Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I used to be a Stephen King fan.
Now, wait a minute, let me explain.
Back in junior high and high school I was a huge Stephen King fan (the Body is still one of my favorite stories.) but a couple of things happened as I moved to college. 1. The stories were starting to get a little too creepy- though I think it was more me changing than the stories. and 2. I discovered Danielle Steele (even then I rolled my eyes many times reading her books. Why are all of her female leads slim or petite? *rollseyes*)
I have since moved on again to adolescent fiction/fantasy.

But I saw Cell for sale in a Book Warehouse and I remembered reading the good reviews from my fellow posters on the Rotten Tomatoes website, so I bought it.
I was not disappointed....well, I was at the end but I wont tell why.

Cell is the story of a Pulse that hits cell phone users tunring them almost zombie-like. Except they actually start becoming a single mind of sorts. The "normies", the ones who did not have cell phones at the time, can only travel at night and try to avoid the "phone crazies". The story mostly follows Clayton Riddell as he tries to get back to Maine to his son and estranged wife. He doesn't know if they have become one of the crazies. He meets up with three other people and they look out for one another and become sort of a family on the journey.
When they kill a flock of the crazies they become outlaws and they discover another group of normies killed a flock and became outlaws as well.
I liked this book. It is funny/creepy in the same way as Dawn of the Dead and Shawn of the Dead. The last third of the book is probably the best. But I was left wanting-needing!- more at the end. I hope, but seriously doubt, for a follow up to this one.
I want a conclusion, darn it!

The Land of Elyon Books 1-3

The Land of Elyon is a series of three books by Patrick Carman. The Dark Hills Divide, Beyond the Valley of Thorns, and The Tenth City follow 13 year old Alexa Dailey. Every year she and her father head to another village where he meets with other leaders and she spends her time exploring a library. A mysterious key comes into her possession and she discovers a hidden door in the library. Curiosity gets the better of her and she enters a whole new world- a world where she finds something that gives her the ability to talk to animals. In the first book she tries to work to have walls removed around the villages. When she returns to the village the next year something more evil is at work and she has to work with the animals to save the village and save the forrest where they live. She also discovers secrets about herself and her family.

I really can't summarize these books without giving too much away. These are charming and enchanting books and Patrick Carman weaves them together in a magical way. I want a Jocasta stone for myself....maybe then I could finally figure out what in the world my cat really wants :)


Cut by Patricia McCormick follows the story of Callie who cuts and refises to talk. She has been sent to a resident treatment facility where she is goes to group therapy with girls who have eating disorders and someone else who cuts. In treatment Callie learns a lot about herself and her family.
Cut is a very moving, eye opening book. I had heard about people cutting- in particular some of my own students who told me they used to (and have assured me that they no longer do.) Cutting is not something that I fully understand but after reading this book I have better insight.

This is a book that I think every teacher, and anyone who cares about today's youth, needs to read.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Hunter's Moon

The Hunter's Moon is another in the Chronicles of Faerie by O.R. Melling. In this captivating tale, Gwen and her Irish cousin Findabhair decide to spend the night in a mound known for fairy magic. Gwen awakens from a dream to find Findabhair gone- taken by the King of Faerie. In her quest to rescue her cousin she discovers that there is something sinister going on and she may turn out to be a sacrifice while her cousin may have gone willingly. Gwen meets new friends on her journey, discovers she is stronger than she thought, and falls in love.

Melling has again painted an amazing picture of Faerie. Her books draw the reader in and make one long for a little fairy magic.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sisters Grimm- The Problem Child

I just happened to get The Problem Child on Thursday and just happened to finish Eldest Friday. Since the Sisters Grimm books are fairly quick reads I jumped right in. I finished late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.
Buckley entertains once again with this newest installment. When we left The Unusual Suspects, Sabrina had used magic to tranport her to where her parents were and was met by a beast known as the Jabberwocky. In Problem Child we learn more about who has her parents and start to find out why. Something not so good happens to Puck and I started feeling sorry for the little snot. We also find out a bit more about Mr. Canis.

I am anxious to see where he takes the rest of the books.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Eldest is the second in the Inheritance Trilogy Christopher Paolini. This 668 page volume follows Eragon as he journeys to pledge his allegiance with the Varden to destroy the Empire and later travels to the Elves in order to continue his training as a Rider. Judging by the cover the reader assumes that another dragon will appear in this book. And, boy, are we in for a shock. Eragon and Saphira learn quite a bit about using their strengths as Rider and dragon from an while with the Elves and young Eragon also grows in many ways. Later Eragon is faced with the battle of a lifetime and finds out more about who his family was and realizes one member has betrayed him.

Paolini has really out done himself with this book. I absolutely love the story and I particularly love the section with the elves. (For some reason, I keep picturing the Lord of the Ring Elves here :) )

One thing I didn't care too much about was having to flip back to the Pronunciation Guide and Glossary every time he had one of them speak in dwarvish or in the ancient language. He was a little wordy with the details, but he really does give a fantastic picture of what Alagaesia is like.

