It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-15-13

Joining in the weekly fun, hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers (by the way I might not have told Kellee that I think that blog name is awesome, so I am telling her now...)

This week was a home run reading week for me.  Maybe I shouldn't have finished two spectacular books in the same's going to be a tough act to follow.  I LOVE when I find myself thinking about a story or the characters, and am truly just itching to get back to the book.  Let's be honest, with the volume of reading many of us do, this is not always the case.  

As promised yesterday, I will be giving away my preloved ARC of The School for Good and Evil, so be sure to enter at the end of this post!

So, here we go:

Books I Read This Week:

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Harper, 2013
496 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8 

This hefty novel opens with a letter to readers from The School Master.  A favorite section: " must learn to respect each other, for no matter how different you may seem, you cannot exist without the other.  The line between princess and witch is a thin one indeed..."  What is good without evil?  Are there good people without any traces of evil within, and can we really distinguish an evil disguised as good?  And how hard or easy is it to switch from one side to the other?  It will be difficult not to ponder questions like these while stumbling through the paces of The School for Good and Evil alongside best friends Sophie and Agatha.  

Skinny, blonde, beautiful Sophie desperately wants to be taken by The School Master, while others are doing their best not to be torn from their families and homes.  
You see, Sophie has dreams of becoming a princess, and she has the picture perfect princess exterior already in her favor.  Knowing that two children are taken every four years, one good and one evil, Sophie has plans to secure the evil slot for her graveyard dwelling friend Agatha.

But when the girls are dropped at the schools, roles seem to be reversed.  Is it a mistake, or is it fate?  

Witty, clever writing leads readers into a world that feels as real and as wonderful as we could ever hope to be lost in.  

Fan art (by Esther @AnguilaGretchen) perfectly captures the two leading seems to be more satisfied than the other with her new image...

This is a book for readers that love to be immersed in story.  It is high fantasy though, think Harry Potter (spells, magic, boarding schools, etc.), and isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea.  But whether you love or hate princesses, you will surely be represented within these pages!  Though the book ties up nicely in the end, there is certainly plenty of unexplored ground for following stories.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Random House, 2013
289 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

A fast paced mystery is afoot while 12 twelve year olds compete in the ultimate game at their new public library.  Eccentric game maker, Mr. Lemoncello, has created a puzzle where the clever kid or kids to solve it win big.  The game: the kids are locked in the new library overnight with the task of figuring out how to get out of the library before time is up.  The catch: they can't go out the way they came in, and can't use any exit that will set off an alarm.  
Mr. Lemoncello has book titles woven into almost all his lines, which I got a huge kick out of-very cleverly done!   I loved solving this mystery alongside these authentic characters.
In the author's note at the conclusion of the book we find this little mindblower: "There is one more puzzle in the book that wasn't in the story.  (Although a clue about how to find it was!)"  He's killing me!  I want to reread this already!  Someday I will.  It would be fun for kids to keep track of all the book references that pop up throughout the story, I know I wish I had!  Go get this one, it's fun!

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Requested by the publisher, I won't be publishing a review for this one until September.  However, I'm super excited to read it now because I've got to prepare some questions for one of the creators.  I will have the opportunity to interview the one and only, amazing and talented...

Brett Helquist!  

Yahoo!  Why am I telling you this now?  Because I want to open the questions up to anyone!  If you've got something you think I should ask Brett just leave it in the comments section.  I've been a huge fan of his for...ever!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Both books that you reviewed sound really good. I will definitely be looking for both of them in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That Fairy Tale Comics book looks fantastic. I hadn't heard of it yet, so thanks for sharing!

  3. I cant wait to see the Fairy tale comics too. DD will love it!

  4. I just cannot get past that gorgeous cover of AN Army of Frogs without wanting that book - I don't even have any idea what it is about but my imagination is on high speed contemplating. Off to Goodreads to find out! Looking forward to your review next week. When we were away this past week, we explored a little lake and found hundreds and hundreds of tadpoles - with just back legs sprouting. My children were fascinated - as was I! I have a little thing for Frog books ( And one of my favourite chapter books is The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli. Have you read it? An amazingly funny and interesting read aloud!

    1. Hi Carrie,
      I love frogs too! I used to catch frogs in my grandparents' pond when I was little. My grandfather made me a little fishing pole out of a long stick, yarn and a piece of red felt. My grandfather taught me how to bob the red felt around in front of the frog's face until it snapped at it. I used to get such a kick out of it because the frogs would sit so still and then SNAP! Maybe it was mean to trick the frogs into thinking they were getting lunch, but as a six year old I loved catching and releasing them!
      I haven't heard of The Prince of the Pond, but I loved Mogo the Third Warthog and The Smile, also by Napoli. I've read Mogo out loud a couple of times and kids loved it, so I should certainly check out your recommendation!

    2. What a great frog catching memory! I read Mogo to my children. Was a great story. Prince of the Pond could be read aloud to students from 6 to 10 years old. It is hilarious! But you learn a lot about frogs - because it is the pond life setting once the prince has been turned into a frog. As a read aloud it is ideal because you need to talk like Pin (who can't say certain sounds with a new frog mouth) I had children who literally rolled on the carpet laughing.

    3. I love reading funny voices! I'm excited to get this now. It's so good to have all sorts of different books at the ready for read alouds.

  5. The Fairytale Comics book looks fab! It must be hard for you to have to wait until September to review a book! There are lots of great books here.

    1. It is hard, I wouldn't read it until much later typically, but I've got to get cracking on my author questions... :)


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