Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Reading List & Challenges

This is the post where I'll keep track of my reading challenges as a way to try and stay organized, especially when my workload gets hectic.

Ends Dec 2010 (more info on link)
2. Horseradish: Bitter Truths by Lemony Snicket
3. My Most Excellent Year: a novel of Love, Mary Poppins and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

2. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
3. Horseradish: Bitter Truths, Lemony Snicket
4. My Most Excellent Year, Steve Kluger

1. Wild Ginger by Anchee Min
2. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
3. Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
5. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
6. Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez

1. Ho'okupu: an offering of literature by Native Hawaiian Women Miyoko Sugano and Jackie Pualani Johnson, editors
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (need to write review)
4. (non-fiction)
5. (non-fiction)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Manga Thursday, 12/31/09

While on a trip to Honolulu, my son and I happened upon Gecko Books and Comics in a small neighborhood outside of Honolulu. My son and I quietly went through the aisles, greeting manga series we were familiar with and trying to choose new series with the measly $40 I was willing to spend. I'm glad we don't have this type of bookstore on our island. It's too hard  to leave without buying something, and despite the serial nature of manga and comic books, it's not cheap.

To highlight the manga and graphic novels out there, I'd like to start my first meme, so be patient as I figure it out.

Usagi Yojimbo book 1
text and art by Stan Sakai

7-Word Review:
Introduction of honorable samurai rabbit: Usagi Yojimbo.
If you would like to participate in Manga Thursdays (I hope you do), please post a link to this blog on your post.

  • Choose a manga or graphic novel you are reading or would like to read
  • Post a picture of the cover and/or an artwork sample
  • Post a 7-word review
  • Add your link to the comments on this post

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #12

Animals, animals, animals

The topic today is animal fiction. Here's my picks:
 Cracker: The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata

 Life of Pi by Yann Martel

What's your favorite animal fiction?

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Suite Scarlett Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Scarlett Martin is the 15-year-old protagonist, who with her parents and three other siblings lives in the dilapidated NY Hotel, the Hopewell. For her 15th birthday, she inherits a suite to take care of, and when eccentric former actress Amy Ambrose moves in, Scarlett's dull summer gets complicated and "dramatic."

I actually downloaded this book for free from the Scholastic site, so it gets an additional star for being free and downloadable to my iPhone. As far as the story line goes, it's a decent enough story - light, with enough twists and turns to keep me reading.

There's some types of characters where when the book ends, as a reader I continue to wonder about these characters. I can't wait for the next book, or my mind continues the story until I'm satisfied with the life these characters are leading outside the book. With Suite Scarlett, not everything is resolved, but it's ok. I am willing to walk away clean and not think about it again. I think there's a place for these types of books and characters too.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka ia oe - Merry Christmas

For Christmas, Scholastic is giving away Suite Scarlett as an ebook here.

Thanks to Natalie for publicizing great deals like this. Follow her at Mindful Musings Book Blog

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #7

Best and Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations

This Activity is completely and totally based on your opinion.

1 - You need to choose the BEST Book-to-Movie Adaptation you've seen and the WORST Book-to-Movie Adaptation you've seen.

2 - Post the pictures of the book cover next to the movie poster for each pair.

Cat's Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation

Gary Sinise and John Lithgow are loyal to Steinbeck's book.

Cat's Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptation

Seriously? Demi Moore as Hester Prynne actually rides into the sunset with Dimmesdale. I don't think Hollywood gets Hawthorne.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

In alternating first-person narratives, Shiver is the story of Grace and her yellow-eyed wolf, Sam. Grace was saved by Sam when she was a child, and Sam is her winter wolf who watches her from the edge of the woods. In the summer, Sam turns human, but this may be his last year of being human and when tragedy strikes and he shows up on Grace's porch in human form, she needs to do all she can to hold onto him, but winter is biting at the windows and Sam knows that this will be their first and last time to hold onto each other.

This YA fantasy/romance is a winter read, best read with the wind howling outside, the snow falling or as in Hawaii, the thunder and lightning threatening to tear the house down. I liked the temperature at the beginning of each chapter. It created tension as the temperature dropped, because it was a countdown for when Sam would disappear forever. 

The beginning of the book starts a little slow, and stilted, but once the two teens are together, it truly becomes a race for time.

 I can't wait for the next book, Linger out in July 2010.

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #6

 Today's challenge from:  Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #6

What's in a Name?

Here is what you need to do:

1 - Find a book title that fits in all of the following categories. If you read primarily young adult literature, then focus on young adult titles. If not, focus on adult. It doesn't matter.

