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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NEW books I'm excited about reading...

Finally done with the library conference and there were MANY books coming out this fall that I was able to snag an advance copy of.  I can think of many EJH readers that will be anxious to check out "Mrs. Yusko's Secret Stash" on the first day of school!

While I probably picked up 3 boxes of books (the mailman loves me, I'm sure), some of the titles I am MOST excited about are:

Sapphique (Fisher), sequel to Incarceron

Hero (Lupica)
Halt's Peril (Flanagan), Ranger's Apprentice, book #9...Mr. Kaneko has already claimed this one.
Sabotaged (Haddix), Missing, book of my neighbor girls gets first dibs on this one.
Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game (Feinstein)
Dark Song (Giles)
Nightshade (Cremer)
Extraordinary (Werlin)...Ms. LaBrie is first in line for this.
Matched (Condie)
Virals (Reichs)...the first teen book from the author/anthropologist that inspired the tv show "Bones."
Guys Read (Scieszka)...a new collection of short stories for guys--yeah!
Torment (Kate), Fallen, book #2Forge (Anderson), Chains, book #2
A Long Walk to Water (Park)

If you are interested in one of these before school starts, send me an email or comment on this blog and I will send it to you.  Otherwise, come check out all the advance books in the library once school starts!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spending Time with Authors, part 3!

During the meetings for the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) award committee this weekend, local teens came to talk to us about the books that have been nominated.  Prior to talking about the books, one of the publishers hosted a pizza party for the teens with some authors (thank you Penguin!).  On Sunday, we were lucky to have some well-spoken teens sharing their thoughts on books and three terrific authors sharing their stories! 

Andrea Cremer (first-time author of Nightshade), John Green and David Levithan (authors of Will Grayson, Will Grayson) were "on stage" answering questions, telling their stories, and even performing some karaoke straight from the movie "Top Gun."  HILARIOUS!  I wish I had video I could post.

I have an advance copy of Nightshade, which is to be the first book in a trilogy, and I can think of many EJH students that will be anxious to read this book once school starts!  I would recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson for high school students (you will fall in love with a character named Tiny Cooper, I promise).  You should also look for John Green's An Abundance of Katherines or David Levithan's Wide Awake for those wanting to read more from these two talented authors.

If you ever get the chance to hear any of these authors in person, DO IT!  Always entertaining.  In fact, here is a link to John Green's "Book Nerd Paradise" video of some of his time spent at the library conference...wish he had included the clip of David Levithan singing "You've Lost that Loving Feeling."

Spending Time with Authors, part 2!

More fun with different authors on Sunday! A publisher brunch gave me the opportunity to hear six authors read from their novels (and enjoyed one of the BEST vanilla cupcakes I've ever had).  Each novel is NEW and it is always wonderful hearing from the author and listening to someone else read to you.

Matthew J. Kirby (The Clockwork Three; I can't wait to read this)
Erin Bow (Plain Kate)

Blue Balliett (Danger Box)
Cynthia Lord (Touch Blue; sequel to Rules, which will be our "7th Grade Read" in the fall)
Deborah Wiles (Countdown)
Lucy Christopher (Stolen; nominated for BFYA, for OLDER readers)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spending time with Authors!

I have been spending the past few days at the American Library Association conference in Washington, DC.  While I have been busy in my award committee meetings talking about the Best Fiction published for teens this year (there are definitely some winners and losers in my opinion), I have also had time to meet, hang out, and have dinner with some great authors!

I have talked with/gotten books signed by Jon Scieszka (my hero!), Kadir Nelson, and Laurie Halse Anderson (even a signed copy of Chains for you, Ms. Buffa).  Saturday night I had dinner with and got to listen to several authors speak about their newest titles.  It was a great way to spend my birthday!

