Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #226- Wanderlost & Vicarious

"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: Jen Malone 
Release Date: May 31, 2016 
Published by: HarperTeen 

Not all who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel's whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can't think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she's ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth's summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour though Europe.

Aubree doesn't even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner's son, Sam. Considering she's pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn't fall for him, but she can't help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Same is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she's letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is -- she just hopes she likes where she ends up. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like a great YA summer romance to pick up and enjoy. I can't wait!

(Vicarious, Book 1)
Author: Paula Stokes 
Release Date: August 16, 2016 
Published by: Tor Teen 

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them surviving growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it's bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city's hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won't rest until she finds her sister's killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn't sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds incredible. So different and good. I can't wait to try it! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: Ghosts

Author: Raina Telgemeier 
Release date: September 13, 2016 
Published by: Scholastic 
Rating: 5 of 5 STARS!!!!! 

This book is about a girl named Catrina and she moves to a new house for her sister. She has health problems. They move to this weird town and in that town they celebrate The Day of the Dead and she doesn't believe in ghosts. Everyone in the town does believe in them. Her little sister wants to see them, but something happens and she can't go. This book is haunted with lots of excitement, passion and ghosts. Cat's family is facing: family problems, moving and health problems. 

My thoughts: This book is awesome! I recommend this book and all of her books to all ages. It was so well written. 

I read them all over and over. I would like to thank Raina Telgemeier, the author of this book, for creating these wonderful books. I would also like to thank Scholastic for supporting all of her books. 
Mommy got this for me @BEA and it's SIGNED! 

Check out Reaghan and Rachel's other reviews of Raina's books: 

Monday, May 23, 2016

My First BEA and BookCon...

This year since BEA was in Chicago for the first time in 12 years, and I'm guessing it won't be there again any time soon I decided to try it. I had never gone before since flying to NYC and back is not possible for me. Also since I was there already, I decided to stay for BookCon and see if it was as nutty as people say.

Day 0.5 Highlights:
I started my adventure Tuesday right after school by picking up Heidi of YABibliophile, and loading up our stuff (of which we both packed a lot of.) We headed to Naperville to our favorite bookstore, Anderson's Bookshop, where we listened to Maggie Stiefvater talk about many silly stories, signed her car cover from the tour, received a gorgeous wrap for the full Raven Boys series and got our Raven King books signed!! YAY!! Then it was on to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago to check-in to our rooms, find food and figure out our plans for the next day. Heidi also had these two fantastic gifts for me of a Raven Boys bag she made herself and a small pouch of little essentials for the week when she got in my car! What a sweetie! She is such a good friend. Plus she was an excellent navigator and toll payer! :) I'm so glad we met in college. 
Day 1 BEA Highlights:
There were two things that were good about Wednesday - the blogger panels and the 5th Annual Children's Librarians' Dinner at the Palmer House Hilton. I did have a bit of a panic attack about the fact that I waited in line for a taxi for about 45 minutes and when I was going to be late I ran for my car in the garage deciding to take my chances driving in downtown Chicago for the first time ever hoping Google could get me there and back safely AND that there would be parking nearby. It all went really well, and the dinner was INCREDIBLE! It was probably my favorite thing from the entire week actually. When we arrived, each chair had a bag full of each author's book and a few other fun items. There was a 3 course dinner, then each author spoke about themselves, their works, and their newest book coming out. After that we got our books and posters signed while getting to visit one on one with each author. WOW! Just...wow! Loved it. No stress, no drama, and so much value from it all. I came away with very cool stories that I can now share with my students when promoting these authors and their books. What wasn't cool was that it cost $42 to park in the garage across the street for 3 hours! Seriously!! O_O 

Here's a link to a post about Day 1 only. I thought I'd do one each day but was just too tired to. 
Day 2 BEA Highlights:
This was an interesting day filled with lots of event floor walking and standing in line after line after line. I think there were so many things to chose from that I just wasn't prepared for it all somehow and that meant I wasn't very into the day. I did make time for signings with Kristin Simmons, Raina Telgemeier, Melissa de la Cruz, Jim Ottaviani, and Jon Scieszka throughout the day. I also wandered and visited with a couple of bloggers I have been following for years who were just as amazing in real life as they have been online, Andye of ReadingTeen and Ashley of NoseGraze. Meeting them was probably the highlight of my day. I also made a couple great connections with publishers that made me quite happy. 
Day 3 BEA Highlights: 
By Friday I felt like I knew where I was going and what I wanted to see realistically. I started this day by attending the Children's Book and Author Breakfast which was moderated by Jamie Lee Curtis. The authors who spoke were Jamie Lee Curtis, Dav Pilkey, Sabaa Tahir and Gene Luen Yang. This was so darn good and powerful. The food on the other hand was rather subpar, but as I was walking in a rep from an association asked if I was a librarian (which I am) and escorted me to a table that was SO close I could almost leap forward and bow at the author's feet on the stage. WOW! I also made sure to stand in line forever very early in the morning before the breakfast to get a ticket in the morning to attend a signing with Alexandra Bracken who wrote Passenger which is still in my Top 5 for this year! Mind-blowing really. I cannot wait for the next book which we got to see the cover of there = WOW! 

