Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Trailer: Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Gray Olson

Ok when I first started blogging and getting techy I had another site/program that I used to keep my book trailers on but it went kaput or I forgot where it was and I don't have the awesome trailers that I kept there :( But the AWESOME Mr. Schu is were I got most of them sooo I haven't been reading blogs in a long time and he is still active and still posts some so here is one that looks cool for my
second graders.

This is one way I try to pump up books!

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Original Post 7/06/2010 Skid & the Too Tiny Tunnel

** I recieved this book through NetGalley review** 
Title: Skid & the Too Tiny Tunnel
SubTitle: A story of courage based on Deuteronomy 31:6
Publisher: Warner Press
  Imprint: Warner Press Kids
  Pub Date: 01/01/2009
 ISBN: 9781593173555
  Author: Jeffery Stoddard
  Genre: Fantasy (talking machines)
  Reading level: grades 3-5
  Interest level: grades 1-5

 I have never read anything by this author before so when I saw it I thought this would be a great book to read first on NetGalley. It seemed like a book I could use to teach character. I was a little wary about the reference to Deuteronomy and the Bible because I teach in a public school and usually religion references are frowned upon even though most of my students talk about going to church at some point in the year. But after reading it was not really discussed at all except on the cover. So I shouldn't have a problem having this in my  classroom. Things I liked:
  • The  illustrations are nice and simple with color being done in crayon.
  • Vocabulary is great, lots of unusual words that students need to be exposed to like massive, belching, careeening, and chuckled. 
  • The moral of the story was great. The story talked about having fear of doing something and doing it anyway and not sit and complain it. Also about even the smallest person can make a big difference. Great for character lessons as I thought!
Things I didn't like or readers may have difficulty with:
  • The vocabulary can be difficult to read for lower readers but this can be fixed by reading first in a read aloud or with a partner who has a higher reading level.
  • At the end of the story with Pillar there was a section where Skid first comes upon Pillar that was a little awkward. I think more showing rather than telling would have worked better. Seeing as this was the only thing I didn't like it is really only a minor thing.
Overall I really liked this book and would purchase it for my classroom. The story had a great message and I think students will identify themselves in Skid. It reminded me a lot of the story of the Little Engine that Could. Rating:****

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Original Post 11/28/2010 Paranormalcy: #1

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had this book for a while and I decided to take it with me when we went out of town for Thanksgiving. I couldn't go to sleep (as usual) and started reading this about 11pm. Needless to say I stayed up until 2 am to finish reading it was sooo good! Interesting take on fairies. Loved the friendship between her and Lish. Reth was a surprise for me. I kind of liked him but I wasn't sure where the author was going to go with him. Was he an anti-hero who was bad with a good side or was he bad all the way and just acted good to get what he wanted? Lend was unique to me too. Don't think I have read about a boy that could do what he did. I liked him but I just didn't see him as a love interest more of a friend. The end was a little short for me. It seemed like a lot of waiting toward the end then was wrapped up really quickly. It was good but a little rushed. The one thing I really couldn't wrap my head around and maybe this was due to my reading and watching so much sci/fi and fantasy was that they were so naive about fairies and being able to control them. I mean did they not read any fairy tales about how tricky they were? They even mention this in the story but maybe they were so arrogant to think that this wouldn't be problem, but still!!! I would always be keeping an eye on my enemy even if I was 100% sure they couldn't do anything to me. I would want to go that extra mile to make absolutely sure of it by not trusting them all of the way. This didn't ruin the story for me but I could see where it could be a problem for some people. I will definitely check out more by this author. Hoping more coming about this world!

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Original Post 12/05/2010 Petunia Peppers Picture Day

Petunia Pepper's Picture DayPetunia Pepper's Picture Day by Cathy Breisacher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
**Netgalley: This review was provided by publisher for an honest review.

 Overall this was a cute story that most girls would identify with. As a teacher I have had a few Petunia's in my class!

