Friday, September 15, 2006

King of Attolia

King of Attolia
Turner, Megan
Greenwillow Books
Booklist 1/06
I finished this one awhile ago. I loved it and was so happy because I really didn't like The Queen of Attolia, but now I might have to go back and reread both The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. After reading the third, I think I might end up liking the second a bit more. I'm not so sure that this book will stand as a read alone. If anyone has read this, or is planning to, but hasn't read the first two yet, I'd love to hear what you think of it as a stand alone. There is a whole subtleness to how Gen acts that readers familiar with the first two books get that I'm not sure will come through to a reader introduced to King of Attolia first.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Di Camillo, Kate
Candlewick Press
Kirkus 1/15
This book seems to draw strong opinions no matter if you like it or hate it. I found it…..pleasant. I didn't like Edward. Even in the end I didn't find him particularly sympathetic or likeable. I did like the Hobo and Lucy and I found the story well written. It had both a sophisticated style and yet was still very child friendly. I don't think it lives up to the hype at all. It will probably make most mock newbery list and I'm sure it will be discussed for the award.

Here lies the Librarian

Here Lies the Librarian
Peck, Richard
Dial Books
Kirkus 3/1
As usual Peck's writing was excellent. Peewee, Peck's charming narrator, draws the reader easily into her 1914 small town life and the excitement of the summer when their town was invaded by four young librarians. Add to Peck's usual charm and witt, a cast of very strong female characters who manage to balance being lady-like (or in Peewee's case learning to be lady-like) with being independant and resourceful, forging thier own future in a time when women were expected to depend on men. There were some parts which were unrealistic, but nothing that was so jarring that it broke through the spell the story wove for me at least.

The Quail Club

The Quail Club
Marsden, Carolyn
Kirkus 3/15
A companion to the Gold-Threaded Dress, but I would not call it a sequal. I never got around to reading Gold-Threaded Dress and had no problem sinking right into Quail Club. It's set two years after Gold-threaded Dress and Oy is in 5th grade. She and three other girls have formed a club which watches a clutch of quail eggs waiting for them to hatch. When Oy hears about the 5th grade talent show, she wants to do a traditional Thai dance, but one of her friends wants to do an american dance together. Oy is worried that if she doesn't dance with her friend she will lose her friend and her place in the quail club. With advice from her mother, Oy comes up with a compromise for her friend. The book addresses a prolem many children of Asian/American families have of holding on to thier asian culture while fitting into american culture. Marsden does a great job of presenting a realistic problem and solving the problem witha realistic solution that doesn't feel forced or preachy.

Ivy and Bean

Ivy and Bean

Chronicle Books
Kirkus 5/1/06
Very cute, but very simple and young. A great book for the young elementary crowd, but not complex enough for Newbery consideration.

Homework Machine

Homework Machine
Gutman, Dan
Simon & Schuster
Kirkus 2/1
Four fifth-grade students--a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- is how the annotation for the book starts and it's one of the problems I have with this book. The four kids who are the main characters of this book are all stereotypes and nothing but stereotypes. Add to that loose ends all over the place at the end of the book and a concept that kids might love, but isn't at all realistic. I'm all for fantasy, but this book didn't fit that either. The idea was interesting and I'm sure that it will be a fast, popular read with kids, but so are Animorphs and Babysitter's Club books.

Warrior Heir

Warrior Heir
Chima, Cinda Williams
Kirkus 4/1
This book had such a promising idea. A hidden race of magical beings: Wizards, Enchanters, Warriors, Sorcerers, and Soothsayers. A complex political struggle and an ancient pact which rules them. It had all the elements fo a fantastic epic fantasy, but somewhere it fell flat for me. It started with flashes of history before zooming to modern day Ohio. From there the plot advanced quickly at first and was interesting. Maybe not totally unique, but clearly a new mix of ideas by a skilled author. However, just after the main character find out he's not 'normal' his aunt drags him off on a sudden hunt which seems abrupt. He and two friends confront wizards, dig up an ancestrial sword, and then go back to school on Monday as if nothing changed....except now there war Warrior lessons for Jack. From there the plot slows even more. I just couldn't seem to get on track with this book. Each time I would start to get into the story, it would bog down and just when I was about to give up something interesting would convince me to try one more chapter. I ended up giving up around the middle and jumping to the last 2-3 chapters. The ended was really good and I liked how most of the history now made sense and losse ends were tied, but I still couldn't face going back and reading the 2nd half.


