Thursday, January 16, 2014

You Gotta Love Giveaways!

Check out this blog for a Kindle Fire Giveaway!! :)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

To be honest I had never heard of this book until I read an article about it being banned. Then it caught my interest, which is actually kind of sad. Sad not just for me, but for everyone else that found out about it that way too. I always hear about a book being banned and wonder why? So of course I put the book on hold at the library to see what all the hub bub is about. Yet so many books that are banned by libraries or schools are usually the best books out there. They are real, true, and honest about the way life really is, and that is why I usually like them. And of course more people start reading them or wanting to read them once they hear it has been banned somewhere. In my opinion people want to censor too many things in this world.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a book I probably never would have ever read, but I am so glad that I did. It is such a simplistic love story about two teenagers who appreciate the small and simple things in life. Music, comics, and a the touch of a hand are what brought these two together. I love that just sitting next to each other on the bus is what brought them together.

This book isn't full of action and adventure, but is a down-to-earth story about the lives of two people who just want to be together in a world that won't let them. It kept me reading and rooting for these two to just be able to be together. Their race and an abusive home are only a few things trying to keep them apart. They both come from such different worlds that I love how they come together just by the simple act of reading comic books on the bus. I loved that it was reading that started it all!

I would highly recommend this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was sad when the book ended. It is definitely appropriate for high school aged kids. The book itself has some foul language, which I believe was part of the reasoning for the ban of the book along with a few intimate scenes, which I felt were not vulgar. This is the article I read: 

Image from: Courtesy of Simini Blocker, Illustrator. He has some other great illustrations to go along with Eleanor & Park as well! So check out his website:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Catch by Michelle D. Argyle!

So looking forward to reading this. I downloaded the kindle version and hope to be reading it and reviewing it here soon! So stay tuned! Love her books!

Here is the synopsis:
When eighteen-year-old Miranda chases a purse snatcher on the Las Vegas Strip, the last thing she expects is for the pursuit to turn into an extended game of hide-and-seek. All Miranda wants are the old black and white photographs buried at the bottom of her purse. They’re the only things she has left of the grandmother she never knew. But how much is she willing to put on the line to save them? And is it possible she’s falling in love with a thief?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pieces (A Breakaway Novel) by Michelle Davidson Argyle

** spoiler alert **  
I really enjoyed The Breakaway by Argyle and was so thrilled to know there would be a sequel. I love Argyle's writing style and couldn't put it down. I felt the sequel really tied the books together and gave me a definite sense of completion. I loved how it ended and I loved how Naomi finally seemed to realize all the consequences and the reality of what her kidnapping had done to her. Her character to me really blossomed and I loved how it ended. I would definitely recommend this book!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

~Spoiler Alert~
Do not read if you do not want to know how the book ends!
"The word normal had never described her, even now. All she had done for the last month was sleep, eat, and read. She obeyed every order. She was their perfect puppet. Her mind was in a rut like a song stuck on repeat. She was getting so sick of it she wanted to curl up and die. Had she felt like this her entire life, or did she only notice now because the situation was more intimate?" -- The Breakaway

Naomi Jensen is kidnapped and held captive, yet her captors are likable characters and start to treat her as if she were family. How do you react to that when all you've known your whole life revolves around parents who care more about their careers than their daughter? Naomi is torn between how she should feel and react in this situation. She even falls in love with one of her captors, Jesse, but is this just a residual effect of Stockholm Syndrome? Well you must read this book to decide for yourself.

As for me, I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't put it down, but of course had to as I have a 10 month old daughter and got distracted constantly! If I had had the chance this book would have been read in one sitting. It had a way of captivating me, Michelle's writing flows and is so lyrical and descriptive that I literally felt a part of the book.

Naomi's character was one that I hated and loved all at the same time...yet I understood how she reacted to being kidnapped. She felt weak and helpless and that she wasn't a brave person at all, but really who would be in that situation? I even found myself liking her captors right down to the end of the book, and was sad when they were caught. Yet, technically I shouldn't have felt that way, who wants a kidnapper to go free? Or better yet, who wants the kidnapper and kidnappee to fall in love? I did! I wanted her to stay with them. I loved this line in the book and perfectly describes how Naomi felt once free..."Jesse was right. She was free now, but what was freedom without happiness?"

