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Tuesday 6/5/12
Well, it's the first official day of summer vacation for me. Yes, I have been at school every week day-- except for Memorial Day-- since school let out. No more. Except for the few more days I plan to be back to get library things done and new books ready. Smiley

So, on my first day off I cleaned house. Yes, that's right. Washed windows. Laundered clothes. Cleaned out the magazines. And finished my 1st book of the summer. Presley, you were correct. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez was an amazing read. I didn't want to continue after the prologue left me believing that the main character dropped a 1.2 million dollar violin off of a 20 story balcony, but Presley was right. I had to keep reading. If you want a book that encourages you to fall in love, to dream your own dream, and to do the right thing even when everything is screaming at you not to, then Virtuosity is a book for you!

I'm planning on keeping on with the cleaning-- maybe some gardening-- and the reading, but I would love to hear from you! What books are you discovering this summer?

Blessings,
Miss Huxford
So, I am jumping up and down rejoicing in the rain today! No, I haven't gotten the house cleaned from top to bottom yet, but I have finished 1 book and am over half way through another since last I blogged. Bamboo People is another good one for my guys who like "War" Books, but don't worry, there's more to it than that. A storyof hope, redemption, family, and forgiveness, Bamboo People is the story of Chiko and TuReh, 2 teenage boys who are victims of the military coup that took over Burma, or Myanmar as they have renamed it. Chiko is desperate for news of his father, who was taken by the government and wants to do something to help provide for his mother, so he answers an advertisement for teachers and ends up taken to a military training camp. TuReh is in a refugee camp in Thailand who watched Burmese soldiers burn down his home, his village, his hopes. What will he chose when he discovers Chicko, in desperate need of help.
Happy Reading!
Miss Huxford
Oh, how nice to sleep in and not have to move every time a bell rings! Smiley Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd. It's non-fiction! And I enjoyed it! Well, as much as you can enjoy learning about a horrible side of life that we like to pretend doesn't really exist-- human trafficking, specifically sexually exploited teens.

Rachel grew up in England, but at the age of 14 she left home-- tired of dealing with her "dad's" violent behavior and her mom's drinking. Rachel tried factory work, temp work, waitressing, but discovered that working in a "dance club" provided faster cash. Eventually she fell into an abusive relationship herself, where she "worked" to support his drug habit and was beaten when she didn't "earn" enough. Rachel finally reached out and found help at an American military base in Germany. After a year or two of healing there, she came to the US to reach out to trafficked girls here. This is her story of striving to make a difference for somone else.
Ugh! I am about to take up the practice of a former student. "I never read a book until the whole series is published!" Now I understand Ethan's frustration in either April or May. I just finished Asfall, and I want the next one, which is due out until Octobeer, I think. For all of my dystopian fans out there-- yeah all of you who devoured Hunger Games and Unwind-- here's your next must read, Ashfall by Mike Mullins, who is, by the way, from Indiana. I had a chance to meet him at a library conference last November.

Unlike Hunger Games and Unwind which are clearly set in the future, Ashfall could happen NOW! Alex's world changes drastically when the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone errupts-- yes, there really is a supervolcano benetah Yellowstone. It starts out bad when a chunk of burning earth is hurled into Alex's house, even though he is 900 miles away in Iowa, and nearly burns it to the ground, but when all power and cell phone service are knocked out, and his parents are away for the weekend in Illinois visiting family, and the ash begins to fall, Alex's life only grows more complicated. Determined to find his family, as soon as the ash stops falling, he heads out to find them. But how is anything supposed to get anywhere safely and make sense of anything when all the structure and rules you've lived by for sixteen years are falling down around you? Read Ashfall and find out!
Now ladies, don't despair. I've read one for you too! Bitter End, and yes, Presley was correct again. She just picks out the good ones. Bitter End is the story of another Alex-- hm, 2 books in a row where the main character's name is Alex-- but this time Alex is a girl. A girl whose mother died when she was 8 years-old, and now 17, that same girl has never quite recovered. In fact, she's convinced that she won't fully understand until she can get to Colorado-- where her mom was headed when she died. Introducing Bethany and Zack, Alex's 2 best friends, who have been with her since she lost her mom and have been helping her plan that trip to Colorado for years, and in less than 10 months they will be heading out-- right after graduation. Then in walks Cole-- new, hot guy who notices Alex. The attention is flattering at first, but then he just gets so jealous of any time Alex spends with Bethany and Zack. And then the jealousy becomes hurtful.

