Monday, December 21, 2009

The Season, once again!

As part of my look at the new Lone Star titles, I've linked to my previous review of The Season by Sarah Maclean. 

I loved this book, and its perfect for holiday reading.  Okay, it's perfect for anytime reading, but that includes holidays, does it not?

Also, here is a new video for your enjoyment!  Love the song--it is actually in another of the videos posted in this blog from way back in the beginning.  :) 

yes, it is a librarian book cart drill team competition....we have those here  ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw

I love ghost stories.  I love the whole creepy factor, the spine-tingles, the chills. 

The hunt for the seventh is a unique ghost story---not to give too much away, but there is a rather unusual twist. 

After the death of their mother, Jim and Sal have moved to an estate with their father, who has been hired on as the groundskeeper.  The owner of the home, Lord Minerva, is a regular creep-meister.  Seriously cranky and not a man of laughter by any means. 

Although Lord Minerva has forbidden the children from roaming the grounds, Jim finds himself desperatly needing to do so in order to "find the seventh".  Several children (um, guess how many) have died tragically on the property through the years.  Jim goes on a quest aided by Lord Minerva's son to solve the many mysteries surrounding the property and the family who owns it. 

A great spine-tingling story made for rainy nights when the thunderclouds roll in and the lightening dances through the sky.  Read it by candlelight... if you dare!

Friday, December 4, 2009

North of Beautful by Justina Chen Headley


sometimes a book hits you over the head with its truth and beauty.

this is one of those books.

for every girl who longs to be beautiful. to be loved.
to be ENOUGH
 just as she is
                her  parents,
                      her friends,
                              her boyfriend
                                      her self.

This book is for you. 

I HIGHLY recommend this book to 7th grade and up. 
It is a lovely and beautiful read. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bullrider by Suzanne Morgan Williams

Bull Rider, by Suzanne Morgan Williams is the second of the 2010 Lone Star books on my blog. 

Let me just say that I love this book.  It is a great layered story that goes beyond the title of Bull of family and their expectations of who you should be versus who you are; of strength and trials of life; of military service and dreams deferred. It is, ultimately, a story of familial love and hope. 

Cam O'Mara comes from a ranching family with a proud bull riding heritage that he really wants no part of.  Cam is a skateboarder, not a bull rider.  His older brother Ben is serving in the military in Iraq, and when Ben comes home with a tramatic injury that changes his life drastically--no more championship bull riding for him--and falls into despair questioning who he is now and what kind of future can he possibly have?  Cam makes a pact with Ben dealing with bull riding and not losing hope which involves lying to get into a bull riding competition in order to win the large prize purse. 

While this is a "guy" book, it isn't only for the guys, I assure you.  While this is a book about bull riding and the military it isn't only for bull riders and military families, either. 

It is a book for everyone that has ever had family expectations, a dream for the future, and hard knocks to overcome. 

 In short, it is a book for everyone. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just me...

thought perhaps I ought to make this VERY clear (no, I'm not in trouble or anything...I just got to thinking about this over the holiday and thought I ought to post it) ...the reviews I post about each book--Lone Star made-its, Lone Star hopefuls, or otherwise---are just my thoughts...they do not represent the committee officially, unofficially, or as a whole....

Just me....and I did it

(groans at the ready, please...)

my way.

Go find something to read now. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander

We begin the list of 2010 Lone Star books....

At the center of Sweetheart is Austin, a 14 year old girl determined to be the next FFA (Future Farmers of America for all you non-rural folk!) sweetheart.  'Course she first has to join FFA to have a shot at that, and joining FFA means she needs to...well, raise something.  She settles on raising a rooster and gets one from a local Cajun fella--a wise soul if ever there was one.  As you might imagine mayhem soon ensues with Charles Dickens, the aforementioned rooster, smack dab in the middle of it all.

Living in East Texas, myself I can attest to the trueness of the characters and situations in the book.  I felt like Austin was in some ways a remembrance of my teenage self---man, I wanted to ride in a convertable in a gorgeous dress waving to the crowds in my small Texas hometown, too, only for us it was all about homecoming instead of the Christmas parade. 

