Tuesday, August 31, 2010

As Nora Jo Fades Away by Lisa Cerasoli

Living with a loved one who has dementia or Alzheimers can be an excruciating experience.

Subtitle of this book is: Confessions of a Caregiver. Five Star Publications sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you). This is a memoir, and Ms. Cerasoli's experiences will tug at your heartstrings.

It's hard to know what to do with the patient who is losing their memory and some of their life skills. You can put them in a home, or you can make a home for them in your own. But it will take all the compassion you can draw out of your soul, forgiveness when you'd rather shout, and lots of love.

Ms. Cerasoli didn't realize exactly what she was getting into with Nora Jo, and that's probably a good thing.

Imagine a grandma who likes to drink beer every night (and sometimes during the day). How about a grandma that wears Gramps BVDs because they were so comfortable? She also says and does things that embarrass you as well as misidentifies most people, even though she used to know them.

Ms. Cerasoli stood tall, embraced her grandmother, and folded her into her household. It put a strain on her family, but everyone managed to adjust pretty well. What else can you do?

This book demonstrates the type of challenges you have as a caregiver and also shares the precious moments of fun and love you can still share.

If you have someone whose memory is slowly failing, this book will touch you. And it's also a good guide for someone who might be thinking about trying to do caregiving. It's an honest portrayal of the work involved.

This is a very good read, the author's words flow well, and her emotions are honest.

You can order a copy of this book at http://www.fivestarpublications.com/norajo/order.html or pick one up at your local bookstore.

Number One Kid, Big Whopper by Patricia Reilly Giff

Anytime you put a group of young children together, there will be surprises. This group of grade school children demonstrate that!

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of Number One Kid and Big Whopper to review (thank you). These books were published in August and are available at your local bookstore.

Written for 6-9 year olds, these are easy to read fun stories about school and after school activities.

In the first book, Mitchell wants to be Number One at the Zigzag Afternoon Center. They are giving out prizes and he wants to win one in the worst way...

The second book is about Discovery Week, and Destiny wants to think of something new to discover, but ends up telling a whopper instead of admitting she can't think of anything. Now what's she going to do?

Young ones should enjoy these tales with happy endings for everyone as well as enjoy the crazy characters in the stories.

If you'd like my copy of these books, follow the rules below:

1) Leave a comment here on my blog;

2) Send me an email at info@ bookfaerie.com (take out space) and give your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read them or who you would give them to. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

War is hard for everyone, but it is especially tough on teenagers who must become men almost overnight.

Charlesbridge provided me with a copy of this book for review, and the publicist was very excited about it. She was right, it is an excellent read for young adults or even older adults, such as myself.

Chiko wants to be a teacher. His father, a doctor, has been imprisoned for resisting the government. Chiko needs to support his mother, so he tries to get a job. And, instead, get captured by the same government. They put him in the army even though he does not want to fight.

Tu Reh remembers the army burning his home and bamboo field, and he and his fellow Karenni people have no love for the Burmese.

When these two boys meet in the forest on their first missions in war (on opposite sides), the conflicts are not just physical - they're also mental. Each boy has to mature, has to make their own decisions and has to live with the results of that judgement.

Ms. Perkins does an excellent job of describing war times and the types of people who rise to the surface during volatile times, both good and bad. There's a bit of humor, some unexpected friendships, and a lot of tension. But it's very realistic and will give your young reader a taste of war and how confusing things can get.

I highly recommend this book. It should be required reading for all young male adults. Life is not easy.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Bryce wasn't real happy that they were moving, but he was trying to be brave about it. And then he gets attacked by the girl next door before he's even out of the back of the moving truck...

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you). There is now a movie out based on this novel.

Bryce and Juli are both seven. He's got the most beautiful blue eyes she's ever seen and she develops a terrible crush on him. He's not interested in girls and certainly not the one that lives right across the street.

This story is written from each child's point-of-view and that makes it read very well and gives you good insight into why each one feels the way they do.

Ms. Van Draanen also demonstrates how one's family influences how a child looks at life and at people. And when the two families get together, both Bryce and Juli realize that maybe what they thought about the families before their shared dinner wasn't true...

This book was written for ages 10-14 and is a very good introduction to developing relationships for young ones. It's not all black and white, there's always some gray there, too.

This book is currently available at you local bookstore. Young love coming of age is a good read for all.

The Wolf Tree: Book 2 of the Clockwork Dark by John Claude Bemis

"Can you imagine eternal darkness, Sir?" A stranger asks this question, then collapses from sickness. They've been hiding and trying to stay safe, and now this happens...

This is the second book in this series (Book One is The Nine Pound Hammer), and the story is modelled after American folk tales and early American history. While this is fantasy, Mr. Bemis weaves his tale well and makes the story line plausible.

Ray and the other Ramblers have to find a way to stop the Gog's machine. It not only takes away the light, it transforms the people it is around. The man who dies at their home after talking about eternal darkness didn't have blood - he had oil in his veins!

With Gog's men pursuing them, the Ramblers set out to right the wrongs. There are two groups of Ramblers trying to save the world and neither one knows the others are also trying. Evil surrounds them all.

This book will keep your 9-12 year old child reading. There's lot of action and excitement, and the story ends open enough you know there will be another book in this series. I know I'd enjoy reading the next one, and I bet your child will, too!

Random House Children's Books provided me with a copy of this book for review (thank you). The book is presently on sale, so check it out at your local bookstore - and happy reading!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Think of a Number by John Verdon

How can someone know in advance which number you will pick when they ask you to? It's impossible, right?

The uncorrected proof I read was provided by Crown Publishers and Read It Forward. This book has been published and is available now at your local bookstore. It is also available as an eBook and on audio.

This is a very complex, detailed thriller that has more than one issue involved.

