Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters by Claudia Mills

Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters
by Claudia Mills
illustrated by Guy Frances
176 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Soon-to-be fourth-grader Mason Dixon does not want a pet, but his parents think it will be good for him. Goldfish dies soon after his arrival (from overfeeding). Mason is relieved. Hamster escapes. Mason is relieved. Cat has to go back because best friend Brody is too allergic to ever be at their house while Cat is there. Mason is relieved. But when Dog comes, it takes a little dose of jealousy for Mason to realize he does want a pet, all of his very own. Claudia Mills introduces a new, hilarious character in Mason, and each of the three books about him will feature both boys as they cope with a new experience; pitch-perfect for 8- to 10- year-old newly independent readers, the books will maintain a consistent page count and feature black-and-while art throughout.
My Thoughts
The books opens up on a death. A death of a goldfish that Mason got a week ago. This is the start of Mason's pet problems and the quest to find the perfect pet. Mason does not think of himself as a pet person and each pet that his parents bring home confirms his suspicions. First he overfeed Goldfish and he died, next Hamster ran away, and then his best friend Brody is allergic to Cat. They take Cat back to the shelter and Brody convinces Mason's parents to adopt a dog. What is Mason to do when Dog starts to fall in love with his new pet.
Mason is a kid who likes things the way he likes them. He does not like the strange meals his mom prepares and eat mac 'n cheese instead. He always wishes the snacks he eats are Fig Newtons. He also only wants to be friends with Brody. His heart does expand as he grows to love Dog. He tries to distance himself from the pets his parents bring by naming them after what they are and seems to be confused on how to take care of them. Brody is the exact opposite and loves everything! He gets excited over the littlest things and makes Mason seem very calm in comparison. They are exact opposites but this makes their friendship work.
This seems to be a good start of a series and I know our library is receiving them. I will have to check them out. The books do bring up euthanization but also teaches kids how to take care of specific pets. Mason is definitely a picky character but he grows as a person through the book.

Book Pairings
 Mason Dixon: 4th Grade Disasters by
Nate Rocks the World (Book 1) by
The Mysterious Benedict Society (Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)

Monday, February 27, 2012

French Ducks in Venice by Garret Freymann-Weyr

French Ducks in Venice
by Garret Freymann-Weyr
illustrated by Erin Mcguire
56 pages
Picture Book/YA

Book Jacket Summary
A magical, lyrical, beautifully illustrated tale about friendship and healing—and the joys and risks of staying open to love, even in the face of loss. 
Siblings George and Cecile live in Venice, California, but think of themselves as French ducks. They have an important friend, Polina Panova, who conjures magical dresses of thread, silk, and velvet . . . of grass, pieces of night sky, and strawberry jam. To the ducks, who delight in her daily visits, Polina is a princess. But when Polina’s prince—who makes movies almost as luminous as her dresses—decides to go away, life on the canal changes, and so does Polina. What are two steadfast and affectionate French ducks to do? Save admit that every broken heart mends on its own time, in its own way? From an acclaimed Y A author and a talented debut illustrator comes a storybook classic full of light and hush, wisdom and whimsy, about patient friendship and the healing power of time

My Thoughts
I am not sure where this book is to be placed in a conventional sense. It is a picture book but not like any type of picture book that I have come across in a long time. It is about love, loss, hope, and carrying on after heart break, not really for the young picture book crowd. I would think that this would be a more tween and teen book with the concepts of heartbreak and loss but it also can be for adults who will see the many layers that Freymann-Weyr has instilled within the words. The illustrations are beautiful and I long to find prints of some of the pictures to hang on my wall. McGuire is an artists that I will have to keep an eye out for when I look at books.
The book takes place in Venice, California, not in Venice, Italy and the duck in the book are not really from France but consider themselves French. The duck themselves, Georges and Cecile, live in a canal by Polina Panova. She is a Russian dress maker that people from around the world buy dresses from and she is quite content with her life. However, her long time boyfriend leaves Polina is sad and Georges longs to find a present that will cheer her up. The book is lovely, both in tone and pictures. It makes me some what nostalgic for something but I''m not quite sure what. It is is an enjoyable book but not really for a younger audience. Stick with older tweens, teens, and adults for this one.

