New blog address!

I have a new blog address:

New blog address!

I have a new blog address:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Island life and man's best friend and now enter chaos

I was extremely a fantastic way... with this novel.  I must admit when I looked at the cover I thought it was going to be a sweet, happy little book about a beautiful black Lab.  That is where I was wrong.  This is the book Picture This by New York Times bestselling author, Jacqueline Sheehan.  This is the sequel to her novel Lost & Found.   I did not read the first story in this little series, but I was caught up in no time to the story of 39 year-old recently widowed Rocky Pelligrino (nothing to do with the mineral water...which I just happen to have a minor addiction to).  Rocky was married to Bob who suddenly died in the previous novel, and Rocky moves to Peaks Island, Maine.  (Which sounds like a place I would love to live).  She rents a small cottage and takes a job as an animal control warden while she tries to makes sense of her life.
In the last book, she rescued and adopted Cooper....a kind, loyal and wonderful black Lab.  (I must insert some personal info at this point:  Not only do we share our house with 4 growing boys, but we also have a yellow Lab puppy...Ruby.  She is crazy and sweet, and she is beginning to grow on me, but don't tell that to my husband.  I am hoping that Ruby starts to relax and listen a little better like Cooper).  OK.....sorry about that.
While on the island, Rocky becomes close to several wonderfully drawn characters....Tess, Isaiah, Melissa, etc.  She evens starts to have a romantic relationship with a man named Hill...Her life seems to make a little more sense to Rocky despite the tragedy that she was dealt.  However, that changes when she receives a phone call from 18 year old Natalie who claims that her father was Bob....Rocky's deceased husband.  She claims to just wants to get to know a little more about him and wants to know why he never came to get here while she grew up moving from one abusive foster home to the next.  Rocky, who is on leave from her job as a therapist, is drawn to Natalie and wants to save her....and perhaps keep a part of her husband near her.  Unfortunately, as the story begins to unravel, we learn more about Natalie's past and that her intentions are not so innocent...the story moves fast and keeps you guessing and reading!  And through it all Cooper, the faithful friend, helps shape this story into something unforgettable.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Talk about a tragic character......

Product Details   From time to time, I like to pull out a novel of classic literature and immerse myself in it.  I picked Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.  Truth be told, I could not put it down.  Now I am not sure if it is because it was a beautifully written novel (which it is) or if it was a unforgettable story (which it is), but in all honesty, I really believe I kept reading to see if our heroine Tess ever caught a break!  Poor, poor girl was born in the wrong century that is for certain.
The story starts with Tess' drunk father on his way home when he discovers that he is descended from the wealthy to-do family The D'Urbervilles and throughout time their name changed to Durbeyfield.  Well, Mr. Durbeyfield heads home to his wife and 6 children....maybe 7....I lost share this exciting news.
Tess is the oldest at 16, and she is picked to journey to the nearest D'Urberville resident to claim their fortune or at least come home married to a cousin.  Really?  Poor Tess...she just wants to continue with schooling and do some modest work. Anyway, she journeys to the residence because she is a good, kind girl....she is a pleaser.  She meets Alec D'Urberville....a good looking and charming fellow who is supposedly her cousin.  Alec is taken by Tess' beauty and naivete and begins to woo her...well...she is not immediately impressed by him.....
Let me stop here.  You will have to read the book to see where their relationship goes and whether Tess is able to find happiness.  I warn you...there are no happy endings in this book.   The book is quite a fascinating read, and the story twists and turns more than one could predict.  Very scandalous and a great argument for equal rights.

Could not put down!

