Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WOW: Violins of Autumn


"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:


Violins of Autumn
by Amy McAuley
Release Date: June 19, 2012
 
Summary
 
Go behind enemy lines during World War II in this tale of romance and espionage...
Betty, an American teenager living in Britain, is determined to contribute to the cause when the Germans begin bombing London in World War II. Instead of collecting scrap metal or running air raid drills like most girls her age, Betty lies about her age and trains to become a spy and member of the Special Operations Executive. Now known by her secret agent persona, Adele Blanchard, she soon finds herself parachuting over German-occupied France in the dark of night to join the secret Resistance movement.
Adele's missions in Paris and throughout the French countryside delivering top-secret messages, lead to several close calls with the Gestapo, but it's when she crosses paths with a young American pilot that Adele fully realizes the brutality of this war and the seriousness of her circumstances. Plus her changing feelings for this pilot are as uncertain as their future. Can Adele elude the Gestapo long enough to enjoy the future they are trying to protect?
 
I love books and movies set during World War II. This one has all the elements that intrigue me about crossing behind enemy lines and spying. I cannot wait for this one to be released!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Congrats to Thanhha Lai!!!

Congratulations to Thanhha Lai on her National Book Award win!
This review was originally published on August 2, 2011.

Inside Out and Back Again
by Thanhha Lai
Library
262 pages
2011

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!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber


Darker Still
Magic Most Foul #1
by Leanna Renee Hieber
317 pages
Personal Copy
YA
2011

Book Jacket Summary
The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

My Thoughts
I picked up and read this book not realizing that it was written by the same author as The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Knowing this now I realize why I liked it so much! Hieber "aims to be a gateway drug for nineteenth-century literature" and I know I am hooked. Of course, I have always bee a fan but my interest is rekindled.
Natalie Stewart has just graduated from the Connecticut Asylum for the mute and deaf girls. Natalie has been mute since her mother died at the age of four and has a hard time connecting with girls her own age. However she finds champion in Mrs. Evelyn Northe, a society lady with a knack for the supernatural. There is a painting of a young man named Jonathan Whitby III, Lord Denbury that everyone claims to be haunted. Natalie feels a kinship to Jonanthan and finds that the painting is calling to her. With the help of Mrs. Northe, Natalie is able to travel through the apinting and help Jonathan.
This book has many of the elements I enjoy in a book- cheesy romance (okay not cheesy but certainly over the top), Victorian setting, and a bit of magic. I also really liked how Hieber used elements of Dorian Gray with the painting slightly changing depending on Jonathan's mood.
Natalie was proactive and willing to do what was needed to help the man she was falling in love with. I would recommend this one to anyone who loves Victorian settings. It is a fun book and I look forward to more from Leanna Renee Hieber.

Book Pairings
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WOW: Under the Never Sky


"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:
 
Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi
Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012
 
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY
The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure.
 
This one looks like fun! Plus I like the illustrated cover! We need more of those.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

Bless This Mouse
by Lois Lowry
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
152 pages
ARC
2011

Book Jacket Summary
A resilient and quirky colony of church mice fears another Great X more than they fear cats. Under Mouse Mistress Hildegarde’s leadership, they save themselves from one danger after another—sometimes just by the skin of their tails! Can one ultimate act of bravery during the feast day of St. Francis get Father Murphy to bless these mice and keep them safe forever?
Rife with humor and personality, this young middle-grade novel has an old-fashioned feel with the makings of a modern classic.

My Thoughts
I am not sure what I think about this one..some of details of the mouse traps made me uncomfortable and as a child it might have upset me even more. It is a sweet story about a mouse named Hildegarde that lead s a group of the church mice as Mouse Mistress. She helps them solve problems and makes sure they stay safe. The illustrations are simple but they were not complete in my version of the book. They fit the old fashioned feel of the story. I do like Lois Lowry's other books, The Giver and Number the Stars but this one was a bit off for me. Maybe because we do have a rodent problem where I work...
It really is a sweet but but if you do not like mice or have an aversion to how mice die in traps, stay away. 