2 - Be sure to list the author next to each title, just in case some of us want to read more about them.

3 - To be eligible for the prize you need to leave a comment on THE ORIGINAL POST with all of your book titles and authors.

4 - Leave your email address in your comment.

Here are the categories you need to find (you can't use the ones in the examples):

1. A book with a "profession" in its title. Examples might include: The Book Thief, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Historian

2. A book with a "time of day" in its title. Examples might include:
Twilight,Four Past Midnight, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

3. A book with a "relative" in its title. Examples might include:
Eight Cousins, My Father's Dragon, The Daughter of Time

4. A book with a "body part" in its title. Examples might include:
The Bluest Eye, Bag of Bones, The Heart of Darkness

5. A book with a "building" in its title. Examples might include:
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Little House on the Prairie, The Looming Tower

6. A book with a "medical condition" in its title. Examples might include:
Insomnia, Coma, The Plague

7. A book with a "color" in its title. Examples might include: The Amber Spyglass, The Red Pony, Blue Blood

8. A book with an "animal" in its title. Examples might include:
The Hound of the Baskervilles, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julie of the Wolves

9. A book with a "first name" in its title. Examples might include:
Jane Eyre, the Harry Potter books, Anne of Green Gables

10. A book with a "place" in its title. Examples might include:
From Russia with Love, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Out of Africa

11. A book with a "weather event" in its title. Examples might include:
The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Red Storm Rising, Tornado Alley

12. A book with a "plant" in its title. Examples might include:
Where the Red Fern Grows, The Name of the Rose, Flowers for Algernon

Have Fun!

My list:
Book 1:Profession  The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho
Book 2: Time of Day Pride and Predjudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Jane Austen and Steve Hockensmith
Book 3: Relative The Sisters Grimm (series) by Michael Buckley
Book 4: Body part Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury
Book 5: Building The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Book 6: Medical condition Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Book 7: Color The 39 Clues Book 5: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
Book 8: Animal No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
Book 9: First name Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Book 10: Place Mililani Mauka by Chris McKinney
Book 11: Weather event Hurricane: A Novel by Terry Trueman
Book 12: Plant The Seven Orchids by Ian MacMillan


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #5

*I'm supposed to post from page 22, line 22, but I don't have 22 lines on page 22, so I'm posting line 23 on page 23. My apologies for making up my own rules.

. . .danced into the kitchen, chanting some sort of nonsense song.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We Were Here by Matt de la Pena

We Were Here We Were Here by Matt de la Pena

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
de la Pena has a clear picture of the part Hispanic character who is on the outskirts of his community or his family - desperately trying to find some worth within himself and possessing a talent (sports related) and a chracter trait that makes him heroic.

We Were Here follows that formula with Miguel, a half Mexican, half white kid in a group home for juvenile delinquents. Through his journals, the reader starts to piece together the puzzle of his life as he tries to forgive himself for his crimes.

I intuitively knew what Miguel did early on in the book, even if Miguel doesn't openly say it until the end, so I found myself looking for chinks in the de la Pena armor. He does a good job of keeping it hidden, but since I was doing that while reading, Miguel didn't stay with me as much as Danny (Mexican White Boy) or Sticky (Ball Don't Lie)stayed with me. Mong - now that was a character that intrigued me!

Don't get me wrong. This is a great read, with a sympathetic character who grows and changes in the course of the book. In the end, he really is a great role model for young men and women.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading 12-14-09

Participate in this meme by following J. Kaye's Book Blog.

Read this week:
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (review)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
We Were Here by Matt de la Pena

The Juvie Three  by Gordon Korman
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

To Read:(based on blogs from last Monday)

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

What are you reading?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Life As We Knew It

An asteroid is coming towards the moon and Miranda, her mom and brother join the block party outside to watch it when BOOM the asteroid knocks the moon off its orbit and brings it closer to earth causing major climate changes in mere seconds. Through her diary entries, I followed 16-year-old Miranda and her family's struggle for survival in their small town in Pennsylvania. This book is like The Road without as much violence and depravity.

