We're Middle School Students Writing about Reading!

Welcome to our blog--we're always in the middle of a good book here!

Our posts may include book reviews, original fiction, interviews with authors and bloggers, fan-fiction, fan art, and more, so join us in our journey to explore great books and learn about book blogging!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review of Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp

Emily was a selfish, willful, hateful child who died before her thirteenth birthday. But that was a long time ago. Jane is nine years old and an orphan when she and her young Aunt Louisa come to spend the summer at Jane's grandmother's house, a large, mysterious mansion in Massachusetts. Then one day . . . Jane stares into a reflecting ball in the garden - and the face that looks back at her is not her own.Many years earlier, a child of rage and malevolence lived in this place. And she never left. Now Emily has dark plans for little Jane - a blood-chilling purpose that Louisa, just a girl herself, must battle with all her heart, soul, and spirit . . . or she will lose her innocent, helpless niece forever. (summary from librarything.com)

Jane Emily is about a girl named Jane whose parents just died and starts living with her aunt and grandparents on her mother's side. After that, she is invited to her grandmother's house (from her father's side) along with her aunt, Louisa, and her aunt is not happy about that. When they arrive, her aunt doesn't mind it so much any more but strange things are happening with Jane. But what is the cause? Jane seems to think it's Emily, a girl who lived there a long time ago but she also died there. Her aunt is more than skeptical.

As things play out over the summer, things get difficult for Jane's aunt. First, she is away from her boyfriend. Second, she may have a little crush on a young doctor that may like her back.

But with her niece thinking Emily is still here, the aunt may not have time for romance.

I liked this book because it gives you a reason to keep reading. Its writing style, the way she is describing the places, you think you know right where you are. I think one weakness is that there's a bit too much romance and not enough of the actual main story line.

When reading the story, if you choose to, then just remember this is placed back in the past.

:) :) :)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 chocolate bars!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Favorite places to read!

Hey! Twistar here, and I'm going to talk about your favorite place to read.

So I went around and talked to a bunch of teachers and students and got a bunch of different answers. One person that I talked to was Mr.Achartz.  He said that he likes reading in his hammock or something like that. Mrs.Heins said that she liked reading by the lake. Finally Ms.Hoole said she liked reading in her bathtub. :)

I also talked to a bunch of students, and for a lot of them, their favorite places were in their rooms away from drama and their siblings. One person who I talked to said that they liked reading in their car. They also said that it was one of the only chances that they had to read because their life was just that busy. I think that those people either need a little more time to themselves or they need help finding a good books.

There are lots of books that are out there--go to your local library and just let your mind wander! You never know what you will find!

I also had some people say that they hate reading! One person said that any time they look at a book they get sick, (that sounds fake but trust me, it's been said!) That really makes no sense to me! How can a book make you wanna throw up? But anyways, those people must not have found a good book for them.

My word of advice is to again let your mind go, and stop thinking about books making you throw up!

Now...I'm off to my favorite place to read...how about you?  Where do you go when you want to get lost in the middle of a good book?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

'He holds the secret that can end the world.

The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.The records show that he died in 1418.But his tomb is empty.The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. That's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late.And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.Sometimes legends are true.And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.' Summary from Amazon.com

I read the series Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. The author, Michael Scott, has written four books of the series:  The Alchemist, The Magician, The Sorceress, and The Necromancer. I've read all of them so far and absolutely love them.

These books are about two twins, Josh and Sophie Newman, who suddenly get mixed up in a whole new world. They find out that all of their parents' work (archeology) was for nothing. Then when the completely normal Parry and Nick Flemming turn out to be the famous Perenelle and Nicholas Flamel, and that Sophie and Josh are the twins of a legend with silver and gold auras, the Evil Dr. John Dee steals the Flamels' key to immortality, except for the last two pages. Then he must kidnap the twins, which leads on to a wild goose chase to Paris, then to London, and back to the Americas. This story has a twisting and turning plot with many close calls and a great bit of tension.

I think this book has a good plot and amazing characters.

I rate this 5 whole chocolate bars!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

Jacob Jankowski is left without money and family when his parents are killed suddenly in an automobile accident. He leaves veterinarian school right before he finishes his final exam and accidentally becomes the veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers Circus. There he meets Rosie the Elephant and Marlena, a beautiful (and married) performer in the circus.

(Summary from Librarything.com)

As most of you know, I recently interviewed author Sara Gruen about her new book, Ape House. My father knew Sara Gruen before she became an author, and I've always been meaning to read Water for Elephants. Well, I finally got around to it a few days ago.

