Monday, November 26, 2012

Taking a Break

You may have noticed the decrease of posts lately. I have read a lot of great books I want to share with you but I rather read right now and that's just what I'm going to do. I have decided to take a break for about a month. I already committed to doing a post one day in December so of course I will do that but that'll be about it until around Christmas. (Just found out that the blog tour has been moved to January so not even that.) So a month off blogging means a lot of books to be read and a lot of books to be read means a lot of posts to expect in January. I really dislike not having posts ready before the afternoon comes so this will give me some peace of mind. I am very weird about that. It'll just be nice to have a cushion for January so when it comes February I'll have reviews ready already. Even if I don't review right when I finish a book I'll have oh so much to write about.

Last December I did this Faves of 2011. I don't know if the blogger will do it again but I am planning to end the year discussing my favorite books, new author discoveries, and overall positive and negative experience with books before I start a new year. A new year always promises new beginnings and everyone likes to set goals during that time. I'm still working on mine, books and otherwise. Every year it's like really? It's going to be this year? Time flies by. I mean 2013? That number sounds daunting especially now that I am in college but it's also always so exciting! The potential of new year's always brings great hope and I would like to make it an even better year than the last.

I haven't been on the reader/blogger world for like four days which is incredible for me. Happy Thanksgiving by the way. I spent mine with only a couple of members of my family. My cousins went other places during Thanksgiving taking their mothers with them. It was still a great Thanksgiving albeit a lot more quiet than it usually is but having anybody there from my family it was fun anyways. I never announced my birthday which happened earlier in November. Ugh. 19. Never imagined myself at this age. It'll be... different. So I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I actually will be around the blogosphere even if I won't be posting. I'll be commenting here and there because I don't want to miss a great review or new book I've never heard of. Thanks for your patience and your continued comments even if I wasn't responding back. I will be visiting you especially. Well see you later!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stop Snoring, Bernard! by Zachariah O'Hora

Title- Stop Snoring, Bernard!
Author- Zachariah O'Hora
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Henry Holt and Company
Published- April 12th, 2011
Pages- 29
Source- Library

Overview:
Bernard lives at the zoo and his favorite pastime there is naptime but Bernard's snoring disturbs everyone. Try as he might he can't find a place where he can rest. His moving seems hopeless until his otter family tell him to come back telling him they miss him and his snoring.




Review:
Bernard's got himself in a bind! No one wants him around and I was just feeling for him although if I had someone snoring loudly next to me I wouldn't be too happy either. You feel bad for Bernard no matter how loudly he snores. Each place he goes animals yell at him to STOP SNORING! He gets more tired the longer he goes without sleep. The animals telling Bernard to stop snoring is a good way for kids to get into the book shouting with the animals. In the end the otters, who adorably hold hands so they don't float away from each other while sleeping, want him back because they couldn't sleep without him. It was a sweet book with an interactive feel for kids. It also goes to show you that saying is true - sometimes you can't live with someone but you also can't live without them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Title- A Monster Calls
Author- Patrick Ness
Inspired by an idea from- Siobhan Dowd
Illustrations- Jim Kay
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Candlewick Press
Published- September 27th, 2011
Pages- 206
Source- Library

Overview:
Conor has been having a nightmare since his mother started treatments for her cancer. A monster comes for him but it isn't the monster he was expecting. It's not the one from his nightmares where falling and screaming highlight the dream. The monster has been around for a long time and wants something from Conor. He will tell him three tales and he Conor will tell him the fourth. In the fourth tale Conor must tell him the worst thing of all - the truth.

Review:
Holy. Crap. This book was unbelievably fantastic. It is a masterpiece. It's a book with brilliant storytelling far beyond what I'm used to. It's a book with images that make you stare in awe. It's a book that transports you into its world and makes you imagine a giant of a monster leering at you making you feel small and inferior while making you brave enough to face it. It's a book that is supposed to be dark and it is but it's oh so much more than that. It's magical. It's a book where you read over and over again. It's a book if you don't have it you must buy it so you can keep it in your book collection forever and ever. It's a book you need to read.


