Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Buying Ban: The Wrap-Up

Well, February is over and so is my book buying ban. I wasn't completely successful but I am happy with the progress I made. 

I began the month with 1024 books on my To Read shelf at LibraryThing. I ended the month with 960. It is a small improvement but it is an improvement.

My students benefited because I donated 66 books to my HS Media Center. 61 of them were books that I thought I was going to read but just never got to. 5 were books that I read and then donated. 

Unfortunately, I added 36 books to the TBR list in February. I bought 13, got 11 free for my Kindle, and got 12 books for review. I did most of the additions early in the month. I added 28 books in the first two weeks but only 8 in the last two weeks. I consider that a major improvement since I added 78 books to the TBR stack in January. 

I did read 24 books (Maybe 25 as I am writing this Sunday morning and have a day and a half to finish the book I am currently reading).

I have learned to be less impulsive about buying books or downloading free books. I hope I have also learned not to make so many commitments to review books. I am hoping that the 13 I committed to in March is an aberration and not a trend. I hope I can keep reducing the TBR stack in the coming months.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My YA Mailbox (Feb. 27, 2011)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets. You will discover lots of great blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

I bought one book this week even though I am in a book buying ban because I have been waiting for it for so long. A new book by Tamora Pierce is sufficient reason to break my book buying ban.

Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce

Collected here for the first time are all of the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy's fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy.
New York Times bestselling writer Tamora Pierce captured the imagination of readers more than 20 years ago with Alanna: The First Adventure. She has written 16 books about the extraordinary kingdom of Tortall, with another to come in fall 2011. She lives in upstate New York, with her husband and an assortment of wildlife.
What couldn't you resist this week?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

ARC Review: Angel in My Pocket by Ilene Cooper

Angel in My Pocket
Author: Ilene Cooper
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (March 15, 2011)

Description: When Bette finds an angel coin among the money collected in a carwash, she puts it in her pocket and forgets about it. But things start to change, especially once Gabby, a mysterious and kind new neighbor, moves into Bette’s Chicago building. Suddenly, Bette is able to face some big losses—her mother’s recent death; her sister’s departure for college—and move forward. And once the angel coin falls into the hands of three other kids in Bette’s class, their lives change, too. Soon, these two girls and two boys will be connected in ways that open them up to unlikely friendships and new ways to believe in themselves. Here is an entirely new twist on the angel trend.

My Thoughts: This was an excellent and touching story of friendship and overcoming adversity. Four students attend school together at a magnet school for the performing arts in Chicago.

Bette has a beautiful voice but she has given up singing since her mother died in a car accident. She is lonely and doesn't have much hope for the future. Her sister has moved away to college and her dad has changed jobs from being a lawyer to being part-owner of a jazz club. He is gone all the time. When Gabi moves in downstairs, she helps Bette change her viewpoint and move on.

Joe is a poor kid who attends the magnet school because it is near his home and he has to take care of his mother who has lung problems. They are poor. His dad moved to California, has a new family, and isn't good about sending the child support or providing any emotional support either. His mom tries hard though. She is developing a relationship with Gene. Joe is angry and a bully at school. The principal drafts him to work on the sets for a big school production. He meets Mike and also has his attitude changed.

Andy and Vivi are twins. Andy is an excellent violinist but is also small and kind of funny looking. Joe bullies him for money each week. Until Andy turns the tables on him and just starts offering him money and friendship. Vivi is an excellent pianist but she also suffers from asthma. She is being home-schooled  this year until she gets the asthma under control. She is very self-conscious because the steroids she has to take have altered her appearance. Finally, after suffering a new asthma attack because she wasn't taking her meds, she meets Dr. Raphael and begins a new treatment.

The angel coin that Bette discovers in a bag of coins for charity travels from her to Joe to Andy to Vivi and may be the cause of the changes in all their lives. Careful readers may wonder if the adult helpers are angels too. Gabi could be Gabriel, Mike could be Michael, and Dr. Raphael, who helps Vivi and Joe's mother, might be the angel Raphael. Maybe even Uri -the boy who helps Vivi regain her confidence in her appearance during their Florida vacation - is the angel Uriel.

