Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Friday March 25, 2011

Miles From Ordinary
by Carol Lynch Williams
March 15, 2011
St. Martin's Griffin
Goodreads summary: Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....

“No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one," said James S. Jacobs, Professor of Children's Literature at Brigham Young University, of her breakout novel, The Chosen One. Now this award-winning YA author brings us an equally gripping story of a girl who loves her mother, but must face the truth of what life with that mother means for both of them.

Pontifications...As a librarian in a middle school I often see kids who have a certain look to them...tired, worn out, overloaded...more than just your average "up to late" scenario. I often wonder what is going on in their lives that seems to have left them so wiped out. I know things are tough out there, I'm not ignorant, sheltered or blind, but its reads like Miles From Ordinary that remind me to really pay attention. 

The books starts out very subtle as you get the feeling Lacey is hyper-aware of her mothers feelings, actions and state of mind. As Lacey brings us along with her on her first day at her new "job" at the local library and her mothers first day of work at the local Winn-Dixie your heart will go to her as she struggles to prepare both herself and her mother for this new adventure. My heart swelled as she worked through her own self-doubt, insecurities and fear of bringing her mother out into the world.  The anger she feels towards herself for simply wanting a few hours of time on her own is down right heart wrenching!

The time-line of the story is really just one day, but through flashbacks and stories of her past you get the full picture of Lacey's burden. Her loneliness is palpable, she yearns for a friend and when a boy she knows from school talks to her on the bus ride to the library, she soon learns that a friendly helping hand makes all the difference in the world. 

This is a superbly told tale of love, loss and family ties. Its easy to forget about the children of the mentally ill and this story illustrates the devastating results when those children are left to face that issue alone.

Best suited for 6th grade and up. it now!

Visit the authors website

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Wednesday March 23, 2011

by Kim Harrington
March 1, 2011
Goodreads summary: When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth? 

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift...and a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Pontifications...I love it when I pick up a book, read the book synopsis, think it sounds good...and it really is and more! With its gorgeous cover and awesome story this one will be flying off the shelves!

A true mystery with a paranormal twist...Clare is right in the middle with her brother Perry being one of the main suspects...she has to admit a lot of clues point to him but she knows her brother. Sure he may be a complete womanizer but he would never hurt anyone....right?

Her poor mom is struggling to keep the family afloat. As a single mom paying the bills with her psychic gift, it doesn't help that frightened tourists are canceling appointments after the murder is publicized and even worse... a new psychic has come to town who claims to see the future...something Clare and her family believe is lie.

A murder mystery with her brother right in the middle, a stressed out mom with secrets of her own (why won't she ever talk about Clare's dad?), a new mysterious boy in town with secrets of his own, an ex-boyfriend who just won't leave her alone and a family the whole town treats like freaks...Clare has a lot on her plate. But Clare is just like any other girl...she just wants to be loved.

The ending seemed like it might be open for a sequel and I checked and yay! There is one! Perception, Clarity #2 is due out March of 2012.

Visit the authors website

Best suited for ages 14 and up. Recommended!

Tween Tuesdays (20) Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Tuesday March 15, 2011

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!

Tall Story
by Candy Gourlay
February 8, 2011
David Fickling Books (Random House)
Goodreads summary: Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.

Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. 

When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.

In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

Pontifications... Loved, loved, loved this story! Funny, sad and heartwarming I enjoyed every page. Sometimes I muddle through middle grade reads because of the obvious age difference and interest level but I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't thoroughly enjoy this sweet tale. 

Your heart will go out to Bernardo as he transitions from one culture to another and deals with his medical issues as well as the sadness he feels in leaving his small Philippine village. His half-sister Andi has been eagerly waiting Bernardo's arrival as she disappointingly deals with the fact her new school only lets boys join the basketball team. In alternating chapters Andi and Bernardo describe Bernardo's move from the Philippine's to London. A huge change for him is how the people in both places see his physicality...the villagers attribute magical means while the medical community in London strictly identifies Bernardo as a person with a disease. This is a stark contrast for Bernardo because his villagers see him as a protector and folk hero. When disaster befalls his Philippine village, Bernardo must also deal with the guilt of not being there. 

This is one of those times I feel my review can't say enough good things about a book or do it justice. With a wide range of readers, from 5th and up, I think this belongs in every library! Highly Recommended.

