Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Aro (Michael Sheen)
Caius (Jamie Campbell Power)
If you have time, check out the comments below the review. Not many of the readers agree with Ms. Reeves, and I hope that in five more long days I will be able to disagree with her!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Read this review from Publisher's Weekly for a brief description of this moving novel. I ABSOLUTELY loved it as a girl and have had MANY students fall for it, too. If you have kids in the 10-13 year old range that like a great ghost story, this book will be their favorite!
From Publishers Weekly:
Zoe was overjoyed to find a playmate already in residence when she came to live in her grandparents' old house. The girls shared everything, toys, a playhouse, even the same name--everything except time: Zoe Louise is a visitor from another century. As Zoe grows up she begins to wonder about Zoe Louise's strange behavior. She follows her back in time to learn the terrible truth--that only she can prevent her soul mate's untimely death. For a ghost story, Conrad's latest novel is a surprisingly comforting tale of nurturing and forgiveness told in a direct, graceful style. Zoe, abandoned by her mother, adopts the life struggle of a ghost as her cause, and in winning is able to accept and love her mother just a little. This is a warmly poetic, atmospheric story shot through with bursts of fear, desperation and very real suspense.
To explain a bit about Gone, the title is very self-explanatory to the premise of the novel. In an instant, every adult and teenager over the age of 15 disappears without warning. Babies, toddlers, kids and teens like Sam Temple and his friends Astrid, Quinn and Edilio are left to care for themselves, but survival in a world without adults is much harder than they anticipate. Who will care for the infants and small children, who will provide food, electricity, and care when resources run low, and who will stand up to bullies who threaten to take over Sam's small town of Perdido Beach? To make matters worse, a barrier has appeared around the town that is impenetrable and impossible to scale. Animals are mutating, and tensions are rising within the remaining teens. With only days left until his fifteenth birthday, Sam must find a way to protect his friends from the threats that abound, because teens who have turned fifteen since the disappearances are also vanishing the instant they hit the big 1-5.
This 500+ page book is fast-paced and full of action and adventure. Michael Grant creates a compelling, and oftentimes heart-wrenching story of teens who must take on the roles of adults to survive in a world gone mad. Young adults should be able to relate to Sam's struggles with being a leader, and dealing with the bullies that abound. Grant also ups the ante when teens begin to develop special "powers" that seem to connect to the animal mutations. A page-turner and entertaining read, Gone was a great first book in Michael Grant's future six-book series. I'm picking up the second, Hunger, tomorrow! Great start to a promising series, Mr. Grant!
Michael was not a child from a home full of love. Oher was one of THIRTEEN kids and pretty much was left to fend for himself in a crime-ridden neighborhood. His mother was addicted to drugs and his father had been murdered, so Oher didn't have any parents to love and care for him. He attended 11 different schools in 9 years and bounced from foster home to foster home. Until he came to Briarcrest Christian School, Oher remained under the radar. Watch both youtube clips to see how a child's life can be changed when people who "have it all" open their hearts and their homes to a child whose never known the love of a parent. Stories like these are what should inspire us all to love one another and lead by example...I will DEFINITELY be watching this come November!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
If any of you are teachers of middle to high school age students, I HIGHLY recommend teaching this novel. Most students have read Lois Lowery's The Giver, and The Hunger Games is a great way to align with that classic work of fiction. I also teach about dystopian and anti-utopia societies and how they reoccur in literature and movies...hello??? ever hear of a little book called 1984 by Mr. George Orwell? Totally an example of an anti-utopia society! Or The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is another literary example of an anti-utopia! You knew you were a fan of The Games, but I bet you didn't know the literary significance of the piece, now did you?! If you are interested in teaching this amazing novel, shoot me a message and I can send you what lesson plans and activities I have that tie into the novel. I have also written a few articles with lesson plan ideas at Brighthub.com that you can find by accessing this link: http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/39748.aspx. In the meantime, here is a tour of my reading classroom and a few snippets of my Hunger Games wall. I predict it to grow tenfold by the end of this school year!
