WoW: A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Today I'm Waiting On:

Release Date: May 24, 2016

In this magical companion to the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, it's summertime and everyone is heading off to camp. For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don't know is that they've been gathered for a reason--one that the camp's director wants to keep hidden at all costs.

Meanwhile, a Talent jar that has been dropped to the bottom of the lake has sprung a leak, and strange things have begun to happen. Dozens of seemingly empty jars have been washing up on the shoreline, Talents have been swapped, and memories have been ripped from one camper's head and placed into another. And no one knows why. 

With a camp full of kids, a lake full of magic, and a grown-up full of a secrets, A Clatter of Jars is story of summer, family, and the lengths we go to win back the people we love. 


Why?
This book just simply sounds magical and fun.  What else could you ask for! 


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Release Date Blitz: Summerlost by Ally Condi - A Letter to the Reader +GIVEAWAY

Very excited today to take part in the Release Day Blitz

 for 

Summerlost by Ally Condi


hosted by Word Spelunking and Penguin Teen



I think this book sounds fantastic!!!! I love middle grade books, and ones that help kids this age deal with what might be happening in their lives are even more wonderful.  This is a book that I think many kids would relate to because they've gone through something similar or someone they know is.  It can give them a level of understanding they might not find someplace else.  
I hope to read the book soon!


About the Book

It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.


Praise for the Book

A Spring 2016 Kids' Indie Next List Top 10 Pick! 

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016 

 “Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review 

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice 

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist 

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

To introduce you to the book Ally has written a letter to her readers:


Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,
Ally Condie

Read an Excerpt




This blitz is being hosted by:

Word Spelunking: 

Penguin Kids: 
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Stacking the Shelves: Books From March

Stacking the Shelves was started by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.

I've decided to do Stacking the Shelves only once a month.  So this is the round up of what arrived at my house this month.

I got lots for review.  Some I asked for - some that just arrived!

My Seventh Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin
Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown
Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins (so excited for this one!!!!! Watch for the blog tour!)


 Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Bought

This is the only book I bought! 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Great month!!!



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SnapShot Reading: Bone Gap


Right now I'm reading:



First Thought: Odd but interesting

First Line: The people of Bone Gap called Finny a lot of things, but none of them was his name. 


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WoW: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.


Today I'm Waiting On:


Release Date: April 26, 2016

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

Why?
I read the first book not thinking I would really enjoy it that much.  I figured I would like it but that's it.  The truth is - I LOVED it.  
I've been waiting for the rest to come out, so I can just sit down and read them all at once! 

Have you read this series??? Thoughts???
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Book Review: Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee +GIVEAWAY


Title: Maybe a Fox
Authors: Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

A tale about two sisters, a fox cub, and what happens when one of the sisters disappears forever.This

Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens…and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.

At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.

Writing in alternate voices—one Jules’s, the other the fox’s—Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee tell the tale of one small family’s moment of heartbreak.



Here's the trailer for the book!



This book has really stuck with me.  I finished it a few days ago, and I'm still thinking about it.  That surprises me because it's really a small book.  But trust me, it packed a punch.  In those pages Jules and Senna (the fox) wiggled their way into my heart.  Yes I said the fox wiggled her way into my heart! Don't judge me! I really really loved her character.  There was so much heart written into her story that my heart took her in.  And right there with her was Jules.  I felt so much for her.  Just was going through so much at such a young age.  I just wanted to hug her.  What I also liked about her, though, was that if I did hug her she'd get riled up.  I loved that she was strong and determined.  

You should know before your read the story that it has magical realism in it.  I wasn't sure how that would play out, but it was so perfectly stitched into the story that it seem natural and real and believable.  (ok sorry I feel like I'm gushing a bit) And the reason for it being in the story just made it even more perfect.  I don't want to say anything more in fear of giving it away.

Lastly the secondary characters. This book has a lot of sadness.  Jules's has a friend Sam.  His brother is home from the war after losing a good friend while there.  He's struggling a lot with dealing with the loss of his friend and just the aftermath of being in battle.  I'm sure it's PTSD, but it's never called that.  He was doing what he could to cope, but you knew it would take a long while for him to recover.  His story meshes nicely with the story of Jules.  

