Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review - I'm Down by Mishna Wolff

I'm Down
Mishna Wolff
St. Martins Press
272p (3 1/2 hrs)
July 2009

Mishna grew up in a poor black neighborhood in Seattle. Her parents divorced when she was young and she and her sister Anora were raised by her dad. Her mom left - she had to go find herself. But the weirdest thing about 2 girls being raised by a single, dad in the 'hood? Being white. "White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. I think it's important to make this clear..." (1) And so begins one of the funniest, most heartbreaking, memoirs I've read in a long time.

I'm always skeptical of memoirs...but Mishna Wolff's story had me at hello.. .or was it when she said her dad "believed he a was a black man...It wasn't an identity crisis.." (1) Wolff tells the story of trying to fit in, and make friends and be cool. Learning how to "cap" on people (sassy putdowns) and deciding on her future: "Solid Gold Dancer, Capper, Anesthesiologist, Governor, Assasin". (32) She takes us throough her father's romances, usually with beautiful women and him trying to remodel the house, himself. Mostly leaving things undone. Meeting Zwena, who at 10 years old, was the "Julia Child of the food stamp set." (42) Zwena could cook up a mean fried, bologna sandwich. Ah...I remember those days...so much of what Mishna Wolff was describing reminded me of my childhood. I grew up in a poor, black neighborhood and she captured all the humor that helps you not only survive but thrive!

Once Mishna goes to IPP, she feels as if she doesn't fit in anywhere anymore. Always the outcast, the different one. Wolff tells us how she coped, what she did for attention, the tough decisions that seemed to be made for her... She worries herself into tension headaches trying to figure out what is going to happen to her the rest of her life...she was twelve at the time. Trying to find the security that she wasn't getting at home. Through it all, she just wanted her dad's acceptance, wanted him to think she was "down", too.

I loved this book. I put aside everything, I didn't even stop for dinner. I was mesmerized, completely and totally engrossed. Wolff's voice brought her story to life and I was right there, living my own version of trying to be down. It was painful towards the end but well worth the time. It left me with a Wow! It was truly awesome! I could read it again right now!

Other Links
Mishna Wolff's website - check out the pic in the more down section.

Other Reviews
Creative Loafing Review - I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
Citypaper Review - I'm Down by Mishna Wolff

PS: Although this memoir is marketed at adults - YAs could definitely read and understand and discuss it! I will be buying it for our library! Just gotta decide which teacher I'm going to hound to use it...:)

Also, I would like to thank Ben Rubinstein at Macmillan Library for tracking down a copy of this book and sending it to me!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Five - July 24

Hello, everyone. Thought I'd take a study break and type this up quickly. You'll notice I posted a couple of reviews since declaring my break. I'm going to do any blog tours or reviews I've already committed to in order to honor my commitments! I'll also try to do the Contest Mondays.

1. Winners -
Karen won The Veil by Diane Noble
Cecelia won Tomorrow's Treasure by Linda Chaikin
Tashi won Eyes Like Stars ARC by Lisa Mantchev with bracelet/postcard

2. Bibliography - We had to do a programming bibliography for class and I was reminded of some great books I have:
The Guy-Friendly YA Library by Rollie James Welch
Center Stage: Library Programs That Inspire Middle School Patrons by Wilson and Leslie
Teen-Centered Book Club: Readers Into Leaders by Kunzel and Hardesty
Serving Young Teens and 'Tweens edited by Sheila B. Anderson

I don't do much programming outside of book clubs but I might try some other things this year.

3. Fire by Kristin Cashore- This was much better than Graceling. Cashore was a little preachy about sex and abortion so that changes the audience for this one. Kinda like Meyer with Breaking Dawn.

4. Teen Bookstore - this my ultimate dream and I've been thinking about it lot more lately. I'd always looked at being a librarian as a stepping stone to owning a bookstore - now I can't actually see how I will get there. Why has my vision dimmed?

