Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner Book Review


Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner

Goodreads Summary:

#1 New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner, author of Catch Me and Love You More, returns with a heart-thumping thriller about what lurks behind the facade of a perfect family. 
This is my family:  Vanished without a trace…

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

This is what I know:  Pain has a flavor…

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

This is what I fear:  The worst is yet to come…

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices.  Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

This is the truth:  Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go.

My Thoughts:

My first thoughts as I began to read this book were that I wasn’t really getting into it but would just plod through to finish. It was a surprising feeling since I love Lisa Gardner’s books.

BUT- I soon became spellbound. How could I have ever doubted her? 🙂

With a few twists and turns throughout and some shocking reveals in the last couple of chapters, this one did not disappoint!

5 out of 5 stars

Tech Thursday

I wanted to share how we are using Protopage as our Class Page, but I think I’ve already done that too much. 🙂

So I’ll go with QuizStar 4 Teachers.

I’ve only used this website twice, but I’m loving it so far. I don’t give a lot of multiple choice tests in my classroom this year. They create mostly- just simple things.

However, when you do need to create a quiz/test that’s either multiple choice, true/false, or short answer- the place to go is QuizStar!

You create the quiz, assign each question a point value, provide the answer key AS YOU’RE PUTTING THE QUESTIONS IN, and then assign it to your class. Boom! Done! It will grade it for you!

You will first need to set up your students in your class and give them their username and password. Doesn’t take long at all.

Have you ever used something like this???

It’s Monday- What Are You Reading? 1-20-14

Here we are with another chance to share wonderful books with each other thanks to Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts and Sheila over at Book Journey who both sponsor this great meme each week for young adult/children and adult respectively!


I had a slow reading week because of school and running and a COLD!!! I’m finally feeling better! 🙂


Mechanics of Writing

Do your students struggle with the mechanics of writing? Even the basics?

Yeah, mine do, too.

So this post is all about THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

THE GOOD: We have written more this year than any other year.

THE BAD: The majority of my students are still making simple mistakes.

THE UGLY: In a ONE paragraph summary last week that they submitted to me electronically, ALL of them had to make corrections, and 15 out of 16 had to make corrections THREE times, and THEN some STILL had mistakes.

We are talking about capitalization errors, simple punctuation errors, leaving words out, using the wrong word, and spelling mistakes with simple words.


To be honest, today I almost cried.

I wanted to GIVE UP.

Are they not embarrassed? Do they not care?

But then as I was researching (yeah, I guess you figured out I didn’t give up), and reading, and tweeting, and getting some good feedback from other teachers, I realized something:

Through their writing, they are really telling me that however I have been teaching editing has not worked.

I, the teacher, have got to make some adjustments. Some serious adjustments. And quickly.

So instead of going with my original plan this week for english/writing, I’m gonna modify it a little.

Tomorrow we are going to learn how to do an “Express Lane Edit”. You can read about this concept by Jeff Anderson HERE in a Voices in the Middle article that he wrote.

Tomorrow we’re going SHOPPING. For some errors. OR some good writing mechanics.

We are going to CHECK THEM OUT.

And of course we are going to write a RECEIPT for the ones we find.

Then somehow in this overwhelming curriculum, and in our stretched to the max schedule, we ARE GOING to become editors of our own writing. And we are going to get good at it. 🙂



Protopage and Daily Agendas

I mentioned our Protopage that we have started using in our classroom in my previous post HERE.

It has useful links, our morning work instructions, etc. I’m now thinking (I do this A LOT) that I could put a daily agenda on it each day. Something to guide ME, and something for the kids to see and read. Might be especially helpful when kids are absent!!

Prime example:

Student: What did we do yesterday while I was out?

Teacher: Ummmmm……let me think back.

Other Student: I don’t know.

See what I mean? Might really come in handy! LOL!

Here’s a screenshot of tomorrow’s agenda I made using a sticky note on our protopage:



My students can also duplicate this sticky note and put under their individual tab if they want to. That way they could erase each thing as we do them. They will definitely take advantage of this feature on Fridays since our Fridays are COMPLETELY individually paced!!! You can read about how we run our Fridays/assessments HERE or HERE.

I can honestly say that I am LOVING being a 1:1 classroom-EVEN with ALL the difficulties we have had!! In fact, I just talked with our super today about POSSIBLY unblocking youtube or doing SOMETHING to make it easier for teachers to access. THAT has been my biggest obstacle this year-blocked sites. Makes innovate lesson planning pretty much IMPOSSIBLE. 🙂

Hoping for the best tomorrow with creating those tables in google docs for our climate research. It’s quite the learning curve for the students to do these types of things. 🙂

Teacher Channel Tuesday-Do Nows

One of my goals for this blog this year is to take a couple of days each week and use those days for some regular, dedicated posts. I’ve decided to “try” Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Tuesdays will be my Teacher Channel Videos to share with you. I’m a subscriber of them, so I get a weekly email with a few videos in the email. I’m planning on sharing ONE video each week. On Tuesdays. 🙂

This week is all about DO NOWS. Or morning work. Or bell ringers. They have many different names.


I’ve ALWAYS had my students work on something when they get to class-even back in Kindergarten. Like this teacher said, it helps set the tone of the classroom, helps with classroom management.

The kids know what to expect.

Now WHAT I’ve used as a do now has changed over the years. It’s even changed THIS year. 🙂

We started out with a poetry routine. Then I changed it to math because these kids need so much math review.

