Wrap Up: My First Dewey Read-a-Thon

Well, considering that I got a late start and decided to join the read-a-thon late, I think I did pretty well.  I think the next one takes place in October, so I’m going to keep an eye on that so I can be more prepared and hopefully read more books!  I had lofty goals for myself yesterday and didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to.  But I’m okay with that because I still spent the day reading 🙂

What I Read:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler (Goodreads)–I had already read about half of this one before I started, but I did finish it which was one of my goals.  I needed to do that because on Wednesday my book club is Skyping with Sarah!  The girls are really excited and one of them volunteered to make and bring cupcakes for us to munch on after school during the Skype chat.  The book is adorable and now my favorite by Sarah Ockler.  I’ll work on a full review pretty soon.
  • The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan (Goodreads)–I’ve seen a couple of my guys in class read this one and the original books as well.  I haven’t read any of them, so I figured this was a good start.  It’s a cool graphic novel.  I really liked the images and how colors were used to convey the mood.  Plus, with all the action, I can why it’s so popular in my classroom.
  • Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads)–Have you read Stupid Fast yet?  If not, I seriously hope you do soon.  Nothing Special is the companion to Stupid Fast, and while it’s not exactly a direct sequel, I recommend reading Stupid Fast first.  I loved getting to know Felton better, but the story really focuses on us learning more about Andrew (Felton’s little brother).  I adored this book and can’t wait to write my full review.
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking (audiobook) (Goodreads)–I didn’t finish Switched yet, but I made some serious project yesterday.  I think I have only 4 hours left which I know will be done probably by Tuesday since I spend most of my listening before work while I’m getting ready and in the car to and from work.  I decided on Switched because I bought the paperback for my classroom library and it’s growing in popularity.  It’s pretty good so far and I enjoy the narrator 🙂

I learned a few things about myself as a reader during the read-a-thon.  I get distracted entirely too easily.  I want to peruse online, see what’s happening on Twitter, check my blog stats, etc.  It’s difficult for me to step away from the computer/iPhone.  I also have a hard time sitting still for a long period of time and not cleaning or sorting or something along those lines.  I’ll look up from my book and notice that my coffee table is dusty, or think about how I need to clean the bathroom, or about how much laundry I need to get done.  I don’t know why I’m like this, but I always have been this way.  It’s one of the reasons I’m really thankful that I discovered audiobooks because I can listen to one while I do all of this other stuff when I can’t sit still to read anymore.  Is anyone else like that?  I mean, if I’m reading a book that’s REALLY engrossing, I can ignore all of the distractions.  So for the next read-a-thon, I’m piling up books I know will be engrossing, more graphic novels, and probably some verse novels because I love them and they’re fast reads.

If you participated in the read-a-thon yesterday, how did it go?

Dewey’s April Read-a-Thon

I found out about the 24 hour read-a-thon late (of course), but I think I’m going to try it!  Right now as I write this blog post, over an hour late considering this started at 8am EST, I’m listening to an audiobook.  I’m happy I’ve discovered audiobooks because this will help me feel more accomplished while I write this post, put together today’s crock pot dinner, and clean our bathroom during one of the breaks.

Anyway, I decided that since I’m late to the party and have a large stack of books I need to finish, I’m going to work on finishing those for the read-a-thon.  I also brought home a graphic novel to read (they recommend starting with a short book), a short ARC, and some alternates.  Here’s my official list:

Books w/100 or more pages left:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
  • The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Starters by Lissa Price (on my Kindle)
  • Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer

Fresh books I want to read:

  • The Lightning Thief graphic novel
  • The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert (ARC)
  • Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach (ARC)
  • Or maybe others b/c it’s Saturday and I’m fickle sometimes 🙂

Audiobook for during cooking, cleaning, breaks (Cooking & cleaning I want to accomplish during breaks):

  • Switched by Amanda Hocking

I have no idea if I’ll accomplish this or even stay up for the full 24 hours (yeah I probably won’t).  But I like the challenge and I need to beef up my “Read in 2012” list.  Is anyone else participating?!

Spring Break #BookaDay Goals

I didn’t know if spring break would ever arrive, but it’s finally here!  Keith and I talked about going to Chicago for a few days, but because of the weather being a tad sketchy lately we decided to stay home.  I love taking trips with my husband, but I also love being at home with him while relaxing and reading.  Spring break officially starts tomorrow, but I’ve been organizing and starting my #bookaday goals this weekend.  I will admit, however, that I was pretty darn lazy yesterday (I slept for most of the day) and didn’t get much reading done.  The laziness has continued today, but I’m determined to finish a book!  I think I have my list pretty much narrowed down, even if it’s a lofty list.

A majority of the reading I’m doing this week is work-related.  When I say work-related, though, I’m referring to Y.A. titles I need to read for work, which is quite happy-making!  My freshmen are in the middle of reading Romeo & Juliet, but this year we’re including a group of Y.A. titles to read with To Kill a Mockingbird that fit with some of the themes and issues (prejudice, maturity, loss of innocence, etc.).  Most of them I’ve already read, but there are some titles that others in my department have read and I have not, or titles my friends on Twitter recommended when we were deciding on this list that I still need to read.

