What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

Recently Viewed

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 7 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: book reviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,359
1. Books of December - Gifts


I have several siblings (several- more than three, less than a dozen).  For years, I gave every sibling a Christmas present.  Then, I gave every sibling and his or her significant other a Christmas present.  THEN, I gave every sibling, their S-O and their CHILDREN individual Christmas presents.  THEN, I gave each family a box of Christmas presents.  Finally, I sent some of my siblings a “family” Christmas present.   Now, they are lucky to get a greeting card from me.  This is the evolution of my family gift-giving.
( I did not expect nor did I often receive presents in return. Sometimes I was happily surprised.  I just like giving gifts.)

A lot of these gifts were homemade.  Because homemade gifts are super, right?  Well, they are, if they come from my sisters, who all take great pride in crafting the most delightfully sewn, knitted, quilted items.  I go for the Big Effect, and that sometimes means that my gifts fall apart 24 hours after they are unpacked.  Still, it’s the thought.... Or, is it? (My food gifts are usually awesome!)

A gift can be as small as a button, as mysterious as an empty box, as ephemeral as a kiss. 

Books about gift-giving and generosity that I love.

The Best Christmas Ever by Chih-Yuan Chen.  I will mention this book every Christmas season in some form or other, because I love it so much.  I love the brown paper feel of the illustrations.  I love the feeling of winter, darkness, and struggling hope.  I love its simplicity.  And I love the joyous resolution.  The Bear family is so poor that they don’t even hope for presents this year.  On Christmas morning, they find that “Toddler Christmas” visited in the night and brought them small, precious gifts.

Birthday Surprises edited by Johanna Hurwitz.  Hurwitz asked 10 children’s authors to write a story about a birthday in which a child received an empty box.  Sometimes, the box was the actual present.  Sometimes, the box represented something else.  In one case, the box was sent by mistake and the present was delivered in person.  Imagine getting a box filled with air. 

Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.  First published in Rylant’s collection, Children of Christmas, this story tells of a train that rolled through the mountains and gifts that were thrown from the back to the impoverished children.  Every year, a boy wishes for one particular gift.  Every year, he gets something he needs.  He returns as an adult and we find out whether his wish ever came true.

The following website offers a list of books about gift-giving and generosity to share with your young ones. 
The Best Childrens Books about Generosity.


0 Comments on Books of December - Gifts as of 12/29/2016 1:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
2. Books of December - Some Favorites!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.  Cold, frosty winter stretches through Narnia, as the White Queen reigns.  But when the Pevensie children step through the wardrobe into the frozen land, they bring hope and call forth the lion, Aslan, to fight for Good.   Pauline Baynes' illustration of the lamp post in the snowy forest would make a GREAT holiday card.

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby.  Solveig, her brother who is crown prince, and her older sister are trapped in a fortress at the end of a frozen fjord.  They wait news of their father's victory in battle.   As the winter stretches on, and on, tensions and suspicions grow.  Solveig watches her father's storyteller control the moods of the entrapped warriors and royal family, and stir them up.  And she learns from him.  Treachery is afoot. Can Solveig's new found voice stem the mutiny?  Storytelling and winter- two of my favorite things.

A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill.  A young boy in Appalachia has never spoken, even though the local doctor can find nothing wrong with him.  When he gets to play a shepherd in the school's Christmas pageant, the boy is heartbroken that snow cancels the performance.  Then strangers arrive at his family's poor home.  OK.  I cannot tell you how very, very, very much I love this book.  Period.
Also, I love William Pene Du Bois.  There, my secret crush is revealed.

1 Comments on Books of December - Some Favorites!, last added: 12/29/2016
Display Comments Add a Comment
3. Books of December - Snow

No snow in our forecast!  The six snowflakes that fell on the last day of October do not count.

Up here in the Northern hemisphere, we expect snow for the holidays.  I remember some very, very, white and deep Christmases.  But that was then, long ago, when (insert your nostalgic holiday memory here).

Number 1 book on snow - ever:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  This was the very first mainstream book to ever feature a child of color as the main character.  Although that is notable in itself, Keats' artwork and the simplicity of Peter's play raise this book to Book Idol level.  A gazillion stars of loving this book!!

While we are talking about The Snowy Day, Amazon Prime Video has tapped the talents of Angela Bassett and Boys II Men in its new animated version of Keats prize winning book.  Here's the story, on The Mary Sue, with a video clip and everything.   The video should be available now.

Red Sled by Lita Judge.  The book has no words - well, almost no words.  The illustrations of woodland animals "borrowing" a child's sled during the night are so precious.