Conor's mother has cancer and he has been taking care of himself without any trouble. Then something shifts. The monster visits him telling him he is from the yew tree, a tree that produces poisonous berries. He tells him about the tales he will soon come to know. They aren't to teach him anything. They are there for him to realize something. Then Conor will tell him the truth. The truth that has been haunting him for what seems like forever. He doesn't dare tell anyone especially not Lily who blabbed to everyone of how his mother got cancer which changed the way everyone saw him. Now teachers look at him with sympathy while fellow students just look away. Well except for Harry and his ever present followers. He scrutinizes Conor but Conor doesn't give in. He isn't afraid of anything, not even the monster, not that monster anyway.

Conor is a very good boy. He cares about his mother and takes care of himself. He feels he's invisible to everyone else. I couldn't really say in the beginning if he preferred it that way or not. He stands up to the monster when he first meets him which kind of... not shocks... but I guess gets the monster questioning why he's not afraid. The book may seem at a glance very gloomy and sad especially with the story having the images it has accompanying it (the illustrations are beautiful by the way) and the premise of the story but it really isn't... I was only really sad at one moment. The book didn't really get me in a funk afterwards like other books I've been reading lately. It is such an amazing story which makes it impossible to explain how great it really is. I couldn't really describe Conor more than him feeling like an outcast throughout and not appreciating the looks or attention from the adults in his life.

His grandmother comes around to take care of him and his mother (that's another part of the shift). She's this strict and scrutinizing person who doesn't consider that Conor doesn't want her around. Doesn't need her around. His mother is doing just fine. His father is in America with his new family. I find it kind if rude that he moved to America and now he doesn't make the effort to see his son. It's because of his new wife but still. I feel like that's jab at America. We are pretty awesome too you know. Over analyzing I know. Anyways his mother is a pretty big pain and I really don't know what her problem with him was that she can't show him some sort of affection. She's all rules and the things she's saying, I could see why Conor wanted nothing to do with her.


The Monster is like death from The Book Thief. He was so cool being illustrated and whenever he spoke you can hear the wisdom in his voice but you also felt like Conor should back away because this thing... he had a twisted way of looking at things. He's so symbolic because he's a monster but you know that it's not just a physical monster. I found it crazy how everything connected and how the story revealed itself to me. The person who originally came up with this story actually died from cancer and when you read it entirely you think about that. It's just. Wow. I can only go on for so long telling you how you must read this book. It's the perfect book in every single way that starts and ends perfectly. Everything in between is pretty great too of course. This book deserves praise and a bunch of people clapping around it. It need fireworks. Definitely needs fireworks... so I loved it. It's going in my favorite pile. It deserves it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Title: Ish
Author: Peter H. Reynolds
Stand Alone
Format- Harcover
Publisher- Candlewick Press
Published- August 19th, 2004
Pages- 28
Source- Library





Overview:
Ramon loves to draw but when his brother laughs at one of his drawings he tries to make his pictures look "right". It takes his little sister to show him that not every drawing has to be perfect. Even if his drawings are picture-ish it's still a work of art.

Review:
I've praised and loved Peter H. Reynolds for a long time now. BUT I've never read any of his books. Only samplings. I can finally say that I read one of his books and absolutely loved it! I had read a large portion of ish before but that didn't stop me from crying while reading it. Picture books have that effect on me. If you want to be moved read this book!

Ramon is a drawer, a young one at that. Not all of us are Picasso's especially not kids. They may think their drawings aren't as good as others because they aren't exactly right. But that's the thing - they are right! Drawing is expressing how you feel. No one draws the same way and there is no "right" way to draw. I do the same thing Ramon did. If I don't draw exactly the right way a picture in front of me is it doesn't look right to me. It's inspiring to see a picture book that shows young kids and maybe some possible future artists that you are good no matter what anyone thinks or says. Do things your own way and find your own inner artist.

Peter H. Reynolds is a great author for picture books. His illustrations are kid friendly and messy (doesn't color in the lines) which reinforces his message. The Dot, So Few of Me, and The North Star are some of his books that I want to read... all of it already! All of his books are inspiring and deserved to be praised. Read his books and fall in love with the world of picture books.


Bandits by Johanna Wright

Title- Bandits
Author- Johanna Wright
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Roaring Brook Press
Published- August 16th, 2011
Pages- 29
Source- Library

Overview: 
The raccoon bandits sneak up and take what they want. They do this before you wake up. Lying low all day long until the sun falls for another day of sneaking.





