Title: The Classroom at the End of the Hall

by Douglas Evans, illustrated by Larry Di Fiori

Published by: Scholastic

Age appeal: Elementary School through Middle School

Appeals to both boys and girls, but especially to boys, even reluctant readers.

Synopsis: The classroom at the end of the hall is “special,” unusual, and just plain weird. Roger, who is assigned to that classroom at the  beginning of the year has no idea what is in store for him and his classmates. Some of these classmates include Emily, aka Emily the Neat whose desk becomes inhabited by the Messy Desk Pest and Kenneth, a poor reader who finds and CAN read from The Purple Reader. Teachers come and go in the Classroom at the End of the Hall because strange things befall them and stranger substitutes take their place, some for a short stay, others longer. Will Roger end up with a good permanent teacher or even a permanent teacher at all? What do he and two of his friends find LIVING in the attic above the classroom? Will the school year ever end?  Will the students in the classroom at the end of the hall even  WANT it to end?

Rating 5 out of a possible 5

Note: This is the perfect addition to a classroom library. It is humorous, imaginative, and “speaks” to kids.


Title: Punished

by David Lubar

Published by: Scholastic

Age appeal: Elementary through Middle School

Appeals especially to boys with a good sense of humor who love puns.

Synopsis: Logan is cursed, cursed with speaking in puns which make his teachers, his parents, and his best friend, Benedict, think he is being a smart aleck.  Before the old man he encounters in the library will lift the curse, Logan must accomplish several tasks involving research and clever thinking.  It reminded me of the Twelve Labors of Hercules in that the tasks are impossible for Logan to accomplish.  Will Logan succeed and lift the curse, or will he continue to live a very punny life?

Rating 4 out of 5 I would have liked the book to be longer, with more primary characters, but the “skinnines” of the book is part of its appeal.

Note: Adults may get tired of the puns and should be aware that boys, especially, who read this may speak in puns for days afterwards.


Book Clubs: The Book Is The Excuse, Not The Point

Nicholas C. Rossis

I’ve never actually belonged to a book club in the traditional sense. Yes, I do belong to some great ones like the Rave Reviews Book Club (#RRBC), the Fantasy and Science Fiction Network (#FSFNet), and eNovel Authors At Work (#eNovAaW), but these are online book clubs. I’m not saying this to belittle them (indeed, some of my online friends are closer to me than most family), just to point out that we can’t hang out in person for an evening of drinking, gossiping, and generally having a good time.

Cause this, it turns out, is what book clubs have traditionally been about. Depending on the percentage of the group that has actually read the book, it may be discussed, or it may not. For centuries, the book has been the excuse, not necessarily the point.

The Early Days

Literary party| From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books The precursor to book clubs were parties where playwrights like Moliere…

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Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 125

But I Smile Anyway...


“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.” – Connor Franta

What a beautiful quote Spidey found to ponder upon today!

It’s amazing what a simple smile can do.

A random smile from even a stranger can light up a dark moment for you.

To be greeted with a smile makes for a more positive start to each day.

I smile.


It gets commented on a lot too.

I am known for my positivity wherever I go.

When I was at university, I was described as ” That smiley, curly haired girl from Birmingham.”

One of my previous employers said to me that it was a pleasure to have me around as he could guarantee a smile whenever he saw me.

I’m not talking about sneers or sarcastic smiles, or cheesy grins, just genuine smiles.

And I smile pretty much all the time…

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This meme was originated/hosted by the Purple Booker, and first came to my attention as I followed my good blogging friend on Brainfluff.  Both are blogs worth checking out. LET’S GET SOME PARTICIPATION HERE!

Find a couple sentences from what you are currently reading to tease others into wanting to read the same book.  Scroll down and in the comments/reply box type in the “teaser”, being sure to give the book and the author as well.  Please no surprise endings or “spoilers.”

Here is mine for this week:

From The Address by Fiona Davis, a second time novelist, lifelong journalist and friend whose debut novel was The Dollhouse a mystery about the Barbizon hotel in New Work. (see previous review/type the title into the blog search box). This second novel is set at The Dakota, the building where John Lennon of the Beatles was shot.  Both novels alternate chapters from the New York buildings’ pasts with current or recent scenes where one of the characters discovers and writes about a mystery in the buildings’ pasts.  Both novels are well researched and are fascinating reads that will keep you turning pages.

It comes out August first this year, and I have a signed, advance copy brought to me by good friend and fellow blogger, Debbie Nance of Readerbuzz.

Teaser: Two cousins, one who has recently lost her job, meet at the Cafe Luxembourg in New York. Bailey, the one just fired is meeting Melinda, the “successful,” beautiful, talented cousin.

