Monday, March 28, 2016

4 More Books Read

1. The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce was sooo good.  But the author's note at the end was almost as good as the book!

Rory Rooney has been thrown off the bus by Tommy-Lee ever day.  Still, when Tommy-Lee has an extreme allergic reaction from eating Rory's lunch - without Rory's permission, I might add - and Tommy-Lee is taken away in an ambulance, everyone blames Rory!!!  Tommy-Lee's friends throw Rory into a stream and when he stands up, Rory is completely green.  Now, it's his turn to be carried off to the hospital.

But Rory is prepared.  His favorite bedtime story is his mother's book, Don't Be Scared. Be Prepared.  Rory's mom is all about being prepared.

Rory is in the isolation ward at the hospital.  But he's not alone.  Oh, no.... he and his roommate are in for astounding adventures of the superhero-ish sort.  As London squirms in the grasp of the Killer Kitten virus, two - or is it more? - green children prepare to Save The World.

 Need a break from whatever ails you?  This book will help.

2. For another look at lunacy, we have Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Four Fans of the Ruperts - a boy band - somehow end up with one of the Ruperts, tied up in their hotel room.  Fangirl fantasy come true!!  Squeeee, or whatever.  His phone alone is a treasure trove of awesomely...oh no, what's this??  And when the narrator comes clean about the whole event, who will pay the price of the long night's misadventures?

The lunacy in Moldavsky's book is creepy.  I ended up skimming the book because:
1.  The teens are unbelievably shallow, narcissistic and cruel.

2.  It's a little too mean to be funny, I think.

That said, I am NOT a teenage girl.  It is way too long since I screamed over a boy band.  Back then,  social media was a phone with a long cord and my Mom's kitchen timer.  So, what do I know?  Right?  Definitely for teens.  And the fans on Goodreads like it a lot.  Dark humor, they say.

3. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks.   In a medieval city in the Orient, Kaidu is learning to fight.  The city has changed hands so often, that its natives call it the Nameless City.  Kaidu is part of the conqueror's army.  When he ventures into the city, he meets a girl who calls herself Rat.  They don't trust each other but Rat shows Kaidu things about the City that he can't learn behind the fort's walls.  When a threat comes from inside the fort walls, Kaidu and Rat must work together as a team.

This graphic novel moves so seamlessly that I didn't notice the lack of words.  Actually, as I type this, I realize that since reading this book, action scenes in text books take so long.  No wonder graphic novels are so hot.  Thanks, Faith Erin Hicks, for furthering my understanding of this genre.

4.  An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet. This book had to be read, word for word.  The struggle between Halfrida and her sister, Marthe, and their fight to keep their farm needs to be explained.  An artist might be able to show the pain, anger, stubbornness and pride on each young woman's face but Bobet's words made this stew of emotions all too real to me.  Insert these women into a war ravaged countryside, with a missing husband, and strange unearthly beings and you get a fantasy that speaks volumes about how people do and do not get along.

There is the mystery soldier who asks for somewhere to stay; the unearthly creatures; the aftermath of a war against the Wicked God; the search for a missing hero; Marthe's pining for her husband; Hallie's secret-keeping and her fear.  Also a fledgling romance and three cheers for scientific method and investigation. (Sentence fragment, I know.  Deal.) There's some heavy stuff going on in this book.   I liked it!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Wrinkles and abandoned buildings

I finished You Were Here by Cori McCarthy the other night and it was so satisfying!  Told in alternating voices, this is a story of grief and stubbornness and the need to put the past to rest.  Serious stuff!  McCarthy's mix of characters, words and graphics spins this book right along. 
          I worried at first that this would just be another "dead family member" book.  Then it morphed into a book about meeting unrealistic expectations and then it turned into a graphic novel and the whole time this group of five teens are fighting, musing, obsessing, and engaging in risky behavior - lots and lots of risky, perilous, dare-devil behavior.  (Definitely Teen Readers!)

So read it.  It is emotionally manipulating, but most good books are.  And the resolution is realistic and, as I mentioned before, satisfying.

The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet is a wrinkled book.  Linny lives in Lourka where no trail is a straight line - or even the same from trip to trip.  Here stories can change reality.   When Linny breaks the most sacred taboo in the hills, her best friend and tether-twin, Sayra, is the one who pays the price.
Linny takes her forbidden lourka - a stringed musical instrument - and runs away to the Plains to find a cure for Sayra's fading away illness. 
Linny and her friend, Edmund, are caught up in a civil struggle between a faction that believes everything should be mapped, straight, smooth and mechanical - and a faction that honors magic and wrinkles of all sorts.
 I ended up skimming and, alas, skipping.  If I had more time I may have enjoyed the arguments and adventures and authoritarian quasi-villains.  The book is as wrinkled as its title.  But it is a solid beginning of a new magical trilogy(?) or series.  (Grades 5 through 7, though younger readers with skills and stamina will enjoy this book.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Trailer!

Teaching faith and values to pre-schoolers is not always easy.  So, books like this one are helpful for extolling the wonderfulness of the world - and the Maker.  And the trailer is pretty just the way it is.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Reviews? - Hah!

The Kutztown University Children's Literature Conference looms larger and larger in my sight.  So, I am reading, reading, reading, reading like a mad woman - who reads a lot.   Once again, I am reviewing books for kids in grades 5 and up.  And I have read very few of the "hot" new YA titles.  I am not all that into the "hot" topics of paranormality, sexual awakening, and personal torment.  That's ok.  When I finally pick those books up, I am sucked in almost as much as teen readers are.

Is this not the loveliest KUCLC poster ever?  I think so.
What this means, is that I will not review books on this site - much - for the next three or four weeks.  but I will LIST what I have read.

Beetle Boy by M. G. Leonard
Trash Mountain by Jane Yolen
Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

And because I deserve to read adult books once in awhile, Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen.

Sign up for KU's Children's Literature Conference TODAY!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book update

1.  Battle of the Kids Books begins tomorrow.  I did not get to read the two contenders in this first match up but I predict... nothing.  Check back later.

2.  Here are the books I have read in the last two - or so - weeks.
     Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman
    It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
    The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander
    The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder 
   Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
   Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts  by Esta Spalding
Also, Strangeways to Oldham by Andrea Fraser - but that is an adult murder mystery.  Still, I read it and it was a good old fashioned "cottage" mystery with adult tricycles, a stolid butler and a hilarious cast of characters.

All of these books - except for the murder mystery - are e-galleys. Sorry, you can't read them yet.  I enjoyed them all.  They are a mix of styles and genres - some fun, some suspenseful, some heartbreaking.  I will review several, if not all, in future posts.