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Shorter Musings: MG Realistic

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.

Here are some Realistic MG books I have read recently with my thoughts.

33 Minutes by Todd Hasak-Lowry
Todd Hasak-Lowy gets middle school for sure. His descriptions of the school and Sam's response to it were hilarious and true. He also got the MG boy voice down perfect. Maybe a little too perfect for me to love the book. It is very stream of conscious with Sam changing subject and going into flashbacks with little to no warning then zooming back again. Reading it reminded me of listening to my daughter or one of my students with this type of personality tell a story. After a while you just have to say, "Please stop so I can give my brain a rest and you can breathe. Thanks." It's an entertaining story though and I think kids will enjoy it for sure. (I was amused by…

The Whatnot

I enjoyed The Peculiar by Stephen Bachmann when it came out last year (my review). MG Steampunk is such a rare thing and the world building in this one is so well done. I was eager to read the sequel, The Whatnot, and excited when I received an e-galley.

Synopsis:
Pikey Thomas doesn’t know how or why he can see the changeling girl. But there she is. Not in the cold, muddy London neighborhood where Pikey lives. Instead, she’s walking through the trees and snow of the enchanted Old Country or, later, racing through an opulent hall. She’s pale and small, and she has branches growing out of her head. Her name
is Henrietta Kettle.
Pikey’s vision, it turns out, is worth something.
Worth something to Hettie’s brother—a brave adventurer named Bartholomew Kettle. Worth something to the nobleman who protects him. And Pikey is not above bartering—Pikey will do almost anything to escape his past; he’ll do almost anything for a life worth living.
The faeries—save for a mysterious sylph a…

TTT: Best Sequels

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic is Best Sequels Ever

THE ULTIMATE SEQUEL (none will ever surpass it):
Others that are really good:




 This is actually the fourth book in its series, but I like it better as the sequel to the first:


Where the Stars Still Shine

Trish Doller writes books that tackle tough subjects. This makes them not easy to read, but she writes the stories with such heart and passion it is worth it. Where the Stars Still Shine is one of the hardest books I've read in a long while.

Synopsis:
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love—even with someone who seems an improbable choice—is more than just a possibility.

Callie does no…

Banned Books Week 2013

It is that time of year again when we all try to remember and shed light on the importance of freedom of information and choice. For more information on Banned Books Week go here.

Here are the most CHALLENGED (not necessarily banned) books of 2012:
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age groupThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age groupThirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age groupFifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicitAnd Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age groupThe Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicitLooking for Alaska, by John Green.
Reasons: Offensive language, …

The Screaming Staircase

I'm going to admit it. I wasn't the biggest fan of the Bartimaeus books. I didn't actually finish the series. I hated it because I wanted to love them. So it was with a little trepidation that I requested a galley ofthe first book in Jonathan Stroud's newestseries entitled Lockwood & Co. This time, I'm pleased to say, I wasn't at all disappointed and loved everything about The Screaming Staircase.

Synopsis:
A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see--and eradicate--these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
In "The Screaming Staircase," the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood &a…

WoW: Nomad

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Exiled from her underground home by Betony, the jealous queen of the piskeys, Ivy sets out to make a new life for herself in the world above – a quest that leads her to mystery, adventure, and a hoard of spriggan treasure. But a deadly poison still lingers in the Delve, and Ivy cannot bear to see her people dying under Betony’s rule.
With the help of some old friends she sets out to warn the piskeys of their danger, urging them to rise up and free themselves before it is too late. Yet Betony will not give up her kingdom without a fight... and when her evil threatens the friends and family Ivy holds most dear, it will take all Ivy’s courage, daring and determination to save them.


R.J. Anderson is one of my favorite authors. She is an auto-buy for me. If she writes it, I want it. And that includes any additions to her fa…

2013 Cybils

I am very excited to announce that I am a first round Cybils panelist this year. I will be serving on the First Round MG Speculative Fiction panel.

Looking forward to working with my fellow panelists:
Melissa from Book Nut
Kristen from The Book Monsters
Allie from In Bed with Books
Cecelia from Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia
Stephanie from Views from the Tesseract
And last, but most important, our fearless leader Charlotte from Charlotte's Library

Nominations are open on October 1. So nominate some great MG Speculative Fiction and see how many books you can make me read in the next three months. I dare you.

The Burning Sky

The Burning Skyby Sherry Thomas is all kinds of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while I was reading it. I received an e-galley from the publisher and I'm glad I did otherwise it may have sat on my TBR for longer than necessary. It is not without its faults, but I felt the ride was totally worth it.

Synopsis:
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.


This is a high fantasy with an …

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West was the perfect book for me to pick up on a Saturday afternoon following a harsh and stressful week.

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she w…

Shorter Musings: YA Realistic Fiction

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.

Here are some Realistic YA books I have read recently with my thoughts.


Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
Belle Epoque is excellent historical fiction about an era of history we don't get much (any other?) YA historical fiction about, Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Ross does a brilliant job of bringing the time and city to life. She uses just enough French to make it feel authentic without overwhelming the reader who knows nothing about French. (me) The emerging middle class and the beginnings of feminism are both highlighted and played out well. I did feel like the characters were little more than words on the page. I was rather hoping for a better story of friendship between two girls, but I found it difficult to care too much for either Maude or Isabelle. That could be b…

TTT: Books I Want to See as Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic is Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show (set in a perfect world...in which movies don't butcher the books we love.)

OR PUT ANOTHER WAY:  That caveat is important, because in reality many all of these books I don't want Hollywood anywhere near, the first one especially.

The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Above World Trilogy by Jenn Reece
The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
The Ashtown Burials Series by N.D. Wilson
The Oxford Time Travel Series by Connie Willis
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Ultraviolet and Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson
The Tiffany Aching Books by Terry Pratchett
The Kiki Strike Trilogy by Kirsten Miller
The Magic Thief Series by Sarah Prineas

If nothing else this list is confirmation, if anyone needed any, that I am firmly a Sci-Fi/Fantasy lover. Honestly though,  it wasn't until I finished and looked back over the list tha…

The Real Boy

I actually never read a synopsis for The Real Boyby Anne Ursu. I knew she wrote it and I liked Breadcrumbs (my thoughts) and that was all I needed. When I saw it was available on Edelweiss I immediately requested it and was thrilled to be approved. I had expectations in my head based on the title. And the book was something else entirely. Something wonderful

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
On an island at the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy. The city is called Asteri, a perfect city that was saved by the magic woven into its walls from a devastating plague that swept through the world over a hundred years before. The forest is called the Barrow, a vast wood of ancient trees that encircles the city and feeds the earth with magic. And the boy is called Oscar, a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the Barrow. Oscar spends his days in a small room in the dark cellar of his master's shop grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on …

Wake Up Missing

Looking for an adrenaline pumping edge of your seat read? Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner is just the book.

Synopsis:
Meet Quentin, a middle school football star from Chicago...
Sarah, an Upstate New York girls’ hockey team stand-out...
Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest...
And Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.
The four have nothing in common except for the head injuries that land them in an elite brain-science center in the Florida Everglades. It’s known as the best in the world, but as days pass, the kids begin to suspect that they are subjects in an experiment that goes far beyond treating concussions….and threatens their very identities. They’ll have to overcome their injuries – and their differences – to escape, or risk losing themselves forever.


Wake Up Missing is a mind bending twisty ride full of adventure and intrigue. Messner sets the tone perfectly from the beginning. There is a sense that nothing is quite right or as it seems. The reader is kep…