I'm 5' 1&3/4". The grown-up books are "above me." A journey through the world of children's, middle grade, and young adult lit. (I might throw in a grown-up book here and there...if I can find someone to get it down for me!)
Vere captures the playful innocence of both cats and children in this tale of Max the brave kitten. Preschoolers will love correcting Max as he meets various animals on his hunt for the elusive mouse. Rich with color and feeling and just enough story make this a perfect read aloud. Max will be finding his way into multiple storytimes very soon.
And pick up a copy of Are You My Mother? while you're at it! Always a classic, it has found its natural companion here.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
(Just ran across this charming book trailer by Animade. Check it out!) Animade Max the Brave Trailer
A story about a boy and a book he didn't think would matter to him.
Ever seen that moment in life when a "reluctant reader" finds that book. The one that just clicks. That finally makes them forget how hard reading is-because it is (See: Proust & the Squid); that becomes their almost constant companion; that opens the world of possibility and exploration that other Readers have been trying to tell them about. This is a book about that book. But what happens when that book is lost...?
Lyrically written and intricately illustrated, this book has a long and glorious future in many a library collection and bedside table. The joy of reading has never felt so uplifting. Also a subtle lesson in book care. Book jackets unite!
This book has received rave reviews from many reader. It is destined to find a beloved home on many a bookshelf and reading list. I'll even be recommending it to my YA audience when the need for thrillers pops up in October. But here's why it's not bound for my personal favorites list:
In this YA romance/cult thriller, 16 year old Scartlett has no memory of life before the age of 4. Hunky Noah moves into the neighborhood and suddenly, she falls in love and begins to have fleeting visions of her past. Trick is, Noah is really part of a cult with a link to Scarlett's past and bad intentions for her future.
The less than stellar bits: (Let's get this out of the way, shall we?) Sporadic plot rate. (You know, the pace at which a plot builds, climaxes, and falls. Plot rate.) Both the romance between Noah & Scarlett and the return of Scarlett's memories are instantaneous and contrived. Neither event has any real build up or believable trigger. Just BAM! We're in love. BAM! Memories back.
The quite enjoyable bits: Everybody loves a good cult story! This one's pretty high up on the list of 'crazy beliefs.' The cult members and rituals are rather scarily believable. Awake makes you take a long pause to think about loyalty, family, betrayal, and forgiveness.
So, while not the top of my list this fall, it's combination of romance, suspense, and cult oddities will certainly entertain. And make you get to know your neighbors just a little bit better.
That's right. My särbo (Ahh, Swedish. "Living apart together." Couldn't have put it better myself.) John & I did not finish this book. We gave it a shot, but in the end, we had to say our goodbyes.
I'm fairly certain this is the first book I have ever not finished. I've set things down for a time before eventually returning to them. I've never started certain books, even books I've personally requested, because I was afraid I might not like it. "Better to miss out on amazing than to admit you didn't like it," I thought. I like an unblemished record when it comes to knowing myself. I've pushed myself to the brink of insanity to finish every word of absolute mystery rather than admit defeat. Gulliver's Travels. 15 years between us and it still puts me in a bad mood. I am a reader, not a quitter. I'm sure if I just give it another try, things will get better, right? I have never not finished a book.
But here we are. 2015. Decades into my relationship with reading. And I did not finish a book. Please allow yourself a moment to experience the gravitas of the situation.
Now let's talk about why. But first, an aside on audio books. This was our first audio book together, so we really weren't sure what to expect of the experience. Would it be able to hold our attention? Would we get bored doing nothing but listening for hours on end? What if we wanted to have a conversation? Is that even allowed during the listening of an audio book? Eek! As you can tell, our nerves were already on edge. Our verdict on audio books is almost in. We think we like them. It helped pass the time quickly, we were both able to stay focused enough to keep track of the plot, and he even drove the car without major incident! A rule has been set in place that a book may be and must be paused in order to converse. We listened to several more over the course of the trip. All in all, a hearty 3/4 thumbs up for audio books.
Back to this one...It was an historical fiction murder mystery told from the point of view of an 11 year old chemistry enthusiast.
The good parts: Lots of clues sprinkled throughout the story that tie in nicely together. They help keep you holding on through "one more chapter" and give reason for the large cast of characters.
The not-so-great parts: Large cast of characters. Not nearly enough action to move the story along and keep everyone straight. Too much "chemistry" not enough "fizz boom bang." We expected the chemistry to be a more integral part of the plot line. It was an audio book. Therefore, we couldn't skim quickly the way we could with an ink-and-paper publication. It also very much sounded like it was being read by an 11 year old girl. A narrator can really be the make-or-break factor in an audio book. This one, for us, was a break. It wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't our favorite.