The book is called BIRTHMARKED by Caragh M. O'Brien.  Imagine a life where you live on the outside of a place called The Enclave which is surrounded by a high almost impassable wall.  A place where the lifestyle is "advanced" and of better quality.  You live on the have a certain job to do and are "rewarded" with food and humble shelter.  Yet, you must remember not to question your position or try to rebel because the Protectorat will have you arrested and then death will follow.
Gaia Stone is 16 years old, and she is following in the path of her mother to becoming a midwife.  As a midwife, on the outside of the Enclave, her job is to deliver babies and to advance three babies a month.  How does one "advance" a baby?  Well, the first three deliveries Gaia makes in a month must be advanced....they must be delivered to the wall within 90 minutes of delivery to live inside The Enclave away from their birth parents.  Not a pleasant a part of the job, but the consequences for not delivering the first three babies could result in Gaia's death.
Quickly, the reader learns that both Gaia's parents have been arrested and taken for questioning inside the wall.  Gaia is sure this means certain death for them, so she concocts a plan to break them out.  She is a cunning, clever and extremely strong-willed character.  The action is fast paced and kept me gripped to the story line.  Once she enters into The Enclave we learn that their advanced society isn't all unicorns and rainbows.  
I finished it rather quickly and was hungry for me, so I downloaded the bridge book TORTURED and read that in less than 20 minutes.  I have ordered the 2nd book in the series PRIZED, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.  I highly recommend this book to anyone older than 13 years old....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apparently this book is one in a series of many books called A BODY FARM NOVEL.  Ya learn something new everyday.  It is by an author named Jefferson Bass....which is really two authors.  Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson.  Dr. Bass is the forensics expert while Mr. Jefferson is the journalist.  Together they weave tales of mystery and crime with gory and accurate descriptions of decomposition and other forensic details.  This was not the first book in the series....that is CARVED IN  BONE for all you who are sticklers about reading books in the "correct" order (which I am).  Regardless, I dove right in and did not feel lost, and if I missed some important infomation that was leaked in previous novels...I was none the wiser.
This story starts in the good ol' USA.  Dr. Bill Brockton is called away to Avignon, France for an "emergency" involving his assisant, Miranda. Sidenote:  (Miranda is a bit younger than our doctor and quote attractive).  There is no emergency....just a harmless trick to get Dr. Brockton to come to France to examine some bones that have been found in the Palace of Popes.  Now get this....there is reason to believe that these bones could be the bones of none other than Jesus.  So Miranda convinces Dr. Bill to help her solve the identity of the bones.
The story flips back and forth from the 1300s to present day to unravel this mystery.  The story starts out slow in order to establish the facts, and then once part II hits...the action gets going.  The action kept moving and kept me guessing to just who is behind all this evilness.  Of course, once again I could not figure it out....maybe you can.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who doesn't adore a story with chickens?

Product Details    I have recently read Impeccable Petunia: Claws, Paws, Feathers and Jaws by Kate Christine with pictures by John Edwards.  I was delighted by this first book about Petunia the chicken who does not quite fit in with all the other chickens.....who frankly are just like the mean girls we all remember from high....bossy, catty, spiteful, and full of gossip.  Petunia has a special talent for gardening and interior design....apparently chickens can see many more shades of colors than is true.  I fact checked it.  So they would be obvious canidates for The Next Design Star on HGTV.  Petunia becomes friends with the woman who is their new caretaker...Petunia names her Silkie.  Life would assume to be sweet with Petunia able to garden and help decorate...she even makes nice with the cat Macy.  Yet, those mean high school-like chickens have another plan for Petunia and it is not a pleasant one.....
Lovers of animal stories will really enjoy this original animal tale.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Unseen by Katherine Webb

I really enjoyed this, let me rephrase that...I was so totally caught up in this story that I actually felt myself living in this tiny English town in the year 1911.  I have always been a sucker for a historical novel that takes place across the seas.  I adore the mystique of a place I have never been nor a time I have not known.  And this story takes you deep into the story of a servant girl named Cat Morley who finds herself working at The Rectory for a young Reverend and his naive wife, Hester.  She joins the household just as Robin Durrant arrives on scene.  Robin Durrant is invited there by the Reverend who believes there are spirits living in the woods around him, and Robin Durrant is a self-proclaimed expert in this area.  The Reverend is enamored by this cunning, handsome and charming man, Hester becomes jealous and confused as her husband pulls away from her, and Cat Morley seems to be the only one who sees through it all.

