Monday, January 28, 2013

It's an Award-Winning Monday! What Are You Reading?




Today the Boys and I are linking up to a meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey as well as Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  It's called: It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  Check out both of their blogs for many, many, more wonderful book recommendations and links to others who are doing the same.

Today is a special day, as the American Library Association announced their 2013 youth award-winners!  So exciting, especially because we have read many of them.  Congratulations to all who won awards and honors today!  

On to our updates!

 Hey this is C.J.!   I no funny, and this... is book report time. Now I am reading two books at once (Bedtime and daytime) and enjoying both books. I Funny is a story about a kid named Jamie Grimm who is a hilarious comedian that tries to become the world's greatest stand up comedian. He lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousins (one of which is evil and makes fun of Jamie because he is in a wheelchair). Now in Fellowship, Frodo and company are currently at a farm with one of Pippin's friends for a sort of pit stop I guess you could call it. And they are still being hunted by the black rider. (Cue dramatic music)...


P.J.'s update:
I have finished the book Cherub: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore, and I thought it was a great book with lots of twists and surprises.  I am now reading the first book in The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz and I like it so far.






Mom's update:

"I have told the truth."

When I began reading Code Name Verity, I did not know what to expect.  Raw and cold, the story begins as a narrative written by a female enemy agent (spy) caught by the Nazis during WWII.  It was difficult for me to connect with this character at first, and when I was a third of the way through, I considered abandoning it.  I am very glad I didn't, though, because quickly the pieces came together, and by the time I was halfway in, I was fully engaged.  I read the second half of the book in one afternoon, and I was sad when it ended.  It is one of those rare books that nagged me to start over and re-read it immediately with my newfound understanding from an alternate perspective.  Its Prinz honor (received today- yay!) is absolutely deserved.


I am currently on Chapter 6 of Pathways.  Writing!  Yay!


Now, on to an Alex Award book!  I am starting this one tonight:


Happy ALA 2013 Awards Monday!  What are YOU reading?

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/21/13




Today the Boys and I are linking up to a meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey as well as Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  It's called: It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  Check out both of their blogs for many, many, more wonderful book recommendations and links to others who are doing the same!


Hey this is C.J.  I just got glasses and this... is book report time.

      Do you have anything in your life that you could never part with or go somewhere without, like a necklace, a ring, or even a handkerchief?  If yes, then you must feel the same way Bilbo feels about his ring. Right now I have started reading J.R.R.'s book The Fellowship of the Ring. As you may guess, I am reading the whole Lord of the Rings series, because before this I was reading The Hobbit.  Now, back to the book.  Bilbo is at his 111th birthday party, but he feels he needs a holiday to the Elvish kingdom, Ravendell- a holiday that shall never end. So at his party, Bilbo gets up and tells Hobbiton of where he is going.  At the end of this, he slips on his ring that turns him invisible! (He stole it from Gollum, a thing that lives in a cave, demented by the ring.)  So now Bilbo is back at his home, leaving the ring in an envelope for his adopted son, Frodo Baggins. So Bilbo feels he cannot leave it, for it is his PrEcIoUs.  Now Gandalf is trying to persuade him to leave it so he doesn't get corrupted any more (like Gollum.)
C.J. out <(-_-)>(TM)


Hey this is P.J. and this is my reading update!

I am reading The Recruit by Robert Muchamore.  James is a troubled child who has family issues, and right now his mom just died and he got sent off to a home for orphans and he is already in trouble.  I think he is going to have great adventures once he gets recruited into Cherub. I am looking forward to reading more and I hope to see you next time.







Mom is starting to feel like a broken record.  I am still trudging my way through Code Name Verity.  I thought the pace was picking up, but still I feel like I am waiting...  I'm now a third of the way through, and while some pieces are coming together, it is feeling more like work than pleasure reading for me.  Yet, I am still compelled to continue.  I had addressed the topic of abandoning books with the boys this summer, but I can't bring myself to put this one aside.  Why?  I'm not sure. So many have told me to keep going, so I will.  Many fellow Nerdy Book Club members that I follow on Twitter have spoken about "Reading Gaps" and have challenged themselves to read books that they may not have otherwise chosen.  I typically adore historical fiction, but I do not typically read war books.  Perhaps Verity is my book gap challenge...


