Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 End of Year Book Survey

The Second Annual End of the Year Book Survey hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner is a fun way to reflect and remember all of the books I read in 2011. 

1. Best book(s) read in 2011? 
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley - a 2012 release, but I'm counting it anyway
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess
The Summer Series by Jenny Han

2. Most disappointing book/book you wish you loved more than you did? 
The Best and Hardest Thing by Pat Brisson - I just thought it would be more heart-breaking than it was. After I finished it, I immediately thought, ok so what am I going to read next. So sad, but so true.


3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - I don't know what I thought was about, but it certainly wasn't what I thought it was going be. I loved this book but I'm glad that I listened to the audiobook because I don't think I would have finished the book if I had chose to read it.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011? 
The Hunger Games - It was the first recommendation I gave to anyone who asked. I even bought copies for several friends because just because I wanted them to read it. I even gave a copy for my dad for Christmas - and he's not a big reader (unless it's for work).

5. Best series you discovered in 2011? 
The Shade Series by Jeri Smith-Ready - I almost let this one pass me by. It didn't really seem like a book that I would be into, BUT so many bloggers were singing its praises - Jen at Makeshift Bookmark and Ginger at GReads! were the loudest. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I loved Shift the most and an super-excited for Shine.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Holly Cupala - I love her debut novel Tell Me a Secret and look forward to starting Don't Breathe a Word.

Carol Lynch Williams - The Chosen One and Glimpse were terrific. I've just started reading her books, and will no doubt read more.

Ashley Hope Perez - a 2011 debut author. I love what she does with her writing and will read anything she writes.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or a new genre for you?
I didn't really go out of my comfort zone or read any new genres - maybe that will be a goal for 2012

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler - maybe not thrilling, but intriguing, entertaining and unputdownable. This is another one that I can't stop telling my friends about.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
Bumped by Megan McCafferty - I bought it the week it came out, started reading it and put it down for a while. And by a while, I mean eight months. I did read it and LOVED it!! So glad I finally read it and now I'm ready for Thumped. I read the summary and was in shock and tears. Now it is one of my most anticipated for 2012.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams


11. Most memorable character in 2011?
Rand from Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala - There is just something about her and this book that will likely stick with me forever.

12. Most beautifully written book in 2011?
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess - from my review "Ordinary Beauty has left me a wreck. Never have I been left so emotionally drained from reading a book. While this may sound negative to some, it is one of the best feelings I can great from reading. I know this book and Sayre's story will be with me for a long time."

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to read?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - I am lame. I started this one in 2009 (maybe even earlier) and finished it in November. I don't know what I keep putting this one (and all the others in the series) aside.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2011?
Let me just put every word from The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan here. 
16. Book you read in 2011 that you'd most likely re-read in 2012?
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz and Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - this book was something else - so smart, sarcastic, thought-provoking, entertaining

Looking Ahead...

1. One book you didn't get to in 2011, but will be your number one priority in 2012?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2012?
Thumped by Megan McCafferty, Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready, and Never Enough by Denise Jaden

3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2012?
2011 was a year of a lot of reading, but only a few reviews. I plan to catch up on my overdue reviews and review more consistently.


Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Challenges Wrap-Up

This year I signed up for a few challenges, but the most notable were the Goodreads Challenge, The Contemps Challenge (2010 & 2011), 2011 Debut Author Challenge and the Off the Shelf Challenge. I failed successfully (you like that) - numbers were NOT the best and reviews (for DAC and The Contemps) were lacking. 2011 really was the year of sporadic reviews.

Here are the stats:

Goodreads Challenge - Goal - 85, READ - 95!!

