Mega-Haul of Books at Goodwill!!!

So I went to Goodwill to look for hardcover books to use as decorations at my book-themed wedding coming up in May.  
Lo and behold one location had a ton of brand new looking hardcover YA books (and some MG)! 
Someone must have cleared their shelves.  So I bought and bought.  I got 28 books for just under $62!  Can't wait to share them with my students.

Here's a pic of the haul.

7

Review: The Farm by Emily McKay

Title: The Farm
Author: Emily McKay

Copy Obtained: Purchases


Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...



I'm really now sure what I think of this one.  I liked it, but there was so much going on it that sometimes it seemed a bit much.  It's told from three different perspectives - Lily, Mel and Carter. It was neat to hear what each was thinking, but it did add to everything that was happening.  To go with that you had all the people on The Farm to keep track of, the ticks and how they were formed, and the real vampires.  Plus there is what is happening with Lily according to Carter and it just seemed like a lot.  

Did I like it?  Yes I did.  It was interesting, and I did keep reading.  Mostly because I had a theory about what was happening, and I wanted to find out if my theory was right.  Plus it did have a lot of action, so that held my interest.  I love zombie books, and this one had a zombie feel to it.  The ticks act kind've like zombie in their actions, so there is that constant tension of needing to get away from them as they attack.  That was definitely well done.  I found myself holding my breath several times during those scenes.  

As for the characters - I liked them especially Mel.  Mel is autistic (Asbergers I think), and the chapters told from her point of view were very interesting.  And I just liked how she was because she was the most honest person in the book.  That alone made me like her a lot because everyone else has some secret they are keeping.  Lily was the typical fighter.  She was strong and I liked that.  She knew that trust put her and Mel at risk, so she was very cautious.  I got that, but sometimes I wanted her to just have some faith! I don't blame her for not though!  The relationship between Mel and Lily was great.  I haven't seen a twin relationship like it, so it was a nice twist in the book.

Final Thought: Good, but not sure if I'll pick up the sequel.
Best stick-with-you image: The stakes outside the Farm
Best for readers: Who are ok with vampires showing up in their dystopia story
Best for ages:  
14+

For the Guys? I think guys could maybe get into this one.  Some of the chapters are told from Carter's perspective, so that's nice. 




1

Book Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt


Title: Going Vintage
Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Copy Obtained: Netgalley


When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
           1. Run for pep club secretary
           2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
           3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
           4. Find a steady
           5. Do something dangerous


But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.



First you need to know that the thought of giving up my cell phone, laptop or notebook makes me start to shake! I am firmly attached to my electronics.  Sadly, so is my 5 year old! So when Mallory decides to give it all up, I felt my blood pressure going up.  There's no way I could do it I thought! Yes, yes I am that sad....

Ok now that I have that out - about the book.  I really enjoyed it.  It was a quick fun read.  I haven't read a realistic book in a bit, so it was a nice change of pace for me.  I normally stay clear of realistic fiction because I need to escape reality! And because so many times I find them unrealistic and that's all I can focus on.  Thankfully I didn't find that with Mallory and this book.

The story starts with Mallory breaking up with her boyfriend.  Does she go a bit overboard?  I didn't think so.  I think for a 16 year old girl she handled it very realistically.  I'm sitting in a room with 25 8th grade girls, and I can see them doing exactly what Mallory did!  Now it did take a twist when she gets so upset she swears off technology and declares it a huge part of the problem and decides to head back to 1962 - an easier time.  Now that was a bit overboard but not crazy so.  I could see some girls doing that.  And trust me there have been times I think my life would be easier if I could go "off the grid" more.  And I liked how it forced her to look at what was really important and focus on the here and now. 

Basically what this book boils down to is a girl figuring out how to trust herself and be ok with who she is.  I like that.  More girls need to do that.  And thankfully the ending stuck with that.  I can't tell you what happens (of course), but I was very pleased with the ending.  The choices Mallory makes and the lessons she learns gave me a soft spot for her.  And from not being so sure about how strong she is at the beginning of the book - I knew, by the end, she'd be just fine.

Ok I do have one issue.  I was often confused by the description of Oliver - a boy that helps her. He was suppose to be trendy but yet quirky and very much himself I believe.  But at times I had a hard time really visualizing him with the descriptions given.  Maybe it's because I'm old and not in high school.  This wasn't a big deal, but it did bug me a little.  

Over-all it was a good book with likable characters, and interesting concept and a nice little message about trusting yourself and your own instincts.  I would definitely hand it to my daughter to read.

Final Thought: Actually made me think about shutting down the electronics for awhile!
Best stick-with-you image
Best for readers: Who like to see a girl take control on her own life
Best for ages:  14+


For the Guys? Nope not at all.  Definately one for the girls!



