Monday, October 10, 2011

Killing Lincoln by O'Reilly & Dugard

This being the 150Th anniversary of the Civil War/Battle of Manassas, this book was quite interesting to read. I especially liked the early part of the book detailing Grant surrounding Lee in the center of the state of Virginia forcing Lee to surrender at Appomattox. Over the summer I read 'Chasing Lincoln's Killer'. This book and the 'Killing Lincoln' are so similar in text it was like reading 'Chasing .... all over again. When detailing Lincoln's assassination the facts don't change from book to book. The O'Reilly book perhaps more historic with more details then Chasing Lincoln's Killer is worth reading. Even for the facts bringing end to the Civil War, Lee and Grant. Also how so many of our nations early soldiers in command actually went to West Point together but also fought on the same side during the Mexico War. Then divide over states rights and slavery.

Intriguing is how so many knew each other connected by war or just coincidences?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wonder Struck by Brian Selznick

When I read Hugo, I had to share it with my students. Hugo doesn't stay on the shelf in the library at school. There is a waiting list (holds) for this book. I am afraid this will happen when I take my copy of Wonder Struck to school. I stayed up last night to finish reading the book. I was pulled through the book. The more I read about Ben wanting to find his Dad, the more the pictures of the deaf girl seeking answers pulled me through the book.

I attended the National Book Festival had Mr. Selznick autograph my copy but I also attended his presentation. I knew from listening to the presentation, Ben and the girl would meet up. When? and How? that you need to read the book to find out. I hope my students will enjoy Wonder Struck as much as I did.

I am from NY, Long Island to be exact. I have been to the American Museum of Natural History several times but not to the Queens Art Museum. I plan to do both again over Thanksgiving break. I attended the world's Fair back in 1963-64 but don't remember seeing the Panorama of NYC. I hope to be awed and amazed again.

Enjoy Wonder Struck and if you haven't read Hugo you need to pick up the book before seeing the movie.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

hold still by Nina LaCour

Do you keep a journal? Ingrid did. Ingrid slips it under Caitlin's bed. Why would Ingrid do that, was it her way to say good bye? They were best friends. Caitlin learns through Ingrid's journal to live again making friends.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shattered by Sarah N. Harvey

March is angry, her boyfriend is cheating on her. She pushes him away. He falls and hits his head, March calls 911 and Tyler is alive. Guilt comes over March, she is beautiful, smart and perfect in many ways. She changes cuts her hair, tosses away her contacts, changes the color of her hair gets a job at a downtown store selling novelty items. March is worried, will Tyler forgive her, will he come out of his coma and can she tell him she is the one that pushed him and left him after she called 911.

I enjoyed this fast paced book. Gets you thinking about guilt, responsibility and changes to be made.

Powerslide by Jeff Ross

I know nothing about skateboarding but I did learn alot by reading Power slide. Casey is asked to be a stunt double for an actor making a skateboarding movie. Casey is challenged by Goat to see who is the best at skateboarding. The actor, Jack, wants to learn techniques of skateboarding as the other two challenge each other at different venues. Does Casey do the stunts for Jack? Is the movie made?

I went along for the ride and enjoyed the book.

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

His name is Bruiser Why? because he gets into fights with his peers? because is drunken Uncle beats him? Hmmm! Bronte has a date with Bruiser. Tennyson her brother is concerned that Bruiser might hurt her, why? Bruiser has welts, bruises, and other injuries to his body but how did he get all those marks? Bruiser is tall and strong so what is the issue?

So many issues and questions you need to read the book to find the answers to who, what, why and how. Keep a tissue close at hand.

I liked this book. It was a summer read for me so I could book talk it with my students when they visit the library. Now I'm back to school and sharing really good books with my students.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

if you come softly

written by Jacqueline Woodson
Is it black vs white vs being Jewish vs being a Christan

Two fifteen year olds, Jeremiah and Ellie, meet at school and immediately feel an attraction between them. Jeremiah, an African American, is the son of a famous movie director and author. Ellie is the daughter of a white, Jewish doctor. Drawn together through shared pain, Jeremiah’s parents are divorced and Ellie’s mother has abandoned her in the past, they recognize a kindred spirit in each other. Even as Jeremiah and Ellie enjoy their developing relationship, the two must face the opposition they feel from family, friends, and outsiders.

Cryptic Cravings Vampire Kisses 8

Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses 8)written by Ellen Schreiber
This is such a better series then House of Night, its not a dark and violent series. And I have read the Twilight series this I would is even a better series then Twilight.