  We are introduced to all these characters from present day 2011. Right away we meet, Leah who is a freelance writer.  She has been asked to write an article about a soldier whose body was found with no identification just a few letters sealed in a tin box.  These letters intrigue Leah and she begins to solve the mystery of the letters and the dead soldier.  Through her discoveries, the reader is taken on a richly woven tale of one summer in this quaint English town.  The characters are so well well developed, and the story moves at a swift pace....this is one that I was sad when it ended.  Not sad of out disappointment, but sad because I was already missing the characters and the story and had to return to reality.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Great summer read!

I have always been a big Kate Klise fan!  She has written so many wonderful books for elementary school kids.  They are filled with cleverness and funny misunderstandings.  The stories have memorable characters and even more memorable stories.  They are written in a nontraditional format using letters, memos, emails, text and then traditional prose to let the story unravel.  Students gobble them up....from Regarding the Fountain to Dying to Meet You.  So when I saw that she has written a book for older readers, I grabbed it up and read it in an afternoon.  I loved it!
The story follows 4 Americans while they spend a week in Paris and Madrid, and what happens when two bags get mixed-up at the airport. Daisy and her 18 year-old daughter, Coco are traveling to Paris to enjoy a week of relaxation -- something neither of these overachiever, type A personalities find comfort in easily.  At the same time, Andrew and his 17 year old son, Webb are headed to Madrid for Andrew's work.  At the airport, Coco and Webb's bags get mixed-up...what follows is a series of clever misunderstandings and bizarre coinsidence.  The book was a delight to read!  I cannot wait for her next one!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Greek Mythology,Water Spirits & Hunky Merman, OH MY!

Product Details I have just finished the first novel by YA author Leigh Michael, and what a tale she has spun.  The book is called Sprite: Annabelle's Story.  Michael's has created a vivid underwater world with spunky characters who lead us on a quest to find a missing conch shell.   Annabelle appears to be a typical 18 year-old girl who excels on the school swim team, has plans of becoming a doctor and has a perfect boyfriend.  Life is sweet for Annabelle until she is kidnapped and taken into this underwater world where her adventure begins. 
 In the spirit of mythology, she offers up many creatures that come to life in our imaginations....such as, Adrian, the cute and sweet and brave Merman who leads Annebelle on her journey as she discovers who she truly is....a water spirit!  Along the way, we hear stories of Greek Mythology with the three big Gods: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades.  Yet those are not the only stories and creatures we encounter....not all are as helpful as Adrian.  Take a dive into this first novel by Leigh will be enchanted. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Here is my first nonfiction review book from William Morrow Publishing.  It is The Other Side of Normal: How Biology is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior by Jordan Smoller.  I have been fascinated with psychology since I was a kid and remember watching the movie My Girl with Macaulay Culkin.  They found this old model of a human brain in the attic that was used to study Phrenology...the study of the bumps on your head....well, I was just intrigued by that and began my own mini research into personality and psychology.  So much so, most of my electives in college were either psychology or art history, weird?  Anyway, after college I went into the social work field and so on and so forth.  The point of my rambling is that I chose this book due to my interest in psychology.  Whew...that was unnecessary of me.
I like this book because it examines 3 major influences on our human behavior, so we are not merely stuck on an one-way track.  It looks at a person's genes, experiences and evolution are how these factors shape our emotional and social natures.  It looks at specific case studies throughout history.  Smoller has made of point of not writing an encyclopedia of psychology, and though there are times when the text is quite technical, I did not feel lost in it.  I recommend this book for anyone who is interesting in human psychology and behavior. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gotta Love Dystopia Trilogies!!

This is a great first book in a new trilogy by Veronica Roth.  The title of this one is Divergent, and it was recommended to me by my friend Chris.  We both like books with some sci-fi and some intrigue and a little dystopia thrown in for good measure.  This is a great example of that!  The book takes place in Chicago after the destruction of the country due to selfishness, aggression, dishonesty, cowardice, and arrogance.  In order to combat this, there have been five factions created to prevent these qualities from taking over.  These are Abnegation which values selflessness, Amity which values peace, Candor which values truth, Dauntless which values courage, and Erudite which values intellect.  Everyone is born into a factions, and when they turn 16 years old they have ya choice to change factions permanently.  No turning back.  "Faction Before Family" is the motto.  If they fail or have a change of heart, they become factionless...wandering the outskirts of town performing jobs that no one else would willing choose. 

