Sunday, September 28, 2014

Frightfall Read-a-thon Signup

The FrightFall Read-a-thon is hosted by Michelle @ The True Book Addict and Castle Macabre and you can sign up at this link. I enjoy Michelle's read-a-thons and they are stress-free. The only requirement for this one is that one of the books be a "scary" book and for wimps like me, Michelle lets us choose a mystery, gothic, or thriller to fit that category. I know I will not be reading a whole lot for this one, but maybe I can read at least 250 pages. I have also been in a very fickle reading mood lately, so I am including a huge list and hopefully that will entice me to read.

My reading list:
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (reread)
The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki (my "horror" book)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross
Emma by Jane Austen

Thanks to Michelle for hosting!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Come Sit a Spell Challenge

Come Sit a Spell is hosted by Gina at The Book Dragon's Lair and you can sign up at this link. I have so many books I need to finish before the year is out to complete the way too many challenges I signed up for. Since this one goes from September 22 to December 20, this will be my last big effort to finish all the books!

Here is my reading list:
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Cinder by Marissa Meyer  (I still haven't finished it, but have to finish by mid Oct)
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Emma by Jane Austen
The Mark of Athena, The House of Hades, and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Earthquake by Aprilynne Pike
Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos
Rags and Bones edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt
Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy 
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Champion by Marie Lu
Emma, Mr. Knightly, and Chili-Slaw Dogs by Mary Jane Hathaway

Hopefully I can finish at least 12 books from this list. Thanks again to Gina for hosting!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This is one of the books we are using in my Intro to Children's Literature class. It is a heartbreaking and heartwarming book about a boy dealing with bullying based on his facial deformity.

Auggie Pullman has always been homeschooled, but now he is in the fifth grade and his mother feels going to school would be the best option for him. He is to attend Beecher Prep, a private school for gifted children, where his parents feel he will not face discrimination based on his facial deformity. Auggie has had 27 surgeries on his face and while making it easier on his breathing, eating, and hearing, his physical appearance has not changed much. Auggie is a fun-loving, humorous person, who refuses to let his physical disabilities define him, however he faces bullying from a spoiled rich child named Julian and is even let down by children who are supposed to be his friends. The story is told from many different perspectives, including Auggie's sister, her boyfriend, and some of Auggie's school friends. Despite all the difficulties of his life, Auggie stays true to who he really is and it is his true nature that finally wins over the entire school and teaches his friends a valuable lesson.

The multiple perspectives of this book help to enrich our picture of Auggie and show us what a good person he is. There is quite a bit of sad stories in this book, which make it a bit overwhelming at times, but it does show that everyone faces his or her own battles and that affects how they deal with others. I love the way one of Auggie's teachers, Mr. Browne has his list of precepts and has the children discuss these each month and how his summer assignment is to mail in precepts they create. I think they are working on a book with precepts based on Wonder and I think that would be a great classroom tool.

Favorite Character: Auggie. He is a beautiful person and shows us that obstacles can be overcome if we believe in ourselves.

Favorite Quote: "Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life, because we all overcometh the world.- Auggie."

I really enjoyed this book and it is a great one for early middle school students to read. 5 cups of cocoa!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

This is the first book in The Magisterium series and I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

Callum Hunt has always known the magical world is evil, ever since his dad told him that magic killed his mother. Call believes that he was in surgery at the hospital when his mother died in a battle with evil magic, when really he was at the cave where the innocent were slaughtered by the evil mage. Call has a permanent limb, which no surgery is able to fix, but that is the only scar he carries. When the trials come around, Callum knows he must fail the test and he does so spectacularly. Much to his surprise and his father's astonishment, the best master, Master Rufus chooses Call as one of his three apprentices. Call along with Aaron and Tamara, who were the two top students, are taken to The Magisterium, an underground school for those with magic. As Call sees more of the school and bounds with his classmates, he begins to doubt his father's word that the school and all mages are evil. It is only when he encounters creatures made wild and evil by chaos magic and learns the truth about his past, that he begins to realize that his father was not just protecting him from magic, but protecting others from what Call truly is.

I finished the bulk of Iron Trial in one day and fell in love with the world Clare and Black created. They both have the ability to create a realistic magical world that exists inside of the modern mundane world and make it totally believable. The book has received some negative attention as being a knockoff of Harry Potter and there are some similarities, but this story is completely different from HP. This is not a clear cut story of good versus evil, but is a complex idea of what truly makes a person evil and what makes a person unique. A Maker, someone with control over chaos magic, is not necessarily evil, but can become so. Also the heroes in the story have a dark side, they are not completely good. Call's story is very complex and I won't talk about it too much, but the twist about him shows that he may not be the hero in the end. I love the complex friendship between Call and Aaron and how the two interact with Tamara.

Favorite Character: Aaron. He remains cheerful and a good friend through every trial. Even when Call is gloomy and moody, Aaron never gives up on him.

Favorite Quote: "The counterweight of chaos is the soul."

