Monday, August 31, 2009

Far Away by Carol Diggory Shields

Someone shouts in Annie's ear,
But what they're saying, she can't hear.
Buzzers buzz and school bells ring,
Annie doesn't hear a thing.
Friends can jostle, tug, and pinch,
Annie doesn't move an inch.
"Oooo, here comes a big black bug!"
Annie does not even shrug.
"Fire!" "Earthquake!" "Runaway bus!"
She remains oblivious
Until, at last, with a faraway look,
Annie smiles and shuts her book.

Found this one in I Like It Here At School by Jack Prelutsky.

Carol could have been talking about me when she wrote that poem!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ash by Malinda Lo

While this book is mimicking a traditional fairy tale, it's a very fresh and totally unusual way of looking at Cinderella!

I highly recommend this book. It read fast, was fascinating, had good historical content about the period, and it keeps you sitting there reading straight through to the end.

She is the poor stepsister, but she's content with her lot in life. Or, at least she was. When she visits the woods to try to find her mother's grave, she also meets a fairy. And then her life changes, ever so slowly. He wants her, but he's willing to give her things to improve her life, and that's all that's important to her now.

But, by chance, she meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress. Kaisa comes to the cottage when the stepmother and stepsisters are out and about, and brings a horse for Ash to ride. She teaches to read, to track, to hunt. And their friendship is very important to Ash.

The time comes when Sidhean, the male fairy wishes to call in his debt. She puts him off once. And then he comes again. This time she remembers what she has learned from her mother about fairies and uses that to negotiate with him.

After being without love for so long, she has to decide what is her heart's desire - and must attempt to keep it!

If you'd like to have my copy of this ARC, please email at info NOSPAM (remove the spaces and the NOSPAM to make it an email address) with your name and address and tell me why you'd like the book as well as leave a comment here on my blog.

School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

This is a great story for children with vibrant imaginations. Each child in this story has a phobia. And not just a little phobia either, these are full-sized monster phobias!

Madeleine is deathly afraid of bugs, especially spiders. Theodore is afraid of dying. Lulu is scared of confined spaces. And Garrison can't be around deep water. Each child has his or her own way of coping with these frights - but it makes it almost impossible to send them to school or envision a normal life for them.

So they are sent a school that deals specifically with phobias - The School of Fear.

This is an off-the-wall far away school that doesn't deal with students traditionally - and it creates a great adventure for the four students!

Will they manage to survive the school? Will they actually get over their fears? You'll need to read the book to see...

It's an action packed story with rigid characters who won't let go of their phobias.

Do YOU have a phobia??? (I'm scared of the dark.)

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, leave a comment here on the blog, and then email me at info NOSPAM (removing spaces and NOSPAM to make it an email address) with your name and address and why you'd like to have the book.

Tidings of Great Boys by Shelley Adina

Mac is from Scotland and has been going to school in the US (her parents are separated). She would normally go home for Christmas, but now she has some new friends in the states and isn't sure what she wants to do. Then she hits on the perfect solution - she'll take her new friends home with her!

The teens are having the usual growing up pains of life, but the parents involved aren't much better. Two sets of parents are separated, and the girls are trying to get them back together again. Each girl has her own perspective and set of knowledge, and they are all learning from each other's experiences.

Add to this a film producer, a prince that one of the girl's has broken up with, the fact that they may have to sell the castle, and it turns into quite an adventure!

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, comment here on the blog and send me an email at info NOSPAM - removing the spaces and NOSPAM - with your name and address and why you would like to have the book.

Bo's Cafe by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch

He's a high powered executive with an anger management problem. His wife and child love him, but are afraid to live with him anymore. And his work isn't going all that well either.

So he visits a local bar to drown his sorrows and happens to meet this guy named Andy. Andy has an old car he cherishes and he talks Steven into going for a ride and perhaps talking about what's bothering him. Steven isn't ready to go there yet.

But when his wife tells him he must move out and get some counseling to address his issues with anger, he decides it might be a good time to talk to Andy some more.

Steven is still trying to evade some problem areas (pretend they aren't there or aren't his fault), when Andy takes him to Bo's Cafe and introduces him to his friends there.

They are from all walks of life and all have had their own problems to work out. But they are happy now. And they've also taken grace into their life.