One of the many things I love about this book is that it isn't just about a teen with a dream of FFA royalty.  It has a great mother-daughter storyline and a bevy of strong women (we Texas women like that, y'all!) who make it through tough times and learn to trust one another, trust themselves, and let go of past hurt in order to move on and really live.  And, as if this even needs don't have to be a Texan, live in a rural community, or even like chickens for that matter in order to L-O-V-E this book! 

I had the pleasure of meeting Jill Alexander at the Texas Library Conference last year and she is as warm, witty, and wonderful to chat with in person as this lovely book is to read.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the 2010 Lone Star List

The Lone Star Committee met last weekend in Austin, Texas to choose our 20 picks for pleasure reading for the middle schoolers of the great state of Texas.  This is not to say older kids won't enjoy these picks, as well...and in a few cases, some younger ones, too. 

We discussed the numerous nominations for HOURS (no worries...the chocolate and caffeine were abundant, ensuring the "discussions" didn't get too out of hand!) and ended up with our final list a mere 7 hours or so later.  In case you haven't seen the list yet, you can check it out here.  I'm going to make it a priority to discuss these books on this blog rather quickly. 

Whether you live in the Lone Star state, or not, this is a great list for PLEASURE reading.  Also, and I can't stress this fact enough, not all books on the list are for all kids.  Seriously.  What the committee attempts to do is to find a balance of books--some that will appeal to the lowest 6th grade readers, up to the highest 8th grade readers.  Some for boys, some for girls, some for both.  A variety of genre, too. 

Some teachers and librarians mistakingly have the idea that if its on the list, it is suitable for all readers.  uh-uh.  nope. 

Hopefully, there is at least one book on the list for each of your readers....enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

and so time goes by...

have been reading, reading, reading to get all my Lone Star hopefuls reading done.  Now that the committee has met and our new list is out (a fun, but exhausting process!) I should have more time to get back into blogging mode.  I have hundreds (quite literally) of books to discuss with you!

Now for your enjoyment...check out this vintage Sesame Street video featuring the ever-talented Cookie Monster   :)

By the way, my library WILL have that Natalie is a Daisy Scout.  Come by in January to put your cookie order in....pick up some books while you are there!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am...

positively GREEN with envy.  I mean, overall I'm pretty happy in my life.  It's a good life, and it's mine, which has to count for something, right? 

I love my family, I love my job.  That's more than most people can say. be Teri Lesene, the awesome guru of YA lit...
       or have a cooler-than-cool blog that everyone reads like the ReaderGirlz        (who, by the way are amazing authors, if the blog wasn't enough...sheesh!) ...

or have readers so in love with your books that they go to midnight release parties like J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer....
   any (or all!--can you even imagine???)  of those would be an awesome addition to the great life I already have.....

     OR...maybe I could just have a few days of alone-time in the house with scads of just-from-the-oven-warm chocolate chip cookies (the magical kind that make you LOSE weight while eating them) and a mug of steaming coffee and a soft warm blanket wrapped around me while I sit in my favorite chair and read to my heart's content....a girl can dream, can't she???

dreaming of grandeur on a cold and wet and oh-so-dreary day...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Roland Smith visit!!!!

Our visit with Roland Smith was the culminating event in our One Book, One School program this year.  The entire school read I, Q and were waiting with great expectations for the arrival of Mr. Smith.  He did NOT disappoint!   Roland Smith was engaging and witty and held the kids in the palm of his hand.  I highly recommend him to every middle school out there looking for an author to visit!

Another view with the cutie cute sea otter in the background. 

and then there's Megan....can I just say that I have the coolest kids ever at my school?  Seriously.  Megan took off on a theme from the book--origami cranes made from McDonald's wrappers and ended up starting a real trend.  The entire 7th grade made origami cranes...including some "super-sized" versions...that's Big Mac hanging from the ceiling in the pics of Roland speaking to the crowd.  This one was dubbed Mini-Mac.  She's also (on her own) making the coolest website ever to go along with the book.  When it is completed and up and running she's said I can link it...:)

The entire school made some amazing projects and really got a lot out of I, Q. 

and boy, is my waiting list long for part 2!

