Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication: Razorbill (November 19, 2013)
Series: Bloodlines, Book 4

Description: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.


My Thoughts: Richelle Mead kept her promise. She said that things would get tough for the characters in this middle book of the Bloodlines series. And did they ever get tough!

Sydney and the crew are still in Palm Springs keeping Jill safe from Moroi assassins. However, she has been joined by her younger sister Zoe and has to be much more careful to keep her growing closeness to the Moroi and Dhampirs a secret. She also has to hide that she no longer unconditionally supports the mission of the Alchemists.

But most of all she has to hide her relationship with Adrian. They are hiding their love from the Alchemists and from the Moroi too since neither group would really support a relationship between an Alchemist and a Moroi. While Sydney is exploring and learning more about magic, Adrian has to deal with his demons. His overuse of Spirit is very damaging to him. Sydney is very worried about him. He finally decides to see a professional who diagnoses Adrian and determines that he is bipolar. He prescribes some pills but a side effect is that Adrian can't use Spirit. Adrian hasn't told Sydney that he had begun the pills because he didn't want to disappoint her if he couldn't cope with taking them. 

Between romance, magic, finding a way to keep Moroi and Dhampirs safe from being turned to Strigoi and tattoos that can keep rogue Alchemists from being brainwashed by the Alchemist leaders, this book is filled with action and excitement. I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Favorite Quote (which contains a spoiler. Highlight the space below if you don't mind being spoiled or if you have read this book.):
"'She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail, That the Female of Her species, is more deadly than the Male.'" I closed my eyes for a moment, adrift on love and exhaustion and bodily bliss. "We're suckers for this, Sydney. Men. You've got me completely helpless right now. You're so beautiful and alluring, and we guys can't help ourselves. We fight wars for you, cajole you...and you put up with us. We have it easy here in bed."

She turned my face toward hers. "This wasn't exactly difficult for me."

"But we still have it easy. You're the strength, the pillars...our defenders, our children's defenders."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Memes: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

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.

The week I am spotlighting a book that jumped the line of my "waiting to be read" books. I couldn't resist reading The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead as soon as it arrived at my house. This is the fourth book in Mead's Bloodlines series which is a companion to her Vampire Academy series. Here is the description:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
Beginning:
I won't lie. Walking into a room and seeing your girlfriend reading a baby-name book can kind of make your heart stop.
Friday 56:
It was like being in a shrine...to roses and doilies. Every surface in the place was covered. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review: Darkbeast Rebellion by Morgan Keyes

Darkbeast Rebellion
Author: Morgan Keyes
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 24, 2013)

Description: Betrayal threatens everything Keara dreams of in this fast-paced, exciting sequel to Darkbeast.

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called Darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the Darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these Darkers really what they appear to be?


My Thoughts: Keara, Goran and Taggart are on the run. Since none of them killed their darkbeasts at the age of twelve, they are breaking the law. They are being hunted by the Inquisitors who are determined to find these heretics and bring them to justice.

When the story begins, the trio is following rumors of a group of people called Darkers. She are traveling in the winter, in a deep forest, and they have run out of food. Luck has them locate a group of Darkers but something about them just doesn't seem right to Keara. She is right to be suspicious. They are fakes set up by the Inquisitor Ducis to trap those who don't kill their darkbeasts.

Keara, Goran and Taggart are taken to the Primate's city Lutecia and put under control of the Inquisitor Ducis who happens to be the Primate's son. There they meet the Primate's younger son who is now his heir. Dillon is a frustrated scholar who will soon have to give up his scholarship and learn the work of the Primate. He and his brother use Keara, Goran, and Taggart in a sort of tug of war for power.

They manage to escape again, this time taking Dillon along with them, and make their way to an actual outpost of Darkers. Taggart and Goran fit right in and are voted as members of the community but Keara has a harder time of it. 

This was an exciting story that was filled with danger and adventure. I liked Keara's relationship with her darkbeast Caw and I liked that she was still struggling with pride, impatience and other faults despite Caw's guidance. 

Fans of fantasy novels will enjoy this sequel to Darkbeast and hope that there are more adventures coming. 

Favorite Quote:
"Should we have gone to the breeding room, then?"

"I'm not inclined to go voluntarily to any place held out as a threat. Besides, we're here now. Nothing to be done for it. But speak to this boy. Find out what he wants. And why he's willing to go against the Inquisitor Ducis to get it."
This was an unsolicited review copy. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Darkbeast Rebellion by Morgan Keyes

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!