This is the story of 16 year old Beatrice who soon becomes Tris.  She is born into Abnegation, yet she never feels completely comfortable in this faction.   She shocks everyone on the day of the Choosing utilizing the information she received from her aptitude test.  Her choosing triggers a string of events that kept me reading even when I had a ton of other things to do.  She begins her initiation in her new faction and meets many well-drawn out characters....Four is my favorite.  I really don't want to write too much without giving so much away.....needless to say, I have ordered book 2 and am expecting it today in the mail!  Cannot wait!  Thanks Chris!  Great recommendation!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

because of mr. terupt

This one is for the junior/preteen readers...though I definitely loved this one and read in within two hours.  It is called Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea.  It is a book ALL kids should read.  A group of fifth graders are starting school with a new teacher, you guessed it...Mr. Terupt.  He is unlike any teacher they have ever had and he makes school fun, but that is not all.  The story focuses on 7 students (which I thought would be too many characters to keep track is NOT).  Each chapter is written in a different student's voice and version of the school year.  The students are as varied as they could possibly be....a new girl, a mean girl, class clown, the smart one, shy girl, an outcast, and a loner.  Sounds kind of like The Breakfast Club?  Mr. Terupt teaches them more than just math & reading....and he understands them all.  As the story progresses, you are aware that something horrible is about to happen and you are hoping that it is not too you keep reading.  And then the horribleness comes, and you keep have to find out the conclusion.  And you won't be disappointed.  I told my 11 year-old that he would love this book, and he plans to read soon as he finishes the Harry Potter Series.  He is on book 5 and can't put them down!  Not a bad thing at all!

Agatha Winning Author

This is the latest review book from Morrow Publishing.  It is A Faith Fairchild Mystery written by Katherine Hall Page.  She has written 19 novels in this series, and this is my first one.  It is titled: The Body in the Boudoir.   Since I have not read any of the previous ones, I was a bit leery about jumping right into a series and being lost and confused... I find myself lost and confused quite often in this crazy, wonderful life.  Fortunately, this mystery was presented in a flashback where our lady sleuth AKA caterer spins the tale of her engagement and the murders that surrounded it, so I was able to grab some background info on the characters.  This novel takes place in the months before New York born Faith is to marry Massachusetts native Tom Fairchild.  The wedding is to be held on Faith's wealthy uncle's estate.  Strange and bizarre things begin to happen as the nuptial preparations begin ....Faith finds herself the target of someone's wrongdoing.  Faith has the habit to be surrounded by mystery and has the instinct to sense things that others overlook.  The murder knows she is on to something and wants to put an end to her snooping.  The clues are cleverly hidden throughout and keeps you guessing....all the way to the reveal.
Fans of Diane Mott Davidson Goldy the Caterer series will enjoy this mystery series without feeling like it is more of the same. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rerelease of a John Irving classic

I have read a few other novels by John Irving....The World According to Garp  and Hotel New Hampshire.  Both wildy bizarre, inappropriately intriguing and shockingly humorous.  A Prayer for Owen Meany hits all three of these qualities as well...just not as shocking for myself.  The story takes place in New England and centers on the unlikely friendship of two boys - Owen and John.  John is your average boy who lives with his mom, loves baseball and hates going to church.  He has never known his father or even his father's identity.  Though his beautiful and kind mother helps fill the gap.  John's best friend is Owen Meany.  The Meany family have been around for a long time....and Owen is a unique character.  He is dwarfish and talks in a strange, annoying voice that is written in ALL CAPS throughout the story.  His mother is a recluse...never leaves the house and leaves Owen searching for a maternal figure which he finds in Tabby - John's mother.  The story starts out quickly with a horrific accident.  Owen hits a foul ball which strikes Tabby and kills her instantly.  Owen believes he has become an instrument of God through this incident.  This is what guides the story.  Owen and John's relationship evolves in despite of the tragedy.  The reader bounces back and forth from present day with John retelling his past and relationship with Owen Meany.  I wanted to desperately to devour this novel, but I found myself reading and setting it aside.  It was at times too wordy and it felt like it was trying too hard to be shocking.  I have read that Irving has been compared to Charles Dickens in his descriptive writing style....though Dickens was paid per word.  I enjoyed the novel, but I am not sure it is one I will revisit.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Magic and Naughtiness of Art

