Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop time!  Hosted by Jen at Crazy-for-Books, the hop runs from Friday - Thursday. 
This weeks question is:

How do you handle the writing of a negative review?

Well, I'm always very honest in my reviews... I've definitely disliked books and given out my fair share of negative reviews. BUT, I always make sure to be respectful (authors are humans too!!) and often find some aspect of the book that I did enjoy or can at least appreciate. 

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Friday Reads

Happy Friday!

Lucky me, I have a 4-day weekend! Bear is out of town (a boys fishing trip to Pete's for the long weekend) so I spent the majority of my day sitting in the sun and reading... then hung out inside with my tootsies in front of the fan with a cold brew.  
My Friday Read this week: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


It's almost the weekend!

Thursday was our last day of school for the week.  We have a four day weekend in honor of Memorial Day.  It was a beautiful afternoon, so we spent much of the day outside.  We grabbed some comforters off of dorm, a few bottles of water, and our books.  We read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and The Hunger Games. Also, we did play with some sweet pull-string frisbees and a slingshot airplane (which of course we got stuck on the roof!).  It was a wonderful way to kick off our four day weekend.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop time! Hosted by Jen and Crazy-for-Books, the Hop runs from Friday - Thursday, and this weeks question is:

How Many Books Do You Own?

A lot is an understatement.  I have a TON of books.  I have 4 full bookshelves. which probably equals somewhere around 300 books.  I also have a TBR stash on my nightstand, which houses about 20 books and a shelf in my kitchen that is home to 30 or so cookbooks.  My storage unit is also home to a few bins that have yet to be sorted (my apartment didn't have the space for a 5th shelf), I probably have about 50 in storage. I tend to horde my books.  I'm not someone who parts with books easily... plus, I don't have an eReader, so ALL the books I own are hard copies.

I guess, in all... I have about 400 books. That is a lot. Wow. I didn't think I had that much until I did the math... granted, it is just an average. I gotta get to organizing, sorting, and Goodreads updating.

But hey, I guess I could add in my Classroom Library too- that'd REALLY put my count over the top... my current YA / Middle School Classroom Library numbers somewhere around 200 (in progress!)... with an additional 300 or so in storage (from when I taught the wee little ones!).

Maybe I should unload a few books!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow



Snape, Snape, Severus Snape!

My new shirt from Teefury.
'Planet of the Snapes'

LOVE me some Snape

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow



I was so incredibly excited to get Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien.  It was a book I jotted down to purchase after reading a review online... I can't remember who wrote it, although I really wish I did because it was a GREAT review.  Anyways, I had my little post-it note with the title and author in my wallet for what seemed like a century.  Every single time I went to Barnes & Noble, they never had it in stock.  I was perpetually disappointed... until one day, when I wandered around and spotted it. Finally! It was pure bliss- I had been so interested in reading this novel. I absolutely hyped it up  in my mind too- knowing it had been hard to find made it all the more intriguing!

So.. what is this dystopian YA novel all about?...

In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia’s mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia’s choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.
Overview from Barnes & Noble

Gaia Stone is living in a changed world, in the not so distant future.  There are two worlds, divided by concrete.  Inside the walls is a life full of promise. Outside the walls in the harsh reality of a changed planet and a controlling government.  Forced to serve those who live inside the walls- the Enclave- Gaia fills a monthly "baby quota".  Her mother is also a midwife, who taught Gaia everything she knows about birthing babies and turning them over to the Enclave.
One evening Gaia returns from a birth to an empty home- her mother and her father are gone.  Taken by the Enclave.  Gaia is greeted by a stranger, who questions her before reminding her that she still has a quota to fill, especially now that he mother has gone.
Gaia is filled with questions and looks for answers as she goes about her daily life.  When she uncovers a list bearing a code, she realizes how deep this mystery goes. As she raises more questions, she becomes bolder.  Gaia risks everything to find her mother and father.  She enters the world of the Enclave to search for answers and for the only family she knows.  Willing to risk a life in prison- even death, Gaia challenges all that she has come to know about her world.

I psyched myself up for Birthmarked- I was thrilled to get my hands on it. While my socks weren't blown off, I certainly enjoyed it.  This YA novel had a lot to offer and a lot to think about.  The idea of a changed landscape is a pressing issue.  Controlling governments and their presence- how involved should the government be in your life? The moral implications of a "baby quota", what is considered an acceptable baby, sub-par healthcare and conditions, and the promise of a "better life" to babies turned over to the Enclave are all topics worth exploring.
I also enjoyed the novel because I liked Gaia.  She had a strong sense of self and her character really shone through all that was going on.  It was a busy novel with a TON to think about, but I still felt that Gaia held my attention.  I was drawn to her and the mystery of the seizing of her parents.  The baby quota also drew me in- why would they need babies from outside the wall? Why are the women within the Enclave having babies?- can they?
When a list appears and the code is shown to the reader, I was desperately trying to figure it out.  I even went ahead and paused my reading to try and figure it out! That is something I rarely do. Of course, I wasn't able to figure it out, so I furiously read on to witness the cracking of the code.
As the mysteries unfold and the plot thickens, I stayed glued to this book. I must admit that the book does have some dull spots which I had to troop through, but the reader is well rewarded!
Lucky for me, this is a series (I had no idea of it until I added it to my Goodreads account!).  The next book in this series is Prized and the third is Promised, which is due out this October. There is also a FREE eBook Tortured, which is a "bridge story between Birthmarked and Prize".  Apparently, many of O'Brien's fans wanted to know about Leon, so she published this FREE eBook!  It is available for both the Nook and the Kindle.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of these books.  I would definitely recommend this book to YA fans and dystopian fans... even those who are just looking for a bit of mystery.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


50 Shades

The hype took me over and I cracked... I just finished Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James on Friday. I've let it settle in my brain, and I don't know how I feel about it.  I am torn between despising and adoring Christian Grey. I am torn between admiring and loathing Anastasia Steele.

