Monday, May 16

New Look, New Name - Come Check Out the New Site!

Along with getting a new blog design, I decided to change the name and location of this book blog. Please come visit me at Heise Reads & Recommendsto see the new look and follow me there. After this, no more updates will be coming on this site. Thank you for making my first months of blogging so much fun!

Monday, May 9

A Change Will Do You Good

Changes are good and are happening right now, so I have made the decision to streamline some things with my blog and professional social networking. Thus, the blog will be getting a redesign sometime this summer (can't wait!) and a new name and address (and slightly different look) right now.

Announcing..... Heise Reads & Recommends which can be found at

All of the old posts are there, and that is now where I will be posting any new items from this date on. Thanks for coming along on this YA book blogging journey with me - I hope you'll continue on (don't forget to bookmark or follow on the new page)!

Wednesday, May 4

Book Trailer: FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater

One of the books I'm most excited to read this summer is the concluding book in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy which began with SHIVER, then LINGER, and finally FOREVER. This is a fabulously lyrically written romantic series with a unique werewolf mythology, characters you want to be around, amazingly beautiful cover designs, and Maggie is always entertaining on her blog (

Here is the book trailer for the book to start building your excitement. I highly recommend that you read SHIVER and LINGER soon so that you can be caught up in time for FOREVER on July 12th!

You can preorder a signed copy of FOREVER here:

Friday, April 22

Spring Blogging Break

For the next week I'll be relaxing on a beach for spring break, which also means I'll be taking a break from posting on the blog since I won't be able to access internet. Of course, it wouldn't be a very fun time on the beach if I didn't take good books along with me to read,  especially as the beach is one of my favorite places to read - the sun, the surf, the relaxation - perfect for book reading (or maybe that's just me)!

So, after much deliberation and bargaining between desperate to read and good for beach reads books (I needed to step away from dystopian for this trip), these are the books (paperback only-I need to conserve packing weight/space) that made the cut for the trip while trying to save space but also having enough to read for the hours on the plane and the days on the beach:

WOLFSBANE by Andrea Cremer ARC
THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa & Laura Roecker (2011 DAC)
THE LATTE REBELLION by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (2011 DAC)
A KISS IN TIME by Alex Flinn
CALEB + KATE by Cindy Martinsuen-Coloma
CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS (The Mortal Instruments Book 4) by Cassandra Clare (OK, broke my no hardcovers rule, but honestly, did you expect me to wait any longer to read it?)

Of course, that also means you'll be getting a bunch of blog posts with my thoughts on these books (and some others I'm behind on posting about) when I get back. Happy reading & relaxing! See you in May!

Sunday, April 17

In My Mailbox - New Books This Week (20)

In My Mailbox is a shared posting idea run by Kristi at The Story Siren (read all about it here: In My Mailbox) for bloggers to share the books they've gotten that week to help publicize as many titles as possible. IMM is a semi-regular feature here on Teach 8 YA Book Blog to let my students know the books to be looking for on the classroom shelves and for blog readers to know what book reviews to anticipate along with building excitement about new titles coming out. All titles link to goodreads so you can add books to your "to-read" list.

This week is the OMG-I'm-so-excited-I-literally-screamed-and-did-a-happy-dance-when-this-ARC-showed-up-in-my-mail-and-I-can't-believe-I-have-to-have-the-will-to-wait-until-I'm-done-grading-essays-before-I-read-it IMM edition...all because I got an ARC of:

Original & ARC Cover

WOLFSBANE (sequel to NIGHTSHADE) by Andrea Cremer
Thank you, thank you, thank you Philomel/Penguin Teen & Andrea!!!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this book - especially since I really don't like the new cover design they've changed to, so I now have a copy with the original cover (I mean, really, the cover on the first book is what made me pick it up in the first place and led to it becoming my new book obsession). 
Newly Designed Cover

WOLFSBANE comes out July 26th, and if you haven't yet read NIGHTSHADE, you must go immediately and get yourself a copy to read!

Saturday, April 16

Interview with Chris Rylander author of THE FOURTH STALL

I was lucky to be offered a copy of THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander from the publisher as one of my Debut Author Challenge 2011 books I wanted to read. Even better, I was asked to be part of Chris' blog tour for the book. I love it because first of all, the book was great; second, Chris is a hilarious, fresh new voice in middle grade books; and third, it's a book that gets boys hooked and I was able to get my students involved by having them ask the questions. If you're looking for a funny, boy book with heart - go get THE FOURTH STALL. You can read my review post here.

Now for my students' questions and Chris' answers:
- What inspired you to write this book? What made you think about the idea of this book?
Well, I wish I had a cool story of some sort to answer this question, like that it came from a dream, or that it really happened to me in middle school, or that this talking tree in a park near my house told me to write it or that an alien and Mickey Mouse visited me one night and implanted the idea into my brain against my will.  But, in fact, it was nothing quite so interesting.  Basically it was just me sitting there, thinking, “Hmm, what would make a really cool middle grade story?  What adult genre could I put a kid-friendly spin on that I haven’t seen done before?”  Of course it has been done before, but I didn’t know that at the time.

