Thursday, May 22, 2014

Constable & Toop

The folks at Abrams sent me a box of books for the KU Children's Lit Conference.  Among them was Gareth P. Jones' Constable & Toop.

Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

The mood is gray and shadowy - perfect for a rather gruesome book about ghosts and murder. The main living characters are teens. That's the only thing about this book that might make it YA. The murders are awful - although not overly graphic. The lampooning of bureaucracy will resonate with readers of all ages.

Here's the set up. Sam Toop is a Talker. Ghosts come to him for help with those last minute things that hold them here. If Sam is successful, the ghosts walk through the Door into what waits for them. Lapsewood is a ghost - a clerical drudge in the Office that regulates ghostly affairs. Something is amiss in London. The field operative that visits resident ghosts - ghosts held in place by the buildings they haunt - has gone missing. So, although he seems to be incompetent, Lapsewood is sent to find the missing ghost. He finds her and something much, much worse.

There is also an exorcist who rips ghosts apart, allowing that other Evil to grow. And a teen girl, Clare, who is fascinated and enamored with the world of ghosts.

These stories, Sam's, Lapsewood's, Clare's, the exorcist's and the murderer's - I forgot the murderer - unfold alongside each other. Then, they merge.

It's all pretty cool the way Jones pulls each of these strings together. The ghost world of Victorian London promises a lot of stories, should a young Talker have further adventures.

If your copy has an author's note at the end, (my copy is an ARC), take the time to read it.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How it works

Here is how things have been working for the last few months - or years - or lifetime.

My Brain tells my Self that I should stop playing around and get certain things done.

My Self tells my Brain that I DO have time to play seventeen more games of whatever and also scroll through FB posts and "like" most of them, etc.  Also, there are those awesome kids' crafts that I will never have a chance to use, but, aren't they GREAT??

This continues until, finally, my Brain grabs my Self around the throat and forces Self to do what needs to be done - usually in a half-baked manner.

Then I complain - loudly and often - that I don't have time to get things done, read all the books I want to read, exercise, etc.

Repeat. Ad Nauseam.

Then do a blog post about it.

And in disgust go do something that my Brain might approve of.

That's how it works.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty, - a review

Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty by Polly Horvath  is a little hard to follow. Some people LIKE all that jumping around so... 

Wait!  This is a book about BUNNIES!!!  Jumping around?  Bunnies? Of course! NOW, I get it.  You can't tell a story about bunnies without a lot of motion.  Can't be done.

So, now that Mrs. Bunny is a famous bunny author, she has decided NOT to be a detective any longer (see Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire).  She wants to be queen.  Is that so much to ask?

The Bunnys' human friend, Madeline, is very worried about her college fund.  Her parents have $6.27 between them.  But, Mildred, Madeline's mother has plans to buy 30 more acres for an Organic Farm.

Somehow, everyone ends up taking a cruise ship to Jolly Olde Englande!  Pop-Tarts are involved; also, thieving hedgehogs, snobbery, and magic.

I love Mr. Bunny - for so he is called - and Mrs. Bunny and the way they tell stories.  I also like their enthusiasms and need for adventure.

And the humans in these books are equally likeable - Madeline and her hippie-dippie parents and her brilliant eccentric Uncle and her best friend, Katherine.  And Prince Charles.  And Starlight Heavens - well, she is not actually likeable - at all - but with a name like that?  Come on.

There is a very famous author - besides Mrs. Bunny, that is - in this book, known as Oldwhatshername, and a not so famous translator.  These cameo appearances just add to the mayhem.

Just sit back and enjoy a trip across the Pond with the Bunnys and their human friends.

Friday, May 9, 2014

We Are Liars ARC Giveaway Winner!

Alisonj is the winner of We Are Liars  by e. lockhart and A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.  Alison, you can email me at with your snail mail address and the books will be sent off tomorrow morning.

Thanks, everyone, for entering.  I have more ARCs to share so, stay tuned.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


I have an ARC of the very soon to be released We Were Liars by e. lockhart.  The book is breathtaking.  So comment below before May 9th - I know, not a lot of time - and I will try very hard to get it to you before its release date - which is May 13th.

We Were Liars

I will include an ARC of A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd in this giveaway.  This is another fine book.  BUT these two books could not be more different.
A Snicker of Magic
Yep.  Different.  You know what to do.

UPDATE:  For those who have never entered my giveaways, here's what will happen.  On May 9th, I will collect all your names and stick them in a "hat" and get my husband to pull one out.  That will be the winner.  I will post that winner's name here and you have to email me with your address.  Those directions will be posted with the winner's name.  So check here on the 9th or 10th.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Say It Ain't So

On Wednesday, as the rains poured down, I read, almost in one sitting, Josh Berk's book Say It Ain't So.   The book starts with a very disturbing holiday scene in the Norbeck household.  I can say no more, because that disturbing scene is very important to later developments in the book.  Just know this.  From a middle schooler's point of view, this new holiday tradition would be very disturbing, although harmless, I guess.

Once the kids are back in school, Lenny and his friends, Mike and Other Mike, are soon back in their element of talking about baseball, or playing video games while friends are talking baseball.  There's a new hitch, though.  Mike is not just talking, he's practicing baseball - all because of what happened in the first book about this trio.  Mike wants to play again.  Yes.  AND, he wants to play catcher.

So Lenny is a good friend and helps Mike prepare by doing what Lenny does best, throwing wild pitches.

OK.  That's the set up.  But this is a Josh Berk book, so there is also a mystery.  Who framed the middle school catcher as a thief, making Mike the starting catcher?  How can we get that obnoxious pitcher to SHUT UP?  And, if I die from laughing, is Josh Berk to blame? 

This book made me laugh out loud and I actually had to stop reading to catch my breath.  I hope Josh  writes a whole bunch more of these books.