• More great new reads!

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 5/14/2015


    From Amazon: If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

    Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

    Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

    Caroline introduces Sam to the Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
    Praise for Time Between Us
    "A beautifully written, unique love story."
    -Melissa Marr, New York Times best-selling author of The Wicked Lovely series

    "A compelling story of love, fate, and consequences with plenty of sigh-worthy moments, this novel is the perfect choice for readers who want a romance that leaves them with something to think about when it's over."
    -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


    When I requested this book it was because I loved the cover and thought that the brief summary sounded interested. I had no idea what to expect from Sarah J. Maas and was I thrilled with what I discovered.  Mass has found a new fan in me and I can't wait to read her other books.  This story is beautiful, mystical, magical and romantic. It takes you on an adventure with Feyre, a young girl who has been spending time fulfilling her mother's wish to take care of her family.  Feyre is hard working and determined to feed her sisters and father, while feeling miserable about how they treat her and losing home in the world around her.  When Feyre has a chance to kill a wolf at the beginning she takes it, even though she isnt' sure if it is one of the Fae they live in fear of. This event is the catalyst for the rest of the story.  Feyre's actions bring her face to face with a terrifying High Fae name Tamlin.  Tamlin takes her with him to be kept in his court as punshiment for the death of the wolf, who was one of his people.  Because Feyre has strong character right from the start of this story she goes, leaving behind her home and her family and venturing into the world she has been afraid of for so long.  What follows is an adventure and mystery and love story.  Maas weaves a tale that is slowly revealing and intriguing to the reader. I couldn't put this book down and when I didn't have a chance to keep reading, I continued to think about it. The descriptions were fantastic and the relationships strong, all while staying in a mystical setting. Loved this book, can't wait to read more from Maas. She has made a new fan in me!


    I have been patiently waiting and hoping I would be allowed to preview this text and I'm so glad that I was able too! I read it from beginning to end in a day and I loved every second. Tahir's writing style is so fantastic and reminds me of some of Rae Carson and a little of Tahereh Mafi.  It is beautifully told in alternating viewpoints between Elias and Laia.  Both narrators and equally strong and well written. They lay out a story of two teens living in the Empire but living totally different lives. Their lives begin to intersect but what I really loved is that this isn't a story of romantic love. Yes, the foreshadowing is there for a future book, but their potential relationship doesn't drive this story.  The relationships they have with siblings/friends/parents forces this story forward at a quick pace.  I loved the emotional pull and the terrifying challenges that Elias had to face, while Laia also faced emotional and terrifying challenges. Their journey's mirror each other in some ways and it is brilliant the way that Tahir takes the reader on the journey with them. I look forward to more!



    I was pretty sad when this book ended and I really hope that there will be another book about Lyric as she navigates the new world she has found herself living in. This is a great story of a future when Coney Island isn't the fun filled place we know, but more of a refugee camp for those from the sea.  Lyric has spent three years hiding a secret from those who love her and now as those she has been hiding from begin at her school she needs to figure out the best way to face this challenge.  Lyric and Fathom have an interesting dynamic and I was left with hope and desire of more from their relationship.  This is a fast read and it will definitely sit well with those who like a little sci-fi and a little romance and a little adventure all rolled into one!


    I have to admit my sheer joy in being given the chance to preview this new novel by Julie Kagawa. She is one of my favorite authors and her books are magical. This book was no different. This   picks up where Talon ended, with the story of Ember Hill, Dragon who also can appear as a human, and the people she has chosen to join forces with. Ember had escaped the world she has grown up in and is on the run with Riley (Colbalt) with a goal to take down Talon and fight St. George (who are attempting to take down the dragons).  Ember is faced with a decision to help free Garrett, the boy she met and befriended in Talon (former St. George solider) before he is killed by the very men who trained him. This starts off a faced paced book full of action, drama and fantasy.  The concept is a difficult one to grasp and yet Kagawa writes it in a way that it's believable.  The reader is left trusting her and believing in this world she has created where Dragons live among us and are fighting against an order who is meant to kill them (as well as between themselves).  The relationships are well written and the simmering passion is done in typical Kagawa style. She gives us bites and pieces and leaves us wondering how these relationships will all be resolved. I loved this book and I truly can't wait to read the final book when it is released.  Wonderful read for those  who love to explore new ideas based in reality and who enjoy passion and intensity of action!