Book Pairings
Breadcrumbs by

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step By Mark Sperring

Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step

By Mark Sperring
Illustrated by Tom McLaughlin
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Most of the time, Sam is a good little boy, but every once in a while he is naughty. For punishment, he has to sit on the bottom step of the stairs, where he can't play with his toys or do anything else except sit. With nothing to do, he's left to think about the naughty thing he has just done. But one day, as he is sitting on his step, he is joined by a pirate named Captain Buckleboots . . . and then by several other strange fellows. They all have to sit down and think about the naughty things each of them has done. . . like fighting, or behaving like monsters. Finally they understand that they all have one more important thing to do. They each have to decide how to say ""I'm sorry "" Large color illustrations fill every page of this attractive book, with oversize type that tells a story most little boys and girls will recognize as being very much like their own.

My Thoughts
I have not seen many books about a naughty step before. I know I have seen them on Supernanny but not really in a children’s book. If you know of any please point them out. It might make an interesting list for parents to read to their kids. Sam has to sit on the naughty step because he drew on the wall and must think about what he has done. While he is sitting, he is joined by a pirate, a knight, a monster, and an astronaut.  Each of these characters have done something wrong too and Sam has to help them figure out how to set things right. This helps Sam realize how to apologize to his mom and clean up the mess he made. This would be a good book to read to children about consequences and take responsibility for your actions.

Book Pairings
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
Dirty Joe, the Pirate: A True Story by Bill Harley

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cover Reveal: Taste by Kate Evangelista

by Kate Evangelista

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

Taste is to be published by Crescent Moon Press and its release is slated for Fall 2012.

How pretty is the cover to this new paranormal book! Whenever I see a book with a beautiful dress I always wish I could go to prom again or just look wistfully in a field wearing one. 
I have just added this one to my TBR list and I cannot wait to see how Evangelista has a new twist on this paranormal world.

Daniel X: The Graphic Novel v. 1 by James Patterson

Daniel X: The Graphic Novel
Volume 1
By James Patterson
With Michelle Ledwidge
Illustrated by SeungHui Kye
Graphic Novel

Book Jacket Summary
When his parents are murdered by an intergalactic criminal, Daniel X vows to take on his father's role as Earth's sole Alien Hunter. Life isn't easy, though, when you're a young boy on your own, tracking down the galaxy's deadliest outlaws. Luckily, Daniel has a gift: the ability to create anything he can imagine - including his parents, his sister, and his best friends, who are there to help him along the way. But when Daniel decides to go up against the sixth-deadliest criminal on his hit list, he may find that even his awesome abilities just aren't up to the task!

My Thoughts
This graphic starts off with a bang and does not slow down. I am beginning to suspect that I like James Patterson's graphic novels and hope they continue. Daniel X is an alien hunter with special powers that help him cope with his tragic past. He can materialize items, even people with just a thought. This is how he gets to know his parents who died when he was three. He also creates his friends, Willy, Joe-Joe, Emma, and Dana. He is not sure where they came from but he is glad to have them along on his adventures. Daniel is after the alien, the Prayer, who killed his parents but doesn't mind looking for all the other bad aliens on his list. Daniel goes up against number 6 on his list but gets into trouble and even kidnapped by Ergent Seth. However when they land in a distant planet it turns out to be Daniel's home planet and he finds out the truth about his past. Characters are developed through this volume but I want to see more of Daniel's friends. I also hope that they will trun out to be real at some point. Daniel has such a tragic back story that it would be nice for something to turn out right for him
This is a good start to a new graphic novel series and I already have the second one to start reading. I would recommend it to teens or tweens who are looking for some action in their story lines. The art is clean and ver manga-esque in the facial expressions.

Book Pairings
 Nightschool: The Weirn Books by

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tower of Treasure by Scott Chantler

Tower of Treasure
Three Thieves: Book One
by Scott Chantler
112 pages
Graphic Novel

Book Jacket Summary
As an acrobat in a traveling circus, 14-year-old orphan Dessa Redd flies through the air with ease. Still, she is weighed down by troubling memories. But when her ragtag circus troupe pulls into the city of Kingsbridge, Dessa feels a tickle of hope. Maybe here in the royal city she will finally find her twin brother -- or the mysterious man who snatched him away when they were just children. Meanwhile, Topper, the circus juggler, recruits Dessa and the circus strongman, Fisk, for the job of robbing the royal treasury. Hungry and desperate, both agree, setting off a series of adventures that will take the three thieves from one end of the world to the other in search of Dessa's long-lost brother. Scott Chantler's fast-paced story will engage readers while his bold-lined art with richly detailed backgrounds is a tribute to classic comic books.

