Saturday, March 27, 2010

Graceling

I was one of those that STILL had not read Kristin Cashore's Graceling. So, when I went on a trip recently, I tucked it in and took it along - the only problem? I had to slow myself down - I didn't want to finish it and have nothing to read the rest of the trip! It was riveting - that is the only word I can think of to tell how good it was. TOTALLY had me on the edge of my seat - I am impatiently waiting to read the sequel, Fire - oh we have it here at our library - it just needs to come in!!! The story is of Katsa - a teen learning how to deal with the "Grace" she was born with. She meets up with Po, another teen born with a "Grace" of his own, and together they work to use their "graces" for good while helping others.
My only "disclaimer" on this novel is that there are sex scenes and they are more graphic in nature. I know that some read my reviews and then pass books onto their teens- this one is a bit more graphic so take that into consideration - while I loved the storyline - I do wish the sex would have been less.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Artsy-Fartsy

So I will admit it - I am NOT a graphic novel reader or comic book reader - but when I read books with these great line drawings in them - I think "I could get used to this!" Karla Oceanak's Artsy-Fartsy is one of those books! Aldo is the main character of this new series and "he's not athletic like his older brother, he's not a rock hound like his best friend, but he does like bacon." Cracks me up - just like so many other parts of this book - your younger set will LOVE it. Oh yes, and here's the best part - each book focuses on a letter of the alphabet, so in the back of each book is an illustrated glossary of "A" words or whichever letter that particular book is featuring. You just can't go wrong and I do think the kids that read Wimpy Kid will enjoy this new series.

The second book, Bogus, will be published in May. Go HERE to see Aldo on his own website!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big Nate in A Class by Himself

Lincoln Peirce has done it! I didn't know how anyone could come close to Wimpy Kid but I think he has done it with Big Nate! Even Jeff Kinney, author of Wimpy Kid says, "Big Nate is funny, big time." And I agree! Big Nate is laugh-out-loud funny. It is reminiscent of Wimpy Kid with the clever line drawings and humor. I have FINALLY found a book that I can say with assurity, "IF you like Wimpy Kid, you will like this one too!!" Don't miss Big Nate - or his secret code throughout the book!

Watch an interview with Lincoln Peirce here of visit the website HERE.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breakthrough to Clarity Bible Contest and Giveaway

The New Living Translation Break Through to Clarity Bible Contest and Giveaway

Visit www.facebook.com/NewLivingTranslation and click on the tab that says "Sweepstakes"
Fill out a simple form, take a quick Bible clarity survey, invite your friends to join and you'll be entered to win one of our exciting prizes.

With each fan number milestone a new prize will be given away.

Grand Prize
Apple iPad 64G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the fifth milestone
Retail Value: $829.00

2nd Prize - Already awarded
32G iPod Touch and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the fourth milestone
Retail Value: $300.00

3rd Prize - Will be awarded when fan count hits: 3500
Kindle DX and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the third milestone
Retail Value: $489.00

4th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
Apple iPad 16G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the New Living Translation Fan Page hits the second milestone
Retail Value: $499.00

5th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
Apple iPad 32G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the first milestone
Retail Value: $599.00

Prize Eligibility - Recently updated to include more countries
Sweepstakes participants and winner(s) can be U.S. residents of the 50
United States, or residents of any country that is NOT embargoed by the
United States, but cannot be residents of Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or
India. In addition, participants and winner(s) must be at least 18 years
old, as determined by the Company.

Sweepstakes Starts
March 17, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)

Sweepstakes Ends
April 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)


Wait, there's more!
Visit http://biblecontest.newlivingtranslation.com/index.php for a chance
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Here are the details:
Choose one of six passages of Scripture from the New Living Translation
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How do these verses encourage you to know God better?
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How does this passage apply to your life?
Submit your answer and you'll be entered to win.

Just for signing up: Everybody Wins! Win a Free .mp3 download from the
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Every day, one person will win the best-selling Life Application Study Bible!

The grand prize: One person will win a fantastic trip for two to the
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger by Alison Lloyd is another book I dropped in my husband's lap. I wasn't sure it was one I would devour so I asked him to try it. He didn't think he'd enjoy it but once he started reading he said it really was a great read. He felt that boys, especially, would enjoy this read - which made me smile as I'm always looking to promote good boy-reads!! Here are his words:


The year of the Tiger is a fun and engaging read. Two boys at opposite ends of the social order who are thrust together for a common goal - winning an archery tournament. The setting is ancient China in a city positioned alongside The Great Wall.

