Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sporty Saturday (1)

On Saturday's I am going to feature books that are all about sports! We are pretty big sports fans in our house and I know that many of my students and others are as well!!

I am going to start this off with a goldie oldie!! I read this book when I was in middle school and made sure that it was in my classroom library when I started teaching. It is by the legendary author Walter Dean Meyers who has so many books out there I can't even begin to list them!

The Outside Shot by Walter Dean Meyers is about a boy name Lonnie Jackson who leaves Harlem to take a basketball scholarship at a midwestern college. Lonnie has a lot riding on him because he knows that he has to work hard, keep his head on straight, and keep his record clean. He knows that this is his only chance of making it to the pros one day. Lonnie thinks that he is pretty smart when it comes to most things in life since he grew up in Harlem, but nothing could prepare him for the new pressures that he faces at his college so far from home. He now has tough classes, college ball (which is much different than high school ball), and temptations from local gamblers to fix some of the games. Lonnie has to learn a whole new set of rules for this chapter in his life. Along with learning the new rules and consequences of college, Lonnie has to learn the rules of Sherry, who is very determined to become a track star. Lonnie only has one year to prove that he can make it in the high stakes world of college ball in preparation for the pros. This is his outside shot at a future he so desperately wants.

Again, this is a goldie oldie but it is such a good read. It was published in 1986 and the message that it conveys through the story is still applicable today.

Find out more about Walter Dean Meyers and his books here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Win ASH by Malinda Lo

Today is the last day to win a copy of Ash by Malinda Lo. Make sure to enter here.

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday...books I can't wait to read hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

This one hits the shelves October 13th and I cannot wait!
Visit Becca's site to see the book trailer, playlist, and much more!!

How to Promote Your Book...

I am always looking for a good excuse to read and in helping you promote your book, we would both be in a winning situation. Whether you are an author, publisher, publicist, or spouse I would love to hear from you about the book as long as it is classified Young Adult, Teen, or would appeal to the teenage audience. My target audience are the teenagers and the focus of this blog is to promote literature to them after all!

I love being able to tell my students, teachers, librarians, and any random person I meet (seriously, I do this... ask my husband) about books new and old as well as posting reviews on my blog.

I would also love to have author interviews to post on the site. I would be able to do the interviews via email or phone and look forward to working with YA authors, publishers, and even spouses in this endeavor. A copy of the book does not have to be supplied prior to the interview, even though it would be niceJ! I

Guest bloggers are also welcome to post with us! As a person who knows way too much about way too little, I love to hear what authors, publishers and even spouses have to say about their normal lives outside of writing as well as their writing. If you are interested, the blogs can be between 200 and 1000ish words and can be about anything you would like it to be about. This is a wonderful way for you to show us a side that we may not normally see as an author!

I will also be having my students read and review books! If you would like for your book to be reviewed by a teen that can be arranged too!!

And last but certainly not least, who doesn’t love free stuff? I have found that whether it be in my classroom or in “real life,” the best way to excite anyone about a book is to offer free stuff!! If you are interested in offering books for contests or other items (posters, postcards, bookmarks, t-shirts, whatever) please consider me!! I plan on having monthly contests in a variety of fun formats so any items would be gladly appreciated. I will also be using some of them in my classroom and school throughout the school year as extra motivators for my students!!

If you have any other questions, concerns, or special inquiries, please email Jennie Smith at I will get back to you as soon as I can!

I can’t wait to hear from you and to show the world what great YA Literature is out there!!

Prophecy of the Sisters Book Trailer

I am currently reading this one and LOVE IT! Review will be up soon!!


more about "Prophecy of the Sisters Book Trailer", posted with vodpod

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Genre: YA Romance

Age Level: 7th grade & up

# of Pages: 240

Award Winner:

Publisher: Simon Pulse (April 24, 2007)

Lauren’s life seems perfect. She has the most popular guy in school pinning after her, she just got her first jazz band solo, she is doing great in school, and she and her best friend Katie have gotten seats at the coveted table at lunch. Lauren’s outside appearance of happiness is in total contrast of the inner turmoil that she faces daily. She isn’t happy and she can’t figure out why. As she analyzes her life she realizes that her boyfriend, Dave, is just a little bit too perfect and his ultra-religious parents only add to the misery. She wants to get away from the perfection in her life and move toward the happiness that she knows is out there for her. The only problem is, she doesn’t know how to gain that happiness without hurting people around her, especially Dave. She doesn’t want to be like her mother who left Lauren and her dad behind when she was little to pursue what she wanted. Yet after meeting Evan Kirkland, Lauren sees that passion and happiness are hers for the taking and that she can leave behind the safety and monotony that her life currently has.

