300 Follower Giveaway

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I seemed to have skipped over the 200 mark rather quickly, and now it's time to do a 300 Follower Giveaway. Since I missed celebrating the 200 mark, I thought I would make it up at 300.

Here's what I'm going to give away:

1 ARC copy of ...

Fury Vicious Little Darlings

Contest Rules:
  • open to US/CAN only.
  • Contest will end on July 301st
  • You must be 15 years old or older. (These books are a little graphic for younger readers.)
    To enter the giveaway, please complete the form below.


    Review: Back When You Were Easier to Love (Emily Wing Smith)

    Back When You Were Easier to Love
    Emily Wing Smith

    Product Details 

    Reading level: Young Adult                                                                                                                                                                  Hardcover: 304 pages                                                                                                                                                                   Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (April 28, 2011)                                                                                                                                     ISBN-10: 0525421998                                                                                                                                                                                Source: ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review


    Back When You Were Easier to LoveWhat's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan - the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah - unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.


    Like many things in life, my feelings for this book are a little complicated. I didn't love it or find myself sucked in by the amazing story, but I didn't hate it either. I kept trying to tell myself to put it down and pick another book, but I never did. I wanted to find out what happened when Joy found Zan. I knew what would probably happen when she found him in California, but something compelled me to prove my prediction. The simple fact that I kept reading the book even though my heart wasn't 100% percent in it must say something positive, right?

    Let me go ahead and say why I wanted to put it down almost instantly. This book seemed too regionally specific. It felt geared toward one group of people in particular-- mainly those living within the Mormon community in Utah. Now, I am from deep in the Bible belt of the South. I cannot relate to this at all. Not even when I try. I like to think of myself as an open minded person, but I don't like little religious hints dropped throughout books that aren't meant to have religious undertones. Obviously, when every other page had a subtle hint to Mormon culture I wasn't thrilled. I thought I was reading a book about the loss of first love. I didn't know that so-called love pivoted around an entire culture/religion. I would probably not even care about this fact if the constant mentions were relevant, but the story would have been fine without 90% them.

    On a positive note, the characters were okay. I couldn't relate to them (obviously), but I could sympathize with Joy. As my kids would say, she totally got played. Even worse, she doesn't realize it until she hears the love of her life (Zan) read a poem about her and his former town. (He calls the town and Joy "cardboard figures" and "fake.") It was harsh. I think it's worth noting that the real fake is Zan because he's the one that changes his identity when he gets to college. Unfortunately, Joy doesn't really make that connection. She sees that he's a jerk, but she doesn't want to admit the obvious. Instead, she wants to hold on to the positive things she remembers. I know that seems honorable, but it's irritating. Everyone else in the book could identify Zan as a creep and an idiot, why couldn't she?

    Another major character worth noting is Noah. I couldn't actually not mention him since he's the chauffeur during this trip. I got the impression that he was another Adonis type boy (with the exception of having impeccable moral values). He was patient with his (at times) neurotic travel buddy. I guess you could describe Noah as the strong, silent type. I think that's the best fit for him. Joy thought she had "his type" all figured out (and she resented him because of her preconceived notions), but she realizes that she was wrong. Just like Zan wasn't what he first seemed, neither is Noah. There is depth to his character-- in essence. We don't see a whole lot of it in the book.

    I thought about changing my rating to a 3, but I think I'm going to stick with my original score of a 2. It would be a solid 2.5 if I did half ratings. It honestly felt flat to me, but there was a lot of potential. The writing style is nice and flows very easily. It's witty at times, but also manages to be sentimental. I would probably read another book by this author in hopes that she works out some of the kinks I found in this book.


    Splash Into Summer Giveaway Winner


    As the time for Splash Into Summer-- an awesome all mermaid event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story-- ends, I find myself a little sad. I love mermaids! It's a childhood interest that never went away. I have really enjoyed Bonnie's event. If you didn't get a chance to check it out, you can always hop over there and read the posts. Sarah Porter did a great guest post about mermaids, and there are a few giveaways too.

    One giveaway is a LIMITED EDITION Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid calendar. It's the only city of LIVE mermaids! I'm sure those that entered the contest are curious to know if they won. Well, wait no longer...

