Book Trailer Thursday (145)–The Maze Runner Official Movie Trailer

Book Trailer Thursday

My students are big fans of The Maze Runner trilogy. I abandoned this book when I tried listening to the audio because I had too many questions that weren’t being answered. The movie trailer, however, has my interest piqued again. I don’t think I want to try reading the series again, but I do want to see the movie when it releases on August 13th this summer. I’m sure once I show this trailer in class today my waiting list for this book will grow. :)

The Maze RunnerSummary (From Goodreads):

“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.” 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Book Trailer Thursday (135)–Pawn by Aimee Carter

Book Trailer Thursday

While on the search today’s book trailer I found this trailer for Aimee Carter’s newest release Pawn. I like the premise for dystopian novel and the trailer works for me, too. I also appreciate the gender neural book cover. If you’ve read it already I’d love to know your thoughts. Is it worth reading and buying for my classroom? I’m already leaning towards reading/buying it since Aimee is a Michigan author, but I’d still love your opinion! :)

PawnSummary (From Goodreads):

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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations for Divergent/The Hunger Games Fans

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This year more than any other year, my students have been voraciously reading dystopian stories. It only took a couple of readers and my fangirling over Allegiant to turn Divergent by Veronica Roth into a huge hit in my classroom and throughout the high school. I have a very long list of students waiting for all three books, so I’ve been busy recommending other titles that might help them get through the waiting period for Divergent. I also have quite a few students asking for books that are like The Hunger Games trilogy.

Since today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about recommendations, I decided to compile a list of books I’ve been recommending to my students who are looking for book like Divergent and The Hunger Games.

For the students who want an awesome heroine…

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Goodreads) & Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Goodreads)–Both heroines are tough and all-around awesome. I’ve gone so far as to say that Saba from Blood Red Road makes Katniss look like a wimp.

For the students who crave adventure & suspense…

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (Goodreads), Legend by Marie Lu (Goodreads), Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (Goodreads)–I haven’t recommended Legend as often this year as I normally would because I’m going to read it out loud when my seniors are reading 1984. Quite a few of my seniors have been racing through the Unwind series.

For the students who want to experience a futuristic world gone wrong…

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert (Goodreads), Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Goodreads), The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey (Goodreads)–Showing the trailers for The Fifth Wave made this an instant hit.

For the students who want some romance…

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Goodreads), Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Goodreads)–Some of my students have a tough time with the writing style in Shatter Me, but most of them can’t get enough of this series.

Book Trailer Thursday (126)–Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Book Trailer Thursday

I’m getting a little burnt out on dystopian/post apocalyptic novels, but this 2013 debut sounds fresh and exciting. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis releases on September 24th (along with a bunch of other can’t-wait-to-buy titles) so thankfully I don’t have to wait much longer to get my hands on a copy.

Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? The book trailer has kind of a historical fiction vibe going on, but I can also tell it’s futuristic. I wonder what my students will think!

P.S. As of right now, Goodreads isn’t marking this as the first in a series or trilogies. I LOVE that this might be a stand alone. Can we have more of those, please?!

Not a Drop to DrinkSummary (From Goodreads):

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

Book Trailer Thursday (125)–The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Book Trailer Thursday

I may not have been a big fan of James Dashner’s book The Maze Runner, but many of my students are big fans of that series. Yesterday Random House posted a link to MTV Geek because it’s featuring an interview with James Dashner and the book trailer for his upcoming book The Eye of Minds. I’m sure my students will want me to buy a copy when it releases on October 8th.

The Eye of MindsSummary (From Goodreads):

An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Mindsis the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

 

Stock Your Shelves: Class Library Must-Have Titles

The start of a new school year is just around the corner, although for many of you it’s already started.  Whenever this time of year approaches I’m always making a list of books I need to buy for my classroom library.  I figured I’m not the only one, so I decided to make a list of books that I want to buy and that I recommend for a classroom library.  If you’d like additional title recommendations feel free to leave a comment.

Summer/Fall Releases:

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (Goodreads)–This releases on August 20th August 27th (edited on 8/20, sorry for the mistake!), so I’ll have a review up shortly. Basically, this is all-around wonderful.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (Goodreads)–This releases on Sept. 24th. I’ll have a review up on the Nerdy Book Club blog before the release and that same review will post here on the release date.  Trish Doller writes magic, people.

