100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Every Tuesday morning from 8:15-9:00 our whole school reads. Everyone. Teachers, too! It is beautiful. We can read whatever we want to read. We also get to talk about what we are reading. Really, it is beautiful. A whole middle school reading makes my book loving teacher heart so happy! My 8th grade monsters love to read, too! It’s all win, really! As soon as I got my hands on Andrew Smith’s latest, I knew what I’d be reading in class. I knew that 100 Sideways Miles was the perfect Tuesday book! Except I was wrong.

It wasn’t a good choice to read in class. Why? Because I couldn’t stop laughing. And the monsters shushed me. A lot. They were not amused. I tried again the next week and it wasn’t any better. I would point to my book and smile, but they were annoyed. I mean, I am the teacher, after all. When it was time to book-talk, I had to explain myself, but I didn’t want to give anything away. You try telling a room full of monsters that you were laughing because this kid named Finn who has seizures because a dead horse fell on him. Or that his mom died when the horse fell on her. And the cussing. Don’t even get me started on the cussing. My inner Jersey girl just dies laughing when I read about Cade’s Stop Trying to Make Us Stop revolution. Let’s just say there are a lot of perfectly placed f-bombs and it only gets better. Once Julia enters the story, it gets even more interesting. True love, a rough past, intense teen longing, and a road trip. 

Yeah, I’m used to getting ‘the look’ from them when I talk Andrew Smith & it’s pretty epic! Then I show them the picture of us and tell them he signed the book for them. It usually goes something like, “This book is completely messed up & so freaking awesome. I just can’t tell you anymore. Yes, I know it’s signed & you need to read it immediately!” Then I make some obnoxiously annoying gesture indicating my head has exploded. Works every time. I keep buying more copies of his books. They get passed around like contraband and it makes me insanely happy. Do they make “I Heart Andrew Smith” t-shirts? Because I need one.

Here is the epic picture of us from the Decatur Book Festival this year. I know I’m smiling like a crazy person. I was so fangirling!

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So, yeah, this wasn’t a typical book review. I get that & I’m fine with it. Let’s call it an OMG Read All the Andrew Smith Books post, that happens to feature 100 Sideways Miles. Go read it right now!

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Grasshopper Jungle…because #unstoppablecorn is history!

Title: GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE

Author: Andrew Smith
Genre: Fiction | YA | LBGT
Release Date: 2/11/14
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.
Ultimately, it is up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

 

 


 

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.

February 3rd – The Midnight Garden
February 3rd – The Story Siren
February 4th – Good Choice Reading
February 4th Bookish
February 5th – I Read Banned Books
February 5th – Jenna Does Books
February 6th – Bibliophilia, Please
February 7th – Scott Reads It
February 7th – Live to Read
February 10th Alice Marvels
February 10th The Society
February 11th Lexi Swoons
February 11th A Reader of Fictions
February 12th Roof Beam Reader
February 12th Forever Young Adult
February 13th The Compulsive Reader
February 13th Books and Bling
February 14th Book Chic Club
February 14th The QQQE
February 17th JeanBookNerd
February 17th Ticket to Anywhere
February 18th Sleep Eat Read Books
February 18th Read Now Sleep Later
February 19th Anna Reads
February 19th Word Spelunking
February 20th Books With Bite
February 20th What A Nerd Girl Says
February 21st Wastepaper Prose
February 21st LRB – Guest
February 24th We Are Word Nerds
February 24th Cabin Goddess
February 25th Ex Libris
February 25th Cari’s Book Blog
February 25th A Good Addiction
February 26th YA Reads
February 26th The Young Folks
February 27th Novel Thoughts
February 27th Fangirlish
February 28th Once Upon a Twilight
February 28th Naughty Book Kitties

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).

 

He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.


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Just like Hazel

Just like Hazel’s love for An Imperial Affliction, I can’t stop reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I’m listening to it in the car now (I saw it at the library and grabbed it!). It is beauty and magic and perfection all at once. It leaves me, quite like Hazel’s constant state, breathless.