    The lucky winner of the calendar is Harpreet from Spark of Interest --Books for Teens! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the calendar. I thought it had a nifty retro feel. Plus, all proceeds from the calendar sales go to protecting Florida's State Parks (which WWS is one of the oldest). It's a win-win situation for everyone!


    Blog Hops and Follow Friday (22)




    Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly (book) blog hop hosted by Parajunkee. This week's feature is Angela from Angela's Anxious Life. This week's question is on a more personal note: What do I do when I am not reading?

    I try to read as much as I can because it is my escape. Everyone has their "thing" that helps them relax. My thing is reading. During the school year (August-June) I am surrounded by moody middle schoolers. All of my time is spent grading papers, making tests, tutoring, trying to speak to parents, planning with other teachers, looking for new jobs (we all have those days), and reading/searching the internet for things to use in the classroom. With only 24 hours in a day, that takes up most of my free time.

    Periodically, I go to a movie with the kids or shopping for shoes. Most Friday nights the hubs and I rent a redbox movie when the kids go to the grandparents' house--he watches while I read on the couch.

    I also moonlight as a domestic diva in training. I play around with crafty things: making whimsical furniture and accessories for the kiddos, quilting, making 80s cartoon inspired jewelry, etc. Eventually, I'll get around to opening an Etsy store.

    Mini-Review: Planet Middle School (Nikki Grimes)

    Planet Middle School 
    Nikki Grimes 


    Product Details


    • Reading level: Ages 9-12
    • Hardcover: 160 pages
    • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 13, 2011)
    • ISBN-10: 1599902842
    • Source: ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
    Planet Middle SchoolFor twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A game of basketball with the boys-especially her friend Jake-was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then suddenly the world seemed to turn upside down, and everything changed at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting with her best guy friend. Her clothes seem all wrong. Jake is acting weird, and basketball isn't the same. And worst of all, there is this guy, Santiago, who appears from . . . where? What lengths will Joy go to-and whom will she become-to attract his attention?

    This "story" was written as narrative prose (poetry) so it flew by. I'm not sure it even took me a full hour to read this. If you like rhyming poetry, this is not your book. There are no rhymes here. In fact, these poems read like short paragraphs. I liked it, personally, and I think it would make "poetry" accessible to my students.

    Joylin is a major tomboy that loves playing basketball with the boys. That is, until she meets Santiago. Suddenly, her heart is doing flip flops every time she sees him. She's even starting to change her look by wearing makeup, high heals, skirts, and earrings! Her friends aren't happy with her change because they know it isn't because Joy wants to do it. They seem to know that she is changing for Santiago, not for herself. When she realizes the truth, it's too late. Her heart is broken and her friendship with Jake lays in critical condition (along with Jake) at the hospital.

    This isn't a weepy story. In fact, there are some pretty funny moments. It's a nice coming of age story for a young girl. At the heart of the story there is a girl trying to find her place and make sense of the changes in her body. This isn't my typical read, but I can see it being a good fit for a tween reader.

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    Mythological Mondays (8)


    Mythological Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Bonnie at  A Backwards Story. Mythological Mondays bring attention to all things myth related.

    For my role in MM this week, I originally wrote up a post about one of my recent reads (Fury by Elizabeth Miles). But then I stumbled on something amazing while on Goodreads. Therefore, Fury will have to wait. You can still check out my review, though.  

    The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost HeroIt is no surprise that I am a HUGE fan of Rick Riordan. I loved the Percy Jackson books. I've found that a lot of people were fans of Percy (like Team Edward and Harry Pottery), but I"m a fan of the books (not just the characters). I am so disappointed when I hear people say that they don't like Riordan's new series, Heroes of Olympus, because Percy isn't in them. Personally, I can't see how you dislike a book that blends Greek and Roman mythology. It's pure genius!



    Heroes of Olympus, The, Book Two: The Son of NeptuneIn my effort to share the awesomeness and participate in MM, I wanted to share the FIRST CHAPTER of the newest book in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Son of Neptune. To read the chapter, go here. I can't express how much I am anticipating this book. In case you're wondering, it hits the shelves in October!

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