Friday, July 31, 2015


I could not get enough of The Conspiracy of Us. It was The DaVinci Code meets Red Queen. Geography, history, and secret societies meet in Maggie Hall's fast-paced first book in the Conspiracy series. 

Avery West has moved around all of her life, and just when she gets asked to prom by the cute new guy, her mom gets another phone call and it's time to move. But, when Avery sneaks out to the prom to meet Jack Bishop, her life changes in an instant. She learns she is a relative of one of the families in the Circle of Twelve, an ancient society going back to the days of Alexander the Great. And when Jack tells her about the prophecy (the One and the girl with the violet eyes), Avery realizes that she is in way over her head. Once she reveals that her brown contacts disguise her real eye color - purple - Avery becomes the target of the most powerful families in the Circle of Twelve. Jack and Stellan (another Keeper) eventually help Avery escape the grasp of the power-hungry families, and in following the clues left behind from their common mentor, the three come to realize that Avery and someone she least suspects is the key to fulfilling the prophecy. 

The Conspiracy of Us ends on a total cliffhanger, and I am so excited to read the next book, Map of Fates, which comes out next year. This will be on the top of my stack of books to recommend to my incoming seventh graders when school starts!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


My students love this series and since Book 1 was on the Caudill list, I knew it was my chance! I snagged the audiobook from my library and over a couple of weeks in July, I read this book with my ears! Michael Vey can manipulate electricity with his touch. But soon, an elite private school wants him to enroll, and he realizes that his powers may not be a secret anymore. There's a good variety of characters in this book and some great action scenes. This is definitely a good read for X-men lovers and comic book readers looking to get into something lengthier. 


I read this ARC in one day on the road trip back from IRA St Louis. It was a page turner! Definitely for lovers of Gone Girl but VERY mature young adult. High school and up!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

On my way to nErDcampMI, I got sucked into Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers (2012). It was so good, I'm pretty sure I was the only one who wished I could be on I-94 longer just so I could keep listening! I am a Jo Nesbo fangirl, so this story about the son of a notorious serial killer warmed my cold heart. It was sooo good, and sooo creepy. 

Spoiler!! Summary for myself:
Jasper (Jazz) Dent is the son of Billy Dent, the worst serial killer in history. The story starts four years after Billy is caught by the small-town sheriff of Lobo's Nod, where Jazz and Billy lived. Until then, Billy hadn't murdered locally to remain hidden. However, for some reason, he started breaking that rule and was caught. Jazz is now around 17, and lives with his senile Grandmother, Billy's mom in Lobo's Nod. Growing up, Billy ("Dear Old Dad") taught Jazz the ways of a serial killer. But Jazz is determined to resist what may or may not be the same urges his dad faced. He wants to use his insider knowledge to track down a copycat killer who has begun to mimic Billy's early murders. With the help of his best friend Howie, and against the wishes of his girlfriend, Connie, Jazz tracks down the murderer. Just in time for his dad to escape prison. There are gruesome details about the murders, rough language when Jazz faces his dad for the first time in years (only making that character even MORE vile), but it is very suspenseful and intriguing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teachers Write 7/7/15

Teachers Write Tuesday Quickwrite

I love this prompt! So fun. I need, and will, do this more. Essential to writing authentic characters and dialog. Thank you! This is very rough. I look forward to playing around with it more!

Starbucks, Jackson, Michigan 7:00 AM

7:00 Two male customers already seated.

One female waiting for an order, nurse. She didn’t use the drive-thru option. Instead, opted to come in for her to-go order. Wearing scrubs; plain, no fun patterns. She must work with adult patients. Perhaps had a complicated order and didn’t want to hold up the drive-thru line.

7:06 My breakfast sandwich sat, unclaimed. Older male, on his way out for the morning, checked with myself and other remaining male guest for ownership. Kindly wished everyone a great morning on his way out. Casually dressed, tshirt and khaki shorts, sandals. On a Tuesday morning, he looks like he is on vacation or retired. He makes Starbucks his first stop in the morning. He reads the paper and catches up on the day’s news.

7:09 Young adult male walks in, black jeans, black tshirt, bookbag. He waves to the staff when he walks in. They say hello back. The barista asks, “Any breakfast?” He pauses. “No.” Mumbles order. Tired. Maybe a server who worked the late shift, and now, he is coming in to use the free wifi before he has to go to work later.

7:11 Order came up. “There you go, Drew. Thank you!” “Thanks.” Sat near first seated male. “Can I sit here?” “Sure!” Guys occupying the two leather, cushy chairs in the seating area. Young male has one earplug in. Both guys on devices! Come here for free wifi! But that’s why I’m here too!

7:14 Another female nurse in scrubs come in. Nurses and coffee save lives! "Hello!"

Monday, July 6, 2015

Teachers Write 7/6/15

Here is today's Teachers Write post (An Invitation to Wonder):

I wonder if I could eat my way through the Panera menu.
I wonder if I will ever get enough sleep again.
I wonder how one becomes a songwriter.
I wonder what it would be like to be the kid of a songwriter.
I wonder what it would be like to be the kid of a celebrity.
I wonder what would happen if music didn’t exist.
I wonder what why music brings back memories.
I wonder what would happen if all of your exes were in the same room.
I wonder what would happen if the songs that reminded you of your exes were compiled.
I wonder if you could catalog happy and sad songs. 
I wonder if someone’s happy song could be someone else’s sad song and why.
I wonder why people have an internal reaction/pull to certain songs. 
I wonder why some songs just make you want to dance.
I wonder why some songs just make you want to cry.
I wonder what would happen if you were sent on a trip to relive favorite songs from movies, people, places.
I wonder if I could remember specific people, places, memories that songs bring back.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

BONE GAP by Laura Ruby

Holy moly. If you've ever woken up, grasping for the details of a nightmare, Laura Ruby has done it. This was a nightmare put on the page. Somehow Laura Ruby managed to capture and make real the fuzzy edges of nightmares. I loved it. The writing was beautiful; eye-opening and suffocating, in a good way.