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Showing posts from 2010

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black Publication Date: March 22, 2011 ISBN: 9781442412323 Grades: 9 and up   Thanks to the great Simon & Schuster Galley Grab Program I was able to get an eGalley of this collection of short stories by Holly Black. (Along with some other great books.) One of the hard things I have with short stories is that I don’t want to sit down and read them one after another.  While this it is a challenge, it is also a joy.  But it does make it hard to review a book that collects together so many various types of stories.  So far I have only read the first story, “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.” I enjoyed it so much I almost don’t want to read any more stories for fear that this one will escape me.   Besides The Sipderwick Chronicles , I have never read one of Holly’s books.  Even though there was no expectations “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” took me by surprise.  The story is available to read in full online at BSC ; I highly su

Book Wish List

One of the best things about Christmas is telling everyone about all the books that you want and having it be semi reasonable that a few actually make it your way.  I am trying to do a really light Christmas this year.  My girls will be spending the holiday with their father and I don’t think it is good for them to be swimming stuff after we double up on the holiday.  So I have decided to make the best of the pre holiday time and get them just a few gifts.  I have also told Mr. X that I am not planning on exchanging gifts with him.  We will be getting some gifts for other people in our lives, but I already have too much STUFF in my life, and I really want to cut back.   Mr. X has already informed me that he no intention of following my suggestion.  This combines me with a mix of guilt and excitement.  Though I should consider it, I have decided not to waver on not getting him any presents this year.  Christmas gifts for me have been very sparse over the past few years, excluding l

YA Dystopian Challenge Wrap Up

I finished in the nick of time.  I hoped to read twice  as many books as a listed here within the timeframe of the challenge.  As much as I love dystopian fiction I worry a little that I am getting burnt out on it. I definitely need to read something that isn’t related to science fiction in any way.  I am just not sure what or when! For this young adult dystopian challenge I read: Hunger Matched Wither The Hole in the Wall Delirium I finished Delirium at about 3am this Sunday.  It may have been cutting it close but it felt good to get it done.

The Sunday Salon–Reflections

I have probably said it enough here on the blog and on twitter , but this was not a good reading year for me.  Life just got in the way and reading has slipped out of the priority position.  I am working to remedy that.  When you find yourself reading less do you push yourself to read more, or just go with the flow? Reading is a habit, like many of the things we do daily.  I worry that if I stop reading I will fill up that time with a different habit.  On the other hand, I want to read for fun, sometimes if I force myself to read that feeling is minimized.  I think it is yet another catch-22 and I don’t really have a solution. When I want to watch TV or relax in another way I try not to feel guilty for not reading.  But I also want to make reading a habit again. I think one of the best things I can do right now is really search out those books that are a perfect fit for what I want to be reading right now.  This year that has definitely been a struggle, but I am determined to work on i

The Hole in the Wall

The Hole in the Wall by Lisa Rowe Fraustino ended up being a very challenging read for me.  I enjoyed it right from the beginning but the story began to lose my interest as it continued.  This was unfortunate because it seemed to be written in a style that I enjoyed but the book lacked a driving force that pushed me through  the book. The hardest part was the more I got into the book the less interested I became.  I kept thinking I was just going through a bit of a rough patch and the story would pick up.  But I became more and more disconnected with the events of the story.  Nothing felt pressing or relevant.    This was by no means a horrible book, it just didn’t connect with me.  It has some unique elements, interesting storytelling, and a strong voice.  The story opens with a young boy sitting in his special place in the world.  A hideaway he called the hole in the wall.  The boy is seeing some beautiful, vivid colors swirling around him.  The image is striking and compelling.