One boy, Hu, is the son of peasant; the other boy, Ren, is the son of a military general. Each has a different motivation for winning the tournament. The story is engaging and captures your attention as you follow the lives of these two boys.

The author does a great job of introducing you to the culture of China. A strong, rich culture which has not changed much from the past.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Incarceron

I asked my AVID reader-husband to give me a synopsis of the book he last finished, Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher. He said he absolutely LOVED it and highly recommended it. Here are his words:


Incarceron is set in the distant future. A future where there are basically two worlds. The first is a world much like our own except for a decision to suspend development in all areas of society in preference to the idealized age of the Renaissance. Every decision, action, clothing style, building, food and social interaction is required to be era compliant. This is considered following protocol. The people in this world are restricted to the technology of that time. This includes lighting, transportation, industry and even health care.

The other world is that of Incarceron itself. Incarceron is a prison. The prison is ruled by the Warden who has the responsibility of insuring no one ever leaves. Incarceron was a grand social experiment. It was to be a utopia for criminals. It was intended to be a completely self sustaining environment where the prison itself would insure order and provide for the citizens.

There are two main characters. The first, is a girl named Claudia. Claudia is a member of the aristocracy and has been privileged in receiving the proper training to eventually become queen. Claudia is the daughter of the Warden and was betrothed to the prince but is very unhappy about the arrangements. The second character is, Finn, a boy who is in Incarceron. Finn is an orphan who cannot remember his past. Finn has a type of epileptic seizure and during these seizures he has visions of life outside of Incarceron.

The author takes you on a journey as Claudia and Finn become connected through a series of chance encounters. Along the way you challenged with issues on a variety of levels. The main idea is that of putting away the worlds undesirables in the self-sustaining prison. Another is that of maintaining the status quo, in all areas of society, rather than allowing advancement. A third is the idea of a man-made, man controlled utopia which in the end fails miserably.

One area of thought that stood out to me is that of protocol. Every society has what is considered to be proper protocol. There are always socially acceptable and unacceptable actions. There are always those who want to maintain the status quo and their are always those who are pushing the limits in order to achieve change. The book ends with the strong possibility of a sequel. I hope the author continues to explores the topic of maintaining protocol and the need for advancement and change in the next book.
So there you have it - much more philosophical and thought-provoking than any of my reviews - but that's what I love about him!!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lerner Goodies

Another GREAT box was sent to me for review purposes from Lerner - I LOVE to see the new books and let you in on all the ones NOT TO MISS!!

Lisa Wheeler has done it again with Dino-Baseball - dinosaur and baseball lovers are SURE to enjoy this great read.  It rhymes - which kids love, and is a wonderful addition to Dino-Hockey and Dino-Soccer.

Noah's Bark by Stephen Krensky left me laughing - yes, that noise on the ark must have been something - but Noah, smart as he is, had a great idea in this book for how to solve the noise problem!  Very fun!

What is it about the "color" books that we just can not keep them on our library shelves??  This new series in Lightning Bolt Books will be no exception.  Red Everywhere is just one of the titles that will have teachers and kids alike "seeing red." 

The Elsewhere Chronicles continue with Book Four:  The Calling - I have to say, these books are pretty popular here.  This is a graphic novel series but even our younger readers are enjoying it - and they are clean graphic novels - you can recommend them without worrying!







A new series IS THAT A FACT?  takes a fun look at questions - it makes learning intriguing - I'm always on the lookout for that.  There are five books so far in this series - questions about animals, Earth, Health, Space and one last one - questions you've always wanted to ask.  This looks good - will appeal to our middle grade readers.

The Horrors of Andersonville: Life and Death Inside a Civil War Prison by Catherine Gourley is quite a read.  I KNOW I will be able to "sell" this one easily.  Civil War buffs (ok and even those that aren't) will find this title appealing.  I was immediately interested when I started looking through this book - it has actual photographs, letters, diary entries - very intriguing history.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fallen

Always on the lookout for another Twilight-read alike so Fallen by Lauren Kate caught my eye.  This is an interesting read and VERY different from Twilight.  It took me MOST of the book before I began to figure out the identity of the main character's boyfriend.  It is an intriguing story, and it was a page turner for me.  It is the story of Luce - she is a teen girl that is being sent to Sword and Cross, a school for students that have gotten into a large amount of trouble.  She isn't even sure what she did - but she is being punished by being sent away.  Her first day at Sword and Cross, she meets Daniel - a boys she is SURE she knows from somewhere.  The story unfolds as Luce has this odd friendship/relationship with Daniel - one day he sits and talks with her, the next he is distant and even mean to her.  There are a lot of unexpected turns and the ending is surprising.  It truly leaves you anticipating the next book - which is scheduled to be released in September.  I will say that there is a lot of swearing in this book - very unlike the Twilight Series, so I will be a bit more cautious in who I recommend it to - but it is a good read and one that will keep readers excited for it's sequel.  If you are curious - check out the trailer HERE.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Thaw Blogsplash

