Sunday, May 30, 2010

let's fight to the death!

what's up with dystopian ya lit? is it the new "thing"? will it go out of style, so to speak? because if it is the new thing then i hope it stays (for-eva) because it's, um, what's the word i'm looking for...FREAKIN' AWESOME! i love that these books scare the crap outta me. i also do not mind the abundance of sexy boys (peeta, mmmmm). i honestly can't get enough of the stuff. and do you know why it's better than the vampire fad (well, besides the gruesomely obvious reasons)? because each story is original. i never know what's going to happen, unlike the bajillion twilight wannabes out there (p.s. why are you wannabes anyway? why would you want to BE that awful?).

vampire novel layout:
boy meets girl/girl meets boy
boy/girl finds out their love interest is a vampire
boy/girl decides it's the best life decision to follow in their vampire love interests' footsteps and become a vampire themselves (i always say that's the best choice)

dystopian novel layout:
i have no freakin' clue!
boy and girl are in a catastrophic america (boy is usually very attractive-this cliche i do not mind in the least)
sometimes boy and girl must fight crazed zombies
sometimes boy and girl must fight their own species to the death for their own survival
sometimes boy and girl must live in a teenaged built community and find their way out of a freakin' maze
really, the possibilities are endless. and i love it.

this is why it is no surprise that i devoured The Maze Runner by James Dashner. when we meet Thomas he is in a box with no memories of himself or the world around him. sure he has concepts of things like a family, nature, friends, but he has no recollection of names, events, or anything specific pertaining to these concepts. they're empty meanings to him. and all he knows for sure before entering the Glade is that his name is Thomas. once he arrives at the Glade (via this convenient metal, pitch black box of serenity-no, not serenity more than likely terror and cruelty) he meet the Gladers-a bunch of boys around his age who also don't have memories of their past who one by one each month were thrown into the same situation as he is now. Thomas quickly learns the ins and outs of life in the Glade (call everyone and anyone a shuck or shuckface-it's charming, really), nobody knows much or at least is willing to share so don't ask, and never go into the maze under any circumstance. but of course, Thomas violates these rules. what is the maze? how have these boys been here for two years and never solved it? and who or what is controlling it? these are questions Thomas desperately tries to find out, and as he does he learns more about his part in the elaborate plan of the Creators. people who have gone through the Changing seem to know him and things are extremely familiar-almost homey to Thomas at the Glade. and to top it all off a girl was sent down to the Glade-the first ever-who also seems to have an intimate connection with Thomas. so many seemingly unanswerable questions make this novel a real page turner. well written, fast-paced, and even charming (the relationships the boys build are reminiscent of Lord of the Flies only they take care of each other) you must read this novel. must, must, must!

smooch worthy character:
Newt. he's one of the leaders of the Gladers and I found him to be quite adorable. and there's something about that take-action kind of confidence that's oh-so-sexy.

twist and shout:
there are about as many twists in the novel as there are corridors in the maze. and what lies beyond the Glade is enough to make anyone scream and run for cover. notable goosebumps and impossible to ignore anticipation (aka i couldn't put it down)

final thoughts:
when is the next book coming out?!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Picture Books

Trying to find a job is difficult. You need to have the right degree, the right experience, say the right things for employers to even give you a chance (even though you may be perfect for the job regardless). But something I read yesterday really struck me. A second grade teacher wrote "I had finally read enough books to be ready to teach". Have I read enough books to be ready to teach? I don't think so. Especially for the age I'm looking to teach right now (preschool-kindergarten). So my question to all of you is, what were your favorite picture books growing up? If you are educators, librarians, or even have reviewed some pictures books what books would you suggest? I'm hoping to widen my vocabulary of reading, and hopefully soon I'll be well read enough to feel confident teaching!

P.S. Sorry about the lack of posting/reviews. Between graduating, saying goodbyes to friends, and searching for jobs I've been pretty busy. But I promise I'll be back to regular posts soon!

P.P.S. Some exciting new for me: my children's lit professor in college is the editor of this online multicultural journal. He proposed a project for me, so I'm going to read a children's books that is considered multicultural, write a review, and it will be published in the journal! Eek!