The Sunday Salon–Rambles

Good morning fellow bloggers and blog readers.  It isn't technically morning anymore, but Sundays tend to have that morning all day kind of feel.  Also, I haven't been up for very long. :)  I started my morning off with a bath and a cup of coffee.  I started Silver Phoenix there, which I have been meaning to read for a few months now, or maybe since I got it for myself sometime around last Christmas.   I am totally overwhelmed by all the house cleaning I have to do and how every single year I procrastinate on getting the tree up.  I said I would do it on Dec. 1rst and it is 4 days later and it still isn't done.  Sure, 4 days doesn't seem like a lot but then it blooms into more and more, and I am putting the tree up on Christmas Eve again.   I am doing an very small Christmas this year. There is very little anyone in the house needs and I have been desperately trying to declutter for the last few months.  And decluttering is what I should be doing right now

The Sunday Salon–Thanksgiving Thoughts

It is a snowy Sunday morning here in Utah and Mr. X has just left to return home.  He has quite a bit of preparations to do before Thanksgiving and I am getting excited to have a holiday. I will be heading with my girls to celebrate our first holiday with his family on Tuesday.  There are a bit of nerves involved too.  I am sure all will go well.   I am making my girls an activity kit in case they get bored while we are away.  I don’t really know what to expect but I want to set aside some quality time with them anyway. This is the first Thanksgiving I have had with them in 4 years. To me, Thanksgiving is about family. I don’t have any family nearby, so I always let them go with their dad who was born and raised in this town. So this is all kind of new and I have a scavenger hunt and a few crafts in mind. I hope we find time to do at least some of them, but if we don’t need them all it means things are going well.   Do you have any special Thanksgiving traditions? What time

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

“Normal people didn’t perceive the otherworldly that hover in this world. It’s a Darwinist safety switch in the mind, something to help keep humans from screaming at shadows.  But deep in our souls, or our collective unconsciousness, we know those things we hesitate to define are there, walking among us.  We know, even if we don’t see.”  –  Page 114 of Hunger   The concept of Hunger is like no book I have ever read before. It is genius and basic at the same time. The idea of the apocalypse has slipped from the pages of the Bible into common knowledge and while people know varying details of what they expect to come, there seems to be a sort of acceptance, if only on a mythological level.  Jackie Morse Kessler has found a way to tap into our basic understanding of the apocalypse to create a unique and compelling story.  With all the dystopian fiction I have read, it feels quite refreshing to find something that is different. Hunger feels new and refreshed from the same out d

The Sunday Salon– Animal House

Well, I am extremely pleased with the events of my weekend. Besides an unfortunate migraine or two, it was all pretty amazing.  I had a very busy week at the school working on my reading program.  The Accelerated Reader program is finally off the group and people are starting to get excited about it.  All last week and this upcoming week I am going into the classrooms and reading the students How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World .     This book is absolutely adorable, ties in with our theme for the year, and has an AR quiz.  The kids seem to be enjoying sharing it with me.  I am starting to build a relationship with them and many students will come up to me and tell me what they are reading or how many points they have earned.  After prepping and distributing all the supplies and reading to 7 classes I was ready for a relaxing weekend.   Well, relaxing wasn’t really what I got. On Saturday I got up early to go to a swap meet. It was a blast, but it meant that I didn’t

Green Book Campaign and 2017

My day was a lot busier than I had expected and I have not been sleeping well, all of this makes for a late review and I need to apologize to Raz at Eco-Libris for that. I was supposed to have this review up several hours earlier but sometimes life just gets in the way. I was supplied with The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd by the publisher for the 2010 Green Book Campaign. I am honored to be a part of this event in the blogosphere (even if I did mulligan my portion of it.)  I was excited to read a dystopian book for this campaign because many environmental issues go hand in hand with dystopian fiction.  The environment is a major cause for many dystopian societies.   Reviewing a book in a series can be difficult because I never know exactly how much I want to say.  There is almost no way to talk about this book without spoiling the first one. I am going to talk about some of elements of the Carbon Diaries series as a whole.   The concept of the series is that carbon rationin

