Saturday, September 29, 2012

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

Queen of the Falls 
by Chris Van Allsburg
Picture Book 
Book Jacket Summary
She could remember standing in a park near the falls, hypnotized by the sight and sound, and holding her father’s hand as they took a walk that would lead them closer. That’s what everyone wonders when they see Niagara . . . How close will their courage let them get to it?

At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before—she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Come meet the Queen of the Falls and witness with your own eyes her daring ride!

My Thoughts
I have always been a fan of Chris Van Allsburg's work and was delighted to hear that he had done a non-fiction work. Queen of the Falls tells the story of Annie Edson Taylor and her death defying stunt of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She had hoped to become rich and famous after the stunt but people could not believe that an elderly woman could have done such an act.
Van Allsburg's pictures are as amazing as usual in this book. He is so good at capturing the determination set in Annie's face.
I've always heard the phrase "Like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel" and knew someone had done it but finally learning the real story was fascinating. Highly recommend as an addition to any library. 

Book Pairings


Friday, September 28, 2012

Banned Books Week Hop

Hosted by the ever-amazing I Read Banned Books & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
September 28th through October 6th
I love banned book week! It is a great time to display and talk about books that challenge people. Find your next banned book with a $10 GC to Amazon!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Life on Hold Book Blast

Life on Hold by Beverly Stowe McClure

A paper found.
A secret revealed.
A girl's life changed forever.

Myra Gibson's life is a lie. For sixteen years her parents have kept their secret, but the adoption paper she discovers while cleaning the guest house tells the truth. As the past and present collide, Myra finally stands up for herself and begins a journey she may regret.


"All I can say is wow! Beverly Stowe McClure knocked this one out of the ballpark. The story of Myra and her search for the truth touched upon one of the fundamental needs of all children (and teens): the need for a father in their lives. ... The school librarian at the middle school where I teach is already looking into buying a copy for the school library. It's that good."
~Award Winning Author Darby Karchut-

"Beverly did an awesome job with this book. Myra's character and the decisions she make throughout the book are believable. Her friends, family and love interest, Jeremy, are all characters that the readers can relate to."
~Peggy Tibbetts -

About the Author:

When Beverly Stowe McClure was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with books, she attended Midwestern State University, where she read too many books to count, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree. She taught in elementary school for twenty-two years. Reading Dr. Seuss to her sons and Newbery winners to her students made Beverly realize what she’d been missing: Reading was fun.
Now, she reads most every day. She also writes. Her articles for children’s magazines, many of them about activities her classes did in school, have been published in leading children‘s magazines. One article was reprinted in a Scott Foresman Anthology, Grades PK/K. Her doggie story appeared in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book.

Beverly’s five novels for teens and tweens are published by small Indie Publishers. Her YA historical novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, is a finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Novella Division. The book also is a finalist in Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards, Teen Fiction, and is an Honor Award Winner in the Reader's Favorite Book Award Contest, YA Category, as well as an Honor Winner in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, YA Category.  Listen to the Ghost was a finalist in the 2003 Dream Realm Awards. Her first picture book came out in June 2011. Her latest book, Life on Hold, is a YA contemporary novel. She lives in the country with her husband, two cats, and a variety of wild critters that come to visit.


$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
Ends 10/4/12
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.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Sea Chest by Toni Buzzeo

The Sea Chest 
by Toni Buzzeo
illustrated by Mary GrandPre
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
As they wait for the arrival of a new baby, Maita tells her great-grandniece the story of her remarkable childhood. Living sheltered on a lighthouse island with only her parents for company, Maita always longed for a sibling-longed not to be the only child the ragged island knew. And then one icy night, howling winds blew wave after wave against the shore, and from that fearsome storm came a sea chest-a gift that would change Maita's life forever.

My Thoughts
The pictures that have waves and wind almost seem thick with color. The sea has greens, blues, yellows and white to emphasize the ferocious storm that happens. I did not know that Mary GrandPre was the illustrator for the Harry Potter books! No wonder I was so enamored with the illustrations in this book.
The story is told by an elderly aunt who recounts how she and her father found an infant washed to shore in a sea chest after a storm. They take the child in as their own and name her Seaborne. The ending lends a nice touch when the young girl who is listening to the story mentions that her parents are fetching a child "from so far across the wide Atlantic. To be my sister." Very well done for a parallel story.
The Author's Note tells that this is a fictional account but one based on a story that has been passed down through time. Although there is no notice in the light keeper's log, I would like to think it is true. A type of fairy tale for a childless couple or in this case a lonely child. This a sweet book to read to a child that is expecting an adoptive sibling. The pictures are beautiful and I love the lighthouse setting!    

Book Pairings


Saturday, September 22, 2012

RUA by Miranda Kavi Blog Tour: Guest Post


 RUA by Miranda Kavi
Expected Pub: 9/2/2012

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.

PhotobucketMiranda 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.

Author Links:

 Miranda Kavi was kind enough to do a guest post for me! It is told from Tink's POV!

Tink, the Ultimate BFF

People seem to be curious about Tink. He’s the best friend of the lead character, Celeste. He’s fabulous, supportive and smart.

I adore Tink. He is near and dear to my heart since he is inspired by the amazing friendships that I am so lucky to have in my life.

I thought it would be fun to write a scene from Celeste’s first day of school from Tink’s point of view.

. . . .


Another boring lunch in my boring school in my boring town.

I load up my tray with the rubbery looking burger and a double order of soggy school cafeteria fries. Not the healthiest, but I’m a total carbivore.

A flash of deep red curls catches my eye. The new girl. She’s just managed to escape the wrath of Jennifer and her high-fashion clique.

Poor thing.

I’m not the only one watching her. She’s the second new student in just a few months, an oddity in our small town. Their eyes roam over her wild hair, scarves and vintage sneakers like she’s some sort of exotic bird on display.

You can already see the wheels turning behind their dull little eyes: New girl, pretty, strange, different. They don’t want to like her. They won’t like anything that’s not just like them.

I would know.

Edith nudges me. “Look. Rylan’s sitting close to her.”

“He’s got a pulse then. Good to know.” I turn my back on her to grab a juice. I’m surprised, too. He’s kept to himself, barely speaking to anyone.  

“She’s staring at him!” Edith cuts in front of me to pay the cashier first. “Just gawking at him in the open like that.”

“Um, so are we. He’s hot.”

I walk away from Edith and her mountain of food.

I find a table and settle in to devour my tasty carbs. The football players are clustered around the other end of the long table.

This isn’t my wisest seating choice. They’ve been picking on me since eighth grade, but I won’t let them intimidate me. Plus, it’s right next to the table with the new girl and I’m just as curious as everyone else.

One of the buffoons raises his voice to a fake feminine pitch. “Oh, Tink. You look so fabulous today. Smooch!” He blows a big kiss my way. They all burst into laughter.

I smile but say nothing. I can feel the heat rising through my neck, but I control my face, casually taking a bite of a fry.

The new girl is at the next table over. I watch her pick at her food, glance at Rylan and back to her plate. She looks lonely.

I leave the primates behind, grab my tray and slide in across from her before I can even think about it. I shove my hand in her face.

“Hi, new girl! I saw you sitting alone, and we can’t have that. What’s your name? I’m Tony, but people call me Tink around here.” The words tumble out of my mouth.

Her face lights up in a friendly smile. She takes my offered hand and shakes it vigorously. “Hi, Tink, I’m Celeste.”


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