Monday, November 30, 2015

November 2015 Wrap Up

This has been kind of a slow month in regards to reading for me.  I have only listed 8 books for November and a good handful of them are picture books.  There are actually more picture books than listed - like maybe 4 or 5!  So I guess for picture books it was a good month at least.

I have acquired a lot more books than I probably should have this month.  I don't even know how many.  Some of them I have purchased, others I have won, and then there are the ones I have received from the wonderful publishers in exchange for review.  I love getting surprise books from them in the mail!

I have started trying to trade some of my older titles to make room for new ones.  I have a good four bookshelves filled!  A lot of them are ARCs!  I have ARCs dating as far back as 2010 - by far older than my blog (5 and a half months!).  One of the amazing perks of being a bookseller.  I picked up anything and everything that looked interesting.  But I am sure you can tell that I will read whatever (with a few exceptions) just from looking at what I have reviewed on my blog.  In fact, if you want to see some reviews and thoughts about books that I read long before I started blogging, feel free to check out my GOODREADS

I am so happy that I made the decision to start blogging about the books I read and my love of books.  It has been a great outlet and I have been meeting a lot of other great bloggers through Twitter and Facebook.  I love having people to talk books with.  There is just something about being able to have a conversation with someone else who loves books as much as you do.

One of the people I am the most thankful I have gotten the chance to get to know is my #OTSPSecretSister Kaitlin.  She blogs over at READING IS MY TREASURE.  She found out I was her secret sister a lot earlier than planned thanks to the postal annex claiming I had to have my name on the package and my husband not knowing what else to put besides my last name.  Thanks postal annex...  I now go straight to the post office instead of dealing with them.  They charge extra for everything anyways.  But in the end, I am very happy that it happened.  It let me get to know her in a way that is different than if I had stayed secret.  I will be sad when I am no longer her secret sister, but I am sure her next #OTSPSecretSister will take good care of her!

I hope I can stay on top of reading this next month.  I have a few book tour titles that I need to read.  I am really excited about all of them, but I think I may take a small break from tours after these are over and let myself read whatever I feel like.  I have been reading mostly book tour titles since the beginning of October, so I think it will be a nice change of pace.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being you!

Read in November

Title: Claire Daly - Reluctant Soul Saver
Author: Michele Brouder
Series: Soul Saver #1
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: September 6, 2015

Find my review HERE

Title: Home Alone - The Classic Illustrated Storybook
Author: Based on the story written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus
Illustrator: Kim Smith
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Source: Edelweiss

Find my review HERE

Title: The Midnight Visitors
Author: Juliet David
Illustrator: Jo Parry
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Candle Books
Publication Date: September 27, 2015
Source: Netgalley

Find my review HERE

Title: Why Horses Are...
Author: Tana Thompson
Illustrator: Debbie Lentz
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Carpenters Son Publishing
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Source: Netgalley

Find my review HERE

Title: I Want to Eat Your Books
Author: Karin Lefranc and Tyler Parker
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Source: Author

Title: All the Major Constellations
Author: Pratima Cranse
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source: Publisher

Find my review HERE

Title: Hannah Both Ways
Author: Rosie Greenway
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing Inc
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Source: Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours

Title: The Big Penguin Party
Author: Christian and Fabian Jeremies
Series: Stand Alone
PublisherSourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication DateNovember 2, 2015
Source: Netgalley

Find my review HERE

Super Middle Grade Mondays: Author Spotlight – Vanessa Barger with Giveaway #SuperMGMondays

Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!
Today, we get up close and personal with
Vanessa Barger
author of Super Freak from Tantrum Books.
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the Virginia Writer’s Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man, and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |YouTube
Describe yourself in three words.
Weird Writing Nerd
Describe your book in three words.
Geeky Puzzle Solver
Tell us about your day job.
In my day job, I’m a high school Technology Education teacher. Which means I do nothing with writing, except run a writer’s club once a month or so. I teach 9-12 graders practical physics (which sounds like an oxymoron, but itsn’t really), engineering, robotics, work skills, 3D modeling, architecture, drafting, and computer stuff. Depending on the year and what classes I have, anyway. I also run a gardening club and we play in the dirt sometimes. J
Which writers inspire you?
There are so many! Shakespeare and Austen are always at the top of my list. Tolkien is up there too. In the YA/MG world, I love the way that Lisa Ann Sandell’s words just flow, and I love Rick Riordan’s imagination. And…well, let’s just stop there. I love so many!
What is your writing process like?
My writing process is in flux. I am making “office” hours for myself after work, but in a general sense, I keep a writing journal with me all the time. I write notes to myself about things I’m working on or thinking about. When I have enough of an idea that I feel like I can start writing, I try to make sure and sit down and write out the main points. It’s a really basic outline that I go back and add to until its fully fleshed out. But I’m not married to it. If I write and end up somewhere else, I just adapt the outline to work. When I finish a draft, I go through and the first things I do for edits is a search through the document for words I know I use too many (that, just, etc) and then I sit down and try to read it through, looking for mistakes. Once I’ve got it as good as I think it can be, I send it to critters and see what they say. Then I start again!
What are you reading right now?
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Do you have an author crush?
Neil Gaiman.
Quick questions:
Physical books or eBooks?
Physical Books, though I love my ereader too.
Coke or Pepsi?
Coke! Really, root beer, cause I don’t drink caffeine anymore.
Twitter or Facebook?
Both for different things? I like the immediate gratification of Twitter, but I like FB too!
Song you can’t get out of your head right now?
Well, I was doing fine until you asked that. Now Steampunk Revolution by Abney Park is back in my brain. Grrrr.
Sweet or salty?
Coffee or tea?
Write on computer or notebook paper?
Blank. Even though I can’t write in a straight line.
Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled. But, with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before.
To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown.
Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Explore Your Creative Side (#4)

I have been finding myself in a very creative mood recently.  I have discovered the joy that is known as Pocket Letters!  They are so fun to make and a great way to send snail mail.  I hope to have a post up on these fabulous things within the next few months to show you exactly how awesome they are!

For now, if you curious you can go HERE to learn more about them.

In this months installment of Explore Your Creative Side you will find a cookbook on making cheesecakes (YUM!) an adult coloring book (I can't help it I am addicted) and a pretty new to the world crafting magazine.

I hope you find something you like that will help you connect with your creative side.

Also, if you know of any books or cool craft you think I would be interested in please let me know in the comments!  I am always looking for cool ways to explore my own creative side so please throw me some suggestions!!!

Title: Making Artisan Cheesecake
Author: Melanie Underwood
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Quarry Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 Stars

This cookbook is all about cheesecakes!  I know, I know...kind of obvious with the title and everything...

What is spectacular about this particular book though is the variety of cheesecake recipes.  It has your basic dessert cheesecake recipes, but then it also has vegan, gluten free, and nut free recipes also!

On top of all that deliciousness, I was very pleased to find out that there are also recipes for savory cheesecakes.  Who even knew that there was such a thing?  Not me!

Each recipe is very clear and easy to follow.  Also, something I love and wish all cookbooks did, every recipe has its own picture!

I am very pleased with this one!

Title: Midnight Garden Coloring Book
Author: Lindsey Boylan
Series: Creative Haven Coloring Books
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication Date: September 16, 2015
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 Stars

I am absolutely thrilled with this coloring book!

This one is different from most coloring books out there in that all of the pictures have a black background.  This allows the colors you choose to use to pop in a whole different way than they would on a white background.

Each page is single sided so if you desire to take one out and frame it you can!  The paper quality is nice, but if you decide to use markers to color I would place a piece of paper between the pages just in case.  At least you don't have to worry about one being wrecked on the opposite side.

I really like all of the designs.  They range in difficulty, some having more small spaces than others, but each one takes up pretty much the entire page.  No worries about a small dinky design in the middle of your page with a bunch of wasted space!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Do Magazine
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 stars

This next review is not for a book, it is actually for a magazine.  I discovered this crafty gem while standing in line at the grocery store.  So happy that I did.

This magazine covers quite a bit.  The first edition went over things like Zentangles and how to use brush markers.  The second edition has a nice review of different tools you can use for coloring!

Aside from the articles though, this magazine comes filled with a lot of craft ideas and sheets that you can color or use to assist you in designing a project of your own.  This magazine actually has quite a bit to it and I really like it thanks to that.

I did think that the first edition had a bit more more of a religious influence in some of the pictures you can color or use, but they were quite beautiful.  This may also be due to the artist that they decided to feature in part for that edition.  Not that there is anything wrong with this.  The second volume of this magazine didn't seem to have the same sort of influence, but the only holiday it seemed to cover was Christmas.

Each magazine has also featured a different artist with an article.  I have found them very interesting.  And it is nice to get to see a new artists work (some of which have adult coloring books out!).