I also sat in on an incredible panel of YA authors which was moderated by VERONICA ROTH talking with Melissa de la Cruz, Alyson Noel, Kendare Blake, and Lauren Oliver. I was in the 3rd row on the end allowing for maximum listening and watching, but keeping me far enough away that I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do anything embarrassing like rush the stage and kiss their feet or something. 

I also stood in line for many signings, and even made a few friends in line. I met Melissa de la Cruz, again. (I know, I didn't realize I was so stalker-ish with her until afterwards. To be fair I have read tons of her books compared to 1 or 2 of others. I love her writing.) I also met/got items signed by Kendare Blake, Jennifer Armentrout, Eleanor Herman, Amy Lukavics, and Kiera Drake. 

While I was waiting for the panel earlier in the day to start, a dear friend I had been hoping to catch up with, Anne Greenwood Brown, showed up. Oh how I missed her! We had a great chat while waiting and even had dinner later that night talking and talking into the night. 
Day 4 BookCon Highlights:
This was the most bizarre experience ever. Seriously. I'm glad for the experience, but whoa. I started by walking over to the expo building to get my badge. Then I had to walk about a mile back down to the end of a line that was at least a mile long. Literally. I was glad I was trying to clear out my hotel fridge and just threw my whole yogurt container in my bag to eat breakfast while walking in line. (If you follow Jay Kristoff, he posted a video of about half of the line I was in.) Eventually we all ended up in a room with about 3,000 (I think. Who knows really!?) people standing and waiting to be let onto the floor. I checked the board on my way in that said if author signings still had wristbands left but that was a joke. Nope. So I crossed Victoria Aveyard and Danielle Paige off of my hopeful list to meet. Once we were let in, it was the most bizarre thing with people literally running about and grabbing things here and there. In the end I spent most of the day wandering around, watching people, and getting fun things once and a while. I did go to two panels "Friendship is Magic" with Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, Victora Aveyard and Alexandra Bracken, AND "What is Light without Darkness? Balancing Good and Evil in YA Literature" with Margot from EpicReads moderating authors Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir and Melissa de la Cruz. The only signing I went to was for my friend Anne Greenwood Brown and Heather Anastasiu's new book, Girl Last Seen. I cannot wait to read it! 

Then we finished our day by going to another signing at Anderson's Bookshop where we met Sarah J. Maas and had our books signed! YAY! 
Final thoughts: I'm very glad I was given the opportunity to try this national convention this year, and then paid for BookCon too. I will never press my nose against the screen again trying to look in on BEA green with envy again. Once was more then enough. I will stick to visits to Anderson's events and can't wait for ALA Annual in Chicago next summer. LOVED ALAMW15! 
What I came home with clockwise from top left: Rachel's, mine, the fun stuff for all, and the girls.
Were you at BEA? What was your favorite experience? 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #225 - Every Exquisite Thing & Break Me Like a Promise

"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: Matthew Quick 
Release Date: May 31, 2016 
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper -- a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic -- the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price. (Summary from Goodreads)

I can't wait to see what incredible coming-of-age story Quick has created for Nanette.

Author: Tiffany Schmidt 
Release Date: June 7, 2016 
Published by: Bloomsbury USA 

No one is unbreakable.

All Magnolia Vickers has ever wanted was to follow father's path as head of the Family Business. But new legislation is poised to destroy the Family's operations in the black-market organ trade and Maggie's recent behavior has wrecked the business -- savvy reputation she's worked her whole life to build.

She's given an ultimatum: shape up or step aside.

Then Maggie messes up: she downloads a virus onto her father's computer, and must sneak off-estate for repair. When Alex, a tech whiz, uncovers the type of information on the machine, he offers MAggie a choice: her Family can give him a kidney, or he'll irreparably scramble the data. Maggie agrees, but has no intention of keeping her promise or ever seeing him again. That night Alex shows up at her Family estate with copies of confidential Family files and a shocking revelation-the kidney is for him.

The Vickers aren't willing to let Alex out of their sight, so he moves onto their estate and Maggie is assigned to be his keeper. A task she resents and he enjoys making as challenging as possible. But procuring black market organs is becoming increasingly difficult, and as Alex's health declines, she's surprised to find herself falling for him.

