Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zyxwold by Michael Zamboanga

This review is something different for me. It's an ebook, which is a very popular form of book right now. I, personally, don't like them. I want the feel, smell and joy of holding a book in my hand. However, this was a relatively quick read and intriguing so it kept my attention.

It was an interesting read. It's a fantasy story tangled up with politics. The family that is the center of the story have moved to a new world which borders on Nirvana. Most things are free, you do a job you want to do and love doing, you either pass or fail but don't get graded at school, and people share everything. It's not a bit like America today.

The author shares his opinions about wrong in our world today (and I have to agree with him on some) and does it in a story form that keeps you reading along.

Learn about this family's experiences and follow them to Africa and through interactions with other cultures. If you want to read a story that will make you think, this one will do it!

You can buy a copy here: http://www.lulu.com/product/e-book/zyxwold/6376309?productTrackingContext=center_search_results

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beyond the Map's Boundary by Nibi Soto

This ARC was provided to me by Atlas Books, and I thought I'd like it because it has to do with time travel. That's always fascinated me.

You have to read almost three pages before this book grabs you and takes you "on the run"!

Mattie Bott has been "seeing" things and doesn't understand what it's about. When she goes out on her first date with a guy she's been admiring for some time, she actually passes out. She's mortified, but doesn't know why it happened.

Her mother disappears, her father tells her what tradition she must carry on, and they have to move - all in the course of a day.

She can travel though time, but must have a mate to help her return. And the first time she does time travel, it's an accident. Will she get back? Can she protect herself from the man who took her mother from her?

This is fast paced, full of action, and will totally fascinate young adult readers. You want to see what's going to happen next, so the hard part will be getting them to put it down and do something else.

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on the blog and then send me an email with your name and address and why you'd like the copy to info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out).

Ode to Newfoundland by Geoff Butler

This is a children's picture book from Tundra Books and was the winner of the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award and the Lilla Stirling Memorial Award. The lyrics for the anthem were written by Sir Cavendish Boyle, who wanted to pay the small land with a big heart a tribute.

The illustrator draws on his memories of growing on the rock and depicts the activities of the households there. They are colorful and roughly rendered, just like life is and was in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This would make a special gift for someone who has fond memories of the land. It would also be a good way to help a child understand the anthem.

The book is well bound and nicely printed. Learn what Newfies are all about!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo

This is a Crafty Chica novel published by Grand Central.

It was an interesting read. The author puts three very different women together and works her magic with them. They all have goals, but none of them are the same. And they have an interest in crafts, too. Or at least some of them do...

They each weather their own personal crisis, get a bit testy with each other, and try to get focused on what works best for them. They also end up developing a more enduring friendship in the process.

It reads easy and fast. The characters are enjoyable and will remind you of some of your friends, I bet.

Sometimes friendship is like a spider web, and you have to be careful not to fall through the openings. These characters didn't, despite their troubles.

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on the blog, and email me at info @ bookfaerie.com (with the spaces removed) telling me why you'd like it and giving me your name and address for shipping. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

The Snow Queen Retold by Ken Setterington

This is a lovely book published by Tundra Books that offers a new look at an old fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.

Ken tells the tale well. The sense of loss of friendship is heartfelt, and Kay, who never meant to get a piece of ice in his eye, becomes colder and more withdrawn by the day. Gerda doesn't wish to lose her best friend, though, and persists in her search for him - in seven different stories.

One of the most outstanding things about this book is the illustrations made by Nelly and Ernst Hofer. They are traditional cut-paper art of Scherenschitt, a very old craft.

Together, the story and illustrations make the story "new" and extremely enjoyable to read.

Get a copy and share it with your family!

Friday, February 5, 2010

False Convictions by Tim Green

This is a new hardcover being published by Grand Central. I had reviewed his previous novel, Above the Law, and wanted to see if there was a change in his writing style. Yes and no. He still has hard hitting characters, hidden motives, and more than one plot playing out. However, his writing has improved. It flows better, his characters are stronger and you can tell he's getting more comfortable writing.

Casey Jordan is running a legal clinic to help those who do not have money for a lawyer. When she's approached by the Freedom Project and asked to take on a case of indigent black man serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a college student seventeen years before, she accepts because the founder offers her a million dollar annual pledge to her clinic if she will do two jobs a year for him. She thinks that a DNA test will clear the indigent and it will be an easy case. It's not...

