Thursday, December 8, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Top Ten Childhood Faves

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is My Top Ten Childhood Faves.
*Yes, I know today is Thursday. I have been busy, ok!?! :-)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderWell I really loved ALL the Little House books. I read the books and watched the TV show.
The idea of running through fields of prairie grass and setting out on adventures appealed to me. And Laura was awesome.

The Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin
The first chapter book I ever read was in the Babysitter’s Little Sister series and was called Karen’s Kitty Cat Club. I was hooked. I read all my sister’s BSC books. Then I bought my own to read. Then I bought more to read. Oh, how I loved those girls.
*Side note: my niece is named after the BSC character Claudia!*

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
At first Charlotte annoyed me with her prissy-ness, but once things start going crazy on the ship, I liked how she stepped up and became a strong leader with her own opinions. She was faced with so many challenges and was able to overcome and persevere in spite of mutinies, traitors, and death.

The American Girl books (especially the ones about Kirsten)History + girls doing fun things = American Girl books. And yes, I do have 6 of the dolls because I am cool like that.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
I love historical fiction, but, unfortunately, much of it is really sad. This book gave a more positive spin to the events of World War II and the Holocaust. It was nice to read about people helping each other instead of being mean to each other.

Heidi by Johanna SpyriThe idea of living in the mountains of Switzerland sounds so blissful. It just made me feel all warm and cozy inside.
Matilda by Roald DahlI want special powers to use against mean people.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis SacharCoolest. School. EVER!

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I won’t the Young Author’s contest for my school in 4th grade and received a set of all the Anne of Green Gables books. I read them and reread them. Anne’s imagination is amazing and Gilbert is so freaking cute! Ahhhhh!

The Westing Game by Ellen RaskinThis book still amazes me. I was engrossed in trying to figure out how everyone was connected and how the murderer was. The characters were developed well with bits & pieces of the mystery carefully woven in. Every time I read this book I find details I had forgotten about or missed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

STUDENT REVIEW - The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus Series #1)
By Rick Riordan
Published by Hyperion, 2010
576 pages (hardcover)

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.

Yes, [I would recommend this book to middle schoolers]. It was such a good book. I never wanted to put it down! It was action-packed and very well written. It was a good book because it was full of action and stuff was always happening like battling a Cyclops, meeting King Midas, etc. It had lots of good details. –Jenna H.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

By Ilsa J. Bick
Published by EgmontUSA, 2011
480 pages (hardcover)

It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

I had heard a lot of good things about this book before I started reading and those people were not wrong. Ilsa J. Bick has created a terrifying present-day setting in Ashes where you don’t know what is out there and who you can trust. Like the main character Alex, I really was questioning everyone’s motives and constantly wondering how Alex will  survive the fallout from the incident and the hundreds of survivors willing to do anything to make it another day.

Warning: This book does end on a cliff-hanger and I am not sure when the sequel will be out. BUT, this is so worth the time it takes to read it and the impending wait for the sequel. The characters were so real with vivid emotions and thoughts scattering between survival, missing loved ones, and looking toward a not-so-certain future.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

STUDENT REVIEW - Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
By Jeff Kinney
Published by Abrams, Harry N. Inc., 2011
224 pages (hardcover)

Greg Heffley is in big trouble. School property has been damaged, and Greg is the prime suspect. But the crazy thing is, he’s innocent. Or at least sort of.

The authorities are closing in, but when a surprise blizzard hits, the Heffley family is trapped indoors. Greg knows that when the snow melts he’s going to have to face the music, but could any punishment be worse than being stuck inside with your family for the holidays? (from

Yes, [I would recommend this book to middle schoolers] because the main character is in middle school. This book was funny. –Zaquan M.

It’s very funny and appropriate. I would definitely recommend this book to not just a middle schooler but to everyone. How funny is it? It makes you smile at some points and at others, well let’s just leave that for you to read. This book will keep you laughing and entertained for a while. I think it should be much longer. There would be more laughter and more buyers. It would be a win-win situation. –Isaiah D-B.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Books in the UMS Library!!!

Check out the new books in the UMS Library!

Most of the new books are from the UMS Student Council Scholastic Book Fair (thanks!) but a few are from other sources. If you want to have a copy of a new book or a book from a popular series, make sure you stop by the library soon! 

