Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cover Reveal: Rua by Miranda Kavi

Rua by Miranda Kavi
Expected Pub: September 3, 2012
A girl with an unknown destiny.
A boy from a hidden world.
When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets.
The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.
He knows what she is . . .
Intriguing and deeply romantic, RUA is page-turning YA novel with a supernatural twist.

Miranda Kavi
Miranda Kavi is a YA and Urban Fantasy author. She has worked as an attorney, an executive recruiter, and an assistant in a biological anthropology lab. She loves scary movies, museums, and is hopelessly addicted to chocolate. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughter.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot

Size 12 and Ready to Rock 
by Meg Cabot
304 pages
Personal Copy

Book Jacket Summary
Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself--who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright--who just happens to be Heather's "new" fiance. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, "this" reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

My Thoughts
This is going to be hard to review with out squealing like a fangirl but I will do my best...
I love Heather Wells and I am so glad that Meg Cabot was able to continue this series! I remember reading the synopsis' for the first four books at the end of book one when it first came out and this was the one that looked like tons of fun! Heather has to deal with teenage girls taking over her dorm, excuse me... residence hall for a TV series starring Tania Trace. The Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp brings mayhem and murder to the "Death Dorm" but Heather does what she does best, find the murder and bring him to justice with Cooper at her side!
Cooper and Heather are now a full fledged couple and are adorable together! This is great news and they are really in love. I had to fight off flights of giggles several times as I read this book but that is not unusual with this series. Meg Cabot is back to her usual comedic ways and I'm glad to see see has not lost her touch! The last few I read had to do with vampires and girls being dragged to the Underworld. Not that that is a bad thing but I love Cabot best when she is funny and this book is definitely filled with humor (and murder). The book also has a "plus" sized heroine that is beautiful and has a fabulous boyfriend. This is often not the case and it was nice to see a person like me in a book. I loved this book and anyone looking for a funny more adult mystery series will love this one. Plus the next book will be coming out next year!
Book Pairings
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Heaven Eyes by David Almond

Heaven Eyes 
by David Almond
233 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Erin Law and her friends are Damaged Children. At least that is the label given to them by Maureen, the woman who runs the orphanage that they live in. Damaged, Beyond Repair because they have no parents to take care of them. But Erin knows that if they care for each other they can put up with the psychologists, the social workers, the therapists -- at least most of the time. Sometimes there is nothing left but to run away, to run for freedom. And that is what Erin and two friends do, run away one night downriver on a raft. What they find on their journey is stranger than you can imagine, maybe, and you might not think it's true. But Erin will tell you it is all true. And the proof is a girl named Heaven Eyes, who sees through all the darkness in the world to the joy that lies beneath.

My Thoughts
A runaway plan takes Erin Law, Mouse Gullane, and January Carr down the river on a raft and into the surreal life of Heaven Eyes and her Grandfather Caretaker in the Black Middens.
The plot of running away may seem strange but to the children this is an everyday adventure. Someone is always running away for a day or two and coming back when the police find them or they get hungry. Jan wants to try something new and travel by raft down the river and to new places where they might be free. Erin joins him and Mouse is an unexpected nuisance to Jan. They escape but run into a bog where Heaven Eyes claims them as her brothers and sister. They are inducted into the family of Heaven Eyes and her demented caretaker. They off the food in the abandoned warehouses and snack on the chocolate boxes left behind. The Grandfather Caretaker is quite scary and intimidating because you never know if he will kill or harm the main characters. Heaven Eyes keeps him in check but there is an underlying threat to Erin, Jan, and Mouse. The children have no way of knowing when he will snap and when the buildings they are staying at will be torn down.
This is a strange book but it is so well told that you don't seem to notice when you are reading it. When I put down the book I had to shake my head and come back to the real world. I could almost make that Erin might not be the most reliable narrator but it is always plausible. Erin has moments when she talks to her dead mother but it is not a ghost, rather what Erin imagines her mother saying to her. Erin uses the objects that she has left, a lipstick and perfume to call up her mother and ask her advice.
   I am not sure exactly who I would recommended this one to because it is so surreal and odd. Teens or tweens looking for something completely different will be happy with this one. It was odd but good and I am interested in Almond's other works. I have seen that they are all a bit on the weird and unreliable side. That would make a strange week if I read them back to back.

