Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Reader by Amy Hest

The Reader

by Amy Hest

illustrated by Lauren Castillo

32 pages

Picture Book

October 2012

Book Jacket Summary
In this timeless picture book, a new reader trudges through deep snow with a mysterious suitcase in tow. He has something important to share with his faithful companion, who bolts ahead to wait at the top of a tall hill. Our small hero climbs higher and higher, until finally, he is there, too. Then he opens his suitcase ? click, click ? and soon the only sound in the world is the sound of him reading their very favorite book to the very last page?the very last word. Amy Hest's spare evocative text is a true celebration of new readers and good friends everywhere, while Lauren Castillo's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations, with their bold saturated colors against winter white, perfectly capture the wonder and delight of this magical day.

My Quick Thoughts
With it being frigid out I think that this book is an appropriate read. The Reader is an adorable book about a boy and his dog that go up a hill to sled. However the best part is that they take a break in between climbing and sledding to read a book. They drink what I assume is hot cocoa and have a snack before sledding home.  
 My dad sent me this book as a present on my Kindle and it just the kind of book we would have read together. We loved Owl Moon and the crunch of snow but living in Texas has it's draw backs. We could only read about it. Sledding looks like fun but also hard work as The Reader trudges up the hill while his faithful dog waits for him.  
It is worth checking out of the library and adding to your winter reading list. Bundle up warm and read about the snow.

Book Pairings
Charlie’s First Night by Amy Hest
The Red Sled by Lita Judge
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen


Monday, November 24, 2014

Becoming a Ballerina: A Nutcracker Story by Lise Friedman and Mary Dowdle

Becoming a Ballerina: A Nutcracker Story
by Lise Friedman and Mary Dowdle
48 pages
Non-Fiction Picture Book
Viking Juvenile
October 2012

Book Jacket Summary
The perfect holiday gift for every young ballet fan

Go backstage at the ballet with real-life thirteen-year-old dancer Fiona. Dozens of gorgeous, full-color photographs welcome readers into Fiona's world, as she goes from auditions, to rehearsals, to opening night playing Clara, the lead child's role in Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker. Experience the nerves, the hard work, and ultimately the thrill of performing on the big stage with a professional company. This is a beautiful holiday gift that young dancers will cherish all year round.

My Thoughts
It was always a dream of mine to be Clara in the Nutcracker. I loved the Baryshnikov they showed every year and Clara was amazing. Well, I never had my dream fulfilled but Fiona does in Becoming a Ballerina: A Nutcracker Story. She auditions, trains, and performs in the Nutcracker. The book takes you through step by toe step. 
The book is filled with pictures of the ballet and Fiona practicing. Any little girl with the dream of dancing will catch the excitement as the day of the performance comes up and Fiona is ready for her time to shine. I do wish they had added a glossary of terms for those not familiar with ballet. It can be difficult to read for those really young but older children around seven will love it. They will learn how much practice it takes to perform and how kids their age can have goals for the future. Very cute and would make a cute addition to the reading list this time of year. I know the Nutcracker starts early this time of year and I will be going in December.    

Book Pairings
The Nutcracker by
 I Am a Ballerina by Valerie Coulman
 Dancing in the Wings by Gordon R. Dickson 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

One Past Midnight
by Jessica Shirvington
336 pages
NetGalley- Bloomsbury
July 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.

Until now, that is...

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?
My Thoughts
Another crying book... It was worth it though. Sabine is living two parallel lives where she very different lives. In one she has everything she could ever want- money, popularity, and a gorgeous boyfriend but she feels so unsatisfied. In the other she is struggling but does love her little sister. Then one day she breaks her arm and it is not connected  to the other world. Are the lines between worlds blurring? Does Sabine have to make a choice? 
I really did feel drawn to Sabine and her dual lives. It is hard enough making the most of one life let alone two. Her experience gets dire as her parents parents in the first world have her committed in an asylum where she must try and convince the doctors that she is not crazy. She also meets Ethan, an intern at the hospital and begins to fall in love with him. He helps her, listens to her and ultimately believes that she is experiencing two lives.
I got sucked into the drama as it unfolded and as each world gave Sabine a reason to stay and go. It was hard to see how she would get out of the situations that came up. That was delightful because I am so used to being able to predict things. This was a great use of parallel worlds and a cunning way to end it. The romance was believable and I enjoyed the character development that Sabine has throughout the story. I would recommend this one to those who like parallel worlds and those who must learn to navigate them.  
Book Pairings
Parallel by Lauren Miller
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick
Pivot Point by Kasie West


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BirdCatDog by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch

by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch
32 pages
NetGalley- Lerner Publishing Group
Nov. 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Look out! A bird escapes from its cage and flies out the window. A napping cat wakes up hungry and tries to catch a snack. A dog stands guard in his backyard, ready to bark at anything that comes near. Follow the tales of three animals on one wild afternoon.

In this clever wordless comic, each animal is a hero in its own story and all three stories are connected. Lee Nordling's simple storytelling engages young readers and provides a gateway into understanding multiple perspectives and points of view.

