Saturday, June 30, 2012

Get Dressed by Seymour Chwast

Get Dressed 
by Seymour Chwast
Personal Copy
Picture Book/Fold Out

Book Jacket Summary
Seymour Chwast celebrates the daily routine of getting dressed in this fittingly whimsical and satisfyingly unique novelty book. Unlike more traditional books on this topic that deal with the how of getting dressed, Get Dressed! instead tackles the why. The text “Get dressed to read about dragons” accompanies an illustration of a boy dressed in a makeshift knight costume. A girl in full floral garb stands in a garden alongside the text “Get dressed to hide.” The book features half and full gatefolds, which foreshadow the items of clothing to be seen and provide surprise reveals on each spread. With a die-cut magnetic closure, even the cover invites readers to peek inside!
My Thoughts
In Get Dressed, Chwast uses the activity of getting dressed as a way of expressing creativity. The first boy uses a belt, feather, a long-sleeved shirt, soup pot, lid, funnel, sword, socks, and a collar to read about dragons. Flaps open the book with foldout pages that hide what the items become when put together. Abram's Appleseed have some very unique graphic designs and layout. They have also done Huff and Puff (which I will review later) and I am impressed by their new line. The quality of the book is sturdy and will not be worn by all the lifting of pages on a consistent bases.
I would recommend his one to kids who love to dress up in different costumes. It has a creative way of making everyday things around the house into something fun and imaginative. Children should be encouraged to see what costumes they can come up with. Their own clothes and things around the house will be different once they see the possibility.

Book Pairings 
Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda
Pantone: Colors by Pantone 
Hippopposites by Janik Coat


Friday, June 29, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Katie @ Mundie Moms
June 29th to July 5th

Unlike everyone else I am longing to be back in Italy (my trip last year at this time). Here is a look at the kind of vacation I wish I was on right now!

Midnight in Austenland
by Shannon Hale

Book Jacket Summary
When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end?

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green 
313 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

My Thoughts
Hazel is dying. You know this from the beginning, in fact she goes to a support group for this very reason. That is where she meets Augustus- cute and funny, he is everything she tries to push away. He is in remission and she does not want to break his heart. This is such a hard book to review because I feel like so many people have written their views and it it hard to have an original opinion. This is also why I waited so long to post my review. I felt that the book was written with many layers and tugs on your heart strings. Just be prepared to cry because John Green has a powerful way of conveying emotion. It really stumps me when a guy seems to know what is going on in the brain of a teenage girl.
These are smart teens- Hazel has her GED and is taking classes at her local community college and Augustus can quote books like no one else. Some seem to have a problem with this fact. I've heard in other reviews that they do not talk how teens really talk. Personally I think that this is how teenagers hear themselves talk and wish they could talk. Inner monologues that they wish they could express. Plus how boring would it be to read every um, like, and pause that take pace in the real world. These kids also play video games, watch movies, and watch trash TV. They just now have something extar going on- going blind, losing a limb, or dying.
Hazel loves the book An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houton, an author that has retreated to Amsterdam after his one bestselling book was published. Hazel wants to know the real ending or future of the characters in the book but Van Houten does not answer her letters. Augustus also falls in love with the book (and with Hazel) and they discuss it often. Now I know how my friends feel when I start talking about a book no one has read before. It does enhance the book though because Hazel feels like Van Houten knows about her disease and what it is like to die.
The book is really good and you should read it. It is my first John Green novel and I am ready to tackle his other novels now.

Book Pairings


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WOW: Courtship and Curses by Marissa Doyle

"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:
Courtship and Curses 
by Marissa Doyle
Release Date: Aug. 7, 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Sophie’s entrance into London society isn’t what she thought it would be: Mama isn’t there to guide her, Papa is buried in his work fighting Napoleon, and Sophie’s newly acquired limp keeps her from dancing at any of those glittering balls. If it weren’t for her shopping escapades with her new French friend Amélie and a flirtation with the dashing Lord Woodbridge, she would think this season a complete disaster.
But when someone uses magic to attack Papa the night of Sophie’s first ball, her problems escalate, especially when it becomes clear that all the members of the War Cabinet are being targeted. Can she catch the culprit and keep her own magic powers hidden long enough to win herself a match?

