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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan

I'll be honest.
I loved the Percy Jackson series.
I never had any intention of starting
this series.
But then,
over Christmas,
I found the graphic novel version 
and bought it for Ethan.
Who devoured it.
And then proceeded to ask me some questions.
Which I could not answer.
So I picked this up
to answer his questions.
So,
basically,
you could say I read this for my son!

The Percy Jackson series
ends with a prophecy:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

The Lost Hero
picks up from there.

Here we meet 3 new heroes:
Jason: who suddenly wakes up
on a field trip
sitting next to a girl who claims to be his 
girlfriend.
Piper: who has the ability to make people
give her things.
But cannot figure out why her boyfriend
has no clue who he is.
Or her.
Leo: the third wheel.
The best friend
who has the ability to make fire
out of nothing.

The three of them are carried off to
Camp Half-Blood
where they learn that Hera has been kidnapped
and they are sent on a mission to rescue her.

While the Percy Jackson series
focused on Greek mythology,
it would appear 
The Heroes of Olympus
will introduce us to Roman mythology.
Jason doesn't see himself as the 
son of Zeus,
but the son of Jupiter.
And while he sees to be the "star" of the book
Leo was the true hero
in my view.

A Touch of Midnight - Lara Adrian

I'm new to the whole 
Breed series
as I've nly read one book to date.
But it is a series I intend to continue with.
So, when I heard there as a prequel,
the story of Savannah and Gideon,
I thought I'd learn about them
before continuing on.

Now,
not being overly familiar with the characters,
I can honestly say I love them!

Savannah and Gideon's story takes place in the 1970s.
You know,
when you're in trouble and need help
you need to go to the pay phone! 
Love it!!!

Gideon is a 300+ year old Breed Warrior.
Savannah is a college freshman.
When she touches things,
she sees their story.
During some course work,
Savannah comes in contact with an old
English sword and soon sees
it's history.
She becomes a witness to the murder
of twin boys
by a group of fanged creatures.

And thus begins her introduction 
to the world of monsters.
To the world of vampires.





Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan

Another YA series comes to an end. 
And it did not disappoint.

Right from the beginning,
this book is action packed.
Kronos has a lot going
and doesn't give the half-bloods 
a break. 

Annabeth and Percy's relationship
is strained.
She still believes in Luke
and Percy doesn't.
Throw Rachel in the mix
and that's a whole other story!

The prophecy plays out,
with lots of twists and turns.
We learn about Luke's past
and what made him turn to Kronos.

While the series is about Percy Jackson,
The Last Olympian gives you a glimpse
into the lives of all the characters
we've grown to love
and hate. 
We learn why some of the demigods
sided with Kronos.
We see new faces
and old.
We discover that anyone can be a hero.
Not just Percy.







Friday, February 6, 2015

Prince Lestat - Anne Rice

I would have to say,
that Anne Rice is the one
that got me hooked onto vampires.
Lestat was my first vampire love.
I devoured the first 4 books
of the Vampire Chronicles. 
I couldn't get enough.

And for this reason,
I eagerly awaited the release
of Prince Lestat

However, 
I haven't read her books
in a long time. 
Maybe I forgot what they were like. 
Maybe I had high expectations. 
But whatever it is,
I found Prince Lestat 
a hard read. 

We meet Lestat
and learn what he's been up to
since we last saw him in Memnoch. 
We also learn what Marius,
Armand, Louis, Pandora
and other beloved vampires 
have been up to. 

Once we're all caught up
we begin to learn of a mysterious
Voice.
We now revisit all our vampire friends,
old and new,
and learn what they think of this Voice.

It's a good story.
I guess I was just hoping 
for a great story.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Read Aloud

When Ethan was young,
I'd read aloud to him
all the time.
We'd read at bedtime.
We'd read during dinner.
We'd read at the airport.
He loved books
and devoured them.

Then Ethan learnt to read.
And,
as we all know,
children should read everyday.
Slowly, 
my reading to Ethan stopped
as he would read to himself.

It was gradual.
Bedtime readings became him reading to me
most nights,
with me reading to him
some nights.
We would share read.
I'd read a page,
he'd read a page.
It was great seeing him grow as a reader.
I was/am so proud,
I forgot how important it was to read to him.

During Kindergarten and Grade 1,
Ethan began to love non-fiction books.
It was great seeing him
choose a genre on his own.
He then discovered graphic novels.
He loves these,
and cannot get enough.
His friends are reading Harry Potter
and Percy Jackson,
and while Ethan loves these,
he finds the size of the books
and the long chapters daunting.
He prefers his graphic novels.
And I'm ok with that.