Dave Gurney has just retired as NYPD's top homicide investigator and he and his wife have moved to the country. He's a bit lost with nothing to do each day. His spouse loves the country, the weather, the freedom of the outdoors, but he's not as enthused. Then he gets a frantic phone call from a man he knew in college, but had not seem much of after that. It seems he's getting strange letters and the man is afraid. He should be...

What Dave founds out is that there is a series of letters and then murder. And it's not a single murder, it's a serial killer. But there is no connection between the dead that he can find.

While he's pursuing the investigation, his wife is getting more and more irritable with him because he's supposed to be retired. He begins to wonder if he might be losing his wife.

Between the tension in the household and the deviousness of the killer's mind, Dave is not having a good time. All he can do is press forward and see where it takes him...

If you would like my copy of this uncorrected proof, please follow these steps:
1) Leave a comment here on my blog;
2) Send me an email at info @ bookfaerie.com (take out the spaces) with your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read it.

I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex by Lisa McClatchy

This is a tongue-in-your-cheek story of a young girl who wants to invite a T-Rex to her birthday party. What could be more fun?

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you), and it was a hoot to read. It is written for ages 3-6 and the illustrations done by John Manders are full of bright colors and fun antics with a Tyrannosaurus Rex that will make you smile.

The letter Erin sends to invite him includes ideas on how they can use his tail for a slide, what they will feed him, and other activities they could do together. It's humorous, silly, and great fun to read.

This book is currently available at your local bookstore. Why not share the story with your young one and then talk about who or what they would like to invite to their next birthday party? Imagine, explore, and most of all, read!

Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush by Iza Trapani

I have fond memories of playing this game in grade school and wanted to take a trip down memory lane.

Charlesbridge sent me the copy I reviewed (thank you!) and Ms. Trapani's artwork makes the tale great for reading aloud. She does a very nice job of re-telling this old rhyme and letting a new generation of children laugh at the animals who keep stealing the garden goodies.

I've still never seen a mulberry bush, but I now have a mulberry tree in my yard. Even if you live in a mulberry free area, there are enough other crops that your child will be able to relate to growing a garden. And they'll learn about garden predators, too.

This is good, old-fashioned fun, and the children will enjoy watching the woman gardener trying to keep the animals from her crops.

I'd recommend this for ages 4-8. This old song would be great read aloud to a group of children. They could even act out the animals sneaking into the garden. Share this book and your imagination with them.

This book is currently available at your local bookstore. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Desperate Choices by Kathy Ivan

Was it a kidnapping or murder? Who had Max's godson Tommy?

Carina Press will be publishing this book in Mobipocket Reader and Adobe Reader formats at the end of September.

Ms. Ivan has come up with an unusual plot that keeps you wondering just what is going on and why. The story flows well, and the "pages" turn fast as the plot races on.

Max asks a friend to help him only because the hunt is a dead-end and his brother recommends psychic Theresa Crawford. He's not sure if he believes in her skills and she's tired of trying to prove it to him. Max and Theresa have sparks flying between them (one chapter is rated "R"), but neither one knows if they can trust the other totally. They do work together and attempt to find Tommy, but time is running out...

This is a fast-paced mystery with an unusual plot. I enjoyed reading it. I'll also watch to see if there is another in this series for future reading.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Magnificent 12: The Call by Michael Grant

This is an interesting tale of a 12 year old boy who is just medium in everything: build, brains, ambition and even in his life. Nothing outstanding. So why would he be told he's one of the Magnificent 12? And how can the guy talking to him be three-thousand-years-old?

This is a Katherine Tegin Books publication and they sent me an ARC for review. (Thank you.)

One of the most interesting twists in this book is that Mack's worst enemy, a very big bully, suddenly becomes his protector because Mack saved his life. That's real handy for Mack, because his life suddenly becomes very dangerous, leaving medium way behind...

It's a fast paced action story for young adults aged 10+, and there is enough humor interspersed to keep it from becoming too intense.

If you would like my ARC of this book, follow the steps below:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog;

2. Send me an email at info @ bookfaerie.com (take out the spaces) with your name and address and why you would like to read this book.

I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Candy Bomber by Michael O Tunnel

The History Channel ran a feature on this pilot, Gail Halvorsen. He did it to bring some happiness to the children of war and almost got in bad trouble...

Subtitle: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot". Charlesbridge provided me with this softcover book for review purposes. I chose it because I was familiar with this history and wanted to see how they presented it for young adults.

Mr. Tunnel does a great job of providing illustrations and lots of photos to make the story come to life. The pilot chatted with some of the lonely children at the fence and, in a moment of inspiration, shared a couple of sticks of gum with them. After watching them share tiny pieces amongst themselves, he determined he was going to do something to bring them a bit of happiness.

This is the story of how he started out and what kind of a campaign it turned into, with help from everyone.

The book is well written, the photos express the wonder of his project, and it's a piece of history that should not be forgotten.

Any child with an interest in history or unusual events will enjoy reading this non-fiction account of the Chocolate Pilot. It's written for ages 9-12.

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

What avid reader or bookseller wouldn't like this book? It's precious!

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers published this book and has sent me a copy for review. I'm putting my copy in my personal library because it's so "me".

Dog loves everything about books: how they feel, how they smell, just everything about them. (So do I...)

So he opens a bookstore. (So did I.) And no one comes in to buy books. This not a unique problem for booksellers. After waiting for a while, Dog decides he'll read some of his new books to pass the time. And then he gets his first customer...

This book really does a great job of showing a child the wonders of reading and how much fun it can be to "travel" with a story.

I highly recommend this book. It's great for reading aloud at day cares or with groups of young children as well as a wonderful gift for your budding reader at home. It's for ages 4-8 and Ms. Yates illustrations are delightful.

Monday, August 23, 2010

When the Devil Whistles by Rick Acker

Being a whistle blower can pay big bucks, but if you get caught it can cost you a lot, too...

Abingdon Press published this book, and I got my ebook from Net Galley for review. (Thank you.)