I am a big fan of the magic and Regency era combination! This book looks like it will be a lot like Doyle's Bewitching Season, which I really liked. Looking forward to this one's release. Cannot come soon enough!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano

And Then It's Spring
by Julie Fogliano
illustrated by Erin C. Stead
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they've had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way.

My Thoughts
I picked this book because we do not have much of a Spring in Texas and now with Summer in full bloom we long for a time of green. We have Winter and then the Texas Winter (Summer) because it is to hot to do anything outside.
In this book, a little boy plants some seeds in the brown earth and hopes to see results but worries whe he does not see results right away. He worries about rain, birds eating the seeds, and bears stomping on seedlings. However, when he least expects it the world is green and his plants are sprouting.
This is a nice book and the illustrations of the boy being constantly trailed by a dog, bunny, and turtle are rather charming. I was  not blown away by the book but it would make a great addition to a library's Spring collection.  

Book Pairings
Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall


Monday, June 25, 2012

Torn by Amanda Hocking


Tyrlle Trilogy #2
by Amanda Hocking 
324 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Amanda Hocking is an indie publishing sensation whose self-published novels have sold millions of copies all over the world.  Step into the world of the Trylle, and prepare to be enchanted…. 
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…
She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.
Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.
As a special gift to readers, this book contains a new, never-before-published bonus story, “One Day, Three Ways,” set in the magical world of the Trylle

My Thoughts
Wendy has left the Trylle with Rhys to return home to her "real" family but the Vittra get to her after only being there a day. Being captured is a new experience for Wendy and she has a small amount of time to practice her skills and try to escape. We are also introduced to Loki, King Oren, and Queen Sara. Loki is gorgeous and lives up to his name but you learn more about him and the torture he endures in One Day, Three Ways. I really appreciate his introduction into the story because is much more engaging than Finn. He has a bit of a trickster side to him, plus he seems a much better match for Wendy. Who knows what will happen in the third book though.
This is a good continuation to the Tyrlle trilogy and you learn much more about the side characters than in Switched.  Wendy finds out more about Elora's past and why she is so cold and jaded. It is nice to learn more about characters that did not have enough page time in the first book. Finn is a bit more fleshed out and you find out about his family. Trackers are the lowest of the Trylle because their families do not bring money into the community and it has a deeper look into how their living conditions differ from the higher Trylle.
It is your typical paranormal romance with political situations sprinkled through. I would place this trilogy into the hands of those who love a story about becoming a princess of a paranormal race. It is a bit predictable but it is still enjoyable when you read it.

Book Pairings
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light
by Jennifer Donnelly
389 pages
YA Historical Fiction

Book Jacket Summary
Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly's astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

My Thoughts
This book is a lot more than looking at the events that took place at Big Moose Lake in 1906 but an introspective of Mattie and the choices she must make in life. The story is not told in chronological order but rather divided between her work at Glenmore and her life on her family farm earlier in the year. Mattie is entrusted with the letters of Grace Brown, who has died in a boating accident but is unable to burn the letters as Grace requested. Instead she finds a heart wrenching story of a pregnant girl who wants her lover to do the right thing in marrying her. Mattie also explores her life on the family farm and her dreams of becoming a writer.
This book is layered perfectly with the country feel and dreams of a girl who is smarter than the people around her. She wants a chance to explore her mind and make observations of the world, to make a difference. Instead, she is expected to marry, rear children, and continue working the farm.
The side characters are well explored too and your never feel like they are just thrown together. Miss Wilcox is the teacher who wants her to succeed at being an author and pushes her to leave and take the scholarship to college. She has her own story but I do not want to ruin it for those who want to read about her. Weaver is her best friend and also a recipient of a scholarship to college but has difficulty being the only black man in the Adirondack town. He is faced with discrimination but also has the drive to continue hos studies and become a lawyer that helps those in need.  
This book works on so many levels and I highly recommend it to those who love historical fiction. It is well researched and it feels like you have stepped into the early 1900's. Mattie's struggle to make a choice between a home and family or perusing her dreams is a real struggle. You are almost unsure of what her decision will be but you know that she is a strong character and will make the right choice for herself. Jennifer Donnelly has not let me down after reading Revolution and I am torn to decide which one I like more. She tackles such hard subjects and this book was so good.

Book Pairings
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
An American Tragedy by
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop - June 20th to 26th

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop - June 20th to 26th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Uniquely Moi Books

 I am giving away a copy of Belles by Jen Calonita! US only please.