Book Pairings
The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reading Road Trip Giveaway: Montana

Reading Road Trip Giveaway for Montana

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer¹s Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she's not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world's sweetest boyfriend, behind.

But when Cryer's Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn't get close to... the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico.

Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she's always loved, Kendall keeps up the search--and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can't stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage

Three Times Lucky
by Shelia Turnage
312 pages
Tween Mystery

Book Jacket Summary
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known. Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

My Thoughts
To sum up this book I would go with: quirky characters and southern charm. The book focuses on the small town of Tupelo Landing and Mo, an eleven-year-old orphan, who tries to solve the murder of a local man. I really enjoyed this book and the way Turnage writes her characters.

The best part is:
  "Hey," she said. "I caught a ride with Mama so I wouldn't mess up your phone tap. She brought y'all a broccoli casserole."
  I gasped.
  "Broccoli casserole? Your mama's Death Dish?" Dale said, looking up from the tangle of worn pillow lines at his feet. "Who died? What have your heard?"
  "Nobody" she said quickly. "Gosh, I'm sorry, Mo. Everything's fine We just didn't know what to bring for a kidnapping, but that seems to comfort people then somebody... goes away." (241-242)
This is such a small town southern thing to do. To have a specific Death Dish that someone brings to funerals or the grieving family is something that is so typical and just done. I feel like the characters and situations that come up in this small town are so true. Especially the way people interact with each other. These are people who are willing to drop everything and come the aid of Mo when she is left alone after her guardians go missing. They are like an extended family for Mo, who does not know her roots. I like that feeling in the book and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
 I am falling in love with the tween books I have been reading lately and have been enjoying them more than their YA counterparts. They are more of a character study with quirky characters and not as much angst. Don't get me wrong, I love YA but every once in a while a girl needs a break from the love triangles and teen drama. Mo is such a feisty character and a spitball. Willing to go into situations that others are afraid of and looking for her guardians in the scariest places. I also like that she and Dale are best friends and nothing else. Mo is actually "in love" with his older brother, Lavender, and follows him everywhere.
This is a great book for tweens who are looking for a mystery and some humor thrown in. Great characters and a fun, yet at time suspenseful, plot.

Book Pairings
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
The Moon Over High Street by Natalie Babbitt
True (...Sort Of) by Katherine Hannigan


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Fairy Ring or Elise and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure

The Fairy Ring
or Elise and Frances Fool the World
by Mary Losure
184 pages
Historical Non-Fiction

Book Jacket Summary
The enchanting true story of a girl who saw fairies, and another with a gift for art, who concocted a story to stay out of trouble and ended up fooling the world.

Frances was nine when she first saw the fairies. They were tiny men, dressed all in green. Nobody but Frances saw them, so her cousin Elsie painted paper fairies and took photographs of them "dancing" around Frances to make the grown-ups stop teasing. The girls promised each other they would never, ever tell that the photos weren't real. But how were Frances and Elsie supposed to know that their photographs would fall into the hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? And who would have dreamed that the man who created the famous detective Sherlock Holmes believed ardently in fairies
- and wanted very much to see one? Mary Losure presents this enthralling true story as a fanciful narrative featuring the original Cottingley fairy photos and previously unpublished drawings and images from the family's archives. A delight for everyone with a fondness for fairies, and for anyone who has ever started something that spun out of control.

My Thoughts
An interesting look into the true story of how two girls fooled the world with their pictures of "real" fairies. Although it is a non-fiction book it does read like a novel because it is told through their experiences. Losure made each girl come alive and their personalities came through. I had always wondered about the true story behind the hoax and how Arthur Conan Doyle became involved with the experience.
Frances was a young girl who saw fairies in the area around her cousins waterfall but was teased by her older relatives. Elise came up with the idea to draw fairies and take pictures with them to make everyone believe that they really existed. Frances and Elise never meant for people to be fooled but they also did nothing to stop it once it became a national issue. They could not believe that the man who invented Sherlock Holmes would want fairies to exist and be fooled by their pictures.   
I would recommend this one to anyone who likes hoaxes or non-fiction accounts. The book comes with the pictures the girls took and although you can now tell that they are not real, it is not impossible to believe that someone could mistake them in the past. I really liked this book and want to read more about it in the books below.

