Blog Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop time!!

Today, our question is:
Do you have a keeper shelf for books you love? What books are on that shelf and why?

I don't have a keeper shelf, I have a keeper library. I am a major book hoarder and only get rid of books I really disliked. There are definitely books that I cherish and will/do reread often.
Harry Potter will always be on that list of most cherished books, along with Lord of the Flies, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Secret Life of Bees, 1984, Brave New World, The Passage, and The Walking Dead comic series.

How about you? Are you a book hoarder like me or do you have a neat and organized keeper shelf?
Hop over to Crazy-For-Books and get linked up!

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


Moving Break!

Today is the day! I'm off to great places, I'm off and away!!

I will be signing the closing and getting to the keys to my very first home! 
Yep, I am officially (at 2:30pm today) a first-time homeowner...

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

Blog Hop

Happy Friday & Happy Book Blogger Hop day!

Today our question is:
Blogging Question: Do you immediately write a review upon finishing a book or do you wait and write multiple reviews at once?

I'm pretty bad at sitting down and writing up reviews immediately. Right now I am trying to work on back-reviews, I have a huge list to complete from my blogging absence. My goal is to get caught up, then schedule an evening a week to work on reviews.  My life is quite busy, so I'm sure by time I am caught up, I will be writing a review (if that) a week.

How about you? Do you write up a few at a time or right away?
Hop over to Crazy-For-Books and link up!

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


Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher has been on my night stand for a few months. I knew the premise, and quite frankly I was a bit nervous to read this- it is such a strong subject matter. But right away when I picked it up, I fell so hard for this novel. It was such a powerful story. I have no idea where to start.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. 
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

As said in the overview from Barnes & Noble, Thirteen Reasons Why is written in dual narrative- through the voices of Clay and Hannah. The interesting part of this dual narrative is that Clay is alive and Hannah is dead. Hannah committed suicide, and there are thirteen reasons why. There were many incidents and people in her life which led her to give up, but there were thirteen stories that were intertwined. Hannah wanted to tell her story, so she recorded on cassette tapes these thirteen stories and shared them with the people who were a part of each. Each member of the list received (or will receive) an unmarked package containing the tapes and a promise- that if they don't listen and pass them on, the tapes will make a very public appearance. These people will forever be connected through Hannah's story of a life lost. They all know the deepest darkest secrets of Hannah Baker- and the part they played in her suicide.

I must admit that I was completely invested in this story- the minute I picked it up, I couldn't think about ANYTHING else. It consumed me. Thirteen Reasons Why was like falling into another dimension. The writing was phenomenal- it was strong and emotional and raw. Asher wrote the story through cassette tapes-  the nostalgic stop-play-pause button symbols were incorporated as well. This simple addition made it much more real, I could almost hear the once-familiar hum of a Walkman. While reading, I couldn't help but feel emotional. I was nervous, anxious, sad, emphatic, confused, and at times experienced moments of happiness and relief. This was such a well written novel that deals with a tough topic- but at no time did I feel like the topic of teen suicide was diminished. It was honest and raw. I also felt it was honest in that it also placed blame on all parties involved- not just her peers and the adults in her life, but on Hannah herself... and that's what a suicide is- blame cannot be placed on just one person or incident, but it is a culmination of things and people, leading to the letting go of self.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a Young Adult novel dealing with a very tough subject. I would definitely recommend that any young adult who reads this has at least one person whom they can talk to afterwords. It is a heavy topic that, in my opinion, needs a bit of processing and debriefing for the younger teen set. 
There is also an interactive website dedicated to Thirteen Reasons Why with videos, reviews, an interactive map feature, and news. The site is a healthy and safe place for readers to express their reactions to the story.

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


Reading View

The best reading view this week: poolisde
I was just beginning Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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


Crazy by Han Nolan

image from Barnes & Noble

I ordered Crazy by Han Nolan through my Scholastic Book Club in April. My students order every month and I typically get a few books to read and add to either my own library or the classroom library. Initially I was pulled in by the cover- simple yet appealing. Scholastic's "about this book" also intrigued me.

