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Showing posts from July, 2013

ReReadathon Wrap-Up

I had this list. Laughing at myself so hard right now, because otherwise I might cry. What was I thinking??? I KNEW that school was starting up again for my kids this month. I am their teacher after all. I also knew that I would be doing hard core planning for the start of our homeschool co-op in August. I knew exactly how far behind I was getting on my galleys, library books, and purchased books. Yet there is that list. Mocking me.

I did get some rereading accomplished though.

From the list:
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Stuff I reread because I'm teaching it (or will be soon):
Bomb: the Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
D'Aulaires' Norse Gods and Giants
Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Not on the List but I Reread Because I Wanted To:
Romancing Mr. Briderton by Julia Quinn
I love Quinn's novels. She is an auto-buy author for me, but this is far and away my favorite. I ado…

TTT: Favorite Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic is Favorite Beginnings/Endings.

I did a My Favorite Things post on Beginnings a couple of years ago and my favorites haven't changed, so I'm going to concentrate on endings. Since I'm focusing solely on endings I'm just going to give the book cover and no other information.











Shorter Musings: MG Realistic Fiction

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. Some of those are starting to pile up so I thought I would put them all together in one post.

Here are some MG Fantasy books I have read recently with my thoughts.

The Book of the Maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse
Good solid MG fiction, which Rebecca Barnhouse excels at. I love being able to read a historical novel that I know will accurately represent a time period. You can tell this is her first novel I think. I may have had a more enthusiastic reaction if I read this before her Beowulf books. I do feel it drags a bit in places and just sort of ends with no resolution. I liked this glimpse into the potential life of a person barely mentioned in historical documents and the struggles she would have encountered.  

Destiny Rewritten by Katherine Fitzmaurice
I can see MG readers enjoying this. Maybe. It's a little too long and I think referenc…

Favorite Shakespeare

A couple months ago I did a My Favorite Things post on my favorite classics. I didn't include any Shakespeare, because that's how much I love Shakespeare. He needed his own separate list. Now just to be clear, I love watching Shakespeare more than reading it, and when I read it I tend to read it aloud. Yet read it I do. After all, it is not everyday you can go see a performance of Shakespeare.

Here are my favorites to read and watch:




 What about you? Are you a Shakespeare lover or hater? If lover which do you love most?

WoW: Moonkind

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Fer, the Lady of the Summerlands, has made a critical mistake. In a world where oath-binding magic runs deep, the consequences of a broken promise can be nothing short of dire. But Fer has not broken her promise-she's remained true to her vow to rule with honesty and without the disguise of a glamorie. Yet as a young leader, she's naively trusted others to honor such an oath, too-one that many are unwilling and unable to keep.

With the cost of countless broken oaths weighing heavily on the land, the realm has begun to change. A stillness is creeping in, bringing a silent death to the place that Fer holds so dear. Only Fer has the power to fight it, but she may have to rely on the help of the one boy whose very nature is to deceive her.

Harper Collins put their 2014 catalog up on Edelwiess a couple weeks ago a…

The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is a modern immigration story. It is a story about bullying. It is a story of first love, swimming, and discovering your parents aren't as indestructible or noble as you always believed. I was happy to receive an e-galley of this and even more grateful upon reading it.

Synopsis:
Carrying just a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother are immigrating to England from Poland. Kasienka isn't the happiest girl in the world. At home, her mother is suffering from a broken heart as she searches for Kasienka's father. And at school, Kasienka is having trouble being the new girl and making friends. The only time she feels comforted is when she's swimming at the pool. But she can't quite shake the feeling that she's sinking. Until a new boy swims into her life, and she learns that there might be more than one way to stayafloat.

Kasienka has such a strong voice. This is a novel told in verse w…

P.S. Be Eleven

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia won so many accolades and I was left feeling a little left out of the party. I enjoyed the book to be sure, but didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. If the same amount of fuss is made overits sequel, P.S. Be Eleven, I will understand completely

Synopsis:
After spending the summer in Oakland with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence, and the sisters aren't the only ones who have changed. Now Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a different man. But Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep her sisters in line. That's much harder now that Vonetta and Fern refuse to be bossed around. Besides her sisters, Delphine's got plenty of other things to worry about-like starting sixth grade, being the tallest girl in her class, and dreading the upcoming school dance (her first). The one person she confides in is her mother…

The Lion Hunters

When Code Name Verity came out last year I was so excited (my thoughts). See, the wonderful people at Sounis recommend Elizabeth Wein's books regularly. And I tried. I really really did. But The Winter Prince, which begins The Lion Hunters sequence, was impossible for me to get through. Not because it is badly written, quite the opposite, the writing pulled me and wrapped me up in it from the beginning, but that story creeps me out in too many ways. I feel it a little too much. So I rejoiced at the release of Code Name Verity as a chance to experience a book full of Wein's writing. And I loved it. I loved it so much I decided to revisit The Winter Prince. I have tried and failed to finish that book a total of six times now. Finally I decided to skip it and just start with A Coalition of Lions. Best. Decision. Ever. (For me.) (Though it is wonderfully written and Liz at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy just posted a great review of it this week.)

I love historical fiction …

TTT: Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic is Authors Who Deserve More Recognition.

