Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to School Nightmares (aka #teacherproblems)

Those of you who follow me on social media may have seen me mention having back to school nightmares.

In the latest news, I had my first back to school nightmare last night.....‪#‎teacherproblems‬

Recently, I was asked what exactly these nightmares are about.  I don't know what nightmares other teachers have, but I can certainly tell you about mine.  Here are some things that typically happen in my back to school nightmares.

1) No one is listening or paying any attention to what I'm teaching.

2) We'll call them....challenging....students from the past show back up in my classroom

3) Nothing I try to do goes right!

4) Parents come in and yell at me.

I would say those are some of the main things.  They may not sound that bad, but in nightmares, it's all terrifying!  Some of these things DO actually happen in real life, but fortunately, they're not usually as bad as they are in the nightmares!  

Fellow teachers, what are your back to school nightmares about?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July Books

So, my first book is actually from June.  I published my May & June books post before the end of June, and managed to squeak this one out just before the end of June.  But I'm sure you're all ok with my slight inaccuracy, right! ;)

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

This is the second book in the Maze Runner trilogy.  I started reading this immediately after the first book.  Scott and I were both reading them.  He took the book to work and lost it.  I got another copy with my class' Scholastic book order.  Then he found the other copy.  Either way, life got busy, and I didn't get to finish it until June.  

Having become familiar with the characters in the first book, it was easier to read this one, and there was more at stake.  I wanted to know what was going to happen with the characters, and I enjoyed the second phase of their journey.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Clearly, this is the third book in the Maze Runner trilogy.  By this time in a series, you are looking forward to seeing how the story is resolved.  Dashner provides a satisfying conclusion to the entire story.  While I wasn't in love with these books, they were good reads.  I can at least recommend them to my students now!

The Kill Order by James Dashner

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Annnnnddd...because the prequel is a big thing these days, I used my Barnes & Nobel gift card (that I got as an end of the year gift from a student) to pick up a copy of The Kill Order.  

This one took me some time to get into.  The story takes place 13 years before The Maze Runner, so the reader is dealing with a new set of characters.  Much of the book details how the world got to the state it is in during The Maze Runner.  Very slowly, things started to come together to make the other three books make even more sense.  Without giving anything away, the ending of The Kill Order definitely sets things up for the trilogy to follow!

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

This was my Blogging for Books review book, and I loved it!  You can read my full review here.

That's all for July!  

Coming in August....
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Spelled by Betsy Schow

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blogging for Books: The Mapmaker's Children

Blogging for books is such a fun collaboration!!  If I could get through books as quickly as I would like (jobs and life just ruin everything! ;) ), I would have read and written WAY more reviews than I have.

In case you missed them, thanks to my sporadic blogging habits, here are the first two books that I've reviewed:

I just finished reading The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy, and I wanted to get my post about it done right way!  I'm happy to report that after an, "eh" experience with The Thirteenth Gift and not enjoying Flipped, I LOVED this book!


First of all, if you've been around here for any length of time, I think you probably know that I am in love with historical fiction.  While my obsession has mostly centered around the English courts in Philippa Gregory's novels, I'm pretty much a sucker for all things historical fiction.  

The Mapmaker's Children weaves together the tales of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist, John Brown, and Eden Anderson.  Sarah's story takes place in the late 1850's and early 1860's, and Eden's story occurs in 2014.  I was immediately taken with Sarah, and was disappointed when I had to leave the past and return to the present.  Eden was very unlikable to me, at first.  She was grouchy, mean, and kind of whiny.  One of the best parts of reading this book was following Eden as she grew and changed throughout the story.  I loved how McCoy connected the past and the present.  As details of the past unfolded, many things became clear in the present.  I ended up giving this book 5 stars on because it moved me to tears.  That's an automatic 5 star rating to me!

After struggling to like Eden's character at the beginning, I was disappointed that her story seemed to end abruptly.  I wasn't completely satisfied with the resolution and conclusion for her.

