Student Book Review - Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Friday May 28, 2010

by Alexandra Bullen
January 12, 2010
Goodreads Summary: For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.

In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, Wish asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for? 

Student Review: Wish, Alexandra Bullen's debut novel is a must read. Miss Bullen tells a story about a brokenhearted seventeen-year-old girl named Olivia. When her sister Violet dies, Olivia's life falls apart. Her parents move across the country in an effort to hide from their memories. Now living in San Francisco Olivia makes no attempt to communicate with anyone until somehow a mysterious dress grants her wish to have Violet back (she comes back as a ghost that only Olivia can see.)

Violet tries to help Olivia as she adjusts to a new school and of course the drama ensues. The question is...can Olivia get past Violets death and make it on her own? Alexandra Bullen's novel shows a girl who is struggling to get on with life. What Olivia needs is a push...and where it comes from is a surprise. Slowly Olivia's life returns with friends and even a little romance!

This book asks the question "If you could have anything. What would you wish for?" Don't miss out on this book it is a great read!

8th grade

Book Review - Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell

Thursday May 27, 2010

Little Blog on the Prairie
by Cathleen Davitt Bell
May 11, 2010
Goodreads Summary: Gen’s family is more comfortable spending time apart than together. Then Gen’s mom signs them up for Camp Frontier—a vacation that promises the “thrill” of living like 1890s pioneers. Forced to give up all of her modern possessions, Gen nevertheless manages to email her friends back home about life at “Little Hell on the Prairie,” as she’s renamed the camp.

It turns out frontier life isn’t without its good points—like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. And when her friends turn her emails into a blog, Gen is happily surprised by the fanbase that springs up. But just when it seems Gen and family might pull through the summer, disaster strikes as a TV crew descends on the camp, intent on discovering the girl behind the nationwide blogging sensation—and perhaps ruining the best vacation Gen has ever had.

Review: As I was reading this book I kept thinking about the rebellion I would have on my hands if I came to my own three kids and told them we were going on a "Little House on the Prairie" type family vacation....I shudder to think of the mutinous response! No cell phones, computers, Xbox's, ipods or television? Seriously, I think that my husband and kids would burst into flames....

To be honest the concept intrigues me because sometimes I feel like all this technology in the world keeps us a part. One kid in his bedroom playing video games, one daughter with headphones on listening to music and the other online talking to friends. Maybe getting away from it all would bring us closer together....sounds good right??!! Well lets just say great minds think alike and thats exactly what Gen's mom had in mind...

I think that this is a really fun read and will be especially meaningful to middle grade readers who live and die by technology. Gen is the last of her friends to be without a cell phone and her mother bribes her in to going on this vacation by showing her the cell phone she'll receive when they get of course she complies but can't resist the impulse to take it with her. In order to save the battery (where the heck will she recharge it???) she only sends her best friends random text about the crazy vacation they are on (milking cows, living off of beans because her mom can't figure out how to cook 1890's frontier style and of course the cute neighbor guy Caleb.)

When her friends devote a blog to her frontier style vacation, thats when things get crazy...who know so many people would be interested? What happens if the owners of the camp, who are VERY serious about being completely authentic when it comes to 1890's living, find out about her hidden technology? Does Gen want to get kicked out or has living frontier style grown on her? She would have to leave Caleb and her new friend Ka behind...not to mention that this "vacation" has brought to light some stuff about her parents relationship she hadn't noticed before...are they having problems?

Like I said, a super fun read that middle grade teens will totally relate to...maybe I should mark this book as "Horror" because I'm sure the concept will terrify them!

Countdown by Deborah Wiles + Contest

Wednesday May 26, 2010

I really enjoyed this very cool, very original story about growing up during the tumultuous 60's and all the pop culture that goes along with that era. Infused with songs, quotes and pictures, Countdown is part scrapbook, part historical fiction about a girl named Franny coming-of-age in a time when teens weren't sure exactly what tomorrow would look like. GET IT NOW!

by Deborah Wiles
May 1, 2010
Scholastic Press
A time that changed the world.

A time that changed Franny’s life.

Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that’s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. 

It’s 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Franny doesn’t know how to deal with what’s going on in the world — no more than she knows how to deal with what’s going on with her family and friends. But somehow she’s got to make it through.

Countdown features a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962. Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel that will put you right alongside Franny as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history. It is an experience you will never forget.
Look for JFK and Khrushchev to leap off the page, along with Sandy Koufax, Pete Seeger, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cassius Marcellus Clay, James Bond, and more. Photographs, song lyrics, advertisements, news clippings, and television snippets populate the pages of this story about the sixteen days when the world came as close as it has ever come to nuclear annihilation.

