Teenagers needed—Please help!

I am currently taking a class on the history of young adult literature and I have an assignment to ask tweens and/or teens about their reading habits/preferences.  However, it is summer and I spend most all my time with the early elementary school crowd, so I do not have any teens readily available to interview.

Below is a link to a brief survey that I created.  It should not take longer than 10 minutes.  I would be so, so grateful to anyone aged 10-19 who would be willing to participate.  Adults, maybe you could coerce a teenager (or several) over whom you have undue influence to fill it out?  I will be summarizing the responses to be discussed among the students in my class only.  No identifying information from survey participants will be shared.  The deadline for participation is  Saturday, July 2 as my report is due the following day.  (No, I did not procrastinate spectacularly as per my usual style; the prof just dropped this assignment yesterday!)

Feel free to forward the link to anyone who would be willing to participate.  Thank you so much!



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Filed under YA Literature

Teeth, Gaga, and What I’ve Been Doing All Month

For as long as I can remember I’ve been having bad dreams about my teeth.  These dreams increased in frequency when I was in college and I currently dream (or I remember that I’ve had a dream) about my teeth about once a week.

In some dreams they are knocked out.  I often get punched in the mouth.  When my head snaps back from the blow, I open my mouth and anywhere from just one to all 28 of my teeth fall out.  But there’s never any blood.

I also trip a lot.  At least once there were stairs and I fell face first onto the iron handrail.  Another time I was stepping onto a curb and suddenly my teeth were littering the sidewalk.

Eating in my dreams is hazardous.  Pretty much whenever I’m eating in a dream, my teeth come out.  Biting into apples is the most common.  My four front teeth just stick right into the fruit when I pull it away from my mouth.  But they’ve also fallen out into spaghetti and even into a smoothie.

Occasionally I dream that I’m at the dentist or orthodontist for a cleaning or to have braces put on or taken off.  Inevitably my teeth are yanked out.

Some years back I consulted various dream dictionaries out of sheer curiosity:  teeth falling out in a dream may symbolize regret or embarrassment or it could reveal anger or anxiety or insecurity.  None of these suggestions rings true for me.

Earlier this year, after a routine trip to the dentist, my jaw started popping whenever I opened my mouth and I was diagnosed with TMJ.  I guess for as long as I’ve been dreaming about my teeth, I’ve also been grinding them and that chronic stress on my jaw joint has finally taken its toll.  Apparently, even my seemingly unrelated lower back and sciatic nerve issues actually are connected to my teeth because TMJ has wrecked havoc on my overall posture.

So now I’m fitting in appointments all over the city:  doctor, dentist, specialist, chiropractor, physical therapist.  Since I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms I bring along my own reading material and I worked my way through about 400 pages worth of journal articles about teenagers and their information seeking behaviors.  Yay multitasking!

I’ve also been reading a book which I highly recommend for anyone with TMJ issues.  I came across this title by accident when I was browsing at a bookstore.  For all my obsession with books, it never occurred to me to look for a book on TMJ.  Ooops.  Good job, library student.

The other book I’ve paged through numerous times this month is Gaga.

I’m going to The Monster Ball tomorrow night.  Ironically (or fittingly?), my favorite Lady Gaga song is… “Teeth.”


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Filed under Non-fiction

The last of the YA ARCs (for now)

I did say last week that I’d be giving away adult fiction today; however, I changed my mind and decided to offer up the rest of my YA ARCs.  This will also be the last week that I’ll do my giveways like this but I promise I have plenty more books for you.  Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for more details.

So here they are—FOUR titles today (three of which are yet-to-be-released).  I’m looking forward to mailing them off to you!  Click on the cover images to find out more about each title at amazon.com.

Giveaway instructions:  The first person to email me will score a free ARC.  Limit one ARC per person.  You must be able to provide a U.S. mailing address to qualify.

My email address is joannalima911(at)gmail(dot)com.  Please put the title of the book in the subject line.  I’ll update the post when all the titles have been claimed.  **UPDATE:  All five titles are now spoken for.  Thanks to everyone who asked about them!***

I also still have this one middle-grade fiction title left (so really there are FIVE free ARCs today!):

Hope you can start your weekend off with a free book!  Thanks for stopping by.

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February 2011 Wrap-Up

Ever since I started library school I’ve been maintaining my own card catalog system.  When I finish reading a book I fill out an index card with pertinent information:  bibliographic stuff, characters, plot, and notations about content.