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai.  A small rabbit is so happy when school is cancelled because of snow.  The falling snow mesmerizes him.  He has so much time to play.  But his father is grounded in another city because of the snow.  Sakai's muted paintings evoke that muffled quiet of a snowy day.  Her palette matches the grey sky and city streets in the snow.

 What is your favorite snowy day book?


0 Comments on Books of December - Snow as of 12/14/2016 4:48:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. Books of December - The Nutcracker

Cozy Classics - those board books that attempt to encapsulate great literature in needle-felted illustrations - have produced their own cozy little version of the Nutcracker!!





Is this not the cutest thing???!!!








Lisbeth Zwerger's artwork spins a world all its own.  A new version of her book about E.T.A. Hoffman's odd little story came out in September.  The Nutcracker with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger.












Every year, ballet companies all over the USA, put on versions of The Nutcracker.  If you have more than one little dancer in your life, you can probably hum all the movements AND identify them.  And so it has been since the dawning of time.  Tchaikovsky did not write his ballet until 1892. 

Well then, American ballet companies have had dancing mice, soldiers, and sugar plum fairies since, 1910 at least, right?   Not so, my little Chinese mushroom.

The Nutcracker Comes to America by Chris Barton tells the story of three brothers who loved ballet and danced whenever and wherever they could.  They performed America's first full length Nutcracker ballet during World War II. 


0 Comments on Books of December - The Nutcracker as of 12/14/2016 3:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. Framed! I'm TOAST!

Florian Bates is new in Washington, D.C. - new to the United States, for that matter.  His father designs security systems for museums.  His mother works in the National Gallery as an art conservator.  When he meets a girl from his neighborhood, Margaret, he finds someone that he can share his system for sorting out people's small mysteries.  Florian calls it the Theory Of All Small Things, or T.O.A.S.T.

There you have the set-up for what I hope will be a whole series of mystery/spy novels.  This first book, Framed!: a T.O.A.S.T Mystery by James Ponti, starts with Florian's abduction by a Romanian thug.  Since that's in the very first chapter, I'm not giving much away. 


Then, Florian goes back and explains just WHY he has been abducted, and how he became a "covert asset" for the FBI, and how he promised to help Margaret solve a family mystery.  Add in some art theft and lots of T.O.A.S.T. training and stir in some Quantico physicality and you get a darn good book for middle grade readers - or anyone who loves action, puzzles, and solutions. 

0 Comments on Framed! I'm TOAST! as of 12/14/2016 4:30:00 AM
Add a Comment
6. A Must Have for Every Author... "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically" by Carolyn Howard Johnson

M E D I A   R E L E A S E

For Immediate Release
Contact: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Or Publicist at www.redenginepress.com
ISBN: 9780978515874
Publisher: Red Engine Press
Release Date: November 3, 2016

The Changing Face of Reviews

Editor/Author/Publicist Writes Ultimate Guide
on Getting, Writing, and Using Reviews


“I think Getting Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will sell like hot cakes. It’s a chicken and egg situation. When you get reviews you get noticed and more people notice you from that. But how to get reviews without paying sometimes hundreds of dollars with no guarantee and how to ask without being a nuisance puts authors in a quandary. I will be first in line when it comes out! Please keep me posted!!!!” ~ Fiona Ingram, award winning children’s author of The Chronicles of the Stone middle grade adventure series, http://www.chroniclesofthestone.com.
How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: 
The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career

Los Angeles, CA  - - The Web—more explicitly Amazon and other online bookstores—have changed the face and nature of reviews in the last couple of decades. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, known for her author advocacy and how-to books for writers—has released a new book (the 3rd) in her multi award-winning and bestselling (at many different levels) HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers.

With the release of Howard-Johnson’s How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career authors—both traditionally published and self-published—can now approach the daunting task of the whole spectrum of reviews from getting and using reviews online and in prestigious review journals efficiently. She also shows in the 340 page book, how to writing reviews as part of an author’s overall campaign and authors can use review of their own books and the ones they write toward building both a market for their book and building their own writing career.

This new how-to book is third in Howard-Johnson’s multi award-winning How To Do It Frugally Series. The first book in the series, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, was named USA Book News “Best Professional Book 2004," and Book Publicists of Southern California honored it with their Irwin Award. Now in its second edition, Bookbaby.com calls it a “classic” and it has helped more than 40,000 authors since its release. The second in the series, The Frugal Editor, is her most award-winning of the series including honors from Day Poynter’s Global E-Book Award, USA Book News, Reader Views Literary Award, Next Generation Indie Book Award, and won a special Marketing Award from New  Millennium  Book Awards. It is now available at http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews.

