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Showing posts from 2017

Hanging out at ILA's annual convention (International Literacy Association)

If you do not know, I am a teacher. That's how I started blogging many years ago, and also why I sometimes have lulls. Teachers stay busy! I am always scouting out new reading material for my students and ways to grow as an educator. Every few years, ILA (formerly IRA) comes within driving distance. Recently, the conference has switched to a summer schedule. That makes things great for me, but not so great when it also runs up against San Diego Comic Con. (I mean seriously, who books a literacy conference back to back to a HUGE event like that?)

This year we planned a mini vacation near the event so I could hop over to a few sessions during the weekend. Unfortunately, most of what I attended didn't teach me anything new professionally, but I did discover some AMAZING new books coming our way!

I also learned that graphic novels are the publishing world's new craze. Look for many more to be popping up over the next year as one representative said, "we're finally ca…

The Winner's Crime ( Marie Rutkoski)

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.





















What is this woman doing to me? I loved The Winner's Curse and didn't know if …

Review: The Winner's Curse (Marie Rutkoski)

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.



I have checked out this book at least twice from the library over the last year and returned it unread. …

Minute Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed …

Review: The Bone Witch (Rin Chupeco)

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves. 


Let's take a minute to discuss the beauty of this cover. The deep purple with the gold swirls... that skull that just floats. Tiny Tea sitting on top of the …

Review: The Fearless Travelers' Guide to Wicked Places (Pete Begler)

Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins knows there is magic at work that she can’t yet understand. Her mother has been taken by witches and turned into a bird. Nell must journey to get her mother back, even if it takes her deep into the Wicked Places — the frightening realm where Nightmares resides. There she must break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare.



I must admit that the cover of this book is what caught my attention on Netgalley. Look at how the different elements blend together, creating this sense of some sort of eerie fog hovering off in the distance. I love how the different dream elements are creeping in from the edges as the three children stand in the middle waiting for a confrontation. And don't miss the ominous, looming purple cloud.  It really does a great job of setting the tone for the story that readers will encounter.

Unfortunately, I read this book months ago and got so busy that I did not get a chance to write a review …

My 13 reasons why you should avoid Netflix's 13 Reasons Why

If you subscribe to Netflix, you should know about the book to film adaptation of Jay Asher's novel, Thirteen Reasons Why. I remember reading the book years ago on a recommendation, and fell in love with the story. It took me through so many emotions as I read Hannah's story. You can see my thoughts on the novel here, because this post isn't about the novel per se.

This post is about what bothered me about Netflix's attempt at capturing this story. So here goes, my 13 reasons why I shouldn't have watched "Thirteen Reasons Why" on Netflix.

1. The language. My goodness, the language. I understand that teenagers curse worse than sailors in many situations, but if you aren't bothered by the ridiculous use of the f bomb as both an adjective, verb, and general space filler-- there is a problem. I stopped counting in one episode its use because I reached 20 before the half way point. Twenty! I don't think they even bothered to come up with other words. …

Review: Morning Star (Pierce Brown)

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.




The final installment in the Red Rising series delivered a satisfying finish to a beloved story line.  

Minute review: The Leaving (Tara Altebrando)

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.


This one starts off spookily enough. I was captivated by the idea that these kids returned with no memory of the previous 11 years. All kinds o…

Where I have been-- I have not disappeared!

Remember that show? If you do, I bet you just sang the theme song. :) You're welcome.

I'm not writing a witty post about awesome t.v. game shows from my childhood. I'm simply sending out a S.O.S. to let you all know I have not gone AWOL. I am simply in my final semester of graduate school, and it's turned out to be pretty demanding.

I'm here. I'm reading. My brain wants to write about all the awesome books I have found (and the ones that I really didn't care for), but it's a struggle to find time to eat most days. All those cliches are real, y'all. The struggle is real. I haven't forgotten about The Flashlight Reader; it will just be a bit sporadic until things wrap up in May.