The morbidly monotonous Dullsville has finally become the most exciting place on earth now that Raven is madly in love with her hot vampire boyfriend Alexander, and a crew of vampires has taken residence in Dullsville's old mill. Raven discovers Jagger's plan to open a new club, The Crypt, right here in Dullsville. But is it her dream come true, or her worst nightmare? Raven and Alexander have to figure out what the nefarious vampire has in store for Dullsville's teen and vampire population. Can Raven convince Jagger to listen to her plans to make the Crypt the morbidly magnificent dance club it could be? Will it be safe for mortals and vampires alike?

And as Sebastian and Luna's relationship heats up, Raven wonders about her own amorous fate: Will Alexander ever turn her? Does he crave her and does he want to spend eternity together? And what does she really want?

With cryptic secrets and cravings, this eighth installment in the Vampire Kisses series is a romantic and mysterious thrill ride.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chasing Lincoln's Killer written by James Swanson

This volume is an adaptation of Swanson's Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. Devoted to the South, John Wilkes Booth had planned to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage, but when that plan did not materialize, he hatched his assassination plot. Co-conspirators in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia helped him escape and evade capture for 12 days before being surrounded in a barn and killed.

Ways to Live Forever written by Sally Nicholls

What matters most when every minute counts? When I finished reading this book, I didn't shed a tear. The author prepared me the reader for the ending. This book is a VRC for 2011- 2012.

Sam is in the last stages of leukemia and wants to know facts. Facts about UFOs, ghosts, how it feels to kiss a girl. He wants to break a world record, watch horror movies, go up the down-escalator. ..and find answers to all of the questions nobody ever answers.
Written as a collection of journal entries, lists, questions, and pictures, Sam's story will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will show you how one boy finds a way to live forever.

Mockingbird written by Kathryn Erskine


In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead, and her father cries a lot. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of “closure” in the dictionary, she realizes that is what she and her father need. In her search for Closure, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white--the world is full of colors--messy and beautiful, and it is through this discovery that she embarks on a road which leads her to find both healing and Closure.

POP written by Gordon Korman

Marcus is happy to have somebody to practice with, and has a ball interacting with his new friend, Charlie Popovich, but as time goes on, he can't help but noticing that Charlie really seems to be a little strange. As time goes on, Marcus realizes Charlie is suffering from Early Onset Alzheimer's, a fact which his family is struggling to keep hidden.
Marcus means no harm, but his friendship with Charlie is bringing Marcus into conflict with the ex-ball player's family, the football team, a grumpy exterminator, and even the law. Marcus may have to make some considered choices in regards to his own future, if he wants to keep up his friendship with Charlie!

The Leanin' Dog written by K A Nuzum

Fear keeps Dessa Dean tied to her home, a cabin in the snowy woods. It is 4 days before Christmas and she tries very hard to step off her front porch to meet her father who is coming home from a day of hunting and trapping. She wants to welcome him home and show him that she is ok now, but she is not ok. Try as she might, Dessa Dean's legs don't obey her any more. With an iron will she can make it to the edge of the porch, but no further. If she manages to kick one foot over the edge, her frostbitten ears begin to ache again, filling her from head to toe with the dreaded "losing-Mama ache." With a scream, she bolts and runs back into the safety of the cabin. It is always the same, day after day. One afternoon there is a scratching at the door. She pushes against the door, which seems stuck. Finally she pushes it open and trips and falls on top of an injured dog. With all her heart, Dessa Dean tries many different ways to encourage the dog to come back: leaving the door to the cabin open, cooking some meat and placing it on the porch, and calling to the dog again and again. Several times she tries to get off the porch to follow the dog's footprints, but each time it is the same: her frostbitten ears begin the "aching process," which culminates in the world spinning and caving in on her. The dog does come back, and Dessa Dean starts an elaborate and creative taming and training program. Initially her father is upset about the arrival of the dog and having another mouth to feed during these lean winter days, but then he realizes that the injured dog is a blessing for Dessa Dean. They each need healing, and they find a way to help each other.

A VRC for 2011-2012

out of my mind written by Sharon Draper

Melody is 11 yrs old, she has a photographic memory. She remembers everything. Melody is smart but no one knows it. Most people don’t think she can learn, including her doctors and teachers. She can’t express herself, she is stuck in her mind making herself go out of her mind. Her family discovers a machine that lets Melody speak for the first time. But will people listen to her?

This is a VRC book for 2011-2012.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Decision Points written by George W. Bush

I read Laura Bush's book and enjoyed her story and view as being a first lady for 8 years. It has to be a big responsibility to be 'ON' all the time.