When one of my dear friends mom was diagnosed with the big ugly C, we watched ever cancer movie there was. It helped her cope and heal with the giant suck fest that is cancer. When my dad got a similar diagnosis some years later, our healing time was bad comedy & lame SciFi. I didn’t read cancer books or watch cancer movies. I got angry, sad, and very afraid. So, when I heard Green’s new book was, in fact, about the big C, I ditched it for a long time. I wasn’t going to read a cancer book. But, I love John Green. I love the way he makes me laugh right after he made me cry or scream eff bombs, even though I’m trying not to cuss (you can take the girl out of Jersey…). That’s pretty dang epic. So, of course, it was just a matter of time before TFiOS made its way to my reading pile. It is, like An Imperial Affliction, the book, my book. It has become part of me in a way that a tiny few books ever have or ever will.

This was me yesterday, pulled over on the side of the road, crying, & trying to breathe

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I know the story. I know what’s going to happen. It makes it worse, actually, the knowing. And I love/hate it.

What’s your book?

I’m blogging along with Effy Wild this month. Join us!
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AWESOME YALL FEST PIC ROUND UP!

My super adorable friend Laura & I set out on an adventure to Charleston, SC for YALL FEST! It was an awesome trip filled with tons of book love! Here are a few of our favorite pics from the weekend. Yay books!

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My new YALL FEST shirt

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Cassie Clare & Holly Black

My ticket to meet Cassie Clare. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards that day. Sad Panda!

Adam Gidwitz rocks Grimm with tons of sass! Love it!

Trenton Lee Stewart! Love his Mysterious Benedict Society series!!

David Levithan. I love the way he makes the world a better place with every awesome book he writes!

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Gayle Forman…OMG! Love her!

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Laura & I on a bike taxi! Check out the cool reflection in her glasses! So fun!

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Carrie Ryan…then I died! Love her!! Also, LOVE HER!

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The coolest YALL FEST volunteer around!

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Laura with her fave, Stephanie Perkins

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Laura with Carrie Ryan. Did I mention that I love these two?!?!

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My new favorite necklace by the amazing www.hebeldesign.com Love her work!

Sending ASK THE PASSENGERS my love!

5 Blings for Ask the Passengers

5 Blings! for Ask the Passengers

Wow! I just finished A.S. King’s ASK THE PASSENGERS. Her words live, as they always do, like magic, like the perfect hug, like a tattoo that gets inked onto all that you are and ever were, like the one thing you need to hear at the right time to know that everything really will be ok.

Sending you my love, but not all of it. ♥

Read ASK THE PASSENGERS. Your heart will thank you.

Here’s my thank you to Amy for these amazing words:

I just finished Ask the Passengers. I’m sending you my love. But not all of it. Just enough for you to know that you are so loved and your words are beautiful and there are so many that will hold those words close to their hearts the way I am now. I am smiling just thinking about it.
I’m also kind of upset that I pronounce Socrates wrong in my head, every time, because of Bill & Ted. Maybe I should send them some of my love, too.
Thank you for all of the ♥

Please remember that love is love.

We all have love to give and we are all worthy of being loved. 

 

Finally! AS King’s New Book!! Ask the Passengers!

Yup, I totally love A.S. King. She rocks my whole face off.

I’ve been waiting for this book for at least a million years (or a few months, whatevs). It arrived on my doorstep Friday. And I devoured it. I love it. I kinda wanna marry it. (just kidding…maybe).

Go read it. Now! 

Ask the Passengers ROCKS! 5 Blings!

I don’t even get mad (just sad) that she isn’t at the book events I go to. Why? Because she keeps writing awesome books…but I do want to meet her someday. Totally say hey, hang, and buy her a round or two. Instant BFF’s-I think so!

Check out what she has in the works (more things for me to love, and pet, and drool on):

Printz Honor author A.S. King’s REALITY BOY, in which an infamous reality TV child star, now a damaged teenage boy, meets a girl who forces him out of his angry shell before they run away and send their dysfunctional families a list of demands that must be met in order for them to come back, to Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication in Fall 2013, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World English).

Luke Reynolds, ed.’s BREAK THESE RULES, an anthology of first-person accounts from leading authors for teens (including Sara Zarr, Kathryn Erskine, A.S. King and Gary Schmidt, and many others), from which all royalties will be donated to the Children’s Defense Fund, to Lisa Reardon at Chicago Review Press, by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World).

Ashes & Shadows…Ilsa J. Bick Rocks This Post!

So, you may remember when I read Ilsa J. Bick‘s Ashes.

It freaked me out & kept me up at night.

I LOVED IT!
ASHES-5 Creepy Blings!
It also ended in a OMG! WHAT THE WHAT! cliffhanger! I totally love/hated how Ilsa rocked those last two pages!

