Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Actually NEED it 4

It's been a while since I posted about some of my wanna-reads. I've added some more to my list, both published and unpublished. 

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher.
Having just finished Incarceron (oh.my.word.) I really really need to get my grubby hands on this sequel. Really. Watch for my upcoming raving review of Incarceron. Not released in the US until December 2010.  *sigh*

Scumble by Ingrid Law. 
If you haven't read Savvy yet, you have got to steal a copy now!  You are in for a lot of fun - a ride you won't forget with a cast of characters you'll wish you could meet.  Can't wait for more about the Beaumont family!  Coming August 2010.

Alchemy and Meggy SwannAlchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
Here is where I tell you how much I adore Karen Cushman.  It's rather shocking it hasn't come up before now, but I read them before I started blogging.  Check out the awesome Medieval historical fiction that is Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice.  Coming April 26, 2010.

The Grimm Legacy The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman 
Having really loved Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman, I would always be interested in reading more by her.  It's got fairy tale goods going on!  Plus Abby (the) Librarian made me want it.  Coming July 2010.

Before I Fall

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver 
I have seen so many positive reviews for this one!  People, you've got to stop raving already!  Or, my library should just get it.  Whichever.

The Agency 1: A Spy in the House

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee 

Sing Me to SleepAgain with the reviews!  I wouldn't have picked this one up on my own - probably because of the cover.  However, after many positive reviews, I'm really hoping my library will get it in a hurry!

Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison

There had to have been about 30 contests for this one and I didn't win the book! *sigh* But, I DO want to read it badly. Seriously, let's just not mention any more great books for a while, ok? 

Having said that, anything you actually NEED to read?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review: Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Every Soul A Star is the story of three very different kids whose lives are about to collide in unexpected ways.  Ally has grown up in the Moon Shadow campground, homeschooled all her life, and living free of social norms.  Bree is planning to be a supermodel, in the cheerleading squad, and at the top of the social ladder.  Jack is overweight, doesn't pay attention in school, and hides his love of drawing from everyone.  When the three of them meet just in time for a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse experience, they learn from each other (and themselves) all about change, growing up, and who they really are.

Every Soul A Star

Things I Liked:
Because I studied astronomy, books like this have a special appeal for me.  Especially when the astronomy details are well done (which they are).  The characters are interesting and I definitely began to care about what happened to them and how they would deal with the difficult changes that are happening.  I think, however, the best part was the description of the eclipse.  I can still remember some details of an eclipse I saw in kindergarten.  It is definitely a memorable experience and Mass writes about it in gorgeous detail.  

Things I Didn't Like:
The story seemed just a touch sappy for me.  I liked how things didn't work out exactly as the characters would have liked, but it seems like something parents will want to give kids, but kids won't really pick up on their own.  Unless they really like astronomy. :)

11 Birthdays also by Mass

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

Do you sometimes like a sappy book or always hate them?

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.


If you buy through my Amazon linkage,I will get a very small percentage

Monday, March 29, 2010

Listless Monday, Steampunk and Historical Fantasy Edition

Listless Monday was inspired by both Amanda at A Bookshelf Monstrosity's feature Books by Theme and Court at Once Upon a Bookshelf's Listed feature.  Be sure to check out their lists!

by Scott Westerfeld LeviathanAirman

Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of SpaceSkybreaker

These two genres are very closely related and since I'm not entirely certain what qualifies as Steampunk, I have a mix of both kinds in here. I'll indicate (with a *) what I think (and others think) is Steampunk.  For more Steampunk titles and fun, visit The Book Smugglers Steampunk Week posts.

 Steampunk and Historical Fantasy

The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix 
Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel*
Airman by Eoin Colfer*

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest* (suggested by A Bookshelf Monstrosity)
The Boneshaker by Kate Milford* (suggested by Kate Coombs)
Candle Man by Glenn Dakin*
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau*
Dreamhunter and Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox
Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman*
Horatio Lyle series by Catherine Webb* (Suggested by Court)
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Larklight by Philip Reeve*
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld*
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore*

Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom series) by Garth Nix* 
Mortal Engines Quartet by Philip Reeve*
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix 
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Sorcery and Cecelia by Caroline Stevermeyer and Patricia C. Wrede
Soulless by Gail Carriger*
Temeraire by Naomi Novik*
Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede

Feel free to add your suggestions!