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Booklist Starred
  • Kirkus Review Starred
  • School Library Journal Starred

Numbers: The Chaos by Rachel Ward

Monday March 21, 2011

Numbers: The Chaos
by Rachel Ward
March 1, 2011
Chicken House (Scholastic)
Goodreads summary: The curse of the NUM8ERS continues in Rachel Ward's CHA0T1C, earth-shattering sequel!  

Adam has more than inherited his mother's curse: When he looks in someone's eyes, he not only sees the date of their death...he feels the searing, shocking pain of it. Since Jem died, Adam has lived by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But when rising tides flood the coast, they return to London. The city is an alien, exciting, frightening place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can't help but clock how many people's numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year's Day. What chaos awaits the world?

Can he and Sarah stop a catastrophe? Or are they, too, counted among the "twenty-sevens"?

Pontifications... I LOVED the first book in this series so I was super excited when I received this one for review!

At the end of the first book Jem finds out she is pregnant.....roughly sixteen years later we meet Adam, her son. Adam has Jem's ability to look into someones eyes and see the date they will die. When he meets Sarah, a new girl at school, she seems terrified. What he doesn't know is that Sarah has reoccurring, terrifying dreams that feature a nameless boy....nameless, that is until she meets Adam at school and recognizes him as the boy who is terrorizing her every night in her dreams. What does it mean? In contrast, when Adam sees Sarah, he feels that they are destined to be together.

Through out the book Adam and Sarah are both dealing with their own issues, but here and there fate seems to through them back together. As much as Sarah wants to stay away from Adam, she feels drawn to him too and as January 2027 approaches they both know that something horrible is going to happen, but what?

Wow, this is a gritty, fast-paced thrill of ride! I literally dreaded putting this book down. I wanted to read, and read until I found what happened! What I love about these books is that the author features totally flawed, imperfect and REALISTIC characters as the focus of the story. Obviously Adam's "gift" (more like curse) is somewhat out of the ordinary but as people, Adam, his Grandma and Sarah have all the qualities of your average, everyday candy-coated glamorous lifestyles here!

Parts of the storyline make this read best suited for ages 14 and up. An excellent choice for reluctant readers too! A must have!

In My Mailbox (62)

Sunday March 20, 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.

More great books this week!

The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills by Joanna Pearson
Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Kindred by Tammar Stein
Die For Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Hereafter by Tara Hudson
The Hunt of the Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys
Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Sidekicks by Dan Santat
Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen
Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart by Kristiana Gregory

X Isle by Steve Augarde

Thursday March 17, 2011

X Isle 
by Steve Augarde
Random House
July 2010
Goodreads summary: Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X Isle, the island where life is rumoured to be easier than on what's left of the mainland. Only young boys are in with a chance. Baz and Ray are two of the lucky few to be chosen, but they soon discover that X-Isle is a far cry from paradise.

Pontifications...Baz is at the docks hoping to be chosen to go to X Isle, where there is work and food. In Baz's world, the earth has been flooded and only small pockets of people remain. His home town is provided basics of food by trading with the ship the Cormorant. The crew of the ship dives to supermarkets that are now under water to bring up canned foods and other items of value to trade. 

Baz and another boy, Ray, have been selected for what they believe will be a better life. Once they arrive at X Isle, they quickly find that the rumors about their great new life are exactly that, rumors. There is only one meal a day, if you can call one can of food a  meal, and the work day is hard and long. They meet the other handful of worker boys, two older boys who are supervisors and the other men on the island. They soon learn that being on X Isle has deadly consequences and the boys must devise a plan to escape. 

With the popularity of The Hunger Games series any Dystopian type reads have become a huge hit in my library. X Isle is a great adventure read for both middle school and high school students and definitely has a Water World feel to it! Readers will be anxious for a sequel :)

Sequel Love...

March 16, 2011

I don't usually feel the need to write long, drawn out reviews regarding sequels to books where the first book in the series was super popular. On the other hand, I was sent these books for review, read them and enjoyed them so I thought I would at least tell you what I liked about them!

Darkest Mercy: Wicked Lovely #5
by Melissa Marr
February 22, 2011
Goodreads summary: The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.   

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

Pontifications....I remember reading Wicked Lovely way back in 2007 when I picked it up at a librarian review meeting. I hadn't read many books about faeries at that point but I remember falling in love with that gorgeous cover and never looking back.

If you are not familiar with the series, its not really a series....each of the books are more like companion books about a set of characters that are inter-related in one big story with each book focusing on a particular set of characters. The final book, Darkest Mercy, ties up all the loose ends for all the characters in the previous four books.

I'm really sad to see this series end but I think the author did a great job of ending the story and if you've read the other books you definitely need to read this one! If you haven't read the series at all, well where have you been? Read them! Now!

Entice: Need #3
by Carrie Jones
January 3, 2011
Goodreads summary: Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. 

But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. 

Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned...she's Astley's queen.

Pontifications...Again, Need was another one of the fairy books that I fell in love with from the very beginning. I enjoyed the second book Captivate and Entice definitely kept the story going. I missed the absence of Nick but the chemistry between Zara and Astley is obvious so that made up for it a little bit :) 

Zara's Gram is back and I really enjoy her spunkiness and her "secret" abilities. The journey to finding Nick has its up and downs and everyone must pitch in and help Zara if they are going to find him...humans and pixies alike. There is a tragic loss along the way and the ending is left wide open for the next book. Another great it!

Afterlife: Evernight # 4
by Claudia Gray
March 8, 2011
Goodreads summary: The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes.

Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last.

Readers have fallen in love with Bianca and Lucas, and they will be thrilled to read this exciting conclusion to their romantic adventure.

Pontifications...I have devoured this series from the first book Evernight. Stargazer and Hourglass were awesome too! There was a lot of drama, adventure and romance in all three books. The best part to me was the chemistry that Bianca had with both Balthazar and Lucas. This was a true love triangle with Bianca caught right in the middle.

I have to admit that at the end of Hourglass the situation with Bianca really frustrated me. I couldn't figure out how they were going to make that work. I was really curious and excited to read Afterlife to see how things would work out! First off let me say that if you've read all the books you HAVE to read this one. I only have one teenie, tiny complaint....I really missed the chemistry in this one. I know that Bianca and Lucas are both facing huge, life-changing issues but I just didn't get that same sense of knock-you-off-your-butt love from the past three books. The words were there but not the feelings. Egh, maybe its just me:)

The ending didn't wrap everything up although the book summary claims its the last book in the series, who knows! I am happy that Balthazar will be featured in his own book so that is something to look forward to!

Overall this is a great series and I DO recommend it!

Tween Tuesdays (19) Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Tuesday March 15, 2011

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!

Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
December 28, 2010
Goodreads summary: The Breakfast Bunch is excited for the upcoming bake sale—and the best part is that it's raising money for an awesome field trip.  But when all the snacks go missing, it's no laughing matter.  Someone is sabotaging the bake sale.  But why?

Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch are hot on the trail . . . one brownie crumb at a time.

Pontifications...With the popularity of graphic novels these days I'm always anxious to take a look at new arrivals and to see whats out there. The Lunch Lady series has been out for a couple of years but this is the first I've seen of it and this book is the 5th one in the series.

As graphic novels go, this series falls under the corny and humorous category. There are a lot of funny little elements including the bus driver of the year (who secretly hates children) and the power hungry safety patrol officer who plots against the the Breakfast Bunch so he can steal all their glory. 

This lunch lady is like the James Bond of lunch ladies...she has all sorts of cool gadgets including a broom that doubles as a mirror to spy on people and rubber glove suction cups that allow her to climb all sorts of perilous objects in search of clues. She also has a secret lab in the boiler room with high tech computers and fingerprint analyzing equipment. 

As the lunch lady narrows her focus to the real villain in the bake sale mystery she has to battle a very scary monster that rhymes with Godzilla! Eventually she must use her Mac & Cheese canon to save the day.

This is a perfect addition to your graphic novel collection. It is what it is....a light and funny read that is perfect for your reluctant readers and as a fluff read for your more diligent patrons. So borrow the lunch ladies two-way fork radio and spread the news about these humorous lunch lady capers!

Be sure and check out the Lunch Lady website!

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Monday March 14, 2011

Once in a Full Moon
by Ellen Schreiber
December 28, 2010
Katherine Tegan Books
Goodreads summary: Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.
Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend's Run is famous for them. She's used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend's Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.

Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who's from the wrong side of town. But she can't deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste's hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend's Run.

Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens . . . once in a full moon.

Pontifications....I really don't have to say much about this book to promote it. I have the complete Vampire Kisses series by this author in my library and they are a HUGE hit. The minute the kids saw this book by the same author, well you can imagine their response...give me, give me, give me!

With Vampire Kisses the title itself tells you what the books are about. Now the author takes a stab at werewolves....hence the full moon reference. The story also has the classic "us against them" stance with the rich, popular Eastsiders looking down upon the poor, lower class Westsiders with Celeste on the East and Brandon on the Westside of town.  How can Celeste NOT fall for the new guy who is hot and mysterious....even if he is from the wrong side of  town?

Already a huge hit in my library and if you have a crowd of paranormal romance lovers...and I'm sure you need this book. The nice thing about the Vampire Kisses series and this read is that they are great for the reader her prefers a more "mild" story. Nothing scary here and the romance part is mellow too.

Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

In My Mailbox (61)

Sunday March 13, 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.

Special thanks to Scholastic, Random House and HarperTeen for all the great review books this week!

Across the Great Barrier by Patricia Wrede
Flood and Fire by Emily Diamand
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

From Willa, With Love by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
Stir it Up!  by Ramin Ganeshram
Rip Tide (Dark Life #2) by Kat Falls

Behind the Gates by Eva Grayv
Unfriended: A Top 8 Novel by Katie Finn

The Storm by Dayna Lorentz
Marty Mcguire by Kate Messner
Her Evil Twin by Mimi McCoy

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Afterlife by Caudia Gray
So Shelly by Ty Roth

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Abandon by Meg Cabot...check out the cool packing it was sent in :)

The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen Schwabach

Thursday March 10, 2011

The Storm Before Atlanta
by Karen Schwabach
December 2010
Random House
Goodreads summary: At a time when most people have grown weary of the war between the states, two young children are desperate to find their way to the battlefields. Jeremy DeGroot wants nothing more than to join a troop as a drummer boy. For Dulcie, a runaway slave, freedom means she must head directly toward the fighting in the hopes that she'll become "contraband," that is, property of the Union troops. Both Jeremy and Dulcie find a place with the 107th New York Volunteer Regiment and even start to forge a friendship. But all that is threatened when they keep crossing paths with the mysterious Charlie, a young Confederate soldier, who may look like the enemy but feels more like a friend. 

Young readers who like their fiction filled with exciting historical details, rich characters, and action-packed adventures will be drawn to The Storm Before Atlanta.

Pontifications...There are a lot of different reasons, but I have always enjoyed books set during the Civil War. The North, the South, the passions that people were fighting for and some who just fought because they had to. Did you know that 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War? Books like The Storm Before Atlanta are an excellent way to bring the topic into the classroom and to commemorate the lives that were lost in the bloodiest battles on American soil. 

This particular story shows the difficulty that many soldiers had in fighting "brother against brother". When Jeremy, who is from the North, meets up with Charlie, who is fighting for the south, start trading rations and swapping stories between battles, both boys start to realize that the differences between them very small. This is especially eye-opening for Jeremy who had heroic dreams and aspirations when he joined the 107th New York Volunteer Infantry. Jeremy and Charlie end up befriending Dulcie, an escaped slave, after they rescue her from drowning. Together all three of them question their place in the momentous battle as they experience not-so-glorious bloody battles and the death that surrounds them. 

The books descriptions of amputations and other medicinal care the soldiers receive is graphically realistic and vividly shows the horrors of war (without going overboard). All three characters, Jeremy, Charlie and Dulcie do a great job of representing different views of the war and the complex nature of what we think is "right and "wrong". This is a great book and I recommend it for grades 5 and up!

Fun New Reads

Wednesday March 9, 2011

Quest for the Spark #1 (Bone)
by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith
February 2011
Goodreads summary: A return to the enthralling world of BONE with book one in this gripping spin-off novel trilogy, illustrated in four-color! 

Twelve-year-old Tom Elm is just an ordinary turnip farmer from the Valley, but he's always felt destined for something bigger. So when he discovers everyone in his village is asleep and plagued by nightmares, he assembles a band of unlikely heroes. They must fight to preserve the Spark--a divine light born at the core of a vast, dark nothingness called the Nacht. The Nacht is trying to permeate the Waking World with nightmares of the Dreaming, and it's Tom's mission to defeat the Nacht and its most loyal follower, the Constable. If he fails, his family--and everyone--might never wake up again.

Pontifications...The Bone graphic novels are checked out so much in my library that I usually buy at least two copies of each one. So, when I was sent this one for review and found that it is a Bone graphic novel turned chapter book I was really excited! With the following that this story has with readers I know they will want to read this one too despite the fact there are a lot less illustrations.

The story itself is great. The author does a great job of seamlessly adapting Jeff Smiths original world of Bone into a full-length story. Readers will still find humor and suspense and Smith's familiar chapter illustrations will  make them feel right at home. I'm sure I'll have to buy a few extra copies of this one too... Recommended!

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

by Georgia Bragg
Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
March 15, 2011
Walker Books
Goodreads summary: Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. For example:
  • It is believed that Henry VIII's remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.
  • Doctors "treated" George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.
  • Right before Beethoven wrote his last notes, doctors drilled a hole in his stomach without any pain medication.
Readers will be interested well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911.

Pontifications...This will be another read that will be flying off the shelves...there is nothing middle schoolers like more than reading about gross stuff that has happened in past, present and whenever! The very first pages warn: "If you don't have the guts for gore, do not read this book." Well hey, they warned you!

The book vividly details how king Tut's mummy (as well as others) was created and pretty much every gory detail of how Julius Caesar was stabbed....and where. Yup, pretty gross but accurate! There are 19 different chapters on as many people. Here is a brief list of a few people you will read about (or at least how they croaked!):

Cleopatra VII
Marie Curie
    All grossness aside the stories provided are very informative and written in a relaxed style that will be easy for the majority of readers to follow. In addition to the way the person died readers will also learn about why the person was famous in the first place in a few brief, concise paragraphs. Nothing too much to scare them away :)

    One of my favorite parts (this one is about Napoleon) "Doctors mixed together a manly dose of a highly explosive ingredient known to detonate an intestinal bomb with 100 percent accuracy. The resulting poop gave new meant to the phrase "surprise attack from behind." Unfortunately for everyone, Napoleon did you-know-what right in his bed, every couple of hours for the next few days. It was said to be "impressive"....................GROSS!

    I'm predicting that this will be one of my most checked out non-fiction books this year. Even though I put this in the middle school context because of where I work, this read will have fans at the high school and even adults will get a kick out of the little known, down-and-dirty facts concerning these popular figures throughout history. The illustrations provided add an extra boost to your imagination which will already be in overdrive :) Recommended!

    Secrets and Shadows: A 13 to Life Novel by Shannon Delany

    Tuesday March 8, 2011

    Secrets and Shadows:
    A 13 to Life Novel
    by Shannon Delany
    February 15, 2011
    St. Martin's Griffin
    Goodreads summary: Nothing's simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she's seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she's suspected. With Jess' realization that the Rusakovas' mother is still alive and imprisoned, the group's choices become harder and trust more important. Lines are drawn and relationships change as the broken Rusakova family struggles to reunite to free their mother - and those who Jess thought to be normal people show themselves to be much, much more..

    Pontifications...I really enjoyed the first book in this series so once again, excited for the sequel!

    First off, if you liked the first book then you will enjoy this one too. The story picks up right where we left Jess and the Rusakova family. They had just found out something pretty important about the Rusakova's mother and Jess and Pietr are still dealing with some issues of their own. 

    Readers will learn some more interesting facts about the Rusakova's and how Jess fits into their special family lineage. There is also a new development in the "cure" they are looking for and Jess is a big part of that too!

    At school there are a few other issues going on. Jess is having a hard time with whats going on between her friend Sarah and Pietr (by the way, is it just me or is Sarah remembering more and more of what she was like before the accident???) She is also freaking out about her best friend Amy and her boyfriend Marvin....there is definately something WRONG going on there. And then there is Derek, you remember Derek right? Jess' HUGE crush before Pietr came along...that boy has some big secrets! In fact, after reading the book its easy to see why the word "secret" is in the book title....everybody seems to be keeping lots and lots of secrets!

    This series is another fine addition for your big crowd of paranormal lovers!

    If you haven't noticed, I'm trying to keep my blog posts a little shorter...I've been reading a lot about shorter blog posts holding readers attention for thought!

    Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry

    Monday March 7, 2011

    Walls Within Walls 
    by Maureen Sherry
    September 2010
    Katherine Tegen Books
    Goodreads summary: After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids find they hate their new life. They move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. They have no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and a school year looming ahead that promises to be miserable. 

    And then, one day, Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment: The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book and hidden panels—a puzzle that, with some luck, courage, and brainpower, will lead to discovering the Post family fortune. Unraveling the mystery causes them to race through today's New York City—and to uncover some long-hidden secrets of the past.