    Carrie Ryan creates a book that is full of intrigue, mystery and romance.  I was grabbed by this story right from the beginning and had to read it all in one sitting! Frances is on the Persephone, a doomed cruise ship where everyone is killed by men with guns.  She and her friend Libby survive for a short period of time and Libby perishes right before their rescue.  When Frances is coherent , she learns that her "boyfriend" Gray and his senator father have also survived but they are saying the ship was destroyed by a giant wave.  Frances is distraught and with the help of Libby's father, reinvents herself to try and find out the truth. This story reminded me  of the tv show Revenge because Libby/Frances is driven by her desire for revenge. She is looking for answers and four years later she is ready to find those answers, no matter the cost.  Loved this story and how fast it unraveled for Libby/Frances. The flashbacks were great juxtaposition to the life she is leading now and adds the quick pace of the text.  Highly recommend it!



    Sarah Dessen has again created a beautiful book for both teens and adults, that causes the reader to question the way they see and treat others, as well as the way they see and treat themselves.  I began this book a little biased because Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors and one I frequently suggest to my teenage students.  Even if I had never read a book by Dessen before,  I would still have been engrossed with this novel and all of the things that it discusses.  Sydney and her family have been through a terrible few months while her brother has been facing charges for hitting a young boy on his way home late one night.  This situation is one that is familiar in a lot of families where kids are dealing with substance abuse and other addictions.  Unfortunitly, Peyton made a terrible mistake and his has cost him time in jail and his family time together.  Broken into pieces, Sydney moves schools and finds herself alone and looking for something. She isn't sure what it is that she needs to feel whole, but she is struggling to survive her family life and be in touch with her friends. She happens into a little pizzeria and finds herself drawn to the family that owns it. Through a turn of events, Sydney finds herself quickly involved in this family the Chathams and finds herself a best friend in their daughter.  The novel is about friendship between these two girls, as well as the relationships that Sydney had before her brother's accident.  Mac Chatham is Sydney's best friends brother and becomes a calming presence in her life as she navigates the issues with her family and within herself as she tries to deal with her guilt and her relationship with her brother.  There are so many levels to this story , all perfectly woven together by Dessen.  Sydney is a realistic character and she is a good example of how there is hope to be found for everyone, even when you feel like your world is breaking into pieces.  Family issues and sibling relationships, jealousy and substance abuse, physical abuse and emotional strain all come together in a beautifully told story about a teenager who finds out that she doesn't need to just believe in a saint, but to believe in herself and the person that her parents raised her to be.


     Can the best thing happen at the worst time? 


    Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.


    I was lucky to read this early, it doesn’t come out till December 2015 but it’s a great read!

    Lucille is struggling to keep it all together after her father had a nervous breakdown and her mom can't deal and leaves for an extended "vacation".  Months away from being 18, Lucille needs to keep the secret that her mom is gone while trying to take care of her little sister, Wren.  In on the secret are her best friend Eden and her twin, Digby, (the object of Lucille's affection.   Well written story of a teen struggle that isn't often written about. The parents aren't dead, but they have chosen to leave. The secret keeping and survival struggle can relate to many other issues in the lives of teens which will make this a relatable and readable book. The relationships between Digby and Eden and Lucille are well written and I found my heart breaking for the girls quite a few times. I loved the narration of the text and the way the chapters (or days) were broken down.  A lot of heart in this book and a lot of hope.  It showed that people will help when others need it and there can be kindess in the world.


    What a great read! A mystery spy thriller with a focus on what makes family and how we decided which side to stand for.  Alexandra is thrust into a spy game because of her eyes by her father. She is left at a young age to learn the ways of the spy world then placed into an American family with ties to the CIA.  She is now a teenager and about to be called forth to do something terrible.  The story kept me on the edge of my seat. I just was left wishing for more action once her secret life started to unravel.  Overall, I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to find out what happens to Lex next!