My teaser this week comes from Darkbeast Rebellion by Morgan Keyes. This book was a surprise gift. It arrived without any sort of note or enclosure. Here is the description of this Sept. 24 release:
Betrayal threatens everything Keara dreams of in this fast-paced, exciting sequel to Darkbeast.

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called Darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the Darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these Darkers really what they appear to be?
Teaser:
I had not expected to see all the other people in the cave. I had not expected to see a group of perfectly normal men, women, and children.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

State of the Stack (Nov. 25, 2013)

This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on the last Monday of each month. Please feel free to join in and let me know the state of your stack.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet. Yellow highlighted books are ones past their publication date that I still haven't read and reviewed. I use pink highlights for reviews due in even numbered months so that I can see at a glance how many I have for each month. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books.  


My Physical Review Pile

This is what my review bookcase looks like at the end of November.
Shelf One
Shelf Two
Shelf Three
Here are the ones from those shelves that have not yet been released:
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Dec. 10)
Alone by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 7)
Game Slaves by Gard Skinner (Jan. 7)
The Rule of Three by Eric Walters (Jan. 21)
The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles (Jan. 28)
Cress by Marissa Meyer (Feb. 4)
Unforgotten by Jessica Brody (Feb. 25)
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci (Feb. 25)
The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson (March 11)
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (April 1)
Dangerous by Shannon Hale (April 1)
Sekret by Lindsay Smith (April 1)


My Kindle Review Pile

Here are the review books on my Kindle in order of release date:
Mind Trace by Holly McCaghren (Nov. 16, 2012)
Fireblood by Keshia Swaim (Nov. 26)
A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway (Dec. 31)
Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Dec. 31)
Alienated by Melissa Landers (Feb. 4)
Runner by Patrick Lee (Feb. 18)
Nil by Lynne Matson (March 4)
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (March 4)

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
  2. Twinmaker by Sean Williams
  3. Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin
  4. Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino
  5. Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye
  6. Pawn by Aimee Carter
  7. Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong
  8. Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Dec. 5)
  9. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
  10. Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery
  11. Darkbeast Rebellion by Morgan Keyes (Nov. 28)
  12. Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton (Dec. 5)
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date received and date published are listed in parentheses.
  1. Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe
  2. Runner by Patrick Lee
  3. A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway
  4. Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye
  5. Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery
  6. Nil by Lynne Matson 
  7. Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
  8. Mind Trace by Holly McCaghren
  9. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Next Month's Plan

December is a light month for me with only four books on my stack being released. I hope to be able to read some of the books that have been waiting on my review stack for a while. These are the ones I plan to get to in December.
Iris by Scott Stabile (July 31, 2013)
Blood Bound by Keshia Swaim (Oct. 8, 2013)
Mind Trace by Holly McCaghren (Nov. 16, 2012)
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Dec. 10)
Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe (Dec. 17)
A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway (Dec. 31)
Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Dec. 31)
Alone by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 7, 2014)
Game Slaves by Gard Skinner (Jan. 7, 2014)

What do you have planned for December? What is the state of your review stack?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stacking the YA Shelves (Nov. 24, 2013)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

I had a small but quality week. Here is what I got:
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta was a Kindle Daily Deal this week. I have been wondering about this book for a while and thought I'd add it to my Kindle. I'm a little worried because a teacher I respect said it was a hard book to read. I am not a very patient reader.

I also got The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. I have already read this one and really enjoyed it. It will be a long wait for the next one though. I really can't wait to find out what happens.

What did you add to your stack?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

ARC Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Crash Into You
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication: Harlequin Teen (November 26, 2013)

Description: From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life—that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker—a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks—no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other. 


My Thoughts: Katie McGarry has a knack for writing emotionally intense stories about characters who are achingly real. 

Rachel Young is the perfect daughter. She has made herself be that because her mother is emotionally fragile and still hasn't gotten over the death of Rachel's sister which happened before Rachel was born. Rachel has always known that she was the replacement daughter. She has tried to be the girly girl her sister was and her mother wants but that isn't the real her. The real her loves cars and engines and speed and suffers from crippling anxiety attacks.

Isaiah Walker is from the other side of town. He has been in the foster system since he was six and his mother was sent to prison for armed robbery. He has learned to be tough and learned to protect his heart. His family consists of a couple of the other foster kids he was raised with. He is a gifted mechanic.