7

Snapshot Monday


This post is inspired by the meme It's Monday. What are You Reading hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  The only real difference is I take a pic of my current read and post it - nothing more! 
Trying to keep it short and simple.  
That's my motto these days! 

Snapshot


First line:
Trevor Crow runs under low clouds on a rain-slicked road past houses already strung and lit for Christmas.

5

Cover Crush: One by Leigh Ann Kopans


I love book covers. Love love love them! I've been known to drag my sister around Barnes and Noble and show her all the covers I like. I'll hunt down certain students in the morning because I know they'll love a cover as much as me. I really think I develop a crush on certain covers!

Today I'm crushing on:

I don't know why but I really love this cover.  The colors or something.  All I know is that when I first saw it was was captured by it, and I had to find out what the book was about.  It was just intriguing.  Maybe it's the wing-like things on her.  I just know I LOVE it!

*****************************************

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.


4

Books With Bad Luck

Today is the 13th.  No not Friday the 13th, but still the 13th.  I hate the number 13 - yes I guess I have triskaidekaphobia.  
So for the 13th I'd thought I'd feature a book that is filled with bad luck.  The main character just can't catch a break.  
Maybe I'll make this a month feature :)

Our bad luck character is......

Limpy from Toad Rage


I read this book several years ago and loved it!  Poor Limpy is a Cane Toad in Australia, and for most of the book he really can't catch a break.  Things just keep happening to him over and over as he tries to get to the Olympics in an effort to convince people Cane Toads are not bad.
I've read it aloud to my 7th graders, and they loved it.  It's definitely juvenile humor.


Limpy's family reckons humans don't hate cane toads, but Limpy knows otherwise. He's spotted the signs: the cross looks, the unkind comments, the way they squash cane toads with their cars. Limpy is desperate to save his species from ending up as pancakes. Somehow he must make humans see how fabulous cane toads really are. Risking everything, he sets off on a wart-tinglingly dangerous and daring journey to . . . the Olympics? 
This is the epic story of a slightly squashed young cane toad's quest for the truth.
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Snapshot Monday


This post is inspired by the meme It's Monday. What are You Reading hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  The only real difference is I take a pic of my current read and post it - nothing more! 
Trying to keep it short and simple.  
That's my motto these days! 



I'm afraid that I have to admit I'm still reading the same book from last Monday.  (hanging my head)  Last week was really busy.  We ended the trimester at our school, so I had grading etc.  So here's a replay of what I'm reading :)


Snapshot



Feel free to join in with your snapshot! 
The more the merrier :)

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Cover Crush: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown


I love book covers. Love love love them! I've been known to drag my sister around Barnes and Noble and show her all the covers I like. I'll hunt down certain students in the morning because I know they'll love a cover as much as me. I really think I develop a crush on certain covers!

Today I'm crushing on:

Wow! Just wow.  How could it not capture my attention?!!?  What a cover.  It's pretty sparse but what is there just reaches out and grabs me.  When I saw this I had to look into it further!
Well done!

COLDTOWN WAS DANGEROUS, TANA KNEW. A GLAMOROUS CAGE, A PRISON FOR THE DAMNED AND ANYONE WHO WANTED TO PARTY WITH THEM.

Tana lived in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
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Book Review: Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Don't miss my interview with the author from earlier today - HERE.  There's a giveaway with it!

Title: Orleans
Author: Sherri L. Smith
Copy Obtained: From publicist


First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.


After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.







I absolutely adored this book.  Ok maybe adore isn't the right word considering what happens in the story, but honestly it really fits how I felt about it.  


I will admit that at first I wasn't sure how I was going to do with the book.  The dialect Fen speaks with took a few pages for me to get use to BUT once I did I hardly noticed it.  The dialect was an important part of her character.  It in compassed so much - the years she's lived in the Delta, her survival ability, how she's different from Daniel and the Delta as a whole how it's now so separate from the rest of the United States.  The dialect was Fen. 

The concept of this book was fantastic.  I've read so much dystopia but in most of it there is no United States anymore - at least not in any fashion that you can really recognize.  It was very cool to have this set in a world where most of the US is just as it was (well mostly) with a large chunk pushed off separate.  It was a fresh twist that I liked.  I really wanted to see how a world like this would be.  And it really led me to think about could we ever do this to a part of our country - just cut it off from the rest of us.  I also like that it was centered around blood types because it was something we all can relate to because we all have one.  Now I don't know my blood type, so I couldn't think about what group I'd fall into, but I kept thinking about how it would affect all of us.  And I kept thinking about how it would affect my children and I if we couldn't be together!