Review:
I had to go back and read this book because I realized I was reading way too fast. This is a book where you slowly read and take in the pictures that have vast amounts of rich painted colors. The raccoons are dressed up in clothes and have a shady look to them. It reminds me a lot of Fantastic Mr. Fox in the way the raccoon's act all sneaky to get things from people. I don't see it getting the wrong impression in kids like parents might think. Raccoon's naturally are sneaky and are known to look through people's garbage. It was a nice, simple picture book with great artwork.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blog Tour: Blue Violet by Abigail Owen

Hello everyone! I don't know if you remember my review of Blue Violet. It was an indie read that thoroughly impressed me. It has a strong heroine, a forever romance that was natural, and a story where the main characters have powers. I was able to do an author interview with Abigail Owen for her blog tour going on right now! This will all lead up to a free kindle download on Amazon for her book Blue Violet on the 16th-18th which means it's starting tomorrow!

Question: What inspired you to write a book with powers as the main subject?
Answer: I've always been fascinated with the concept of being able to do extraordinary things. I loved super heroes growing up (Wonder Woman!). I was into X-Men well before there were any movies. Plus, as a writer, it gives you a fairly unlimited topic to be able to imagine and create. There are no boundaries when it comes to powers.

Question: Why did you make it that the characters live a long time but are not immortal?
Answer: I like the concept of living a very long time. Just think of all you could experience! I minored in history in college, so being able to write and imagine living in other eras really appeals. But the concept of staying exactly the same through all that time - immortals never age or change - that seems very boring to me. I find that the most beautiful faces in the world are the ones that show that life has been lived.

Question: What was the thought process when creating a power(s) for each character?
Answer: Ellie's was the easiest. I basically picked some of my own favorites and had fun putting a twist on them. But I didn't want to give her too many which is where Griffin's powers came in. Although I will say that the ones Ellie does have are still difficult to write into battle scenes because she can be fairly unlimited and stop just about any power being used against her, which makes it hard to write a conflict with oomph. All of the others have flowed from what's happening in the scene when I reveal what they can do. I'm finding this to be true of Hyacinth - the 2nd book in the series which I'm writing right now.  The fight scenes especially tend to dictate things - I try to think of really cool ways powers could come into play.

Question: What makes the Vyusher so different in that they have powers but transform into wolves?
Answer: Yes. It's unusual for most people with powers to have more than one. It's also very unusual to find shapeshifters that take the same form - let alone hundreds with the same form. Most of the time it's different animals. There just might be something more around this concept to come! ;)

Question: What was your favorite part about writing Blue Violet? The romance or the action?
Answer: Oh this is a tough question! My first love will always be romance books, and I still tend to prefer those scenes when I read. But I find them very difficult to write. It's hard not to throw in too much cheese but still convey the connection and the passion. The action scenes on the other hand you have multiple options with each scene, so as a writer I think I have more fun with those. More to play with.

Question: Who was your favorite character to write about?
Answer: I think it's a toss up between Ellie and Griffin. I especially liked writing the scenes where they interact. They have such a strong connection as brother and sister, but their personalities are polar opposites. Ellie is spunky and spontaneous and Griffin is more serious. If they were a comedy duo he'd be the straight man. I'm enjoying writing him even more in the 2nd book.

Question: Do any of the characters resemble you?
Answer: I think there's a little of me in all of them and a little of my friends and family in all of them. I don't tend to base any one character on one person, but pull out bits and pieces for each character as they fit. I've had friends and family tell me that Ellie and Griffin combined would be very me. That they can hear my voice in their dialogue. I would say that Ellie is as outgoing and as brave as I would like to be. 

Question: What was some of your favorite books growing up?
Answer: I have a very eclectic taste in books. I am a sucker for romances - I started with the teen romances and eventually grew to enjoy any good love story. I love to see the relationship develop. I love many of the classics - Jane Eyre, anything Shakespeare, anything by Jane Austen, Chaucer, War and Peace, How Green Was My Valley. Then in high school I got into more of the action/fantasy stuff - Lord of the Rings, Star Wars. 

