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Top Ten Tuesday: Friendship Favorites

Hi and Happy Tuesday!

As usual I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week’s list topic is all about friendship books. The titles that have made my list today all highlight different parts of friendship that are important and all come highly recommend by me!

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin LevineThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This touching historical fiction about friendship with those who you feel a connection with despite what others think.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergBetter Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Eulberg deals with the question, can a boy and a girl be friends non-romantically?

Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

This one deals with how friendship can heal and challenge us to be better.

The Humming Room by Ellen PotterThe Humming Room by Ellen Potter

A re-telling of The Secret Garden that reminds us that friendship is supposed to be life-giving.

Wild Things by Clay CarmichaelWild Things by Clay Carmichael

This one centers on how our friends can become our family.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This haunting read shows us what can happen if we don’t reach out to others in friendship.

Along for the Ride by Sarah DessenAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Dessen’s novel inspires me to be purposeful in my friendships and how sometimes you can be surprised by who wants to be your friend.

Smiles to Go by Jerry SpinelliSmiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli

A fun middle grades novel that deals with how friendships can change over time.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann BrasharesThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares

Who wouldn’t want the love and support of this group of friends?!

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson LevineA Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

One I could have used in middle school because it deals with choosing your friends wisely.

Do you have any friendship related books I need to read? Feel free to share them in the comment section below! :)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

Hello!

Welcome back BookTasty friends for our weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by The Broke and Bookish). Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is focused on covers we wish we could redesign. In general I am not that critical of covers, but sometimes there are some that just irk me. Most likely there are more than 10, but the ones mentioned below are some that just seem to stand out to me for whatever reason. The frustrating thing is that some of these are books I really, really enjoy!

City of Bones by Cassandra ClareCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I just feel like there are just too many nipples with light radiating from them on this cover.

Wild Things by Clay CarmichaelWild Things by Clay Carmichael

This is a really nice little book, but the cover is just so boring.

Marie Antoinette Serial Killer by Kate AlendarMarie Antoinette Serial Killer by Kate Alender

It’s just too garish.

The Two Princessess of Bamarre by Gail Carson LevineThe Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

It looks a little too 1980s.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen JohnsonThirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

I’m just not a fan of the way this girl is standing. It looks awkward.

Finale by Becca FitzpatrickThe Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

Someone please draw a shirt on Patch.

Such a Rush by Jennifer EcholsSuch a Rush by Jennifer Echols

I’m just not a fan of the hair in the face I guess.

Icefall by Matthew J. KirbyIcefall by Matthew J. Kirby

I’m finally reading this book (and enjoying it!), but the cover totally prevented me reading it for a LONG time.

Starters by Lissa PriceStarters by Lissa Price

This creepy cover is seriously all that is keeping me from reading it.

Alienated by Melissa LandersAlienated by Melissa Landers

I really would like to read this book because it sounds fun (and it’s not released until 2014), but this cover has just too much going on.

How do you feel about these covers? Are there any that you’d like to redesign as well?

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Extending Trust: Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

Well hello there!

Is it true? Am I posting a book review?! I know…it’s been a while right?!

Well, it IS true.  In September (yes September…that’s how behind I am!) I read Wild Things by Clay Carmichael.  This is one of the fifteen Florida Sunshine State books and I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it.Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

A headstrong girl. A stray cat. A wild boy. A man who plays with fire. Eleven-year-old Zoe trusts no one. Her father left before she was born. At the death of her irresponsible mother, Zoe goes to live with her uncle, former surgeon and famed metal sculptor Dr. Henry Royster. She’s sure Henry will fail her as everyone else has. Reclusive since his wife’s death, Henry takes Zoe to Sugar Hill, North Carolina, where he welds sculptures as stormy as his moods. Zoe and Henry have much in common: brains, fiery and creative natures, and badly broken hearts. Zoe confronts small-town prejudice with a quick temper. She warms to Henry’s odd but devoted friends, meets a mysterious teenage boy living wild in the neighboring woods, and works to win the trust of a feral cat while struggling to trust in anyone herself.  Zoe’s questing spirit leads her to uncover the wild boy’s identity, lay bare a local lie, and begin to understand the true power of Henry’s art. Then one decisive night, she and the boy risk everything in a reckless act of heroism.

This was the last Sunshine State book I read this year.  I just wasn’t interested in the summary. It sounded slow and honestly, a little boring. Which is why I was so shocked to find myself liking this book as much as I did.