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I did it...

I'M GRADUATING COLLEGE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Four years of memories, academics, love, life, sweat, blood, and tears which all comes down to this day. For all of my complaints about college and school and whatever else, I am proud of what I accomplished. I am proud to be a graduate of Rutgers University. And I know I will keep this experience close to my heart forever. To my friends, thank you for inspiring my and always lifting my spirits. To my professors, thank you for challenging me and opening my mind. And to my family, thank you for believing in me.

CLASS OF 2010!!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren

Yay books! I got some really awesome ones this week. Two library book sales and a few mooches later, well, here we are ;)


Bad Hare Day
Stay Out of the Basement
The Headless Ghost
The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
Attack of the Mutant
Phantom of the Auditorium
Go Eat Worms!
The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
Deep Trouble
The Haunted Mask
Say Cheese and Die!
Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes
Let's Get Invisible!
Vampire Breath
How I Got My Shrunken Head
The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena
The Blob that Ate Everyone
Calling All Creeps!
Don't Go to Sleep!


All-American Girl by Meg Cabot
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Drama! The Four Dorothys by Paul Ruditis
Seven Deadly Sins: Lust by Robin Wasserman
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen


From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Animorphs: The Visitor by K.A. Applegate
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Christ the Lord by Anne Rice
Watership Down by Richard Adams
East of Eden by John Steinback
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

T.V. on DVD

Glee: Season 1 Volume 1 Road to Sectionals
Desperate Housewives The Complete First Season

What did you get in your mailbox? Have a lovely week everyone!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Those Language Moments

Since I'm graduating college in about four days I thought I'd take some time to relive my intellectual and personal experience with something I discovered a passion for these four long years. And that is language. We all use it to communicate: we promise, ask, plead, command, and question things in our lives all through language. But we often take it for granted. I'm so grateful that I had the chance to study and be surrounded by the magic of language. Here are some things I'll never forget:


Have you ever been studying or working for so long that all you can do is crack up laughing? Have you ever done it because of difficult Latin constructions? I have. I met my best friend through our mutual Latin class. We became friends by doing our homework together and studying together. And four years later he's my roommate. Our best memories come from the two years of Latin classes we took together. From awful pronunciations (which are very funny at 4 AM) to trying to figure out arguably the most difficult language spoken (well, written) we laughed and laughed and laughed. We even called ourselves the Latinae Duae (Latin Duo). When I look back, aside from being proud of my accomplishments with a foreign language, I am so grateful that I had someone to experience the difficulty and nuances of language with. And how it can bring two people together.


This one is about my own spoken word. My own voice. Throughout college I discovered my voice and I did that through discussions and arguing and speaking aloud my opinions, which sometimes you don't know you have until you speak aloud. I'll never forget the Eclipse book club meeting I went to three years ago where I discovered I was "Team Jacob". Because by speaking aloud I realized that stalking wasn't cool and hey, weaknesses and being human were. And my own personal views about how women are depicted and treated by men in novels (and in life) have only grown because of it. I have learned so much about myself through speaking. And those are the revelations worth remembering.


Where would I be without those inside jokes? You know, the ones you talk about with your friends that make you remember all the fun times you had together. It's so amazing how well we can connect with each other, to a certain event and time just with language. It keeps friendships and love alive. So many times I've fought for the people I love with my voice. I've talked them out of bad decisions, talked them into good ones, and fought for my own love with another person through passionate and carefully chosen (and sometimes not so carefully chosen) words. We don't talk to ourselves for no reason. We do it because we know choosing the right words sometimes can be just the thing to make it all better. The fights, the making up, telling someone how much you love them is all possible with language. And there are some of each I will always take with me. Engraved in my heart.


An English major and linguistics minor with a love for all written words. I chose to share my love and passion for reading and writing with others. I got to train and study at one of the best universities and I am grateful for that. I would be nowhere without the motivation and tough love of my professors and peers; always challenging me mentally to think critically and showing me how it translates into real life. I had such an amazing experience at Rutgers.

I could write forever on how language has shaped every aspect of who I am. But I think I covered the most important ones. It's everywhere. Always making us think and always making us speak. Such a beautiful thing.