Laurie Halse Anderson (talking about Wintergirls; though her sequel to Chains is coming out this fall and I have a copy of that also!)
John Barnes (Tales of the Madman Underground)
Ally Condie (Matched, debut author)
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade, debut author)
John Green and David Levithan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
David Small (Elise's Bird, a picture book)
Rosemary Wells (Max & Ruby, picture book)
Nancy Werlin (Extraordinary; Ms. LaBrie is first in line to read this)
Jacqueline Woodson (Pecan Pie Baby, picture book.  But she is also the author of many popular books at EJH)

A fun evening, and I got to sit next to David Levithan the entire evening.  If you haven't read his books, you may not appreciate how lucky I was, but my librarian friends are jealous!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Leonardo Da Vinci: The Genius and the Exhibit

This is Day 4 of our Washington, DC adventure.  It has been HOT (broke a 116-year-old record when it hit 100 degrees yesterday) and we tend to cool off by visiting the museums, most of them Smithsonian-affiliated...think "Night at the Museum!"  Today, we decided to venture off the Smithsonian beat and find the National Geographic Explorer's Hall.  Completely worth it!!  There was an exhibit of Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings and inventions that was amazing!  It also included an exhibit of "25 Secrets of the Mona Lisa."  Art fans would really enjoy this. 

All I can say is WOW...such a genius.  And hooray to National Geographic for having such a great museum to explore.  Not too big, and the best museum store.  What else would you expect from the people that publish great books for adults and kids and run the NatGeo channel?

Above and beyond his paintings (yes, he's the "Mona Lisa" guy), I have always been fascinated with the inventions of Da Vinci (that's the geeky scientist in me), and would love the opportunity to have just one hour to talk with him.  Since that is never going to happen, I have to settle for what is written by him and about him.  Here are two wonderful "teen" biographies of the man that you might enjoy reading:

Leonard da Vinci: The Genius of the Renaissance by Phillips (published by National Geographic!)

Leonard da Vinci (Giants of Science series) by Krull

So, if you could invite anyone from history to dinner, who would it be?  And why?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Review: Incarceron (Fisher)

Title: Incarceron
Author: Fisher
Genre: Fiction, Dystopian, Prisons, Kings & Queens, Science Fiction (sort of)
Pages: 464 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

This book has two distinct settings and two great main characters.  Finn is a teenager who lives in Incarceron, a prison where prisoners and their descendents roam scary landscapes and fight for survival.  Though there are no guards, no one ever leaves.  In fact, many prisoners don't believe there is an outside.  Incarceron itself is alive, with a watchful red eye that sees everything so that no one ever escapes.  However, Finn has memories/visions of a happy life.  He is sure that he has was not born in Incarceron.

Claudia is the 17-year-old daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, though she has never seen the prison.  She lives a privileged life Outside and is to be married to the horrible Prince.  She remembers a time when she was engaged to his brother, who died when he was younger.  

Claudia and Finn each find a crystal "key" in their worlds and can soon communicate with each other.  Both are trying to figure out their own world and each other's.  And with the help of friends, Claudia hopes to help Finn escape Incarceron.

Filled with mystery, intrigue, and action, this novel does not disappoint.  This is only the beginning of the adventures in Incarceron and the world where Claudia and Finn live.  I am already awaiting the 2nd book in this series, and am anxious to find out how Ms. Pomerinke's husband liked this book.  Fans of The Hunger Games series or dystopian/alternate future adventures will love this!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Six Day Reading Challenge...update #4

As of 11:03pm on Monday...from the airport, because our plane is delayed.

Books read since Wednesday @ 7pm: 15!
Books currently reading: 1 (actually, I'm listening to it on my iPod)
Books to go: 0!!!!

Number of loads of laundry done: 100 (Okay, not really.  But it sure feels like it)
Number of suitcases packed: 3
Number of military personnel I am currently sitting by: 8
(And we decided that they have pretty cool backpacks.  One would hope there is at least a few perks to that job.  Safe travels all!)

