Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith
528 pages
Nook Book

Book Jacket Summary
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
My Thoughts
“The world was hers for the reading.”
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 

I grew up watching the1945 A Tree Grows In Brooklyn over and over because it was my Mom's favorite movie and book. In my mind this is a perfect movie and I never wanted to read the book because the movie holds such a strong place in my heart. Now I can say that the book will hold a place in my heart just as strong. I cannot believe I waited so long to read it but at the same time I am glad that I read it when I was older and could understand some of the more complex themes that comes out of the writing. This is one of those books that they use as universal truths and make you write papers about but it is also just a good book about a girl growing up.  
I think it was funny how thing do not change- they changed sauerkraut to Liberty Cabbage because of the war, just like the Freedom Fries movement. There are so many parts that made me think that our world remains the same even with all our advances. Some children want to learn and struggle to achieve despite their disadvantages. Francie is that child and even finds a way to get into a better school with her fathers help.
I highly recommend that you read the book and see the movie, though it might be difficult because it is not out on DVD. If you see it on TCM you should give it a go.

Book Pairings


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly eventhosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By Meg Cabot
Publish date: May 7th
Death has her in his clutches.  She doesn't want him to let go.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she'd be forced to live forever in the one place she's always dreaded most: the Underworld.  The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves. 

But now her happiness—and safety—are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.

If the balance between life and death isn't fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce's home back on earth will be wiped away.  But there's only one way to restore order.  Someone has to die. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

January 29th - February 4th

Co-hosted by BookLove101

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin

Inspired by the classic folk ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this is a wonderfully riveting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy. Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil?


Monday, January 28, 2013

Jack Templar: Monster Hunter Book Blast

Jack Templar: Monster Hunter

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack's fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it's great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend "T-Rex" from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he's the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he's destined to be in the family business. Second, that there's a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits...until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren't enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the "One?" Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

Author Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.

Kirkus Reviews

"Gunhus brings young readers a monster-filled romp to read at their own risk. In the first few pages, Jack, the storyteller and main character, warns readers not to read about these real-world monsters that would seem to only exist in fiction. The tone is set--sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek and likable; rooting for Jack is easy...Gunhus masterfully introduces fully realized characters with whom readers can connect almost instantly. The pacing is quick but not rushed, and events seamlessly progress, complete with action, cliff-hangers and surprise reveals. "

Amazon Reviews

Watch out Percy Jackson here comes Jack Templar
Move over Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, there's a new kid in town - Jack Templar, and he will take you on a wonderful adventure of good vs evil, with friends and enemies at every turn. The twists and turns keep the reader on a roller coaster of entertainment in the way of JK Rowling and Rick Riordan. ~ Penny Brein

Fast paced adventure through and through
Written for middle school aged students, this book is action-packed from the beginning and will hold the attention of young readers. Not only that, as an adult reader, it was hard to put down, so parents will enjoy it as an easy read. ~ bluejellybean

Kids will love it!
Not only will kids love it, adults will too! I don't want to give the plot away but this is a book worth reading. This book is creatively written drawing in the reader to be a participant in the story. There is lots of action with enough blood and guts to be interesting without being gross. Girls will like it too with the strong female role models and the hint of romance. Even though this is a children's book, I couldn't put it down. I will definitely be adding this to my classroom library. I am looking forward to reading the book in this series and sharing it with my students. Awesome book! ~ pixiep


Book Trailer


Yeah, you read it right. I’m a monster hunter. Back before I actually became one, I would have thought that sounded totally awesome. And don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways it is. But most of the time, I’m either running for my life or hiding in the shadows, praying the monster chasing me doesn’t pick up my scent. And I’m almost always scared to death. In a few pages, I think you’ll see why.
     But there are a few things I need to warn you about before I tell you my story.
     First, this isn’t a cartoon. These are bloodthirsty creatures who will stop at nothing to kill. They are scary. Very scary. Second, the only way to stop them is to kill them first…and that gets gross and messy. Third, this is all real.
     You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I can almost see you smirking as you read this. But this isn’t a joke. Monsters are real and the story I’m about to tell you really happened. If you’d rather walk through life believing that monsters are only found in books or on the movie screen, then you should shut this book right now and go do something else.
     I give you these warnings because the story I’m about to tell you isn’t for everyone. Not everyone can handle it. The blood. The gore. The monsters.
     This life was thrust onto me. I had no choice but to take up a sword and fight. But you can still walk away and pretend this dark world doesn’t exist. Or you can walk through the door that I’m about to open and find out the truth about the world around you.
     But I warn you (and this is a big warning), if you read this book, if you learn about the monsters that roam among us and the hunters who fight them, if you decide to learn the truth, then you will become fair game for the monsters to chase.
     Make sure you understand what I’m saying.
     If you read this book, you will be part of this world and the monsters will come after you too. You will start to see things that no other humans can see. The shadows will move when you walk near them. The creatures of the night will seek you out, testing the doors and windows of your house, looking for a way in.
     And, at some point, they will find you, just like they found me, and you will be forced to defend yourself.
     So, think carefully before you turn the page, because once you do, there’s no turning back.
     Once a monster hunter, always a monster hunter.
     See you on the other side.
     If you’re brave enough.