Finally, finally, finally, Shadows is here! And, let me tell you, it is Ashes on overdrive! Just as amazing, way more awesome, and (if this is even possible) totally more disgusting and extreme. It rocks!
Shadows gets 5 Creepy Blings, too!

I am the happiest girl ever today to be able to present you with a post written by the AWESOME Ilsa J. Blick herself! WOOT!

Overview of characters Part 1 – For Books and Bling – Mandee
Need a quick refresher, of who’s who before you read SHADOWS? Well, you won’t get much in SHADOWS, but if you DO need to a memory-jog, read on.
If you haven’t read ASHES, shame on you. But don’t despair, you’ve got time.
In any event, BEWARE: spoilers ahead. Really, if you’ve not read ASHES, don’t go any further. Not only will you ruin the perfectly good time you might have had—because no synopsis can do justice to a novel—you will miss a lot of vital information that I can’t include.
Just saying.

Alex Adair: living with her aunt in Illinois after her mom, an ER doc, and dad, a cop, died in a helicopter crash three years ago. Suckier still, Alex carries a monster in her head: an inoperable brain tumor that’s stolen her sense of smell and many of her memories, especially those of her parents. After two years of failed chemotherapy, radiation, and experimental regimens, Alex has decided to call the shots for a change. As the novel opens, Alex has run off on what might well be a one-way backpacking trek through the Waucamaw Wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She intends to honor her parents’ last wishes and scatter their ashes from Mirror Point on Lake Superior. As it happens, she’s also got her dad’s service Glock, just in case she opts out of a return. After the Zap, Alex gets her sense of smell back in spades: a super-sense that also allows her to intuit emotions and, on one occasion, get a glimmer of what’s going on inside the mind of a wolf. Which is pretty funky. Much more to the point and like the dogs, she is able to detect the bloated roadkill stink of the Changed. Oh, and all of a sudden, every dog is her new best friend.

Ellie Cranford: sullen, uncooperative, a trifle whiny, a kid Alex has to keep herself from slapping silly. What can you say? The kid’s eight. Her dad’s KIA in Iraq; her mother split years back; and Ellie’s now being cared for by her grandfather, Jack, who might have the patience of a saint, but cut the kid a break. She hates camping, and it’s not like she hasn’t got good reason to be a little pissy anyway. Initially rescued by Alex and then Tom, Ellie is kidnapped by some very nasty adults who see her as a meal ticket.
Mina: Ellie’s dog, a Belgian Malinois, and formerly her dad’s MWD (military working dog). Mina also has the patience of a saint and packs a mean bite. The nasty adults take her, too.

Tom Eden: a young soldier and explosive ordinance specialist on leave from Afghanistan; a competent guy who complements Alex in a lot of ways. After Alex fends off a pack of wild dogs, Tom saves both Ellie and Alex by shooting his buddy, Jim, who’s gone through a major lifestyle change. Steady and calm, someone to whom Alex is instantly attracted, Tom also has a few secrets of his own. The biggest is just why he’s in the Waucamaw to begin with. Once they leave the (relative) safety of the Waucamaw—we’re talking wild dogs, booby traps, and kids who’ve suddenly decided that people make excellent Happy Meals—Tom is shot while trying to prevent the nasty adults from stealing Ellie.

Check out Ashes, if you haven’t. Get your hands on Shadows right away! And, of course, give the brillantly ewie Ilsa J. Bick some major creep out love!

A HUGE Books and Bling thank you filled with love for Ilsa. For both writing this post and creeping me out in a way that just makes me want MORE!
You totally rock!

Ilsa J. Bick rocked these books!

5 Blings! for both Ashes & Shadows!

5 Blings! for Ilsa J. Bick!

Today I am…joining a LGBT reading event!

Today I am…Joining a LGBT reading event.

The mega awesome Roof Beam Reader is hosting THE LITERARY OTHERS: AN LGBT READING EVENT in October. I’m totally participating!

I’m jumping in because equality is an issue that I am passionate about. Sometimes people ask me why LGBT rights are such a big issue to me when I am not LGBT myself. The short answer is this: I believe that love is love and I believe in always doing the kindest thing. Supporting equality, human rights, love, and kindness are always the right things to me. It is also a great reason to read two books that have been hanging on by TBR pile for a while now. I’m going to read:

  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I just met him at the Decatur Book Festival (He is awesome!!) and I’ve been wanting to read this forever. So this is all win for me! I just started Every Day and I love it already!
  • Shine by Lauren Myracle: I’ve had Shine for a while now. I was going to go see her speak last year, but I was super sick that day. So, now I’m pulling it out again and going for it.  Again, all kinds of win here!!

