Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian

Memoirs of a Goldfish
by Devin Scillian
illustrated by Tim Bowers
32 pages
Personal Copy
Picture Book
April 2010

Book Jacket Summary
With his bowl to himself, Goldfish loves his life...until one day...
A personal account from a goldfish on life in his bowl as other intruders crowd him.
My Thoughts
The highs and lows of having a family are highlighted in Memoirs of a Golfish in a cute and fanciful way. My grandfather has always had a giant fish tank that I would spend time looking at and wondering what is going on in their little world. Well, this is a great book for those inquistive minds that wonder just that. Our little gold fish starts out by himself in a nice little fish bowl but soon gets over crowded by various other fish and decorations. All he wants is some room to himself and get away from all those other fish. His wish is granted but does he still want to be alone?
This book reminds me of Finding Nemo but in a good way. The way the fish interact and the crowded bowl just maked the movie pop into mind. I really like the illustrations in this book and the epressions that the little goldfish produces are rather funny. He is confused by a recent addition on a suba diver decoration and calls him Mr. Bubbles. It is an adorable book that even makes me want an aquarium.

Book Pairings
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb
Swimmy by Leo Lionni


Monday, August 18, 2014

Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC by Lisa Falkenstern

Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC 
by Lisa Falkenstern
32 pages
Personal Copy
Publisher: Two Lions
April 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Steampunk is fun! Steampunk is imaginative! It's making something new out of something old. It's dressing up in clothing from long ago. It's inventing machines out of hardware and found objects. It's creating a make-believe world! In Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC, two mice dressed in Victorian clothing use gadgets and found objects each starting with a letter of the alphabet to build something fantastic - which is revealed at the end. A wonderful and delightful surprise!

My Thoughts
This is a gorgeously illustrated themed alphabet book! I love the genre of steampunk and I knew I had to pick this up the minute I saw the cover. The mice are adorable as they build a project out of gears and rivets. A is for anvil and the mice bend spoons for their project. It all builds up to the last letter which you can guess starts with a Z and is steampunk themed... Yes, a zeppelin. 
This is for the parent who is looking for something unique or quirky for their growing reader. The mice are impeccably dressed and a dapper little gentlemen with waistcoats and top hats. Falkenstern really goes to town in the background with gears and pipes that spell out the words.
This is a cute book to add to any steampunk collection. 

Book Pairings
Steampunk Alphabet by Nat Iwata
Extraordinary Jane by
The Most Magnificent Thing by


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock
by Carolyn Keene
narrated by Laura Linney
Listening Library
3 CDs (3 hours, 14 minutes)
June 12th 2007

Book Jacket Summary
Nancy, unaided, seeks to find a missing will, and the search not only tests her keen mind but also leads her into a thrilling adventure. 

My Thoughts
Nancy Drew is always a book series that I can revisit over and over, especially the first of the series. There is some discussion on how certain books in the series are racist but this first book is not generally on that list. The mystery still holds up after 84 years and is so like the movie mysteries of the time. There is a race to find a hidden will that helps support several relatives that are in need of the money that Josiah promised them. The historical fashion of the book is also prominent in the book and Nancy went shopping for a chiffon dress for an upcoming dance. It is elegant and Nancy has much more freedom than most girls in that time period with her own car and large sums of pocket money from her dad.
Nancy is also brave when she goes up against furniture thieves and being locked in a closet. One of the fun this about this series is seeing how Nancy gets out of scrapes and how many times she can be kidnapped in a book. It was weird not to have Bess and George running around in the background. They are her best friends in later books and instead had a school friend named Helen.
I loved Laura Lenney as the narrator and had not trouble sitting through the three hour book at work. She had great tone and I could feel the suspense as Nancy got into trouble. This is a great audiobook to go with if you have a shorter time span than the usual six to eight hours audiobooks generally run.

Book Pairings
Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Thursday, July 17, 2014

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

11 Birthdays
by Wendy Mass
narrated by Kathleen McInerney
Scholastic Audio
Library Copy

Book Jacket Summary
GROUNDHOG DAY meets FLIPPED in this tale of a girl stuck in her birthday.

It's Amanda's 11th birthday and she is super excited -- after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she's shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven't shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating itself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .

My Thoughts
  Amanda Ellerby and Leo Fitzpatrick share the same birthday but after their epic fight they now share the same problem of being stuck in a time loop. They are reliving their eleventh birthday over and over again! They need to figure out how to break the cycle and how to be friends again. I really like the premise of this story but I am a sucker for a Groundhog Day scenario in my TV shows. Lessons learned and friendships mended make a great story. Wendy Mass has made an engaging story with Amanda having her first birthday party sans Leo, her former best friend. She is definitely moping around the first day and thinks everyone is playing an elaborate practical joke the next day she wakes up and it is her birthday again.
  This is the first of a series about the town and the magical old lady who seems to cause a ruckus in the children’s lives but in a good way. It is a good book and also delves into how growing up can change a person, especially when your best friend is of the opposite sex. Middle school is hard for that to continue easily. It also has a lesson in cause and effect plus taking a risk when the slate will be wiped clean the next morning. Is it really a risk to do something when there is no consequence? Mass explores this and growing up in this short book. It is an excellent read or listen in my case!

Book Pairings
Pie by Sarah Weeks
The Magic Half by Annie Barrows

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hipster Fashion by Karen Latchana Kenny

Hipster Fashion
48 pages
Lerner Publications- NetGalley
April 2014 

Book Jacket Summary
Is your style…

• quirky and clever but relaxed?
• a combo of flowy and structured pieces?
• an unconventional mix of patterns, accessories, cuts, and textures?