Lauren and Evan quickly find that they have a connection that is on a much deeper level than that of any relationship she has had before and that both excites and terrifies her. She begins making decisions to pursue her happiness and in the mean time begins lying to everyone around her and losing those who are closest to her, especially her best friend Katie. Lauren is faced with the decision of going against what she has always known to avoid confrontation or following her heart, and Evan, and gaining the happiness that she constantly craves.

Bloom is a wonderful coming of age story as well as a powerful love story. The tile gives the reader a glimpse of what is to come in this story through Lauren’s voice. I love Lauren in this book because she is so relatable. She is funny, strong, well written character whose distinctive voice and likeability make this an easy read. This was one of those books that I read in a day because I just couldn’t put it down. Lauren deals with things that even adults deal with in life even though the circumstances may be different. We all want to be happy and Elizabeth Scott has done a wonderful job using Lauren to show how happiness isn’t always easy to come by. Scott is a wonderful writer and this being my first read of hers only excites me to see what else she has coming our way!!

Visit Elizabeth at

Trailer Tuesday (1)

Here are some cool book trailers that are floating around. Every Tuesday I will post a new trailer and let you know about the featured book. Today, I am making up for lost time and posting two!

The Hollow Jessica Verday Book Trailer

Coming soon to a bookstore near you!!

September 1, 2009

more about "The Hollow Jessica Verday Book Trailer", posted with vodpod

Elizabeth Scott - Love You Hate You Miss You

I haven't read this yet but I love Elizabeth Scott and her other books. Check out why she says she writes for teens! More to come today...


more about "Elizabeth Scott - Love You Hate You M...", posted with vodpod

(originally posted 8/24/2009)

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The Hollow 1

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Age Level: 7th grade and up

Hardback: 544 pages

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Other Info: This is author Jessica Verday’s debut novel and is the first in a trilogy of novels featuring Abbey and Caspian and the haunting intertwining of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

There is so much to say about this amazing novel that I don’t know where to start!! Abbey is a typical teenager except for the fact that her best friend, Kristen, recently vanished from the bridge near the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and everyone thinks that she is dead. Abbey doesn’t want to believe them because they haven’t found Kristen’s body. While seeming to fool everyone into believing that she is indeed mourning the death of her best friend, Abbey meets a series of people who begin to play more important roles in her life as she spends more and more time in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Caspian, a gorgeous and mysterious boy, shows up seemingly out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral and continues to show up and allows Abbey to explore emotions and feelings that she finds both exciting and frightening. While her relationship with Caspian blooms Abbey discovers that her best friend had been keeping major secrets from her, ones that could have changed both of their lives forever. Abbey feels betrayed by Kristen’s secrets and turns to Caspian who clearly has secrets that he is not willing to share with Abbey. She begins to feel that maybe she can come to some sort of understanding she discovers something that could easily break her façade and presents a major test when it comes to her love for Caspian and even her own well being. Abbey has to decide whether her new found love or her well being are more important in the grand scheme of things and realizes that her decision could change her life in more ways than one.

Seriously… I cannot wait for you all to get your hands on this book!! It is amazing and will have you hooked from the very beginning. I love it when an author reels you in and you become completely invested in a book so much so that you don’t realize that you are 400 pages into a book and dreading it coming to an end. I also love that it is going to be a trilogy because there were so many little things that were touched on in this novel that have me still reeling and wondering but I am going to have to wait to find out the answers until later. AHHH! That drives me nuts and makes me want to harass Jessica Verday (but I promise I won’t)!! I love, also, that she WROTE this entire book in notebooks originally… most of us are so stuck in the technology world that we forget the magic of pen and paper. Oh and another thing I love is that she is bringing back one of my favorite legends and putting a new spin on it! I am dying for the next book and hope that I get it early too!! I may have to get on my knees and beg… and believe me, with this book, I am NOT past that!!