NOW, it’s something different each day. BUT-they have no reason to be confused or lost BECAUSE they have a friendly little reminder on their computers.

I found this site PROTOPAGE. It’s a home page for your computer. It has tabs, widgets, sticky notes, etc. It’s so very way cool. 🙂

If you want to see an example (and remember that we are just getting started with it) here it is:

Our 6th grade PROTOPAGE,

So we have a different tab for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Their morning “DO NOW” is under each tab for that day. Voila!!

This is our 1st week for the different morning DO NOWS, so we will see how it goes. AND we were out Monday because of the cold weather, delayed 2 hours today and tomorrow. Not exactly a good week to get something new off the ground. 🙂 That’s school. Actually, that’s life!

What DO NOW do your students when they come into your classroom????



It’s Monday- What Are You Reading 1/6/13

Here we are with another chance to share wonderful books with each other thanks to Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts and Sheila over at Book Journey who both sponsor this great meme each week for young adult/children and adult respectively!


First of all, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve written one of these posts. September-WOW! How can I make sure that I do this each week?

Well, maybe I need to go ahead and set the outline post up in advance as a draft. That way I can just plug in the recent reads. Hmmm….I believe I might do that!

And how about these screenshots? Is this cheating? Because this was EASY PEASY!

None of these books below got less than 4 out of 5 stars from me. And have I told you lately that I adore YA?

And I love, love, love to read. So whenever I retire from teaching-THAT will be what I look into doing-something with wonderfully wondrous books.




What have you read lately? Any books that you just couldn’t (or didn’t want to) put down??

My One Word 2014

While on twitter the other day, I saw where people were committing themselves to One Word instead of New Year’s Resolutions. Sounded interesting so I decided that even though I have made some goals for myself this year, I would like to choose one word that would encompass everything. Sort of like a way to focus.

A lot of my goals for 2014 are for myself- like running, reading, teaching, blogging. So the initial word that came to my mind was ORGANIZED. Because let’s face it-without being organized I will never accomplish what I want to. I even talked to my husband about this one word focus. He said that he was going to be a better husband to me this year. I told him-NO, NO it has to be just one word. (Insert here-STUPID GIRL, why didn’t you just let him DO THAT??!!??) 🙂

So he decided organized would be his word, too, seeing as we have 80 acres of land that’s divided into 3 sections IN 3 DIFFERENT PLACES. AND he works full time, we have cows, horses, donkeys. Oh, he also takes care of about 150 head of cows for a guy in another county. WHEW! Good word for him.

Later on that morning, the word CONNECTED came to my mind. I’m already connected online. Definitely! But I need to be more connected with my family-mainly my 3 kids-mainly my youngest. She’s 19 1/2 and in my opinion has chosen paths for the past 2 years that aren’t good ones. At least not ones I want for her. 🙂

THEN it happened. She called me and asked us to come to her house. She needed/wanted us to get rid of something that someone had left in the yard. Something that frightened me in a way. Not to go into too much detail here, but when we left her house and I got back home, I cried. For the millionth time in the past 2 years. That was NOT how I had wanted 2014 to begin. And in the midst of this crying, feeling sorry for myself, hoping for better things for her spell-the word came to me.

BELIEVE. Believe that things will get better. Believe in God’s power. Believe that I will reach her again eventually. Believe that a new direction will be found. Believe in God’s power.

And then I realized that this word BELIEVE would encompass ALL things in my life.

Believe I can run consistently again.

Believe that I can hold my tongue when needed.

Believe that I can stop being so judgmental of people.

Believe that I can be organized.

Believe in my ability to teach and teach well.

Believe in reaching my reading goals.

Believe in attempting and accomplishing teaching/blogging goals.




Now, if you’re still reading this post and haven’t been thrown into a slumber 🙂 you should check out the book that inspired the #oneword action.


I downloaded it to my kindle and read it- It’s a short and very inspiring read.

This is my favorite quote from the book:

” Your word shapes your character. Your character influences your actions. Your actions influence others. The lives you touch and the impact you have determine the story that will be told about you tomorrow.”

And then I created 2 word clouds on Taxgedo-one for my husband and one for me. I printed, trimmed, and put on our bathroom mirrors.


I changed the color and printed another one for my little office. And check out the little plaque to the left that I already had. See the word Believe? 🙂


I have really been focusing on my word throughout each day. Like REALLY focusing on it. Here’s one example of how I tried it out yesterday.

I took the 7.5 ft Christmas tree down by myself and packed it away. During this process I said (repeatedly):

” I BELIEVE I will NOT use any bad language.”

And I didn’t!! See? It’s working! 🙂

BELIEVE is now all around me.

Even last night I was reading a picture book about Santa Claus-Well, you guessed it-the word BELIEVE was all in it!

Oh, and yesterday? My daughter called and talked to me for 1 hour and 14 minutes. I BELIEVE. 🙂

So there’s my story.

I bet you didn’t BELIEVE I was ever going to finish telling it. LOL!

What will be YOUR word for 2014???

Book/Office Organization

I’m too tired to crank out my reading challenges post OR my #oneword post.

Because THIS is what I’ve been doing today (along with taking down Christmas stuff, laundry, etc….). 🙂





I would show you the BEFORE pictures, but I’m too embarrassed!! 🙂

There’s still a lot I want to do, but for now….. I’ll just look around and feel proud!

Do you have an office or book room in your house??