Then you've got that hipster vibe! Good thing you have lots of style experts to look up to. Stars like Miley Cyrus and Emma Watson are always pushing hipster fashion to the next level. With a few hip style staples and a splash of originality, you can create your own super trendy hipster fashion. Find out about the clothes, accessories, and hairstyles that radiate hipster fashion—and discover how you can use them to create your own eclectic style!

My Thoughts
Could You Be A Hipster? Well then you can take a look at this book and see what the trends of hispterism are all about. Apparently you wear quirky clothes with a retro and ironic twist. Be sure to put on your black rimmed glasses and converse shoes! But above all be sure to be carefree to pull off the quirky ironic look. This is a how to guide on how to dress and act like a hipster. Fun and filled with cute clothes. I flipped through this wanted almost every look. There were a few that were a little too out there for me but I can see teens wearing these! In fact I see college students all the time dressed like this.

My favorite part is seeing the celebrities that are considered hipster. Especially since I am still not exactly sure what being hipster is all about but I can look to the stars for inspiration!

Who's Got the Look:
-Emma Watson- likes a one-of-a-kind flair with unusual details with a hipster-chic style. Plus she is Hermione Granger! How can you not want to look like her?
-Ryan Gosling- V-kneck Cardigans, shaggy or scruffy look. A look for all out hipster boys!
-Tavi Geviason!!! I am a super fan of her blog and her TED talk. Is is an inspiration and not just in clothes.
-Zooey Deschanel has the retro flair! Also super cute and quirky!
-Solange Knowles- flayaway cardigans with retro patterns underneath. Style!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Flora and the Flamingo 
by Molly Idle
44 pages
Wordless Picture Book
Library Copy
Feb. 2013

Book Jacket Summary
In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Full of humor and heart, this stunning performance (and splashy ending!) will have readers clapping for more!

My Thoughts
This can either go really short or really long. The short version goes like this: Squeee! It is adorable and you must check it out! The longer version is as follows:
This interactive book is a must for any young dancer. Don't let all the pink dissuade you from showing it around to everyone because it is a 2014 Caldecott Honor book and it is fun. The book starts out with a flamingo gracefully landing on a lake with cherry blossoms all around. A little girl slowly progresses into the page and they dance. The flaps show slight movements of Flora and the flamingo. Hence the name. 
I would really want this one for my own personal library because the illustrations are exquisite with a fluid style that makes the dance movements look alive. Plus I can keep the flaps nice. The cherry blossoms add a wonderful frame and they fall gracefully across the page. Definitely add this one right away!

Book Pairings
Flood by
Shadow by Suzy Lee
 The Secret Box by Barbra Lehman


Friday, June 27, 2014

Honey Queen Book Blitz

Displaying HOney-Queen-blitz new banner.jpg
Honey Queen
Release Date: 05/31/14
Summary from Goodreads:
Love is honey sweet, but it comes with a fatal sting . . .

Melaina Maris needs wings to fly the gap between loving Sam and her family’s ancient curse that forces carnal love and then kills the male lovers. She won’t let the same fate that killed her father befall another. She refuses to allow her goddess-created bloodline to continue. But there’s no easy way out, especially after the curse turns her into the Honey Queen—savior to honey bees—intensifying her charms.

To help her fulfill the curse’s demands in the least harmful way, her grandmother takes her to mate with terminally ill Boyd. But Boyd’s gay. And an expert in mythology. Instead of having sex, Melaina learns how she might summon the goddess who created the first ancestor bee-charmer and cursed her bloodline. Melaina's magic—tears to save honey bees from endangerment—could be enough to persuade the goddess to end the curse. But an unexpected discovery soon changes that hope, spinning Melaina into a swarm of love, friendship and death.

Available from:

About the Author
Christina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest, and won Honorable Mention in the 21st Annual Writer's Digest Self Published Book Awards. She holds a degree in Accounting from California State University at Sacramento and a Certificate in Herbal Studies from Clayton College of Natural Health. Christina resides in Northern California enjoying life with her husband, two sons, four dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. 

The kiss of a sting sends heat up my arm. I don’t flick away the stinger. Instead, I watch the barb pulse like a heartbeat as it unloads its venom. Pleasure and guilt war within me. I’ve never before felt the sensation of a sting, as if a swarm buzzed through my veins. Nor have I ever murdered one of my own. But life with our honey bees changed last summer. Now our connection to them is even more twisted, morphed into a love-hate battle I wish would end.   

“I know,” I say with partial regret, as squadrons of bees swoop in to investigate their sister’s death. The banana-like scent of alarm pheromones fills my nose. I pull on my glove, deciding not to kill any others or further tempt fate. Even one sting raises my risk of becoming like Mom, crazy with need, using alcohol to replace her addiction to bee venom. But I had to understand what seduced my mother. I had to taste the pleasure that deceives, so that I know firsthand what I’m fighting against.

I wait until the buzzing heat of the sting fades, ignore the temptation to expose my flesh again, and continue to work the hives. Three colonies down, three more to go—just enough to pollinate our fruit orchard and release the pheromones Gran, Mom, and I need to stay alive.

A part of me misses the rows of hives that used to make up our apiary, how spring’s arrival was like a big party with a million honey bees as our guests. A bigger part of me misses my mother who, before last summer, danced in the orchard every morning and sang to me every night. Now it’s my turn to come out here in the morning and greet bees that would kill her in a wing’s flutter but that we both depend on for life.    
1 ebook of Honey Queen (INT)
1 "Honey Bee" swag pack (USA). Swag will be bookmark, buzz card, beeswax lip balm, honey sticks, honeybee charm.

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