Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates

Shades of Atlantis

Carol Oates

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Pages: Paperback 307

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Since the death of their parents, Triona Pryor and her brother, Ben, have lived with their aunt and uncle in Camden, Maine. Now in her senior year of high school, Triona loves her family and friends, but she has always felt that she didn’t quite fit in…in Camden, or anywhere else.

Enter Caleb Wallace, the devilishly handsome man who has recently moved to Triona’s small town. While their attraction to each other is instantaneous, it also proves to be dangerous…and deadly.

When tragedy strikes, Triona flees to London for solace and to start her life anew. It’s there she discovers from an unlikely source that her family has been keeping secrets from her – secrets about not only her birthright, but her ultimate destiny as well. Armed with this knowledge, Triona finds herself thrown into a whole new world and into a battle to save the lives of everyone she loves.

Yet another great publication from Omnific! The originality of the plot, characters, and the world that Carol created complete sucked me in from the beginning. I am glad that I got this debut in just in time for my debut challenge and am glad to say that it is easily one of my top books for this year. Carol’s creativity of the Celtic myths was just what those of us who are stretching our creative writing brains need… and those of us who simply love to get swept away in a world completely believable and tremendously imaginative.

My cousin and best friend are red heads and both have often said to me that there aren’t many good books out there with strong red headed females. Well Manda and Rachel, this one is for you (and all you other strong red heads out there)! Triona is the kind of girl we all secretly hope to be. She lost her parents at a young age and went with her younger brother to live with her aunt and uncle. She has a determined personality and a past that she is slowly coming to realize is far more complicated than she could have ever imagined. When the hottie Caleb moves into town, Triona doesn’t think much of it because she considers herself plain but is completely shocked when he shows interest in her. As they fall in love seemingly immediately, they quickly find that their destinies are more entwined than they could have ever imagined.

Readers will find themselves traveling from America to London all through Triona’s eyes and living right with her as she finds out more about her past, her parents and her future. Seeing as I have never been to many of the places Triona mentions, I found that Carol did an amazing job describing even the little things so that I could (quite literally) see it through Triona’s eyes. I love that Triona had two equally impressive men vying for her attention who were vastly different. It was easy to fall in love with all of the characters throughout the novel and feel the raw emotions they were dealing with.

This wonderful debut needs to join the rest of the amazing books you have on your shelf… and not just as a decoration! Carol’s creativity of a brand new world, description of her characters, and enticement within the plot will have you sucked in from the very beginning and you won’t put it down until you are done. Then, if you are like me, you will send emails begging her to write more!

For more about Carol, visit her HERE.

Purchase your copy of this amazing novel HERE.

Even better... fill out THIS FORM for a chance to win a copy of Shades of Atlantis of your very own! Good luck and happy reading!

Monday, November 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (38)

Thanks as always to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting this MME :) Here's what I got this week. I have tons more with all of my NCTE greatness... but I will save that for a later date. Make sure to let me know what you got this week!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you are all having a wonderful thanksgiving and aren't stuffing yourselves too much.... because we sure have!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Genre: YA Paranormal

Pages: Hardcover, 454 pages

Publisher: Philomel (October 19, 2010)

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

For those who know me well, you know I am not a big fan of werewolves and the like. With that being said, I was excited about this book. I had heard great things about it and was definitely interested. I can now amend my statement to say, “I only like Andrea’s wolves.” She has done an amazing job creating her own idea and world of wolves. In hearing her speak this week, it was refreshing to hear her say that she didn’t like werewolves so she created her own ideas and worlds. I love that.

The story of Calla Tor is one that will resonate with many. She is searching for herself and trying to understand what she is really meant to do in a world where everything has been spelled out for her. Her life hasn’t been her own since she was born and she had grown to accept that fact; she didn’t necessarily like it, but she accepted it. When Shay Doran came into town though, her whole being was thrown off. She knew that something was pulling them together and being able to see how she tries to work through the history she has been told and the knowledge that she finds proves to be a little more than she can handle.

I loved this story from start to finish and the originality of the world completely sucked me in from the beginning. So many times authors take what someone else has done and try to tweak it to make it their own. I love that Andrea didn’t do that… she just created it the way that she wanted it. The plot and characters were beautifully written and leave you waiting for more as you’re reading and especially when you get to the end of this wonderful debut novel. The second installment of this series, Wolfsbane, will be out in July 2011 and I am so ready for it!