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees is the story of Lily Owens, a young girl growing up with her harsh father and few memories of her mother.  Lily's mother was killed in a tragic accident and Lily clings to all she has that was once her mother's: a photo, some gloves, and a picture of the Black Madonna with the words Tiburon, South Carolina on the back.  When she and her black "stand-in mother" Rosaleen are forced to run away, they make their way to Tiburon where Lily hopes to understand some part of her mother's history.  What she doesn't expect is to be welcomed into the home of three black bee-keeping sisters who will change her view of life forever.

The Secret Life of Bees

Things I Liked: 

I re-read this one for my book group and found I liked it even more the second time.  All of the book group folks adored it too!  Definitely a book we enjoyed reading and discussing.  I love the way Lily grows and changes and is finally able to grieve for her mother.  Kidd manages to weave ideas into the progression of the story so well that we don't notice them until they emerge in full bloom.  August was such a wonderful character - the kind of person everyone wants in their life.  I was also drawn to May for the way she experienced life in extremes - both the sorrow and the joy.  There is just something about a story like this - not a happy ending so much as a hopeful one - where a young girl manages to rise above the tragedies in her life, even if she is the author of some of those tragedies.  Thoughtful, interesting, a book to be savored.  I kept marking passages that I found beautiful or poignant and ended up with way too many to share here.  However:
"I looked down at the bee jar still clutched in my hand and saw a teaspoon of teardrops floating in the bottom.  I unfastened the window screen and poured it out.  The wind lifted it on her skirt tails and shook it over the blistered grass." p 40 
"I wish you could've seen the Daughters of Mary the first time they laid eyes on this label.  You know why?  Because when they looked at her, it occurred to them for the first time in their lives that what's divine can come in dark skin  You see, everybody needs a God who looks like them, Lily." p140-141
"You know, some things don't matter that much, Lily  Like the color of a house.  How big is that in the overall scheme of life?  But lifting a person's heart - now, that matters.  The who problem with people is -"
"They don't know what matters and what doesn't," I said, filling in her sentence and feeling proud of myself for doing so.
"I was gonna say, The problem is they know what matters, but they don't choose it...The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters." p147
"Every human being on the face of the earth has a steel plate in his head, but if you lie down now and then and get still as you can, it will slide open like elevator doors, letting in all the secret thoughts that have been standing around so patiently, pushing the button for a ride to the top.  Tee real troubles in life happen when those hidden doors stay closed for too long." p170
Things I Didn't Like:
I didn't much like Rosaleen.  She seemed more like a necessary element to lead the story along than an essential character in the story.  I was also disappointed we didn't see more of a father figure.  I understand this is a woman power, mothering story, but I think it's important to recognize that children need both a mother and father of some kind.  Too bad her father was such a jerk.

I kept thinking about The Help by Katherine Stockett

s-factor: !@#
regularly throughout

mrg-factor: X
female bodies are mentioned, but not in explicit ways

v-factor: ->
a few elements that are frightening

Overall rating: ****

What is a favorite book from your book group?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review: Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham

*ARC provided by editor*
Leaving Gee's Bend is something Ludelphia Bennett never dreamed she'd do.  But, when her momma becomes sick, she decides to go for a doctor in the nearest town.  She will face a lot of detours and meet both good and bad people along the way.  She'll stitch each new experience into her quilt, but will she make it back in time to save her mother and the whole town?

Leaving Gee's Bend

Things I Liked:
I liked the way Ludelphia viewed life and people.  She still had a lot of innocence and was very sheltered, which made her very trusting.  It was also a interesting look at a place and time that we don't get a lot of in fiction (or maybe I just haven't read it).  I loved how Lu stitched her way through the difficulties and also found her bravery that way.  Interesting, simple story with a lovable character.  I think its simplicity belies some of its deeper meanings, though.

Things I Didn't Like:
I had a hard time wanting to read it.  While she had some adventures and I really did like Ludelphia, I did not feel very invested in the story.  The journey seemed a little too simple and I thought it was slow in parts, but more exciting in other parts.  I don't know how much children are going to want to read it, since it seems like adults will get more out of it.  I guess I was just expecting to be more wowed by it and it fell a bit flat for me. 