- Where did you get the idea for Mac's office to be in a bathroom?
Really, it just seemed like the most logical place for his to office to be located.  I mean, it’s the one place in a school where the teachers almost never go.

- Why did you choose to put the story in a middle school instead of a high school?
I just thought that doing a kid-friendly take on organized crime would lend itself better to middle grade.  For YA, I think it would need to be even grittier and therefore would end up being a lot more of an imitation that its own thing.  That’s not to say that it can’t be done well for YA. I also felt like middle grade would offer me the chance to be a little wackier and that it might serve my humor better.

- Why did you pick Illinois as the setting for your story?
I never did actually ever pick an exact setting.  I like to keep that vague for some reason.  However, I do know that I wanted it to be somewhere in the Midwest because that’s where I was raised and went to school and so it’s what I’m familiar with.  Also, I felt like it should probably be near Chicago to help explain why there are so many Cubs fans in the book.

- What did Staples do to become bad?
He didn’t really do anything to specific to become bad.  Sometimes the situations people grow up in can lead them to do bad things.  And also some people are just born with a bigger mean streak than others.  But I don’t really see him as a totally bad guy… he’s not very nice, and he does some bad things, sure, but he’s not totally evil.

- Where did you get the ideas for all of the characteristics of the nine bullies?
I’m not even sure!  Sometimes things just come to me and I don’t really ask why or how, but instead just start writing!

- How did you think of all the funny stuff that went into making the book?
That’s similar to my previous answer.  As for being funny, that’s something that’s hard to try to do and be successful.  I mean, I think humor comes naturally.   If you’re trying hard to be funny, then chances are you’re probably not being funny.  I usually just write stuff that makes me laugh, and then I can only hope it will make other people laugh as well.

- What was your favorite part in this book?
My favorite part is probably Mac and Staples first meeting in Mac’s kitchen, or the introduction of all of the bullies.  But it’s so hard to pick favorite parts!

- Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
This is the same… it’s so hard to pick favorites.  I really like the bullies because they’re so weird.  Great White because he’s British and Kitten just because he’s such a psycho.  I think it’s funny for such a little and well-mannered kid to be a complete whacko.  I also really like Mac and Vince of course, because they’re the most like me, and I even Staples because the “bad guys” are really fun to write.

- Can you tell us anything about the sequel?
Well, I can say that it involves a mysterious girl.  And a whole bunch of other mysteries.  And also it directly involves the school itself, a lot of strange things are happening at Mac’s school.  You’ll have to read it to find out more, I don’t want to spoil anything!

- How many times did you have to revise your book (gee, can you tell we talk about this a lot in class)?
A lot.  Probably five or six times.  But I didn’t mind doing it because I knew that with revision the book was only getting better and better.

THANK YOU SO MUCH CHRIS!!! I know my students were excited to get to "talk" to you!

Check out Chris' other Blog Tour Stops to read more of his perspectives on writing and THE FOURTH STALL and watch our for his sequel coming soon!

The Fourth Stall Blog Tour: Second Week Stops:
Monday 4/11 – Review and Giveaway at A Reader’s Ramblings
Monday 4/11 – Review and Giveaway at Kid Lit Frenzy
Tuesday 4/12 – Guest post at Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading
Tuesday 4/12 – Giveaway at Alison’s Bookmarks
Wednesday 4/13 – Interview at Alison’s Bookmarks
Thursday, 4/14 – Interview and Review at Eve’s Fan Garden
Friday 4/15 – Review and Contest at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday 4/15 – Interview at A Reader’s Ramblings
Saturday 4/16 – Interview at Teach 8 YA book Blog
Saturday 4/16 – Review and Giveaway at Tracey Edward Wymer’s Blog
Sunday 4/17 – Interview at Kid Lit Frenzy
Monday 4/18 – Review and Giveaway at Read Now Sleep Later

The Fourth Stall Blog Tour - First Week Stops:
Monday 4/4 – Interview at Cynsations
Tuesday 4/5 – Guest post at My Friend Amy
Wednesday 4/6 – Review at There’s a Book
Thursday 4/7 – Review/Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday 4/7 – Interview at Anita Laydon Miller’s Middle Grade Blog
Friday 4/8 – Fourth Stall editor Jordan Brown interviews author Chris Rylander at Alice Pope’s SCBWI Children’s Market Blog
Saturday 4/9 – Review at Bri Meets Books
Sunday 4/10 – Guest Post at 5 Minutes for Books
Sunday 4/10 – Review at Alison’s Bookmarks

Thursday, April 14

YALSA Teens Top Ten Nominations

Today, in honor of Support Teen Literature Day, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the Teen's Top Ten Nominations. Teens will vote August through September, and then during Teen Read Week in October, the final list of the 10 most popular books voted on by teens will be announced.  I've always thought this was a great list to share with my students, and to see how many I've read/listed as my favorites also. I've only read 8 of the 25 nominated books - I'd better get going!

2011 TTT Nominations

Drought by Pam Bachorz
I am J by Cris Beam
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins
Matched by Ally Condie
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Lies by Michael Grant
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
Angel by James Patterson
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White