Friday, December 28, 2012

100 in 2012!

It's official.  After years of setting the same goal I finally read 100 books in a calendar year.  Though I won't list them all here I will post soon about my favorite 10 of 2012.  I am just so excited!  Happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let's Pin It!

It seems like everywhere I look people are using Pinterest.  What started as a simple electronic bulletin board to pin a girl's favorite shoes, pictures and quotes has evolved into a tool for librarians, teachers and authors alike.  Did you know that there are tons of authors who Pin?  Check out YA Highways blog on YA Authors on Pinterest.   And of course, you can always follow my boards.  My newest favorite is Book Covers I Love to Look At.  Which ones should I add?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What to Read Wednesday

Thanks to Pure Imagination for their Top 10 Tuesday idea this week:
Top 10 Books for Boys!
I challenge all the guys at JMS to try at least one of these books.  Please respond in the comments for your chance to win a copy of your favorite (from this list!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What I'm Reading Next

I admit it. I have a problem.  I struggle with trying to decide what book to read next.  I'm the kind of person who will walk into the library and check out piles of books.  Stacks and stacks of interesting topics, stories and titles.  And of course I know full well that I'll only be able to read a small fraction before they will all be due back to the shelves.  But sometimes I get guidance.  I follow too many book blogs to name and I'm always reading professional journals and scanning through the different reviews.  And there's book awards.  I'm crazy excited about books that are on lists so of course award lists make me positively giddy. I'm also somewhat guilty that I am seriously motivated to read books if I'm somehow captivated by the cover art.  That's right.  I judge a book by its cover.  But last week I was delighted to get pages and pages of recommendations from Michael Cart, book reviewer for Booklist.  Here are the titles that I am taking home with me today:


Now I can't wait to get home and start reading!  What books are on your list?

If you want some recommendations from other teens give YALSA's new list a go.
teens' top ten

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grab a Kleenex and Bring on the Waterworks.

What do you remember most about a good book?  The characters?  The plot?  Or just a lingering feeling?  One of the things that leaves a lasting impression on me and guarantees I will remember a book fondly is if it moved me to tears.  That's right.  The mascara dripping down your face, Kleenex grabbing story that makes your heart feel like it might just break.  If you're looking for a good, hard sob, then you should try one of these touching stories.  They each moved me to tears (level of tears indicated by number of : -( emoticons).

The is a well-crafted story told from the perspective of a stray dog who has known moments of joy but mostly sorrow.  Will he ever find a real home?
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Joey will is deaf and lonely.  Part of her problem comes from not being able to communicate effectively since she doesn't know sign language.  Her decision to embrace signing comes from an unexpected place.  A chimpanzee that lives next door.  But growing close to Sukari will change her life forever.
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Chillers, Thrillers and Killers.

I have a love/hate relationship with being scared.  I always have.  I think it started when I watched Halloween with my brother, two friends and a babysitter.  Terrifying!  I was so scared I couldn't sleep for a weeks.  It wasn't long after my introduction to Michael Myers that I started reading books that keep me awake at night.  The thing that attracted me to the genre initially were the covers (of course).  The first books to leave an impression on me were books that my Dad was reading and I would see them lying around the house (often in the bathroom if I'm being completely honest).

The two covers that stand out the most vividly in my memory were Coma by Robin Cook and Night Shift by Stephen King.  I remember staring at the cover jacket with wide-eyed fascination too frightened to even consider reading them.

The first true horror book I read was Carrie by Stephen King.   I was on vacation in Maine and I think I was in 7th or 8th grade.  I remember being curling up on my bunk bed thinking, "This is it.  I'm going to read Stephen King."  The anticipation was so sweet.  In retrospect I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed because the story wasn't that scary--just really, really weird.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Small Book that Left a Big Impression

small as an elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

lost not


a child will

pain and
heartache for

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Love Howe He Writes

I have a love/hate relationship with good books.  I love when I book is so good I feel like the characters are my friends, but I hate when these stories are over.  It leaves me feeling so sad.  The solution to staying happy at the end of a great book is simple, right?  Read books in a series.  Then I can travel with the characters I love as they experience new journeys.  Cool right?  Well, what if I told you there is another solution?  Companion books.  Here's an example of how companion books work:

Let's consider the book The Misfits by James Howe.  This is a fantastic story about a class of 7th grade students who are sick and tired of being bullied and decide to take matters into their own hands by running for student government on a "No Bullying" platform.  The book is told from the point of view of Bobby Goodspeed, one of the group of friends who call themselves the "Gang of Five" and are attempting to organize a "No-Name [calling] Day." The characters are diverse, the dialogue is rich and I couldn't stop laughing.