I think Abby (the) Librarian and Ari of Reading in Color wrote pretty much what I felt about the book - only much better.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor 

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
there are some somewhat scary scenes

Overall rating: ***

Do you have a time period or place that you wish there were more books about?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Review: The Real Real by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus

*review copy provided by publicist*
The Real Real is difficult to distinguish, after Jesse finds herself selected as a cast member on a documentary of real high school life.  She and the others selected begin to realize that this glamorous life isn't what they expected.  As their lives and choices are manipulated by the producer and betrayal and lies become common, they each struggle to remember what is real and what is contrived.

The Real Real

Things I Liked:
Ok, the premise sounds pretty hokey.  I admit, however, that I became involved in the plot.  It was like a dreadful soap opera that I just couldn't look away from.  I started to care about the people, even though I really hated all of them, even Jesse.  I think it will be highly entertaining for people who like Gossip Girl or reality TV shows.  It also had some funny parts, though I didn't like most of the humor.

Things I Didn't Like:
I really hated that Jesse was made out to be the star of the show and everyone loved her, but I couldn't figure out why.  She didn't seem to be or do anything on the show that would make her likable.  She was supposed to be the one that didn't do stupid things, but she did.  Lots of stupid things.  The whole story was so unbelievably contrived that I had a hard time accepting it, though I became enthralled by it.  It sure seemed like things worked out really nicely for Jesse in the end as well.  Too nicely.  It isn't really the type of book I like, but will provide a few hours of completely mindless entertainment. 

I haven't read any Gossip Girl books by Cecily von Ziegesar, but it sure sounded like them

Reminded me of the Luxe series by Anna Godberson

s-factor: !@#$
Overwhelming numbers of non-mild swearing

mrg-factor: XXX
do they ever talk about anything else?

v-factor: none
*note that alcohol and drug use are common throughout*

Overall rating: ***

I really struggled with the overall rating on this one - I was entertained, but I didn't really enjoy it.  How do you rate a book like that?  Almost makes me want to give up on star-ratings.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And Then I Realized...They're All Due At Once

I don't think I read as fast as I would like to read.  I was making a list of due dates for all the books I currently have checked out.  I don't know if I'll be able to read them in time.  Which means I'll probably get fines.  And get behind on review books again.  You'd think I would have come up with some balancing solution, but I haven't yet.  Which is why it makes total sense that I added five more to the pile this week.  But, I did suspend (some of) my holds.  (Hey, there are a few that I simply WON'T wait longer than necessary for.)  Anywho, here's what's adding to my load:

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Libyrinth by Pearl North
The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (for Classics Circuit)
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

What's teetering on your pile this week?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

First Favorites and Winners!

It's time to pick the three winners!  I really loved reading about all of your first favorites and the books that first affected you!  There are some really great stories.  I encourage you to read the comments and see for yourselves!  I also wanted to list the books/series mentioned:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Matilda by Roald Dahl (2 people)
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steve Chbosky
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (3 people)
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingells Wilder
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene (2 people)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Henry and the Clubhouse by Beverly Cleary
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
John Saul's books
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
El valle de los lobos by Laura Gallego Garcia

Dick and Jane books

I love this list!  So many of my favorite early reads and some I've never heard of!  But, I know you all are just too anxious to hear who won, so without further ado:

1st Winner: WMSgifted (didn't hear from WMSgifted, so a new 3rd winner was chosen)
2nd 1st Winner: Mia J. 
3rd 2nd Winner: Julie
New 3rd Winner: Amused

Please contact me, WMSgifted, with your mailing address and choice of book from the list (my email can be found on my profile).  Mia J. and Julie, you can contact me as well and I will let you know which books are left.  

Thanks everyone for reading!

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice is all that Cassie has ever known, and all that she wants to know.  Cassie has grown up in a research center in the Arctic.  When on her eighteenth birthday, her scientific life clashes with a childhood fairy tale, she finds herself making a choice to marry the king of the polar bears in order to save a mother she's never known.  Will she be able to return to that normal, steady, scientific life after all she has seen?  Will she want to?