So, there you have it. I didn't finish a book. One disc ended and we didn't put in the next. And yet, my heart still beats. I remember to breathe on a semi-regular basis. I'm not even experiencing any crippling depression or guilt about the experience. In fact, the whole thing has been rather liberating.
I've decided a less-than-stellar book should be treated like a less-than-stellar significant other. "Sorry. It's not you. I'm sure you'll make a wonderful book for the next person who checks you out." I might even not finish another book soon! Or two or three! *deep breaths* Golly, this is fun. Look at all this new time I have to devote to books I'm truly connecting with.
Best of luck with your own love/hate relationship with that book you aren't necessarily dying to return to. Take my advice & don't be afraid to just walk away. The sooner you do, the sooner you both can find your literary match.
This collaborative narrative from author Vicky Martin, illustrator Luna Pérez Visairas, and students from Limpsfield Grange School gives a voice to individuals facing the everyday challenges of life with autism.
This book introduces us to "M," (a self-chosen moniker picked because, just as the letter M is stuck, squeezed in the middle of the alphabet, so she feels stuck, squeezed in the middle of a "tipsy-turvy, wobbly world") a 13 year old girl facing the everyday challenges of school, parents, boys...and autism.
While this label brings comfort to those in her life, M realizes that knowing "what's wrong with her" doesn't make life any easier. With the help of an understanding counselor, M begins to accept that she is a strong individual, not a diagnosis. She is encouraged to explore techniques that allow her to feel more control during the vicious, unpredictable moments in life.
The pages are enhanced with colors, textures, and non-traditional print, giving readers a glimpse of how loud and distracting the world can be. The first person narrative allows the reader to see M as she sees herself and the challenges and anxiety she faces each day.
Disney Hyperion publishing strikes again! And, as always, they've struck gold.
Serafina, though she calls herself a 'creature of the night,' shines brightly through this chilling, yet inspiring, tale. Middle grade readers will delight in her spunk, tenacity, and loyalty.
The 'scary parts' give you goosebumbs, but Beatty keeps readers coming back for more to see if Serafina can overcome the menacing terror of the Black Cloak.
It's obvious that Beatty did his research through his accurately detailed descriptions of the estate from top to bottom. The Biltmore Estate and rugged Blue Ridge Mountains provide the perfect borderline-eerie backdrop for this historical fiction-fantasy-adventure-mystery.
Despite the lengthy genre description, this book truly knows what it wants to be. And has succeeded, as is evident by it's numerous #1 standings on Amazon's Middle Grade Hot New Releases list. The fantasy is utterly original, the villain macabre, and the heroine deserves her title.
Hope this is not the last we see of Beatty on Disney Hyperion!
Becoming 3 dimensional was only the beginning...
This followup to Picoult & Van Leer's Between the Lines brings to a close the story of Delilah and her storybook Prince Oliver.
With a surprisingly original plot and large cast of characters, Picoult & Van Leer keep the reader on their toes till the end without allowing things to become convoluted or contrived. Sincere emotions and down-to-Earth dialogue keep the fantasy believable.
Oliver & Delilah are the Romeo & Juliet who finally get their happy ending.
Tenacious Evan turns a broken crayon into a colorful world of whimsy. The illustrations full of color, texture, and childhood freedom truly make the book. A great discussion starter for the concept primary colors and color mixing.
All readers will appreciate Evan's optimism in finding the bright side of a broken crayon. However, this book only receives three stars as the plot loses focus at the end. While it is clear that Evan could use his three primary color crayons to create the world of his imagination, this point became quite muddled through a handful of rambling pages.
A tale of much sorrow accompanied with sniffles and sneezes.
Felicity Floo visits the zoo and gets a little too handsy with the animals after going achoo WITHOUT A TISSUE!!! The ensuing chaos is reminiscent of an elementary school during cold & flu season.
Redmond's lyrical rhyming text ink & watercolour illustrations perfectly capture the misery of the common cold.
So...visit your local library, use a tissue, and wash your hands!
Faking Perfect took me by surprise. Expecting the typical 'good girl falls for bad boy' plot line, I instead met Lexi-an admittedly flawed, but strong, independent young woman who
discovers her own inner strength through her own (and others') imperfection.
Less a story of inter-personal relationships than a heartbreaking coming of age realization from the mouth of a non-conventional heroine.