Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm gonna try to catch up on some reading from our Mock Printz Goodreads group! Happy Reading!

Mock Printz 2012's currently-reading book montage
Mock Printz 2012 182 members Reading the best of the best in Young Adult literature published in the previous year. Our goal is...

Books we're currently reading

The Berlin Boxing Club The Berlin Boxing Club
by Robert Sharenow
Start date: November 16, 2011

I Am J I Am J
by Cris Beam
Start date: November 16, 2011

Life: An Exploded Diagram Life: An Exploded Diagram
by Mal Peet
Start date: November 16, 2011

View this group on Goodreads »

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True by Gerald Morris

Morris, Gerald. The Adventures of Sir Gawain The True. Houghton Mifflin. 2011. 14.99. 9780547418551.

Oh, Gerald Morris. You had me at "You don't think that just because you saved my life we're, you know, in love or something, do you?"

Sir Gawain the Undefeated was just that and while he didn't lack courage, King Arthur also wanted his knights to learn how to be kind and courteous.  Shortly after Gawain's less than stellar encounter with a lady and a dragon, (but no tattoo) King Arthur reminds his nephew, and the other knights, that chivalry is NOT dead! Sir Gawain is having none of it, I mean, he doesn't want to be called Sir Gawain the Love Doctor now does he? But, alas, we follow Sir Gawain and watch as he moves from a steadfast belief that "might makes right" to thinking carefully not only about situations but about the people involved in them. If you don't know anything about King Arthur, no worries, Morris takes the legend and brings it to an understandable and easy-to-grasp level.  This would be perfect in a classroom.  It's only 118 pgs and includes adventure, friendship, battles, and trickery all covered in a healthy dose of humor.  I can see it as a read aloud.  I'll be picking up the other two books in the The Knights Tales and you should too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Review

Review Done By: Aneeqah's Not So Real Life


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic

Review: This story is about a girl named Karou, who lives in a town called Prague, in the Czech Republic. She's a little unusual. She has blue hair, draws incredible well, plus other strange details, but the strangest thing being: she lives a double life. All of her life, she's been divided by her two lives, her normal one, and her not-so-normal one. And all of this time, she's always felt a little... off. But how could she not, working for a magical teeth-collecter?

I think I surprised myself in two ways while reading this book. Let's start with the good one. Even though there's lots of unfamiliar words and names in this book, I could remember them and keep them seperate without any problem. Usually, with lots of confusing names, I have to flip back in the book and try to figure out which person is which, what word means what, or I just keep reading and hope it makes sense to me. But I never found myself doing that in this book. Ms. Taylor made very distinct names and characters, and so it was very easy to keep up with everything.

The other thing I surprised myself with was that I easily guessed the whole mystery of the book. The whole question, the suspense, once I met the other important charcter, I guessed it with a snap. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be that obvious, because I'm absolutely terrible with figuring out the mystery. Seriously. Something could be so obvious, and I would totally miss it. But that wasn't the case in this book. Which very much surprised me.

One thing I also loved about this book is the description. I've read some very descriptive books before, and to be honest, I just skimmed through alot of those books. But the descriptions were so unique in this book, and it painted a picture of the whole scene to me. I think it defiantly added a whole lot to this book, and it made it better.

Also, I think Mrs. Taylor added lots of details in the magic aspect of the book. I don't want to give anything away, but I feel as everything is very well-thought out, and I don't even think I have any questions about how it all works, and trust me, I always have questions!

The things I didn't like about the book? The main problem for me would probably be that it dragged in places. I know the author had to set up the scene and everything, but for me, that took too long, and honestly, it got kinda boring in the beginning of the book. It took a while for me to actually begin to get really intrested, and even then, the book sometimes lost my intrest near the end. The middle was for sure the most intresting part for me, where there was some really good conflict and some action.

Another thing I strongly disliked was the fabulous cliffhanger. Honestly, I shouldn't have expected more from this book. I don't think I've read a book that came out this year that doesn't have a cliffhanger. It would have been nice if this book would have been different, but of course, it didn't. Cliffhangers are really starting to get on my nerves. But, hey, that's the price you pay for reading good books, right?

In the end, I think this book is great for more older readers. Younger kids won't really enjoy it, since it doesn't have much action in it. Honestly, I was expecting more action than what I got, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But it was still a pretty good read. I'll be looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sunday Salon -Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

Hound Dog True. Urban, Linda. Harcourt Children's Books. 149p. 15.99. 9780547558691.

