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Book Trailer of the Week: Unearthly

Book Trailer of the WeekAnd a Happy Friday to you!

Book Trailer of the Week is a weekly feature where I showcase a new (or sometimes not-so-new) book trailer that has caught my attention. Why book trailers? I just love this underused media and I use them at my school as much as possible to promote reading and books among my students!

Unearthly by Cynthia HandSo, last week was the first week back to school with students and I kind of forgot about posting a Book Trailer of the Week…OOPS!

But never fear! I am back with one to share!

I recently purchased some new titles for my Media Center and at the recommendation of some other book bloggers I bought Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia Hand. I have quite a few girls at school who simply go nuts for supernatural YA so new this one needed to be in my catalog. I put my “Bright and Shiny New Books” display up pretty early so it’d already be up for the start of school and Unearthly has been majorly tempting me! I tend to love books with girls in pretty gowns on the cover, so this one has been calling my name for a few weeks now!  I can’t read it yet because I still have to read the last three middle grade Sunshine State Books, but as soon as I’m finished with those you’d better believe this one is on my list!

If that didn’t intrigue you, the summary sounds interesting too!

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out-of-place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

You bet I’ll be sharing this book trailer with my students!

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My Type of Sci-Fi: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hey there!

Let me start by saying that I’m pretty much kicking butt in my personal goal for the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge! I am participating in the Head Bangin’ Level which means I need to listen to 36+ YA audiobooks and review at least 24 of them.  I’m already on 19 reviews and it is still August!  Today’s review of Beth Revis’ Across the Universe is number 20!Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Science Fiction is a genre I’m not used to saying I like yet.  I do like it, but I didn’t for so long because I think I always thought science fiction looked like this:

Now don’t get me wrong, some people may really enjoy this specific type of sci-fi which strange-looking space creatures and aliens interacting with humans, but it’s not my thing. I’m more into the humans in the future with really cool technology and/or living in space type of sci-fi, like this: Firefly

Across the Universe fits perfectly into my preferred type of sci-fi.  You have people living in the future on a spaceship, in…SPACE! Plus there is all sorts of cool technology, even if it is sometimes used unethically. I don’t want to give too much away, but the idea that people would choose to be cryogenically frozen in order to populate a new planet 200 years into the future is awesome. There is this whole underlying theme of genetics and ethical decisions with a tad bit of dystopian leadership thrown in. I actually find all of the genetic meddling that goes on throughout the story to be an incredibly realistic possibility for the future. Revis manages to pinpoint both the coolness and creepiness factors of genetic science and technology.

At its heart though, Across the Universe, is also your basic murder mystery. Someone is trying to kill the other frozen passengers on the ship and it’s up to Amy and Elder to figure out who is behind it all. The whole point of view switches between Amy and Elder add to the mystery surrounding the ship and what is actually happening on it.  You get a newcomer’s perspective as well as that of one who was born on the ship and is accustomed to its culture.

When it comes to Amy and Elder, both of them frustrated me at times.  I felt like despite what Elder knows about Eldest or how things are run on the ship, he is still so quick to believe what he already knows. But, I guess it is easier to go with what you know rather than the unknown.  And I sometimes wanted to tell Amy to listen to the people around her.  She often just does what she wants without thinking about the consequences and how they affect others. But without this device it can be hard to move a story along.  These flaws didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book at all, I just wanted to point them out.

The sequel, A Million Suns, was released in January of this year, so I need to get my hands on it because I had fun listening to this one. In fact, I hope the same two narrators (one for Amy and one for Elder) also read for the second book.  Because of some sexual language and scenes referring to “The Season” (oh the infamous season!!) is definitely YA not MG and I’d only recommend Across the Universe to high school aged readers and those like me, who may be a little older!

Author: Beth Revis

Publisher: Penguin Audio (January 11, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins

Narrator(s): Lauren Ambrose and Carlos Santos

Series: First in the Across the Universe series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:  Across the Universe

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Waiting on Wednesday: I, Q, Kitty Hawk

I,Q: Kitty Hawk by Roland SmithHappy Wednesday everyone!

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted weekly by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of Waiting on Wednesday is to promote upcoming new titles that we just can’t wait to be released.

