Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 5: Non-fiction Books...

There's something that happens I've noticed while I've been a school librarian for a three school libraries which cover grades 6 through 12 at three different buildings...they seem to love non-fiction at one point, or at east try it easily but then gravitate heavily to fiction and then seem to (at some point) either make a very firm choice to forever be fiction OR non-fiction readers as they become high schoolers and then adults. I'm not sure really why this is. I have many, many theories about this and am working on them and we'll see if I can turn this around so that the kiddos in our schools at least see that sampling all different types of reading materials are not only acceptable, but also enjoyable! 

Here are a few of the ones I've really liked lately that have come through my libraries, across my circulation desk and that I all of a sudden realized that my "I'm just going to flip through this..." turned into "I just read this!" :)

Author: Regine Stokke  

Release date: October 23, 2012
Published by: Zest Books

This is actually Regine's, a Swedish teen with a rare form of Leukemia, blog that was turned into a book which is very honest and educational while also very emotional and quite beautiful. She was also quite the photography artist and many of her photographs are in the book as well. She really lived to the end...

Release date: November 6, 2012
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Meet the scientists of Assateague Island who are committed to unraveling the mysteries of the wild herds of horses through the extreme weather, clouds of biting parasites, and enduring
hundreds of watchful hours to maintain balance within their ecosystem there, while also dedicating themselves to researching the population. 

The photography alone in this one is phenomenal!! I have a feeling we might have to get this one for our home library since we are "horse people"!! :)

Author: Na Liu 
Illustrator: Andres Vera Martinez 
Release date: October 1, 2012
Published by: Graphic Universe

When Chairman Mao dies so many things become so very different in China. Some things are better and some aren't, and for two very little girls it's hard for them to know that anything important is happening at all. Now that Ziao Qin is all grown and looking back though she realizes that there were many good things and many bad things that came from Chairman Mao's way of doing things. Her family actually gained quite a bit from his leadership while others did not around her so while others may always curse him she would always find hard to do so.

Author: Steve Sheinkin 
Release date: September 4, 2012
Published by: Flash Point/MacMillan

When a German chemist discoveries that placing radioactive materials next to a Uranium atom, it will split...a race it started in three power-house countries! A VERY dangerous  and deadly race! This is an absolutely fascinating read and also a huge award winner from this past year! WOW! You have to try it this summer! This is the story of the atomic bomb, the creation of the world's most formidable weapon.

Release date: October 30, 2012
Published by: Zest Books

70+ YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder) give advice to their teenage selves through letters about bullying, friendship, love, physical abuse, body issues, and more. Find out which author had a really bad first kiss. Who found true love at 18? Who wishes they'd had more fun in high school? Some authors write diary entires, some write letters and a few even draw visual art! 

I LOVED this and we even wrote our own letters to our teen selves on the blog tour for this one!

Release date: September 21, 2012
Published by: Candlewick Press

Rappaport brings to light stories of Jews who organized to sabotage the Nazis and help other Jews during the Holocaust right under the noses of the military. 

I haven't read this one yet, but this one is going to go home with me this summer for sure! It sounds really good. Intense and powerful, but good!

What about you? Do read non-fiction? Have you read any of these? Do you have any great suggestions? I'm ALWAYS looking for great suggestions for my school libraries if you've got some good ones to share!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday #64 - Far Far Away & Dance of Shadows

Book Trailer Thursday is a feature inspired by Once Upon a TwilightWe are hoping to promote not only new books that are out or are soon to be out on the shelves, but to also promote the creation of book trailers themselves! Make sure to post a comment below and let us know what you've found out there this week!

Author: Tom McNeal 
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

It say quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dak evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings... (Summary from Goodreads)

This book trailer is just gorgeous and I can't wait to see what Rachel thinks of the book since she has it from NetGalley! Beautiful! 
Check this one out! 

(Dance of Shadows, Book 1)
Author: Yelena Black 
Release date: February 12, 2013
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to fell your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly - and she must be very careful who she trusts...
Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school - the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances - she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames...
Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead - and the burning forces about to be unleashed...

I love the music, very haunting and clearly goes with the story line. It sounds like an interesting ballerina tale. There seem to be a lot of ballerina books coming out. What do you think?

What did you find out there this week? 
Link it up; we'd love to come and check it out!