The Critics Love Countdown

“[Countdown] has a striking scrapbook feel, with ingeniously selected and placed period photographs, cartoons, essays, song lyrics, quotations, advertisements and “duck and cover” instructions interspersed through the narrative. References to duct tape (then newly invented), McDonald’s and other pop culture lend authenticity to the phenomenal story of the beginnings of radical change in America.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This story is sure to strike a chord with those living through tough times today.” Publisher’s Weekly (starred review

“The larger story . . . told here in an expert coupling of text and design, is how life endures, even triumphs, no matter how perilous the times.” The Horn Book (starred review)

“Many readers will find this on their own, but adults who read bits and pieces aloud will hook kids, who’ll eagerly await the next installments.”Booklist (starred review)

“An extraordinary new book. . . . Put this middle grade novel on your MUST read list.” — Lynn Rutman, Booklist Online/Bookends

Visit the Author's Website HERE 

Enter to win 1 of 2 beautiful hardcover copes of Countdown!

Contest ends June 16, 2010

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Monday May 24, 2010

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker #1)
by Jenna Black
May 25, 2010
St. Martin's Press
Goodreads Summary: Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. 

But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn't sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .

Review: When you grow up as a child of a single mom who is also an alcoholic I'm sure life seems pretty bleak, especially when your mom can't even take care of herself and has a habit of showing up drunk off her rear in the most embarrassing places. 

Such is the life of Dana Hathaway...she longs for an escape and focuses on the fact that she has never met her father. She knows that he is some big-deal Fae and lives in Avalon where her parents met. Depending on whether her mother is drunk or sober her father is either really evil or the super awesome love of her life whom she was forced to leave in order to protect Dana. Either way Dana decides its time for a change and runs away to meet her absentee dad. 

The first person Dana meets when she gets to Avalon (unbeknown to her) is her Aunt Grace. Dana is not quite sure what to think about the situation and when she meets Ethan and his sister Kimber things get even more complicated.

Soon it is revealed to Dana what she really  is...a Faeriewalker, and she realizes that life with her alcoholic mother was much less chaotic than what she is dealing with now. She finally meets her dad who fills her in on what exactly is going on and that being a Faeriewalker (they only come along like once every hundred years or something like that) is a HUGE deal. This puts here right in the middle of Fae politics and she can't be sure about anyone's motives even her family and friends.

I really enjoyed this book and I pretty much devoured it in one sitting. A new little twist in the ever popular Fae/paranormal genre that I found really interesting. Of course the possible romance between Dana and Ethan is key, especially because she finds a few things out about him that kind of freak her out. 

The cover is beautiful and will definitely entice teens and young adults to pick it up. The great writing and well-paced storyline will keep them reading!

The end of this book (book #1) reveals for the most part who the bad guys are and leaves an opening for book #2 Shadowspell, which is supposed to be available in early 2011.

Appropriate for 7th grade and up. Visit the authors website for more info

In My Mailbox (39)

Sunday May  23, 2010
In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie is a way to share what new books you get each week.  They can be books you borrowed from the library, bought, traded, won or received for review.

So, without further adieu, the following are books I received this past week...enjoy!

 For review.... :) (links take you to Goodreads)

The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli
This is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee
The Mosts by Melissa Senate
Never After by Dan Elconin
Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
The Princess and the Snowbirds by Mette Ivie Harrison
Your Life but Cooler by Crystal Velasquez


Radiant Shadow by Melissa Marr
Runaways #10: Rock Zombies by Terry Moore & Takeshi Miyazawa
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Hope you had a great week too!

i so don't do makeup Contest!

Friday May 21, 2010
Check Out This Contest!

Author Barrie Summy is hosting a giveaway of her fun mystery series! One Grand Prize winner will receive autographed copies of the three books in the series:
A Tote Bag
and a T-Shirt

There's more!!!
  Three lucky runners up will win an autographed copy of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP and a t-shirt!
To enter, send an email to (note: no apostrophe!) with the subject line "Pick Me!" In the body of the email, include your name and email address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and email address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on June 30. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on July 1 and notified via email. Check Barrie's website after July 6 for the list of winners!

Book Review - WEREling by Steve Feasey

Thursday May 20, 2010

by Steve Feasey
April 27, 2010
Feiwel and Friends
Goodreads Summary: Fourteen-year-old Trey Laporte is not a kid anymore. Not after the day he wakes up in agony—retina-splitting, vomit-inducing agony. His clothes are torn. His room is trashed.