Question: What book or person influenced you to write?
Answer: I started out being a voracious reader. Still am. If I don't read at least a book a week, I get antsy. I like losing myself in the story. I started writing stories when I was about eight years old. By age twelve I was writing about one short story a week and attempted my first book. I still have it. But it was a junior high teacher - Mrs. Gunn - who saw the passion and made sure to get me into various classes and academic teams that would allow me to grow my writing. Her faith in me gave me faith in myself. 

Question: What is your typical day as a writer?
Answer: At the moment writing gets squeezed into my day. I am a mother of two (3 and 5 years old), I work full time as a business analyst for a very large tech company, and I'm in the middle of getting my EMBA degree. Writing tends to happen between the hours of 8pm and midnight after I've finished everything else for the day. Writing is my break - it's how I rest and relax. I think I would be a bit of a nutcase if I didn't have it. 

Question: At the end readers get a little sneak peek of the next book which brings up some surprises and possible obstacles. What can readers expect from the next book?
Answer: Hmmm... without revealing too much you can expect the book to focus on Griffin and Selene. Look for me to introduce several plot lines that will move throughout the rest of the series. And a lot more action. Hyacinth will be faster paced than Blue Violet since it's building on a story line that's already established. 

Question: Would you like to say anything to your present and future readers?
Answer: First and foremost - thanks for giving my books a chance and I'm thrilled if you connected with some aspect of the story. I write for myself - always creating characters that I would like and creating a story that I would read and reread. So it's been incredible to hear about readers who have also enjoyed Blue Violet. I hope that you will enjoy future installments and where I take the series. I have a ton of ideas floating around in my head, so I plan to be at this for quite some time. Also, I am always very happy to hear from readers, so please feel free to contact me through my blog, facebook, or twitter!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Title- Between the Sea and the Sky
Author- Jaclyn Dolamore
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Bloomsbury
Published- October 25th 2011
Pages- 232
Source- Library

Overview:
Esmerine has wanted to be a siren with her sister Dosia since they were children playing on an island together with Alander- a Fandarsee (he has wings!). When she finally takes the oath Dosia disappears. She decides it's up to her to see what's come of her sister and best friend.

She starts out by seeking for her old childhood friend Alander who ends up coming along with her to find her sister. On their journey old memories fill both of their minds and a whole new feeling starts to fill up their minds but with her being of sea and him being of air how could they possibly be with one another?

Review:
Such a beautiful cover that makes me long for summer and the beach... I admit I've never read a book with a mermaid in it especially not as the main character. Esmerine is the dutiful yet odd daughter. She's odd because she always hung out with Alander when she was younger and to talk with a winged person was just not... appropriate. Although Esmerine might sound safe and bring, she's far from it. She was going to find her sister no matter what. She was going to battle through pain both physical and mental.

Physical pain because sirens may be able to walk on land but there is still pain when walking so she basically limps everywhere. It's only when the magic of her siren belt (it's not as silly as it's sounding) is stolen or given away to a man that she feels no more pain because she can't transform anymore to a mermaid. It doesn't mean that she doesn't feel the calling of the ocean to come back because it's in her nature to. That's why she wants to know if her sister is okay because she knows she might die from loneliness and longing.

Mentally not only is she worried about her sister but also about her growing feelings toward Alander. She didn't come in, when looking for help from Alander, in love with him. She just really cherished their time together and missed him but Alander acts like she's a stranger. He's always been this brash and to me moody person. He's rude one moment and then nice another to her. He's not overly rude well maybe in other's eyes but I didn't really think much of it. I don't know if it was because I thought he would come around, if I didn't believe they he was being rude on purpose just him, or if I didn't really pay any mind to him because he wasn't very much the central story to me right then. I could see him acting warmly towards Esmerine so I grew warmly towards him instantly. I think before I liked him anyway. He reminds me of the book lovers who love classics and studious books that I couldn't care about but I don't mind them because they like books too. I actually didn't expect him to be like that at all. I thought he was going to this mischievous, handsome guy. It's nice that he wasn't because there is way too much of that going around.

All sirens are drawn to land. Those mermaids and mermen who are drawn to the land is what make them good candidates for being sirens. Esmerine obtained her love of books and some adventure from Alander because he would always bring her books and taught her how to read. No mermaids know how to read. I was feeling kind of indignant there for a second when I found that out but then I thought duh! They live in the ocean. They can't read a book written on paper in the water.

