2

Bright and Inviting: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Hi there!

In early February, I received a huge order for my Media Center. It’s always so exciting to get new books in to share with the students. Seriously, being a Media Specialist and purchasing books for the school quenches my overwhelming thirst to buy books for myself…at least a little bit!

I just sat there and drooled...

I just sat there and drooled…

One of the books that came in with this particular order was Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

I loved Smile (Telgemeier’s first graphic novel) so much so I was really looking forward to Drama. But I must say that although I enjoyed reading Drama, it wasn’t nearly as wonderful as Smile.

I feel like there was just too much boy drama in it. I know! I know! This coming from the girl who ADORES books with romance! I guess there just was too much friendship and relationship issues for me…hence the title “drama”. I don’t think Callie learned anything about herself in the end because she was just too wrapped up in all the boys. But, in the end Telgemeier is so talented at portraying those moments of middle school memory that still make us cringe and shake our heads at our middle school selves. There were so many times that Callie’s story took me back to the halls of both Sequoia Middle or Ridgeview Junior High School (yes, I went to two middle schools!) where I had some embarrassing drama of my own!

One thing that disappointed me was that I don’t really feel like I got to know Callie deeply. I know she’s not into being in the spotlight and she’s super creative and loves to read, but other than that? I don’t feel like I got to see much into who she was as a character, which is sad because that’s one of the main reasons I enjoyed Smile as much as I did – I majorly connected with and understood the main character!

Telgemeier’s artwork, though is fabulous!  The pages are bright and inviting, which really is her style, and I  will always rush to get her next title, even if this one wasn’t my favorite.  So, in the end despite it’s flaws, Drama was still a fun read that I couldn’t put down and I recommend it daily to students (so much that the waiting list is pretty long!).

Author: Raina Telgemeier

Publisher: Graphix (Sept. 21, 2012)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 233 pages

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:  Drama

5

Waiting on Wednesday: Starglass

Hiya!

Waiting on Wednesday is an event I participate in weekly.  It is hosted by Breaking the Spine and allows us book bloggers to spotlight an upcoming title that is greatly anticipated!

Starglass by Pheobe North, is the title I’m excited about this week!

The generation ship Asherah coasts through space, bound for a planet its passengers have never even seen. On the eve of their Starglass by Pheobe Northarrival, sixteen-year-old botanist Terra discovers that her orderly society has fractured. Walking home one night through the long-abandoned engine rooms, she witnesses the murder of an innocent man. Now, called on by the Children of Abel, a group of rebels intent on destroying the High Council, Terra must prove her mettle–assassinate the ship’s rising captain. In order to carry out her task, Terra must betray her father, deceive her teacher, and challenge everything the Council has ever taught her was true. The rebels think that Terra has nothing left to lose. But when she falls for Silvan Rafferty, the boy that she’s meant to kill, Terra learns that “doing your duty” isn’t always as easy as it seems.

This summary sounds like Starglass could be a cool mix between sci-fi and dystopian, which I’m always in the mood for. I’m also intrigued by this romance between the hunter and the hunted!  Starglass is scheduled to be released on July 23, and it sounds like it has great potential!

I’m really liking this cover, although I’m disappointed the girl is wearing pants…I love covers with pretty gowns! haha I know this is a point of contention among readers and book bloggers, but I can’t help but love the covers with pretty dresses!

What upcoming titles are you waiting patiently for this week?

11

Top Ten Tuesday: April New Releases

Hi there and welcome back!

Every week I participate in the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday meme.  To find out more about it click here.

My theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is April New Releases.  Each month brings us brand new books to drool over and each month I highlight ten of the ones I find particularly interesting. So, since we’re so close to the start of April, let’s get started with ten new books for April.

Dark Triumph by Robin LeFeverDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (April 2) YA

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithThis is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (April 2) YA

Light: A Gone Novel by Michael GrantLight: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant (April 2) YA

The Key and the Flame by Claire M. CatererThe Key and the Flame by Claire M. Caterer (April 2) MG

Rump by Liesl ShurtliffRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff  (April 9) MG

Strangelets by Michelle GagnonStrangelets by Michelle Gagnon (April 9) YA

Game by Barry LygaGame: The Sequel to I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (April 16) YA

Taken by Erin BowmanTaken by Erin Bowman (April 16) YA

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera Cass (April 23) YA

The Program by Suzanne YoungThe Program by Suzanne Young (April 30) YA

I love seeing what new treats are out there for me to read and I think I’m most excited for The Elite since I read the first book, The Selection, last year and really enjoyed it. Which April new releases are you anticipating the most?