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Wild Women of the Wild West by Jonah Winter

Wild Women of the Wild West 
by Jonah Winter
illustrated by Susan Guevara
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Annie Oakley could shoot a gun better than any man in the Wild West. Mary Fields hauled stones and lumber. When one man challenged her, she beat him in a gunfight. Time after time, Polly Pry, a newspaper reporter, risked her life when she exposed bad guys and wrote the truth. And Sarah Winnemucca, daughter of a Paiute chief, fought in battle, negotiated peace between Indians and settlers, and gained civil rights for her people.
Biographical sketches, color portraits and sepia line drawings reveal the accomplishments of fifteen amazing women whose adventurous spirit helped build our nation.

My Quick Thoughts
The title says it all! These wild women are amazing and I wish I could have seen them in action! The book gives a page of information plus a illustration based on a picture of the woman or a rendering of what they may have looked like in the typical clothing of the day. I'm glad they decided to go this route because the colors add to the feeling of the times.
You may already know some of the stories about Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, and Polly Pry but there are many women who I had never heard of before reading this book. There is brave Nellie Cashman who craved adventure and went out to help other in need. Belle Starr, horse thief extraordinaire. Mary Fields, who drove a stage coach until she was sixty-eight! This is an excellent book to give to a young girl who is interested in history or women heroes. It is filled with interesting women who either tried to tame the wild west or thrived on the wildness it provided.  

Book Pairings
Cowgirls by Elizabeth Claire Flood
Sky High by Marissa Moss
Nurse, Solider, Spy by Marissa Moss

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch
by Victoria Schwab
282 pages
Personal Copy
YA Paranormal

Book Jacket Summary
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of Near. 
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy. Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.

My Thoughts
Lexi lives in Near, a small town on the edge of the moor and a place where no strangers dare come. Until one night Lexi does see a stranger outside her window, the same night a child disappears from Near. With suspensions raised high, Lexi tries to help the stranger (who she dubs Cole) but the villagers are ready to find out what is happening to their children. Magda and Dreska Thorne are two witches that tell Lexi the true story of the Near Witch and how she can get the children back.
I really liked this story. It felt like an extended fairy tale or a storyteller's tale that one would hear once upon a time. Lexi is an engaging narrator and Schwab is a very good storyteller. She uses such beautiful language throughout the book and it makes me wish I had listened to the audiobook. I might anyway. I like to go back and listen to books I have already read.
Lexi is dealing with the death of her father, her mother's withdraw, and her Uncle Otto's controlling behavior. Cole is a welcome distraction, especially form Tyler, the boy everyone expects Lexi to marry. Schwab does such a good job building up suspense for the fate of Cole among the villagers. I heard someone say that this book was scary but I though it was more creepy than scary.
I would recommend this one to those who enjoy a good story with creepy elements. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will be passing it to my other friends.

Book Pairings
The Witchlanders by Lena Coakley 
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


Friday, June 15, 2012

Clear Your Shelves Giveaway

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

"Clear Your Shelf" Giveaway Hop!
My Giveaway is a box of YA ARC's. Most will be from the past month or two that I will never get around to reading! 
Good luck!
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Crazy Dangerous
by Andrew Klavan

330 pages

YA Action Suspense
May 1, 2012

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees these thugs harassing an eccentric schoolmate named Jennifer. Finding the courage to face the bullies down, Sam loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons, the devil, and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.
With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time.

Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

My Thoughts
What a action packed book! I am amazed at how many times I was sitting on the edge of my seat and wanting to flip forward just to find out if Sam gets out of it alive! Sam is such an engaging character and it is great to see a PK (preacher's kid) kid in a story. I know what it is like to walk that fine line between being good but not a goody-two-shoes. Klavan does such a great job making Sam a three dimensional character, with doubts, flaws, but a brave spirit. He makes some bad choices and tries to make up for it with a new motto: Do Right, Fear Nothing. This starts with saving Jennifer, the strange/crazy girl at school, from the bullies Sam has started hanging out with. Jennifer has attached herself to Sam Hopkins, "her magical friend", and believes he is the only one who can save her from the demons that only she can see. When her visions start coming true, Sam is the only one who is willing to see past her mental illness and actually to something about it. This causes him some serious trouble but he believes and will not stop until he finds out what is going on.
The book is religious with out being overly religious or preachy. I would gladly hand this one over to a Christian but I would also hand it over to someone who is not. That is saying something in this day and age. It is fast paced and I know I really started feeling anxious when Sam would get in trouble. This is a must read and guys will really get into the action and mystery plot. A great book to hand over to a reluctant reader because the will be sucked into the story, especially when Sam tries to out run a train in the first few chapters. Highly engaging and I will be getting this one to add to my ever growing pile of books.