The Hollow hits a bookshelf near you on September 1, 2009! Mark your calendars and GO GET IT!!! While you are waiting you can go to Jessica’s site and check out all the cool things she has going on and even read Chapter 1 of The Hollow!!

Happy reading all!!

(originally posted 8/5/2009)

Kristen Harmel On Teen Reading


Are you having trouble getting your teen to read? Author Kristen Harmel (When You Wish) gives some wonderful tips on how to get and keep your teens interest in reading! Check it out!!

more about "Kristen Harmel On Teen Reading", posted with vodpod

Welcome to the world Jaxon!

Chris and I welcomed our second child, Jaxon Alijah Smith, on Thursday July, 23, 2009! He weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 19 and 3/8 inches long. He is a happy, healthy little man and we are so blessed to have him in our lives. Kylie is a wonderful big sister and has been a great help with everything from feeding, changing diapers, and being such a love bug for her baby brother! DSC_0013

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

That Summer

Genre: YA Romance

Age Level: Young Adult

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Speak (May 11, 2004)

Award Winner:

• An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Other Info:

  • With Someone Like You, adapted into the motion picture How to Deal, released July 2003, staring Mandy Moore

Fifteen year old Haven thought that life was going according to plan until her dad broke the news that he was leaving for the local weather girl, who is only five years older than Haven’s older sister Ashley. Her parents’ divorce, father’s new bride and her sister’s upcoming wedding to a guy who she believes is all wrong sets her summer into one of complete chaos. She is quietly suffering through all of it and watching from the sidelines while everything around her falls apart. Her best friend comes back from camp with a new lease on life, a new boyfriend, and an idea of what love is which only adds to Haven’s skewed view of love. Add all of this together along with the fact that Haven is taller than everyone else she knows and is still growing which only angers her sister more as the bridesmaids dress has to be altered yet again. Haven feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere (literally and figuratively) and that the only good times she experienced were during the summer she and her family spent in Virginia Beach with her family and her sister Ashley’s then boyfriend Sumner. Haven spends the summer wondering if her life will ever get back to the happy times of that summer. When Sumner comes back into her life and seems to puller her from her suffering, she can seemingly see the light at the end of the tunnel. She begins to find out, however, that things happen behind closed doors and there are some secrets that should be left between the parties involved.

This book is yet another fun read that makes you think at the same time. Haven is trying to find out where she fits in within every aspect of her life and it causes her too look backwards and forwards at the same time. I love that Dessen has, yet again, written a book that is so relatable to teens and adults alike on many levels. Teens will be able to relate to Haven’s desire to fit in and find herself in the midst of chaos, and adults will be able to put the “Been There, Done That” hat on. This book isn’t you’re a-typical love story because your main character doesn’t fall in love in the book and yet it is because she finds out about love on many different levels and the effects that love can have on a person. She finds that love comes in many shapes and sizes and that it isn’t always something that you can depend on.

Now I am off to watch the movie that combines both of these (“How to Deal” staring Mandy Moore)!!! I will let you know how it is!!




(originally posted July 3, 2009)

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Someone Like You

Genre: YA Romance

Age Level: Young Adult

Paperback: 281 pages

Publisher: Puffin Books (May 11, 2004)

Award Winner:

• An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

• A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

• A Best Teen Novel of the Year

• Winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award 2000-2001

Other Info:

  • With That Summer, adapted into the motion picture How to Deal, released July 2003, staring Mandy Moore

