July 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library. 

(I'm posting this a bit early because this weekend I'll be busy throwing my BFF a bachelorette party!)

In my mailbox: 

From the library: 
From the bookstore: 
  • None! I did a good job of resisting the urge to spend money since I got so many great free books :)
Free audiobooks from Sync: 
Free eBooks from Barnes & Noble: 
  • Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Room with a View by E.M. Forster
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Les Liasions Dangereuses by Choderlos de Lacios
  •  A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan (Free Fridays book of the week)

July 30, 2010

YA Lit Class - Session 12 (Last class meeting!)

Last night was my last class of the summer. I'm looking forward to having 3 weeks off before the fall semester begins! I'll be able to read what I want for 3 glorious weeks :)

We discussed a couple of award-winning books last night (my reviews are coming soon). My professor was on the Printz Award committee this year. Here's what we discussed:

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
2010 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Going Bovine

and Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
William C. Morris YA Debut Award
Flash Burnout

I also gave a book talk on If I Stay by Gayle Forman (audiobook). 
If I Stay

I'm really glad I took this class. It exposed me to a lot of YA literature that I normally wouldn't have picked up on my own, and I discovered some amazing books and authors! I got some experience with giving booktalks, leading book discussions and activities, making bibliographies, creating read-alike lists, and more. I also became more familiar with the awards that are given out for YA books each year. Such a fun experience!

Now that this class is over, I am more than halfway to finishing up my Master of Library Science degree. I've taken 7 classes, and I have 6 more to go. Hopefully I'll be ready to graduate by next spring! 

Happy reading,  

July 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! July 30-August 2

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted over aCrazy-for-Books where "book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!" It lasts Friday-Monday each week, so if you don't have time to join today, you can still join later. It's easy to participate! Then take some time to visit blogs listed on the Hop. If you start following someone through the Book Blogger Hop, leave them a comment and let them know! 

Question of the week:
Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year? 

This will probably not come as a surprise to those of you who have followed my blog for awhile, but the answer is...John Green. I had heard of him before this year since he is a local author, but it wasn't until early 2010 that I actually picked up his novels and became a huge fan of his writing. (Click on the book titles to read my reviews.)

My absolute favorite novel of his is Looking for Alaska

I also enjoyed Paper Towns...

I also had the opportunity to meet John Green and David Levithan in Indianapolis at a book signing. They wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson together. It's a great read! 

Any other John Green fans out there? Any Nerdfighters? DFTBA!

Review - If I Stay by Gayle Forman (audiobook)

What's the toughest choice you've ever had to make? Up until now, seventeen-year-old Mia's most difficult choice has been deciding where to go after high school. Mia is a gifted cellist, and she recently auditioned for Juilliard. But if she is accepted, she will have to move to New York and leave her boyfriend, her best friend, and her family behind in Oregon. If she stays, she'd be limiting her potential as a musician. 

In an instant, everything changes for Mia. Now she must face the ultimate decision--life or death? She can't remember the car crash, but she remembers the moment before the crash. She was listening to the car radio with her parents and her little brother, Teddy. The next thing she knows, she is standing next to the wreckage. She sees her family members' mangled bodies. She can see her own body, lying there. Is she...dead? No--she watches as paramedics surround her body, fighting to keep her alive. How can she be standing there, feeling no pain, while her injured body is being whisked away to the hospital's intensive care unit? While Mia's body is in a coma, she is able to see and hear everything that goes on because of her detached state of being. She watches as her best friend, her boyfriend, and her extended family members visit her in the ICU. Unfortunately, she is unable to communicate with them. Mia's thoughts and flashbacks paint a vivid portrait of her relationships with her loved ones and her passion for classical music. 

As she watches everything unfold at the hospital, Mia realizes that she has the power to decide whether she will live or die. Will she choose life, despite all the physical and emotional pain she will no doubt endure? Or will she choose death instead of suffering? 

If I Stay was a quick read, but it had a lot of depth.It is a moving story about love and loss. The author skillfully weaves the past and the present into Mia's heart-wrenching story. The characters felt very real, and there were moments of humor and happiness mixed in with the grief. 

One thing I really liked about the audiobook is that each CD began and ended with cello music. Music is such an important part of Mia's life, and I like that they tied that in on the audiobook. 

My only complaint - I thought it ended too fast, and I wanted to know more. Luckily, I have heard that there will be a sequel coming out next year, written from the point of view of Mia's boyfriend.

