Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review of Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Hope in the Holler
By Lisa Lewis Tyre
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
January 9, 2018
ARC Obtained from NCTE 2017

Goodreads Summary:
Right before Wavie's mother died, she gave Wavie a list of instructions to help her find her way in life, including this one: Be brave, Wavie B! You got as much right to a good life as anybody, so find it! But little did Wavie's mom know that events would conspire to bring Wavie back to Conley Hollow, the Appalachian hometown her mother tried to leave behind. Now Wavie's back in the Holler--and in the clutches of her Aunt Samantha Rose. Life with the devilish Samantha Rose and her revolting cousin Hoyt is no picnic, but there's real pleasure in sleeping in her own mother's old bed, and making friends with the funny, easygoing kids her aunt calls the "neighborhood-no-accounts." With their help, Wavie just might be able to prevent her aunt from becoming her legal guardian, and find her courage and place in the world. 

My Thoughts:
I have had this one since NCTE back in November, but every time I picked it up to read it, I ended up putting it back on the shelf and picking something else. This is because the blurb made the book sound so sad (the main character's mother dies) and I was never up for tackling it. I recently had a few social media friends who read it and raved about it, so yesterday I decided to give it a go, tissues at the ready. Turns out I didn't need the tissues and I definitely should have read this one as soon as I got home from NCTE! This was one of those "cant put it down" books! I started it late morning and was finished by early afternoon. I really loved the main character Wavie and the friends that she made in the holler. This is such a great book about staying strong, about fighting for what you want, and about the fact that everyone deserves a future, that everyone is worth it!
If you don't have a copy yet, go pick one up today!
I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up!

Monday, January 29, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? January 29, 2018

A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

Here is what I have recently read (click on he title to learn more about the book):
By Lisa Lewis Tyre

Come back on Wednesday to read my full review of this great book!

By Serena Valentino

I finished this one last week and enjoyed it overall. You can look back at last Monday's post for a bit more info about this book!

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Erin Entrada Kelly

Still reading this one and enjoying it more and more the more I read!

By Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone

I just started reading an ARC of this title after hearing so much about it on social media. I am so glad I started it as it hooked me immediately! I cant wait to see how the two main characters handle swapping places and therefore, centuries. Maggie gets swapped into current day and Hannah gets swapped back into the early 1900's.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review of Greeting From Witness Protection! By Jake Burt

Greeting From Witness Protection!
By Jake Burt
Published By Feiwel & Friends
October 3, 2017
Hardcover Purchased from Amazon

Goodreads Summary:
A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

My Thoughts:
I had been hearing a lot about this book and was excited to finally get my hands on a copy! I was intrigued by the premise of this book as it seemed like a very unique story line. I really enjoyed the spunkiness of the main character Nicki. I also liked the fact that she is such a deep character whom many students will be able to relate to immediately. These being the students who may really need to see some of themselves in a book, to know that they aren't the only ones who may have a tough family situation, or may be having a tough time as the new kid in school, or maybe even are having trouble making friends. There are so many different things happening in this book that numerous students will be able to connect with Nicki and her story. 
This story also had a little bit of everything; drama, comedy, suspense, family issues, friendship issues, etc. I was hooked from the first chapter and had a really hard time putting it down!
I would recommend this book for grades 5 and up!

Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? January 22, 2018

A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" lists!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Vera Brosgol
I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters in this graphic novel! The main character, Vera, is just a Russian girl trying to fit in like everyone else. She finds this harder then most because of the fact that her family is Russian. She thinks that she has finally found a way to feel like she fits in when she discovers a Russian summer camp. She cant wait to spend the summer like the rest of her "friends" by attending summer camp. When she gets there, she quickly finds out that it isn't everything she dreamed it would be and she has to make some tough decisions about what type of person, and friend, she really wants to be.

By Jake Burt
Stay tuned for a full review of this great book later this week!

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):

By Erin Entrada Kelly
Still working on this one! I keep forgetting to bring it home from school!