  What I really like:

  •  The pictures are bright and cheerful and cartoonish.
  •  This is something that most kids have anxiety over, having a good picture. I really liked how the author showed physically and emotionally how Petunia felt. 
  •  The Christian aspect is not glaring so I could use it in my public school without an issue. The value is added at the end of the story to discuss if you choose.
  •  The different reasons she didn't like her picture were funny! 

  What I didn't like: 

  • No teacher would hold a student back from taking a picture or not have them in the class picture!   They would call a parent to bring clothes or the Nurse would have some extra clothes to wear.
  • Petunia jumps into the street and traffic to save the poodle. 

Great concept for saving the dog but   would rather have had her do something more safe to save the dog (another situation or no cars around    even). While there were some things I didn't like this is a book that would be great to read before picture day or even as a spring board for a writing assignment.

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Original Post 12/05/2010 Midway Monkey Madness

Midway Monkey Madness (DC Super-Pets)Midway Monkey Madness by Sarah Hines Stephens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**arc from netgalley**

In the recent years graphic novels have really made a come back and I have done lots of research on how using graphic novels can help get those reluctant readers to read (particularly the boys). So I am always on the look out for easy to read graphic novels to use in my Second Grade Classroom. This is not what I would consider a true graphic novel or comic but a cross over which is text with graphic novel/comic elements.

  best for: First and Second Graders that can read pretty fluently. Third Graders and above may think the story too easy.

  Interest group: While the main characters are male (except one of the twins Jayna) I think that girls will like this too.

  What I liked:

  •  The story is pretty easy to follow (problem and solution) and the words for the most part are easy to read. 
  •  -The story has some good points like working together to solve a problem and to not give up if things don't work out right away. 
  •  The text uses big bold words for sounds like in the old Batman cartoons and I think the kids will really like that. -The cast of characters in the front is great for the young readers who need more structure. 
  •  I also liked the glossary and the little section of jokes. The illustrations are bright and colorful and the facial expressions on Beppo and Gleek are hilarious! 

  What I didn't like: I think in some places it is too basic. I would have liked a little more description (showing) rather than telling us what happened. Overall I think my students would love this book and I will definitely check out the others in this series.

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Original Post 12/05/2010 Chicagoland Detective Agency: The Drained Brains Caper

The Drained Brains Caper (Chicagoland Detective Agency)The Drained Brains Caper by Trina Robbins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
  Interest group: Boys or girls
  target audience: grade 5+, although younger grades should be able to read it
**from Netgalley**

This graphic novel is a take off of the Stepford Wives story but geared for kids but with a twist! The graphics were great and the story was really funny! Megan reminded me of the girl from Beetlejuice but younger. The premise of the story is not new and the characters are not all that new either but they are really funny! Sometimes I didn't understand what was being said and I had to think about it (may be an adult thing) like why the boxes at the top of some pictures that told a book title? Well I figured out it was her point of view in a book title but some kids may not get that. Also I think it was pig latin that was used in one spot that stumped me and it took me a few minutes to figure it out (didn't use pig latin growing up). One thing that may bother some parents/kids is that they mention doing experiments on the students and a dog. This may offend some people because it does show the dog all beat up. It didn't bother me but just wanted to mention it. A great beginning to a new series. I would have definitely bought this for my Third grade class when I taught Third grade. I am debating whether to purchase for my Second Graders though. I will probably see if I can get a copy through the library to see if they like it before I will buy it.
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Original Post 1/12/2011 Before I Fall

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really thought this book was thought provoking and did like it but I just couldn't give it a higher mark. I liked Sam's progression from the beginning to the end and while I didn't agree with her choices they made sense for a teenager to make. The growth that Sam makes isn't too over the top and I soo wanted the book to end differently than it did but I understand why it ended that way. I really didn't care for any of the characters except for Kent who I thought was adorable. There was also an ICK factor for me in this book. This is the second book that I have read that has a teenager get into a relationship/encounter with a teacher. While realistically this does happen I just don't like to see it or read it in books. The other book a House of Night book stopped me from reading the rest of the series. I am not a prude I read a wide selection of books but being a teacher it is just a hot button for me. For parents there is mature subject matter that middle and high school students would normally have access to so please be aware for younger readers. (since publishing this there is now a movie based in the book but I have not seen it yet)