Things I Liked:
I love this fairy tale and have enjoyed a couple of other retellings.  This one is its own unique take on the tale, setting it in modern times and having Bear be the keeper of polar bear souls.  I enjoyed the setting in the Arctic, since that is a place I know next to nothing about.  I think Durst did an excellent job of making the story her own and still keeping to that basic tale that seems to fascinate us so much.  I really liked how Cassie was very independent and strong, but still manages to change in ways that we respect. And I didn't see that ending coming - very nicely done!

Things I Didn't Like:
I didn't think there was quite enough romance for me.  I think it is difficult to spend the time (in a book, anyway) growing a relationship between characters when nothing is really happening, but I thought Cassie became attached to Bear rather suddenly.  Also, Bear kinda annoyed me sometimes with his acting like he already loved her when he really didn't know her at all.  

East by Edith Pattou

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (Psyche and Eros myth)

s-factor: !
a few throughout

mrg-factor: X
very much off-the-page, but they do get married, etc.

v-factor: ->
some mild violence/action

Overall rating: ****

Have you read retellings of this story? What's your favorite?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Monday, March 22, 2010

Listless Monday, Spring Edition

Listless Monday was inspired by both Amanda at A Bookshelf Monstrosity's feature Books by Theme and Court at Once Upon a Bookshelf's Listed feature.  Be sure to check out their lists!

I can't even tell you happy I am that spring is officially here and the not-so-freezing weather seems to have arrived here as well. I really tried to come up with as many spring/flower/gardening books as possible, but the list isn't very long.

Spring/flower books:

Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen
Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Spring Fling by Sabrina James
Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Please leave your spring-ish book suggestions! And don't forget to enter my clearing the bookshelves giveaway by tomorrow night!

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Review: The Ghost, the Eggheads, and Babe Ruth's Piano by Larry Sweitzer

*Review copy provided by author*
The Ghost, the Eggheads, and Babe Ruth's Piano appear to having nothing in common, until Freddie Holtzman heads to his summer camp for gifted teens.  Camp Mason is full of surprises and opportunities for Freddie this year.  He wants to hook up with Ginny, who he kissed last year, he wants to win the scholarship for his project beating out his rival Tony, and he wants to find out once and for all if Billy Mason really does haunt the camp.  With the help of friends and the dead famous baseball player, Freddie just might manage to accomplish at least one of these goals.

The Ghost, the Eggheads, and Babe Ruth's Piano: A Novel

Things I Liked:
I thought the story was pretty fun.  There were some really humorous parts that I enjoyed - reminding me of what public embarrassment meant back in junior high and high school.  Near the end, I also became interested in the mysteries involving missing projects and Billy Mason's death.  There were a few surprises and some interesting unexpected conclusions. 

Things I Didn't Like:
The teens in the book did not feel very real to me.  The tone of the book was a bit young for kids between their junior and senior year of high school.  They just didn't act much like kids that age - playing truth or dare seems a little more junior high to me (and Freddie's use of the word egghead was a bit ridiculous).  The ending was very neatly wrapped up with Freddie, despite not getting everything he wanted right away, eventually getting it all.  No one was angry at anyone else for the things they did.  It was a little too clean and also felt rushed at the end to resolve everything.  But,
I think this book will appeal to younger reluctant reader boys, particularly those who like baseball.

Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta
The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: X
a few minor incidents

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

Got any embarrassing junior/senior high school moments (that you are willing) to share?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession is the story of how journalist Allison Bartlett was drawn into the world of rare book trade and discovered a passionate thief and the relentless man who chased him.  John Gilkey is an infamous con artist, but his infatuation is with rare books.  Through a series of interviews, Bartlett comes to understand Gilkey's need to have rare books and the strange way of thinking that drives his thieving.  Ken Sanders, a rare book dealer in Salt Lake City, is a man with equal passion for rare books - and the desire to catch Gilkey.  