Go check out the awesome Roof Beam Reader. I hope you join in, too!

YAY BOOKS!

Oh My Awesome Authors! DBF12 Rocked!

This weekend was the Decatur Book Festival. It is an amazing celebration of authors, books, and those who love them!

DBF12

I hung out there all weekend (yup, me outside for two days straight…that should tell you how great of an event it is!!). Schmoopy, Ash, from Smash Attack Reads, and I had a blast in Decatur. My girlfriends, the ever entertaining & super adorable Laura & Anne,  joined us on Saturday, too, YAY!
For me, it was fangirling and author staking at its best!

Here’s the quick rundown on my DBF experience:

Saturday morning we grabbed Ash and headed out. We walked around for a bit and then met up with Laura & Anne. I was super psyched to see Meg Cabot, David Levithan, Kenneth Oppel, & Neal Shusterman.

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Meg Cabot!

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David Levithan!

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Kenneth Oppel

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Neal Shusterman!

Sunday we were back for more! We hung out at J. Christopher’s for an author/blogger breakfast. I got to talk homemade yogurt with Susan Dennard. I’m so excited about the yogurt & I cannot wait to read her book!! Schmoopy pointed out (several times) that I’m the only book lover he knows that sits at a table full of authors & talks about yogurt. Haha!

I saw Tom Angleberger in the hotel lobby. I got the courage to go say hello. He really is the best. The. Best!! I adore his books & totally love his Star Wars humor! Meeting him was totally EPIC! I showed him the picture he emailed me for my students last year and he promised to draw me a new one at the signing. FANGIRL OVERLOAD!

We walked around a bit & found some great 3 for $5 books. Then we met some authors & illustrators in the booths. I grabbed several great books for my class and an awesome book called The Fart Fairy for my nephews. Their mom, my BFF Amy, is going to kill me, but I had to do it! Thankfully they live far enough away that she can’t really smack me!!

We headed back to the teen stage & got to see Barry Lyga. He wrote the super awesome Fanboy and Gothgirl (among other fantastic works) and the mega creepy, yet super brilliant book I Hunt Killers. I read on his blog that the first person to say, “Billy Dent Was Framed” would win a t-shirt. I was all over that! I wrote it on the back of my fan (it was sooooo hot that they were handing out fans!!) & ran over to the signing line. He made me yell it with conviction (get it, conviction…haha)! So fun! He even autographed my sign! Wicked Awesome!!

The brilliantly talented VLC Photos snapped a great pic of me & my new shirt:

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Billy Dent was Framed!

Barry was so much fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to hang out & talk about serial killers, right?!

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Barry Lyga!

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My signage!

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Getting autographed!

We got to see Maureen Johnson, too! She is hysterical! I love her books, adore her on Twitter, and she was even more freaking brilliant in person. Love!! That!! Woman!! She told us how she puts us in jars & takes really good care of us (we are a lot of work)! And she confirmed that she is, in fact, my spirit animal. Yay!

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She is so hysterical!

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Signing!

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Maureen Johnson!

The most epic part of DBF12 was Origami Yoda! He really is totally super fun. We may have been the only ones there without kids, but it didn’t bother me at all. I folded my very own Origami Yoda & waited in a long & rainy line to meet him. He drew a picture for my students, gave me some Fortune Wookiee tattoos for them, and (sit down for this one!) handed Schmoopy his phone when my camera wouldn’t work!! Then he tweeted the pic to my class Twitter. Talk about me getting rock star status with my students!! What an amazing guy!

YAY! Origami Yoda!!

Best. Day. EVER!!

YAY READING!!

Shadow & Bone Rocks!

I’m reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It is rocking my world.

So. Freaking. Amazing!

Poor orphan children, war, creepy evil volcra things, magic, mystical powers, wealth, opulence, secrets, and a mysteriously magical Darkling. Oh, there’s tons of drama, so much awesome drama! And I’m only half way through the book!

Leigh Bardugo is brilliant in an epic way! I can’t put the book down & I’m so pumped to know that it is the first book of a trilogy! So much win going on here!!

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