Overall, I highly recommend this book!  I was left feeling mostly satisfied with its conclusion, and I am actually very curious to learn more about the real life of Sarah Brown!
What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stuff & Things 7/9

Kristin's Knook

  • Clearly, I have not been around here much lately.  With an uneventful summer taking place, it has occurred to me that blogging is just no longer one of my priorities.  But every now and then, I feel like sharing something.  So I'll pop up from time to time....especially to share the books I'm reading. #booknerd
  • I have decided that I hate cooking.  This is kind of sad because I really like food.  The problem is that in order to eat food, I have to cook it.  I find this to be an interesting turn of events because I used to like sharing my experiences with cooking here in this space.  You can still see the recipes I've tried in my ABC order Recipe Index or the Category Index.  

  • It will  not quit raining here in Pennsylvania.  I think I should build an ark.... 

  • I have decided that I will be teaching a reading unit on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone this year.  I know so many kids love it, and even if they've read it/heard it/seen the movie before, studying it will be different and fun!  One of the things I plan to do is have a Class Cup competition during the unit!  Students will earn points for getting 100% on tests and quizzes, turning in assignments on time, being prepared for class, etc.  

What kinds of stuff and things are happening with you lately?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Something Weighing Heavy on My Heart

Just Because

Just because I agree with the preservation of history does not make me a racist. 

Just because I disagree with a lifestyle does not make me hateful. 

Just because I'm a Christian does not make me judgmental. 

Just because I don't understand, I have to ask this one question. 

Why do the same people who criticize and ridicule me for my beliefs expect me to be tolerant of theirs?

Because I am a Christian, I pray. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Because I am a Christian, I love. (1 John 4:8)

Because I am a Christian, I do not judge. (Like 6:37)

Because I am a human, I will make mistakes. (Romans 3:23)

Just because of all these things, God loves me. 

Just because He can. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

May & June Books (And a SPECIAL book review!)

Maybe I should change my icon to "Semi-Monthly Book Review with Rebeckann..."!  Either way, here I am!  I'm on summer break, and I finished a great book last night.  Even though, June is not over yet, I figured that I'd go ahead and write about all of my May & June books just to cover my bases.  

So as a reminder, it is my goal to read 30 books in 2015.  According to my reading challenge on, I have read 16 books, so I am past 50% of my goal!  

Cress  by Marissa Meyer

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer.  I read the first book, Cinder, in January, and the second book, Scarlett, in February.  Truthfully, the only reason I didn't finish this one until May was simply lack of time!  The character Cress is a Rapunzel character who has been imprisoned in a satellite since childhood.  She has become an excellent hacker thanks to her time alone in space.  She ends up joining with Cinder and Scarlett on their journey to save the world from the Lunar Queen, Levana.  

I did enjoy this book, and I may have given it 5 stars if I hadn't had so much time in between readings, but I am excited to get my hands on a copy of the fourth book, Winter.

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I listened to this book on Audible in about 10 days!  I really got sucked in by this story.  The books begins with this opening: My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.  After this, the book goes between the present-day and the past to tell Elizabeth's story.  I particularly enjoyed the historical aspects of this book, from the 1600s to 1800s and 1900s, we find that Elizabeth has found ways to live in each time period.  Yet each time things become good for her, she has to flee.

I really don't want to give too much of this away, so let's just suffice it to say that I loved it, and it's certainly worth a read (or listen)!

The River by Gary Paulsen

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I will confess this first: this book is a reread.  One of my reading classes was reading The River, and it had been awhile since I had read the book.  I decided to read it while they were working on it.  The River is the first sequel to Hatchet.  In this book, Brian Robeson returns to the wild with a psychologist named Derek to show him how to survive in the wild.  The idea is that Derek will share this information to help teach survival courses.  Things start out well...too good, Brian thinks.  Shortly after telling Derek that the situation lacks tension, Derek is struck by lightning, and Brian must figure out a way to help him survive.