The story had a lot of action that kept the tension high.  Fen is never allowed to relax because that puts herself at risk.  Because of how the action is kept strong I felt that.  I was always on the edge helping me see a little how Fen felt.  There were times I just wanted it to stop, but of course it couldn't but it never stops in the Delta.  

Now Fen is not the only character.  There is also Daniel.  The story is partially told from his point of view and that was great.  I loved how I could see how someone growing up in the Delta thought and reacted AND see how someone that really has no clue about what it's like there reactions and thinks.  It just made the story completely whole.  And if you read the interview with Sherri Smith HERE you'd see that this multiple point of view was something she struggled with and wanted to do right.  I think she hit it perfectly.  Daniel as a character was great.  He was so naive and I wanted to shake him, but he needed to be for the story.  I loved how he grew in his understanding and strength.  I really liked him at the end.

The ending of Orleans was perfect.  Would I want to know more? Sure.  But how it wrapped up was enough to satisfy me completely. 

Final Thought: Wonderful book that puts a fresh twist on dystopia
Best stick-with-you image: How Fen gets her scars - wow
Best for readers who: Like strong characters who keep fighting no matter what
Best for ages: 12+

For the Guys? For sure! I think they would like the action but also the concept of the world Fen lives in.  Yes yes yes one of the main characters is a girl but I think she is a girl everyone can relate to.




4

Author Interview: Sherri L. Smith Author of Orleans +GIVEAWAY

Today I have the please of welcoming Sherri L. Smith to The O.W.L. 
She is the author of Orleans just now released.



First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.


After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.


A bit about Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has written several award-winning novels for young adults. Flygirl (2010) won the California Book Award, was a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and has received fourteen State Award nominations. She lives near Los Angeles. 

For more information, visit  her website at http://www.sherrilsmith.com/index.htm or her blog, The Middle Hundred, at http://middlehundred.blogspot.com/.


Welcome Sherri!


First the easy questions 

What Point of View -1st or 3rd: Both
Boy or Girl main character (or both!): Girl
Genre: Speculative
Middle Grade or Young Adult: YA
More boy or girl book (stereotypically): Both!

The Serious Questions

First I have to say that I LOVED the book! It was so different from anything else that I’ve read lately. Fen was such a great character – so strong and determined and smart.
(Thank you! It really means a lot!)



For Orleans what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?
I am most proud of Fen. She’s such a spitfire and I admire that. Anyone who can survive that sort of crucible and still find their humanity is pretty incredible.
Orleans is set in the future where disease has taken over the area of New Orleans – please tell us about what research, if any, did you do to decide how this would look or how the disease spread?

The disease already existed in my head. I have a doctor friend I go to for help justifying what I’ve created. In this instance, she introduced me to a fantastic doctor of pediatric hematology and oncology. We had a rather disgusting lunch where I told him what I wanted based on spread and virility of the disease, and he guided me toward real-world parallels. It was cool, like your science teacher letting you make up the answers and then providing the questions. I left with a list of symptoms—like jaundiced skin and pica, or the compulsion to eat dirt for minerals—and ideas on how to treat (or not treat) them. From there, I reached out to one of my oldest friends, who is a biology teacher. Along with her research scientist sister, they helped me figure out how to destroy the virus. Aren’t friends just amazing?


Tell about your writing process. How long did it take you to write Orleans from idea to finish? Please tell about revision if you can!This book seemed to take FOREVER. It was actually about three years. I had the idea back in 2005 after Katrina, but I was working on something else. I wrote up a paragraph of ideas and dialogue in 2007, did research in 2008, but didn’t actually write the first draft until early 2009.

The biggest changes through the revision process came in points of view. It went from one (just Fen), to five, to three—a lot of time was spent with three points of view—and then down to two. I reached a point of real despair in the middle of it all. I started to feel like I was losing my way, then I lost my editor to the vagaries of corporate downsizing. For a while there, I felt like I never wanted to write again. But I got a new editor who helped me remember what I wanted to say. And a friend read my book’s tarot cards. Can you believe it? She confirmed what I knew—that the third POV needed to go. Then it was like hacking back a forest of weeds to find the garden I’d planted. But it was all there, waiting. I’m so glad it did!

When you were in middle school kind of student were you? Did you write then?
That’s a weird question because I never went to middle school. I grew up in Washington, D.C., where elementary goes to 6th grade, but I moved away before starting 7th grade in Junior High. I went to a Junior High for one year, then moved to Chicago where elementary school goes to 8th grade. And then I went straight into high school. So, if we focus on 7th grade, I would say I was quiet, I read a lot, and didn’t have a lot of friends because I was the new kid. Oh, and I had a bully who made fun of my awesome first-day-of-school clothes. But when she finally threw down the gauntlet (ie. shoved a chair at me in the cafeteria), I was so busy reading a book that I didn’t notice. I shoved it out of my way and walked past her. Apparently, that terrified her. She backed away and never bothered me again. Books are awesome. And yes, I was writing, even then. I wrote my first science fiction short story in 8th grade (elementary school again!) and won a contest! That was cool. 