I noticed from all sides that everyone labeled the other one negatively. Her mother was a prime suspect. She was a bit too controlling for me. She's a hover mom who goes by the rules and how oh so boring it would have been if Esmerine stayed the rest of her life there. The adventure of it all is one I greatly enjoyed but it has a feel where I don't know if everyone would enjoy but maybe I'm selling my enjoment of the book short. Who knows? The romance was (this is beginning to be a word I'm using often thank goodness!) natural. I really liked the dynamics of their different personalities yet common interests in books and... each other! It was really sweet throughout. Alander isn't as rude as he's painted out to be really. He's this nerdy book lover so it all evens out. The one thing that got me was towards the end. Something to do with Esmerine and how she saw herself which is unfortunate. It was really minor but it's worth mentioning. So if you haven't read a mermaid book I'm here to say that you might want to try it out. This one impressed me enough to start searching for and reading more mermaid books.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Once Upon a Second Chance by Marian Vere

Title- Once Upon a Second Chance
Author- Marian Vere
Stand Alone
Format- pdf
Publisher- Omnific Publishing
Published- November 6th, 2012
Pages- 204
Source- AToMR Tours

Overview: 
Julia thought her fairy godmother was doing her job when she met Nick Kerkley. Handsome, intelligent, driven Nick was all she could ever hope for in a Prince Charming but when everything was going right, getting an internship at a prestigious financial company and becoming engaged with said Nick, everything went south. Eight years later Julia has lost her fire and Nick... well Nick set up his company and became rich. So rich that he comes to her boss's company to see if he wants a real estate property. Her and her team will all be spending some time in a mansion with Nick and some of his friends. Julia knows it's time that she take advantage and take charge to take her second chance to be with Nick. Only problem is will he feel the same way she has for all these years?

Review:
Julia is a girl down on her luck. She actually brings herself down and always needs advice from her sister who was not only the best sister growing up, she was also her mother growing up doing everything for her. This might be why she went to her for "support" when she was proposed to eight years ago and why she took her advice and let him go. Immediately she knows she made a huge mistake but of course she does nothing about it. She does sound like a take charge kind of girl sometimes but other times when she actually needs to do something about her love life she walks away.

Most of the way through I thought that Nick did the dumping. That's what I get for not reading the whole summary on Goodreads. When I do find out that it was her who left him I am thoroughly confused. She acts like her world is being crushed when he's around and that his nonchalance about her being in the same room as him is such a betrayal. You broke his heart. Deal with it. Here sister sets her up on all these dates. She always has a problem with all of them even when a hot guy is crushing on her. Seriously? I want to throw a shoe at her. If a hot guy liked me I wouldn't be trying to find problems with him.

There was reference a lot to fairy godmothers. It was a childhood dream to have her fairy godmother find her and give her, her own Prince Charming. It was a really sweet part of the story that I didn't expect to actually be kind of a big part of the story. But duh! Look at the cover woman. I think most girls can relate to wanting the fairy tale fantasy of meeting your one true love so I liked how it was incorporated in and at which parts.

I might sound like I was frustrated with Julia but I was really not. I could not put this book down (in this case computer). It had me reading all night. It was killing me to know the secret (now I know anyone could have found out) of what happened to them all those years ago and what would happen in the end. Would the author be cruel and let her never have a happily ever after again, would she fall for another guy, or would she get her Prince Charming from eight years ago? I loved reading about Julia and I could understand why she was so timid in fighting for what she wanted. Nick might have been a little cold towards her but what do you expect? The added people coming into the home brought upon a lot of new possibilities to take the story and I wanted to know where it was going to take me. This book will keep you up at night just dying to know what happens especially if you are like me and love fairy tale romances.

About the Author

Marian Vere is a twenty eight year old writer of Women's Fiction. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she received her degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in--oddly enough--vocal music performance, only to later discover her love of writing and storytelling. Marian is represented by Carly Watters of PS Literary, and currently lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her Husband, and two daughters.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Title- Officer Buckle and Gloria
Author- Peggy Rathmann
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- G.P. Putnam's Sons (Imprint of Penguin Books)
Published- September 28th, 1995
Pages- 32
Source- Own

Overview:
Officer Buckle loves making up new safety rules. He shares them with students at Napville School but no ever listens to him. One day the police department gets a dog and that dog is now Officer Buckle's Officer Buckle brings the dog, Gloria, to school with him and while he's doing his regular safety tips Gloria is acting them out. The place goes wild and gets Officer Buckle and Gloria sent to many places to tell many people about his safety tips. When Officer Buckle discovers what Gloria has been doing he's not too happy. It takes a giant accident for him to realize he needs Gloria as much as she needs him.