Originally I meant for my catalog to simply help me keep track everything I read but now I use these notes to write the reviews that I post here.

The thing is that since I read like I breathe, I fill out way more cards than I actually write reviews.  So for the past year, since I started this blog, I tend to get down on myself for not writing.

Now I’m thinking that I need to shift my perspective, change up the way I do some things, and give myself a break.

For school each week my daughter writes out a list of 15 books that she’s read or had read to her each week and the librarian gives her a sticker.  And my daughter always is so proud of her list and her sticker.

I need to be delighted like that, so I made my own list (I haven’t reviewed any of these so the links go to amazon.com).

In February I read:

For Emergent Readers:

The Trouble with Chickens:  A J.J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin with illustrations by Kevin Cornell

Ruby Lu Star of the Show by Lenore Look with illustrations by Stef Choi


For Middle-grade/Tween Readers:

Lost and Found by Shaun Tan

Samurai Kids Book Two:  Owl Ninja by Sandy Fussell with illustrations by Rhian Nest James

Pizzicato:  The Abduction of the Magic Violin by Rusalka Reh (Translation by David Henry Wilson)

Luv Ya Bunches:  A Flower Power Book by Lauren Myracle

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs


Young Adult Fiction:

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Taking Off by Jenny Moss

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Stringz by Michael Wenberg

Orchards by Holly Thompson

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell


Adult Fiction:

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan



The 14th Dalai Lama:  A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai


Total Pages Read: 5238
Total Books Read: 20

These totals do not include reading I’ve done for grad school.  Maybe next month I’ll total up all the pages of journal articles too so I can really feel good about myself.

My sticker will be this–a picture of the reading trophy I earned circa 1985 for reading one hundred books and being a Kindergarten Super Reader.


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More Middle-grade Fiction for You

For this last Friday in February, I have three tween books up for grabs.  All three titles will be released in hardcover next month.

Instructions:  The first person to email me will score a free book or ARC.  Limit one book/ARC per person per week.

My email address is joannalima911(at)gmail(dot)com.  Please put the title of the book in the subject line.  (Just FYI:  I don’t respond to requests that don’t follow my instructions.  Yeah, I’m anal like that.)  I’ll update the post when all the titles have been claimed.

Click the images for information from amazon.com.

***UPDATE:  All titles have been claimed.  Thanks for asking about them.  I do have a couple other titles here and here.

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee

Storm Runners by Roland Smith

Ask Amy Green:  Summer Secrets by Sarah Webb

Hope you have a great weekend!  Next week—three adult fiction titles.


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Feeling Better?

Thank you to everyone who has been checking up on me.  I’m touched!  And, yes, I am finally feeling better.  It had been a while since I’d gotten sick and I was a bit surprised at how long it took for me to get back on track.

Of course now my To-Do list has grown exponentially.  I am feeling badly about that.  Is that crazy?  I mean, I know that I could not function properly with a monster cold that included a hacking cough and laryngitis.  Yet I’m mad at myself for letting so much stuff pile up.  So I feel both better…and worse.  Ugh.  Didn’t I resolve to be kinder to myself this year?

The thing is, with March right around the corner, I’m feeling a bit apprehensive.  Any teacher will concur:  March is a terrible month.  I think of it as “Marathon Month” because it just goes on forever, especially in the years when Easter is in April.  This March, my husband is shifting into pre-deployment mode which means an (even more) erratic schedule for him while I have assignments due every single week for my classes.

I don’t want to be in survival mode for the next month but I don’t really have a plan so I’d love to get some insight from you.

What do you do to feel better about a daunting task?  How do you pace yourself when faced with a full calendar?  And what keeps you motivated?



Filed under Reflections

Middle-grade ARC Giveaway

Wow, it’s Friday again.  This week sort of happened without my realizing it.  Why do cold medicines always make my brain feel marshmallow-y?

Anyway, who would like a book dropped in the mail to them as a happy start to a three-day weekend?

Instructions:  The first person to email me will score a free book or ARC.  Limit one book/ARC per person per week.

My email address is joannalima911(at)gmail(dot)com.  Please put the title of the book in the subject line.  I’ll update the post when all the titles have been claimed.

Click the images for information from amazon.com.