How has language changed you?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Blogging Adventure into the Known

aka my Summer Reading List Part 2.

aka Goosebumps.

Yes, you read that correctly.

This blogger will attempt to read all 62 books in the original Goosebumps series (much in the Julie and Julia fashion-only much cooler). Am I crazy? Yes. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. So why do it? Well, great question, Goosebumps was one of the first series I ever read and although I've only read a few I feel like it would be a fun nostalgic adventure. Will the reviews be 100% serious? Mooore than likely not. I hope to take us all back to the time where haunted masks and ghosts next door were scary and provide some humorous light reading :)

But I'll need your help! I'm most definitely going to need...encouragement... sticking to this challenge. So comment, comment, comment! Tell your friends! Take on an insane challenge yourself so I don't feel oh, so alone in the blogosphere. And I promise to dish out entertaining reviews! Crazy blogger count-1

Here is a list of the books:
  1. Welcome to Dead House
  2. Stay Out of the Basement
  3. Monster Blood
  4. Say Cheese and Die!
  5. The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
  6. Let's Get Invisible!
  7. Night of the Living Dummy
  8. The Girl Who Cried Monster
  9. Welcome to Camp Nightmare
  10. The Ghost Next Door
  11. The Haunted Mask
  12. Be Careful What You Wish For...
  13. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder
  14. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp
  15. You Can't Scare Me!
  16. One Day at Horrorland
  17. Why I'm Afraid of Bees
  18. Monster Blood II
  19. Deep Trouble
  20. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
  21. Go Eat Worms!
  22. Ghost Beach
  23. Return of the Mummy
  24. Phantom of the Auditorium
  25. Attack of the Mutant
  26. My Hairiest Adventure
  27. A Night in Terror Tower
  28. The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom
  29. Monster Blood III
  30. It Came from Beneath the Sink!
  31. Night of the Living Dummy II
  32. The Barking Ghost
  33. The Horror at Camp Jellyjam
  34. Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes
  35. A Shocker on Shock Street
  36. The Haunted Mask II
  37. The Headless Ghost
  38. The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena
  39. How I Got My Shrunken Head
  40. Night of the Living Dummy III
  41. Bad Hare Day
  42. Egg Monsters from Mars
  43. The Beast from the East
  44. Say Cheese and Die - Again!
  45. Ghost Camp
  46. How to Kill a Monster
  47. Legend of the Lost Legend
  48. Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns
  49. Vampire Breath
  50. Calling All Creeps!
  51. Beware, the Snowman
  52. How I Learned to Fly
  53. Chicken Chicken
  54. Don't Go to Sleep!
  55. The Blob That Ate Everyone
  56. The Curse of Camp Cold Lake
  57. My Best Friend Is Invisible
  58. Deep Trouble II
  59. The Haunted School
  60. Werewolf Skin
  61. I Live in Your Basement!
  62. Monster Blood IV
The challenge starts Thursday (the day after my last final) and ends September 1st.

Wish me luck! And keep checking back here for reviews!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Creating My Summer Reading List Part 1

I've been all over the place lately with my reading: starting series, jumping in to new genres, etc...and the problem I've found is that I've been reading so many new books at once that I haven't finished one in a week and a half! So as summer starts in about 3 days for me (a looming Astronomy final on Tuesday and Lit Theory on Wednesday-almost done...) I think I'll try something different. There are a lot of things I want to start/finish so I'm going to create a few reading lists that I'll force myself to stick to-and you can help! The first list I'm making (call it a challenge, if you will) is of a bunch of YA series I want to read/started but haven't finished. Initially, this is what I want to accomplish (I hope to add more as the summer goes on):

Pretty Little Liars Series
-Pretty Little Liars--read

I really like this series, so this shouldn't be too hard!

Private Series
-Invitation Only
-Inner Circle
-Paradise Lost

This one is quite long-but it's a challenge for a reason, right?

The Luxe
-The Luxe

The Vampire Diaries
-The Awakening
-The Struggle
-The Fury
-Dark Reunion
-The Return: Nightfall
-The Return: Shadow Souls

I was reluctant to read this. But I might as well, while I'm tackling all the popular YA series I couldn't skip over this!