2

On Its Own Merit: Poison by Bridget Zinn

Southern Book Bloggers ARC ToursHi there!

I’m honored to be a part of the Southern Book Bloggers Poison ARC Tour! Poison just happens to be Bridget Zinn’s debut YA novel, so of course it counts for the 2013 Debut Authors Challenge as well! YAY!

So, let’s talk about this book shall we?!

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she

Poison by Bridget Zinndoes best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend. But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

When I first saw the cover for Poison I automatically knew this would be a book I would really get into. The cover is reminiscent of classic fairy tales but also has more modern themes woven in.  The cover does a good job of depicting the story itself – classic fantasy mixed with more contemporary themes. Plus it’s just a really pretty cover…and look at the pig!

The main character Kyra is not your average girl. She has a ton of secrets and is on the run, although you don’t find out from what until a little ways in. She is multifaceted character with conflicting feelings and emotions which makes her pretty darn relatable. Kyra is emotionally scarred, and on habit (and necessity), tends to protect herself from the world by building walls and pushing people away.  And while she is fiercely independent, she is also incredibly loyal and will stop at nothing to do what she believes it right. In some ways, Kyra reminds me a lot of  Katniss Everdeen.

Zinn’s writing is pretty humorous and Kyra can be pretty sassy sometimes. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story, it kind of freshened up the traditional fantasy/fairy tale genre and made it more modern. There were a few scenes and dialog that had me laughing, especially the river crossing scene…you’ll know what I mean when you get there.

What I like about the narration style is that we don’t know all of Kyra’s secrets. She reveals them to us when she wants (or in some cases when others call her out on them), which makes learning about her more realistic.  It’s like we’re getting to know Kyra as we would get to know someone in real life. The minor characters, Fred, Ariana, and Rosie (yes Rosie is that sweet little pig on the cover!) were also likable and fun, although we don’t get to know as much about them as I would have liked.

Honestly, I could see Poison making a really good movie. It has adventure, romance, mystery and some really loveable characters (including the pig).  The whole story would translate well on-screen and I would definitely go see it in the theater.

On another note… if you’ve also read Jolted by Arthur Slade, you’ll know that I’m pretty sure Rosie (the pig) is related to Josephine, Newton’s ultra talented pet pig. Two sweet and talented pigs in books? They MUST be from the same family.  :P

In the end, I finished Poison craving more. I want more Kyra and more Fred and more adventures in this fantasy world they live in. I want to know what happens next, in fact I’m sure most people who read Poison feel the same way, but sadly Bridget Zinn passed away, after battling cancer, in May 2011, so we won’t get any more of these characters. To read more about her story visit her website. I do want to be clear about something though, her book stands alone on its own merit without the unfortunate circumstances behind it, which is, I think, very important.

If you are in the mood for a delightful fantasy (and why wouldn’t you be?!) then you should definitely pick up Posion by Bridget Zinn, you wont regret it. The story is perfect for middle school aged readers and those of us who are a tad bit older *cough cough* and definitely has the BookTasty stamp of approval!

Author: Bridget Zinn

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (March 12, 2013)

Format: e-galley (ARC)

Length: 288 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:  Poison

13

Tasty Treats (8)

Hello everyone!

It’s Sunday (a kind of dreary, potentially going to rain Sunday) and I’m actually posting today! I rarely post on Sunday so it’s kind of exciting when I do! :)

I am officially on Spring Break (WHOOT!)  which is awesome because although I love my students and my school, I was in need of some time off. Spring Break affords me time to lounge, read, visit the library and spend time with my friends (and my cousin Audrey who is coming to visit!).