Enter Lucien Charron, the mysterious, long-lost “uncle” with freakish fire-flecked eyes and skin that blisters in the sun. Suddenly, Trey finds himself living in a luxury penthouse at the heart of a strange and sinister empire built on the powers of the Netherworld—vampires, demons, sorcerers, and djinn.
And there is a girl—Alexa Charron—who is half vampire, half human, and insanely pretty, with powers all of her own. Trey is falling for her.

Trey is training night and day to control the newly discovered power lurking inside him. Now, demons are closing in on every side, and the most psychopathic bloodsucker to rock the Netherworld wants to destroy him. Above all, he must face one terrifying question: Is he a boy . . . or is he a beast?

Review:  I'm always excited when a paranormal book comes out that I can get boys to read! Don't get me wrong, I always have a bunch boys ready and waiting for the next hot paranormal romance but the action-packed paranormal reads with a male lead are guaranteed to have a waiting list here in my library!

I know that the "orphan who is destined to save the world" plot might seem played out but I didn't really get that vibe as I was reading the book. For the most part the plot comes across as original and kept me interested right until the very end. 

Trey is a very likable lead and all the key supporting roles are very interesting characters. There is more to Lucian than meets the eye and the rugged Irishman Tom (who Trey grows close to) has a lot of appeal. There is definite chemistry between Trey and Alexa and although there is a hint of attraction between them nothing really comes of least for now.

I totally recommend this book! Fast paced and full of action it kept me guessing until the very end. There seems to be a "double-agent" in their midst and each time I thought I knew who it was...well I was wrong. I guess I'll have to wait until book 2 in the series to find out :)

Appropriate for ages 12 and up. There is also a Demoncyclopedia at the end of the book that tells readers all about demon hierarchy, the difference between demons and djinns as well as other various Netherworld creatures...pretty interesting.

Tween Tuesdays (11)

Tuesday May 18, 2010

Tween Tuesdays is a meme I first saw at Green Bean Teen Queen and really liked because she is also a librarian who deals with teens and tweens. So, since most of my blog is devoted to YA and teen books I figured that on Tuesdays I can do posts for all the tweeners out there!

Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies
by Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by Dan Santat
May 1, 2010
Goodreads Summary: When Joules and Kevin Rockman’s parents drop them off at Camp Whatsitooya on their way to an International Spamathon, the twins expect a summer of marshmallows, campfires, and canoe trips. What they do not expect is to defend the earth from an invasion of sugar-addicted, murderous, seven-foot-tall rabbits from another galaxy. 

Happily, the Rockman twins, veteran watchers of the Late, Late, Late Creepy Show for Insomniacs, are unusually well-prepared for dealing with monstrous beings from outer space. If only their fellow campers were so lucky.

Review: A super fun, silly tale that will have kids lining up to read this one. there anything funnier than giant seven-foot-tall bunnies dead set on taking over mankind??!! 

Lucky for us all the Rockman twins know exactly how scary movies work...acting or saying the wrong thing will have you locked in as the character in the movie who is surely first to "kick the bucket." Then, when the camp counselors start acting "funny" Joules and Kevin know that it is up to them to save the day!

This book is hilarious and the random comic style illustrations throughout the book will draw in some of those reluctant readers. My favorite line from the book? "Spam, unnaturally square, unnaturally good"...oh, you've got to love that one!

The Popularity Papers
Written & Illustrated by Amy Ignatow
April 1, 2010
Goodreads Summary: Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick.

But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—and each other.

 Review: My most favorite thing about this book are the AWESOME illustrations! They are so very cool that they just kept me reading (the story is pretty good too!) The "hand-written" notes and colored pencil illustrations just give this book total overall appeal.

On a mission to be more popular in their transition from elementary to middle school, Lydia and Julie start a journal together documenting their research and experiments on their quest to popularity. Their guide? Taking note of what makes the already popular girls popular...

As in most transitions from elementary to middle school, things don't always go as planned. As Lydia and Julie meet new people and new interests develop they face new challenges including their friendship.

A heartwarming and at times laugh-out-loud read. I highly recommend this read (in fact I directly emailed a bunch of librarians to make sure they buy this book for their libraries!) It will be awesome for reluctant readers...a definite "girly" version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid but with a little bit more flair!

How I Nicky Flynn Finally Get a Life (and a Dog)
by Art Corriveau
May 1, 2010
Goodreads Summary: Nicky Flynn’s life just got a whole lot harder. His parents are going through a messy divorce, and as a result he’s starting a new life, in a new city, in a new school. Now his mom has brought home Reggie, an eighty-pound German shepherd fresh from the animal shelter, who used to be a seeing-eye dog. At first Nick isn’t sure about this canine intrusion—it’s just another in a series of difficult changes.