Libby Bit Reviews: Elemental and Fearless

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental, Book 0.5
Release date: March 27, 2012
Published by: Kensington Teen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Merrick is just focused on not making any trouble. That's what his parents want more then trouble. The problem is that Michael is a pure Earth Elemental, one with more power then they've ever known could exist! Which is why he's completely off limits to Emily Morgan, who's brother Tyler just happens to use Michael as a punching bag as often as he can hoping that Michael will slip and use his gift breaking the promise his family made.

But when Emily and Michael collide, will they be able to walk away from one another? With one misstep they could lose everything.

My thoughts: I loved diving back into this world of Elementals with this family and their friends. It was like getting home from work and putting on my favorite yoga pants and curling up in my comfy chair! Plus, this one was like flipping through an old scrapbook and looking at a story I was dying to know.

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series:  Elemental, Book 2.5 
Release date:  July 31, 2012
Published by: Kensington Teen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hunter Garrity is a serious force of nature as a Fifth, a future Guide. Except that he has to watch his back everyday as the kids at school hunt him because they sense that he's different. Hunter's father is determined to make sure that he is prepared for his future whether it be survival in the outdoors, sharpshooting, or self-defense. Except he's not ready to let Hunter in on the missions yet...

My thoughts: This one was ok. I'm glad I read it and got to see inside Hunter's world with his mom, dad and uncle, but it was as fantastic as Michael's story. I just don't think I like Hunter as much, or his family. Their mission is just so creepy and jaded! Yuk! Of course we see that he becomes a better person later, but still.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #71 - Dare You To & Shutdown

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Katie McGarry 
Release Date: June 7, 2013
Published by: Harlequin Teen

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does...
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all... (Summary from Goodreads)

OMG! I can't wait to read this. I want it on my shelf now!!!!!! I loved Pushing the Limits and now I'm ready for another broken-people-but-powerful-people-inside story :)

(Glitch, Book 3)
Author: Heather Anastasiu 
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin

The battle is all but over, and hope seem to be lost. Zoe and her fellow Resistance fighters are on the run, having lost their home, their protection, and their leader. The are outnumbered and outmatched by the powerful corporation that controls the world, and the cruel Chancellor is inches away from completing a scheme that would kill most of humanity. Zoe's only remaining option is to chase the impossible dream of upending the Link system, freeing the world from the hardware that controls their thoughts and emotions, and hope it will trigger a revolution.
The plot requires a nearly impossible mission to infiltrate the dangerous Community, and it is a task that Zoe must unfortunately complete alone. With challenges and surprises at every turn, nothing goes according to plan. Adrien's visions of the future now show two possible outcomes: one in which they succeed, and one in which humanity falls. It all lies in Zoe's hands. (Summary from Goodreads)

WHOA! What an ending! I can't wait to read this! And these are paperbacks which is SUCH a cool bargain for such brilliant stories! Heather rocks! :) (This makes me think of Aeon Flux! Have you seen that movie? If not, that's your homework! Get on it! ;)

What are you waiting on this week?

Armchair BEA Day 1: Classics...What is a classic?

What IS a classic?

Seriously! Is it classic because somebody said it was!? A teacher? A professor? A store who bound it a special and beautiful way? For example, here's the newest gorgeous set of Penguin Classics in hardcover! Aren't the "to die for"!? I think so! 

But who decides that they are "classics"!? 

I have no idea. I truly believe that it's the consumers! That's us! Partially it's educators, librarians and booksellers (who also happen to be us, that's Rachel and I, since I'm a school librarian and Rachel's an English Teacher by day in case you didn't happen to know.) BUT, in the end I truly believe that it's the consumers!!! Here's why...

If we continue to love a book, and/or series, which means that we continue to buy it and buy it throughout the years, while also possibly teaching it in our classrooms for its value in some way, shape or form...

it then is found to be a it not!?

What do you think?

So I put forth to you my favorite list of "Traditional Classics" and you'll see that they have a certain slant to them which isn't very shocking if you know me. ;) 

Then I put forth a "New Classics" lists which I HOPE will endure through the ages...

Traditional Classics...
Anything by Shakespeare

Anything by Edgar Allan Poe

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Dracula by Bram Stoker

New Classics...
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Many of these have elements that are just like the previous "Traditional Classics" in that they are cautionary tales in some way, but they are ones that have extremely updated powerful messages that truly resonate in my opinion with both my generation and with the generations that are in the now and the upcoming times be it to do with the environment, with how we treat each other, how we treat those we have power over, how we acted on a day that was to live in infamy in our history in the United States, or is part of our history we've been trying to make up for since the beginning of our country. Maybe they aren't teaching us a lesson that is what our main stream curriculum tells us we "have to know" but they are all very important lessons to be learned about compassion, about our world around us, about forgiveness, about saying no, about standing up for others, about not being ashamed, about the fact that no matter what you ARE, you are a human being who deserves love, respect and help! 