Book Blast $50 Giveaway
Ends 2/15/13
Open only to those 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quick Thought

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Love this attitude. I feel like we get way to caught up with how we read rather than what we read. Reading from my Nook today! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn! A classic on an e-reader. :)


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
348 pages 
Provided by Bethany House 
November 2012 

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?

My Thoughts
I was a bit nervous going into this book because I saw on Goodreads that it was number four in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. However, it turned out to be a prequel and it turned out alright. There may have been some references that I missed but to the casual reader everything made sense and I loved the story. Fantasy has always been my favorite genre, even as a child, and this one took me back to those joys. Dragons, quests, and enchantments...
This is a great book and I have already picked up the first three on my nook to read in the near future. I loved the poem that this book was based on and had to look it up because Stengl only provided the first stanza. The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson is beautiful and a great poem to base a book around!

Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.

From Anne Elisabeth Stengl "What Ten Books are Sitting Beside Your Bed?"

1. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. I have read this book before, but it was several years ago now. I seem to remember it being my favorite Shannon Hale book, but I can't remember why. So I'm going to find out!

2. Half Magic by Edward Eager. This is a children's book that I have (appropriately enough) only read half of! It was my "break book" when I worked at a Barnes & Noble, and I would tuck myself away in a corner of the store for fifteen minutes at a time to read and be amused. But I never got a chance to finish it! If I remember correctly, it reminded me of Edith Nesbit's work, and I adore Nesbit!

3. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. I'm actually very curious about this novel! I've heard wonderful things about it, but I truly don't know what to expect from the story itself. I received it as a Christmas present this year, and I hope to fall in love with something truly delightful and a little outside my regular reading habits.

4. The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald. This is the sequel to the more famous The Princess and the Goblin by the same author. Another one that I have read, but don't recall. My husband gave me a GORGEOUS hardbound edition for Christmas, so I look forward to rediscovering George MacDonald's magic!

5. Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud. I have read Mr. Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, which wasn't my favorite. But I did really appreciate his unique take on the Boy Wizard idea . . . utterly opposite of anything I read in Harry Potter! I was impressed by him as a writer, so I look forward to trying this book, which waits patiently on my stack of to-be-reads.

6. Her Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. I have heard so many fabulous things about this series, and now my best friend has been telling me they are wonderful as well! My husband received this book for Christmas, so I'm eyeing it on his bedside table. Just as soon as he's done with it . . . .

7. Persuasion by Jane Austen. I always tell people how much I love Jane Austen, but it's been quite a long time since I read any of her work. Do I really love her as much as I think I do? Persuasion was my favorite several years ago, so I'm going to read it again this year and see if it still speaks to me.

8. The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I just read The Perilous Gard by this author and was completely enthralled by it! From what I hear, The Sherwood Ring is even better, so I can hardly wait to pick it up!

9. The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge. One of my writing students has claimed this as one of her favorite books, and it looks like it might be just my sort of read as well! So I'm hoping to find a copy and lose myself in a new author and a new world sometime this year.

10. Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers. This is the one piece of non-fiction on my list, but I expect it to be a particularly good one. Ms. Sayers discusses doctrine and theology in the context of creative writing. I have heard wonderful things about this book, and I really enjoy Sayers's fiction, so I hope to get my hands on a copy of Mind of the Maker before too much longer.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes 
by Kazu Kibuishi 
128 pages
Anthology Graphic Novel
March 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Seven clever stories answer one simple question: what’s in the box?

Funny, fantastic, spooky, and suspenseful, each of these unique and beautifully illustrated short graphic works revolves around a central theme: a mysterious box and the marvels—or mayhem—inside. Artists include middle school favorites Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), as well as Jason Caffoe, Stuart Livingston, Johane Matte, Rad Sechrist (all contributors to the groundbreaking comics anthology series Flight), and upcoming artist Emily Carroll.

My Thoughts
Just like short story anthologies, an anthology of graphic stories can introduce you to an artist or author you have might never have picked up in the library. This book had a cover drawn by Kazu Kibuishi, the author/illustrator for the Amulet series, and is one of my favorite illustrators. He is also the editor and he is well known to have an eye for a great story. These are no exception. All the stories revolve around a mysterios box that contains a secret.
The first story, Under the Floorboards by Emily Carrol, is a slightly creepy look at why having a magical double might be a bad idea. Spring Cleaning by Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeir (another favorite) is about a magical box found in a closet and the people who want to get their hands on it. These and other all have an element of magic or SciFi to make the box more than just a box. This is a perfect book for the tween graphic novel enthusiast or someone looking for cool authors.

