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Reading Queue: July

The Reading QueueHi there!

This is me on summer vacation.The Office Dance

I love it. I love it. I love it!

So, what is this Reading Queue?  The Reading Queue is a monthly event hosted by me and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for each month. You can check out other participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you!  Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

 How I Did In June

Tomorrow is July and have I told you how much I enjoy my summer break? A LOT! But as for June…June was a month of insane traveling. Seriously, I don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t be! The week following the last day of school, I chaperoned a five day field trip to Disney with about sixty sixth graders which was really fun, yet utterly exhausting! Then my husband and I went on a whirlwind trip to Savannah and Florida to see family and friends. I did manage to finish six books though. But overall…yeah…not a whole lot of reading happening!

The One by Kiera Cass Belles by Jen Calonita The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

The One by Kiera Cass

Belles by Jen Calonita (audiobook)

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Winter White by Jen Calonita A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Winter White (Belles #2) by Jen Calonita (audiobook)

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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My July Reading Queue

I plan on getting a lot more reading done this month mainly because we’re not traveling and have no major plans. YAY!

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landin by Sheila Turnage Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick Wild Born by Brandon Mull

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

Spirit Animals: Wild Born (Book 1) by Brandon Mull

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods Every Day After by Laura Golden Codename by Chris Rylander

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Every Day After by Laura Golden

Codename Zero by Chris Rylander

Don't Even Think About it by Sarah Mlyonowski Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey 

Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mylonowski

Dead Weather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey

Champion by Marie Lu Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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Okay! Which should I read first?! I need your input because my July Reading Queue is quite ambitious. :)

What books are on your Reading Queue for July? We’d love it if you’d link your TBR or Reading Queue up with ours!

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Stitching Snow

Hiya!

For this week’s upcoming new release let’s talk about Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis!

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewisassuming she wants to return at all. Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

Guys!

It’s a sci-fi retelling of Snow White! WHAT! WHAT!

Seriously, I’m incredibly interested in reading this one since I always enjoy a fairy tale retelling! Also, this computer chip inspired cover is pretty darn awesome! I am a little nervous that its going to be a lot like Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, but I don’t want to assume that it will be. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the change to read Stitching Snow in October 2014 when it is scheduled to release! That’s not too long of a wait is it?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Trends I’m a Fan Of

Hi Friends!

It is time again for another Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by the lovely bloggers at Broke and Bookish! For those of you who aren’t aware of Top Ten Tuesday it’s a weekly meme where book blogger create lists based on a particular theme.

For this week, our theme is centered around cover trends! I’ve decided to focus on cover trends I’m a fan of and although some of the trends I’ve listed below are not necessarily current (some may be a few years old now), they’re all trends that I like!

    Rivals In the City by YS Lee Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Statistical Probability of Love and First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Font Focused

I love it when a cover uses strong typography as the main focus of the cover!

     The One by Kiera Cass Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Gowns

I’m always a sucker for a cover with a gorgeous gown on it!

     Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell All Four Stars by Tara Dairman The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Illustrations

Sometimes I get sick of covers with photos of people’s faces on them. Just give me some good ol’ illustrated cover artwork!

     Guitar Notes by Mary Amato The Diviners by Libba Bray The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Symbology

Covers that focus on a specific symbol rather than a person is always a good thing. I particularly like it as a middle grades librarian because it doesn’t alienate students based on the skin color of the cover model.

    Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan Unspoken The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

Gates

There is just something so appealing and mysterious about a gorgeous wrought iron gate!

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2 The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

Masks

To me masks on covers represent decadence and mystery. I like both!

    Spy School by Stuart Gibbs The Crossover by Kwame Alexander Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Silhouettes

This is another cool way to show a person without focusing on the cover model’s skin color!

    Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Boats

I have no idea why these have been popping up so much, but I like the idea of the boat representing a journey of some sort.

    The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Clockwork

Any implication of a steampunk setting and I’m all over it!

    Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Mark of the Dragonfly The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Animals/Creatures

Animals and creatures bring another cool alternative to whitewashing book covers!

What about you? Do you also love the trends on my list or did I list some you’re not a fan of?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!

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Not As Strong As I Hoped: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Hi there!

This weekend the Husband and I are spending a little mini break in Savannah for a few days! Yay for cool historic towns that are close by! After that we’ll be headed to Florida to visit family and friends for a week. It’s going to be so hot, but fun!