The themes of teenage rebellion and first love are often over used in today’s young adult fiction. Dessen, however, takes those themes and gives them a fresh face in this novel. They are both moral issues that all teens face at some point and yet there are very few examples of them not being thrown into you face through literature in a cliché way. Halley has grown up with a therapist for a mother and a radio jockey for a father and has been the subject of her mother’s books and her father’s jokes on the radio for as long as she can remember. She had always valued her close relationship to her parents and enjoyed the summer vacations, late night conversations, and complete honesty with them. All of that changes the summer before her junior year in high school. That summer is when she begins to cut loose from her parents and truly discover who Halley was, not who her parents wanted her to be or expect her to be. She and her best friend, Scarlett, spent the first half of the summer hanging out with Ginny Tabor who was "a cheerleader with a wild streak a mile wide and a reputation among the football team for more than her cheers and famous midair splits" and that is when things began to change. Halley dumps her bland boyfriend, Noah, and she and Scarlett set out to change. And change they did. Scarlett was the opposite of quiet, reserved Halley and provided the balance that she needed in order to find herself. When Scarlett and Halley started hanging out with Michael, they had no way of knowing how drastically their lives were going to change. Two months after Michael was killed in a motorcycle accident, Scarlett finds that she is pregnant with his baby and Halley finds herself becoming deeply involved with his best friend Macon, a rebellious boy who her parents have forbidden her to see. Halley and Scarlett are finding themselves walking the line between childhood and adulthood and lean on each other for the support they so desperately need instead of their families. This is a wonderful coming of age story that takes Halley and Scarlett through pregnancy, drugs, alcohol and sex all the while helping them both to find out who they truly are deep down, and not who they are according to their parents, their friends, or even each other.

The characters in this novel are fully developed and the conversations, situations, and outcomes don’t fall into the cliché category at all. I read this book in a day and loved every second of it. I found myself pulling for Halley and Scarlett throughout their turmoil and joy. I found the book very relatable because all teens go through a soul searching period and I could relate to what the girls were dealing with in the larger scheme of things. I highly recommend this book and I am definitely going to be checking out more of Dessen’s books in the future. Her writing is very fluid and was very easy to follow and get sucked into. Check out my store for this book as well as others! I have already started another book so I hope to add it soon! Enjoy!



(originally posted July 1, 2009)

Lined up and ready to go!!


I started going through books that I haven't read today and getting the ones together that I have read over the last few months. I have come across some really good finds and I am so pumped about all of this. I have also gotten my toes (not quite the whole foot yet) in the door with some YA publishing companies and am in contact with them about some more potential finds! This is all thanks go my good friend Alex Malerba who is recommending good ones and helping me make some awesome contacts! Thanks Alex :) I am running into a slight problem now... well, I don't know that it is a problem per say but... there are too many stinkin' good books out there that I am interested in! I have a list going and it seems that everytime I go to look at Amazon or start chatting with someone I hear about another one! Again, not so sure that is a bad problem! I guess since my birthday is in 10 days I am just going to have to BEG for giftcards to Books A Million!! (hint, hint)

I have a few reviews that I am working on now and will start posting tomorrow. If you have any books that you want me to check out or that are on summer reading lists let me know! My list can grow a little bit more... hehe! Summer is here and I will have time before bambino number 2 arrives in July and maybe a little time in between feeding and napping after. I'll see you soon!



(originally posted June 21, 2009)

And We're Off...

I have had this idea in mind for quite some time and only now do I feel confident enough to do it. I have been picking my friend's brain about this process and am ready to get started! As an English teacher, I struggle to get my students reading... especially because I teach 8th grade and we all know that teenagers don't want to read on a normal basis!! On this site I will be reading a variety of novels and reviewing them. I will focus on Young Adult Literature since that is the audience that I come in contact with on a daily basis. I have a small stack of books now and am working my way through them. I hope that this site will give young adults an idea of the great novels that are out there and excite them about reading. If you have any recommendations please let me know! I have two that I have already read and am working on the reviews now. Hopefully this will lead to bigger and better things in the world of literacy for me (possibly writing... who knows?)! Under my links will be the store that I have set up so that you can purchase the books I have read and reviewed with a simple click of your mouse! Thanks in advance for the support and I can't wait to see how this goes!!



(originally posted June 17, 2009


I am currently moving everything to this site from my other site so please be patient! ;)

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