Book Pairings
The Coming of Fairies by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Case of the Cottingley Fairies by Joe Cooper
Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book by Terry Jones



Sunday, July 22, 2012

For the Birds by Peggy Thomas

For the Birds
by Peggy Thomas
illustrated by Laura Jacques
40 pages
Picture Book Non-Fiction

Book Jacket Summary
Roger Tory Peterson revolutionized the way we look at and appreciate birds, animals, and plants. Some kids called him "Professor Nuts Peterson" because of his dedication to his craft; yet he went on to create the immensely popular Peterson Guides, which have sold more than seven million copies, and which birders everywhere appreciate for their simple text and exquisite illustrations. Working closely with the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York, author Peggy Thomas and artist Laura Jacques have created a fascinating portrait of a global environmentalist with this very first children's biography of Peterson.

My Thoughts
What a beautiful book! I was instantly drawn to the cover because of the realistically illustrated birds and the dreamy looking boy. They are so realistically portrayed and directly tell you that this book is about a boy with a love for all types of birds. Roger Tory Peterson had all the qualifications to become a naturalist with a fixation on birds. He was curious, patient, a brilliant illustrator, and a mind for science.
The book goes over Peterson's life and how he became the expert on birds that he is renowned for today. 
Jacques illustrates the book with vivid colors and adapted them from Peterson's own Field Guide. I would ave recommended this one to my cousin when he was younger because he knew all the birds and their markings. This will make any budding bird lover see that other share their hobby and learn about the man who help make the field guide that helps them learn about the birds they love.

Book Pairings
A Field Guide to the Birds by Roger Tory Peterson
The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life With Chimps by Jeanette Winter


Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Art Collector by Jane Wahl

The Art Collector
by Jane Wahl
illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Oscar loves looking at art, but his own drawings never look the way he wants them to. So instead of making art, Oscar decides to collect art. Over the years, Oscar's collection grows and grows until a museum needs to be built to house it all.

My Thoughts
Oscar finds that he is not very talented at drawing like his grandmother but he does find a way to enjoy art in his own way. He starts collecting art and as he grows older he has enough to open a museum but hos grandmother's picture of a rooster still has the prized place in his home.
This is an adorable book and has cut art throughout. Oscar's head is huge compared to the rest of his body but it is more of a stylistic choice and I smiled every time I saw him. I also like that he finds his own way to appreciate art. I love the stage but I am not that great of an actress, so I built sets, was prop mistress and had walk on roles.
Find your own way of enjoying something! Also watch for the cute dalmation doing something cute on almost every page!

Book Pairings
Art and Max by David Wiesner
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Cole


Friday, July 20, 2012

The Pack: Marked Cover Reveal


Title:  The Pack: Marked
Author: Suzanne Cox
Expected Pub: July 23rd 2012

Nightmares and sleepwalking haven’t made good bedfellows for Alexis Miller for the last year. Now that she’s been exiled to the swamps of Lebeaux, Louisiana to spend the summer with an aunt she barely knows, she’ll have to deal with the problem on her own. But Lebeaux has its own problems. People are dying here and no one seems to be able to stop it.

New friends and a new guy she’s falling in love with should make for a good summer, but Alexis’ nightmares and sleep walking are escalating and are populated with the wolves she sees lurking in the woods near her aunt’s home. The visions she’s seeing of blood and death has Alexis wondering what exactly she’s doing when she’s sleepwalking and the discovery of her aunt’s bloody shirt makes her question her Aunt Louise’s involvement in the recent deaths. Even the sheriff is giving Alexis accusing looks.

Before summer ends Alexis will learn an ominous truth. One that will change her life forever.

About Suzanne Cox
I remember writing my first stories when I was about nine or ten years old. I've been writing ever since. In 2002 I decided to seriously try and get some of my work published. On February 14th of 2005 I sold my first book, A Different Kind of Man, to Harlequin Superromance. While trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, besides a writer, I went to college (alot) and worked a variety of jobs. I have a bachelor of arts in English with a minor in secondary education, a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in career and technical education with an emphasis in adult education and most recently, a master of science in nursing as a family nurse practitioner. I was also a National Board Certified Teacher in career and technical education. Along the way I've worked as a high school English teacher and an elementary teacher. I've worked as a registered nurse on a cardiac unit, brain injury rehab unit, and several different medical-surgical units. I've also done stints as a home health nurse and a commnunity health educator at a hospital, and many years as an allied health instructor at a high school career and technology center. Presently, I'm working full time as a family nurse practitioner at an inpatient psychiatric facility.