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon (Goodreads)–Think The Fault in Our Stars from a funny guy’s point of view, yet totally standing apart from John Green’s hit. I know that might be confusing. This releases on Sept. 3rd.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (Goodreads)–It’s an awful lot like Looking for Alaska, but not as sad (or at least I didn’t think so). Still, it has a different kind of voice and will appeal to teens.  This releases on August 27th.

Books with Guy Appeal:

Winger by Andrew Smith (Goodreads)–I want to buy multiple copies of this.

Swim the Fly by Don Calame (Goodreads)–A lot of my boys really like this book and the companion books. It’s a really funny, quick read.

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads)–I’ve been raving about this book since before it was released in 2011.

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker (Goodreads)–I still haven’t read this, but I have multiple copies because my boys in class LOVE it.

Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman (Goodreads)–This is a fantastic and realistic book about a boy in juvie.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Goodreads)–This is mysterious, funny, and features the son of a serial killer trying to help the police find a serial killer. Yep, it’s a hit with all of my students.

Verse Novels:

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder (Goodreads)–I recommend buying all of her books. This and Chasing Brooklyn are two of the most popular books in my room.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones (Goodreads)–This title has been around for a while. Every year it becomes a new favorite for many of my students.

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams (Goodreads)–This is a great title to recommend to your Ellen Hopkins fans.

Ellen Hopkins–ALL of her books are huge hits with my students.

Oldies by Goodies:

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (Goodreads)–This released in 2007 and became popular again when its sequel Unwholly released last fall. The final book in the trilogy, UnSouled, releases on November 7th.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Goodreads)–Every time this releases with a new cover I buy it. It should be in every library.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (Goodreads)–This originally published in 1974 and I hook some pretty reluctant readers with it.

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (Goodreads)–This was my first Sara Zarr book and my favorite until I read How to Save a Life. Sara Zarr writes wonderfully realistic stories.

Forever by Judy Blume (Goodreads)–For many of my girls, this is the book that turns them into readers.

Sci-Fi/Dystopian:

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman (Goodreads)–Time travel, ghosts, and so much more. This is science fiction at its best.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Goodreads)–I recommend this every year, multiple times a year. It’s amazing.

Legend by Marie Lu (Goodreads)–I love that this has two points of view and appeals to guys and girls. I’m planning on reading it to my seniors while we read 1984.

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Goodreads)–Gamers will love this.

“Quiet” YA:

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (Goodreads)–This wonderful book may not have received a lot of hype from its publishers, but so many of its readers love it. Plus it pairs perfectly with Of Mice and Men.

Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia (Goodreads)–The main character is pregnant, but it’s more than a book about a pregnant teenager.

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard (Goodreads)–This book will resonate with so many teenage girls. It’s fantastic.

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson (Goodreads)–All it took was one of my girls to read this and rave about it for it to become an instant hit in my classroom.

So. Much. Hype!:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Goodreads): I’ll admit it, I didn’t want to like this. But I really did and my students adore it. My students who didn’t like Looking for Alaska at all loved this.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Goodreads): I’ve replaced this book multiple times because it’s gone “missing” so often.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Goodreads)–One of my boys in class read this and loved it; one of my girls who reads “edgy” books read this and loved it. It’s an all-around winner.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Goodreads)–I haven’t finished reading this yet, but it went around my room a couple times before the school year ended. The boys who read it said it’s awesome.

Book Trailer Thursday (109)–Icons by Margaret Stohl

I’m a big fan of the Beautiful Creatures series, so I was thrilled when I found out that Margaret Stohl was branching out and writing her own book.  One of the things I love best about the Beautiful Creatures series is that I never felt like two authors wrote it.  I’m really curious to find out if the writing in Icons is similar to the writing in Beautiful Creatures or if it will be completely different.  The premise is really intriguing and I love the gender neutral cover.  Also, Icons released this week on May 7th!

IconsSummary (From Goodreads):

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts — in order to save the future.

Book Trailer Thursday (108)–The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I’ve been reading good reviews for Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave and these mini trailers make me want to read it even more.  I kind of like that publishers are putting together multiple book trailers to advertise a single book.  Do  you think there will be a 4th book trailer made before the May 7th book release?

