Reading Update

I really, really wish that I had more discipline when it came to updating the blog!  Oh well, I’m going to change it now by letting you know what I’ve read in the last three or so weeks!

I have posted reviews/stars on my Goodreads feed, so if you want to know more about these books and what I thought, visit the sidebar to the right!  —>

Novels and “Fun” Reads

I haven’t quite kept up with my Book a Day plan, but I have read some amazing books!

The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger – a deliciously indulgent read and different from the film.  If you liked the movie, read the book!

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart – a twisted and turning book about a teenage girl and her crazy family.  Read this if you liked The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, or other psychological explorations/thrillers.


Flora and Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo – follow young Flora, her romance writer mother, crazy neighbor, odd nephew of crazy neighbor, her odd father, and a super squirrel (!) as they embark on some adventures.  Cute and engaging.  Read this if you are ready to step up from graphic novels or illustrated novels like Wimpy Kid, or if you believe in superpowers.

Nine, Ten:  A September 11 Story, by Nora Raleigh Baskin – I’ve never been one to read extensively about the events of that fateful September – neither fiction nor nonfiction.  However, my YA Lit social media was absolutely blowing up with reviews of this work.  I got it on release day (thanks Amazon!) and I was not disappointed.  The book follows four middle school students in the days leading up to the attack.  The book was brilliant, touching, honest, and real.  Enough said!

Order of the Wicked, by Danielle Paige – another prequel installment from the amazingly twisted Oz of Danielle Paige.  I can’t wait for the next novel – or for her new series beginning up soon with Stealing Snow.  Read this if you enjoy twisted tales, revisits of some of your favorite characters, or if you want an intense and amazing read!


What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty – imagine waking up 10 years in the future and not remembering anything in between.  That’s what happens to Alice.  Moriarty takes us through Alice’s life in snatched memories of the last 10 years.  A perfect summer read filled with confusion, clarity, and self-discovery.

Well, that’s enough for now.  Check out my Goodreads feed to see the textbooks I read in the last few weeks too!

How is your summer reading going?  Let’s chat!


IMWAYR – April 4, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I made a decision that is very rare in my book life – I have set aside two books for a while!

I have enjoyed exploring Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs.  I love his style and the intriguing writing based off of vintage photos.  I really liked Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but I just couldn’t get into the sequel.  So, it is set aside for now.


I also really was getting to the stories of Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke.  The story of Mo, Meggie, and the other interesting characters in this world were good.  I just found that my TBR was calling me, so Inkheart is set off to the side for now too.

Now, on to what I read this week…

We went the poetry route for book club this week.  Paint Me Like I Am is a collection of poetry written by teens as part of the WritersCorp program.  This programming provides underprivileged teens an opportunity to express themselves through writing.

There was such depth and breadth to the poems and there were some that truly touched me.  We spent much of our book club discussing how we could use these poems to inspire our students, encouraging them to write, and tying writing prompts into cross curricular projects.  It was a quick read, but a good collection of poetry.

I also read Yellow Brick War, by Danielle Paige.  This is the third novel in the Dorothy Must Die series and it was just as good (or better) than the first two.  In this installment we find Amy working with the Council of the Wicked to find Dorothy’s original silver shoes.  They travel back to modern-day Kansas where Amy reunites with her mom, runs afoul of the principal, and makes unlikely friends with Madison (former enemy of Amy’s and new mom to Dustin Jr.) and Dustin.

Danielle Paige’s style is both gritty and engaging.  The often dark events are painted with wonderful word choice.  I created a picture this reading response because there were too many parts that I could envision not to do this response.  However, my wonderful art skills are :::cough::: lame ::::cough:::, so my illustration does not do justice to Paige’s prose.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a twisted tale, and fantasy writing that blends reality and magic.

Well, that’s where I was reading wise this week!  What did you read?  Do you have any new books for me to add to my TBR?  Let’s talk below…

Snapshot Saturday: Picture This Reading Response

I finally finished reading Yellow Brick War, by Danielle Paige.  I wanted to sketch an important idea about the book and share it with you!