I can't wait to check out your classics you came up with as both an English major and a Teacher Librarian I am a serious lover of classics, but also a serious lover of all of these new books that are coming out! :) 

Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Iron Touch 
by Kady Cross
Series: The Steampunk Chronicles 
Release date: May 28, 2013
Published by: Harlequin Teen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After New York City, the extraordinary team has returned to London a bit fractured after Mei's unexpected betrayal. Griffin has become incredibly withdrawn and mysterious, while he's turned to a newcomer, Isley, instead of his friends. In the meantime Emily is stolen straight from their home for a plan more evil than even others before. Will the team be able to find and save her in time? Or will she have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all?

My thoughts: Oh how I LOVE these books! Seriously! When I start one of these I just sigh and feel like I'm home again. This 3rd installment was JUST as fabulous as the other 2 in the Steampunk Chronicles Series! Kady Cross did not disappoint! Action, adventure, romance, mystery, gadgets, science, and so much more! If you haven't tried Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles, you have GOT to start with book 1 of the trilogy! 

I'm not sure there's anything else to be said at this point that I haven't already said about these...they would truly make a fantastic movie series or TV Show, but for now I will just be pleased with having them on my shelves so that I can reread them over and over again. 

View all my reviews

Monday, May 27, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 1: Introductions...

Hey there everyone! 
We are participated in Armchair BEA once again this year which is just a fun way to NOT be going to Book Expo America in NYC while everyone else is! 
Ok, today is introduction day where we pick 5 questions to answer about ourselves, so here we go...

    What am I currently reading? - 

    The Girl with the Iron Touch by the FABULOUS Kady Cross! I ADORE this series!!! Finley Jayne is my kind of Super-hero!! Seriously, if this book was around when I was young, I would have wanted to grow up to be her! :) 

    Tell us something non-book related everyone reading your blog may not know
    I grew up on a Quarter Horse racing farm! :) That's right! So weird! We no longer race them since there really isn't a business for it anymore where we live, but we DO still have a Quarter Horse farm. I never really talk about them though which people always seem to think is weird. I just don't think they're that exciting since they are just a normal part of my life. (We have also done Civil War Reenacting for about the last 20 years! Just like in the Castor Chronicles, but with a Cavalry Unit! I know, also weird I suppose. Think of it as family camping with a twist!)

    Which is your favorite post that you've written? - 

    I recently read and reviewed Orleans by Sherri L. Smith and absolutely LOVED IT! I was SO blown away by it that I have literally not stopped talking about it to anybody and everybody who will listen to me gush about it! It was SO hard for me to write the review b/c I didn't want to reveal too much, but I also wanted to make sure people knew how AMAZING this book is when they weren't talking about it anywhere it seemed! :( I even created a bit of a soundtrack for it on my review. Check it out, and if you haven't read the book, it is a MUST READ! WOW!

    What literary location would you most like to visit? - 

    I seem to absolutely adore ALL of the British Kingdom! I seem to be drawn to books about it and love them the most: The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross, Splintered by A.G. Howard, The Roar and The Whisper by Emma Clayton, etc. PLUS, I'm adopted and since it was a VERY closed adoption I know VERY little about my lineage. What I DO know from the only parts of the paperwork that weren't blacked out is my heritage! I am partially English, French Canadian & Irish, because of this I'd LOVE to go to England for a few extended vacations throughout my lifetime. 

    What is my favorite part of the book blogging community? - 

    I love the access, the flat world that's been open up to me through blogging! What do I mean? I meant that if I have a question about something, all I have to do is Tweet someone, or Facebook message them! They'll write me right back! There's such a wonderful "take care of each other" attitude along with the "love of books and authors"! I just adore it! People share things too. This extends to the authors themselves! They are so willing to share things, ideas, answer questions, etc. The world of books is just so incredibly "open and flat" now that I've walked through the front door of the blogging world! Every time I go to a signing, or even just an online chat it just gives me "warm fuzzies" (90's catch phrase anyone!?) I LOVE IT!