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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/27/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

Well, I can’t tell you much about the middle grade novel Ripple Effect by Sylvia Taekema because I am reviewing it for Library Media Connection. Here is the Goodreads/publisher’s description: Best friends Dana and Janelle had big plans for grade six. Run on the cross-country team together. Try out for volleyball. They’d even planned to be partners for the class geography project. Neither girl could have known that a biking accident would land Janelle in the hospital all summer long. Dana is convinced that everything will go back to normal once school starts. But Queen Bee Julia has co-opted her friend, and Janelle’s crutches make running or playing volleyball impossible. Over time, the girls begin to act more and more like strangers. As Dana struggles to come to terms with her feelings of guilt, anger and loneliness, she wonders if there’s anything left of her old friendship that’s salvageable. Can she find her way back to her best friend?


I also read The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, the follow up to The 5th Wave. The events take place immediately following the first book (spoiler alert)as Cassie, Nugget (Sam), Ben and the rest of the small group wait at a hotel for Evan to catch up after destroying the base. Ringer is impatient, setting off on her own and getting captured and held prisoner. Most of the action centers around the experiences of Ringer and Evan, and through them, readers learn even more about the aliens’ aims and methods, This felt like a book two in a trilogy in that there were parts that made me a bit impatient for answers. However, the book is action-packed, the reveals are amazing, and the parts told by Ringer kept me on the edge of my seat. Bring on book three!

Currently Reading:

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On Deck:

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/20/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

I found Capture the Flag  by Kate Messner to be a fun and adventurous middle grade mystery. When the original Stars and Stripes is stolen from the Smithsonian, three young people snowed-in at the DC airport put their heads together to solve the mystery and catch the crooks. Anna, Henry, Jose have distinct personalities and abilities that all contribute to the group’s success. They also meet a younger boy, Sinan, whose parents and poodle are wrongly accused of having something to do with the flag’s disappearance. Although the mystery is more madcap than perilous, there are some tense moments when one or more of the kids is temporarily detained by one of the conspirators. Most memorable is Messner’s descriptions of kids riding the behind-the-scenes baggage conveyors and carousels to track down clues and elude bad guys. And bonus–the trio discover that their relatives are members of the Silver Jaguar Society, a group of people with famous artists in their lineage who are dedicated to preserving and protecting great works of art. As junior members, their adventures continue in Hide and Seek and Manhunt.


The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu is my July Random Read. Alice Franklin has a bad reputation–in fact the worst reputation in all of Healy High. Not only did she sleep with two guys in one night at the same party, but she was sexting Healy’s hometown hero and quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons right before his fatal car crash. The story of Alice’s descent into becoming the school and town pariah is told by four people: Elaine, Healey High’s most popular girl; Josh, football star and best friend of Brandon; Kelsie, Alice’s former best friend; and Kurt, brilliant guy and friendless social outcast. It will be no surprise to readers that Alice’s bad reputation was constructed by the lies of others and a school culture where rumors spiraled out of control. Hearts will break for Alice, who changes her appearance and demeanor and who at first rejects a gesture of friendship from an unlikely source. This is a powerful book for teens that will hopefully open some eyes to the lasting effects “just a few rumors” can have.


I, along with many other readers who loved Ready Player One, have been eagerly awaiting Ernest Cline’s second novel Armada. In case you are one of us, please note that this review contains a big spoiler. This time, Cline explores a familiar plot in science fiction literature and film: a teenage boy with amazing video game skills is recruited to fight a war against real aliens. Zack Lightman is a high school senior gamer who loves all things sci fi, just like his father–the father who died when Zack was just a baby and left behind a plethora of old games, music, and VHS tapes. Imagine Zack’s surprise when his boss and local game store owner, Ray, arrives at his school in a helicopter and tells him that the alien attacks in his favorite game, Armada, are real and his help is needed as Earth faces total annihilation in less than eight hours. Not only that, but Zack’s father never died–the death was a cover-up, and now Xavier Lightman is a general for Earth Defense Alliance and commander of a secret moon base. Together, and with a cast of great supporting characters, Zack and Xavier save the day, barely, and find out the real truth behind the alien invasion.

Once again, Cline’s story is filled with mentions and nods to 80s music, movies, and video games. A few reviewers have mentioned that they seem a bit thrown in and clunky at times, but I noticed that they usually occur as dialogue. Since my “nerdist” family’s daily conversation is often peppered with the same sort of catch phrases and references, I thought they worked fine, and I bet many other readers will feel the same way. I did find that this second book was a bit of a slower start for me, with the second half flowing much more smoothly than the first. Also, a few of the battle scenes were a bit long for my taste, but I am not a big gamer so that may be the cause. In all, fans of Cline’s first book will find much to love here. My 13-year-old son is reading it next, so we’ll see what he thinks :-)

Currently Reading:

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On Deck:

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/13/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Book:

I am continuing my recent trend of one book a week, it seems. Although now that I have been settling in at home again, I’m feeling a little bit of a surge might be in the works. Time will tell.