I decided to sketch a view of Oz and the Other Place (Kansas) because I feel that the thin shadowy line between the two worlds is going to be essential going forward in the series.

This sketch is what I envision Amy saw when she went with Lurline during the battle with Dorothy.  Lurline shows Amy how the two worlds are flip sides of the same coin.

In this novel we learned that the Nome King can travel between the worlds.  We know that Amy and Nox were able to pull Madison into Oz.  This permeable barrier is going to be essential in the final novel.

In the final novel (not out until 2017!!), I wonder how important this barrier will be.  How will Amy use this barrier to help save both worlds?  Is the Nome King, the only being who can easily travel between worlds, someone who should be trusted or is he the mastermind behind all of the events of this series?

Have you read the Dorothy Must Die series?  What do you think will happen next?  Let’s talk below…

IMWAYR – February 29, 2016


It is LEAP DAY today!  I’m trying to think of it as an extra day that I can read amazing books.

This week I finished a dystopian novel for book club, an Oz novella, and started something for this week!

Book Club – Uglies

This week’s book club discussion was on Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.  In this futuristic society, Tally is anxiously awaiting her 16th birthday.  This is the day that she will undergo a surgery to become Pretty.  All kids go through this in Tally’s society.  However, her new friend Shay would rather leave society and go live in a community called The Smoke.  There are no surgeries in The Smoke, everyone stays “ugly”. 

Tally decides to go ahead and have the surgery, but something happens.  She is taken to see people known as the Specials who force her to spy on and tell the location of The Smoke.  Tally must go to The Smoke, activate a transponder, and betray her friends.  What will she do?

I really enjoyed this book.  I most likely will read the rest of the series in the future.  It is one of those great books that ends with a twist and cliff-hanger.  I recommend it for all dystopian fans who want to reflect on beauty in our modern society.

The Novella – Ruler of Beasts

Ruler of Beasts, by Danielle Paige is the 6th Prequel Novella in the Dorothy Must Die series.  In this series, Glinda and Dorothy have teamed up to control Oz – wrestling control from Ozma and the Scarecrow!

This installment has the Lion (formerly Cowardly) heading to the Emerald City.  Glinda sent him to find a ruby necklace without Ozma knowing.  However, Lion and Ozma end up going on an adventure to save Oz from the Nome King.

This series is one of my favorite “flipped reality” stories.  If you like Oz, or characters painted in a different light, check out some of the Dorothy Must Die series!

The coming week…

My book club chose a book I had already read – Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  I read this book in the fall and it was amazing.  I didn’t want to bring the group down, so I’ll pull together some links and extensions about the book for our discussion.


I’ve started a Pura Belpre winner for my next read.  Coming up after that….I just don’t know.  So I need your help!

I currently have these books awaiting me at my house (either Kindle or print versions).  Where should I go next?


What did you read this week?  What should I read next?  Let’s talk below….


IMWAYR – December 28, 2015

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I finished up reading After Alice, by Gregory Maguire.  I have to say that I loved it!  Maguire does for Wonderland what he did for Oz.

After AliceAda is a smart girl, daughter of a preacher, who slips into a hole and finds herself in this strange land.  All Ada wants is to find her friend Alice, deliver some marmalade, and get back to evading her governess.  Everything seems upside down and backwards in this place called Wonderland.  Every person/animal/plant that Ada talks to tells her about the strange, blonde, clueless Alice who has just left.  Yet, no one can tell Ada where to find Alice.

Meanwhile, we get chapters focusing on Alice’s older sister Lydia and her attempts to defer looking for her sister, and later Ada too.  Lydia is stuck in a world of grief unspoken, womanhood not achieved, and childhood long forgotten.  She is expected to be both woman of the house after her mother’s death and child, seen and not heard.

