Friday, August 29, 2014

Jane Eyre

I was getting ready for my reading list presentations next week, and I realized I never did a blog post for Jane Eyre!  I love this book!  It's one of my all time favorites, and I read it for the first time when I was fourteen, so I thought it would be a great fit for my 8th graders.

Jane is orphaned as a young child and sent to live with her aunt and uncle.  Her uncle loves her, but his death leaves her in clutches of her cruel aunt and cousins.  This terrible beginning only gets worse when Jane is sent to a spare boarding school with harsh masters.

She eventually becomes a teacher and leaves to be a governess for Adele, the ward of Mr. Rochester.  This is when things really start to get interesting!  Mr. Rochester is gruff and several years older than Jane, but it isn't love before the two develop a mutual affection.  Jane knows nothing can come of it because she is poor and plain, but Mr. Rochester is the love of her life.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in the house, and no one will tell Jane the truth about these dangerous events.  Will Jane find love and contentment, or will she be thwarted by fate?  Read this gothic romance to find out!

I hope you love Charlotte Bronte's classic novel as much as I do!

2014-2015 Reading Lists

Individual book reviews are also tagged by grade level and year, so you can search for reviews.  For example, if you want to see my reviews for all the 6th grade books, just click on 6th Reading List 2014-2015 in the labels on the right side of the screen.  Happy reading! :)

Princess Buttercup's Recommendations

As she does every year, Princess Buttercup has a few words to say about the reading list selections.  Here are her picks from the 2014-15 reading lists!

Monday, August 25, 2014


Scarlet has been sick for as long as she can remember.  She has a genetic disorder called Long QT which basically means her heart doesn't beat in a normal rhythm and can stop at any time.  She has spent her sixteen years between the hospital and home.  She doesn't really know anyone besides her father and her stepmother, but Scarlet has made a decision.  She may be dying, but she doesn't want to go without experiencing life as a normal girl.

It wasn't easy to convince her parents to let her go to high school for a week, but the fact that her stepmother is the school nurse is a mark in her favor, and she'll be carrying her own AED, automated external defibrillator, around in her backpack just in case someone has to jump start her heart.

Because of her health issues and her zero experience in school, Scarlet is placed in a peer mentoring group where she meets her first real friends.  Jordan is a year older, gorgeous, and haunted by the past.  Nessa is perky and friendly to a manic degree, and Scarlet suspects she is trying to cover for something.  Then there is Celina with her sweatshirts and hoodies who used to be number one in the class, but now she's just withdrawn.

As Scarlet makes it through her first week of school, she learns that everyone has secrets sometimes even the people you think you know inside and out.  When a school assignment prompts Scarlet to look into her own medical history, she will learn the truth about her illness and her broken heart.

CJ Lyons's new book is full of drama and medical information.  It reads a little like a Lifetime Movie, but it is compelling and a great pick for people who love drama!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Forbidden Stone

Wade Kaplan's world gets excited when he and his stepbrother Darrell discover a coded email on his father's computer.  That message sends the whole family into a world of danger, mystery, and ancient secret societies.

The message is from Dr. Kaplan's former teacher, and when he tries to contact the man, he discovers his friend has been murdered.  When he takes the boys, along with cousin Lily and friend Becca, to Germany to attend the funeral and investigate the message, they are quickly trapped in a dangerous web of artifacts and clues started by none other than Copernicus!

Each of them has a skill they will need to solve the mystery.  Wade loves the stars and math just like his dad and Copernicus, Lily is a whiz with computers, Becca is gifted in languages, and Darrell is a man of action.  With their combined skills, they will begin a quest that will lead them to a gemstone that is part of a device created by Copernicus that will change the way we see time and space.

Of course, the Kaplans aren't the only ones on the trail, and their enemies don't care who they hurt in pursuit of their goal.  Read Tony Abbott's new series starter for a dose of action and adventure!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Serafina's Promise

Serafina has a secret desire to become a doctor.  Ever since the day she met Antoinette Solaine, the doctor who tried to help her baby brother, Serafina has known she wanted to become a doctor, too.  But you have to go to school to become a doctor, and Serafina's life is full of chores.  Every day she takes the bucket to stream where she collects water for the family's needs.  Then she sweeps the dirt floor of their home, helps wash the clothes, and then helps Manman and Gogo prepare the rice for dinner.  Even if there were other children to help with the chores, Serafina knows there is no money for school.

But Serafina will do whatever it takes to go to school so she can help the people of Haiti one day just like Antoinette Solaine.  Her dream will have to overcome more than crippling poverty.  Serafina's family will face illness, hunger, floods, and eventually the earthquake that destroys most of the island.  Life only gets harder for Serafina and the people of Haiti, and she will see the truth of Manman's words, "The only unbreakable home is one made with love."

I LOVE Ann E. Burg's newest verse novel.  It is beautiful story about dreams and love in the face of extreme poverty and devastation.