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Jul. 22nd, 2009

belle - bookworm

alaska_kj

Soooo long

I have not posted in over a year and apologize for not keeping this community going.  I finished grad school in August and started my new job as a children's librarian in April of this year.  Needless to say I have been reading a lot of books.  Some of my most recent favorites are the 39 Clues series.  I've only gotten through the first 2 so far (there are 4 out with the 5th one coming in August - there will be 10).  I am amazed at the concept and how multimedia it is.  You get clue cards in the books that you enter codes for online to hunt down more clues.  I highly suggest everyone go to 39clues.com and check all of what's going on around the books - it's all very exciting!

I hope you all are doing well, I will try to be better at keeping this updated.  I do reviews in so many different places I should just copy and paste them all everywhere and that would keep it on track :o)

Keep reading!

Nov. 8th, 2008

Reading feet

deana_in_texas

Book 15

What's in a Name? - Ellen Wittlinger
Amazon Link
Rating: 5.0+
Genre: Young Adult
rating scale

This is absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. I've already placed it on my Amazon Wish List.

The story unfolds in a very unique fashion, with each chapter being narrated by a different student. The town of Scrub Harbor is considering changing its name to Folly Bay, and families are on one side or the other of the debate, for various reasons. The main reason for the name change is that people believe the name "Scrub Harbor" is unattractive, and tourists will be more enticed to come to "Folly Bay". As the story unfolds, we learn that the town is not the only thing that stereotypes and first impressions are affecting. All of the narrators are very different from one another, and stereotypes and first impressions become very important as the story continues. By the end, many surprises are in store for all of the students - people aren't always who you think they are.

And... as usual, my horrible skill at describing things does this book no justice. I highly recommend it though.
(This is also book 23 for 50bookchallenge)

Oct. 29th, 2008

Reading feet

deana_in_texas

Book 14

When You Wish - Kristin Harmel
Amazon Link
Rating: 3.5
Genre: Young Adult
rating scale


This book was ... okay. It's written from the point of view of 16 year old Star Beck, an insanely popular famous pop singer, like Brittney Spears or whoever the one now is. Kelly Clarkson? It's about how the pop star's life is far from perfect - her mother controlling what she wears and eats, fake relationship with famous pop king as a publicity stunt, everyone just trying to get her money, everything that happens in her life being taped by the media, people spreading rumors that she's in rehab for alcohol abuse whenever she gets sick, etc, etc, etc.

Early in the book, Star discovers that her father, who walked out on them when she was very young, has been trying to contact her for many years but her mother has kept the letters from her. She embarks on a quest for "normalcy" - changes her hair and makeup so she won't be recognized and takes off in search of her father. It's the story of what happens when she meets him, how she adjusted to "normal" life and romance, and how she took back control of her career.

It was not the best written book I've ever read, but far from being the worst. Once I got in a few chapters, I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. There was only one part of the book that I found unbelievable based on how the character was written, and unfortunatly that was a pretty important part - it led to the big conflict that led to the end of the book. I had trouble believing that she would call Jesse instead of Ben. Otherwise, it was a decent story in that respect.

And it is a somewhat empowering story for teenage girls, I think.

(This is also book 22 for 50bookchallenge)

Sep. 5th, 2008

lazyish

alaska_kj

Love, Stargirl

I just finished listening to Jerry Spinelli's Love, Stargirl on CD.  I enjoyed it a lot, but it has been a while since I read Stargirl so some of the references to past events I was a little fuzzy on.  I enjoy Stargirl's character so much and wish I could be her - she has such an amazing spirit and way of looking at life that is so refreshing, but makes me wonder if there really is anyone like that out there.  I think my favorite characters in the book include Dootsie and Alveena (as I didn't read it I'm not really sure how to spell their names).  Dootsie provides much comic relief as she is a 5 year old who quickly becomes Stargirl's best friend, going so far as to barge into their house at 6am and jump on her bed to wake her up.  Alveena is a 11/12 year old who is stuck in transition between a child and teenager and deals with it by being difficult, grumpy, and ready to beat up anyone who bugs her.  Overall the characters are endearing and I liked the form the story took -  the longest letter ever that Stargirl is writing to Leo over the course of more than a year.  I encourage you all to check it out if you enjoyed Stargirl, and to check that one out first if you haven't yet.

Aug. 31st, 2008

Reading feet

deana_in_texas

Book 13

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
Amazon Link
Rating:4.5
Genre: Children's Fiction
rating scale

Don't be scared off by the unbelievable thickness of this book! Over half, and probably over 2/3 of the book is just pictures.
It's an absolutely wonderful novel - a great story and beautiful illustrations. I'll be honest, it was the note that said he was influenced by Remy Charlip (one of my favorite illustrators from my childhood) that made me pick it up to begin with.

The story takes place in Paris in the 1930s, and is about a young orphan who discovers an amazing machine. He learns how to fix it, and unveils many secrets along the way. The story is wonderfully entertaining, and the illustrations really add to the work. It isn't like most books, where the illustrations depict something that is being talked about in the wording, but rather, the illustrations tell part of the story, and the words tell what cannot be shown in the images. The story itself is full of mystery and excitement, and should be entertaining for children of all ages.

It is somewhat based on history, although obviously with many changes. It is based around some small machines (automatons) that were collected (in real life) by a French filmmaker who figures prominantly in this novel (I won't tell you who, or it will ruin one of the main surprises in the book!) that were destroyed by a fire. In real life, they disappeared forever. But in this novel, one is found by a little boy who fixes it up, with surprising results!