This week I am waiting for the release of Roland Smith’s third book in the I, Q series, I, Q: Kitty Hawk.  I read and loved the first book in the series, I, Q: Independence Hall two years ago when it was on the Florida Sunshine State book list. I haven’t gotten around to reading book two yet, but my students are crazy about this series!

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while you probably already know that Roland Smith is one of my favorite middle grade authors. I love that his books make my students want to read.  His books are just plain good reads! (I even got to meet him once!)

So, all in all I,Q: Kitty Hawk is going to be released on October 15, 2012.  ARC IQ, Kitty HawkI am so incredibly excited though, because I received and advanced reader copy in the mail a few days ago, so I get to start it before it is released! (THANK YOU Sleeping Bear Press!) I will definitely post a review when I’ve finished reading it!  I also can’t wait to share this advance copy with a student when I’m finished!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookish Confessions

Top Ten TuesdayHi there!

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Top Ten Tuesday was created to share a love of lists and all thins bookish and I really like it because it allows me to get to know other bloggers better.

This week’s theme is My Top Ten Bookish Confessions. We all have them! So, it’s time to confess out bookish secrets and get them out there for the world to see. I know I can’t be the only crazy person out there…right?

Please tell me I’m not alone!

1. I dog ear books. (As I type this my husband shakes his head in disappointment.)  I know this will probably make many of you gasp in horror upon reading this so I just had to put it out there.  Sometimes, I just can’t find a bookmark.  It is what it is.  Dog Ear

2. I always have overdue fines at my local library.  Like every time. I’m pretty sure I am single-handedly financing my public library. I try to renew or return them on time, but I have so many books out most of the time, one or two are bound to slip my mind once in a while.  At least my library gets something out of it!

3. I love Christian Amish Fiction. Lets be clear here.  Not Christian Fiction.  Christian AMISH Fiction.  There is just something so mysterious and intriguing about the Amish community that I can’t help but love reading about them! This genre is usually pretty darn cheesy, but oh so fun!The Secret

4. I’m a Librarian that Lies. Sometimes I tell students a book is checked out, even if it’s not, because I want to read it really bad. I sometimes don’t want to wait the two weeks for them to return the book (if they even return it on time). Sometimes I just have to tell them it’s out and I’ll put them on the waiting list for when I finish rea…uhh…when it’s returned.

5. Sometimes I choose books over people. Sometimes I’d rather be reading than actually living real life and spending time with real people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my real life friends, but my fictional friends are just so much fun. So, for real, I’ve definitely skipped out on social events to read.

7. I generally like everything I read.  You might be thinking, “No way, she’s lying”, but I swear it’s true. I’m afraid this means I’m unable to determine a good from a bad one.  But I think it’s just because I stay away from books I know I’m not going to enjoy, like sad Girl Readingbooks that are going to make me cry, or books that are too dark.  I really do just stay away from them.

7. I judge books by their covers. I know, I know! This is something we’re taught as little kids. I get the deeper meaning underneath the saying, but I’m talking about the bookish meaning here. Yes, I do judge books by their covers. So honestly, the covers I’m usually drawn to are those with have girls in pretty gowns on them.

8. I want to hug all the books. When I walk into a bookstore I get this overwhelming desire to hug all the books.  All of them.  It just washes all over me and I want to linger and touch them all. Le sigh…

9. I hate the “r” word. Lets get serious for a minute here. I will most likely stop reading a book if the word “retard” is in it.  I seriously can’t believe that its the year 2012 and this word is still commonly used by educated people. This word is just so hurtful and I can’t handle it.

10. I talk to strangers in bookstores. If I’m in the YA or MG section I will recommend books to people browsing there. I’m pretty sure this is probably sketchy as I have been known to talk to teenagers I don’t know, about books. People probably take one look at me and whisper to their children, “Stay away from the crazy-eyed lady touching all the books, Sweetie…”

Now that I’ve just bared my soul to you, it’s your turn to confess your bookish secrets. Please help me know that I’m not alone out there!

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The Good, the Bad and the Refreshing: Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese

Well hello again!

Every summer I read the fifteen Florida Sunshine State books and Happenstance Found was officially the tenth Florida Sunshine State book I read this summer.

Happenstance Found by P.W. CataneseTwelve-year-old Happenstance awakens in a cave with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Soon a mysterious trio arrives to take him away: the explorer Umber, the shy archer Sophie, and Oates, whose strength and honesty are both brutal. Hap and his new acquaintances narrowly escape the cavernous underworld and make their way to Lord Umber’s bustling jewel of a harbor city, Kurahaven.