Rating: 4/5

This review is cross-posted on goodreads.

July 28, 2010

Wednesday Web Wanderings (13)

This is a collection of interesting book-related things I've come across online recently. Check 'em out!
Fun videos!

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

See What I See by Gloria Whelan (HarperTeen, January 1, 2011)

Description from goodreads:
Kate Tapert sees her life in paintings. Yet one place she never sees her life is in the work of the famous and reclusive artist Dalton Quinn—her father, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from in nearly ten years. Now Kate has an art dream of her own, and a scholarship to art school to help make it a reality. The last piece to the puzzle is staying with her father, which means it’s time for Kate to work her way into Dalton’s life, into his mind, and into his heart, whether he likes it or not.

See What I See is a powerful family story filled with uneasy relationships, deep secrets, reluctant togetherness, and an examination of the unbreakable bond between father and daughter. Celebrated National Book Award–winning author Gloria Whelan delivers her most modern story yet, with all the beauty, emotion, and timeless themes that she is known for.

Early praise for See What I See:
See What I See is an absolutely riveting and heartrending work of fiction. I read it in a single session—it contains numerous surprises and doesn’t shrink from the seriousness of its subject and from the wonderful integrity of its young heroine, Kate.”—Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the National Book Award

July 27, 2010

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

You've no doubt heard about the Mercury 7 astronauts, but have you ever heard of the "Mercury 13"?  This was a group of thirteen women who paved the way for future female astronauts.

 In 1959, Randolph Lovelace was the doctor who put the Mercury 7 men through all of their astronaut testing. He also believed that women could be astronauts and wanted to test them to prove it. Thirteen female pilots passed all the intense physical and psychological tests with flying colors - often performing much better than the men while complaining less! However, because of the social climate of the time, these women were not offered the chance to become astronauts. They faced extreme prejudice and were even blocked by a fellow female pilot, Jackie Cochran. Not to mention the requirement that astronauts must be jet test pilots - military men. Women were not allowed to be jet test pilots and were therefore not allowed to be astronauts (although the rule WAS bent for John Glen). 

All of these roadblocks prevented the Mercury 13 women from becoming astronauts, but after the women's liberation movement, NASA began to reconsider women as astronauts. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. However, the Mercury 13 women were even more excited for Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and to serve as a space shuttle commander. Eight of those women were there to see Eileen's launch. 

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream is a well-researched book that sheds light on the prejudiced attitudes women had to face as they pursued their dreams. The Mercury 13 women had "the right stuff," and it is unfortunate that they were blocked from achieving their goal of space flight. This inspirational book challenges girls to follow their dreams no matter what obstacles they might face. 

Teaser Tuesdays (4)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Flash Burnout

"I do feel like I'm made of very thin glass, like one of those easily breakable Christmas ornaments. One clumsy step and I'll shatter into a million pieces." 

- p. 288 of Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
I've already finished this one, but my current read (Going Bovine) is an audiobook and I didn't write down any quotes from it. :) Plus I really liked Flash Burnout

July 26, 2010

The Long Road to Gettysburg by Jim Murphy

For my YA Lit class, I had to choose one award winning book of Jim Murphy's, and this is the one I chose to read. (Several of his books were awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award for 2010.)

 This book includes firsthand accounts of the battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of two young men - Confederate Lieutenant John Dooley and Union soldier Thomas Galway. Telling the story from their points of view really added a human element to the battle. The book also includes many photographs, drawings, and maps to give context to the story of the battle. Concluding with a chapter on the Gettysburg Address by President Lincoln was a great way to end the book because it reminded me of what the young men were fighting for. 

I enjoy reading about the Civil War, and I've actually visited Gettysburg and several other battlefields with my Civil-War-buff uncle. I think The Long Road to Gettysburg is a nice book to introduce young readers to the history of the Civil War. 

It's Monday: What Are You Reading? (13)

What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I finished: 

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

The Long Road to Gettysburg by Jim Murphy (review coming soon) 
The Long Road to Gettysburg

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan (review coming soon)

Flash Burnout

I am currently reading: 

Going Bovine by Libba Bray (audiobook)
Going Bovine

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

Up! A Pragmatic Look at the Direction of Life: 365 Ways Today Is the Best Time to Be Alive

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey

Next up: 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (audiobook)
If I Stay

Happy reading!


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