5. Diversity and Controversy - the twitterverse has been all abuzz with the controversy over the cover of Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Justine wrote a great article on Why My Protagonist's Arent White. Check out some of her other blog posts on this issue.

Even before this, Mitali Perkins had written an article for School Library Journal, Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotype in kid's books, that discussed what we see and what we read and how it affects us or how we think. She included 5 questions you should ask about any book.

Color Online also challenged us to actively make multicultural reading and reviewing a part of what we do, not a special activity. In her Color Me Brown post she says "I want teens of color to reject invisibility as a norm".

It's not just teens of color who do that. I do that. In my effort not to appear racist, I self-censor. I try NOT to promote books for and/or about people of color so that I don't offend anyone. What? What? I know, right. I narrow my reading which prolly makes me more narrow-minded. And if it makes me narrow-minded, what does it do to my students?

Jennifer Cervantes wrote Why Multicultural Literature Matters and really made me re-think the way I do things. I need to be more deliberate. Does this mean I'm only going to promote books by/about people of color. No. But I will more closely watch what I read.

I use the ALA Book Awards for some of my selection decisions. Take a look at the Newbery and Printz award winners, the Margaret Edwards award? There are very few multicultural titles and those we see are written by the same handful of authors. I also use SLJ, Booklist, and other review magazines - where are the starred reviews for multicultural literature?

I will say I'm excited about YALSA's 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium - Beyond Good Intentions: Diversity, Literature and Teens. Although it's in NM so I won't be going. But maybe I could submit a paper. Or maybe you could.

One thing is clear - just because we don't talk about it, doesn't mean it's ok. It's as if people were waiting for someone like Larbalestier to step up so that our voices could finally be heard. I'm not sure of the first blogger who noticed the cover issue, but I'm glad she spoke up. Maybe we can all start working on this and hopefully have at least one positive thing to say at the symposium.

As I'm new to librarianship and reading for selection - this may sound rambling. It is - but it's how I think things through. I'm making a decision to not be silent to be deliberate and seek out good writing by and for people of color. Maybe we need a Multicultural Review magazine? Not just once a year from the other lists - every month, major focus...hmmmm....

I know the first step for me will be to participate in the Diversity Roll Call.

What are your thoughts on these issues?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Contest Monday - July 20, 2009 - The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

This week I'm giving away:
Hardcover of
The Castaways
by Elin Hilderbrand

This book was supplied by Hachette Book Groups. Read my review of the Castaways and then enter to win your own copy!

Rules: US Addresses only - to enter:
+1 - leave a comment with why you want to read this
+1 - Tell me your favorite book so far this year

That's it! Contest is open until July 27, 2009, 11:59 pm EST - good luck! Don't forget to include your email address! Winner will be posted on Friday, August 1, 2009 on the Friday Five.

Blog Tour - Hollywood is Like High School with Money by Zoey Dean

Hollywood is Like High School With Money
Zoey Dean
Grand Central Publishing
278 pg (ARC)
Release - July 23, 2009

Taylor moves to LA to pursue her dream of making movies. She gets a job at a major studio and waits for her opportunity to move up in the ranks. While waiting she writes to her idol, a director who fell off the face of the earth because he didn't like the Hollywood politics. In the meantime, Taylor's immediate boss, Kylie, tries to keep her in her rightful place - assistant to the assistant, while Kylie sleeps her way to the top.

This book reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger except more focus on the assistant relationships instead of the boss. In my head I used the characters from the movie as I was reading. I'm not a fan of Zoey Dean's Talent series, it read too much like another series I don't like, the Clique series. So I was prepared to dislike this book. Imagine my surprise when I found myself entertained and captivated by this book. Taylor gets her Boss' daughter, Quinn, to help her get back at Kylie. Perfect - many teenaged girls know how to put the snark in any type of relationship. Now, the book gets predictable - you know the story - girl gets ahead by stepping on others, others step back on her and she gets behind, she suffers a little, everything is magically turned around and she still gets the guy. That said, it was still an enjoyable read. I recommend it to teens who enjoy Dean's other books or anyone looking for a light beach read. Also, I recommend it to those in a reading slump - it helps to read something you're not used to reading.