Friday was a teacher work day so we got to go home much earlier than we normally would, so with my extra free time I decided it was time to check out my local public library. I picked up a few audiobooks, but I also poked around the Friends of the Library Used Bookstore and found some fun treats! Now I don’t know about you but when I visit a new book store like Barnes & Noble I get a little crazy. I get a massive case of book lust. The problem is that I can’t AFFORD to BUY all of the books I want (which is ALL of them). I feel a lot like this little guy.

Book Lust

So close, yet so far.

It’s just not possible for me to buy every book I want! So when I find a deal like I did at the used bookstore I get so excited! I have to say that I purchased 6 books (3 paperback, 3 hardcover) for $16.oo.  YUP! I think that’s a pretty good steal for SIX books!

So, let’s see what I snagged:

Tasty Treats1

The three paperbacks are:

Paperbacks

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han*

The three hardcovers (for only $3.50 each!):

hardcovers

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale*

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher*

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter*

I’m so proud of myself for finding these at such good prices and in such good condition! This does however, mean that I need to do some book shelf rearranging to make some room for these new additions…but hey! It’s Spring Break right?! I’ll have time for it!

What tasty treats have you acquired recently?

*= I’ve already read this one but who cares!

5

Pretty Generic: Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

Hi there!

If you follow BookTasty at all you’ve probably realized that I’m participating in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge again this year. The goal is to read at least 12 debut young adult books throughout the year and you can learn more about it here.

The second debut novel I read was Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed.

One house, two worlds…

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley

Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada. For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name—but it would mean giving up her one true love . . . someone she could never persuade her father to accept.

Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting . . . at Somerton.

Sometimes you just need to read something kind of mindless and fun, but I was hoping I’d enjoy Cinders & Sapphires a little more than I actually did.

First let’s clarify that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE British period dramas. I adore reading about the fashion and the upper crust of polite society during pretty much whatever time period you throw at me! There always has to be some good scandal and intrigue mixed in too. Well, in this way Cinders & Sapphires was satisfying! It had all of the above! But sadly, that’s about all it had.

The characters were flat and incredibly one-dimensional. Let’s just lay it all out there: you had your maid with hidden talents who dreams of a better life (of course she does), you have your wealthy debutante who is a closet academic and is, of course, in love with a man of a lower class (or ethnicity) *gasp!*and don’t forget about your eligible bachelor who is scandalously (and secretly) gay *gasp!*. Let’s not ignore the stylish but hateful stepmother and her equally jealous daughter! Throw in an upwards grasping lady’s maid and some mean-spirited (why?!) servants to get our plot moving and…viola! You have it! An unsurprising and  kind of boring version of Gossip Girl in period costume.

So much was predictable that it made me lose interest and I had to force myself to finish reading this one…I didn’t want to DNF the second debut I read! The only storyline I was remotely interested in was Ada’s but that’s just because I like romance, even if they are pretty generic.

There you have it.  I was disappointed in Cinders & Sapphires, because I felt like it missed the mark that all guilty pleasures should… it wasn’t even bad enough to make me love it! But please remember, don’t take my word for it.  A lot of people, including some of my students, really seemed to enjoy this book, so give it a try for yourself…it may turn out to be what you’re in the mood for.

Author: Leila Rasheed

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (January 22, 2013)

Format: e-galley (ARC)

Length: 400 pages

Series: First in the At Somerton series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:  Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton)

4

Waiting on Wednesday: Spies and Prejudice

Hiya everyone!

Welcome back to BookTasty!

As you know, I participate in Waiting on Wednesday each week (hosted by Breaking the Spine) and love to shed some light on upcoming new releases I’m greatly anticipating.

This week, I am pretty excited about Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance.

Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy. Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vancespray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death. But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

If you don’t already know (how could you not by now…) I’m a little tiny bit obsessed with all things Jane Austen. Her books are marvelous and I think books that pay homage to Jane Austen and her works are usually pretty fun, so I can’t wait to give Spies and Prejudice a try! I’m also a fan of spy fiction, so the mix between the two sounds like it has potential to be a pretty entertaining read.

The bad news is that Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance isn’t expected to be released until June 11 by Egmont. So we have a way to go before we can read it! :(

8

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Just Had to Buy, but Are Still Sitting Unread on My Shelf

Well hello there friends!

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday (which is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and Bookish)!

You know that feeling when you enter a book store and you just have to buy all the books? Okay, well maybe not ALL the books, but you must absolutely no questions asked by some books? Yes, I knew you would understand. It’s such an overwhelming feeling of book lust that it cannot be denied. So, you purchase said books. You place them on your shelf all pretty-like and you can’t wait to read them. Then suddenly, months go buy and you realize you still haven’t read the books you just HAD to HAVE!

Let’s take a peek at the list of some books on my shelf that I HAD to buy, but still have yet to read.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J MaasThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Delirium by Lauren OliverDelirium by Lauren Oliver

The Vespertine by Saundra MitchellThe Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Winter Town by Stephen EmondWintertown by Stephen Emond

Bluebloods by Melissa de la CruzBluebloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle ZinkProphecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dead City by James PontiDead City by James Ponti

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffertySloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacCollPrisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

I know! I know! How could I abandon these books to a life of loneliness on my book shelves? I don’t know! I’m obviously the worst book lover of all kinds! But let’s just say I was going to read them…which would you recommend I save first?

7

Where Have You Been All My Life? Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Hello everyone!

Sometimes you come across a book that you just know you’re going to love. The title, the cover, and the summary all seem to fit your book love meter. And then you read the book (or in my case, listen) and you discover that you don’t just  love the book….

YOU FREAKIN’ ADORE THE BOOK!

Gail Carriger, where have you been all my life?! The steampunk debut, Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger is officially on my new favorites list!

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Finishing School.

Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners — and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage — in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

So, yes this fun, and light-hearted romp through a steampunk/supernatural world is  Carriger’s first YA novel.  Apparently she writes a steampunk series for adults (thank you internets!), in which some of the characters in Etiquette & Espionage make appearances all grown up.  I absolutely must add these to my To Read stack.

Etiquette and Espionage is kind of like a Gallagher Girls book (by Ally Carter- which I also LOVE!) set in a steampunk setting. It’s a boarding school for girl spies, with a twist! I am craving so much more of this alternate steampunk world with vampires, werewolves & evil geniuses!

I had fun with all the exaggerated Victorian fashion. And the fact that your pearl necklace may or may not be useful as weapon! Also, I’m a huge fan of boarding school books, but a boarding school for spies and assassins – a FLYING boarding school at that?! I want to go to a flying boarding school for spies and assassins!!

The plot and mystery in Etiquette & Espionage were on the mild side, with most of the story detailing Sophronia becoming accustomed to her new school and home, but this was a good thing as it enabled Carriger to focus on introducing and letting us get-to-know characters. I really enjoyed Sophronia, the main character (although she can be a little too perfect sometimes) for all her progressive thinking and climbing skills.  Overall she is spunky, smart kindhearted and a fun character. If I was a student at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s I believe I’d want to be one of Sophronia’s good friends. Additionally, all the other debut students were well written and interesting, especially the reluctant Sitay, and the ever colorful Dimity!  My favorite character though, was the mechanical dog (mechanimal) named Bumbersnoot.  YES.

The narrator, Moira Quirk, was really entertaining to listen to. Her accents and voices were perfect and made me so happy that I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it myself. And let’s not forget this absolutely stunning cover! I want this dress. Seriously. The  hot pink against the black is eye-catching and the cogs and gear pattern is so smart and perfectly matched to the story.

Do you like steampunk? Do you enjoy reading YA? Are you in the mood for an audiobook? Well, Etiquette & Espionage comes recommend with the BookTasty stamp of approval! I believe that middle grade readers and up will have as much fun with this book as I did!

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 1 minute

Narrator(s): Moira Quirk

Series: First in the Finishing School series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)

6

Waiting on Wednesday: The Summer I Became a Nerd

Hi there!

It’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time to talk about an upcoming new release that I’m excited about.  Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Breaking the Spine and I participate weekly!

This week I want to talk about The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller, which is scheduled for release on May 7 by Entangled Teen.

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown, it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

I like the idea of a Cinderella-esque story where the girl doesn’t let her inner popular girl be seen to win the guy,  but instead does just that by allowing her secret inner-geekiness out into the light.  What a completely fun and unique idea! I am really looking forward to this book! The Summer I Became a Nerd sounds like a fun, low-key summer read!