So, even though I only read 15 books, I actually made my goal.  The 16th book that I thought I had to read...I really did not have to.  It is not on our BFYA nominee list, so it will have to wait for later this summer.  My next goal?  I have 10 more books to finish before my award committee meeting on Saturday.  Thank goodness it is a LONG plane ride...

What's your reading goal this summer?????

Six Day Reading Challenge final tally

In case you didn't check the comments of each Reading Challenge update, here is a list of the 15 books I read in the last 6 days:

In no particular order:
Shadow Hunt (Langrish) I love this author's other books too!

Half World (Goto) Fantasy

Toads and Diamonds (Tomlinson) Enjoyable

Dirty Little Secrets (Omololu)  If you like Hoarders or Clean House, you will like this.

Whisper (Kitanidis) What if you could "hear" everything people around you were thinking?

Compromised(Ayarbe) Survival; sad

Borderline (Stratton) Interesting!

Sorta Like a Rock Star (Quick) It's a happy story, then a survival story, then a sad story...hoping for a happy ending (but I'm not going to give it away).

The Line (Hall) Dystopian future USA; interesting

Mistwood (Cypress) Shape shifters and kings

Bullet Point (Abrahams) for high school readers, probably the best of the bunch.

Birthmarked (O'Brien)  Dystopian future

Bleeding Violet (Reeves) for high school readers only, and maybe not even then.

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux (McCaughrean) Can you escape your destiny if it is supposed to be death?

Thief Eyes (Simner) Fantasy adventure.  I'm not a fan of the genre, but I actually enjoyed this one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Six Day Reading Challenge...update #3

As of Sunday, 10:45pm...

Books read since Wednesday @ 7pm: 11
Currently reading: just started # 12
Books to go: 4

Number of baseball games watched today: 2 (and it was raining so I couldn't read between innings)
Number of tournament championships won: 1 (Yeah! Worth sitting in the cold and rain all weekend).
Number of ferry rides today: 1 (Thank goodness, or my book count would be less).

Four books to read tomorrow...hmmm, can it be done?  I'm not sure.  Especially since there is one that I'm not that wild about and I've unfortunately saved it for the last day.  Not a good plan.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Six Day Reading Challenge...update #2

As of Saturday, 9:45pm...

Books read since Wednesday @ 7pm: 9
Currently reading: just finished #9
Books to go: 7
(Hmmm, beginning to think that 16 books might have been a crazy goal.  But book #7 was almost 500 pages, so I think it should count as 2!)

Number of baseball games watched today: 2
Number of ferry rides taken: 1
Wishing the baseball tournament was somewhere warm like Kennewick instead of in windy, cold Bremerton.  But ferry rides offer enough time for reading.

Need to start book #10, but also have many television shows to catch up on.  More baseball games tomorrow...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Six Day Reading Challenge...update!

11am on Friday morning...

Books finished since Wednesday @ 7pm: 5
Books currently reading: 1
Books to go: 10

Number of children's birthdays celebrated: 1
World Cup games watched: 1
World Cup games currently watching: 1
Beginning to wish that we had planned our summer vacation to South Africa!

Enough distractions, back to the reading!

What are you reading this summer?

Okay, school is officially out, and though here in Redmond there hasn't been any sun or even warmth, it really is Summer Vacation.  I am reposting the link to my Summer Reading Lists, especially if the weather is going to be like this for awhile.  We will all need something to keep us entertained!

You can find the links to each list on my library website (scroll down the page). The lists are divided by grade level, from Kindergarten through High School. Students of all ages, reading levels, and interests will find something good to read, I promise. Some will find MANY great books to read. The lists are designed for students "graduating" from the grade levels listed, but some students will also find titles of interest on the lists above and below their grade level. (By the way, the call numbers listed next to each title are the King County Library System call numbers). And if you are a grown up looking for something good to read this summer, start with the High School list. Great titles to choose from!