Facebook Fun
Hollywood is Like High School with Money on Facebook
Hollywood is Like High School with Money - Career Quiz

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In My Mailbox - July 19, 2009

Welcome to In My Mailbox! I received some great books through buying, begging and borrowing!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - read my Review of When You Reach Me. Wonderful book!

Hate List by Jennifer Brown - From Little, Brown School via Facebook
Crazy/Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted - for Sept rvw from Houghton, Mifflin via NetGalley
Fang Face by Norm Cowie - for rvw from Echelon Press
Everything Sucks!: Losing My Mind and Finding Myeself in a High school Quest for Cool by Hanna Friedman - for 8/13 Blog Tour from TLC Blog Tours.
We did a book trade last week and I got
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbon by Ann Rinaldi
Getting Lost With Boys by Hailey Abbott
The Diamonds by Ted Michael
The Write Stuff by Jahnna N. Malcolm

From the library I picked up
Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French - Mock Newbery club
Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen Bernier-Grand - Mock Newbery club

That's what's in my mailbox this week, what's in yours?
In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Head over there to see the wonderfulness she received!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead
Wendy Lamb Books
197 pgs.
2.5 hrs.

We meet Miranda who is trying to figure things out: what's going on between her and Sal? What's going on between Richard and Mom? Does she need to get new friends? Where did this note come from and how did they know? That's the main thing Miranda wants to unravel - who sent the note and how did they know these things would happen? She doesn't want to think about the implications though and, of course, the more you don't want to think about something, the more you do!

Miranda is trying to help her mom get on The $20,000 Pyramid game show. Her mom is a para-legal for a small office and she dreams of being a lawyer. She holds monthly tenant meeting and writes letters to the proper people about all the problems "But nothing ever changes." (13)
She pushes away her veil when she's trying to focus and "can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again...see all the beauty, and cruelty and sadness, and love." (71)

Sal and Miranda are best friends, until one day they aren't. And Miranda thinks she knows why but she doesn't understand it.

"Do you even want to be friends at all?...he glared at his feet and said no..." (33)

Marcus is an enigma. Is he smarter than "genius kids like Jay Stringer..." (48) or is he a bully? Can he be both? Why does he notice Miranda sometimes but act like he doesn't at other times? Common sense says stay away from him but Marcus quotes "common sense is just habit of thought. It's how we're used to thinking about things..." (51)

When Sal left Miranda, she found Annemarie, who was left by Julia. Miranda likes hanging with Annemarie but Miranda might like someone who might like Annemarie and that makes Miranda a little mad. "...sitting...in that puddle of meanness....Maybe I couldn't stand for her to have so many people, and to be able to draw and to cut bread on top of that." (112)

And through all this meeting and breaking apart the notes keep coming. Little tiny bits of paper. Little tiny writing. How did they know? How could they know? And how did it all fit together?

The writing in this book was quietly beautiful. Little things that made me pause and think.
"...it's simple to love someone...it's hard to know when you need to say it out loud." (149)
I have so many pages turned down. So many sentences surrounded by little dots (that's how I mark quotes).

The ending comes at just the right moment. Not too slow with you thinking it should already be over...not too fast and you wondering what you missed. I especially loved the last chapter: Parting Gifts. It makes you go back and look and speculate and wonder and go hmm.

I enjoyed this book. It was awesome. It's a realistic sci-fi type book. Stead (pronounced like dead, fed) wove elements from A Wrinkle in Time into the book so while you are reading and thinking about Miranda, other parts of your brain are trying to tie the pieces of that book into this book. Course, her sentences don't run-on like mine! I enjoyed getting to know the characters and understanding why they acted the way they did - except for Louisa, Sal's mom, still don't know her. But all in all, this is definitely 4 copies good. Book club good even. It's a must read. And read again!