Allie loves her work. She does temporary jobs, turns in contractors who pad bills, and gets big money and all the vacation time she wants. However, those big employers want to know just who it was that turned them in...

Mr. Acker creates interesting, strong characters who have beliefs they don't want to compromise. However, life is not all black and white - there's always a grey area, too.

Between courtroom scenes and lawyer combat in conference and Allie digging deep into the computers of large corporations, there is plenty of action and lots of danger.

You never know what you might find if you dig deep enough...

I enjoyed this read. The story line is plausible, you develop a real interest in the characters, and you fear most of them may end up dead so you keep those pages turning.

This book will be coming out in October. Be sure to make a note on your TBR list if you like legal/accounting mysteries with unusual action in them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Liar Liar by K J Larsen

Cat is following a lying cheater to get the goods on him for his wife. When the building he goes in blows up, she's close enough to end up in the hospital. They tell her the mark has died in the explosion. But then he visits her at the hospital and tells her he is not married...

This book will grab you in the first few pages and you won't want to set it down and do anything else until you finish it.

Julianne, Kristen and Kari Larsen, three sisters, have conspired to write this book. Their style is a lot like Janet Evanovich's. Fast paced, strong characters, a couple of love interests, and Cat DeLuca can shoot straight.

You have lots of relatives who are cops, some relatives not quite on the right side of the law, and a mystery man who everyone thinks is dead but Cat. And Cat will need all these folks when she finds herself up against the local big man who's got plenty of money and nasty friends.

I highly recommend this book. It will be published by Poisoned Pen Press in September in hardcover, trade paperback, and large print. I downloaded the ARC I read from Net Galley (thank you).

I loved reading this and am already looking forward to the next book in the series. This story made me laugh out loud in some parts. Cat's family and friends make it a very good read.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

Imagine going to your Aunt's house because your father is going away on business and she's not home either - where do you go then?

Feiwel and Friends will be releasing this book in September and sent me an ARC to read for review. It's middle grade fiction and full of wacky characters.

Not only are these children real strange, the adults in the family aren't much better. The children are ostracized in the village. No one trusts them and they are just odd enough not to fit in. Nor do they mind that they're left alone. They can take care of themselves. But they didn't intend to find themselves on the streets of London, all alone.

In a "Lemony Snicket" kind of way, all the things come together and all those mix and match hints through the story finally fit together.

It's silly and fun read for your child aged 9 - 12 years. They'll keep those pages turning to see what happens next in this far fetched tale!

If you would like my copy of this ARC, follow these steps:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog;

2) Send an email to info @ bookfaerie (take out the spaces) with your name and address and why you'd like to read this book. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

The Desert Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta

I find most children's alphabet books boring - this one sure isn't!

Charlesbridge provided me with a copy of this book for review. I had not "tasted" this author before, but I will keep my eyes out for his other educational children's books.

Mark Astrella is the illustrator and his illustrations are very good at showing depth and distance - you really feel like you're out in the middle of a big desert as you read about these animals.

Since I live in a desert myself, I expected to recognize most of the animals and reptiles featured - wrong! I recognized the Oryx and the Elf Owl on the cover, but there were a great many animals I had never seen before.

Mr. Pallotta gives you lots of interesting facts about the desert and the residents there. He also inserts lots of fun like a bit of poetry and the question asking if you see who might be a danger to the Palmate Geckos. He MAKES you look and learn, but it's not at all like a school lesson. It's fun!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a child who has an interest in nature. And if yours doesn't, maybe this book would open their eyes to things you can see if you really look...

Kindergarten Cat by J Patrick Lewis

A poor, deserted, lonely kitten is taken in by the school janitor and it finds a home in the kindergarten classroom. But how will the students react?

Schwartz & Wade Books published this very cute picture book. Allie Busby's illustrations look like a young child's drawings and they blend in well with the storyline.

This book would be great for a young one who is hesitant about school. Even the kitten participates in answering the questions!

Written for ages 3-7, this easy to read picture book with colorful illustrations will be enjoyed by children over and over again. I bet they even learn how to "meow".

It's currently available at your local bookstore. Pick up a copy for a young one getting ready to enter school and not feeling real sure about it. This will help them learn school can be fun (even if you don't have a pet there).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harvest Moon By Mercedes Lackey

If you're an assassin, having magical talents is a plus.

Harlequin is the publisher, Luna is the imprint of this book. I downloaded my ebook from Net Galley (thank you) and I enjoyed this fantasy.

There are three tales with three authors: A Tangled Web by New York Times Bestselling Author MERCEDES LACKEY; Cast in Moonlight by New York Times Bestselling Author MICHELLE SAGARA; and Retribution by CAMERON HALEY.

All three are fast-paced, full of danger and magic, and full of challenges for the characters. Mercedes Lackey always writes good stuff so her name drew me to choose this book. But the other two authors were also very good.

I was especially impressed by Cameron Haley's story. It's a tale that turns back upon itself and it worked very well.

There are horrors in these stories, so don't read this one if that bothers you. They were a good addition to the stories and seemed normal in these fantasy worlds, so they didn't bother me.

This book will be published in October, so put it on your TBR list. It's a wild ride and fun to read as well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Did Not Survive by Ann Littlewood

Imagine finding the zoo foreman's body down in the elephant enclosure with the eldest elephant's foot on him! Iris almost fainted! And then they wanted her to move them and she's a bird keeper, not an elephant keeper...

This book was published by Poisoned Pen Press and is currently available at your local bookstore. I downloaded it from Net Galley to do my review (thanks!).

Just reading this book will give you some interesting facts about animals, especially the elephants. I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a zoo keeper after seeing all the fun duties they have.

The cops want to blame the elephants for Kevin's death, but Iris doesn't think Damrey did it. The two elephant keepers have radically different ideas, so she tries to keep an open mind.

In the meantime, if it wasn't the elephant, who was it?