Check out Roland's blog here for a nice mention of our school...
His website here...
our local paper had a really nice article about it, too, but at this point the archives cost $$ to access.  Oh well. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

October beckons...

October is always a huge month for libraries that serve teens because of Teen Read Week, but this year our library is going to be even busier than usual.  Our One Book, One School author is coming to visit us next week (yippee!).  Yes, Roland Smith will be at our school on October 6th.  Then comes Teen Read Week, (which I am furiously planning) and the WrestleMania Reading Challenge kick-off!  After we survive that we have book fair and then the build up to the movie release of New Moon kicks off....yeah, me some Twilight.  ;)

Yep, busy, busy, busy.  But, I wouldn't have it any other way! 

In other random news...I've been reading, reading, reading (have TONS of book reviews to put up) and finally caught the movie version of The City of Ember on HBO.  Loved the book.  So-so on the movie. 
And, the proud momma librarian is happy to say her first grade daughter is an excellent reader and is devouring Horrible Harry and Junie B. Jones books.  Had a high point last week in the library when a group of 6th graders broke out into spontaneous applause as I finished my booktalks.  Yes, these are the things that keep me going. 

Have a wonderful night everyone... and read on, dear friends, read on!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Young Samurai: The way of the warrior by Chris Bradford

12 year old Jack Fletcher is sailing with is father and the crew of the Alexandria.  They shipwreck off the coast of "the Japans" and the entire crew is killed by ninja--except for Jack.  He is then taken in and adopted by a powerful local samurai warrior named Masamoto--they are bonded over a common enemy, for Dragon-Eye has killed both Jack's father and Masamoto's eldest son.

Because he is considered less than by just about everyone because he is not Japanese, he must work even harder to prove his worth as a warrior as he is trained to become samurai. 

The author is a martial arts expert--and it shows...this book is at its best when the fighting is on.  Jack has trained hard, but must prove himself over and over again---especially to Masamoto's youngest son. 

I loved the book.  Yes, there are bits here and there that are choppy, but overall the book is a thrilling ride filled with ninja, martial arts, and learning the way of the warrior. Good stuff.

Because I always wanted to be a ninja (don't laugh!)when I was younger (okay, so maybe still today I think the idea of it is cool) I've included a video that I also posted earlier in my blogging days.  Enjoy.  ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One book, one school

Our One Book, One School selection is I, Q: Book One: Independence Hall by Roland Smith. 

I am beyond excited as our students are all receiving their books this week---thanks in part to a generous donation from our school PTA organization (you parents ROCK!) and the support of my principal and other administrators.

Our ultra-cool trivia begins Monday and teachers have loads of lessons planned touching a variety of subject areas using this book as a jumping-off point. 

The kids are incredibly excited about it, as well!  And the oh-so-fabulous Roland Smith himself will visit our campus in early October. 

Man, am I psyched.  Did I mention it is on this year's Texas Lone Star list?  Oh, yeah.

If you haven't read the book yet then grab it and buckle your seat belt, is one wild ride.  The first in the new I, Q series includes nods to the dapper 007 James Bond with international spies, magic tricks and sleight-of-hand, terrorists and rock star parents.  I simply cannot wait for the second installment, The White House to come out! 

I'll soon add posts with pics of our various events, but for now let me leave you with these...

Roland Smith's website

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Season by Sarah MacLean

If you think Jane Austen meets Nancy Drew sounds like an entertaining romp of a book then you'll adore The Season. 
As the back cover states, "Boys, ballgowns, murder...This year's season will be unforgettable!"

I have always loved historical fiction, murder mysteries and those lovely Jane Austen novels with strong female characters who still yearn for true love.  Well, The Season has it all---and does it quite well IHMO.  Just enough romance to make it interesting--not enough to make it a mush-fest. 