The Reading Zone - When You Reach Me
Literate Lives - When You Reach Me
A Year Of Reading - When You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead at Random House - Author Spotlight - great first line!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review - Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson
278 pgs.
3 1/2 hrs. (not one you can speed through)

Lia lives with her dad, stepmom Jennifer, and little sister Emma. She chose to live with them after being released from the clinic. For anexorics. She's still struggling with her emotions and her weight. Then she finds out that her former best friend is dead. This sends Lia into a downward spiral as she tries to find answers to who she is supposed to be now.

I gave this book to the counselors at our school and all the Language Arts teachers because of some articles I had read which I link to at the bottom of this post. We were supposed to meet and talk about it. I received one email from a staff member mentioning that she didn't like this book and that she would never let her daughter read it.

Three of the 7 LA teachers showed up to discuss Wintergirls. Overall, we liked the book but we thought it might be too intense for most of our middle grade students. Two of us had read and enjoyed Speak and was expecting a similar sense of humor/sarcasm to run through Wintergirls and were disappointed in its bleakness. Although Elijah introduced a comic element to Wintergirls, it wasn't enough.

T1 - Dr. Nancy talks too much, never actually listens, everyone seems to be looking out for themselves which left Lia trying to lookout for herself because no one else was. Not sure what triggered disorder, seems as if nothing ever happened to her. Anderson didn't describe the body as much as I thought and it was missing her sense of humor.

T1's daughter - Lia seems pessimistic, depressed and self-absorbed (after hearing part of book read aloud)

T2 - Made me think of what I was eating. Lia was not a sympathetic character and the parents never seem to know what's going on, they are so out of touch.

T1 - Makes you wonder if imperfect parents can have normal children. Are my kids going to grow up with a lot of problems because of mistakes I made or things I said?

T3 - I thought Elijah would prove to be more trustworthy. Lia seems to need someone to trust. I didn't really like the characters. Emma was the only non-whiny person. She might have issues later though because Jennifer told Lia not to let her have chips and then Lia gave them to her but told her not to tell.

All - I think some of the more mature 8th graders could handle this. Not really sure if this would push them towards disorder or away. It would be great to discuss with them. They may like the drama surrounding Lia.

Me - I can't really say I "liked" this book or I "enjoyed" reading it because I didn't. It was good. The emotions seemed dead-on. The cross-outs added to Lia's trying to be in control of herself. Elijah added a much needed counter-balance to Lia. Anderson is the best I've found at writing sarcasm. I thought the book could serve as a lesson to grown-ups - when we push children, they will often tell us what we want to hear. They know when we are looking for a particular answer. Our hidden agendas...are not hidden at all.

The formatting in this book was fantastic. I felt it told it's on story: the small font when Lia was thinking of Cassie's last night, the numbering of the chapters with either a double zero or just a zero, the italics when Lia was looking back, when Lia is reading the pro-aneroxia websites, and the cross-outs...

"I'm hungry I need to eat
I hate eating
I need to eat
I love not-eating." 145

This book really packed a wallop. Like we mentioned, there was some humor but not enough.

"What a bitch, it's like she thinks she's your mother or something." 140

Which is Elijah talking to Lia about Chloe, Lia's mother. T2 wondered about Halse Anderson's choice for the name Elijah. We looked it up and Elijah was a prophet he wanted people to choose, to stop wavering. Elijah tells Lia to choose her family not him...We don't know if it meant anything though. I tweeted her the question, we'll see if she answers.

I will put this book in our library, probably four copies cause I think it should be a discussion book. I don't think I'll class booktalk it though. I may just give it to readers who I think will appreciate it. It's a hard book to evaluate. I really think it would do well to give this to parents. At Anderson's Bookshop signing Laurie Halse Anderson said a girl thanked her for writing the book because she was able to give it to her mom. It could open a lot of eyes.

Have you read this book? What do you think?

New York Times - Skin and Bones


I'm not sure if I've said all I want to say about this book. It's still floating around my head. Little pieces making themselves known, causing me to stop and think about them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Contest Monday - Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Welcome to this week's Contest Monday! I'm giving away

ARC of Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
backstage bracelet and a postcard

I really enjoyed this book! Read my review of Eyes Like Stars and get ready to be entertained! This ARC comes from Lisa Mantchev herself! I bought the HC because I want this one in my personal library too! Yes, it's that good. So what do you have to do to get this ARC?

Rules: US addresses only - to enter:
+1 - comment with your favorite Shakespeare play
+1 - you start to follow this blog
+1 - you comment on any review - tell me which one in a separate comment!
+2 - you are already a follower

That's all folks. Remember, leave me your email address so that I can contact you if you win! This contest runs until Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm. Winner will be posted on July 24, 2009 on The Friday Five.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - 7/13

imwayr713It's Monday, What Are You Reading keeps me focused on my reading goals and is hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Each week I look at what books I finished, started, and/or abandoned and what I plan on doing the following week.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (239/592) - loved it!
Neil Armstrong is My Uncle by Nan Marino (154) - loved it!

Hollywood is Like High School With Money by Zoey Dean (248/277) - this is fun - kind of a Devil Wears Prada but working in the film industry.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (77/277) - quiet but interesting, you have to pay attention. Intense.
Another Faust by Dina and Daniel Nayeri (22/387) - love the idea behind it. Just met all of the characters and learned their deepest, darkest desires.
Intertwined by Gena Showalter (46/442) - I wanna meet Aden, without the souls in his head, of course.
Owly: Tiny Tales by Andy Runton (wordless) (90/172)

Not counting the wordless book I read 786 pg which was 86% of goal!


I am having a hard time keeping up with everything so I'm dubbing this week DEAR AndRew- Drop Everything And Read and Review Week! For every book I read, I will review it right away and complete an overdue review!

I'm going to read whatever I want this week - could be some library books, some old In My Mailbox books, books for Reading Challenges, or just a book that's been on my shelf for years! I only have ONE book that must be finished this week:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (200/277) - for a teacher bookclub 7/14

Ok, I'm hoping this re-ignites my reading passion. Too much required reading dampens my soul! What's on your list this week?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Salon - July 19, 2009 - Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson


This post covers two weeks. I'm living for August 10th, when things will get back on schedule!

Last week The Amazing Dancer and I went to Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL to meet Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson. We had Along for the Ride and Wintergirls signed by them. We listened to them talk about why they wrote these specific books (paraphrased):

Sarah Dessen on Along For the Ride - "I hadn't planned on writing another book a year after Lock and Key. Being home with the baby and watching my husband and his friends on the bike jump in our backyard inspired me." This has to be Dessen's best work so far, the inspiration she feels is evident.

Laurie Halse Anderson on Wintergirls - "I didn't want to write a book about eating disorders. Women already have too many hangups about their weight. I have my own body image issues. But, I received many letters and emails requesting a book on the subject so after extensive research, here it is." The realism is Wintergirls was very emotionally draining!

The ladies also talked about their writing processes, what's a good age to get published, and which of their books they would like to make into a sequel. Very good talk.

This past week I got together with some students to trade books and talk about Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. 6 people showed up but only 4 wanted to be in the picture!

We all walked out with "new" books and the Chicas also received some swag from @LisaMantchev! They signed up to read @MichelleZink's Prophecy of the Sisters and can't wait to get together again!

