Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo

This is an interesting tale. It's the story of Gabriella, whose mother died when she was only four.

She's always had lots of love from her father in Los Angeles and her grandmother, who lives in Columbia. She enjoys the cultures of both countries, and loves being coddled by her grandmother.

While visiting her grandmother in Columbia she learns they are going to tear down the old house which has greatly deteriorated. So she goes to visit it one last time. And finds a diary that her mother kept.

She decides to read it so she can learn more about her mother. But the diary is full of secrets...

She's also found a new love interest. Her cousin took her to a party and she met Angel and was attracted to him. Her cousin tells her Angel is part of the drug cartel and she can't see him. She tells Angel that and he tells her he's in the music business and gets his money that way, he doesn't do drugs.

The diary tells her that her mother also found a love interest here in Columbia when she was visiting without her family.

After fomenting over the information and trying to decide what to do with, she confronts her grandmother - who tells her it's true.

So has everything she's been told about her mother been a lie? Or part of it? Could her father not know?

I don't want to give away more of the story line, but it will keep you busy reading to see just what happens next. What else her mother says in the diary. What Gabriella and Angel do.

Life isn't certain at any point, but when you find out you've been fed lies, it's hard to begin to trust again.

If you'd like my copy of the ARC, leave a comment here on the blog and then email at info NOSPAM @bookfaerie.com (take the spaces and the NOSPAM out) with your name and address and why you'd like to read the book. I'll be picking a winner in about a week or so.

True Blue by David Baldacci

I haven't read Baldacci for a while, and I don't know why. This book was good!

It begins with a cop who was framed for a crime she didn't commit and jailed. The next chapter has a lawyer who opens the office fridge to get the coffee and has a dead lawyer fall in his arms...

Mace's sister lets her go along on the case if she agrees she won't say anything. You can guess how long that lasts. Roy immediately dislikes her because she's insinuating he might have been the murderer.

Mace wants to solve a big case to exonerate herself and become a cop again. Roy just doesn't want to be accused of murder or to let the Captain, a homeless veteran, be nailed the crime.

As time goes on, Mace and Roy end up working together trying to solve the crime. Mostly because the police think they have their murderer in jail, and because someone is trying to kill them both.

It's fast paced with a plot with lots of twists and turns. And when you find out upper level government is involved, you don't know who is going to win at the end.

If you'd like my copy of the ARC, leave a comment here on the blog and then email at info NOSPAM @bookfaerie.com (take the spaces and the NOSPAM out) with your name and address and why you'd like to read the book. I'll be picking a winner in about a week or so.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Lion's Eye Seeing in the Wild by Joanna Greenfield

This book literally takes you into the heart of Africa, where the author has gone to study chimpanzees. It's nonfiction, and as you read along about the trials and tribulations she had to go through to study the chimps, you realize she had to be very dedicated to her work and the wonders of the chimps to stay.

Her vivid descriptions about the constant dampness, her illness from using unboiled water to wash with, and the various bugs make you feel like you're there and it's happening to you.

Her life is in danger from the soldiers in Uganda, and there are poachers in the area. She's not even sure if her own escorts to the camp are on her side or if they would sell her out to soldiers or poachers. But she persists.

The authorities harass her. They run out of food and when she goes to purchase more, she has to endure more humiliation and taunting.

Do you want to eat beans for six months solid? Do you want to eat the worms that get in the beans?

This is a very authentic look at what it's like to live in the wild with no amenities and no one checking on you - you have to take care of yourself and not let the jungle or the animals within it kill you.

Her plans don't come to fruition like she hoped, but she does learn a lot. Africa changed her. While she was studying the chimps, the jungle and the animals about her taught her about life.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about Africa, chimpanzees or survival.

If you would like to have my review copy, leave a comment here on the blog and email me at info NOSPAM @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces and NOSPAM out) and tell me your name and address and why you'd like to have it.

Century Book One The Ring of Fire by P D Baccalario

This is the first novel in a series of four (I think - it covers four cities in the series) and starts with the premise that every 100 years humankind is tested. The problem is that the four young people who have been chosen to fight the battle don't even know it's happening.

They meet by chance when they all end up in Rome at the same hotel. They are from different parts of the world, but they were all born on February 29th.

When they take a walk to alleviate the boredom of the hotel, they find a man who is running from someone - and entrusts his briefcase to them. Unfortunately, "they" are looking for the briefcase and soon trace it to the children.