Then I discovered Tashi.
Tashi's adventures involve
cheekiness, cleverness, 
a sense of adventure
and a love of storytelling and
tall tales. 
Each Tashi book
contains 2 short,
self-contained stories. 
It's a series I thought Ethan would enjoy.

So I brought the first book home.
Ethan seemed keen.
He looked it over.
And put it on the table.
Where it sat for a few days.
Finally, 
I asked Ethan if he wanted me to take it back to school.
Instead he asked if I would read it to him.

Being the teacher I am,
I took it as an opportunity
to share one book with Ethan,
and then direct him to the library
where he could read the rest on his own.

We loved the first book!
We laughed and talked
and made predictions.
It was fantastic.
Best of all,
Ethan asked if I could bring home the
second book. 

Here's the thing;
on the way home from school,
Ethan started reading the second book
on his own.
But I wanted to know what happened!
That night,
Ethan asked if I could read him the book.

We're on book 3 now.
And I love reading to him. 
Reading aloud to children
of all ages
is important.
But somewhere,
we forget that.
We know our children should be reading
everyday,
and while we make sure they do their reading
we forget to spend time 
reading to them.
Adult-child shared book reading
involves more than just reading. 
It also involves talking
about the books
as well as other topics. 

So,
thank you Tashi,
for reminding me of the importance
of reading to my child
everyday.






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Writer's Workshop - Top Picks

List your top 10 favourite apps currently

Once again,
this year,
I've decided my NY resolution
is about loosing weight.
Getting healthier.
Being fit and healthy.
So,
not surprising,
a few of my top apps
are health and fitness related.

1. Get Running


This is one of those
C25K apps.
I've just started
but am enjoying it so far. 

2. 30 Day Fitness Challenges


You know how you see those
30 day challenges on
Facebook or Pinterest?
And then you save the pic
on your camera roll
and try to recall what day you're on?
Well...
here are loads of those challenges
all in one app!

3. Daily Water


You know how you should drink
8 glasses of water a day?
Well, 
I don't drink nearly enough.
I know I need to drink more
so this app is great.
I feel accountable.
Plus, 
I like seeing the glasses empty
as I drink! 

4. Coach.me


This was pretty cool too.
So you set yourself daily goals,
you choose them,
then you tick if off when you do them.
It goes back to the accountability thing
I so need. 
I want to work out.
Tick.
Drink water.
Tick.
Read every day.
Tick.
It can be anything!

5. Mad Libs


This is a fun one to do with Ethan.
I've always loved using Mad Libs
in my classroom.
And now Ethan is having a blast.
It's great when we go out for lunch,
or are at the airport
waiting for a flight.
He can't stop giggling at his creations!

6. iAllowance


I love, love, love
this app!
Ethan wanted an allowance,
but I tend to forget to give it
every week.
Plus,
depending where we are
I then need to work out the exchange rate.
It's a chore.
But this app,
oh,
this app makes it all so easy!
Ethan has a virtual piggy bank
where every week
the allowance is deposited.
He can also earn more money
with chores.
And,
he can loose money with
a bad attitude!

7. Self Timer Camera


It's a timer!
For your selfies!
Enough said!

8. CamScanner


I discovered this one
when attending a conference.
The group made these charts.
They were really cool,
so a bunch of us grabbed our phones
to take pictures.
We were told that,
not only is the app free,
but the quality is better than taking pics.
Plus,
you can convert them into PDF files
and share them too.

9. TED


TED Talks!
Whenever you want to be inspired.
Awesome!

10. AppsGoneFree


Like apps?
Like free apps?
This one sends you 5 apps
that are free each day.
Great way to find new favorites!






Saturday, January 17, 2015

Girlie Weekend

Back in November,
my mate, Louise,
and I 
planned a girlie trip to Jo'burg.
We planned to go before Christmas
and get some Christmas shopping done.
But then things with my dad happened
and we had to cancel our trip.

Louise decided instead of cancelling
she'd simply move our girlie trip.
Last weekend was a long weekend here.
And Louise and I set off.

We got up early,
wayyyy toooo early,
Saturday morning
and headed on our adventure.

Saturday was spent in the mall
and then the cinema.

Sunday was another day in the mall,
followed by a show.

We saw The Rocky Horror Show.
It was fabulous.
I had seen the film
once,
a long, long time ago.
Seeing it live
is so much better.
While the film has always been interactive
the live performance takes it one step further.
Not only do you get to purchase
a box of props,
but the actors also interact with the audience.

I laughed so hard
my cheeks hurt.
And I got to see the silly side
of Louise.






Sometimes you just need to be silly.