Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday....All our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays
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"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I love books about time travel, so I have this one on my list to read.  What book is on your "hold" list?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels or Series

Best Sequels Ever!

I am beginning to get tired of the trilogy format in Teen literatures, but there are several series I am compelled to continue reading.  Here are my favorite series:
1.  Harry Potter (I've read them several times) by J. K. Rowling
2.  Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3.  Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis
4.  The Selection/The Elite by Kiera Cass (best covers!)
5.  Divergent/Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  Allegiant is out October 22!
6.  Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley (not teen, but great for mystery lovers)
7.  Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.  Days of Blood and Starlight was the 2nd, and the third, Dreams of Gods and Monsters is due out April 2014.
8.  All These Things I've Done, Because it is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin
9.  Matched, Crossed, Reached by Ally Condie
10.  Cross My Heart, Heart of Glass by Sasha Gould (mystery and historical romance in Venice)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Middle School Monday: Navigating Early by Claire Vanderpool

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At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.

Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.

But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives. 

Claire Vanderpool is also the author of Moon Over Manifest.  Visit her website here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Throw Back Thursday: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Francis Long


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A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense. 

When Jenny was 10, her older brother, Tom, disappeared before her eyes into the forest near their English home. Seven years later, Jenny goes to the forest to say good-bye, and stumbles into the fairy realm, where she learns that Tom is being held captive in the Sidhe court. Jenny’s quest to reclaim her brother becomes a fight not only for her life, heart, and soul but also for Jack o’ the Forest, with whom Jenny is falling in love. Jenny attracts the attention of both the Summer Queen and the Winter King, and she becomes a pivot point in their courtly machinations. Led by her heart and purity of purpose, she discovers that there just might be a way to save not only Tom but herself and Jack as well. In her debut novel, Long has created a delicious and wonderfully romantic meld of several legends and fairy tales, including elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the ballad of Tam Lin, with plenty of action mixed in. Lyrical prose, along with highly imaginative and descriptive phrasing, makes the forest setting—and its creatures and people—immediately present and sparked with magic. — Charli Osborne (Booklist)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Teen Tuesday: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything
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Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.  Goodreads reviewer Jaime Arkin says "
The best part of this story though for me, is definitely Ezra. He brings this story to life with his sarcasm and unique sense of humor. Seeing the rise and fall of his relationships and the growth his character experiences was wonderful. There were times when I wanted to shake him and say 'stand up for yourself' and 'do what you want to do', and 'don't put up with that crap' ... but he needed to find the strength to do that within himself. When all Cassidy's secrets are finally revealed I think you'll be as surprised as I was in the end. But when you turn that last page you'll realize what a captivating and incredibly lovely story you just read."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Middle School Monday: Soldier Dog by Sam Angus

Soldier Dog
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Stanley believes Da has destroyed Soldier, Stanley’s beloved half-breed pup, so he flees home for the western front of WWI in hopes of locating his brother Tom. It’s no wonder: Da disdains everything and everyone, thrashing around in a bleak, bitter depression ever since his wife died, and making Stanley’s life unbearable. In Angus’ vividly written first novel, based on the British Army’s Messenger Dog Service, Stanley fibs about his age, enlists, learns of the messenger dog service, and becomes a trainer. The dogs work heroically as runners across the battlefields of France, carrying communiqu├ęs about enemy whereabouts. The action is highly dramatic, and readers will feel catapulted into the trenches, surrounded on all sides, at a time when an Allied victory was by no means assured. Stanley’s two charges, first Bones and then Pistol, will thrill readers with their canine derring-do. True, the miraculous coincidences pile up a bit awkwardly in this affecting heart-warmer, but you probably won’t find a more exciting dog story out there. Grades 5-8. --Anne O'Malley           

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throw Back Thursday Pick: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.” As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason.   And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive.  Note:  This book is also available as an e-book!

Two reasons to either read this book, or re-read it.  First, the sequel, Hollow City, is due to be published in January of 2014.  Two, according to Hypable,  Tim Burton will direct the movie which should be released in July of 2015.  The reason I read the book was the creepy, vintage photography that was featured and wrapped into the storyline.  Here's one of my favorite photos that appears on page 113 of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:  The reflecting pool. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting for Wednesday....Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


From the author the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park: A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.  Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My thoughts on why I can't wait to read this book:  First insert Harry Potter for Simon Snow (that's how I'm looking at it, anyway!).  Second - so many people raved about Eleanor and Park, so how could I not want to read Rainbow Rowell's new book?  I have this book on order, but so far, it is not in.  I just can't wait!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teen Tuesday Pick: To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones

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Can honesty lead to heartbreak if the truth is subjective? A compelling novel in verse from Sonya Sones.  Her friends have a joke about her:

"How can you tell if Colette is lying?"

"Her mouth is open."

Fifteen-year-old Colette is addicted to lying. Her shrink says this is because shes got a very bad case of Daughter-of-a-famous-movie-star Disorder--so she lies to escape out from under her mothers massive shadow. But Colette doesnt see it that way. She says she lies because its the most fun she can have with her clothes on. Not that shes had that much fun with her clothes "off." At least not yet, anyway...
When her mother drags her away from Hollywood to spend the entire summer on location in a boring little town in the middle of nowhere, Colette is less than thrilled. But then she meets a sexy biker named Connor. Hes older, gorgeous, funny, and totally into her. So what if she lies to him about her age, and about who her mother is? I mean, she "has" to keep her mothers identity a secret from him. If he finds out who she" really" is, hell forget all about Colette, and start panting and drooling and asking her for her mothers autograph. Just like everyone "always" does.

But what Colette doesnt know is that Connor is keeping a secret of his own...