Teen Author Festival

From the moment I found out about the Teen Author Festival I knew I would be going. Provo is a bit of a far drive for me, so we sent a friend to the library when the tickets for the Scott Westerfeld keynote became available. Unfortunately, he was told the tickets to the free event sold out in 2 hours.  So no guaranteed seats for us, we were told there would be a stand by land and we planned on parking our butts into it an hour or so before show time.   Saturday morning came and I wasn’t feeling a 100%. Mr. X and I scrapped our early departure plans for a more relaxed morning.  We were running late but weren’t entirely sure we would have made it into the keynote address so we weren’t particularly worried. It was going to be a fun day and there were lots of authors to meet, and I had a bag full of books waiting to be signed.   Somehow Mr. X and I were both under the understanding that keynote started at 11am, but we were both blatantly wrong and arrived just in time to stand in

Ally Condie and Robert Frost

The almost-snow reminds me of a line from a poem we studied this year in Language and Literacy: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” It is one of my favorites of all the Hundred Poems, the ones our Society chose to keep, back when they decided our culture was too cluttered.  They created commissions to choose the hundred best of everything: Hundred Songs, Hundred Paintings, Hundred Stories, Hundred Poems. The rest were eliminated. Gone forever. For the best , the Society said, and everyone believed because it made sense. How can we appreciate anything fully when overwhelmed by too much? - Matched , page 29   Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his h

Hey Guys!

Long time, no blog! I know, but life has been super busy. And I am considering that a good thing. Today was a very good day. There are so many things to tell you about that I just don't have time to explain them all right now. One of the highlights of my day was definitely meeting Jennifer A. Neilsen . Have you ever heard of her? She is a Utah author whose middle grade book recently released. She explained the book to me as Series of Unfortunate Events meets The Spiderwick Chronicles , and really that sounded right up my alley. I have some great pictures that I took of her, but for the moment they are stuck on my camera. I guess it would help if I told you the title of this book, wouldn't it? First, go get a pen and paper. Really....go! *waits* Okay the title of Jennifer A. Nielsen's book is Elliot and the Goblin War . This book is the first in a series and has some amazing illustrations by Gideon Kendall . There is so much more I want to tell you about my day. For

The Sunday Salon – Dystopian Diet?

My sleep has gotten a little bit wacky over the past few days. I have not been getting enough sleep at night which leads to weird nap times and then staying up too late again. So here I am, basically wide awake at 5:30 in the morning. The only saving grace is the fact that it is Sunday and not a more active day of the week. I have a lot of stuff to get done this week and I am trying to relax and be productive at the same time. I think that may be a conflict of interest. The silver lining to this sleeplessness is that I have been steadily making my way through the audio of The Windup Girl . After it’s recent success and all the interest from many of my friends, I was beyond eager to read this book, but now I am trying to read it and I cannot get into it. The book is different from what I expected, though I am not sure what exactly it was that I was expecting. Usually when I am reading dystopian/science fiction books they connect with my own world. There are a lot of science fi

Stuck in the Middle Again

I am once again stuck in the middle of several books. Some of them are even the same books I was in the middle of last time this happened. I definitely need to schedule myself some computer free reading time from now on.  I have too many books I want to read, too many reviews I want to write, too many challenges I want to participate in.   I have been doing a lot of book lists to see what I have been reading and what I should be reading. Here is one I write a few weeks ago. Rae by Chelsea Swiggett (currently reading) FINISHED Boneshaker by Cherie Priest The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (started) Book I haven’t finished yet ( Cherry Heaven , Never Let Me Go , The Iron Heel ) FINISHED Never Let Me Go Grimspace by Ann Aguirre (need to track down) Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (audio, saving for steampunk challenge starting Oct. 1) Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (started) Epic by Conor Kostick Exile by R. A, Salvatore (audio)

Matched by Ally Condie

“ Now that I have found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night ?” Matched , first line The book fair is over and I feel like I have a few moments to myself. For more than a week I have been dreaming about reading Matched by Ally Condie, but I haven't been able to find the time. I have set this weekend aside as a way to recover from the hours of work I put into the book fair. I am at a cabin on the lake to relax for a day or two. It is nice to feel apart from the world, to feel like I am getting away.  Especially since my dystopian reading has fallen to the wayside for a few moments while the rest of life frantically demands my attention.   It is interesting to be at a place like this and think about concepts like utopia and dystopia. When there are just a few people set apart from the world like we are here, it is easy to believe that utopia is attainable. Both utopia and dystopia play with the idea of hope, they both try an conceptualize hope