PPS - our visit to Anderson's was not as much fun as the last time. We brought our own book and showed up early to get our book signing number. The clerk told us we couldn't have one because we didn't buy the books from Anderson's. In a very rude, snotty manner she told us we could wait but she doubted if there would be time for the ladies to sign our books. We went for dinner and hoped that by the time we returned, she wouldn't be there. She was. They also didn't set up any chairs bcuz they were expecting lots of people. What? Makes no sense. Anyway, in the end, a short lady with dark hair over-rode the clerk and told us to get a number. It still took a long time! We even saw a girl get about 32 books signed even though she'd only bought 1 at Anderson's!! How do they know we weren't going to buy a book later? We had over an hour to wait until the signing! Bcuz of the rudeness, we didn't! I hesitate to go again even though the first time was a great visit.

In My Mailbox - July 12, 2009

inmymailbox In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Check out her website for additional books to add to your I Wanna Read it list! This week I bring you books from home and one day at The ALA (American Library Association) exhibits.

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev - Word Ninja!
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink - Word Ninja!
Crash Into Me by Albert Borris - Interview with Betty Borris about the author's recovery!

Red Glass by Laura Resau - won in twitter contest from @RobinBrande
The Treasure Map of Boys (ARC) by E. Lockhart - companion title to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (ARC) - Word Ninja giveaway in August!
Intertwined by Gena Showalter (ARC) - Harlequin TEEN! I cut my first reading teeth on Harlequin!!!
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (ARC) - another Harlequin Teen debut!

ALA Exhibits
The publishers were really awesome! I must give special shout-outs to Candlewick, Knopf, and Penguin Young Readers. The lady at Penguin saw my 13yo, The Amazing Dancer, and then presented her with THREE must reads! Candlewick overhead us talking and gave us two amazing books.Knopf gave us any ARC we wanted that she had on display. Thank you wonderful people!
The Amazing Dancer's books

Fire by Kristin Cashore
Hold Still by Nina Lacour
Gone from These Woods by Donny Seagraves
Murder at Midnight by AVI
William S. and the Great Escape by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
After by Amy Efaw
The Goodbye Season by Marian Hale
The Good Neighbors by Holly Black (signed)
In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith
Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness
Invisible Lines by Mary Amato (signed)
Strange Angels by Lilith St. Crow
Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (signed)

The Brain Lair's Books

Another Faust by Dina and Daniel Nayeri
The Mile Between by Mary E. Pearson
Front and Center by Caltherine Gilbert Murdock
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Powerless by Matthew Cody
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Island of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer
Invisible Lines by Mary Amato
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney
Geektastic by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander
Buck Fever by Cynthia Chapman Willis
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Can you say WOW!?? And we were only there for a few hours. I just want to thank the wonderful writers and publisher reps we had the pleasure of meeting. You made a long trip well worth it!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Five - July 10

Happy Friday! We have a few hours left so I figure, better late than never!

1. Winners - Congratulations to this week's book winners:

Andrea from The Little Bookworm - ghostgirl and ghostgirl: homecoming by Tonya Hurley

Nan from Nan's Corner of the Web - ghostgirl and ghostgirl: homecoming by Tonya Hurley

Carlene - The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul
These will be mailed out on Tuesday!

2. ALA - The Amazing Dancer and I are going to the exhibits at ALA tomorrow! We hope to see the following authors - Walter Dean Myers, Kadir Nelson, Kate Di Camillo, Neil Gaiman, Gitty Daneshavari, Judy Blume, Jacqueline Woodson and Cynthea Liu!

3. Anderson's Bookshop - Saturday night the Amazing Dancer and I hope to still be awake to go to Anderson's and meet Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson!

4. Game On - Not a good week. Nuff said.

5. Fresh Mixers - Healthy Choice has these new products called Fresh Mixers that I think will be awesome for work. I can never remember to make a good lunch but these look good and don't require refrigeration. You add water, microwave, drain, then add sauce. Add a side salad and a drink (preferably water) and you've got a fast and tasty meal!

As you can see, I got an early copy of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink! If you are looking for a good read - try it - Here's a review from Read Kiddo Read.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blog Update - July 9

ARGH! Taking a look at reviews I need to do, I realized how behind I am. So I'm going to make myself a little post and try to catch up. Each time I review a book, I will scratch it off the list! I may not make the review public if the book hasn't released yet, but I want to at least have all the reviews typed while everything is fresh in my mind!