This book has quickly become one of my favorites. I thought it was very interesting that she put authentic circus pictures at the beginning of each chapter, since she got the actual idea for the book from a circus photo. I enjoyed looking at the pictures from that time period; it really made me feel like I was in the book. The book is woven so seamlessly and perfectly together. I was amazed! The ending made me want to cry, in a good way. In a happy way.

I really, really, REALLY did not like August, though. I would have hated to be Jacob, the way August would be charming and kind one minute and then screaming and throwing things the next. I would definitely recommend this book, but NOT to middle school students. Many parts are EXTREMELY inappropriate, as is one of the pictures. If you really want to read this book, have your parents read it first and approve it. But for adults, this book is amazing, and is a must-read.

Kudos for Sara Gruen!!

I give this book five chocolate bars. Death rating for appropriateness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview With Anne Greenwood Brown

HI people! =D It's me, dusty! I intervewd up-and-coming author Anne Greenwood Brown. I e-mailed her these questions about what it's like to get a literary agent and be on submission to editors!

Hi, Dusty! Thanks for your questions. Well, let's see...

#1. What is an agent?

Anne:  An agent is someone who KNOWS people! They know what publishers/editors like certain kinds of books, stories, "voices," styles, etc. so they know who might like your story and who is most inclined to want to publish it. If they like your work, they might ask to represent it and try to sell it for you to an editor/publisher. Because most writers don't know publishers on a personal level, writers might seek an agent to help them get their book into the right hands.

#2. Is it fun doing what you do?

What I do? If you're referring to writing stories, YES, very fun! Although sometimes it's also frustrating and emotionally gut-wrenching...If you're referring to being a lawyer, YES--most of the time that's fun, too.If you're referring to being a mom, YES--almost always a ton of fun.If you're referring to washing dishes....not so much.See, most writers can't live off of what they make writing. Most have another job, too.

#3. What is your agent like? Is she a great person?

She is a hockey mom and she lives in New Jersey. She's exciting and busy and friendly. I've only met her once in person--at a writers' conference in Wisconsin.

#4. Is she good at her job?

Time will tell! She's trying to sell my book to a publishing house as we speak. Of course, the better I am at my job (writing) the easier it will be for her to do her job.

#5.What book projects are you working on?

Right now, I'm writing a story about mermaid assassins on Lake Superior.

#6. Do you think being an agent is hard?

I don't know. I've never been one. I don't think it's something I personally would be good at. I hate "selling" things. I couldn't even sell Girl Scout cookies when I was younger.

#7.Was it hard to hire her? How did you do it? How should a writer start?

I guess technically I did "hire" her in that I'll end up paying her, but it's not easy to find an agent. In a way, agents resist being "hired." They will only agree to work for someone whose story they like. So I tried to "hire" a number of agents before one said she liked my work. That's pretty typical. If you want to find an agent, you write something called a Query Letter, giving them an idea of what your story is about. It's kinda like what you'd read on the back cover of a book--just a glimpse of the story. If they like the "hook" they might agree to read the whole story, and if they read the whole story and like it, you've got yourself an agent!

*bonus dusty's q's*!!!!!!!
do you like waffles?

Love them.

do you like pancakes?

Yes, but I like waffles more. But somehow I make pancakes more often than waffles. I wonder why that is?.... Now I'm in the mood for waffles.

do you like french toast?

I make a great baked french toast for Christmas morning, but that's about the only time I eat it.

*final signature q for our blog interviews!*
whats your favorite kind of chocolate?

DARK WITH ABSOLUTELY NOTHING INSIDE IT (they can keep their stinkin' raspberry cream filling)


Well, time to say thank you and bye-bye to Anne Greenwood Brown!

well...thats all! see ya!-dustycalebroblox (dusty)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Septimus Heap: Physik, by Angie Sage

Hey people! ityryueryuiyuivhuiehajkhdjkrtuireeyuiseydjkfyefyuihdsjhfjsduifgh!

If you haven't guessed who I am then you need to visit this blog more often.

I am Chuck Norris! Yeah, right. I'm WolfBoy409! I just finished reading Septimus Heap: Physik a few days ago. I've read it before, but I was bored so I read it again. Ok, enough chat. Here's the reveiw.

Septimus Heap has been the apprentice the Extraordinary Wizard Marcia Overstand for a long time now. He's had as normal a life as a magykal boy with a dragon can have. But one day a ghost queen of the castle's past returns to destroy Jenna Heap and reclaim her place at the throne. Her plan--have her son Marcellus Pye capture Septimus to bait Jenna, SO when Jenna illegally brings Septimus into the Queen's Room, Marcellus will grab him and bring him back in time. This is the thrilling sequal to Flyte, and Magyk is one of my favorites in the series.

