Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari (5.4/12.0)

I finished Ashes, Ashes over the weekend. It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be- it had such promise- but on the plus side, it did end! It is not a series, thank goodness. I was so tired of reading a book and then having to wait a year to find out what happens next!  Lucy is the sole survivor of her family after a plague kills the majority of the worlds population. She is struggling to survive on her own in the wilderness, but she eventually meets a boy named Aidan who lives in a camp of other survivors. The people of the camp accept Lucy and she works in the field to earn her keep. However, they are not safe. Sweepers will randomly invade the camp and take some of the survivors. Eventually, the reader discovers that the Sweepers are actually after Lucy, because she is the only known person to have survived the plague despite not being vaccinated. There is more to the story, but I'm not going to give away anything else. This is another distopian book, so of enjoy Hunger Games, River Rats, etc, you will enjoy this one too.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What I'm Reading

I finished Son of Neptune over the break. I enjoyed it, but I still like the Lost Hero better. I am currently reading Ashes, Ashes (5.4/12.0) by Jo Treggiari. It is another dystopian novel. Lucy, the main character, is the only from her family to survive a world wide plague that took out 99% of the population. She is living just outside what was New York City in a shelter hidden in the woods. She soon learns that the Sweepers, people who are supposed to help contain the plague, are after her. It seems pretty interesting so far.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Extend Your Desktop

Teachers- this will allow you to show a video clip on your SmartBoard while still allowing you to continue to work on your computer.

How to Extend Your Desktop Instructions

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Break. I am going to be finishing up Son of Neptune and working on my crafts for the Christmas Shoppe!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free Scrapbook Fonts

Below is a link to a website that offers free scrapbook fonts. They are available for you to download and install on your computer (mac or pc). They are super cute and new ones are published each month.

I get the cutest scrapbooking fonts at Free Scrapbook Fonts! kevinandamanda.com/fontshttp://www.kevinandamanda.com/fonts/freescrapbookfonts/

Monday, November 7, 2011

GaETC... and other "stuff"

Just got back from GaETC. This was my first year going and I loved it. So much great information and I got a ton of samples for the teachers!

I attended sessions on everything from BrainPOP to the LDS to Georgia PBS to online professional development. I think one of the main things that I am going to focus on will be making my RSS feed manageable. Mine is SO NOT!! I think by cutting it down to fewer feeds I will actually get more from them. I also want to make a personal goal to feature at least two resources to teachers each month.

On another note, I finished The Death Cure, the 3rd book in the Maze Runner series. It didn't really end the way I wanted it to, but I can't complain. At least it didn't leave me hanging! There have been a ton of kids who have gotten hooked on the series this year. I know they are super excited to get their hands on the last one. Also, 5th grade book club is going great. We have about 5 girls who show up early in the mornings to read. We have a great time eating breakfast and discussing our books!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Scholastic This is Teen

Scholastic is starting a new Facebook page just for teens!
On facebook.com/thisisteen, teens can interact with their friends, and with favorite authors like Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Maggie Stiefvater, Markus Zusak, and Kevin Brooks. They can:

Participate in weekly author Q&As
Check out event listings
Find book suggestions based on their interests
Explore videos and events
Check out the comprehensive author and book gallery,
  and book finder

September Recap!

Wow! I don't know where September went. I stunk it up at blogging last month. Let me update you on what's happening in the media center: We had our BMS Book Fair last week and sold almost $5,000. We get to keep 60% of that to buy books! I'll be ordering those soon. We also just got in a HUGE book order from Follett, so we have tons of new books. We ordered a lot in the 2.0-2.9 range, but we also got the newest books in several series for older readers.

As for what I've been reading- well, it's not a lot. I just finished Girl in the Arena (5.9/12.0) by Lise Haines. It was not my favorite. It is set in current day, but American culture is very different. Beginning with an underground movement in the 60's, Gladiator style fighting has grown in popularity and is now a televised event worldwide. Not all matches are a fight to the death, but many are. When Lyn's stepfather is killed in the arena and his opponent picks up her dowry bracelet, Glad rules require that she marry him or risk loosing her family's house. She decides to fight him instead. To me it was a little boring because her stepfather's fight was at the very beginning and her fight at the very end. Not much happened in the middle. This book is really a commentary on our society and how easily people are influenced but both news and social media.