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Original post 1/12/2011 Babymouse: Puppy Love

Babymouse: Puppy Love (Babymouse)Babymouse: Puppy Love by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 I was searching the school library for graphic novels and saw this among the ones left. I have really wanted to get my hands on one of these to see if my students in 2nd grade would like them and whether it would be appropriate content. Well I read it while the students checked out books and the kids gathered around while I read it and laughed out loud several times. So there was definite interest even by the boys. The pictures are cute in white and pink and the words for the most part I think are appropriate for 2nd grade and above. Some of the features like Baby Mouse talking to the narrator and some inferences may be beyond early 2nd graders I think mid year 2nd graders should have no problems. My favorite chuckle was the animals hiding under the bed too funny! I also liked the talking back and forth between the narrator and Baby Mouse which is not a common thing in the graphic novels I have read so far. Pretty unique and a good example of adding voice to writing. Overall I will definitely look into purchasing at least the Puppy Love volume of Babymouse and look into the other volumes as well!

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Original Post 1/12/2011 Buster goes to Cowboy Camp

Buster Goes to Cowboy CampBuster Goes to Cowboy Camp by Denise Fleming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 I saw this sitting on top a shelf when checking out books at the library yesterday and just had to check it out since my theme is cowboys/western in my classroom. I really liked the glossary on the back of the book for cowboy terminology. I will have to read this at the beginning of the year to get us into the "theme" of our class. I really liked the "mini" headings or chapters to get younger students ready for chapters. I loved the progression of missing "brown shoes" (owners) and not liking camp to liking camp at the end. There is also a lot to talk about as far as inferencing goes. Like who is brown shoes, pink slippers, who is in the picture of the wanted sign and why did he want that person/animal? Loved the bulldog named Snarkle (lol) he was funny and the kids liked him too. I didn't really care for all of the pictures. For the most part they are good but there are several that were a little muddy and dark looking. The media used I think was okay but sometimes too dark a color. Also sometimes the wording is very basic and stilted. I think this is due to the age the book is geared to. Despite this I think it would be good for the beginning of the year.

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Original post 1/12/2011 Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

Scaredy Squirrel at the BeachScaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Mélanie Watt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 OMG I LOVE Scaredy Squirrel! A writing teacher read the first book for a writing lesson and it is soooooo funny! Needless to say there is many spinoffs and this is the second one I have read. I am looking forward to reading the others! This one deals with Scaredy not liking the beach but wanting the experience so he gets stuff to set up a pretend one in his yard to act like he is at the beach. But he doesn't have the sound of the beach so he goes to the beach to get a shell. Well just like the other book it shows you all the things that Scaredy is afraid of and how he goes about trying to get around his fears. Needless to say Scaredy learns a lesson. Some of the humor younger students may not get but older students and adults will laugh. The pictures are great however they are a little busy on some pages. If you haven't read at least one of these books go check them out!

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Original Post 1/22/2011 The Deadly Sister

The Deadly SisterThe Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall I really liked this book. It kept me guessing and made me keep thinking did Maya do it? I just couldn't buy into that she did it by the way she was described. My next thoughts as I read was who did I think could do it? The suspect list was many. I liked how the story telling started and it just kept accerrating at a faster and faster pace. There were a few things that I didn't get with the story but once the person who did it was reveled some of it made sense. From the beginning I thought it may be this person but the clues were very minor. Like who was Caitlin? I figured out that it was a nickname/pyseudonym but for who? However I didn't get the ending all that much. I can't go into it because it would tell you who did it. I just didn't get the character's response at the end about being honest or lying. This author has several books out and I will have to check them out!