Stay tuned to the blog throughout the summer. It will be updated daily with "latest and greatest" titles not published in time to be included on the Summer Reading lists. I would LOVE your feedback on books that you've read or books that I should review here! Feel free to comment...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Six-Day Reading Challenge!

I am starting a self-imposed reading exile.  Starting Wednesday evening (school is out--yeah!), I will continue through Monday when we leave for Washington, DC.  My goal?  Finishing all the books I need to read before my award committee meetings so I don't have to pack them...16 books!!  That is not exactly all the books that I have to finish, but there are a few galleys/advance copies that are slim that I've already planned on bringing for the long plane ride.   

I will keep you updated on my progress.  But don't be surprised if I don't post any reviews until I am all done!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: Half-Life of Planets (Franklin/Halpin)

Title: Half-Life of Planets
Author: Franklin/Halpin
Genre: Fiction, Humor, Music, Friendship
Pages: 256
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Liana is an aspiring planetary scientist...and a kissing addict.  Some kids at school call her a slut.  This summer, though, she plans to spend every hour in the lab, studying stars and avoiding boys. Hank has never been kissed. He’s smart, funny, and a talented musician.  He is also socially awkward, because he’s got Asperger’s syndrome. Hank’s plan for the summer is to work at a music store and save enough to buy the Fender Jazzmaster he craves.  When Liana and Hank cross paths in the women’s bathroom at the hospital (don't ask), their summer plans head in a course neither could have predicted.

This is a great book, which I know Ms. LaBrie will snap up for the summer.  Written in alternating chapters, by two different authors, this book captures the essence of friendship.  It is humorous, quirky, and true-to-life.  I liked that Hank had Asperger's and yet, this isn't a "book about a boy with Asperger's."  Music fans will enjoy Hank's wealth of musical knowledge and trivia.  A must-read! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Restoring Harmony (Anthony)

Title: Restoring Harmony
Author: Anthony
Genre: Fiction, Survival, Dystopian
Pages: 320
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

In the not so distant future of 2041, the US has been ravaged by a catastrophic economic collapse brought about by massive oil shortages.  (Something that does not seem too far out there, unfortunately).  Sixteen-year-old Molly has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world of rampant crime and abandoned cities in order to find them.  Molly travels illegally into the US to locate her grandparents in the Portland suburb of Gresham, only to find them financially ruined and practically starving. What should’ve been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission.

My grandparents actually live in Gresham, and have for most of my life.  I grew up visiting all the locations mentioned in this book, so it was fun to visualize the trip from Victoria through Seattle to Portland that Molly took.  I am always a fan of dystopian fiction or alternate future stories involving some sort of disaster (Hunger Games, Life as we Knew It, etc.).  This book does not disappoint!  It is riveting, fast-paced survival/adventure, with just a hint of romance.  Perfect for summer reading.  And no, I was not reading this book instead of watching a baseball game...I was completely aware of what was going on the entire time!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mockingjay Cover Comparison...what do you think?

Scholastic has released the Mockingjay cover for the U.S. edition (left) and the U.K. edition (right).  Which do you like better?  Hmmmm...By the way, less than 75 days on the Mockingjay countdown clock!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: Bamboo People (Perkins)

Title: Bamboo People
Author: Perkins
Genre: Fiction, Burma, War
Pages: 172
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What would you do if your father was in prison simply for being a doctor and your mother was starving?  What if joining the army, by force, is your only option to feed her?  What if you saw soldiers burning your home and killing your friends?  Life in Burma is filled with civil war and unrest as the government tries to eliminate the Karenni (an ethnic minority).