A lot happens in the last couple of chapters and I had to finish it during my plan time today. I cannot wait for the next, and final, book in this trilogy.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I read Eragon by Christopher Paolini the for the first time when it was first out a couple of years ago. Since getting Eldest I wanted to revisit ERagon to refresh my memory before beginning it. For those of you unfamiliar with these books, they are part of the Inheritance Trilogy. Paolini began writing Eragon when he was just 15 and it was released by the time he was 19. He writes with the maturity and knowledge far beyond his years. This is the story of Eragon, a poor farm boy, who finds a stone that turns out to be a dragon egg. It hatches and he becomes the newest Rider. There are many who either want him on their side or killed. His remaining family is in mortal danger because of this. He goes on a dangerous trek to find the Varden, a group of people determined to stop the evil Empire.
In my revist I realized that I had forgotten quite a bit and that the end was not how I remembered.
Paolini does a great job of drawing the reader into the story. I want a dragon of my own now! But he does tend to get a little wordy with the decriptions at times.
Overall-great, fascinating story. I am anxious to get into Eldest and follow Eragon and Saphira on their next journey.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen is a story written from two perspectives. Each chapter flips back and forth between Bryce and Juli telling their perspective of what happened. They are currently in 8th grade but to begin they must go back to when Byrce's family moved to the neighborhood when they were 6. Juli fell hard for him and tried to get his attention, annoying Bryce for years. But things happened, attitudes changed and both are left wondering who the other really is. I really liked Juli's spirit and I began to feel sorry for Bryce once I learned more about his family, particularly his father.

Another book for the middle crowd. It is a quick, fun read. I really like how this book goes back and forth with both perspectives.

Next I am re reading Eragon. I need to refresh my memory so I can read Eldest.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Clique

When I picked up The Clique by Lisi Harrison at the half price Scholastic book fair at my school the librarian told me people were trying to ban it in some places (not my school). That bumped it up the reading list for me. I have to ask her what the controversy is because I didn't see it.
The Clique is the first book in a series of books for teens. It is your typical Mean Girls type story. In this one, Claire's family moves into the guesthouse of her father's collge friend in a wealthy neighborhood. How do I know it's wealthy? Because Harrison name drops so many highend name brands throughout the book that I rolled my eyes about halfway through when one popped up. From the Hermes riding crop to the Prada bags to the Range Rover, she made sure to let the reader know that EVERYTHING was expensive. The girls attend an all girl private school and all, including Claire, struggle to become a part of Massie's group. The girls can be downright mean to each other. On Claire's first day at the school she makes the grave error of wearing white Gap pants that are more than a year old. Massie gets the other three girls in her group to do her bidding so during art class Alicia wipes red paint onto the back of Claire's pants making it looklike she started her period. Claire walks around like this for a while before her art teacher finally tells her to go to the nurse. Even after this Claire still wants to be part of the group.
The main girls in this story are seventh graders and most of the time Harrison pegs 7th grade behavior- the backstabbing, the gossip, the trying desperately to fit in.
That's something that saddens me in stories and real life- why do these girls put themselves through this trying to be "popular"?
It was a fun, quick read. I would classify it as chick-lit for the middle school crowd.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Sisters Grimm-The Unusual Suspects

In this second installment of the Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, the girls have to go to school! Sabrina is suspicious of everyone-any one of them could be an Everafter (since they are all in disguise), and they might know something about the disappearance of her parents. Her little sister, Daphne, is having a great time- she has Snow White as a teacher. Things take a turn when Sabrina discovers her teacher hanging from a giant spider web, dead. Of course, the Grimm family is on the case and soon they realize that some of the Everafters had given their children up to Rumpelstiltskin years ago. Are they behind this death? Why are humans being targeted?

Sabrina finds out a lot about herself in this book and is very angry, something that is used against her. Buckley again brings much humor and personality to different fairy tale characters, introducing us to the Pied Piper, Rumpelstiltskin, and a new side of the Big Bad Wolf. I love how he uses parts of the classics in his stories. One example is when Sabrina uses the Magic Mirror to try to find her parents and he (yes, the Mirror is a he) takes her to the Hall of Wonders where magical artifacts are kept. She uses the Golden Cap to call the Winged Monkeys. Anyone who had not read The Wizard of Oz and had only watched the movie would not catch this little detail. He leaves this book with a cliff hanger and the next book doesn't come out until sometime this spring. Hopefully it won't be too long of a wait!

Up Next:The Clique by Lisi Harrison

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Sisters Grimm-The Fairy-Tale Detectives

I just finished the delightful first book in the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. I met the author at the NCTE/NWP meeting last fall. In this story the girls have been shuffled from foster home to foster home after their parents disappear. They are eventually sent to live with a woman who claims to be their grandmother-even though they had been told by their father that she was dead. It turns out they are the great-great-great-great granddaughters of one of the famous Grimm Brothers and that the Grimm Fairy Tales are not fairy tales at all but history books. The grandmother lives in Ferryport Landing (which used to be called Fairyport Landing until the humans started moving in) with the Everafters (fairy tale characters). The girls soon find out they are next in line to become family fairy tale detectives when their grandmother is taken by a giant!
I laughed so many times reading this book. Buckley uses so many of the characters from well known fairy tales and gives them their own personalities. For instance, the mayor of Ferryport Landing is Mayor Charming who is THE Prince Charming. He thinks way too highly of himself and loves the power that comes with being in charge. The police officers are the Three Little Pigs who have taken on human form but can change back into their pig form and are not so little.
If you like fairy tales I think you'll like this twist on the classics.

Next up: The Sisters Grimm:The Unusual Suspects

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Summer King

i just finished reading The Summer King by OR Melling. It is EXCELLENT! A teen is asked to participate in a mission to help save Faerie (and that also might save her sister). The book is steeped in myth and legend both Faerie and Irish. Melling draws readers into the story in such a way to where one might become a believer in faries by the end.

Laurel doesnt believe in faries at the beginning, but her sister did. In order to begin her mission she is told to "Act as if ye believe and see what happens." I think I am going to start using that motto in my life. :)
I don't think this book is out yet but I got an uncorrected proof at the National Council of Teachers of English/ National Writing Project Meeting in Pittsburgh last fall. I am glad I picked it up. I plan to get some of her others now and check them out.
if you like young adult fantasy- pick it up!