each his own, and that is why there are so many different books out there to read!  Which is a good thing!!!  Okay, off my little soap box about this.  The movies, especially the first one, were okay.  Not great.  The actors didn't match what I had pictured in my head really.  But there are some good things.  I could still enjoy the first one I think because I had read the book, and so the things left out, like why or how did Bella and Edward fall in love, so not shown in the movie, I already knew how it happened from reading the book.  And the first movie got my sister to finally read and fall in love with them like I did.  And I feel the movies have been getting better and better.

2.  I was a late starter in the Harry Potter series.  I started after the first four books were already out I believe.  I am often not interested in joining into the latest bandwagon, often figuring I'll be disappointed, (case in point, 50 Shades, 'nuff said).  But I had recently started working at the B.Dalton store in our local mall, and another employee gave me a stripped cover copy of the first one to try it out.  And of course, I was hooked.  I sped through the first 4, and then was eager for the 5th one to be released.  I think the movies, especially the early ones, were really good.  I know that I was disappointed though as they left sooooo much out of the Goblet of Fire, and then The Order of the Phoenix, I was so mad that they left out the parts about Ron and Hermione being prefects, and Ron playing Quidditch!  I believe the movies then got better for the last 2 books (3 movies).

3.  The Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan also is a favorite book series.  I started reading them the first year I went to my state librarians' association conference, and the author was one of the speakers.  I LOVED them!  And then I began reading them to my students, and they loved them!  One of my favorite memories as a teacher is having the parent of one of those students come and say how thankful they were to me because now their son was loving the books, and at one point he got so into reading, that they bought him a Nook e-reader!  I even took one of his copies of the books down to get autographed when I saw the author.  Now, onto the movie.  It was horrible!  Percy was too old, he was supposed to be a middle schooler!  So much was wrong!  And I loved having my students that I had read the book with come back and complain to me about it!  Students that hadn't read it loved it.  If I had continued teaching that book, I would have shown the movie just to see the kids have the same reaction.  And now I hear they're making the sequel?  I want to know how?  They ended the movie in a way that didn't leave it open for the sequel!  Will I go see it?  Maybe, in the hopes that maybe they can fix what they messed up and be able to make them all into movies.

4.  The Hunger Games is another series I started because of the library association book awards.  I read it a couple years ago when they were deciding whether to nominate it for that years possible award list.  And of course, was immediately hooked.  The movie, well, I have two differing opinions on it.  When I went to the midnight show to see it, this was a book I had been teaching in my classroom for about 2 years, and I knew it inside and out from discussing characters and plots and settings, etc.  So seeing it the first time I was a little disappointed.  Some major things I didn't like about it, people and details I felt were important and shouldn't have been left out.  But then, I went back and saw it again, without thinking about those things, and I thought they did a really good job.  It was a great movie.  Although again, I had students I'd read it with that were a little disappointed like me.  (Is it wrong that secretly makes me happy?  Or maybe not so secretly?)

5.  Now, off of YA books, to one of the BEST movies made from a book EVER!  The Green Mile by Stephen King.  This was originally published in little mini-books, about a month apart for each of the 6 parts. I really liked this book/series, and I am a huge Stephen King fan, and I can name so many of his books they ruined in movies, such as Cujo.  But this movie, at the beginning, when they're leading Michael Clarke Duncan's character down the "green mile", before the movie even tells what has happened, I was already in tears, because it totally made me remember the book, and what happens.  They did an awesome job.

6.  I am also a huge Dean Koontz fan, and one of my favorite of all his books is Watchers.  And at the time, one of my favorite movie stars was Corey Haim, but he was not the right person for this movie.  Especially since the Travis character was supposed to be a grown man.  Changing the main characters to teens, and man, changing so much more of the story, the movie was horrible.  I can only hope that one day someone will decide to do a remake and do it right.

7.  I hadn't read the books when the True Blood series started.  I decided to wait and read each book after each season.  And that worked well, at first.  The first couple seasons were pretty good, even with some of the changes.  But then, I couldn't wait anymore and had to read on in the series, and so as seasons would start, so NOT where the next book was supposed to go, it made it harder to watch.  And while I still watch the show, it is hard not to be irritated at a lot of the changes.  I don't mind some of the outside stories that get added, what I hate is when they change things about the main characters and their stories.

