Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Into the Pumpkin by Linda Franklin

Into the Pumpkin 
by Linda Franklin
 56 pages
Picture Book 
August 2012

Book Jacket Summary
The fun of Halloween comes alive in this beautifully illustrated children's book. The drawings, done each year by the author on the eve of Halloween, follow various "Halloween" characters as they prepare to celebrate this mystical holiday -- pumpkins, witches, bats, ravens, black cats, scarecrows, spiders, ghosts, and more. Should they have their party in the graveyard or the pumpkin patch? Should they dress up or simply go as themselves? Take a ride on the witch's broom and enter the pumpkin for a magical trip both you and your kids will not soon forget. Pre-K through 6th.

Linda Franklin is an award-winning artist whose work is widely exhibited in private collections throughout the United States. She is also a celebrated teacher who has launched many aspiring artists onto careers of their own.

My Thoughts
The skeleton dance
Will be a delight.
They'll jig to the left
And jig to the right.

I knew right away that this book was going straight into my wishlist because it is the coolest Halloween book I have seen in a while.
The illustrations drew me in with warm tones and misty fogs. I cannot say enough about the illustrations because I keep flipping back and forth between the pages just fascinated by Franklin's work. I always find it hard to write about a book that really grabs my attention because all I want to write is 'Look at this awesome book!' It will be perfect for libraries to bring out at Halloween and for a spooky story time or to look at in the comforts of your own home. As I said, I keep looking at it over and over. It is a very cute book and just right for those who like visually appealing books.
It has my office's Halloween Queen's approval! And that is saying something!

Book Pairings
Halloween Forest by Marion Dane Bauer
Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

Jake and Lily 
by Jerry Spinelli
narrated by Cassandra Morris and Jesse Bernstein
Audiobook Six Discs

Book Jacket Summary
Jake and Lily are twins. Even though they seem pretty different—Jake is the calm one and Lily has a temper; Lily is obsessed with trains and Jake collects cool rocks—they feel exactly the same, almost like two halves of one person. When one of them gets hurt, the other can feel it. They can communicate without words. And mysteriously, every year on their birthday, they sleepwalk to a train station in the middle of the night.

But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Their parents announce it’s time for separate bedrooms, and Jake starts hanging out with a pack of boys on the block. Lily is devastated—not to mention really, really mad. And as she struggles to make friends and get a life apart from her twin, Jake finds himself dealing with a neighborhood bully and has to decide what kind of person he really is.

My Thoughts
Lily and Jake are twins that are growing apart, although Lily is fighting it tooth and nail. Jake wants his own identity and friends while Lily wants things to stay the same.
Jake falls in with a bad crowd and there were times when I was just groaning at the choices he was making. Bump, Nacho, and Burk are his new friends and they love to spot "goobers". This is anyone who is different from they think is the norm. They ride around on their bikes to see if they can spot one when Bump fins a super goober. This is Ernie and it easy to see why they think he is a super goober but all I wanted to do was shield him from the bully Jake was developing into. Lily on the other hand spends her time with her grandfather Poppy. The play cards and eat ice cream but it's not the same as hanging out with someone her own age. She goes through hobbies and friends to see if she can capture that same spark she had with Jake.
That spark was goombla, a connection that Lily and Jake have shared their entire life. They would sleep walk to the train station the night of their birthday, Jake would know if Lily was hurt or where she was hiding. This all but disappears throughout the book and it hurts Lily to the core. She has a hard time adjusting but in the end does find a friend that gets her. Jake meanwhile has to find courage in himself to finally stand up for what is right and see what true friendship is all about.
 This a great book to hand to a boy or girl who are feeling that change is taking over their lives. Poppy has some sage advice and I think that Lily and Jake grow a lot in this book. They are able to form their own personality but also keep what made them special as twins.

Book Pairings
Three Times Lucky by


Monday, October 29, 2012

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest 
by Clare Vanderpool
narrated by Justine Eyre, Cassandra Campbell, Kirby Heyborne
Audio Book
Newberry Award Winner

Book Jacket Summary
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.
 Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.
 Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