Ladies, if any of you ever find yourself in a situation where you are being hurt, please, please, please, tell someone and get help. Love doesn't hurt.
Wow! The best Novel-in-Verse that I have read for some time. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus is for all novel-in-verse fans, especially those that liked Because I Am Furniture; it is also for fans of Tension of Opposites. Exposed is the story of Liz and Kate, two forever best friends, who do and have done everything together. Then one night changes that. One night when Kate gets mad at Liz and leaves her alone downstairs. One night when Kate's brother comes home for college. One night when Liz accuses Kate's brother of doing the unthinkable. When the unthinkable happens, many lives are shattered, not just the accused, not just the accuser.
Well, I still wish it would rain, but my house feels cleaner now and the only thing growing are the flowers that I am watering!

I'd heard the hype and a couple of students had told me just how great it was, but I had to read it for myself. Hunger Games watch out! Divergent is storming in! Really, I can't decide which I like better Hunger Games, Asfall, or Divergent! I know understand Kyle's longing for the next book, Insurgent, which is out by the way and will be available for you when we get back in August!

Divergent is the story of Tris. Tris lives in the Chicago of the future. What happened to the rest of the US? You never find out, but Tris' life keeps you plenty busy. Chicago is now divided into 5 factions, 5 sections. Each faction is known for something specific. Amity cares. Candor are honest. Erudite are intellectuals. Dauntless are fearless. Abegnation are selfless. When you turn 16, you chose which faction you will stay with-- the one you have been born into, or another.

Tris has just turned 16. She is Abegnation, selfless. But is that who she really is? She loves to watch the dauntless, but can she turn her back on her own faction? Can she survive the Dauntless initiation?

What will I read next? Who knows! I spent an hour at Books A Million yesterday and stopped by school this morning! The possibilities are endless! Happy Reading! Smiley
By the way, if you'd like a little more on Divergent, Dru has an excellent trailer for it on our Book Trailer's page under Library Media Center! Excellent work, Dru!!
And not to be forgotten, if you'd like more on Bitter End, one of my earlier posts of the summer, you can check out a trailer by Presley on our Book Trailers page. It is down in the alphabetical list of titles!
Well, it's been several days since we chatted! That doesn't mean I haven't been reading! I finished 2 books since last we were together. One was about angels! Great book! If you'd like to know more, feel free to ask we about it when we get back in August. The other one was Miracle by Elizabeth Scott-- same author as Stealing Heaven, Bloom, Perfect You. Miracle was good, but it was not a light, happy book. It was the story of Megan, the only survivor of a plane crash. She should feel blessed; she should feel like a miracle, because she survived; but, really, Megan doesn't feel anything at all. She can't even remember what happened. Everything feels so blank, so numb, so not real. Will life ever be "normal" again? Will anyone ever let her get past being a miracle to being broken and in need of help? Read Miracle to find out. Hopefully I'll have it ready for you when we get back, or just slightly after we return!

Next up, Jay Asher-- Thirteen Reasons Why-- and Carolyn Mackler's-- Tangled-- new book: The Future of Us. I didn't mean to get so lost in it today, but I think I may already be half way through. Happy Reading! Smiley
Is this heat ever going to end? Thank goodness for air conditioning. Well, I finished Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler's newest book last night, and I am glad that I read it, but if Ihad to choose, I would still go with 13 Reasons Why first. The Future of Us is set in 1996. The Internet and America Online are just gaining in popularity. Facebook by no means is in existence yet, but when Emma unpacks her new computer and installs the AOL CD-ROM from Josh, she finds herself on Facebook, 15 years in the future. What is this? A prank? A virus? Well, it's not very funny, because Emma's life doesn't look too great.