In order read:
  1. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
  2. The Actor and The Housewife by Shannon Hale
  3. Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
  4. Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
  5. Bystander by James Preller
  6. Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
  7. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  8. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
  9. Mr. Popper's Penguins by R. Atwater
  10. Lost and Found by Andrew Clements
  11. Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
  12. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
  13. Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
  14. Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino
I also have some books I read and reviewed but haven't linked to my sidebar:
  1. Death Run by Jack Higgins
  2. Wings by Jason Lethcoe
  3. Flightsend by Linda Newbery
  4. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  5. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  6. Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
  7. The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul
  8. The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
  9. ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
  10. ghostgirl: homecoming by Tonya Hurley
Ok, so that's the work I need to do by month's end. So I have 22 days to complete 24 items - I think I'm up to the challenge!

UPDATE: I finished the first round of linkage. Work on reviews later, The Amazing Dancer is calling!

What My Daughter is Reading - July 9


What My Daughter is Reading is hosted by Jill at The Well-Read Child. Each week you take a look at what the young uns are reading and get some ideas.

Northanger Abbey
Jane Austen

The Amazing Dancer blew through Austenland. She enjoyed it. We talked a little abou the guy who lived in the garden house but she didn't want to discuss it. Teenagers! You got take whatever conversation you can get.

Instead of waiting until next month, she decided to continue with her Everything Austen Challenge and start on Northanger Abbey. She's off to Fine Arts Camp this week so she's bringing this book and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Hopefully, we'll get more out of her next week!

Blog Tour - The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

The Castaways
Elin Hilderbrand
July 2009

Meet the MacAvoys, The Kapenashes, The Wheelers, and The Drakes: Four couples who do most everything together. They all live on Nantucket Island. Sharing their daily lives and vacations, helping to raise each other's children, spending every Sunday together. Now, it's time for Tess and Greg to celebrate their anniversary, alone. Everyone is a little nervous because 1. Greg and Tess have been having marital problems, 2. Greg is not the best sailor, and 3. The weather is predicting a storm. When Greg and Tess don't come back - each person has to deal with the loss in their own way. No one person knows any other person fully as we see through the eyes of the friends the MacAvoys left behind.

"They just called to say there was an accident. And the MacAvoys are dead." (p5)

This is the perfect beach read: engaging, mysterious, romantic, and thought-provoking. The story is told with an alternating view-point. We hear part of the story from the Chief, Addison, Jeffrey, and Andrea. Andrea is Tess' cousin and married to the Chief. Jeffrey used to date Andrea. And Addison, well, there's a lot more going on with Addison than first appears. We then meet Delilah and Phoebe. Delilah, she's the fun one, who came up with the group name, who makes sure the conversation is lively. She's married to Jeffrey. Phoebe is married to Addison and she's decided that life is better self-medicated.

Elin Hilderbrand does a wonderful job of filling in the details of everyone's lives. We flashback from a variety of characters and slowly begin to piece the story together as we move to the present day. Along the way, we also get a glimpse of how Greg and Tess' lives affected all the other couples.

Hilderbrand was able to give each character a distinct voice and set of circumstances that helped you to keep track of who was speaking and what was going on. Throughout the book, the readers has opportunities to put the puzzle together right before things are revealed to the character.

The story moves forward quickly and there's just the right amount of tension. The ending left things on a light note that gave the readers a sense of satisfaction. Great book! Highly recommended.

Summer Fun
Read an excerpt from The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.

Join Elin Hilderbrand's Nantucket Virtual Book Club for The Castaways!

Watch this video for A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand

Looking for a great recipe for a summer drink? Try The Castaways favorite drink, The Surfsider!

Take this fun quiz - Which Summer Cocktail Are You?

Author Talk
elinhilderbrandElin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Check out the rest of the book tour!



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