Monday, October 26, 2009

Teaser Tuesday October 26, 2009

Meme hosted by Miz B at

Tenth Grade Bleeds: Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, book 3 by Heather Brewer
Ignatius slipped the curved blade into the leather holster on his leg. It wasn't the only tool he would need in torturing the Tod boy, but it was by far his favorite. - page 54

Eight Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod) by Heather Brewer

Vladimir Tod, 8th grader, "goth boy" and punching bag for the 8th grade bullies also happens to be a half vampire who just lost his parents (vampire father, mortal mom) in a mysterious freak fire, and the best friend of Henry, who Vlad accidentally bit when they were 8 years old.

As if 8th grade weren't hard enough, he's also being followed by a mysterious substitute teacher who seems to know his secret.

This is an action-packed read, even for reluctant readers and Vlad is likeable as the dorky vampire whose caretaker, Nelly, keeps him supplied with his blood from the local blood bank. No human feasting in this one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Books to Read Challenge 2010

Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea is hosting this challenge to "read the best books first." Like my son says, I don't want to die in 2010. Most people will probably read classics that ehy never got to, or books that have been on their TBR list for way too long.

I read a lot of books for my job, for my students and for my sanity, but many of them are blogged about, then forgotten as one story blends into another. But I would like to spend some time in 2010 revisiting the books that continue to follow me. The ones that haunt me are the ones I'd like to read first, and last, so these are the books with lines or characters that continue to speak to me, or encourage me, make me laugh, or make me cry, even after all these years.

1. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
3. King Lear by Shakespeare
4. Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Beloved by Toni Morrison
7. Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
10. Pouliuli by Albert Wendt

If you are interested in this challenge, go to Diane's blog (link above or on the picture).

What would you read first?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cirque du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare

A Living Nightmare (Cirque Du Freak, #1) A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan Reading level: Ages 9-12 Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (April 1, 2004) My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was in the bathroom at school, sitting down on the toilet, humming a song. I had my pants on. I'd come in near the end of English class, feeling sick. My teacher, Mr. Dalton, is great about things like that. He's smart and knows when you're faking and when you're being serious. He took one look at me when I raised my hand and said I was ill, then nodded his head and told me to go to the bathroom.
Back cover:
In the tradition of Stephen King's Salem's Lot, the bestselling Cirque du Freak is the frightening saga of a boy whose visit to a mysterious freak show leads him on a journey into a dark world of vampires. Author Darren Shan's vivid detail and original voice will have readers glued to their seats in terror.

Thoughts: Since the movie, The Vampire's Assistant, is coming out this month, I decided to reread this book. I read it when it first came out in 2000 and over the years have added the other books in this series.

Reading it again has reaffirmed my belief that this is an EXCELLENT book for reluctant readers. This is not high brow literature. Shan's ability to word smith is not on display here, but the character of Darren is immediately likeable. The descriptions of the freak show are vivid and horrific without being over-the-top gross, the action is fast-paced, and the ending still makes me cry. As far as books for reluctant readers goes, this series flies out of my classroom library and I've had to replace the books several times because they've been "well loved."

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Sister the Vampire: Switched

My Sister the Vampire: Switched (book 1)
Author: Sienna Mercer
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Scholastic (2007)

Lead: Here we go, Olivia Abbott thought as her mother's car pulled away from the curb.
Olivia stood on the sidewalk and smoothed the skirt of her new pink dress for the millionth time. She usually felt her best in pink, but for some reason it wasn't helping at all this morning.

Back cover: When Olivia Abbott moves to town, she's excited to join the cheerleading team and make new friends. Then she meets Ivy Vega. At first, Ivy, pale and dressed all in black, looks like Olivia's opposite. Then the girls look beyond the glittery pink blush and thick black eyeliner to discover they're identical -- identical twins!

Thoughts: This series joins the hot vampire bandwagon, but caters to the tweens who like the allure of vampire books, but don't want the sex, gore and blood thirst of other vampire series. Take away the vampire aspect and it's still about two girls from opposite worlds who not only find each other, but find out that they not only are twins, but they complete each other. The two girls, Ivy and Olivia are likable, fully-fleshed out characters, and Mercer leaves lots of rooms for more adventures in this series.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Teaser Tuesday October 6, 2009

Tuesday Teaser is hosted by Should Be Reading and asks you to...
1. Grab your current read.
2. Let the book fall open to a random page.
3. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
4. Please avoid spoilers!

As if they shared a secret, Mr. Otis tapped his forefinger against his temple and pointed to Vlad, who looked quickly back at the paper he'd chosen and read the word once again: vampire. There it was, in plain English.

--The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, p. 50

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 5, 2009)

Go to J. Kaye's blog to play along.
This internet meme (concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet) is an interesting way to start off the week. I find that making goals at the beginning of the week is nice, but on this first week, I've already gone off track from my goals. That just makes it more fun!

Read this week:
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
My Sister the Vampire: Switched by Sienna Mercer (review to follow soon)

Currently reading:
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer (We just started a book club ning for our middle school students, and the theme is vampire books in anticipation of the release of Vampire's Assistant this month, so my reading choices have just changed)
Dracula (All-Action Classics) by Michael Mucci - graphic novel

Upcoming rereads:
Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Reading level: high school/adult

I read this after I read the graphic novel version of this series called In Odd We Trust. I really liked the graphic novel, but I wasn't ready for the horror of this audiobook. I believe that authors are trying to reach out to a different audience when they do a graphic novel of their novel series, but I wasn't prepared for this. The graphic novel doesn't hint at the full extent of what I see as the horrors of the actual novel. The graphics are not designed like

Odd Thomas, the 20-year-old fry cook of the small desert town of Pico Mundo, still is an innocent, quirky character who sees dead people, but the kinds of living monsters that he has to deal with is quite disturbing when the earbuds are in my ear.

I can't figure out where In Odd We Trust actually fits in with this first Odd Thomas book, but I can't say why without spoiling the ending.

Long story short, Odd continues to be a likeable character, but be ready for monsters disguised as normal people.


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