Last Five Posts

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sunday Salon - Someday My Printz Will Come - November 29, 2010

I've posted a lot about the Mock Newbery clubs I'm participating in as they occupy a lot of my time.  I haven't done as much for the Mock Printz clubs because one is online at Goodreads and the irl one has been reading on their own and won't meet until January 5th or so.

But, as I try to line up and complete all my reading in time to judge the second round of YA for The Cybils, I find a need to discuss.  

Books I've Read in Search of Printz
  1. Finnikin of the Rock by Marchetta
  2. Incarceron by Fisher
  3. Before I Fall by Oliver
  4. The Woods Runner by Paulsen (more Newberyish?)
  5. A Conspiracy of Kings by Turner (more Newberyish?)
  6. After the Kiss by McVoy
  7. Sweet, Hereafter by Johnson
  8. Happyface by Emond
  9. She's So Dead to Us by Scott
  10. Cardturner by Sachar (more Newberyish?)
  11. Fever Crumb by Reeve
  12. Green Witch by Hoffman
  13. Prince of Mist by Zafon
  14. Birthmarked by O'Brien
  15. Last Summer of The Death Warriors by Stork
  16. Mercury by Larson
  17. Not That Kind of Girl by Vivian
  18. Efrain's Secret by Quintero
  19. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  20. Tell Us We're Home by Marina Budhos (more Newberyish?)
  21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by Green and Levithan
  22. Mockingjay by Collins
  23. Glimpse by Williams
  24. Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Berk
  25. The Water Seeker by Holt
  26. Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs by Koertge
  27. Stuck on Earth by Klass (more Newberyish?)
  28. Reckless by Funke
  29. The Grimm Legacy by Shulman
  30. Scorch Trials by Dashner
  31. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Matson
  32. Ship Breaker by Bacigalupi
  33. Black Hole Sun by Gill
  34. They Called Themselves the KKK by Bartoletti (more Newberyish?)
  35. As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Perkins (more Newberyish?)
  36. Lockdown by Myers
  37. Yummy by Neri
  38. Revolution by Donnelly
  39. Dirt Road Home by Key
Ok, how many of these have you read?  Which do you think has the best chance? 

I still have a few more to read like
  1. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by King
  2. Matched by Condie
  3. The Things a Brother Knows by Reinhardt
  4. The Marbury Lens by Smith
  5. Pegasus by McKinley
  6. Trash by Mulligan
Are there books I'm missing?  What books do you think meet the Printz criteria?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sunday Salon - Happy Day! - November 21, 2010


Today I was lamenting, again, my lack of cable.  It has been a long time since i've had it but lately, I've been missing it.  It must be the weather.  Driving home from work in the dark makes you want to lie down.  Now, I get a lot of my TV fix from Hulu but my laptop does not have a suitable hookup.  I've loved having Netflix on my Wii and tried getting Hulu on the Opera browsing but, no go.  And then,

::Cue heavenly music, clouds parting, sun shining brightly::

I found playon tv.  I am able to have Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu, CBS, NBC, the CW, etc.  running through my Wii! I love it! I can watch it on the big screen.  No, the quality is not the best but that is a function of my extremely old television and the Wii connection, plus ATT.  I'm sure if you have a better system, like PS3, your viewing experience would be even more amazing.  Now, there is a cost.  I'm doing a two-week trial and I will decide if I want to pay $20 for a year or $60 for life (sale until 11/30).  It's cheaper than cable but you do need to find and load some plugins on your computer.  For now though, it's awesome!

Reading Update
I've read 5 of the books on my Mock Newbery list since last week which is good.  I've only reviewed one of them - it was so moving I had to write something, but that's not enough.  I hope to get through six this week and review 3 of them. 

  1. Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
  2. Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
  3. Scumble by Ingrid Law
  4. Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  5. What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb
  6. Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor
This should leave me some leeway for other reads too!  I have one more on my Mock Printz list to read so that might make it's way on the list.. Only three days of work this week!

What are you reading or watching this week?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Short Break!

I'm taking a short break this week while getting things ready for the Amazing Dancer's 15th Birthday!  Will be back on Sunday, November 21.  Have a great week!  Keep reading!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sunday Salon - November 14, 2010

The CardturnerI'm writing over at SJCPL Mock Newbery 2011 today.

