Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly -

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. (from Barnes and Noble)

This is book 1 of my 100 book chalenge for 2011... I was drawn in by the cover and then more by the synopsis... It sounded fascinating! I had to have it but sadly it was not as captivating as I thought it should have been.

For the high points, I thought the main character Andi, finding a diary of Alex's was well-crafted and how Andi was drawn into the diary was good. I was more intrigued by Alex's story than I was Andi's. I felt for Alex...she seemed real, and especially because she was flawed. I love a good flaw on a heronie. And Alex's flaw was she could be selfish and an abundance of ambition...things that are very normal.

I did some research on some of the facts that Donnelly put into the story and she did a great job incorporating the facts and also put in a segment about how history is a Rorschach test which I thought was a wonderful point of view of history and reminds us as readers that she may view things differently than we do when looking at history.

Andi and her father have a strained relationship and I thought the character of the father was well-done! Especially when he tries to talk to an angry, rude, teenager and is unsuccessful.

Some downsides, I think Donnelly tried to push the Posh high school and made it sound unrealistic. I felt that Andi was a very contrived character and though her guilt was very real her character's attributes were not. I had a hard time imagining meeting her or meeting her friends. I have students and I felt that I could like her to no one.

It was a great idea and the history was well-incorporated!
Overall 3/5

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My book challenge selection so far! Anyone have a good suggestion?

So I have been thinking about the Wordworth Classic Reading Challenge 2011 and what I would pick to read.
I have made the following list
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (because it is a favorite of a very dear friend of mine)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (because I am going to read it with my seniors)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Re-reading this one - best love story - so true to how love really is)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (Can't believe I have never read this?!)
The Best of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I do have a slight obsession with the movie so some background might be good)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Duman (A true story of betrayal and revenge...hoping to read this with my students)
Silas Marner by George Elliot (Read this as a 10th-grader, liked it but can't really remember it)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Oh the scandal, reading with my students)
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (It's one of his best of the best)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Plain curiosity)

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Years Book Challenges.

I'm going to take on a challenge or two this year... well with reading. Lord knows I take on enough challenges but these ones are going to be for me (and my sanity). I am first taking on the challenge

Challenge: Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011!

I have to set my target somewhere in here. I am not going to lie. I am shooting to be a noble. I am opening my students help me out with this. If you want to participate in this challenge look up

Peasant: 1-4 books
Bourgeois: 5-8 books
Knight: 9 – 12 books
Noble: more than 12 books

I'm not sure what my list is going to be yet...

My next challenge, which I have not signed up to do with anyone, (and maybe I will) is to read 100 novels this year. Too often I fall into the "I don't have time to read for my own enjoyment" category and I hate this. If I set myself a goal, I have to follow it. I am starting with Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. I intend to post the books that I have read like I have been doing. I do think that I will change the format, "Steal" the synopsis from the book and then give my review without giving away any details. I hate it when people ruin books so I will not do it!!!!!

Maybe I will approach some students and other teachers about this idea? It's a thought worth expressing, I think.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Still need a title :(

Done editing, for the third time! I vote to redefine the word editing. I would make it read "never ending process." :) But all very much worth it in the end.
Nadine, edited the book for me this time and I am giving it to a fellow teacher and one of my more advanced students. I think it is time for someone in the group I am targeting (adolescents) should read it. Here's hoping the reviews stay positive!
But, the point of this blog is to talk about title significance. I have been writing this book for over two years now and still am at a loss for a title. It's sad, I have the second book's title picked out but am very hesitant about the one. It sets the tone. It draws people in! What if I pick the wrong one?!
I recently went over title significance in my senior class and how it helps let a reader know what to expect from the text and for the first time, I am feeling the weight of this.

I still need a title!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

This is the final chapter of the Vampire Academies series and I have to tell you that I am so sad that it is over! I found Rose Hathaway to be a captivating character. she was not the weak-willed lead. She was tough, mouthy, and reckless. She did not fail me in this novel either.

Rose is on trial for a murder that she did not commit and like the fourth book, Lissa and Rose spend much of this book apart. But through the shadow-kissed bond, we, as the readers, keep up with what is going on in court, because Rose is not there! She was broken out of her cell by some expected and unexpected friends. And what is even more shocking is the "friend" that helps her in solving who really killed the Queen.

A long the way, she continues to battle her love for the handsome Dimitri and her love for the addict loving Adrian. I could not wait until I got to the end to find out who she ended up with!!!!

However, it is sad that after six books, it's over. I wanted to know what happened to each character after the wrap up. It is one of those series that the characters became "alive" to me and they simply cannot end.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate

I recently received about 12 new books from (LOVE THAT WEBSITE) and got the second book of the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate. IT WAS BETTER THAN THE FIRST! You do have to read the first one to really understand the love between Daniel and Luce, but oh how I loved it.

Daniel and Cam have a truce for 18 days they have joined up against those that want
Luce and basically go around annihilating anyone who is a threat...sick, but romantic and
I am still not positive that Cam isn't in love with her too. They both are hell-bent on protecting her
and Luce seems clueless about the danger that she is in by putting herself in danger often in this novel. It is my issue with the book, I felt that stemming from the first novel's ending, she would have figured out that people were after and would still be...I'm going to chalk it up
to a character flaw

Luce is shipped off to yet another school where she meets Shelby and Miles, two very loyal friends. And though things at school are OK, and she is figurin
g out more about the nephilim world (because the school is for that), she desperately misses Daniel who really shouldn't see her (though he sneaks around and does ...oh romance!). Luce does get restless because she doesn't know what's going on and Daniel stays tight lipped about everything which begins to drive a wedge between the two, and you wonder are hundreds of life times together enough in this one?

This series is a must read!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

School and National Board have been taking over my life but I did sneak in a read last week, Halo by Alexandra Adornetto. This novel includes three angels, Gabriel the warrior, Ivy the healer, and Bethany the teen. The teen? She is just that and part of the reason that the three of them are on earth. They have come down from heaven to help the shift from evil to good. They reside in a little ocean-coast town and while her older "siblings" are in control of themselves, Bethany finds herself behaving like a human teenager and even falling in love with a boy, Xavier Woods. However, evil forces come into play.

This novel was more centered around the love story of Bethany and Xavier then the fight between good and evil. And though I love a good a love story, I felt the ending was too quick... I wanted more from the "evil". I'm trying not to give it away, the ending.

I do think Adornetto did a great job capturing teenagers. She did not presume
much about them but created characters that I have in my classroom. I think my students would and will relate to this story.

I'm also finding a big draw for my students is the cover. And I get why, it's captivating. Nice job on the marketing whoever designed that one!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I finally moved in!! Yes, its true, after four months of dreaming of sleeping in my house. It has finally happened, well about a week ago it did! Brad and I have 90% of our stuff here! The upstairs is mostly done, minus the master bathroom...don't worry I have a working one!

I just needed to post that... pictures to come later!!!