By Serena Valentino
I recently went on a short trip to Chicago and had this audiobook to keep me company! Now, it is only fair for me to first tell you that I am a huge Disney fan and that Maleficent is hands down my favorite villain. But because all of that is true, I was afraid that I would be disappointed by this story. I am happy to say that I wasn't! The story does get off to a bit of a slow start, and there are lots of different stories woven through, but all in all I have been thoroughly enjoying it! I only have a few chapters left and am intrigued to find out what fate Serena Valentino is going to hand Maleficent.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review of The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd

The Problim Children
By Natalie Lloyd
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
January 30, 2018
ARC Obtained at NCTE 2017

Goodreads Summary:
When the Problim children’s ramshackle bungalow in the Swampy Woods goes kaboom, the seven siblings and their pet pig have no choice but to move into their Grandpa’s abandoned old mansion in Lost Cove. No problem! For the Problim children, every problem is a gift.

Wendell and Thea—twins born two minutes apart on a Wednesday and a Thursday—see the move as a chance to make new friends in time for their birthday cake smash. But the neighbors find the Problims’ return problematic—what with Sal’s foggy garden full of Wrangling Ivy, toddler Toot’s 365 stanktastic fart varieties, and Mona’s human catapult.

Truth be told, rumors are flying about the Problims! Rumors of a bitter feud, a treasure, and a certain kind of magic lingering in the halls of #7 Main Street. And the neighbors will do anything to get their hands on those secrets—including sending the Problim children to seven different homes on seven different continents!

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this fantasy story by Natalie Lloyd! I am currently 2 for 2 with Natalie Lloyd books, as I also really enjoyed Snicker of Magic which came out in 2015 (I still have to read The Key to Extraordinary which came out last year).  It took a few chapters before I was able to keep all seven Problim children straight, but there is a handy list of who is who at the beginning of the book that I used until I had them all figured out. Otherwise, I enjoyed the blend of fantasy, adventure, hijinks and humor in this story. I enjoyed following the seven Problim children as they tried to get in touch with their traveling archaeologist parents, fight off their evil neighbor Desdemona O'pinion, and figure out the riddle that their grandfather left them which they, and Desdemona, believe will lead to some type of treasure.
The only "warning" I will give is that it appears that this book is going to be the first in a series. It is possible that a quiet, "nooooooooo!" escaped my lips when I finished the book and realized that I was going to have to wait quite a while before joining back with the Problim clan to continue their adventures.
I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up!

Monday, January 15, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? January 15, 2018

A great meme hosted by Jen at tech Mento Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Matt de la Peña and Loren Long
This has definitely been the book of the week! I have been aware of this book for quite some time, but I have seen it everywhere this week; on blogs, on twitter, in the bookstore. I was really sad that I missed Matt signing this one at NCTE, but my flight left before his signing on Sunday. I tried to find someone that was willing to stand in line for me, but to no avail. All that being said, I was so excited to finally get my hands on a copy when it come out this past Tuesday! This book is as gorgeous as I heard it was and I really wish that I knew someone who was starting a new phase in their life, new job, graduation, etc whom I could buy a copy for! This book may become the new Oh, The Places You Will Go! book for me! If you haven't seen it yet, go out and find a copy!

By Tony DiTerlizzi
Because I am in charge of my schools One School, One Book "project" every year, I keep an ongoing list of possible titles that would be appropriate for K-5. This year, I was tasked with picking next years book way earlier then I normally do, so I started furiously reading a few of the titles on the list. This was one of them! Of course I know Tony DiTerlizzi, I enjoyed the Spiderwick Chronicles and really enjoyed the WondLa trilogy, but I had never gotten around to reading this one. I am happy that it ended up on my list because it is such an adorable story! I think it is a great choice for K-5 because the younger kids will enjoy the "cuteness" of it with the animal characters and the older grades will enjoy it because it is also a great story about friendship and about not judging someone by the way they look. I have a few more to read before I make my final decision, but this one will definitely be a contender!