Steven will have to make a big change in his heart and his life for things to be resolved as he would like them to be. Can he???

A Christian theme runs through the story, but it has other lessons as well. And I'm sure you'll recognize some of the characters as people you have met in your own life.

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on the blog and email me at info NOSPAM - remove the spaces and NOSPAM from it - with your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read the book.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feedback from a Customer...

You won't believe this story. Jane and I were in New Mexico for two weeks recently. Jane volunteered for six months at Ghost Ranch four years ago so we visited friends there in Abiquiu and spent time at Ghost Ranch Santa Fe as well, making side trips to Chimayo, Truchas, Taos, Chama, and Tucumcari (stayed at the Blue Swallow Motel - a step back in time.) Didn't want to leave.

Jane wanted to give Gary Salazar (a staff member of Ghost Ranch Abiquiu who loves to cook) a copy of the Linley Heflin cookbook since we are from Birmingham, where the cookbook originated as a fundraiser for scholarships. Thought he needed some "Southern" recipes. We couldn't find a copy in print anywhere. Came home and I started searching high and low online. Tonight ran across your site! Couldn't believe it. We are getting the book from New Mexico so that Jane can inscribe it, include a little of its travels, and mail it back to your glorious state. Doesn't God have a great sense of humor!

These stories are what makes selling books fun!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Midnight Charter by David Whitley

This is a young adult novel that creates an atmosphere of Olde England in the days of yore, but is actually the ancient city-state of Agora.

The poor are suffering from plague and get no medical help. Families sell their children. You have to trade goods to receive any (and most have none) and life is tough. Unless you're rich.

Mark is sold to a doctor who helps the poor, and goes to live in the Tower of Count Stelli. Lily is the servant who cares for him. Both Mark and Lily have bartered their labor for their lives.

When the Count throws his son (the doctor) out of his house, Lily and Mark exchange their duties. Lily goes out in the real world with the doctor and Mark serves Count Stelli.

Lily begins an almshouse and helps the poor. Mark ascends to power in the Tower. But there are others who are manipulating them, even if they are not aware of it.

With death surrounding them and Mark and Lily on their own, their adventures are thrilling.

The ending of this book opens a new door, and there will be a sequel.

I enjoyed reading this one - the Elizabethan setting and a hidden prophecy kept it entertaining and it intrigues me to see where Mark and Lily will be going next.

If you would like my advanced reading copy of this book, please leave a comment here on the blog, and then email me at info NOSPAM (take out the NOSPAM and spaces) and give your name and address and tell me why.

Undone by Karin Slaughter

This book is the second in a series about character Sara Linton. (First book was Faithless.) I had no problem reading this book and picking up on what had happened in the first one - the author does a good job of giving you just enough info to make this book stand alone.

Sara's husband has been killed and her whole life torn apart, so she's fled to Atlanta to begin a new life. She takes a job at the Emergency Room and works very long hours so she doesn't have time to think. But all that changes when they bring in a young woman who has been tortured and brutally terrorized. She just can't help getting involved...

The cops involved in the case are Georgia Bureau of Investigations Agents Will Trent and Faith Mitchell (last seen in Factured), and they each have their own personal battles they are fighting. Will is dyslexic, Faith has just discovered she's pregnant (and unmarried).

They don't WANT Sara's help, but her knowledge is useful.

When they find a second young woman tortured so badly she kills herself, they begin to believe they may have a serial killer and the investigation increases speed.

The torture in this novel is graphic and will stay with you after you've finished the book. But there are monsters in the world. And no matter how far you run, they can find you.

If you'd like my advance reader's copy of this book, leave a comment here on my blog and email with your name and address as well as why you'd like to read it: info NOSPAM - take the NOSPAM and spaces out of the email address.

Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo

Alex Cross has been told the story of his great-uncle Abraham and his struggles for freedom in the era of the Ku Klux Klan. Now he has written this book to document the case for his children.

Ben Corbett represents tough cases in Washington, DC, and he is asked by President Theodore Roosevelt to look into the rumors coming out of Eudora, Mississippi (Ben's hometown) about negroes being lynched. (Ben Corbett is white.)