    What an unexpected treat this book was!   This is a story about Grace, Jason and Sophie. I found myself in the world of a pop star in Korea where a senior in high school has run away from her Nashville home to find herself again after problems in her family. The way that Stout delivers the pieces of Grace's puzzle is beautiful.  She has created realistic, relatable characters (though they are in a world of fame and fortune) who the reader falls in love with and will root for.   Intermixed in the text are letters to Grace's older brother and they add to the complexity of the novel. I am still feeling swept up in this story because it kept me engaged until the very end. It was romantic and lovely and full of heart, friendship and the power of those around you who will help you heal yourself.  Beautiful story.

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  • A just a few more new reads I love!

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 5/14/2015


    *This is one of the best trilogies of books I have read in a long time. I love these stories the beautiful stories that AG Howard has written.  Beautiful cover art as well!

    The Review for Splintered from amazon: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl's pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers--precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. When her mother's mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice's tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice's mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.



    Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

    Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

    To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.


    I have been waiting for what seems like ages to read a new Matthew Reilly book and this didn't disappoint! I am giving it five stars because the book grabbed me and keep me interested right from the beginning. The idea was intriguing (and I loved Jurassic Park as a kid so the comparison was there early on) and the non-stop pace of the novel keep me thinking about it long after I had put it down for the night. China has spent 40 years creating something to rival what American has in Disney and other spectacular tourist destinations... they have found a nest of dragons and created the "Great DRAGON Zoo of China". It's time for the press to meet the zoo and they are carefully selected and brought it to see the wonders that China has created. CJ is a strong female heroine, someone comparable to many of the great male action stars. She is an expert in crocodiles and was once almost killed by one. CJ is smart and doesn't need anyone to tell her what to do, but with the help of her brother Hamish and a few other men, she is able to fight to survive when things fall apart. Yes, this book did remind me of Jurassic Park but not enough to give it less than five stars. The action was great, the concept was intriguing and the imagery in the book made me hope for a movie! Reilly is a great writer, he proved this to me years ago with Ice Station.

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  • Random books I have recently read... some new and some not out just yet!

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 1/14/2015

     Great book by Josh Sundquist! This is a true story of Josh going back in time to review and reflect on the girlfriends he had (or didn't have) and why the relationships didn't really work (or happen in the first place!) A very cool way to tell a story and a quick read that makes you feel like you know Josh personally! http://www.amazon.com/Should-Hang-Out-Sometime-Embarrassingly-ebook/dp/B00JOTZZPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421263335&sr=8-1&keywords=we+should+hang+out+sometime 

     This book by Aimee Carter is the second in a series of books that are called the Black Coat Rebellion books.  I read this one first and it still made me want to read the first one in the series. Kitty Doe is filling the shoes of someone else, she has been made to look and act like a very important person while a secret rebellion is brewing.  She is facing problems within the world and within her life as she decides who to trust and what is real. http://www.amazon.com/Captive-Blackcoat-Rebellion-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00L0XO2JQ/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421263595&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=captivate+aimee+carter&pebp=1421263597988&peasin=B00L0XO2JQ 