This is mostly a story about trust and relationships.  Zoe is the main character, but is not the only one learning how to trust and love people better. Everyone from Zoe, to Henry, to the cat, to the boy was grappling with the relationships (or lack there of) in their lives. The side-by-side narratives of Zoe and the cat was perfectly done as Zoe was trying to earn the cat’s trust while also struggling to extend that same trust to the adults in her life.

This book was heartwarming, but not in a “ugh make me vomit way” (how I normally respond to “heartwarming” tales). Zoe has enough sass and sarcasm to give this story humor and the supporting small town characters were lovable and sweet. There is just enough depth to Carmichael’s story, without dragging the reader down.

At times, I did wonder about the dialog, especial the words and phrases Zoe used. It seemed a little false and too mature for a teenage girl to be using-even one as mature and well read as Zoe.

Although I don’t think this is a book that would grab a reluctant reader’s attention, middle graders (and up!) who enjoy reading will find Wild Things to be a rewarding read.

Author: Clay Carmichael

Publisher:  Front Street (May 1, 2009)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 240 pages

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:  Wild Things

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Tasty Treats (3)

Well what do ya’ know?!

I am actually posting a Tasty Treats review of books I received recently.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared my new reads with you guys.  I’ve just been lucky enough to receive many books over the past few weeks that I had to share! :)  Seriously, this is an awesome looking group of books!

So, let’s start out with books I was given by other bloggers!  I just have to say that since I’ve been blogging, and especially since I’ve been on Twitter, I have met some really nice and friendly book bloggers who help make my blogging experience that much easier (and fun!).

One of these bloggers is Kyle over at A Reader’s Pensieve  who is incredibly sweet and fun to chat books with on Twitter!  Well, this week she and I decided to do some book swapping (YAY!) so I sent her and ARC of In Too Deep by Amanda Grace and she sent me an ARC of Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale!  This was my first time swapping with another blogger and I was so excited I did a little shimmy and yelled about it to my husband who was on the other side of the house.  hehehe  As you probably already know, I’m a big Shannon Hale fan so I can’t wait to start this one.  Thanks Kyle!

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2) by Shannon Hale

This week I also stumbled across Jennifer Dee’s from Novel Thoughts and learned about her new ARCycling idea on Twitter. I was so intrigued I emailed her about it. It’s an awesome idea!  She pulls select titles from her “donate” pile of ARCs that are about to come out or recently come out and give them to other bloggers, librarians, teachers, booksellers strictly for continuing promotion.  Awesome!  I requested two ARCs and she sent them!  I’m planning on donating some too, to help out.  Thank you Jennifer!

The Sweetest Spell and Lucky Fools

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors
Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhees

Additionally this week, I received an audio copy of Forgive my Fins (Fins #1) by Tera Lynn Childs for review from Harper Collins! Mermaids!!!  A bunch of my students told me I needed to read this one so I’m finally able to give it a go!  A huge thank you goes out to Harper Collins!

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

And last but not lease I picked up some more of the Florida Sunshine State books! These are the final four of the fifteen titles I needed.  Now I can focus on reading them all instead of finding them all! I’m not a huge fan of the Happenstance Found cover, but as we all know, you can’t judge a book by its cover! :)  But with that said, My Fair Godmother just looks like my kind of book! haha

Hide and Seek, Happenstance Found, Wild Things

Hide and Seek by Katy Grant
Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese
Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

So, those are some of the tasty treats I’ve been able to get my hands on over the past few weeks, I can’t wait to read and review them! Have you read any of these already?  Did you get any tasty treats of your own recently?

By the way: Tasty Treats is based on mailboxlike memes like In My Mailbox, Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Introducing the 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State Books

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and Bookish and is intended to help book bloggers socialize and showcase books! This week’s official theme is Favorite Quotes from Books, but I can’t think of any to talk about other than a favorite from Pride and Prejudice, that helps me feel better about life at times:

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” -Mr. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

So, since I can’t think of too many quotes from books, so I’ve decided to highlight the ten fifteen 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State Books. Sunshine State books are middle grade books selected for their wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and or multicultural representation. The goal of the Sunshine State book list is to encourage students to read independently for pleasure.

As a middle school Media Specialist, my job is to read all fifteen books so I can promote these titles during the school year; I’m going to get really familiar with these books over the next year! Well, here we go; the 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State books!

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen

Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar’s a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad’s attention, leaving no room for Lamar’s problems. Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him win his dream girl, plus earn him enough money to buy an expensive pro ball and impress celebrity bowler Bubba Sanders. But when Billy’s scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother’s shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?

Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

Wild Things
by Clay Carmichael

A headstrong girl. A stray cat. A wild boy. A man who plays with fire. Eleven-year-old Zoe trusts no one. Her father left before she was born. At the death of her irresponsible mother, Zoe goes to live with her uncle, former surgeon and famed metal sculptor Dr. Henry Royster. She’s sure Henry will fail her as everyone else has. Reclusive since his wife’s death, Henry takes Zoe to Sugar Hill, North Carolina, where he welds sculptures as stormy as his moods. Zoe and Henry have much in common: brains, fiery and creative natures, and badly broken hearts. Zoe confronts small-town prejudice with a quick temper. She warms to Henry’s odd but devoted friends, meets a mysterious teenage boy living wild in the neighboring woods, and works to win the trust of a feral cat while struggling to trust in anyone herself. Zoe’s questing spirit leads her to uncover the wild boy’s identity, lay bare a local lie, and begin to understand the true power of Henry’s art. Then one decisive night, she and the boy risk everything in a reckless act of heroism.

Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese

Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber)
by P.W. Catanese

Twelve-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.

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

90 Miles to Havana
by Enrique Flores-Galbis

When Julian’s parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

It takes a graveyard to raise a child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Hide and Seek by Katy Grant

Hide and Seek
by Katy Grant

Thirteen-year-old Chase, a geocaching enthusiast, must constantly rely on his wits to solve unexpected problems. This outdoor adventure and boy’s coming of age story is set in the remote, rugged mountains of northern Arizona.

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading
by Tommy Greenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact.This is the hilarious story of an avid non-reader and the extreme lengths to which he’ll go to get out of reading a book

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

The Juvie Three
by Gordon Korman

Three boys serving time in juvenile detention are given a second chance in the form of Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent who is running an experimental halfway house. After Healy is knocked unconscious trying to break up a scuffle among the boys, they hatch a crazy scheme so they won’t be sent back to juvie.

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
by Linda Sue Park

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.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick


The Mostly True Adventures Of Homer P. Figg
by Rodman Philbrick

Master storyteller Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young Homer Figg sets off to follow his brother into the thick of the Civil War. Through a series of fascinating events, Homer’s older brother has been illegally sold to the Union Army. It is up to Homer to find him and save him. Along the way, he encounters strange but real people of that era: two tricksters who steal his money, a snake-oil salesman, a hot-air balloonist, and finally, the Maine regiment who saved Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg and won the war for the Union.

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X
by James Patterson

Yes, it’s true: Daniel X is special. X-traordinarily special. He may be just a kid, but Daniel is strong enough to fight anything in the world. And it’s a good thing, because not many guys you meet have a host of deadly criminals hunting them to the ends of the Earth. And none of them are extraterrestrials. Daniel is the only one who might be able to eliminate every last intergalactic evil on the List of Alien Outlaws on Terra Firma. Because the greatest superpower isn’t to be part spider and part man, or to cast magic spells – the ultimate gift is the power to create.

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My Fair Godmother
by Janette Rallison

Finding your one true love can be a Grimm experience! After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair because she’s not a very good fairy student; Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Lost in the River of Grass
by Ginny Rorby

A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah’s new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren’t exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an air boat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive. Lost in the River of Grass takes on the classic survival genre using one of the country’s most unique wild places as a backdrop. In this tense, character-driven thriller, Sarah must overcome prejudice and the unforgiving wilderness in a struggle to survive.

The Trouble with Half a Moon by  Danette Vigilante

The Trouble with Half a Moon
by Danette Vigilante

Ever since her brother’s death, Dellie’s life has been quiet and sad. Her mother cries all the time and Dellie lives with the horrible guilt that the accident that killed her brother may have been all her fault. But Dellie’s world begins to change when new neighbors move into her housing project building. Suddenly men are fighting on the stoop and gunfire is sounding off in the night. In the middle of all that trouble is Corey, an abused five-year-old boy, who’s often left home alone and hungry. Dellie strikes up a dangerous friendship with this little boy who reminds her so much of her brother. She wonders if she can do for Corey what she couldn’t do for her brother-save him.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach
by Brenda Woods

Saint is a boy with confidence as big as his name is long. A budding musician, he earns money playing clarinet for the New Orleans tourists. His best friend is a stray dog named Shadow, and it’s because of Shadow that Saint’s still in town when Hurricane Katrina hits. Saint’s not worried about the hurricane at first – he plans to live to be a hundred just to defy his palm-reader friend Jupi, who told him he had a short life line. But now the city has been ordered to evacuate and Saint won’t leave without Shadow. His search brings him to his elderly neighbor’s home and the three of them flee to her attic when the waters rise. But when Miz Moran’s medication runs out, it’s up to Saint to save her life – and his beloved Shadow’s.