Book Pairings
The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan
Life is But a Dream by Brian James
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Award winning author, screenwriter and media commentator Andrew Klavan is the author of such internationally bestselling novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Don’t Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas. Andrew has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice. His books have been translated around the world. His latest novel for adults, The Identity Man, has been praised by Nelson Demille as “fast paced, intelligent and thought-provoking; a great read!” Television and radio host Glenn Beck says “Andrew Klavan never disappoints…one of the best illustrations of the power of redemption that I’ve ever read.” His last novel Empire of Lies was about media bias in the age of terror, and topped’s thriller list. Andrew has also published a series of thrillers for young adults, The Homelanders, which follows a patriotic teenager’s battle against jihadists. The books have been optioned to be made  into movies by Summit Entertainment, the team behind the mega-successful Twilight film series.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Windchaser by Krissi Dallas

by Krissi Dallas
288 pages
YA Fantasy

Book Jacket Summary
'It is you...' he murmured, coming closer. I was taken aback at the intensity in his face. He rested his wrinkled, but still very strong, hands on my bare shoulders. His gray eyes sought mine as if he expected me to recognize him. 'You really are a Daughter of the Wind, are you not?' Cautiously, I looked over at Gabriel, wondering if it was okay to admit the truth. He nodded as if to give me permission.
My voice came out as a whisper. 'Yes.'
High school senior Whitnee has spent six years rebuilding her identity after her father's mysterious disappearance left her with more questions than answers. With her two best friends, Morgan and Caleb, she returns as a mentor to the summer camp of her childhood. Nestled in the Texas hill country, Camp Fusion is everything Whitnee remembers—except for the haunting visions that only she can see. One fateful night, Whitnee and her friends embark on a magical voyage where unexpected adventure and heart-stopping romance collide—a journey that might unlock the dark, complicated mysteries of Whitnee's family history. But will she find the answers she is looking for?

My Thoughts
I love books that are set in Texas and are actually written by Texan authors! They get the fact that we are not what we are portrayed on TV and our teens are just like everyone else (unless it takes place in fantasy/paranormal setting then they are usually special). Krissi Dallas builds a great cast of characters in her book and I really get the friendship that Whitnee, Caleb, and Morgan have built through the years after their stay at Camp Fusion five years ago. They are returning to be mentors for tweens who are dealing with issues, usually a divorce or death of someone close to them. They are still dealing with their own issues but hope to help the new set of campers that arrive. You know drama is brewing between Caleb and Whitnee from the first few pages but it takes a while to fruition. I can see real teens guys acting as Caleb did but I still am kinda mad at him. Hopefully he will redeem himself a bit in the next book.
Whitnee keeps having dreams about crossing the river of the camp, which is strictly forbidden and gets thrown into another world. This world resembles Avatar: The Last Airbender, in that Whitnee seems to have control over all four elements but it is a more Westernized version of the abilities. The world Dallas has built on The White Island looks promising and I cannot wait to learn more about the other people on the island. We are introduced to the Aerodorian tribe, who are the people of air and can call upon the wind to help them. There are some interesting twists and I am not sure who to trust on this Phantom Island but there is more to this series than meets the eye! I would recommend this one to fantasy lovers and also to teens who like clean books. It is a fun start to a series! 

 I finally officially met Krissi Dallas at TLA and she is awesome!  

Book Pairings

 From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa
Clarity by Kim Harrington
Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
358 pages
ARC from ALA Midwinter

Book Jacket Summary
Inspired by Tsarist Russia, SHADOW & BONE brings to life a fantasy world of superstition and science, saints and samovars, in which a lonely refugee must leave behind her best friend- and first love- to save her country from the growing darkness of the Unsea. But first she must contend with the dangerous and decadent world of the kingdom’s magical elite and their powerful leader, a creature of dark charm and deadly ambition.