I loved that Michelle combined kidnapping, cooking, good food, classic literature, suspense, drama, and romance in this novel. At times I almost could smell the food they were cooking and eating in the book. It read more like poetry and I loved that!

A great young adult book that I would highly recommend for high school students and even adults!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ebook SALE for author Michelle Davidson Argyle

Author, Michelle Davidson Argyle's eBooks are all selling for $0.99 for the entire month of December. Go check out this great sale & purchase one or all of her books for your e-readers!

Go to this link for more information on how to purchase! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A hauntingly good read that mixes in history, romance, and mystery! This historical fiction young adult novel is loosely based on Theodore Dreiser's, An American Tragedy.

Set in 1906 the book follows the present and past of Mattie Gokey, a worker at the Glenmore hotel. Her story is intertwined in a murder mystery at the hotel when guest Grace Brown's body is found in the lake. The same Grace Brown who recently entrusted Mattie to burn some letters for her. These letters turn out to be the key to why Grace was murdered. Mattie's story is fictional, while the letters and death of Grace Brown are based on a true story. Connelly intertwines fact and fiction seamlessly.

Jennifer Donnelly's writing holds you captive and reads very poetically! I loved this book and the mesmerizing characters kept me reading non-stop until the end! Not only is this a great book for teens, but for adults as well! A definite great read!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

This is a stunningly beautiful book! It is a wordless graphic novel that depicts the life of an immigrant in a foreign land.

A man leaves his wife and child so he can improve their lives. It is perfect that this is wordless as it helps the reader understand and relate to the character in how hard it is to understand a foreign language and land. The artwork is beautiful and depicts a very alien city and landscape. Cultures all over the world vary in their beliefs and traditions, this book holds the same concept, only taking it to a new level. The reader can interpret so many things for themselves, but in the end, I feel that all readers will understand that a picture (or pictures in this case) is worth a thousand words.

I loved this book and I highly recommend this book to all ages!
Also check out Shaun Tan's Website for some awesome artwork! He is a truly an amazing artist!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle

My friend's book was just published and is available to purchase!!! Go to this LINK and purchase from any of these online retailers! I ordered my own autographed copy. I am so excited to receive it and read it! I will be reviewing it here, so make sure to check back!

I reviewed her self published book below, Cinders (click here to read the review) which will now be published as an omnibus (3 novella's in one titled Bonded) through the same publisher who is publishing Monarch. Looking forward to when that is published in 2013! Check out the information about Bonded by clicking here.

I love her writing and so proud of her and her amazing accomplishments as an author! You're the best Michelle, CONGRATS!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Missy's Reads & Reviews!

Check out this book blog for some great giveaways!!! A great blog to follow for books! Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I am a huge fan of dystopian books! I loved The Giver by Lois Lowry, 1984 by George Orwell, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (click here to see my review), and of course The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (click here to see my review). I could keep listing books that fit into this genre, but that is a whole other post. I honestly had never heard of The Maze Runner or even James Dashner, but I follow a blog by author, Jenn Johansson, and I entered a giveaway on her blog to win this autographed copy of The Maze Runner. Lo and behold...I won! It was actually a long time ago and I have been meaning to post my review for quite some time...well finally here it is!

This book was great! I thoroughly enjoyed it and originally didn't know it was a dystopian novel when I entered to win it. What a great surprise for me since I love this genre. This book initially reminded me of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, but more with that "big brother" & "controlled society" factor thrown in.  I don't know how to really describe this book, but the description from Barnes & Noble editorial review is absolutely perfect, so I have to share this portion! I also love that they describe it as a "Truman meets Lord of the Flies tale!
"Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines." (Barnes & Noble)

I am very much looking forward to the next two books in this trilogy, The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure (coming out in October 2011). I thought all the characters were well developed. The book and plot held such mystery to me that I couldn't put the book down. Thomas the main character is the newest arrival in the Glade, and although like the other boys he can't remember his own last name or how he got there, he starts to feel that some things in the Glade are familiar. A lot of the other boys don't trust Thomas, and he can't explain why things seem so familiar to him. Things are always expected in the Glade, a boy arrives every 30 days, but things change immensely when the first and only girl arrives the day after Thomas, they don't know what to expect and things start changing. The book has a lot of suspense and mystery tied in throughout it. I don't want to give anything away, but you should definitely read this! 

