August 29, 2014

Owl of the Week: Back to School Owl Bag

Just for fun I like to share some of the cute owl stuff I find.  
Fridays are set aside to honor our Owl of the Week! 

Today in honor of school starting for many kids next week I thought I'd share a cute bag that would work perfectly for school!

It's very cute! And you can change some of the colors.  
I found it on Zazzle.  
If you want to see more about it check it out HERE!

August 28, 2014

Book Review: Charm & Strange by

Title: Charm & Strange

Author: Stephanie Kuehn



When you've been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying. 

Sometimes a book touches me so much that I can't let it go. I know immediately it will be a book that will always hold a special place in my heart.  Charm & Strange is one of those books. The thing is, I don't want to say too much because the story really needs to unfold before you so that you can feel its full impact.  And that's what it does - it unfolds before you.  The way it unfolds is beautifully done.  You know something has happened.  You know it wasn't good.  But you don't know what.  Then slowly the events of the past take shape. As they took shape my heart ached for Drew/Win (the main character goes by two different names).  As the story draws to a close it felt so whole and complete.

Now there are somethings you should be prepared for.  There are parts of the story that might confuse you or seem odd.  Win/Drew has some ideas that can come across as odd.  Please stick with the story if you feel that way, because it all become clear and understandable at the end.   And for me - these ideas he had only added to the emotional impact of the story.  It added a level of depth to what Win/Drew is dealing with.

Also be prepared for Win/Drew himself.  He's not always the easiest character to like.  There are times I really didn't like him.  He can be rude and violent and frustrating.  Again - stick with him!

And lastly know that the book goes back and forth from the past to the present.  This was super easy to follow because it's almost every other chapter, but it might help you as you go into the story.

I really wish I could go into things in much more detail, but honestly I'm so afraid it will take away from your experience with the book if I do. That is the last thing I want!

Final thought:  This story will stay with me for a long time to come.

August 27, 2014

Back to School Reading Memories and a GIVEAWAY

So at my house we're heading back to school next week.  For the first time in 19 years I will not be going back into the classroom as a teacher.  For the next three years I will be an Instructional Coach working with teachers and they set goals for their teaching.  I'm super excited, but I also know I'll miss the classroom and they students.  Plus I'll miss being able 
to talk about books with them!!  

Anyway -  because of back-to-school time I thought it would be fun to share some of our school reading memories and have a giveaway with them! I thought I'd share some of the books I remember be hooked on while I was in school plus a few of my favorite ones to teach.  If you want to know more about the book, click on the title, and it will take you to it's Goodreads page.  

Oh the Memories!

There are a few books/authors I remember being hooked on in school.  

Danielle Steele

My friends and I were completely hooked on her books.  I read ALL of them! They were romancey, and I guess at 17 that was important to me!  I haven't read one since high school!

Anything in the Horror Genre

I've shared in the past that I loved John Saul growing up. The gorier the better!  I did try rereading one of his books.  Couldn't do it.  I guess I can't do gore as much as I once did!

Sunfire Romance Books
Oh goodness did I love these in junior high.  I do think partially it was because they were set in different time periods.  The one on Titanic (Nicole) was my favorite!!!  I also loved the one where the main character becomes a movie star (Roxanne).  I did reread one of these.  Oh goodness!

Sweet Valley High Series
This is probably one of the first series I really remember getting in to.  I waited everyone month for the new one to come out.  Loved them! They were pretty and popular and had great lives.  I girl from North Dakota was jealous.  Again I tried to reread one.  No! No! No! :)

For School Reading

These are some of the books I was assigned to read when I was in school

Romeo and Juliet

Of course we read this.  I was the geek (proudly!) that LOVED reading Shakespeare.  Hence being an English teacher now!

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

This was the biggest deal to read in high school.  You heard about it for from the upper classmen for year before actually reading it.  They talked about how gross it was with the rats in the meat etc.  It was even challenged by a parent once!  What do I remember about it?? Nothing really.  I should reread it.......

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Hated it!!! Enough said.

What I Assign My Students

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I've taught it for 18 years! Still love it.  Will always love it.  

Witness by Karen Hesse

This was a new one for me.  I started using it with my 8th graders two years ago.  They like it.  It makes them think more than any other book we read.  Very well done! 

Boy: Tale of Childhood by Roald Dahl

I use this one with my 5th graders, and they love it! Many of them of read a bunch of Dahl books, so they love seeing how people from his real life seemed to influence his writing.  It's amazing to me how much they really love this book.

Lizzie Bright and the Buck Minister Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
I used this for the first time last year.  WOW! The kids liked it, but they were also saddened by it.  It's such a strong story about friendship and discrimination.  Read it if you haven't!

I use a ton more, but that's one from each grade level!

Now the Giveaway!

I will giveaway your choice of two options.
1.  Two books from the ones above
2. $20 to spend at The Book Depository

Fill out the Rafflecopter
Must be 13
Must be a US resident

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Books I Want to Read But Don't Own Yet

Today we're looking at books I want to read by haven't bought yet. I'm only going to do three because this could be a huge list that I find hard to narrow down!

On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor.  I'm a wanna be runner, so this one has my interest.  I've heard good and bad about it, but I really want to still read it.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.  This book sounds good and weird at the same time, so I've got to read it!

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson.  I loved her other books, so I want to read this one.  It sounds good, and I've heard good things.