The 5th WaveSummary (From Goodreads):

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Audiobook Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy audiobookTitle: Prodigy

Author: Marie Lu

Narrators: Steven Kaplan & Mariel Stern

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Release Date: January 29th, 2013

Interest: Series

Source: Audiobook purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

Audiobook Review: I really enjoyed listening to Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern narrate Prodigy by Marie Lu.  I’ve decided that I like male audiobook narrators more than female narrators, and I’m not entirely sure why, but it holds true with Steven Kaplan narrating Day’s parts.  He does a nice job differentiating between the characters, even more so than Mariel Stern did.  I liked Mariel Stern for the part of June because she has almost a lilt to her voice that sounds right for June.  The audiobook is a little over ten hours long, but it felt like it went faster than that.  I didn’t listen to Legend, so I’m not sure how I’ll read the third book in this trilogy.  I liked the audio enough that I’d be happy reading it that way.

Book Review: Prodigy picks up right where Legend left off.  I had a hard time getting into it when I was reading it in the traditional sense, which is why I switched to the audiobook.  I don’t know why I was having a hard time reading it because once I started the audio I was really into the story.

We learn a lot more about June and Day and the world is developed even more.  I liked getting more information about Anden, the Republic, and the Patriots.  I’m actually kind of torn about Anden because I didn’t want to like him, but I really do.  He and June spend more time together in Prodigy and their interactions add a great level of intensity to the story.  June and Day are more a part than together in Prodigy, but it made the scenes where they are together even more enjoyable to read.  There’s lots of angst between them in this book.

I didn’t love Prodigy which makes me feel like the only person in the book world who didn’t love it.  I can’t even put my finger on what it was missing.  A few parts kind of dragged, and it just wasn’t as good as Legend.  The end of book is what really saved it for me.  There’s lots of action and excitement towards the end.  The actual ending, however, just about broke my heart.  I have NO idea what to expect in the last book.  I’m hoping that something will miraculously change so the story ends the way I want it to, but right now, I’m not so sure.  What an emotional ending.

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel MeTitle: Unravel Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: February 5th, 2013

Interest: Series

Source: ARC gifted from friend

 

 

Summary (Goodreads):

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

Unravel Me is exhilarating and a nice follow up to Shatter Me, but it didn’t quite meet my expectations.  Since I’m torn about my feelings for this sequel, I’m breaking it down into what worked and what didn’t work for me.

What Worked for Me:

  • Tahereh Mafi once again stunned me with her beautiful, one of a kind, lyrical writing.  Her writing style is so original, I could be handed a page a page from one of her books without knowing the title or author and I’d be able to identify it.  There aren’t as many strike outs in Unravel Me, but the sections that are tell us so much more since there are so much fewer.  I think it would be an excellent way to teach the idea of revision during a writing unit.
  • Here are a couple of my favorite passages from the ARC **Note–Since these are from the ARC, they are subject to change**
    • “Synonyms know each other like old colleagues, like a set of friends who’ve seen the world together.  They swap stories, reminisce about their origins and forget that though they are similar, they are entirely different, and though they share a certain set of attributes, one can never be the other.  Because a quiet night is not the same as a silent one, a firm man is not the same as a steady one, and a bright light is not the same as a brilliant one because the way they wedge themselves into a sentence changes everything.”
    • “I wonder at my incapacity for easy banter, smooth conversation, empty words to fill awkward moments.  I don’t have a closet filled with umms and ellipses ready to insert at the beginnings and ends of sentences.  I don’t know how to be a verb, an adverb, any kind of modifier.  I’m a noun through and through.”

    Isn’t her writing fantastic!  Not only do these two sections create clear images, they’re sections that I’d love to use in my classroom when discussing writing and grammar.  Tahereh Mafi has such a wonderful way with words.

  • Many of the characters in Unravel Me have been developed so much more; I really like the depth.  We learn so much more about Adam’s ability and past (there are some Ohmygosh! moments).  Kenji and Castle are developed in such a way that I kept wavering between liking them and questioning their motives.

What Didn’t Work for Me:

  • I had a really difficult time liking Juliette in Unravel Me.  I understand that she’s still adjusting to being around and trusting people, but I lost my patience with her being so doubtful all the time.  It felt like her only care/focus in this book was making a love interest decision and coming to grips with her power.  There’s was too much drama between her and Adam and Warner.  I love drama, don’t get me wrong, but scene after scene of it annoyed me.
  • Unravel Me is 465 pages long and not that much really happened, at least in regards to situations outside of Juliette/Adam/Warner.  It’s exciting to learn more about characters’ powers and abilities and backgrounds, but I wanted to see more happen with the war.  So much time and focus was dedicated to Juliette being insecure and battling her emotions.  I just needed something more, something with more substance.
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