Book Pairings
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo

Monday, November 21, 2011

Between Two Ends by David Ward

Between Two Ends
by David Ward
288 pages
Middle School
ARC
2011

Book Jacket Summary
When Yeats and his parents visit his grandmother's creepy old house, Yeats reunites a pair of pirate bookends and uncovers the amazing truth: Years ago, Yeats's father traveled into The Arabian Nights with a friend, and the friend, Shari, is still stuck in the tales. Assisted by the not-always-trustworthy pirates, Yeats must navigate the unfamiliar world of the story of Shaharazad--dodging guards and tigers and the dangerous things that lurk in the margins of the stories--in order to save Shari and bring peace to his family.
David Ward has created a fantasy rich with atmosphere and full of heart-stopping drama.

My Thoughts
From ARC- Subject to change
This is a fun adventure book that references many other lierary classics. The characters even travel into Arabian Nights. Yeats is used to moving around the country due to his father's university job and the underlying fear that his father's depression will return. However, this "revitalization weekend" takes them to his Gran's house in the country where his father must face a tragic past. It turns out that Yeats' father and a childhood friend were transported into The Arabian Nights book and only one came back out. Yeats finds the magical pirate book ends that transport him to Shari (Shaharazad) to try and convince her to come back to the real world. Yeats get caught up in palace intrique and adventure as he tries to get Shari to remember her life before and not get killed in the process.
This is a great adventure story that will appeal to both boys and girls. It also will intrigue them about the pieces of poetry sprinkled within the book. Maybe they will become a fan of the poet Yeats? The cover is beautiful and I really want a poster for my room! It shoews how books can be a gatewayfor adventure.
I do worry that they do glaze over the deep depression that Yeats' dad experiences and that bringing Shari back will be a quick fix. I woryyy that other children may think that their own parents depression can also have a quick fix. I do like that Ward addresses that depression does affect children and the entire family.
Overall this is a fun adventure story that will appeal to a broad audience. I will have to check out other books by David Ward.

Book Pairings
Return to Exile by E.J. Pattern
Peter Nimble and His Incredible Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
Tha Dagger Quick by Brian Eames

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith


Grandpa Green
by Lane Smith
Picture Book
Library
2011

Book Jacket Summary
From the creator of the national bestseller It's a Book comes a timeless story of family history, legacy, and love. Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten. In his most enigmatic and beautiful work to date, Lane Smith explores aging, memory, and the bonds of family history and love; by turns touching and whimsical, it's a stunning picture book that parents and grandparents will be sharing with children for years to come.

My Thoughts
I read this one and after my intial reaction (this is beautiful) was that the book was aimed more for an older audience. The beautiful topiaries in the pictures may amuse children but the complex themes and meanings behind the words might confuse them. I found this book to be deeply moving as it looked through the life of a young boy's great grandfather's life. The illustrations are a mixture of types and gives the gardens an other wordly feel. The characters are rendered with brush and waterproof ink, while the topiaries are a mixture of watercolor, oil paint, and  digital paint. The little boy wanders through a maginificant hedged world and remebers stories his great grandfather has told him. I think my favorite is the Wizard of Oz themed page. It is a beautiful book to leaf through and remember a man's life throught the 1940's and beyond.

Book Pairings
Grandma's Gloves by Cecil Castellucci
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WOW: Perception


"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:


Perception (Clarity #2)
by Kim Harrington
Release Date March 1, 2012

Goodread's Summary
When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

I loved Clarity by Kim Harrington and cannot wait for the sequel! The cover is just as lovely as the first and it sounds like all the same types of intrigue.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Wisdom's Kiss
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
304 pages
NetGalley
2011
YA

Book Jacket Summary
Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.
Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true identity a secret.
Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.
These three souls might possibly attain their dreams while preserving their empire from ruin – if only they can bear each one another's company long enough to come up with a plan.
Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious tale told in diaries, letters, an encyclopedia, and even a play, all seamlessly stitched together by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben.

My Thoughts
This was an interesting book to read, even for a seasoned reader. There are eight POV! There are diaries, memoirs, letters, a play and an encyclopedia. However, once you get used to the style the book becomes a fun romp through a fairy tale setting.
There is a love triangle but it is very well done and you really feel for Trudy through the entire book. She is still a strong character, even when her heart is broken by Tips and Dizzy. It took me a while to warm up to Dizzy because she was the cause of Trudy's destress. At that part of the book I really liked Trudy the best because she was the most interesting and engaging character. Dizzy was a spoiled princess who was bored and kind of fickle. I did like Pricess Ben and her wacky humor and would like to go back and read her book.
It is a companion book to Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock but she assures the reader that you can enjoy this one without reading the other. I might go backwards and read Princess Ben after this one. I have it in my personal library but it is a bit lower on my TBR pile then all the library books I seem to check out. I would recommed this one to everyone who loves a good fairy tale setting. There is also a Glosasry of One-and_Twenty Unusual Words Found in Wisdom Kiss. This gives you even more of an indepth look into the countries depicted in the book. Plus, a Q&A with Catherine Gilbert Murdock.


Book Pairings
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Beastly by Alex Flinn

Monday, November 14, 2011

America is Under Attack by Don Brown


America is Under Attack
by Don Brown
Non-Fiction
Library
2011

Book Jacket Summary
On the ten year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, a straightforward and sensitive book for a generation of readers too young to remember that terrible day. The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. In the fourth installment of the Actual Times series, Don Brown narrates the events of the day in a way that is both accessible and understandable for young readers. Straightforward and honest, this account moves chronologically through the morning, from the plane hijackings to the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania; from the rescue operations at the WTC site to the collapse of the buildings. Vivid watercolor illustrations capture the emotion and pathos of the tragedy making this an important book about an unforgettable day in American history.

My Thoughts
A powerful but simple look into what happened on Sep. 11, 2001. It follows several people through the day but uses a chronological approach to the day's happenings. I never knew about the people who were trapped in an elevator and had to claw their way through dry wall and tile in order to escape. The drawings are more sketch-like and convey the emotions in an almost blurred tone. That day was a blur and not knowing exactly what was going on was a huge part of that really happened.
I would recommend this one to teachers, librarians, and parents of children in upper elementary schools and lower middle school ages. Many of these children would be to young to remember the times before this date, when everything changed. They might not understand exactly what happened on Sep. 11th.The book is deeply moving. I did tear up but I also lived through that day and had family in the North East. It is burned into my mind but many younger children would have no recollection of impact that day had on so may people.

Book Pairings
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Twin's Blanket by Hyewon Yum

The Twin's Blanket
by Hyewon Yum
Picture Book
Library
2011

Book Jacket Summary
These look-alike twins have always shared everything—their room, their toys, a crib, and, since the day they were born, a blanket. But as they grow into new beds, they need new blankets, too. Now they face a new dilemma: they don’t know how not to share.

Told from the perspective of two five-year-olds, The Twins’ Blanket playfully illuminates squabbles and affection between young siblings. Yum’s minimalistic art astutely captures these twins’ emotions as they toss, turn, and tug their new and old blankets—and embrace their growing independence.

My Thoughts
This is an adorable new picture book that will make anyone smile. The sweet story of twins learning to share, see their independence but also realise how much they need each other too. They realise that they can share their old blanket by making two new ones that match their personalities.
I love the the white pages with the emphasis on the twins and their immediate actions. There is nothing in the background to detract from them and their relationship. I also love the front pages being pink and the back pages being yellow. It is a great call back to the plot of the book. Who ever designed this book was really paying attention to detail.
I would highly recommend this for twins both young and old. My coworker, who is a twin, teared up at the ending. She says that she had these exact feelings when she and her sister got seperate beds for the first time. The author actually dedicated this book to her twin and the feelings are so genuine! A great addition to any library- school, public, or personal.
Book Pairings
Mine by Shutta Crum
Last Night by Hyewon Yum

Geek the Library


Don't forget to geek the library!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Buying Mittens by Niimi Nankichi

Buying Mittens
by Niimi Nankichi
illustrated by Kuroi Ken
ILL
Picture Book
1999

Book Jacket Summary
When a cold winter comes to the forest, a little fox awakens one morning to the magic of a first snow-fall. His romp in the snow is cut short, however, when his cold, wet paws turn peony colored. What he needs, his mother decides, are some woolen mittens the size of his little paws.
So begins an overnight journey into the village where humans live, to buy a pair of mittens and where, along the way, the little fox learns that people are more complicated creatures than he thought.
Buying Mittens is a classic story that has charmed Japanese children for generations. Written by one of Japan's most beloved authors, it has the timeless quality of a folktale that will speak across cultures. Enchanting illustrations illuminate this gentle tale of a mother's tenderness and a child's new discoveries. 

My Thoughts
It is getting chilly here in Texas! With this sudden chill in the air we are locating lost winter items and curling up with a good book. Buying Mittens is a beautiful look into a Japanese folk tale. I forget how I heard about this book but I knew I had to read it and ordered it from ILL. It was a little difficult to find but worth the trouble. This is a beautifully illustrated book with foxes light by moonlight. I cannot resist a book about foxes, especially a Japanese story where they are not quite portrayed as tricksters. The mother does change the fox's paw into a child's hand to trick the shopkeeper but the kit forgets to put this one in the doorway. The shopkeeper was startled by the fox paw but seemed more concerned that the money would not be real rather than the fact that a fox was talking.
I would recommend this one to anyone who loves foxes, winter, or Japanese tales. I hope I can find a copy for myself to read everytime winter comes around.  
Book Pairings
 The Mitten by Jan Brett
Five Little Foxes and the Snow by Tony Johnston

Monday, November 7, 2011

Elephant Talk by Ann Downer

Elephant Talk:
The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication
by Ann Downer
Non-fiction
2011

Book Jacket Summary
On a hot day in the African savannah, a group of elephants searches for food. While foraging they often lose sight of one another. Yet at the end of the day, in one coordinated movement, the elephants suddenly regroup. This coordinated movement--and others like it--has puzzled scientists and caused them to question how elephants communicate with each other. Since the 1990s, scientists have gathered significant data on elephant "talk." Biologists have determined that elephants use a complex system of communication of at least ten distinct sounds, combined in many variations. Researchers are now asking: what do these sounds mean? As scientists study the elephant sounds that humans can hear, they are also identifying ways elephants communicate through nonverbal behaviors and making sounds too low for human ears. Scientists have realized that elephants even receive messages by using their sensitive feet to feel vibrations in the ground. All of these discoveries are helping elephant researchers better understand elephant behavior. But the elephant's time as a wild animal is running out. Threatened by habitat loss and illegally hunted for their ivory tusks, elephants are on the brink of extinction. Will understanding elephant talk be the key to saving the species

My Thoughts
I went to the zoo this weekend and enjoyed looking at all the animals. Elephants have never been my favorite because you can smell them all the way from the parking lot but this book made me appreciate them in a whole new light. The cover drew me in and the information kept me engaged. It was a whole new approach into how elephants communicate but also how scientists are finding this out.
This book would be perfect for middle and high schoolers that are looking for more than general information about elephants. The budding zoologist will find the science behind the book facianting and something new to their collection. This book book focuses on how they live and communicate with each other. I do have to say the the picture of baby elephants were my favorite part. There is something about baby animals that just make me happy. Of course the book also delves into the elephants being on the endangered speices list and how their habitat is shrinking. I would recommend this one to any library that is in need of current books about elephants or zoological studies. If your child loves animals and wants more information on how they act and why, this is the perfect book for them.
Book Pairings
Face to Face with Elepahants by  Dereck Joubert and Beverly Joubert

Friday, November 4, 2011

Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith

Coronets and Steel
by Sherwood Smith
420 pages
Nook Book
Adult Fantasy
2010
Book Jacket Summary
In this new fantasy series, a young woman takes her own destiny by the hand-and the hilt.
California girl Kim Murray is unsatisfied with grad school and restless in life. Modern men disappoint her, and she studies ballet and fencing because they remind her of older, more romantic times.
She lives with her parents and her beloved but secretive aristocratic grandmother, who speaks only French and refuses to share stories about the mysterious family she left behind in Europe, inspiring Kim to travel there and find her roots.
Kim soon finds herself swept up in an adventure of fantastic deceptions and passionate intrigue-and a shocking realization about her own bloodline that leaves her reeling.

My Quick Thoughts
I grew up reading Sherwood Smith's books and have a special place in my heart for her YA. Her adult books are a bit different and it took me a while to get into Coronets and Steel but once I did it was hard not to put it down. It had a little bit of everything- fencing, identical cousins, adventure, romance... Wait isn't that Prisoner of Zenda? Smith actually has a nod towards the plot similarities and plays them up. It plays up the adventure rather than fantasy and it was a nice change of pace. There are vampires but they are side characters that have little to do with the direct story. I think they come into play in the next book. I liked Kim as a main character but sometimes I wish she would hurry it up a bit. It is a really long book and there are scenes that could have been cut. It might just be because I read so much YA and expect there to be much more action. I do like mistaken identity books and this one has a plot point of almost identical cousins that made me grin, especially when Kim is kidnapped by our dashing leading man.
Going into this book I expected a time travel story, I mean look at the cover! Instead we have a heroine that is going into another country that seems stuck in the past. I have mixed feeling about this book but I am going to read the next book Blood Spirits. Overall it is a good adventure story with a strong female lead. I would recommed it to those who do not mind investing some time in a story.  

Book Pairings
Insatible by Meg Cabot
Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

The Folk Keeper
by Franny Billingsley
162 pages
Library
1999
YA
Book Jacket Summary
She doesn't really know who she is or what she wants...
Corinna is a Folk Keeper. Her job is to keep the mysterious Folk who live beneath the ground at bay. But Corinna has a secret that even she doesn't fully comprehend, until she agrees to serve as Folk Keeper at Marblehaugh Park, a wealthy family's seaside manor. There her hidden powers burst into full force, and Corinna's life changes forever..
 
My Thoughts
I can not believe I did not read this when it first came out in 1999! It would have been my favorite book! Franny Billingsley has a way of drawing me into her stories and I am so glad she is continuing to write today. The 90's were not the key time to write YA because publisher's thought that teens attention spans were to short for longer books. This story kept to the shorter format but I felt that Billingley could have made it epic with more pages. She seemed to explore many of the same themes in Chime but it was unique in setting and characters.
I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoyed Chime and the slower romance that grows from friendship. The fantasy elements are amazing and Billingsley created a fascinating world that I wish could have been explored more extensively. The folk are creepy and the Folk Keeper's job a scary for anyone, never mind a young girl in disguise. Corinna is a strong female lead that knows what she wants and will do anything to get it but then grows confused as she finds friendship and love along the way. The sea is a major factor in the book and selkie are a mythical creature that I love! They have not been overplayed and are a fascinating story when used correctly.
Go out and read this one. It should not take a long time because of the length but it is a well told,  compact story that will keep you entertained.

Book Pairings
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WOW: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe

"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:


Welocome, Caller, This is Chloe
by Shelley Coriell
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

I am in the market for more contemprary/realistic YA. I think I am slightly lacking in that genre and want to read more of it. This books sound like it is right up my alley! I love books that take place in a group, like drama, glee, and now radio! Cannot wait for March!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones

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

Enchanted Glass
by Diana Wynne Jones
292 pages
Library
Middle School
2010

Book Jacket Summary
Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble—a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.
But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, too—and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms . . . and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.
If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams?


My Thoughts

I love Diana Wynne Jones' books and you should read them all. There, that is the review...

No?

Fine.

Diana Wynne Jones has a style all her own and I love it. She never dumbs down a story and has such a British point of view that I always love in a book. Her humor is dry and it makes me chuckle with each situation that unfolds. There is just this matter of fact way about the characters that makes them feel real.

Professor Andrew Hope has inherited his grandfather’s estate and soon realizes that it is not what it seems. The magic he learned as a boy will be tested as he figures out how to be rid of the evil Mr. O. Brown (say it several times and you might be able to guess who he is). Andrew is visited by Aidan Cain who is recently orphaned (again) when his grandmother dies. Her last wish was that he travel to Andrew’s grandfather for training and now Andrew has an unexpected apprentice.  

Mrs. Stock and Mr. Stock (no relation), the giant Groil, Tarquin O'Connor, and Stache round out the cast of characters helping Andrew and Aidan with the battle for their village. These characters have personalities all their own! Mrs. Stock likes things the way she likes them and will make cauliflower and cheese for dinner when made mad. Mr. Stock will push his giant vegetables on Andrew when Mrs. Stock gets her way but thank goodness for Groil who will eat the bushels of asparagus. Tarquin and Stache are also there to help with Andrew’s battle and make Aidan feel like family.

I would highly recommend checking this one out and the rest of Diana Wynne Jones’ books. We lost a great author this year and she will be missed.

Book Pairings
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Magic Below Stairs by Caroline Stevermer
Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories by Diana Wynne Jones
 
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