Once there, Hap learns that Lord Umber is an extraordinary man — he’s a merchant, adventurer, inventor, royal adviser, and chronicler of all things monstrous and magical. But Umber’s accomplishments can’t answer the question closest to the boy’s heart: Who is Happenstance?

Desperate to uncover clues in his new, baffling surroundings, Hap accompanies Umber on dangerous and unusual missions. But Hap soon learns that there are powerful enemies inside the kingdom, and a ruthless assassin is hot on his trail. Faced with many unknowns, Hap knows one thing is certain: There’s a reason Umber has chosen him…if only he could determine it.

There is always a fantasy novel on the Sunshine State list but I’ve never been they’ve never been ones that I really, really enjoy, until now.  I completely loved Happenstance Found! But I must confess that I totally judged this book by its cover and thought “Ugh. Not the book for me!” I’m glad to report that I was so pleasantly surprised!

Although this is a fantasy story, there are also elements of science fiction thrown in. In this way Happenstance Found reminded me a little of Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron, because it was a strange (but good!) amalgamation of fantasy story elements with sci-fi themes woven in.

Let me say that the characters just made me smile.  I think I’m pretty cynical when it comes to loyal characters because the whole time I kept expecting someone to back-stab Hap or Lord Umber,  but it never happened.  The good guys are good guys and the bad guys are  bad guys, which was actually incredibly refreshing! I was a straight forward good story. And speaking of good guys, Lord Umber is by far my favorite character. He is so intriguing and I’m interested to learn more about his back story (although we do get quite a bit in Happenstance Found) in the other two books in the series.

In general fantasy doesn’t do so hot in my Media Center, but I’m going to promote Happenstance Found like crazy because I think that if my students gave it a try they’d end up pleasantly surprised like I was. I’d actually recommend this book to upper elementary grade readers and older who prefer fantasy.

Author: P.W. Catanese

Publisher: Aladdin (December 22, 2009)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 368 pages

Series: First in the Books of Umber trilogy

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:  Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber)

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Perseverance and Hope: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Hello there!

I’m trucking away at reading all fifteen Florida Sunshine State books and A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is the ninth I’ve A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Parkfinished.

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Having friends who recently moved to southern Sudan I was intrigued when I saw that this story of Civil War in Sudan made the Sunshine State list this year. I’m going to have to send this book to her because it was a really beautiful read.

Linda Sue Park tells the true story of Salva, a “lost boy”, interwoven with a story of a young girl, Nya in such a way that the reader can’t help but be moved. There is so much sadness and hardship in this book but in Salva and Nya’s stories are also full of perseverance and hope. A Long Walk to Water can be a difficult read at times, as it does detail the horrors and difficulties of war and death, but Parks does not linger on these scenes and her careful timing and inclusion of them makes them that much more powerful.

I would definitely recommend A Long Walk to Water to middle school aged readers to adults. Also, I believe this quick read could be an incredibly helpful book in the classroom to bring more contemporary examples of civil war to students.

Author: Linda Sue Park

Publisher: Clarion Books (November 15, 2010)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 128 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

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Waiting on Wednesday: Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All

Hello!

Waiting on Wednesday is weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Tales from a Not So Smart Miss Know it All by Rachel Renee RussellAs school begins this week I’m reminded of books my students simply adore!  The Dork Diaries is one of those series that I simply cannot keep on the shelf and there is always a waiting list.  So, when I heard Rachel Renee Russell is continuing the series with a fourth, Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All, I got excited because I know my kids will be too!

Nikki Maxwell develops a sudden interest in student journalism that may or may not (okay, definitely does) have to do with the fact that mean girl Mackenzie has started writing a gossip column. And there just might be some juicy info involving Nikki’s crush, Brandon, that Nikki doesn’t want Mackenzie reporting to the world. So Nikki joins the school newspaper staff—and ends up as an advice columnist! It’s fun at first, answering other kids’ letters. But when Miss Know-It-All’s inbox is suddenly overflowing with pleas for guidance, Nikki feels in need of some help herself. Fortunately she has BFFs Chloe and Zoey on her side—and at her keyboard.