By Dan Gutman:

By Maryrose Wood:  **UPDATE:  this title has been claimed.***

By Garth Nix and Sean Williams (I have two copies of this one):  **Update:  This title has been claimed.***

Good luck & happy reading!  Check back on Fridays for more giveaways.  Another two books still available here.  Next week:  more middle-grade/tween fic.

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Chinese Handcuffs

by Chris Crutcher, 1989

Classification:  YA Fiction

Genre:  Realistic/Issues

Age Level:  14+

Subjects:  Suicide, high school sports, friendship, family

Reader’s Annotation:  Dillon Hemingway’s world is changed forever when he witnesses his brother’s suicide.

Main Characters:  Dillon Hemingway, a triathlete who aspires to be an Ironman
Preston Hemingway, Dillon’s brother who has committed suicide
Stacy Ryder, Preston’s girlfriend, friend of Dillon’s
Caulder Hemingway, Dillon & Preston’s father
Jen Lawless (aka J. Maddy), star basketball player, friend of Dillon’s
T.B. Martin, Jen’s stepfather
Coach Kathy Sherman, women’s basketball coach, teacher & mentor to Dillon

Summary:  Only a short while ago, Dillon Hemingway was dreaming of competing in a triathlon.  Now, in the aftermath of his brother’s suicide, Dillon is coping with his own grief and confusion, his parents’ separation, and his friends’ secrets.  Dillon begins writing letters to his brother Preston as a way of sorting out his feelings and he relies on the steady support of Coach Kathy Sherman.  As more and more secrets are revealed, Dillon is faced with difficult decisions involving safety, trust and the law.  Between a sinister biker gang and an unscrupulous lawyer, Dillon must think clearly and act fast to help those he cares about.

Controversial content:  violence, sexual abuse, killing of an animal, gang rape

Also by Chris Crutcher:  The Crazy Horse Electric Game, Running Loose, Staying Fat for Sarah Brynes, Stotan!

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The Crazy Horse Electric Game

by Chris Crutcher, 1987

Classification:  YA Fiction

Genre:  Realistic/Issues

Age Level:  14+

Subjects:  accident & aftermath, disappointment, friendship, family

Reader’s annotation:  When a near-drowning leaves him crippled, star athlete Willie Weaver is forced to confront a life much different from the one he thought he was supposed to live.

Main characters:  Willie Weaver—a gifted athlete and the formidable pitcher on his town’s baseball team
Big Will—Willie’s father who is deeply proud of his athletic son and who has always related to Willie through sports
Sandy Weaver—Willie’s mother who blames herself for the loss of baby Missy to SIDS
Johnny Rivers—Willie’s best friend who enjoys telling longwinded jokes that end in cheesy puns
Jenny Blackburn—Willie’s longtime best friend and new girlfriend, a star athlete in her own right who particularly excels in basketball

Summary: A near-drowning leaves star athlete Willie Weaver damaged, a devastating blow for the Weaver family who never healed from the death of baby Missy.  Willie is bewildered by his sudden handicap.  With his best friend/girlfriend drifting away and his father increasingly frustrated, Willie senses the need for a new environment in which he can sort out his new identity.  He boards a bus and ends up in Oakland where he finds an unlikely savior in a pimp named Lacey who sets Willie up at a school offering “One More Last Chance.” Can Willie, and the family and friends he’s left behind, ever recover from the tragedy?

Controversial Content: Racism

Also by Chris Crutcher:  Running Loose, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Stotan!

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A Memorable Valentine’s Day

Yesterday morning my daughter was half an hour late for school because I could barely drag myself out of bed.  Once I’d dropped her off I sprawled listlessly on the living room sofa vaguely concerned about how I’d summon the energy to go collect my little love midafternoon.  I also thought I had an appointment or something but hadn’t gotten any reminder calls so I shrugged it off.

When my husband came home for lunch, he told me I looked like crap and called in to work to say that he needed a few hours before he could get back to the ship.  He brought me water, scarfed some food, and headed off to our daughter’s school to help with the Valentine’s Day cookie party.  (Ooops—I knew there was something I was supposed to do!)

He brought our daughter back covered in frosting and probably with a cavity, changed back into his uniform and headed back to work.  And when he came home from work he brought me more water and proceeded to fold the mountain of clean laundry I’d piled up.

Eight years ago, my husband surprised me with a classically romantic Valentine’s Day complete with jewelry, dinner, and tickets to the ballet yet it’s this Valentine’s Day that I’m utterly overwhelmed with his love and devotion.

“Love is the only gold.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson


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