Great meeting with 22 students in attendance.  We talked books, Skyped with Laura, and then discussed the books they thought were the "most distinguished".

Read more at SJCPL Mock Newbery 2011 blog.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan - Review and Blog Tour

Of Bees and Mist
Of Bees and Mist
Erick Setiawan
Simon and Schuster
404 pgs.

Meridia grew up in a household with a mother who rarely remembers she's alive and a father who wishes he could forget she'd been born.  For the first 16 years of her life she wonders if all families are like this or if there's a chance she might find someone who loves her. In Independence Plaza she finds Daniel and she finally gains her freedom.  When she meets Daniel's parents she notices two things; it's warm in his house and there's no mist hovering outside.  They marry three months later and she moves into their home.  Quickly she realizes that although the Orchard Road house is not surrounded by mist, it's infested with bees.  They aren't present all the time, only when Eva, Daniel's mother, decides she's losing control or not getting enough attention.  The bees are a result of her incessant complaints.  Everyone but Meridia appear to be blind to Eva's fault and Meridia soon becomes an outcast and has to take drastic measures to save her marriage.

My Thoughts
Of Bees and Mist has elements of magical realism as Setiawan gives the mist and the bees human characteristics. Setiawan also incorporates ghosts, spirits and other out-of-this-world beings  Many times Setiawan switched so quickly between fantasy and reality it was hard to follow what was happening.  You also had to be aware of the time change as the author attempted to weave in Meridia's parents past.  I found it a struggle to get through Of Bees and Mist.  I became bogged down in the details as I tried to separate what could be a function of the character's imagination and what was really occurring. My confusion was deepened by my lack of feelings for any of the characters.  I just wasn't interested in what happened to any of them and much of what did seemed like it was there for the shock value.  After crawling through the 400 pages I felt the ending was rushed. I didn't get a sense of resolution and was left with many questions. So many problems were wrapped up neatly and others just ended. 

About the Author
Erick Setiawan was born in 1975 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. A quiet, shy child, he was thankfully raised in a family of gifted storytellers, who taught him that while life might have an endless supply of conflict, not all of it translates into a good story. Due to the anti-Chinese sentiment prevalent in Indonesia, his childhood was often fraught with tension, which prompted him to take comfort in books and in the world of his imagination. To traumatize him further, his parents sent him to Catholic schools, where he learned from an early age to feel guilty about everything and that a grown man in a sash and a swishing robe with a ruler in his hand was in no way maternal.

 Several years, two failed novels, and countless short stories later, he decided to quit his job to finish writing Of Bees and Mist. At the time, he had no book deal and knew no one in publishing, but he pursued his passion with the same stubborn resolution/delusion that had motivated him earlier. He sold Of Bees and Mist four years after he started it.

Erick Setiawan - Facebook
Of Bees and Mist - website

Thursday, October 7th: Rundpinne
Tuesday, October 12th: Life…With Books
Wednesday, October 13th: Ms.Bookish.com (author interview)
Thursday, October 14th: Books and Things
Tuesday, October 19th: The Whimsical Cottage
Wednesday, October 20th: Literary Feline
Tuesday, October 26th: YA Addicts
Friday, October 29th: See Michelle Read
Monday, November 1st: Missy’s Reads & Reviews
Tuesday, November 2nd: Chaotic Compendiums
Wednesday, November 3rd: Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, November 4th: The Lost Entwife
Tuesday, November 9th: In the Next Room
Wednesday, November 10th: Fyrefly’s Book Blog
Thursday, November 11th: YA Bookshelf
Monday, November 15th: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Simon and Schuster for this finished copy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Hole in the Wall by Lisa Rowe Fraustino - Review and Blog Tour

The Hole in the WallThe Hole in the Wall
Lisa Rowe Fraustino
Milkweed
November 2010