8.  The Vampire Diaries.  I was so excited to hear about this show!  And then, I watched the very first episode and the things that were changed, well I was already OUT!  The color of Elena's hair, wrong.  Her aunt she lived with, was supposed to be an elderly woman from the way I read the book.  So just, no.  Also, I really loved the Secret Circle series by this same author, I used to read it over and over.  So when I heard the CW was going to do a series on it, I knew there was no way I would even give it a chance.

9.  Now this is a kind of backwards entry, Buffy the Vampire Series, the tv show with many novelizations.  A lot of time novelizations are cheesy, don't really capture the essence of the show.  But not in this case!  There are some awesome books, ones that aren't just a written version of a specific episode.  One of the authors that did this best was Nancy Holder, and I've recently reviewed her Teen Wolf series novel, and she's done it again!

10.  Hmm, I'm debating between 2 books for this one, either Shopaholic, or 20 Times a Lady.  I'll quickly brief both.  Shopaholic, love the books, the movie, also good, but I think didn't quite do justice to what could have been done.  20  Times a Lady, or What's Your Number for the movie title, I haven't read in a while.  But I loved the movie, thought it was funny, so guess it was okay!  Plus it has Chris Evans, who, HOT!!!

What about you?  Are there any movies from books that you hated?  Or ones that you thought were perfectly done?  I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday - Scorch (Croak #2) by Gina Damico

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting. This week I've chosen the sequel to the book by the author I got to host as part of the Authors are Rockstars tour.  You should go check it out and sign up for the contest to win this book HERE.  

Croak is a cool series about Reapers, and Scorch continues Lex's story after a renegade reaper has taken off with an extra power that Lex unwillingly gave to her.  Here is the summary from

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.

To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?

So, what book are you eagerly waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had wavered on whether to read this book for awhile. I usually have trouble with books of associations that fight paranormals, or groups like the IPCA. Especially when teenagers work for them. I know, I can accept the paranormal creatures as realistic, but not an organization having teens work for them? I'm weird I guess. :-) But this book is one of the nominees for our state middle school book award, the Truman award. And since last year I helped read for Gateway instead of Truman, I hadn't read it yet, and have decided I need to try to read as many of the books I can. Plus, I checked it out from my school library at the beginning of the summer.
Well, I finally picked it up, since I need to return it to the library for the kids to read during the school year. And it was a good book. I enjoyed the story, and the characters. The humor was good, and I liked the re-imagining of some of the paranormal creatures. People always make fun of the vampires sparkling in the Twilight books. But really, anyone who reads paranormal/supernatural type books, almost every author makes "their" monster different in some way, a way that fits their story usually. And depending on the story, and the writing, and all that, I sometimes really enjoy the differences, it makes things less predictable in that regard when you read the stories.  In this book, I like the Faeries new/different characteristics.
Once I started reading I was definitely pulled in, and kept thinking about it when I wasn't reading. So it was definitely a good book. And at some point I do intend to read on in the series.
In this story our main character is Evie, she lives and works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, or IPCA.  The reason they have her working for them is that she can see when something or someone is a paranormal creature, she can "see" behind their glamours to the creature behind.  But she's never had a normal teenage life.  She doesn't know who her parents were, and she does live at the center, and takes classes there, etc.  Her best friend is a mermaid.  And the mermaid must talk through a language translator for people to understand her.  One thing I really liked in the book, is that the computer censors the bad language when the mermaid uses it, so we pretty much only get to hear the word "bleep" or "bleeping" when there is cursing in the book because Evie has that as an inside joke.  I kind of like that for a YA book. It's not glossing over the fact that teens do use bad language, but it's also nice not to have to always read it.  I know, sometimes I'm a little bit of a square I guess.
One day a shape shifter shows up at the Agency, only whatever kind of creature he is, well, no one knows.  But Evie can see underneath, and what she sees is cute.  His name is Lend, and Evie sneaks around to see him and get to know him, and soon realizes the Agency might need his help to solve the rash of paranormal creatures being killed.  You see, the IPCA doesn't kill them, they bag them and tag them.  :-)  That's why they are called a "containment" agency.  But through Lend, Evie will earn of another way to deal with paranormals, and she will have to decide if the way she's always known is right, or if she needs to move on with her life and thinking.
Have you read it?  What did you think?

View all my reviews

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cara Lynn Shultz - One of My Rockstar Authors

When I was planning ahead for my big blogoversary celebration month, I really was wanting to do lots of different types of posts.  One thing I really wanted to do was see if I could get any authors to feature on my blog.  Especially any that I'd actually met in person.  And of course, Cara is the first one I picked, because of how nice she was when I met her last November on my first trip to NYC.  Not only was she really cool online talking through Twitter, but we spent a couple hours hanging out and just talking.  I have to say it was one of the neatest nights ever!