In the works are books like The Frugal Self-Publisher: The Quick, Down and Dirty Guide for Publishing Anything for Any Reason—Personal Professional or Poetic.

The author says, "This series is the result of a combination of experience gained through trial and error in promoting my own literary works and my professional experience in marketing, PR, journalism, editing and publishing in general."

Howard-Johnson was an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program for nearly a decade, was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California legislature, and was given her community’s Diamond Award and honored for her work with tolerance by her city's Ethics Committee.  In addition to dozens of literary awards and honors, she was also featured by Pasadena Weekly  in their “Pasadena Women Who Make Life Happen” for her advocacy in the publishing industry.

# # # #

Support materials available on request. 
Learn more on her Web site at
ISBN-13: 978-1536948370
ISBN-10: 1536948373
BISAC: LAN00400, BUS058010
Distributors: Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Createspace

A complete media kit may be downloaded

Series covers by Chaz DeSimone, http://DeSimoneDesign.com.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2016 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention Picture Books & Story Monster Approved

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

0 Comments on A Must Have for Every Author... "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically" by Carolyn Howard Johnson as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7. A Bike Like Sergio’s: Review and Giveaway!

Maribeth Boelt’s new book A Bike Like Sergio’s will appeal to readers and writers of all ages. It’s a heartfelt story with a message to which readers will relate; the right decision is… Continue reading

Add a Comment
8. Blog Tour: Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins



Genre: Mystery/Contemporary
Release Date: 10/25/2016

About the Book: Nolie is spending the summer in Scotland in a small village with her scientist dad. He's there researching the Boundary-the mysterious fog at the edge of Journey's End. The fog seems to be moving closer but the town can't take any warnings of danger too seriously-the fog is their livelihood and tourism depends on it. Especially for Bel's family who runs a tour boat out to the Boundary. When Nolie and Bel strike up a friendship the two become entangled in the mystery of Journey's End the fog that may be making it's way to devour the town. When Albert appears, a boy who went into the fog in 1918 to light the legendary lighthouse, Bel and Nolie know something strange is happening in Journey's End it's up to them to save the town and stop the fog from claiming more lives. 

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:  Journey's End is a bit mystery, a bit of a friendship story, a bit of a spooky ghost story, and a lot of fun. I'm so excited to see Rachel Hawkins writing middle grade and she gets the voice and tween turmoil just right. In the midst of a mysterious fog creeping into town, this novel is about friendship and forgiveness. Bel is working through her hurt from her best friend growing up and ditching her for a new girl. Nolie is dealing with her parent's divorce and how that has changed her. The girls friendship with each other helps them find understanding and forgiveness. 
Add in some mysterious fog and a missing boy coming back 100 years later and you've got a very readable and likable mystery for middle grade readers. 

The mystery element is part paranormal, part legend, part ghost story and I think readers who enjoy ghostly happenings that aren't too spooky will enjoy this novel. Things never get too scary and there's also a good dose of humor from Nolie who likes to joke around and from Albert, adjusting to life in the twenty-first century. 

I listened to this book on audio and I loved the narrator's accents for each character. A bit southern for Nolie's Georgia accent, Bel's Scottish accent, and Albert's thicker brogue. I also liked that the audiobook added to some of the humor and upped the tension in certain scenes. I would suggest this in book and audiobook format to my interested readers. 

As part of the tour, I thought I would give my top reasons to check out Journey's End

My top three reasons to get your hands on Journey's End are:

1. It's the perfect read for a cold, foggy, wintery morning. Nothing better than reading about some creepy fog while you can look outside and see eerie fog yourself!

2. It's a ghostly story that's tame enough for readers looking for something gentle. I promise you won't be scared! But you may think twice about the weather!

3. It's ToddlerGreenBean approved! I had my print copy of this one sitting on the couch and every time it was out, ToddlerGreenBean would pick up and want to read it to me. Something about the cover fascinated him and I think he'll be enjoying this one in a few years! 

Be sure to keep Journey's End in mind if you have readers looking for light mysteries. It's a nice mix of stories I think it will find many fans. 

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook and book sent by publisher for review


0 Comments on Blog Tour: Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins as of 11/2/2016 7:19:00 AM
Add a Comment
9. The Executioner's Daughter

In  The Excutioner's Daughter  by Jane Hardstaff, Moss is almost 12.  She has lived her whole life in the Tower of London where her father is King Henry VIII's executioner.  Moss's father told her that they must stay in the Tower as punishment for a crime he committed years ago. 

