Friday, April 27, 2012

YA Kindle Freebies...

Hello all!
I have been browsing and found some promising FREE ebooks for the Kindle and wanted to pass them along! Here you go! (Click on the title to link to amazon)

by Courtney Cole

What would you do if you held fate in your hands?
Macy Lockhart is a normal girl with an abnormal bird-shaped birthmark on her wrist. She doesn’t even think twice about the odd marking until strange things begin happening to her and an anonymous gift is left on her doorstep… a beautiful, blood-red pendant. A bloodstone.
It isn’t long before she is surrounded by craziness… ancient high priests, visions and memories that she can’t explain. And that’s just the beginning. She quickly comes to the realization that the bloodstone wasn’t just given to her… it was returned to her. It has been hers all along, for thousands of years…

by KC Neal

Corinne lives an average teenage life working at her dad’s cafe, hanging out with her best friend, and trying to forget a falling-out with her almost-boyfriend Mason. Then she discovers she and Mason are haunted by the same dreams of a dark force that consumes everything in its path. Pursued by shadowy figures and a dangerous woman with secrets from the past, Corinne must find out who her grandmother really was. In her quest to unravel her family’s history, she learns she is destined to protect this world–and the dark world of her dreams. She races to find the answers she seeks before her nightmares break free.

by Megg Jensen

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she’s filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?

by Jess Petosa

In 2022, the United States commissioned a group of scientists to experiment with genetic mutations. Their goal was to create a serum that would alter the human genetic code, making the subject stronger and faster. They succeeded but their victory was short lived. Not only had they created a super serum, but also an airborne virus. By 2025, seventy-five percent of the world’s population had perished. The survivors, well their lives would never be the same.

175 A.V.

Ally is an Ordinary; a human immune to the virus. She lives in a settlement outside the City with her mother and twin brother, but lately it doesn’t seem to be enough. She is wrestling between being with her family and volunteering to move to the City, where she can work for the Exceptionals.

Luke is an Exceptional; a superior human being. His ancestors were infected with the virus and lived through it, leaving their super human strength and special abilities to him. He has never given much thought to Ordinarys, despite pressure from his father to choose one from the ORC. But all of that changes when he meets Ally…

by Heather Hildebrand

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And two, I was born to kill them. 

by J. Sterling

When Katherine Johns starts dreaming about a boy she doesn’t know, her college roommate Taylor is determined to find him. Convinced he must exist, Taylor is relentless… until she finds out exactly WHO the mysterious stranger really is.

The realization sends the girls down a path of unimaginable heartbreak as they learn how to navigate their new reality.

Follow Katherine & Taylor’s journey through love, friendship and tragedy in this emotionally captivating debut Young Adult novel.  

by Caitlyn Duffy

At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book.

When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out. He seems like a supportive authority figure (even if he's kind of a fashion tragedy) , but she is collecting a growing pile of evidence that he's a liar and a cheat. Her stepmother, Jill, can’t seem to decide if she wants to treat Taylor like a girlfriend or a nuisance. Having had no time to grieve and say goodbye to her childhood before being thrust into the limelight, Taylor is suddenly finding herself in situations she could have never imagined before this summer.
With no one else to turn to, Taylor falls head over heels in love with Jake, the teenage son of one of the band's touring groupies. Taylor has growing concerns about Jake's background and the suspicious relationship between his mom and her own father, but is desperate for something real in her life onto which she can build a future. When Jake offers Taylor an opportunity to join him on a whirlwind adventure and leave her problems with her father far behind, Taylor has to decide – should she carve out her own way in the world, or try to repair the relationship she has with her only living parent?

Over the course of the summer with the band, Taylor learns the depths of her own strength, the difficulty of overcoming loss, and that the definition of family means much more than shared bloodlines.

by Sarra Cannon

 In Peachville, even the cheerleaders have a dark side...

Harper Madison isn't like other girls. She has extraordinary powers, but her inability to control them has gotten her kicked from so many foster homes she's lost count. Shadowford Home for Girls is her last chance, and she hopes Peachville High will be the fresh start she needs.

But when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, Harper discovers this small town has a big secret.

Beautiful Demons is a fast-paced YA novel with magic, mystery, and a touch of romance. This series will appeal to fans of Pretty Little Liars, Hex Hall, and The Vampire Diaries.

And of course.... a classic!

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES collects the first twelve of these tales—including “A Scandal in Bohemia” (which introduces Irene Adler), “The Red-Headed League,” “The Five Orange Pips,” and “The Speckled Band”—some of the greatest stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon.