The characters are complex, they all carry extra baggage, and none are quite honest about their pasts. I didn't guess the murderer while reading this one.

This is the second book in this series, and Iris is pregnant throughout, which creates some challenges for her.

This is an enjoyable read, especially if you have any interest in zoos or the animals. It would make a great beach book.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

Imagine that you have inherited a very special power: "You are indestructible". Sounds great, doesn't it? But there's a catch...

Little Brown and Company have published this book in hardcover (and provided me with a copy to read, thank you) and it is currently available in your local bookstore. It is for young adults ages: 12+.

This story is a combo fantasy/horror story. It caught my attention on the first page and I could see no happy ending coming. But I kept reading...

Jacob's power is a lot like absolute power, and there's a saying that absolute power corrupts. Jacob's power is more like playing God, but it's still dangerous.

Then he meets a beautiful young woman who yearns to use his power to save people who shouldn't die yet.

After sharing his power with his friend Milo and Ophelia, they clamour to have it when they think they need it. But with three people "needing" it, he can't give it to everyone when they think they want it. And it suddenly starts feeling different anyway. What's happening?

Jacob has forgotten one of the basic rules of life: For each action taken, there is a consequence.

This is a book you think about after you've read the last page and set it aside. It's a bit unsettling. And it's good read.

If you'd like my ARC of this book, follow these steps:

1) Leave a comment here on my blog;

2) Send an email to info @ bookfaerie.com (take spaces out) with your name, address, and why you would like to read the book. I'll do a drawing in about a week.

Piggie's in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofe

The piggies are having great fun barrelling around the farmyard until they venture into forbidden territory...

Charlesbridge has published a very cute children's picturebook and provided me with a copy for review (thank you). This softcover is available in local bookstores right now, and would work great for a Halloween read. No ghosts or witches, but lots of pumpkins and danger!

The pigs are all roly poly and have been hanging out in the pumpkin patch with Mom. But when Mom takes a nap, they escape... Their trip through the farmyard will make young ones laugh and they will want to read this book again and again. Even after they scare themselves to death, they still had fun.

It's well illustrated with a fun story. This would be good for children from ages 1-4. And it will teach them to be careful when they are playing, too.

Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews

First she gets a call that she must fly to Australia immediately because her Uncle is dying. Her boss pitches such a fit she quits. Then when she goes home unexpectedly, she finds her boyfriend in bed with a redhead. What else can go wrong in her life? Lots more...

Poisoned Pen Press has published this book in hardcover, trade paperback, and large print. The ARC I read was provided by Net Galley.

This is the first book for this author, but I'm sure it won't be her last. This book has a complicated plot with overlapping lives from various marriages and mixed families. She keeps your attention to the very end, and I was surprised by the murderer. You didn't have to worry about not having enough suspects or enough motives for murder!

When Dinah reaches Australia and takes a small two-seater plane out to the town closest to the lodge, she doesn't realize just who her pilot is. Just that he's weird and she hopes she lives through the flight. She meets him again later in the story.

The dying Uncle is actually her stepfather from the past. He has an ex-wife and his current wife at the lodge, as well as his children. Dinah's mother declined the invite. Her uncle is filthy rich, and everyone is anxious to see what they inherit.

The Aboringe cook doesn't like making the fancy American dishes for the family meals. The lodge owner has a great interest in Aborigne beliefs and heritage because he's part Aborigne.

And nobody is quite what they seem: So many people with grudges, so many secrets, so much hate. Cleon came here to die (terminal cancer) with the help of his doctor, but the doctor dies first...

The plot is fast-paced. The family is dysfunctional and contentious. I enjoyed reading this book. Check it out at your local bookstore.

Monday, August 16, 2010

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

Rocket is the fluffiest, most precious little dog I have seen. Mr. Hill's illustrations are so outstanding you would swear that you can feel Rocket's hair...

Schwartz & Wade Books published this book in July and it's available now in your local bookstore. My review copy is a high quality children's picturebook that will stand up to multiple readings without any problems.

If you have a hesitant or reluctant reader, this book is a great way to inspire them to read. If Rocket can learn the alphabet and how to read, surely they can! A little bird trains Rocket, who wasn't sure he really wanted to learn. But he did want to know how the story she read ended. So he learns the alphabet first and then moves into reading words.

This is a very cute story with delightful illustrations. It's for ages 3-7, and I'm sure they'll treasure this book.

I highly recommend this book for young readers. Buy a copy for your child and make reading fun.

The ABC's of Rock by Melissa Duke Mooney

If you liked rock 'n roll, you'll like this children's picture book from Random House Children's Books. It is literally an alphabet book with rock bands or performers that fit each letter.

The illustrations are done by Print Mafia and are vivid, bright and look like they should be the backdrops behind the band. All the bold colors reminds me of how the bands liked to dress up for their performances.

To make this book even more precious to your child or grandchild, make a collection of songs from the artists and let them listen to those as they go along. For example, pick a song from Fleetwood Mac or Kiss and record it on a cassette, CD, iPod, or MP3 player and let them learn about the music, too. Besides that allows you to listen to the bands you enjoyed while you were growing up...

This book will be available in October. Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy. The illustrations look like rock posters, maybe you'll want to keep it for you!

If you would like my copy of this ARC, follow the steps below:

1) Leave a comment here on my blog.

2) Send me an email at info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out) with your name and address and tell me why you'd like to win. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator by Janni Nell

If you're going to get involved with other worldly animals/people/minerals, it's real handy if you have your very own guardian angel. Especially if he's a good looking man and always is there when your life is in danger...

This book was published by Carina Press and is available now in Mobipocket Reader and Adobe Reader ebook versions. I got my copy to review from Net Galley (thanks).

I really enjoyed this book. Allegra is not a wallflower. She's over 6 feet tall, has bright red short hair, and she's almost a lethal weapon. When she gets close to something paranormal, her big toe tingles. And she has a crush on her guardian angel - which is not allowed.