Moss is the basket girl.  She carries the newly chopped off heads from the block to the gates of the Tower where they will be on display.  When she is pressed into service in the kitchen ,she makes friends with the King's latest enemy, an abbot.  The day of the abbot's death, Moss runs away.

In her debut novel, Jane Hardstaff paints a realistic picture of the Tower and the river that flows by it during King Henry VIII's reign. The jacket blurb hints at a touch of fantasy in this otherwise historically accurate book.  The touch of fantasy adds suspense and terror to the sotry of Moss's coming of age.

Moss learns about the flawed nature of people who must struggle to survive.  She also learns about acceptance, love and forgiveness.

The Executioner's Daughter by Jane Hardstaff is a fine book. 

0 Comments on The Executioner's Daughter as of 10/16/2016 3:09:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. Once, Twice, Thrice

A little girl "reads" to her father at bedtime.  "One mouse, two mouses, three mouses."

So begins my friend's new picture book, "Once, Twice, Thrice" by Kim Chatel.  Like parents everywhere in the English speaking world, the father explains that when you add one mouse to another mouse, you get two mice.  Are two houses called hice, then?

The father daughter duo explore other irregular plurals in this cleverly written and charmingly illustrated book.  Artist Kathleen Bullock picks just the right color palette for a night time tale.

Besides being a sweet bedtime story, this book will be a winner in primary language arts classes and with ESL teachers. 

Click here to get your own copy.




0 Comments on Once, Twice, Thrice as of 10/15/2016 9:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
11. Full of Beans

Jennifer L. Holm returns to Key West during the Depression - the Great One, not the recent turn of the 21st century bank blow-up - just clarifying  - in Full of Beans.

Grown-ups lie.  There you have it.  It's a fact and Beans can give you example after example of how this works.  But as Beans tries to survive a sweltering summer in down and out Key West, he discovers that kids can be deceitful, too.  Even stand-up kids like himself.

Holm did her homework in verifying the New Deal program that turned a worn-out Florida village into a tourist attraction.  Beans calls the government agent a Crazy Man, and lampoons his "underwear" - bermuda shorts - in between marble tournaments and running errands for a shady businessman.  Everyone in town thinks the house paint they are given is ridiculous.

When Bean's plans put his friends in danger, he has to make amends.  He rallies his band of kids to help save Key West.  In an unrelated subplot, Holm reintroduces the miracle diaper rash remedy - somewhat modified - that she mentioned in Turtle in Paradise.

Oh and there's an adorable dog.  Can't lose with a dog in the book.



 

0 Comments on Full of Beans as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. Evil Wizards

The Evil Wizard Smallbone   The Evil Wizard Smallbone has some competition in the evil department in this book by Delia Sherman.  But Nick, the runaway who takes refuge with the old, smelly, grumpy and wicked wizard, has to do some heavy duty sleuthing - and endless chores - to get to the bottom of Smallbone's dastardly behavior.

The setting is backwoods Maine where the coyotes are numerous and the wolves rule the forest - some on motorcycle.  The small village of Smallbone Cove depends on the evil wizard for their protection against, what, exactly?  Here is part of the mystery.  Another part is why so many of Smallbone Cove's residents look so similar and how some of the residents can be as old as they say they are. 

An odd mix of werepeople, selkie legends, the reversing of spells, and ancient badness come together in a delightful fantasy.  I loved the ending.  And I thoroughly enjoyed the ride there.  I also liked the smart alecky books that plague Nick as he searches for answers.  That boy is too curious.

0 Comments on Evil Wizards as of 9/30/2016 1:26:00 PM
Add a Comment
13. Ibuprofin and a cool wet blindfold

In the last 48 hours I have read:

The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long;   (fairy tale style fantasy, pretty good) 3 1/2 stars

The Black Dragon : Mysterium #1 by Julian Sedgwick;  (rock 'em, sock 'em, fast-paced underworld crime novel set in Hong Kong to be continued, of course.) 3 stars

The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer; (last of what may be a psychological thriller trilogy, or it may be a study in mental illness, or alternative fiction.  This entry is good enough to read to the very end but I don't need to know what went before.) 3 stars

Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Stevenson.  (friendship/family relationship novel.  I just finished this one and am tempted to say more.  Tragedy rears it's ugly tissue wielding head at the end.  Sigh.) 3 stars

Earlier this week, I finished As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds( No one has a terminal illness in this book.  YAY!!!!!  Two city boys spend the summer at the family farm with their dad's parents.  Family stuff, brother stuff, city boys in the country stuff and growing up stuff.) 3 1/2 stars

Mayday by Karen Harrington.  (Uncle dies.  Family flies to funeral.  Mom and son are in airplane accident.  Granddad is sick.  There you have it.)  3 1/2 stars

Oh and a little cozy mystery novella and I started an Aunt Dimity novel that I never read. 

