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Showing posts from January, 2012

Death Cloud

I have been torn about reading Death Cloud by Andrew Lane for some time. On the one hand, it is about a  teenage Sherlock Holmes. On the other hand, the cover is highly mockable. I wouldn't be caught in public with this book sort of mockable. It makes it difficult to take the contents seriously. Then I saw a favorable review from a friend on Goodreads and decided to overcome my being content with chortling over the cover (the UK cover is so much better). I'm glad I did because this is an excellent example of YA historical fiction, a true honoring of the original character, and a fun mystery adventure story.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named …

The Dragon of Cripple Creek

The Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell is a book about a dragon guarding gold in an Old West mine and the girl who discovers him and his dragon gold. There is also an interesting sibling story thrown in.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
When Kat and her father and brother visit the Mollie Kathleen, an old gold mine now open for tours by the busload, Kat gets lost from the group and falls down a shaft, where she discovers an awe-inspiring world of fantasy come to life. She meets an ancient dragon—the last of his kind—and discovers a secret about the gold that litters the creature's den and why dragons throughout time have hoarded the sparkling treasure. The dragon helps Kat escape the endless caverns, but not before Kat greedily takes a piece of gold for herself. Feeling guilty, Kat decides to return it, but before she can do this she drops it in front of a group of visitors, and a media frenzy ensues. Soon the mining town is filled with gold seekers. In order to save the d…

Warped

Warpedby Maurissa Guibord takes a magically woven tapestry, the mythology of the Norn (Fates), and some time travel to tell a romantic story of destined love.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding…

The Queen's Thief Week

My friend Chachic over at Chachic's Book Nook is hosting a week on her blog dedicated to the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. If you go and peruse the My Favorite Things posts I have you will see these books come up quite a bit. It is my favorite series which contains my favorite book which contains my favorite character of all time. I have never written "reviews" for these books because I just don't know how. It is almost impossible to discuss all the whys and wherefores of loving something so much. Which is why Chachic is a genius for coming up with this awesome event where all of us who love these books can share little pieces of their brilliance and what they mean to us individually and this is my small contribution to that. Plot elements in the second book are hinted at here, there was no other way I could write it, but I managed to (mostly) avoid outright spoilers.
The picture used in the poster there for this event comes from the Japanese edit…

And the Winners Are...

The winners of the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced this morning at the Midwinter Conference. Here they are in all their newly medaled glory. I'm a little sad because none of the books I wanted to win did. I am looking forward to reading the winners I haven't gotten to yet though.

The Geisel
Awarded to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.
The Winner: Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider
The Honors: I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems, I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, See Me Run by Paul Meisel

The Printz Award
Awarded to the author of a work that exemplifies excellence in young adult literature.

The Winner: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
The Honors: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, The Returning by Christine Hinwood (my review), Jasper Jones by Craig Silveym, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (my review)

The Caldecott
Awarded to the artist of the most distinguished picture book for children

The Winn…

Anticipation

And what am I anticipating? Monday morning 7:45 AM Central time. This is when the ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced. I will be one of the people vying for those limited (10,000) virtual seats. Since I'm nice I will tell you that here is where you go to try for that. (Although anyone who really wants to watch it probably already knows that.) There is also a Twitter you can follow.

The awards are largely unpredictable because the committees change every year. Even if you have been following Calling Caldecott, Heavy Medal, and Someday My Printz Will Come you can still be taken by surprise on award day. So these are not predictions, just my thoughts, beginning with the award I'm most familiar with the criteria for (having actually participated at HM this year rather than just lurking) and the books that are contenders for it.

The Newbery
I will be a happy happy girl if any of the following books win or are given honors:
 My top spot vote in the HM mock went to Amelia Lost an…

The Fault in Our Stars

And here is Most Anticipated Books of 2012 number two. I admit much of my anticipation for this one had to do with the experience of reading it alongside so many others. It was like a community event. Not that I don't enjoy John Green's work in and of itself, I just tend to want to like it more than I actually do. The Fault in Our Stars is no different. There is so much to love about the artistry in the writing itself and it is beautiful, witty, and heartbreaking, but there were elements of it that I just couldn't fully embrace, all of which had to do with me as the reader and not the book itself.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel …

Winterling

Here it is, the first of my Most Anticipated Reads of 2012. Winterling by Sarah Prineas was well worth the anticipation. This is one of the books that just fit me and my mood perfectly.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
With her boundless curiosity and wild spirit, Fer has always felt that she doesn’t belong. Not when the forest is calling to her, when the rush of wind through branches feels more real than school or the quiet farms near her house. Then she saves an injured creature—he looks like a boy, but he’s really something else. He knows who Fer truly is, and invites her through the Way, a passage to a strange, dangerous land. Fer feels an instant attachment to this realm, where magic is real and oaths forge bonds stronger than iron. But a powerful huntress named the Mor rules here, and Fer can sense that the land is perilously out of balance. Fer must unlock the secrets about the parents she never knew and claim her true place before the worlds on both sides of the Way descend…