An Incredibly Powerful Novel About Love, Loss, and Friendship!
A funny and touching novel about a boy in trouble—and the friendships that save his life!
With a dead mother, a crazy father, and voices in his head, 15-year-old Jason just wants to make it through high school unnoticed—until something happens that he can't keep to himself. Forced to participate in group therapy sessions, and eventually turned over to foster care, Jason finds himself surrounded by people who care. Suddenly, he can no longer hide the pain of his family under the cloak of anonymity. An unforgettable, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting story.
Some mature content.

Since I always get a pretty good book club haul, Crazy got added to the TBR pile and promptly forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. Damn. Eventually I started packing up books for the big move this month, and my TBR pile got dusted off. I decided to leave out a few books to read in the coming weeks and box up the rest. Crazy was added to the top of the list and I'm very glad it was.

Based on the blurb from Scholastic, I was excepting a story that would draw me in and keep me engaged. I am happy to say that Crazy did just that. Han Nolan did an excellent job of framing the story-- we begin the story with Jason, our protagonist, and the voices in his head. We become one of those voices and he addressed the reader as "You". Told from Jason's point of view (with a little help from his voices) we discover that he is invisible- or so he thought. 
Having a rough go of it, Jason is alone as he navigates through high school. His mom is dead and his dad is crazy. Literally. Jason begins to act out, subtly (and quite possibly, subconsciously) and gets noticed. His teachers are beginning to question and talk. Sent to "lunch sessions" with the school psychiatrist and a group of his peers, a series of events are set in to motion that he has no control over. Jason is suddenly on a self-discovery roller coaster, in high speed. He must learn to accept what is happening in his life right now, as well as come to terms with his past. Battling himself and those around him, Jason must learn to let it go and accept his life and help being offered.

Simply put: I loved this book. It took a bit of getting used to the 'voices' in Jason's head who popped in for a word here and there, but once I got over that, I was totally engrossed in the story. I thought that it was honest- it showed mental illness in a very raw form, along side the heartbreak that it causes within the family.  Nolan also did a phenomenal job of portraying real emotion. Jason and his friends- Shelby, Haze, and Pete- were often open and exposed throughout the story. Grief, fear, anger, joy, relief, confusion, guilt... the list goes on. I felt each emotion as I read the story. It was, as Scholastic said, heartbreaking and uplifting.
Crazy showed the inside of mental illness, 'the system', friendship, codependency, and the tough stuff in life. Unlike many YA novels that sugar coat such topics, Crazy was honest. Not everything in life is roses and fairy tales- and teenagers go through tough stuff too. Nolan showed that to readers in an appropriate but honest fashion. Crazy delivered, for sure.

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

Coming Soon....

Last week during Armchair BEA I discovered the blog Caribous Mom. Wendy hosted a bunch of great giveaways throughout the week, and I was lucky enough to win an ARC of The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos.

Well today I got a nice little happy package in the mail! The Green Shore arrived on my doorstep and I am eager to jump in. 

Many thanks to Wendy at Carious Mom for hosting this giveaway!

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

Blog Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop time over at Crazy-For-Books!

Today's question is:
Do you belong to a book club (IRL or online?)

Unfortunately, I don't. I really want to though. A few years ago I tried one at work (failed miserably- no one had time to read or meet up). 
There was a period of time when I ran a Bibliotherapy Group with my older students after school. It was quite successful, but the nature of the beast at a Residential Treatment Facility is population changes quickly so the group fizzled out after some discharges and a shift in age groups being admitted.

How about you? Hop over to Crazy-For-Books and link up!

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



My favorite #ReadingView of the week:
Fishing & reading on Sunday at Arctic Lake at Oquaga Creek State Park
I got a few nibbles while lakeside, reading Crazy by Han Nolan

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


Blog Hop

Ooops! I didn't post my Blog Hop yesterday... guess Armchair BEA stole me away!
This weeks question is:
If you were to write a book, what type of book would it be?

Oh this is an easy one for me. I would absolutely write an apocalyptic story (with a strong female lead)... and I doubt I would conclude it- I would probably leave it open to interpretation and most likely end on a realistic end-of-world moment and not a "woohoo we survived the apocalypse!" moment.

What about you? Hop over to Crazy-For-Books to link up & check out what other bloggers are saying!

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

Pin All The Things!

Ohh Pinterest... how I love you. How my housework hates you.
I can get lost into the world of pinning quite easily- although I am MUCH better now that the initial "holy awesomesauce!" has worn off.