She goes to Scotland to see why a Dedfield Rose has burst out of the ground near the Loch at the request of a Scottish pub owner. She's pleasantly surprised when he turns out to be a very attractive young man who expresses an interest in her.

The author does a very good job of describing the sexual tension between Allegra and the two men in her life. I had trouble deciding who I wanted to root for. Ms. Nell also has some very good twists and turns in the plot. There is some local history mixed in with the new murders and it makes a very good read.

This book is written for adults, but young adults age 14+ would enjoy it also.

If you enjoy action/adventure and can do paranormal, this book is for you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick

Christian is an orphan. His father disappeared and his mom talked about his father going into a sideways(?) world. Then his mother disappeared too, and Christian was sure she went into the same sideways world...

Lerner Publishing Group will be publishing this book in October, and will be available in hardcover and Adobe eReader edition. My review copy came from Net Galley (thank you).

This book is a combination fantasy/horror story. Christian finds that when he paints people, they die - which is a horrible thing for a child to live with. He's now 17, but it isn't getting any easier for him.

Then his dreams start transporting him back in time and he sees historical moments from the town he lives in. But no one claims to have any knowledge about the past he's trying to research. And he finds he is sleepwalking and doing strange things - like painting on the dilapidated barn owned by the city's richest man. He can't remember doing it, but when your Uncle is the sheriff and the evidence is irrefutable, there's not much you can say.

There is a mix of past and present, and Ms. Bick does a good job of moving the reader back and forth in time without confusing any issues. The evil that came to town in the mid-forties is still there. And Christian is being drawn in to help solve the crime of long ago and avenge the dead. He's also finding himself close to the door of the sideways world...

This is a fast read because the action is fast-paced and you can't wait to see what happens to Christian next. I'd suggest this for children 14+. It has an adult theme and the child may still have some questions about what they read. The history segment involves the Jews and Nazis in America. There were several war prisons in the US that your child could read about in non-fiction books and articles for additional reading. There was a German Interment Camp at Fort Stanton, NM, from 1941-1945.

Look for the book in October in your local bookstore or buy the ebook for your reader. It is a good, fast read.

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: The Wyvern's Treasure by R. L. LaFevers

If your parents went missing, who would take care of you? Nathaniel has his Aunt Phil, but it's not the same. She thinks his parents might be dead, but Nathaniel doesn't.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is the publisher and this book will be coming out in October. Kelly Murphy is the illustrator, and the illustrations are dramatic and fit in well with the story line.

Nathaniel has just overcome a deadly basilisk attack with his Aunt, and they return home to find the house ransacked. It looks ugly and Aunt Phil has an idea who might have done this dreadful thing, so she rushes them right off to Nathaniel's home to see if that's been invaded.

There are many fantastic beasts in this book: A Dodo bird, Wyverns, and a Gremlin. The gremlin is Nathaniel's friend and she's my favorite character in this book. She can be a pest, isn't too neat and clean, and has a sharp mouth, but she'd be the type of pet I'd like at his age.

They find Nathaniel's home messed up, too, and then they have a beast emergency they must go to immediately - no cleaning now! The Wyverns are restless and believe the treaty between them and humans has been broken. That would mean they would have the right to ravage the lands again.

Aunt Phil and Nathaniel must find the interloper - within 24 hours...

Strange beasts, conniving relatives, all kinds of action and danger - what more could a young reader need to keep reading?

This is the third book in this exciting series. If you've been waiting for the next book to be published, it's coming in October and it's a great read. If not, do like I did and just jump in the middle of the series. It's a fun read!

Petunia Pepper's Picture Day by Cathy Breisacher

Everybody knows that if it's time for your school picture you're going to have a bad hair, a zit on your face, some bruising or scratches from a fall or something. School pictures never turn out nice...

This is a very cute picture book illustrated by Christian Elden and has been published by Warner Press. Net Galley provided this ebook edition for my review.

The author has a very good idea of how hard it is to stay clean when you're a kid. Things just seem to happen. I know my Mom got real mad at me when my cousins and I played baseball in a cow field on Easter and I slid in to home plate with my new white Easter dress on. (I mean, what's the big deal with a bit of cow poop?) At least I wasn't getting my school picture taken!

Petunia Pepper has never had a really good school picture, so she made up her mind that this year would be different. She got all ready for school and was picture perfect. But it was a long way to school...

Young children will love the tales of her misadventures on the way - and the ending is great. I recommend this book for children in grades K-4,they will love the magical illustrations and the gyrations poor Petunia goes through. A fun read! And it's now available at your local bookstore - check it out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Giveaway

NEW GIVEAWAY: http://aurorareviews.blogspot.com/2010/08/death-and-further-adventures-of-silas.html

You need to send me a message about why you would like to read it and your name and address and I'll include you in the drawing for a free copy of the ARC... (I am Aloe and review on Aurora, in case you are wondering.)

Email me at info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Pact of the Stone Book I: The Quest of Cheyenne by Kevin M Cooke

Do you remember the book "Watership Down"? This book reminded me of that storyline a bit because the heroes in this story are dogs.

Sterling House sent me this book for review (thank you) and this is the first book in a series.

It's a fantasy, with lots of action and magic. There's an insidious evil spreading across the land that must be stopped. You have an evil queen, a wicked sorcerer and a shaman involved. There are unicorns, rabbits, mice, birds and dogs that can speak and reason.

This is a fight between good and evil, and the evil is winning at the present moment. The woman shaman is good and the other side has unleashed a monster on her. The evil sorcerer has spelled Cheyenne's brother, Tippy. They know he's spelled but they don't understand how dangerous he is.

I found it a good fantasy/action read for older young adults. They will find lots of action and imagination in this book.

If you would like my copy of this book, follow the two steps below:

1) Leave a comment here on my blog about the book.