I also read 13 Little Blue Envelopes (5.0/9.0) by Maureen Johnson and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (4.5/4.0) by James Patterson. Both of these are on the new Nook set. I enjoyed them very much. They were cute, easy to read books. 13 Envelopes is definitely a girlie book while I think everyone would like Middle School.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth (4.8/16.0)

Divergent is one of the books that I loaded on the new nooks. I think it is going to be the first book in a series, but it was a good stand alone book too. I really enjoyed reading it. It is set in a futuristic world were when children turn 16 they must decide which faction to join. There faction will determine their jobs, where they live, and how they live. Tris, the main character decides to leave her family and join the Dauntless faction. Right away she realizes something is not right. She stumbles across a plot between the Dauntless and Erudite factions to overthrow the government. She must stop them to save her family, who are government leaders.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Nooks

Yeah! We just got in 6 more Nooks! Hopefully that will shorten the waiting time a little bit. The new Nooks are a little smaller and lighter than the older ones and the entire screen is touch sensitive. They will have different books than the older ones. I am loading several dystopian novels on them because that is all the rage. Look for titles like Hunger Games, Divergent, Ship Breaker, and Gone as well as some more light-hearted reads like Death by Bikini and Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life.

On another note, I finished Uncommon Crimials by Ally Carter and loved it! Currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Welcome Back!

Registration is tomorrow and the 1st day of school is just around the corner. I am so excited for another great year. This summer I spent my time reading the GA Book Award Nominees and enjoyed quite a few of them. I also made my way through the Uglies series (if you like Hunger Games, you should read them) and another great dystopian book called Ship Breaker. I am also very excited about the 3rd book in the Maze Runner series. I know many of you are waiting on it to come out.

I am currently reading Uncommon Criminals, the second book in the Heist Society series by Ally Carter. I have described it before as Oceans 11 for girls, but I think that might confuse some of the girls more! I'll let you know how it goes.

See some of you tomorrow and the rest of you Friday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (4.4/14)

I know that a bunch of the students have seen this movie, and I want to see it too,but I am trying to talk them into reading the book! This book was an interesting and easy read. It keep my attention with enough action but not too much of the far-fetched alien stuff. John is a 15 yr old alien from the planet Lorien. He and 8 other children escaped when another alien population invaded their planet. He and his guardian, Henri, must move around to keep John hidden from the aliens who are trying to track him. Obviously this will be a series, so there is no real ending in this book. I can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dates, Mates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins (3.9/4.0)

I loved this book! It was hilarious. I enjoy British "chick-lit" anyway, but this is the first young adult version I have read. I laughed out loud several times. In doing a little research about this title, I learned that it is a series called "Dates, Mates, and ..." The series is just typical middle school girl drama. It's real life stuff though, not like the Clique series. For example, in this book, a new girl moves into the school and Lucy, the main character, feels like she is stealing her best friend away. There are a lot of laughs along the way, but eventually the girls work it out. A good, positive story.

Currently reading: Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin
I am having to take a break from all the serious books and read some funny/girlie books. This is the second book in the series and I an totally enjoying it. The things Sophie, the main character, says and thinks are cracking me up. This is another positive story where girls are smart and are concerned about more important things than clothes!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hero by Mike Lupica (4.6/8.0)

I didn't like this book at first because I felt like the interactions between the characters were cheesy because middle schoolers don't really speak the way he portrays them. I ended up liking it a little better by then end. It still wasn't one of my favorites, but fans of Mike Lupica will like it. Also, I think that students who like books like the Percy Jackson series will like it. It's not about mythology, but it does have that superhero vibe.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (5.4/10.0)

I loved the sequel to Chains. This one was told from a few months after Chains leaves off, but it is told from Curzon's point of view. He and Isabelle are separated and he enlists again as a soldier in the Patriot army. His old owner Bellingham eventually finds him again and forces him back into slavery where he learns that Bellingham has also acquired Isabelle.

Can't wait until the third installment comes out!

Currently reading: Heroes by Mike Lupica (4.6/8.0) This is his first attempt at non-sports related writing. This one is not one of my favorites so far, which is wierd because I enjoyed some of his other books. I feel like maybe Lupica knows how kids talk in a game, but not in real life. The dialog doesn't sound real to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (5.2/11.0)

I finished Chains over the weekend and I really enjoyed it. I love historical fiction and this was certainly a good one. Set during the Revolutionary War, it is about a slave named Isabel. She and her sister are sold to a loyalist family that lives in Manhattan. At first Isabel is used as a spy for the revolutionary forces. She overhears a plot to kill George Washington and turns in a list of conspirators names, including the name of her owner. She thinks they will protect her, but they turn her back over to her owners wife, who beats her and has an "I" branded on her face. Through her we learn what life was like during the beginning stages of the war. If you like historical fiction I think you would love this book.

