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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: Most Unique YA

Hola everyone!

Let’s talk about the “most unique” YA books I’ve read. This was a difficult theme for me and I’m not sure why. Whatever the reason may be, I only have seven titles on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish).

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher Such a strange and enchanting mix of steampunk/sci-fi/fantasy.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater One of the most interesting takes on the supernatural/paranormal genre I’ve read.

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve This was just such a weird book; a strange mix of steampunk/dystopian/fantasy.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray I will forever compare all fantasy to this one.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Such a hauntingly beautiful take on the fantasy genre.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly A cool contemporary turned historical fiction.

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine A blend of middle grade fantasy retelling plus murder mystery wrapped into one.

Apparently, I only think that fantasy and supernatural books are unique! haha That’s pretty much all that is on this list!

What about you? What are the most unique YA books you’ve read?

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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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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read in 2012

Hello and Happy Tuesday everyone!

Every week I participate in the Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. A theme is posted each week and book bloggers near and far create lists centered on this theme. This week’s theme is Top Ten Favorite Books Read in 2012.

This is hard. I read so many entertaining, fun, well-written books this past year! Narrowing these all around good reads is extremely difficult and I know I’ll revisit this list in a few months wishing I had included, or not included, a specific title. Knowing this I am trying to do my best in selecting books that stuck with me for some reason.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Beautiful. This book was simply beautiful. If you haven’t read this fantasy you must! It may in fact, be my favorite read of the year.

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine2. A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

This fairy tale meets murder mystery was fun and I’d like to see more of this genre mashup.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby3. Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

My favorite Florida Sunshine State book of the year.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier4. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Retold fairy tales get me all the time and this once was lush and well written.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth5. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

A highly anticipated sequel that did not disappoint!

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale6. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

I prefer this gothic novel-esque sequelover the first book, Austenland! (Not YA or MG)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Adored this futuristic (and slightly Firefly-ish) spin on the classic tale Cinderella.

The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hirandani8. The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani

Beautifully well written middle grades fiction dealing with some serious family issues.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner9. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

This is book two in the series but I prefer it to the others in the series because Thomas’ world opens up a lot more.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This book is hauntingly well done.

Are you like me and have a difficult time choosing?!  Well, here are some Honorable Mentions for 2012:

a. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

b. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Yes I finally read this!)

c. Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods

What were some of your favorite reads of 2012? Are any of your selected titles on my list?

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A Classic Fairy Tale Whodunit: A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Well hello there!

It’s been a while since I posted a review, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! Work and life just got so busy that I had time to read, but not blog about what I was reading!  But I’m back!

Recently I listened to the audiobook of A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine, and I highly recommend it!

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carsen LevineMysteries abound, especially in Two Castles. A handsome cat trainer, black-and-white cats, thieves on four legs and two, suspicious townsfolk, a greedy king, a giddy princess, a shape-shifting ogre, a brilliant dragon. Which is the villainous whited sepulcher?

Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner—an actress—but luck is against her. She is saved from starvation by the dragon Meenore, who sends her on a dangerous mission inside the ogre’s castle. There, disguised as a kitchen maid at an ogre’s feast, she finds herself cast in the role of a lifetime and pitted against a foe intent on murder.

Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine weaves an entrancing tale of a fearsome ogre, a dragon detective, and a remarkable heroine, who finds friendship where she least expects it, learns that there are many ways to mansion, and discovers that goodness and evil come in all shapes and sizes.

Gail Cars0n Levine never lets me down! I adored this book! Fairy tales are one of my favorite genre and this one is so unique because it is a fairy tale murder mystery. Seriously there is so much fun medieval fairy tale stuff in this book, mixed in with intrigue and is a classic “whodunit”.

Teenage Elodie is our enchanting main character who travels to a new city in search of the chance to become an actress. I really fell for Elodie right away with all her naivety, intelligence, creativity and boldness. She is funny, sweet and strong main character. In fact, she is the only character who is exactly as she seems.

All in all this is a middle grades murder mystery set in a fabulous fairy tale setting, where Elodie must figure out who is truly deserving of her trust. Fans of Levine’s previous titles (especially Ella Enchanted) will really enjoy A Tale of Two Castles. Also, if you’re looking for a well narrated audiobook, definitely pick up this one! The narrator, Sarah Coomes, had some great voices, especially the one for the dragon Meenore!

Author: Gail Carson Levine

Publisher: HarperTeen (May 10, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins

Narrator(s): Sarah Coomes

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: A Tale of Two Castles

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten “Older” Books I Want My Students to Read

Well hello there!