IMG_1483Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus was published on July 7th. I had been looking forward to it for a while since it’s a team-up of two of my favorite horror writers. In fact, I did get approved to read the DRC, even though my slump meant technically I finished it a few days after publication. I have to admit that I felt I wasn’t enjoying the book that much by the time I was a third of the way through. Where was Kraus’ psychological horror that left me sitting in the car mortified and trying to compose myself before work (#horroraudiobookproblems)? And what about the brutal evil and gore del Toro delivered in The Strain series? And then it hit me–I went in expecting an older YA or adult book that would combine all the deliciously disturbing things I love and make me sleep with the lights on. What I was reading was a middle grade / lower YA series starter published by Disney-Hyperion. Once I accepted this fact and started getting into the book I was actually reading, I had a much greater appreciation for it. And so, here is the review of THAT book.

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus is the first book in a new series for junior high and early high school students. The book is part adventure, part horror and a fresh offering that I’ll be eager to share with my students. Jim Sturges is an ordinary high school student, sort-of. He’s not popular by any means, but has a best friend Tobias “Tub”, and a massive crush on tough-girl Claire. His home life is far from ordinary, though, as his Dad is overprotective, paranoid, and worries constantly for Jim’s safety. Of course, he has a good reason–when he was a kid in the 1960s almost 200 children mysteriously disappeared from town, including his beloved brother Jack. And guess what–kids have started disappearing again. One night Jim finds out why–trolls. He is recruited by his stuck-at-age-13 Uncle Jack and two good trolls, Blinky and ARGHHH!!! to help stop the banished, evil trolls from returning to capture and eat more kids. Del Toro and Kraus create a believable rich history and lore which explains the wide variety of trolls and their culture, which almost rivals the world-building found in The Strain. The trolls and their habitat are really (I mean REALLY) gross, so there are parts which make the skin crawl and a fair amount of violence, too–so much so that my booktalks will include a bit of a disclaimer. Jim and Tub are by no means experienced adventurers or fighters at the beginning of the book and gradually grow into their effectiveness and bravery. Claire is fierce and cool, and readers can tell she will definitely figure more prominently in future books. I can already think of several students to hand this book to when school starts up again. I’d better buy multiple copies…. This book counts for my Horror Reading Challenge 2015.

Currently Reading:

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On Deck:

I got it at the library today.

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July Random Read

It’s time for my July Random Read! Thanks to imlovingbooks.com for hosting this meme. This month random.org chose #57, and that means I will be reading The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. This is a book that got a lot of buzz in the spring of 2014. Looks like I will be making a trip to my local public libraries soon!

truthaboutaliceHere is the Goodreads description:

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

2015 Challenges: June Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 125 books: 11 this month, 74 total
  • Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge (24 specific categories of books): Zero this month, 10 total
  • Award Winning Books goal of 11-24 books: Three this month, 11 total: El Deafo by CeCe Bell, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Horror Reading Challenge 2015 goal of 6-10 books: Two this month, six total: The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven and Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher
  • Random Reads goal of one book per month: One: Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher
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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/6/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

We’re home again, so I expect to amp up my reading again soon. I was too busy seeing ALL THE THINGS and listening to old time radio shows while traveling.

Last Week’s Book:

IMG_1517Mark of the Thief is the first book in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s new series. Set in ancient Rome, the story follows Nicholas Calva, a slave who finds a powerful bulla (amulet) that not only has its own magic, but helps Nic awaken powers within. All Nic wants to do is get himslef and his sister to freedom, but instead he becomes entangled in a web of conspiracy, rebellion against the emperor, and loads of power-hungry men. In fact, there are so many twists and turns that it was often difficult to know who the “good guys” were–if, in fact, there were any who were not just out for themselves. I enjoyed Nic’s tentative friendship with Aurelia, a fierce young woman with a intriguing past of her own. I think that most fans of Nielsen’s Ascension series will enjoy this book, but more reading experience is necessary to follow the twisting plot and subplots.

Currently Reading:

Trollhunters by Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro is due to be released tomorrow. I will be posting a review later this week. It is still early, but I am enjoying this team-up from two masters of horror.

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On Deck:

Although we visited five or six bookstores while on vacation, I was very choosy–even at the Mesa Public Library sale we visited. Below is the stack I accumulated for myself, although I did buy one book for school and a few gifts for others, and my husband and son came home with stacks of their own. Winger by Andrew Smith is signed! Oh, and I came home with a bundle of yarn and other souvenirs as well :-)

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