A great start to the series and once I read the other books I will review them as well! I would highly recommend this book, especially to middle school and high school aged readers!

Maze Runner Trilogy

The Maze Runner
The Scorch Trials
The Death Cure
by James Dashner

Fade by Lisa McMann

I didn't like this as much as the first in the series, and even then "Wake" isn't by far one of my favorite books. As I mentioned in the review on "Wake" I liked it and didn't like it. This was an okay read, but not the greatest. 

***Slight Spoiler Alert***

Janie goes undercover at Fieldridge High to help catch a sexual predator. Cabel, now Janie's boyfriend is upset at her putting herself in danger. I personally thought there would be some twist at the end and who they thought was the predator wasn't, but I was incorrect, it was just as she had predicted. I was hoping for a bit more of an in depth plot to hold my interest more, but overall it was very predictable. Janie also learns the devastating consequences that her ability will reduce her to physically, like going eventually going blind. 

This book is more geared towards high school level readers, mainly for the foul language and sexual topics. But for the most part I didn't care for the book, it was okay, but not the best. I may read the last book "Gone" in the series if I have nothing else to read, but isn't likely, as I always have something to read! ;)

The Wake Trilogy
by Lisa McMann


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wake by Lisa McMann

Hmmm...where to start with this review. I liked the book and I didn't like it, if that even makes any sense. I loved the main idea for the book; a teenager who gets sucked into other peoples dream and nightmares. This main idea sticks and as the reader you learn about Janie's "condition" and how since she was little when people fall asleep around or near her she gets pulled in, but is still awake, only she can't function or see anything. As described in the book it appears as if she is having a seizure when this happens. The book is broken up by date and time and has a lot of short choppy sentences, which I know is to give the book a certain feel to it, a more in the moment feel or a rushed feeling. Once I got a bit more into the book I got over the choppiness of the sentences, but it did still bother me a bit. I only think it bothered me since I really love authors who are really descriptive and draw a scene with details in words. I missed this aspect of the book and felt if it had been more detailed it would have been more intense and held my interest more. 

I did feel I got to know Janie's character, but I longed for more out of this book. I also felt like there was  lot of foul language that also bothered me in the book. I know the author was probably trying to portray the life of a current 17 year old teenager, but I just felt it didn't need to be there. 

I am currently reading the second book of this trilogy and am finding I am annoyed with similar things. I'll post a review of that book as well when I am finished. Overall I can see teens interested in this book who really like paranormal romance books.

The Wake Trilogy
by Lisa McMann


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I have been meaning to read this book for the past year or two and it just never happened. First school and work got in the way, and then I just forgot! I finally got my hands on it and absolutely loved it. 
The story is a science fiction/dystopian genre based in what used to be North America and is now called Panem a post-apocalyptic country with 12 districts that are controlled by the "Capitol." One way the Capitol shows that they hold the power and control all is yearly each district must name one boy and one girl who will fight in the hunger games; a game to the death with the one survivor being the winner. 

Katniss Everdeen is the main character followed throughout the novel and I truly fell in love with her and what she stood for in such a controlled society. I am a huge fan of novels like this, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, and even the great classic 1984 by George Orwell. I actually felt all the characters were well developed and held their own throughout the book. 

When I originally started to read this I thought how morbid the premise really was, and it still is, but I got over it and read it like it was really happening. I think most dystopian novels hold this type of morbidity or cruelty we find so offensive and horrible, but there are a lot of things in life that are horrible and become the plot of a novel. I still feel it is a very appropriate book for teens, it isn't overly descriptive or gory. I would even recommend for some younger mature readers (ages 12 and up). Collins is a captivating writer and I look forward to reading and reviewing the next two books.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Higher Institute of Villianous Education (HIVE) by Mark Walden

I was going to post a review about each book, but seeing as I just finished the 6th book in the series and the 7th one doesn't come out until September 2011, I figured I'd review the first six books in the series.

