GoodReads Goals

I have upped my goal each year to read more and more. I spend a lot of time each year reading picture books to students and chapter books (novels) with students, and that accounts for a good portion of what I read. I do take time out each year to read as many YA and adult books as possible.

My goal this year was to read 150 books, so far I have met and exceeded the goal. I have a couple of ebooks to read and a couple of hardbacks on my side table ready to go. I am trying to finish them before the end of December but I think my time has run out!

I read some classic stories with my students … most did not understand what they read. Old Yeller, Island of the Blue Dolphins, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Cricket in Times Square, and The Phantom Tollbooth.  Our students have lost so much over the years. They only want to read Captain Underpants, Bone, Big Nate, etc. Real books bore them, but it is to be expected because even though they are more mature (knowledge of sex and the seedier parts of the world) they are also more immature (empathy and selfishness). As parents, we want to save our children from experiencing pain, but we have forgotten that pain and loss help children develop emotionally and psychologically. Moral development has been stinted over the past twenty to thirty years. Too many parents were raised with the believe that personal happiness outweighs the betterment of society and do not believe in sacrifice for the benefit of others. Many of my students have not left those selfish stages of toddlers and neither have their parents. I’d like to read Catherine, Called Birdy with them but they are too immature to deal with some of the situations and vocabulary.

Some YA – Young Adult – reads this year:

Infernal Devices, Swipe, Ender’s Game, Divergent, Lunar Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments, Black Hearts in Battersea, Catherine, Called Birdy (re-read), Esperanza Rising (re-read), The Midwife’s Apprentice (re-read).

TBR:  The Boneshaker, The Dreamkeeper, Flying the Dragon, Brotherhood, Dreamland, and Freakling.

I have more, but I won’t be able to read all of these my Tuesday! I will begin The Boneshaker today.

I will be writing more on the YA and children’s books later today to round out my reviews. Stay tuned!


Reading “grown-up” books

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders B...

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders Books and Music in Braintree, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am always hesitant to write “adult books” because people raise an eyebrow and I have to explain, “adult books are for grown ups to read, not pornography.”

I have admitted my unhealthy addiction to cozy books but I have to confess that I enjoy quirky ‘girl-kick-butt’ kind of books as well.

Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum series is one of those quirky series I enjoy reading. Just a bit raunchy but most definitely funny. Stephanie is just a neighborhood girl who needs to pay her bills, have a boyfriend, and visit family on a regular basis. Some crudeness, language, and sexual content included. Stephanie works as a bounty hunter for her somewhat sleazy uncle and teams up with the ex-prostitute file clerk in her office to catch her criminal. The criminals are just as colorful. Stephanie is torn between her mainstream cop boyfriend and her ex-coworker of a darker, shadier past. Mom, Dad, and Grandma round out her family on a regular basis as she tries to be as normal as possible. Not happening.

A photograph of Deadwood in 1876. General view...

Ann Charles’ Deadwood Mysteries series is another quirky series located in the wilds of South Dakota. Violet Parker is a single mom trying to stay afloat as a real estate agent while holding her personal life together as a single mother of two rowdy, rambunctious children. Her son keeps digging things up, literally, and her daughter keeps trying to find her a husband. Neither is she interested in. Living with her artist aunt, Vi is trying to start over in Deadwood. She meets interesting clients and sell houses, or tries to anyway. If the haunted houses of Deadwood didn’t make it hard to sell, the clients may be out to kill her first. The friends she has, girlfriend with questionable morals, and the new friends she makes, client/bodyguard/curmudgeon/ghost-whisperer…well, you get it. They are a motley crew.

I have also started reading new indie-authors who are self publishing. Some of these authors can be found on CleanAuthors and others I have discovered on GoodReads. Take advantage of free reads on Barnes & Noble and Amazon or the 99 cent sales to be found to discover some of these new authors.


Clean Author Sale

wintersaleWhat is a clean author you ask? A clean author is one who does not use inappropriate language (swearing), gratuitous violence, sex, or horror to sell a good story.

There are many books we read as children that did not have one sex scene or four letter word and we still loved them. As adults we read classics that only had a four letter word or two in the entire book and was there for effect, not just to “be gritty.”

I remember my elementary aged daughter asking me why authors put bad words in book she could read. I told her that some authors think kids speak that way, her response? “But, we don’t.” Nope. Me neither. If a four letter word comes out of my mouth, there is usually a good reason for it but just because I say it once in a while doesn’t mean I should integrate it into my daily vocabulary.

There are some great “new” authors out there writing for children, YA, and adults who have chosen to ‘keep it clean’ and let the books speak for themselves. Here is a link to get you to their sites to read more about them:

I Love Toni Buzzeo!


Really! The woman is a genius!


I have been reading the “back to school” selection of books to my students this week and I chose Get Fired Up With Reading! for my second through fourth grade students. It never fails to inspire my students to read.They all want to have a contest and get their teachers into the dragon-head costume! Mrs. Skorupski is at it again as she challenges the entire school to read. The winning class is awarded the honor of having their teacher in the head of the dragon costume to be worn in the Read Across America parade. The top readers (measured in minutes read) in each grade level will fill out the body of the dragon.


Two girls in Mr. Dickinson’s fourth grade class battle it out while one kindergartener needs help to be the dragon’s tail! See who wins in this wonderful book that is inspiring my students to read!


Toni Buzzeo is a school library media specialist (this is what she calls herself) in Maine. She has written numerous books about Mrs. Skorupski and her devious ways to get students to use the library media center! She has also written other non-library education books that leave me breathless, such as The Sea Chest. However, I think her brilliance is in the way she inspires educators such as myself to read and explore the library.