I have 47 boards and am closely approaching 3000 pins. Yikes. In my defense- I have boards dedicated to my classroom (and I've used MANY of those pins), bookish things (duh.), food (with recipes I have actually made & loved), and lots of boards for house stuff (which I hope to put to good use when we close & move in to our home!).

3 of my bookish pinboards: Harry Potter // Bookish Stuff // Read Every Day

* My HP board is a collection of all things Harry Potter
* Bookish Stuff is an ecclectic collection of literary goodness
* Read Every Day is a visual collection of books I've loved (I plan to link up to reviews on Little Bird Reads with this board in the future)

I love pinning because I no longer have a million +1 bookmarks which get lost, or deleted... and worst of all, don't ever seem to transfer correctly from one computer to the next (let alone my phone).

During the course of my ArmchairBEA participation last week, I discovered so many wonderful new books. I started to jot them down. Then promptly lost the list somewhere between work and home. Shit! Now what? Well, the natural solution is to start ANOTHER pin board! I now have a TBR pin board to help me organize my pile/list of books. If you are a pinner, I'd love to see your bookish (and other) pinboards!

Happy Pinning!

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

Armchair BEA: all wrapped up

What an experience!

This year I participated in Armchair BEA for the first time.  I can remember being so very jealous of all the fun book bloggers were having at Book Expo America in past years, and while I still was a bit jellie, at least this year I found the next best thing! Armchair BEA provided me with a week of fun, information, networking, giveaways, and blogging excellence.
I feel like this was absolute PERFECT timing for me.  My blog had fallen to the wayside, but recently I have been desperately missing the blogosphere. In the past year, so much has changed about my life. It was in hyper-drive and blogging was not even on a back burner in my mind.
Armchair BEA gave me the boost that I needed. It reminded me why I blog and why I love it. It reminded me that my blog is just that- mine, and I can blog however I want. It reminded me that there is an entire network of wonderful people just waiting to discuss great books. I also just started tweeting and #armchairbea totally helped me learn the ropes there too! But mostly, it reminded me that blogging was an outlet that I have been missing.

Thanks for a wonderful week, Armchair BEA.  You guys are awesome. It was a great experience and I look forward to next year!

Thanks for the HaPpY DaNcE because I was one of the daily winners!

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


Ask the experts..

I am going to make this short & sweet...

My Ask the Experts question is:

How do you manage to keep up to date with your blog, the blogging networking, and your followers?

I feel like my blog always gets away from me... and before I know it, here it sits for months gathering dust on old and outdated posts.

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


Beyond the book...

Goodmorning fellow ArmChair BEA-ers!

I hope to read up today on all of your writing adventures outside of the book blogging world! Writing has definitely always been an interest of mine, but I have yet to really run with it. Maybe some of your posts will prove inspiring! Honestly, I think that if I had a hot pink old school typewriter at a pretty little nook in my house I would be MUCH more apt to write! Pretty little things inspire me....

...which leads me to my topic: beyond the blog.

Something that I have always been drawn to is photography. My mind seems to be wired to look for interesting images. I've had a beautiful Nikon DSLR for a few years now- but with the wonderful invention of good camera phones, instagram, and social media, I have been changing my photography style.  While I still look for beautiful images, I also photograph a lot of the daily bits and pieces of life. My instagram has become my new photo-journal. I am a bit obsessed with instagram- it is my visual representation of my daily goings-on. I imagine as time wears on, I will continue to incorporate more instagramed images on Little Bird Reads as well.
 Those of you with instagram accounts, I would LOVE you connect with you.  Click on my instagram icon (leads to my Gramfeed) and follow me- leave me a note and let me know who you are!

Here are a few of my favorites from recent weeks- these were all taken with  my camera phone... I'm at work, so I don't have access to my images I've taken with my Nikon.
Hope you like them!

Chain Pickerel that Barrett caught (and released) at Long Pond

Yesterday (Wednesday 6.6.12) at work- walking the loop

My Yellow Lab, Farley

Wet & rainy day- found this feather

My English Bulldog, Lily trying to get in the tub with me

Lily Potter again, when she was only 5 months old

One of the pink peonies that have bloomed in my backyard

Swing set at a public library in Pultney, NY

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


Networking.. IRL?

Hello ArmChair BEA-ers! 