Do Magazine is actually pretty new.  It only has 2 editions out at the time of me writing this review.  The one pictured and the most current one that has a Christmas Tree on it.  I haven't yet, but I totally plan on getting a subscription to this one!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Read This! Round Up (#59)

Photo courtesy of KissinBlueKaren
Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.

























Enter to win (1 of 2) $10 Amazon Giftcards!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider

Title: The Mexican Slow Cooker
Author: Deborah Schneider
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: July 31, 2012

Do you love Mexican food?  Do you love using the slow cooker?  I know I do.  In fact, the slow cooker is almost the only cooking tool I know how to use.  It is definitely my tool of choice and I love love love Mexican food.  These are the reasons that when I saw this book as an option on Blogging for Books that I chose it.  It would have been crazy for me not to.

I guess you are probably wondering if it ended up being a good choice or not.  I have to say that I think it was.  The recipes do require more ingredients than I am used to using when I cook, but I think I can adapt (FYI I am not a very good cook by any means).

The Mexican Slow Cooker has recipes all sorts of food - soup, main dishes, street food favorites, basics and desserts.  I really like that this cookbook also takes the time to tell you how to make your own tortillas (we all know fresh/homemade ones are better!).  This book also teaches you how to make one of my favorite things to munch on - Chiles en Escabeche (pg. 114).  This side dish happens to be those spicy carrot and other vegetable pieces that are found at Mexican restaurants and now thanks to this book I know what they are actually called.

My one dislike about this book, and if you follow my reviews you know this from reading my other cookbook reviews, is that not all of the recipes have photos.  I am one of those people that needs to have photos so I know I made the recipe at least some what correctly.  The photos also help me to know if I want to make the dish or not.  So if you are someone like me, you may find yourself a little disappointed about the lack of pictures.

All in all, I like this book and am excited to try out the many different Mexican dishes that it has.

My Rating
4 stars

This review is based on a copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Blog Tour Blitz: Winell Road by Kate Foster


Happy Christmas from Kate and Winell Road! When Winell Road: Beneath the Surface was released back in April, Kate didn't embark on a great deal of promotion. Because of a lot of 'things'. So, to make up for that and to kick off the festivities for her favourite time of year - Christmas! - she's taken Winell Road on a little tour, hoping to spread the word and introduce lots of new young readers to, what she believes is, a great big dollop of sci-fi fun and adventure. 

Winell Road cover 2

Here's a little info... Twelve-year old Jack Mills lives at 5 Winell Road and probably has the world's weirdest neighbours. Like freakishly weird. And to top it off, he lives with Mum: nosy, interfering, a hideous cook, and Dad: unsuccessful inventor of the Camera Belt and Self-Closing Window. All in all, it's a boring, embarrassing, dead-end place to live. So when Jack arrives home from school one day, a close shave with a UFO is the last thing he expects. But the fact it doesn't abduct him, and that no one else, not even Mum, sees the gigantic flying saucer hovering over the street, adds a whole new layer of strange. Soon after, an alien encounter threatens Jack’s life and he becomes embroiled in a galaxy-saving mission. With the assistance of his new neighbour, frighteningly tall Roxy Fox, he discovers Winell Road is hiding secrets—secrets Jack might wish he'd never uncovered.

If you're still not sure, here's a couple of reviews... 

  'Winell Road: Beneath the Surface is a fast-paced middle-grade adventure story with the feel of Men in Black. Jack is a smart, resourceful boy with more abilities than he’s ever dreamed off, and he finds out that the world is a far stranger place than he imagined. The action is non-stop and will keep readers riveted.'

'This book will work wonderfully read aloud in class. There are enough cliff-hanger chapter endings to keep them begging for more. It will also promote discussion about making snap judgments while providing plenty of scope for related art projects.' Buzz Words Magazine 

Go to Goodreads to see a few more.

About Kate
rsnow pics 001

Kate is an Englishwoman on the Gold Coast in Australia. A middle grade writer, freelance editor, the editorial director at Lakewater Press and all around lover of the written word, she is ruled by her three sons, husband and spoodle pup. Not one to have a quiet day, she spends her free time mentoring new writers in contests like Nest Pitch and Pitch Wars, judging writing contests and helping out at Writers Activation on the Gold Coast. Other than that, she likes laying in bed or by the pool with a book! If you would like to stalk Kate you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, where you can also find out about her editorial services.  


  Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays!!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Winell Road by Kate  Foster

Winell Road

by Kate Foster

Giveaway ends December 01, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Title: Vengeance Road
Author: Erin Bowman
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Netgalley

As far as I can recall, I have never read a Western before, so this was my very first one.  I don't even typically watch Westerns on T.V.  So, needles to say, this was a whole new story type for me to venture into.

This story is about Kate.  In the beginning she discovers her father dead, hanging from a tree and her home burning to the ground.  A gang of robbers, known as the Rose Riders, had attacked while she had been away from the house.  She had no idea why they attacked her father, for as far as she knew, he had never done anything to anyone.  All she knew was that she was going to find them and make them pay.  She was going to avenge her fathers death at all costs.

Along the way she meets Jesse and Will and a few other characters.  She wants go on her journey alone, but they won't let her for various different reasons (that we wont get into here!).

Kate learns a lot of things about herself and her family along the way and not all of them are good.

The pacing of this book is fantastic.  Every time you think it is starting to slow down something new happens.  It keeps you on your toes.  You never know what is going to happen to our cast of characters next.

This particular story takes place during the time when everyone was after gold and I think it depicted that time well.  People were willing to do anything and everything to get at it.  It also showed the distrust between the "whites" and the "Indians" at the time and the distrust that existed between the two groups.

Something I really liked about the book was the way it was narrated.  It was written in the way Kate would have spoken to you.  The narration really helped me immerse myself into the story and feel as though I were riding along with Kate, Jesse, and Will on their journey across Arizona.

While I enjoyed this one, I don't think I will be making Westerns a part of my regular reading repertoire.  It was good, but it wasn't exactly my thing in the long run.

My Rating
4 of 5 stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Super Middle Grade Mondays: Author Spotlight – Michael Gibney with Giveaway #SuperMGMondays

Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!
Today, we get up close and personal with
Michael Gibney
author of The Three Thorns (The Brotherhood and the Shield #1) from Tantrum Books.
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Michael Gibney
Michael Gibney began working in restaurants at the age of sixteen and assumed his first sous chef position at twenty-two. He ascended to executive sous chef at Tavern on the Green, where he managed an eighty-person staff. He has worked in the kitchens of Morgans Hotel Group, 10 Downing in Manhattan, and Governor in Brooklyn’s DUMBO, among many others. Over the course of his career, he has had the opportunity to work alongside cooks and chefs from many of the nation’s best restaurants, including Alinea, Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Daniel, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Bouley, Ducasse, Corton, wd~50, and Momofuku.
In addition to his experience in the food service industry, Gibney also holds a BFA in painting from Pratt Institute and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Connect with the Author: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Would You Rather With Michael Gibney
Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?
Everything that is on my mind. I value honesty and the power of words, both written and audible. It’s not in my nature to stay silent, especially concerning injustice i.e. Animal Cruelty, etc.
Would you rather be able to read or be able to read minds (but be illiterate)?
I can do both. Haha. Read. I’d find reading people’s minds an invasion of their privacy, unless it was to help them.
Would you rather be able to speak fluently every language in the world or be the best in the world at something of your choosing?
Be the best in the world at something. Reason being I love the fact that learning another language is a feeling of achievement and an exciting challenge. I wouldn’t want that challenge made easy.
Would you rather read only one book over and over for the rest of your life or read as many as you want but never remember what they’re about?
Oh, tough one. Well, if you can’t remember there’s not much point. Seems like a waste of time and effort for nothing, so I’d go for reading one book and that would be J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (aka Peter and Wendy). The best fantasy book ever written in my opinion. So simple but yet such Genius.
Would you rather only the first page of a book or the last page?
Last Page. I always have to find out how a story ends.
Would you rather read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
Five books a week if I could and had the time. Knowledge is power.
Would you rather read only one genre forever or never read the same genre more than once?
One genre forever because you’d quickly run out of genres, right? And there’s plenty of amazing books and various sub-genres to be found in the Sci-Fi and Horror genre. Not so much in the romance genre.
Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?
Invisible. Would be so much fun but not if it’s like the Predator or Hollowman/The Invisible Man. That would suck.
Would you rather never use the internet again or never watch TV again?
Never watch TV again. There’s too much sad news and superficial reality shows on TV these days and not to mention a cluster of commercials. Yes, give me the Internet, so I can watch the art, music, movies I want and keep in contact with those I love around the world. Much better than a one way street of TV.
Would you rather have one wish granted today or three granted in 10 years?
Definitely one wish granted today. Life is unpredictable and short. We’re not guaranteed anything. Also, I hate waiting. Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can. Seldom in a woman, but never in a man.
Would you rather know it all or have it all?
Have it all. I’m a deep enough thinker and have a strong enough imagination as it is and that can be quite exhausting. So, knowing it all would drive me crazy. Plus, one would be viewed as pretentious and arrogant if they had the ability to know it all. And both are not good attributes. =)
Three brothers born to a once powerful King were abandoned at birth and cast out into the old world as orphans - alone and unaware of the other's existence or their royal heritage.
In the new world, by order of the false King, three of the most lethal assassins are sent to kill the children before they come of age and avenge their father’s throne.
But when the brothers find one another, Benjamin, Tommy and Sebastian must resist the temptation of magic and power if they are to defeat the unspeakable evil that has threatened them since birth.
The Three Thorns is book one in an exciting children’s fantasy series called The Brotherhood and the Shield from debut author Michael Gibney.
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Cover Reveal and Sneak Peak for Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School #2) by Jen Calonita

Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed
Author: Jen Calonita
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publishers: Sourcebook Jabberwocky

About Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed:

Charmed is the exciting sequel to the wildly popular Flunked -- second in the brand new Fairy Tale Reform School series where the teachers are (former) villains.

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.

Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her.  As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.

Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

About Jen Calonita:

Jen Calonita has published more than a dozen novels, has seen her works translated into nine languages, and is the recipient of the Louisiana Young Readers Award. When Jen isn't plotting, she lives in New York with her husband, two sons, and their feisty Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow. Visit Jen at



Fairy Tale Reform School Facebook
Excerpt from Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed:

            Miri’s voice crackles through the magic mirrors in Fairy Tale Reform School. “Let the first annual Wand What You Want hour begin!”

Wands begin popping up in kids’ hands as we walk through the halls, and we all cheer. Pop! My wand arrives in my hand—long, dark-gray, and nicked like it’s seen a few battles. Hmm…what to try first… I’m just about to test the wand out, when I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Instinct tells me to dive out of the way. When I look up, I see a classmate spelling the troll next to her. The girl turns into an ice sculpture. Geez, that was close. I better stay alert.

             Pop! Pop! Pop! Kids begin casting all around me. The crowded hallway is suddenly full of talking woodland creatures, toads, fireworks, and a pretty impressive cloud raining licorice. Kids are cheering and fighting, and the sound of all those wands working is enough to give me a headache. I hurry away from the spell zapping, looking for somewhere to practice alone.

             The chaotic hallway disappears behind me, and a new empty hall arrives in its place. I happen to know this hall leads to the school courtyard so I hurry down it and head outside. Ahhh…this is more like it. The warm sun is shining bright high above the castle walls, making me wistful for adventure. I can never sit still for long.

             “Pardon the interruption! We hope you are enjoying your wand experience, but remember, all wands disappear at the hour mark so choose your magic wisely,” Miri says. I’m relieved to find no mirror in the courtyard, which means she can’t see what I’m up to. That magic mirror is forever tattling on students for bad behavior. “As a reminder, flying is not advised.”

              “Not advised, but she didn’t say it was against the rules,” I say to myself. I flick the wand over my stuffy, uncomfortable pale-blue uniform and turn it into a comfy peasant shirt and pants. I swap out my ugly school shoes for my beloved lace-up boots. Now that I’m comfortable, I get to the task at hand. I’m sure an actual spell would work better, but since I don’t know one, I just imagine myself flying, and Bam!I’m slowly floating up, up, up in the air. Score!

              A Pegasus flies by me pulling a coach with four students in it.
              “Hi, Gilly!” they shout and wave.
              When you save your school from a wicked fairy, people tend to remember your name. Even if you don’t remember theirs.
             “Hi!” I say, lying back like I’m floating on a cloud. Wow, this is relaxing. I stretch my arms wide and—oops!
              My wand falls from my grasp. Uh-oh. I begin to plummet, spinning faster and faster with no sign of stopping. Before I can even think of a way to break my fall, whoosh! I feel my body hit a blanket and bounce up, then land again on a magic carpet.
  “Ten minutes into Wand What You Want, and you’re already having a near-death experience?” my friend Jax asks. His curly blond hair looks white in the bright sunlight. He casually

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