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Hiatus

Hi there friends!

Wow! It’s been a while. I figured it was time for me to actually write about my recent decision to take an open-ended hiatus.

Since becoming a mom I’ve realized, as most new mom’s probably do, that some of the hobbies I used to spend my time on have to get cut by necessity. I just don’t have the time to read and write about what I’ve read. Reading is still something I’m doing a lot (thank the Lord for audiobooks!!!), and although I love reviewing, and the book blogging world in general, I just don’t have the time to keep up with BookTasty.

I still plan on sharing my reading queues on instagram and talking books when I can on twitter, but I wont be blogging for a while. I really hope to return to blogging when my little guy gets older and I figure out how to schedule free time a bit better.

Thank you for supporting me and BookTasty!

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Currently Reading

Hi!

I am still here!
I know I haven’t posted in a while. The reality is that I’m in my first trimester of my first pregnancy and have been struggling with morning/all day sickness. All I’ve had the energy for (for weeks) is laying on the couch watching Gossip Girl!

But I have been feeling better for a few days, and just in time for preplanning before the students come back to school. Since I’ve been feeling a little improved, I recently picked up Tesla’s Attic by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman.

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People Are Like Plants: Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

Bonjour!

Today is my Husband’s birthday! I think he’s pretty awesome so Happy Happy Birthday to him!

HusbandOkay, on to more bookish things! Since my school is an International Baccalaureate World School, I’m always on the lookout for titles that have a global focus. TSerafina's Promise by Ann E Burghis is why I had high hopes when I started reading Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg.

Serafina has
a secret dream.

She wants to go to school
and become a doctor
with her best friend, Julie Marie.

But in their rural village
outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
many obstacles
stand in Serafina’s way–
little money,
never-ending chores,
and Manman’s worries.

More powerful even
than all of these
are the heavy rains
and the shaking earth
that test Serafina’s resolve
in ways she never dreamed.

At once heartbreaking and hopeful,
this exquisitely crafted story
will leave a lasting impression
on your heart.

Serafina’s Promise gets points for being a beautifully written novel. But it also get’s points for having an international (non USA) setting, and extra points for being a novel in verse! This book has it all…a librarian’s dream!

This book is set up into three clearly cut parts. To start out, we meet Serfina a preteen Haitian girl living in extreme poverty. Serafina is responsible for hiking to gather the family’s daily water provision but we quickly learn that she deeply desires to go to school and one day become a doctor. I’m impressed with the way Serafina is written because it’s impeccably realistic. Serafina is very innocent, yet she struggles with jealousy toward her friend who can afford to go to school. She deeply loves her family and sick baby brother yet is resentful towards her worried mother’s strictness. Despite living in a different setting Serafina’s realistic character allows teens from more privileged circumstances to connect with her.

One of the strongest aspects of this book is the setting. The descriptions of Serafina’s home, the flood scenes, and the city details after the earthquake, it is clear that this story takes place in Haiti, not just any random developing nation. The Haitian Creole words sprinkled in throughout the verse only add to that already strong sense of place. Sometimes non English words in a story can distract the reader, but these fit in well and are usually easily understood based on context, however there is a Haitian Creole glossary in the back of the book to help with this further (*the educator in me cheers in delight!*).

And to make this book that much better, while reading I stumbled upon a few short lines that immediately became one of my favorite quotes ever. To set the scene Serafina is working on a garden with the help of Gogo, her grandmother who praises Serafina’s hard work with the plants.

“Gogo’s word make me feel taller.

People really are like plants -

kind words make them grow.”

Serafina’s Promise is one that is strongly recommend to middle grade readers because it is such a sincere and well written story. I also think it could be a very powerful book in a classroom or book group setting, so teachers and librarians…have at it!

Author: Ann E. Burg

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 24, 2013)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 304 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:

 

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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

______________________

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

______________________

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: The Iron Trial

Hiya!

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time to focus on an upcoming new release that I’m excited for in the weekly Waiting on Wednesday.

While scouring the interwebs for upcoming titles, I was surprised to come across The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare! It seems that the two awesome authors are combining their powers The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clareto create a new middle grades series!

A dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

I just recently finished reading Doll Bones by Holly Black, which made me a fan and I already loved Clare’s books, so I’m pretty interested to see this project! The Iron Trial, first in the Magisterium series, is scheduled for release in early September of this year.

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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas

Hi there!

Who likes loosing themselves in a good old fashioned historical drama?  Downton Abbey perhaps? Reign? Pride and Prejudice? The Tudors? North & South perhaps?!

YES PLEASE!

In my world historical dramas are always a positive! No wonder then why I tend to be drawn towards historical fiction when choosing books! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about YA titles for fans of the wonderful world of period dramas!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Takes place in Paris in 1889 at the height of France’s beautiful era.
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. Historical fiction inspired by the mystery surrounding Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England and the 5th Duke of Portland.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Historical fantasy set in a medieval Brittany. There are assassin nuns. Yup.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

  • What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. This coming of age drama is set in South Florida post World War II…intrigue and seductions abound!
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore.  An upstairs/downstairs drama set in a 1911 England.
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It’s Manhattan 1889 and this is a historical drama full of gossip, fashion, wealth, and romance.

Changeling by Philippa GregoryThe Diviners by Libba Bray

  • Changeling by Philippa Gregory. Picture it…Italy 1453! (ha!) The Goodreads summary says that “dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance” populate this one! It was surprisingly fun!
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. This supernatural drama is set in New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties!

Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayCross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Another supernatural period drama only this time we’re in a Victorian English boarding school!
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. A mysterious secret society of women handle things their own way in a 1580s Venice.

Clearly I have a type. Pretty period costume? Check. *nods in approval*

So, what do you think? Are there any other YA period dramas you’d recommend to those of us who love them?

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Hiatus

Hi there.

I just wanted to update you guys with some news. I’ll be taking a break from
posting this week, other than what was already scheduled. I’m still grieving the loss of my sweet and furry cat Oliver. We had to say goodbye to him Saturday morning due to his kidney failure.

20140309-214802.jpg

He was always my lovable little reading buddy and I miss him terribly. I’ll be back next week, I just need some freedom this week.

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It’s a Weird One: Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Hi!

I recently finished Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, after years of passing by it in my library as I straightened out the shelves and I have to say, this was such a weird book!

Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. In a time and place where women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only female to serve in the order.Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb – nearly the only person she’s ever known – to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been singled out by city-dwellers who declare her part Scriven. The Scriveners, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she’s been told: that she is an orphan. Is Fever a Scriven? Whose memories does she hold? Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London?

As I said before, this was a weird book. I originally wanted to read Fever Crumb because I thought it was steam-punk and that I’d really enjoy Fever as a character.  Well, the world Reeve has created isn’t quite steam-punk, in fact, Fever’s world is so far ahead in the future that it is this strange “futuristically backwards” society.  It’s almost as if society became so advanced that it had no where else to go and simply regressed, so much so that technologies like computers are considered ancient, yet most of Fever’s world runs on steam power. I do think I misclassified Fever Crumb at first, and it is not strictly steam-punk so much as it is just sci-fi, but readers who are fans of the steam-punk genre will probably enjoy this one too. Whatever it is, it’s an incredibly interesting setting.

I also originally thought I’d enjoy fever as a character, but I struggled to really like Fever. Because Fever was raised with the order of Engineers, she was taught that emotion was irrational and that practicality was key, she is rather unsympathetic. She could be so straight forward and harsh at the wrong times, which just make it hard for me to like her. In her defense however, after leaving the Engineers and experiencing the outside world, Fever does struggle with her own emotions verses being rational and she does learn that it can be a good thing to act on one’s feelings. She was just too practical for me to really love her like I was hoping I would.

Despite not really liking Fever, I was so engrossed in her story. The more time that she spends away from the protection of the Engineers, Fever’s personal history begins to unfurl and she starts to learn things about herself that she never knew. This is what I enjoyed about this book. I wanted to know where Fever actually came from and how she fit in with the turmoil of her society. The story really is pretty interesting and action packed, despite having Fever as a lackluster subject.