Currently reading: Forge, the sequel to Chains

Friday, March 4, 2011

Voices of Bremen

I am so proud to announce that the video production group completed the "Voices of Bremen" video. We have worked so hard to honor the school system and the students who attended Bremen City Schools in the 65-66 school year. Please enjoy or video. www.bremencs.com/sms/Voices_of_Bremen.mov

Friday, February 25, 2011

Storm Runners by Roland Smith (not yet AR)

I love pretty much anything by Roland Smith and this was no exception. I didn't realize it until the end when I was left hanging, but this is the first book in a new series. In this story, Chase Masters and his father travel across the country from one disaster to another. His father owns a construction company that specializes in clean-up and repair after disaster. The travel to Florida in anticipation of a huge hurricane. His dad is normally pretty good at predicting storms, so he leaves Chase with family friends on a farm about 50 miles north of where he thinks it will make landfall. This farm is a little on the unusual side, instead of cows and pigs, it has lions and elephants. It's the winter home to a traveling circus. When the storm does make landfall, it's not when or where anyone predicted. It hits right where Chase is as he is traveling home from school on a school bus. I'm not going to give away any more, but the cover should clue you in that it's a pretty exciting story!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Fair Update

The Book fair went very well. I am excited about all the new books that we were able to get. There are several that look really good. Go Long by Tiki and Ronde Barber and Storm Runners by Roland Smith look particularly interesting. I will try to get them cataloged and out in circulation as soon as possible!

As for what I'm reading:
I just finished Magky by Angie Sage. It is the reason I haven't been posting the past two weeks. It has taken me that long to read it! At over 500 pages, it's quite a long read, but that's not why it took so long. I hate to say this, but it just wasn't that interesting to me. It is about a family of wizards who have seven children. They actually had 7 boys, but one died as an infant and they adopted a baby girl. When the she is about ten her true identity is revealed. Jenna is the future Queen. She was placed with the Heap's to hide her after her mother was murdered. Marcia, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, comes to get the Jenna and they are forced to leave town and hide with the Heap's aunt, who is the white witch. DomDaniel, the Necromancer, is an evil ex-ExtraOrdinary Wizard and he takes over the city. He wants to find and kill Jenna so that he can take over. It was all just a little too much for me. I have said before that I don't really like books about magic, but I thought after reading and liking the Magic Thief series I would give this one a try. It took me a long time, but I powered through as I am not someone to stop in the middle of a book. There were just too many things going on and not enough action, if that makes any sense. On a positive note, even though I didn't like the book, I know that there are a ton of students who have checked it out and loved it. If you like magic, then I think it would be worth the read. If you don't, I'd skip it.

Pants On Fire by Meg Cabot- I read this one last night. It was so cute. Typical Meg Cabot style. Katie is going to be a senior at Eastport High School in the fall. She works as a waitress at the local hang out serving quahogs to the Quahog football players. In the town of Eastport, the Quahogs are considered gods. The problem with Katie is that she hates quahogs (both varieties), but she is dating the super-cute kicker of the football team and participating in the Quahog Princess Pageant. She's beginning to think her brother was right all those years ago when he would chant, "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Academy Book Fair

Next week is the Academy Book Fair. We will be open on Monday through Wednesday from 8:30-2:40 and on Thursday from 8:30-6:30 to allow parents to visit before or after their conferences.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Magic Thief: Found (4.9/7.0) by Sarah Prineas

Just finished the third installment of The Magic Thief series. Many are reading books one and two, so I don't want to tell too much about this one because it might ruin those. I will tell you that while on the search for his locus magicalicus Conn discovers where the magic comes from and why it is alive. Will he be able to prove it to the magisters before it's too late?
Overall, it's a good book that seemed to wrap up the series nicely. A must-read if you have started the series.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NOOKS went out today!