Soon, however, Nick is on the path to finding out why a seeing-eye dog would be left at an animal shelter, and along the way discovers that Reggie is a true friend that Nick can rely on. But when he tries to reconnect with his dad, Nick puts everything on the line, including the life of his new best friend. 

Review:  Every so often a book comes a long that really hits home when it comes to the issues that kids can really relate to. You can only imagine how many kids I talk to throughout the year who are currently or in the recent past, dealing with divorce and some sort of upheaval different than their pre-divorce life. This book really hits the mark and catches all the little pitfalls that lie along the path of divorce and separation.

Feeling rejected by his father and responsible for his mother, Nicky is overly mature for a 12 year-old (his mother often refers to him as acting more like a 40 year-old than a 12 year-old.) This leads to some anger management issues that sometimes get in the way and its obvious that what Nicky thinks and what he actually says and does are two different things.

The climax of the story is when Nicky risks losing his newly found friend and sidekick Reggie in an effort to reconnect with a father who may not have the best of intentions. A heartwarming story that will connect with a lot of readers.

Student Book Review - Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Monday May 17, 2010

Fever Crumb
by Phillip Reeve
April 1, 2010
Scholastic Press
Goodreads Summary: Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. In a time and place where women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only female to serve in the order. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb-nearly the only person she's ever known-to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are.

Fever has also been singled out by city-dwellers who declare her part Scriven. The Scriveners, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she's been told: that she is an orphan. Is Fever a Scriven? Whose memories does she hold? Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London? Haunting, arresting, and astonishingly original, Fever Crumb will delight and surprise readers at every fast-paced, breathless turn. 

Student Review: This is an exciting new adventure in the Steampunk genre that is actually a prequel to the "Hungry City Quartet" and is set in post-apocalyptic London. 

Fever Crumb is a very interesting character. She shaves her head, has two different colored eyes and is the only female in the Order of Engineers. 
I loved this book! Every time the action would start to fade it switches lanes and keeps on going. Through out the book the bad guy keeps on changing leaving you unsure of who the bad guy really is! Switching sides and points of view keeps the adventure coming. My only disappointment was her ability to run from her problems. Don't understand that? Read the book!

Review by Jazmine Edmiston, 7th grade

In My Mailbox (38)

Sunday May  16, 2010
In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie is a way to share what new books you get each week.  They can be books you borrowed from the library, bought, traded, won or received for review.

So, without further adieu, the following are books I received this past week...enjoy!

 For review.... :)

The Evil Within: A Possessions Novel
by Nancy Holder
June 10, 2010
Evil is a lot harder to fight when it comes from within

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder’s Possessions, Lindsay finds out that she, too, is possessed, and must return to creepy Marlwood Academy in order to rid herself of the spirit. Lindsay’s afraid of what the spirit is telling her to do—kill Mandy!

But the secrets of Marlwood go much deeper than Lindsay thought. Sometimes the girls who seem like enemies are actually on your side. And the voices you trust the most—the voices that come from within—are the ones that want you dead.

by Marthe Jocelyn
May 11, 2010
Wendy Lamb Books
Three fates intertwine in this moving and passionate love story set in Victorian London.

Mary Finn: country girl, maid to a lord in London

Caden Tucker: liar, scoundrel, and heart's delight

James Nelligan: age six, tossed into a herd of boys

When Mary Finn falls into the arms of handsome Caden Tucker, their frolic changes the course of her life. What possesses her? She's been a girl of common sense until now. Mary's tale alternates with that of young James Nelligan, a new boy in an enormous foundling home.

The Beautiful Between
by Alyssa b. Sheinmel
May 11, 2010
If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

The Hard Kind of Promise
by Gina Willner-Pardo
June 7, 2010
Clarion Books
Sarah promised Marjorie when they were five years old that they would be best friends forever. But that was before seventh grade, when everything changed—everything except Marjorie. She still wears babyish clothes and wants to watch movies about space aliens and brings smelly sandwiches for lunch. Not only has Sarah lost interest in those things, but the things that do interest her—boys and chorus—are taking her further away from Marjorie. How did a promise that was so easy to make become so hard to keep?

With beautifully drawn characters and vivid details, this incisive novel portrays middle school in all its complexity—both the promise of what is to come and the pain of what must be left behind.