2) Send me an email at info @ bookfaerie.com (take the spaces out) with your name and address and tell me why you'd like to read it. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

The Best American Noir of the Century - Otto Penzler, James Ellroy

Noir to me means ironic. It can also mean hardboiled, mystery/thriller, horror, but it's never boring.

This collection of 39 stories from 1910-2010 was a very interesting read. Otto Penzler always comes up with good collections (and he had Mr. Ellroy helping) so I was pleased to find this on Net Galley and download it. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is the publisher. The book is coming out in hardcover in October.

This is a good way to "taste" the various author's styles and writing format. I was familiar with most of the authors in this volume, but there were new and old gems that I hadn't run across yet.

Most of these stories do not have "happy ever after" endings. Life on the mean streets, in sordid backrooms and on the run doesn't tend to end up that way. Everyone in these stories seems to be scheming to get something for nothing. And nothing is usually what they end up with. What you can count on is that they will not succeed in most cases. And if they do, they must never have heard that saying about being careful what you wish for...

If you like short stories and hard hitting action stories with ironical twists, this book is for you. Check your local bookstore in October and pick up a copy. With 750 pages, it'll keep you busy for a while!

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong by Anne Sibley O'Brien

Have you ever heard of a Korean Robin Hood? This legend tells the story of a young man who cannot be accepted into society in his proper position because he is an illegitimate child. The subtitle of the book is: The Robin Hood of Korea.

This is a graphic novel I received from Charlesbridge Publishers to review. The illustrations are bright,colorful and nicely display the type of clothing worn in Chosun Dynasty. The pages at the front and back of the book are a facsimile reproduction of an archaic Korean woodblock edition, and a very nice touch.

Hong Kil Dong is smart, athletic, and sensible, but has no place in the minister's household because he's the son of a maid. He wants his father to acknowledge him, but he cannot because he has a legitimate son. Then someone in the household hires an assassin, and he knows he must leave.

He meets other desperate men in the mountains and as he listens to their stories, he realizes he has found a new purpose in life: To right the wrongs they have suffered.

This adventure story was the first novel written in the Korean language. Ms. O'Brien did a lot of research to ensure she got to know the character and could show his nature and his concerns in her English version of the novel.

This book is an excellent way to show your child how many legends are similar across various countries. It's for ages 9+ and is currently available in your local bookstore. For those of you with reluctant readers, this one should keep them reading.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Boo Cow by Patricia Baehr

You know I love children's picture books, but this one is special! Have you ever heard of a boo cow?

Charlesbridge provided me with a copy of this book for review, and I appreciate it. Margot Apple did the illustrations and her animals are sweet and cute, even the ghost.

Mr. and Mrs. Noodleman had always wanted to be farmers and finally managed to afford an old, run-down farm in the country. They named it the Chicken Noodle Farm and got ready to raise chickens. Once they got their 552 chickens, they were looking forward to having more eggs than they knew what to do with.

Somehow, that just didn't work out. They kept checking the nests and didn't understand why they didn't have any eggs. So Mr. Noodleman walked to the next farm and asked Farmer Hackett about it. Come to find out, their Chicken Noodle Farm had a ghost named Boo Cow. Mr. Hackett said the ghost scared the chickens and that was why they weren't laying. But was that true???

This book is for children in the 4-7 age range. The ghost isn't scary and it reads a bit like a fairy tale. This book is currently available in your local bookstore. How about a fun book for Halloween?

Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig

As we see more and more teen suicides due to bullying, this book has particular relevance at this point in time.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review and I thank them.

The illustrations are done by Beth Adams and are done in a form that fits well with the idea of diary/journal done by a young girl. They also enhance a young adult's understanding of the messages included in the text.

Katie likes to tease the people around her. Sometimes she says things that can be hurtful, but she only does it in fun, doesn't she? When she gets caught and sent to the school counselor, she's not happy.

The counselor shows her how what she is doing not only hurts the classmates she's talking with, it also reflects on her.

There are tips included as well. The main points are:
1) What works & doesn't work to reduce bullying in schools
2) How to break the bully cycle with role play and Trudy's Empower Tools
3) Tips for the "fun" and "power" out of bullying
4) Ways to empower bystanders to stop bullying - without risking their own safety.

This book is written for children ages 7-11, but the life skills are applicable to all. Help your child learn about bullying and how to protect themselves from it by sharing this book with them.

This book will be available on August 24th. Check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Koala of Death by Betty Webb

If you heard a bump on the side of your houseboat and went out to feed the seal that visits you and found a dead body it'd be quite a shock, wouldn't it? Especially if you recognized her face...

I downloaded this book from Net Galley. It's published by Poisoned Pen Press and is coming out this month in hardcover, trade paperback and large print editions.

I picked this book for a number of reasons: 1) I love living on a houseboat. Spent a weekend on one and it was great. 2) It's set at the zoo and you learn a lot about the animals. 3) The main character has a mother trying to marry her off to a rich man. All those subjects appealed to me!

Teddy recognizes the dead woman as Koala Kate and can't imagine how she drowned. Then she finds that she was dead when she went in the water.

Teddy's boyfriend, Joe, who is the Sheriff, won't tell her anything about the case. But since she works with all the suspects, she has plenty of folks to watch. And let's not forget they are one worker short at the zoo and people are being shifted around to fill the gaps.

This book has plots, subplots, and sidebars. Everyone has different motives for their action, some characters are tied together by their past, and not everyone is operating within the law. Teddy's own father is on the run for embezzlement. Teddy's mother has been married five times. There's no lack of potential suspects.

I enjoyed the frolicking ride through the zoo, Teddy's time on television with the animals, and trying to determine just who the guilty party is. This book reminded me a bit of the movie "Fierce Creatures". Zany characters and cute zoo animals made that movie fun to watch. This book is also fun to read.

Pick up a copy at your local bookstore and have a few laughs and see if you spot the killer. I didn't until end...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Throw Away Your Stick Till You Cross the River by Vincent Collin Beach

The subtitle of this books is: The Journey of an Ordinary Man. He may think he's ordinary, but he's sure had an extraordinary life!