The true sign of a good read was that I knew I had to be at work but I started it at school during SSR (silent sustained reading) time (15 minutes x 2 periods), then kept reading it until I finally finished at 1:30 in the morning, knowing my alarm was going off at 5.  Why did I torture myself? The premise was plausible to my non-scientific imagination. While reading it in the middle of a Hawaii "grayspell" with skies like "Reynold's Wrap" I felt like I was with Miranda - I had a desire to turn on every light, wash my hair with hot water to take away the soot and cook large batches of food for canning. In fact, for dessert I took out all the half-eaten cartons of ice cream and I gathered my family and sat around the television eating mindlessly until the ice cream was gone. After all, If I have to live in a post-apocalyptic world, I will miss electricity, television and ice cream.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wish I'd Read That Challenge 2010


I really am afraid of commitment and these challenges have COMMITMENT written all over them, but the Royal Reviews ladies make it sound so easy, so I will commit to this challenge.

This challenge is basically about reading the books I always wanted to read, but never got around to doing it. Now there's an excuse for me - I have to because I said I would.

Challenge Guidelines:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Read 3 books.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 books.

-- Addicted – Read 12 books.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 books.

3. Any book format counts.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

I may change my list later, but I think I can do the Fascinated level (6 books)
Wild Ginger by Anchee Min
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ho'okupu: An Offering of Literature by Native Hawaiian Women

Story photo

Before I do the review, just wanted to share a picture (taken by my dad) of the first public reading of this book at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo, August 2009. Twelve of the eighteen women were on stage for the reading. In this picture is (left-right) Jerelyn Makanui-Yoshida, me (at the mic), Tamara Laulani Wong Morrison, and my mom, Mililani Hughes.

Ho'okupu: An Offering of Literature by Native Hawaiian Women edited by Miyoko Sugano and Jackie Pualani Johnson is the first anthology to highlight native Hawaiian women. This book has been a long-time dream of Sugano, a UH-Hilo professor emeritus of English. In fact Sugano asked me for pieces over twelve years ago, so when the book came out this year, it was like being reunited with a lost child.

This anthology of poems, plays, journal entries and short stories serves as an opening for conversations on Hawaiian literature. There are pieces written in the Hawaiian language, pieces written in English, pieces written in English using Hawaiian poetry elements, and pieces written in Hawaiian creole, a product of the plantation and immigrant past of Hawaii.

Anytime there is an anthology of women writers, I find that the passion for telling their stories, for recording their lives is rich, regardless of the ethnic background. The difference here is in the undercurrent of immediacy to get the native Hawaiian voice out. These women, no matter what language they chose to write in, came from a people whose native language has been beaten out of them, whose culture has been ripped away from them. Are they angry? Some of them are apoplectic, while others show more patience and aloha, traits of a culture that survives and thrives.

Tamara Wong Morrison, poet, teacher and activitst says, "I believe we bring to writing a genetic awareness of the grief of being Hawaiian and (coping with) the cultural loss, but the writing then becomes a purging … a cleansing and a way of finding some joy to over-ride the pain." Her poems reflect that in their rant against the desecration of the rituals to the fire goddess Pele as well as the commercialization of the Hawaiian culture into ticky tacky kitsch scented in coconut oil and bottled gardenia.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading? 12-7-09

As always, thanks to J. Kaye for this meme.

Read this past week:
Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai by Stan Sakai 
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Tears of a Giraffe byAlexander McCall Smith

We Were Here by Matt de la Pena

To Read:
Not sure yet, I have to check the other Monday blog posts for inspiration. :-)


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

"There used to be four of us/Mama, Daddy, Lili and me. At night we went to sleep./In the morning we woke up and ate breakfast./That was four years ago."

11-year old Lonnie Collins Motion, Locomotion, suffers a traumatic life change when he's seven, and continues to be haunted by the events. But his 5th grade teacher, Ms. Marcus, shows him how to get his feelings down in poetry, and all the pain, like "little strings of smoke," finally have an outlet. 

This novel in verse, similar in form to Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, lets the reader into Lonnie's world and follows him through his pain and catharsis.

Ms. Woodson's rhythmical, spare prose style lends itself well to this book of poems. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai

Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai by Stan Sakai celebrates the 25th anniversary of my favorite samurai rabbit in a beautiful hardbound graphic novel in which Miyamoto Usagi, hero from an anthropomorphic world mirroring feudal Japan in the 17th century, battles a forest of spirits and ghouls (yokai)

If you are unfamiliar with the world of Usagi Yojimbo, this is a wonderful introduction to the tenacity and bravery of Usagi. The story is culturally researched, but what makes Usagi so appealing is the way Sakai takes the research, then adds his own quirky humor to the artwork and characters.

At under $15, this Sakai book is a STEAL. It's a full color story with valuable extras in the back including an in-depth interview with Sakai about the making of Yokai, and samples of his process in making these panels. Don't dismiss Usagi because he's just a bunny. In Sakai's capable hands, this bunny depicts all the mysticism, angst, poetry and wit typical of Samurai movies.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading? 11-30-09

Go to J. Kaye's book blog for more lists from fab bloggers.