I’m also working on narrowing down ideas and titles for my Y.A. Lit II class that I’m teaching next year.  My goal for the class is that we’ll still read three novels as a class, but this time the novels will be genre-focused and the students will read an additional title that fits that genre.  I’ll be pretty flexible when it comes to which title they pick as their additional title, but I’d also like to have some new titles that the school can purchase extra copies of for my students.  I know for sure that we’re reading dystopian and fantasy, but I haven’t decided which genre to read for the third genre.  Historical fiction really isn’t very popular, but paranormal fantasy is, so I was thinking about  a title that mixes both of them.  Then I could allow students to choose either another like that or either a paranormal fantasy or a historical fiction title as their additional choice.  I was also thinking about verse novels even though I don’t consider those a genre.  I know sci-fi is a good choice, but I already have a hard enough time reading those that I don’t know if I really want to teach one.  I feel like a bad teacher saying that. :/

Anyway, the real reason behind this post, the books!

Timeless by Alexandra Monir (Goodreads)–The publicist sent this to me, so I’m reading it now and enjoying it so far.  I think there might be a giveaway in the near future as well!

Cover BittersweetBittersweet by Sarah Ockler (Goodreads)–My girls in book club chose this as our next title, and we’re meeting to discuss this after school on the Tuesday we get back from break.  I need to read it ASAP!  I started it a while ago and it’s pretty good, as I expected, so I’m looking forward to finishing it.

Book Cover Out of the PocketOut of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg (Goodreads)–Homosexuality isn’t an issue in To Kill a Mockingbird, but the prejudice involved compares with the prejudice in TKAM.  We also wanted to include some LGBT novels because it relates to some of our students and it’s often ignored or misunderstood.  There’s a good chance there will be upset parents, but we’re preparing ourselves for that.

Book Cover Marcelo in the Real WorldMarcelo in the Real World by Franciso X. Stork (Goodreads)–This is another title we’re using with our TKAM unit.  I think the students should read this book because we have some many autistic students in our building, and the summary makes me think of Boo.  I could be wrong, and that might be a stretch, but it still has many of the issues that TKAM does.

Book Cover StartersStarters by Lissa Price (Goodreads)–I’m thinking about this for my dystopian unit in Y.A. II.  I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m excited to try it.  I hope it’s as good as everyone says it is!

Book Cover The Girl of Fire and ThornsThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Goodreads)–I have this at school right now, so I bought a copy for my Kindle.  Ever since I challenged myself to read more fantasy, I’ve found that I really enjoy it.  I’ve read mostly good reviews for this debut.  One of my freshmen read it and asked about the second book as soon as she returned it because she enjoyed it so much.  I hope it’s a winner because I’m considering this for the Y.A. II class.  I’m trying to choose a novel that’s newer for this genre study because I have so many avid fantasy readers, and it’s difficult to find a book that none of them have read.  Or at least most of them haven’t read.

This is a pretty ambitious list considering I still have a number of plans this week which involve travel, so I don’t know if I’ll actually read all of these in a day each, but I’m going to try!  I challenged my students to try #bookaday, even if it meant reading 20 pages, one book, or five books.  I hope they update me in the comments of this post, or at least have some exciting stories to tell me when we return from break.  Are any of you on spring break and setting up a reading challenge?  Have you already had spring break?  I know not all of my readers get a spring break, so maybe you’ve read some of these books.  I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Book Trailer Thursday (51)–The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Last week I posted about my literary Achilles’ heel and how I want to read more fantasy and sci-fi.  I decided to start my challenge with The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, and I LOVE it.  I’m currently reading the second book, The Exiled Queen, and plan on reading the third book, The Gray Wolf Throne, soon after I finish book two.  Since I’m working on reading all of the books currently available to read, I’m planning on putting a review of sorts together when I finish book three.  In the mean time, I found this trailer which explains what the series is about, in particular book one.  I’m keeping this post short because I want to get back to The Exiled Queen (I soooo love this series!  Did I mention that?)

Summary (From Goodreads): This novel marks the first giant step in a momentous fantasy journey orchestrated by Cinda Williams Chima, the author of the popular Warrior Heir series. Its two chief protagonists are ex-thief Han Alister, an impoverished commoner, and Raisa ana’Marianna, the headstrong Princess Heir of the Fells. The Demon King brings them together, creating part of a volatile mix of action, magic, and danger. Empathetic characters; wizardly attacks.


Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone celebrating the holidays has a wonderful time!  I’ve had a busy morning wrapping presents.  And man am I horrible at wrapping! Maybe it’s too much math (measurements and such)?  I’m sure it’s not, but any excuse will do 🙂  I’ll be spending lots of time with my family and my husband’s family this weekend, so I’ll have new blog posts ready after Christmas.