My eyes hurt.

But let me say this.  I have decided that I will fight the urge to give any book that deals with C.A.N.C.E.R. more than 3 1/2 stars.  As a survivor, I am well and truly tired of books that use cancer to manipulate their readers.  The book better have me prostrate on the floor weeping; or feeling so uplifted I want to sing before I will give it 4 or 5 stars.  But, that's just me.

0 Comments on Ibuprofin and a cool wet blindfold as of 9/10/2016 5:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
14. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi


Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi 
Release Date: 8/30/2016 
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

About the Book: Alice was born in the magical world of Ferenwood but doesn't have any magic herself. In a land where color is magic, Alice is the lightest of all and doesn't fit in. The only person who ever made her feel special was Father-but he disappeared three years ago leaving Alice with her uncaring Mother and her three brothers. When Oliver Newbanks, an old nemesis, tells Alice that he needs help completing his task (the magical undertaking all children of Ferenwood must complete) and that he knows where Father is and can bring him home, Alice is faced with a tough choice. Oliver's magic lies in deciet and Alice is never sure if she can trust him but she wants Father home more than anything. The journey will be dangerous and take her into the odd land of Futhermore where nothing is as it seems and time must not be wasted. In a world filled with strange creatures and rules. Alice must find herself and her magic to bring Father home. 


GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: There's been a trend lately in middle grade fantasy with more books appearing for this age group that are quirky, magical, Alice in Wonderland-types. Futhermore firmly fits into that category. With a magical land that never quite makes sense, things are measured in time, twisting rules that you, numerous villages with various quirks and citizens who want to eat up visitors for their magic, Furthermore is quite a twisty read. 

Alice's story is a fine one for readers who enjoy this type of twisting and somewhat confusing and creative fantasy. But I can also see more sophisticated readers getting frustrated as well. The author can easily get characters out of various escapades by adding some new revelation. There are multiple asides from the author/narrator as well, but these don't always work and instead some of the humor that is supposed to be there falls a bit flat. The narrator interjections are inconsistent. It also takes a long time for more explanations of the world building, but once you get there I thought it was well done if a bit convenient at times. 

Alice's story takes awhile to get going and once we get to her adventures in Furthermore, the story is fun and there are lots of unique adventures that Alice and Oliver have. But I was very let down by the ending which felt too quickly wrapped up. It felt like we went through a lot of meandering and adventure only to have it solved in an instant. It was as though someone said "hey, this book is getting too long-wrap it up now and stop writing!" It felt too abrupt and too clean an ending and answer for such an epic adventure. After multiple chapters and pages of a journey, everything was wrapped up in about twenty pages, so I was left with little closure and this was a bit of a let down. 

I do think Futhermore would be a good choice for readers who enjoy Wonderland-esque tales and I think some readers will very much get into Alice's adventures and the wondrous world of Furthermore. It's an engaging enough read and I think young readers will enjoy it and I think it may have some limited reader appeal-at least from my experience with the fantasy readers at my library. I just wish there had been some tighter writing and more depth to the novel. I had higher hopes for this one and while I enjoyed it,  I can't say it will be memorable for long after I read it but I had fun while reading.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from purchased ebook from personal library

0 Comments on Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi as of 9/5/2016 11:46:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Wonder Women

Sam Maggs has written a fun collected biography (as we call them in the library trade) about women in science, medicine, innovation, espionage and adventure titled - wait for it - Wonder Women.

Maggs writing style is up-to-the minute and whip smart.  I'm only one third through this book and my mind is totally boggled.  Without flipping another page, I would give this book 5 stars.  Maggs searched long and hard and found women heroes from Asia, Europe and the Americas, of all colors and persuasions.  Her mini-bios between segments - Maggs arranges the books by the various disciplines cited above - give peeks into the lives of other accomplished women.  Maggs also includes interviews with women professionals who work in those disciplines.

Anyway, I am so excited by this book's content and writing style that I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.  Thanks to Sam and to Quirk Books for offering this title.  Not out til October!  You can pre-order it here  (This is not an affiliate link.  I just don't like Amazon all that much.), or order from your favorite bookseller.  Don't let ME tell you what to do.