Despite the possible inclusion of angels, the book is not religious or preachy. Bette and her family are not at all religious, Joe and his mom are Catholic, Andy and Vivi are Jewish. All them are changed for the better through the course of this book.

I recommend this for readers who like realistic fiction. The school day activities are well-described and the growing friendships are also realistic. 

Favorite Quote:
Gabi pulled up an old wooden chair that Ben and Mary had left behind. Now that she had a moment to actually stare at Gabi, Bette was no longer sure how old she was. She had presumed that Gabi was about her dad's age. Now, looking more closely, she wondered wasn't much older. Her hair seemed as much silver-grey as blond, and there was something about the look in her eyes that made her think of her grandmother. Then Gabi smiled at her, and her expression was so full of expectation that suddenly she looked younger, closer to even Barbra's age.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Book Beginnings

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages 

Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. 

If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.
The Friday 56

  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Freda's Voice
  • Post a link along with your post back to Freda's Voice
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
I just finished Pegasus by Robin McKinley. This was a wonderful fantasy novel with rich, well-developed characters acting in a fascinating fantasy world. I recommend it highly. Here is the product description:
A gorgeously written fantasy about the friendship between a princess and her Pegasus. 

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations. 
Because she was a princess she had a pegasus.
Page 56, sentence 5:
Its looking seemed to wrap her up all round so that she could no longer hear anything but the indeterminate murmur of her father's voice, and she could see nothing but its bright blade.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ARC Review: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

A World Without Heroes
Author: Brandon Mull
Publication: Aladdin (March 15, 2011)

Description: Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable--until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he's ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.

In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.

My Thoughts: This story is the start of a middle grade fantasy trilogy. I found it quite long and not very engaging. I couldn't connect with either character because I didn't feel that I knew enough about either of them. The book started slowly with not much happening for the first couple of chapters.

Jason falls into a hippo's mouth and then ends up in Lyrian. While he mentions wanting to go home, he really doesn't seem very upset. He decides to go on a quest to find the six syllables that make up the magic word that will defeat the evil mage who rules the country and look for a way home along the way. He is more or less forced into the hunt because he is convinced that the evil mage - Maldor - will be trying to catch him anyway. He is a a strong, tall young man who looks older than his actual age and who is an excellent baseball pitcher. His parents want him to follow in the family footsteps and become a dentist but he is much more interested in animals and baseball. 

Rachel also finds herself in the fantasy world when she trips through a stone arch when visiting a park with her parents. She is bright and home-schooled. She is also treated as a second-class citizen in the fantasy world. She chooses to go along with Jason in the hopes of finding her way home too.

The pair has a large number of adventures as they attempt to locate all the parts of the magical word. The also meet a number of people - friends and enemies - on their journey. One of the most unusual inhabitants of the world is a displacer named Ferrin. Displacers can sever body parts yet still live and remain connected to their displaced parts. He first befriends Jason and Rachel but they soon learn that he is a spy for Maldor.

This story might be good for middle graders who want to read about adventures, dangers, and young people going on heroic journeys. They can look forward to the next two adventures in the Spring of 2012 and the Spring of 2013.

Favorite Quote:

A hero sacrifices for the greater good. A hero is true to his or her conscience. In short, heroism means doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Although any person could fit that description, very few do. Choose this day to be one of them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Vanished by Kristi Holl

Author: Kristi Holl
Publication: Zonderkidz (December 21, 2010)

Description: Lonely and a long way from her Iowa home, twelve-year-old Jeri McKane reacts to boarding school the way most middle schoolers would. Even with close friends, she wonders whether her scholarship to prestigious Landmark School was worth it. She's tempted to give up when her Mom can't make parents' weekend, and the school bus carrying her roommate, Rosa, disappears. But this reporter for the sixth-grade newspaper has an eye like Nancy Drew and more faith and courage than she realizes. Jeri solves the mystery---and makes landmark decisions to trust God and his Word through circumstances and feelings that don't make sense.