Check out Andrea’s site HERE for more information about her and the series!

Reflections from NCTE... part 1

I haven't a clue where to start with this trip. It was a once in a lifetime trip that I will always remember and I definitely plan on going next year to Chicago! I went with the hint that great things were going to come from it, but I had no clue what all that would entail. I have tons of things to say about the things that I learned and will have one whole blog post on Heather Brewer, Andrea Cremer and Melissa de la Cruz's session on "Why YA Books Relate to Today's Teens." That session blew me away.

I have to tell this story because it was a fan favorite at the conference and when I called home. When my husband dropped me off at the air port there was a lady in front of me checking in with a smaller bag. I thought it looked like the bag that Jessica Simpson carried her dog in but didn't think anything of it. I didn't know that you could take a dog on a plane... I was sure they would have to be crated! Oh no... there was a little white dog in her bag. I looked at my husband and said, "Great! She is going to be in the seat with me and the dog is going to yap the whole way." Well when I got on the plane, she walked right by me and I was so glad! Somehow, I lucked out and didn't have a seat partner on the plane. As we made it to cruising altitude I noticed that the lady beside me was pulling up her bag and didn't think much of it. A little while later I looked over and saw this...

Yes... you are seeing that right! Another dog, only this one was OUT OF THE BAG! The lady had it out and was petting it. My eyes just about popped out of my head and the only thought I had was... "What is this? Noah's ark?" The flight attendant saw my face and made her way back to me and I couldn't help but cut my eyes at the lady across the aisle. Needless to say she was told to put up the dog and made a big fuss about how she had to put it back up. Good lord. I couldn't help but laugh. At that point, I knew it was going to be an interesting trip!

I made it to Orlando and found my way through the Orlando International Airport in great time. I made it to the Coronado Springs Resort and met up with Kellee and Paul for dinner at the House of Blues that night and it was great to listen to stories and share laughs before the wonderful madness of the conference. To say I was overwhelmed when I was able to see what all this conference entailed would be the understatement of the century. The exhibition hall didn't open until late in my mind, but I am glad that I was able to have a bit to look around and get my bearings on what I wanted to do. There were so many amazing sessions to go to and I had to decide which ones to attend. Overall, I think I made the right decisions in each and every one of them. I have lots to say about those as well and that will come later too!

For now, here are some highlights of the conferences:

- I met some amazing YA authors including Andrea Cremer, Maggie Steifvater, Ellen Hopkins, Heather Brewer, Melissa de la Cruz, Gary Paulsen, Adam Rex,

** This is my favorite part... right here.... read it!! Be jealous!!
When I was waiting in line to chat with Ellen, I had my books in hand and was getting pretty excited. I walked up to her (with millions of little butterflies in my tummy) and then she spots me! She looks right at me and says... "You're Jennie Smith!" and I just about DIED!! Ellen Hopkins knew me! It was surreal and it made my day :) Thanks Ellen for being amazing!

- I met some great professional authors and fellow teachers like Ruth Ayres, Stacey Schubitz, Penny Kittle, Donalyn Miller and Linda Rief

- I got to hear Linda Reif drop the "F-bomb" in the most hilarious story I have ever heard... and will share with others because it is too funny.

- I came out of that conference with so much knowledge and so many wonderful ideas to take back to my school that it is taking me this long break to process. I can't wait to implement the ideas and incorporate the things that I have learned into my classroom!

- I have some amazing books to read and my ARC pile is overflowing with the love from the book companies and publishers. I can't wait to read them all!!

- And last but not least, I was able to spend time with my family and got to play Battleship with my sweet cousin Eli. I also got some great books from my Uncle Jim to read also and can't wait to dig into them.