I am also halfway through Pathways, and I'm looking forward to our upcoming book study meeting next week to discuss Non-Fiction.  I am continually impressed by the way Calkins, Eherenworth, and Lehman make this complex topic accessible and real for me as an educator.


I also began reading Book 3 in the First Kids Mysteries: The Case of the Ruby Slippers by Martha Freeman.  So far, it is a compelling middle-grade story.


Happy Reading, everyone!  Please share your weekly update in comments below.  Also, we are curious- what is your #bookgapchallenge?

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/14/13




Today the Boys and I are linking up to a meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey as well as Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  It's called: It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  Check out both of their blogs for many, many, more wonderful book recommendations and links to others who are doing the same!

Here is our rating system, penned by P.J.:  
  • For every "rock" it means something different, like 1 rock is not very good, 2 rocks is OK, 3 rocks is good, 4 rocks is great, and 5 rocks is amazing! Well now that I got you up to speed, let's get into these book reviews.










P.J. finished reading Insignia this week.  Yay!

Title: Insignia

Author: S.J. Kincaid 

Goodreads summary:  More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom's drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone's been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he's offered the incredible--a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom's instincts for combat will be put to the test and if he passes, he'll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War III. Finally, he'll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom's always wanted--friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters--but what will it cost him?


What I think: I think that this was a great book because of the unpredictable plot, the great fight scenes, and the thought that must have been put into the book to make it so good.

Favorite scene: When Tom fights Medusa and the other Russo-Chinese combatants in the fighting simulator.  

Recommended for: Anyone with a taste for sci-fi action-thrillers

Rock Rating: 5/5

The book I am going to read next is The Recruit by Robert Muchamore




Hey this is C.J.  Hobbits are small, and this... is book report time.


When we left off, I had finished The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, so now I will give an update of The Hobbit (To Isenguard, to Isenguard!) So the dragon that took over the dwarves land (Smaug) just died from a king in Ravendell (Not Thorin, king over the mountain.) So now the dwarves are inside their home and are taking it back, not knowing that their worst enemy, was dead.


C.J. out <(-_-)> (Trademark)





I am still plodding my way through Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  Friends have said that it takes a while to grip you, and I'm still waiting for it to take hold.  When I reach the 25% mark, I'll re-evaluate my desire to continue or perhaps abandon it.  If you've read it and have any encouragement, please leave your comments below...

I am also about halfway through Pathways to the Common Core by Calkins, Ehrenworth, and Lehman.  My book study group meets again on the 28th to discuss Chapter 5, which is all about Non-fiction.  It is a brilliant book, and (once again) I highly recommend it for all educators!

This week, regardless of whether I continue or abandon Verity, I will also pick up some mysteries:


and these First Kids Mysteries (for my middle grade students):



Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney

Today C.J. will review:


This is book 2 of 40 towards his 40 book goal in 2013!

Title:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel
Author:  Jeff Kinney
Goodreads summary: "Love is in the air - but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?
A Valentine's Day dance at Greg's middle school has turned his world upside down. As Greg scrambles to find a date, he's worried he'll be left out in the cold on the big night. His best friend, Rowley, doesn't have any prospects either, but that's a small consolation.
An unexpected twist gives Greg a partner for the dance and leaves Rowley the odd man out. But a lot can happen in one night, and in the end, you never know who's going to be lucky in love."
What I think: I personally think that the series is getting a bit boring. It's getting less entertaining like the author is running out of ideas.  Greg can't be in middle school forever.  Also it doesn't have as many funny parts (it has it's moments) but its just going downhill.  I've read all the other Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and I could guess how this one was going to turn out.  My mom thinks that I might be outgrowing the books.  It would probably be more funny for kids younger than me.
C.J. out <(-_-)> (Trademark)

Recommended for: Ages 7-12

Rock rating:2/5



Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/7/13



Today the Boys and I are linking up to a meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey as well as Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  It's called: It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  Check out both of their blogs for many, many, more wonderful book recommendations and links to others who are doing the same!

It's a brand new year, and the Boys and I have set our 2013 reading goals.  The Boys have set some lofty ones, 30 and 40 books respectively, and to achieve this feat, they will need to keep up a good pace.  So far, however, Mom is wondering if the Boys really realize what they have set out to achieve.  We did the math this weekend- and Mom is not by any means a mathematician- but Mom-math says that they will need to complete a book approximately every week and a half to two weeks in order to reach their goal.  Mom will need to read about two books per week.   