Five Star Publications provided me with this book for review, and I'm happy to have made Vincent's acquaintance. He has written this book with the help of his wife, Anni Beach.

He has had a long and varied life. Vincent was born and grew up in Jamaica and he enjoyed life there with his family. In 1944, he decided to join the Royal Air Force to improve his financial standings and his opportunities.

While he was a smart, capable worker, his dream was to become a jazz musician. After the war, he bought an old clarinet and practiced. In time, he found his way to America and jointed the United States Air Force as a bandsman.

He's in his eighties now, and his life has been challenging in different ways. He and his first wife divorced, but he found another woman to share his life with. And he became an educator and fine parent - as well as continuing in music and helping the band travel around.

He shares his good humor, is calm about any incidents in his life, and lets you realize that we don't have to settle for less in life. We just have to adjust along the way and make it happen.

This book won the Carter G Woodson Book Award from the National Council for the Social Studies and is signed by Mr. Beach.

If you would like to win my copy of this book, follow these steps:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog.

2) Send me an email at info @ bookfaerie.com (remove the spaces) and give me your name and address and tell me why you'd like to get it. I'll choose a winner in about a week.

Mule Train Mail by Craig Brown

Want to ride a mule down into the Grand Canyon? I rode one in Molokai down to the Leper's Colony below (Kalaupapa) and that was an exciting trip. (I had never ridden anything before...) I bet this trip would be just as thrilling!

Charlesbridge sent me this book for review. I thought it would be interesting and it sure is. It is also a part of history that has existed for a long time.

These mules are the postman's way of getting mail to the town of Supai. It's the home of the Havasupai Indians, and the only way there (for the post office) is by mules.

No matter the weather, the animal danger or accidents with the mules, nothing stops the mail from going through. It's a bit more of a challenge than travelling around in a mail truck/van.

There is a map to show you the route, the illustrations are rich in color, and it's how mail is currently being delivered as well as historically. Share a little history with your child.

This is a children's picture book, for ages 4-6. It is currently on sale in local bookstores. Pick up a copy and amaze your child with this unique mail delivery system.

Water, Weed and Wait by Edith Hope Fine and Angela Demos Halpin

Have you ever had a garden? Miss Marigold is going to teach her elementary school class how to grow one and you won't believe who helps them.

This book was provided by Random House Children's Books. It's illustrated by Colleen Madden, and will be going on sale this month.

There's magic in growing your own green plants and the two authors express that in the story of this class creating a garden. As always, the hardest part is the "wait", but the reward at the end of the season makes it worth it.

The only problem is Mr. Barks-a-Lot. He's always barking at the kids about something. Will he ever calm down?

Miss Marigold's idea of growing a garden can be done in any community. Teach the children how to grow their own food and they will always have something to eat. Just find a spot and start! Here are some ideas for from their website: http://waterweedwait.com/photo_gallery/photo_gallery.htm

This a great book to inspire your own gardeners. Look for a copy at your local bookstore. For ages 4 to 7.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin Moccero

What do you do with your life when your husband of twenty six years falls over dead in the kitchen? Charlotte has a lot to find out about herself and how she might want to live after the controller in her life is gone.

I downloaded this book from Net Galley for review. It's published by Abingdon Press and will be available in September in trade paperback form. I appreciate the opportunity to read the book and comment on it.

With Herman dying on the second page, you're drawn into the book and wonder just where this story line is going. The author uses a good hook and her writing style keeps the story flowing gently.

This is a similar to a "cozy" novel, but the plot is a bit more complex. There is also a Christianity theme to the story that doesn't detract from the story. It actually all makes good sense since most of the characters are scarred in one way or another.

Charlotte's first big move was to sell her house and move to this cute little trailer she bought sight unseen. Then she sells her home and moves to the Paradise Trailer Park. She's all excited about her new little abode until she sees it. And finds out the park manager used a different photo...

This is a tale of folks who have been hurt in one form or another and have an unwillingness to trust again. They're good people, but cautious. I've known folks just like them. Watching them band together to fix up Charlotte's trailer and then create a woman's softball team with some prayers along the way was a good read.

There are twists and turns in the story, everyone seems to have secrets of some kind, and there's a death before the story ends. It'll keep your attention.

I also believe there will be more in this series. Charlotte has just begun to clean up Bright's Pond and Paradise Trailer Park and she has a fella who wants to take her out to dinner. I'd enjoy reading more of Charlotte's adventures.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sneaky Sheep by Chris Monroe

These sheep are adorable. They have the cutest little evil faces you can imagine.

I downloaded this ebook from Net Galley. It was provided by Lerner Publishing. The book will be available a hardcover edition or an Adobe Reader edition in September.

They are like two little rambunctious kids. They live in the valley, but lust for the grass in the meadow on the mountainside. Murphy, the sheepdog, spends most of his time just keeping track of them and working at keeping the whole herd safe.

Just like my little brother was at three, these two sheep can escape whenever Murphy takes his eyes off them.

Now Murphy knows these two can get in trouble fast (earlier books in this series show all their madcap adventures). So he's alert and smart and usually in their face when they try to escape.

But, one day, they make it to the forest and hide. And when they head for the meadow, they run into another dog-like creature, but it's not Murphy...

This is the first of this series that I've read, but I really enjoyed it. It would make a lovely picture book with the colorful illustrations. And what child wouldn't want to watch the sheep try to hide from Murphy? They'll laugh at their antics!

Look for a copy in your local bookstore in September, or download it and read it on your ereader. Little ones will want to read it more than once, so be forewarned.

Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison

Tanya can see fairies. Her mother can't and thinks she is just acting out.

This book is published by Little Brown Books for Children (who provided me this ARC for review) and came out in April in hardcover.

