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Showing posts from January, 2014

Navigating Early

Navigating Early
By Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2013
Audience: Younger Teens
Source: Library

From Goodreads:
At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.

Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.

But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of wh…

Reviewer’s Roundtable: Blog Showcase

Hosted by
Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Book Blog
and Read Your Bookcase

Blog Showcase
I haven’t been as good at checking blogs as I once was. However, here are three that I check out as often as possible, not counting the Pink Polka Dot Book Blog!
1. Anna Reads A classic. Everyone loves Anna’s reviews. She knows some great books and reads a ton!
2. Green Bean Teen Queen Not only does she review a variety of YA and Children’s books, she also comes up with some great library programs!
3. Perpetual Page Turner  and  G Reads Books It’s a tie! Both of these blogs are fabulous.
On a different note, make sure to enter the Sourcebooks Fire giveaway and check out a brand new cover!

Bellman & Black

Bellman & Black By Diane Setterfield Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2013 Audience: Adults, Older Teens Source: E-Galley
From Goodreads: Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and st…

Dream Boy Cover Reveal Tour

Doesn’t this cover look awesome?! I love it, and the book sounds so interesting.
Read more about the book below after you enter to win a Prize Pack from Sourcebooks Fire, one of my favorite publishers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DREAM BOY • In this romantic contemporary fantasy, American teen-hood meets mystic folklore.

9781402295836•July 2014•Young Adult•Trade Paper

Like the small southern town where it's set, Dream Boy is edged by wilderness, mysticism and mystery. The bottle tree on the cover perfectly captures the novel's mix of dream and nightmare.

So what is a bottle tree?

Simply put, it's an ancient folk-magic practice intended to capture evil spirits. Southerners adapted the tradition—outfitting tree limbs with colored bottles.

In Dream Boy, the bottle tree creates a connection point between the real world and what lies beyond.

“We were beyond excited with how the cover turned out,” says Mary Crockett. “It was a serious thrill to see something from our imaginations become real…

The Center of Everything

The Center of Everything
By Linda Urban
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013
Audience: Younger Teens
Source: Library

From Goodreads:
For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug.  That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?

This was an interesting read. I liked it better than Hound Dog True. Ruby was an interesting character - I really wanted her to be happy. I think children will really relate to this story because when I was a kid, I remember wanting wishes to come true so badly. I knew that magic wasn’t real but I de…

Being Sloane Jacobs

Being Sloan Jacobs
By Lauren Morrill
Delacorte, 2014
Audience: All Teens
Source: E-Galley

From Goodreads:
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a fam…

Winger

Winger
By Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster, 2013
Audience: Older Teens
Source: Library

I LOVED IT! Usually, when books have male protagonists, you don’t get to know the main character very much. There’s the guy, and there’s the action. This was not the case with Winger. I really enjoyed getting to know Ryan Dean and his flaws. He really did try and change, so I was definitely rooting for him. The best thing about this book was how funny it was. There were some crazy scenes that were really entertaining.

Also, I enjoyed seeing the romance from the guy’s point of view. He was conflicted and scared, but he didn’t show it to the girls. Yes, girls. Typically, when it’s from a girl’s point of view, there’s a “he loves me, he loves me not” type question. In Winger, we knew exactly how he felt, we just had to wait for him to make a move (and a decision) and hope that she felt the same way. It was nice to see the “should we be more than friends” in another way.

I will definitely re-read this…

One Came Home

One Came Home
By Amy Timberlake
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013
Audience: Everyone
Source: Library

I read this one as a recommendation. It’s considered a Newbery award contender. It took me forever to get to it, but better late than never. I’m so glad I read it! I was enthralled. It reminded me a lot of True Grit and it made me wonder if it should be in the Children’s section in our library. It should at least be teen because the main character is 13. She had to grow up quickly and I could even see this being in the adult section (because that’s where True Grit is.)

It was adventurous and mysterious - two of my favorite things. I was so worried that we wouldn’t get a straight answer at the end. I really didn’t want this to be one of those open-ended books where you have to decide yourself what happened. I absolutely needed to know! Boy, did Georgie get herself into some sticky situations but she handled it really well. I was totally rooting for her, especially during the saddest …

Reviewers’ Roundtable: Are There Any Boys Out There?

Hosted by Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Book Blog
and 
Read Your Bookcase

Hellloooo? Are there any boys out there?
A lot of guys read YA! I feel like the stories tend to get a bit stereotypical, though (like romances for girls?) Books aimed at guys either seem to be only about the action. At my library, I think a lot of them are reading graphic novels and manga.
Winger was the exception to that - I felt like it had a really strong story and really strong characters. Definitely one I need to buy!


Here are some of my other favorite guy books:











Rose

Rose
By Holly Webb
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2013
Audience: Everyone
Source: My Own Bookshelf

This was a wonderfully-written fantasy book. It’s been described as being a bit of Harry Potter and a bit of Downton Abbey. It has just a dash of magic and a lot of mystery. I love it when kids sleuth and this book is no exception. The characters were thoroughly entertaining and I loved how they developed throughout the novel. I can’t wait to see how they interact in the rest of the series. I believe there are two more books out elsewhere but we have to wait until Spring in the US.