If I'm not writing I like to spend time reading. My husband and I share our home with our four legged children. Our boy and girl in puppy dog clothes, Toby and Sassy, who masquerade as Miniature Pinschers. We are also owned by three cats Chase, Jackson, and Spots.  We are all terrorized by Gray Kitty, a stray who decided to stay and take over.

Author Links:


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin

Breaking Stalin's Nose 
by Eugene Yelchin
160 pages
Elementary Historical Fiction

Book Jacket Summary 
Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six:
The Young Pioneer is devoted to Comrade Stalin, the Communist Party, and Communism. 
A Young Pioneer is a reliable comrade and always acts according to conscience.
A Young Pioneer has a right to criticize shortcomings.
But now that it is finally time to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. He breaks a classmate's glasses with a snowball. He accidentally damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway.  And worst of all, his father, the best Communist he knows, was arrested just last night. 
This moving story of a ten-year-old boy's world shattering is masterful in its simplicity, powerful in its message, and heartbreaking in its plausibility.

My Thoughts
An interesting read about the life of a boy in Stalin's Russia. Sasha is proud to live in communist Russia and of his father who works for Stalin. But when his father is arrested Sasha starts to doubt what he has been told his entire life. The pictures in the book are full of scary authority figures who loom the children in the story and it accurately represents what Sasha must have felt. These were the people who could have you thrown in an orphanage or even prison. 
I can understand why this was on the Newbery Honor Book List for 2012. It was a look into a past that we American's do not always comprehend. It is a world that Eugene Yelchin understood and saw the after affects as a small boy. His author's note tells how millions of people were arrested to keep the citizens afraid and compliant to Stalin's reign. It is a good book to teach a background lesson on what Russia would have been like through the eyes of a child. Children may not understand the all or nothing atmosphere of nationalism that Sasha has but it will give good context for future history lessons. It is a good book and one that should be recommended for students who are into history and are looking for a book about someone who lived through the experience.

Book Pairings
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

UnGuarded by Ashley Robertson: Review and Giveaway

by Ashley Robertson

Published July 1, 2012

Guardian angel Selene was so close to becoming an archangel—the supreme of all beings—until she fell in love with Cole, a forbidden dark one. Once she discovers her vampire lover has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is by abandoning her number one priority—Caitlyn, her human charge—there really is only one answer in Selene’s mind, even though leaving Caitlyn unguarded will most likely cause Selene to fall from grace.

But her choice to save Cole doesn’t come without a price…and now Selene is racing against time to not only save her dark lover, but find a way to keep Caitlyn alive as well.

With the help of a new vampire ally, Luke, Selene will push her diminishing angel abilities to the point where her very existence lies in the balance. Now threatened with the chance of becoming a fallen angel or even dying, Selene can only pray she’ll have enough time—and good grace—to save the ones she loves.”

Cover design by www.phatpuppyart.com


Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida and loves reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When she isn’t writing you’ll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, drinking fine red wines, and making gourmet coffees with her Nespresso machine. Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at: www.AshleyRobertsonBooks.com

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I didn’t move at first. I just gaped at him, completely scared out of my mind. But then I grew more afraid of what he’d do to me if I didn’t obey him. Slowly, I stood up, but I’d never felt more small. My eyes stung with the threat of tears as I looked up at Raphael’s face. I’d never seen him so upset. “What happened? Please tell me,” I begged.

Suddenly, blue flames shot out of his eyes and burned straight into mine. I gasped, but couldn’t move, standing paralyzed as the heat filled my body. Unbelievable pain shot out with the blaze, torching my insides like dried wood. In my head I pleaded with him to stop, but was so distracted by the pain I couldn’t push my thoughts into his mind. The heat intensified and I felt nauseated and wobbly. Pressure swirled around me, warping and twisting like a tornado crunching metal. This must be what it was like right before falling.

And just when I thought I’d be orbed to another world, Raphael stopped. The blue flames left me and receded back into his eyes. My whole body shook as the heat within it simmered. Then Raphael spoke, loud and authoritative: “Return, Selene! Return to Earth and see for yourself what you have done!”


 I am not usually one for Angel stories, especially ones that involve an angel that might fall because of their actions but Robertson has a way of making the reader really care about Selene and the actions that she takes to get her love back from the otherworldly demons. She makes a deal that will change the life of her charge, Caitlyn and she is loosing her memory every time she orbs. Things are going down hill fast for Selene and she is ready to make any deal possible to save Cole and Caitlyn. She pairs up with another vampire, Luke, to help save Luke and find scrolls that may allow her to save Caitlyn.
The story starts in the middle of the action and you get to know more about Cole and Selene in flashbacks. I wish we could have had a little more time to see a build up of their relationship but Selene's never ending love for Cole helps the reader root for their love, even when charming Luke comes on the scene. However, this does give Robertson a chance to go back and make a prequel! There is enough there that I would read it and be happy to know more about the characters.
I would recommend this one to those who are voracious readers of forbidden love stories. It can be a steamy read and I found myself kinda rooting for Luke(I love a bad boy) but I am glad that Selene sticks with her true love, Cole. This was an interesting read and a bit outside my usual reading but it was a nice change of pace.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Plant Hunters by Anita Silvey


The Plant Hunters: 
True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth
by Anita Silvey
88 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Driven by an all-consuming passion, the plant hunters traveled around the world, facing challenges at every turn: tropical illnesses, extreme terrain, and dangerous animals. They battled piranhas, tigers, and vampire bats. Even the plants themselves could be lethal! But these intrepid eighteenth- and nineteenth-century explorers were determined to find and collect new and unusual specimens, no matter what the cost. Then they tried to transport the plants—and themselves—home alive. Creating an important legacy in science, medicine, and agriculture, the plant hunters still inspire the scientific and environmental work of contemporary plant enthusiasts.
Working from primary sources—journals, letters, and notes from the field—Anita Silvey introduces us to these daring adventurers and scientists. She takes readers into the heart of their expeditions to then-uncharted places such as the Amazon basin, China, and India. As she brings a colorful cast of characters to life, she shows what motivated these Indiana Jones–type heroes. In The Plant Hunters, science, history, and adventure have been interwoven to tell a largely forgotten—yet fascinating—story.
My Thoughts
I am trying to improve my non-fiction selection on the blog because it is going to become a large concern to find good non-fiction books that engage readers because of the Common Cores standards. This book caught my eye because of the colorful and interesting cover that was covered in maps and plants. It discusses the history of plant hunters and the lengths they would go to to find new plants all over the globe. Many would face hardships such as drought, starvation, robbery, drowning, and even death to find the plant that could make them famous. Silvey makes the history leap off the page and the adventures can be truly exciting. There are vampire bats, tigers, and pirates that attack our adventurers. One, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, is known as the Indiana Jones of the nineteenth century. He discovered many new and exciting plants through his life time. 
 Original maps, photos, drawings, and lithographs are used to show what was discovered and where. The author used primary sources from the Arnold Arboretum library and other botanic libraries. She looked through leather bound diaries and volumes on their discoveries. It is a fascinating book and might encourage students to start taking an interest in botany, especially since modern plant hunters are discovering new plants everyday. I would recommend this one to those who might think that science is boring. In the case of plant hunter, nothing could be further from the truth. They travel, explore, and see things that no one has ever seen before!

Book Pairings
Elephant Talk by Ann Downer  
by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker 
by Paolo Bacigalupi
read by Joshua Swanson
8 discs
YA Dystopian/Future Setting

Book Jacket Summary
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life...

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

My Thoughts
I can see why this won the Printz award! It was a a spectacular world building experience with realistic characters and a nail biting plot pacing. The setting felt real because it seems like a future we are heading toward with a world in a state of chaos and people working hard to get by on their own.
Nailer is on light crew because he is small enough to fit through the ducts of the ship but he has to start thinking about his future. Soon he will be to tall to fit through the interworkings of the ships he is sent into to strip down and he will be of no use to his drugged up father. Nailer is a fascinating character because he is a product of the world he has grown up in. His morals are different than ours because he lives in such a cut throat world. His friend Pima is the same way and when they find a ship laying amongst the rock they plan on making it their "lucky strike" and getting themselves out of the small coastal village. What they find inside changes their fate forever. Nita Chadhury or "Lucky Girl" is caught inside and dying but Nailer is unable to kill her and claim the boat as his own. Instead he helps her and almost gets killed by his father for doing so. Nailer must get himself and Lucky Girl out of the village and back to her family to collect a promised reward but will it be worth the trouble?
This is a violent book and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was listening to this book. Swanson does a wonderful job of making the scenes intense and the voices of Tool and Richard Lopez intimidating.
I would highly recommend this one to those who like dystopian fiction and to the guys because of the violence and action. It gets you right away and keeps you guessing about what Nailer, Lucky Girl, and Richard Lopez will do next. The characters are real and the situations they are put in fit with the disparity of their world. I was impressed with Bacigalupi's work and I cannot wait to read The Drowned Cities

Book Pairings
Hunger Games
The Giver by

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Lovin Giveaway Hop

Summer Lovin Giveaway Hop
July 11th to 17th

Hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Tifferz Book Review

Young Adult Romance and Clean Adult Romance 

I will be giving away a copy of Changeling by Philippa Gregory from the Book Depository.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

Close to Famous 
by Joan Bauer
250 pages
Personal Copy 
Tween Realistic Fiction

Book Jacket Summary
Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard's goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster's mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants-and put their big ambitions to the test. Full of humor, unforgettable characters, surprises, and lots and lots of heart, this is Joan Bauer at her most engaging.
My Thoughts
Do not read this book on an empty stomach! It is like Pie, there is a ton of recipes and people eating yummy food. I am loving books about quirky towns and eccentric people. This book fits right in that genre! The town of Culpeper is filled with quirky characters but they all feel real and not played for laughs. I really like that.
Foster bakes to escape from her troubles and there are quite a few! First off she and her Mama are on the run from an Elvis impersonator with a fiery temper, they left Foster's pillow case filled with her daddy's things, and Foster cannot read. All of these things have left Foster feeling scared, sad, and limited. She does have a dream of becoming a famous baker with her own TV show like her hero Sonny Kroll. Foster also finds the people in the small town of Culpeper have their own dreams. Macon wants to make documentaries about the things that make him angry. Miss Charleena wants to get over her heartbreak and get back into acting. Foster finds friends in these two and learns to trust people with her secrets.
This one goes into depth on how children can just give up on reading if they are not taught in a way that they can understand. Foster feels limited because she has been labeled as limited. Love that by the end she is still struggling but is willing to learn. I recommend this one to those who love cooking and to those who may be struggling with reading. Foster is an engaging character and she has a dream that she is working toward. I am trying to get my roommate to read it because she is into baking and it has such great tips. This is the first Joan Bauer book I have read and I will be reading them in the future. Fun book with memorable characters.

Book Pairings 
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
Pie by Sarah Weeks 
Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage


Monday, July 9, 2012

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough


Long Lankin 
by Lindsey Barraclough
455 pages
ARC from TLA '12
YA Horror
July 10, 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss. . . .When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don't know is that their aunt's life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries -- before it's too late for little Mimi. 

My Thoughts
Scary, creepy, gothic, and wonderful! I have been wanting to read something like this for a long time. It is everything a person needs when reading a horror book. A slow sensation of something being wrong, glimpses of what may or may not be there, and a house on the brink of falling into it's own ruin. Based off the creepy song of the same name:

'Let the doors be all bolted and the windows all pinned,
And leave not a hole for a mouse to creep in.'

The doors were all bolted and the windows all pinned,
Except one little window where Long Lankin crept in.

I did mention that this was a creepy book, right?
The book is set in England and the language can get confusing but that lends it's self to the strangeness that leads up to the middle and end of the book. The elements of children disappearing and a haunted church make this book perfect for those who enjoy being scared. Long Lankin is freaking scary with the way you can barley see him at first and you see the ghosts that haunt the house. You can sense the adult's fear amd hesitation to tell the children what exactly is going on. All we know is that Mimi is in danger but how can Cora protect her little sister if she doesn't know what is going on. She has to sneak around to find information or find someone willing to help the newest generation that is to face Long Lankin. I do not want to give away much of the plot because it really builds up and you want to be suprised.
The suspense is built up perfectly and it made me jumpy if I was alone. Perfect for a summer read! Tweens and teens will read this long into the night to find out what is going on! Highly recommended!