I enjoyed this book - it has a few twists in the plot, even though Colette's lying does get a bit annoying at times.  I am really beginning to enjoy novels in verse - they are quick reads, and feature a lot of emotion!  The author, Sonya Sones, has a great list of novels in verse on her website.  Check out the list HERE.   She also has written several other novels in verse herself - be sure to check them out if you enjoy this one!  Read the descriptions on her website HERE.
Stop Pretending
What My Girlfriend Doesn't KnowOne of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies

Monday, September 9, 2013

Middle School Monday: Al Capone Does My Homework

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Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn't the most normal place to grow up, but it's home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose's dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it's a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan's apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose's dad too? If Moose can't figure out what Capone's note means, it may be too late.

The last heart-pounding installment in the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor-winning Alcatraz trilogy is not to be missed!  Not up to date in the trilogy?  Check out the first two books:

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Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook's or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to.


check the catalog here

Moose and the cons are about to get a lot closer in this much-anticipated sequel.

It's 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.

You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose's freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can't risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Teen Advisory Board is now collecting arts & crafts supplies for Two Doors Community Center in Greece

Tonight members of the Teen Advisory Board helped to decorate a collection box for our Fall Service Project:  collecting arts and crafts supplies for the Two Doors Community Center in Greece.  Two Doors After-School program is designed for those who are presently exhibiting a reading or math achievement below grade level and for those that are in need of academic, social or emotional support.
The Program Director trains and supervises volunteers to work at a 1:1 or 1:2 volunteer to student ratio.  Students are supported in their homework for one hour each day, and participate in Circle Time where values like responsibility, respect, commitment, and making positive life choices are discussed.
Open activities include supervised work in our computer lab, crafts, games and physical fitness.
Two Doors helps to builds self esteem & academic confidence by:
  • helping students complete homework
  • giving students the opportunity to make more friends
  • help students have less anxiety about school
  • help students have a sense of belonging
  • help students have a positive attitude toward academics
Help us fill the "wish list" of Two Doors for new arts and crafts supplies to be used in the after school program.  The collection box will be in the lobby of the Greece Public Library, near the community flyer bookshelf.  Items like crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, etc. are suggested.  Contact either or with any questions or concerns.  We will be collecting through Thursday, October 3rd.  Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

COLLEGE: Is this word making you nervous? Fear not! We have FREE help!

Feeling Stressed?  Overwhelmed by the thought of the ACT, SAT, admissions essay, and more?   Chariot Learnings is now offering free practice tests for both the ACT and SAT, and a free college admissions essay clinic this Fall at the Greece Public Library.  There are even free classes to help your parents understand the importance of these standardized college admission tests. Don't miss this great opportunity!  Register HERE.

Parent Questions & Answer Session about the SAT & ACT (same program, offered multiple dates)

Thursday, September 5
Thursday, October 3
Wednesday, November 20
All sessions are 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Many parents don’t know as much as they need to know about the SAT & ACT testing processing until it’s too late. Come and listen to Chariot Learning test prep experts explain the specific steps you can take to dramatically improve your student’s test scores and test taking experience. Find out what the SAT and ACT are, why they matter, and what you can do to help your child get into the college of his or her dreams. Free, and open to parents, registration begins for all the sessions on Monday, August 19th.

Practice ACT exams

Saturday, September 7 or
Saturday, November 23
10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.

There is no better way to prepare for an official ACT exam than by taking a practice test under “real” conditions. Take an officially released, full-length practice exam proctored by Chariot Learning. Bring pencils, snacks, and a calculator. Space is limited, and registration for all exams begins on Monday, August 19th.

Practice SAT exams
Saturday, September 28 or
Saturday, November 16
10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.

There is no better way to prepare for an official SAT exam than by taking a practice test under ‘real’ conditions. Take an officially released, full-length practice exam proctored by Chariot Learning. Bring pencils, snacks, and a calculator. Space is limited and registration begins on Monday, August 19.

College Essay Clinics
Wednesday, September 18 & 25
6:00—8:00 p.m.

These free college essay clinics are your opportunity to learn how to write an amazing application essay. Students in the graduating class of 2014 will spend time brainstorming, drafting, writing, and perhaps polishing their essays. Chariot Learning offers this valuable clinic in partnership with some of the area’s most respected and knowledgeable college admissions consultants, who will be on hand to offer personal assistance to students. Don’t miss your opportunity to make sure your essay opens doors to the colleges of your dreams! Registration begins on Monday, August 19th. Students can attend one or both sessions. Register for each session separately.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teen Tuesday: Two Novels set in Russia in the 1980's

The Boy on the Bridge
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A new breathtaking novel from Natalie Standiford about love and trust during the Cold War.
Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia--a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she's been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right?  As June approaches--when Laura must return to the United States--Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She's only nineteen and doesn't think she's ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn't she take it?

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy
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A new breed of spy novel combines classic thrills (The Americans, John Le Carre, and Alan Furst), Bolshoi intrigue, and elements of the paranormal.

Marina is born of privilege. Her mother, Sveta, is the Soviet Union's prima ballerina: an international star handpicked by the regime. But Sveta is afflicted with a mysterious second sight and becomes obsessed with exposing a horrific state secret. Then she disappears.

Fearing for their lives, Marina and her father defect to Brooklyn. Marina struggles to reestablish herself as a dancer at Juilliard. But her enigmatic partner, Sergei, makes concentration almost impossible, as does the fact that Marina shares her mother's “gift,” and has a vision of her father’s murder at the hands of the Russian crooks and con artists she thought they'd left behind.

Now Marina must navigate the web of intrigue surrounding her mother's disappearance, her ability, and exactly whom she can—and can't—trust.