Book Pairings
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel 
Flight by Kazu Kibuishi 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SENSHI Trailer Reveal


Kill Bill meets Buffy in this supernatural samurai taleRileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline gave her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of fifteenth century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings. While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

"This action-packed novel has a unique and compelling plot...Fans of Carrie Asai's Samurai Girl series will be particularly interested, but even readers who dislike supernatural story lines will enjoy this tale of modern samurais."
~School Library Journal~

"An action packed page-turner tempered with slow-burning romance."


Is Rileigh’s only hope for salvation to team up with her sworn enemy?

Rileigh Martin just wants to do normal teenage things, like go on romantic dates with Kim, her boyfriend and past life soul mate. Although that seems impossible when she’s the reincarnation of Senshi, a fifteenth century samurai warrior. After a ninja ambush leaves her unable to control her ki powers, Rileigh vows to get them under control before her friends lose more than their eyebrows. But when Kim leaves her for his past life betrothed and the other samurai stop talking to her, Rileigh realizes she doesn’t have any friends left to worry about.

As the ninja attacks increase, Rileigh learns that the reincarnated kunoichi, a powerful female ninja, wants to kill her in order to reclaim her destructive powers. Alone and with increasingly unstable powers, Rileigh’s only offer of help comes from Whitley, her sworn past life enemy. Rileigh knows she doesn’t stand a chance against the kunoichi by herself, but Whitley’s sudden allegiance might be hiding a much deadlier agenda.


Author Cole Gibsen

When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking milk straight from the jug -- provided no one is looking.

Trailer Reveal ">Senshi Book Trailer
from ">ZFilm on ">Vimeo.

Giveaway Details

ARC of Senshi + Signed Katana
Signed Katana
3 Mystery Books
Open to US, Canada & Mexico
Ends 2/6/13


MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic by Art Spiegelman

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MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic  
by Art Spiegelman
300 pages
Memoir, Non-Fiction
Oct. 2011

Book Jacket Summary
Visually and emotionally rich, MetaMaus is as groundbreaking as the masterpiece whose creation it reveals.
 In the pages of MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize–winning Maus, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
 He probes the questions that Maus most often evokes—Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics?—and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.
MetaMaus includes a bonus DVD-R that provides a digitized reference copy of The Complete Maus linked to a deep archive of audio interviews with his survivor father, historical documents, and a wealth of Spiegelman’s private notebooks and sketches.
 Compelling and intimate, MetaMaus is poised to become a classic in its own right.

My Thoughts
Art Spiegelman has finally written a book for those of us who have questions about why mice and where did Spiegelman research? It was a facilitating look into the research and back story of Maus. I know my mouth watered at the thought of all the background information with art that inspired and the early work of Spiegelman. This really made my librarian brain happy. The book would make a great research tool for graphic novel classes because it talks about how he created and drew Maus. The book is in an interview format and includes and CD with bonus materials. I was interested in how he decided what to make each group of people: the Jews were mice, Nazis cats, the Polish pigs, and the Americans dogs. I would recommend this one to those who were fascinated by Maus and wanted to know more about the book.

Book Pairings
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by
Maus, Vol. 1: My Father Bleeds History by


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton #1) by Leila Rasheed


Cinders and Sapphires (At Somerton #1) 
by Leila Rasheed
400 pages
Historical Fiction YA
January 2013 

Book Jacket Summary
One house, two worlds...

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name—but it would mean giving up her one true love . . . someone she could never persuade her father to accept.

Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting . . . at Somerton.

My Thoughts
Downton Abbey has become such a hit in America and there have been several novels that have capitalized on its popularity... and I couldn't be happier. Historical Fiction is so much fun, especially when the author gets the time period, which Rasheed has done. I like that she shows both sides of the upstairs/downstairs in Cinders and Sapphires. I really like Adda and her drive to become more than her peers and Rose who loves music more than anything.
All you need to know is that you are going into a book that will be a wonderful dramatic look into the lives of the haves and the have-nots. Rose is the daughter of Somerton's housekeeper and is soon to be Ada's ladies maid (and secret sister). Ada is determined to go to school in the new women's studies at Oxford but knows that she should marry to fill the family's coffers. There has been a scandal and her father is the middle of it. Coming back to England from India is hard enough with gentleman her fathers age asking for her hand. Ada rather spend time with Ravi, a Oxford bound Indian man, and reveals in their stolen time together. Her new step-family is an interesting lot with Fiona Templeton leading the group as her new stepmother. Sebastian Templeton is a flirt but is being blackmailed for a past love affair with his former valet... There is so much scandal and dealings that I cannot just blurt them out to you. I highly recommend this one if you cannot get enough historical fiction set in the Dowton Abbey time period! 

Book Pairings
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