One would think that the two would never meet because their worlds are so different. But a chance encounter at a secret street race pushed them together. They both run afoul of the local criminal type who runs the races. The need to come up with $5000 to get him off their backs. 

Coming up with the money while facing their various family problems and while falling in love isn't easy. There are the usual misunderstandings between Rachel and Isaiah as their different needs come into conflict. She has the need to be strong and stand up for herself; he has the need to protect her from all harm as he wished someone would have protected him. 

The story was emotionally intense and very compelling. I recommend it highly. 

Favorite Quote:
"What would you do if I kissed you?"

My mouth falls open, and only when it starts to get dry, do I close it. What would I do if he kissed me? Go into shock? Have multiple seizures? Jump up and down? I take in a shaky breath. Isaiah calls me brave so I rush out the words. "Kiss you back?"
I got this eARC from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Memes: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

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.

This week I am spotlighting Crash Into You by Katie McGarry. I got this eARC from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley.  I loved Pushing the Limits and Dare You To and am eager to read Isaiah's story. Here is the description from Amazon for this Nov. 26 release:
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life—that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker—a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks—no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
Beginning:
Eleven years, two months, seven days. The last time I had physical contact with a book relative.
Friday 56: 
Isaiah's car fishtails and I slam on my brakes to keep from crashing into his rear end. My breath leaves my body in a hiss.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ARC Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion) by Aimee Carter

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion) 
Author: Aimee Carter
Publication: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (November 26, 2013)

Description: YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed…and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.


My Thoughts: We're in the future and the United States has suffered an economic collapse. The government was taken over by a man named Hart who instituted changes including a test that each seventeen-year-old takes on their birthday that determines their rank in society - from I for the hopeless to VII for the Harts. Now, seventy-one years later, the current Prime Minister is Daxton Hart and he is Prime Minister for life. 

Kitty Doe, an Extra in a society that only allows one child per family, has just taken her test. Because of her dyslexia, she was branded as a III. Her job assignment in sewage control was going to send her to Denver from Washington, DC, and rip her away from the young man she loves. Benjamin Doe will be turning seventeen one month after her. He is very smart and has a chance to rank much higher. Kitty is determined to stay near him even though it means becoming a prostitute.

When she is purchased by Daxton Hart, she thinks he wants a mistress. But he wants Kitty because of her unique eye color. He plans to have her pass for his niece Lila who has become a rallying point for a rebellion and who he had killed. Kitty is dropped into the complex relationships of the Hart family. Daxton is Prime Minister but he takes his cue from his mother Augusta. Celia is Daxton's sister and Lila's mother. Greyson is Daxton's son and the heir apparent. Kitty is also presented with a fiance named Knox Creed, who is the son of one of the powerful ministers who run the government. 

The book had a strong HUNGER GAMES vibe. We have a society of have and have nots. We have a totalitarian regime. We have leaders who have no consciences and whose guiding principles boil down to self-interest. We have a heroine who doesn't want to start a revolution but who only wants to live and protect the ones she loves. We have an innocent though not unintelligent young woman thrust into a political situation where she can trust no one and whose life is being threatened by all sides.

The story was exciting. The main character was charismatic. And we have to wait for book 2 - CAPTIVE - to find out what happens next.

Favorite Quote:
"Your pawn becomes a queen." She touched my cheek, her fingers cold as ice. "Because they kept moving forward and triumphed against impossible odds, they become the most powerful piece in the game. Never forget that, all right? Never forget the potential one solitary pawn has to change the entire game."
I get this eARC from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion) by Aimee Carter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!

This week my teaser comes from Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion) by Aimee Carter. I got this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description of this Nov. 26 release:
YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed…and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.
Teaser:
The Shield straightened. "What's your name?"
"Kitty Doe."
"Doe?" He eyed us both. "You're Extras?"
"Yes," I said, trying to keep the snarl out of my voice. No one with an ounce of self-preservation talked to a Shield like that, but after what had happened that morning, I didn't have it in me to kiss anyone's ass. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

In the Media Center (Quarter 2, Week 2)

Elementary Media Center
In the Media Center is going to be a new regularly appearing post from me. I plan to talk about what my students and I did the past week during their media classes. I am a K-12 media specialist who spends half days at the Elementary building and half days at the Middle School/High School building in our district of approximately 1300 students.

This semester I am starting my days at the Elementary building and seeing fifth graders and third graders on a four day rotation (50 minute classes) and traditional first and second graders on an alternate day rotation (25 minute classes). Our elementary school has a fixed schedule where all students in a grade level attend "specials" (art, media, music, and phy. ed.) at the same time so that their teachers have a common preparation time.