     Soulprint by Megan Miranda comes out in February but I read an ARC.  It was an interesting story and  I loved this book! It was a crazy concept with captivating characters who I found myself really caring about. Alina has had her DNA tested and is believed to have the soul of June, a "radical" involved in the process of tracking souls.  June lived her short life in a way that leads Alina to be held captive, away from the people who want to use and hurt her. When Cameron and Casey come into her life during an escape, Alina has to decide who to trust, what their motives are and if she can even trust herself.  Great read! Looking forward to more from this author! http://www.amazon.com/Soulprint-Megan-Miranda-ebook/dp/B00QRWVQV2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421263758&sr=8-1&keywords=soulprint+megan+miranda&pebp=1421263761655&peasin=B00QRWVQV2
     This is an important book. It really touched my heart.  I was touched by this beautiful story and the way it deals with death, recovery and mental illness.  There are so few books about teenagers dealing with this type of mental illness that it really impacted me to finally read something of this nature.  Violet and Fitch are both searching for themselves.  They meet in the most random of situations, as both are contemplating suicide (for their own very different reasons).  Violet has struggled with being a survivor and the perfection of her family, while Fitch is struggling to stay "awake" in a world that he wants to close down.  Niven writes about Fitch and Violet's struggles in a beautiful, interwoven text.  I loved the way the perspective changed. I loved the project that brought them together and I loved the way they found themselves.  My heart broke in the last section of the text; as soon as I saw the image on the page I knew where it was going though (along with Violet) I hoped that I was wrong.  Niven does a wonderful job illustrating the different perspectives we can have on life and death.  She shows us two families that are "broken" in different ways and really makes the reader think about some serious topics. http://www.amazon.com/All-Bright-Places-Jennifer-Niven-ebook/dp/B00LKJHTB8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421264146&sr=8-1&keywords=all+the+bright+places&pebp=1421264151044&peasin=B00LKJHTB8 
     I'm so angry right now that I have to wait another year to find out what will happen to Ivy! This is a  fantastic new addition to the YA dystopian genre.  Ivy lives in a world where the daughters of one group are married to the sons of the other group.  These two groups fought for control and the decision to marry between them was a war tactic to make revolution more difficult.  Ivy is married off to Bishop when she is sixteen.  He is the presidents son and a very handsome, respectful man.  Ivy is tasked with the secret mission of killing him so her father can start a revolution; unfortunately, Bishop is not the man that Ivy expected. I loved the pace of the relationship/romance/emotional entanglement of the two main characters. I loved the conflict that Ivy faces within her self between love of family and broken trust.  This book was hard to put down and I know many of my students will enjoy it.  Great for fans of Divergent or the Hunger Games! 
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  • A few more new reads I loved from the summer...

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 9/12/2014

    Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

    Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

    Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

    The last book in the Mortal Instruments series! It was perfect! I loved how everything tied together and the story was so full of excitement. It was nice how the author brought back some of the characters from the other books and real brought things full circle. 
    The Shiver Trilogy is one of my favorites so I was thrilled this summer to read Sinner, which brought back two of the best characters. It was a great story and if you loved the Shiver books it's a must read!  
    Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy.


    Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get back Isabel Culpeper. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn't just want her. He needs her.


    Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It's not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes. But what's the point? What is there to win?


    Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to love each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.

    Praise for the New York Times bestselling Shiver trilogy:

    * "Beautiful and moving." -- School Library Journal, starred review

    * "A lyrical tale of alienated werewolves and first love . . . [Stiefvater's] take on werewolves is interesting and original." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

    "Beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages." -- Bookpage
    This book was a surprise! I really liked it and I'm happy it's going to be a series.  It was unexpected and kept my interest.  Plus, the cover is fantastic!  
    Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

    To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

    Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home. 
    Constant darkness. 
    Brutal and savage violence. 
    Excruciating pain. 
    Every day is a fight for survival. 
    But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole. 
    I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
    If you liked The Hunger Games and Divergent this book is for you! Scary and disturbing take on the future.  The relationships between the kids in a time where KIDS are in charge is so interesting to read about. I couldn't put this down! 
     "Chris Weitz has made a beautiful transition from writing and directing films to novels. The Young World is populated with characters you won't forget and a story as fresh and urgent as Divergent."--James Patterson, #1 NY Times bestselling author ofMaximum Ride.

    Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens.

    After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos.

    But when a fellow tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure for the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip, exchanging gunfire with enemy gangs, escaping cults and militias, braving the wilds of the subway--all in order to save humankind.

    This first novel from acclaimed film writer/director Chris Weitz is the heart-stopping debut of an action-packed trilogy. 


    Another great cover! This is a little romance and a little fantasy rolled together into a mysterious book that I really enjoyed.  If you like Julie Kagawa books and Stephanie Meyer you will enjoy this read!  

    Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn’t forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.

    Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, he takes Salome's life in a new direction. A direction where she’ll have to decide between her longtime crush, Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin, who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop.

    An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.



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  • Some new reads from my summer...