 **For parents there is some very mature subject matter in regards to drugs, alcohol, relationships, and crime. You may want to preview this book before they read it**

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Original Post 1/22/2011 The Klondike Kid: Sailing for Gold

Sailing for GoldSailing for Gold by Deborah Hopkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I originally read this book a couple of years ago for my 3rd grades since we studied this in our Social Studies unit and they really liked it. I read again this year and while it wasn't as such a big hit the kids did like it. This seems pretty accurate and the pictures and language are not boring but exciting for kids to listen to. The idea that the boy lived by himself in a boarding school and worked was a topic for discussion in both grade levels. We talked alot about the vocabulary and why things were taking place since kids were asking questions about it particularly in 2nd because the didn't have much background knowledge about this time period. I would definitely use this as only a read aloud in 2nd and 3rd grade and allow your higher readers read it after the read aloud. It is also an A.R. test which our library has! (Since I published this we no longer have A.R.) I have not read the second or third book yet.

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Original Post 1/22/2011 Hot Rod Hamster

Hot Rod Hamster!Hot Rod Hamster! by Cynthia Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 I bought this at the book fair at the beginning of the year because of the cute and funny pictures as well as the language in particular the adjectives that the hamster uses. The kids loved it and I did too. They got to choose how the hot rod was built and we discussed as a class why they chose that one. A sure reread every year and to use in grammar lessons. This could also be used for writing about a hot rod that they drew or made at home.

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Original Post: 1/22/2011 Mustang Canyon

Mustang CanyonMustang Canyon by Jonathan London My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have had this book for about 5 years and I don't think I have read it or a student has chosen to read it (which is why I gave it a 3 not 4). I was without a chapter book so I choose this on Wednesday to read as our read aloud because a student in my class loves horses. I found out while reading that she already had the book!. I loved the illustrations and the calm colors that were used. The language the author used was actual horse terminology and we had to discuss what they meant (mare, stallion, foal, filly, colt, sorrel, paint, pinto). The kids understood the words with little redirecting by looking at the pictures and words around them. They really liked the story too. It may not be a hit with all of your students but mine loved it!

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Original Post 1/26/2011 Slimy, Spiky, Smooth: What is Texture?

Slimy, Spiky, Smooth: What Is Texture? (Jane Brockets Clever Concepts)Slimy, Spiky, Smooth: What Is Texture? by Jane Brocket
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**Provided by NetGalley/Publisher for honest review**

 I must say that Texture is a very hard subject to talk about sometimes, particularly with ESL/Second Language learners who have very little experience with vocabulary. Also my students also seem to have little back ground other than with simple texture vocabulary. Words like smooth, hard, and soft are easy to come up with but harder or more descriptive and juicy words are not as common (aha I used a texture word!) I loved the bright colorful pictures in this book because they chose for the most part pictures that were easy to see the textures and used mostly everyday objects. They were also close up but you could still identify with what it was. I only had 2 complaints: with the butterfly they really couldn't tell why it was powdery from the picture and when they talked about the watermelon's skin and inside they only showed the outside of an unusual looking watermelon or at least angle of the shot (round watermelon with no stripes). Some kids may not have seen the inside of a watermelon before to know that it is juicy. However with both of these you can bring in additional pictures to supplement this. Not a major distraction or problem. I also loved the vocabulary that described the textures and explain why it was that texture. Usually they gave 2 words too which was even better! Since it is very vocabulary rich I would use it as a read aloud for all levels and for individual reading on their own for possibly high 2nd grade or 3-5 grade. I sure wished I had this book when I taught summer school to ESL/Bilingual Science students! I really had a hard time coming up with a book that had great pictures as well as vocabulary. This book will be highly recommended for that as well as any grade that talks about texture in science or writing!

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Original Post 7/11/2011 Books I have been reading!

MistwoodMistwood by Leah Cypess My rating: 3 of 5 stars I am a little torn about this book. There are parts I liked and parts that I think were not developed enough. I liked the premise of a creature tied to a king to protect them and the plot was pretty good too. It was the characters that I felt where not developed enough. I felt Isobel very cold and standoffish and considering what she is (or thinks she is) I think was ok but I still wanted a little more about her thinking. At the end she basically "loves" the king but I just didn't feel that. The king who comes and gets her I think is where I really wanted more. He seemed really cardboard and static and I really wanted to like him but I just didn't connect with him. The twist at the end was great and we were given clues that this was the real story. Soooo overall an ok book that needed more characterization but had a good plot and world building.