Books I completed last week:
None! How sad. My reading list consisted of the newspaper, other people's blogs, Entertainment Weekly, Smithsonian Magazine, and O (all several weeks or months old).

My youngest son, who is an avid reader, fared much better because he had a four-day break and it's been so rainy that baseball was cancelled all weekend.
Pono's list of books read last week:
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (for book club)
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (for school)
In Odd We Trust by Dean Koontz (graphic novel)
assorted Ravemaster by Hiro Mashima (manga)

Still reading:
Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai (me)
Found by Margaret Haddix (me)
Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith (me)
King of the Mild Frontier by Chris Crutcher (Pono)

Have a wonderful week and hope to see your own lists.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

RYOB (Read Your Own Books) Challenge

Miz B is hosting several wonderful challenges for 2010 and I think I'll try this one.
The rules are simple:
  • Pick a number of books you’d like to read in one year
  • Choose those books from your OWN collection
  • Read them between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010
And, that’s it!
Some other guidelines for this challenge:
  • Re-Reads are NOT allowed (the challenge is to get more of your own books read that have been sitting there waiting!)
  • Audiobooks & e-books ARE allowed
  • You do NOT need a blog to participate — you can leave comments on this post with your progress
I tend to buy books "just because" and then hope that one of my students or my sons will read them and give me their review. This year, I'm going to actually start tackling these unread books by committing to 25 books.

30 Books to Movies Challenge

Chase at The Bibliophile's Lounge is hosting his first challenge: 30 Books to Movies Challenge. Basically, for 2010 I'll read 30 books and their movie versions and blog about both of them. This is actually my 2nd challenge for 2010 and although I love to read working two jobs is sometimes overwhelming, but I do love a challenge. I think I'll get my youngest to help me since he is a voracious reader and will push me along.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading 11-23-09

Thanks j.kaye for this wonderful meme - it's a great way to start off the week and refocus.
It's not actually Monday in Hawaii yet, but I've been traveling for  18 hours to get home to Hawaii from Philly today so I know that it's now 2 am in Philly, so most of the world is on Monday or pretty close to it. We've got about 2 hours left of Sunday.

Read this week:
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith - my middle school students have a book club on the ning and this month's theme is mystery, so I read this. (It's not really a mystery)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (listened to it on one of the 9 hour flights - Houston to Honolulu?)

? Not sure - I picked up a lot of books from NCTE but I had them shipped to Hawaii so I won't get them until next week. After standing in line for author signatures, there's a bunch of them I totally want to read, including Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld who did a 9 minute book talk and showed us his large portfolio of pictures from his new series. Simon Pulse, the publishers wouldn't even sell it at a discount at the exhibition hall, but I still bought it.

To read:
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Sitomer (three time teacher of the year - he still teaches full time and writes books - I need juggling tips from him)
We Were Here by Matt dela Pena

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The 39 Clues Book #6: In Too Deep

In Too Deep by Jude Watson continues the clue-finding adventures of the Cahill orphans - Amy and Dan. This is the second book penned by Jude Watson, the only female author in the series. The others are Rick Riordan (book 1 and the one with the outline of the series), Gordon Korman (book 2, my least favorite), Peter Lerangis (book 3 in Japan and the upcoming book 7), Patrick Carman (book 5 in Russia), and Watson (4 in Egypt and 6 in Australia and Java).

My review:
I think the fact that one of the characters dies pulled me through this book, but I enjoy the books that stay in one place (like 5) so that the authors can spend more time on the history and geography of the place. I think this one promised many things, like exposing a clue from Amelia Earhart or Darwin, but never really delivered on that. The fact that Amelia really didn't play a very big part in the clue just makes the cover more irritating for me. Oh well, it took up two days of my time, so no big deal. I will wait until February for #7.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday November 10, 2009


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
There was no hint of cruelty on Isabel's face. That was the scariest thing of all. Just that same bright smile.

The 39 Clues, Book 6: In Too Deep by Jude Watson

Murder at Midnight

Murder at Midnight by Avi
Fabrizio, the new servant boy to Mangus the Magician is in serious trouble. A plot to overthrow the king has surfaced, and Mangus is the perfect scapegoat for a traitor lurking inside the castle walls. Fabrizio must help Mangus solve the mystery of the treasonous flyers before Fabrizio finds himself back on the streets.