This is a pretty good sequel to Hatchet.  While, neither of these books are my first-choice in personal literature, my students really love them, and they're good books.  This one is also relatively short, and so are the chapters, which my students really love!


Flipped by Doug Pagitt

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

This was a book I received from Blogging for Books.  I did already wrote an entire post for this review, which you can read here.  (Or you can click on my rating link to see my review on

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Saying I finished this is a lie, but I didn't want to just delete it completely. I wanted to like this, I really did, but I just couldn't get into this book at all. With numerous other books to read and reread on my list, I decided to make better use of my time. I'm pretty sure that this is the first book I have ever quit reading. I promptly listed this and the three following books I have on Amazon. I think it is safe to say that the best thing about this book will be the money I make from selling it! 


Riffs of Regret  by Micah K. Chaplin

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Back in October, I was paired with Micah from Unabashedly Me for The Great Pumpkin Swap that Kristin and I hosted.  As it turns out, Micah is also an author!  After reading one of her blog posts, she had copies of her book to be given out to review, and I jumped at the chance!  I finally had time to sit down and read her book, Riffs of Regret, and I really loved it.  In fact, I was up until almost 3 AM last night finishing it!  While I don't know Micah very well, from what I do know about her, I saw a lot of her in the main character, Cori.  The four main characters, Cori, Whitney, Sam, and Luke begin their adventure by attending a music festival together in Texas.  Whitney and Sam had been dating and decided to try to set up their two best friends.  The book has ups and downs, twists and turns, and you really find yourself falling in love with these characters and rooting for the best for them.  I loved the evolution of the characters from the beginning to end of the story.  It was so interesting to watch them change and grow, even though the story only takes place over the span of a year.  To be technical, there were a few typos in the story, an omitted word here and there, but I totally knew what Micah was trying to convey.  I really enjoyed this, and as you may be able to tell from the fact that I was up very late reading it, I couldn't wait to find out what happened to the characters in the end.  I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book! :)

And a special thank you to Micah for giving me a copy to read and review!  I will say, I was nervous after I agreed to do it.  What happened if I didn't like it!?  But I'm so glad that I did! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blogging for Books: Flipped by Doug Pagitt


I chose this book because it basically lies outside of genres that I would normally gravitate to.  While I can't say that I hated the book, I can say that I disagreed fundamentally with mostly everything that Doug Pagitt had to say.  

There are a couple of main problems I have with this book:
1. I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, but there were times during my reading where I was left pondering, "Uh. What?"  I just didn't "get" some of the points that Pagitt was trying to make.

2. This man stated that he was a pastor.  Maybe it's not very open-minded of me, but I feel that this pastor has missed the main point of the Gospel and what Jesus was trying to say.

I understand that Pagitt's point is to "flip" the traditional thinking of God and religion, and depending on your belief system this book may be wonderful or horrible to you.  There were some ideas that I did agree with.  I do feel that we should not be trying to hide or live with "If/Then" thinking.  God does not want us to simply do good in the hope that he will do something good for us.  That's not the point.  Bad things still happen to good people, and it's not necessarily God "punishing" them for their choices.  Sometimes bad things happen from bad choices.  Sometimes bad things just happen.  But I do completely disagree that we should just do whatever we want where ever we want with whomever we want.  We SHOULD be trying to live Godly lives based on Jesus' example, knowing that we will NOT ever be perfect because we're human.  We WILL make mistakes, and that's why we have a God who offers forgiveness when we mess up.  

While Pagitt didn't directly say anything like this, if we are ALL in God, does that mean it's okay to murder others, or live a life of addiction, or abuse your spouse or children?  It just makes me question his point.  Shouldn't those people be ashamed of their actions?  Shouldn't they want to repent?  
Overall, I felt that Pagitt wrote well, but I just can't get on board with this flip.

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