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Showing posts from August, 2014

10 Books By Women (About Girls) That Boys Should Read

A couple weeks ago Melissa at The Book Nut wrote this post and I loved the idea so I asked her if I could co-opt it and make my own list. She told me to go ahead. I like so many of the books she mentioned, but thought others would be good as well. I imagine if lots of people made lists we would end up with a lot of different books. There would be some crossovers, but in the end we would have a pretty diverse list I think.

Here is mine. 5 MG books and 5 YA. Several of these I have already given to boys with enthusiastic response.

The MG:




The YA:




And a bonus book of poetry for the YA crowd:
What would be on your lists? 




Shorter Musings: Recent MG

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 reviews of MG fantasy fiction I've read recently:

Finding Ruby Starlingby Karen Fox
Finding Ruby Starling is a novel about finding who your are and your place amidst the pains of growing up like most MG books. It is unique in that it throws in twin sisters who never knew the other existed. Ruth, who is adopted, finds Ruby online and they begin an exchange of emails that changes their lives forever. This is an epistolary novel, told through the emails the girls send each other, their friends, and their parents. There is some boy drama and quite a bit of angst about figuring out how they fit together. All of it is good, but a little long. There were a lot of e-mails I skimmed quickly. The read genuinely like 13 year old's emails, and that includes a lot of totes and ridic an…

WoW: Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)

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


After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.

I love Amy Spalding's books. I adore her …

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You My Pretty

I am not a huge poetry fan, but once in a while a poetry book comes along that I can not pass up the chance to read. Poisoned Apples: Poems for You My Pretty by Christine Heppermann was just such a book.

<i>
The Woods
The action's always there.
Where are the fairy tales about gym class
or the doctor's office or the back of the bus where bad things also happen?
</i>

And so begins a beautiful collection of poems that combine fairy tale and real life to illustrate the struggles of teen girls everywhere. Eating disorders, boys who see and treat you as an object, seeing and treating yourself as an object, the never-ending quest for impossible perfection to live up to an artifiical standard of beauty-it's all blended and folded together against a backdrop of familiar characters and scenarios. The poems, which are mostly in blank verse, are hauntingly beautiful. They are more than that too though. They challenge preconceived notions, force thought, and are, in the end, empo…

Rose and the Magician's Mask

I adore the Rose series. Seriously adore. They are just wonderfully fun, full of magic, and Rose is such a great character. The newest (US) installment, Rose and the Magician's Mask, lives up to the previous two and adds to them in interesting ways.

This installment picks up where the last installment left off. Rose and her friends are trying to track down the evil mastermind behind the plot in Rose and the Lost Princess. When a series of events leads them to believe he has absconded to Venice with a priceless and dangerous national treasure, there is only one solution. Road trip! Mr. Fountain must track down the artifact and the criminal. He takes Rose, Freddie, and Bella with him. Then Bill decides to stowaway too. Basically, all of my favorite characters in this series teamed up to go on a journey for a famous artifact and defeat the evil bad guy trying to take over the world via magic. It is a high fantasy quest novel wrapped up in the delightful alternate historical fantasy it…

Courting Magic

I have made not secret about how much I adore Stephanie Burgis's Regency fantasy Kat Incorrigible books. When I closed that last page of Stolen Magic, I was left feeling satisfied with the end of Kat's story in those books, but I couldn't help wanting more. When Stephanie started talking about a novella she was writing that would take place upon Kat's debut into society and her own romance, I was beyond thrilled. Courting Magic is everything I wanted it to be. It left me with a huge grin on my face that hasn't faded. It is, in fact, only growing larger as I type this and think about it all over again. 

Synopsis:
In Kat Stephenson's Regency England, magic is even more shocking than a stolen kiss. But now that she's eighteen, it's time for wild and magical Kat to be introduced to high society by her older sisters, whether she likes it or not...and to finally have a romance of her own!
Of course, her true love is hopelessly ineligible. But when has Kat ever l…

Greenglass House

Kate Milford is one of my favorite authors, and I don't think her books get the attention and love they so deserve. She writes unique stories with such care and attention to detail. Greenglass House is different from her previous two novels in setting and plot, but no less excellent in its execution, unique voice, and brilliant storytelling. 

Synopsis:
It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass…

A Million Ways Home

Honestly what attracted me to A Million Ways Homeby Dianna Dorisi Winget was the cover. That cover attraction proved to be really strong because I usually do not jump on books whose descriptions begin with: "A moving middle-grade story about love, loss, and the unlikely places we find home." Because that usually screams guidance-counselor-fiction-looking-for-grown-up-readers-who-will-force-it-on-kids to me. I try to avoid those. I'm so happy that I didn't avoid this one because it does not read like those books at all and I adored it.

Synopsis:
Poppy's life has been turned upside down after her grandma (and guardian) had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. But Poppy is working on a plan to help Grandma Beth so their life together can go back to normal. But when she witnesses an armed robbery, "back to normal" slips even further out of her reach. To keep Poppy safe, the budget-strapped police devise an unusual "witness protection program," whe…

Favorite Historical Fiction Novels

Historical Fiction is a topic I've never covered on My Favorite Things before. That's because I don't read as much historical fiction as fantasy or contemporary. If I'm reading historical, I'm usually reading non-fiction, but there are a few authors of historical fiction I will absolutely read no matter what.