Outrageous?  No, but we will definitely need to focus more on Hobbits 


and less on Enderman.  

Makes sense, right?  

Mom also decided to get more serious about tracking books and reminded the boys of our Biblionasium account.  We will log all of our reading electronically on this platform, similar to Goodreads, but for kids.  This fantastic kid-friendly site is where Moms and Dads and Teachers and Kids can set reading challenges, recommend books, and keep track of reading.  I blogged about Biblionasium this summer (click here to learn more.)   Stay tuned for our weekly reading updates!


Rock on!
Here is our rating system, penned by P.J.:  
  • For every "rock" it means something different, like 1 rock is not very good, 2 rocks is OK, 3 rocks is good, 4 rocks is great, and 5 rocks is amazing! Well now that I got you up to speed, let's get into these book reviews.









Hey this is P.J. and this is my reading update. I have to admit I have not been reading as much as I would like to but I do plan to go crazy on reading for the next few weeks. I am going to finish Insignia and I was wondering what to read next, so if you have any suggestions please leave a comment. This has been P.J. and that was my reading update.







Hey this is C.J. The Hobbits, the Hobbits, the Hobbits, the Hobbits, to isengard! to isengard! and this... is book report time.
Last blog I was telling you great viewers that I had a surprise coming up, and here it is! Drumroll please (Insert drum roll) The HOBBIT! I am halfway through it, and it is amazetacular! So far the dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf have been trapped in a dark cave with orcs! While in this hazardous place, Bilbo gets thrown off a bridge into and even darker cave! Where he was playing a game of riddles to save his life (if that makes sense) against Gollum/Smeagul. While playing this game, Bilbo found a ring that will turn you invisible! once Gollum found out, he was going to kill Bilbo to get it back! But Bilbo got out of the cave and met back up with the dwarves and continued the adventure. 
Also when I finished Harry Potter it was Jan.1st so that counts as my first book for my goal (40)!

Mom read lots over the holiday break.  Yay!  Here are the books I read since our last update:






This one is the only one to count towards 2013, though. 


Here is what I am currently reading:



What is on your TBR pile this week?

Happy Reading!





Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reading Re-Cap 2012 and Our Reading 2013 Challenge ( a.k.a. Why We Are Rockstars)

We are amazed and at times utterly dumbfounded by the sheer amount of reading we have accomplished in the last 7 months.  Has it just been a mere half-year plus thirty days since we began our blog?  Why yes, yes it has.  And what an amazing 7 months it has been!

Here are our 2012 stats (youngest to oldest):




C.J. read <insert drum roll here>  19 books! 

Hey this is C.J.!  I read more books than P.J... and this... is book reflection time.
Today I finished the Harry Potter series finally! Also this past year has been great!  We created the blog, we gained lots of awesome viewers, and read lots of books! I deeply hope that this year will be the same. This year expect some more vlogs (video blogs), and I have a great book for the next blog post.  I also hope this year we will be getting sponsors (Don't get your hopes up) and get more viewers!  
Keep reading!
<(-_-)>(TM)

C.J.'s Goal for 2013: 40 books (Which is still more than P.J.)




P.J. read <insert drum roll here> 13 books!

Hey this is P.J. and this is my 2012 reading reflection. I think that I have not read enough books this year, and I think that was because I was distracted by a lot of things and I plan to manage my time better. What I think is going to motivate me the most is the thought that I can always do better, not just at reading, but at everything. This has been P.J.  Hope to see you next time.

P.J.'s Goal for 2013: 30 books







Mom read <yep, the drum roll again> 75 books! (But she is sorta cheating, because she began counting in February, not June.  But still...)

When we began this blog on June 11th, I never thought that the Boys would still be going strong in January.  Yet, they continue to read (one needing a bit more motivation than the other), and they continue to enjoy blogging about it.  The biggest discovery so far is that this quest has not just been a one-sided event (as it appeared at its inception), and I feel like I now know my sons more deeply as individuals as well as readers.  We motivate each other, recommend books to each other, and our connection to each other has grown stronger as a result.  This is an added benefit of our journey, and quite frankly, my favorite unforeseen perk.   I'm not sure how long this will last, but I will continue to stand in awe of my Boys, participating as a partner in their reading lives for as long as they will let me.

Mom's Goal for 2013:  100 books and an infinite number of opportunities to admire and cherish my Boys who are READING!
Mom's 2013 Reading Challenge Goal