My Thoughts
  Lettie and Ruthanne
As I said in my Turtle in Paradise, I love a good historical fiction that is set in the Great Depression. This on is unique because it is set in 1936 but goes back to the summer of 1918 through letters and stories. The town of Manifest, KS is a very different town in each time period. In 1918 it is a thriving mining town with trees and green grass. It is a time of turmoil because the mining bosses want to keep the workers under their boots and will stop the forming of a union at any cost. In 1936 Manifest is a dried up town with the dust bowl coming through. Abilene grew up hearing stories about the lush 1918 town and is disappointed to learn she will be staying with her father's friend Shady.
I loved the way the story is told through stories that Miss Sadie "divines" through the items that Abilene found in an old cigar box. The past comes to life for Abilene and she longs to hear about her father in these stories but is continually disappointed to only hear about Jinx and Ned. Although she changes her mind because their stories are interesting and they get into so many scrapes.
Family is a very important thing in this book and I can see how Abilene longs to be reunited with her father, Gideon. He was her whole world for so long and to be far from him makes her heart break. She does make friends with Lettie and Ruthanne trying to discover who the spy was in 1918 known as "The Rattler"! They run around causing all sort of ruckus.
I highly recommend the audiobook and I loved this book to pieces. I would gladly read or listen to this one again and again.
Book Pairings


Friday, October 26, 2012

YA Mythology Giveaway Hop


I Am A Reader Not A Writer


Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.
Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.
Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they’re triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.
These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway">


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Waiting Booth Book Blast

The Waiting Booth by Brinda Berry

A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal... Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High-find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia's drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it's no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia's secrets, she begins to wonder if there's more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...

Praise for The Waiting Booth:
"The book kept me on the edge of my seat with its perfect balance of teenaged angst, interdimensional portals, and a fractured family."
~ Author Christine Ashworth

"The description was so good I could easily see things as they a movie playing in my mind as I read. I just love Regulus. He's my kind of hero for sure."
~ Author Lynn Rush

Author Brinda Berry

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter 

The Waiting Booth Book Trailer:

Book Blast Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 PayPal Cash from Author Brinda Berry
Ends 11/1/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry.  Simply enter it when you follow Brinda and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. 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, October 24, 2012

Katie Woo Rules the School by Fran Manushkin

Katie Woo Rules the School 
by Fran Manushkin 
96 pages
Elementary/Young Readers
Aug. 2012

Book Jacket Summary
For Katie Woo, school is one big adventure. Join the stylish schoolgirl as she learns how to be a great classmate and friend. From the school play to the class pet, Katie knows how to rule the school! 

My Thoughts
Katie Woo is in Miss Winkle's class with her best friend JoJo. Katie finds herself in many typical situations that children experience in their first few years at school. The book is broken down into four stories: Katie and the Class Pet, No More Teasing, The Big Lie, and Star of the Show. The first story focuses on the class getting a new pet guinea pig, Binky, and who will taken him home for the weekend. Katie is thrilled to chosen for the first weekend but on the day she is supposed to bring Binky he escapes from his cage. Katie is devastated and does not want to face the class but finds Binky in her back pack! This is a series of books that will help children learn some lessons but Katie Woo is also a cute kid that will have children giggling. There are also crafts at the end that corresponds with each story. My favorite is how to make a guinea pig out of a sock! 

Book Pairings 
Mimi by John Newman
The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng
Princess Posey and the Monster Stew by Stephanie Greene


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Emerald Talisman Book Blast

The Emerald Talisman Audio Book by Brenda Pandos  
Read by Mary Morgan

You can run from your destiny, but you can't hide.

If for no other reason than to help endure the hormonal rush of high school, sixteen-year-old
Julia Parker would trade her ability to feel her fellow students' emotions in a heartbeat, especially half the boys in class. When the beguiling Nicholas uses his superhuman strength to rescue Julia from the edge of a cliff before she's devoured by a bloodthirsty stalker, Julia is
suddenly thrust into an underground world where people and animals are often one and the same. Fellow high school students disappear and only Julia and Nicholas know the truth. While Nicholas, a vampire hunter, is out stopping the ever-growing coven, an old friend entices Julia to join him on the dark side and a psychic tells Julia she alone is the key to stopping the madness, problem
is it'll require Nicholas' life. 

Author Brenda Pandos:  

Brenda Pandos lives in California with her husband and two boys. She attempts to balance her busy life filled with writing, being a mother and wife, and spending time with friends and family. Working formerly as an I.T. Administrator, she never believed her imagination would be put to good use.
After her son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder her life completely changed. Writing paranormal romance became something she could do at home while tending to the new needs of her family, household, and herself.

Three years later, Brenda now has five books published, The Talisman Trilogy: The Emerald Talisman, The Sapphire Talisman, and The Onyx Talisman, and Mer Tales: Everblue
and Evergreen. She is currently working on the third book of Mer Tales, Everlost, coming February 2013.