It seems everything she looks at has been tainted by corruption, and this case is much bigger than she anticipated. When she starts getting death threats, she thinks she's coming close to the truth. But will she live long enough to find it?

Wanda and the Frogs by Barbara Azore

Another Wanda adventure! I know you'll be relieved to see her hair is back wild and untamed again. The illustrations by Georgia Graham are wonderful. Full of lively color, they enhance this tale of Wanda finding tadpoles in a puddle.

She wants to save them, so she takes them to school and shows them to her teacher. The teacher gets an aquarium out, adds some creek water, plants and rocks, and the children can now watch the tadpoles grow and become frogs.

Everything is going along nicely until the frogs mature and the teacher is going to let them loose down by the creek. Wanda doesn't want to let them go! So they compromise and Wanda gets some to take home, since she's the one who found them.

But Wanda didn't expect them to climb out of their container at night and wander about the house. And heaven knows, her mother didn't expect to find them in her kitchen! Her father saves the day by sending Mom back to bed and helping Wanda gather the frogs up - to take down to the creek. But, wait, did they get them all???

Another lovely picture book from Tundra Books. Wanda's a great character for read aloud storytime groups.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In the Fullness of Time by Vincent Nicolosi

This is a historical novel about the death of two presidents, Warren G Harding and John F. Kennedy. The narrator was a neighbor and fellow townsman of Harding's and had helped him rise to presidency.

As he reflects on the death of Kennedy, he finds himself looking back to the past and reliving the times when Warren Harding was still alive, over 40 years ago.

Many rumors floated around about Harding. Did he have some Negro blood in veins? Did he die from apoplexy or was he poisoned? Why did his wife not allow an autopsy? And why did the narrator step away from the girl he loved and let Harding have her as a mistress?

The story is bit verbose, but it keeps you moving along with the bits and pieces of events he keeps remembering and trying to fit together.

The ending took me by surprise. It was one I had no inkling about, and it fits the book perfectly. Nothing is as it seems.

This book was published by Fonthill Press and sent to me by Atlas Books.

If you would like my copy of this ARC, post a comment here on my blog, and then email at info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out) with your name and address and why you would like to have it. I'll do a drawing for it in about a week.

Clever Katarina retold by Ken Setterton

This book is filled with lovely illustrations done by the delicate cut-paper art of scherenschnitt by Nelly and Ernest Hofer. It's truly beautiful work, but has to require immense patience!

Katarina is poor, but very smart. When her father discovers a golden mortar in the ground the King gave them for farming, he is determined to deliver it to the King. She knows the King will want the pestle to go with it, and they don't have that. But her father persists - and ends up in the dungeon.

When the King hears of her, he invites her to visit and tells her if she can solve his riddle, then he will marry her and release her father from prison.

She goes home uncertain how to overcome the riddle, but talks to her neighbors and eventually figures out a way. The King is amazed but happy, and marries her.

All is well until a peasant asks for her help because the King has given his foal away. She tells how to solve the problem, but says he must not tell the King where he got the idea. Unfortunately, he's not strong enough to withstand the King.

The King then tells her he will no longer tolerate her presence in the castle, she will have to leave the next day. She is allowed to take the thing she loves best home with her, but that's all of her riches she's allowed.

She does. And the thing she loves the most is the King... When he wakes up and sees what she's done, he gets over his snit and they return to the castle. Now when he gets a perplexing problem, he checks with Katarina!

A great fairy tale that demonstrates that brain power is important.

Thanks to Tundra Books, another great read!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Horns by Joe Hill

This book is NOT boring. I knew it was going to be something different when the lead character woke up with horns. This not normal...

If having horns wasn't enough to make him wonder what the hell had happened, he finds out that when he touches someone, they have to tell him what they are really thinking. This in not an enviable power. Who wants to know what warped thoughts folks are entertaining?

His life was bad enough before. The love of his life was raped and murdered by someone, and the police thought it was by him. There wasn't enough proof to find him guilty, but the community believed he was.

The only way he was going to clear himself is if he can find the real killer. He has no idea where to begin, but he's finding this "truth telling" talent he has is more of a hindrance than a help. It seems everyone was harboring secrets - most of which he'd rather not know!

Can he separate the wheat from the chafe and find the murderer? Or will the murderer find him first?

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on the blog and then email me at info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out)and give me your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read it. I'll be choosing a winner in about a week.