Needless to say this one will be purchased for my Media Center when it is released on October 2, 2012! What book are you waiting on today?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read During the Lifespan of Book Tasty

Hi!

After a busy, fun, motivating and tiring Pre-Planning week, the students came back to school yesterday.  I have high expectations for this school year and am excited to see the kids and get back to work. I am not excited that I got literally no reading done this past week because of the fullness of my calendar!

So, anyway it’s time for my favorite weekly feature Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and Bookish.  This week’s list theme is Top Ten Favorite Books You’ve Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog.  I’ve read so many awesome books since starting BookTasty about a year and a half ago and it was majorly difficult to narrow it down but there are some that just really stand out as books I simply adore. So, without further ado I bring you my favorite books since starting BookTasty and no I didn’t stop at just 10! I couldn’t!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn ChildsForgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally CarterThe Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter

Across the Universe by Beth RevisAcross the Universe by Beth Revis

The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner series by James Dashner

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayThe Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

Divergent by Veronica RothDivergent by Veronica Roth

Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Incarceron by Catherine FisherIncarceron by Catherine Fisher

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David LubarSleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather BrewerChronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

So, I know that was thirteen books, but I just couldn’t narrow it down to ten!  Have you read any of these?  What are some of your favorites?

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The Siren’s Song: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Sometimes a book comes along that just makes you smile.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs is one of those books. Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

I’ve had my eye on this book for about a year now since I first bought it for my Media Center. My girls at school check it out pretty frequently and I was always drawn to this pretty, colorful cover! Was it a siren song luring me to this book?!

Thanks to the generous people at the Harper Collins Audio department, I finally got the chance to read…er….listen to Forgive My Fins (THANK YOU SO MUCH!). This was my first mermaid book and what can I say? I absolutely LOVED this book; it’s light, quick and just plain fun. So, yeah I really enjoyed this whole mermaid thing. What little girl doesn’t pretend to be a mermaid when she’s little and in the pool? I did! I’d hook one of those pool rings around my ankles (which looking back probably wasn’t too safe) and swim around like I had one tailfin, instead of legs!

Lily is the kind of girl you’d like to have as your friend. She’s sweet, loyal, and quirky, if not a little oblivious. She is your average teenage girl in her insecurity and boy obsessiveness which makes her an appealing main character. Quince Fletcher reminds me of a little boy who relentlessly teases the girl he thinks is pretty because he doesn’t know how to tell her about his feelings. He throws balled-up paper at her and annoys Lily to no end, but you can tell right away that Quince is sweet and caring. Le sigh…I had a boy like that once upon a time. My Quince, was a boy named Willie in 5th grade who used to sharpen his pencil and then poke my shoulder or arm with it as he walked back to his desk. It took me years to realize he had a crush on me. But I digress…

Is Forgive My Fins predictable? Yes. Do I care? No way! The plot thickens when a case of mistaken identity leads to a rather crucial kiss. Childs packs the story in with hilariously corny and sweet mermaid-ish puns, which I enjoyed and think added to the whole feel of the story.

I did read this book as part of the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge. Emily Bauer, the audiobook narrator, although not the same person, reminded me a lot of the narrator of the Gallagher Girl series, whom I love! Her voice was perky and cute, in the right ways, although I do wish her boy voices sounded a little older (they tended to sound younger).

So, in the end Forgive My Fins a light and enjoyable fast read that I highly recommend to middle grade readers and up who are in the mood for a quick and fun romance that just makes you smile.

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Publisher: Harper Audio

Format: Audiobook

Length: 7 hours and 39 minutes

Narrator(s): Emily Bauer

Series: First in the Fins series.

YA/MG: YA/MG

Buy the Book: Forgive My Fins

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Waiting on Wednesday: Ten

Hello!

Every week I participate in Waiting on Wednesday a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine. This meme was created to share a love of books and spotlight some upcoming titles we’re excited about.

This week I chose to feature Ten by Gretchen McNeil. This YA mystery/thriller sounds a lot like Agatha Christie’s famous And Then There Were None, which I loved, so I’m definitely intrigued. It’ll be interesting to draw comparisons I think!

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Doesnt it sound fun?! I’ve pretty much always had mystery labeled as a favorite genre (ever since all those Nancy Drews as a kid), so I have high hopes for Ten. Ten will be released on September, 18 which isn’t too much of a wait!

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