Thursday, March 28, 2013

Great Graphics!

Ichiro by Ryan Inzana 
Inzana does a masterful job of weaving reality and Japanese myths into a tale of adventure and suspense. Check out this book trailer for a great sneak peak!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A World Full of Fairies

The Fairy Ring examines how two young girls fooled the world into thinking they had discovered real fairies in their back yard.  Their proof?  Photographs that were so convincing even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced. That's right, the author of Sherlock Holmes was duped by two young teenagers.  Wonder how it was done?  Check out this quick read by Mary Losure and I promise you will be delighted.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Secrets are in the Stars

Sometimes, if you are very, very  lucky, a story will create an impression on your heart that will linger long after the book's last word is read.  It will be a long time before I forget the quiet insecurities of Ari or the charming exuberance of Dante.  Their story, like the best tales of love and friendship, is one that resonates with the reader and will, I predict, easily stand the test of time.  This novel is CrossFit for the emotions: loneliness, joy, sorrow, happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, depression, desperation and peace.  I was put through the emotional wringer--in a good way.   The best part is that it's one in a growing list of 2013 award winners that I've read and thoroughly enjoyed.  I can not wait to read the next one (I'm thinking Splendors and Glooms) but who knows which one I'll settle upon.  Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Now that's Grimm!

Anyone who studies history knows that violence is not a modern day problem.  And anyone that studies the history of stories knows that nothing thrills an audience quite like weaving some blood and gore into an otherwise dull little yarn.  Take the classic fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm.  Their stories are riddled with poisonings, beheadings and countless gruesome deaths.  I think that it's this alignment with tradition what makes A Tale Dark & Grimm so charming.  This is the classic story of Hansel and Gretel but retold with all of the nasty bits left in.  It is indeed perfectly Grimm.  The story is told in a conversational style that will have the reader grinning, chuckling and clamoring for more.  Thankfully there won't be a wait since the companion novel, In a Glass Grimmly, has already made its way to the shelves.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Cow Boy by Nate Cosby
I grabbed this book from a pile of new titles in part because I had one of those horse heads on a stick when I was a kid and seeing the cow boy with this toy modified into a gun made me chuckle.  I thought the story was quirky and cleaver, but I was very distracted by the interruptions.  I'm not exactly sure what the author was thinking when he decided to include the one or two page mini-comics throughout the story.  They didn't seem to add anything to the overall experience.  In fact, I found that they took away from the flow of the story and by the end I was skipping them entirely.   Overall...I was underwhelmed.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Newbery Honor is a Winner!

Three Times Lucky was delightful.  I was saturated in the warmth of the story from  "Trouble in Tupelo Landing" straight through to the last wonderful bits of "Dear Upstream Mother."  In fact, the main character, Mo LoBeau,  is now snuggled in my memory right alongside one of my other all-time favorite characters, Salamanca Tree Hiddle, from Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. The author created a idiosyncratic cast of characters that helps tell the story of Mo's mysterious life story while at the same time weaving a new mystery surrounding the death of one of the town's least loved residents.  The story is funny, suspenseful and unpredictable.  The perfect recipe for magic.  I can't say I'm surprised it won a Newbery Honor this year.  That's the second Newbery winner from 2013 that I've read and loved.  I cannot wait to read Bomb and Splendor and Gloom--my expectations for entertainment are very, very high.  Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just Typical

So much for my lofty goal of posting every day, or even a few times each week.   Last week flew by as I tried to get every class through the library before ISAT testing started.  In that I was successful (and added 5Essentials survey to boot), but my blogging went straight to the back burner.   But now I'm back.  No excuses.  You will be hearing from me much more often from now until the end of the year.

So.  Anything but Typical.  This is a book that has been on my list for at least a year but that I just couldn't quite bare to pick up.  I really dislike the cover (left).  So much that it kept me from wanting to read it at all--in spite of recommendations.  And sadly, I don't feel like they made much of an improvement with the new one (right).  Here's my question:  Why not include something about the actual story?  Say, computers?  Or writing?  I will never understand the decision to use cover art that does not reflect what a book is actually about.  I would guess that the artist is expected to read the book, but if not, surely that's a requirement of the editor?

So, with all of that said I did ultimately read the book.  I should have trusted my instincts.  I was indeed underwhelmed by the story, the voice of the character, and the plot.  I thought it was just...alright.  If I want a story that was similar then I much preferred Mockingbird by Katheryn Erskin.  I feel like Erskin did a more believable job of "taking off the top of the head" of her character, Caitlin.  Not that Jason wasn't a believable character.  I just felt distracted by constant explanations of why he doesn't interact with people--especially his mom.  Instead of feeling enlightened about how Jason's mind words I  felt hit over the head with his autism.  The story just didn't work for me.  What did you think?