I stayed up late (again) to finish this review book by Christopher Moore called Sacré Bleu A Comedy D’Art..  I have many loves, and art and art history is most definitely one of much so I have a minor in art history just for my love of art not for any practical purpose.  As an artist, I am not.  I do not have that talent and envy others who do.  My boys seem to have a little of that love....Calvin is intrigued by architecture and Henry loves to paint while Nate loves to draw and draw and draw.  Not sure about Benny yet.
So when I received this book in the mail (hardback edition)....I could not wait to dive into it. This is my first Christopher Moore book, and I may now be an addict.  I was delighted by his writing…the wit, the intrigue and the naughtiness that kept me turning pages.  It begins in Auvers, France in 1890 on the day Vincent Van Gogh dies.  Was it suicide or murder?  Why would a man walk a mile with a gunshot wound to the chest to get help if he wanted to die?  Was he simply a mad man? Or is there more to it?  These are questions the author has left to Vincent’s friends to unravel. 
The story focuses on Paris in the 1890’s and the artist’s that get their inspiration from this city.  The story centers around the characters called The Colorman and his female friend.  The Colorman sells colors (paints) to artists since art supply stores have yet to be created. He makes the colors and peddles them from town to town on his donkey.   He has one unique color that the artists are attracted to….Ultramarine…the Sacré Bleu.  The mystery of this story is in the color. 
The reader joins Lucien Lessard (baker and artist)  as well as artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir & Toulouse-Lautrec on their  journey as they begin to unravel the mystery of the Blue and the women they call their muses.  We get to live as these artist may have lived: drinking lots, taking opium and “bonking” many women as we travel through an amazing time in art history.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Like Her by Liza Palmer

Ok....this is my first official review book from William Morrow Publishing!  I received it this week along with 2 others and read this one rather quickly.  I picked it to read first since it looked like something that would not require me to do more thinking than I wanted.  At school, I have been reading many books in order to select next year's Battle of the Books.  That is where my reading time was focused, so I didn't a potato chip book.  A potato chip book is what a friend of mine refers to as something that is tastes good for you without providing much nutrient....kind of like a Lifetime Movie...something we all crave every once in a while.  (though I must has been decades since I have watched a Lifetime movie).  Sorry, I digress.
This is a book that centers around Frances who is a teacher at a private school.  She is single due to a recent break-up and is still hurt from the experience.  Her best friend, Jill, also teaches at the school and the two of them quickly become bosom buddies (almost too quickly) with a new teacher, Lisa.    Nothing too complicated here...characters are not too complex, but entertaining...not to mention emotional.  And I don't mean I was emotional while reading it, the characters -mainly Frannie-- were crying and sobbing on almost every page.  Lifetime movie-like.  The story's climax is when the new Headmistress, Emma comes onto the scene.  She is perfect in every way...too perfect and a little stepford-ish.  She has a dark secret which is revealed in a violent tragedy at the school which will "kind of" change everyone involved.  After all, life does move on...I suppose.  There is not much information or time given to the dark secret which deals with domestic abuse.  I believe if there was more of a focus on this topic....I would have been more invested in the characters, but this was not the case.
Happy endings gets married, one gets pregnant, and one finds true love....Oh and the dog in the story (of course there is a cute, sad puppy dog)....he gets a happy ending as well. 
Not the best book I have read....certainly not the worst.  Happy to be reviewing books from Harper Collins...the next two should be good.  One is a reissued edition of a novel by John Irving....more on that later.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Intense, but not scary

