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Review: Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…


I am always on the look o…
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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 …