When Mr. Howe wrote the second book he kept the same main characters but changed it up.  Totally Joe is written from the perspective of another member of the "Gang of Five," Joe (JoDan) Bunch.  This book is Joe's A to Z book about himself, an assignment assigned by his 7th grade teacher English teacher.  I loved the different format and that I got to travel through the story in the mind of a different character.

And then last year Mr. Howe delivered again.  Addie on the Inside is the third novel about the "Gang of Five."  The story is written in verse and follows life from the perspective of Addie Carle.  Addie is tall, lanky and brilliant--a trifecta that often leaves her in tears and the reader in stitches.  I zipped through this book in just one sitting.

Now the only question I have is how much longer do I have to wait for a book about Skeezie Tookis?

Want to check out another author who writes companion books?  Try Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Bloomability, and Chasing Redbird).  Do you have a favorite companion series?  I'd love to hear about your favorites.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hey! Is that you?

Avatars.  They seem to be everywhere.  They are those interesting little icons that may or may not resemble someone you know.  Did you ever wonder how you could make your own?  After reading a blog post by The Daring Librarian called "It's a Cartoon, It's an Avatar, It's a New Animated YOU!" I couldn't help but pass on some of my favorites.

Futurama Head-In-A-Jar Creator App (for iPhone and iPad)

Doesn't this look like me?  Why not create your own preserved head with this mix and match free app.  The combinations will keep you coming back for more.

Ms. Anderson?
The Simpsons!

Yep, I'm looking like a relative of Bart.  Why not try it yourself.  It's fun and it's free!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Look out for the Gator!

So I just finished the most delightful book.  I'll admit that I really enjoy author, Carl Hiaasen's writing style (I have read both his adult and young adult material). His story lines are fresh, his characters are quirky and I always finish the book feeling satisfied.  Chomp is no exception.  Hiaasen is savvy at creating characters that are quirky and memorable.  The main character of Chomp, Wahoo Cray, is charming and endearing as he struggles to manage his family life surrounded by zoo's worth of animals his dad has collected as an animal wrangler.  And then there's Derek Badger.  He is the ridiculous, self-centered and over confident star of the reality-TV  show Expedition Survival.  Alligators, snapping turtles, snakes, bats and mosquitoes.  This book has an animal for everyone  If you're looking for a great book to pick up and laugh through then this one's for you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

YA Reading Challenge

I can't believe it's that time of year again.  Time to begin sorting out my goals for summer--and this includes my summer reading list.   When I put my goal down on paper it always seems to motivate me to read.  So I started thinking, what if I extended this throughout the year?  Maybe then I would finally reach my 100 book goal.  And then I discovered the 2012 YA Reading Challenge sponsored by Bumps in the Road.  I am so excited.  I've already signed up (I'm going for The Mega size YA Challenge--read 50+ books in 2012).  Seriously, I'm bouncing on my exercise ball as I write this (and that's no easy task).  So here are the parameters I'm sticking to:  1)  The book must be classified as YA  2)  Audio books count  3)  Abandoned books don't count (there are too many great ones out there to struggle through a dull read)  4) List completed books on the blog  5) HAVE FUN!

Now I have to ask.  Who's gonna join me!?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Covers

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for their Top 10 Tuesdays!  I enjoy reading them and have decided to add my list to the mix.  Here are my very favorite covers (at least today)...

A Great and Terrible Beauty has
been one of my favorite covers since
I first laid eyes on it.  Started a dress
trend I think.

The Fold has a great juxtaposition of
the eyes and text that I really like.  Plus
I'm a fan of chartreuse.

The Luxe series is just a parade of one beautiful
dress after another.  I guess I'm a sucker for tons of fabric.

The original cover for Luna has always been one I loved for it's simplicity.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is in the Air...and in Books!

Whether you buy into this most commercialized "holiday" or not, you cannot deny that it's nice to spend the day thinking about love.  Unless you're a teenager in which case it's just the worst.  Ever.  In that case, there may be a need to seek solace between the covers of a great book.  Check out these LOVEly tales:


Happy reading!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jag on the Go

I was reading my favorite blog "NeverEndingSearch" by Joyce Valenza and was inspired by her discussion of creating a mobile app for her high school library.  I struggled all morning with Webmobi and was only successful at creating an app full of broken links (I'm sure this was operator error and not something to do with the mobile app generator that was fairly easy to use).  It wasn't until I was looking at my Wix website that I noticed their new link to create a mobile app.  I couldn't believe it!  In less than 30 minutes I had my site formatted, links added and app saved.  And here she is:

Please visit to view and add to your mobile device.

P.S.  Thanks Ms. Green for the "Jag on the Go" title!