0 Comments on Wonder Women as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Changes.

Tomorrow, the little girl starts kindergarten.  This will reduce our little girl time to 2 or 3 hours a day.  Am I happy?  Actually, um, no.  She has a lot of playing left.  And I am not all that enamored of our public education system.  

Still, she is ready.  But who will play with me during those extra hours? 

Everybody else keeps growing up!!!

In The Secret of Goldenrod, Trina is almost 11 and entering fifth grade and her father is so embarrassing.  They are off to refurbish Goldenrod, a stately home in the middle of nowhere, that has been empty for almost a century.  Unlike their other jobs that kept them busy for a month or two, Goldenrod will take a whole year and Trina will have finally time to make friends.  She hopes her mother will stop gallivanting around the world and finally return to the family. 

Then she sees the old house in a field of yellow weeds, and the house doesn't want them there.

A hidden room, a forgotten dollhouse and its tiny doll, a nasty schoolmate and a small town with secrets add up to a great story.

Author Jane O'Reilly sets this up as a convincing haunted house story, but with the discovery of the dollhouse things begin to change.   The last few chapters are the best as they pull everything together and give a happy ending that is also unexpected.


0 Comments on Changes. as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. Book Review: Not Dark Yet, by Berit Ellingsen

Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen
Two Dollar Radio
ISBN: 978-1937412354
Fiction, 202 pages

I don't review a lot of books, but when I do it's because I really want to--I want to share something important and real that I think other writers and readers will enjoy and benefit from. That's why I'm  taking a look today at Not Dark Yet by author Berit Ellingsen, a writer who has enriched my world and inspired me to keep writing, keep striving, keep going, and always take the time to read a good book.

I first heard about Berit via Twitter, the best source I know for discovering books and authors I wouldn't usually have the chance to learn about. Thanks to so many bookstores disappearing from my neighborhood (three more have just gone bankrupt this past month), social media has become my primary source for literary browsing, and when I read a post about Berit and her collection of short stories: Beneath the Liquid Skin, I had to order the book, prontoNothing in my extensive reading life had prepared me for the power and originality of those stories, so naturally I couldn't wait to read her novel, Not Dark Yet. I don't think anything else I've read before or after can compare with either of these books.

Berit lives in Norway, and her work reflects a beautiful sense of place, an isolated starkness that is in direct contrast with much of my own experience. Even desert-y Albuquerque doesn't have the sharp, cold lunar feeling I get from her descriptions. Coupled with this strong geographic presence is a staggering sense of precision to every word she writes, an exactness that has me re-reading many of her sentences for the sheer pleasure of it. In many ways I consider her a "writer's writer" and after I finished reading Not Dark Yet I sat down with my journal to examine what it was that made me love this book so much. Here goes:
  • Setting. An unspecified future; a mysterious Nordic city; a world without clear boundaries, countries, or cultures: the world of Not Dark Yet is a mystery. Yet despite the deliberate masking of time and place, I don't think I read a a single description that left me wondering where I was, or what the characters were experiencing. As I read, I felt every needle of rain, every clod of mud, every veil of mist--and I was actually sorry that I couldn't live there--and this was a depiction of a world in chaos and dangerous change! I mean, what kind of skill makes an awful world attractive?
  • Characters. Main character Brandon Minamoto isn't your everyday protagonist (thank goodness). A complex near-loner with a troubled military history, Brandon is torn between the need to form relationships and the need to be true to himself. I sympathized with his plight every step of the way and was heartbroken when I had to say good-bye on the last page.
  • Plot. I hate plot-spoilers of any kind so I won't drop even a single hint, but I was hooked right from the beginning. I HAD to know: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO BRANDON?? You'll have to read the book to find out, but his story arc kept me glued to my seat.
  • Writing Style. Oh, wow. There is a zen-like simplicity and clarity to Berit's voice and style that I admire immensely. Seemingly matter-of-fact and terse on the surface, each sentence builds toward the next, roiling on your sub-conscious like some menacing monolithic disaster threatening to change everything you know or believe is true. It's rare to come across so much power in a deceptively plain-spoken sentence, and I found myself constantly wondering how she managed to control it.
  • Subject Matter. I hesitate to call Not Dark Yet science fiction, but I can't think of another category that would fit as well. Sci-fi isn't usually my first choice when choosing a book, but when it goes in the direction of also being character-driven literary fiction, I'm a fan. Not Dark Yet is an excellent example of how to blend (and bend) genre distinctions to good advantage, and one I wish more books would emulate.
  • Metaphor. I've always been impressed with Berit's use of metaphor and symbolism. Whether the focus is on food, the weather, or just getting dressed for a holiday--each scene, story event, or snippet of back story is rich with added-value meaning and subtext.
  • Discussion Points. Which brings me to my favorite thing about this book: I could talk about it all day. It's a book that makes me think. Good literature should lead to great (and memorable) conversation, and I can't imagine anyone not having an opinion or strong feelings about what happens to Brandon and the rest of the cast. In other words, it's the perfect book club book--especially if club members enjoy digging deep and aren't afraid to not always agree on social issues, character motivation, or "what would you do?" if placed in Brandon's shoes. Strong stuff.
So with all that said, I think I have to read the book again. Not Dark Yet is quirky, original, and packed with secrets--the kind you can't wait to unravel and sit with for a long while after. I found the book extremely compelling and one that has stirred my curiosity and desire to learn more, write more, and even try my hand at some fan-art. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy an authentic book of ideas and a serious voyage of self-discovery. Five stars from me--six if I could!