My Thoughts: This book is the first in the Faithgirlz mystery series. Jeri is disappointed when her mother tells her that she is unable to visit her at boarding school for parents day but that disappointment is quickly overshadowed when her roommates bus doesn't return from a field trip and no one knows what happened to them. Jeri was interested in becoming an investigative reporter after they had a visit from one at the school. So Jeri begins to try to figure out what happened to Rosa and the other students.

Jeri collects clues and solves the problem. There are lots of suspicious people and events for her to sort out. She almost gets lost in a blizzard while following a clue too.

This was a very nice middle grade mystery that is also the start of a series. I thought the story was well-written and realistic. I did wonder at times about how Jeri could investigate without some adult checking on her whereabouts a few times though. I recommend them for middle graders who like mysteries.

Favorite Quote:
"You want to crack the case by yourself. You think you're a junior investigative reporter." Nikki pushed her cowboy hat back off her forehead. "You're obstructing justice. By not telling you put Rosa and everybody in danger longer. Why? This isn't about you, Jeri."
Source: Free for the Kindle on Feb. 1, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • 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 A World Without Heroes (Beyonders) by Brandon Mull. I received the eARC from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. This is the start of a new Middle Grade fantasy series. The book will be published on March 15, 2011.
Falling into the hippo tank was one thing--careless but possible. Passing through the mouth of a hippopotamus into a tunnel slide and coming out in a hollow tree beside a river was harder to process.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Buying Ban Week 3

Week 3 of my book buying ban is over. Here is how I did:

  • I bought one book for my Kindle
  • I downloaded two free books for my Kindle
  • I received one book for review

I'm satisfied with that. I began the month with 1024 books marked TBR at LibraryThing. This morning I had 962. I would really like to lower TBR stack by 100 books but I may have to be satisfied with less. There are only 8 more days in February. 

This coming week will be very hard. First, my high school media center is hosting a Scholastic Book Fair. I will be surrounded with attractive books for the whole week. I am determined not to buy any books from the Fair.

Second, lots of great books are being published this week. I have already caved and pre-ordered four books:

  • Tortall and Other Stories by Tamora Pierce
  • This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  • Treachery in Death by J. D. Robb
  • Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

It seems like I have been waiting for years for another book by Tamora Pierce. I love her work and had to get this one. The books by Frost and Robb were also must-haves. I could and should have waited for Pale Demon though. I haven't read the book that comes before it yet even though I went to an author signing last Spring and bought it.

I'm going to have to read lots this week in order to keep my TBR list from growing. That might be a challenge with two evenings of Parent-Teacher Conferences and one doctor's appointment on my schedule for the week. We are planning a read-in on Thursday evening for anyone who wants to come to celebrate the last day of the Book Fair and the end of conferences. Maybe I'll get some reading done there. But there will be games, food, and hopefully lots of students to occupy me too.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My YA Mailbox (Feb. 20, 2011)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets. You will discover lots of great blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

My book buying ban is working. I did not buy any books this week. I did receive one book for review from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.
The Fires Beneath the Sea by Lydia Millet is a middle grade novel that will be published on May 1, 2011.
Cara's mother has disappeared. Her father isn't talking about it. Her big brother Max is hiding behind his iPod, and her genius little brother Jackson is busy studying the creatures he collects from the beach. But when a watery specter begins to haunt the family's Cape Cod home, Cara and her brothers realize that their scientist mother may not be who they thought she was—and that the world has much stranger, much older inhabitants than they had imagined.

With help from Cara's best friend Hayley, the three embark on a quest that will lead them from the Cape's hidden, ancient places to a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. They're soon on the front lines of an ancient battle between good and evil, with the terrifying "pouring man" close on their heels.

Packed with memorable characters and thrilling imagery, Lydia Millet weaves a page-turning adventure even as she brings the seaside world of Cape Cod to magical life. The first in a series of books about the Sykes children, The Fires Beneath the Sea is a rip-cracking middle-grade novel that will make perfect beach reading—for readers of any age!
This sounds like it could be an interesting story. The author has written a number of other books but this is the first one that is marked young adult. 