Sweet 15
by Emily Adler & Alex Echevarria
April 1, 2010
Marshall Cavendish
Destiny Lozada is turning fifteen, and her parents want to throw her a traditional quinceañera, celebrating her transition into "womanhood" with a religious ceremony, a big expensive party, a silly dress and tiara—the works. Destiny’s older sister calls it an antiquated, misogynistic ritual that just gives their mother a chance to show off. As usual, Destiny is caught in the middle and afraid to say anything. She’s not a princesa like her mother imagines or an activist like her sister. So who is she? Destiny isn’t sure yet, but she knows she’d rather be watching TV, riding her skateboard, and confiding to her cat and her stuffed bear. She also wouldn’t mind finding the guy of her dreams to be her escort for the quince. . . .

When the plans, bills, and fights start piling up, Destiny has to stop being a spectator to "The Lozada Show" and take a stand once and for all in her family and her life. In their first novel written together, these talented co-authors bring a male and female perspective to the story.

by Kacy Cook
April 1, 2010
Marshall Cavendish

Sometimes even the smallest thing can change your life forever. A squeaking sound outside Nell’s bedroom leads her to a baby squirrel abandoned in her yard. Nell and her younger brothers end up saving two wild squirrels that appear to be orphaned. With the help of some online research and a new friend, Nell learns how to care for the squirrels, but she also learns that she should not try to do this on her own. Still, if Nell has the time and devotion, why shouldn’t she raise the squirrels? She loves them, and they need her—don’t they? Nell is willing to do anything to keep her new pets safe, even if it involves telling a few lies. Author Kacy Cook has crafted a beautiful, classic debut novel about love, family, and nature that young readers will never forget.

Spotting for Nellie
by Pamela Lowell
April 1, 2010
Marshall Cavendish
Claire Perry knows a split second can change everything. It can be the difference between sticking a perfect landing or falling off the beam. It can be the difference between a really fun party or a totally messed up one. Or sometimes, as Claire finds out, it can even be the difference between life . . . or death. For Claire’s younger sister, Nellie, an elite gymnast who is "destined for gold," things have always come easy. A split second is usually all it takes to capture the attention of a boy at a party, and the judges at a meet, or their critical father—everyone. 
Then one night, one decision, one split second—changes their world forever. The two sisters get into a car accident that leaves one of them with a traumatic brain injury. Now, the sisters will have to figure out what’s worth fighting for and what are the limits of guilt, forgiveness, and sisterhood. Memories will come crashing back and secrets will come to light—whether they’re ready for them . . . or not.

Shelter From the Wind
by Marion Dane Bauer
April 1, 2010
Marshall Cavendish
It used to be just Stacy and her dad, ever since Stacy’s mother left them five years ago. But Stacy’s stepmother, Barbara, seems to have taken over their world—and now she’s pregnant, too. One hot June morning Stacy runs away, not sure where she’s going or what she’s looking for—her mother, maybe? She heads across the Oklahoma panhandle where she has always lived, without supplies, without a plan. 
After a scary night alone on the prairie, a pair of white German shepherd dogs finds her. They lead her to their mistress, Old Ella, a woman who lives alone in a small secluded cabin. It is here that Stacy confronts the true source of her anger and learns what it really means to be a woman, a daughter, a friend. First published in 1976, Shelter from the Wind is a heart-rending story of a girl’s coming of age set against the backdrop of the harsh Oklahoma panhandle.

Hailey Twitch is Not a Snitch
by Lauren Barnholdt
Illustrated by Suzanne Beaky
May 1, 2010
Meet Hailey Twitch...

She's just like you. Well, sort of.

She loves pink sparkly pencils and ice cream. But Hailey also has a secret: she's friends with Maybelle, a sprite that only she can see.

Hailey and Maybelle are having fun, fun, fun. But they're also getting into lots of trouble!

Can Hailey keep her friend a secret or will she have to tell?

Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose
by Sue Stauffacher
May 11, 2010
Meet the Carters: Mr. and Mrs. Carter, 10-year-old daughter Keisha, five-year-old Razi, baby Paolo, and Grandma Alice. Together, they run Carters' Urban Rescue, the place you call when you've got an animal where it shouldn't be. In their first adventure, there's a baby alligator at the city pool, which will seriously interfere with opening day, especially Keisha's cannonball practice. So it's up to the whole family to figure out what to do with the poor guy who has no business hanging around Michigan. Luckily for all of them, and thanks to some serious ingenuity from Keisha, the answer is closer than they ever could have imagined.

Sue Stauffacher turns to her first series effort with Animal Rescue Team. With compelling plots based on actual events in her community, Sue has created a lovable cast of characters of boys and girls, young and old, who feel like people you'd meet at your neighborhood block party. 