My Thoughts
I received this book from the publisher but the review is based on my true opinions of the book.
Now with the disclaimer out of the way I can truly say that I love this book and I will be buying my own copy of this one! It had all the elements I love in a YA Fantasy. The books I have listed in the Book Pairings section are some of my favorite fantasy (one is dystopian but still counts) and this book will also be on that list. It has the tension of Poison Study and the great fantasy world of Green Rider. I love the world that Bardugo created based on Russia but added her own touches.
Alina is a very engaging character that longs for acceptance after being an orphan and a remote person most of her life. Her only consolation is Mal, her childhood friend. They found comfort in each other as children but are slowly drifting apart. When it is discovered that Alina may be the mythical Sun Summoner that could save Ravka from distruction she embraces feeling like she finally belongs with the Grisha. She also embraces the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha but cannot quite forget Mal.
  The book left me with this need of the next book and I will be really excited when the next books comes out. This is one for fantasy fans but is so good that it could be used as a gateway book into the genre for those who love paranormal. The characters are riveting and you are not sure what Alina will do or what certain people will do to contain her power. 

Book Pairings
Poison Study by Maria Snyder
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bad Island by Doug TenNapel

Bad Island 
by Doug TenNapel
Personal Copy
Graphic Novel

Book Jacket Summary
Something on this island is up to no good . . .

When Reese is forced to go on a boating trip with his family, the last thing he expects is to be shipwrecked on an island-especially one teeming with weird plants and animals. But what starts out as simply a bad vacation turns into a terrible one, as the castaways must find a way to escape while dodging the island's dangerous inhabitants. With few resources and a mysterious entity on the hunt, each secret unlocked could save them . . . or spell their doom. One thing Reese knows for sure: This is one Bad Island.

My Thoughts
TenNapel has done it again! I loved his newest graphical novel and the roller coaster adventure that it contained. He mixes an everyday family with a SciFi robot adventure and it really works.
Reese, Janie, Lyle (dad), Karen (mom) go on a family boating trip. Reese does not want to go because he is a teenager and has better things to do than hang out with his family all weekend. Janie just wants to play with her pet snake and Lyle and Karen just want a nice boat trip. Instead they get an adventure of a life time when their boat gets lost in a storm and wrecks upon a strange island. They find wildlife and animals that are definitely not from this world and must run from some scary alien-like creatures.
This is a great graphic novel for reluctant readers because it is fast paced and full of adventure! It has interesting flashbacks to a space war and how the story lines interconnect is well planned. The family is a typical family but you can tell they love each other. There is a point where the children get separated from their parents and Reese protects Jamie from the creatures following them. He makes sure his little sister is safe and tries to get back to his parents. Reese is a good protagonist for readers to connect with. He is troubled but when times get rough he gets up and fights for his family survival.
I would highly recommend having this graphic novel in a library collection or in your personal collection if you like SciFi adventures. I found a copy at my local Scholastic Warehouse sale for $5 and talked a teacher friend into getting a copy for her classroom.   

Book Pairings

Friday, June 8, 2012

TGIF(6): Cast Your Own Story

TGIF is a weekly meme created and hosted by Ginger of GReads! that recaps the week's posts and has a different question each week.
Cast Your Own Story: If you could use existing characters from some of your favorite books to create a new story, who would be in it?

Now this is a fun question! I loved fan fiction growing up and mashing characters together can be so much fun!

I would cast Cat Royal from the Cat Royal series by Julia Golding as a streetwise theater girl who is looking for a way to be on stage.

I would cast Kim and Mairelon from A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede as the couple who help her get there because Kim was once a street rat too.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern cast would be the stage actors that Cat would audition for and learn about magic through them and Kim.

 This would be a story that I would read in heartbeat! These are three of my favorite Victorian based books and I could only imagine how cool this story would be!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Blog Design

New blog design! 
I love my new blog and LC was a dream to work with! See how she created my sheltie here! It is so much more me and not just a generic blogger background!!!!


Love the after! Pink and purple are my favorite colors and the argyle is fantastic! Cannot wait to start blogging on my new design!