Fifth Grade

We spent most of the week learning to make citations before we begin our research projects. I wanted the kids to know how to make a citation from scratch even though we will mostly be using our school databases which provide citations to copy and paste. I will also be showing them Citation Machine and BibMe which will make citations for them.

Third Grade

Having now completed our book ad posters, we are beginning our unit on Internet safety by participating in the USA-SOS Internet Safety Challenge. One class has taken the pretest and begun the scavenger hunt already.

Second Grade

Continuing in our fantasy genre, I read the first two chapters of Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka. We also looked in the fiction section to find the rest of the Time Warp Trio series. We also watched a Mary Pope Osborne interview on Wednesday and did a worksheet locating information on a book's title and copyright page.

Thursday and Friday, students were in the lab using Up to Ten Kids. I finished assessing them to make sure they could navigate to the programs in the Second Grade folder.

First Grade

This week I read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems and we practiced determining Pigeon's emotions from the illustrations. We also did a worksheet on finding the author of a book.

On Wednesday, I read I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. We got a chance to practice inference as we decided what happened to that hat stealing rabbit. We also did a worksheet to practice the alphabet and colored the resulting picture.

On Thursday and Friday, we went to the lab and navigated our way to the First Grade folder to find the link for Super Why! at PBS Kids.

That was week 11.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stacking the YA Shelves (Nov. 17, 2013)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

I had a small week this week. I needed one as I am trying to catch up on review books before the end of the year. However, these were the books I couldn't resist adding to the stack.
A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Amy Schlitz was a Kindle Daily Deal this week. 

I got a couple of review books too.
The opportunity to read The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski came in an email from Macmillan and included a link to NetGalley. Luckily, this March 2014 release was formatted for my Kindle instead of Adobe Digital Editions. 

Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith was a middle grade mystery that arrived in my mailbox from Quirk Books. 

What did you get this week?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

ARC Review: Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino

Uncrashable Dakota
Author: Andy Marino
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (November 12, 2013)

Description: In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.

Now, in Andy Marino's Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret wasn’t just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .

What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?


My Thoughts: Thirteen-year-old Hollis Dakota is the heir to Dakota Aeronautics and a passenger on the company's greatest invention - the Wendell Dakota. After his father's accidental death, his mother remarried Jefferson Castor. Castor's son Rob is Hollis' best friend and is well-known for leading him into mischief. Both boys are friends with Delia who is an apprentice beetle keeper on the ship.

This is alternate history. History changes when Hollis' grandfather Samuel discovers a variety of beetle that becomes lighter than air when fed on a mixture of  tree sap and moonshine. His discovery leads to the invention of flying machines which support the Northern side of the Civil War and end the war long before it ended in our timeline. 

This story begins fifty years later. Samuel has disappeared into the sky. Dakota Aeronautics has grown into a massive company. When the Wendell Dakota is hijacked by Jefferson Castor to get revenge on the Dakota family because Samuel accidentally killed his grandfather, Hollis, Delia and assorted friends from steerage need to find a way to defeat the hijackers and save the passengers. Rob is torn between his friendship with Hollis and his love for his father. 

The story was filled with interesting detail about the design of the massive airship and the science of using beetles to power flight. Delia - a genius inventor - also invents a number of useful gadgets including a taser and wireless radio which aid the kids as they try to save the ship.

The story was an exciting adventure story but not an easy story to read. The text was complex. Not only were there several flashbacks but the story was told from a variety of points of view. Able middle grade readers and high school readers will enjoy this adventurous tale. 

Favorite Quote:
On his birthday, Hollis had been treated to Il Bambino's signature dish—braised rabbit on a bed of prunes in a white wine reduction—which he suspected was a punishment disguised as a gift. 
I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Memes: Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino

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.

This week I am spotlighting Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino. I got this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Here is the description of this Nov. 12 release:
In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.

Now, in Andy Marino's Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret was't just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .

What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?
Alternate history is a sub-set of science fiction and this one sounds like steampunk, too, which is another sub-set.

Beginning:
Hollis Dakota was ten years old when his parents took him to the shipyard that sprawled like a spilled bucket of ash across the river from New York City. His family owned the shipyard, but Hollis had never been there, because he lived in the sky.
Friday 56:
"You there!" A sudden shout reached them from across the platform. A crewman hailed them with a wave. "Don't move!"