Contest Time...Happy 1st Blogiversary Library Lounge Lizard!

Friday May 14, 2010

Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Wow, I can't believe it has been a whole year since I started this blog. It has definitely been a learning experience :) Meeting so many wonderful people in the blogging and publishing communities has been awesome and of course all the talented authors out there!

So a blogiversary works a little bit different than a regular guys get the presents instead of me! This is a big thank you to everyone who has joined and followed my blog and especially to everyone who has signed up on Feedburner to receive regular blog updates!

I have a whole bunch of books to give away plus a bunch of other fun stuff like bookmarks, stickers and a giftcard! There will be two winners....okay here are the books (which are all ARCs unless otherwise mentioned):

Love and Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Hardcover)
Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup
Almost Perfect by Brian Catcher
Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters
Beautiful by Amy Reed
Wicked: Resurrection by Nancy Holder
Another Faust by Daniel Nayeri, Dina Nayeri
Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman
The Summer I got a Life by Mark Fink
Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
Num8ers by Rachel Ward
Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana (Hardcover)
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
How to Ruin Your Boyfriends Reputation by Simone Elkeles (paperback)
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman
Duplikate by Cherry Cheva
Espressologist by Kristina Springer (Hardcover)
Evil? by Timothy Carter (paperback)
Darklight by Lesley Livingston
The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz
Wicked 2:Legacy and Spellbound by Nancy Holder (Paperback)
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Exit Strategy by Ryan Potter (Signed Paperback)
Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Gift card will be in the amount of $20 to the bookseller of your choice!

Picture of partial prize pack :)

To Enter...

+1 for commenting (MUST be a follower!)
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+5 for devoting a post about the contest on your blog

Good luck and thanks for entering!

Contest ends May 31, 2010

Book Review - Secret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado

Thursday May 13, 2010

Secret Saturdays
by Torrey Maldanado
April 15, 2010
Putnam Juvenile
Goodreads Summary: A poignant look into one a fatherless twelve-year-old’s struggles with friendship and trust.

Sean is Justin’s best friend, at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently. Sean’s been telling lies, getting into trouble at school, and hanging out with a tougher crowd, even getting into fights. This isn’t like Sean at all. When Justin finally discovers that Sean’s been secretly going to visit his father in prison and is dealing with the shame of that, Justin wants to do something to help before his friend spirals further out of control. But what if confronting Sean means Justin loses his very best friend? In the end, he decides it doesn’t matter; he’s got to man up.

Set in one of New York’s most dangerous neighborhoods, Secret Saturdays is an affecting read highlighted by strong characters and an authentic, heartening voice. 

Review: As a teacher-librarian in a middle school, I see students come in as sixth graders and watch them make critical and sometimes life-altering choices as they progress through seventh and eighth grade. These seem to be the years where kids start making choices regarding the people they want to be based on a multitude of factors and choices.
In Secret Saturdays sixth grader Justin observes his best friend Sean changing before his very eyes. They've always been close and Sean has always been the best disser around, choosing to fight with words instead of fists. Lately Justin has noticed that Sean's disses have become more vicious and he has even begun to start physical fights in school...something he has never done before.

In addition to his attitude change at school, Sean starts missing his regular overnight stays with Justin and their other friend Kyle, at this point Justin is determined to figure out what is going on. When he finally spies Sean and his mom leaving one Saturday morning before the sun is even up he turns to Kyle and another friend Vanessa to get to the bottom of this mystery. What they find out is a secret that Sean has been keeping for along time.

I really loved this book and I will be encouraging teachers and librarians everywhere to read it and keep it in their classrooms and libraries. Finding good reads for boys is something I am always keeping an eye out for and this book definitely fits in that category. 

Although set in a tough neighborhood in New York, the topics of poverty, fatherless children, friends and tough choices are topics that kids everywhere can relate to. The situation of boys insecure about communicating their feelings with other boys without seeming "gay" is practically epidemic and compounding that with the fact they sometimes live without positive male role models is a recipe for disaster. One of Justin's biggest struggles in this story is getting the nerve to just talk to his best friend Sean about what is going on...but the act of simply being sensitive and empathetic to his friends needs has him so overwhelmingly self-conscious about coming across as gay and "un-manly" that he feels helpless and angry. The question is, can Justin figure out what to do before he and Sean take different paths that will change their friendship forever?

A must read! Get it now! 

Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Book Series Review - i so don't Barrie Summy

Wednesday May 12, 2010

The following is a student review of the i so don't do....series by Barrie Summy. First we have the books themselves with summaries from GoodReads, then at the bottom is a review of the books in the series so far. Enjoy :)

i so don't do mysteries
by Barrie Summy
Available now...
Delacorte Press
SO HERE I am spending spring break in California with my best friend, Junie. Our chaperone is a teenager, like us. And soon I’ll get to hang out with the coolest, cutest boy in the Southwest. Life is so good.

Except I should tell you that I’m not actually in San Diego for fun. Even though I’m a normal person who likes normal stuff—friends, clothes, the mall—I’m supposed to be solving a mystery, one that involves a rhino heist and a crazy chef. And I have to do it because my supercop mom is counting on me. Did I mention she’s a ghost? A ghost who can make
contact with only one person. Me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin. My mom is flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and if I don’t help her, she’ll be banished to an afterlife for ghost failures.

But . . . I so don’t do mysteries. 

i so don't do spooky
by Barrie Summy
Available now...
Delacorte Press
Did you know that the main campus of the Academy of Spirits is at a Dairy Queen in Phoenix? Me either. Until now. Some weird stuff has been happening to my stepmother, Paula, and the Academy has asked me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin, to get to the bottom of it. They think someone’s trying to hurt her.

I really don’t want to get involved—my life is way too busy. Josh and I are celebrating two blissful months of togetherness. And my best friend, Junie, is finally showing a teeny bit of interest in clothes and makeup after years of brainiac behavior. But being that my mom is a ghost and all, me, my brother, and my dad rely on Paula a lot. So it’s not like I can just ignore what’s going on. Especially since my mom is competing at the Ghostlympics. If she comes in first place, she earns five minutes of Real Time.

And that means I’ve got to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery.

But . . . I so don’t do spooky. 

i so don't do makeup
by Barrie Summy
May 11, 2010
Delacorte Press
What's better than a sleepover? A sleepover with makeovers! Sherry and her friends have an awesome time with eye shadow, glitter, and more hair products than a salon. But when the girls wake up the next morning with serious skin issues, Sherry is freaked. Someone must have tampered with her makeup!

It turns out that the mall's cosmetics kiosk has had lots of products returned by upset customers. Sherry is determined to get to the bottom of things. After all, she's a bit of a crime-solving celebrity (well, at least in the spirit world). Ghost academies around the world are impressed by Sherry's and her ghost mom's skills.

And if anyone can solve a mystery involving mascara, it's Sherry Holmes Baldwin.

What's better than a sleepover? A sleepover with makeovers! Sherry and her friends have an awesome time with eye shadow, glitter, and more hair products than a salon. But when the girls wake up the next morning with serious skin issues, Sherry is freaked. Someone must have tampered with her makeup!

It turns out that the mall's cosmetics kiosk has had lots of products returned by upset customers. Sherry is determined to get to the bottom of things. After all, she's a bit of a crime-solving celebrity (well, at least in the spirit world). Ghost academies around the world are impressed by Sherry's and her ghost mom's skills.

Student Review:This series is a hilarious mystery that keeps you guessing. Sherry (Sherlock Holmes Baldwin) manages to juggle boys, friends, makeup, fashion, a brand new step-mom and on top of all that, her coffee obsessed ghost-of-a-mom who is failing out of the academy for spirits. With help from her one time grandpa (now a cactus) Sherry and her mother solve mysteries that include rhinos, makeup and even a robotics competition. I look forward to the fourth installment in this riveting series!

In the first installment of the series, i son don't do mysteries, Sherry's mom has died three years ago in the line of duty on a drug bust. After her death her mom decides to go to the Academy of Spirits (an organization that trains ghosts to protect the living) where she finds out that working there is a lot harder than she bargained for! Unless she manages to solve a major case she is going to get banished. At first she and Sherry get help from her Academy friends but in the end it its up to them to solve the case. 

In book 2, i so don't do spooky, Sherry is investigating a mysterious chain of events surrounding her step-mom and the schools robotics team...someone is sabotaging them, and who it is will totally surprise them!

In book 3, i so don't do makeup, Sherry and her friends have a makeup party but when they go to bed and wake-up with messed up skin, she has to investigate to find out what happened. Unfortunately, for the first time Sherry is on her own. Thanks to foreign agents Sherry's mom can't help her solve this mystery....who added the extra acid? More importantly, with her skin a total wreck, will she ever be able to go out in public again?

Review by Alyssa Hallowell, 8th grade

Tween Tuesdays (10)

Tuesday May 11, 2010

Tween Tuesdays is a meme I first saw at Green Bean Teen Queen and really liked because she is also a librarian who deals with teens and tweens. So, since most of my blog is devoted to YA and teen books I figured that on Tuesdays I can do posts for all the tweeners out there!