Today let’s talk about conclusions to trilogies…one trilogy in particular, the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Recently I finished The Shadow Throne, which is the third and final book in this middle grades fantasy series.

One war. Too many deadly battles. Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seemsThe Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen unlikely?

War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does. His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya’s throne?

If you’ve read my reviews for the first two books (The False Prince and The Runaway King) you’ll know that I was a huge fan of the first book, but was disappointed in the second. Well, good news! I liked The Shadow Throne more than book two, but not as much as the first. The only thing that really kept me from loving this third book is the repetitive nature of the storyline. Jaron, the stubborn one, completely ignores everyone’s advice and get’s himself stuck in an impossible situation only to do something over the top to escape. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jaron and I love these characters, but after a while this plot line makes me roll my eyes a little.

Now, there is a major plot point that occurs right at the beginning of the book that had me reeling! I can’t say what it is only that I literally (yes I’m using this word correctly) had to go back and reread those pages more than one time to see if I had read it correctly! Oh! It’s a good twist that will trip you up!

Regarding the characters, Jaron has matured a lot since book one (despite his ever-persisting stubbornness) and we see this primarily in the way he has learned to accept help from his friends…for the most part. Also, we see growth in the supporting characters like Tobias standing up for his gifts and passions, while at the same time Roden realizes that he has strong leadership capabilities and figures out how to harness them for good.

Although The Shadow Throne was not as strong as I had hoped it would be, it was a fine conclusion and fans of the first two books will enjoy finding out what becomes of Carthya and these characters.

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publisher: Scholastic Press (February 25, 2014)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 317 pages

Series: Third book in the Ascendance Trilogy

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Homeroom Diaries

Hi guys! Happy Wednesday!

Today it’s time for another edition of Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine) and I’m featuring a book that has surprised me a little. I recently saw Homeroom Diaries on another blog and couldn’t believe it when IHomeroom Diaries by James Patterson saw James Patterson’s name attached to it!

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Margaret “Cuckoo” Clarke recently landed in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she’s turning over a new leaf. Now, she gets through the clique-wars of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she can count on her diverse group of friends, known as “the Freakshow,” for help. Cuckoo always tries to keep smiling . . . until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough. James Patterson’s most endearing and quirky teen heroine yet shows us that tears and laughter can live side by side, and that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

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I’ve just never heard of James Patterson’s name attached to anything with a bright pink cover about a high school girl who is not a laboratory experiment ( a.k.a. Maximum Ride)! Although I sometimes struggle with the writing style of his books, I’ll probably try to read Homeroom Diaries just to see what its all about!

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Top Ten: Books on My Summer TBR List

Hi there!

Where are all my teachers at?! Who loves summer?! What what!!PupBooksI have so much free time to read and so of course, I have tons of summer reading plans with my little Reading Buddy (I mean seriously…how cute is he?!). I’ve already posted my June Reading Queue, so the titles I list below are other books I plan to read over summer break.

Defy by Sara B. Larson Wild Born by Brandon Mull 
-Defy by Sara B. Larson

-Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1) by Brandon Mull

Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

-Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey

-Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

  TheRaftSee You at Harry's by Jo Knowles

-The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

-See You At Harry’s by Jo Knowles

What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick

-What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld

-Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Pobloki Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

-The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki

-Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

I can’t wait to get to all these awesome looking books this summer! Have you read any of the titles on my list? Which should I start first? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section.

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Completely Justified: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Welcome back!

I love it when you’ve been excited to read a book for years and when you finally get to that book you were completely justified in your excitement! Well, that’s what happened with The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron.

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronBut instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity. As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it.

I don’t know why The Dark Unwinding isn’t talked about more by bloggers (maybe it was when it first came out?) but I think this is one of most underrated books I’ve read. There is just so much that I’m naturally drawn to in a story; romance, historical British setting, and mystery! It’s all here and it’s all combined to create a beautiful atmospheric read. The plot itself is abundantly creepy with it’s abandoned English manor house full of strange waxen models and perplexing house staff, and Catherine’s odd uncle with his strange preferences, but placing the story on an already bizarre historical setting makes it that much more unsettling!