This is the story of Mattie Breen.  A shy, ten-year-old girl who's always moving and just wants to be a "custodial apprentice". Hound dog true.  Mattie figures if she works with her uncle, Potluck, during recess adn other school-related free time, she can avoid the debilitating effects of being new and friendless and having no one to sit next to or chat with. Then Mattie meets Quincy. Quincy has this unaffected way of talking, like everything and everyone is boring.  You know the tone. It's how the word "whatever" became so ubiquitous.  Anyways (ha!), to Mattie, Quincy is like this sophisticated teen and she's afraid that she'll be rejected by her so she's determined to avoid her and spare herself the heartache.  Unfortunately, her mother has other ideas.  So Mattie decides she can be cool and unconcerned. But you can only pretend for so long.

I was a Mattie.  Still am.  I prefer books to people because I always feel out of my league. Like, why are these sophisticated people talking to me. Or, more often than not, why aren't these sophisticated people talking to me! How can I be more like them?  How did they become so awesome? Is there some secret school these people went to that I need to know about? Luckily, since I read a lot, I know all about characters and I routinely try different ones on hoping no one notices and they accept this new "me".  It leaves me on edge, always second guessing myself, checking my words before spitting them out.  It's why I love texting and twitter.  I can be anybody! Hound dog true.

But, enough about me, please! Linda Urban has a passion for what she calls "quiet books", as evidenced by both Hound Dog True and A Crooked Kind of Perfect.  This is one of those quiet books that, on the surface, seems like not much is happening, but underneath, you can see the changes in Mattie, the struggles she's facing and attempting to overcome, and you root for her and you pray and you hope and you keep reading because if Mattie can do it, so can you.

For you writers out there, check out Urban's earlier attempts at Hound Dog True. It gives you hope.  Don't give up because you didn't wake up with a vision and the story pretty much writes itself.  Sometimes the good stuff takes patience and perseverance. Poor Moe.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson - Eligible?

The Flint Heart. Paterson, Katherine and John.  Candlewick Press, 2011. 19.99. 9780763647124.

This "freely abridged" version of Eden Phillpott's The Flint Heart written in 1910. It says abridged - Phillpott's story was 334 pg and Paterson's is 288, but it appears to be the same story. I wonder if it's eligible for the Newbery?

According to the Expanded Rules of the Newbery Manual, a book should be an original work. Something New.  It can have parts pubbed before.  But, each committee has to determine what that means to them.  I think this one is NOT eligible but would love to hear your thoughts.

I did find something in the comments on The Heavy Medal blog when they discussed The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship Of Her Own Making.  But, as mentioned, rules depend on committee. If you were on the committee, what would you say?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Bellanush Review

 Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Graphia. 9780547258300. $9.99

Reviewed by BellaNush

Isabella says:

I loved this book! I just enjoyed everything about it! It was an  interesting idea. The two different colored eyes, Katsa's graceling being survival not killing, Po losing his sight! I was absolutely mesmerized by this book. :) Yes, Po losing his sight did make me sad, but it also seemed needed. So I definitely enjoyed this book and I hope others do to. I think this is a good book for people who like descriptive writing and read a lot. But I also think people who don't read a lot would enjoy it because it has a wonderful plot.

Anusha says:

I didn't like this book. No, actually I hated this book! I found it boring, annoying, dumb, insufferable, and most of all, stupid. First off, I HATED the main character! I found her really annoying, because in the beginning of the book, Katsa seems very strong and unbreakable. Then in the middle, she was breaking down and crying over every little thing! Near the end, she was just a mess. Crying one second, taking down an army the next. In love one moment, furious the next. I hated her little mood swings! They were really annoying. The author could have made her a great character, but all we got was this ignorant, annoying, stupidly emotional, mess. It's pretty sad actually.... Second reason why I hated this book was the story. The idea of Gracelings didn't appeal to me from the start, but I thought it would get better. I thought the author would make them more interesting, but no. That never happened. The Gracelings could have been great for the story, but the author chose to focus on everything BUT them. I also hated the whole medieval theme. The characters speech pattern got really annoying after a while, and I just couldn't stand it! It didn't seem perfectly medieval,or at all normal. The speech was at an annoying level in between! Overall, I felt like the book was a COMPLETE waste of my time.

What do you think?


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