Friday, October 29, 2010

Colorado 2011 Blue Spruce Nominees

The Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award recognizes the most popular books among middle and high school students in the State of Colorado. Teens nominate their favorite titles and select the winner - adults do not vote.

Along for the Ride by Dessen, Sarah (HS) *
Audrey, wait! by Benway, Robin (HS)
Betrayed (House of Night bk 2) by Cast, PC (HS)
City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments bk 2) by Clare, Cassandra(HS)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (bk 2) by Kinney, Jeff (MS) * (ES)
Every Soul a Star by Mass, Wendy (MS)
Gorilla City (Amazing adventures of Charlie Small bk 1) by Small, Charlie (MS)
Graceling by Cashore, Kristen (HS) * (Excellent book, can’t wait for the third in the series)
The Host by Meyer, Stephenie (Adult)
Identical by Hopkins, Ellen (HS)
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson bk 5) by Riordan, Rick (MS) * (ES) (Excellent series)
Max: A Maximum Ride Novel
(Maximum Ride bk 5) by Patterson, James (MS)
Nineteen Minutes by Picoult, Jodi (Adult) * (Riveting story)
Peak by Smith, Roland (MS)  (ES) – has been suggested for the 2011-2012 Battle List
Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven bk2) by Mull, Brandon (MS) * (ES)
Shiver by Stiefvater, Maggie (HS) * (Excellent series)
Summer Ball by Lupica, Mike (MS)
Swindle by Korman, Gordon (MS) (ES)
Syren (Septimus Heap bk 5) by Sage, Angie (MS) (ES)
Truancy by Fukui, Isamu (HS)
Under the Dome by King, Stephen (Adult)

(MS) - Middle School
(HS) - High School
Many of these titles (those marked ES) are also popular with elementary students. Those marked with an * are books I have read.

It's time for Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING.  Hop on over to Crazy for Books and get started.

This week's question is:  "What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"
My answer: I would build a house with a large, round two story (at least) floor to ceiling all the way around book shelves, including the rolling book ladder. One section of shelves would be filled with signed, first edition Newbery and Caldecott winners. Another section would be all my other autographed books.  And just off the library would be a sunroom with fireplace/pit for reading.

I'd have to win the lottery before I could have all that, but a girl can dream.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Young Adult Dystopian Challenge - Book Three - The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I just finished book three (The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan) of my 5 book Young Adult Dystopian Challenge. Only two more to go by December 1st.

Mary knows little of the past, only the stories her mom has told her about a world she has never known. In Mary’s world there are two types of people: those in her village and the Unconsecrated who are kept from the village by a fence.  After “The Return” an “infection” ravaged the world, turning people into the Unconsecrated – living dead who crave the flesh of the living.  The village is protected and governed by the Sisterhood.  They provide the rules to protect the village and continue the human race.  They also keep secrets.  The Sisters have told everyone there is nothing outside the Forest of Hands and Teeth except the unconsecrated.  But Mary learns that the Sisterhood does not tell the villagers everything.  After Mary’s mother is bitten and joins the Unconsecrated, Mary rejected by her brother and unspoken for by the man she loves, is sent to live with the Sisters.   While there, Mary not only stumbles across unanswered mysteries, but reconnects with her lost love, Travis, who  is injured and sent to stay with the Sisters while he recovers.   During his care, Mary’s love for Travis grows but he is betrothed to Mary’s best friend, Cass.  It is Travis’ brother, Harry, who finally asks for Mary’s hand in marriage.  However, before the final bonding can take place, the fences are breached and the village is overrun by the Unconsecrated.  The only survivors are Mary, Cass, Travis, Harry, Mary’s bother and his wife, and an orphaned boy.  This small band sets out into the unknown to search for safety and answers to their questions.   Is there anything beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth?

Ryan has created a suspenseful sci-fi/horror/dystopian novel that entices the reader from the first word.  Readers will want to keep reading until the last page.  Ryan reveals just enough information to pique curiosity while still keeping an air of mystery.  When the end of the story does arrive many questions are left unanswered, but that’s ok, there are two more books in which the answers might be found.  This story will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you  think twice about noises in the night.  One note of caution: some of the descriptions of the death and mutilation of the living and the Unconsecrated are rather graphic and are not for the squeamish.  I’ve already requested my copy of the next book in the series: The Dead Tossed Waves.  Book three:  The Dark and Hollow Places is scheduled for release in March of 2011.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Great New Series: Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape

Amazon Product Description:  She's a police sketch artist. He's a dead lawman. Together, they put a face on murder. When her uncle dies, police sketch artist Rory McCain get's a list of clients from his private detective business and a beautiful, old house with a ghostly inhabitant: Federal Marshal Ezekiel Drummond, aka Zeke. Having a ghost as a housemate is bad enough, but as Rory's drawn into one of her uncle's unsolved cases and faces a cold-blooded killer, she may need the marshal's supernatural help to stay alive.”

I am a huge mystery fan and I’m a wannabe artist, so of course I had to pick up this new mystery by Sharon Pape.  As an elementary librarian, mother of two active boys, military wife and an amateur photographer my time is tight. Even though I multi-task and multi-read, there’s never enough time to read everything I want or to check out every new series.  It’s not often that I will add a new series to my must read list.  This series is a new addition to my list of series I will follow.  It’s well written. I didn’t figure out the culprit until closer to the end of the book. (I pride myself on being able to solve the crime before the protagonist, but I enjoy the book more when the author makes it challenging.) I also enjoyed the glimpses into the late 1800s and the events surrounding Marshal Drummond’s own mystery.  