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 9/3/2014

     Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives -- but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she's never considered before -- one in which her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch. -Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Away-Jennifer-Brown-ebook/dp/B00EXTQSVO/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409090882&sr=1-1&keywords=torn+away

    The first book of the New York Times best-selling trilogy, which Divergent author Veronica Roth called, "Intense, unique... Definitely recommended."

    Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

    Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can't see how she ever will.

    Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king--a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

    And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. -Amazon

      I read this entire trilogy this summer over four days. I loved it! It isn't my "normal" genre but I loved it! Great characters and great series!  http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Fire-Thorns-Rae-Carson-ebook/dp/B004U6URJY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409759199&sr=1-1&keywords=the+girl+of+fire+and+thorns

    Jamie KainThe Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

    Rachel is wild.  Asha is lost.  Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together.  But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there.

    Jamie Kain brings us The Good Sister, a stunning debut young adult novel about love in all its joyful, painful, exhilarating manifestations, and about the ties that bind us together, in life and beyond. -amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Good-Sister-Jamie-Kain-ebook/dp/B00J6U1DY2/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409091004&sr=1-4&keywords=the+good+sister

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  • A Few More Reads...

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 6/23/2014
    I loved this book, not because it was another great novel about a dystopian society (like The Hunger Games or Divergent) but because of the two narrators and their 87 year time gap in the same location.  I thought it was brilliant to read about Alice and her experience immediately following the “storms” and to read about Carter’s experiences in a world that is still trying to figure its self out. The juxtaposition of these two narrators’ (and time period) gives this book an extra spark that I think makes it magical in its own right.  Exploring a world that has started from scratch, to “simplify” the world destroyed by the storms, Alice explains what it was like in the first years following mass chaos.  Carter, meanwhile, is waking up after a period being frozen as a teenager to potentially be a leader in his community.  There is mystery and intrigue and a hint of romance, but the overwhelming theme is survival and what we will all do to survive in our given environments.
          Miranda Kenneally is one of my new favorite authors. In the past month I have read all of her other novels and this one doesn't disappoint.  Kenneally takes the reader on a journey with the main character, Annie, as Annie trains for a marathon she is running in honor of her deceased boyfriend, Kyle.  The book follows Annie through her training schedule and the events that coincide with the different races she is running.  The pacing in the book is fantastic.  I very much enjoyed the way that the author formatted the book to mimic the running schedule.  It helped keep time and I felt as though I was taking the journey with her.  This is a book about running, and it is a book about facing the challenges in your life head on (even when you don’t want to).  This is also a love story, love of self and romantic love.  Annie has a lot of guilt to deal with and she faces a different kind of guilt as she meets and begins a relationship with Jeremiah.  Their friendship is well written and believable (even the river scene!).  The friendships and female relationships that Annie tries to build are also believable, as is her struggle with beginning college. One thing that I love about Keanneally is that she revisits her old characters.  Jordan Woods was back as the football coach in Annie’s high school, and various other characters made cameos.  I recommend reading all of Keanneally’s books, though they aren’t a series and can stand alone.
    How to Fall is a great mystery and I look forward to reading the next in this mystery series! Jess Tennant is stuck in a strange situation when she goes to visit the family she hasn't ever met and discovers that she looks exactly like her recently dead cousin, Freya.  The mystery  unfolds in an entertaining manner and kept my interest the entire story.  The relationships that develop between Jess and her surviving cousins are believable and the relationships she forms with the other characters in the town are interesting.  I didn't see the end coming which I enjoy in a good mystery and I found myself excited to see where Jess and her friendships/relationships go as she stays an additional year in this new setting.
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  • Over the weekend...