Even cooler, because my sister was with me that night, and she was the one living in NYC, she got to go to the release party Cara had for the next book in the series, Spellcaster.  And she got to try the purple velvet cupcakes that I had heard about on Twitter when the first book came out.  

When I returned to NYC in June for BEA, I got to hang out with her again at the bar that her husband owns.  And I did get to see her at BEA as well!  

I am a huge fan of her books, and will hand sell them at my store, and suggest them to my students at school when they are looking for something to read, and I know that paranormal romance is up their alley.  So I emailed Cara and asked if she wouldn't mind writing a little paragraph for me, and here it is:

I had the very welcome opportunity to meet Lisa when she came to New York last
December to visit her sister. She was as lovely as she seemed on Twitter, and let
me tell you, Lisa’s blog is very aptly named! Lisa truly does love literature. She has
a true passion, love and respect for YA, and it shows in her thoughtful blog. I was
thrilled when we got to hang again at BEA this past year. Congrats on three years,
Lisa — here’s to many, many more!

Thanks Cara for taking the time to write that for me!  Along with my promoting her books, for anyone who hasn't read the first one yet, Spellbound, I am running a giveaway, sign up below!  

And when you're done signing up for that, be sure to go to my main blogoversary giveaway for a Barnes and Noble gift card, still worth $30, because I still haven't reached the 600 follower mark yet, when I will bump it to $40.  So go sign up for that HERE!

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Top 10 Favorite Books Growing Up

Again, with celebrating my 3rd Blogoversary month, I'm doing another post to let you get to know me a little better.  As a child I was a voracious reader.  And there were certain books or book series that I read over and over.  Ones that I still think about when reading new books today, or that I can't understand why everyone hasn't read them!  So I thought I'd share them with you today, here is my top 10, in no particular order.

1.  Nancy Drew - My first memory of Nancy Drew is of my mom buying me a whole bunch of them when we were shopping at the JCPenney outlet one night.  I think later on in my childhood, my mother may have regretted really getting me so hooked on reading, but there it was.  And I became such a huge fan!  I have all my copies from when I was a kid.  The hard cover yellow ones, and then the paperback ones that came after those.

2.  The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  Another series that I read over and over.  I remember how neat I thought it was about when Aslan died, and rose from the dead, that it was basically the story of Jesus. I attended a Lutheran school from 1st through 8th grade, and was pretty religious back then.  Now, I still enjoy the stories, and am glad that with the movies a whole new generation continues to pick them up.

3.  A Wrinkle in Time.  I loved this book too, and read all the other books in the series too.  Madeline L'Engle was a favorite author of mine.  So well do I remember the book, that when they were talking about the tesseract in The Avengers movie this past year, that is the first thing I thought of.

4.  From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  I think this book is the reason when I was a kid I started thinking about what bridges on the highway would be best to go live under if I had to do that for any reason.  Not sure why exactly, but the thought of running away from home to live in a museum sounded so cool.

5.  Bunnicula by James Howe.  Another series I really liked, especially when Howie the dachshund became a part of the family, as I can't resist a dachshund!  I got to meet James Howe a few years ago, and I brought the Bunnicula puppet I'd made for a book report when I was younger, because I still had it.

6.  The Parent Trap by Vic Crume.  I used to check this out from the library over and over.  This is before the movie with Lindsay Lohan of course, this one had Hayley Mills.  Read it before I ever watched the original movie too.

7.  Remember Me to Harold Square by Paula Danziger.  I still have this book as well.  And I need to go back and re-read it before I go visit my sister in NYC again so I can remember what other things I might want to do and see.

8.  Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal.  I loved these books.  Jessica and Elizabeth, the chocolate brown room, using vanilla for perfume, etc.  But I don't have these anymore, because my parents made me get rid of them when I was in 8th grade.

9.  A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry.  A depressing book, I did cry every time I read it, and I did read it more than once.  But it is one of the reasons I got a file cabinet when I was in middle/high school and started keeping papers in it.  I got to see Lois Lowry this summer at BEA, but didn't really get to meet her in an autograph line.