Now this scenario does make me think. If I could see what my life was going to be like in 15 years-- who I married, how many children I had, where I lived, where I went to college, who I was friends with-- would I want to? This is what Emma and Josh struggle with. One little change here and now can have ripple effects for years.

The one thing this books does confirm for me is that while social media is very much a part of our lives-- it's useful and entertaining and connect us to each other-- I still don't want to lose sight of living here and now, of being a part of the world around me, of making decisions, of taking action, of interacting with my live friends and family.

Next up, Carol Lynch William's (Glimpse) newest novel-in-verse, Waiting. Happy Reading! Smiley
OMG! Oh my goodness! One of the best novels-in-verse that I have read in a long time. Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams! London and Zach are brother and sister, best friends, missionary kids who have lived all over the world, but have come back to the United States. The story begins and you know Zach is gone, but you don't know how, why. London is trying to deal with her grief, but it is staggering, and her parents are no help. Her dad throws himself into work-- writing books about his experiences overseas. Her mom drowns in grief, laying around a dark house, refusing to speak to London. London blames herself and feels like her mom blames her as well.

She does find comfort with Taylor, Zach's best friend, her former boyfriend. Then there's Jesse, beautiful new boy in London's English class. And Lili, new girl who tries to befriend London despite her severe withdrawl and silence. London just longs for someone to reach out, to touch her, to help her talk about what's trapped inside. I almost couldn't read the last seven pages or so because of the tears rolling down my cheeks. Got to read it again! Smiley Happy Reading!
So Waiting was just as good the 2nd time as it was the 1st time. Now I'm on to, and almost finished with, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson-- Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. Calling all Sarah Dessen, Suzanne Collisanti, and Deb Caletti fans! And once again you have my permission to put this book down and stomp away for a while. I am mid-stomp. Literally, it's been almost 24 hours since I last looked at it, because if she isn't about to up and do it again!

What if you had the chance to go back and fix something you messed up big time? What if you had the chance to know your father was dying before he was simply gone? These are the gifts that Taylor has been given this summer, but Taylor has a bad habit of running away when things get difficult. She shut Henry and Lucy out once before, and now, with her father fading away a little more each day, she's about to make the same mistake and do it again!!! I just might have to read ahead a few pages to make sure she isn't going to mess up big time, again! Happy Reading!
I'm glad I didn't stomp away never to return! Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson was infuriating at times-- I was sure Taylor was going to really mess things up-- but it also offered one of the best endings I have ever read. I was in tears for about the last 20 pages. Very well written. Very good. So if you're in the mood for an agrivating tear-jerker, I should have Second Chance Summer ready for you when we get back in August or shortly there after!

I'm looking at a stack and a sack full of books trying to decide what's next! Happy Reading! Smiley
Guys, sorry, but you won't enjoy this posting much at all. Ladies, if you're in the mood for a good cowboy romance, boy did I find one! I liked it so much that I read the good parts twice. Now, you'll have to find this one on your own-- we don't have it at school, and yes, it is a historical setting, but the story and the emotions over-ride that. So, I highly recommend Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer. Happy Reading Smiley
Okay, so I disappeared for a while. That doesn't mean I wasn't reading!

Insurgent-- the sequel to Divergent-- it's thicker! But it's just as good. The bad news-- Book 3 does not come out until Fall 2013!!! We have to wait a year! Tobias and Tris are now navigating a world where factions are fracturing and life as they have known it may never be the same, and they may not even have each other to count on. Oh, I got so mad at this one. I put it down and walked away for 2 days before I could finish it!

Calling all fans of Dee Henderson, Colleen Coble and Terri Blackstock-- meet Dani Pettrey! Now, we don't have this book in the library-- at least not yet-- but Submerged was an excellent murder, suspense, romance adventure. It is also a story of forgiveness.

If you need a new Cowboy Romance-- Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer is wonderful! Yes, it is a historical setting, but it reads contemporary! I 2 of her 3 other books, and they were good-- To Win Her Heart and Tailor-Made Bride-- but Short Straw Bride was by far my favorite. In fact, I read parts of it a second time. Once again, this is not one that we have! You'll have to be brave and find it on your own.

Another straight-up romance, Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt. Great opening! It's 5 days before her wedding, and Alli just kissed her future brother-in-law! And she enjoyed it!