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

Things I Liked:

This was a fascinating look at the rare book trade and many of the people who collect rare books.  Through Bartlett's interviews, I became more and more convinced (along with her) that Gilkey had a very skewed sense of justice and rightness.  Many of the comments he made and the idea that he should be able to collect rare books, even if he couldn't afford them, really illustrates the strange way he thinks.  I loved, however, just how dedicated and passionate all the rare book dealers she spoke with were - how Gilkey was a lot like them, but was unable to see how he obtained his books as wrong.  I had lots of passages marked in the book - both about books and collecting and about Gilkey.  Here are just a few I loved:
"For several days I lived in Wilbur's world, and the only thing as sad as Charlotte's death, maybe even sadder, was that I had come to the end of the book.  I valued that half-dream state of being lost in a book so much that I limited the number of pages I let myself read each day in order to put off the inevitable end, my banishment from that world.  I still do this.  It doesn't make sense, though, because the pleasure of that world does not really end for good.  You can always start over on page one - and you can remember." p 20-21
"It's a very frustrating thing for me, because I just want to check out a bunch of those first-edition books at the library, just out of curiosity, and they were missing." 
Just out of curiosity?  Did he consider me a fool?
"Have you ever taken a book from the library?" I asked.
Gilkey looked incredulous.  "No," he said.  "That would be stealing." p 181
"Physical artifacts carry memory and meaning, and this is as true of important historical texts as it is of cherished childhood books.  Sitting in any library, surrounded by high shelves of books, I sense the profoundly rich history of scholarship as something real, and it's both humbling and inspiring.  This manifestation of reality is true of other artifacts as well.  We can read about the Holocaust or where Emily Dickinson wrote her "letter to the world" or where Jim Morrison is buried.  We can view online photos of all these places.  Still, each year, thousands of people visit Auschwitz, The Homestead, and Pere Lachaise.  I suppose our desire to be near books rises from a similar impulse; they root us in something larger than ourselves, something real.  For this reason, I am sure that hardbound books will survive, even long after e-books become popular." p 217
"Often, when I told people his story, they would say, How sad.  Here was a man who seemingly could not help himself from the very act that would put him in prison.  I came to disagree.  Such single-minded wanting is a lot like never-satisfied lust, a dream that won't die, and working toward achieving it can give tremendous pleasure.  While Gilkey told me he was depressed in prison and said he would never want to go back, I began to see his "frequent flyer" status (as one prison official referred to it ) as perhaps he saw it: the price he had to pay.  Some pay for their success with soaring blood pressure or dissolved marriages.  He paid with jail time." p 246-247
Things I Didn't Like:
Sometimes I wondered where exactly the story was going.  It doesn't really have much of a progressive action or a complete ending.  But, it doesn't really need one either.  


Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books
by Nicholas A. Basbanes

s-factor: !@
some throughout

mrg-factor: X
some interesting metaphors with reading

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

Do you enjoy books about books?  Feel free to share your favorites.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book Review: The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

*review copy from goodreads*
The Swiss Courier is a dangerous job for Gabi Mueller.  During World War II, Gabi, a Swiss pastor's daughter, is part of the American OSS, helping to translate German missives to English to aid in the Allied cause.  She takes on several dangerous missions, but none quite so dangerous as helping a scientist cross the border into Switzerland.  Gabi will face betrayal and death in order to rescue this important stranger.

Swiss Courier, The: A Novel

Things I Liked:
The story was pretty slow to develop, but I was really drawn into the intrigue and surprises right near the end.  The daring rescue of this scientist kept me turning the pages to its conclusion, but the rescue doesn't happen until the end.  I also enjoyed some of the interesting details of the Swiss people and the part they played during WWII.  I was also somewhat impressed with the religious aspects.  Instead of being beaten over the head with religion, the characters would talk about how God was important to them or how they trusted Him.  It would sometimes sneak up on you that religion was a part of the book.  And that's definitely better than being beaten.

Things I Didn't Like:
I think this book suffers from too much detail.  The authors obviously put in a lot of research and thought, but it was overwhelming.  There was a lot of superfluous information about things that didn't really impact the story.  I got tired of reading the book and set it aside for days at a time.  I wanted to know the conclusion, so I kept plowing through, but I really think it could have been edited to be about half its current page length.  The characters never felt real to me - they were secondary to the historical details and the plot.  I'd only recommend this to hard-core historical/WWII fans who love the extraneous details and aren't really looking for pure entertainment. 