Review:

This is such a classic story that everyone needs to read. I got teary eyed like a fool which has never happened before because this story is so sweet! There's a girl who makes a star shaped letter and where's a crash helmet based on one of his safety tip that I got all chocked up about because she said everything right. She knows what's what. They make a great team and like I said before they both need each other more than they know.


Gloria brings new light to his safety tips which is just what Officer Buckle needed but he feels betrayed and maybe a little unwanted which is reasonable. Maybe if Gloria showed him what she could do he wouldn't have been so upset.

The book has such charming and insane illustrations that will get kids attention. The moral of the story while having some safety tips scattered around provide kids with some knowledge while having a good time reading or hearing Officer Buckle and Gloria's tale.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Title- The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
Author- Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrator- Steven Kellogg
Series: Jimmy's Boa Book #1
Format- Paperback
Publisher- Puffin Pied Piper
First Published- January 1st 1980
Pages- 28
Source- Own

Overview:
A mother asks the usual thing after her daughter comes from a field trip "How was your class trip to the farm?" Her answer is anything but usual. She recounts nonchalantly the tale backwards until you get the whole story. The cow cried. Why? Hay fell on her. Why? The farmer ran into it? Why? And so on and so forth until you uncover how Jimmy brought his pet boa constrictor to meet the farm animals which didn't go over too well with the hens and chaos ensued.

Review: 
The illustrations cannot get any better than with this book. This tale is laugh out loud funny and perfect to read at any age. The girl's total lack of worry while retelling the story and while the mother is listening in awe brings some humor to the story as well. It's such a ridiculous story that of course would never happen but is funny because in a book it could! I love that about books especially picture books. It was lucky that the boa constrictor was friendly even with its incredibly long length because this story might have not ended well for those hens. It ended super sweetly and I'm happy to find that it's a series! Fantastic picture book.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop

Title: Gentlemen
Author: Michael Northrop
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Scholastic Press
Published- April 15th 2009
Pages- 256
Source- Library

Overview:
Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones are what you would call delinquents. They skate through life getting into any kind of trouble they can find. Everyone stays away from them. Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher, decides to not treat them any differently. He likes to call them "Gentlemen" which gets on their nerves.

One day Tommy gets in trouble and subsequently gets sent to the principal's office. Their friends initially don't think anything of him disappearing because he's done it before. But after a while Micheal and the others start to question if Mr. Haberman had anything to do with his disappearance. The book they are reading for Mr. Haberman's class, Crime and Punishment, has great similarities to their current situation. Questions start to arise. Possible hidden hints. Could it be possible that Mr. Haberman took Crime and Punishment literally? Did he kill their friend?

Review:
Micheal (spelled wrong because of his parents lack of attention to detail) is the leader of the odd group. He's the one who sees something wrong when they are with Mr. Haberman. He's actually pretty smart and perceptive that way compared to the others. I think he hides being intelligent because he has the friends he has. The relationship he has with his friends seem normal enough but then later it feels more distant than it should be. It's like they aren't really friends. That might just be because of the intense situation they are in. There is no sign of Tommy who is the nicest one out of the bunch. He is like them, angry and distant, but he's a little less than the others. He's the glue that keeps them together and without him things start to fall apart.

The relationship Micheal has with Mr. Haberman is tense because things keep coming up that gets his attention. Right away you are put into the mindset of these four delinquents and see something very wrong with the Haberman situation. There are points where you don't know what to think. It's all very high paced and incredibly mysterious. I kept going back and forth between different possibilities. Gentlemen kept me on the edge of my seat and I was thrilled to read it. The shock at the end was beautiful. I audibly made a gasping sound.

Mixer is also an in between guy to me like Micheal. He kind of follows the lead of whoever is taking charge but really I could see him as a quieter and less productive mirror image of Micheal. Micheal takes action and starts reading the book in question. The stories intertwine with their real life. It's kind of expected of him to read the book and take charge of the situation so he does. Bones is more of the extreme of the four. He's angrier than all of them. He stayed angry when everyone else moved on. No one bothers him so he doesn't really have an excuse to be so furious all the time. He's the guy you wouldn't want to meet in an alley.

So the group has varying degrees of delinquency. They actually never do anything too bad. Not anymore than what is thought a teenager does. I actually kept on imagining them as Middle Schoolers even when they drank or smoked. It might have been the cover that made me think they were younger or the way Micheal and the others spoke but I couldn't see them as any older than fourteen.

The book they were reading was deeply disturbing which I love. It made me want to read it but it was described as this book with ridiculously small type and I'm pretty sure it's a classic so... I might read it anyways because I loved this book so much. The comparison between the two books was eerily similar. It was paired up pretty well. I wonder if the author read this book as a teenager and was inspired by it even at that age. He's probably one of the few that feels that way. He was able to do what that book probably wouldn't have done for most teenagers and create an event that gets us interested in a book we otherwise wouldn't have thought of reading.

Micheal is the type of main character you root for. He puts his potential to the side but you really get to see it when he investigates his friend's disappearance. As you know this book kept me guessing and it completely exceeded my expectations. I've had this book on my TBR list for almost two years I think so to finally read it was a huge accomplishment. If more of my TBR list books were like this I wouldn't wait too long to read them. This book was crazy good and needs to be read by more people! I noticed that it had an average rating of three stars on Goodreads and I wanted to point out that I might have not gotten what the end would reveal but I think others could. It all depends on you, always. I do recommend reading this book and seeing for yourself.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Title: Farmer Duck
Author: Martin Waddell
Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
Stand Alone
Format: Paperback
Publisher- Candlewick Press
First Published: April 1st, 1992
Pages- 32
Source- Own

Overview:
A very lazy farmer sets a duck to work on his farm. He feeds the animals, out them where they should go, does all the housework chores and gets no break at all. The farmer always calls out "How goes the work?" and the duck responds "Quack!" He is so very tired and the hens, cows, and sheep gather together out of love for him and set up making a plan.

A plan that drives the lazy farmer away which is a relief to the tired duck. So instead of already having an owner that does no work; they work together to get all the chores done and they all contribute to having a great home of their own.

Review:
Absolutely beautiful illustrations that provide such rich images for the story. Poor Duck! He's stuck with all the chores that he shouldn't have to do. The farmer is a lazy man who sits in bed all day and eats. While Duck works he reaps the benefits. He works so hard and never complains. His friends - the cows, hens, and sheep - see how much he works for them and provide such a good home and life for them so they take action! It's a really wonderful tale of friendship and working together to create a good life for everyone involved. The rhyming was done rather well and I think many children will enjoy this book. It must have been popular because there are stuffed animals and activities even a DVD pertaining to the book like I have seen with a lot of the books I read. What can I say? I read great books. Well worth the read.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells

Title: Timothy Goes to School
Author: Rosemary Wells
Series
Format- Paperback
Publisher- Puffin Pied Piper
First Published- January 1st, 1981
Pages- 28
Source- Own





Overview:
Timothy is on his way to his first day of school with new clothes his mother made him. When he meets Claude his "Hello!" gets the reaction of how you aren't supposed to wear a sunsuit on the first day of school. Every day he comes home upset by Claude's words and wishes he would mess up while his mother worries over him and tries to console him. But it's no use. Claude always does everything right academically, with sports, and has many friends around him. It's when he meets Violet who is also feeling the same kinds of things toward Grace who always everything perfect that he finds a true friend.

Review:
I've read this book a couple of times and I now can see the small controversy of it that I've seen in reviews. By laughing about Claude and Grace at the end of the book I could see how parents can interpret it as meaning that Timothy and Violet are acting mean themselves by laughing at someone who is different than them or is not so nice to them. You know you're supposed to forgive and forget and be nice to everyone.