And because it’s the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? OR WHOOO do you like to read or really enjoyed in HS or middle school? My favorite authors back then were Susan Cooper (THE DARK IS RISING), Lloyd Alexander (CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN) and Michael Moorcock (ELRIC, ETERNAL CHAMPION Series). Oooh, and the DRAGONLANCE series by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. I was a huge fantasy/SF reader. But I’ve never played D&D in my life. Go figure.

The Fun Questions! (based on what middle school students do!) 

Do you chew gum? Yes or No If yes favorite kind? Yes, mint 

Do you text? Yes 
Was school lunch just as yucky then as it is now?! Yes. It gets better in high school, but not by much.




Thank you so much Sherri for joining us and sharing your writing process.  I love hearing it!
And be sure to read my review of Orleans coming up later today.



Make sure to head over to GreenBeanTeenQueen tomorrow to hear more!


Now for the GIVEAWAY!
One lucky winner will receive a Delta Relief Kit, complete with a signed ARC, a blood type ID dog tag, a glow stick, and the ever-crucial Snickers bar—everything you need to navigate ORLEANS, at least from the comfort of your armchair! (U.S. only)

Fill out the Rafflecopter


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Team OWL Review: Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Today I have a Team OWL review by a great 5th grader I have!



Destiny, Rewritten
Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice


Des·tin·y: |destinÄ“/
(noun) The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.

Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then a seeming tragedy strikes: just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she accidentally loses the special copy of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.


          Emily Elizabeth Davis is named by her mom after Emily Dickinson. She loses a book that contains her fathers name which her mother will not tell her. Her father had left her and her mother even before Emily had been born. As her and her friends look for the book of famous Emily Dickinson poems in every bookstore in town, she has begun to understand what her destiny means to her life. She can change her destiny or leave it the way her mom meant her destiny to be.

This book tells a heartwarming story about destiny and I believe that it can touch lives. Why I believe it can touch lives is because it tells a story that could be true. It tells that your destiny is a thing that you can control in your life and also change.

The plot of the story is very cool and also complex. I believe that this story could not have a better story behind it. You can relate to the story and compare events in your life. Kids with divorced parents that some have not met their mom or dad will probably be able to relate very well because Emily has been raised by her mother and does not know who her father is. But she still believes that someday she will meet him face to face.

The setting in the story is very realistic because Kathryn Fitzmaurice tells the story in the world of today not in the future or the past. You can relate to your life in the book. That is why the setting in the book fits it so well in many ways!

What age range I think it would be best for is 9-12 because it would be a little too young for high schoolers and to old for 8 and younger. Why I think that it is too old for 8 and younger is because it talks about some older stuff but definitely not upper YA. For high Schoolers it may bore them and not be very interesting.

I think that the gender that this book fits is girls because it is related around a girly topic and boys could read it but I recommend girls.


If you would like to learn more about Destiny, Rewitten please visit www.kathrynfitzmaurice.com  to learn more.  


4

Snapshot Monday


This post is inspired by the meme It's Monday. What are You Reading hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  The only real difference is I take a pic of my current read and post it - nothing more! 
Trying to keep it short and simple.  
That's my motto these days! 

Snapshot

Today I'm on my Nook with an ARC


First Line: Things I say to distract Jeremy so I can take a break from making out.....
5

Extra Books Giveaway

GRRR! The Rafflecopter was messed up! Fixed now for entering!
Hey all I have a couple of ARCs that I don't need.  One is an extra copy I somehow got and the other was sent without my asking.  I'd love to pass them on to some lucky person.  

They are:

White Lines by Jennifer Banash

A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City.


Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream: she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. 



Under Shifting Glass by Nicky Singer

Jess has a secret: a mysterious glass flask she finds in an heirloom desk's hidden compartment. Its surface swirls with iridescent colors, like something's inside, something almost like a song, something with a soul. No one else sees anything under the shifting glass, but Jess is convinced there must be some kind of magic in there. And when her twin brothers are born critically ill, Jess begins to believe that the force within the flask just might hold the key to saving her brothers-and her family. In this emotionally rich novel, award-winning author Nicky Singer crafts a world of possibility that is steeped in hope and the power of love.

You can enter for one or for both
Sorry US only.
Must be at least 13

Fill out the Rafflecopters below (there is one for each ARC)

Good luck and thanks for checking out my blog

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