Her investigations are interrupted by romantic dalliances around Rome, but when the first lady is kidnapped from a photo shoot, Bec's skills manage to save the day. Strengths : Hard to go wrong with spies in Italy. The romance is light and fun, and appropriate for middle school. Good details about the fashion industry. Weaknesses: Bec wasn't the most likeable character, and I didn't quite believe her skills.
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The whole set up strained credulity in a way that Carter's Gallagher Girls books don't, but I may still buy this for fans of that series. Saturday, April 26, Catch a Falling Star. Culbertson, Kim. Her father runs a local diner, her mother travels sometimes to protest different causes, and her brother is usually in trouble because of a gambling addiction, but she has good friends Alien Drake her best friend who shares her interest in astronomy and Chloe her other best friend who is dating Drake.
When a movie comes in to town to film, she doesn't particularly care, although Chloe is star struck by the appearance of Adam Jakes. When Adam's people ask Carter to pretend to date him to polish his image, she agrees only because her family needs the money to clear up her brother's recent gambling debt. Adam is a child star trying to transition to older roles, and isn't very sociable. Carter thinks he's cute, but doesn't appreciate his attitude. As the two move through the "scripts" that are provided concerning their relationship, however, she comes to like him more than she wishes she would, and his presence in her life complicates any number of matters, including whether she should pick up dancing which she had quit a year before again, and her parents insistence that she leave Litte after high school graduation and broaden her horizons, something she doesn't care to do.
Strengths : This was a good, middle school appropriate romance for fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Sarah Dessen. It skews more to the Dessen-esque, with the problems about the brother, but is definitely wish fulfillment for young girls who think that if Hollywood would just make a film version of Anne of Green Gables in their hometown and have Lief Garrett play Gilbert I'm sorry.
Bad flashbacks to my own youth. Good stuff. Definitely buying a copy. Weaknesses : A little problem heavy for my taste, and not quite as swoony a romance as Smith's books are.
Still, it's hard to find romance books that are appropriate. Cotler, Steve. Cheesie and Georgie are up to no good, as usual, and are hanging around the construction site at school , playing on the equipment. While doing things they ought not to be doing, they unearth an odd, old looking artifact that they end up taking to the historical society with Cheesie's grandfather. This gives them some exposure on the news, and is a welcome distraction from the wedding of Georgie's father and Ms.
With Cheesie around, nothing goes smoothly, especially Georgie's handling of the ring for the wedding ceremony. Strengths : We certainly need more funny books for boys, and it's even better when they are in a series. Add some pictures, and it's gold. The first book didn't circulate very well, but when there were three on the shelf, my reluctant readers started recommending them to each other, so they will be thrilled to get this fourth book.
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There's not a huge amount that happens in this book, but it's a great description of middle school boys and their general lack of impulse control. Weaknesses : Yep. I am officially irritated by Cheesie's repeated urgings for me to check his web site. I have; it's a very nice web site.
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I guess the archivist in my soul wants to scream "But what if the web site isn't there in 20 years?! The book would read more smoothly without these mentions. Sutherland, Tui and Kari. Investigators from SNAPA plan a trial, and not only could Scratch be exterminated, but the menagerie could be shut down. Zoe decides that she has to investigate, and with the help partially human Keiko and Blue as well as new kid Logan, she makes some progress. The group also discovers that Marco, a boy from their class, is a wererooster, and there are several children in his family who are werecreatures, but all of them are undocumented.
Marco is the one who figures out that the feathers are too old to belong to Pelly, and the group assembles clues to find out who has kidnapped Pelly and why that person is trying to shut down the menagerie. There is another mystery at the very end of this book, and I already have students asking when book three will be published. Strengths : Like Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series, this is a fun romp with magic, a librarian that may or may not be evil, children taking matters into their own hands to solve a mystery, and of course some fun magical creatures.
Fans of the Warriors series and the Wings of Fire series will demand these immediately.
Weaknesses : Not my favorite style of books. Too many characters, not to mention Dragon dialect. Map at the beginning of the book! Still, I can see why these are popular with my students. Klise, James.
They are given a place to live, and new students Kendra and Kevin Spoon decide to put together an auction to benefit the family. In the process, Kevin and Kendra uncover paintings by outsider artist Henry Darger in the trash, and even though the art might be worth millions of dollars, they still intend to give the money to the Khans.
The story of the art's acquisition, subsequent disappearance, and relocation is told from a variety of view points, including members of Saba's family, the Spoons, a foreign exchange student, and the teachers and principal. Everyone has a different agenda, and many of the characters hope that the finding of the art will benefit them in some way. In the end, though, not everything is as it appears. Strengths : I normally don't care for books told from a variety of perspectives, but this was somehow intriguing. The premise of the lost, valuable artwork is realistic, and the Spoon's altruism is nice to see.
Saba's struggle to be a part of the school even though most of the students are wealthy and she is not is a nice touch. Fans of Blue Balliet's mysteries will enjoy this one. Weaknesses : The ending was very abrupt and not very satisfying or clear, which was odd. There was so much ground work laid for a good ending, but it seemed rushed to me.
Tuesday, April 22, Expiration Day. Powell, William Campbell. She is a human child in a world where this is a rarity. The population of Earth has plummeted after , and almost everyone is infertile. In steps Oxted Corporation, who will supply parents with a lease on a "teknoid", but only for 18 years.
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Tania's father, a vicar, has seen many families fall apart after they need to return their child, so Tania is dismayed when an accident causes her to find out that she, too, is a cyborg. She tries to keep this hidden at first from John, whom she has met in London, and with whom she has put together a rock band.
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Along with her friend Sian, she tries to pack as much life into her short span as she can, but when the end draws near and family circumstances change, Tania's father tries one last desperate act-- suing Oxted Corporation for breach of contract in hopes that Tania can continue to live. What does the future hold for someone whose life has a very definite expiration day. Strengths : This had some good twists in it, and the premise was logical and unique.
While this won't see huge circulation, I think a small group of deep thinking readers with an interest in science fiction will like this one. It wouldn't have taken much to throw me off this year, but three weeks of unrelenting dental pain certainly did not do anything to make me more organized. Combine this with the rapidly approaching end of the year, and I'm just throwing in ALL the towels as far as blogging goes.
I've got posts done for at least the next month, but the playing in the sandbox is not going well. This is because I need to inventory the 11, textbooks in my school as well as the 12, library books, so my mornings consist of quality time spent with my trusty bar code scanner instead of reading other peoples' reviews, which I love to do.
State testing is next week; I don't really mind testing, since I think it has always been with us. The levels of anxiety and paranoia are ridiculous, and this is still just the Ohio Achievement Assessments. Not to be negative, but I see a few problems.
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