He leaves his family behind in DC, and goes home. Initially, everyone is very nice to him and he's happy to be back home with friends and family. His father is cold and has no desire to see him, but he's actually relieved about that. He had already taken a room at the local hotel.

He visits Abraham Cross and meets his beautiful granddaughter, Moody. And as Abraham takes him around to show him where black men have been lynched, he is at first almost unbelieving. But as he watches the interaction between whites and blacks in town, he starts to see the seeds of hatred in the white men. They try to explain their position by saying the freed black man will take their jobs away. But it's more than that - they find a black person "worthless". That fact leads to dreadful acts.

Not only does Ben witness lynching himself, he actually becomes the victim of one because he's a nigger lover! He barely survives, and Aunt Henry (Henrietta) nurses him back to health at Abraham's cabin.

As he tries to protect Abraham from the Ku Klux Klan, he finds even capturing the guilty parties and delivering them to the sheriff is no guarantee of justice.

This story depicts very accurately the turmoil and upset that came after negroes were freed. It also shows just how badly the white folk reacted.

If you'd like to have my review copy of this book, please leave a comment on here on my blog and email me at info NOSPAM Take the spaces and no spam out of that email address. Tell me your name and address and why you'd like to win this book.

Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino

This is the complete original screenplay for the movie Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt.

The setting is Nazi-occupied France, the main character is a Nazi known as "the Jew Hunter."

A Jewish teenager witnesses the murder of her family by this man, and she vows never to forget him. She escapes by fleeing to Paris and attaching herself to an old woman who owns a theater. In time, she becomes the owner and operator of the theater herself.

Then she meets a group of soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine, a hillbilly from the Tennessee mountains. His method of ridding the world of Nazis is to catch them, kill them, and scalp them - all to increase the fear factor. Their group is known as "the Basterds".

Add in a German actress who is also an undercover agent, and the pot begins to boil.

All these characters come together in a final confrontation that will amaze and overwhelm you with how smoothly Quent Tarantino works it all out - and how it ends!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

This is an eerie book. The story line grabs you and drags you along, even if some of things happening might make you feel uncomfortable.

Lia and Alice are twins and they have a younger brother, Henry. Their mother committed suicide when they were young, and now their father has died under mysterious circumstances. Their aunt is now in charge of their care.

The twins share a heritage that no one has told them about before, but after the death of their father, they begin to understand that things are not quite what they seem.

It's an old, old prophecy that they cannot ignore, even if they would like to. It involves evil and pits the two sisters against each other.

The story is both fascinating and frightening and reads up quickly. There will be a sequel because the tale has not all been revealed yet. And I'll be watching for it come out.

Good and evil, the supernatural, and two sister's vying for power. And only one can win in the end...

A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell

The subtitle to this book is: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking. It's a very appropriate subtitle...

Hiccup has a small dragon who hasn't quite grown up enough to behave. Toothless tries, but he's too small to scare anyone.

His friend is Camicazi, a Viking girl who's even tougher than Hiccup! Her mother's name is Big-Boobied Bertha. (You can tell this author was having fun naming the characters.)

The illustrations resemble a child's drawing, but they are part of the charm.

The trouble all starts when Big-Boobied Bertha made a bet with Hiccup's father and Toothless ate the book that was supposed to be part of the trade. Hiccup had to get another copy, and the only place that had one was the Meathead Public Library that was closed to public access.

Imagine a Stealth Dragon, Driller Dragons, a Hairy Scary Librarian and more all involved in the attempted "theft" of the book that was damaged...

This one will keep the child glued in place until he or she sees how it all works out - or doesn't...

I'd highly recommend this book. Lots of fantastic adventure with dragons of all types!

Billy Bones The Road to Nevermore by Christopher Lincoln

This is the second book in this series, but it read just fine as a stand alone novel.

Billy Bones is a child that was made human again in normal world, but he never grows any older than 10 years old. His parents live in the closet, and they are skeletons but he loves them anyway.

He and his cousin want to go aboard the beautiful sailing boat his aunt is building and have an adventure, but his aunt won't allow that. So Billy and Millicent go ask his parents for help finding Pirate Pete so they might have their sea adventure after all.

Unfortunately, Pirate Pete is in the worlds below ours, and very close to being stuck in Nevermore. There is no escape from Nevermore...