Anything by Elizabeth Wein (And not just Code Name Verity or Rose Under Fire, read her Ancient Ethiopian books too!)

Anything by Gary Schmidt (And may I say, it has been too long since we've had a new Gary Schmidt.)

Anything by Rosemary Sutcliff:

Mara Daughter of the Nile:

And because these are great historical fiction with a splash of fantasy:


Coming Soon: Cybils Season

Fall. It is a time of crisp golden leaves, sweaters, cold-but-not-too-cold air, and, most important, the Cybils begin. What are the Cybils you may ask? Only the most wonderful and fun book award given in all genres and age categories for children's literature.

I've followed the Cybils for several years now. I began by just watching it all unfold, following closely as nominations came in, then the shortlists, and finally the winners. I loved it then. I stuck my toes in the water of actually participating by nominating books. I loved it even more as I watched the process unfold and eagerly waited to see if my nominations made it to the next round. Last year was my first year as Round One panelist. I can not tell you how much fun I had. It was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. Reading the books, meeting and getting to know some bloggers I didn't already, and discussing our love of books and children's literature together. It was a great experience.

Well …

Falling Into Place

Falling Into Placeby Amy Zhang is a book I added to my TBR because a couple of people on Twitter were saying how amazing it was. Then I discovered it's published by Greenwillow so excitement rose. I got it from Edelweiss without even reading the synopsis. Imagine my surprise when I started reading and was not expecting a book that was quite so intense, dark, and sad. It's probably a good thing I didn't know because I probably would have put off reading it. Despite bringing all my parental nightmares to vivid life, this is a book that says and reveals important things about the teen experience. It's a book I think many parents are going to freak out about, but they should all read. 

Synopsis:
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.
Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vi…

The Fourteenth Goldfish

I am going to be honest, I'm not one of Jennifer Holm's biggest fans. Don't get me wrong, I book talk her books, put them on recommended reading lists, and buy them for my daughter (who is a huge a fan), but her writing style is not my particular cup of tea. I was really surprised then to find myself enjoying The Fourteenth Goldfish as much as I did. 

Synopsis:
Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?
Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?


The Fourteenth Goldfish is a story about life and how it is in constant flux. At the center of…

Such a Rush

Here I am, continuing my way through Jennifer Echols's backlist. I remember Chachic and Maureen raving about Such a Rushwhen it first came out, but my library didn't have it so it wasn't a high priority for me. Big mistake. Boy is this book good. 

Synopsis:
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.
Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.
But there’s one way Leah can escape realit…

Always, Abigail

Always, Abigail by Nancy J. Cavanaugh captured my attention because I saw in the synopsis that it it told through letters, journal entries, and lists. I love books like that and don't know that I've ever read one in the MG age category. 

Synopsis:
Abigail and her two best friends are poised for a life of pom-poms and popularity. But not only does Abigail end up in a different homeroom, she doesn't make the squad. Then everyone's least favorite teacher pairs Abigail up with the school's biggest outcast, Gabby Marco, for a year-long "Friendly Letter Assignment." Abigail can hardly believe her bad luck. As her so-called best friends and entire future of popularity seems to be slipping away, Abigail has to choose between the little bit of fame she has left or letting it go to be a true friend.

Middle School. Ugh. Who ever wants to have to do that again? For those currently in the thick of it, Always, Abigail is the perfect book. Abigail's voice is so perfect…

TTT: Books I'd Give Readers Who Have Never Read MG Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: Books I'd Give Readers Who Have Never Read X

X here=MG Fantasy (Of course!)

The book noticeably not on this list is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I LOVE that book, but have found that fervent "I never read MG fantasy" readers have indeed read that one MG fantasy book.

I also left off some other classically famous and popular MG to highlight books I feel demonstrate just how thoughtful and well-written MG genre fiction can be but don't get anywhere near the attention they actually deserve.







This was SO HARD to keep to 10. I originally had way more than that, but I take a sort of ruthless pride in keeping these lists at 10 and not going over.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina won much praise and awards when it was released last year. It has also earned more than its fair share of controversy as people have tried to remove it from library shelves and disinvite Ms. Medina from author visits due to its contents. I am happy to say I've finally read, and it deserves every bit of praise it's received and more besides.

Synopsis:
One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon…

The Kronos Chronicles

Set in an alternate 19th century and in such places as Prague, London, and the heart of the Roma camps, the trilogy has steampunk, political intrigue, and plenty of adventure.

The Cabinet of Wonders In this first book we meet our three indelible heroes, Petra, Tomik, and Neel. Petra is the daughter of a mechanics maker. Her father creates, using his magic, small critters who have personalities and can talk and other creations. After he is returned from Prague and a job with the prince with his eyes removed so the prince can use them as his, Petra runs away to Prague to try and steal the eyes back and find herself in a center of international political intrigue. Tomik is Petra's best friend in her home town. He also possesses magic and creates extraordinary things. His creations play a huge part in the plot even though he is absent for much of the plot. Neel is a Roma thief with extended ghost fingers Petra befriends in Prague. He helps her in her searching of the palace and pilferi…