I read George's book with great interest. I had a friend tell me I had to read this book. I was going to purchase the book but waited to see if I would get it for Christmas. And I did get it for Christmas. I was awed at the decisions George had to make over the 8 years of his presidency. I can tell you there were times when the words caused tears to form. And there were times that the events George wrote about I just had to close the book and leave it on the table for a few days for me to get over the decisions. George didn't blame a past president for errors in judgement, he took those errors on and moved forward. Making our country a safer place to live and trying to make other places in the world safer for their citizens to have and create a future for themselves.

When I read the last pages of the book I knew no matter what was said about George he and Laura were a class act. You may not agree with his decisions but then again isn't it great we live in a country when he can discuss situations without fear of being taken from our homes and lost to our families forever.

Its sad our present president doesn't have the same class, every decision he has made since 2009 are his decisions based on information given to him its just too bad he goes into our past to lay blame at someone elses front door.

The Lost Hero written by Rick Riordan

You need to believe, I didnt read all these books entered today on my blog all together at once but over the last few months. I leave the books stacked on my desk waiting to be entered on the blog.
Now the Lost Hero (the Heroes of Olympus) is the first book in one of two new series written by Rick Riordan. The Red Pyramid (Kane chronicles) shouldnt be confused with this series.

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.

Enjoy the 1st book of the series and the new hero Jason. I have pre-ordered the the 2nd book the Son of Neptune. But before I can read that book I have the VRC selections to read.

The Last Olympian written by Rick Riordan

What I found out by reading the lost hero before completing the Percy Jackson series was I had to read the complete series before starting to read the new series the Heroes of Olympus.

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. The long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Now for me to pick up the next book in the Heroes of Olympus, Neptune's Son, which I think is the name of the new book due out in the Fall.

Divine by Mistake written by P C Cast

The only excitement Shannon Parker expects while on summer vacation is a little shopping. But when an antique vase calls to her, she finds herself transported to Partholon, where she’s treated like a goddess. A very temperamental goddess…

Somehow Shannon has stepped into another’s role as the Goddess Incarnate of Epona. And while there’s an upside – what woman doesn’t like lots of pampering? – it also comes with a ritual marriage to a centaur and threats against her new people. Oh, and everyone disliking her because they think she’s her double.

dark visions written by L J Smith

3 books in one, the strange power, the possessed and the passion

With vampire stories the latest craze, when I picked up this book I was looking to read something different. And this story is different, its the paranormal with one character Gabriel being a psychic vampire; feeding off others 'life energy'. Kaitlyn, Gabriel, Anna, Lewis and Rob enter into an experiemtn that traps them in a psychic link. They can hear or read each others thoughts.

its different, especially if you are ready for something other then vampires.

The Leanin' Dog written by K A Nuzum

This book is a VRC selection for 2011-2012. Story is told by Dessa Dean.

In the snow-covered Colorado mountains, it's coming on Christmas. But eleven-year-old Dessa Dean has just about given up on ever being happy again. Her hardworking father can't possibly fill the huge hole in her heart that her mother's tragic death has left. Mama was her teacher, protector, confidant, and closest friend. But then, when hope has just about run out, a dog - huge and fudge-colored from head to toe - bounds into Dessa Dean's life, changing it forever.

More than anything, Dessa Dean needed a friend. A friend to love and confide in, a friend with whom she could share her heart. A friend who would delight in all the beauty and joy and fun of Christmas, only four days away.

Hope had just about run out, but then . . . there came a scratchin' at the door and Dessa Dean's life was forever changed.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Battle of the Labyrinth written by Rick Riordan

This is the 4th book in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians.

Percy attends freshman orientation when a mysterious mortal appears, Rahcel, followed by demon cheerleaders, everything goes from bad to worse. Time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even Camp Half Blood grows vulnerable. To stop Kronos from invading Percy and the other demi gods must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth, a sprawling underground world.

The Bride Quartet written by Nora Roberts

Vision in White, Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment, Happy Ever After

Each one of these novels is about how the 4 partners in the Wedding business finds love. These ladies are well established in their business of weddings. From the photographer Mac in Vision in White, to Emma the florist in Bed of Roses, to Laurel the chef in Savor the Moment and finally Parker the manger of all in Happy Ever After. These ladies grew up having making believe weddings. Each of them playing different roles in the wedding party.

I believe in marriage, love and all the romance that goes with a life together with a partner. Its just too bad mine didnt last but I think it was doomed from the beginning, it just took too many years to realize it.

Enjoy these four ladies as they find love knocking on their hearts.