That's all I can remember for now! Stay tuned for more! Happy Reading! Smiley
Okay, ladies! If you are in the mood for a good cowboy romance.... If you are a fan of Short-Straw Bride.... The newest title by Karen Witemeyer, Stealing the Preacher, does not disappoint. Follow Crocket, Travis' brother from Short-Straw, as he sets out on his own adventure, following the call to preach. The only problem is before he can reach his destination and preach his first sermon, he is kidnapped. Yes, you heard me right, kidnapped. And he was the only thing taken from that train. To find out why, how he was an answer to prayer, and the spunky red-head that captured his heart and his attention, read Stealing the Preacher. Happy Reading!
I've just discovered the next read for fans of Perfect Chemistry and Going Too Far. Check out Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Echo is trying to remember what happened the night that she can't remember. All she knows is that she went to see her Mom and woke up in the hospital 2 days later with scars covering her arms. Rumors swirl at school-- she's a cutter; she tried to off herself; she's crazy. Only her 3 best friends know the truth.

Noah just wants to find a way to get his brothers back. 2 years ago his parents died in a fire. They're all he has left, but Child Protection thinks he's dangerous; he is, but only if you're female & are willing. A new therapist at school thinks she can reach both of them and arranges for Echo to tutor Noah to get his grades back up. When Noah's with Echo, calculus isn't the only thing he's interested in.... Those red curls and big green eyes drive him crazy... not to mention the desire to help her solve the mystery of that night.

So, buckle your seat belts and schedule yourself a day of reading. Pushing the Limits is quite a ride! Happy Reading!
Okay guys, I haven't forgotten you! Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught is for either gender. It is the story of Jason, who refers to himself like so many of his peers do as Freak. After returning home on a normal school day, Freak learns that Sunshine is missing. Now, for most teens this wouldn't be a big deal, but Freak, and Sunshine, and their friend Drip are NOT normal teens. They are "alphabets." The first is SED- Severely Emotionally Disturbed. Then there's SM- Selectively Mute- that's Sunshine. ADD-- we all know that one-- that's Drip. And SCHZ- Schizophrenic- that's Freak. He here's voice. Multiple voices. They tell him how stupid he is, how wimpy he is, how he can never do anything right.

So when Sunshine comes up missing, and Freak and Drip were the last to see her, it doesn't take long until they become suspects. But they are BFF's. No way either of them would ever do anything to hurt Sunshine. But Sunshine did tell Jason something bad, something very bad, because she had to tell someone, but then she told him to forget, and he did. But now he wonders if maybe he should remember. If remembering will somehow help find her. If only he could think past those voices and that dark cloud where the memory should be.....

Happy Reading! Smiley
Okay so you're in the mood for a sad book. Well, have I got one for you! The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle is definitely sad. How would you feel if instead of going with your family to get ice-cream after dinner, you decided to stay home do French homework, only to have the police knock at your door an hour or two later to tell you that your mom, dad, and brother have all been killed in a car crash? Welcome to Laurel's world. Luckily there's Nana, who leaves her own life to take care of Laurel. But there's more. The man driving the car is still alive, but barely, and Laurel knows his son, David. They used to be friends, but then he chose the railroad crew, the group that hangs out in the rail-station, drinking, smoking, you know. But the more Laurel tries to push David away and blame him for her loss, the more she realizes that he may be the only one who understands what it's like to understand how life begins, after.

Happy Reading! Smiley
What's it really like for someone in a coma? West is finding out because he is in one and is just waking up. It was a dirt bike accident. He could feel it. He knew the trick was going wrong, and the next thing he knows, he is waking up in a hospital, unable to move his legs, just starting to feel his hands. His mom comes to see him. His dad. His friend Mike. His girlfriend, Alllie, breaks up with him while he's out. How uncool is that? Nurse Norris is his favorite.

But there's this other girl, with dark hair and fair skin. Who is she? Why is she here? She's in the room next to his and slips in when no-one else is around. Her name is Olivia. Why does West feel so connected to her?

