Monday, January 3, 2011


Really??? August 10th???? Really???? That was the last time I updated? Holy macaroni I've fallen down on my job. Not reading, of course, I never stop reading! So I guess this is going to be the mother of all book blog posts! Let's get down to business. First a list, then reviews.

V is for Vampire
Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas
Catching Fire
The Lost Hero
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
The Graveyard Book
Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris
Heat Wave
Naked Heat
Out of My Mind
Stephanie Plum series 4 - 9
Strange Case of the Origami Yoda
Into the Gauntlet

And that's what I can remember. I might have missed a few! LOL!

Ok. Let's books first. I finished up the series of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Definitely enjoyed reading those. I can see how some might not stick with the series though. You have to get past the ten page descriptions of Ikea furniture. And I thought the break between the second and third books was a little weird. But in the long run, very good reads.

I started reading some fan fiction. Anyone watch the show Castle? I love that show and they have the books that Castle supposedly writes available to read. Naked Heat and Heat Wave were really fun. I ended up getting the second one on my iPad because the narrator for the first one was utterly ridiculous. It was really destroying the image I had in my head of the characters.

After I got done with those, I also wanted some other adult books along those lines. So, after taking a poll of my friends, I picked back up the Stephanie Plum series. I had already read 1-3. Now I've read 4-10 as well. Just good fun those books are. (Notice I didn't necessarily say "clean".)

I finished the Hunger Games trilogy. And that was phenomenal. I have mixed emotions about the ending, but I think you had to expect that everything wasn't going to end up roses. I will certainly recommend these to my advanced readers in 5th grade, but I decided not to put them into my library. I don't think most of the kids on their age level would get the abstract concepts and the violence would upset some people. Definitely a powerful read though!

I also read a few more books in some other series. The Lost Hero is a new book in the Heroes of Olympus (Percy Jackson) line. Percy isn't in this book, but it was the same concept. It was good and will continue to hook all those readers who want more of the Percy Jackson stories. I especially like that my hometown is featured in it for several chapters. The last 39 Clues book came out, Into the Gauntlet, and wrapped up the series rather nicely. Of course, there's room for a new spin-off series. And since Scholastic is in charge and doesn't have to worry about author burn-out, I can imagine that another one will be coming out soon. I read the first in a new Vampire series aimed at my tween readers. V is for Vampire will hopefully satisfy some of those girls who want to read Twilight that are sad I don't have it at my school. It was not too meaty in the love and violence department, so I think it's great for my kids. The Baker Street Irregulars series I think will be really good for boys who like mysteries and a bit of historical fiction. With the Sherlock Holmes movie coming out last year, I think the interest is there to push this book. It was really enjoyable and I can see this becoming a movie as well.

The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda was incredibly popular at our book fair this year. I had already purchased it for the library after hearing many, many things about it. I think the kids are really going to like this book. It dealt with some of the just nearing puberty things that these kids are facing, but was funny and had a good lesson. It's written in that graphic style that the kids are big on right now (like Diary of a Wimpy Kid). I heartily recommend it for this age level.

Somehow, I thought it would be fun to be on the selection committee for our state children's choice awards. This means you get to help decide the ten nominees for the following year. I thought this would be fun until the list of 40 or so intermediate titles got sent to my inbox. Now I don't think they expect you to read every single one, but I certainly WANT to read a lot. So, I've started picking some of the ones that have drawn my attention. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper caught my eye immediately. The book is written from the perspective of 11-year-old Melody. Melody is in a wheel chair and can't move most of her body. She also can not speak. But Melody is a genius and has a photographic memory. Her story is heart-warming and wistful and it makes you think a bit harder about how you interact with some of your students. Though I don't really appreciate the way Draper paints the public school system (apparently, we are all idiots who think all special education students are imbeciles and would think it's a good idea to rotate with new sped teachers every year), I really love the way that Melody triumphs in her story.

Finally, I picked up the book Hero by Mike Lupica. Lupica takes a bit of a break from his typical sports fiction in this story. I saw it mentioned on Barnes and Noble's website and had it on my wish list. When it showed up on the book fair, I scooped it up right away. Like many of our stories these days, our main character - Zach - is discovering that he is more special than he would have imagined. After a tragedy strikes his family, Zach needs to figure out who he is and exactly what he can do. We, of course, do not get all of our answers in this book...a new series has been born. My students are eating up these kinds of stories though, and next to Origami Yoda and School of Fear, this was probably the hottest book at the fair.

I have a lot more books waiting for me at school to add into our system after our book fair. A few I feel I have to read before adding into our catalog: Smile, Heist Society, and Dark Life. And I need to get cracking on my state awards for next year. Too many books, too little time!!

I know I always promise to be a better blogger. I'm sorry! :-) I really will try this time! Fair warning though, I have a lot more Stephanie Plum books to read!!

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