I loved this start to the series and can't wait to read the next installment. I also need to go back and finish the other two series by Clare I started and read Black's YA series. Definitely 5 cups of cocoa and one of my favorite reads so far this year!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

This was my first Jack Gantos read and it is one of the assigned reads for the class I am teaching.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (Joey Pigza, #1)

Joey lived with his grandmother from the time he was in Kindergarten to the summer before fourth grade. Joey's father ran off and his mother ran after him, so Joey was left with his mentally ill grandmother. When Joey's mother comes back, his grandmother goes to live with his father. Unfortunately his mother often drinks to escape her problems. Joey has ADHD and is constantly in trouble at school and finally because of his antics he is put in the special education classroom. Joey is on medication for ADHD, but his medicine does not often work. When Joey swallows his house key twice at school and also injures a fellow classmate, he is sent to a school for children who need extra care and attention. If Joey wants to get his life back on track, he will have to learn to control his hyperactivity and deal with his past.

Wow there are so many problems that Joey faces and it at times seems a bit overwhelming to read about them all. However many children deal with issues similar to Joey's and this is a great read for special education teachers and those who teach children who have behavioral difficulties. This could also work as a classroom read.

Gantos has a very entertaining style to his writing and you can't help but chuckle at some of Joey's antics and responses. Joey is a likeable character and you want him to succeed. 3.5 cups of cocoa.

Friday, September 5, 2014

COYER Summer Vacation Wrapup


Well, I set my goal at 10 books and I read 12 books and 2 novellas! Only two of them, Wanderlove and If I Should Die, were on my original list, but I am happy with what I read. I also finished Thistle and Thyme, The Snow Bride, A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, Wonder, Tangle of Knots, Sleeping Beauty by Jenni James, The Staff of Serapis, Men of Athens, and The Iron Trial. I still have several reviews to write, but I did get 7 reviews finished. I enjoyed all the Tag You're It questions on Facebook and participate most of the weeks and I also participated in a few of the read-a-thons and averaged about a book a read-a-thon! Thanks to Berls and Michelle for hosting!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Delacorte Books

Bria Sandoval is trying to forget her past, like how her ex boyfriend stole her heart and her ability to do art. She sees an advertisement for Global Vagabonds, a travel group, and decides to go to Central America with her two best friends, but then they back out on her two. No one expects her to go on her own, so that is exactly what she does. She wants to reinvent herself and maybe find her art again, however she has booked a tour group that is for middle aged and older adults. Lucky for her, she happens to meet Starling and her brother Rowan and they decide to help her learn to travel the world the real way, by backpacking. Rowan has his own way of viewing the world, through wanderlove, the idea that you can travel to escape the past. The two try to treat her as a little sister, because Rowan, who used to be wild, is trying to reform his image and Starling is trying to keep him on the straight and narrow. When Starling gets a job offer, she leaves Rowan and Bria to finish the trip together, and the two learn that sometimes you have to embrace your past in order to enjoy your future.

Loved this one! The places she describes sound so beautiful and exotic and it really makes you want to go to Central America and to travel carefree. I would never do this, but Hubbard makes it tempting. I loved the clean romance between the two characters and how their relationship is not really physical, but very intimate. I loved watching the two grow together and mend the broken parts of each other.

Favorite Character: Bria. She both changes and stays the same. I love how she looks at the world with an artist eye. She learns how to get past her past and become strong again.

Favorite Quote: "Because it's the most selfish thing I could ever do-to allow myself to fall for someone worthwhile."

I still think about this book and it has been over a month since I finished. I want to climb on top of the step pyramids like Bria and explore the world with abandon. This was the perfect summer read and one of my favorites this year. 5 cups of cocoa!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beat the Heat Readathon Wrapup


I had so much fun reading and doing the mini-challenges. I will post my results for each week and then a final tally.

Week 1
Books read: Novella-The Staff of Seraphis-finished, The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read: 348 pages

Week 2
Books read: The Son of Neptune-finished, Men of Athens-finished, Iron Trial
Pages read: 445 pages

Week 3
Books read: Iron Trial-finished, Midnight Frost
Pages read: 341 pages

Books finished: 3
Pages read: 1134

Wow I did much better than I thought I would! I loved the Iron Trial and hope to have that review up soon. Thanks again to Jessi and Reanna for hosting!

R.I.P IX Signup

lavinia portraitRIP9275

I am signing up again this year for RIP hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings and you can sign up at this link. This challenge runs from September 1 to October 31. The beautiful button for this challenge was designed by Abigail Larson and you can view her site and other artwork at this link.
This will be my second time participating in Readers Imbibing Peril and I think I will try again for Peril the First.

This means I will read at least 4 books that fit the moody, gothic, mysterious atmosphere of the read-a-thon. They can be mysteries, supernatural, suspense, thriller, or dark fantasy. My choices so far, which may change are as follows:
1. Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep
2. The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross
3. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
4. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
On some of these I will know better once I start them if they are the right fit, but they all have a bit of the element needed to be a RIP book.

If I can find a short story collection I would also like to do Peril of the Short Story again. I loved reading the Edgar Allan Poe short stories last year. I may also do Peril of the Screen, but I will decide that a bit later.

Thank you again to Carl for hosting and to Abigail for the amazing artwork!