First of all, it took me over 200 and some odd pages to even enjoy the book.  I didn't like it from the get-go, and I felt like I was just waiting for the magical "ooooh I love it!" moment.  That moment did not come for me.  However, by time the last 50 pages came- I was hooked. I needed to turn the page and I needed to know what was going to happen next. But then it ended. And I was left wanting more.

See why I am so torn??  I didn't even really care for the book, yet here I am thinking about going out to B&N tonight to pick up the next two books, just so I can see what happens next.
I hope that after reading all three books, I may be able to form a review and a more concrete feeling about it all.  It is a phenomenon after all. 
Maybe by time next week rolls around, I will have a totally different opinion on the matter.... so for now, I will leave it at this: torn. (but craving more)

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Book Blogger Hop

Today I am joining the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jen and Crazy-for-Books!  I've watched the hop from afar for quite some time, always lusting to join, but always fearing I would disappoint and not stick to posting and commenting due to a busy schedule.  Well, I still have that busy schedule.  But I also still want to give it a ago.  The Hop runs from Friday - Thursday, so I plan to join in and post on Fridays and enjoy meeting new bloggers through the linky as the week goes on.

This weeks question: 
Who is your favorite book character?

My favorite book character is Hermione Granger.  So many reasons factored in this decision. I sat down and thought about a few different characters that I love.  Katniss, Alice,  Piggy, Norton... the list went on. I ended up settling on Hermione because she was my first instinct and a character that I've related too over the years.  I've been fond of the Harry Potter Series since I first read them. Throughout reading and rereading, I have found myself drawn to Hermione.  She is strong- a very brave and intelligent girl who grows up during the series.  I felt that my stubbornness and occasional bout of "I'm never wrong!" attitude were quite in line with Hermione, but that I too, grew up. As J.K. Rowling has said of her own childhood, I was called a "know-it-all" as well... always masking my insecurities with my academic knowledge.  Hermione has a lot of depth- she is not JUST a know it all. I also love the relationship she has throughout the Harry Potter series with Ron.  Overall, Hermione is a super strong female character that I can relate to- over and over again.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Armchair BEA

I've officially signed up for Armchair BEA!  I am quite excited to join in the fun of BEA from my own home at my own pace.  Of course, one day I would truly enjoy going to BEA in NYC, but for now at least I get to join in the social media BEA party!

I'll be joining in the blogging fun and the Twitter parties... of course I'll be reading along the way as well!
Join in the fun and sign up over at Armchair BEA

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


To Be Read: updated, again.

As always, my TBR list just keeps growing!  Erica & Andy got me a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for my birthday on Thursday.  Immediately after our lovely dinner at Olive Garden (mmmm eggplant parm!) Bear and I went over to B&N.  During dinner Erica and I were discussing Fifty Shades of Grey and I mentioned that I knew about the buzz but didn't have an eReader... to which she blew my mind and said "duh, it's on paperback now!".  YaY.

We got to B&N and about 2 minutes later a torrential downpour began.  So my "run in to grab 50 Shades" obviously (due to mother nature!) was extended into a "fill up the TBR list" trip.

I purchased Tales of Beedle the Bard and the Hogwarts Library -- I'm always happy when I purchase more Harry Potter things!  I've been waiting to get Tales of Beedle the Bard until I had some extra cash, and I was waiting for the Hogwarts Library to be available- every time I went it was gone!  I haven't read any of them, surprisingly.  I am pretty excited to get to those.

I also purchased A Stranger in Mayfair by Charles Finch.  I am not a big mystery fan, but I love his work and have all the other books in the Charles Lenox series.  The setting sweeps me away every time. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson also made it's way to the check-out.  I love anything relating to psychology.  Books involving sociopaths and/or psychopaths are especially intriguing.  There seems to be one that hangs around the outskirts of my life that would fit into the sociopath category, so books that travel down this road are always interesting.

And of course, I bought Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James.  I never pay attention to hype, but I finally caved.  Since I've been reading hype for months, listening to reviews and discussions about it on the radio, reading tweets, and of course the book blogging community, I decided to get it now that it is in paperback.  Now, I love me some good sex in my reading- I have a TON of memoirs written by strippers and escorts, some of which are among my favorite reads ever. Fifty Shades peaked my interest.  It did take me about 200 pages to start to enjoy the story line, and I'm still plugging along.  I hope that it continues to heat up (no pun intended... well, maybe) and it finishes out strong!

Of course, this is just a smidgen of my TBR- I have about 7 others on my nightstand and a whole list I have yet to purchase.  I guess I just can't be trusted in a bookstore! :)

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow