June 27, 2010

In My Mailbox #1

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Check it out and see what other bloggers recieved in their mailboxes this week!

In my mailbox this week:

The Shifter by Janice Hardy

Nya, a fifteen year old war orphan, becomes a pawn in a bigger political game when her uncanny and dangerous ability to draw out peoples pain and give it to someone else turns out to be the only weapon she has to save her sister.

Check back for a review soon.

The Heart and the Bottle (by one of my favourites) Oliver Jeffers.
I won this through a contest by Unbound Podcasts from Harper Collins.

"Once there was a girl, who was full of wonderment at how the world worked. She shared all her dreams and excitement with her father,who always had the answer to every question. That is until one day when his chair was empty, not to be filled again-how would the girl every find meaning in her life again?"

A moving and timeless story with simple and touching iluustrations. I will absolutely cherish this story. Perfect for any age-young to old, and a great reminder that although we risk loss when we love someone, it's worth the risk.

What was in your mailbox?

June 24, 2010


Shmoop is a Beta site filled with study guides and teacher resources on a wide variety of topics. They have a put together a list of 20 recommended reads for students (tweens & teens) to check out this summer. It's a great list, with a combination of YA and Adult books put together by their members.

The Top 20 Books for Students to Read in Summer 2010*
In order of most votes

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

Unwind, by Neal Shusterman

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Reader’s Edition, by Michael Pollan

Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay

Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

* As voted on by teachers & librarians

I've read 8 of the ones listed and decided to read the other 12 over the summer.


June 16, 2010

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

"In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient"
I saw this book on the shelf at a Chapters and I just had to have it.

Sometimes the people who make the best friends can come unexpectedly in the strangest of packages. Great for those who loved Diary of a Wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney. Comes with directions on how to make your very own origami Yoda.

June 15, 2010

I've neglected my blogging lately, but I think I've recovered from the 48 Hour Book Challenge now.
Preparation for the library's summer reading club is well underway, and I've been spending the majority of the month in the schools presenting this years theme which is Destination Jungle. I love visiting the schools and having the opportunity to visit and meet the children who may not visit us on a regular basis or even at all. By the end of June I'll have spoken to about 1700 students.
We have lots of fabulous thing planned: storytimes, games, crafts a survivor themed program, a drum circle and much more! it will be a busy summer and I just hope I'll be ready and still sane by the time it begins...

June 6, 2010

48 HBC Finish Line

And I've crossed the finish line.....

I read & blogged and had a really terrific weekend.
A big thank you to MotherReader for organizing the event. It was amazing to devote so much time to reading....

Books read:
The Line by Teri Hall
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
Sold by Patricia McCormick
and 1/2 of The Red Pyramid (the Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan


6 books read and another one started
a total of 1739 pages
23.5 hours
it's a little short of my 25 hour goal, but considering this was my first year in the challenge, I feel really happy with the result.
I'm looking forward to participating next year!!

48 HBC update 4

Sold by Patrica McCormick

Sold into prostitution, Lakshmi lives a nightmare and gradually forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision to risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life.
Very very powerful novel in a free verse format that I don't think I'll ever forget. It's terrifying to think, that the story though in a fiction format, is an everyday fact and truth for thousands of girls who are misled and sold to brothel's. Lakshmi's bravery, and hope was inspiring.

48 HBC Update 3

The last day of the challenge and I still have the opportunity to read lots more:)
I've read and blogged an additional 6.5 hours which brings us to 17.5 hours in total. I've read 5 books and a total of 1423 pages. I'm hoping to hit the 25 hr mark......

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

Shelby’s summer plans go totally awry when her horrible stepmother sends her off to “brat camp” as punishment for one too many broken curfews. Camp is full of spoiled rich kids, obnoxious counselors wanting Shelby to talk about her feelings, and a totally inhumane “no cell phones” policy. Things start looking up, though, when Shelby meets fellow camper (and son of a rock star) Austin Bridges III. But soon she realizes there’s more to Austin than crush material—his family has a dark secret, and he wants Shelby’s help guarding it. Shelby knows that bad boys get her into trouble…but who is she to turn her back on a guy in need, especially such a good-looking one?

A really quick read, it was enjoyable, but a bit of a "surface" book. There wasn't a lot of character development, and I had a challenging time connecting to the characters. They didn't always seem real to me, and though Shelby had moments of being vulnerable, she often came off as spoiled and selfish like the rest of the characters. It was a plot driven story line and moved along very quickly. It was OK.

Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

If you could only have one superpower what would it be? The ability to fly? Invisibility? Have you thought about the possible consequences?

When Jacob’s foster father whispers, “You are indestructible” seconds before dying in a car crash that should’ve killed them both, Jacob never imagines he could possess a real superpower. To test it Jacob and his friends start indulging comic book-like fantasies. Later, they commit to use this amazing power of indestructibility to do good in the world and save others from death. But how do they decide who to save? And what happens when they blur the lines of life and death, right and wrong, and good and evil?

The author does a wonderful job of pulling you in from the first few lines. I didn't put this book down for a second, and couldn't seem to turn the pages fast enough. A lot of thought provoking questions in this book.....and I like how the author leaves you to answer those questions on your own. Jacob is left to discover that there is a natural order to things and that there might be disastrous results when you mess with fate.

June 5, 2010

48 HBC Update 2

This day just seemed to fly by! My total reading time so far is.....9.5 hours, blogging/network time 1.5 hours which is a total of 11 hours!!

I finished Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The topic was a little unsettling....

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

I liked the way it was written....the form of a letter written by Gemma to Ty. The way the events unfolded as she wrote was almost perfection. I wanted to rescue her from the sheer hopelessness of her situation. Her rebellion and failed attempts at escape felt frustrating. As Ty's story unfolded and we learned more about him, I wonder if the author intended for us to feel sorry for him, for his desperation. (I didn't-it was impossible to see him as a good guy) I was worried initially when I picked the book that it might be filled with descriptions of abuse etc. I was relieved to find that was not the case and that Ty truly believed that Gemma would grow to love him. A compelling look into the mind of a captive who is dependent on her captor for survival.

48 HBC Update and Reviews

Aside from sleeping last night and a few errands this morning, I've been reading, reading reading. I'm at about 5 hours in total now, which is a bit behind what I was hoping for at this point, but I still have a ways to go.....so hopefully I can make up some time.

I've read two books so far....

The first was
The Line by Teri Hall. I've had this on my to-read list for a long time...

"An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, doom
ing the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.

Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right??

I really liked the premise of the book, I've always been interested in the "unseen" enemy and how others perceptions can cloud our own. I was however, very disappointed with the book. I think it had potential, but it was very predictable and I found the writing stagnant and lacking fluidity.


Hex Hall (#1) by Rachel Hawkins

"Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters."

I really enjoyed Hex Hall. It had my attention from the first paragraph. The story ran like a movie in my imagination (I love it when that happens). Sophie (the main character) is very likable and I connected to her and cared about what was going to happen to her right away. A page turner, unpredictable and a cliff hanger mean that I'll be waiting anxiously for the next one.

June 4, 2010

And the reading begins...

I'm very excited about participating in the 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend!!! I'm beginning now, which is 10:15pm and will finish Sunday at 10:15pm. I have my stack of reads ready, and have cleared the weekend schedule (for the most part). To find out about the 48 Hour Book Challenge and how you can particpate check out MotherReader's Blog.

First book :
The Line by Teri Hall