What did you get this week?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Enchanted Ivy
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry (October 12, 2010)

Description: What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!

Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this contemporary fantasy. I thought Lily was a realistic teen. She was excited to be visiting Princeton with her grandfather and her mother. She was bright and intended to go to Princeton like her grandfather had. She was also used to protecting her mother who has memory issues and who was prone to doing odd things. She had learned to always keep a calm front no matter what new strange thing her mother did. She was very protective of her mother.

When she arrived at Princeton, she was surprised to learn that her grandfather had set her up for the Legacy test. Passing it meant automatic admission to Princeton. But taking the test really opened her up to new experiences like getting advice from the stone gargoyles who decorate the buildings at Princeton. Since they are visiting at a reunion weekend, she sees lots of orange and black. In fact, a young man named Tye who presents himself as her guard during the quest has orange and black hair.

She quickly learns that her grandfather is one of the Knights who protect humans because Princeton has a gate to another world - a world with were-tigers, gargoyles, unicorns, dryads and elves. But it takes a key to travel between the worlds. Lily's test is to find a key. During her quest, Lily learns lots of secrets about Princeton, her family and herself. She finds herself in great danger and in the middle of a possible war.

This story had adventure, danger and romance. I recommend it to fantasy-loving young adults. 

Favorite Quote:
Kneeling in front of the flower bed again, she spread her fingers to touch several tulips. "Up," she said. Obediently, leaves lifted into the air. "Sideways," she said and tipped her hand to the right. All the flowers dipped their blossoms. "Other way." They reversed directions. "Braid." She twisted her fingers against the stems and imagined what she wanted them to do, and the flowers wrapped around one another.

Tye knelt next to her. "How do you feel?"

"Like I have a really lame superpower," Lily said, unbraiding the flower stems.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Beginning & Friday 56: Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Happy Friday everybody!!

Book Beginnings
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages 

Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. 

If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.
The Friday 56

  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Freda's Voice
  • Post a link along with your post back to Freda's Voice
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
My book this week is Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst. It had been languishing on my TBR stack since December of 2010 and it finally worked its way to the top of the stack. I am intrigued by this contemporary fantasy about two Princetons - the real one and the one that is a gateway between parallel worlds. 

"Almost there," Grandpa said.

Pressing her nose against the car window, Lily frowned at the strip malls, gas stations, and industrial parks as they rolled by. "Really?" she said. She'd expected to see something a bit more picturesque than Wal-Marts and Home Depots on her way to her dream school--at least a stately forest or a field with a few photogenic cows. And she should hear trumpets playing, plus a massive choir announcing in verse the approach of her destiny.

Maybe she'd built up this moment a bit too much.
Page 56, Sentence 5:
A man and a woman, both decked out in psychedelic zebra coats, sat at a registration desk.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

The False Princess
Author: Eilis O'Neal
Publication: EgmontUSA (January 25, 2011)

Description: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court.  But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection.  Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks.  But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

My Thoughts: This was a wonderful fantasy with a fairy-tale feel. 

I liked the story of a young woman who has had everything she believed about herself taken away and who then has to find out who she really is. At first we see Sinda as the Princess Nalia who is happy enough in the life but who feels that she is too clumsy and shy. Once it is revealed that she is a false princess, we see her trying to cope with a life she never expected. She doesn't fit in at all in the quiet village where she is sent. The aunt who is her only relative is not a warm person. She resents Sinda because she looks like the woman who abandoned her brother and broke his heart. 

When Sinda discovers that she has magic and that the magic comes from her unknown mother, she is determined to return to the royal city and learn to use her magic. Once in the royal city she discovers a plot that is long-standing and could ruin the kingdom. But who will believe a girl who was once a princess and must resent her change in circumstances?

All along Sinda has had a friend in Kiernan. He is a baron's son and has been her friend and companion since they were babies. When she goes to the village to live with her aunt, he follows her. But she rebuffs him because she is completely unacceptable as a wife. Their circumstances are too different. She sends him away and manages to break both their hearts.