Tip of the Day: Be sure to check out Berit Ellingsen and her wonderful books. After all, to a writer it's love and reading that makes the world go 'round!

0 Comments on Book Review: Not Dark Yet, by Berit Ellingsen as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
18. Oh my!

Have I been gone that long?

I picked up three more hours at the library for which I work.  I have done a smattering of storytelling engagements. - but enough to keep me busy and distracted.  I have read.  A lot.  Mostly eBooks.  Because actually budging to go to a library once I get home is just too much work.

So...The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.    The writing in this book swept me well into the fray.  There is a village.  Every year, that village leaves the newest baby deep in the forest as a sacrifice? gift? to the evil wicked awful witch.

And there is a forest wherein dwells an old witch, a swamp monster whose importance can only be imagined and a dragon who never seems to grow older.

The witch gathers up each child, - always wondering why the villagers leave the infants there but never wondering for very long, - and carries the infant to the other side of the forest where loving adoptive parents wait.  The witch feeds each child on starlight.

Meanwhile, in the village there is grieving and sadness and someone who feeds on both.

One day,  the witch falls asleep and the infant in her arms feeds on moonlight... and everything is changed.  

This is a novel about oppression and parenthood - which really are NOT the same thing.  The witch finds parenting her moonfed child harder than she could imagine.   The novel is also about questioning the status quo and about powerful people who are parasites.  And the novel is about pain.

The novel is also a bit more complicated than I wanted it to be.  It all fits together nicely in the end. 

0 Comments on Oh my! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
19. RUNOFF Graphic Novel by Tom Manning Book Review

Mysterious things are happening in Range, a small town in the shadow of Mount Rainier.  Runoff Graphic Novel is a dramatic thriller which reminds me a…

The post RUNOFF Graphic Novel by Tom Manning Book Review appeared first on RABBLEBOY - The Official Blog of Kenneth Kit Lamug.

Add a Comment
20. Picture Book Roundup - Darkly Funny Picture Books

A selection of darkly funny, mostly cautionary picture books.

 Share these funny gems with slightly older listeners who have a sense of humor; but spare your very timid or gentle-hearted ones - happily-ever-after is not guaranteed in these tales of comeuppance, justice served, just desserts, and cautionary advice.

If you're unable to view the slide show, visit it on Riffle Books [ https://www.rifflebooks.com/list/206136] where I occasionally create themed slide shows.

Books included in the list:

  • A Hungry Lion, Or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins 
  • How to be Famous by Michal Shaley 
  • Everyone Love Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio 
  • Jim: Who Ran Away from his Nurse and Was Eaten by a Lion by HIlaire Belloc 
  • This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen 
  • The Book that Eats People by John Perry

0 Comments on Picture Book Roundup - Darkly Funny Picture Books as of 4/27/2016 7:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
21. Book Review:The Journey is Everything by Katherine Bomer

In her brilliant new book, The Journey Is Everything :Teaching Essays That Students Want to Write for People Who Want to Read Them, Katherine Bomer makes a powerful and passionate case for the joyful embrace of a new vision for teaching our students how to write (and read) the essay.

Add a Comment
22. Book Review:The Journey is Everything by Katherine Bomer

In her brilliant new book, The Journey Is Everything :Teaching Essays That Students Want to Write for People Who Want to Read Them, Katherine Bomer makes a powerful and passionate case for the joyful embrace of a new vision for teaching our students how to write (and read) the essay.

Add a Comment
23. Tiki Tales in Book About Famous Supper Club

Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus by David Myers, Elise Myers Walker, Jeff Chenault, & Doug Motz was released in 2014 and provides a unique look into the history of a tiki landmark in the Midwest of all places.