The Contemps Challenge 
Read 6 of 18

1. Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
2. Freefall by Mindi Scott
3. The Duff by Kody Keplinger
4. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
5. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
6. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

2011 Debut Author Challenge at The Story Siren
Read 12 of 12 

1. Those That Wake by Jesse Karp
2. What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez
3. Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
4. Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
5. Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin
6. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
7. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
8. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
9. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
10. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
11. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
12. Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard - reading now & will finish before 2011 ends

Off the Shelf Challenge host by Bookish Ardour 
Read 19 of 30
(does not include e-books)

1. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
2. Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
3. The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins
4. Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
5. Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
6. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
7. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
8. The Boy Book by E. Lockhart
9. The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart
10. Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
11. Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart
12. Flirtin' with the Monster by Ellen Hopkins
13. Our Town by Thornton Wilder
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
15. Smart Boys & Fast Girls by Stephie Davis
16.Impossible by Nancy Werlin
17. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
18. Fly on the Wall by e. lockhart
19. Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Bookish Santas

Now that all of my holiday celebrations are winding down and I am home from visiting with family, I wanted to share all of the wonderful bookish gifts I received this year. I participated in two gift swaps - The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa 2011 and the Book Blogger Holiday Swap. Let me just say that I received some of the most amazing gifts and did some happy dances (yes there were quite a few)

Annette at Annette's Book Spot sent me:

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott
a handmade tote
2 handmade bookmarks (I love them!)

 Andrea at The Busy Bibliophile sent me:

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Dancing Waters hand gel
Hershey's chocolates
and an owl bookmark

Thank you Annette and Andrea for sending me terrific books and the extra goodies. I love all of my gifts from my Secret Santas and I couldn't have asked for anything more!

But I did get a little bit more . . .

The week leading up to Christmas, my husband decided that it was time to give me the home library I have wanted for years. I spent a few days cleaning out our home office and then he did this:

He painted the room Shimmering Summer Pool and built the bookshelves himself. There were a few mishaps along the way, but they are perfect now. AND I LOVE THEM. I can't wait to share them once I have organized my books so they are just right (and then I'll organize them again).

And the Winners Are

The Winners Are . . .  
She has won a copy of Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
(winner has been contacted by email and accepted giveaway prize)

There were 22 entries and using, number 10 was selected.
Meg S

She has won my Mid-Winters Eve Giveaway - a $10.00 gift card to Barnes and Noble
(winner has been notified by email - please check and respond, thanks!)

There were 172 entries and using, number 35 was selected.
Thank you to everyone who visits my blog!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon

 Jessie at Remarkable Reads is hosting the Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon. (you can still sign up) I've decided to participate in this final readathon in 2011 just because I've had a lot of fun with all of the others. I usually don't list the books I plan to read, but instead I list a some goals I want to achieve. This time I am listing one title specifically because I KNOW I will read it (I have to for my book club - it was my pick!)

My Goals:
  • Read Delirium!!
  • read at least one review book (and write the review immediately)
  • read at least 2 e-books
  • read one book gifted to me
  • read some books for challenges
  • HAVE FUN!!
If you've signed up for the readathon, let me know in the comments and I'll make sure to stop by your blog during the readathon and cheer you on!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mid-Winter's Eve Blog Hop

The Mid Winter's Eve Blog Hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Oasis for YA begins Dec. 21 and runs through Dec. 27th. This time I am giving away two prizes to one winner.

$10.00 Barnes and Noble Gift Card 
photo 1
photo 2
photo 3
Giveaway Rules:
Must be at least 13 yrs or older
Open to US addresses only
Following is NOT required
To Enter fill out the form below
Contest ends December 27th 2011 11:59 EST
One Winner will be selected using

Now that you've entered my giveaway, check out what these other blogs have to offer!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Curiosity with a Capital S


Curiosity with a Capital S
by Tonya Trimble
Publisher: Tell Me Press
Available: August 1, 2011

Ten-year-old Tracy worships her big brother, Stan, even though his insatiable curiosity often leads him—and Tracy—into unexpected, eye-opening, and sometimes frightening adventures. When Tracy’s family moves to a beautiful South Carolina island during World War II, whole new opportunities for exploration and adventure unfold. Tracy watches with admiration as her brother grows up and learns to channel his curiosity to find his life’s passion and pursue his dreams.

Curiosity with a Capital S was an enjoyable read. The stories and misadventures of brother and sister, Stan and Tracy is told from the viewpoint of younger sister, Tracy. From the very beginning it is clear that Stan is quite a handful in the family - always looking for adventure and has a wondering, wandering mind. Tracy does all that she can to keep in step with her older brother - often when she knows better but she follows him in to trouble as adoring, younger sisters do. 

