Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Sunday Salon - NO Summer Slide Update

How am I doing on the  Book-A-Day Invitation put out by Donalyn Miller? I call mine the NO Summer Slide challenge. The goal is to average a book a day for your summer vacation. Mine started June 5th and ends August 9th. So I need to average 65 by that time.  I'd read 21 by June 26th.

June 27 - July 18

Middle Grade Reads
Ubiquitous by Joyce Sidman (N) -  this nonfiction tome focuses on the many that we rarely notice.  Ubiquitous is defined as being everywhere at once, widespread, ever present.  Each item is presented in a two-page spread with a poem on one side and information on the other.  Very well done

The Dork Diaries by Rachel Russell (E) - took a few pages to get into but once we started reading it aloud, the cuteness and the funny came out.  Do not hawk this one as a female Diary of a Wimpy Kid because it's nothing like that. It's an eighth grade girl trying to be popular.

The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry (N) - a folk tale about a princess who has to get married.  She decides it's time to escape and goes to school in the village.  Lots of word games in this one.  Reads more for an elementary crowd.  Would work great as a read-aloud.

The 13th Reality by James Dashner - I loved Maze Runner and decided to check out some earlier work of Dashner's. Some youngsters get a letter asking them to figure out some clues in order to save lives.  They are warned of the dangers that will start as soon as their decision is made.  Atticus decides to join up and his dad helps him along the way. The clues were fun but there was a lot of nothing in the middle. I mostly enjoyed this one but found myself abandoning it with only about 100 pgs left.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (E) - all 6th graders read and study this one.  A variety of people are given an opportunity to live in a new condo that's across from the empty Westing estate.  There is a lot of mystery surrounding the disappearance of Westing and as soon as everyone is settled, they are invited, for a sum, to join in.  Hilarity and mystery solving ensues.  Lots of fun trying to solve mystery and figure out who's who.

My 100 Adventures by Polly Horvath - Jane, her mom, and sister and brothers live on the beach where they are year rounders.  Jane wishes for 100 adventures this summer.  She is then pulled into the minister's search for confirmation that she's a healer, delivers bibles via air balloon, she babysits some very wild children, and find out more about her mom than she wanted to know.  Give this to someone who likes reads that are different and thought-provoking.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (E) - twins, Josh and Sophie, get caught up in a battle between good and evil; not fully understanding which side is which. They not only discover the existence of magic but find out they are "twins of legend".  As the Alchemyst, Nick Flamel, the bookstore owner, drags them to have their powers awakened, they are chased by The Dark Elders servants.  Lots of mythology, action, adventure and history in this one.  Sidenote: I can see where Rick Riordan is going in his new series, The Kane Chronicles, but this one, at least this first volume, does a much tighter job of getting the information out without bogging down the story.

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford (N) - Natalie is trying to learn how to ride this new bike her dad built, the boneshaker, and she's having a hard time.  Meanwhile, a traveling show comes to town and she just feels in her guts that something is wrong.  Dr. Limberleg and the four Paracelsus are here to cure the town of whatever ails it. But Natalie gets suspicious and decides to investigate.  As she gets closer to uncovering the mystery, her mother gets sicker and the feeling of something evil in the air gets stronger.  Natalie becomes the only person that can save her mother and with her, the town.  This one requires a different mindset to read.  It's middle grades but it's not a fast read. You have to think and try to figure out how things fit together, kinda like the automata that exists throughout the book.  Sidenote: although this has elements of steampunk, do NOT get it mixed up with The Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.  Two very different books for two decidedly different audiences.

Nice and Mean by Jessica Leader - I'll be reviewing this one later this week. Will come back and post a link.

Young Adult Reads
Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Fransisco X. Stork (P) - review.

Eternal Smile by Gene Yang - once again Gene Yang takes three stories in one volume, these, however, are not tied together.  This one is NOT as cohesive or entertaining as American Born Chinese and actually, is a little darker. It deals with single parent families, the root of evil, and learning to stand up for yourself.

Mercury by Hope Larson (P) - review forthcoming. Will come back to post a link.

The Last Battle by CS Lewis (A) - nice wrap-up to the series, although a little more violent than the others.  Will make for a great action movie.

Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan - follow-up to The Demon's Lexicon.  We get more into how Nic became a part of Alan's family and what ties them together.  We get a glimpse into their father's thought process and Nic desperately wants to be the brother Alan needs.  Meanwhile, Jamie gets caught up into somehting that Mae can't understand but she knows it's dangerous and she wants to get him out. She calls on Nic and Alan and the battle ensues.  Good but very second book in trilogy like.

Angel Experiment by James Patterson (A) - students love this series and I remember reading this many years ago and thought I would see if it's worth getting in audio.  It was like listening to a movie complete with sound effects.  The story was much better than I remember: some mutant kids with wings are living alone after having escaped the crazy house, I mean the lab where they were created.  They lived with their "guardian" but he disappeared.  Suddenly, some mutant kids with muzzles and wolf forms are trying to capture at least one of them.  Turns out the crazy people knew where they were all along and was just waiting until the right time to bring them back home, via chips embedded in their skin.  The winged mutants not captured, led by Max, charge into to rescue Angel and run away again. They are foiled over and over but they not only don't give up, they find out some info on their birth parents! Now they are going to track them down. I can see students loving this audio.  Thanks to SYNC YA Listening for this free download!

Boys Lie by Belisa Vranich and Holly Eagleson - review.

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian - Natalie Sterling is a senior and plan on getting into the best colleges.  She's overly prepared and she's made sure her best friend, Autumn, can go to college too.  She's kept Autumn's head on straight: no boys, no parties, no...fun.  This way, she will always have a friend.  But, things are starting to unravel, there's a boy Natalie likes but he's not her type and she doesn't have time.  How will she keep the Autumn, and now Freshman Spencer, on track if she's not on track herself. She needs to remind the women that they are more than just objects and they don't need boys or parties or fun.

100 % Gleek: The Unauthorized Biography of Glee by Evie Parker - review.

Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero (P) - review later. Will come back and post a link.

After Ever After (P, N) - review later.  Will post link.

Adult Reads
The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson - this tall, thick book is a little over 1,000 pages.  I've read it and am in the process of re-reading it.  I've posted some info on it:
Up to Chapter 6
Chapter 7 - 14
Chapter 15 - End of Part 2
Part 3
Will review in August.  I'm counting this as 3 so far - 2 for the whole book and then 1 for being 1/2 done with re-read.

Notes: N = Newbery contender, P = Printz contender, A = audio, E = E-Read

That's 23 books which bring my grand total to 44 so far.  I still need to read 21 before I go back to work.  Can I do it?  How is your challenge going?

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