Book Pairings
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake


Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Reads Giveaway Hop

Summer Reads Giveaway Hop
July 6th to 11th
Along for the Ride 
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessed
Paperback from the Book Depository  
Nothing says summer like a Sarah Dessen novel! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Looking for Me by Betsy R. Rosenthal

Looking for Me 
by Betsy R. Rosenthal
166 pages
Elementary Novel in Verse

Book Jacket Summary
One of 12 siblings growing up in depression-era Baltimore, Edith isn't quite sure of who she is. Between working at her father’s diner, taking care of her younger siblings, and living in the shadow of her more mature sisters, Edith feels lost in a sea of siblings. When a kind teacher encourages Edith to be a teacher herself one day, Edith sees prospects for a future all her own. Full of joy, pain, humor, and sadness, this novel in verse is a wonderful look at the life of Edith Paul, the author's mother, and is an enduring portrait (complete with family photos and an author's note at the end) of one family's pursuit of the American dream.

My Thoughts
Interesting look into a second generation Russian immigrants life in 1936. There are twelve children and  Edith tells there story through verse. She talks about the trials of having so many brothers and sisters but also the joys in having a large family. The book goes into the Jewish traditions and also the tauntings that Edith endured from her fellow students. At one point a new friend pokes at her hair trying to find horns! I am glad that rumor has fallen to the wayside in recent years.
The book is based off the author's mother and the times she had growing up. There are pictures in the back of the book that show the everyday life of the Paul family. Rosenthal did a lot of research into the family and recorded stories. She speaks of how the stories changed from person to person because each one viewed it in a different way.
A big change that rocked Edith's world was the death of little Melvin. This hit the family hard and changed much of the family's dynamic. Edith talks about how her family seemed to big before but now it feels to small. Especially since she was known as the "little mother" of the family and he would take care of Melvin and the other smaller children. Edith looks for her identity in such a large family. The nesting dolls on the cover are mentioned in the book and symbolize how Edith feels lost in so many other children.
Though a fast read, it has an emotional impact. I would recommend this one to those who love historical fiction and those looking for their own identity. Rosenthal does a great job of making Edith come to life through verse and making the world around her authentic.

Book Pairings
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
May B by Caroline Starr Rose
Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley

Those Rebels, John and Tom 
by Barbara Kerley
illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different.

John Adams was short and stout.
Thomas Jefferson was tall and lean.

John was argumentative and blunt.
Tom was soft-spoken and polite.

John sometimes got along with almost no one.
Tom got along with just about everyone.

But these two very different gentlemen did have two things in common: They both cared deeply about the American colonies, and neither cared much for the British tyrant, King George.

With their signature wit, impeccable research, and inventive presentation style, award winners Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham masterfully blend biography and history to create a brilliant portrait of two American heroes who bravely set aside their differences to join forces in the fight for our country’s freedom.

My Thoughts
While Worst of Friends by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain focuses on the breaking up of the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, Those Rebels, John and Tom focuses on the start of their friendship. It was interesting reading about their friendship out of order but it also made the start of their friendship bittersweet. The author does place an author's note at the end and explains about the break up of their friendship but also their reconciliation.
Johna and Tom were almost polar opposites in stature, height, expression, and background but that did not stop them from becoming friends. They helped form The United States of America and together helped the Congress decide to fight for their freedom. John would argue the case with the spoken word and Tom with the written word.
The illustrations feel very cartoonish, like they were straight out of a political cartoon. I do like the effect and really like Fotheringham's style. This book would be wonderful for a fourth of July display and pairing it with Worst of Friends would make an interesting story time for the older children.

Book Pairings
Worst of Friends by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman
George Did Itby


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett

The Princess and the Pig
by Jonathan Emmett
illustrated by Poly Bernatene
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
There's been a terrible mix-up in the royal nursery. Priscilla the princess has accidentally switched places with Pigmella, the farmer's new piglet. The kindly farmer and his wife believe it's the work of a good witch, while the ill-tempered king and queen blame the bad witch-after all, this happens in fairy tales all the time! While Priscilla grows up on the farm, poor yet very happy, things don't turn out quite so well for Pigmella. Kissing a frog has done wonders before, but will it work for a pig? 