I look forward to reading more about this crime solving partnership.  One of the aspects I truly enjoyed in this book is the relationship between living, modern day Rory and old fashioned, deceased Ezekial.  In a world where they were both living, the relationship was bound to be a feisty one, throw in the fact that he’s a ghost and it really “livens” things up.  I was surprised to find that this is Pape’s first mystery.  She writes like an old pro.  I hope there will be many more in this series.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. That’s what Thomas thought, but experienced young adult dystopian readers knew better and hoped for another installment in the story.  James Dashner did not disappoint.  The story of Thomas, Teresa and the other Gladers continues in The Scorch Trials.  They thought Teresa had triggered the end in The Maze Runner, but the truth is the end for the outside world was triggered long ago.  Burned by a scorching sun and infected by a mysterious disease known as the flare, the world is a wasteland.  The government has disintegrated, replaced by something called WICKED.  The Gladers have only just begun to run.  Can they make it through another trial to the safe haven and the promised cure for the Flare? And will they ever figure out who the good guys are?

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy, you will enjoy this series.  It has a somewhat more edgy sharpness to it.  This highlights the danger the characters are constantly facing. The reader can feel Thomas’ confusion, frustration and fear leap off the page.  The action never slows down in this second book.  At the end I felt almost as exhausted as Thomas and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Guardian Legacy: Spooktacular~Awakened~Giveaway

This is a great book (check my archives for my review) and a wonderful giveaway. Check it out!

The Guardian Legacy: Spooktacular~Awakened~Giveaway: "Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaways. 3 readers will win some fun stuff. As usual, I want to thank you for stopping by and for your supp..."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Life Bound By Books: Haunted Halloween: Jeri Smith-Ready + A Giveaway!

One great thing about all these giveaways is that it's adding some really great titles to my to be read list.

A Life Bound By Books: Haunted Halloween: Jeri Smith-Ready + A Giveaway!: "Thanks so much for having me on your blog to help celebrate my favorite holiday! When I was growing up, I loved going to slumber parties...."

Reel Murder by Mary Kennedy

Amazon Product Description:
"Florida's newest talk show radio psychologist Maggie Walsh has no sooner gotten involved with a local movie production than the leading lady turns up dead. Now Maggie has to find the killer before the credits roll-or it might be her final performance."
I hate it when I read the second book in a series before the first.  However, with most mystery series, reading the books out of order doesn't hurt too much.  This was not a bad book. It was just ok. I figured out the solution way too soon. I liked finding that I was right, but I just never connected with this book. And with so many wonderful mystery series out there, I don't think time will allow me to add another this one to my to read list.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Booklist gave this a starred review.  It’s an excellent story of growing up in the 60s during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Fifth grader Franny lives with her parents, great Uncle Otts, younger brother and older sister in suburban Maryland just outside Andrews Air Force Base. Her father is a pilot for Air Force One.  In the midst of all the regular pitfalls of growing up, Franny is worried about her older sister Jo Ellen who is acting strange, the strained relationship with her best friend Margie (who suddenly doesn’t want to be her best friend anymore), and her somewhat addled great uncle Otts.  Don’t forget the cute boy down the street and the ever present threat of a nuclear attack.   When not navigating the pitfalls of adolescence, Franny writes letters to Khrushchev, spies on her older sister, and tries to figure out why her teacher skips her for reading aloud.  This straightforward historical fiction has the feel of a young girl’s memoir rather than a made up story.  The story is punctuated with newspaper clippings, advertisements, news broadcasts and historical memorabilia.  This all blends together to give the reader a real sense of the time in which Franny lives.  Fans of Wiles’ down home southern stories will not find the same folksy story here, but readers will be engrossed by the personalization of some of the major events of this turbulent time period in American history.
Recommended for grades 6th and up.

Book Blogger Hop - hosted by Crazy For Books

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!  And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! 

So stop by Crazy For Books and join is in the hop. 

And this week's questioncomes from Becky who blogs at Becky's Barmy Book Blog:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"
My answer: Almost anywhere I can take a book.  I have created a reading area - nice comfy chaise lounge, pillows and a blanket, surrounded by books.  However, my miniature schnauzers seem to think that is their lounging spot and not mine.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Life Bound By Books: Haunted Halloween: Rebecca Maizel + A Giveaway!

As always another great giveaway!

A Life Bound By Books: Haunted Halloween: Rebecca Maizel + A Giveaway!: "I have to say, this isn’t very scary but it’s very true and the feeling I had driving through this place was mortifying. My friend..."

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Product Description from Amazon: Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
I received this ARC as part of a galley of the month program.  This is the first book I’ve read by Ockler. If her other work is as good as this one, then I’ve just added a new author to my list of favorites.  Ockler does an excellent job of capturing the complex life a teen being raised by a single parent.  The emotional distance that has developed between Delilah and her mother fairly leaps off the page.  Families are complex creatures. Ockler paints a vivid picture of a family that is struggling to connect.  Teens who enjoy contemporary fiction mingle with romance and a hint of mystery will enjoy this book.  I am anxious to read more by this author and have moved Twenty Boy Summer up on my to read list.

Recommended for 9th grade and up.