Like it or not, Maggie must accept that if she wants to save Alex's life and carve out a place in the new legalized organ business, she's going to have to fight for both. (Summary from Goodreads)

Check out my review of Book 1:
Hold Me Like a Breath

I really enjoyed the 1st book in this series, and have been looking forward to the next one (it seems like) forever! It was a very different story then I usually read. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My 1st Day EVER @BEA...

BEA has been in NYC for the last 15 years which means I haven't been able to afford attending. This year it's in Chicago! That I can do. = YAY! 

After registering, I was instantly equally excited and nervous. I have only ever been to one other large book/librarian conference before = ALAMW15. It was at the very same convention center which helped a bit because I feel comfy with the hotel and convention center, plus at the last minute a pal and fellow teacher librarian decided to carpool with me. BUT, today and yesterday has included so many 1sts:

  • Driving into downtown Chicago to McCormick Place. 
  • Getting a taxi - which I didn't do because after waiting in line for 45 minutes I decided I was going to be late to a dinner at another hotel and ran for my car instead. 
  • Driving right downtown from my hotel to another and back again alone and at night. 
  • Paying for unbelievably expensive parking for 3 hours during a Children's Librarian Dinner I attended. 
  • Attended an event completely on my own - BEA today and the Children's Librarian Dinner tonight. 
  • Met 7 authors I have never met before. 
  • Made a great connection with a publisher. 
Today was a day of wandering, networking and chatting with publishers, authors and more. My feet ache SO darn much, but I already set my alarm for a ridiculous time in the morning as and will be back at it again tomorrow with another full schedule for the day. :) Here are a few pix from today...

I can't wait to see what comes next tomorrow! Have you ever been to a large book or librarian convention?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #224 - The Problem with Forever & Exile for Dreamers

"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: Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Release Date: May 17, 2016 
Published by: Harlequin Teen 

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory "Mouse" Dodge, it's a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it's been four years since her nightmare ended, she's beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone--spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she's imagined, there's one she never dreamed of--that she'd run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn't seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn't take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she's not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider's life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out--for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard. (Summary from Goodreads)

Just reading this description makes my stomach feel achy. I want to be there for Mouse's coming of age lessons.

Author: Kathleen Baldwin 
Release Date: May 24, 2016 
Published by: Tor Teen 

Tess can't run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. Dreams bring nothing but death and grief, and Tess refuses to accept that she may be destined for the same madness that destroyed her mother. Until her disturbing dreams become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends at Stranje House from Lady Daneska and her lover, the Ghost-agent of Napoleon, who has escaped from Elba. Can the young ladies of Stranje House prevail once more? Or is England destined to fall into the hands of the power-mad dictator? (Summary from Goodreads)

I loved the first book in this series and CANNOT wait to get my hands on book 2! There was so much adventure, girl power and a brilliantly twisted history of our world.

Check out my review of Book 1:
A School for Unusual Girls 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Full Series Review: Lux

Series: Lux 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Released: 2011-2014
Published by: Entangled Teen 

Katy and her mother have just moved to town and are starting over. When she meets her drool worthy next door neighbor Daemon, she's shocked that he is so rude he's mean. His sister on the other hand is extremely friendly. Then, something happens and Daemon freezes time right in front of Katy! Nothing is the same again, and their worlds collide in so many ways. 

My thoughts: I have been meaning to try a Jennifer L. Armentrout book for quite some time now and finally tried Obsidian not long ago. I couldn't put it down and HAD to buy the rest of the series on NOOK as quickly as possible so I could read the rest. I think I literally read all 5 in one weekend. They were full of adventure and drama while also being pretty darn steamy as well.

This was a pretty cool premise with beings from another place, and how their abilities worked. I haven't really read much that has had "alien" beings in it which also made this a great change of pace from my normal syfy and fantasy books. Space travel yes, but not aliens living among us. 

Katy was a VERY fun character who was a blogger! She did Top 10 Tuesdays, WoWs, and so much more. Too fun! I loved that about her of course, but also just loved her love of books and reading in general. Daemon, on the other hand, was a hot grumpy gus until things really begin to happen, and then he becomes quite the hot commodity. They are a perfect steamy couple together. They were realistic somehow even though the story was fantasy. 

There were many secondary characters that were fantastic too like Daemon's sister Dee, others from his community, and Katy's mother. I have to say that Dee was one of my favorites though. She was so very carefree and open. So desperate for a friend, but in a good way not a stalker creeper way. 

The villains were creepy and nicely done. Plus, there were so many twists and turns throughout the series that I was on the edge of my seat throughout. One thing that sucks, but made this series so good, was that Armentrout isn't afraid to kill of characters we love which also makes a book seem more realistic as well.

Final thoughts: I cannot wait to try something else by her now. Any recommendations of out there? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #223 - Summer Days & Summer Nights and Gifted

"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...