I liked the variety of adventures that were told in Curiosity with a Capital S because it took me back to a time when I was younger and went exploring with my cousins or friends. For Stan and Tracy, television wasn't a source of entertainment and they went out and created their own fun.  I liked that the author explored a lot of hobbies and interests for her characters. Children are complex and should have the opportunity to find out what they like and not be so limited in their pursuits. However, Stan was so curious that he put himself in some dangerous situations.

My favorite quote from the book was from when Stan was found doing maintenance in the school's boiler room, "I had everything working perfectly! I can't understand why grown-ups get so upset when they discover I can do something they don't think I should be able to do yet. Adults are strange." 

Here I think he is saying something profound, but the situation does call for a little more guidance. And I will admit that I was surprised that Stan and Tracy often were not punished for a lot of the trouble that they got into. They were easily forgiven or Stan's misbehavior was brushed aside because he was "just so curious"  and at times, that was not very believable. 

All in all, I enjoyed reading Curiosity with a Capital S and would share it with all of the middle grade readers I know.

Author’s blog 
A comprehensive reader’s and teacher’s guide is available for download:

Curiosity with a Capital S on Facebook:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Giveaway - Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

It's tough living in the shadow of a dead girl. . . .
In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda's death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister's world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.
When two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears, Miranda is stripped of her former life. She must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister's demons and her own.
In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

In the spirit of giving and because I love this book so much and want more people to read it, I've decided to have a spur of the moment giveaway. It will be pretty quick and ends on Sunday 12/18/11.

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala 
(one of my favorite books I read this year)
in either Hardback, Audio or e-book for Kindle

Giveaway Rules:
Must be at least 13 yrs or older
Open to US addresses only
Following is NOT required
To Enter fill out the form below
Contest ends December 18th 2011 11:59 EST
One Winner will be selected using

Extra Entries:
Tweet: "I want to win Tell Me a Secret by @HollyCupala from @ActinUpwb"
only one extra entry per person

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Q and A with Tonya Trimble

This week on the blog, I am featuring Tonya Trimble and her new novel Curiosity with a Capital S is published by Tell Me Press and is currently available in hardcover, paperback, and e-Book versions, wherever fine books are sold or downloaded.

Welcome Tonya!

A children’s educator of 45 years, you have released your first book for kids. Tell us about Curiosity with a Capital S and why you decided to write it.
 Curiosity with a Capital S is based on the true happenings of my brother’s and my adventures on Lady’s Island. This island is directly across the channel from Beaufort, South Carolina. During WWII our father was in the Navy and sent to Parris Island. Due to a shortage of housing, we ended up renting a summer cottage on Lady’s Island, which was sparsely inhabited. There were lots of woods, a creek, one hotel, a pier, and many opportunities for adventures and interesting experiences. My book is based on these happenings.
The reason I decided to write this book was rather interesting. I did not set out to write a book. Rather, early on, as a teacher, I was asked to instruct the children in creative writing. With each new skill I taught, I would write up an adventure from my childhood on Lady’s Island in order to demonstrate the skill I was teaching. After a year, I had many of these adventures already written. Soon, I decided to put them together with a bit of editing, additions, and a number of rewrites to form a manuscript that I was to use in my classrooms over the years until it was submitted and accepted for publication by Tell Me Press.

The book is deliberately “old-fashioned.” What made you want to take that route in writing this story?
I took this route simply because the actual adventures upon which the book was based took place during the 1940s during WWII. Thus, in order to keep and strengthen the tone and feel of the book it was only natural to keep it “old-fashioned.”

An historical novel for children, at what age and classroom level can young readers can enjoy Curiosity?
    The book is primarily for ages 8-12. Fourth graders, especially, seem to relate to the main characters, Stan and Tracy. However, I have had numerous adults tell me that they started to read it, prior to giving it to their children, and found it interesting enough to keep reading. They wondered why it was tagged as a young adult book.

Kids are offered so many learning opportunities in your book, including the history of the World War II era and the differences in life between then and now. Talk to us about some of the social and environmental topics explored in Curiosity.
Curiosity lends itself to learning about an element of history many children of today have not explored. It touches on the customs of the era, speech, manners, and acceptable behavior for children of the time. The home unit was a safe and secure place. The father was the head of the house and bread-winner, the mother was the home-maker who also cared for the children, and the children were expected to be well mannered, respectful, and obedient. It also mentions war rationing and shortages. Due to the war efforts, life style changed radically. Women were taken out of the home setting and worked in jobs that men usually handled because most men were across the ocean fighting for our freedom. In many ways, life was simpler and less rushed. There were less modern inventions to speed up life.