Houghton Mifflin
Kirkus 3/1
Littest, a young dream-giver, tries to learn how to give dreams while helping young boy deal with the after effects of an abusive home. I found the whole book very unique. The idea of dream-givers or beings that protect one's dreams isn't all that new, but I have never read it presented in such a way. I really liked this book and it made me think about many things some more obvious than others. It's a very unique coming of age story where instead of a boy becoming a man or a girl becoming a woman, it was Littest becoming Gossamer.

Jumping the Scratch

Jumping the Scratch
Weeks, Sarah
Harper Collins
Kirkus 4/15
Jamie thought that bad things happened in threes and once his cat died, his father left him and his mom, and his aunt had a freak accident which forced he and his mom to move in with her that the worst was over. Moving in with his aunt meant changing schools in the middle of the year and his mom working nights for extra money. Unfortunatly for Jamie, he found out that not being able to forget is sometimes worse than not being able to remember. The characters were interesting and the plot with just a touch of mystery was interesting enough. Even most young readers will guess Jamie's secret fairly early though and everything in the end almost seems to wrap up too neatly and too quickly. A good fast read.

Book survey from Angicub (LJ)

Stolen (absolutely shamelessly) from anglicub (LiveJournal) -

A book that made you cry: Arrows fall by Mercedes Lackey (I usually start crying 2-3 chapters before the scene happens because I know it's coming, but I love the series and world so much I keep going back and re-reading it)

A book that scared you: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (it's a great one to make you hear a 'bump' in the night)

A book that made you laugh: Dead in Dixie by Charlene Harris - actually this is the first 3 books of her Southern Vamps series and they all make me laugh. (People often look at me oddly as a sit quietly laughing, ok not so quietly laughing, to myself over a book)

A book in High School that you loved: Henry V by Shakespeare - sue me I'm a sucker for Shakespeare

A book in High School that you hated: Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare - Not that much of a sucker....Way too much stupidity of humans in it for me.

A book that challenged your imagination: Beowulf - Medieval Folklore - the challenge was more dissecting it with one of my absolute favorite college professors, who ironically enough wasn't a full professor yet, though he taught me probably more than most others.

A book that challenged your morals: Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold

A book that challenged your identity: I honestly can't answer this one....Many have made me think, but I don't think I can say any CHALLENGED my identity. Not sure if that says that I have a good grip on who and what I am or no grip at all....

A book series that you love: So many to choose from Garret Files by Glen Cook, LKH's Anita Blake books and her Merry Gentry books, Hollows by Kim Harrison, Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon, All of Eddings books....Never ask a Librarian to choose.

Your favorite Horror Novel: Cheating again....Poe's short stories, especially The tell-tale heart

Your favorite Science Fiction Novel: Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury, Yes it qualifies as SciFI even if it's not in space!

Your favorite Fantasy Novel: I'll limit myself to two: Green Rider by Britian and Dragon Singer by Anne McCaffrey

Your favorite Romance Novel: Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon, at present at least, but this changes periodically.

Your favorite "Coming-of-Age" Novel: Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez

Your favorite book not listed previously: Muhahah...since I've only seen Anglicub's my choices are wide open..... Show Way

(added by me)Your favorite worst book: Night Bites by Nina Bangs - yes, it is as bad as it sounds and includes an orgazmic rug, a set of cosmic trouble makers, vampires, and of course the Jersey Devil.

Books that shook your world (not necessarily your Favs): Catch - 22 by Heller, Hobbit by Tolkien, The Lottery (sorry I don't know the author, but it was a fantastic and horrifying short story), the last 2 I don't even remember the titles, but the stories stay with me to this day....One was of an amusement Park that only a select few got tickets for every decade or so, the catch was that a % of the people who went in would die on the rides, everyone knew this going in, but they still rode the ride for the thrill....The other was a story about America after a HUGE population explosion called the Crush. Supposedly the streets were so crowded that if you went out you might never find your way back to your house so food was delivered by a vending machine type system hooked up in your house and everyone got all their information from the TV. The main character was a boy who fell in love with the actress on one show. He decided to 'break' out of the house and find her. When he did he found deserted streets and when he finally found his way to the TV station he found her, now an old woman. He tried to tell people that the Crush was over, but people were used to hiding inside now and he ended up staying at the station and keeping it running after the actress died.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Book Reviews

This Blog will mainly be used to post book reviews by me or by the kids at my library in Tenafly NJ.

If your a student K - 8th and want to post a book review here, email it to me at