It’s Tuesday which means its Top Ten Tuesday time! Every week the lovelies over at The Broke and Bookish post a theme for everyone to create a list upon.  This week’s official theme is a Top Ten Rewind, meaning that everyone is free to pick a previous theme to work with.

Last week the theme was Top Ten Older Books I Don’t Want People to Forget About, but I chose to do an October New Releases post instead.  So, this week I’m going back to focus on last week’s theme!  The books I’ve chosen for my list are books that I always try to push on my kids at school, but they’re just not super interested.  It’s such a shame because these are all wonderful reads that I know my students would love if they just gave them a chance!

Nancy Drew by Carolyn KeeneThe Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene

One of my favorites as a preteen.  These rarely get checked out in my Media Center…even the newer graphic novel versions. Why?!

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

This series is NOT that old, but my girls are never interested! They loved the movies, but aren’t concerned about reading the books.  What is wrong with youth today?! :p

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittTuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Such a hauntingly beautiful read. I guess my students don’t have time for hauntingly beautiful?

The Princess Diaries by Meg CabotThe Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

Once in a while I get a 6th grade girl checking these out…but all the over kids are missing out.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This is just such a fun fairy tale mash-up and I try to encourage kids to check it out.  They just shrug and ask for something different. But ITS SO GOOD!

The Babysitters Club by Ann M. MartinThe Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

They make the graphic novel versions (illustrated by Raina Telgemeir) which are awesome, but I’d love for my kids to get into these books.

Anne of Green Gables by LM MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Okay, so I didn’t even read these books in middle school, but my students should! It’s just full of such fun that I’m sure they’d fall in love with Anne if they only gave her a try.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson RawlsWhere the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

This book is cry-tastically good.  It’s not that I want my kids to cry, I just want them to experience this beautiful story.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I haven’t even tried to push this one because it’s actually not in my catalog.  I know that my kids would take one look at this book and toss it back on the shelf.  They have little context for Victorian England…alas….

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

Lewis’s classic get a little circulation when the movies come out, but not much.  My kids don’t even know what they’re missing!

So this list is pretty much just a list of books I loved as a kid and want my students to fall in love with to.  Parents: Read these books with your kids! Pre/Teens: Read these books!  Teachers: Encourage your students to read these books!!!

Are there any titles you think my students shouldn’t miss out on?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Names in the Title & Tips for New Bloggers

Hello everyone! Welcome back!
Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win an audiobook copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer!
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Its that time of the week again were I post my Top Ten Tuesday post. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish as a fun way for bloggers to interact with and get to know each other a little better.

The official theme of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers. But I’m in the mood to add to this theme and am also including ten Books With Names in the Title. So you get two Top Ten Tuesdays for the price of one! :)

Some of these are books I’ve actually read and some are books I’d like to read at some point in the future – I’ll add an asterick (*) next to the titles I have already read. Each book will have a blogger tip with it. Also, let me add that I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year, so I’m still a relatively new blogger too!

Adam Canfield of the Slash by Adam WineripAdam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip* (MG)

New Blogger Tip #1: Create a Twitter account. This will enable you to get to know and interact with fellow book bloggers, which has been incredibly helpful for me!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine* (MG)

New Blogger Tip #2: Be honest, but thoughtful and kind. You can say you didn’t like a particular book, but its not appropriate to turn your review into a bashing party. Its about the books not a personal attack on an author.

Zach's Lie by Roland SmithZach’s Lie by Roland Smith (MG)

New Blogger Tip #3: Visit other book blogs and comment. Its super helpful to visit other blogs to see what others are doing and to get to know your “neighbors”. If you leave a comment make sure it is a meaningful one (otherwise it seems like spam).

Aurelia by Anne OsterlundAurelia by Anne Osterlund (YA)

New Blogger Tip #4: Participate in bookish memes like Top Ten Tuesday, or In My Mailbox (or one of the many others). This is another chance to interact with other book bloggers and get to know the community you’re a part of. Link up with the meme so that others can visit your blog as well.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (YA)

New Blogger Tip #5: Schedule some of your posts ahead of time. I have no idea why, because this seems to obvious now, but I didn’t do this for months. I would stress and stress at the last minute to get a post up when I had tons of time earlier that I could have written it and had it scheduled.

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise RennisonAngus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (YA)

New Blogger Tip #6: Post frequently and regularly. The more meaningful content you have the better!

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long ShangThe Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (MG)

New Blogger Tip #7: Share a little about yourself too. It’s good to let your readers know a little bit about yourself so you can help create strong connections. (I’m not the best at this but I’m trying!)