Avi keeps the action moving along with witty dialogue, intrigue, murder, deceit and illusion.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tenth Grade Bleeds

Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer is the third book in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series.  Despite surviving the latest assassination attempt, and actually getting the girl, Vlad's drudge and best friend, Henry, is drifting away. It seems like everyone leaves Vlad, his parents, Henry, and even Otis. The only things he can't get away from are the vivid nightmares of torture and death.

Review I'm going to say this again: I like Vlad. There's something about his innocence and morality that are so refreshing. Even in the face of evil, he refuses to be a monster.

It's Monday! What are you reading 11-09-09

What are you reading on Mondays is sponsored by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog

Our middle school book club is transitioning from our October "books with bite" theme to our November "who dunnit?" theme, so it's been an eclectic reading week what with trying to finish what I already started and trying to read as many new mystery books as I can get my hands on.

Read this week:
Cirque 2: The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan (review)
Cirque 3: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan (review)
Ninth Grade Slays: Chronicles of Vladimir Tod book #2 by Heather Brewer (review)
Tenth Grade Bleeds: Vladimir Tod book #3 by Heather Brewer
Midnight Magic by Avi
Murder at Midnight by Avi
Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn
All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
The Missing: Book 1: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The 39 Clues Book Six: In Too Deep by Jude Watson
Next Up:
You've Got Blackmail by Rachel Wright

I'll be heading to NCTE in Philadelphia next week, so I'm hoping to meet authors and get book ideas there, so my next up column is a little sparse.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ninth Grade Slays

Ninth Grade Slays: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer is the second installment in the messed up life of half vampire Vladimir "Vlad" Tod. He had a date with his dream girl at the end of the last book, but since he was too chicken to kiss her, he's now too chicken to talk to her on the phone. His uncle Otis is sending him to Siberia to get vampire training, but no one wants to talk about the prophecy surrounding his birth. Could he really be the Pravus? Is that why he's being hunted again? And will he ever get up the nerve to talk to Meredith?

Poor, angst-ridden Vlad just can't seem to catch a break. Even though he is potentially the most powerful vampire ever, he still continues to be bullied by mere mortals and someone exposes him in the school paper. Vlad is likeable in his dorkiness.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cirque du Freak #3: Tunnels of Blood

Cirque du Freak #3: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

Darren and Evra, the snake boy, leave the Cirque and follow Mr. Crepsley on a mysterious mission. While the boys enjoy the city, Mr. Crepsley spends night after night on the town, however, when six bodies are found in an abandoned building with their blood drained out of them, Darren has to find and kill the monster, even if the monster is Crepsley.

The third book of Cirque du Freak is fast paced and easily devoured with a suspenseful climax that had me questioning Darren's motives. Will Darren ever see his love interest again? And seriously, while he's in the city, can't he get rid of that pirate costume?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cirque du Freak #2: The Vampire's Assistant

Darren Shan's Vampire's Assistant is the sequel to A Living Nightmare. Darren, turned into a half vampire in order to save the life of his friend in the first book is the reluctant assistant of Larten Crepsley, vampire, and cirque du freak member. Darren explores his new powers as a half vampire, meets new friends at the cirque and desperately tries to retain his humanity by fighting the need to feed on human blood.
Fast paced and interesting, this is a great weekend read.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

39 Clues Live Webcast

Scholastic put on a wonderful webcast on the 39 Clues, and brings in 5 of the authors.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Women Unbound Challenge

This is another challenge, which is not always a good thing for me because I seem to be getting overwhelmingly busy but I can't resist this one.
1. It was started on Twitter, and this is tangible evidence of the power of Twitter
2. It's a year long, so that works with the rhythms of my work year.
3. It's about the power of women - FABULOUS
4. I can combine my interest in minority lit. with women's lit., with non-fiction and YA lit to create the list for this challenge

The Women Unbound challenge runs between now and November 2010 so that is a whole year to read any book that focuses on women and their issues.  Like I said, I want to combine minority lit with women's lit with YA lit as well as non-fiction so I have some possible titles, but I'd love to collect recommendations that will specifically appeal to YA readers.

Some that I think qualify and are interesting for YA readers, but I'm not adding because I already read them:

Non fiction:
She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martydom of Cassie Bernall by Misty Bernall (Columbine)
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Burk and Rick Bundschuh (Shark bite)
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals (Little Rock 9)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox  by Mary E. Pearson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Skim by Mariko Tamaki (graphic)
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
Chiggers by Hope Larson

Any recommendations? The only definite so far is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


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