And when Billy's parents get taken prisoner, he has to figure out how he and Millicent can save them. Then Millicent's soul is stolen and Billy has to attempt to save her, too!

This one would be great for a boy who loves adventure and fantasy. The story is well put together and you don't know how it's going to end. Even children who don't normally like to read should be drawn in by this story.

Rumblewick's Diary My Unwilling Witch Sleeps Over by Hiawyn Oram

This is the second book in this series that I have read, and it's great, too!

Rumblewick is the witch's familiar, a cat, who is working very hard to make his witch be a WITCH, not a nice little girl. She strays to the other side way too often and mingles with people, which is real no no in witch land!

He spends most of his time trying to cover for her and salvage what he can out of the messes she gets in.

The book is filled with puns, odd witches and familiars, and normal little girls who have no idea just what Haggy Aggy is.

Haggy Aggy wants to go to the jim (gym) and learn gymnastics. If that wasn't bad enough, then she gets invited to sleep over. Oh my...

Little girls will find this book delightful and there are lots of illustrations and side stories going on to hold their attention.

Rumblewick's Diary is one of a kind!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer by Eugene Field

Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care today -
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
Than I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
Most notably beset today;
Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other shall look,
They'll wail to know it got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

In a book of cowboy poetry I'm cleaning up and pricing for listing later. How could I not share this with you?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

I always enjoy reading about the culture and country in areas I have never visited. We are all so different and yet so very much the same.

This story is set in Malawi, which is at the southeastern tip of Africa. It's a memoir that catches your heart and touches your soul.

William's father would like to see his son go to school and live a better life than he had been able to do. They live in a small house, have some farmland, raise maize and coffee and hope to harvest enough to fill their storage shed to feed themselves and have some left to sell to give them money for other things, like clothes, school expenses or medicine. It's pretty much hand to mouth and a lot of hard work, but it keeps them alive. Then the dry season comes and a new dictator takes over, and there is no more maize, no more seed.

Famine sets in. William has to give up school because there is no money. They can't raise any crops because they can't afford to buy the seed. They are starving because they can't afford the flour. It's bad. There are beggers everywhere - no one has anything left to give.

But William finds a library. And, since he's not going to school otherwise, he decides to take up his lessons himself. He's fascinated by electricity - after all, there's none in the village.

So he starts reading books on the subject and trying some experiments.

He's very determined. He uses whatever parts he can find, People refer to him as being crazy, his family isn't really sure one way or the other.

But the real story here is the fact that he had a dream and he refused to give it up.

As that saying goes: Necessity is the mother of invention. He used whatever he found free, tried different things to find one that would function, and he kept on, despite the rude comments and laughter.

Learn how he helped improve his village and just what that did for him and for his country. It's a very good read!

If you'd like my advance readers copy, leave a comment here on the blog and email me at info NOSPAM (take out the spaces and no spam) with your name and address and why you'd like to have this book. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

This is a Chief Inspector Gamache novel. He's from the Surete du Quebec and his division works on the worst of all crimes in the worst of all conditions.

The story begins with a very small village where everyone knows everyone and about all their habits. When a dead body is found in the bistro, the police show up to unravel the mystery.

But this is a multi-layered mystery. Everyone in the village has some of secret or some kind of odd behavior. He knows they are hiding things, but is it the truth or is just some area of their past they don't want uncovered?

The body was not killed in the bistro. No one knows who the man is - or so they say. Someone moved him from where he was killed and, obviously, someone must have known him to get that close.

There are many suspects with various motives. And the villagers are all beginning to look at each other differently because they realize that SOMEONE in that village must be a murderer!

As Chief Inspector Gamache attempts to unravel this mystery, he calls in various experts and travels to the western side of Canada for more information to help him understand what happened.

I followed all the clues, had some inside knowledge, and was still surprised by the ending. I think you'll enjoy it, too, if mysteries are your thing.

If you'd like my copy of this advance reader's edition, please leave a comment on this blog, and email at info NOSPAM (remove the spaces and the no spam) with your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read it. I'll be giving it away in a week or so.

The Golden Quest by David Delisle

The Golden Quest is a graphic novel about a young boy who embarks on a Hero’s Journey with his dog Shelby to discover the Golden Rules of Mo...