Today's postings will be more of a learning experience for me... I must stay quiet on the local networking topic.. because I have done ZERO networking locally.  Help! I have no idea where to start or what to do (if I must be honest!) and would love to get some advice on networking in real life.  I desperately want to find local bookish friends. Once, a few years ago, I tried to start a book club at work- it was a gigantic flop- and I feel like that turned me off... so I'm really hoping that I get a lot out of browsing through today's postings.  This late-twenty-something girl needs some bookish advice!

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


Best of 2012

Hello fellow ArmChair BEA-ers!  How is everyone doing on this fine Tuesday morning?  I'm still busy plugging away at the good 'ol day job (teaching the pre-teen mind) and carving time during my prep to troll through all of your fabulous blogs!

Today is GIVEAWAY day over at ArmChairBEA and many other bookish blogs.  Since I am not hosting a giveaway, I'll be entering some favorites and checking out the BEA Giveaway scene.. hurry- go look!!

In addition to giveaway day, the topic of discussion is Best of 2012... with the year half over, I gotta admit that I am not near as impressed with my reading as I have been in years past. I have spent a good chunk of recent reading with some old favorites- rereading the Harry Potter series. Even though it is not new(or even new to me), I still have to say that Harry Potter always is on my best of list. I also reread The Hunger Games trilogy this year in anticipation for the movie.

As I look back at my reading so far this year, the majority is rereads or books relating to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. However, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs sticks out in my mind as a favorite.  I thought it was a very interesting book and truly enjoyed the images tucked throughout the pages. Vintage photographs have always enchanted me (I have a small collection of oddities from my antique store visits) and I think combining the images with the story was very innovative and intriguing- it pulled the novel together.

So.. what are your Best of 2012?

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



I'm obsessed with Instagram.
I'm obsessed with #hashtags
I'm obsessed with reading
I'm obsessed with taking pictures of what/where I'm reading

Lately, I've been using the hashtag #ReadingView
Then, I saw there were only TWO photos aside from mine tagged as such...
...which made me a bit sad.
So then I went and back-tagged my reading views since joining instagram.

And then I thought some more, and came up with an idea.

From here on out, I will be blogging my favorite Reading Views here.
I'm thinking a weekly round-up?... not sure what day- maybe every Monday (since my weekends tend to produce cooler reading views)

For now, let's start with my favorite Reading View of the past week:

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

Armchair BEA: Introductions First!

Hello Hello!  This is my first year participating in ArmchairBEA and this is my first post!  I'm busy working this week, but hope to get as much as possible out of this experience!  I'm really excited to join in Armchair BEA and meet new book bloggers.  Right now, I am trying to get back into faithful blogging- so this is a great place to start for me.

Moving on... to the interview!

1. A bit about me: Hi-hello-howareyou?! I'm Jenna and I have been blogging on and off since mid-2009. My life is busy and I haven't always carved out the time to blog (hence the on/off since '09) but am making a pointed effort to do so now! I began blogging mainly to keep my books, thoughts, reviews, and general ramblings in one place.

2. Currently Reading: Right now, I am rereading the entire Harry Potter series. I just started The Half-Blood Prince last week.

3. One non-book-related thing about me: Well, this is exciting to share as it was JUST finialized on Friday... I've purchased my FIRST home and am now waiting (not so patiently) for closing on the 18th of June. YaY!

7. If I could have dinner with any author.... I would spend an evening with JK Rowling. She is a woman that I would like to learn from.  Also, I'm curious about the entire Harry Potter empire- how it started & gained speed, how it changed her life... she is someone that I want to have a cup of coffee with.

10. Have my reading tastes changed since I began blogging?: I would say so... when I first started blogging I was reading a lot of books pertaining to psychology and psychiatry (reference, memoirs, fiction and non-fiction). I still love books relating to the field, but took a break- being immersed in it daily (due to my job) it was beginning to become overwhelming.  I grew into reading more dystopian and general fiction as I've progressed, as well as a healthy dose of YA. They were (and are) a bit of an escape for me.

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


Friday Reads

Happy Friday Reading!

Today I am continuing my rereading of the Harry Potter series.
I am now on Year 6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I'm at work so I won't be doing much reading until later this evening... but I hope to stop by throughout the day to check the #FridayReads tweets to see what everyone else is reading!

Happy Reading!

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