 This book that was recommended is called Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem.  My friend, Ann, told me that her 5th grade daughter, Paige, loves this book.  They are reading it for their school's book club, and it is one of the first book's that Paige has really been drawn of course, I had to read it to see what was making Paige read so feverishly.  It is a fantastic story!  It is about a girl named Lucy who is 13 years old.  She is an only child to two extremely career-oriented parents.  Her mother is the American Ambassador to Ethiopia, and she has been relocated to Ethiopia to work and reside.  Lucy spends her days in a gated community with protection and many rules and not a lot of freedom.  As a teenager, she resents this and sneaks out and gets grounded.  This only fuels her desire for more freedom and adventure in a country she feels misplaced.  She is a minority in Ethiopia on many levels:  1.  She is a white American  2.  She is rich and 3. Her mother is a very important political figure.  She wishes she could explore the wildlife around here and hang out with her friends, but she is not permitted such freedoms.  She spends her days at home while her parents are at work where she builds card houses and dreams of a "normal" life.
She has one close friend, and together the two of them sneak out to the local market for some fun.  This is where the action starts, Lucy is kidnapped by drug dealers and taken to a secluded locale.  She is able to escape, but only to discover she is miles away from civilization in the wilderness of Ethiopia that she dreamed of....except it is not quite shoes, no water, no food....but a constant beating sun, lions, monkeys and drug dealers on her tail.  A great action packed story that is full of intense adventure, but not too scary for the younger reader.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No TV Nights

 Starting last night, our family has decided to go without any television in the evenings Monday through Friday until Easter Sunday.  The evenings have been filled with the wrong type of noise for too long.  The noise of the television is one that gives me a headache quicker than a room full of 5th grade boys having a burping contest.  And I also feel time is going by so quickly, and I want to be a little selfish and grab some more time with the boys. So last night after bath time, I went from room to room scooping up books (even as organized as I think I am...there are still books strewn all over the house out of order....shocking, I know).  A parade of two followed me downstairs to our big comfy chair where the reading began.  We started with Everyone guaranteed to make my boys can you not laugh when "an elephant makes a big poop"?
The reading continued for a good 45 minutes, and then we went up to bed for a few more books.  Nate & Benny picked out their favorites of the evening.  Nate selected Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky you Are? by Dr. Seuss.  He loves the illustrations ....he enjoys looking through them to find hidden gems such as someone sleeping or something about to fall on someone's head.  They both love the sing-songy prose, and I believe they enjoy laughing when I stumble over phases like "Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on Watch-Watcher-Watchering Watch-Watch-Watching theWatcher who is watching the bee."  Benny selected one of my favorites....The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathman.  Such a sweet, sweet book about a group of little babies who crawl away during a neighborhood picnic, and the only one who notices is a small boy.  He follows them and keeps them safe and fed as they explore the woods, caves, & bogs with all types of small animals.  The book reads so sweetly and is a perfect nighttime book.  The illustrations are shadows and very cleverly done.  Again, there are hidden items in the story that my boys love to find.  For example, there is a little caterpillar that befriends the boy and seems to aide him in rescuing the babies (though there is no foreshadowing of any real danger).  The caterpillar makes an appearance in each page all the way to the end when the babies are all back home safe in their beds.  We adore this story. 
We shall see how this no TV experiment goes....the older boys were at a basketball game with dad, so they were not home.  I am hoping to read a Little Hugo Cabret with Henry tonight or maybe some Harry Potter with Calvin.  Read On, my friends.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here is another one that my friend Jill lent me, and I loved it!  It is called Sister by Rosamund Lupton.  (I love the name Rosamund).  It is a story of two sisters who have a close that I would love to have with a sister, but sigh....I do not have a sister.  The older more responsible sister, Beatrice, lives in New York City while her younger sister, Tess lives in London.  Tess is a free-spirited who lives in the moment and sees beauty in everything.  One day, Beatrice receives a phone call that Tess has gone missing.  She grabs the first flight to London and begins to uncover just what has happened to her sister.  The police think she is crying wolf & refuse to take her seriously, her fiancee thinks she is overreacting & wants her to resume her "normal" life in NY, and her mother refuses to face reality.  Beatrice is alone and trying desperately to trace her sister's last known steps.  The story moves fast and always keeps you guessing....just when you think you have things figured are lead down another carefully crafted path until the end.  I loved the characters of the sisters as well as their great names....Thanks again Jill...keep them coming!