Literary Moms

When I did the post on my Favorite Sibling Stories months ago, it occurred to me that I should at some point tackle literary parents. The thought was rather daunting though as in Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, particularly the fantasy ones I mostly read, they are largely absent. My own wonderful Mom has a birthday coming up next week and as I was thinking about all that there is to celebrate about her and how great a mother she is, I was reminded of this again. For me personally moms in books don't impress me as much because they come nowhere close to being as great as the one I have. (It is the same for dads, I was well and truly blessed with both my parents, but I will tackle the dads in the next favorite things post.) There are some that do stand out and pop into my mind right away as I sat down to think about it.

Molly Weasley
She is in no way a perfect mother, but no mother is. (Being a mother drives this point home remarkably well.) This is part of why I like Molly so …

My Unfair Godmother

I have been looking forward to reading Janette Rallison's My Unfair Godmother since I read her first novel about the neglectful fairy godmother Chrissy Everstar, My Fair Godmother (my review). The two novels only share her as a character and therefore can be read individually. In My Unfair Godmother Chrissy is back to wreak havoc in another teen's life by grossly misinterpreting her wishes.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpels…

Come Fall

Oberon, Titania, Puck. These were the reasons I was interested in reading Come Fall by A.C.E. Bauer. Take characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream and have them messing in the lives of middle schoolers? I'm so there. And I enjoyed the book as I expected, but not for the reasons I thought I would.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Lu Zimmer's best friend moved away last summer. Salman Page is the new kid in school. Blos Pease takes everything literally. Three kids who are on the fringe of the middle school social order find each other and warily begin to bond, but suddenly things start going wrong. Salman becomes the object of the school bully's torment, and Lu's pregnant mother has some unexpected complications. Is something conspiring against them? In fact, through no fault of their own, Salman and Lu have become pawns in a game of jealous one-upmanship between Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of Faery, with the mischievous Puck trying to keep the peace.

Th…

Past Perfect

My parents moved to Virginia two weeks after I started college. They live a 20-30 minute, depending on traffic, drive from Colonial Williamsburg. I have been many times. While there I have never wanted to ask the actors if they are hot. I know they are hot. I'm hot and I don't have 20 pounds of clothes on. I have always wondered about the other lives of these people who spend their whole day pretending to be someone else in a different world. I was excited to see Leila Sales had written a story about  this in her contemporary YA novel Past Perfect, which I devoured in one afternoon and thoroughly loved. (Also, I love the cover even if it has nothing to do with the actual story.)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it …

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin has one of the most complicated and difficult to remember titles of any book I've come across in a long time. It is title worth trying to remember though as it is a wonderful heartwarming story of friendship and community and the magic in everyday life.

The story follows the lives of the citizens on Orange Street over the course of a day and a half and centers on the vacant lot with the lone standing orange tree where the children play. The third person narrative switches perspective between three 9 year old girls, one 11 year old boy, an elderly woman who has lived on Orange Street her entire life, the mysterious man, and even the orange tree. Ali is dealing with how his sickness has changed her brother. Leandra is trying to reconcile herself to the arrival of a new sister. Bunny is overcome with fears and worry over her mother's business traveling. Robert is trying to deal with his parents divorce and impress …

The Scorpio Races

Confession time. I read several reviews that called The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater a supernatural YA version of Misty of Chincoteague. Confession One: I have never read Misty of Chincoteague. Bit has to read it for school next year and I have been putting off reading it because, Confession Two: I don't want to. Why? Confession Three: I don't like horse stories. Never have. This is because, Confession Four: I don't really care for horses. (And don't get why so many people do.) I was very eager to read The Scorpio Races though. Apparently all it takes for  me to be interested in a horse story is for the horses in question to be rapacious fey creatures who devour their riders when they fall off. What that says about me as a human being I'm not sure.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. …

Most Anticipated 2012 Reads AND a Challenge

It looks like another great year of reading is starting. There are several books coming out this year by authors I fell in love with in 2011 and I am excited for new installments in several series I enjoy. Here are some of the books I'm most looking forward to.

Winterling by Sarah Prinneas (January)
I love the cover. I love the premise. I read Prinneas's Magic Thief books this year and adored them so I am very  much excited to get my hands on this one. Here is a very enticing book trailer you can watch to raise the excitement level even more.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (January)
If you read the synopsis of this book you kind of have to wonder how anyone could say they were excited about reading it. (Although masses of people are.) It is most likely going to be gut wrenching and heart breaking. But it is John Green so it will also be humorous and probably awesome. (I confess the only other John Green I've read is Looking for Alaska so I can not be counted as one of …