We see Katherine, our narrator, as innocent, honest, yet conflicted and absolutely reminiscent of Catherine Morland in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.  She is sent to Uncle Tully’s estate, Stranwyne Keep, with what seems like a pretty straight forward task, only to be faced with an inexplicable situation; an uncle who clearly has what we now know to be autism, and two entire towns completely dependent on him for their livelihoods. Katherine wants to do what’s right, but feels stuck in an impossible situation and needs the help of other supporting characters. These supporting characters are all so bright and vivid that you begin to fall in love with them just as Katherine does (with one in particular!!).

The story has a slight steampunk edge woven into the real life historical setting. If you haven’t yet heard of the strange history of Welbeck Abbey (Nottinghamshire, England), once you’ve read this book you’ll rush to your laptop to learn more about this weird estate where every room was painted pink!

The Dark Unwinding is the first book in a series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book, A Spark Unseen. Middle grade readers and up who are interested in a light steampunk read will find The Dark Unwinding mesmerizing.

Author: Sharon Cameron

Publisher: Scholastic Press (August 27, 2012)

Format: paperback

Length: 318 pages

Series: First book in The Dark Unwinding series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:

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My Kind of Girl: Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty

Happy first Friday of summer!

Today is our last day of the big field trip and we’ll be spending the morning at Animal Kingdom then it’s back on the bus for the six hour ride home!

I’ve always been interested in Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling books, but just hadn’t gotten around to reading them. (I even own the first two books in that series.) Then I discovered that McCafferty had written a prequel set in middle school, Jessica Darling’s It List: The (ToJessica Darling's It List by Megan McCaffertytally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection, so I figured I’d start there!

I hadn’t even gotten to homeroom yet and I’d already discovered five hard truths about junior high:

1. My best friend had turned pretty.
2. She didn’t know it yet.
3. It wouldn’t be long before she did.
4. That knowledge would change everything between us.
5. And there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.

It’s the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom? Join Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.

As a middle school librarian, I adore this cover. It’s bright and inviting. And when it’s sitting on a display shelf you’re eyes are immediately drawn to it. And basically that’s exactly what this book is: a bright and inviting story of a girl, Jessica, beginning her first year of middle school and dealing with the circumstances that come with it.

From the start I completely understood Jessica. She is your normal teenage girl struggling with the changes that come with beginning middle school, desperately wanting to fit in, and uncovering the mystery of the type of person she really is. In all of this “figuring things out” that Jessica is doing she manages to make lots of mistakes (like taking some bad advice), makes some good choices, and somehow keeps her humor and wit the whole time. This is why I like Jessica. She doesn’t wallow in her mistakes, she acknowledges them, seeks change, and soldiers on, all while making sarcastic jokes. My kind of girl!

Being a middle school librarian and a one time middle school girl myself, I think that Jessica’s middle school struggles are so honest and true to life. It’s hard to feel left behind when your friends are having a seemingly smooth transition, and it’s frustrating when you make fax-pas after fax-pas when all you want to do is not stick out like a sore thumb. I remember what it was like for me, I know what it’s like for my students and I think that McCafferty writes it all in a lighthearted way that makes you think and laugh at the absurdity/intensity of it all.

Going into this book without having previously read the other Jessica Darling books (which are more high school geared), I have a lot of questions but I am definitely making a point to take those books off my shelf and read them this summer! I think that any middle school girl, anyone who has a been a middle school girl, or anyone simply who wants to understand middle school girls will find Jessica Darling’s It List a fun, quick, and rewarding read!

Author: Megan McCafferty

Publisher: Poppy (September 3, 2013)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 223 pages

Series: First book in the Jessica Darling’s It List series

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Storyspinner

Hi!

Today I’m at Epcot…with a whole bunch of excited 6th graders!

I’m also waiting on a pretty cool sounding book called The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace!

In a world where dukThe Storyspinner by Becky Wallacees plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. All Johanna Von Arlo wants to do is become a Storyspinner. But her options are so limited that she is forced to work for the aggravating and handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. While in his employ, Johanna is exposed to a dangerous game of thrones, a game where she will discover that the magically inclined Keepers from her stories might be real after all.

The Keepers are searching for an heir to a great power and the key to saving their land. They aren’t alone in their hunt. Girls matching the heir’s description are turning up dead all over the kingdom. Girls who look exactly like Johanna.

I’m definitely not a huge fan of the cover, but the summary sounds pretty interesting and you know I am always in the mood for a quality fantasy! The Storyspinner will be supposedly be hitting bookstores in March 2015, so we have until then to wonder if it’s as interesting of a read as it sounds!