Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clean Reads ?

What am I reading now? I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  You’ll love the series. I recommend all my teacher-friends to keep this series in their classroom libraries (umm . . .  they won’t really be able to keep it there, because it will have a waiting list for them). The main character is smart. The friends are loyal and real for the personalities of exceptional young women. The adults in the series are involved (like in real life), but don’t overtake the story.

Cammie Morgan is a spy. Well, not yet but she will be. She attends and elite school for girls, The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women.  Her mom is a spy. Dad, aunt, friends—yup, yup, yup—all spies. 

She has been prepared for everything: 
     foreign languages (check,) 
     culture and assimilation (check), 
     self-defense (check), 
     falling in love—STOP! Her heart tells her to go for it, her head says she can do this, her past tells her he can never know who she really is.

This is the first book in the Gallagher Girls series.  Here are the other titles:
Out of Sight, Out of Time--I just finished this one! Great addition to the set. 

(My favorite quote of the whole series. 
—I know, you have no idea yet why that is so hilarious!)

Each book has a definite purpose and conclusion. So few series do that, and it makes this one stand out as a great read!

Fun, Smart Clean Reads--
This series, Gallagher Girls, and Ally Carter's other series, Heist Society, are both what I'd call Fun, Smart, Clean Reads. The books are engaging, great twists in the plot, the growth arcs of the characters are satisfying, the writing style is clean and playful, the voice pulls you in to be a friend with the characters. But here's the kicker--they aren't offensive. Kinda rare.

I know the moral values in books a teacher chooses to shelve in their room is a hot topic. Also, many parents have similar discussions.

How do you decide which books to choose for your home, your children, or your students?

Quote for the day:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Shadow Reader

What am I reading now?  The Shadow Reader (Sandy Williams)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  I was looking up a sequel before I even finished this! Love this story and just like McKenzie I'm confused about Kyol and Aren and where her loyaties and love lie.
McKenzie Lewis isn’t insane. She can not only see the fae, but she knows where they are after they disappear. Anywhere in the world—exactly where they are—making her different from even the sighted humans that exist. She works with Kyol for the king hunting the rebels that threaten to destroy the faeiries’ world. 
Kyol is the king’s sword-master. They’ve worked together for 10 years. Although McKenzie is desparate to love him and have his love in return, their relationship only borders on being together. . . until McKenzie is kidnapped by Aren, the leader of the rebel forces. Learning about the other side of the war causes McKenzie to question her loyalty, her memories and her love for Kyol.
Yes, this story stands alone and yes, it's part of a series. I love it when there is a clear ending and you know you also get more of the story! Apparently--you can have your cake and eat it too.

Thought for the day:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This one's just right!

What am I reading now?  The Moonstone Series (Marilee Brothers)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far? I received The Moonstone Series (Unbidden Magic) by Marilee Brothers as a review copy from NetGalley. The book includes four titles Moonstone, Moon Rise, Moon Spun, and Shadow Moon.

Main character Alfrieda, (Allie) lives in a camper that’s parked in a relative’s pasture with her deadbeat mom, who is an alcoholic. I liked that Allie could hold it all together; she grew up fast and made decisions in her own life that gave her some normalcy. At school, her friends are losers and nobodies. When Ally gets electrocuted and flung to the dirt, she finds she has telekinetic abilities.

Some things change, attracting the interest of a gorgeous guy, Junior Martinez. He’s a known player and a suspected gang member, but Allie sees a side of him that is caring and supportive. Junior sees beyond her family situation as well to a girl who is strong and smart in school and life. Oh and some things don’t change, like she still gets bullied and harassed by people at school.

The series follows her discovery of the magical abilities she has because of a prophecy and the moonstone necklace a friend, Kizzy, give her on her fifteenth birthday.  Kizzy is a grandma-figure to Allie and an anchor to her soul and destiny. I like Kizzy’s perspective toward the supernatural in all the books.

Overall, I enjoyed the series, giving it 3 stars (good book). 
This series is a good light read to relax with. And no, it isn't finished yet.

Books in a Series: How many is just right? 
It seems that many more books come out in a series than they did even just a few years ago. So I wondered what readers think is the optimal number for keeping interest high and bringing resolution to the story. 
I imagine Goldilocks siting in Mamma Bear's rocking chair while she's reading, saying, "This one's too long. This one's too short. This one's just right." So tell me: What is just right?
Please answer this poll: How many books in a series will you read?

Thought for the day: 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Punctuation Rebels

What am I reading now?  I've Got Your Number (Sophie Kinsella)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Have I ever read a Sophie Kinsella book without laughing out loud? Nope. This one either! It gets zany right away.

The main character loses her engagement ring (well, really it's a family heirloom, and she now has to hide her left hand from her fiancee and her future MIL) then her phone. How is the hotel supposed to call her when they find her ring? Oh good, she finds a phone. But the man who lost it wants her to give it back to him. But really she needs it right now--so NO!

She finds out that planning a wedding and corporate scandal have a lot in common.

The thing I love about Sophie Kinsella's books, or chick lit for that matter, is the hilarious situations the main characters get themselves into. And all the lying in the world just keeps getting them deeper. The humor is wonderful. This is the kind of book to sit back and laugh until your cheeks hurt.

Punctuation rules are rules.

• Know them.
• Use them.
• Don’t break them.
Uh-hmmm. Except when you need to.
*shocked looks*  *professors fainting*  *an audible gasp*
Hear me out. I didn’t say blatantly disregard. Or even ignorance is bliss.
But maybe punctuation is a tool more than a rule.
In the hierarchy of speech, we give more stress to some separations between messages than we give to others. Seems like this could help inform us as we strive to embed implied differences in meaning than standard punctuation might allow an author to create.

Huh? Example please.

This one feels confrontational
You. Aren’t. Listening. And I’m not going to stay here to discuss it with you.
The next one feels final
You aren’t listening. And I’m not going to stay here to discuss it with you.
This one has some emphasis to it
You aren’t listening–and I’m not going to stay here to discuss it with you.
The semicolon tells us they are closely related (the not listening and leaving parts)
You aren’t listening; and I’m not going to stay here to discuss it with you.
This one sounds a little bossy or uppity
You aren’t listening, and I’m not going to stay here to discuss it with you.
This sounds like a wishy-washy threat, doesn’t it?
You aren’t listening and I’m not going to stay here to discuss it with you.

Okay, I can see your point. Punctuation can be used to vary the emotional intent behind the words–just don’t over do it!

(I used some of Dawkins hierarchy in this example, but there are others to consider–if you’d like to study punctuation.)

Thought for today