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 5/27/2014
    http://www.amazon.com/We-Were-Liars-E-Lockhart-ebook/dp/B00FPOSDGY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401200774&sr=8-1&keywords=e+lockhart This book has been getting great reviews in the different YA blogs I read so I checked it out this weekend. Interesting story, good mystery, kept me guessing and like many other reviews, I had to go back and reread a few parts at the end.  I hightly recommend this for a quick summer mystery read!
    http://www.amazon.com/Maybe-One-Day-Melissa-Kantor-ebook/dp/B00DB3A8Y6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401201185&sr=8-1&keywords=maybe+one+day  With the super exciting upcoming movie release of The Fault in Our Stars, I was hesitant to read a novel about cancer but this one was quite well done.  The two main characters are best friends who LIVE for ballet, until their dreams are crushed when they are cut from the ballet program they are in.  They think this is the worst thing that can ever happen to them, but they are wrong.  One is diagnoses with a rare leukemia and the story is told through the seasons of the year she is dealing with it.  I really enjoyed this story because of its focus on frindship and the strength of the relationship these two girls have.  It is a beautiful book.
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  • Reading a few new books this year... check them out!

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 5/16/2014
    I have read so many fantastic books this year! Some have been the final books in young adult triologies and some have been wonderful stand alone books.  I am eagerly awaiting the final book in the Mortal Instruments series (which comes out next week!) but until then I decided it was time to update by reading blog in case you are bored this summer and are thinking about what books Mrs. Bittel might recommend.
    http://www.amazon.com/Ignite-Me-Juliette-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00DB2YN0C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400246195&sr=1-1&keywords=ignite+me   Anyone who has been around me this year knows how much I LOVE this book, the final in the Shatter Me series.  The language use, romance, passion, adventure... it has everything.  I have recommended it to so many of my students who love to read and I really can't say enough about this series.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-One-Selection-Kiera-Cass-ebook/dp/B00FJ2YTLK/ref=pd_sim_b_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=1ZJMWGMG6W3J1M8RFR64  I just finished reading The One, the last book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass.  Mrs. Duschen describes it as "The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor" and she is right! An interesting story set in the future, where the prince must select his wife from a pool of candidates.  The author has created a really interesting society where people live in a caste system based on their job/skills.  The last book of this series was just as good as the first and the main character, America, was another young adult protagonist who is strong willed and an excellent role model for young ladies.
    These three novels make up The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  Meyer has written a futuristic twist on the fairy tales that we all know and love.  In these three books, she introduces the readers to a Cinderella character (a part human cyborg), a snow white character and a rapunzel character.   The fantastic female characters in these novels are facing a world where the "Lunars' are about to overtake what is the earth (quite a different world than the one we live in today).  The fourth and final novel in this series comes out next year! I can't wait! http://www.amazon.com/Cress-Lunar-Chronicles-Marissa-Meyer-ebook/dp/B00F1QX7W6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1400248962&sr=1-1&keywords=cress
     http://www.amazon.com/Into-Still-Blue-Under-Never-ebook/dp/B00DB2WQ92/ref=pd_sim_kstore_36?ie=UTF8&refRID=1B2WBMQZMMPTXVCT8ZD8 These stories take place in a world where the world has been split into two.  As the main character realize that they need to trust in each other to find a safe place for all of there survival as the ether takes over the world, the relationships between them grown, families are torn apart and truths are discovered.   Great series! Sad to see it end this year when Into the Still Blue was published.
     I am a big fan of Lauren Oliver and I wasn't sure how this stand alone novel was going to be. This is story of a small town where the newly graduted seniors all engage in a competition of dangerous activities to win a large amount of money.  The situations were intense, twisted and a little scary. My only issue was that I couldn't believe that the adults in the town continue to let this (not so) secret challenge continue year after year. http://www.amazon.com/Panic-Lauren-Oliver-ebook/dp/B00DB3D5NC/ref=la_B0034NEYYS_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400249426&sr=1-2
     http://www.amazon.com/Through-Zombie-Glass-Rabbit-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00I66AA50/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400249680&sr=1-2&keywords=alice+in+zombieland The White Rabbit Chronicles were an unexpected find this year! I was checking out the digital downloads from my local library and fell into the first of the two published books, Alice in Zombieland.  I was a litte leary of a zombie book after reading Warm Bodies last year, but I loved it! Both books are an interesting interpretation of the over told Zombie stories and I am eagerly awaiting the last book in this trilogy later this year.