So, if you enjoy sci-fi and strange futuristic worlds you may really like Fever Crumb. I recommend the audiobook too because it was narrated by the author which is always fun! Although it wasn’t my favorite, it was an entertainingly strange read!

Author: Philip Reeve

Publisher: Scholastic Audio (March 1, 2011)

Format: Audiobooks

Length: 6 hours and 59 minutes

Narrator(s): Philip Reeve (yes the author!)

Series: Book 1 in the Fever Crumb series.

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Fever Crumb

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A Dreamy-Weamy Fresh Mix: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Hiya!

Those of you who have been following BookTasty for a while know that one of my favorite genres is fairy tale retellings. I just love seeing what happens when an author adds their own creativity to a classic tale. And you might even know that Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is one of the most imaginative fairy tale retellings I’ve read in a while. Cress, the third book in the series is no different…except for the fact that I kind of think it’s the best one so far!

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Honestly, the covers in this series are all so pretty to look at, especially this one! *gazes dreamily at cover*

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Okay, so book one, Cinder, was focused on the story of Cinderella, while in Scarlet, the second book, we meet Little Red Riding Hood.  Well, in Cress, we meet Rapunzel. All of these well known characters have been plucked from their traditional settings and have now been dropped into this rich sci-fi setting. Our Rapunzel isn’t a prisoner in a tower but is instead a computer hacker isolated in a satellite that orbits both Earth and Luna. How freakin’ cool is that?!

After reading, and loving the first two books, I have to say that Cress is by far my favorite of the series. First you have Cress, who I find that I can so easily relate to. Cress is a hopelessly dreamy-weamy romantic who crushes on none other than one of the criminals she’s been tasked with locating. She is the kind of girl who is so innocent and awkward that she hides in embarrassing situations and frequently imagines she is someone else. Awww Cress, I just feel like I get you and your ability to make a situation totally more awkward than it has to be and it’s why I love you! Despite her ungraceful ways, Cress is a brilliant hacker and has the ability to draw from internal strength she never could have guess she had.

In addition to the adorable Cress, Cinder and her whole crew are back. We get to see more Captain Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, Iko, Dr. Erland and even Prince Kai as the group moves closer and closer to stopping Queen Levana in her quest to control both Luna and Earth. With all of these characters there is a lot going on in Cress, but I never once felt overwhelmed. The action was so captivating that I just wanted to keep reading and stay in this imaginative Firefly-like world forever! There is a freshness about Cress that, partly comes from Cress herself and in part comes from the old and new characters mixing to creating exciting new storylines.

I genuinely cannot think of any major flaws, except that I really wanted this 500 plus page book to be even longer. There is so much that I want to figure out and I hated having to say goodbye to these characters, who feel like good friends, for another year before book four, Winter, is released. If you haven’t yet started this creative and fun series, please go to your library now and start reading! If you hurry you can get to Cress by tomorrow’s release day!

And a big huge massive friendly thank you to Kyle at A Reader’s Pensieve who loaned me her ARC! She’s pretty awesome, and if you aren’t familiar with her blog, you totally should be! :)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel &Friends (Feb. 4, 2014)

Format: ARC

Length: 560 pages

Series: Third book in The Lunar Chronicles

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Cress (Lunar Chronicles)

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Better Off Friends

Hi there!

This is my first Waiting on Wednesday for 2014! If you’re not familiar with this weekly event, Waiting on Wednesday is special time set aside to highlight an upcoming new release that we’re especially excited for.

So, this week I’m excited for Elizabeth Eulberg’s newest romance Better Off Friends, which, I must say, has a super cute cover!

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergFor Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated? Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?

Summaries online describe Better Off Friends as a YA version of When Harry Met Sally, which sounds pretty darn good to me! Seriously, the more and more I think about this book, the more I get excited about it. It sounds like it’ll be the perfect contemporary romantic comedy that I’ll be in the mood for around Valentine’s Day, which is good timing because Better Off Friends is scheduled for release on February 25.

Yay! Who else is excited about this one?!