TTT: The Top Ten Books I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

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The Top Ten Books That I Read in 2013

2013 has been an excellent year of reading! For this top ten, I opted not to include older books that I read this year even though some of them (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Shadow and Bone, and maybe one or two more) would have made this list. While it’s really, REALLY hard to narrow down my favorites from 2013 to only 10, I tried my best and will probably second guess myself long after this post is published. Here we go!!

countingby

 

out of the easy

coldtown

nazihunters

pivot point

eleanor

runaway king

this is not a good idea

champion

My number 1 favorite of 2013….

fangirl

It’s Monday! What are you reading? #IMWAYR 12/30/13

IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Ahhh! It’s the middle of winter break, and man have I been reading up a storm! I could get used to this.

Here’s what I read:

(Click on the book covers to add these titles to your Goodreads TBR piles)

ill be there

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
2012
YA Contemporary Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I picked this up at the Scholastic Warehouse sale because it was priced at two bucks. I then noticed that it was written by Holly Goldberg Sloan, who wrote one of my 2013 favorites Counting By 7’s (see my review  here). I had no idea she had other books, and this one is so good! It reminds me a little of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr and involves a mysterious boy and seventeen year old Emily Bell who believes she was destined to meet him. I almost read this one straight through. Highly recommend!

a mutiny in time

Infinity Ring, Book One: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner
2012
MG Science Fiction / Adventure
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
Infinity Ring is a pretty hot series right now, with various and very popular kidlit authors writing each book. I definitely see the kid appeal – high action, relatable characters and after the book is read, there is a code you can use to continue the adventure online (a la 39 Clues). All things kids like in a series, right? This may be picky – but I couldn’t stand the way that the kids talked to each other and were always arguing and calling each other out. I also hated that the female character kept saying “For the love of mincemeat!”, and it became pretty annoying. Not sure if the other books in the series are like this since they all have different authors, but this book just didn’t wow me.

dirty little secrets

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
2011
YA Contemporary Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This title came highly recommended from one of our school’s ROTO tutors, so I was thrilled to find it for a great price at the Scholastic Warehouse. It centers around a teenage girl who lives alone with her mom, because her older siblings have moved away and her dad has recently left to start a new life. Lucy’s mom is a hoarder and it has taken a toll on the family. I really felt for Lucy as I read her story and was shocked and saddened at how her mother treated her. This is an excellent book and the ending left me wide eyed and wowed.

aesops secret

Aesop’s Secret by Claudia White
2013
MG Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
I was sent this book by the author for a possible review. Isn’t the cover cool? Turns out that I really liked this curious little book! You can read my review from 12/29 here.

breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
2011
MG Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Goodreads review of this book only needed one word – perfection. This book is magical and I couldn’t put it down. It would make an excellent read aloud for upper middle grades, even if it is a little bit over 300 pages. Such a masterfully written story about a brave little girl named Hazel who is having trouble surviving fifth grade, but finds herself trying to save her best friend from an evil witch who lives in a world that is just beyond the woods by their homes. Cannot say enough about this one. Great book!

Here’s what I plan to read next: (Click on the cover for more info from Goodreads)

city of bones eye of minds siege and storm perfect scoundrels

I would love to get to City of Bones and The Eye of Minds before school starts up again. I am nervous about starting City of Bones because there are SO MANY books in this series!  The other two books were Christmas presents and I have been dying to read both of them. Love both of these series so much!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Aesop’s Secret by Claudia White

aesops secret

Details:

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by MP Publishing
ISBN 1849822301 (ISBN13: 9781849822305)

From Goodreads:

Melinda and Felix Hutton are just an ordinary pair of siblings, until their parents confess that they have all inherited the talent of metamorphosis, a revelation that begins to unravel the children’s world. Ten-year-old Melinda embraces her Athenite heritage, but her efforts often end up leaving her freckled face attached to feathered body with a twitching rat’s tail. Her older brother Felix doesn’t greet this new reality as something to celebrate. Wishing he were normal, Felix resents becoming parts of the myths and fables he’s read. But there’s a threat rising just as the children are learning of their talents, and a powerful enemy will use every trick and tool he has to keep the family from letting slip the secret of their gifts. With only the help of Melinda’s pet rabbit Aesop, who has begun acting awfully strange lately, Felix and Melinda determinedly fight back against the suffocating grasp of those who want to drive the Huttons and their kind back underground.

My thoughts…

The first thing that grabs your attention about this book is its cover. No, really! Talk about unique and interesting! I wasn’t sure what to expect with this little book, and was very pleasantly sucked into the storyline of Melinda, Felix and their family’s unique abilities. It has somewhat of a Chronicles of Narnia vibe and is a little reminiscent of the beginning of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (without the wardrobe, obviously). When Melinda and her brother Felix are told that their family has the unique ability to morph into animals and they are called Athenites their worlds are turned upside down. How would they respond to this revelation? I loved how carefree and fun loving Melinda embraces her new found magic and tries to perfect changing into animals, while Felix, the more serious and analytical of the two siblings, wants nothing to do with his family’s legacy. Felix escapes to France to study abroad, but things are not as they seem in his new surroundings. The best part to me was to see the two siblings come together in the end and work together to try and save their family against an evil power hungry villain, who reminded me a lot of a sneaky Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. The story flows well and kept me entertained.