“…Melinda wasn’t here yet, so Bailey took a booth seat where she had a good view of the door. It wasn’t long before Melinda swept in wearing a jump suit with enormous shoulder pads, her blonde hair in perfect swirls down her back, as if she walked in a bubble that protected her from the humidity…she threw the Barney’s bag she was carrying on the floor and held out her arms.”

“Cousin!” [Here was Melinda, Bailey’s] “last hope.”

Please feel free to tease me into adding yet another book to my TBR list and shelf!




My Sunday Evening Post has turned into an every-other-Sunday-post, so today’s post will be a catch up for the past two weeks.

I Finished:

The Book of Awesome Women  a wonderful book which was my first “professional review.” (see previous post, please)

bel hooks’ Feminism is for Everyone, a book which explained today’s brand of feminism vs. the “militant” feminism of the 70’s and 80’s.  It was enlightening and educational.

Children’s Books: The Classroom at the End of the Hall, Punished, Ida B., Saving Zsasha, and Mister and Me     All were chapter books, some with more chapters than others, but because they were for junior high and below, they were fast reads.

The Houston Chronicle’s Sunday Edition for each of the two weeks.  This is my fun thing to do on Sunday afternoons when it is too hot to go out or to go anywhere here in Texas.

The Good American, which will be reviewed next week

Jo Jo Moyes’ Paris for One and Other stories, a novelette and eight other very short short stories  (To be reviewed next week also)

I am Continuing to Read:

Poetic Rituals by author and blogger Ritu Bhatal   I am so glad I bought this book of poems.  I just wish I could make it last longer.  I reward myself with two or so poems each day.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey a mystery published in large print in 1951   I have just begun but am totally intrigued.

I worked on:

The plans for my Bookworm Club which starts Tuesday

The syllabus and curriculum (plus lesson plans) for my Comp II class that begins at the local community college Wednesday.

I have been a busy girl and enjoyed visiting with friends (and a couple of doctors) these past two weeks as well.

Here’s hoping the week ahead is good for me and for you.  Happy Reading!



THE BOOK OF AWESOME WOMEN: Boundary Breakers, Freedom Fighters, Sheroes, and Female Firsts

This non-fiction book by Becca Anderson would make an excellent reference book and is also, at the same time extremely readable.  It was fun to go through and learn about “famous” women, who are presented in a way that kept me reading and wanting to learn more. The title, cleverly, says it all.  The chapters are divided into women who broke boundaries of race, gender and personal obstacles to be overcome; those who fought for freedom from the earliest days to the twenty-first century; “Sheroes” some of whom were my personal “heroes” as a young girl and as an adult; and those females who dared to be the first to do whatever needed to be done.

The forward by Vicki Leon made the statement that, “Well behaved women rarely make history,” so some of the women were considered unseemly,  un-ladylike, pushy etc. when they were just ahead of their time in their thinking and actions. Anderson chooses environmentalists, athletes, scientists, women of color, music muses, resistors, and artists, in the broadest definition of the word.

This book is a catalog of “Sheroes” that would make a great outline for a women’s study course or a personal study of women in general. Many of my “old friends” from sixth grade forward like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor; Florence Nightingale, who reformed the institution of nursing; Marie Curie, the discoverer of Uranium and the “inventor” of x-rays; and many many more of the childhood biographies I read were discussed in excellent, attention-keeping detail, and readable entries. The section on Women of Color is especially well done, including women from Sojourner Truth to Michelle Obama, as the author discussed the women’s lives and the real “obstacles” they overcame to make their contributions to our culture and our society.

Some of the entries were short, little known (to me) ancient women in leadership positions whom little is known about, but the author included them in her listings.  Others, more familiar, had longer entries which often gave little known facts about these sheroes that were fascinating to read and made me admire them even more.

It is not a book for just women. Young men and women, older adults who hear of names that sound familiar but aren’t sure of what they’re “famous” for, and anyone who wants information presented in a reader-friendly, interesting way should read this fine book.

The exciting news is that this book will be released on July 20th by Mango publishing  at

Information is available at or

Weekend Wrinkle: Support a Copy Editor



Copy editors, the unsung heroes of the writing world, are finally getting recognition. Unfortunately, it is because they face losing their jobs.

Hundreds of the New York Times employees walked out June 29 to protest the elimination of  the Times’ stand-alone copy desk where about 100 copy editors toil away to make the paper readable and accurate. Those folks have been “invited” to apply for 50 copy editing positions that will be available. (For an in depth look, see the Washington Post’s “Why hundreds of New York Times employees staged a walkout.” )

For years I have watched as copy editing positions were eliminated in favor of “streamlining” communication. The result has always been mistakes, confusion, and inaccuracy flooding through (not to mention hideously bad grammar and usage).

Modern communication, especially news, is focused on speed. The faster you can get the information out, the better. Copy editing slows things…

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