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda 
by Tom Angleberger
April 2010
GoodReads Summary: In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient.

Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.

Review: This is one of those middle grade reads that will definitely have a waiting list here in the library. A humorous mystery that will crack up fans of Stars Wars with plenty of Yoda-isms..."Let go of your feelings, Mike. Hate and revenge to the dark side only lead." The Diary of a Wimpy kid style of this book will only add to its popularity!

by Wendy Mass
March 2010
Scholastic Press
GoodReads Summary:You can pierce your ears when you're twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you're twelve. You can babysit little Timmy next door when you're twelve. You can get a cell phone when you're twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front passenger-side seat when you're twelve. 

When you're twelve, when you're twelve, when you're twelve . . .
My name is Rory Swenson, and I've been waiting to turn twelve my whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen. 

My life will officially begin.

Review: In this sequel to 11 Birthdays, Rory is ready to turn twelve and start living life. She soon finds out that growing up too fast isn't all its cracked up to be and that wearing make-up and shaving your legs definitely has drawbacks.

When Rory and her friends are selected to be extras in movie, she also realizes that having all her growing up mishaps end up on film isn't exactly what she had in mind. With all the typical middle school hurdles, including her first boy-girl party, Rory takes it all like a champ and realizes that you don't always have to have all the can figure them out along the way. Awesome middle-grade chick lit!

Cinderella Cleaners: Change of Dress
by Maya Gold
April 2010
Scholastic Press
GoodReads Summary: Behind the counter at Cinderella Cleaners, Diana watches the clothes come and go. She loves to imagine the exciting events that the different outfits might be worn to. Then one day, Diana reaches into the pocket of a fancy coat - and finds an invitation to a glittering gala in New York City. Since the coat's owner is out of town, Diana gets a wild idea. With the help of some savvy friends, one glamorous dress, and a lot of improvising, Diana pretends to be someone she's not, and makes it into the party! Will she be discovered, or will her disguise come off without a hitch?

Cinderella Cleaners #2: Prep Cool 
by Maya Gold
April 2010
Scholastic Press 
GoodReads Summary:This week at Cinderella Cleaners, someone has dropped off a private-school uniform. Diana has always wondered what it would be like to attend a posh academy…and now she has the chance to find out. Her best friend's cell phone is stolen, and in order to catch the culprit, Diana has to sneak into super-snooty Foreman Academy. But she never counted on mayhem, mean girls, and a pop quiz! Can Diana convince everyone she's a prep-school student, or will she flunk big-time?

Review: A new middle-grade series that follows eighth grader Diana Donato who lives with her dad, step-mom and (of course) her "evil" spoiled step-sisters.

The story closely follows the original Cinderella tale including co-workers at her fathers dry cleaning business who may remind you of a few helpful mice :)...We also have a Ball in the form of a Broadway opening, a prince (the show's young star) and even an lost shoe!

Book 2, Prep Cool, has Diana "borrowing" a school uniform that has been dropped off for cleaning at Cinderella cleaners and ends up sneaking her way into a posh private school where she is determined to fit in.

With the premise of discovering new and exciting clothes at her fathers dry-cleaning business as the basis of these stories, we can only imagine what book 3 will is entitled Rock Star!

Fun, easy reads that has this series destined to be a hit with middle-grade readers :)

Book Review - Mistwood by Leah Cypress

Monday May 10, 2010

by Leah Cypress
April 27, 2010
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins
GoodReads Summary: The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood...but when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew. 

Review: In the spirit of books like Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore it is always a bonus when the main character in a book is a strong female lead who is portrayed as smart and powerful. Isabel is all of the above, but for reasons unknown vulnerability and humanity seep through her mask of stoic indifference as the inhuman Shifter.

Isabel knows that everything she feels towards Prince Rokan should be instinct and bonds formed long before he was born. Something is different...her feelings for him feel almost human but this can't be...this is not the way of the Shifter. With the help of a friendly sorcerer, Isabel researches her past to try and understand what happened and why she is feeling so "different". Why does she have such a hard time shifting outside her forest? Why can't she remember why she fled the castle so many years ago?

Things get even more complicated when Isabel learns the truth and finds out what Prince Rokan has been hiding from her. Lines are drawn and sides are taken, but you'll have a hard time figuring out who is on what side....there are plenty of betrayals and double-agents to keep you guessing!

The truth about Isabel's past is a real shocker and something I did not see coming. Great writing and an original story will make this a sure hit among teens and young adults!

Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Visit the authors website