In the end:  A story with sadness, loss and how it affects each of us differently - yet within it is hope and love.  

Be sure to scroll down on the blog to see a guest post from both authors AND a giveaway!!!




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Guest Posts from Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee for Maybe a Fox +GIVEAWAY

Today I'm very excited to welcome Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee!!
They are here today to talk their new book Maybe a Fox.

My review for the book will be up later today! (spoiler I really liked it!)




About the book
A tale about two sisters, a fox cub, and what happens when one of the sisters disappears forever.

Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens…and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.

At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.

Writing in alternate voices—one Jules’s, the other the fox’s—Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee tell the tale of one small family’s moment of heartbreak.
 


About the Authors
Kathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her picture books include Oh My Baby, Little One, illustrated by Jane Dyer, and the Bubba and Beau series, illustrated by Arthur Howard. Her novels for older readers include two National Book Award finalists: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp and The Underneath, which was also a Newbery Honor Book. In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn  more, visit Kathi’s website at kathiappelt.com.




Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, as well as Firefly HollowLittle BoySo Many DaysBye-Bye CribAlwaysA Very Brave Witch, and the Bink and Gollie books. Her other children’s books include All Rivers Flow to the Sea,Countdown to Kindergarten, and Snap. Alison is also the author of the Pulitzer Prize–nominated adult novel Shadowbaby, which was also a Today show book club selection. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and you can visit her at AlisonMcGhee.com.



Today they each have a guest post about themselves at the age of 11 because the main characters in Maybe a Fox are about this age.  I wanted to know how they felt they compared. 


First we'll hear from Kathi:



I definitely see my eleven year-old self in Sylvie and Jules. When I was their age, my parents divorced, and so I was never with both of them at the same time again. When I was with my father, I missed my mother. When I was with my mother, I missed my father. So, while my loss of a parent wasn’t as extreme as the death of Sylvie and Jules’s mother, it was nevertheless a loss.

There were three of us, with me being the oldest. Like Sylvie and Jules, my sisters and I had a lot of similarities. We were close in age, separated by months rather than years. We could wear each other’s clothes. We shared friends, and we had a cousin named Mike, who could easily have played the role of Sam for us. We adored him. Still do actually. But mostly, we leaned on each other heavily during those back-and-forth years of shared custody and constant moving between parents. At the time, the only ones experiencing our life was us. Even Mike couldn’t share our experience of loss.

When any group, regardless of familial connections, is thrown together in a shared situation, our vocabularies actually change to reflect that. My sisters and I still have our “language of sisters.” Likewise, Sylvie and Jules created their own language that shaped and enriched their world as they knew it.

As we wrote this book, one of the first things that Alison and I recognized was that tight bond between Sylvie and Jules and the way that their mother’s death sealed them together in such a complete and utterly profound way. So when Sylvie was lost, it felt like Jules lost a part of herself, a part that she had to find before she could move on.

I adore Jules and her true dedication to Sylvie; but if I had to say which sister I find myself in more fully, it would be Sylvie. She was the oldest, like me, and I immediately understood her keen desire to keep Jules and their father safe. Of course, from the vantage point of an adult, I know that that was beyond her powers as a twelve year-old, but I also know the way that love compels us to do whatever it takes to prevent loss, even it means losing ourselves. Sylvie made a mistake; but she made it in the name of love. There’s no greater language than that.

Kathi



And now from Alison:



Me at Eleven

Kathi and I are both the eldest of three girls (I also have a younger brother) born very close in age. Like her, I was born wanting to take care of my sisters, my family, everyone I loved. I remember lying awake at night worrying about their safety and how to make them happy. So, in that way, we are fundamentally alike both to each other and to Sylvie.