Bottom Line…

Middle Grade readers will be intrigued by the cover of Aesop’s Secrets, and hooked by its storyline. A mix of magic, a little science, and great cast of characters makes this a nice little book. I could see it be used as a successful read aloud too!

Disclaimer – I was sent this book by the author. I was not compensated for this review.

TTT: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten Tuesday

is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

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Top Ten Books That I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

I decided not to just include all of the 2014 releases that I would like to have Santa preorder… I instead listed some books that I have always been interested in, but have never purchased or read. (Please note this list is one tenth of my to be read list on Goodreads!)

(In no particular order)

the moon and more

the living

where the stars still shine

seraphina

two boys kissing

pioneer woman

2001 things

cress

wild

nonfiction notebooks

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 12/23/13

IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

It’s been a few weeks since I posted, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! While things were a bit crazy at school with projects and a major Picture Book Tournament with my 8th grade classes, I did manage to read a few books.

Here’s what I read:

(Click on the book covers to add these titles to your Goodreads TBR piles)

arcadia

Arcadia by Lauren Groff
2012
Adult Fiction (a little historical fiction, but also dystopian as well…)
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This book has been in my TBR pile since November 2011. Yes, you read that right. I picked it up at NCTE11 and just hung on to it, moving it from pile to pile. I’m glad I saved it, because it is a beautifully written book. The idea of living on a commune was pretty fascinating and I loved the main character’s point of view. I was a little out of my comfort zone in a few sections, but overall a pretty solid piece of fiction!

monster who lost his mean

The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber
2012
Picture Book
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
Cute picture book about a monster that learns it’s not what you’re called, but who you are that counts. Good bedtime read for little ones.

flight of the dodo

Flight of the DoDo by Peter Brown
2005
Picture Book
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
The waddlers (flightless birds) want to learn how to fly after being pooped on one to many times by the geese who fly by. They make a very unique flying machine and head off on an adventure with surprising results. My eighth graders really liked this one as it made it to our Picture Book tournament’s final four!!

this is not a good idea

That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
2013
Picture Book
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I adore this picture book and its surprise ending! So funny! This book was our #1 seed for our Picture Book tournament and all of my other classes that didn’t participate in the tournament begged me to read it to them. They enjoyed the similarities to Little Red Riding Hood and guessing what was going to happen. A great title!!

nazihunters

The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb
2013
MG/YA Non Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
This is a riveting informational book and had me on the edge of my seat while pouring through its pages. The book covers the capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the Holocaust’s most notorious criminals, who was responsible for killing millions of innocent people. Who knew he would be hiding in Argentina with his family? It would take a very elite team of spies to capture him and bring him to Israel to be tried for his crimes . Fascinating read that is a great addition to any war or Holocaust study.

reading in the wild

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley
2013
Professional Read
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I devoured Donalyn’s first book, The Book Whisperer, and it helped me transform my teaching and mindset about what is best for students when it comes to reading. Her follow up book reinforces her core beliefs about choice in independent reading, how to fit it into reading workshop, and using readers’ notebooks, but it also talks about how to create life long readers, which is my number one goal with my Focus Reading classes that I currently teach. I found it reassuring and a great resource to come back to time and time again.

Here’s what I plan to read next: (Click on the cover for more info from Goodreads)

I’m officially on Winter Break for the next two weeks and have a book stack that I would love to get to so I can share all of these titles with my students on our first day back. Here’s what’s on my reading plate!

20131222-205127.jpg

What are you reading to finish up 2013? Have you started planning you Winter Break book stack yet?

Happy Reading!

Lesley ♥

 

Winter Break: A time for reading!!

Woo Hoo!

I’m officially on Winter Break for the next 16 days and it really couldn’t have come at a better time. My students and I definitely needed a break and time to recharge. While I have several things planned already – celebrating the holidays with my family, undertaking a few cleaning and organizational projects, and simply recharging my batteries, I have also waited with anticipation for these days off for one sole purpose. I am so excited to read and attack my Winter Break book stack! My pile includes 9 books and I think I definitely have a good chance to finish all of them.

I am particularly excited for a few of these and can’t wait to share how my opinions about them. One of my resolutions for 2014 is to review more books – so I am hopefully setting myself up for some good review opportunities from the start!

20131221-090656.jpg

Not surprisingly, there are a few additional titles that are on my Christmas list, so my stack may need to be adjusted a bit depending on what’s under the tree. I am really looking forwarding to sharing these titles with my students on our first day back and getting them into our class library though, so I am very determined to get these all read!

What books are you ready to read over the holidays?

TTT: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

toptentuesday

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Middle Grade Authors

Holly Sloan Goldberg

countingby

Young Adult Authors

Laini Taylor

 daughter of smoke and bone

Benjamin Alire Saenz

dante

Rainbow Rowell

attachmentsfangirleleanor

Marie Lu

legendprodigychampion

Holly Black

coldtown

Jennifer Donnelly

revolution

Catherine Gilbert Murdock

dairy queenoff season

Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone

Non Fiction Authors

Neal Bascomb

nazihunters