I also see where others are coming from as well. They are laughing that they cared so much what they thought when they had each other. Frankly when I was a kid I just saw it as a nice story about a kid who goes to school who takes a while to find a friend. It's really about being the new kid, the outcast, the unpopular kid and how the popular kid might treat that type of person. In the end everything is resolved when you find someone like you. It's really a lovely story about finding good friends and accepting who you are isn't what you wear!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman

Title: The Exceptionals
Author: Erin Cashman
First Book (Unknown # of books)
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Holiday House Inc.
Published- April 1st, 2012
Pages- 236
Source- Own

Overview: 
Claire Walker comes from the most famous line of the Cambial Academy school. Her great grandfather founded the school for children with genius capabilities in science and math. He also discovered some children with special powers which make the school's real intentions even more secret than it was. At Cambial there is not just math and science geniuses but people with clairvoyance, telekinesis, truth seeking, and mediums.

Claire doesn't have any powers or that's what she would like her parents to think. Her actual power is pretty lame and couldn't be taught so she just told them she didn't have the power anymore. Her power is hearing animal's thoughts. Thoughts like hungry, thirsty, and walk. One day she goes to a dance with a boy she's had a crush on forever and her friend and her boyfriend they get caught with beer in their car. She gets accused by her parents (mostly her mom) of having bad judgment calls and of drinking when she wasn't even drinking, she's never gotten in trouble before, and she's always getting top marks in her class. But it's decided. She's going to Cambial whether or not she has a real power or not. While there she finds friends and a mysterious boy in the woods. Then the exceptional students start disappearing and her ability might be the only thing that saves them.

Review:
It took me half the book to understand this cover which is ridiculous. She's hearing the thoughts of the bird! Duh. I love her hair and the style of the cover. She looks like she's from the 60's or 70's. Claire isn't very happy with her ability to hear animals. They might tell her when someone is coming but beyond that it's not a very good ability to her. I couldn't say anything bad about her. She went through things like a normal teenager would. Her mother's always on her back about everything and wants to keep an eye on her. She has the terribly invasive ability of hearing her thoughts and since she hasn't found a way to block her she's scrutinized even more. It's not like she does anything terribly wrong either. Her mom is just way too worried about her.

People welcome her right away. She befriends Winny who would be a total outcast in her old school with her super peppy and talkative attitude but fits right in her new school. At Cambial no one cares what you look like because everyone is an outcast. The "freaks" of their society. She also befriends Ally who seems sweet but mess with her and you'll be in trouble. Her brother Billy who can only move small objects no matter how hard he tries is always there for her. It's really sweet how protective he is of her and how close they are. Her sister who might become the youngest Exceptional ever is a medium, she speaks to ghosts, and boy is she ever the tattle tale at eleven years old. I imagined her much younger for some reason. She seemed more like a six year old than a eleven year old.

So what's an exceptional? An exceptional is when you are more powerful than the rest of the kids. The teachers figure this out with competitions throughout the school year and a final one towards the end. It's actually pretty cool when you read about the telekinesis competition. Clair had only one person who thought she shouldn't be here which was Jane who was the top in her field but other than that no one gave her trouble. I don't know if I would have wanted more of that conflict or not.

The mysterious boy in the woods she meets a couple of times and of course he's gorgeous. Now I understood for most of the way why she wanted to kiss him. When you have a crush and you think they like you back it's nice for that to be confirmed with a kiss and I got that even if they only met with each other four short times. BUT and I hate to say this... I didn't get in the last half why he would like her so much. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Clair and her attitude. She was a great main character. It's just I didn't see his attraction to her to that extent that the book went into. So the first half felt more natural to me concerning their relationship. If they would have met more I think I would have been more okay with how things went.

The second half just didn't feel right to me. I couldn't say exactly what it was. I can only pin down the relationship with mystery boy and maybe that's what made everything seem a little bit off to me. I think it was just my state of mind because I was so captured by most of the book and I do want to read the second book. I'm looking forward to it. I couldn't tell you what it was but I still recommend reading this book and seeing for yourself how you feel about it. Many things going on and mystery of where the exceptionals were going as well as who was behind it. Claire met my expectations even more with her decisions. Her power was actually pretty cool and I'm hoping that new powers come up more than the usual ones. Other than that hiccup in the second half this book was exceptional (pun intended).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 2012 Reading Plans

I don't usually do this but I wanted to show what I am planning to read for this November and an event I'll be participating in as well as what I read this past October.

October Reading



To Review


November Reading Plans








Picture Book Month


I became an Ambassador for Picture Book Month (I think). I just registered. If not I will still be reading and reviewing picture books in celebration of Picture Book Month. It's going to be fun!