The Nooks went out for the first time today! I am so excited. Check out the pics on the Flickr feed at the bottom of the page. The Nooks currently have 34 books on them. They will be checked out for one week only so that as many students can get them as possible. We already have a huge list, but since we have 6 it shouldn't take too long. If you want to check out one, you will need to get a permission slip signed by one of your parents. We are the first school in the area to do anything like this. I am so proud of that. Thanks for all of the support!

As for what I'm reading, I just finished The Limit (4.4/9.0) by Kristen Landon. I am really into these futuristic novels right now. In it, families have spending limits set by the government. If they go over their limit, the government can take their oldest child and put them in a work house to help pay off the debt and get them back under the limit. Matt's family has never had to worry about money or their limit until one day at the grocery store the cashier tells them they are over. By the time they get home, a government worker is waiting to carry Matt away. He is carried to a facility and given an aptitude test to determine what he will be good at. Matt scores well and ends up on the top floor of the building, but right away he can tell that something is not right. I'm not going to give away the ending, but it is definitely worth the read. Fans of the Hunger Games and The Maze Runner series will really enjoy this book.
Currently reading: The Magic Thief: Found Actually it was just turned into the media center today, so I haven't started it yet, but I will let you know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Magic Thief: Lost (4.6/8.0) by Sarah Prineas

Finished it last night. I can't wait to get my hands on the third book. I like the way these are written, because although the majority of the story is told from Conn's perspective, we get glimpses of the other characters when we get to read their letters and journals.
This book picks up where the 1st left off. Conn believes magic is a living being, but he is unable to talk to it because of the loss of his locus magicalicus. After Shadows begin attacking the people of Wellmet, Conn causes a series of explosions in which the magic communicates with him. He learns that the magic is worried. It wants him to go to Desh and figure out what or who is controlling these Shadows.
I think all readers at this age group would enjoy this series. Fans of magic and fantasy will find it particularly exciting.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Goddess Boot Camp (4.7/9.0)

I finished the sequel to Oh My Gods over the weekend. I love this series. It is super cute and totally relatable to teenage girls. Well, not the being a goddess part, but everything else! In the last book Phoebe learned she was a descendant of the goddess Nike and had superpowers. In this book, Phoebe's powers are going haywire and she must learn to control them. Her stepfather enrolls her in Goddess Boot Camp, which as it turns out is run by her stepsister Stella and Adara, her boyfriend's ex! She was looking forward to just relaxing this summer, but that's certainly not going to happen!

Currently reading: Lost, the sequel to The Magic Thief. Interesting so far. Book club is currently reading The Magic Thief, so I am trying to hurry because I know a lot of you will want it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh My Gods

Finished it last night. Loved it! It was kind of a cross between The Clique series and The Lightning Thief.  Pheobe, a high school senior, is forced to move to a small Greek island when her mother remarries. Upon arriving at the island, she learns that it's purpose is to house a school for descendants of the Greek gods. Typical teenage girl drama with a little supernatural powers thrown in. This is the first book in the series and I can't wait to read the second.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Two new adventure titles

Hide & Seek (4.5/9.0) by Katy Grant- Students who enjoy Will Hobbs' books will definitely enjoy this one. Chase, a 14 year old boy who lives in the White Mountains of Arizona, sets out on his bike to find a geocache. A geocache is basically a box of items that someone has hidden. "Players" list the coordinates in a website and others use that information to find it. Once you find the geocache you log your find in a journal inside and trade something you have brought with something in the geocache. It's a neat concept for people who enjoy outdoor sports like biking and hiking. Chase locates the geocache 5 miles off the paved road hidden in a tree trunk, but something is wrong. The contents of the box has been left scattered around the area and he finds a strange note in the log book. "WE NEED FOOD". Chase decides to keep a check on the box and find out who left the message. But what he finds surprises him...

Jump (4.6/9.0) by Elisa Carbone- Since this was written by the author of Blood on the River, a historical-fiction book I really enjoyed, I thought I would really like this one. It was only so-so in my opinion. P.K. and Critter (seriously, those are the names) are high school students with serious problems. P.K. thinks her parents don't understand her and she is about to be shipped to a boarding school for her senior year. Critter is an escapee from a mental hospital. He was placed there by his parents after he tried to commit suicide. Both are huge mountain climbing fans, so they run away together to climb mountains. The outdoors mountain climbing parts of the story are actually very good and adventure packed and are certainly enough to make the book worth reading without all the other drama. I'm not sure why the author felt the need to add the suicide/mental health issues because they really don't advance the story. Seems to me like it is a ploy to get nominated for some awards. This is clearly the type of thing critics love. I wager it will be on the GA PEACH award list in the near future. This is totally the kind of book they go for. Nothing in it was overtly offensive, and Critter actually says attempting suicide was a bad move and tries to convince someone else not to, so I will keep it in the mc, but I will label it for 7th and 8th only. (I'm pretty sure that has got to be a run-on sentence. Sorry Hoppy! I did use "comma + conjunction" to link the independent clause with all those subordinate clauses.)

