100 Follower Giveaway

In honor of my blog finally reaching 100 followers AND my awesome trip to the IRA Convention, I am hosting my very first giveaway. Hooray!


To enter this giveaway all you have to do is leave me a comment (you can e-mail me your contact information) on the giveaway post. I'm not fancy enough to have a Google Doc form. (Maybe next time!) The contest will run from now (May 14th) until June 1, 2011. All followers (current and new) will automatically get an extra entry. You don't have to be a follower to enter, but it sure does help your chances of winning!


Wondering what I'm giving away? Well, for now I'm giving away these books:

1 copy of Damned (book #2 in the Crusade series) by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie. This is an ARC. The book is not scheduled to be published until August 2011.

1 copy of Mercy by Rebecca Lim. This is also an ARC, but the book comes out this month.

1 signed copy of Sinful by Sarah Dailey & Staci Weber. This also includes a signed postcard from the authors.


Plus *surprises*.... I have other goodies to include with the books!


My awesome week at the International Reading Association Annual Convention

I was really lucky this year to have the opportunity to volunteer (and attend for free) at the IRA (International Reading Association) Annual Convention. I have wanted to go to this event since my very first year of teaching (almost 7 years ago). Luckily, the convention was finally near my house! Next year it is in Chicago, but I don't think I will be able to swindle a free trip for that one.

During my trip, I spent a lot of time talking to publishers and book reps, as well as chatting with some authors. If you haven't heard of Bloomsbury Publishing, you should check them out pronto. They are amazing. I think it is a company requirement to be generous, friendly, and overall awesome. They hooked me up with a TON of books. Love that. 

Meg Cabot!

This is just ONE of the four floors!

Jeff Kinney! My son didn't disown me; I was able to get a book signed.
BTW, he said there will be at least TWO more Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

R.L. Stine!

Llama Llama!
Who doesn't love this adorable red pajama wearing llama?

As you can tell, I had a great time. I didn't load my pictures of Goldie Hahn (who still looks amazing) and some of the other authors I met. I'll save those for another time. =)  My In My Mailbox this week is going to be MONUMENTAL!


Blog Hop and Follow Friday (15)

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. This week's question is: "Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?"

I won't be able to attend this event. Honestly, I didn't even know about it until a month ago. Oh, well. I did, however, just come back from the IRA (International Reading Association) Convention in Orlando, Florida. It was a week long soiree full of books and reading related information. (All my teacher friends out there know what I'm talking about!) I managed so hustle a suitcase full of books and ARCs from the wonderful publishing reps while I was there. PS-- I ADORE Bloomsbury Publishing. They are always so generous! Never a disappointment. Ever. Did I mention I met Meg Cabot, R.L. Stine, Jeff Kinney, Jessica Day George, Goldie Hahn, and Tony Dungy? (Among others!!)  =)   It was a lot of fun. Another post with pictures will be coming soon.






Thanks to Parajunkee's View for hosting this great weekly meme! This week's question is in honor of the wonky week with Blogger: The Blogger Apocalypse made me a little emotional. What is the most emotional scene in a book that you have read lately?


I honestly have not read anything that has moved me to a heightened emotional state for some time. One of my all time favorite books is Lord of the Flies. I  know the final scene in that book gives me goose bumps every single time I read it. The horror of what lies dormant in the human soul is haunting. If you haven't read that book...YOU SHOULD! I mean it. Read it right now. It's powerful stuff. (R.I.P. Piggy!)


Review: Any Witch Way

Any Witch Way
Annastaysia Savage

 Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: JournalStone (April 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1936564033
Source: e-book copy from publisher


Sadie has spent the three years since her mother’s death moving from one foster home to another. She is labeled crazy by her peers and the adults in her community because she refuses to believe her mother is truly dead. After all, there was no body found at the scene of the car accident and one never showed up afterwards. But for Sadie, believing that her mother is alive somewhere isn’t enough. She wants a normal life, and she can’t have “normal” when her mother is missing.


As if her life isn’t complicated enough, Sadie learns she has magical powers on the night of her thirteenth birthday. When she finds herself riding to safety on the back of a centaur, Sadie realizes that “normal” is no longer an option for her life. Now she is faced with the daunting task of saving both the human and magical realms, learning how to use her new powers, and finding her place in the world.


I really liked Sadie in this book. She was a charming girl that struggled with issues that most young adults have: she was too trusting, too hard on herself, etc. Sadie was way too trusting. If she were real, I would have slapped her at least twice during the book. However, she is just like most twelve and thirteen year olds I know, which makes her a believable character (magical abilities aside). I think her doubting nature makes her more believable because she is not full of confidence. (Who is full of confidence at thirteen?) I also liked the addition of the ornery gnomes as Sadie’s companions throughout her adventure. They were a pleasant, humorous addition to the story.

I have mixed feelings about the plot of this book. If I were twelve or thirteen, I would probably be okay with the pacing. However, as an adult I felt it lagged at times. It took me forever to read this book, which is uncommon for me. I had a hard time getting into it. On a positive note, however, the detail given to building the characters and setting were phenomenal. I could picture the scenes I read in my mind with vivid detail—even the disgusting details of exploding trolls dripping with snot that smelled of rotten eggs. The amount of detail that went into building the characters and setting really ended up being a saving grace. I felt like I was so invested in the characters that I needed to finish the book to see what would happen. There were several plot twists that were surprising, which I enjoyed discovering as I read. The ending left the book open for another book in a possible new series. So, I’m fairly certain we will see more of Sadie.

Overall, this was a decent read. It’s a little different from the books I typically read, but I enjoyed it all the same. I would say that Annastaysia Savage's Any Witch Way is geared towards the tween set more than a typical YA reader. I’m sure my students would enjoy reading this, and I wouldn’t mind offering it to them. It was a clean, well-written piece of fiction.

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