My Thoughts
How many words for adorable are there and can I use them all to describe this book? I love fairy tales that go against the norm and this one has an original story line that fits the fairy tale theme. There are no fairies in this and no curses but a misunderstanding that switches the lives of a pig and a princess.
When a princess is accidentally switched for a pig, the King and Queen think that an evil fairy must have placed a curse on their beautiful baby. When a pig is switched for a beautiful baby girl, a farmer and his wife think that a good fairy must have heard their pleas for a baby. This story does not follow the typical "girl becomes princess and lives happily ever after" trope. It has its own flair and I highly approve of the way it ends. The illustrations also fit with the humorous mood of the story and seeing ladies-in-waiting chase after the princess pig is a hilarious sight.
This book will please any fairy tale enthusiast that thinks they have read all the fairy tales out there. It is original, funny, and very cute. I will have this one on stand-by for birthday gifts for little children. It is all together sweet and the good people end up happy. That is a perfect combination for a children's fairy tale.

Book Pairings
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Princess Peepers by Pam Calvert
The Sunflower Sword by Mark Sperring


Monday, July 2, 2012

Underworld by Meg Cabot

by Meg Cabot
336 pages
ARC from TLA 2012
YA Paranormal

Book Jacket Summary
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.Not this time. But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there will be no escape.

My Thoughts
I am rather a big fan of Meg Cabot's work... that might be an understatement considering I own every book she has ever written (even under her pen names). With that said, I am liking this series. It is a lot darker than her usual teen series but it fits with the theme of being trapped in the Underworld with the lord of death.
John and Pierce are in love but need to learn how to communicate better because they do not seem to be on the same page. However, that would make for a much shorter book and leave out a lot of the drama that keeps the book moving. This does not mean that do not want to shake John and Pierce on a continuous bases! But I still like the characters so that is something new and something that only Meg Cabot could do.
The story picks up right where Abandon left off and does not let up for a minute. Pierce has been whisked away to the Underworld and meets the rest of the staff that helps John run the afterlife. We also learn more about Alex and the pain of growing up without a dad, plus living with a Fury for a grandmother. I really feel for Alex, especially for what happens near the end.
This is a fun series and I really like Cabot's take on the Underworld. I wonder if it is at connected with the Mediator series? I have always like Cabot's paranormal series and this one fits right in place with the Mediator and the 1-800-Where-R-You series. As always, she makes characters that you care about and a story line you can really get into. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes myth retellings. Cabot's fans will have already read this one but if you are looking for a good series, pick this one up.

Book Pairings
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
The Goddess Test by

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Horse Waiting for Me by Patricia Mullins

One Horse Waiting for Me 
by Patricia Mullins
Personal Copy
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
With a simple, rhyming text and lush, imaginative collage art, Patricia Mullins counts from "One horse waiting for me" to "Twelve horses running wild and free". Along the way readers will encounter horses of every possible variety, including work horses and show horses, rocking horses and carousel horses, winged horses in the clouds, mer-horses in the sea, and more. In this tribute to her favorite animal, Mullins creates horses that are as proud, dignified, and spirited as these beloved animals are in life. Her stunning illustrations will delight horse lovers of all ages.

My Thoughts
A counting book with beautiful horses? I would have been all over this book when I was little. I am the biggest horse fan and I went to horse camp every year as a tween. This picture book is gorgeous with all different types of horses and all the colors that Mullins could find.
The illustrations are done as a collage made from fine tissues and Japanese papers. It is amazing that such detailing can be made with paper but Mullins manages to make the horses look real but also magical. She uses pegasus' and hippocamps (half horse/half sea dragon) to show the more magical side of horses with carousel, rocking, and rolling horses for the littlest children.
I would recommend this one to kids who are fascinated with horses. I will be buying this one for a little girl who already loves books with animals. I am going to keep my copy and leaf through it every few months (it is that pretty).  

Book Pairings 
H Is for Horse: An Equestrian Alphabet by
The Horse Girl by

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