Gregory Maguire really has created a masterpiece in this novel.  In After Alice, Maguire crafts a world where girls attain adulthood, navigate the strange worlds they live in (and the one they visit), and explores the confusion experienced when you feel different than others see you.  I cannot explain the way he crafts this world better than the New York Times Sunday Book Review:

Maguire effortlessly leaps between the absurd illusions of Wonderland and the building suspense of the search for the children in antique Oxford.

I am also about half-way through my next epic adventure.  Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan, is the first in a series about the Norse gods.  This book is set in the “same universe” as my favorites Percy Jackson (Greek), The Heroes of Olympus (Roman), and Red Pyramid (Egyptian).

Magnus Chase is a 16 year old homeless orphan living in Boston.  He awakes to find his friends telling him that there are a man and a girl looking for him – bad news for someone who is homeless.  Magnus finds himself battling a crazy fire god on the bridge over the Charles River where he is killed.


That’s right, he dies at the beginning of the book.

It’s okay though, because Magnus is taken to Valhalla (an afterlife built for Viking warriors).  Things are not quite what they seem in Valhalla either.  Turns out that the Valkyrie who brought him to Valhalla, Sam, may have made a “mistake”, and that Magnus is not exactly welcomed with open arms.

We also learn that Magnus has a cousin whom we know.  Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena and main character in the Percy Jackson universe, knows something is different with her cousin.  Granted, she hasn’t seen him in 8 years, but she willingly believes his stories about fire gods and battles.  So far, they haven’t had too many moments together (she watched the whole bridge battle and they have met in the funeral home before his wake and service), but I am hoping that there will be more connections.

Stay tuned next week for the conclusion of this review!

What did you read this week?  Did you read all the books under your tree yet?  Let’s talk below…


It’s Monday! – December 21, 2015

ItsMondayGraphicThis past week was filled with end of the year parties, cleaning, grading, and a tiny bit of reading.  I didn’t read four hours, but I finished one amazing novella and began one of my Wishlist Wednesday books!

The One I Read

This week I finished another prequel novella in the Dorothy Must Die series.  The Straw King, by Danielle Paige, focuses on our friend the Scarecrow.  He is ousted from his throne ruling Oz by General Jinjur. 

Scare and his friend Lion head to the forest to regroup and attempt to reclaim the throne.  In pop Glinda, the hidden Princess Ozma, and a series of double crosses come together to create an amazing look into the characters of one of my favorite worlds.

Danielle Paige is an amazing author who paints another twist into the world of Oz.  Her characters are in-depth and complex.  If you have not read the many books and novellas in this series, you really need to read them.

The One I Am Still Reading

After AliceI’m about halfway through one of my Wishlist Wednesday selections.  After Alice, by Gregory Maguire, follows Ada as she heads to Wonderland and searches for Alice.  The chapters following Ada alternate with chapters following Lydia – Alice’s older sister.

There have been some great lines so far, but you’ll have to wait until later to get more details!

That is what I am working on reading this week.  How about you?  Let’s talk below….

What does your book collection say?

I just read this intriguing article over at Book Riot.  What Would Your Book Collection Say After You Die?  

The author’s question is an interesting one, and one I had never thought about before.  I’m thinking about my bookshelves, and coming to a couple of conclusions.

  1. My love of Roman history and Latin would be apparent in my collection of textbooks, Latin texts, books for the scholar and books for the lay person.  You’d also find some fun, translated-into-Latin books including a version of Green Eggs and Ham.
  2. Our collection of comic books, graphic novels, and collections  of strips shows just how much we like comics.
  3. I read a LOT of children’s lit and young adult lit.  You would find a giant pile of books that I bought at book fair and just haven’t read yet next to a different pile of old favorites that I have read again and again.
  4. You’d discover that I like all things Oz:  the L. Frank Baum books in many different editions, the Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire, graphic novel representations, bookmarks, posters, and a bunch of really random Oz things.

What do your bookshelves say about you?  Let’s talk below….