Scumble written by Ingrid Law

Things start to come apart for Ledger Kale on his thirteenth birthday. Literally. In Ledger's family, kids get a savvy, a special power, on their thirteenth birthday. Ledger had been hoping for super speed, but savvies don't work that way. They're unpredictable. And Ledger's savvy seems to be the power to destroy man-made objects. After he demolishes his uncle's barn at his cousin's wedding, Ledger's parents decide it'll be best for him to spend the summer at his uncle's ranch in Wyoming learning to scumble his savvy. But Ledger's afraid he'll never be able to control his new power. To make matters worse, Sarah Jane, a girl from the nearby town of Sundance, keeps following him everywhere, determined to uncover the secret of his strange family. What will happen if the world finds out about their savvies?

Ledger Kale is the most recent thirteen year old of the Beaumont clan. With high hopes that his "savvy" would give him a super wondrous athletic quality Ledger anticipates his birthday to be spectacular. Unfortunately his high hopes are diminished when his savvy is a sad ability to destroy everything technological. While he deals with his inner fears of disappointing his father, who wants him to be an award winning athlete, along with his concerns of destroying all the belongings his family treasures, and protecting the family secrets from the outside world, he tries to overcome his "savvy" by learning to “scumble” it.

After hopelessly failing he is left at the ranch for the summer in order to perfect his keep-it-together control of his savvy. In that time an adventure unfolds that is entertaining, enduring, and comical. This is a story about following your own dreams, being all that you can be, and learning to love the family you were given.

Love Bites written by Ellen Schreiber

I am a fan of Ellen Schreiber. I was given the opportunity to me her when she came to my school district on a authors visit. she was terrific with the students.

Raven a mortal girl is dating a vampire, she knows that love isn't easy. Alexandr's best friend Sebastian comes to visit. Raven is thrilled at first, hoping to learn more about Alexander. But Sebastian falls for Becky, Raven's best friend. Will Raven's friend get the first bite?

Loves bites, yes or no!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Loser written by Jerry Spinelli

Loser by Jerry Spinelli was very difficult for me to read. I read the entire book hoping by chance that in the end Zinkoff would not be known as a loser. What a terrible word or name for a child to be called. I am glad that none of my children had to read this book as a classroom novel or even found this book in the library. My heart broke over and over for this little boy. I am not certain if this book was read by middle schoolers that they would see a message in the book, this would be a book read by high school students or even adults hoping they would see themselves as they were in middle school or elementary school.

eat pray love written by Elizabeth Gilbert

eat pray love definitely a different for me to read. Elizabeth spent a year or so trying to find herself. going to Europe, India and Asia always seeking to find herself. I am not certain at the end of the book if she really ever found herself but she did find love. maybe that is what she was looking for all the time.

saving graces written by elizabeth edwards

saving graces is a autobiography written by elizabeth edwards herself. it is about the people who entered her life all those she considered family. the many many people from early childhood right up to her death. each person she cherished their friendship.

we get to know her children Wade and Cate, Wade's life cut short at 16 but her daughter Cate right up to the time of Mrs. Edwards death. The two youngest we get to know just alittle. Her husband John she loved so dearly, a soul mate.

I cried with her throughout the book. As a mom it was tough not to feel her pain and her joys. I can't imagine what it must feel like to know you are leaving behind children, knowing you will not know how their life will turn out. 'you know'

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge

Book 2
With war threatening the borders of Araluen, apprentice ranger Will is sent on a diplomatic mission to Celtica. With him are Gilan, his master's first apprentice, and his friend Horace, a battle school apprentice. Expecting a routine journey, the three are unprepared for what they find. The villages of Celtica are deserted, and brigands wander the hills in search of abandoned treasure. The country is also crawling with Wargals, the fighting beasts that are under control of their enemy Morgorath. When a mysterious woman appears at their camp with the news that Morgorath has been abducting villagers, the three boys stumble across a plan that threatens their country and the lives of the people they love. What happens to Will ? Does Halt find Will and the King's daughter unharmed? Now to read Book 3 to find out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice Series written by John Flanagan

Book 1 The Ruins of Gorlan
Rangers have the power to become invisible at will. Will's heart had been set on Battleschool, on becoming a hero. Will is small for 15 years old. But he does possess other skills, A Ranger's skills. He can move quietly as a shadow, climb and he is brave.

Will is an orphan raised in the household of Baron Arald. It is Choosing Day, when each ward is apprenticed to a Craftmaster to learn a trade. Will wants to be accepted in Battleschool where the fief's knights are trained. Instead, he is chosen to become a Ranger's apprentice. Will is deeply disappointed, and a little scared. Rangers are shadowy characters, believed to practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. His master, Halt, is cranky and makes Will do all the housework.