Ted Enik, the artist responsible for the illustrations in the popular children’s books Magic School Bus, Eloise and Fancy Nancy, drew the images in Curiosity. What was it like to see your book brought to life through these illustrations by such a master of the craft?
I feel so privileged that Ted Enik, after reading my book, was willing to illustrate it. He was able to get the exact tone and “old-fashioned” feel that we were looking for. His sketches relate the simplicity of the times, yet, the vigor and stamina of life in the 1940s.

Do you think your background in education helped you write a story good for teachers to share in a classroom?
I wrote what I knew, and what I knew was what inspired young people to read and open their imaginations to new ideas and discoveries. This book gives children an opportunity to “travel” to a different era. A good teacher can take this book and integrate history, culture, and way of life, to her/his students. As a teacher, I recognize this to be an excellent approach to learning.
Author’s blog:
Publisher’s website:
Curiosity with a Capital S on Facebook:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spotlight On: Curiosity with a Capital S

This week on the blog, I am featuring author Tonya Trimble. Her new book Curiosity with a Capital S is a historical fiction novel written from the middle grade reading level.


Curiosity with a Capital S
by Tonya Trimble
Publisher: Tell Me Press
Available: August 1, 2011

Ten-year-old Tracy worships her big brother, Stan, even though his insatiable curiosity often leads him—and Tracy—into unexpected, eye-opening, and sometimes frightening adventures. When Tracy’s family moves to a beautiful South Carolina island during World War II, whole new opportunities for exploration and adventure unfold. Tracy watches with admiration as her brother grows up and learns to channel his curiosity to find his life’s passion and pursue his dreams.

This sweet, poignant story of youthful inquisitiveness conveys the texture of life on a South Carolina island during a unique time in United States history. It’s perfect for children, parents and adults.

The book features the whimsical work of artist Ted Enik, best known for his illustrations in popular children’s books such as Eloise, Magic School Bus, and Fancy Nancy.

Stop by tomorrow for a Q & A with Tonya Trimble.

Author’s blog 
A comprehensive reader’s and teacher’s guide is available for download:

Curiosity with a Capital S on Facebook:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And the Winner Is . . .

The Winner Is . . .

She has won my Book Lovers Giveaway - a book valued up to $10.00 from Barnes and Noble
(winner has been contacted by email and accepted giveaway prize)

There were 317 entries and using, number 79 was selected. Congratulations Stephanie! Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog and entered.

Waiting on Wednesday: Child of the Mountains

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Child of the Mountains
by Marilyn Sue Shank
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 10, 2012

It's about keeping the faith.

Growing up poor in 1953 in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia doesn't bother Lydia Hawkins. She treasures her tight-knit family. There's her loving mama, now widowed; her whip-smart younger brother, BJ, who has cystic fibrosis; and wise old Gran. But everything falls apart after Gran and BJ die and mama is jailed unjustly. Suddenly Lydia has lost all those dearest to her.

Moving to a coal camp to live with her uncle William and aunt Ethel Mae only makes Lydia feel more alone. She is ridiculed at her new school for her outgrown homemade clothes and the way she talks, and for what the kids believe her mama did. And to make matters worse, she discovers that her uncle has been keeping a family secret—about her.

If only Lydia, with her resilient spirit and determination, could find a way to clear her mother's name . . .

(image and Summary from Goodreads) 

Another amazing sounding debut novel. I am drawn to books set in Appalachia and to find a young adult book set in Appalachia makes me so happy. In college, my focus was American Lit with emphasis on Appalachian Studies. I didn't read a lot of young adult Appalachian lit, so I am always looking for new titles. If you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments. Thanks! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop

The latest and possibly my last hop of the year is the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Kid Lit Frenzy 

The Prize:
One Book of Your Choice Valued up to $10.00 (US) from B&

Contest Rules:
Must be at least 13 yrs or older
Open to US address only
Following is NOT required
To Enter fill out the form below
Contest ends December 6th 2011 11:59 EST
One Winner will be selected using


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