I absolutely love this series and am stoked for the next book to be released. Unfortunately when I wanted to read more in the series I realized only the 1st book (HIVE: Higher Institute of Villainous Education & HIVE: The Overlord Protocol) were the only two books published in the United States. That is not the case anymore, I believe you can purchase any of these books on Amazon, and can even purchase the box set pictured above. Wish in a small way I had waited instead of purchasing through AmazonUK, but oh well!

The title is what initially intrigued me to read the 1st book. I thought for sure it would be just like Harry Potter only without the magic, but I was pleasantly surprised by how different and fun this series is! Yes it does resemble Harry Potter a bit with the life/death situations that arise while they are at "HIVE" being schooled to be villains, but all the characters stand strong and are very relatable to teens and easy to like and enjoy while getting into the story. I do have to admit that the first book is still my favorite, but I've enjoyed reading the rest and as I said before look forward to the next book. I think the idea of teens being abducted from their homes, orphanages, etc... to go to this school was a fun premise. They are kidnapped and drugged so they don't know the remote location of the island the school is on. They come to find out later on their families all know about the school and them being enrolled there, but weren't allowed to say anything. Otto Malpense, the main character and orphan is the main focus of the series and builds around the mystery of his childhood and strange abilities. Each student selected to attend this school has a special ability that makes them an assets to the school. Although I find it interesting and a bit ironic that they all seem to be less villain-like and more of heroes as the series progresses, and by the 6th book I had almost forgotten that they are supposed to be villains in training! This of course may be all tied together whenever the series ends.

Overall the books are fun, adventurous, a bit sci-fi like with over the top technology, and full of action and rich characters. I would definitely recommend this series especially to tweens and teens and any kids who have liked Harry Potter.

Book 1 - HIVE: Higher Institute of Villainous Education
Book 2 - HIVE: Overlord Protocol
Book 3 - HIVE: Escape Velocity
Book 4 - HIVE: Dreadnought
Book 5 - HIVE: Rogue
Book 6 - HIVE: Zero Hour
Book 7 - HIVE: Aftershock (NOT YET PUBLISHED)

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Book Worm Blog!

If you like Teen or Young Adult books, you will definitely want to check out The Book Worm Blog my friend has started! Great reviews of all sorts of YA books! I know I've put a bunch of the books reviewed on my "to read" list. A great blog and it is updated quite frequently! Hope you check it out!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Incantation by Alice Hoffman

What a fascinating and insightful novel about the Spanish Inquisition during the 1500’s. The story follows 16 year old Estrella deMadrigal and her family during the time when fellow town’s folk are persecuted, tortured, and even killed for being secret Jews.

Estrella and her best friend, Catalina, find their friendship isn’t what it used to be, and Estrella feels she no longer knows, nor can, trust Catalina. Estrella finds out who she really is as the story unfolds, her family has a secret that they are to tell no one about, but when that secret gets out Estrella becomes stronger and knows what she must do to save what she has left.

This novel read like poetry, and wove a wonderful plot and story that kept me reading and reading! I normally don’t like historical fiction, but found I learned a lot about the Inquisition that I had not known before. What a great story to use to teach students about this time period and even comparing it with other historical fiction books about the Holocaust.

I would recommend this book for grades 6 and up.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

This book is a haunting portrait of a high school senior, Keir, who feels that he is a good guy, that no one would think him capable of doing anything horrible. He contradicts himself by crippling another football player during a game, vandalizing a local statue, pulling embarrassing pranks on the soccer team, and date raping his friend Gigi. Although all of these events happen, he still feels that somehow he can never accept that he is a part of these; they all are “inexcusable” acts. He uses the word “inexcusable” multiple times during the book, describing things that shouldn’t be done, but in actuality he does do inexcusable things. His father allows him to drink alcohol with him and doesn’t seem to mind that he is out all night long. He gets along well with his father, but their relationship to me felt more like they were brothers. He never seemed to get any real discipline, and when it was attempted he would lash out.

Reading the story from Keir’s point-of-view was a bit disturbing, because you found yourself wanting to believe him, that he was “good” and that he really didn’t mean to do the things he did. He turned out to be the opposite of what he felt he was, and even came to the realization of that at the end of the book.

Overall it was a very powerful novel that really got into the mind of a teen that has a lot of issues with drugs, alcohol abuse, and family problems. I would highly recommend this book for high schoolers and maybe even mature 8th graders.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Inside Out: Portrait of an eating disorder written and illustrated by Nadia Shivack

This book offers a powerful and disturbing look into the mind and thoughts of Nadia Shivack and her struggles with Bulimia Nervosa. Shivack includes hand drawn images of how she feels with this disease. It is a very stark and blunt book that makes you truly feel for the author. It is a very short graphic read, but really touched me and made me really think of how this disease can affect people emotionally.

The book also has little facts printed on multiple pages about eating disorders and statistics in today’s society, as well as more printed information at the back of the book. I think teen girls will really get a very true in-sight into this woman’s life and how hard it was and still is for her. I hope it would give girls the strength to realize they wouldn’t want their life to be ruled and overpowered by this disease and learn to love themselves the way they are! At the end of the book in the afterword, the authors lets the reader know that she still has a problem with this disease and has been in the hospital because of this problem since the publication of the book.

This would be a great book not only for girls but boys as well, she points out in the facts in the books that one million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Used in class, this book would educate students about eating disorders and maybe let them see from her experiences that this is something that can really consume an individual and can even cause death!

This book would be good for a lot of age groups, middle school and high school, even younger kids in 4th or 5th grades, especially if a teacher felt that a student may have a similar issue with their self-image. Shivack mentions on the very first page she remembers having a problem with food at the age of six!!! I think the younger they are when they are educated about this topic the better.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Feeling like she just can’t wake up from a dream, Liz, doesn’t want to accept the fact that she has died and has moved on to live in Elsewhere. Elsewhere is a place where the recently dead go once they have passed away. Elsewhere is like any other town in the world only you age backwards from the time you arrive, so instead of growing old you grow young. Non one dies on Elsewhere and no one is born on Elsewhere. Once people age back to 7 days old they are sent back to earth by floating down the river and are reborn to live another life on earth.

Liz is greeted by her Grandma Betty, whom died before she was ever born. Liz doesn’t want to focus on the now, she wants to find a way back to earth to finish out her life. She wants to finish school, go to college and get married. She doesn’t want to accept where she is and she spends all her time at the observation decks, where you put tokens in the binoculars to watch loved ones back on earth. Liz finally learns to love her Grandma and enjoys being on Elsewhere. She takes an avocation counseling pets that have recently passed and arrived in Elsewhere and helps find them new homes. She even meets someone and experiences love firsthand.

A great book that read and flowed with ease! I loved the concept of the story and think kids too will like the fantasy aspect of the book, and may even get them contemplating death and an afterlife! I could see middle school ages and high school aged kids really getting into the story and the frustrations Liz has with death and leaving her family. The book can be related to dealing with death of loved ones and pets and maybe even help kids cope with their own tragedies. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review of Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

If anyone knows me they know that I love reading fantasy novels! So when my friend self-published her book, a re-telling of Cinderella…I was excited to get my hands on it. In many ways I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and to be honest it wasn’t what I thought it would be like at all. The novel itself has hints of mystery, murder,, romance, and magic all rolled into one. It is a powerful story; well written and with very detailed and intricate descriptions. The story takes quite a dark approach to the fairy tale of Cinderella…which is something that I was not expecting. This story was more of a mature and adult re-telling of the tale. I liked the different take on the fairy tale, and especially since the plot focuses on the storyline after Cinderella has married the prince. I was expecting a light, magical, and happy story written more for young adults. I do think a lot of mature high schoolers out there though would love this book.

The characters are well rounded and I felt connected to them and understood them by the end of the book. Not only was the story full of magic, but the writing was magical as well! The storyline hooked me in and held my interest until the end…I absolutely loved it. I would tell more about it, but I don’t want to give any of it away. I truly did feel that the story came full circle by the end and answered all my questions. The story portrays a more realistic view of life. I think we get caught up in having every book we read and movie we see end with everything solved. Life is never like that. I enjoyed Cinders because of its fresh new angle on an old fairy tale.

This isn’t your usual happy fairy tale; it is a dark, mysterious, and captivating read and I would highly recommend it. I am not just saying this either because I "know" the author! I am a huge fantasy fan and love different takes and re-telling of fairy tales! One of the main reasons I wanted to read the book was because I knew it was a genre I love.

If you are interested in getting a copy, link to Michelle’s website, she is even selling and shipping autographed copies as well. You can also read more about Michelle and read excerpts from Cinders as well as her other literary works.

Click here to check out her website:
Click here to purchase Cinders

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blog Book Tour - Michelle Davidson Argyle

My friend Michelle just self-published a novella! I just received my copy and have just started to read it. She is offering some great prizes for individuals who help advertise her book blog tour (September 19-25). Anyone can advertise, as long as it is visible on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog, and leave a comment on her website (or email her) regarding where you posted. I am truly looking forward to finishing the book and when I do I will be reviewing the book here. Check out her site to see the prizes and all the information for the blogs hosting her during her blog tour. You can also link on her website to where you can purchase the novella. (link below)

Michelle Davidson Argyle "Cinders" Book Blog Tour

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Cinders" Book Trailer by Michelle Davidson Argyle

My good friend is self-publishing her book. Check out her book trailer! I am so looking forward to reading this. Her friend made the dress and Michelle did the photography...she is a wonderful photographer too! Check back here for my review of the book once I read it!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

This novel was a very creative take on the idea of zombies, although they are never actually called that. They are referred to as the "unconsecrated." The story focues on Mary and her life in the village that is fenced in and surrounded by the unconsecrated. Mary believes that there is life outside of the Forest of Hands and Teeth, and yet the protection they receive from the Guardians and the rules enforced by the Sisterhood point to all signs that they are the last humans on earth. When Mary is forced to join the Sisterhood she begins to realize that they are keeping secrets from the village. Her hopes that there are others out there is becomes a reality when she realizes that someone from the outside is being kept hidden by the Sisterhood. Only when the fence is breached and Mary must choose between the village and the hope of life outside of the fence does she realize she has to have faith in the idea that life does exist beyond the forest.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the whole idea of a village surviving behind a fence surrounded by zombies. It was a mixture of multiple genres: gothic, suspense, mystery, horror, & romance. When I first started it I didn't know it was the first in a series, but am very looking forward to the second book The Dead Tossed Waves.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The International Children's Digital Library

The International Children's Digital Library is my new best friend!! What a wonderful site dedicated to the world's children's literature.  I just finished writing a paper on this library for my digital libraries class, and had to share some information about this great resource. They have a collection of over 4,000 digital children's books. Materials are mainly older books that are available in the public domain, or are contemporary literature that the publisher or author have given permission for them to digitize. Their ultimate goal is to have 10,000 books digitized in over 100 different languages.

One of the best features of the site is the simple search they have on the site...this search allows children to even search by the color of the book; what a perfect search quality for kids. Here is what the simple search looks like:

Another great feature on the site is their book interface that allows you to read the books. They have a standard, comic, and spiral reader.

So if you haven't checked out this digital library collection, check it out! It doesn't come close to replacing a real book, but it is another great way to get kids interested in reading and learning!

Friday, August 28, 2009

What happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles

A very quick and easy read, but a very dark one! I don't know that I loved this book, but it held my interest. Cass McBride is kidnapped and buried alive. With a walkie talkie taped to her hand, and a small airhole, the reader experiences the horrific sensation of being buried alive. Giles gave a very detailed description of her feelings and fear, that make you feel almost claustrophobic while reading it. You hear Cass's version of the story, along with Kyle (the one who buried her), and the police officer investigating the dissappearance of Cass. Each chapter alternates with these characters. I can see why teens would find this book intriguing, I didn't really find it scary per say, but just a bit disturbing. It has some language in it not appropriate for young readers, and would probably be best recommended for high school grades 9-12.

A Curse dark as gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

What a wonderful book!!! I loved this book. I was drawn to it because it is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. But it doesn't have anything to do with a King, becoming a Queen, and it doesn't even mention the name Rumpelstiltskin. It is cleverly set in the 1700's on a running mill. Charlotte Miller and her younger sister are left to run their fathers mill after he dies. Everything imaginable happens and then come close multiple times to losing the mill. Charlotte is certain that the mill has been plagued by a curse, a curse that is the culprit of the disasters that have been happening. She bargains with a mysterious man named Jack Spinner, but ends up getting in too deep. 

A page-turning adventure and I loved Bunce's take on this classic fairytale! She writes beautifully, and combines magic and historical fiction together very well. Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, but the story is captivating and intriguing at the same time! I would highly recommend this book, especially for 9-12 grades. I think some 7th and 8th graders may like it, but it might have a bit more depth to it than usual middle school reads.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

I just finished this book and I loved it!! A great science fiction read about the land of Opium...a country that lies between the United States and Mexico. El Patron is the ruler of this land (a very powerful drug lord). His clone, young Matt was harvested and put in the womb of a cow until his birth, and is treated as an animal and not as a human by the Alacran family. Only Maria, a friend of the family, befriends Matt, and helps him to believe in himself. The story follows Matt as a child at the young age of 6 up to 14, and how he copes with being a clone and how he comes to find out what El Patron's actual purpose in life is for Matt. He has to find a way to escape El Patron and the terror of what may happen to him if he doesn't.

This was a fascinating book, and I normally don't seek out or read science fiction very often, but I was very entranced while reading this and couldn't put it down. There is quite a bit more to the book, but I don't want to give it away. I figured out this a ways through the book, but don't want to ruin it for anyone else. I would highly recommend this book, especially for grades 8 and up.

This book won the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award Honor book, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for 2003.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

I had heard a lot about this book while researching a paper about self-censorship for my Ethics class. It is a book that a lot of school librarian's have vowed to keep out of their libraries! All because of one word, "scrotum". The word appears on the first page of the book, but actually refers to the anatomy of a dog. The book itself won the Newbery Medal for 2007 and has gotten a lot of great reviews, and to date the book has not been challenged or banned, other than an "unofficial" ban to keep it out of libraries.

It is an endearing story of a 10 year old girl named Lucky who lives in Hard Pan, California, who wants to find her "higher power" in life. It is a great coming of age book! And to me a very true account of the daily activities and thoughts of a 10 year old girl! She struggles with the death of her mother and abandonment issues with a father she has never met.

The book has lovable characters like Miles, a five year old who has a constant craving for cookies of all flavors, and Lincoln, who is an expert at tying knots, and whose mother hopes he will become president of the United States.

I would highly recommend this book, and felt that a lot of the librarian's out there who have kept this book away from their library really haven't read it as a whole, they have just based their opinions on one word. It is a book that would be great for ages 9-12.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stinky by Eleanor Davis

This is similar to an "I can read" book for beginning readers, only in graphic novel/comic format. The illustrations are so cute and endearing I absolutely fell in love with this book after I read it. I am hoping Eleanor Davis is concocting a series of Stinky books!

Stinky is a monster of the swamp who loves everything gross, including his pet toad, Wartbelly! He loathes children and is beside himself when a kid actually builds a treehouse in his swamp!! He thinks of "gross" things to do to the boy to make him scared of the swamp, and in the end is surprised by a wonderful friendship! An adorable book!

A Theodore Seuss GeiselAward Honoree of 2008

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Best graphic novels of 2008

Best graphic novels of 2008: "
Granted, “best of” lists are always subjective, and considering the number of new books released every year, I never expect to see many...

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell; photographs by Richard Paul Campbell

A very informative non-fiction book on the habits of the carnivorous Wolfsnail who eats smaller snails and slugs...sometimes the snail and the entire shell! The book has beautiful large color photographs of this snails ascent up a plant to feed on another snail. At the back of the book is a useful section with more information about Wolfsnails and their habitats.

An excellent read for ages 4-8. It also won as a Geisel Honor book this year.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson; illustrated by Beth Krommes

What a wonderful book!!! A simple and beautiful bedtime read for children. It focuses on the things at night that are a comfort and will help the little ones sleep! The illustrations are done in scratchboard, a technique that involves scratching away the black to reveal white lines, interspersed with a yellow warm glow on specific objects. I loved exploring the images and finding something new. I think children will delight in this book and will want it read over and over again. A great read aloud for toddlers and for beginning readers.
This was also the Caldecott Award winner for this year. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bodies From the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem

This was a wonderful and fascinating book! Although a bit morbid since it deals with the recovery of bodies that have been preserved by glaciers, I was overall very impressed with how many photos and images were in the book. It was interesting to read all the information about glaciers and how they are slowly melting away, and may cease to exist one day. It is a very visual book with tons of scientific findings. I think kids will find this book intriguing and exciting.