And remember... if the book you want isn't in, ask to be placed on the 'hold' list and you will get the book when it comes in :-)

Top Ten Tuesday: The Top Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone.

Redwall by Brian Jacques
Talking animals were cool when I was little, but I wasn’t so sure about an abbey full of talking critters. But the way Brian Jacques make each character have a personality was amazing. Thanks to my husband for getting me to read this book.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Science Fiction is not my thing. I have never watched Star Wars or Star Trek and I thought any SciFi novel would be like that (there is nothing wrong with any of that, but I am a historical fiction kind of girl) but I was wrong. Thank goodness I took the plunge and read one of the best books ever!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
I was never into the Disney Princesses and faeries always seemed a bit too foo-foo for me. However, the Iron Fey series isn’t about your normal foo-foo faeries. These faeries kick some butt and are so very cute! An added bonus is a cat-like creature that has a knack of saving the day!

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A book with lots of metaphors that alludes to political stuff… yuck! Only this book actually does have an interesting story and Communism made a bit more sense after this.

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce
I’m not a huge fan of comics/graphic novels, but this was pretty cute. It was nice to have some pictures to look at while I read.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Again, graphic novels isn’t what I usually read and I definitely don’t read scary stories, but this was an interesting find. It still creeped me out, but I am glad I was adventurous and read it!

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
I try to avoid stories where main characters might die which is why I usually avoid stories about war. However, Walter Dean Myers is an awesome writer and this book about the fighting in Iraq was well done yet moving. It made me think about all the sides and points of view of fighting in the Middle East and while it wasn’t the happiest book I ever read, it was worthwhile and insightful.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
I LOVE P&P but zombies usually aren’t my thing. Sooooooo creepy. But this book made the P&P sisters pretty awesome. When I watched the BBC version of P&P after I read the book I actually kind of hoped zombies would jump out and Mr. Darcy & Lizzie would have to work together to save the world!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Fantasy is a bit iffy for me, but I had to read some fantasy book for a class and chose the Hobbit because I knew the movie was going to be made and wanted to be prepared. Although there was no romance (or really any females at all), this was a pretty good read. And now I am ready to see Bilbo & Gandalf on the big screen.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
This was another book I had to read for a graduate class. Oh my goodness! This book weirded me out and the movie was even creepier. However, the book is amazingly good. If nothing else, this book will make you appreciate your parents.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

By Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2009
336 pages (paperback)

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. (from

First of all, I love Laurie Halse Anderson’s books. If you haven’t read all her books you should. She is just that awesome of a writer.

Now, onto Chains.

Wow! This book had me hooked from the start. I have read a lot of historical fiction, but Laurie Halse Anderson definitely took this book (and the Revolutionary War) in a different direction. I think the theme of Chains appeals to a lot of readers because it is about putting family first and hoping your decisions will be the best for your loved ones. Isabel makes a lot of risky, yet brave decisions that put her in the middle of the battle for New York City (literally).

An added bonus is an appendix at the back of the book with historical information. For instance, did you know that there was an assassination plot against George Washington during the Revolutionary War? Yeah, I didn’t know that either. At least not until I read Chains. But that even is a subplot in this book and there is more information about it in the appendix.

If you enjoyed Chains, check out the rest of Isabel, Curzon, & Ruth’s stories in Forge. And the final book in the series, Ashes, comes out soon! Whoo hoo!!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About (cry, laugh, hurl across the room, etc.).

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This was an emotional rollercoaster of a book.

 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Banning/burning books makes me angry. I have only read this book twice because I get so mad about the things happening in the book. I know it isn’t real, but at times burning books and taking away our opportunity for knowledge was real. And even today there are people who want to ban books. This is a great book but I just the thought of it makes me too frustrated to read it.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Disgusting on so many levels. Never read chapter 14 before eating. Never.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
There were some hilarious parts (the pranks) and some very serious parts which is what made so interesting.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
That ending? Really?

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is why Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favorite. Her books are intense and really make you think as you read (but in a good way). Every Laurie Halse Anderson book I read grabs my attention at the beginning and keeps me engaged all the way through. And the best part is that she is such a diverse of a writer! She writes about hot topics among teens, historical fiction, and even some kids books.