This holiday weekend I’m giving books as gifts and trying to catch up on some reading.  I’m about to finish Need by Carrie Jones (student recommended), and thinking about starting Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield.  Are you reading anything good right now?  Giving any books as gifts?  I’d love to hear about it!

I hope all of you have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Book Trailer Thursday (45)–Fracture by Megan Miranda

I’ve been in a weird reading slump this week.  There have been a couple books that I started and was enjoying, but for some reason I lost interest (for now at least).  On a whim I picked up my copy of Fracture by Megan Miranda because I read the first couple pages at NCTE, but I didn’t have time to keep reading it.  I started reading it again today during SSR, and well, SSR lasted a little longer than normal 😉  There’s a ton of mystery woven into the story which has me completely engrossed.

If you’re interested in reading Fracture, it’s set to release on January 17th, 2012 from Walker & Company (Bloomsbury).

Summary (From Goodreads):

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine–despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she’s reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy’s motives aren’t quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.


Book Trailer Thursday (43)–Legend and Darker Still

I <3 book trailers and so do my students, so I’m posting two today.  I’m featuring the trailers for Legend by Marie Lu and Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber.  I received an ARC of Legend and a finished copy of Darker Still at NCTE.  I will admit that the trailer for Legend could be better considering how good the book is so far.  I haven’t read Darker Still yet, but the women at the Sourcebooks booth made it sound really good (hence the reason I asked for a copy 🙂 ).

Legend by Marie Lu (Summary from Goodreads): What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.



Darker Still by by Leanna Renee Hieber (Summary from Goodreads): The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart’s latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing…

Jonathan Denbury’s soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.


The List of Ten

Michelle at Galleysmith recently posted about coming up with a list of 10 books that she’s going to stick with until she finishes them and then create a new list of ten.  She’s decided to do this so she can weed out her TBR pile between now and the end of the year; she’s also hoping to get some backlist titles read.  I love her idea and have decided to follow suit.  You can read Michelle’s post here.

I was at NCTE/ALAN from Thursday night through Monday afternoon, which meant I didn’t get much reading done, but I did get TONS of books.  I was already feeling overwhelmed by the amount of books I need to read, so reading Michelle’s post was just what I needed to calm my “How will I possibly decide what to read next” nerves.  I’m not always good at sticking to reading lists, but I spent quite a bit of time last night going through my pile(s) to make my first list.  Plus, you can always check up on me to make sure I stick with it! 🙂  **Note–If I’m presented with an opportunity to read a book for a tour or something similar, I’ll allow myself to tweak the list.**

Here we go…

1. Pie by Sarah Weeks (MG title)
2. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, Illustrated by Maira Kalman (ARC–Book club book)
3. Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles (Backlist)
4. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (MG title/Verse)
5. Wintertown by Stephen Emond (ARC)
6. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Graphic Novel)
7. DJ Rising by Love Maia (ARC)
8. Legend by Marie Lu (ARC)
9. We Were Here by Matt de la Pena (Backlist)
10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (New release)

** Changes**
2. My students in book club didn’t care for Why We Broke Up so I’m going to switch that for now to Audition by Stacia Ward Kehoe b/c that’s our next book club choice.
7. I’ve started DJ Rising and I’m not excited about it yet. I’ll give it more of a chance before possibly switching it.  If it doesn’t work I’m going to switch it to Need by Carrie Jones, which is a student recommended backlist title.

Normally I’d probably make this a list of 8 or something, but since I have a graphic novel and a verse novel included, I think I can tackle all 10.  I really hope I like all of these.  I have a couple books in mind just in case one or two of these books don’t work for me.

Book Trailer Thursday (36)

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, then you probably know that there have been TONS of awesome book trailer releases.  I’m excited to plan a few weeks of Book Trailer Thursday posts.  Enjoy! 🙂

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Summary from Goodreads): The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  It’s a way for bloggers to share what books they’ve received for review, borrowed from the library, or bought from the store.

Purchased (all but Anya’s Ghost):

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (Goodreads): I just started this one and I’m liking it so far. I’ve read a lot of positive, glowing reviews.  So far it’s very lyrical, as many of the reviews have stated, and it feels almost like a fairy tale in atmosphere.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Goodreads): I’ve heard good things about this book, too.  I’m not always sure about zombie books, but I know my boys in class like them and I loved Bad Taste in Boys.  I skimmed through the book and found out that the chapters are short, so maybe it will be a fast read.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Goodreads): A friend of mine on Twitter sent me this one (Thanks John! @MrSchuReads).  My best friend read it and enjoyed it, plus I’ve heard good things from other teachers I’m friends with.  Any time I hear good things about a graphic novel, I have to look into it.

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz (Goodreads): I found this one while perusing what was left in the YA section at Borders.  It’s written in verse which is the primary reason for buying it.  I read a few pages yesterday and already know that I’ll love it.  It’s looking like a very poignant tale of love and loss.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Goodreads): Most of the reviews I’ve read for this one talk about it being fantastic, creepy, funny, etc.  I have a book club with a group of alumni students and this is our most recent pick.  I’ll have to start reading it soon!

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