A very haunting read, somewhat similar to I Heart You, You Haunt Me, and yes there is girl on the cover, but guys, don't let that stop you. West narrates the whole story. A very different read, so if you're in the mood to branch out, to try and unravel a mystery, try Blink Once by Cylin Busby!

Happy Reading! Smiley
Calling all fans of Dee Henderson & Colleen Coble! I mentioned the 1st book in this series last summer, but I just finished book 2, and it was all I did all day! Read! (What a happy way to spend the day, by the way!) I am talking about Shattered by Dani Pettery. Although you will miss some of the nuances, you will enjoy book 2 without having read book 1. Shattered continues the story of the McKenna clan in Alaska. We left book 1 with Piper in the hospital and Landon finally ready to tell her how he feels... only he doesn't. So now Piper is dating someone else, and it is tearing Landon up. He even finds himself in a bar contemplating taking another girl home for the night. Then he gets a call.

A young woman has been murdered and Piper's youngest brother is the prime suspect. How will he ever tell her? Worse yet, how will he ever keep her safe when she decided to investigate to prove her brother's innocence. And hence the adventure begins, complete with a road trip for Landon and Piper where they dance around growing feeling for each other. And, oh, did I mention that the real killer is still on the loose and isn't too excited about Piper's investigating and isn't against silencing her too?

Happy Reading! Smiley
Imagine not being able to read, as a Freshman in high school!?! How awful! I can't think of anything much worse, unless it would be a week without cookies! This is the plight of Autumn in Pinned by Sharon Flake-- an author for fans of Sharon Draper. She can wrestle like nobody's business and when she is in the kitchen, of the mouth-watering dishes that follow her out! Yes, her parents moved around a lot when she was little, so she changed schools frequently. Yes, they have trouble reading too, but wrestling is suddenly in jeopardy when they decide she has to learn to read.

Enter Adonis. Adonis can read. He is a whiz in math. He's in student leadership. He volunteers in the library 2 days a week-- smart guy! He tutors students free of charge. He could be the answer to all of her problems, but he can't stand Autumn, and she is in love with him and makes no secret of it. Oh, one small detail, though he doesn't think about it much, doesn't let it get in his way, Adonis is in a wheel-chair. He was born without legs.

Can Autumn and Adonis help each other find the missing pieces of their lives? Happy Reading! Smiley
Unfortunately, it is still several months until the next Gallagher Girls comes out, September 17 to be exact. But here is some good news. If you are in need of a good spy girl reading fix, I have 2 suggestions for you! I just finished Also Known As (AKA) by Robin Benway and Investigating the Hottie by Juli Alexander. While they are not as sophisticated as Gallagher Girls or Uncommon Criminals, they were still enjoyable.

In AKA, Maggie is the daughter of two spies. They work for the Collective, travelling the world, righting wrongs. For example, our story opens up with Maggie and her parents in Iceland investigating a bank president who suddenly has cash to burn; cash they suspect comes from human trafficking. The proof they need is in his safe in his office in the bank. Did I mention that Maggie's specialty is safe-cracking/lock picking? Well, that wrong was an easy one to crack, pun intended. Now Maggie isn't just cracking the safe, she's running the whole investigation-- trying to befriend a boy whose father owns a media empire that is threatening to name names, including Maggie's, of everyone in the Collective. Small problem, Maggie's not use to interacting with people her own age, making friends, going to school. And what if she falls for the guy she's supposed to be cracking? Hm.....

Then there's Investigating the Hottie. Amanda has no clue, but for the past ten years her Aunt Christie, a secret agent herself, has been grooming Amanda to join her in GASI to help keep the world free of tyrants and hackers and terrorists. It's Spring Break for Amanda, until she learns what she has been doing and that she has just received her first assignment, a small one, yes, but still a big surprise when you had no idea what your aunt had been up to. Amanda needs to find out if Golden Boy Will Middleton is a world-class computer hacker with designs to inflict chaos upon America as his last threat/hack mentioned. No pressure or anything. She has 1 week to find out, and, oh, did I mention, Amanda has trouble talking to boys too? And is there something going on between Aunt Christie and her partner Nic, romantically speaking that is? There sure are a lot of sparks that fly when they are together.

Happy Reading! Smiley
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