 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I was happy at the beginning of the book but then it just went downhill.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
So silly and fun. I kind of want to be a in a school like this, but I kind of don’t!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scholastic Book Fair at UMS!

It's Book Fair time!!!

The UMS Student Council will be holding their Scholastic Book fair during Parent/Teacher Conferences on Thursday, October 27th from 4-8pm and Friday, October 28th from 8-11am outside the cafetorium.

Stop by for some popular new books, old favorites, and other fun things to read. The prices on these books are often lower then the prices at bookstores so now is the time to get some good reads.

As an added bonus, depending on how much is purchased, the UMS Library gets a certain amount in free books. Last year I was able to get a lot of popular books to add to the Library's collection thanks to this book fair :-)

A special thanks to all the student council members who work the book fair. You are awesome!!!

I Love Him to Pieces (My Boyfriend is a Monster #1) - written by Evonne Tsang; illustrated by Janina Görrissen

I Love Him to Pieces or My Date is a Dead Weight or He Only Loves Me for My Brains (My Boyfriend is a Monster #1)
Written by Evonne Tsang; Illustrated by Janina Görrissen
Published by Graphic Universe, 2011
124 pages (paperback)

Can love survive the zombie apocalypse? Maybe Dicey's first chance at a real relationship was dead from the start. She's the star of her high school baseball team, and Jack's the star of the science program. Her idea of a study session includes sleeping in the sun, and his idea of a good game involves dungeons and dice. But opposites start attracting when they're assigned to be partners in a class project. Now an outbreak of a weird infection--it eats your brains and leaves you hungry for more--might not mean just the end of their first date. It might mean the end of everything. Will their relationship fall apart faster than zombies in the Florida sun, or can Dicey and Jack beat the odds and find a happy ending? (from

I bought this book because I thought the title was hilarious and zombie books are usually entertaining. The start of the book was ok… it was the usual boy meets girl and they flirt (Bonus: Dicey plays on an all-boys baseball team. Go girls!). It took a while to get to the juicy part with zombies eating brains and all that but once it did, the book was action-packed and moved very quickly.

Besides being a normal zombie book, this story tried to explain why people became zombies (a fungus, in case you were wondering) and the smart people in the book were even trying to find a cure to save people who have been bitten.

Overall it was creative and a quick read the week before Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya’s Ghost
Published by First Second, 2011
224 pages (paperback)

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . .

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. (from

Anya’s Ghost wasn’t what I expected it to be, but that is definitely a good thing. At the start of the book there was a slight creepy factor, but mainly I wanted to give Anya an attitude adjustment and let her be friends with her newly found ghost. However, after Anya met her ghost, things went from pleasant to kind of weird to ohmygoshthisiscrazy!

Besides just being a book about a girl and her ghost, the story touches on teen issues, the lives and feelings of immigrants, and how to be proud of who you are. Also, the author/illustrator did a great job of depicting the emotions and moods of the characters. Subtly, page by page the characters became more real and changed their motives and attitudes.

In a way, I wished that the book was longer so I could have learned more about Anya and why she feels/acts the way she does. Maybe there will be another Anya book so I can get to know her more J

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Books Whose Titles/Covers Made Me Buy It

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is theTop Ten Book Whose Titles/Covers Made Me Buy It.
Big Nate by Lincoln PeirceThe cover is bright and looks fun. I thought it was something middle schoolers would really like.
Twilight by Stephenie MeyerWhat’s up with the black cover and the hands holding the apple?

Malice by Chris Wooding
The cover is 3-dimensional. And it has a creepy looking dude on it. So of course I bought it!
NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley
Apparently Nerds are the new cool
Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Who wouldn’t want to read about things people did and probably shouldn’t have done?
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie ShermanThis sounded totally random so of course I wanted to read it! Plus, the cover kind of reminded me of The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. LockhartI got this at the UMS Student Council Bookfair last year because the title sounded interesting. I read it immediately. It. Was. Aweome!
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsThe main character’s name is Lola. How fun is that?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen)
I LOVE Pride and Prejudice. Adding in Zombies only makes the book sound more fun (and it was a great book!).
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk Fablehaven
Again, this title just sounds interesting. Or maybe it’s just because Hamburger is in the title and I am hungry.