Here's my first challenge of the summer. I'll post more of my anticipated reading lists soon! Stay tuned for reviews!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In My Mailbox...aka....where am I going to put it all?!

Um...I can explain...I promise...

I went to two library book sales (maybe three, I don't remember?) this week and I got two bags of books (one for $5 and one for $7!) and I filled them to the brim! Altogether I spent less than $15 on books this week, pretty sweet huh? And I'm graduating in a week and a day so I thought I'd treat myself a little, which is why I bought all those classics, too. I figure if I'm going to be an English teacher I better buff up my classic novel reading ;)

So without further ado...the books...

Library Sale:

-A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
-The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecelia Galante
-Razzle by Ellen Wittlinger
-Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
-The Lost Years of Merlin (Book Two) by T.A. Baron---if anyone has book one and is willing to trade, let me know!
-The Lost Years of Merlin (Book Three) by T.A. Baron
-The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis
-Dairy Queen by Catherin Gilbert Murdock
-Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
-Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
-The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
-The Clearing by Heather Davis (ARC)
-Heist Society by Ally Carter (ARC)
-The Demon King (ARC) by Cinda Williams Chima
-This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (ARC)
-Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo and Nathan Huang (ARC)
-The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (ARC)
-Far From You byLisa Schroeder (ARC)

-The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
-The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
-Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
-Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
-Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahearn
-Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
-Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
-The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Skyes-if anyone has the first in the series and wants to trade, let me know!!
-Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
-Swapping Lives by Jane Green
-Second Chance by Jane Green
-Bookends by Jane Green
-My Summer of Southern Discomfort by Stephenie Gayle
-Beginner's Greek by James Collins

-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
-Animal Farm by George Orwell
-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
-Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
-The Stranger by Albert Camus
-Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
-A Book of Poetry by Catullus (little known fact about me: I was a Latin major for two years in college...I'm kind of a nerd.)

Recipe Books
-America's Best Recipes (1994)
-Mushroom Cookbook (I love mushrooms!)
-The Microwave Cookbook (I looked through this, and it's amazing!)
-Betty Crocker's Easy Slow Cooker Dinners (I'm going to make a recipe from this tonight, I'll do a post about how it turns out! It's Italian Tortellini, yum)

-The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy (Thanks Story Siren!!)

For Review:
-Winter Longing by Tricia Mills

So that's what I got in my mailbox...what did you get in yours?

IMM is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Library Book Sales

What do you guys think about library book sales? Do you look for multiple or do you stick with your own local library? Personally, I just discovered the amazingness that are library book sales last week! My local library has a little room with an ongoing book sale but I didn't know that most libraries held annual book sales that are HUGE! Most books range from .25-1.00 (for hardcovers) and some libraries will let you fill up a bag or a book for a fixed sum ($5-$10). Some book sales hold up to 10,00 books! While most are 3,000-5,000-still, that is a LOT of books!

It's great because the libraries are a little desperate to get rid of all these books and you're donating to the library by helping them out! This is so important right now, especially in New Jersey where I live, because our governor cut library budgets by over 70%-that's ridiculous! Statistics show that libraries are being used for than ever! They provide people with great books, music, movies, help with employment, and technology. And people of all statues, genders, cultures find something in their libraries-so why cut the budget so much...not to mention cutting the education budgets just along side that. I mean really, if I may, WTF?!

Excuse my tangent, anyway, how long do you usually plan to stay at book sales? Do you have a limit in which to spend? Do you bring your own bags? Do you search through everything or just skip to the sections you like-i.e. YA, Romance, Fiction, etc...I found some things in the fiction section (which I normally skip) that I think I'll really enjoy! I like travel narratives, which I never really indulgence in-it's almost like I forget I like them sometimes with all the YA reviewing/keeping up, and I found some great ones! That's another thing, too, if you find something you even think you might like it's completely affordable to just pick it up without all the debate (should I really spend $15 on a book?)! And you might even LOVE something you found but didn't think you would like!

So what do you guys think? Any thoughts? Tips? Advice?

Happy Reading (and Rummaging!)!
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