What Will doesn't know is that Rangers are protectors of the kingdom. They are highly trained spies and agile fighters who warn the country of coming danger. With the exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, gathering his forces for an attack, Will's growing skills will be tested, immersing him in unexpected adventures.

The Lost Flower Children written by Janet Taylor Lisle

Olivia and Nellie are taken to a great aunt to stay for the summer while their dad is on a businees trip. The girls find tea cups and other tiems in the aunts garden. Olivia finds an old story about a party of children transformed into flowers by a fairy spell.

Its a slow read, at times a stand still. It is a fantasy an enchanting story.

My Cup Runneth Over written by Cherry Whytock

The life of Angelica Potts. The setting is United Kingdom, possibly London or just outside London. This poor girl is the daughter of a ex model, busy with all her own charity work. The mother is constantly reminding the daughter to lose weight, the father is out in lala land. The housekeeper is raising the girl. The entire book is Angel trying to lose weight, trying to gain the mother's respect and understanding. Angel in the end discovers that her size might not be such a bad thing after all, her cup 'runneth' over.

An okay read, I was surprised to find this book on the shelf in the library. The book cover might attract a look see but not certain if it would lead to be read.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

advance reader's copy

These are also called book proofs, galleys etc. I definitely have a dilemma with these books. I know these are printed by the publisher to be distributed at book conferences to anyone who really wants to read the book before making purchases for their businesses or for schools. I really do understand that issue. To give away a book might help sell the book.
My dilemma is this: my colleague acquired a few ARC s from Barnes and Noble, the book store. I didn't know this, its was not brought to my attention when the books came into the library. She sent the books to be catalogued into the collection. No problem yet! The books came back placed in circulation for the students to read. Still no problem, yet. We held our annual book fair and low and behold a couple of the ARCs are now a published book in the book fair to be sold to the students. I began to pull the ARCs from the collection. I placed the ARCs in what we call Honor Book collection. Now the issue is from my colleague why would I do that? I tried to explain that possibly there is a copyright issue with having the ARCs in the collection to be circulated when we have the purchased book on the shelves. The books are proofs, not paid for by anyone, so the author, publisher or even BN didn't get paid for the books and lastly it is a proof of the book which could have errors from simply spelling to who knows what kind of errorsor changes to the book.

So what is it, should these ARCs remain on the book shelves along with the purchased book? Is it a copyright infringement? I do know since BN gave the books away, the ARCs aren't on their book shelves to be sold! Need advice, it just doesn't seem fair to the author or publisher to have the ARCs on the shelf next to the purchased book. I would like to have authors or publishers add to this entry.

The Cardturner written by Louis Sachar

This author also wrote Holes. I read only bits and pieces of Holes, I think the movie ruined the book for me so I never really completed reading the book. I do try to read the book before the movie comes out. it seems to the movie version of a book ruins the book. The best example recently was Riordan's Lightning Thief. The movie was nothing like the book, what a disaster for so many middle school students.

Anyway I read the entire book The Cardturner, actually I read the advance reader's copy. That is another entry on this blog. I am not certain what the book cover has to do with the story line. The entire book is about a boy who needs a job for the summer, Alton's great uncle is wealthy, Alton's parents want to remain in the Uncles good graces, so Alton becomes the Uncle's card turner. The uncle plays Bridge (the card game) since the uncle is blind Alton assists the uncle playing the game. At first Alton has no clue how to play Bridge, over time Alton picks up how to play the game. Uncle Lester Trapp is very sick and old. Towards the end of the book Lester passes on but Alton wants his Uncle's dream to become real. Alton takes on Lester's role as a Bridge player along with Toni and together they win the Grand National Tournament.

I am reading the book cover if there is a deeper meaning to this book 'perception and reality' it has gotten lost on me. Try the book, maybe you will pick up the game Bridge along the way, the way Alton did, I am just not certain if my students will.

Friday, January 7, 2011

if i stay written by Gayle Forman

The title alone may give you an idea what the book is about. On the cover there is a phrase 'what would you do if you had to choose?'. Reading the book it begins with a snow day for the children. The family decides to use the snow day to visit friends. Then a tragedy occurs, this is where the phrase from the cover 'what would you do...' becomes a real question. When the tragedy occurred I was shocked and had to put the book down. Then I went back to the book and read it.

I needed tissues several times as I read the book. I am not certain what my answer would be to the question, it does give you as the reader to think about, does she stay?

touching and a good read, from the Virginia Readers Choice books list