      13 to Life (13 to Life, #1)13 to Life by Shannon Delany My rating: 5 of 5 stars Well I must say I have looked for this book EVERYWHERE and finally found it at Half Price books~ I must say with as much hype I have heard on the blogs about this book I was not let down. I really liked Jess and she came across as a real teenager to me as well as her friends. I liked Pietr (Peter) and his family as well although the beginning was straight from Twilight (ugh hate that book!). I must say though that this author writes much better than Meyer and although Twilightesque (sp?). I think this story is much better written and came across way more realistic. I liked how Jess didn't like Peter for most of the book and he eventually grew on her (he is the ultra silent type and growls at crush boy~what's there not to like about that?). I didn't like her crush boy either and felt that there was something off about him and this was really not resolved and hope is explored more in the next one! Also her friend/rival that she tries to reform is pretty creepy. While I get the idea not sure if I would do such a thing. Again I think there is more here and while be addressed in the next book. Peter's family sounds cute too and hope we learn more about them. While definetly not ground breaking the writing was great and characters well developed. The story developed slowly (not drawn out but you are not just thrown in and expected to figure out what is going on), and I kept reading trying to figure out what is up with crush boy, the friend, and will she like Peter? I read this book in one sitting and it flew by quickly and I sooo didn't want it to end! This author will definitely be added to my buy list! Can't wait for the 2nd and I think I heard there is a 3rd.

  Solid (Solid #1)Solid by Shelley Workinger My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was recieved through Paperback Swap and is an ARC (at least says on back). I must say it was a pretty quick read. I thought over all was good with some editor errors that kind of confused me a little. Not a lot but about enough to notice it! The story starts off really quickly with Clio already at the special school and does a good job of catching you up on the situation. It was a little slow in couple of places but it did pick up. I felt the teens believable and they talked pretty realistically (at least to me as an adult no kids but a teacher). I liked Clio and the kids over all but there was some questions that I had about Jack like what was his power? He was there but nothing was said. Also most of book was talking about "getting" the powers to come out/work but not really "using" them persay until the end. So sort of a mystery/thriller style for most of the bbok. I was left wanting to know about these teens and their powers so I think that the writer did a good job with the story even though it was a little predictable. The romance was sweet too with one kissing scene.

  Firespell (Dark Elite, #1)Firespell by Chloe Neill My rating: 4 of 5 stars Ok let me start out by saying I LOVE Chloe's Chicagoland Vampire series. So when I saw she was writing a teen series this was an automatic add to my tbr (to be read) shelf. The problem is that I don't buy teen books I only check them out from library. Soooo the public library didn't have it so I checked my district's high schools and middle schools and one school had it YES!! Well I started it about March 1st but some big names in Adult Paranormal were releasing books so this was put down in favor of that. Well today I picked it back up and was wowed by the outstanding writing of this book. Loved the characters from the "mean" girls/brat pack to the geeks/weirdos that were the Enclave 3 adepts. Interesting outlook on magic and gaining/keeping it. Loved that there was a werewolf in the mix and hoping he becomes a love interest to Lily (love me some shifters!). Must say that Chloe continues to up her world building skills with this series. The teen characters were believable and the story line keep me guessing about her parents, what power she would have, how the other students/friends figured into the Dark Elite and how was Foley involved? This was all wrapped up really good and while it was a short book it was tightly written. There were still questions that were unanswered but this is a series so there will be more in the next book. For instance: are the brat pack involved in the Dark Elite (seems like a coinincedence that they would just leave her in the basement), why did Lesley become so friendly (again seems like maybe she knows something?), what exactly do Lily's parents do and how is Foley involved, who was the head guy of the Dark Elite, why did Sebastian help Lily, and the biggy why was Daniel put in charge of Enclave 3 and how will he effect the enclave? For parents: This book was realitively clean with little to no sex, alcohol, drugs or violence. There was minor violence but no death.