Due to a very rude comment an "anonymous" viewer left (and which I promptly deleted), I would like to apologize for the gum smacking at the beginning of the clip! I had just put the piece in my mouth after lunch and was working in my room. I never smack or even have gum in my mouth whenever students are present! In the future, whoever you are "anonymous", don't visit my blog if you have only rude comments to leave. I'm not perez hilton, and do not welcome insulting comments...stop coming by if I offend you or make you upset! Sheesh!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
A 2004 interview with our local news station....my daughter is not this tiny anymore and it is so sad to see how quickly babiness passes us parents by! FYI - my husband no longer has this thing on his face! Thank goodness! ;)
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Click on the image below for a link to the True Blood fansite that also has lots of info on the HBO hit show!
The girl was curled into a small ball beside the flames, her arms wrapped around her legs. She was very young. Younger than me - she looked maybe fifteen, dark-haired and slight. Her eyes were focused on me, and the irises were a shocking, brilliant red. Much brighter than Riley's, almost glowing. They wheeled wildly, out of control.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE. Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutatiing. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents ---unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers ---that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkes selves, GONE is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a new way.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You can purchase these shirts on zazzle.com at this link: http://www.zazzle.com/the_hunger_games_mousepad-144429151397719699
I also love the shirts at Cafe Press that you can view at this link:
The "Team" shirts are a bit played out, but for some reason I want a "Team Rue" shirt! Check them out if you have a Hunger Games fan who needs one!
So, do you think Jake is "sort of beautiful"...love that "sort of" compliment! I'm not sure if I would enjoy telling me that I'm "sort beautiful", would you?
Monday, August 10, 2009
Back to the lecture at hand, I need my Tech fans to listen up! Although my other challenges have been boo-ed and dismissed, I would like to pose one more for posing sake: LEARN THE TECH FIGHT SONG. Reading it on the monitor during the game does not count. Learn it without having the lyrics posted for you. I had to learn it when I was a freshman, and I'm not sure why others did not, but if you are a true-blue fan, you will rise to the challenge and learn the lyrics! You do not want to look like these idiots:
Okay, so I'm getting "my facts straight" and acknowledging the fact that TVD was published BEFORE TWILIGHT. I am well aware of this fact...now that so many have been able to point it out to me! Sorry...sheesh! I'm not a professional blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that we can have differing opinions on books, movies, and the like without being tacky. My point is that so many books now ARE, INDEED following a "Twilight Formula" and even though TVD was published before Twilight, it is still very similar to the other stuff that is being shoved down teen readers' throats. TVD is okay in my opinion. Not great, but okay. If you love it, then AWESOME! I'm sure I love books (*clears throat*, Sookie Stackhouse Series) that many of you find repulsive or stupid, but that doesn't mean we can't co-exist in the blogging world, now can it?! So now that my "facts are straight", we can move forward in peace! LOL!
My last post on the first book in this series, The Awakening, wasn't one of my most positive reviews to date, and this post over the second novel, The Struggle, may be a smidgen better but not much. Damon takes a bigger role in this novel, but he's still the "evil vampire" and Stefan is the "good vampire." Maybe readers who do not need rhyme or reason as to why Elena is falling for both of them will enjoy this installment, but I for one couldn't get over the fact that no one explained to me that fact. Why if she hated Damon in the first book would she all of the sudden change her preferences in the second? I was confused by the lustful dreams on Elena's part, and the hatred that her former best friend Caroline has for her. I guess this is figured out in the third and fourth books, but I do not have enough endurance to read the others.