     Everyone knows that I love Gayle Forman and I was quick teach to pick up if i stay to teach; these two books didn't disappoint! I loved both of them and I loved the way that Forman wrote the story for alternate perspectives.  Beautiful loves stories about self discovery and what we consider love to be. http://www.amazon.com/Just-One-Year-Gayle-Forman-ebook/dp/B00BPDR130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400253151&sr=8-1&keywords=just+one+year
    This book is an intersting take on first love and it sticks with you and makes you reflect on your first love.  Going to be made into movie this year! http://www.amazon.com/Eleanor-Park-Rainbow-Rowell-ebook/dp/B008SAZHLQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400253193&sr=8-1&keywords=eleanor+and+park

    Book Description

    February 26, 2013

    Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
    So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
    I’m not kidding, he says.
    You should be, she says, we’re 16.
    What about Romeo and Juliet?
    Shallow, confused, then dead.

    I love you, Park says.
    Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
    I’m not kidding, he says.
    You should be.

    Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

     This novel doesn't come out for a few weeks and I read an advanced reading copy.  Great book for anyone who loves Simone Eckles.  Great story! A romance that deals with two characters from different worlds who come together in a life or death situation.  There are great relationships in this novel and I really enjoyed this book!   http://www.amazon.com/Played-Harlequin-Teen-Liz-Fichera-ebook/dp/B00H5I7ZJE/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1400252195&sr=1-5&keywords=played
     Wow this was a CREEPY story.  Things are not what they seem and this is a perfect example of a questionable narrator... do you trust or not trust what you are hearing? Another ARC that comes out in June.   The main character is waiting for his sister to arrive back in his life after she has been away for burning down a neighbors barn.  The complicated relationships and the twists and turns keep you on the edge of your seat as you read this novel!  http://www.amazon.com/Complicit-Stephanie-Kuehn-ebook/dp/B00HBQ2D1A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1400252547&sr=1-1&keywords=complicit
    When a Hollywood star comes to town to film a movie, things change for the main character, Carter Moon.  Great character and fun to read.
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  • Great New Books for the 2013-2014

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 9/16/2013
    My goal for this year is to continue to update my blog with some of the great books that I have read recently.  There are so many wonderful works out there for young adults! I hope to update this monthly!
    Shatter MeA totally different style of writing then many of the books I have read before. Love the way she edits herself and the reader gets to view it. Also, how cool is that cover?????
    From Amazon...

    "You can't touch me," I whisper.

    I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.

    He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.

    But things happen when people touch me.

    Strange things.

    Bad things.

    No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

    But Juliette has plans of her own.

    After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

    A young adult trilogy focused on the dystopian future.  There is a great distinction between those who have been pretected from a post apocolypic event and those who haven't.  Two of the three novels in this trilogy are out and they are books I enjoyed. The science behind them grabbed my attention!
    From Amazon...

    Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

    Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

    A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

    In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.

    If you like The Hunger Games or Divergent this is a book that you will love. There are two in the trilogy out right now and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book! It was a fast read and great story!
    From Amazon... 
    A New York Times bestseller!

    What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

    From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

    Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
    There are now two books in this trilogy about a futuristic society where the "selection" occurs and a new wife will be found for a king.  It's a caste style society and an interesting concept.

    From Amazon...For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

    But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

    Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

    This is a super read and it currently a book I am hearing a lot of students talking about.  I loved it when I read it!  The following is from Amazon....
    TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012!
    The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

    Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
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  • Spring Break Reading

    Posted by Sarah Bittel on 4/12/2011 1:00:00 PM
    Over spring break I read a few new books.  One of them is by the author of Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver.  Her new novel, Delirium, begins a trilogy and it is based in the future.  In this society, LOVE has been taken away because it is the cause of all problems and issues that humans face.  At age 18 poeple have a surgery to remove love and passion from their lives.  This story is about a girl who is almonst 18.  She is facing the "truth" she has been told by her society and discovering how the "truth" is sometimes different than what we origionally expected.  I loved the referencese to Romeo and Juliet as being an example of why LOVE is such a horrible thing.  Fantastic novel and I can't wait for the next one!
    Also this fantastic trilogy by Amanda Hocking.  It is about a society call the Trylle society and it's super... natural!
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