Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WoW: The Name of the Star

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Name of the Star
by Maureen Johnson
Release Date: September 29, 2011

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

I am a huge an of Maureen Johnson! 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a fun book and I am looking forward to something a little different! Especially if it is suspenseful and has ghosts. A book with ghost police has to have ghosts in it, right?

Be sure to check out my giveaway of the ARC of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays: True (...sort of)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"On their own, each of those sounds might rub an ear raw. But together, they made a song, a sad song of things gone wrong and barely hanging on."
pg. 30, True (...sort of) by Katherine Hannigan.

Be sure to check out my giveaway of the ARC of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oops I Have Two Giveaway!

Hello blog world! I was sorting out my books this weekend and found that I had two copies of the ARC of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan.

Here is your chance to win a copy!

Book Jacket Summary

If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean's sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.
Pulse-pounding and addictive, GLOW begins the most riveting series since The Hunger Games.

Now for the rules:

1) Comment on this page leaving a name and e-mail I can contact for mailing information.

2) Leave a second comment if you are a follower. (This includes new followers.)

3) I will pick the winner using a random number generator on Friday, Sept. 2. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

This is my first In My Mailbox, a meme hosted by The Story Siren!
This week I did a lot of book shopping and handed out a big chunk of change for some pretty cool books!

Close out sale at Borders:

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Half-Price Books:

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Barnes and Noble:

Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love
by Sarah Matheny

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 8/26-8/29

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:
“Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?”

I have two dogs! The first is a sheltie named Chance, he is ten years old and big pile of fluff! The second is Sully, I rescued him a shelter about a year ago. He is a terrier but other than that- who knows? He is a cutie though!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why We Love Books!

I am claiming a sick day and a video will have to do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

 The Night Tourist
by Katherine Marsh
240 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Jack Perdu, a shy, ninth grade classics prodigy lives with father on the Yale Univerity campus. Smart and introverted, Jack spends most of his time alone, his nose buried in a book. But when Jack suffers a near fatal accident, his life is forever changed.
His father sends him to a mysterious doctor in New York City—a place Jack hasn't been since his mother died there eight years ago. While in the city, Jack meets Euri, a young girl who offers to show him the secrets of Grand Central Station. Here, Jack discovers New York's Underworld, a place where those who died in New York reside until they are ready to move on. This, Jack believes, is a chance to see his mother again. But as secrets about Euri's past are revealed, so are the true reasons for Jack’s visit to the Underworld.
Masterfully told, The Night Tourist weaves together New York City's secret history and its modern-day landscape to create a highly vivid ghost world, full of magical adventure and page-turning action.

My Thoughts
The Night Tourist is a book that I have been eyeing at my library for a while but never picked it up because I always had other books to read. I grabbed it impulsively and started reading it during my lunch break. It was so interesting that I had to take it home and find out what happened to Jack and Euri.
Jack is a smart kid that always feels a little different than his fellow students and when he is hit by a car his perception of the world changes. He is able to see ghosts and is lead into the Underworld by a ghost name Euri. This is a rework of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth but with many secret truths of New York City mixed in. This book is really fun because it assumes you have an understanding of some of the Greek myths. It would be a great pairing with a Greek myth lesson or book talk.  Now Percy Jackson is not the only one out there for tweens! The characters are well formed and you really feel for Jack and Euri as their back stories come to light. Jack is searching for his Mother in the Underworld and Euri is desperate to leave. All the while Jack is being hunted down because living people should not interact with the dead. It is a suspenseful book and very entertaining!
I would almost compare it to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere but for the tween set. The world was similar to our own but it has that slight offset that makes the world so interesting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth
Library Copy
496 pages

Book Jacket Summary
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

My Thoughts
It took me a while to seek this book out because of all the positive reviews out there in blogland. I delayed reading Hunger Games, Matched, and other dystopian fiction because of this... I'm not sure why but so far they have all been excellent reads. Divergent is in that same boat and I wonder why I waited so long to read it.
I think by now everyone knows the synopsis or you can read it above, so this will be a plot light review. Instead I will be looking at the characters and the world because that is what makes a great dystopian. Tris is a great main character and struggles between the way she was brought up as Abnegation (the selfless) and the path she has chosen as a Dauntless (the brave). She finds her true courage in selfless acts but this is becoming an unpopular in an ever growing cruel sect. The Dauntless have become less about being courageous and protecting their fellow factions and more about punishment and cruelty. The world of factions is not new but Roth uses them to great effect and creates a world that is ruled by one choice. Tris wants out of her selfless life and it one that is better suited for her personality. To make things worse, she is labeled as a Divergent because she is suited for more than one faction.
I like Tris and her ability to see through the cruelty that everyone is being brainwashed into becoming in the initiation. The friends she makes during her training are very diverse in personality and suitability for being Dauntless. She handles betrayal realistically and deals with making friends for the first time. The romance is also handled well and I am glad that they got to know each other before really falling in love. It was not love at first sight nor a dislike at first sight. More of a get to know someone and then form an opinion. Yay for a more realistic approach!
Over all this was a fun read and cannot wait for the next one. I would recommend this one to teens because of the violence that Tris experiences in the Dauntless faction. There are several deaths and scenes that might disturb a younger reader. However, if they have read Hunger Games then they can probably handle this one.

Nook Books Deal

Georgette Heyer books are only $1.99 for Nook readers! Yay! I've already bought several to complete my collection! Her books are so much fun!
This is not a paid advertisement. Just thought I would spread the news to any other historical fiction lovers!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 8/19-8/22

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?”

I would have to say any of the Robert Jordan books and Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens at a whopping 928 pages! I read this one in high school (on my own). It was long and hard but worth it! It is probably my most memorable long book!

Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi

Dengeki Daisy
by Kyousuke Motomi
Personal Copy
192 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Teru, a poor and kind girl, recently lost her older brother, her only remaining relative. Before he died, he gave her a cell phone connecting her to a person he said would support her if ever he were unable to. As time passes she is cheered on by text messages sent from this enigmatic person, known only as DAISY. But one day, through an unexpected incident as Teru begins working for the delinquent school janitor, Kurosaki, she starts to question DAISY's identity. DAISY may be closer to Teru than she thinks.

My Thoughts
With Borders closing and putting everything on clearance, I am able to pick up a few manga series that I looked at but decided to buy later. The first series is Dengeki Daisy! I only bought the first two volumes, so I am reviewing what I have read so far.
Dengeki Daisy is a sweet story about a a girl, Teru, whose brother died but left her a cell phone and instructed her to contact DAISY whenever she needs help. She texts DAISY on a daily basis and is encouraged by his responses. At this time she accidentally breaks a window and is forced to work off the debt by the crazy (but cute) school janitor. You realize pretty quickly that the janitor, Kurosaki, is DAISY and that there is a tragic back story that will unfold.
I liked this manga and giggled several times throughout the first two volumes. The characters are zany but lovable and the story looks like it will be complex but sweet. I would recommend it for older teens because of some innuendo but it seems that all manga has it, so read at your own digression. The romance might make some uncomfortable because Kurosaki is several years older than Teru but so far it has remained innocent and light.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sesame Street: Where Are the Computers

So apparently when you graduate with your Masters, all you want to do is sit and watch all the shows you missed... Doctor Who and for some reason, Yugioh Abridged. Don't ask...
Here is a little entertainment as I get my act together and actually start posting content.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Last Unicorn Graphic Novel by Peter S. Beagle

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

The Last Unicorn Graphic Novel
by Peter S. Beagle
adapted by Peter B. Gillis
art by Ranae deLiz
Public Library

Book Jacket Summary
Whimsical. Lyrical. Poignant. Adapted for the first time from the acclaimed and beloved novel by Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn is a tale for any age about the wonders of magic, the power of love, and the tragedy of loss. The unicorn, alone in her enchanted wood, discovers that she may be the last of her kind. Reluctant at first, she sets out on a journey to find her fellow unicorns, even if it means facing the terrifying anger of the Red Bull and malignant evil of the king who wields his power.
Adapted by Peter B. Gillis and lushly illustrated by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon

My Thoughts
I don't think I would have pick this one up, except DJL gave it such a great review! You know what? She was right! This is a beautiful retelling of the classic book. Actually to be honest, I haven't read the original book and only recently watched the animated movie. So without the nostalgia goggles, I can honestly say that this was a great graphic novel. Nothing felt skipped or rushed through the telling and people who are unfamiliar with the book or the movie can read this without problem.
Plus it makes me want to go back and read the source material. De Liz has a wonderful artistic style that easily incorporates the beautiful aspects of the story with the creepy. 
I would recommend this one to anyone but especially to tweens who want a taste of the full length novel. There is action, adventure, fantasy, and a little romance.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Graduation, finally!!!

I have my Master's of Library Science!!!!!!
Now let the fun reading begin! ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Short Review: Songs to Make You Smile by Natsuki Takaya

Songs to Make You Smile 
by Natsuki Takaya
Personal Copy
208 pages

Book Jacket Summary
In these unforgettable tales from the creator of "Fruits Basket", a pop band vocalist meets the only woman who touched his heart; a girl wonders if her deceased father ever loved her; the son of a musical genius tries to find his own voice; an 18-year-old boy tries to learn to be a man; and, in a side story to "Tsubasa: Those with Wings", ultimate love thrives. 

My Quick Thoughts
If you are a fan of Fruits Basket and Tsubasa: Those with Wings, this is the story collection for you! Natsuki Takaya has five new short stories that are romantic, sweet, and so funny.
The stories include:
Songs to Make You Smile
Ding Dong
Voice of Mine
Double Flower
Tsubasa: Those with Wings- Bonus Fun Chapter: Princess Dark Black
I just reread the Tsubasa: Those with Wings manga and the short bonus story is such a fun! The characters are as wacky as ever and are now in an alternate fairy tale world. Much like the Cinderella play in Fruits Basket, the characters from Tsubasa mess up Snow White!
I know ToykoPop is gone but I have seen this one at several Half Price Books and other resell bookshops. A must for those who already love Fruits Basket and want more lovely writing from Natsuki Takaya!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WoW: The Glass Swallow

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
The Glass Swallow
by Julia Golding
Release Date: October 2011
Summary from Goodreads
She designs exquisite stained glass for the windows of her city. But the law is clear — it is forbidden for girls to be part of the glassmaker's guild. To keep her secret hidden, she leaves home and travels to the strange new country of Magharna.

When he witnesses Rain's capture by a gang of bandits, both his fate and his heart becomes tied to hers. They escape the outlaws, but Peri and his family of falconers are untouchables who are scorned by all, and Rain is not allowed to be part of their lives.

Can Rain and Peri's love survive the prejudices against them? And with the city on the brink of disaster will they be able to stop their world from smashing apart?

So glad this is coming state-side! It came out in England last year and I have been itching to get my hands on it. I love Julia Golding's books (espcially the Cat Royal series)!
Look at the pretty British cover!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

The Grimm Legacy
by Polly Shulman
336 pages

Author's Website Summary
What if fairy tale magic really existed?
Lonely at her new school, Elizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, hoping to make new friends as well as pocket money. The Repository is no ordinary library. It lends out objects rather than books—everything from tea sets and hockey sticks to Marie Antoinette’s everyday wig.
It’s also home to the Grimm Collection, a secret room in the basement. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales:  seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own.
When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before they’re accused of the crime themselves—or the thief captures them.

My Thoughts
As a librarian, my only thought throughout this entire book was- How do I get a job here? I so wanted to be Elizabeth and have the opportunity to see all this cool stuff! I love fairy tales and just being able to handle the wicked step-mother's mirror would blow my mind.  I think this book will have great crossover appeal to tweens! The fairy tale element will draw them in, while great characters and action keep them hooked.
Elizabeth Rew has the chance to work at the New York Circulating Material Repository when her English teacher recommends her for the job. This repository is a lot like a library, only instead of loaning books they loan objects. Elizabeth hears rumors of a special collection that resides in the sub-basement and wants to know more about the mysterious Grimm Collection. The job is very important to Elizabeth because she does not feel like she belongs in her home since her father remarried. Her "wicked" step-mother monopolizes his time and sets her off to do all the chores in the house. Elizabeth complains in a realistic way and does not seem like your typical Cinderella prototype. She finds friends among her fellow Pages and has adventure finding out who might be stealing the Grimm artifacts.     
I think I would also want to check out the Mermaid's Comb and be able to just sparkle for a little while! Tweens and teens will love this, especially those who already love fairy tales. There is action and a little romance. Tweens will be able to enjoy a look into high school and having a part time job. I really enjoyed this book and hope there will be more about the people working in the New York Circulating Material Repository! It is a great new slant on the fairy tale genre.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Memento Nora
by Angie Smibert
192 pages
Book Jacket Summary
Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.

My Thoughts
Memento Nora is a short read but a good one. The story is told in alternating views of Nora, Micah, and Winter but it is told more through Nora and the changes she goes through. Nora lives in a world where car bombings happen all the time and terror holds a grip on the cities. People take a little white pill at the TFC's and forget the traumatic events that take place. On Nora's first visit to the TFC she ends up not taking the pill because she see Micah spitting his out. She realizes that there is so much more the world than being glossy and going shopping. She and Micah start an underground comic to tell their story and ask Winter to help them copy it with out the city finding out. The way they do it is ingenious and I don't want to spoil anymore because it is a great read.
Nora, Micah, and Winter are all good characters and have distinct voices in each of their chapters. I especially liked Winter and I want to know more about her family. Winter is an artist and it is decidedly unglossy. Her artwork makes Nora uncomfortable but it expands her mind and makes her see beyond the superficial.
I would recommend this one to those who liked Matched or other dystopian world books. This world is on it's way and it is interesting to see a world on the cusp of becoming one. I would almost say it is a Matched for those who are short on time. Highly recommend! In fact, I have already handed it over to a coworker.

Go to the book's website to look for the fan's artistic rendering of what Nora, Micah, and Winter's comic would look like!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Library PSA

Who can resist the allure of a well done PSA? Here is one of the best floating around for libraries.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 8/5-8/8

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?”

Wow, ususally this question is so easy but I am so behind in my TBR pile! But....

I am so looking forward to Crossed by Ally Condie! I want to read it right now!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Iron Witch
by Karen Mahoney
Public Library
299 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

My Thoughts
I think I have grown to used to first person narrative and there was as a small taste in Donna's journal entries. Strange how I used to not always want first person...
 Overall, I didn't love it and I didn't hate. Donna was interesting but her sudden attraction to Xan was, well... sudden. We are supposed to believe that they have fallen in love so suddenly. I am kinda growing tired of the girl who falls in love so quickly for a guy she met only once.
I have read short stories by Karen Mahoney and have enjoyed them but I was not crazy about the novel. The idea was interesting, especially with the Armless Maiden fairy tale woven through. Donna's back story is what kept me interested but we haven't learned much- such as her aunt and Quentin. Donna just seems to drift around without any connections, even with her best friend Navin. I need more to Donna than a love triangle.
I give this book a meh and I will not be actively searching for the sequel.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WoW: Avairy by Kathleen O'Dell

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Aviary
by Kathleen O'Dell
Release Date: September 13, 2011

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.
But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark secrets about the family. The Glendoveers suffered a horrific tragedy: their children were kidnapped, then drowned. And their father George Glendoveer, a famous magician and illusionist, stood accused until his death. As Clara digs deeper and deeper into the terrifying events, the five birds in the aviary seem to be trying to tell her something. And Clara comes to wonder: what is their true identity? Clara sets out to solve a decades-old murder mystery—and in doing so, unlocks a secret in her own life, too. Kathleen O'Dell deftly weaves magic, secret identities, evil villians, unlikely heroes, and the wonder of friendship into a mystery adventure with all the charm of an old fashioned classic
I am excited about this one because it has a bit of a creep factor and an unsolved mystery! I am also afraid of birds after a childhood incident and an aviary would seem a bit scary to me too!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

 Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

Inside Out and Back Again
by Thanhha Lai
262 pages

Book Jacket Summary
No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.
But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next. 

My Thoughts
Kim Ha lives in Vietnam where she nurtures a papya tree in her backyard. She loves black sesame candy but her world suddenly changes when her family is forced to flee Vietnam for America in 1975. This book is told in free verse and pack an emotional punch of Ha's tranistion from her home to the strange country that talk's like snakes.

Ha is stubborn and quick to anger with everyone but still loves her family. Her loving mother, Brother Quang, Brother Vu, and Brother Khoi. Brother Quang is studying engineering in Vietnam and now helps fix cars with their American sponsor. Brother Vu worships Bruce Lee and gives self-defense lessons to picked on Ha and Brother Khoi loves animals. The other family member is Ha's fahter who is missing in action from the Vietnam Navy.

I don't know what it is about free verse but in this book it is so emotionally impacting. This is a great book that shows how first generation immigrants from Vietnam in the 1970's were treated. A great book for tweens!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic 
by Rosemary Clement-Moore
416 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

My Thoughts
Ghost stories are one of my favorite genres and Texas Gothic does not disappoint! I read this one while resting up in Italy. There was an evening where my feet hurt so much that I spent a few hours in bed reading! I do have to say that a book has to be pretty good to keep your attention when you are in another country and Texas Gothic did a very great job!
Rosemary did a great job of setting the book in Texas but not going with the stereotypes that plague other books but she does describe the book as an "eyes-open love letter to the place I grew up, not perfect, but beautiful and full of people and things that, good or bad, you won't find anywhere else" on her blog. I love that description because I think that is how we view the places we grow up. You can tell that she actually grew up in Texas and felt the sweltering heat.
The story is also fun and has ghosts, dogs, and a hot cowboy! Not to mention a archaeological dig that is the clue to discovering the ghosts identity. I hope there there are more books about the Goodnight family because there are some crazy characters running around! I especially like Amy, the main character, because she is the glue that hold everyone together and keeps up the normal facade of her witch family. She must come to terms with the fact that she may not be as normal as she seems and also with a budding romance with the cowboy next door. It is a rocky relationship though and Ben is the responsible type that resents being dragged into the mystery of the Mad Monk.
Overall, this is a fun book that is part mystery with a liberal amount of paranormal and a dash of romance! I highly enjoyed it and cannot wait for more!
I will leave you with the first line of the book...
"The goat was in the tree again."
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