Highly recommended.

Jul. 22nd, 2008

belle - bookworm

alaska_kj

Call for reviews/book discussions/questions

Hello all!
I know this isn't the most active community, but I'm going to link to it for a grad class project and would like to see some stuff from posters other than me.  So if you have some extra time and are willing to even just share what you're reading and your thoughts on it or whatever please post it!  Thanks so much!

Jul. 1st, 2008

lazyish

alaska_kj

I was wrong...again

So, despite my best intentions, I probably haven't posted 70% of the books I've read this year.  Who knew grad school would keep one so busy?? (Well, I suppose I did...) I'm sure I met the goal of 100 already, but since I just finished reading this one last night I'll post before I forget or get too busy.

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

I enjoyed this book immensely.  It is shorter and at a slightly lower reading level that most of her other books (Inheart, Thief Lord, etc.), but it was fun to read.  Igraine is the daughter of magicians and she wants to be a knight.  While making her present for her 12th birthday, her parents say swine instead of shine in their incantation and turn themselves into pigs.  As timing goes, that very same day Osmund the Greedy comes to their castle to demand their Singing Books of Magics.  The adventures that ensue create a wonderful story that is not as predictable as I thought it would be.

Time to do what I need to get done for today - go to the library and write a good portion of my 30pg paper on mobile library service for children...need to know anything about bookmobiles?  There's a good chance I might have an answer :o)

What have you read lately?

May. 2nd, 2008

Reading feet

deana_in_texas

Book 12

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood - Anne Brashares
Amazon Link
Rating: 3.5
Genre: Young Adult Novel
rating scale

I didn't like this one as much as the others. Too much sex, not enough friendship.
And again, too much predictability. How many of us knew that Carmen would get the ONE student role in the professional play? *raises hand* How many knew that Kostos would show up? *raises hand again*

But, there were some great parts as well, that kept me reading. I love that Carmen finally found out about "real" friendship, though I was sad that her relationship with Win didn't work out, I really liked him. And everything with Lena and ... the artist guy (I forgot his name, he obviously made a great impression) was really great, even though it didn't turn into anything - and I was kind of glad it didn't. And Bridget? Well, she's generally the most exciting one, at least. Tibby's whole thing was a little much for me, but it came together ok.

It touched home in a lot of ways for me, though. So even though I didn't like it as much as the others, it was still pretty enjoyable. I ended up writing down a bunch of quotes from the book. So... yay! I finally finished the series!

Apr. 7th, 2008

Reading feet

deana_in_texas

Book 11!

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, book 3) - Ann Brashares
Amazon Link
Rating: 3.5
Genre: Young Adult Novel
cover

I enjoyed this book as much as the first two, although I did have a few issues with it.
cut for spoilersCollapse )

Apr. 4th, 2008

lazyish

alaska_kj

Even more books!

Ok, so I haven't been doing a good job of posting my readings.  I'm going to try to catch up with what I've read since February here, but I might have forgotten some already...my own fault :)  If you have any questions about them, feel free to ask.


cover
12 - Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Not what I was expecting, but a good fast read.  Her imagery is awesome as usual and she did a good job of addressing a somewhat taboo in children's/ya lit; child abuse.
Rating - 5

13 - Breathe by Donna Jo Napoli -
One of her rewritten fairy tales about the Pied Piper of Hamlin.  Very dark, but very interesting in how she twines the story together.  I am always amazed at how she incorperates the culture of the area into the tales.
Rating - 5

14 - A Splendid Friend Indeed -
A simple picture book about a rather annoying duck.  He keeps bother Bear while he is trying to do stuff and finally ends up making him a picnic and they are friends.  A very cute book and the illustrations are great.
Rating - 4

15 - Triple Trouble in Hollywood -
This goes with the Double Trouble series that was written in the 80's.  Cheesy stories about twins sisters who switch places for things and always end up getting caught.  This one is triple b/c they go to visit their cousin who looks just like them (apparently b/c their dads are brothers and their moms are sisters).  I was really into them when I was little, but now it was like watching a Full House rerun.  As a fluff kinda book just to have something to read before I went to sleep, it did the job.
Rating - 2.5

16 - Storytelling Princess by Rafe Martin -
A fun newish kind of fairy tale in which the princess stands up for herself and runs away when her father says she is to be married and has been betrothed since she was born.
Rating - 3

17 - The Goose Girl retold by Eric A. Kimmel -
I guess this is one of the Grimm stories I was rather unfamiliar with so I checked it out. 
Rating - 3

Beware - Here there be Cinderellas - I did a project for class on the different versions of Cinderella so I read a lot of them.  All of the following are picture books.

18 - Domitila: A Cinderella tale from the Mexican Tradition - Coburn -
In this the prince is attracted to her because of her cooking and she leaves a leather strap to her shoe behind.
Rating - 4

19 - Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella - Coburn -
The father in this story turns the mother into a cow b/c they are poor and need a source of money.  Then he gets greedy and instead of turning her back once they had some money, he just marries again, the clod.
Rating - 4

20 - Fair, Brown & Trembling: An Irish Cinderella Story - Daly -
In this story the sisters, Fair and Brown, won't let Trembling go to church with them.  She goes three time in beautiful dresses riding loverly horses and in the end priinces fight over who gets to marry her.
Rating - 4.5

TO BE CONTINUED.......
I promise it won't take 3 months this time

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