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Showing posts from September, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

Tomorrow, September 30, marks the beginning of the 30th Banned Book Week. This week was started to bring attention to the thousands of books that are challenged every year in libraries across the country. I have never understood why people feel the need to do this. If you don't like a book, don't read it. If you don't want your children to read something, don't allow them. Why anyone feels they have the right to make those choices for other people and families boggles my mind.
So here we are, another year and there is another list. This is the most recent year they have numbers for. The Top 10 for 2011. (Note that these are challenged books, not necessarily actually banned books.You can find more lists here.) Look at the reasons for the challenges.
ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age groupThe Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; s…

The Assassin's Curse

Pirates, Assasins, and Magic. Oh my. I think my interest in The Assassin's Curseby Cassandra Rose Clark is evident. It didn't disappoint. It was just as fun as a book about a Pirate Princess reluctantly attached to a Magical Assassin could possibly be.

Ananna is not happy about the future her parents have prepared for her. She is to be married off to another pirate  house in a business deal. When she flees from her wedding her spurned would be in laws send an assassin after her. Ananna then, in an instinctive move, saves the life of the hired assassin and activates a curse. Now he must protect her or die himself. Extremely reluctant companions, Ananna and Naji must travel the desert and high seas, finally arriving at a dangerous and otherworldly island to try and find a cure for their predicament. With, of course, all the requisite adventures and romantic tension along the way.

The story is plot heavy with a lot of action scenes, peril, and blood. Lots of blood. It is a fast p…

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Last year I was delighted by The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making (my thoughts) by Catherynne Valente and have been eagerly anticipating the sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. The sequel is different, but marvelous in its own way.

If you have not read the first Fairyland book you need to in order to completely understand this one. You will be confused in many places otherwise. In the second part of her story September must come to terms with the consequences of some of her choices during her first journey. Her decision to sever herself from her shadow was not a bad one at the time, but it had far reaching consequences that are pretty bad. And it is in this that the book is quite different from its predecessor. In the first book September was on a quest as a hero to topple an evil queen. Every child's Fairyland fantasy. Now she is a year older and wiser and faces an entirely different challenge. She still has a quest, …

Favorite Stand Alone Fantasy Novels

For my last My Favorite Things Post I talked about my Favorite Fantasy Series so this time around I'm going to do stand alone fantasy novels. These are novels that aren't part of a series. They may have a companion novel or novels, but can be read as a stand alone.

So here they are:



This incredibly lazy post brought to you by me being on vacation.

Secret Letters

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier was a book I couldn't refuse. It involves Sherlock Holmes after all, and I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. I did enjoy the mystery element of the story even though I had some issues with the book overall.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin's ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits--and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective--to save her cousin's reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.

The mystery part of the story was a lot of fun. There is more than one Secret Letter floating around…

The Icarus Project

I came across The Icarus Project by Laura Quimby on NetGalley and was instantly intrigued. It sounded like exactly the sort of book I would enjoy. And enjoy it I did.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
More than anything, Maya wants to discover something incredible. Her parents are scientists: Her mother spends most of her time in tropical rainforests, uncovering ancient artifacts, and her dad is obsessed with digging up mammoths. When her father gets invited by an eccentric billionaire to lead a team investigating a mammoth’s remains in the Arctic, Maya begs to come along. Upon her arrival at the isolated camp, the mammoth is quickly revealed to be a fake, but there is something hidden in the ice—something unbelievable. Along with a team of international experts, each with his or her own agenda and theory about the mystery in the ice, Maya learns more about this discovery, which will change her life forever.

Maya is a great main character. She knows she wants to study science but i…

Bit Guestpost: The Black Cauldron

Bit has been a regular contributor of the blog since she was six and declared she wanted to write reviews of the books I read to her. Now for the first time she is being featured with a review she wrote on her own for a book she read on her own. The reading and writing part were required for school. She asked if I could put it on the blog too, so here it is:

The Black Cauldron
Reviewed by Bit (age 8)

When I read The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander I sometimes had to fight back tears or laughter. When I thought about Taran and the sacrifices he made for his friends i smiled and cried at the same time.