When she finds out about the plot in the city, Kiernan is the only one that she can trust. But what can two sixteen-year-olds do to thwart a plot that has been going on since they were born?

I liked that Sinda wasn't perfect. She had a good share of vanity and a sense of insecurity too. She was used to learning things quickly but wasn't all that good at learning her aunt's trade or learning about her magic. She did have a strong sense of duty to the kingdom that she was raised to rule. She felt a loyalty to the king and queen even though they had treated her badly.

I also liked Kiernan. He was funny and supportive and absolutely determined that Sinda was the one for him whether she was a queen or a pig herder. I felt sorry for him when Sinda's own insecurities hurt him. But he was also resilient. He was unfailingly supportive of her needs.

The story was filled with magic and danger and adventures and romance. I recommend it to lovers of fantasy of any age. 

Favorite Quote:
"We can't. They'll think I'm mad, or bent on revenge,  and that I've--I don't know--used my wiles on you to make you believe me."

Kiernan raised an eyebrow. "Your wiles?"

I flushed, but pushed on. "The point is, they won't believe us. It sounds crazy. And we might end up tipping off the traitor, letting them know that we know."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WoW: Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the spine. It gives us a chance to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating.

I have already pre-ordered Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney from Amazon. I can hardly wait for it to arrive. This is Putney's debut young adult novel. She is a well-known adult novelist. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including two Romance Writers of America RITA awards, four consecutive Golden Leaf awards for Best Historical Romance, and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Historical Romance. My favorite of all her historical romances is Angel Rogue. I even own two copies (in case one would be worn out or lost!).

Here is the product description:

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth. 
Doesn't it sound like a fun read?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • 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 the 2011 Debut YA Author Eilis O'Neal who wrote The False Princess. This is a fantasy about a young woman who was unknowingly raised as a stand-in for the real princess and who has to find out who she really is when the real princess is brought home and she is sent on her way.
You didn't like or dislike magic. It was like saying you didn't like air; it was something that was here, something you couldn't do anything about. Some people had it and some people didn't, like red hair or poor eyesight.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway Hop Winner

Thank you to everyone for participating in the Follower Love Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. I gave away a $25 shopping spree at The Book Depository.

The winner (as chosen by using is
Nathalie (whose email begins pisicopate....)

Congratulations! I have sent you an email with a form to fill out. 

If you didn't win this time, stop back soon for information about my next contest.

Book Buying Ban Week 2

I had a few successes and a few failures during week 2 of my book buying ban. Starting with the positive, I had two successes.

***I purchased one picture book to donate to my elementary media center after it got a glowing review from one of my fellow teachers. Too Many Frogs tells the story of rabbit who lives a nice routine life and loves it. His routine includes reading himself a story each night. But one evening a frog appears and really upsets rabbit's routine. It was a great story about the joy of sharing books with friends.

I also bought one adult romance because it was on sale, had a terrific cover and was about a professional athlete. I couldn't help myself. Game for Anything by Bella Andre was a wonderful escapist couple of hours. 

I also received two books that I ordered before my ban - Sweep Volume 3 and Red Moon Rising

***I was successful in not downloading any free books to my Kindle.

Since I read 5 and 1/2 books this week, I should have finally reduced my TBR stack. 

However, here is my failure, I got a bunch of books for review this week - 12 to be exact. I got 6 books from NetGalley, 2 from Orbit books via Shelf Awareness, and 4 from authors. You can check out the details on my review books by looking at my IMM post here and at Inside of a Dog.

My goal for this week is to not visit NetGalley and to not accept any more books for review for the rest of February no matter how long I've got until the book has to be read and the review has to be posted.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My YA Mailbox (Feb. 13, 2011)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets. You will discover lots of great blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

I am still on a book buying ban but was weak and bought a book this week. Two others arrived that I bought in January.
I bought Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher for my Elementary Media Center. It is a cute story about the joy of reading and sharing books with friends. A teacher came in looking for this title. I decided we had to have it after I heard her description of the story and heard her enthusiasm for it. This was my Valentine gift to my students.