• Includes all 104 original illustrations by Sidney Paget done for the Strand Magazine
• A brief introduction
• Biography and selected bibliography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

After Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes in the novel A Study in Scarlet in 1887, he wrote a series of twenty-four short mysteries featuring the detective and his colleague, Dr. Watson, in the pages of the Strand Magazine from 1891 to 1893.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 472 pages

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

 Have you ever read a book and then walked away going, "Dang, I learned a lot from that!" when you never meant to? That is what I felt after I read Jennifer Donnelly's novel. History class gave me a tremendous knowledge base for so much, but reading about a character and having the author's research come to life is nothing that can compare to sitting in a lecture. Throughout this novel, I felt that I truly was living in the character's lives and experiencing all that they were. The emotions that Andi went through were gut wrenching and so very well written that readers can't help but feel her pain as it bleeds off of the page. Jennifer Donnelly has a way of sucking readers in and making them have an instant connection to the characters and their lives. 

I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer in Chicago at NCTE this year and was absolutely star struck. I had been reading this book on the plane and had no clue that she was going to be there. When I walked into the room and saw her, I couldn't believe it. It was fate!! Haha!! When she spoke to us about writing (on a panel with Neal Shusterman, no less) she talked about how the stories that her mother told her are what gave her the idea for this story and so many others. It made me want to go back and think about all the stories that were told to me as a child and find inspiration in them. If a novel like this one comes from it, then I need to run and do it now!! 

Happy reading everyone :) 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Leverage by Joshua C Cohen

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 425 

The football field is a battlefield

There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on - and off - the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy - including the most innocent bystanders.

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes. 

I have been branching out and reading books that I may not normally pick up and I am glad that I did with this one. I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time reading books like this because, well, I really don't know why. Maybe they are too real? That may not make sense. As a teacher I see the war of social classes everyday and as much as we all want to say that we had a great childhood and no one made fun of anyone... yeah right! Even within a seemingly similar group of people (the athletes in this case), there are things that separate even them. 

I love, love, love the accurate portrayal of the characters and the difficulties they face. I think that novels like this should be must reads for parents of preteens and teens because they give a glimpse of something that, unfortunately, many teens face today. There are so many books out there that people want to label as "controversial" because they deal with issues like teens facing the pressure of steroids or sex or whatever you want to fill in the blank with. Cohen has done an amazing job shining light onto this topic (in my opinion) and I have already pointed some of my students in the direction of this book... especially my male athletes. Great conversations will continue to come from this book. 

Oh and I could spend hours analyzing this novels cover. Don't you just love it?! It is so simple, yet so powerful! 

Happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction, YA Christian Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Paperback, 314 pages

Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She's witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.

She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will's travel journal. It's the place he felt closest to God, and she's hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.

Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She's the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.

Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?

Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she's been looking for has been with her all along?

I wanted a break from the fantasy/paranormal kick I have found myself in and boy did the Lord knew what he was doing when I picked up this one. I have to say that, as a Christian, I haven't found very many good books that are YA Christian fiction. Some are overbearingly religious (so much so that I am offended by them and others make me wonder why they were even placed in the genre). Jenny B Jones blows all of that out of the water. Her novel does an amazing job showing the true nature of a Christian no matter what their age is- that we struggle with things just as much as everyone else and even though we are believers, we still have times of distress.

Finley is dealing with the loss of her brother and believes that the way to put it all at peace is to go to his beloved Ireland during her senior year in high school through a foreign exchange program. Little does she realize that her life will be completely and utterly altered by her decision to do so. She meets Beckett Rush (teen heart throb) and vows that she will not fall for him or let him get in the way of discovering what God has in store for her. She relies on her brother Will's journal to show her the Ireland that he was able to feel God through. Along the way she meets the bitter Mrs. Sweeney and forms a bond with her that she could never see forming in the beginning. Throughout the novel, Finley was definitely alive and well in my head and heart. 

This is such a well written novel and I love the fact that the religious aspect of the book isn't overpowering and thrown in the readers face. It is such a wonderful portrayal of the real struggles that all teens face no matter who they are or what they believe.  

Visit Jenny here and check out her other books.  (She's a cool cat teacher too!!)

Happy reading everyone :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Genre: YA Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Hardcover,  432 pages

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 Karou has always known that her life was different than others, but she was fine with that. Growing up with what others would considers monsters as family members was normal to her and even though it has been an adventurous life, she still feels as if something is missing. Her sketches bring her comfort when she needs is as does her best friend, Zuzana. Her life begins to change when she goes on an errand for Brimstone and it lands her in the path of the mesmerizing Akiva. She knows that things are different with him, but is she truly ready to find the answers that have been haunting her? Is she ready to have her eyes opened to whom or what she really is? Only time will tell. 