Monday, February 6, 2012

We  have added another author to our list of picture book favorites!  Oliver Jeffers!  This is our third book that we have read by him, and find them all funny and endearing and quite original.  This is Stuck.

This is a story of Floyd and what happens when his kite gets stuck in the tree.  He has many brilliant ideas of what could possibly dislodge his kite, and they each get more outlandish than the rest.  My boys were laughing at each page especially when the whale makes its entrance.  The illustrations are wonderful and boys and I spent a lot of time just looking at how fun the whole book is. 

We also read Lost & Found and The Incredible Book Eating Boy. We are going to be grabbing more books by Oliver Jeffers!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Page Turner

  I stayed up .late last night to finish this book:  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close A Novel  by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I was leery about this book in the beginning because it took some time for me to get comfortable with the writing style.  It starts from the voice of a unusually intelligent and mature 9 year-old Oskar.  He has lost his father on September 11th in the World Trade Center.  He has a secret he has kept since then and feels it is his burden to carry.  His father was the most important part of his life, and Oskar spends his days trying to keep this relationship alive by searching for a lock that can be opened by the key he found in his father's closet.  He embarks on a journey through New York City meeting all kinds of people who help him indirectly.  He discovers secrets that everyone around him hold onto in fear of letting the truth out.  Secrets his grandmother keeps locked inside, and  eventually, the reader, gains insight to Oskar and his father's family.  I was confused at times, but that is what drove my desire to keep reading.  I made guesses as to the outcome, and some I pieced together while others were craftly woven throughout to help make a complete and satisfying ending.  I am glad my husband bought me this book which I would never have read on my own.  
Last Night, I read The OK Book  by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld to Henry & Nate. Benny fell asleep on the couch and missed out on story time. We have had this book for awhile, and we love it.  The main character is a little kid who is a stick figure that forms the word OK....very cute.  Throughout the story, the OK kid (as we call him) tries out all kinds of things.  He tries baseball, swimming, kite flying and sharing just to name a few.  He is OK at all these things, and that is OK because one day he will be very excellent at something....he just doesn't know what.  

Here is one of our favorite pictures. Marshmallow roasting is a hard skill to perfect!  This is a book that makes us smile and realize that life is not about being the best at everything, but having some fun trying out new things.  We love it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Newspaper Boy

                Earlier this week, I finished Sue Corbett's The Last Newspaper Boy in America.  This is one that I am going to recommend to my 5th & 6th graders including my own son.  I read somewhere that what truly makes a great book is not the plot, but the characters in the story.  If the characters are endearing....if the characters really make you  care about them...then you have a good story.  The characters in this book were incredibly endearing to me.  It takes place in a rural small town in Pennsylvania where hard times have hit.  The local hairpin factory has been bought out and left empty for years leaving the townspeople unemployed and money hungry.  The story focuses on the David family.  The mother Magnolia, is a avid book reader-walker who writes book reviews and can always been found with a book in her hand.  She is a woman after my own heart.  Junior AKA dad is unemployed, but he still takes care of the hairpin factory in hopes of a potential buyer.   He is a forever optimist who looks at his unemployment as a blessing, for he now has time to cook and bake which is his true passion.  They have 3 boys:  Trace, the eldest and the artist, Sonny, the middle child who is a charmer yet a bit naive and then the youngest Wil.  The story focuses on Wil who turns 12 during this story and is about to take over the family newspaper route from Sonny.  Bad news descends when they learn the newspaper is going to cancel delivery to their small town. Wil is devastated.  He has been looking forward to carrying on the newspaper tradition as well as earning some extra money.  This triggers the action of the story into fast moving adventure about a family learning about each other, the people of their town and themselves.  I believe readers of all ages will find something to love about this story.