Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/24

This is a weekly meme that gives bloggers an opportunity to share the books they have been reading.  This one is hosted by Jen and Kellee over at TeachMentorTexts.  Head on over to get more ideas of great books to read.

Books I read this week:

Mike Lupica's Hero was a really fun read.  I could really understand how confused Zach was about the role he was learning about and about who to trust.  It would be very disconcerting to find out that your dad had been a superhero and that you were destined to continue the fight against the "bads."  I think all kids grade 4 and up could relate to this kid and his extraordinary situation. 

I have been waiting for Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck for what seems like eons.  The third book in the saga had a ginormous cliffhanger at the end and then readers had to wait to find out what would happen.  I have really enjoyed reading this series.  I love the premise of the Tiger's curse and the girl who can help the tigers get free from it.  Kelsey is maddeningly unsure of herself and there were a few times throughout the saga that I was ready to throw the book across the room because I was so frustrated with her stubbornness.  I couldn't have imagined a more perfect way to end the story than what was in this book.  I don't usually like epilogues that tie up loose ends, but in this case I was happy to have the happy ending.  I highly recommend the series!!!  (I even went to buy this one in hardcover because I just couldn't wait for it at my library...that does not happen very often)

I enjoyed reading Amulet and will be looking for the rest to add to my class library.  I can see why so many kids enjoy the story.

Books I am Currently Reading:

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa surprised me by having a protagonist that is a normal teenager to begin with.  I thought the story would start out in the fairy realm, but I am liking having the perspective of a protagonist who does not have a clue about what is going on.  It makes the book more suspenseful.  I can't wait to see if Meghan is able to save her brother from the winter court.

Books up Next:

I will probably read Between Shades of Gray this week and then it is a toss up about what book I choose from my pile. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/17

This is a weekly meme to celebrate what we are reading.  Head over to Jen and Kellee's blog to get more great ideas of what to read.

I am still working on getting back my reading rhythm.  During the first few weeks of school planning for class takes more because we are working on setting up routines and procedures for the whole school year.

Books I finished this week:

I picked up Trance by Linda Gerber because I was intrigued by the cover.  Then, when I started to read it, I looked closer and realized this is the same author as the Death by Denim mystery series.  I really enjoyed those books and I really enjoyed this one.  In this book, Ashlyn and her sister have always had trances that seem to tell them when something bad is going to happen.  Ashlyn did not listen to her sister the last time she had a trance and she got in a car accident in which their mother died.  Ashlyn is coping with the guilt of having been the driver in that accident and has just gone back to school and work when her trances start again.  This time they come more frequently and she is sure she needs to solve the mystery to prevent another tragedy.  I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to students in middle school and older.

Waiting for Normal by Linda Connor is a book that I have been meaning to read for awhile.  When it came up in a student's letter to me as being her favorite book, it moved up in the to read list.  Then I was lucky enough to spot it in a new collection of books purchased for our school.  I loved this book.  It paints a picture about how the laws of guardianship and adoption sometimes work out poorly for children.  Addie is living with her mother who does not take care of things and seems to be addicted to the internet.  Addie does not want her mother to get in trouble, but she is often left alone to fend for herself and does not like that life.  She hopes one day to get a normal life.  I was rooting for Addie throughout this book and I loved the other adults in her life who worked hard to make things right for her.  This is an amazing book and I would recommend it to anyone grade 5 and up.

I finally finished the audiobook for Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.  I like the story and whoa what a twist.  I will definitely have to look for the second one when it comes out.  I know that my students will enjoy this book so I will have to look for a copy to add to my library.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I have to get back to 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson.  There were such great ideas in the parts of the book I have read so far that I can't wait to read about the rest of the ideas.  I also am reading Hero by Mike Lupica.  I am enjoying the story.  I will have to see how outrageous it gets but I always love a superhero story.  

Books on the Horizon:

I will read Between Shades of Gray this week and maybe If I Stay.  I am feeling overwhelmed by the overflowing shelves of books to read in my house.  That means I will probably pick out some short books so I can feel like I am getting through the books faster.  

I went to the library 10 cent book sale on Saturday...that is dangerous stuff!  At least it isn't too hard on my wallet, but the to read piles grew substantially.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/10

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at  Head over to their blog for more links to great blogs with a lot of great titles.