By Nikki Grimes and Raúl Colón
Unfortunately this one I read for sadder reasons. I have a former student who recently lost her younger brother to an ongoing illness. In the fall we were informed that her brother wasn't doing well and probably didn't have much longer. Of course, being the person I am, I immediately went on a search for a book that I could send her that might help, even the littlest bit. Nothing jumped out at me until I heard Nikki Grimes speak at NCTE. She was talking about some of the children's books she has written that tackle the tough subjects in life, and she specifically mentioned this one. It sounded perfect so I purchased it immediately. Sadly my former student's brother lost his battle a few weeks ago so I gave the book a quick read to make sure it was what I was looking for. Indeed it was. I mailed it out yesterday, hoping that it will give her even the tiniest bit of comfort or hope in this tough time.

Here is what  am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Natalie Lloyd
Almost done with this one and will be writing a full review of it some time this week. Stay tuned!

By Erin Entrada Kelly
Now that I am almost done with The Problim Children, I may have to take this one home to read. It's currently my independent reading book at school, which means I only get about 5-10 minutes to read it every day before I start my reading conferences. For me, this usually means that I have a hard time getting into the book because I read it in such small snippets. That is usually ok when the book is on the shorter side, but this one is a bit lengthy. I am enjoying the story so far and would hate to be put off it simply because it takes me so long to finish. 
It's decided then, time for it to become my home book!

Monday, January 8, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? January 8, 2018

A great meme hosted by Jen at Teacher Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

I haven't posted since before the holidays, so here is a list of all the books I have read since my last post (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Cassie Beasley
I really enjoyed Circus Mirandus, so I wasn't surprised when I also really enjoyed Tumble and Blue! I liked the two main characters, Tumble and Blue, and enjoyed the fantasy elements woven throughout the book.

By Kate Messner
I was excited to get my hands on an ARC of Kate Messner's newest MG novel. I loved the way this one was written, with a bunch of different types of writing. A few of them being letters, graphic novel-esque pictures, texts, announcements, etc. The story itself is also a great one. As always, Kate Messner does a great job of tackling tough subjects in an age appropriate way.

By Elly Swartz
Like Cassie Beasley, Elly Swartz is another author where I enjoyed their second book as much as, if not more then, their first! I enjoyed reading Finding Perfect and knew I was going to enjoy Smart Cookie. I wasn't disappointed! Elly Swartz is another author who tackles serious topics in a way that kids can understand them. This one is on my classroom shelf right beside Finding Perfect!

By Liesl Shurtliff
Another series of books that I LOVE! I remember being so excited to get my hands on an ARC of Red at NCTE 2016. It kept me company on a long, delayed flight home! I was equally as excited to get an ARC of Grump at NCTE this past November. Again, I started it on my flight home, which thankfully was not delayed this time. It didn't take me long to finish this one, as it was equally as entertaining as the other books by Shurtliff!

 By Sayantani Dasgupta
I was happily surprised to find an ARC of this one in my December Scholastic book box! I enjoyed this adventurous fantasy story and appreciated the diverse main characters.

By Ilyasah Shabazz
With Renee Watson
After the fantasy of Serpent's Shadow, I really enjoyed this historical fiction story about the young Dr. Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcolm X. I didn't know much about Betty Shabazz before reading this book, therefore I was fascinated by the story of her young life. It is not surprising that she became such an amazingly strong adult!

By Gordon Korman
I had been hearing a lot about Gordon Korman's newest book, Restart, so I snuck it off my classroom shelf to read it! Of course it only took one day for my students to notice that it was missing. It is a good thing the book sucked me in the way it did because I finished it in two days and got it right back on the shelf. I really liked the premise of this book and think it teaches some really good lessons about what type of person you want to be.

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book): 
By Erin Entrada Kelly
Another one I was lucky enough to get at NCTE and that I have been starting to hear some buzz about. I only started it a few days ago, but I am already enjoying. It's another one of those books that I think will tackle some tough topics in an age appropriate way.

By Natalie Lloyd
I have been a fan of Natalie Lloyd since A Snicker of Magic. I am only on page 2 of this one, but I have high hopes! 

Edited by Colby Sharp
This project was such a brilliant idea! Kudos to Colby Sharp for coming up with this crazy idea and for putting it all together into an amazing collection of stories! I started reading this one, along with Grump, on the way home from NCTE. I am amazed that the same book can have me laughing out loud one minute, crying the next, and then on the next turn of the page have goosebumps rising up my arm and the hairs on the back on my neck standing straight up. Amazing!