Seb Daniels has finally found a way to escape his family.  His little "Hole in the Wall" is the perfect getaway.  He's made it feel homey by stashing some of his favorite things and using unintentional castoffs from the family.  When he's relaxed and reading or daydreaming, he swears colors start swirling out of the rocks.  But, eventually, all good things must end. At home, which is a real "hole in the wall" since it snuggles up near a mountain, Seb shares a room with his twin Barbara, also known as Shish Kebarb.  Jed has run away and Pa spends all day drunk and Grum, his grandmother, has taken over his former room. Seb's part of town, the Kokadjo Gore, has been strip-mined and the Daniels own one of the last standing houses.  The house is starting to seep up the runoff water from the stripped land and it's doing strange things to the ground and to the chickens.  When Seb is up gathering eggs for sale, he finds one that's been solidified.  The next thing you know, Stanley "Boots" Odum is at their door offering to buy their land.  The same Stanley Odum who's purchased and destroyed all the beautiful wooded areas around the Daniels.  The same Stanley Odum who forced their Pa out of a job and then wouldn't let him work in the new company.  Seb hated Stanley.  There had to be something going on for Odum to want their land so much.  Seb and Barbie set to find out and hope they'll solve the mystery of the chickens along the way.  Hopefully before the cookie dough solidifies in Seb's stomach!

Pros:
Original story that adds magical realism to the mystery.
Fast-paced plot keeps the story moving forward.
Some funny parts - Seb is "magnetized" and a chicken gets stuck to his stomach.
Want to know what will happen to the family.
Values imagination and hard work.

Cons:
Too many different stories being told at once is a little jarring and hard to follow.
Too many coincidences - unrealistic.
Too many characters mean you don't really get to know them.
Resolution wrapped up too neatly.

Questions:
Why wasn't Barbara the narrator?  Tune in tomorrow for a guest post by Lisa Rowe Fraustino, maybe we'll get our questions answered.

Book Trailer


Blog Tour
November 9 Cynsations
November 10 Green Bean Teen Queen
November 11 Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading
November 12 Kid Lit Frenzy

Book Links
The Hole in the Wall - google books
The Hole in the Wall - Good Reads
Lisa Rowe Fraustino on Facebook


Thanks to Blue Slip Media for this ARC.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Sunday Salon - Monthly Update - October 2010

I haven't done one of these since June or July! Which is when I finished all of my fake challenges and my one real challenge, NO Summer Slide.

I'm now working on a new real challenge - read a good portion of the books that are Newbery Contenders.  I'm working off a list so that makes it a little easier.  The hard part is writing something about each book as I finish it.  I'll update my progress next week.
  
October Reading
Tween/Middle Grades (10)
Night Fairy by Schlitz
Kick by Myers and Workman (2011 release from NetGalley)
The Search for Wondla by DiTerlizzi

The Familiars by Epstein and Jacobson
Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Viorst
The Lost Hero by Riordan
Jake by Couloumbis
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Angleberger
Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol by Krieg
Vordak the Incomprehensible by Seegart

Young Adult (13)
Water Seeker by Holt
Prom and Prejudice by Eulberg (2011 release from Scholastic)
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs by Koertge
Stuck on Earth by Klass
Reckless by Funke
Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Green
Bamboo People by Perkins
Beastly by Flinn (audio)
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Matson
Ship Breaker by Bacigalupi
Black Hole Sun by Gill
Scorch Trials by Dashner
Cool Beans by  Mangum

Picture Book (1)
Bad Kitty by Bruel

Other
Blank my Dad Says by Halpin

Total Read in October - 25
Best Book Read in October - The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

Decent but my school year challenge calls for some classic and nonfiction reading.  Luckily, I have until June for that.

Upcoming Reads
Blog Tours
Hole in the Wall by Faustino
Bees to Mist by Setiawan
The Walk by Alexander
Wishing and Hoping by Lamb
Keeper by Appelt
Joey Fly 2 by Reynolds
Sugar and Ice by Messner
The Alchemist - Graphic Novel by Coehlo

Requests
Selling Hope by Tubb
Spray by Edge

Print and Newbery Book Club Reads
Forge by Anderson
Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Cushman
Touch Blue by Lord
A Million Shades of Gray by Kadohata
Scumble by Law
War to End All Wars by Freedman
Finally by Mass
Turtle in Paradise by Holm
The Danger Box by Balliett
Easy as Falling Off The Face of the Earth by Perkins
Revolution by Donnelly
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by King

I still need the two reads from our teacher book club, but hopefully they will choose something I'm already planning to read or have read!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Five - Winter Approacheth

from cupcakesandcashmere.com
As I watch the news and see the forecast for snow, it makes me thankful.