10.  The Haunted Mansion Mystery by Virginia Masterman-Smith.  I read this book over and over as well.  I still have this book as well.  I don't think it's been republished, and doesn't even have a picture of the cover, so I had to take a picture of my copy.  Sad.  Maybe I should get on the bandwagon to get it back out there.

Do you have a list of books from your childhood that you remember reading over and over?  Have you read any of my books?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Authors Are Rockstars Tour stop featuring Gina Damico, author of Croak

I'm so excited to get to be a part of this awesome tour!  I've been telling people that authors are my rockstars for such a long time!  Probably since I first joined into the whole Twitter and blogging universe, and got to talk to them, and even occasionally meet some of them!  When I was notified that I got to host Gina Damico, I was really excited!  I'd tried for awhile to win her book on, but never won.  Then I got to meet her at BEA this summer, and get the book autographed!  I had put off reading it, as I kind of set up a little schedule with trying to read ARCs before they came out.  But when I found out I was hosting her, I picked Croak right up to read.  And I LOVED it!  You can read my review here.  I got a top 5 list from Gina to share with you, I hope you enjoy it!!

All summer long, I've been working on the third and final book in the Croak series. It's been wonderful and fun and difficult all at the same time (emphasis on the difficult when my house decides to turn itself into a sauna), but lately I've been thinking about how I used to spend my summers when I was a kid: not writing, but reading. More specifically, going to the library and checking out the same books over and over and over until the librarian had to call pry them out of my freakishly strong little hands. So here are the top five picture books I loved as a kid, in no particular order:

-Herman the Helper, by Robert Kraus
This charming little ditty is about an octopus named Herman who loves to help. It's his favorite thing ever. Get stuck in a web of seaweed? Herman'll help you out. Ocean traffic jam? Herman will use all of his legs to direct traffic. DWI charge? Herman's the best lawyer there is. (There is a chance I'm remembering this story wrong.) 

-Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
This is one of those books that I loved so hard, I memorized it. Which is a difficult thing to do with a Dr. Seuss book, in my opinion, with all those made-up words. It's a gorgeously drawn book that tells you that even if you are stuck in a desert and sitting atop a cactus (as a wiser cactus-sitter is telling our narrator), there's a whole bunch of crap that can happen to you that's a whole lot worse. Like poor Mr. Bix - every morning at six, poor Mr. Bix has his Borfin to fix! 

-Peter and the Penny Tree, by Thomas James
I'm not sure this was one of my favorites, actually, but it definitely was the first book I ever read. I was only three at the time, and I remember sitting at the kitchen table while my mom was drying dishes or something, and I was looking at the book, and then the words just came plopping out of my mouth. Mom freaked out and I got scared. But then once I realized what was happening we all had a hearty laugh and a celebratory round of Goldfish. Thus began my career of reading and getting paid in processed cheese snacks. My book advance consisted solely of Doritos!

-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
The story is about how all the letters of the alphabet get together to climb up a coconut tree, and then it gets a little too crowded up there and they all fall out - which, now that I am seeing that all typed out, is actually pretty horrible. But I dare you to read this book  and not start saying "Chicka chicka boom boom" to yourself for the rest of the day, or perhaps the rest of the month, driving anyone within hearing range to insanity with your nonsensical ramblings.

-Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
I know I'm not alone in loving this book, and I think it's because kids are just so darn convinced that they are constantly going through the worst possible things that could happen to them, when meanwhile they have no idea how much harder life is going to get. Hey Alexander, I bet you'll stop whining about the ice cream that fell off your cone once you get audited by the IRS. Good luck whining your way out of THAT one. Sure, you can move to Australia like you keep threatening, but you know what? THEY WILL FIND YOU.

I have to say I definitely agree with the last book on that list.  It is one of my favorite books EVER!  I find myself quoting lines from it even when I'm having a bad day.

And in going with the top 5 list and the theme of these books, I've created my own top 5 Grim Reapers list, like above, in no particular order.

  • Lex from Croak
  • Georgia Lass from the Showtime series Dead Like Me
  • Sam Oliver from the CW series called Reaper
  • Tod Hudson in the Souls Screamers series by Rachel Vincent
  • And a classic, the one from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

And to all of you out there, let me say that I wish I could enter the contest I'm sponsoring today!!  Gina Damico is offering a copy of the 2nd book in her Croak series, called Scorch.  A book I really can't wait to read now!  So, make sure you enter the giveaway below, so you can be the lucky owner of this book.  And it is open to US entries only.

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Check out the rest of the Authors Are Rockstars Tour HERE.