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Showing posts from February, 2015

March Book Battles are Coming!

March Madness is here! Of the bookish sort that is. There are two bracket style battles I'm invested in taking place in the coming weeks. The first is the School Library Journal Battle of the Books . I've been following this one for years, and still love it. This is the first year in a few years where I haven't read all of the books, but there are still a lot of contenders I'm really excited about. You can see the brackets here . The book I'm hoping wins it all: This will be a challenge as the Newbery winner is famously unable to win this competition. It is probably not a shock then that this is what I voted for in the Undead Poll, which is now open. Go vote if there's a contender you love! SLJ BoB 2015 commences on March 9.  The other Battle I'm excited about is the YA/MG Book Battle which focuses on under-appreciated books from the backlist (including last year). You can see the contenders here. You can see the complete bracket for this

Blackbird Fly

Blackbird Fly  by Erin Entrada Kelly appealed to me for so many different reasons. I am always looking for good, MG school stories, and this is one about an immigration experience as well. It's a good one too with strong characters, excellent themes, and a realism about middle school that made me slightly sick to my stomach. Analyn, known by her nickname, Apple, moved to the US from the Philippines when she was only four years old. In the years since she has learned a disdain for herself and her mother. She is embarrassed by the food her mother cooks and how she saves every penny. She longs to be more like her American classmates. It is not easy being the only Filipino in her small town Louisiana school. Things get worse when Apple's social climbing friends want to have boyfriends, and it is revealed that Apple has made the school's "Dog Log". Apple hates herself more and more as school becomes even less bearable. Things at home are not much better. All Apple wa

TTT: Favorite Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's topic: Favorite Heroines  I did a post on this way back when I first started writing down my thoughts about books. You can read that post here . It's a more in depth explanation of my top five, but I've moved some of what I said there to here. In order I discovered them: Meg Murry from A  Wrinkle  in  Time by Maeleine L'Engle  " Maybe I don't like being different, but I don't want to be like everybody else either." I can not begin to tell you everything that Meg did for me as a young reader. It is hard being different and knowing you are different. Is hard being a person who doesn't seem to excel at the things others find important: sports, dance, etc. It was a refreshing and eye-opening experience to read a book where a girl like Meg, a girl like me , is the hero. And she is heroic through the use of her brain and her heart. Anne Shirley from

Books That Fill Me with Missionary Zeal

Why yes, that's a totally made up word in my title. Full credit for that goes to author Stephanie Burgis who wrote this post a couple weeks ago about book missionizing. That got me thinking about the books that fill me with the most evangelistic zeal. What are the books I recommend most often and to as many people as possible. The Authors/Series I recommend:     These are my auto-buy authors, the ones I love and recommend the most. There are MG, YA, and Adult books here in all different genres: fantasy, science fiction, historical, romance, adventure, mystery. Many of these authors write more than one of these into their story. What you will find with any one of these authors is that whatever they are writing about, it's just darn good writing and their characters will be amazing. Because I love characters. Individual Books I Get Excited About:  Those two bottom ones are my most recent obsessions. What about you? Are t

Prairie Fire

Last year I read The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim  by E.K. Johnston and fell in love. I fell in love with the characters, the town of Trondheim, the world Johnston created, and the voice that told the story-Siobhan. I immediately began looking forward to the sequel, Prairie Fire . Now that I've read it, I'm sort of wrecked but only the best of ways. Prairie Fire is very much a sequel in the strictest sense of the word. It is the second half of Owen and Siobhan's story. While you could probably read it first, the emotional pay off will be far greater if you don't. If you haven't read The Story of Owen, go and do that. I don't know what's been holding you back anyway. Spoilers for The Story of Owen ahead. You've been warned. Siobhan, Owen, and Sadie have graduated from high school and are beginning their service to the Oil Watch. Siobhan has mostly recovered from her encounter with the dragon that left her hands burned, but she will al

Cybils Winners are Announced

This year's Cybils Winners were announced just a little while ago. You can find every category's winner here . I served on the MG Speculative Fiction first round committee this year. The winner chosen from the finalists we selected is: Here is my review . Of all today's winners, this is the one I'm most excited about: It won in the category of YA Realistic. This book is so good and deserves way more recognition than it has received so far. Here is my review . The award season for 2014 books is officially over. It looks like any award committee in any form meeting for 2015 pubs are going to have their work cut out for them.

Listen, Slowly

Thanhha Lai's Inside Out & Back Again  took the kidlit world by storm a couple years ago, garnering both the National Book Award and a Newbery Honor. Anticipation for her second book, coming out this month, is high. In my opinion,  Listen, Slowly  is even better than Lai's first book. Mai has plans for her summer. Plans that involve hanging out at the beach with her best friend, Montana, and Him-the boy she's had a crush on since he talked about a love poem in English class. Her plans most definitely do not involve accompanying her grandmother on a trip to Vietnam to discover information about her long missing grandfather. But try telling that to her do-gooder parents. Her father will be spending his summer in Vietnam doctoring needy children and can't be there to help Bà. Her mother is trying an important case and can't go to Vietnam at all. As the youngest cousin with no pressing academic plans, Mai is selected to go and make sure Bà is okay and has all she

TTT: Things I Want When it Comes to Romance

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Things I Like/Dislike When it Comes to Romance Things I Like Love and Want When it Comes to Romance BANTER-The more banter and the more snarky it is, the better. Excellent Examples of Banter Can Be Found In: The King of Attolia  by Megan Whalen Turner (YA Fantasy),  To Say Nothing of the Dog  by Connie Willis (Adult Sci-Fi), The Perilous Gard  and The Sherwood Ring  by Elizabeth Marie Pope (YA/MG Historical),  Cruel Beauty  by Rosamund Hodge (YA Fantasy), Biggest Flirts  by Jennifer Echols (YA Contemporary), Conversation-I like reading conversations where the couple in a romance discuss things. Music, art, books, politics, sports, movies-anything that is outside the realm of their relationship with each other. I like to know that these are whole people who have things to say to each other beyond: "You're hot and I want to make out with you". Excellent Examples of Co