Scholastic Book Fair – Day Two

Well, I had a set budget for the book fair and I kind of splurged a little. All I can say for myself is that it IS a fundraiser so I it is going to a good cause. The hardest part about working at the book fair is that all the book lovers congregate around the cases and start reading the backs of books. You hear, “This sounds good!” “Did you see this one?” No, no, no! My budget doesn’t want to hear that!   My co-chair pointed out two books to me that I would have definitely looked over otherwise. We both love to read, especially YA and MG books, but we mostly focus on different genres. Which is nice, because we tend to fill in each other’s gaps. She like fantasy, ghost stories, and other Halloween/horror type books. I, on the other hand, focus on science fiction and more general fiction than she does. Overall, we generally end up looking at most of the books and know what they are about.  The two books in particular that she pointed out to me caught my eye as well, but looked a litt

Scholastic Book Fair – Day One Favorites

I am sitting here at the book fair before another long day of work. We are having a very successful book fair so far this time and it is really exciting to see people buying books for their children.  I just wanted to write a quick post talking about some of our best sellers.  One of the best thing about book fairs is being exposed to new books and having conversations with other book lovers.   One of our teachers loves the Missing series and we have been able to use her endorsement to sell quite a few of the books in the series. The Scholastic book fair has the first three books in this series all in hardback. People seem to be     excited about buying them, but also about sharing the experience of reading with others. I haven’t gotten to read Found yet, I have been wanting to and this book fair has made me even more eager to do so.  Haddix is a really popular author around here and we spend a lot of time recommending books that aren’t even available at the book fair.  

The Sunday Salon – Challenges

It is being another lazy Sunday here for me. I have so much going on right now I am having a really hard time relaxing.  Even when things are lazy it doesn’t mean they are relaxed. I finally reached a true state of relaxation last night while catching up on some episodes from the last season of Bones. As nice as that was it also ate up a huge chunk of reading and cleaning time. Now Sunday is here and the weekend is headed out the door. I have so much left to do!   I am also trying to plan for the rest of my reading year and look at what I have already read.  This year I joined more challenges than I ever have before. I am taking today to check in on my progress with them and think about what I need to read before the end of the year to accomplish them.   The first challenge is the Support Your Local Library .  I will definitely not meet my goal of reading 50 library books this year because I have barely read 50 books TOTAL in 2010 so far, but also, I have decided to take a br


There are some people who are struggling to understand exactly what steampunk is. To understand it is pretty straightforward but to try and explain it gets a little more convoluted. The basic concept of alternate history is relatively easy to explain, but once you start getting past that people tend to get lost.  Wikipedia let me to the word anachronism to aid in the understanding of steampunk. I think it perfectly encapsulates what makes steakpunk fiction unique.   a·nach·ro·nism [ uh - nak - ruh -niz- uh m]   –noun something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, esp. a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time. an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one.     You want to read steampunk, share your opinion and reviews with like minded people? You want to get recommendations from others because you have no idea where to begin?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

    What, you ask, is the most wonderful time of the year? Is it Christmas? Nope! Is it Thanksgiving? NOPE! My favorite time of year is better than any holiday because it comes TWICE every year.  Do you know what it is? It’s our book fair!!!   I am thrilled to be doing another Scholastic book fair at my daughter’s school. We managed to get more books than we ever have before and I am very excited.  In case you were wondering, here’s a picture that basically give you the whole idea of how our book fair is set up this year.   You can kind of see the other book fair lady in this picture and all that really does is make me happy that I was the one taking the picture.  There are so many reasons to love the book fair.  There are the books. And the….books. And more important than that is getting these kids excited about books and reading. At our school we work really hard to find the right book matches for people, especially ourselves! No, we love helping the students out whe