From Goodreads:
Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just ma…

Self-Inflicted Wounds

Self-Inflicted Wounds
By Aisha Tyler
It Books, 2013
Audience: Adults, Older Teens
Source: Library

What audience could possibly understand epic humiliation more than teens??? As I teen, I was constantly embarrassed. Some of Aisha Tyler’s moments take the cake. I think teens would love to laugh with her at her awkwardness. I know I did.

Two stories, back-to-back, reduced me to an adolescent giggling fit in the break room at work. Not my best professional moment. But if it can do that to a grown up lady (even though I don’t feel like one) I think teenagers would really enjoy it.

You don’t need to be familiar with Aisha Tyler to enjoy this book, but if she looks familiar to you, she’s that girl from Friends.

From Goodreads:
Here, Aisha Tyler, comedian, actress, cohost of CBS'sThe Talk, star ofArcher, and creator of the top-ranked podcastGirl on Guy, serves up a spectacular collection of her own self-inflicted wounds. From almost setting herself on fire, to vomiting on a boy she liked,…

Paperboy

Paperboy
By Vince Vawter
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2013
Audience: Younger Teens
Source: Library

If I were to judge this book by the cover, I would think BORING. It’s a good thing I didn’t because the story was anything but boring! Lesson learned. Who knew that paper routes could be so dangerous? The characters were vivid and endearing. I really wanted the paperboy to succeed in getting the better of his stutter and I loved his housekeeper. She was super strong and I admired her.

Overall, the story had an air of mystery and I kept trying to figure everything out. I’d recommend it to anyone.

From Goodreads:
An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend's paper route for the month of July, he knows he'll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drin…

Reviewers’ Roundtable: Topics Needed in YA

Hosted by Michelle at Pink Polka Dot Book Blog and  Read Your Bookcase

Topics I think should be in more teen books:
1. Travel - especially Spain Why is everything about Paris??? Or London? Spain is equally amazing.
2. Redheads We’re so interesting!
3. Meg Cabot Contemporaries for Teens Her YA stuff has been very paranormal lately. I’m ready for something with less fantasy.
4. Private Investigators I love reading about teen PIs.
5. Teen Westerns These are only fun if they have a spunky female protagonist.
What do you want to see more of in YA?

Two Boys Kissing

Two Boys Kissing
By David Levithan
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013
Audience: Older Teens
Source: Library

Let’s face it, I don’t write reviews, I write reactions. I started this blog to keep track of what I thought of stories, not write fancy reviews.

This will probably be my least fancy review.

Overall, I was rooting for the two boys kissing. I really wanted them to break the record and I never thought about all of the rules they had to follow to make it count. I could never go 32 hours without peeing or eating. Yikes! That would take so much dedication.

Cooper’s story was probably the quietest one of the bunch but I knew as soon as he started getting himself blocked from apps what was going to happen. I suspected earlier, but that was when I KNEW. I was so happy that his story ended the way he did that I burst into tears. I don’t cry often when reading books but his story really affected me. So many people don’t get endings like Cooper and it made me happy for Cooper but horribl…

Fortunately, The Milk

Fortunately, the Milk
By Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins 2014
Audience: Everyone
Source: Library

Delightful! Lighthearted! So much fun. What a swashbuckling adventure. This book was adorable and entertaining. The illustrations were perfect. Fans of Roald Dahl will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Really, it has EVERYTHING.
It has

DinosaursAliensPiratesVolcanoes What more could you ask for in a story?
It’s a quick read, too. I read it on a 15 minute break and a 30 minute lunch. It’s very good for reluctant readers!
From Goodreads: "I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."

"Hullo,"I said to myself."That's not something you see every day.And then something odd happened."

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and …

A Corner of White

A Corner of White
By Jaclyn Moriarty
PanMacmillan Australia, 2012
Audience: All Teens
Source: Library

This wasn’t what I imagined. There was more fantasy than I thought it would have. The fantasy was very subdued and I loved that. It felt like a Sarah Addison Allen book - almost a new fairy tale or like it was more magical realism. I know that I missed stuff on the first read. The style was so flowing and lyrical that sometimes I found myself reading the words and not processing what was happening. I really recommend it - just be patient with it.

From Goodreads:
Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

A mesmerising story of two worlds…

Lost Lake

Lost Lake
By Sarah Addison Allen
St. Martin's Press, 2014
Audience: Adults, Older Teens
Source: E-Galley

Goodness! I never, ever, ever read my galleys out of order. I always go for what will expire next FIRST. Not Sarah Addison Allen's books. I dropped EVERYTHING else and went for this one immediately. There are no words for how fantastic her writing is and Lost Lake was no exception. I consider myself so lucky for getting my eager reader paws on this one early and I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to buy my own copy. Can't. Wait.

If you haven't read her books, I would start with The Sugar Queen, then Garden Spells, then The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

From Goodreads:
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named W…