Editor: Stephanie Perkins 
Release Date: May 17, 2016 
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin 

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: twelve love stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith. (Summary from Goodreads)

First, I love a sweet romance. Second, I look at the list of authors contributing sweet summer romances to this story collection, and can't resist!

Author: H.A. Swain 
Release Date: June 4, 2016 
Published by: Feiwel & Friends/MacMillan 

In Orpheus Chanson's world, geniuses and prodigies are no longer born or honed through hard work. Instead, procedures to induce Acquired Savant Abilities (ASAs) are now purchased by the privileged. And Orpheus's father holds the copyright to the ASA procedure.

Zimri Robinson, a natural musical prodigy, is a "plebe" -- a worker at the enormous warehouse that supplies an on-line marketplace that has supplanted all commerce. Her grueling schedule and her grandmother's illness can't keep her from making music -- even if it is illegal.

Orpheus and Zimri are not supposed to meet. He is meant for greatness; she is not. But sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Here is a thriller, love story, and social experiment that readers will find gripping -- and terrifying. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds incredible! I'm in!

What are you waiting on this week?

Children's Book Reviews: Finding Winnie & Toys Meet Snow

The CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center), a library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin- Madison puts out an annual list of CCBC Choices. These titles are new titles published during that current year for children and young adults which have been found to be engaging and informational for children and teens. This is a GREAT list to use when looking for something specific for teaching a topic or theme like Science, Poetry, Art, etc. As a teacher librarian, I love getting this little book each year at conferences in WI where we live. There are SO many fantastic books listed in it which I have either been hoping would make the list because I think they're awesome too, OR I can't wait to see what books I haven't even heard about yet which are great. 
Although I work predominantly with grades 6-12, I like to stay current with younger children's literature too. Plus, I have girls who still LOVE to be read to or to have time to all read aloud while passing the book around the room. These are special times for us. 

Here are 2 books from the CCBC Choices 2016 list that we recently tried out...

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear 
Author: Lindsay Mattick
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall 
Release date: October 20, 2015
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Awards: Caldecott Medal 2016 & 2016 Charlotte Zolotow Award Book Honor 
CCBC Choices Category: Historical People, Places, and Events 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the true story of a bear name Winnie being told to a young lad by his mother. An army veterinarian bought her as a cub on a whim while at a train station in England on his way to begin his job taking care of the horses during WWI. Winnie soon not only won the heart of Dr. Colebourn but also his entire army base in England. He finally has to her over to be cared for by the London Zoo before heading to the frontlines, where a young lad named Christopher Robin meets her.

Our thoughts: This was an absolute delight in every way! We read this one aloud around the fire one night in our backyard. We even passed it back and forth between Reaghan (9yo) and I while the grandparents, Mallory (11yo) and daddy all listened. We were entranced, to say the least.

We thought that it was so darn fun that the story was being told to the audience and the little boy by the living relatives of Dr. Colebourn just as the story was told to them by him over the years. To go along with this, we also thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations which did a great job feeling "historical". We also loved the actual photographs at the end of Winnie in the army and at the London Zoo with Christopher Robin. 

One thing that really stood out for me as a librarian and as a teacher is that this was a fantastic non-fiction book for younger children. It didn't overwhelm you with textual information and still told a complete story very well. Plus, it was just plain sweet, sad and memorable. 

There are so many ways you could use this one in the classroom! If you were talking about WWI, or animals in war, or even about the treatment of animals since in the end he makes a good decision for what's best for the animal by taking her to a place where she would be cared for in the best possible way. I personally think that picture books can be used birth to adult, and this one is a great one for absolutely any age. 

View all my reviews 

Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-loving Rubber Ball 
Authors: Emily Jenkins & Paul O. Zelinsky
Release date: September 22, 2015
Published by: Schwartz & Wade/RandomHouse
CCBC Choices Category: Seasons and Celebrations
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A day in the life of Lumphy, StingRay an Plastic as they adventure out into the snow.

My thoughts: This was a lovely and sweet picture book about three adorable characters who each have very different personalities and yet all enjoy a small adventure in the snow for the day. It made us smile and smile while also making us feel as though we were right there with them exploring.

This is a very sweet book for a young audience of perhaps birth to 5 only. We were certainly able to enjoy and appreciate both the artwork and the sweet simplicity of it, but were not wow'd at our adult and 9yo ages. It would be PERFECT for my sister-in-law the Kindergarten teacher to use with her students as winter nears, or even on that most exciting day in Wisconsin when it first snows. I can hear in my imagination my friend the elementary teacher librarian doing voices for each of the three characters if she were to read it out loud for an audience. 

This book just makes me smile when I think about it, and isn't that just great!? I think so.

Have you read either of these? What did you think?