I rate it 4 1/2 chocolate bars.

wolf boy out!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marley And Me A Dog Like No Other

By: John Grogen

This is such a good book. It's one I will never forget!! This is a heart-warming, tissue-needing, friend-sharing book. I think all that because well, I think it's heart-warming because when John and Jen go to pick out their puppy, John turns around, jumps back to scare the puppies and wants to see what puppy to pick. All the puppies jump back besides one. So it's the one they take home. They leave. John comes back without Jen. She is in Florida with her sisters. So they decide to name him Marley, after their favorite singer Bob Marley. So John makes him a box bed in the garage. Marley whines and whines so much, that John brings him in the bedroom. He is much bigger when Jenny gets back. They described him as a big pawed pup with a tail that hits EVERYTHING!!! So they have to keep everything up.

It's a tissue-needing book because well, I can't SPOIL the book, so read it. And it's a friend-sharing book if you want to share the LOVE!!! :)

I rate this book 4/5 chocolate bars!! Kookie says bye!!! (Leave comments!) (PLEASE!!!!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce Review

Alianne - known as Aly - has a good life. Her father is second in command of Tortall's spies. Her mother is the most famous knight in the country. Aly spends her time helping her father decode messages and, to her mother's dismay, dyeing her hair blue. But everything changes when, on a solo boat ride, Aly is captured by pirates and ends up a slave to the Balitangs, a noble family on the Copper Isles. Summary from Amazon.com

In Trickster's Choice, by Tamora Pierce, Aly is a brainy, pretty, sixteen year old girl living in a country called Tortall. Her father is the kingdom's spymaster, her mother is the famous Lady Knight, and her two brothers, Alan and Thom, are mages (wizards).

First of all, let me say that this is a bit of a confusing book. I feel like you have to read the other series by Tamora Pierce before this one to understand everything (which I have). Also, (this is just a small thing but...) the beginning never told me that Aly and Alan were twins. In about the second chapter this was mentioned in passing and it totally threw me off. The whole gods and immortals concept is confusing without the older series.

Otherwise, this is a magnificent book! I am on page 347 out of 403, and it just gets better! The Copper Isles have a culture and history of their own, and the beginning of the book is like an imaginary history lesson. The names throw me off, but that's just because I've always had issues with names. The story of Trickster's Choice is wonderful, with tons of little embellishing details. I think that Aly is charismatic and kind, so much that I sort of wish she was less perfect. She always makes all the right choices and says all the right things.

I think that Nawat the crow-man is awesome! He is so funny around Aly...

All in all, I really like Trickster's Choice! It is quite fantastic, and here are my ratings:

4 out of 5 chocolate bars

vampire appropriateness

Happy Reading!! ~Stev

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WRITER'S BLOCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you ever had writer's block? Of course, almost everyone has. I have. What I do when I have writer's block?

  • I eat a peanut butter sandwich.
  • I drink a glass of water.
  • I take a nap
  • I go for a walk with a clipboard and a pencil.
  • I watch T.V. for ideas.
  • If all else fails I play some games with my dogs.
Tell me what you do when you have writer's block.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Snapshots from Book Report Season...

Students at our school were invited to write a brief snapshot of the books they are reading this quarter for their book reports.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Epic.  Adventurous.  So intense that when you read The Hunger Games you will be on the edge of your seat.

After North America was split up into twelve districts, a game was made.  A crucial, heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping game that means that a girl and a boy who were 12 to 18 years old would be chosen from each district and would be put head to head to fight to the death.  The last person who was alive was lucky enough to go back to their district and rejoin his or her family.....

Friends against Friends, Sisters against Brothers, Enemies against Enemies, but it all comes down to who will survive this year.

By: Quinn Manty

Wanderer, by Sharon Creech

I am reading the book Wanderer by Sharon Creech.  It is a great book about a girl named Sophie who loves to sail.  She, her two cousins, and her three uncles go on a sailing trip to England.

I loved this book because it has a very exciting plot and very good descriptions.  This book has six main characters:  Sophie, Cody, Brian, Unclo Dock, Uncle Mo, and Uncle Stew.

I rate this book 4 1/2 chocolate bars out of five.

By: watergirl444

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

In this book, Katniss Everdeen is the girl on fire.  It is the last book in the Hunger Games series.  Katniss is faced with many challenges that are life-threatening to her and to her loved ones.  The whole capital is against her now, and no place is safe.  She can't go back now because back was destroyed.  One wrong move and the game is over.  Loved ones are changing, and the capital is out for revenge--revenge on everyone.  Katniss is sure to die now.  Loved ones have been brainwashed, and others are obeying the capital to stay alive.  Living in fear, can Katniss still be the girl on fire?

By: Sydney