In thinking about this I came up with five names immediately and decided that they were the only ones I wanted to list. Adding others would be just me trying to get the number up to 10, which is unfair when these are the ones I truly and deeply feel deserve more recognition.

Megan Whalen Turner
The following for her books is growing, and that is a wonderful thing to see, but it is not yet nearly as large as it should be. She is a phenomenal story teller, the best currently writing books of any genre/age category in my opinion. It is just not right that her books are not more well known and that none of them since The Thief have won a major award.

N.D. Wilson
Wilson's books are truly extraordinary. He has one stand alone novel, one trilogy, and half of a series currently out in the world of MG fiction. He also writes adult theology/philosophy books that are …

The Heartbreak Messenger

One look at the cover was all it took to hook me in. Then the premise, a boy who carries break up messages for a fee, sealed the deal. The Hearbreak Messenger by Alexander Vance is so much fun to read.

Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Quentin never asked to be "The Heartbreak Messenger," it just kind of happened - and he's not one to let a golden opportunity pass him by. The valuable communications service he offers is simple: he delivers break-up messages. For a small fee, he will deliver such a message to your soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. If you order the deluxe package, he'll even throw in some flowers and a box of chocolates...well, you don't want to leave a girl completely alone.
At first, Quentin's entrepreneurial brainchild is surprisingly successful. But as he interacts with clients and message recipients, from the teary-eyed football player to the dangerously powerful soccer chick, it doesn't take him long to start wondering whether his business …

Summer Reading Challenges Update

School begins for the Painter family tomorrow and so my Book a Day challenge is at an end for the year. I read a ton of great picture books, MG novels, and YA novels. Because of this and the 48 HBC I'm 15 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads goal for the year. That will come in handy once homeschool co-op starts and I'm grading papers for three high school English classes. I will miss having so much time to read, but am excited about getting back to teaching and structure as well.

I am still participating in two summer reading challenges though.
First:
Here are my goals and what I have read so far:
Series I Aim to Finish:
The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart (2 books to go)My Review
The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein (3 books to go) Review posts Thursday!
The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima (3 books to go-though I think I should reread the 1st too)

Finished Series I will Read Completely:
The Tiffany Aching books in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

School Books

Yep. My kids go back to school on Monday. I love doing year round school. I really do. As usual I thought I would share some of the stuff that I will be teaching this year, because I'm EXCITED.

Bit will be in 4th grade (Can you believe this!?!). Her history focus for this year is Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation. Oh so much good stuff to read. Lots of wonderful non-fiction and Norse Mythology. We will be doing a unit on Beowulf-to introduce her to the story and concept with which she will be reading:

With her history units she will also be reading The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood, King Arthur by Roger  Lancelyn Green, Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green, and a graphic novel version of Macbeth.

These are the books that I'm teaching for my 4th-6th grade co-op class. Bit is in this class so will be reading these as well.


I'm also teaching two High School Literature classes. One for 8th-10th grades and a 10th-12th grade British Literature class. So I get to teach…

Binny for Short

It's a new Hilary McKay novel!!! That is really as long as this review needs to be right? It should be. But alas, some of you may not know about the wonderful Hilary McKay so I'll tell you a bit more. Binny for Shortis wonderful, a terrific read for summer, or anytime you need a little summer in your life.

Summary:
When she was eight, Binny’s life was perfect: She had her father’s wonderful stories and Max, the best dog ever. But after her father’s sudden death, money is tight, and Aunty Violet decides to give Max away—he is just too big for their cramped new life. Binny knows she can’t get her dad back, but she never stops missing Max, or trying to find him. Then, when she’s eleven, everything changes again.
Aunty Violet has died, and left Binny and her family an old house in a seaside town. Binny is faced with a new crush, a new frenemy, and…a ghost? It seems Aunty Violet may not have completely departed. It’s odd being haunted by her aunt, but there is also the warm…

TTT: Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic is Best/Worst Movie Adaptations. I already did a My Favorite Things post on my favorite movie adaptations, so I'm going to make my list all about the adaptations that made me want to throw things at the screen. One actually made me cry.

We'll start with the one that made me cry. Eleven years later I'm still ranty.
The Count of Monte Cristo(2002)
Apparently the movie makers were unable to deal with the complexity of Dumas's plot and the character of Edmond Dantes. The ultimate genius of this novel is that Dantes is both the hero and the villain. Much of brilliance rests in Dumas's subversion of the tragedy. You have an obsessed megalomaniac who finds redemption and doesn't come to an end of death destruction taking everyone with him. He turns back just in time to not destroy everyone including himself. He does some terrible things to people who deserve them, and some terrible…

Ruby Oliver: The Rest of the Series

Back in January I finally read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart (my thoughts).It instantly became one of my favorite YA books. I really like the way the themes were addressed and I loved Ruby's voice. I expressed reluctance to read the rest of the series in that review, but in the end I couldn't stay away. Ruby is one of those characters who worms her way into your brain and heart. I wanted to see how she fared after the events of Sophomore year.

The Boy Book: The Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them
I admit I was worried that all my fears were coming true and I shouldn't have picked up the sequel about halfway through. Again, Ruby's voice is the great strength of the book. Her realistic tone and vulnerability as well as her mistakes make her genuine. I was wondering if this was simply going to be a rehashing of the first book and that is why I become wary at the halfway point. However, Ruby turns it around and I really enjoyed seeing her grow…