Mary of Mile 18 by Ann Blades

Have you ever wanted a puppy so much you feel like you might die if you can't have it? I have...

Mary finds a small abandoned puppy, but she and her parents live way up north in Canada at Mile 18, just off the Alaska Highway. Not only children but animals must earn their keep. A dog is just another mouth to feed and there is not enough to go around now. Besides the puppy is part wolf, and will mostly remain wild.

Mary begs and begs, all to no avail. So she gives up and tries to move on. She takes the puppy to their nearest neighbor and leaves it in front of their door hoping they will adopt it and she still might get to see it once in a while...

But when the puppy wakes her father that night sounding the alarm that a coyote is entering the henhouse and going after the chickens, her father changes his mind. Maybe he is useful and will help pay his way. He takes the puppy in the house to Mary's bedroom and tells her she needs to help him get warm. He also gives her permission to keep him.

The illustrations show the tough winter cold of the north and how little some of the settlers there had, but it shows a great spirit in the people - and one happy little wolf pup mix!

Thanks, Tundra Books, for sharing this book with me.

Check with your local bookstores for a copy of this one for your household - especially if you are animal lovers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How To Always Be Unhappy by Dr. Harsimran Singh

Atlas Books sent me a review copy of this book, and I was surprised to find that it is actually useful. Most self-help books seem to express obvious things. This one does, too, but this author looks at self-destructive habits from all sides.

For one thing, it discusses what you can do to MAKE yourself unhappy instead of telling you not to do it. It then explains how you can cause it in your life. Also offered is a discussion of how to change your behavior or your way of thinking so you don't get caught in this trap.

Some of it just plain common sense, but when you're the one with the problem, it can be awful hard to look at it objectively.

The core concept here is that happiness has to come from within. You can be happy, or you can be unhappy. You decide.

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

Ten Old Men and a Mouse by Cary Fagan

This is another Tundra Book for children, and it has an unusual characteristic that I haven't see other publishers use. The back of the dustjacket is a poster! Their children's picture books are special anyway, but getting a poster is nice addition.

This is a very cute tale that should make your child smile.

Imagine ten old men meeting every day in the synagogue to pray and maintain the building. It's boring, but someone has to do and they have time.

Then one little mouse moves in. They begin by trying to trap it, but it's smarter than that. So then it becomes their pet, and they bring it treats. They even decorate the cupboard where the mouse sleeps. Suddenly they notice their mouse is getting fat and they decide to cut back on the treats. Guess what, it's NOT overweight!

One little mouse was great, they had something to talk about, something to care for. But not a FAMILY of mice!

How they resolve this is very smart, but it leaves them a bit lonely. Until their mouse comes back...

This is a very amusing story that would work very well for reading aloud. You could even ask the children to suggest snack ideas for the mouse.

I highly recommend this picture book.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford

I HAD to read this book. I mean, Jane Austin as a vampire? Just what the heck would or could you do with a storyline like that?

Mr. Ford managed to write a story that kept me sitting in my chair until I finished it, I can tell you that.

It's 200 years after Jane's death, and she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town. She sells a lot of her books in the store, but she can't admit she's the author. And she has another book she'd like to publish, but it's been rejected 116 times and it still hasn't been accepted.

And now a dark man from her past shows in town while she's being pursued by two modern suitors - what more could go wrong?

I found it fun to read and enjoyed the book knowledge he shares about Jane Austen's works and all the other varieties that been written in the years since.

If you'd like my copy of the ARC that Random House Publishing sent me, leave me a comment here on the blog and email me at info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out) and give me your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read it. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Wanda and the Wild Hair by Barbara Azore

This is a lush children's picture book full of color and eye catching illustrations drawn by Georgia Graham. Tundra Books was kind enough to send me a copy for review, and I could tell by looking at the cover I was going to enjoy it.


Wanda has hair that is OUT OF CONTROL. But she likes it that way and doesn't want to change it. Her opinion changes, though, when she gets her mom's earring stuck in her hair.

She works real hard to make sure the earring doesn't fall out before she gets back home. A magpie tries to steal it, a cat tries to get the magpie, and a dog mistakes her for another dog, so it's not an easy job!

By the time she gets home, she has lot more than the earring stuck in her hair. So she finally agrees to get a haircut. After all, she knows it will grow out again...

The illustrations make this a great book for reading aloud. And Wanda's adventures will make children laugh. Wanda really does have a bad hair day!