The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet

The Cabinet of Earths 
by Anne Nesbet
260 pages
Tween Fantasy

Book Jacket Summary
On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic. Houses with bronze salamanders for door handles, statues that look too much like Mayas own worried face, a man wearing sunglasses to hide his radiant purple eyes . . . nothing is what it seems. And what does all that magic want from Maya?
With the help of a friendly boy named Valko, Maya discovers surprises hidden in her family trees brother. And now the shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths, at the heart of all these secrets, has chosen Maya to be its new Keeper. 
As she untangles the ties between the Salamander House, the purple-eyed man, and the Cabinet of Earths, Maya realizes that her own brother may be in terrible danger. To save him, Maya must take on the magical underworld of Paris . . . before it is too late.

My Thoughts
Maya's move to Paris is hard on her but not as hard as possibly losing her mother to another bout of cancer. Starting over in a new school is hard on Maya because she is shy and not at all like her charming younger brother, James. He can cause heads to turn in stores and charm anyone he meets. Maya finds that not all is as it seems as she gets involved with the Society of Philosophical Chemistry and their enigmatic director, Henri de Fourcroy. Maya must prove to be brave as she takes on magic and immortals who do not want to lose their immortality. Maya and her friend Valko are trying to find out what exactly is going on with her Aunt Louise and why no one seems to see her or quickly forgets she exists. How do all these things intersect? Well, Nesbet does a great job of incorporating real places and people to make a fantasy that mixes with science. The Cabinet of Earths holds secrets that Maya must discover but at what price? 
 I love the cover of this book and I must say that it drew me in when I saw it at the library. It is great that the artist captured the door of the Society so accurately. I hate it when it seems that the cover does not represent the book but tween books seem to be great at cover art. I wish we could go back to more illustrations rather than a girl in a fancy dress.
I would recommend this one to those who love fantasy adventure because Nesbet keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to see what Maya will do next. Maya is a strong character that does waver when it comes to doing the right thing but ultimately finds the inner strength the do what is right. I love those kind of characters and think that there should be more of them.

Book Pairings
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
The Rise of the Darklings: Invisible Order #1 by Paul Crilley 
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WOW: Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

"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: 
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Book Jacket Summary
Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . This witty take on the classic Regency--Patrice Kindl's first novel in a decade--is like literary champagne!
This reminds me of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and I love that book! I am a huge fan of regency historical fiction and cannot wait to read this one.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reunited Book Blast

Author: Hilary Weisman Graham

Book: Reunited

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pub Date: June 12, 2012

Description of book: 1 Concert. 2,000 Miles. 3 Ex-Best Friends.

Award: Winner of the 2011 SCBWI Book Launch Award


Book Summary:
Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books. Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

Hilary Weisman Graham's debut is a fun, bubbly and heartwarming coming-of-age story of friendship, love, and ultimately, finding yourself and being true to who you are --- no matter what. It's one of those books that has a little bit of everything, for everyone... one of my favorite YA Contemporary reads of 2012 so far! ~The Teen Book Guru

What an amazingly written book! Graham has done the very difficult job of capturing the distinct voices of three very different girls. ~Author Katie McGarry

This book has it all: wit, great prose, lots of true-to-life teenage angst, rock stars, and a terrific plot. I can't wait to see the movie version! ~Author Lee Harrington

The ultimate road-trip, friendship ride! Made me want to hop into the car with some of my friends and head cross-country. Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are unique, well-developed, and likable characters. I enjoy this book a lot. ~Author Colleen Clayton

Hilary Weisman Graham is a screenwriter, Emmy-nominated TV producer, filmmaker, and the author of Reunited (Simon & Schuster – June 12, 2012), her debut young adult novel.

In 2007, Hilary was selected as a contestant on the Mark Burnett/Steven Spielberg-produced reality series On the Lot: The Search for America’s Next Great Director. Out of a pool of 12,000 submissions, Hilary made it onto the show as one of the eighteen finalists and stayed in the competition until only nine contestants remained, making her the longest-standing female director.

Among Hilary’s many film-related honors, her personal favorite happened on On the Lot, when Carrie Fisher (best-selling author/screenwriter/Princess Leia) watched one of Hilary’s short films, looked her in the eye, and said, “I am jealous of your writing.”

Hilary lives in rural New Hampshire with her husband and son, but still manages to do business Hollywood and is currently at work on a screenplay for The Disney Channel.