The love triangle seems forced, and again I'm blaming the author for trying to follow the Stephenie Meyer vampire formula. (FYI...TVD was published before TWILIGHT! So L.J. Smith is not a copy cat. Everyone else is! lol!) She should patent it or something! For example, while strolling through the teen section at Barnes & Noble, I attempted to count the vampire books on the shelves...I stopped at 23. TWENTY THREE! I know that Twilight is a money making machine, but really, this has to stop at some point, doesn't it? Many of the twenty three that I actually picked up and read the back of followed the same predictable plot line of girl in love with beautiful boy who turns out to be immortal, or a vampire. Either way it is old news in my book. This second installment in the Vampire Diaries is no different, and I'm not even going to bother buying the third or fourth. I'm not sure how long my vampire hiatus will last, but I am officially sick of this realm of literature...don't get me wrong, I will always love the Twilight Saga, but I'm off of the new vampire stuff. Corny. Stupid. Predictable. (My OPINION...FEEL FREE TO HAVE A DIFFERING OPINION!)
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Just like the book, the film bounces back and forth between cubicle worker Julie Powell and the pre-famous Julia Child. The beginning of the film, I could tell (in my very unprofessional opinion) that the editing was very well-done and kept the pace of the film at an interesting level. I'm not sure what happened towards the middle, because parts of the script lagged, and I found myself wondering why certain aspects of the book were not included in many of these parts. There needed to be a hilarious account of Julie Powell's recipe mishap that contained bone marrow. Something needed to be put into the middle of the film to jazz it up a bit! The details of Julia's process of writing and publishing her cookbook were a bit much, and could have been cut and condensed for continuity purposes, but again, I'm paid to teach 8th graders Reading, not the big bucks to edit films.
Meryl Streep's performance as the larger-than-life Julia Child was amazing! I never knew what a dynamo of a woman Julia Child was, and Meryl had me cracking up just by watching her animated facial expressions! Julia Child's voice is her trademark, but Streep didn't overdo it like so many actors could have easily done! I would compare it to actors who have to perform a southern accent...either they over emphasize the twang, or they hit it head-on. Much like Julia's voice, you could totally over-do the pitchy quality, but Streep should win many awards this year for her perfect execution. Amy Adams also did a great job, but Chris Messina, who played Julie's husband, and Stanley Tucci, who was Child's spouse, were excellent counterparts to the lead roles. Great and hilarious husbands!
The film is a good one, and sparked my interest in Julia Child as a woman and mogul. I now want to read her memoir about her life in France (my grandparents also spent time in France during the fifties) and find her to be a very interesting woman. View a few clips from her cooking show below:
Friday, August 7, 2009
Posted on http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20295468,00.html, Monday, August 3rd.
Deborah Gibson has a secret weapon in her battle to stay fit: her boyfriend. For a year and a half, Gibson has been dating Rutledge Taylor, a medical doctor specializing in preventative medicine. To help Gibson keep in shape for her busy schedule, he developed a strict diet and exercise program. "I won't say it was easy," Gibson tells PEOPLE, "but it was really effective. He really came up with something that worked for me." "I thought I had just 5 lbs. to lose," she continues, "But as it went on, I realized that I needed to drop a few more." The final tally: 17 lbs. "It really gives me a lot more energy to be fit," she says, "and it's also empowering. I'll be 39 soon, and I'm in the best shape of my life." "And Gibson isn't afraid to show off her new body. Last week, she appeared in a halter top and skinny jeans at the Fatone Family Foundation charity event to raise money for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. After several fans commented about her toned body, Gibson told PEOPLE, "It is really gratifying to have people notice, especially younger women. If I can do this, anyone can." But the biggest fan is clearly Taylor, who spent the evening making out with Gibson when she wasn't performing onstage with Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro. What's next for Gibson? After wrapping up the second season of her Deborah Gibson's Electric Youth summer camp, she is working on her comeback album and in negotiations for a reality show. "Everything's going really well," she says. "I'm really happy."
I can tell you that the preview looks promising and a few things are different in the preview than in the book. I'll be tuning in to see if the changes take this book series from "Ehhh..." status, to "Wow" in my mind!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009