Chiko is forced to join the army and held prisoner to fight for a cause he doesn't believe in.  Tu Reh fights with his father for the freedom of his people.  This is the story of what happens when two boys forced to be on opposite sides of a military conflict meet...when one boy saves the life of the other.  An excellent read, and insight into the conflict currently in Burma.  To find out more, check out the author's website.  FYI, the book is not published until 7/1/10...I read an advanced copy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: A Small Free Kiss in the Dark (Millard)

Title: A Small Free Kiss in the Dark
Author: Millard
Genre: Fiction, Survival Stories, War
Pages: 180

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Skip finds Max (a young boy separated from his family), Billy (an old homeless man), and Tia (a beautiful teenage dancer with a baby) after a sudden attack on their city leaves them all alone.  They form a ragtag "family" of survivors, hiding out in the ruins of an amusement park. As they scavenge for good, diapers, and baby formula, they must stay out of sight of vicious gangs and lawless soldiers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: Cardturner (Sachar)

Title: The Cardturner: A novel about a king, a queen, and a joker
Author: Sachar
Genre: Fiction, Card Playing, Family, Death
Pages: 192
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

Louis Sachar, author of "Holes," is back with this new book!  When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance in the future.  As Alton's relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried family secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion.

I would never have guessed that a book about playing bridge could be interesting or reader-friendly.  Honestly though, I didn't think kids would appreciate or understand the intricacies of "Holes" and it went on to be WILDLY popular and win many awards.  I think this will follow pun intended.  There are many stories told in "Cardturner" that take place over many generations.  None of which can be concluded until Alton gets involved.  A great read.  And then, read (or re-read) "Holes."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review: Beastly (Flinn)

Title: Beastly
Author: Flinn
Genre: Fiction, Fractured Fairy Tales, High School
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

I have loved this book for years, and recommended it often.  It is once again on my summer reading suggestions because someone has finally listened to my advice and turned it into a movie! 

Kyle Kingsbury is rich, good looking, popular...he has it all.  But he's also a jerk and gets what is coming to him when a witch turns him into a beast.  He has one year to find true love or he will have to live forever as a hideous beast.  The movie hits theaters on July 30th.  Check out the trailer
here, then run to the library so you can check out the book.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review: Fat Cat (Brande)

Title: Fat Cat
Author: Brande
Genre: Fiction, High School, Identity, Science Projects, Love
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 out of 5

It is currently science project display night at school.  While waiting for the hordes to arrive, I thought that I would post about this book (which I actually listened to on audio).  A fun read, and one of my top picks for this summer!
Cat was busy with a science project, except she was not allowed to choose what experiment she wanted to do.  When reaching into the box to draw out her project topic, she picks the picture of hominids, our earliest human ancestor.  What the heck kind of a project could she possibly do?  So Cat winds up doing an experiment on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids.  No chips, snacks, pop, TV, car, or cell phone is a bummer, but Cat discovers there are benefits.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Heart of the Game (Price)

Title: Heart of the Game
Author: Price
Genre: Biography, Sports, Baseball, Death
Pages: 320
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

To be honest, I read two books I didn't like, and one that is "too old" to recommend for my target audience.  So, instead, I thought I would review a book that I will be booktalking in the fall for the 9th grade Non-Fiction IRP.  It is baseball season after all, and we are all still reeling from Griffey's retirement.  Though, this isn't really a happily ever after story either... 

Mike Coolbaugh was a 35 year old minor league baseball coach.  In July, 2007, Mike was killed instantly while coaching 1st base when a foul ball ricocheted off his neck.  This true story follows Mike's life and baseball career as well as that of his teammate that hit the fatal ball.  I have always considered myself a sports junkie, but this book is so much more.  Yes, you will get plenty of baseball!  But you will also get drama, tragedy, and an amazing life story.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review: Body Finder (Derting)

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Derting
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Death
Pages: 327
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Violet has the creepy ability to find dead bodies (animal or human) that have been murdered.  She can also tell if someone or something has recently killed (which is why it's tough to be around her mouse-chasing pet cat).   Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small Western Washington town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

This is another in what I'm sure will be a long list of books I didn't have time to read before publishing my summer reading list.  Perfect book for those looking for something slightly creepy on a stormy summer night.  The author has even created a short
book trailer to get you hooked!

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