Ruth's diary is the new novel by Fiona Robyn, called Thaw. She has decided to blog the novel in its entirety over the next few months, so you can read it for free.
Ruth's first entry is below, and you can continue reading tomorrow here.
*
These hands are ninety-three years old. They belong to Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. She was so frail that her grand-daughter had to carry her onto the set to take this photo. It’s a close-up. Her emaciated arms emerge from the top corners of the photo and the background is black, maybe velvet, as if we’re being protected from seeing the strings. One wrist rests on the other, and her fingers hang loose, close together, a pair of folded wings. And you can see her insides.
The bones of her knuckles bulge out of the skin, which sags like plastic that has melted in the sun and is dripping off her, wrinkling and folding. Her veins look as though they’re stuck to the outside of her hands. They’re a colour that’s difficult to describe: blue, but also silver, green; her blood runs through them, close to the surface. The book says she died shortly after they took this picture. Did she even get to see it? Maybe it was the last beautiful thing she left in the world.
I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to carry on living. I’m giving myself three months of this journal to decide. You might think that sounds melodramatic, but I don’t think I’m alone in wondering whether it’s all worth it. I’ve seen the look in people’s eyes. Stiff suits travelling to work, morning after morning, on the cramped and humid tube. Tarted-up girls and gangs of boys reeking of aftershave, reeling on the pavements on a Friday night, trying to mop up the dreariness of their week with one desperate, fake-happy night. I’ve heard the weary grief in my dad’s voice.
So where do I start with all this? What do you want to know about me? I’m Ruth White, thirty-two years old, going on a hundred. I live alone with no boyfriend and no cat in a tiny flat in central London. In fact, I had a non-relationship with a man at work, Dan, for seven years. I’m sitting in my bedroom-cum-living room right now, looking up every so often at the thin rain slanting across a flat grey sky. I work in a city hospital lab as a microbiologist. My dad is an accountant and lives with his sensible second wife Julie, in a sensible second home. Mother finished dying when I was fourteen, three years after her first diagnosis. What else? What else is there?
Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. I looked at her hands for twelve minutes. It was odd describing what I was seeing in words. Usually the picture just sits inside my head and I swish it around like tasting wine. I have huge books all over my flat; books you have to take in both hands to lift. I’ve had the photo habit for years. Mother bought me my first book, black and white landscapes by Ansel Adams. When she got really ill, I used to take it to bed with me and look at it for hours, concentrating on the huge trees, the still water, the never-ending skies. I suppose it helped me think about something other than what was happening. I learned to focus on one photo at a time rather than flicking from scene to scene in search of something to hold me. If I concentrate, then everything stands still. Although I use them to escape the world, I also think they bring me closer to it. I’ve still got that book. When I take it out, I handle the pages as though they might flake into dust.
Mother used to write a journal. When I was small, I sat by her bed in the early mornings on a hard chair and looked at her face as her pen spat out sentences in short bursts. I imagined what she might have been writing about; princesses dressed in star-patterned silk, talking horses, adventures with pirates. More likely she was writing about what she was going to cook for dinner and how irritating Dad’s snoring was.
I’ve always wanted to write my own journal, and this is my chance. Maybe my last chance. The idea is that every night for three months, I’ll take one of these heavy sheets of pure white paper, rough under my fingertips, and fill it up on both sides. If my suicide note is nearly a hundred pages long, then no-one can accuse me of not thinking it through. No-one can say; ‘It makes no sense; she was a polite, cheerful girl, had everything to live for’, before adding that I did keep myself to myself. It’ll all be here. I’m using a silver fountain pen with purple ink. A bit flamboyant for me, I know. I need these idiosyncratic rituals; they hold things in place. Like the way I make tea, squeezing the tea-bag three times, the exact amount of milk, seven stirs. My writing is small and neat; I’m striping the paper. I’m near the bottom of the page now. Only ninety-one more days to go before I’m allowed to make my decision. That’s it for today. It’s begun.
Continue reading tomorrow here...

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