I also got Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore because I am a fan of werewolves and vampires and wanted to read the story of a boy who is both. I also thought that this would have more appeal for my male readers because of the male main character. I ordered this one before my book buying ban began.

And, a second book I ordered before my book buying ban began arrived. I am collecting the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan and just got volume 3. I am going to wait to read the series until I have collected all five volumes. Then I plan to have a Sweep marathon. One of my students received most of the books for Christmas and tells me that I will like them.

I also received quite a number for review this week. I got these from NetGalley.
Shine by Lauren Myracle will be the first book I read by her. It is a contemporary mystery about hate crimes in a Southern town. It will be published on May 1.

The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black by Eden Unger Bowditch intrigued me with its blurb. It is a story about science and friendship and will be published on March 15. It is labelled young adult but the age of the characters makes me think that this will appeal to middle grade students too.
Angel Burn by L. A. Weatherly is the start of a new trilogy and is a young adult paranormal. I will admit that I was seduced into choosing this book because of the lovely cover. It will be published on May 15.

No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe is a middle grade historical mystery. Here is the product description: 
When Griffin is sent to stay with his detective uncle at 221B Baker Street for the summer, he is certain that his uncle must be the great Sherlock Holmes! But Griffin is disappointed to discover that Holmes lives at 221A Baker Street and his uncle lives unit 221B. His uncle is a detective, just not a very good one. But when Griffin meets a woman with a case that Holmes has turned away for being too ridiculous, he and his uncle team up to help her. Along the way, Griffin shows his uncle just what it means to have true faith in God, even when the case challenges that.  The woman claims that her husband was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster, but monsters aren't real-or are they?

I also accepted some books for review after being contacted by their authors. 
Griffin Rising by Darby Karchut is her debut novel. She is a social studies teacher in Colorado. The book will be released on June 15. Here is the product description: 
The only creature who can harm an angel is another angel.
Armed with the power to control the ancient elements of Earth and Fire, sixteen year old Griffin is determined to complete his apprenticeship and rise to the rank of Terrae Angeli. 
But first, he must overcome a brutal past if he is to survive in this world. Will the perseverance of his mentor and the love of a mortal girl give Griffin the courage he needs to triumph over the monster still haunting him?
Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray. This book was recently published at CreateSpace. Here is the summary: 
Like most girls at Rosemound High School, seventeen-year-old Lily Crane is acutely aware of Ryder Kingscott. Hands down the cutest guy in school, Ryder is cool, mysterious, and utterly untouchable...especially for Lily. For when she touches someone, Lily instantly learns all about their lives. And while such a skill might seem nifty, in truth it is wrecking Lily's life. So she is shocked when Ryder asks her out - and even more shocked to discover he has a rival. Lucian Bell is the gorgeous new kid who can't take his eyes off of Lily. Being pursued by two hotties should make a girl happy, but Lily is skeptical. The boys act as if they've met before, hating each other with a passion that could only be rooted in a dark, dangerous past. A past full of terrible secrets. The kind of secrets that could get a girl killed.
Deed So by Katharine A. Russell is historical fiction about the 1960s and the great social changes that were happening then told from the viewpoint of a young, bright Southern girl. I will be doing my review on March 7 and having a guest post by Ms. Russell on March 8.

Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan is an upper middle grade fantasy about some children who get caught in the middle of a fairy war. This book was published on Oct. 26, 2010 and the sequel is coming this fall. 

Those were my additions to my TBR stack this week. What did you choose?

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Follower Love Giveaway Hop. I treasure each and every one of you and appreciate that you take the time to visit my blog and look at my posts.

My prize is a $25 shopping spree at The Book Depository. I don't want to choose for you. You can pick the book or books that you love or that you have been eager to read.

  • Must be a follower of Ms. Martin Teaches Media via GFC
  • Must live where The Book Depository ships
  • Must fill out the form
The winner will be chosen using on Feb. 14. The winner will then be notified by email and must respond within 72 hours or a new winner will be chosen. 

Good luck! You can check out all the blogs participating here.