My Thoughts
The academic library I work at has begun to order more graphic novels for the education department and this one was included. I don't think I would have picked this one out at a public library because I would have been distracted by the manga. I am glad that I did pick this one out because it is a really good fantasy adventure. It is set in a fantasy world with many strange creatures, like a norker and a one-headed Ettin. The main character is Dessa, an acrobat, who is going from city to city with a traveling circus. Her goal is to find her brother or the man who kidnapped him. Her companions are a thief named Topper and a strong man named Fisk. Topper has a plan to steal from the queen's treasury and almost succeds. They escape from the queen's guards and Dessa finally finds the man who kidnapped her brother. 
This is a fast paced graphic novel in a fantasy setting. Dessa is quite a nimble and Chantler does a great job of choreographing her moves. I would recommend this one to reluctant readers who might respond well to fantasy. Librarians could suggest other fantasy books they may engage them if they liked this particular graphic novel. Our library has the next book on order and I will have to check it out! I want to find out what happens to Dessa, Fisk, and Topper in the next installment.

Book Pairings
Amulet Series by
Zita the Spacegirl by
Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anime Review: The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian
12 episodes
Publisher: Kadokawa Pictures Inc.
Air Date: Jul 15, 2011 to Sep 16, 2011

Crunchyroll Sumary
Hugh inherits a musty old mansion, along with the entire book collection contained within, from his grandfather - a bibliomaniac who once traded half his lands in exchange for a copy of a rare book. The only condition was that he also inherit the "Archives of Dantalian."
Having arrived at the mansion to put his grandfather's possessions in order, Hugh meets a girl of 12 or 13 quietly reading amongst the tall piles of books in the basement.
She is dressed in jet-black, and wears a lock around her neck. Her name is Dalian, and she controls the gateway to the Archives of Dantalian, where the forbidden mystic books of demonic wisdom are kept...

My Thoughts
I have been wanting to get back into anime and find out what the newest series appeal to me. I found one right away on CrunchyRoll. This is a site that releases new anime that just aired in Japan for American audiences. This is done with the permission of the studios and is a great way to see new shows legally. I was browsing through their fantasy anime and came across The Mystic Archives of Dantalian and knew I had to see it right away. 
This series follows the pair Hugh and Dalian on their quest to find Phantom Books that plague mankind. Dalian is a Biblio Princess and has access to the Phantom Books with Hugh as her Key Keeper. An anime series about books! I love those. The series is set in England right after World War I and Hugh has just served his country as a fighter pilot. He is left his grandfather’s estate and is supposed to “take care” of Dalian. He thinks Dalian is a pet and is surprised when he finds a girl reading books. Hugh seems to accept the role of Key Keeper and Phantom Books without hesitation but this is more of a desire to help than poor plot development. I would recommend this one to tweens and teens who love fantasy anime. The only weird part is when Hugh opens the Key around Dalian’s neck; he reaches inside of her to claim the book. Might be weird for those who are new to anime but older watchers will not think anything of it. Trust me when I say, they have seen weirder.

Anime Pairings
Natsume Yujin-cho
Library Wars
Read or Die

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince
The Infernal Devices #2
by Cassandra Clare
498 pages
Library 2011

Book Jacket Summary
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

My Thoughts
Gah! Cassandra Clare has a way of making a love triangle so tragic! This book is the second of The Infernal Devices series and I must say that I am enjoying this series immensely.  I enjoyed the Mortal Instruments Series but I have a special place in my heart for stories set in the Victorian period, especially Steampunk or alternate history. Cassandra Clare hits all the right notes in atmosphere for a world where automatons could exist because of magic.
The story picks up right where the last one ended. Tessa is still confused about her origins and if the Magister “made” her than what is she exactly? This slips to the back burner when the Clave orders Charlotte to find the Magister within a fortnight (two weeks) or loose the Institute to the devious Lightwood family. Tessa does her best and uses her shape shifting ability to ferret out information from the bad guys, including her own brother. Many of the side characters get more time and we see Sophie grow as a character. She is still very formal with Tessa but they make headway to actually becoming friends. She also gets over her pining of Jem and may have a love interest of her own. Jessamine shows her true intentions and may not come back. We learn more about the Lightwood family and I especially like Gideon. He comes over to “spy” for his father and teach the girls weapons training.  
We finally discover why Will is always pushing people away and (as always in a Cassandra Clare novel) it comes too late to fix his relationship with Tessa. Tessa and Jem grow closer and form a relationship but I cannot help but feel that Tessa does not truly love him. Well, she does love him but not with her full heart. I really hope that she does not break his heart because he has suffered so much. Those who do not like angst ridden love triangles better not touch this with a ten foot pole! I usually am hesitant to read them myself but Cassandra Clare makes it my guilty pleasure when she writes them. They are usually so tragic and everyone has such bad timing.      