The fairies in this story are not kind. They do nasty things to Tanya. She tries to stay out of their way, but they are always picking on her. Especially when she tries to sleep. And then when her mother comes in her room, she thinks Tanya has done all the damage.

Finally Mom has had enough and takes her to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother is very distant and doesn't have much contact with Tanya. The groundskeeper's son is willing to be friends, so she does have some companionship. But this house holds a secret. A big secret. And the woods aren't safe...

The author does a good job of showing you Tanya's frustrations and fears. The story moves along at a good pace and you can feel the secrets hanging in the air. The ending was a surprise to me.

This would be a good book for a young adult who likes fantasy or paranormal books.

If you would like my ARC of this book, follow the steps below:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog.

2) Send me an email 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'm a Little Teapot by Iza Trapani

When I saw this title I was hooked. This is a nursery rhyme from my childhood that we used to sing and act like we were teapots. Have you shared this rhyme with your little one yet?

This is a softcover picture book published by Charlesbridge (they provided my copy for review) and the rhyme is updated a bit by the author. The illustrations are great, this is the cutest teapot ever.

This teapot has dreams and shares them with the children of the family. They travel to foreign countries and see all kinds of marvelous things. The teapot is involved in each scene, and the pictures make the story come alive.

This is suitable for the very young and would make a great read aloud story. Just remember to put one hand on your head and curve your other arm into a spout so you can "pour me out" as you read along...

This book is currently available in your local bookstore. Why not buy your grandchild a present that is a memory from the past?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike

Sara finds a flying carpet. No, I mean really!

Christopher Pike has been writing for years, so I expected this to be a decent read. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It has more substance than those I've read in the past.

Prepare yourself for a visit to Istanbul, a very old country that still has magical beings from the past. Sara is an American girl over visiting her father - who she never sees. He's always working and she's getting real tired of sitting in the hotel room. It's boring. So boring she leaves the room and wanders downstairs.

She sees a delivery boy bringing a package for her father and attempts to claim it. She wants to find an address for her dad's business so she can go visit it. But the young man won't let her take the package because he needs to check it in to be paid for the delivery. While they are fighting over the package, she notices he's cute and decides to compromise. He's delivering the package for his father, so let him. Then get him to go to the business with her.

Amesh isn't hot on the idea, but Sara suggests they go by taxi - she'll pay. He's never ridden in a taxi before...

As soon as they reach the company (which is gated and guarded), their adventures begin.

There are djinn, a flying carpet, and even another race in this story. It flows well, Amesh is almost more of a problem than an asset, and Sarah is learning about secrets several centuries old.

There are twists and turns and the ending surprised me. The good news is that I believe there will be more books coming in this series. Mr. Pike ends it well, but leaves some openings for returning to the storyline.

It's a fantasy novel, and very good. This book will be out in September and is for ages 12+. If you like Mr. Pike's books or fantasy, this one will work for you!

Camel Rider by Prue Mason

If you have no choice except to be a slave, would you want to be a camel rider? Sounds scary to me, but Walid enjoys camels and has a special relationship with one in particular.

This book was published by Charlesbridge, and is a trade paperback that is currently available in your local bookstore.

Adam comes from a well-to-family who lives in a compound in the Middle East. They are from Australia, but his father is flying for the Abudai Airlines, so they have moved. He has managed to hide his passport in his father's luggage so he can't return to Australia with his mother. His mother is very angry and leaves him home alone one day, with the servant. His father will be back the next day.

But Adam has an adventure planned. A last tour of the desert before he returns home. Not a bad plan, but plans change...

When the nearby city is bombed, he has to evacuate the city with neighbors, leaving his dog behind. He makes up his mind he will escape and go back after Tara, his dog.

In the meantime, Walid's favorite camel gets spooked and breaks her leg. His master loses not only the camel, but the baby she was carrying. He wants to kill Walid, but that would be too fast of a death for the boy. So he ties up his hands and legs and dumps him a cave in the desert to starve and die of dehydration.

The lives of these two boys converge by accident. Each one has opinions of the other's race and religious beliefs, and neither one has any respect for the other. Nor can they communicate by language, neither one understands the other.

Ms. Mason does an excellent job of depicting how the two begin trying to communicate, how each learns a few words of the opposite language, how they learn what skills each has (or doesn't) and how they eventually begin to trust each other again.

They have many more adventures before the story ends. Life is hard, people are trying to kill them, and they have no food or water. But they keep trying to move back to the compound and the trials and tribulations are authentic.

I enjoyed the action and learned some things about the Middle East. I'd recommend this book for young adults age 12+. The world is a big place, visit a piece of it by reading this book.

Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher by Laurel Snyder

A kosher pig? Have you ever heard of such a thing?

This book was provided to me by Random House Children's Books and the illustrator is David Goldin.

I found the idea intriguing. Even I know pork isn't kosher and I'm not Jewish.

Baxter is a curious pig. One day he is sitting on a bench waiting for the bus when the old man next to him mentions he can't wait for sundown because it was the beginning of Shabbat and they eat a special dinner. Then the man catches his bus and moves on.

Baxter thinks about this and heads back to the bus stop, hoping to meet the old man again. He doesn't, but he asks another man how he can be part of Shabbat. (Think of all that good food!) The man tells him that's impossible because he's not kosher. So Baxter goes on a quest to become kosher - by eating kosher foods!

Poor Baxter, pigs aren't kosher. But there is a special ending to this story that will make everyone smile.

Written for 4-8 year olds, this picture book is a good way to teach a young one about a different religion, or to let one who understands the religion have a good laugh. There is a glossary in back so it would be great to read aloud to a group and then discuss the meanings of the words in more depth at the end.

This book will be going on sale August 24th. Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy. It's a cute, silly story that young ones will love.

Long Road to the Circus by Betsy Bird, David Small (Illustrated by)

Suzy is tired of boring summers.  Then she finds out there is a retired circus performer living in her area.  She also finds that her Uncle ...