Then begins the game of cat and mouse while the young adults try to figure out what they have and what it means, the other side is trying to kill them to retrieve it.

Full of drama, some magic, and some luck, this is a busy tale that keeps you reading and will leave you wanting the next book when it comes out.

If you would like to have my review copy, leave a comment here on the blog and email me at info NOSPAM @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces and NOSPAM out) and tell me your name and address and why you'd like to have it.

A. D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

We all watched TV coverage of Katrina and the damage that was done, first by the hurricane, then by the dyke breaking. We also heard and saw the stories of the survivors.

This book is a graphic novel that tells the story of six Katrina survivors, and the illustrations gets the point across that no one person or decision alone created the chaos before, during and after the damage. Government decisions, political decisions and individual's decisions all played a role.

As you follow along the story and watch these people try to live with the decisions they've made and how it all works out, you see on a personal level just how awful the damage was and how it affected a variety of families. And how it still is affecting them...

If you've forgotten the horror of Katrina, this will refresh your memory. And if you think our disaster planning is sufficient, just hope you live somewhere you won't need it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan

Yes, you read that right. And the witch is not talking about teaching them to cook, either!

This book is a fun little romp through a city where children who drive their parents nuts by talking back, not cleaning up their room, or other similar annoyances can be dropped off at a local dumpster for "witch cleanup". There are other techniques, too, that assure the witch of a constant diet of her favorite food and saves parents from parenting.

When Sol and Connie Blink move to Schoneberg with their father and stepmother, they have no idea one of their new neighbors is a witch.

At least, until they found her dog playing with a bone and Sol identifies it as "human".

I'm sure there will be a sequel to this story - there's too much not told yet at the end. But it's a fun read and made me laugh out loud a couple of times.

If your child likes stories that might give them a little chill, this is a great pick for them.

If you'd like to read my ARC, I'm giving away this copy. Leave a comment here on the blog, and write to me at info NOSPAM @bookfaerie.com (take the spaces and NOSPAM out) and tell me why. I'll do a drawing in about a week.

The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson & Martin Dugard

James Patterson is a prolific writer, but his books are always good. That amazes me. Not that he's good, but that even when he writes a lot, he doesn't short cut, pick easy plots or just plug words in.

I first "met" him when reading about Alex Cross, but lately he's written some nonfiction - and he makes that just as readable as fiction, which takes some doing. (I'm not big on reading nonfiction.)

What he offers here is his speculation that King Tut did not die from his chariot race injuries, but was actually murdered.

His manner of presentation is a mix between King Tut's time and Howard Carter's search for Tut's tomb. Both stories have some intrigue and love interests, as well as disappointments and accomplishments.

He takes the various facts he and Michael can glean from x-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues, and oral accounts to arrive at his conclusion.

The Egyptians played rough, and Pharaohs and Queens were not exempt from danger.

Reading about the archeological dig was as interesting as following along Tut's short life.

Read it and see what your opinion is - he makes a good argument.

If you'd like to read my ARC, I'm giving away this copy. Leave a comment here on the blog, and write to me at info NOSPAM @bookfaerie.com (take the spaces and NOSPAM out) and tell me why. I'll do a drawing in about a week.

The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney has been illustrating books for years, and I've always enjoyed his artwork. However, he's really outdone himself in this book.

This is a retelling of an Aesop's Tale that he has dedicated to his first great-granddaughter, and the pictures show the love.

There are no words, the pictures tell the tale.

The poor mouse gets too close to the lion and is captured. By in a moment of compassion, the lion lets her go. She races home to her family and feels very lucky to be still alive. Then the lion is captured in a net and can't escape...

You feel the forest and the animal's emotions show plainly.

I highly recommend this picture book because the illustrations are outstanding. And, if you're not sure I mean it, this book is going in MY library as part of my own collection of childrens' books. It's a keeper!

Fanny & Annabelle by Holly Hobbie

This is the second book in this new childrens' series, and it's just as delightful as the first. Fanny's doll, Annabelle, is now her favorite toy and she decides to create a picture book for her.

The story in her picture book is very close to what is happening in Annie's own life. The graphics are typical little girl drawing for her story, and she ends up with a moral dilemma that she must sort out - with the help of her mother, of course.

The picture book story does have a happy ending, which is what Fanny wanted for Annabelle.

This is a very nice series for a young girl who is just beginning to learn life's lessons.

And there are bookmarks included, too - even one you can make for yourself!