Book Pairings
Peculiars By Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Video: Why readers love paranormal books from author Jennifer Lynn Barnes


I totally agree with Barnes about the importance of paranormal literature. It is a great way for teens to explore the feelin of not belonging to the norm but also finding people who accept you for who you truly are. Now I want to go and read all her books! Especially Every Other Day. The concept of being human every other day is one that I have not seen explored in YA before and I am interested to see how it plays out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

TGIF {3} Book Blogger Pride

TGIF is a weekly meme created and hosted by GReads! that recaps the week's posts and has a different question each week.

Book Blogger Pride: What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

I take pride in the fact that I review all sorts of books. I try to be a well rounded reader and check out all genres. This includes age goups. I want to see what is out there for picture books, elementary, tweens, teens, and adults. Books bring me such joy and I want to share that with everyone in the blogging community.
The other thing that i take pride in is that I have such support from friends and other bloggers. It is great to meet so many people who enjoy to read and review books. There is nothing like reading what other people thought of a book you loved! Hopefully I will be blogging and reading blogs for a great many more years. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Leap Back To Me By Lauren Thompson

Leap Back To Me
By Lauren Thompson
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
A little frog’s first leap out into the world is a big, scary thing. But luckily, his mama is always there to catch him when he comes home. As the leaps get bigger, the frog gets braver—and before he knows it, he’s soaring out to the moon and beyond! Brought to life with touching text from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Thompson and vibrant watercolor illustrations from Matthew Cordell, this loveable little frog will hurdle his way into your heart. Come leap along, and see what it’s like to shoot for the stars...and always have a landing pad ready to catch you.

My Thoughts
This is a very simple book in rhyme that will give comfort to children who are going off to explore for the first time. The mother frog makes sure the young frog knows she will always be there to catch him and comfort him when he comes home from his adventures. This is a good companion piece to Runaway Bunny because it is a bit more modern in the approach. Many people openly critique that Runaway Bunny is stifling a child and not letting them be creative. I disagree because of the time period in which it was written but that is another post. This book should not have that critique because the mother lets the little frog have his adventures in the great big world. He leaps all the way to the moon and back! The mother is there to color with after or supply a meal. Comfort without the stifling.  

Book Pairings
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WOW: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

"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: 
by Alethea Kontis
Release Date: May 8, 2012

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?
I love Fairy tales and a retelling of the Frog Prince is one I haven't seen in a while (in book form). This seems like a fun retelling! Plus the cover is beautiful!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Click: One Novel 10 Authors

Click: One Novel 10 Authors
by Roddy Doyle, Nick Hornby, Ruth Ozeki, Margo Lanagan, Linda Sue Park, David Almond, Gregory Maguire, Tim Wynne-Jones, Deborah Ellis, Eoin Colfer
217 pages

Book Jacket Summary
A video message from a dead person. A larcenous teenager. A man who can stick his left toe behind his head and in his ear. An epileptic girl seeking answers in a fairy tale. A boy who loses everything in World War II, and his brother who loses even more. And a family with a secret so big that it changes everything.
The world's best beloved authors each contribute a chapter in the life of the mysterious George "Gee" Keane, photographer, soldier, adventurer and enigma. Under different pens, a startling portrait emerges of a man, his family, and his gloriously complicated tangle of a life.

My Thoughts
I grabbed this one off the shelf because I saw Linda Sue Park was one of the authors of the book. She wrote the first chapter that set-up the story of the life and legacy of George "Gee" Keane. Maggie and Jason's grandfather "Gee" leaves them each a gift when he dies. Maggie receives a box with shells in little compartments and Jason is left autographs of the many celebrities that Gee photographed over the years. Each gift signifies something to each child, Maggie's need to travel and be connected to Gee and Jason's desire to runaway. I thought the novel would be about how Gee's death changed Maggie and Jason but it is more about how Gee changed everyone he meet.
It is strange that they call this a novel because it felt more like an anthology with an overarching theme and characters, Like an anthology, there were some chapters that I liked, loved, and some that were disappointing. I loved the first two chapters by Linda Sue Park and David Almond. They fit the theme and direction I thought the book would take. It was an interesting collaboration of authors and I would recommend it to someone looking for something different.

Book Pairings
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick edited by Chris Van Allsburg

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