    Maureen Sherry's page-turning debut novel is filled with adventure, intrigue, and heart.
    Pontifications... Ahh there is nothing like a fun adventure and mystery, no? If you have kids who like The 39 Clues books or stories like Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, then you need this book in your library!

    After their father’s video game company becomes super successful, the Smithfork children, CJ, Brid and Patrick, are forced to leave Brooklyn and move to Manhattan. Not too happy about the move the kids feel bored and isolated in their new environment. After a little looking around the children find a wall, a painting, and a book hidden within the apartment itself. Soon the children are finding more clues and unraveling a mystery that is sure to lead them to the missing fortune of the apartment’s previous owners, the Post family. 

    Poems and famous buildings around New York City are the major clues in this fun, exciting adventure. Readers will have to pay attention to the sometimes complex details but avid readers will eat this one up!  

    Best suited for grades 4th and up

    In My Mailbox (60)

    Sunday March 6, 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.

    Subway Girl
    by P.J. Converse
    March 1, 2011
    Goodreads summary: He is shy. Unassuming. Inexperienced.
    She is Subway Girl. Cool. Unattainable.

    From the moment he sees her on a Hong Kong subway, Simon is intrigued by Amy, but he doesn't have the nerve to talk to her. When he finally works up the courage, he realizes he can't. Because Amy doesn't speak Chinese, and Simon is failing English.
    But somehow, Amy and Simon connect, and they find that they understand each other. Enough for Simon to admit that he is dropping out of school. Enough for Amy to confess that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's baby. Amy and Simon feel lost in a world so much bigger than they are, and yet they still have each other.
    In this brilliant debut by P. J. Converse, two unlikely teenagers discover that love has a language all its own.

    by Holly Thompson
    February 22, 2011
    Delacorte Books for Young Readers
    Goodreads summary: After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.

    Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again

    Bad Apple
    by Laura Ruby
    Paperback March 1, 2011
    Goodreads summary: "If I really wanted to open up, I'd confess that I really am the liar everyone believes I am."
    High-school junior Tola Riley has green hair, a nose ring, an attitude problem, and a fondness for fairy tales, which are a great escape from real life. Everyone thinks she's crazy; everyone says so. Everyone except Mr. Mymer, her art teacher. He gets her paintings and lets her hang out in the art room during lonely lunch periods.

    But then rumors start flying and Tola is suddenly the center of a scandal. The whole town is judging her even her family. When Mr. Mymer is suspended for what everyone thinks is an affair, she has no choice but to break her silence. Fairy tales won't help her this time . . . so how can she tell the truth? And, more importantly, will anyone believe her?

    Skate Fate
    by Juan Felipe Herrera
    March 1, 2011
    Goodreads summary: I wanted to roar out...touch things i had never touched. to see if it was true. was i still here was this life still here. on this side. whatever you call it dude. wanted to touch everything like van Gogh touched and smeared everything when he painted. so i wrote it and spoke it. maybe mama would hear me. cuz i could hear her. sayin' When your heart hurts, sing. wherever you go. Lucky Z has always lived on the edge—he loved to skateboard, to drag race, to feel alive. But things have taken a turn—he's living with new foster parents and a tragic past. An accident changed everything. And only his voice will set him free.

    Young Fredle
    by Cynthia Voigt
    January 11, 2011
    Goodreads summary: Cynthia Voigt crafts a novel about discovery, perspective, and the meaning of home—all through the eyes of an affable and worried little mouse. Fredle is an earnest young fellow suddenly cast out of his cozy home behind the kitchen cabinets—into the outside. It's a new world of color and texture and grass and sky. But with all that comes snakes and rain and lawnmowers and raccoons and a different sort of mouse (field mice, they're called) not entirely trustworthy. Do the dangers outweigh the thrill of discovery? Fredle's quest to get back inside soon becomes a wild adventure of predators and allies, of color and sound, of discovery and nostalgia. And, as Fredle himself will come to understand, of freedom.

    The Trouble With Chickens
    by Doreen Cronin
    March 1, 2011
    Goodreads summary: J.J. Tully is a former search-and rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him?

    Bestselling author Doreen Cronin uses her deadpan humor to pitch-perfect effect in her first novel for young readers. Heavily illustrated with black-and-white artwork from Kevin Cornell, this new series is destined to become a classic.