My Thoughts
Wordless books are hard to pull off, especially with a complicated storyline. BirdCatDog is rather exciting as you follow the day of a bird that has escaped its cage, a cat that wants to catch the bird, and a dog that wants that cat out of its yard. You can feel the swooping of the bird as it flies and escapes the cats clutches and the panic of the cat once it realizes that it landed in a dog's yard. This is a great example of a wordless book!
Each panel has a distinct color that helps distinguish each storyline. You can go through and read it straight through or read each story panel. I did both because it felt like I was missing something. I do like that each character is a hero in their own story. The layers of each story builds on the other and it was fascinating to watch it unfold. It is certainly not your average picture book. I highly recommend it because works on world building and character development all within 32 pages. This was a fun read!  
Book Pairings
Flood by
Shadow by Suzy Lee 
 The Secret Box by Barbra Lehman


Monday, November 17, 2014

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
by Chieri Uegaki
illustrated by Qin Leng
Picture Book
NetGalley- KidsCanPress
August 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though she's only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfather's words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.

My Thoughts
Hana wants to be a violinist but only has three lessons under her belt. When her school hosts a talent show Hana knows she has to participate by playing her violin. She is inspired by her Ojiichan (grandfather) who she visits in Japan and is a famous violinist. He not only plays the usual classical music but plays the world around him. This is what Hana does. She not only uses her bow but plucks the crickets that chirp at night. Hana uses her learning to give a unique performance for her school.

This is the cutest book and has a great feel! I like how Hana is unsure but sees her family, friends, and imagines her Ojiichan to comfort her before the ominous performance. The brothers are typical brothers that tease Hana about her lessons and cover their ears and run away. For such a short book a lot happens. Hana's grandfather plays an important role as her inspiration and this relationship is not often explored enough in children's books. Especially because he lives in Japan and Hana in America. He is far away but close in her heart. This book will inspire and entertain children who might have stage fright too! Works on all levels!   

Book Pairings
The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson
The Bat Boy and His Violin by


Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

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The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
by Amy Engel 
Release Date: 11/04/14
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

Buy Links:
Book Trailer:

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About the Author
 Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at http://amyengel.net/ or @aengelwrites.

Author Links:

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey by Susie Brooks

The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey:
The Cutest Corgis in the World
by Susie Brooks
128 pages
Picture Book
NetGalley- Harliquin
August 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Corgnelius was living the good life with his owners in sunny Los Angeles—he was happy, healthy, likely the cutest corgi known to man and was the star of his own blog.

Then along came Stumphrey, a corgi puppy and Corgnelius's new brother. After a short-lived rough beginning, the two learned to share the spotlight and the blog became a sensation. Known for their fashion-forward style sense and love of adventure, Corgnelius and Stumphrey share their trials and tribulations as they navigate the great wide world, being extremely adorable wherever they go.

My Thoughts
I have been following Corgnelius on Facebook for a long time and as soon as I spied this book on NetGalley I knew I had to review it. This is one of many blogs that got a book deal but it is one of the few I would actually get (this and grumpy cat). Corgi's are some of the cutest dogs out there, with their little stubby legs and no tails. They still trot around like they own the world!   
Corgnelius spends his days having fun and dressing up for work until one day his owner brings home a puppy, Stumphrey. Who is this little puppy who eats all the food, hogs all the toys, and seeks all the attention? Who does Stumphrey think he is? 
Corgnelius is not sure what to think of this interloper but as time goes by they become thick as thieves in matching outfits. This is a cute look into the life one of my favorite celebrity dogs and his little brother. You could also look at this as what to do with a new baby. Corgnelius' whole perspective changed. The text is simple and the photos are adorable! I love dogs and this book just made me happy.   

Book Pairings
Corgiville Christmas by Tasha Tudor 
Rescuing Rover: Saving America's Dogs by Raymond Bial
Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Brian Dennis



Blitz Media: The Silence of Six by EC Myers

by  Myers

Release date: Nov 05, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
“What is the silence of six, and what are you going to do about it?”

These are the last words uttered by 17-year-old Max Stein’s best friend, Evan: Just moments after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their
high school, he kills himself.

Haunted by the image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world turns upside down as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt.
Fearing for his life and fighting to prove his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.

Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver the dangerous labyrinth
of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances, and virtual
identities — all while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six”
before it’s too late.

Buy Links:
AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo Books

Advanced Praise:

"With a story built around advanced technology and government conspiracy that is close enough to reach out and touch, The Silence of Six will keep you up all night turning pages!” 

- Julie Cross, international bestselling author of the Tempest series

About the Author
E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and
German parts and raised in Yonkers, NY by his mother and the public library. He
is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the prolific
NYC writing group Altered Fluid. In the rare moments when he isn't writing, he
blogs about Star Trek at The Viewscreen, reads constantly,
plays video games, watches films and television, sleeps as little as possible,
and spends far too much time on the internet. His first novel, FAIR COIN, won
the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.


Author Links:

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