Audio Book Tour 

Readers are invited to participate in The Emerald Talisman blog tour from 10/26-11/23 hosted by Confessions of a Bookaholic. There will be giveaways, interviews and a scavenger hunt! 

Book Blast Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 PayPal Cash from Author Brenda Pandos
Ends 10/30/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry.  Simply enter it when you follow Brenda and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. 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.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm


Win a copy of:
Long Lankin
by Lindsey Barraclough

In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse — and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin.
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. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am unable to get the linky to work but this is a blog hop and there are over 400 blogs participating!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cover Reveal: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade

Book Info:
Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade
Expected Pub: Nov 2012
The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself–and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive. 

Author Links:

Singer-songwriter Nya Jade is celebrating the upcoming release of her debut YA novel, Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four, with a Tiffany & Co. gift card giveaway!! 
  • (2) $100 Gift Cards. 
  • US only
Tiffany & Co. gift cards are redeemable at all Tiffany & Co. locations, as well as at" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tilly's Moonlight Garden by Julia Green

Tilly's Moonlight Garden
by Julia Green
208 pages
October 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Tilly just moved into a drafty old mansion, away from all her friends. She spends her afternoons wandering around her new backyard in order to escape the cold, dusty rooms of the house. But one night, Tilly follows a fox she has seen from her bedroom window and he leads her deep into a hidden garden that is nothing short of mesmerizing in the moonlight. This mysterious garden and the special friend she meets there help her rediscover the magic in her own life.
This is the story of an unforgettable time in one girl's life and how a new home, a secret garden, and a little fox can change someone in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts
This feels like an old fashioned kind of book that takes place in an old house and a secret garden that only the child knows about but it does have the modern flares. This was a sweet book filled a girl's fear of loosing her mother and moving to a new home during a turbulent time in her life. She sees a fox in the moonlight and her adventure begins. Impossible things can happen at night and Tilly finds a friend in the mysterious Helen, who only comes out to play at night. Tilly is almost unsure if Helen is even real but loves the den they create in a hollow tree.
Tilly is alone for most of the book and has not made friends at her new school. Children can connect with that, especially if they have moved and felt the sting of loneliness. I really enjoyed how Green made the magic of the den seem special just when Tilly needed it most. I liked how you are not sure if Helen was crossing through time or if she was an imaginary friend. It is a great way to get children to think things through and come up with their own conclusion. I am sure that there will be spirited debates between friends who read the book.
Words like jumper (sweater) and other British-isms could throw a few children off but with the Harry Potter generation I am not to worried about handing this one over to a kid. This is a book to look out for and a good afternoon read on a cloudy day.
Book Pairings
Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WOW: The Rising (Darkness Rising #3)

"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:

The Rising 

(Darkness Rising #3)

April 9, 2013
YA Paranormal
Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Cloud Cabal and now the Nast Cabal as well, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control. Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her, but she’ll have to face them if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever.

With all the twists, thrills, and romance that have made Kelley Armstrong an international bestseller, plus the surprising return of some fan-favorite characters, The Rising will hold you under its spell long after the breathtaking end.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hidden by Helen Frost

by Helen Frost
147 pages
Lone Star Reading 2012/2013
YA Novel in Verse

Book Jacket Summary
When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too.

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.
My Thoughts
Helen Frost is so good at writing novels in verse and really making characters. Wren and Darra are connected through a past event that changed both their lives forever.  Wren was laying down in the back of the car while her mother went to get a soda when someone other than her mother took the car with Wren in it. Darra is the daughter of the man who stole the car. Wren hides in the garage looking for a way out, while Darra realizes Wren is in the garage but is unable to help.
Years later they end up at the same summer camp in a strange Parent Trap like twist. Emotions run high as the girls avoid each other and Darra is excluded from most of the girls activities. It takes a traumatic encounter to make the girls start talking and realize the impact each has on the other. Walls break down and each girl has a break through of their own.
Forgiveness is a big theme in this book and friendship that can come out of it. Each girl has reason to hate the other and it escalates. Their emotions are brought out so well in their in the different poetic structures. Frost is a genius at that. Crossing Stones is another of her of her books that used different structures for each characters.
I can see why this is on the Lone Star reading list for this year. I am also glad because students will be able to experience a book they might not have picked otherwise. I highly recommend this one to everybody. It has a big emotional impact and shows twos sides of a story. Very well written.  

Book Pairings
 Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Wicked Girls by
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