My favorite character was Eilonwy. I like Eilonwy because she is a lot like me. She likes cooking and cleaning and also likes adventures. Taran is my second favorite character. I think he kind and sacrificial. The search party Taran and Eilonwy are in is made up of good people. I think the bad person is very scary because he is making dead people alive again.

The book took place in…

Three Times Lucky

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage is a novel I wasn't super excited about reading. I admit it. And I was wrong about assuming I would hate it. I didn't. In fact, I found it to be delightful and charming and completely worthwhile.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

So …

Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Samantha (winner of Drowned Vault) and Linda (winner of both books)! I have ordered them, but they haven't shipped yet. I will let you both know when they do.

Thanks to all who participated and I hope you are able to get copies of these wonderful books soon!

I'm deleting the original giveaway post as it contains so many people's email addresses. Just to be safe. :)

House of Shadows

I read Rachel Neumeier's The Floating Islands (my review) and really enjoyed it, so when I saw people begin to talk about her latest book House of Shadows I knew I wanted to read it. I bought it rather than wait to see if my library would ever get it, and boy am I glad I did. I was able to read this wonderful story that much sooner.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Orphaned, two sisters are left to find their own fortunes.
Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life... if she agrees to play their game.
Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage's offer of an apprenticeship. Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage?
With the arrival of a foreign bard into the quiet city, dangerous secrets are unearthed, and both sisters find themselves at the center of a plot that threatens not only to upset their newly…

HEAVY MEDAL IS BACK!!!!!

One of my favorite times of the year is here, when the folks at the SLJ blog Heavy Medal gear up and to discuss the potential Newbery candidates of the year. It is a great good fun and I love that I am challenged to read (and often end up loving) books outside of my own personal genre and reading preferences, particularly in the areas of non-fiction and poetry. Plus it's just nice to have a larger group of people to discuss kid's books with.

The first post went up on Tuesday and I'm eager to see which book will be discussed first.

This has been a good year for reading and there are oh so many books I would love to discuss. Here are the ones I'm most excited about that I'm pretty sure will be discussed in some form:
I really hope we discuss that last one anyways. I have a feeling most people will want to dismiss it as too old. Still.

Books I would love to see discussed that I feel are less likely to be:

Then there are all the books I still have yet to read, What Cam…

The Drowned Vault

When I am asked who my favorite authors are,  N.D. Wilson's name comes out in the same breath as Megan Whalen Turner and C.S. Lewis. I will buy and read anything he writes. Last year The Dragon's Tooth (my review) made my favorite reads of 2011. It's sequel, The Drowned Vault, is even better. Edge-of-your-seat sometimes, jumping-out-of-it sometimes, cringing-in-it sometimes, bouncing-in-it sometimes, good.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It's been almost a year since Cyrus and Antigone Smith earned their places as Journeymen at Ashtown, home of an ancient order of explorers that has long guarded the world's secrets and treasures. While their studies go well, Cy and Tigs are not well liked since losing the Dragon's Tooth to the nefarious Dr. Phoenix. The Tooth is the only object in the world capable of killing the long-lived transmortals, and Phoenix has been tracking them down one-by-one, and murdering them. The surviving transmortals, led by legendary warri…

Unspoken

If any one was meant to bring the atmosphere of a Gothic novel into a contemporary setting and do it well it is Sarah Rees Brennan and that is exactly what she has done with Unspoken.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jare…

The Phantom Tollbooth

When SLJ's Top 100 list was being announced I confessed to never having read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Many people told me I should. And I did. It was delightful.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams...

From the beginning Milo is a character you can recognize. His boredom is the sort every child knows and knows well. It is described in such delightful language too. Then there are his adventures, which really are an homage to words and language. A person could learn so m…