Suite Scarlett by Maureen JohnsonSuite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (YA)

New Blogger Tip #8: Limit Your Scope. Are there specific genres you prefer over others? Are you a chick-lit blog, or a YA blog, or both? Focus on what you know and love so you’re not overwhelmed.

The Edumacation of Jay Baker by Jay ClarkThe Edumacation of Jay Baker by Jay Clark (YA)

New Blogger Tip #9: Read older books not just the brand new ones. Sure the new ones are shiny and pretty, but there are tons of awesome books out there that still deserve some love.

Welcome Callers This is Chloe by Shelley CoriellWelcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell (YA)

New Blogger Tip #10: If you’re not sure, just ask! Most of the book bloggers I’ve met online are pretty friendly and enjoy helping newish bloggers out. If you have a question about something, go ahead and ask. :)


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Top Ten Tuesday: Enchanting Fairy Tales Retold

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish to foster community among book bloggers. There is usually an official theme, and sometimes I go with it sometimes I don’t. Today is one of the times where I’m like Stevie Nicks and I go my own way!!! :p

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am a massive fan of fairy tales. Thus, I’m a massive fan of fairy tales retold. I love when authors take a well-known fairy tale, mix in their own creativity, to come out with a completely unique and new story to enjoy. Over the years, I’ve read some that I wasn’t impressed with, and then I’ve also read those that totally enchanted me.

Today’s Top Ten list is broken up into two parts. The first is Fairy Tale re-tellings I’ve already read (and enjoyed), while the second half is some titles I’ve heard are fabulous but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

Already Read:

The Goose Girl by Shannon HaleThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder by Marissa Meyer

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson HaddixJust Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day GeorgePrincess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Want to Read:

Liesl and Po by Lauren OliverLiesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet MarillierWildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (I’m currently reading this one.)

Golden by Cameron DokeyGolden: A Retelling of Rapunzel by Cameron Dokey

Entwined by Heather DixonEntwined by Heather Dixon

Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Berry and Ridley PearsonPeter and the Star Catchers by Dave Berry

Are you a fan of retold fairy tales? Can you recommend any I missed? I’d love some recommendations for future reading. :)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Wrote A Review For

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’ve often wondered if other book bloggers review everything they read.  For the most part I currently review everything I read.  This could change as life changes (gets busier etc…) but for now I have the freedom and time to do that.  However, there were tons of Young Adult and Middle Grades books I read before I started BookTasty and before I started writing reviews.  So today’s Top Ten list is focused on the poor, neglected titles that I absolutely loved, but never wrote a review for.  I can vouch for all of them as awesome reads and they deserve some love too!  Here they are:

The GooseGirl by Shannon HaleThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (ANYTHING by Shannon Hale)

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayA Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle series) by Libba Bray

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Gregor The Overlander by Suzanne CollinsGregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. WredeSorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C BunceA Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

The Sacrafice by Kathleen Benner DubleThe Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble

The Princess Diaries by Meg CabotThe Princess Diaries (series) by Meg Cabot

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian SelznerThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brin Selznick

Fairest by Gail Carson LevineFairest by Gail Carson Levine

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann BrasharesThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants  (series) by Ann Brashares

So, like I said before these books were all great and deserved some attention!  Check them out!

Thanks to The Broke and Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday every week!

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Tuesday Top Ten: My Favorite Young Adult/Middle Grades Authors

Once I find an author I like, I devour all of their books.  All of them.

This week’s Top Ten is focused on current favorite Young Adult/Middle Grades authors.  The titles next to the names are some I recommend.

10. Ann Brashares: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series

9. Gail Carson Levine:  Ella Enchanted, Fairest, Ever, Two Princesses of Bamarre

8. Libba Bray: The Gemma Doyle trilogy

7. Cassandra Clare: The Mortal Instruments series, Clockwork Angel 

6. Heather Brewer: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series5. Jessica Day George: Dragon Slippers series, Sun and Moon Ice and Snow, Princess of the Midnight Ball

4. Margaret Peterson Haddix: The Missing series, Palace of Mirrors, Shadow Children Sequence, Just Ella

3. J.K. Rowling: The Harry Potter series

2. Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games trilogy, The Underland Chronicles

1. Shannon Hale: Princess Academy, The Books of Bayern series, Book of a Thousand Days

There are obviously tons of other authors I’ve read and enjoy immensely, but there are my top favorites.  Other notable authors that were on the original list were: James Patterson, Gary Soto, Anthony Horowitz  and Jeff Kinney.

Any suggestions on authors I should check out, let me know!