Currently reading: Oh My Gods by Tera Lynn Childs- I'm only about 100 pages in, but my first impression is that it is a very cute book! The female version of the Lightning Thief.

See you tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed the week off!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Days!

I have been a lazy bum for the past two days. Seriously, I don't think I can watch another rerun of House Hunters! I will go crazy. I am reading all day tomorrow. I promise. I have plenty to keep my busy. The stack of books beside my nightstand keeps growing when it should be shrinking. I guess we got too many good books in the order last week. It's a nice problem to have.
Amidst all the reruns, I did manage to finish two books:
Double Eagle (5.1/8.0) by Sneed B. Collard III was the first one I finished and I thought it was very interesting. It is based on the concept that once the Confederacy took control of the US mint in New Orleans they printed their own double eagle gold pieces. Of course there is no historical basis for this, but it is the stuff of southern myths. It very much made me think of the movie Sahara with Matthew McConaughey since they were searching for this mythical gold in the movie. It is a book that I think middle school aged students would enjoy. It is targeted at boys, but it is a good enjoy story that I think girls will enjoy it too. I would suggest this for older students because of some language used in it. They main characters are 14-15 yr old boys, so H-E-double hockey sticks comes up occasionally.
Buffalo Gal (4.8/6.0) by Bill Wallace was the second. I saw this on my old bookcase when I went home for Christmas and I remembered liking it. It is a quick read about Amanda, a girl in the early 1900's, who travels to Oklahoma/Texas because her mother has decided to help save the remaining buffalo. They travel through Texas on horseback to find and round-up of a small herd of buffalo to move them to a ranch in Oklahoma where they will be safe from poachers, etc. Along they way they must face snakes, storms, and the harsh Texas wilderness. A cute story that 5th/6th grade girls will love. When we get back, I'll cover it and put it out on the new books shelf.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I started reading this last night and absolutely could not stop until I was finished. It was such a fantastic book, but I don't want to give away too much about the book since so many will be reading it soon.. Definitely not for younger readers, but a powerful book for all high school aged girls. I am so excited about using this book at the 8th grade girls lock-in. (Plans are being finalized- See Mrs. Dogru or Mrs. Coats). We will read the book ahead of time and then have discussion groups, dinner, and watch the movie. It stars Kristen Stewart, yes, the one from Twilight!

The new books have all be cataloged and are ready for check-out. I'm going to take a stack home over the weekend in case it snows Monday and we get to stay home. (Don't worry Mrs. Hopkins. If we have power I will be online with you proofing yearbook pages! Won't that be fun to do at a distance...)

NOOK UPDATE: Got the email today that the order has been placed! Yeah! I can't wait.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I have been a blog slacker!

In all fairness to myself, I did write a review on Academy 7 (mentioned in the previous blog) and then I forgot to hit post before I shut my computer down for the day. The blog tab just kind of gets lost amid all the other tabs I have open. Oh well, let me recap the review for you: It was a good book. I actually think girls or boys would enjoy reading it because of the futuristic setting.

I didn't really read any young adult fiction over the break because I got a Nook for Christmas! I am so excited! I read the new John Grisham book and Pride and Prejudice, which I have always wanted to read. That being said, I don't have any new ya book reviews for you right now. I did get a big shipment of new fiction in today, so I have many to add to my "to read" list. I will hopefully get them processed and into circulation next week.

NOOK UPDATE: No word yet on when we will be getting the Nooks for the Media Center. They are still on backorder. I can't wait and neither can the students. They come in asking about them all the time!

The next book on my to-read list is Speak (4.5/7.0) by Laurie Halse Anderson. Mrs. Dogru and I got the OK to host the 8th grade girls lock-in in March, so we will be reading Speak and then watching the movie, discussing, and eating pizza at the lock-in.