Alex, Ella, and Vivi are young ladies making their society debut--it is, after all, The Season.  Wanting nothing to do with becoming the prim and dutiful wife of some dreadful bore, Alex is completely uninterested in the balls she must attend.  When the Earl of Blackmoor is killed in a strange and highly suspect accident, she decides to help his son Gavin--a longtime friend of her family solve the mystery--whether he wants her help is another matter altogether. 

Did I mention Gavin is young, brooding and "devilishly handsome"?  A yummy recipe for romance, I say. 

Girls, grab this one.  You'll love it.  The perfect book to curl up and read on a rainy day with a bit of fall chill in the air.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Just finished Sent today and I loved it. The sequel to Found in the new series The Missing is every bit as good as I had hoped it would be. Now you know I don't believe in spoilers (read the book yourself, I say!) but I will tell you that even if you haven't read Found you will enjoy it--maybe a bit less than if you read the first one, but enjoy it, nonetheless.

Jonah and Katherine are siblings in today's world. When last we saw them, they had just discovered that Jonah (and several other kids) were actually children that had been abducted from other times and places and placed in this century. In Sent, they, along with their new friends Chip and Alex, go back in time to the 1400's a time where being a royal was dangerous to one's health as people double crossed even (or especially!) family members in order to seek more power and wealth.
OOH, dontcha just love it! Well, what are you waiting for? Go to your library and get it. Pop the popcorn. Pour the cherry coke. And get ready for a lovely adventure.

Books, babies, and blogging...

Ah, a new school year. It is always a bit exciting to have a fresh start...a new beginning. Maybe this will be the year that I'll finally get my office totally organized, or maybe my non-fiction will get completely and totally get the picture, and its all about the possibilities. Exciting, isn't it? Thank goodness I work in an enviroment that has fresh starts....can't imagine life without that night-before-the first-day anticipation. If I had to face life in a cube everyday, I'm not so sure I could be so chipper.

This summer was crazy-busy, but woot! woot! grad school is now done (masters in instructional technology, thank you very much!) and I can resume the business of reading for pleasure....and boy, has it resumed! I've got mounds of books to tell you about and stacks of plans for great events for this schoolyear. So, welcome back to a new school year filled with endless possibilities and welcome back to my blog. I hope you'll choose to check back in often to check it out (lordy, but I sound like I'm on Sonny w/ a Chance now, don't I? Did I mention I have a 7 year old, too?) By the way, speaking of new beginnings...that's my cutie cute baby Olivia in the pic.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello...I'm back....

Well, finally I can see the light at the end of the grad school tunnel (thank God I finish in August!) and baby girl has made her arrival (she's now 6 weeks old, in fact!) and I can begin to think about getting back on the blogging track.

I hope those of you who read my blog will forgive my long sojourn into the hinterland and will begin to read my blog again as I begin to post again...

And to see the lovely bit of what kept me away for so long...

Presenting Miss O!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New batch of Lone Star hopefuls....

It's always exciting when the boxes start arriving from the publishers---kind of like Christmas only I don't have to buy anything for anyone else! ;)

So, I've started reading the selections that are possibilities for next year's Lone Star picks--and I have to say that so far I'm fairly impressed. I've read a bit of historical fiction and some fantasy so far.

I'm also beginning to work on my booktalks for TLA this year. It's just around the corner, and I definitely want to be super-prepared--especially since I'll be ridiculously preggo by that time and I don't want to be stressed at the last minute trying to finish things up. I'm really excited about both the books I'll be talking --they are FABULOUSNESS.

I've been home for two days with a kiddo running fever, so I feel a bit out of the school loop right now, but hey, it's made for more reading time, right?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I've fallen off the wagon....again...

Yes, it has been a very busy school year....and quite a productive one, although you can't tell it by my neglect to this blog. :( I do love to blog, but this year has been a bit overwhelming---between my grad school, my hubby's grad school, taking care of our 6 year old DD, both of us working full time and me being pregnant and due in May...well, I guess something had to give. My hope is that I can at least check in here from time to time and update a bit....and then, come August when my baby is here and my grad work is'll be blog time again!