Category Archives: Book Reviews

Picture Book Review

I love, love, LOVE! the new Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld book: Exclamation Mark ……!!!

image from Goodreads

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

Great concept, great design, great story! Short and sweet, the illustrations are simple and bold, blending perfectly with the story of this little exclamation mark who tries so hard to fit in, until he realizes his full potential. I love that this story essentially takes place on that gray/oatmeal-colored, almost-newsprintish, wide-lined paper with the little dashed line in between each that I used in elementary school to practice writing my letters. A fun story for any age, but also a great book to read when learning about punctuation!

This gets 5 Goodreads stars from me!!

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Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos image from Amazon.com

This super-cute picture book by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri is a fun read for ages 4 & older. It’ll tell you all you need to know about how to throw a successful taco party for dragons: how they like their tacos and how they don’t (i.e. NO spicy salsa.) Because, of course, it’s something you’ll probably need to know in the future. The illustrations have some hilarious details that will crack you up – my personal favorites describe the different types of parties dragons like….too funny! The end gets a little “spicy” but it’s nothing a few mild tacos won’t fix 😉

Check it out!

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Middle Grade Fiction Review (Audio Book)

Liesl and PoLiesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved, loved, loved this story! I listened to the audio recording, read by the incredible Jim Dale, and basically it got to the point where I would make up reasons to drive somewhere so I could keep listening to it. It’s wonderful fantasy with a classic fairytale feel. The story is perfectly woven, bringing plots and characters together seamlessly. Filled with magic, misadventure, ghosts, extremely evil step-mothers, love and friendship. Definitely a new favorite!

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Mock Newbery

Well, I’ve been MIA for a few months but one of my New Year’s Resolutions (which is actually all of my old ones that I never, um, resoluted?) is to actually post MORE on my blog. Or, at all, as the case may be.

Anyways, this email I just received from one of the Youth Advisors from MLS (Massachusetts Library System) was definitely post-worthy, as it confirms what I thought when I first read See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles. Am I biased because Jo was my AMAZING writing professor who was an inspiration to everyone in my masters program? Perhaps. HOWEVER, that does not make her novel any less Newbery-worthy. In my humble opinion.

See You at Harry's Cover Image

I only hope MLS is OK with this…..!

“Greetings,
 
We are all eagerly awaiting the results of all the ALA Book Awards on Monday, January 28! 
 
In the meantime, a small but tenacious group of your peers have been reading and discussing their picks for the Newbery Award since June, using for communication a moodle’s discussion lists and sometimes chat (when it worked). The “Committee” is made up of 9 school librarians, 3 public, 1 academic, and 1 other.
 
And here is the Short List! 

2013 Mock Newbery Short List:

 

Crow by Barbara Wrights. Random House Books, 2012

The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure. Candlewick, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. Scholastic, 2012

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood. Scholastic, 2012

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead.  Wendy Lamb Books, 2012

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. Putnam, 2012

Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. Wendy Lamb Books, 2012

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Harper Collins, 2012

One for the Murphy’s by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles. Candlewick Press, 2012

Son by Lois Lowry. Houghton Mifflin, 2012

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin. Little Brown, 2012

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.  Dial, 2012                                 

Wonder by Patricia Palacio.  Knopf Books, 2012

  Enjoy!”

See? How cool is that?

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YA Fiction Review

The Dark UnwindingThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Dark Unwinding at BEA this past spring and I was eager to read it. Mine didn’t have the pretty cover, but I had a postcard with what it would look like. I defintely really enjoyed reading this story. I thought the characters were very well done. The main character was interesting because she wasn’t your typical saintly, innocent heroine. She had a job to do and her own interests to look after, especially in a time when females typically had no income without a husband or someone to take care of them.

It was a well-told tale, full of intruging imagery and mysteries that kept me wondering. I did crave a bit more darkness and maybe some more romance. But it is still a creepy and chilling tale, without even being supernatural, which is usually the case for these types of Victorian/Gothic/Clock-work-ish novels. Because of this, I would recommend it for younger teens +.

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YA Fiction Review

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Kristin Cashore’s third book in the – well, I’m not sure exactly what to call it. Realm Trilogy? I don’t know. Regardless, it was good! It made me want to re-read Graceling and Fire to remember some of the history of the characters. Bitterblue’s grown-up character was very believable and refreshingly real for a fantasy novel. I loved how honest and frank she is about herself as she discovers, not only the mysteries of her re-awakening kingdom, but who she is as a queen and woman. It was dark in a way that I hadn’t expected, and that Graceling had only scratched the surface of, but that was what made it so good I couldn’t put it down. The other great thing? I got to read my very own autographed copy from BEA where I actually spoke to Kristin (we have so much in common since we both went to Simmons and all – haha.)

Authors are my celebrities 🙂

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YA Fiction Review

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)The Diviners by Libba Bray

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved reading Libba’s newest novel. I loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy, and The Diviners is along the same vein. The fun and excitement of the 1920’s time period made an interesting contrast to the frightening plot. Characters are well-developed and the story kept me wanting more. Thrilling and delightfully dark. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy!

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