I will definitely have more to post on all of this later but right now I am still trying to catch up on sleep and I am not feeling too well! I have some reviews that need to be typed up too... gotta stop being so dang lazy! Have a great night everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In My Mailbox (37)

Thanks as always to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting this MME. Make sure to let me know what you got this week too. I am looking forward to a great week for many reasons but the main one is that I will be attending the NCTE Conference this week in Orlando, FL. There are going to be many great authors there including Ellen Hopkins, Andrea Cremer, Melissa de la Cruz, Carrie Ryan, Holly Black, Becca Fitzpatrick, Heather Brewer, and so many more! I absolutely cannot wait. If any of my other teacher/blogger pals are going let me know so that we can meet up! I will be posting this week to let you know what great things I learn and who I run into. Make sure to follow me on twitter too for instant updates! (@jenniesmith)! Now... on with the mailbox goodies!

Books mentioned:

Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray
Andy Shane and A Very Bossy Delores Starbuckle by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Goal by Mina Javaherbin
Say Hello by Jack and Michael Foreman
You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman
Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice by Ruth Ayres and Stacy Schubitz

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto


Alexandra Adornetto

Reading Level: Young Adult

# of Pages: Hardback 496 pages

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (August 31, 2010)

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings.

But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

My students will tell you that I am in LOVE with this cover. I talk about it all the time. Sometimes we, as readers, are left wondering what it has to do with the book… but that is not the case with this one. The cover is what makes us want to pick a book up and this one has done its job. I even have some of my students who went to buy it because they loved the cover too!

I was amazed and intrigued throughout this book with the concept of angels coming to earth to do their part in ridding it of evil even in the smallest ways. The story was beautifully written and kept me on my toes throughout the read. Beth and Xavier’s love is pure and not a product of society. I love that. There is no pressure from them to be the couple that everyone wants and expects them to be because they have found love in the purest form and refuse to conform to society. The introduction of evil causes great problems in their peaceful existence, but they overcome it in the best possible way.

I went into this book knowing a few things… it was about and angel, it was written by a 17 year old and it was part of a series. I came away from this book loving the story, being amazed and inspired by this 17 year old, and beyond ready for the next one. I think that Alexandra wins for making me drool for the next one more than any book I have read recently!! This one is going strait onto my classroom shelf and I guarantee it will not be on there long. Great read!!

Here is a great interview with Alexandra that lets us know more about her and her writing... check it out!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Realease Day Ruth and Stacey!!

Today is a very special day for two people whom I have grown to admire and appreciate more and more as this school year progresses. If it weren't for these two ladies, my classroom wouldn't be the same. They have helped me work through trying to set up my classroom and know what to teach when and Ruth has been my sound board for many things (and it's just November!!). I am BEYOND excited that I will be meeting and hearing them speak in a matter of weeks at NCTE in Orlando, FL.

These amazing ladies have written a book that is going to revolutionize the Writer's Workshop as we know it. For those of us who spend hours on end (and no I am not exaggerating here people) on their blog looking through ideas and advice... we now have it in one place. Their first book, Day by Day, is being released today and hopefully mine will be here shortly!

Here is a little bit about the book:

Have you ever wanted your own personal writing coach to help improve your teaching of writing? How about two personal writing coaches? In Day by Day, Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres, creators of the popular blog Two Writing Teachers, guide you through the trials and tribulations of a whole year of writing workshop.

Day by Day is organized around six fundamental components of writing workshop -- routines, mini-lessons, choice, mentors, conferring, and assessment. Each component is broken down into ten-day sections. Each section includes a detailed discussion, a challenge that teachers can apply immediately, and questions to help teachers assess the process to see what went right, what went wrong, and, most importantly, why.

Ruth and Stacey also provide daily encouragement, support, practical strategies, tips, advice, and everything you need to run an effective writing workshop that meets the needs of all the different writers in your classroom.

If you are like me and can't wait to get your hands on it, you can preview the book online HERE until you do! Congrats you lovely ladies on a job well done! See you in a few weeks!

Monday, November 1, 2010

And the winner is...

Thanks to all who entered my Clockwork Angel giveaway. I had a great number of entries for this one and using random.org our winner is the lovely

Myspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace Glitter Myspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace Glitter Myspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace Glitter

Susan is the author of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit which is her debut YA novel and you can visit her great site Ink Spells here!!

Susan... check your email!! Keep your eyes and ears ready for some great things to come ladies and gents! Have a great week!

Blog Design by Imagination Designs
Graphic by Giftseasonstore