Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
It's quiet and peaceful high above the treetops, but I don't feel that way inside. I don't remember what it's like to live without the clutch of guilt and sorrow around my neck.
This week I am reading The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren. I got this contemporary story from Amulet Books in exchange for an honest review. Here's the description from Amazon:
Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 24, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted at The Book Date.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts have given it a kidlit focus.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

This was a long short week. We had Monday off as part of our Spring Break and the four work days seemed endless. I can never remember what day of the week it is when my work week starts on Tuesday. Next week will be a short week for me because I have taken Friday as a personal day. I'll be bringing still another load of stuff to my new home. It will also be short because the elementary is hosting a retirement part for me and two others who are retiring this year. They are getting a sub for me so that I can attend. That means I need to prepare sub plans for two days this coming week. That is always "fun".  I try to be thorough since I know how hard a job it is for a sub to come in to a strange situation and know what to do.

I am writing this on Saturday morning as I am trying to put off cleaning out my garage. I need to organize, clean, and throw things away so that I can put rummage sale things there soon. It shouldn't be surprising how cluttered a garage gets and how much road sand manages to deposit itself on the floor but I'm always surprised anyway.

Read Last Week
The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beatty is a nice start to a fantasy trilogy. I liked the world building and I liked the characters. This one has intrigue, romance, and hidden identities. My review will be posted on May 6.

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari is a contemporary fantasy set in Chicago. I liked the magic and the romance. It had a fast-paced plot and an entertaining main character. My review will be posted on May 11.

Currently
I'm currently reading The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich which is okay so far. I'm having trouble believing the whole "school for spies" thing.

Next Week
I hope to read two from my TBR mountain next week.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I had an empty mailbox this week. 

You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate
Publication: Amulet Books (May 2, 2017)

Description: It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

My Thoughts: Jordan Sun is a scholarship student at a boarding school for the Performing Arts. Her unusual vocal range - Alto 2 - makes it difficult for her to fit into the musical theater world. The story begins with her being passed over for a role in the fall musical for the third year in a row. She is feeling disappointed and discouraged when a mass email is sent out that one of the most prominent a capella groups at school is looking for a new tenor. She decides to dress in drag and try out. She figures that she has nothing to lose.

When she is accepted into the group, she has to extend her time in drag which causes all sorts of difficult situations. She hasn't a bunch of close friends at the school since she spent the previous two years in an intense relationship with a fellow student who has graduated and moved on - cheating on her along the way. She has come back to school for her junior year trying to get over the heartbreak and forge her own path. She is concerned about her parents who are living at or below the poverty line in San Francisco and who, she fears, want to bring her back home.

Jordan - now Julian - makes friends with the guys in the group who are an interesting assortment of personalities. It is the first time that she feels she has a home and a family at the school. But everything is hinging on her being successful at hiding her gender. The pressure mounts because the various a capella groups are gearing up for a December performance that could lead them to be chosen as an opening act on a famous a capella group's European tour. One other group is especially determined to thwart her group's chances and embarks on a number of pranks.

This was an engaging story. I was particularly taken with Jordan's musings on gender identity and her own sexuality. This was a great look at gender roles and gender identity. Students interested in the performing arts or boarding schools will enjoy this story and meet some interesting characters along the way.

Favorite Quote:
I slid off my bed and measured my breaths. Stop thinking about college -- stop thinking at all -- give your brain a rest. It was always busy in my skull, always noisy, a honking metropolis of detours and preoccupations. 
I received this on for review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Memes: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Monday morning was the worst possible time to have an existential crisis, I decided on Monday morning, while having an existential crisis.
Friday 56:
He lifted a hand. "Again, I'm Isaac, your president. And the one who always looks like he just sniffed paint is your fearless musical director, Traveler Atwood."

Trav's nostrils flared. He said nothing.
Today I am reading Noteworthy by Riley Redgate. This was a surprise arrival from Amulet Books. It will be released on May 2 but I already have a finished copy. Here is the description from Amazon:
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

ARC Review: The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

The Unbreakable Code
Author: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Series: The Book Scavenger series
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 25, 2017)

Description: Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there's the coded note he drops at a book event. Then, they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What's most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson fire.

As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they discover Mr. Quisling has been hunting a legendary historical puzzle: the Unbreakable Code. This new mystery is irresistible, but Emily and James can't ignore the signs that Mr. Quisling might be the arsonist.

The clock is ticking as the arson fires multiply, and Emily and James race to crack the code of a lifetime.

My Thoughts: Emily and James are back in a second adventure. This time these middle schoolers are trying to solve the unbreakable code which dates back to the time of Mark Twain in San Francisco. Solving it is supposed to lead to a fantastic treasure. Emily and James are experienced puzzle solvers as they are members of an online game called Book Scavengers started by Emily's idol Garrison Griswold.

Searching for the solution for the unbreakable code is only one of the mysteries they are working on. They are suspicious about their teacher Mr. Quisling who is tracking down copies of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain which wouldn't be suspicious except for the fires that are started in the locations where the books were found.

Emily is also stressed by the possibility that her parents will need to move the family again despite promising her and her brother that they would settle in San Francisco for a while. Meanwhile, James is missing his father who has to travel a lot for business. Finding the treasure and giving the winnings to their parents could solve both of those problems. Adding to their schedule is the upcoming Presidents' Day/Valentine's Day Dance which Emily and James volunteered to help organize.

I liked both Emily and James because they are readers. I liked that they were curious and resourceful. I liked the adults in this story too who were helpful and treated the kids with respect. I also liked the puzzles and think middle grade puzzle lovers will enjoy playing along with the clues to the mystery.

Favorite Quote:
"It's so sad to imagine the people who had to stay here," Emily said. She pictured someone carefully carving those words, taking breaks to look through the chain-link-covered windows.

"It's only sad if you assume that's the end of their story," James said. "If you imagine the person's next chapter, living over there" -- James nodded out the window to the city across the bay -- "then it's heroic. They refused to be broken just because someone tried to hold them back."
I received this one for review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WoW: Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!
Amanda Maciel
April 25

Lucky Girl is an unflinching exploration of beauty, self-worth, and sexual assault, from the author of the acclaimed Tease.

Rosie is a beautiful girl—and it’s always been enough. Boys crush on her, men stare at her, girls (begrudgingly) admire her. She’s lucky and she knows it. But it’s the start of a new school year and she begins to realize that she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to get over it. Plus, someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who became semifamous after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never experienced before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.

Then at a party one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, something happens that tears apart Rosie’s life and sets her on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to face uncomfortable truths about reputation, identity, and what it means to be a true friend.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Downtown San Francisco was where the skyscrapers and biggest buildings were. The idea that those buildings now stood where it had once only been water seemed so weird.
This week I am reading The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. This is an ARC I received from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there's the coded note he drops at a book event. Then, they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What's most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson fire.

As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they discover Mr. Quisling has been hunting a legendary historical puzzle: the Unbreakable Code. This new mystery is irresistible, but Emily and James can't ignore the signs that Mr. Quisling might be the arsonist.

The clock is ticking as the arson fires multiply, and Emily and James race to crack the code of a lifetime.