Unlike Kathi, I grew up in the rural foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. It’s a region of tremendous natural beauty, brutal winters and hardscrabble working lives. My family and I lived on 130 acres of woods and creeks and fields, and I spent a lot of time roaming around our land. Inside me, from birth, there has always been a sense of how fleeting time and life is, and how much I want to hold onto the people and moments I love. I used to walk down the road to watch the sun rise over a field near our house. There was a tree in the middle of that field, a huge and ancient oak, and one day I decided to memorize it, the exact way it stood there, sentry to the cows and the grass and the hills that rose behind it.

I still have that image in my head, and for the rest of my eleventh and twelfth years I created other memory-photos of places I loved. My treehouse, which I built in an enormous maple by the side of the road. My “pine tree house,” which is what I called a tiny clearing among evergreens. The hay forts that my sisters and I would make in the barn. All these places were sanctuaries to me, places where I could be alone and think and read and draw and wonder where was my true place in this world.

In terms of inner emotional life, I am much more like Sylvie than Jules. In terms of external life, I am a woodland creature like Jules. Kathi and I are both alike, I think, in that we turn to the natural world to make sense of the human one—or, if not make sense, put it in some kind of perspective.



So very interesting to hear from the two of them how their lives influenced, reflected or mirrored the story! 
Thank you for sharing.


Giveaway
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Review: Baseball History for Kids with 19 Activities by Richard Panchyk

Title: Baseball History for Kids
Author: Richard Panchyk

Baseball History for Kids is a fascinating and unique journey through the modern history of America’s favorite pastime. Kids will discover how the game has changed over the years, reading about topics such as the Dead Ball Era, World War II, segregation and integration, Bonus Babies, the Reserve Clause and Free Agency, and the Designated Hitter. Along the way, they’ll enjoy firsthand quotes and stories from more than 175 former major leaguers who were eyewitnesses to and participants in baseball’s most incredible feats and biggest moments.  
         
Readers will also get an intimate look at the game’s greatest legends, from Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, and Ted Williams to Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays, including insightful and amusing anecdotes from former teammates and opponents. They will gain additional insight into the game through 19 interesting activities. Children will learn how to calculate a player’s batting average and ERA, throw a palmball, design a logo for their favorite team, cook a bowl of Cracker Jack, and more. The book also includes a time line and list of books, websites, and places to visit.




If you have a young baseball fan (or even not so young) this would be a great book for them.  My husband got me into baseball from our first date.  We are now season ticket holders for the MN Twins!  He knows a ton about the game and has taught me a lot, but there is still so much I don't get.  Instead of having to bug him I found answers in this book!  Yes, yes it covers the history of baseball, but it has fantastic sidebars that explain things like calculating ERA and batting average.  I really liked the section on how to keep score by hand.  Don't laugh at me but I didn't know each position was numbered! I love that I can turn to this book and relearn those things.  And I really think young kids would feel the same.

Ok beyond that the history is well done.  It's broken down into several sections from 1901 thru today.  Each section has smaller stories about things that happened during that time.  There were stories about the first measured home run (with a tape measure!) and stealing signs and messing up players.  You could pick a bit here and then to read and eventually move your way through the whole book.  

About the activities:  Some are ones I'm not sure a kid would do on his or her own - like writing a poem about baseball.  But others might be fun.  I want to try the one about keeping score for the next game I go to.  I think it would help me understand the game even better.  I also liked the activity about coming up with nicknames.  I can see some kids really having fun with that!

Lastly the pictures - the book has many pictures of baseball thru history.  They were fun to look at.  I'm guessing that when my 8 year old gets to finally have this book he'll spend a lot of time paging through it looking at the pictures and reading what grabs his attention.

Final thought:  If you have a young baseball fan it would be a great addition to their library. 




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Rebel Belle Series by Rachel Hawkins GIVEAWAY

I have really enjoyed the fun ride that is the Rebel series by Rachel Hawkins! The first book hooked me right away.  I mean seriously a  debutante that ends up in a word completely foreign to her - to watch her go through that while trying to maintain all she's known before or how she's been before. It was fantastic!

I'm in the process of reading Miss Mayhem and loving it just as much (review soon!)