For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

A bit like The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

s-factor: !
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->->
there weren't many scenes, but they were pretty descriptive

Overall rating: ***

Do you have a favorite WWII/holocaust book?
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Bit Behind

So, I realized that I am falling a bit behind in my library book reading.  Checking back, I am still reading books from my library visit four weeks ago.  I guess it's a good thing I can check some of them out for six weeks.  Cause I'll probably be reading some of these six weeks from now:

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (book on tape)*

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book on tape)*
Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (YEAH!)
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

*for our road trip down south this weekend

For Review:
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Pocket of Guilt by Dora Lee Thompson
Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power by David Pogue
Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate by K.S.R. Kingworth

Did you get anything exciting this week?

Don't forget to enter my clear-the-shelves giveaway
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

A Crooked Kind of Perfect is the only kind of perfect Zoe Elias can get.  She wants to learn to play piano, but she ends up with a wheezing organ.  She wants to play beautiful classical music, but she is stuck with old TV theme songs.  With a mother who works all the time, a father who can't leave the house, and a strange boy who always follows her home, it seems things will never be quite perfect in her life.  But, when she decides to play in an organist contest, she learns that her kind of perfect is just right.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Things I Liked: 

This book was a sweet story about a kid learning that the things you want in life aren't always what you get.  I loved Zoe and totally remember when I wanted things and instead I got something else (like a Cabbage Patch kid that my mother made instead of purchased).  I laughed through all of the lunchroom scenes, especially when Zoe is sitting with the boys.  This is a light and fun book with interesting characters and a useful message that won't hit kids right over the head.  Here are a few of my favorite parts:
"Had Lester Rennet ever seen a school lunchroom?  Did he understand that the lunchroom is a jungle, where sixth-grade beasts stalk the weak and dorky? Unfolding a revolutionary paper keyboard would be like picking a scab in a pool of sharks - the scent of blood would cause a frenzy." p 12
"I don't exactly know what smitten means, but it sounds okay, like I wouldn't mind if Colton Shell was smitten.  Like it might actually be kind of good to have somebody smittening me." p 103
Things I Didn't Like:
I have to admit to being annoyed at times with her parents.  I think that was part of the book's appeal, though.  Zoe is annoyed as well and we tend to feel the same way. 

Reminded me of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Also Shug by Jenny Han and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

Got a favorite tween read?  

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Monday, March 15, 2010

Listless Monday, Luck o' the Irish Edition

Listless Monday was inspired by both Amanda at A Bookshelf Monstrosity's feature Books by Theme and Court at Once Upon a Bookshelf's Listed feature.  Be sure to check out their lists!


This week, once again, I have to thank the yalsa-bk listserv.  While attempting to come up with more than a handful of books involving luck (good or bad) and Ireland, I turned to that trusty librarian source.  They didn't fail.  I have been very loose in my inclusion criteria for Irish or luck books, as I'm sure you can tell.  However, in honor of St. Patrick's Day this week, here they are all mixed in together:

Luck o' the Irish

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (Ireland/Irish)
Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer (Ireland/Irish)
Big Slick by Eric Luper (luck)
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (Ireland/Irish)
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (sorta Ireland/Irish)
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones (Ireland/Irish)
The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy (Ireland/Irish)
The Grave by James Heneghan (Ireland/Irish)
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (sorta Ireland/Irish)
The Higher Power of Lucky (sorta luck)
Holes by Louis Sachar (luck)
The Hunter's Moon by O.R. Melling (Ireland/Irish
Hush: An Irish Princess Tale by Donna Jo Napoli (Ireland/Irish)
I Rode A Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Wilson (luck)
Invisible Lines by Mary Amato (luck)
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater (luck/clover) 
Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson (Ireland/Irish)
Lucky T by Kate Brian (luck)
Maggie's Door by Patricia Reilly Giff (Ireland/Irish)
The New Policeman by Kate Thompson (Ireland/Irish)
Odd and Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (luck)
The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott(luck)
Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy (Ireland/Irish)
A Sea So Far by Jean Thesman (Ireland/Irish)
So B It by Sarah Weeks (luck)
A Swift, Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd (Ireland/Irish)
The Wish List by Eoin Colfer (Ireland/Irish)
A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane (Ireland/Irish)

Suggestions are welcome!

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage
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