Website   Blog   Facebook   Goodreads   Book Trailer   Author Page   Level3   @HilaryGraham

You can order REUNITED here:  Barnes&Noble   Amazon   Indiebound

Giveaway Details:
$50 Gift Card
Ends 6/12/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Worst of Friends by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain

Worst of Friends: 
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud
by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
illustrated by Larry Day
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were good friends with very different personalities. But their differing views on how to run the newly created United States turned them into the worst of friends. They each became leaders of opposing political parties, and their rivalry followed them to the White House. Full of both history and humor, this is the story of two of America's most well-known presidents and how they learned to put their political differences aside for the sake of friendship.

My Thoughts
Fights between friends can be tough but when it involves the future of a whole country, even the most level-headed of friends can fight. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were really good friends but a difference of opinion on how powerful the president of the United Sates should be divided them. They were rivals for many years before they put aside their differences at a very old age. This was an interesting history lesson that children can easily understand, with a bit of knowledge on America's past.
It comes with a selected biography and a forward about different president's friendships and enemies through history. The art work is good and humorous at times. Jefferson puts an "out to lunch" card on his desk rather than face the Federalists coming to complain. I would recommend this one for classrooms in elementary schools because it will give an interesting spin on the text book history. It will humanize the two presidents and give background history on the men.

Book Pairings

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash

The Mapmaker and the Ghost
by Sarvenaz Tash
ARC from ALA Mid-winter 2011
Tween Fanatsy

Book Jacket Summary
Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest. Debut author Sarvenaz Tash combines an edge-of-your-seat adventure, a uniquely clever voice, and an unforgettable cast of characters to prove that sometimes the best adventures of all are waiting right in your own backyard.

My Thoughts
Goldenrod loves maps and plans on spending her summer making a map of the town Pilmilton and the woods that are just beyond her backyard. Her best friend has moved away and there is nothing else for her to do each day. This brings her into a quest to find a blue rose for an old woman that she thinks might be a witch and being haunted by the ghost of Meriwether Lewis. On the day her brother, Birch, decides to follow her into the woods they are kidnapped by the Gross Out Gang. Snotshot, Spitbubble, Brains, No-bone, Lint, and Toe Jam are up to no good and it is up to Goldenrod and Birch to stop them. 
This is a fast paced adventure story that I really enjoyed. Goldenrod was obsessed with maps the way I was obsessed with books. I would spend hours reading while she spends hours pouring over maps. I admire her ambition to map out the town and thought she had it well planned out. How was she supposed to know that she would be recruited to search for a blue rose in the woods where some teen hooligans had their secret headquarters. Birch was brave and did not cry when he was kidnapped and alone, he really wanted to but he held back his tears. He was the typical little brother that wanted to tag along with his older sister but there was love between them and Goldenrod put herself in danger to rescue him. As I said, this is a great book and I would recommend it for a quick summer read. This book makes maps and history fun with ghosts and adventure! I am passing this one on to a middle school teacher and she is excited to read it over the summer.

Book Pairings
Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy
The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet

Saturday, June 2, 2012

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

One Cool Friend
by Toni Buzzeo
illustrated by David Small
Personal Copy
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
"May I please have a penguin?"

That's what Elliot asks his father on Family Fun Day at the aquarium. His father thinks he MUST mean a stuffed animal rather than a pet, because he simply answers, "Sure!" and hands over a twenty-dollar bill. And so begins the sly, silly tale of an irresistible friendship. Caldecott Medallist David Small and acclaimed storyteller Toni Buzzeo revel in the mischief--and kids will too!

My Thoughts
I love David Small's illustrations (who I was lucky to meet at TLA this year) and I also adore Toni Buzzeo's work, so I knew a combination of their work would be wonderful. I just wished I could have had my copy signed by both of them at TLA. Maybe next year?
This book is based off an urban legend that Buzzeo heard and created an account of how it might have happened. It is filled with humor and a wonderful air of sophistication. Elliot is a boy with impeccable manners and dress. He is always wearing his tuxedo and is very polite to his elders. David Small's illustration are spot on for the humor and elegance that Elliot personified. His father takes him to the aquarium and Elliot acquires a real penguin in an error of communication. The book details the amount of work that Elliot goes into caring for his new friend and the hijinks that ensue when the father has near misses of noticing the newly acquired friend. It is not your typical picture book were a lesson is learned but rather a more fantasy based what-if book. I would recommend this book to everyone but probably not right before a zoo trip. We don't want to plant any ideas into kids heads, now do we? ;) Before you know it, you might be housing a baby zebra or a meerkat.

Book Pairings
Your Personal Penguin by
Fleabag by
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