So when Penguin Young Readers asked if I wanted to help promote the last book, host Rachel Hawkins with a guest post and share a giveaway I jumped at the chance!

Stay tuned for a guest post from Rachel and my reviews!


About the books

(Don't you love the covers?!?! I do!!)


Rebel Bell
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.



Miss Mayhem
Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever.



Lady Renegade
Just as Harper Price started coming to terms with her role as David Stark's battle-ready Paladin – and girlfriend – her world goes crazy all over again. Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenaged girls into Paladins . . . and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs to be protected from. Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who came her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town, which means her life is on the line yet again.


Rachel Hawkins is the author of Rebel Belle and the New York Times bestselling series Hex Hall. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English for three years before becoming a full-time writer.

Would you like the series?
Are you from the US?
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WoW: Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.


Today I'm Waiting On:

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Julia wakes up in the hospital, disoriented, and beset by a slippery morphing of reality into something else. She repeatedly sees a boy who she feels like she knows—but that’s impossible. Determined to get back to school and back to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which she’s starring, she lies to her sister, her mom, and her doctors—she’s fine, she says. She’s fine, she’s fine, she’s fine. But then on her first day back, she takes a seat in class . . . next to the mysterious boy. Queasy with anxiety (“I can’t see you,” she hisses at him, “because you’re not really here“), Julia realizes this boy is, in fact, real. And he has no idea what she’s talking about. Caught between this fascinating, empathetic new kid and her childhood friend turned recent love interest, Julia begins to notice unnerving similarities between her circumstances and those of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Secret kisses, tingling banter, and clandestine meet-ups give way to darker, muddier incidents. As things escalate to a frightening pitch, how much of what’s happening is real, how much is in Julia’s head, and how much does it matter as she’s hurtling toward a fateful end over which she seems to have no control?
Why?
I've loved Jacqueline West's middle grade books, so when I saw she had something out for young adult I was very interested.  
Then when I read the summary and saw references to Shakespeare I was even more interested!!! 

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Let's Chat: Why I Don't Read

I though that once a month - the first day of each month - I would post a discussion post just to get people posting and chatting a bit more.  

This month I thought I'd talk about why I don't read.  Yes, yes I know - I'm a book blogger so I should be reading all the time.  The truth is - I LOVE to read, but I don't always read and there are many reasons why that is.  

Here's just a few:

  • I have three kids and they take up a bit of my time and attention!
  • I work full time, so many days I get home, and I'm just too tired to read.
  • I'm in school as well.  I'm getting my school media specialist license, and I won't be done with that until 2017 some time.  Now cool enough a few of my classes require that I read YA, MG or early chapter books so that helps BUT many don't.  That means I have other homework to do, so that cuts into my reading time.
  • I like to hang out with my husband and do things together.  He completely knows that I love to read and would let me read all the time, but I happen to like going and doing things with him as well.
  • I don't feel like it.  Yup I said it.  There are times were I really just don't feel like reading! I'm tired.  My brain is gone.  I just want to stare at the TV.  All those things.  Reading can be very emotionally draining for me because I really get inside a book, so sometimes I just don't have the energy to do that! 
  • I'm writing.  I don't write as much as I'd like to either, but when I do that takes time away from my reading.
  • I've just fnished an AMAZING book and don't have it in me to start another.  You know - the whole book hangover thing.  It's hard to pick up a new book when you just loved the book you finished.
  • My TBR pile is huge and overwhelming at times, so I avoid it :)
That's all I have for now.  The simple truth is - reading is not my end all - be all.  It's something I love and enjoy BUT I don't have other parts of me.  I'm wanting to run more, so that will cut into it as well (well unless I listen to audio books!).  And the other truth - it doesn't bother me that I don't read 24/7 because I know that usually what I'm doing instead is important.  My daughter is almost 17, so she won't be home too much longer.  I'd rather chat with her than read! Would I like to read more? OF COURSE! But why beat myself up over something that can't change.  Life is good.  I still get time to read good books.  I still get time to blog about them or talk to others about them, so it's good.  It's really good.

What about you?  What are some of the reasons you don't read????


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