I devoured this book. I am not sure what took me so long to pick it up. My only guess is that it was just waiting on the perfect time to land in my lap... and boy did it! The creativity of Laini Taylor simply astounds me. Creative writing is a passion of mine (personally and within my teaching career) and this has to be one of the greatest examples of just that... letting the creative juices flow. One of the things I really don't like about adult fiction is that it seems like the same plot is recycled. As a constant reader, I have started to see this happen with YA and it has started to stress me just a tad. This novel, however, is just what I needed to show that there are some uber creative authors out there continuing to break the mold! There were times when I was convinced I had it all figured out, and then I would turn the page and it was almost as if I could hear Laini laughing saying, "Haha... you just THOUGHT you knew what I was going to do, huh?" But that is what I loved most. The edge of my couch is worn out because I was sitting on it while reading this and my finger nails are chewed down. 

Now I am trying to figure out how I can get to her or the publisher before November when the second book comes out. I simply cannot wait that long! 

Happy reading everyone :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

Thanks to my pals Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts for hosting this meme! I had a very productive week last week and am looking forward to picking it back up this week where I left off. I think I finally have my mojo back! 

Last Weeks Book Adventures:
Legend by Marie Lu (reviewed here)
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (reviewed here)
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (reviewed here)
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Leverage by Joshua C Cohen
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones 
Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord
The reviews for some of these are posted and the others will be coming soon. My brain is swimming with so many great reads and possibilities of what to read next. If you haven't read Daughter of Smoke and Bone.... goodness gracious you need to! It is definitely my new favorite!! 
Upcoming Book Adventures:
 This needs to start with a disclaimer... I never know what I am going to pick off of my shelf to read, so these are subject to change! LOL! These are the ones that are currently piled up around me, so they are top contenders: 

Dead to You by Lisa McMann
The Everlasting Now by Sara Harrell Banks
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane 
Truce by Jim Murphy
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So what's on the menu for you this week? Make sure to head over to Jen and Kellee's blog to sign up and let me know in the comments! 

Happy reading everyone :)

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Genre: YA Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Hardcover, 323 pages
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime. (

Charlie lives in Ludania where her life has been decided for her simply because of the social class she was born into. The problem is, though, she knows that she is different than others. She can understand languages she is not supposed to and has to keep this a secret from all of those around her. When she meets the mysterious Max, her life is thrown into a new direction and what she thought she would never face. She quickly finds out that her life is going to change and that she is in for a bigger ride than she could have ever imagined. 

It is no secret that I love Kimberly Derting! She is an amazing author and super great pal (especially if you send her books she wants!!). This novel does exactly what her others have done to me... sucked me in and left me absolutely dying for more. I would love to get into her head and find just a little bit of her creativity and see where it could take me because based on this book... the possibilities are endless!  This novel leaves me drooling for more and with more questions than I started with even though some were answered along the way. Maybe I will get lucky and get the second book tomorrow in the mail... wishful thinking, right? 

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Genre: YA Fantasy, Horror
Publisher: Candlewick
Hardcover, 215 pages

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting — he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.

The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined. (

Conor is a boy who is struggling with the fact that his mother is dying. At thirteen, that is not something you are ready do deal with and as if that isn't enough, a monster has started visiting him nightly. Conor is forced to face not only an emotional monster but a physical one as well. 

One word comes to mind with this novel... genius! There is no way that five starts, stickers, lollipops or anything else could be enough for it. I was taken on a journey through every emotion possible while reading this and still get torn up after having read it three times. My good friend Kellee told me to read it and I had put it off for so long, but when I did pick it up for the first time, I knew there was a reason I hadn't read it yet. I wasn't ready. I still don't know that I am ready for it now! Maybe as an adult I have taken much more from the book than Patrick Ness anticipated, but I can see the same happening with my students. This amazing novel is one that I will be reading again and again... but only when I am ready.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Legend by Marie Lu

Genre: YA Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: Putnam Jubenile
Hardcover, 305 pages

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills. (

There is a great war going on between the Colonies and the Republic and though fifteen year old June thinks she knows where her loyalties lie, a series of events make her question everything she has ever known. Meanwhile, Day has lived his entire fifteen years on the opposite side of the tracks from June and knows more than anyone else what life against the Republic is like. When their paths cross, however, both are left questioning what they think they know and how they thought life would pan out.

This is one of those books I wish I had picked up earlier because I was missing out. I love that the genre of Science Fiction with the dystopian focus has blossomed and this is yet another great example of what has come from this literary trend. The characters, plot and setting that Marie Lu created in this novel are very well written and there is so much suspense at the end of this first in the series to leave you dying for more. There are so many things to love about the debut novel including the creative genius of having the flip flopping points of view throughout the novel and having those written in different fonts and colors. I loved that! Marie Lu definitely made her presence known with her debut novel and I can't wait to see where she takes us with the rest of this series!
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