Okay, it's the first week of school and my reading rhythm has almost stalled completely.  I will catch up soon, but having a good start to the year takes precedence right now.  I also am going to need to carve out time for writing every day as I am making that commitment to my students as well.

The best part of my reading week this week was pairing each and every student in my class with a book that they are excited to read.  Can't wait to do more booktalks to get them thinking about others they would like to read.  I also started reading aloud Wonder by RJ Palacio.  I can't wait to have the discussions with my students that I know will come from this excellent book.

I am also excited to share Goodreads with my class.  They all signed up for an account and had fun exploring and rating books.  This week I will show them how to add books to their lists and track progress on the book they are currently reading.  I have created a private group for us so I will be exploring to see what I can do with that as well.

Books I Finished:

Shadow by Jenny Moss: This was an interesting fairy tale.  Shadow has always been ignored, but can never leave the queen's presence.  Then when an uprising happens in the castle, she finds herself escaping with a nobleman and obligated to follow him on a quest that she doesn't really know anything about.  This was an entertaining book and I would recommend it to my students that like fairy tales.  I like how it twisted a kind of Cinderella story to make it not about the love story but all about the female protagonist.  

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shephard:  I have a confession to make.  I am a sucker for the teenage soap opera on television.  I have obsessed in turn over Teen Wolf, Gossip Girl, Greek, and currently Pretty Little Liars.  Since I am completely hooked on this show, I figured I should try reading the books.  This book was okay.  I think I might have liked it better before watching the tv show.  Now I already had the characters entrenched in my brain and found them to be quite underdeveloped in this book.  Mind you, I probably would see the character development in the rest of the series, but I was disappointed by this one.  I will still recommend the book to my students because I think they will really enjoy it, but I would never say it was literature.  At some point I will probably look for the other books in the series but I do not feel compelled to do so at the moment.  

Books To Read This Week:

I don't know what I will choose tonight when I go to my shelves.  I will probably choose to pick up The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things soon because I am still plugging away at the nerdprintz challenge.  I also am still making my way through 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson.  I will be reading Wonder to my students and might start reading Opening Minds.  It will all depend on my work load and how I feel this week.  I will also continue to listen to Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  It will probably be finished within 2 more workouts so that will motivate me to get on the bike and work it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/2

Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host this weekly meme focused on literature for young people.  It is a chance to talk about what we are reading each week.  Go over to their blog to find links to many other posts and get some great ideas of what to read.

I was able to get into my school building this week to set up my classroom and started inservice days on Wednesday.  My reading has drastically slowed down and will be that way for a while as I work to get the year off to a good start.  This week much of the reading I did was rereading parts of professional books that had ideas that I want to use this year.  I always start with some ideas from Nancy Atwell so spend some time rereading parts of In the Middle.  I also went back to The Cafe Book and So What do They Really Know? for ideas about assessment in reading.

Books I Finished:

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray--I loved this book and laughed out loud multiple times throughout the book.  I really appreciated the satire.  This would be a great book to use with teenagers to introduce them to that form.  I don't think I will get a copy of this book for my class library because it would be better appreciated by older students.  I would highly recommend it for a high school classroom.

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzch--I got this book on Amazon as a Kindle daily deal.  I had heard of it before and then couldn't resist the good deal.  I am so glad I did.  I really enjoyed this book.  It is historical fiction and is set in a small village in Germany.  The hangman at that time was the executioner but also the person who carried out torture to make people confess.  The book starts out with a mysterious death of a small boy who has a weird sign painted on his shoulder.  The whole town goes after the midwife, calling her a witch.  The hangman is an intelligent man and does not like the witch hunt.  He is convinced that this woman did not do anything and is in fact not a witch. What follows in the book is a murder mystery with a very interesting historical context.  I highly recommend this one for adults.

Books I am Currently Reading:

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone -- I am slowly but surely making my way through this audiobook.  I like the story and enjoy the recording.

10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson--This book is going to be so helpful this year with writing lessons and it takes me so long to read because I am so full of ideas while reading. 

Shadow by Jenny Moss-- I just started this one and like it so far.  

Books to read this week:

I don't imagine I will get through many books this week.  The first day for students is tomorrow and Open House is Thursday.  I have quite a lot of work to do to be ready for both.  I will continue to read Shadow and then probably Pretty Little Liars.