For almost four decades, the Kahiki Supper Club distinctive architecture highlighted the east side of Columbus, Ohio. Visited by celebrities like Zsa Zsa Gabor and others of the day, the restaurant set the precedent for many themed eateries to follow.

Here is a brief question and answer session with two of the authors, conducted at the time of the book’s release.

Full of intriguing pictures and stories of the people who staffed the Kahiki, this is a view into the Midwest that most people would never imagine existed.

0 Comments on Tiki Tales in Book About Famous Supper Club as of 7/9/2016 12:25:00 PM
Add a Comment
24. Tiki Tales in Book About Famous Supper Club

Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus by David Myers, Elise Myers Walker, Jeff Chenault, & Doug Motz was released in 2014 and provides a unique look into the history of a tiki landmark in the Midwest of all places.

For almost four decades, the Kahiki Supper Club distinctive architecture highlighted the east side of Columbus, Ohio. Visited by celebrities like Zsa Zsa Gabor and others of the day, the restaurant set the precedent for many themed eateries to follow.

Here is a brief question and answer session with two of the authors, conducted at the time of the book’s release.

Full of intriguing pictures and stories of the people who staffed the Kahiki, this is a view into the Midwest that most people would never imagine existed.

0 Comments on Tiki Tales in Book About Famous Supper Club as of 7/9/2016 11:25:00 PM
Add a Comment
25. Book Review 2016-013: Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef by Leonardo Lucarelli

MM--LBook Review 2016-013

Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef by Leonardo Lucarelli

Translated by Lorena Rossi Gori and Danielle Rossi

2016 by Other Press, 352 pages

(I received a galley from the publisher--the book won't publish until December 6, 2016)

 

 

Leonardo Lucarelli has a degree in Anthropology from an Italian University. A great chunk of the money earned to pay for that degree came from working in restaurants in every position from dishwasher on up through head chef. In using the kitchen life to earn his way through school, Lucarelli caught himself a case of Kitchen Fever--becoming addicted to the highs and lows of the kitchen; the constant tension and need to concentrate and push; the need to constantly walk a thinner tightrope and search for more creative ways of doing things.

What Lucarelli does is give his readers the life of one who has worked for years in a kitchen but not become a name that even most foodies would know. He's not a television star; he doesn't have his name included in the name of five or six restaurants. He takes the reader into the kitchen and lifestyle at a level they might be able to see themselves in--something harder to do if you're reading the latest Top Chef judge's biography.

What Lucarelli does very well is get the reader to feel the way he does as a server, or cook or even chef--we understand the great gut punch felt when he arrives to a boat for a party he and another are hosting only to find that the galley has no sink and the one burner stove does not blend well with many meals, let alone the menu he's prepared and shown up with food ready to cook. We also feel the electric elation he feels when after that meal, another cook in attendance raves about a portion of the meal. We feel the fear he feels when pulled over on his motorcycle with a passenger holding onto a brick of drugs, and the emotions roiling through his head when he's involved with various women (frequently waitresses).

What I don't believe Lucarelli does overly well is create a solid arc for Mincemeat. There are a ton of great stories here involving drugs, arrests, threesomes with other cooks, travel and various level of cooking but not that bit that hits you as a reader with the a ha! moment. The, That's why I need to read this hammer. If there is that bit or topic, I believe it's Lucarelli's pointing out some of the perhaps unknown economics of life in the kitchen--at least in Italian kitchens. The fact that many cooks/chefs are immigrants working without contracts, that they are abused in the hours demanded, the treatment, the pay scale and even occasional lack of pay altogether. That under the table deals flow freely and can seemingly change on the fly without both parties agreeing. These sections are very well done and it's necessary for these aspects of the kitchen world to be pointed out. It just seems that then the more "exciting" stories surround these important portions not so much to help the reader understand but in order to entice them along as far as possible before foisting the realities on them again.

The writing itself is very good, and had I read four or five essays by Lucarelli, I believe I'd have held them all in high esteem and suggested readers with similar tastes, especially the foodies, give them a read. And I think that people in the groups I'd do that with will enjoy Mincemeat quite a bit as well. Where I think it lacks as a non-fiction work is when I hold it up to something like Kurlansky's Cod, a book about something I couldn't have cared less about, until I began to read his words. It's what I look for in my non-fiction, a work so well done and interesting that it holds the attention, and more, of those that had decided to give it a flyer and read it, not for those that picked it up relatively sure they'd enjoy it. Mincemeat is a very good, solid, even above average read...for foodies and those interested in the restaurant industry.

 

3 stars

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts