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SEERS by Heather Frost

For Kate Bennett, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes — and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

 I could not put this book done. 
I love the take on auras and guardians.
I found myself rooting for Kate and Patrick. 
Good, clean, fast-paced book.
Everyone has a color surrounding them, telling of their emotion. Kate can see it. She can see happiness, jealousy, anger. (I think it's a great way to read a person. Think of the possibilities of helping a relationship! You don't have to wonder what the boy you like feels about you.)
Patrick is different (and gorgeous, of course). His aura is silver. That's it. It freaks Kate out and she wants nothing to do with the new kid. I was hooked, wanting to know if Kate and Patrick ever trusted …

Savvy Saving by Melissa Jennings & Shelley King

Working to stretch your budget? With their expert coupon strategies, menu planning, and other household management skills, Stockpiling Moms are the answer! Straight from their award winning blog to your hands and home, they've compiled their best loved tips and tricks just for you. They know what it takes to live a frugal lifestyle within a budget, and now you can too!

Great book with lots of resources, websites, tips, ideas and secrets for couponing, food storage and stretching your budget.
This is a good book for starting off the new year and keeping your goals of doing better financially or getting your food storage stocked. While I'm not into major couponing I have found using them has helped me save $$, especially now that stores are doing double coupons. 
I use a weekly menu service that prints out my recipes and shopping list. I save a lot of time and money doing this.
These ladies have a blog that's worth reading also: stockpilingmoms.com.
The book was easy to re…

Love Twelve Miles Long by Glenda Armand

First line:
"This was a special night."

Great story about Fredrick Douglas and his mother, both slaves on different plantations. His mother walked twelve miles to see her son. Each mile had a special meaning.
The beautiful pictures help convey the story.

Rating: PG
V: No
S: No
L: No

5 STARS


THANKS to NetGalley for letting me read it!

Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure by Naomi C. Rose

Tashi loves listening to Popola, her grandfather, sing Tibetan chants to the click, click of his prayer beads. She also loves hearing Popola s stories about the village in Tibet where he grew up. But recently Popola has been sick, and Tashi is worried. One of the stories Tashi remembers tells how people in Popola s village use flowers to help themselves recover from illnesses. Will this healing tradition work in the United States, so far from Popola s village? Determined to help Popola get better, Tashi recruits family, friends, and neighbors in a grand effort to find out. Lyrically told and illustrated with impressionistic paintings, Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure shines a tender light on the universal bond between grandchild and grandparent. Readers of all ages are sure to be inspired by the gentle power of this story and its spirit of compassion and community.


First line:
"I love being with Popola while he sings Tibetan chants."

Beautiful story. Prett…

Choose the Right by Kimiko Christensen Hammari

Crazy days mean no time to plan family nights. With Choose the Right, all your Family Home Evening lessons are done for a whole year, complete with activities, games, scriptures, songs, challenges, and a CD-Rom with printable handouts! Not only are the lessons fantastic but they correlate with the 2012 Primary topics and lessons. Spend quality time with your children as you make family night the best night!

Great Family Home Evening help! 
The lessons are easy to understand and teach. 
The activities are tied well to the lessons.
A challenge at the end of each lesson helps the family really learn what the lesson taught.
Perfect for children and teaching how to Choose the Right. 
My kids love to teach FHE lessons so this is a great asset for my family.





Irena's Jars of Secrets by Marcia Vaughan

Irena Sendler saved thousands of Jewish children from extermination during WWII. I wish we all knew her amazing story.
Irena proves that one person can make a difference!
This is a beautiful picture book with a beautiful message to read out loud to your family.

First line:
"On a cold February day in 1910, a baby girl was born to a Catholic family in a small town near Warsaw, Poland."

Rating: PG
S: No
L: No
V: references to Gestapo soldiers and killing of Jews

4 1/2 STARS (only because there weren't enough pages to do Irena justice and now I want more about her)

THANKS for NetGalley for the copy I read. It's one that's worth buying for my personal library.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.


First Line:
"Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom."


Wow. Good, clean, amazing story.
Loved …

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Illustrated in black-and-white. This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked "Which," Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the "impossible" mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom.

First line:
There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself--not just sometimes, but always."


If you like words and playing on words, this is the book for you! Funny, clever, sensitive and never dull, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH is a great read. I laughed out loud several times, had to reread a few lines and paragraphs to catch the idea and enjoyed the story to the very end. 
Excellent book for elementary kids.


Liked: 
Pretty much everythin…

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies
.

First line:
"Aren't Fridays suppose to be good?"

Ohhh! Love the story!
Londan Lane suffered a traumtic event that affected her long term memory. Every morning at 4:33, her brain wipes clean and she starts over. Except for the fact she can see t…
"Because sometimes you've got to think about more than your own safety! Sometimes you've got to think about the greater good! This is war!" — Harry Potter from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pg. 568)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.


First line:
"My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something."

Interesting plot. Great characters. Good dialogue. Loads of mystery/intrigue.
Mara has PTSD and hallucinations. Her family moves to another state to help her get a new start after her friends are killed.
Noah is the local newbie, bad boy from England. Mara wants to stop the hallucinations and reluctantly accepts Noah's offer to help. Mara makes one other friend at school, a boy named Jaime. He keeps Mara sane (if that's possible) and smiling (me too!). There are the typical cheerleader/jock bullies. The main one i…

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

In this chilling beginning to The Wolves Chronicles, two little cousins are left in the care of an evil governess. They escape and travel 400 miles to London with their friend Simon and his geese.
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.



First line:
"It was dusk--winter dusk."

Intrigue. Evil governess. One goose boy. Two mistreated girls. Three different adventures. Wolves within as well as outside
Thus is the tale of Bonnie (rich girl) and Sylvia (poor cousin) as their lives intertwine and their adventures begin.
Some of the aspects of the story were a little hard to believe. Three children travel 400 miles on their own?

What I liked:
Bonnie & Sylvia
Bonnie's courage
Simon
The story
Characters growth

What I didn't like:
Some aspects of story
Convenience of some good things happening

Rating: PG
S: No
V: scary adults
L: No

4 STARS

25% test (p.45):
"...marched up the stairs and along the passages to the nursery. Sylvia followed, her heart swollen with compassion. She long…

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

First line:
I say, "I can't believe you're really here."


Fun summer read. I often wondered about the people who go to the beach house for the summer. Parties, pools, beach, suntans and cute boys.
This story deals with all of the above plus divorce, death and love. Quick, summer read.


What I liked:
Each character's growth
Belly understanding everything about summer isn't glamour…

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperat…

Author interview with Cindy Bennett

Give us your elevator pitch: Geek Girl is a contemporary young adult novel about a teen Goth girl who bets her friends she can turn a geek boy bad. She soon finds that hanging out with a geek isn’t such a bad thing.

Do you have a snack you eat while writing? I always have ice water and I almost always have Hershey’s dark chocolate to munch on.

Do you have trouble with distractions while writing? What are they? Games on my phone. It’s terrible but as soon as I feel the slightest writers block I pull the ‘Droid out and start playing games.

How do you combat distractions? I try to put the phone down (lol) and then close my eyes for a minute while I try to get back into my characters head. I picture what point I want to get them to in the scene then start writing them to that.

Do you eat or listen to music while writing? I sometimes eat while writing if it’s lunchtime or something, but usually it’s hard to eat while typing. I only listen to music if I’m looking for a particular mood for a scene an…

Geek Girl by Cindy Bennett

"Think I can turn that boy bad?" 17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even-ugh!-bowling. To truly belong with him-and with her new foster family-she must first come to terms with her violent past.

Authors note: Geek Girl has been optioned by Cedar Fort Publishing, and is therefore currently unavailable. It will become available again in December, 2011. Thanks to everyone who has asked about it, and want to know when it will be available!


First line:
"Think I could turn that boy bad?"

Girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy again. This is the basic plot behind GEEK GIRL but it's sooo much more!
Jen is in the foster care system and deals with it by being emo with a crowd of emo friends who like to party. Out of boredom, she bets her friends she can &quo…

Intrinsical by Lani Woodland

Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara s…

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming
.

First line:
"Daddy said, "Let mom go first."


Interesting, creepy, claustrophobic story.
First off, I can't imagine being on a spaceship for fifty years let alone hundreds. C…

Finding Hope~Where to Look for God's Help by S. Michael Wilcox

When life's challenges seem overwhelming, where can you turn for help? In this newest volume of the Time Out Classics series, author S. Michael Wilcox offers a profound message of hope and encouragement. Using powerful stories from the scriptures, he teaches that hope can be found in looking past obstacles and moving forward with faith, in looking back at past experiences that may have strengthened us for future challenges, and in looking for times when the Savior walks with us. On those days when we may wonder if Heavenly Father has forgotten us, we have the assurance that each of His servants will receive "the light of the countenance of their Lord . . . every man in his hour and in his time and in his season." And although it may not be your hour now, He will come because He is aware of us, He knows our needs, and He will bless us.

First line:
"  God spoke to the great prophets of the Old Testament in some rather unique ways, most of them deeply visual.…

Princess Academy Sequel! Squee!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMSBURY CHILDREN'S BOOKS TO PUBLISH THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED SEQUEL TO THE NEWBERY HONOR WINNER AND BESTSELLING NOVEL PRINCESS ACADEMY
To be published August 2012

"Shannon Hale's books blow me away. When I read them I get lost in the magic—her stories are magic."
—Stephenie Meyer

Ever since the publication of Princess Academy in 2005, fans and booksellers have been clamoring for a sequel. Now, Bloomsbury is delighted to announce the Fall 2012 publication of the as-yet-untitled second Princess Academy book.

The new novel picks up where the 2006 Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy left off. Miri and a few of the academy girls travel to the capital city of Asland to help the princess-to-be. But while continuing her studies, Miri befriends some other students who seek to overthrow the crown. Torn between her friendship with the princess and her belief in her new friends' daring ideas, as well as an old love and a new crush, Miri st…

Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

The magical, secretive society of JANITORS will sweep the country in the fall of 2011. Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it s draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve year- old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy Gullible Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. Who can Spencer and Daisy trust and how will they protect their school and possibly the world? Janitors is book 1 in a new children s fantasy series by debut novelist Tyler Whitesides. You ll never look at a mop the same way again.


First line:
"Spencer shifted the papers on his school desk and looked for a hundredth time at the graffiti in the corner."


I read Tyler's book to my kids at bed…

YA Book Award~by teens for teens

Here is the list of the TEN winners:

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic) Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster) I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins) The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin) Matched by Ally Condie (Penguin) Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Company) Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (HarperCollins) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins) Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Penguin) I've read SEVEN of these YA books. How many have you read?
Here is a list of 25 YA nominations (have you read any of them?):
Bachorz, Pam.Drought. Egmont USA. 2011. (978606840160). Beam, Cris.I Am J. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2011. (9780316053617). Beaudoin, Sean.You Killed Wesley Payne. 2011. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. (9780316077422). Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier.Zombies vs. Unicorns. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books. 201…

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has traveled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of de…

Splendor by Anna Godbersen

As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.
Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.
In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade…

Oops! National Book Foundation Unveils SIX YA finalists

Have you read this article? I would like to have my book accidentally picked as a finalist!

National Book Foundation


Have you read any of the six books? I've only read CHIME

Envy by Anna Godbersen

In this sequel to Rumors, novelist Elizabeth Holland returns to the inner circle of New York's Gilded Age upper crust. Gramercy Park society watchers quickly notice that differences appear to be simmering between Elizabeth and her sister Diana. Meanwhile, troubles are also festering between celebrated newlyweds Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker. Apparently, the stately brass doors of Manhattan's 400 conceal more tumult than the general public suspects. Silk gowns and scandals.

Another book in The Luxe series. And another book I couldn't put down. I had to finish it!
The characters seems more real this time. This book is the one I felt was the high point of everyone's lives, getting what they want. But wait! There's one more book in the series so the high must be setting us up for some loses.
  While the lives of the rich and mean are interesting to watch, the little voice in my head asks why no one is paying the consequences?

Rating: PG 15
S: yes not graphic
L: …

Rumors by Anna Godbersen

After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry
Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind—including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to
The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal...or more precious than a secret. 


Fist line:
Prologue
I have just been invited to a most secretive, but assuredly most elaborate, celebration in Tuxedo Park sponsored by on the Manhattan…

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

In the self-contained world of young Gilded Age Manhattan socialites, Elizabeth and Diana Holland reign supreme. Or so it seems. Scratch the surface, though, and you can detect festering jealousies that threaten to topple them. Elizabeth suffers a more literal fall when her carriage overturns and she is carried away by the swift East River current. That's only the beginning of the action and suspense in The Luxe, the launch volume in a teen series by Anna Godbersen.
First line:
"Prologue
On the morning of October 4, 1899, Elizabeth Adora Holland--the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Edward Holland and his widow, Lousia Ganesvoort Holland---passed into the kingdom of heaven."

I had a hard time putting this book down due to the intriguing characters, mystery and writing.
Yes, this book has a prologue and I like it. The prologue set up the place, time, characters, possible goals and society. The prologue is also set in the future to give the reader a few clues (or to th…

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.
Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?
The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future …

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

From one of the all-time bestselling authors of science fiction and fantasy writing comes an excellent resource for beginners or pros. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card covers topics such as the creation of worlds and alien societies and the use and rules of magic, topics specific to the genre. Learn creative science fiction and fantasy writing from one of the masters.


I don't know why it took me so long to get to this book. I love to learn more about this craft I've chosen. Card teaches The Mice Quotient: "All stories contain four elements that can determine structure:

Milieu
Idea
Character
Event

While each is present in every story, there is generally one that dominates the others.
Which one dominates? The one that the author cares about most. this is why the process of discovering the structure of a story is usually a process of self-discovery. Which aspect of the story matters most to you? That is the aspect that will give you your sto…