I.HATE.SNOW!  So, what am I thankful for?

1. Heat - It's nice to come home and see the smoke coming out of the chimney as I pull into the driveway.  I get inside and kick my shoes off.  Ah! Enveloped by the wonderful heat!

2. Garage - An enclosed garage makes the winter that much more bearable.  I don't have to scrape off the car or wait until the car "heats" up.  Nice.

3. Hot chocolate - Mmmm, add some marshmallows and whipped cream, need I say more?

4. Slippers - I have those fake Ugg kind with the fur inside.  So warm and cozy!

5. Down Comforter - I just wrap up in it and float away to happy land!

Although I don't enjoy cold weather, I do enjoy some of the gifts I use more often then!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saving Sky by Diane Stanley - Review


Saving Sky
Diane Stanley
Harper Collins Children
199 pgs.

Summary
Sky and her family live in a  post 9/11 world in New Mexico.  There are frequent terrorists attacks and the nation has established red alerts and safe zones in schools.  The Brightmans have decided to protect their children, Sky and Mouse, from harsh news and tell them what they need to know.  After a very serious terrorist attack, the family rushes to get supplies at Home Depot where they witness a Middle Eastern family being mistreated first by the crowd and then by the supposed authorities.  Sky is upset that she stood idly by and is challenged by her mother, Ana, to make a difference by befriending Kareem, a new student at the school.

My Thoughts
Pros:
  • short, spare writing that clearly describes the characters
  • fast moving plot that doesn't sacrifice story
  • believable bullying situations, very realistic
  • resolution was unexpected but mostly satisfying
Cons:
  • hard to get a picture of the setting
  • left with questions (not really a con!)
All in all, worth reading. Could pair this with Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, just bring lots of tissue.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are You My Newbery 2011? - Who Are Your Top Contenders?

I had intended to list my Top 10 Contenders today but I think I need a few more weeks of reading time.  I thought, instead, I would let you see what the blogosphere is thinking right now.  So, in no particular order:

School Library Journal Heavy Medal Blog- Jonathan and Nina have listed their top 8 which includes a mix of genres.  They've also included a link to the Newbery Manual!

Laura's Life - Laura has listed her top 5.  She's read ALL the past Newbery winners and hosts her own Mock Newbery club.

Eva Perry Mock Newbery - The Eva Perry library Mock Newbery club posted their top titles.  These titles were chosen by teens. 

St. Joseph County Public Library Mock Newbery - Kris has posted her third list.  Full disclosure - I contribute to this blog.  We would really love your feedback!

So, go check those out and come back and tell me if you agree or disagree with the choices.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - Review


Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Morgan Matson
Simon and Schuster
344 pgs.

Summary (library)
After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt.

My Thoughts
I loved how Matson interlaced the road trip journal with the state playlists and other ephemera. I was always happy to find a song I knew on the list and to read some little known but fun fact about the state. I watched Amy's growing interest in Roger and wondered when he would figure out how her feelings were changing towards him.

I found it hard to believe that a 17 year old would be left in a house alone for a month so soon after experiencing a tragic accident. I also had a hard time believing a mom would let said 17 year old drive across the country with a boy she hadn't seen since they were children.

But, once I put those thoughts on the backburner, I was able to enjoy the story.  Matson's writing is vivid and you can get a clear picture of the characters.  As Amy and Roger go on their quests for closure; Roger to determine why his girlfriend left him and Amy to understand her role in her father's death, you can see how they mature. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Are You My Newbery - Mock Newbery 2011

It's time for me to start reading in earnest to see if I can pick the Newbery before the committee.  I also have a few more books I want to read before the vote comes in on Monday, January 10, 2011.

In order to challenge myself, I'm going to try and read all the books on The St. Joseph County Public Library Mock Newbery list.

I'm going to list those books on my Are You My Newbery 2011 page and update as I go.

There are some books on the library list that I've already read, so I didn't include those books.

In addition to those books, I have some blog tour books, Harry Potter 7, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and a few other books I want to read.  All in all, there are about 70 books I want to read by January 9th!  Join me!

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