  The Space Between TreesThe Space Between Trees by Katie Williams My rating: 2 of 5 stars I so wanted to like this book but I just kept waiting for something to happen! It was so slow and then when I thought something would happen nothing did. I think there was a lot of missed opportunities. The Deadly Sister had a similar story but was sooo much better than this!

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Original Post 7/11/2011 Everafter Trailer

I got this book from Book Closeouts and I have had it on my list to read for awhile. It kind of reminds me of Five People You Meet in Heaven. Review coming!

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Original Post 7/21/2011 Which Cover is Best?


Ok got this idea from several book blogs. I am showing several versions of a book and I discuss which one I think this best. Plus you can vote too! First up is 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher  will be a movie with Emma Watson.(which I found out from? can't find blog post!  Since published I have not seen this movie but she was in the Wallflower movie??)

                     US                     Bulgarian                                   
Thirteen Reasons Why

Italian                         Hungarian
                           Catalan (?)          German               

First I must say I have not read this book but reading the blurb there are a couple here that fit the story. However for the prettiest it would be between US/UK (since published UK cover no longer able to access). I do think the tape ones match the story but not sure if it matches who would pick up the book. I am more likely to pick up the US/UK. The Hungarian Italian and German ones I think look like fantasy/Urban Fantasy and horror titles!! The Italian one is just too creepy! Yikes! Leave a comment and let me know which one you like!

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Original Post 7/22/2011 Everafter Book Review

The EverafterThe Everafter by Amy Huntley My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by HarperCollins (first published September 16th 2009)
purchashed hardcover

 Book Blurb from Goodreads: Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead. And alone in a vast, dark space. The only company Maddy has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things she lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that, with these artifacts, she can reexperience - and even change - moments from her life. Her first kiss. A trip to Disney World. Her sister's wedding. A disastrous sleepover. In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and frightening truths about her life - and death.

 My Review: This book kept me thinking through the whole book how did she die? What did each object mean to her and how did she lose them? I must say that this idea is pretty unique, connecting objects to going back to spots in your life where you lost them. The learning about each thing to help you understand who you are and how you lived. It was really thought provoking to me since I have lost my mom and brother to cancer. Now each object is not given it's own chapter but over all that is how the chapters are set up which helps you understand what is coming and to not get lost in the story. However there was a few times when there were multiple jumps between objects and time periods (from very young then to teenage) which was a little jaring at first. One jump I didn't care for was the baby one it was a little weird even though it was there to show how much she remembers her mom and associates her to safety and love. The underlying love story between her and her boyfriend and the love of/and for her friend was heart wrenching because you know something bad happened. There were a few clues about what happened to Maddy. I thought about 2 ways her death could happen and the way it did was one of my ways I had thought. The actual event doesn't happen until the very last chapter of the book and I thought that was appropriate because while the reason for her death was all Maddy wanted she actually learned things about herself she didn't know before dying and became ready to let go with what happened. I was sad that the story ended and I want to know more about what happened to her friend even though we get the epilogue. Since Maddy didn't meet her family or her friend in the "Am"/"Is" we don't really know. But I think that Maddy's death really helped her friend in the long run. The one thing I didn't like was that she only sees/talks with 2 people in the "Am/Is". I would think there would be more people but maybe that is the Everafter and not there. Maybe they are alone so they can learn why they are there. Again makes me think. I am still thinking about this book the next day. A very thing for a book to do~ For parents there is some cursing, slight mature subject matter appropriate for teens only (kissing, making out, drugs, alcohol, physical abuse). I think these topics were handled with a light hand and not very graphic as some teen books I have read.

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Original Post on 7/31/2011 Amulet 4 trailer

I have volume (or had) 1 and 2 but have not seen 3 or even this 4th volume. Would love to add to my library!

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End of Summer and Blog Updates!

Well I am trying to organize my blogs (yes more than one) so that my book reviews for elementary and middle grade will be moved from my Lost in a Book Blog to this one so I don't have to do too many things. So if something doesn't work and it is related to a book review let me know!
 With the explosion of Periscope and Instagram I will be adding info about those to my website and blog as well. I have been very busy watching and getting to know teachers all over the U.S. and World!!

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