I would recommend this book for ages 9 and up!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer by Andy Runton

This is the first of five volumes based on the character Owly by Andy Runton! They are all wordless graphic novels and absolutely adorable! I have include a few images below from the novel itself.
Owly is a lovable owl who is lonely and is seeking friendship and acceptance. He saves a small worm, whom he becomes the best of friends with (a very unlikely friendship indeed)!!! :) A great read for any age!!! Especially for English Lanuguage students, since any of the volumes can be adapted to any language! Even children who are barely learning to read will feel a sense of accomplishment to read this 156 page book based on images, symbols, and expressions.

I haven't read volumes 2 to 5 yet, but they are on my list!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Dave McKean

The Graveyard Book is a haunting story about a boy named Nobody (Bod) Owens. When he is a toddler his whole family is murdered by a man named Jack; luckily Bod escapes to the graveyard down the street. Mr. and Mrs. Owens, ghosts in the graveyard, agree to raise him as their own son. Although he is human, he receives the freedom of the graveyard and is graced with the secrets of the ghosts. The story revolves around Bod’s many adventures in the graveyard and small village with ghouls, witches, and school bullies. He learns many lessons from his guardian Silas and his teacher Miss Lupescu, and he is rescued from quite a few sticky situations. All the while Bod is still being hunted by Jack. The tale has many strong and powerful characters that help shape Bod’s life and education in the graveyard. Readers witness Bod’s journey of growing into a young man until he is able to leave the graveyard and live on his own. Gaiman’s style of writing fills the reader with wonder and a sense of mystery. The story pulls together strongly at the end and even has a surprise twist that will keep readers guessing. Gaiman weaves a story that will fascinate and engage readers young and old.

I absolutely loved reading this book and I loved the illustrations too! The same illustrator who illustrated The Wolves in the Walls for Gaiman also did this book. They have collaborated on many novels together, including Coraline. I read this for my class and was surprised to hear that a number of my fellow students didn't like the book at all, a lot of them felt it was a lower read, maybe for 5th & 6th graders! I completely disagree, and would love to find out who else loved the book like me! I feel it is a read that could be read easily by 5th graders, but that high schoolers and adults will enjoy the book as well. If anyone else has read this I would love to hear your comments on the book! It recently won the Newbery Award, and I can see why. I love Gaiman's style and felt the whole book tied together beautifully.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean

I just read The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean. He is probably most famous for his graphic novels, Coraline (which is out in theatres now), and his newest The Graveyard Book (The Newbery Winner...I will review this one later).

The Wolves in the Walls is an absolutely terrifying story! The illustrations add a very eerie quality to the story, but are fascinating to look at, they seem to be collages mixed with drawings, and maybe even photographs. Here is a sample of one of the pages of the stories I found on Amazon:

Lucy starts to hear things in the walls and tells her Mom, Dad, and Brother that there are Wolves in the walls...her Mom says it must be mice, her Dad says it must be rats, and her Brother says it must be bats, but they all agree that if "the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over!!" To Lucy's dismay no one seems to know "what" is all over. The Wolves do come out of the walls and Lucy and her family flee down to the garden. The Wolves take over their home and her parents and brother discuss moving to different countries, but Lucy just wants to live in their home again. Lucy finally convinces her family to go and live in the walls of their home. Once her family sees the Wolves wearing their clothes, playing her brothers video games, and getting jam all over everything, they decide they are going to rightfully take their home back!! Once they come out of the walls the Wolves yell "And when the people come out of the walls, it's all over!!"

I really enjoyed the story, but then again I quite like scary, strange, and weird stories!! I don't think I would recommend this to young children who are easily scared! I would recommend to older children...maybe ages 7 and up! Having the book in the picture book area will cause confusion! And there could be kids out there who really enjoy strange and wild stories like this one!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Children's Literature

I have been wanting to start a book blog based on all the children and teen books I have read and will be reading. Well here it is...finally!

I am currently in the Library Science program at the University of Arizona, and have been taking a lot of classes that focus on children's literature. I have taken "children's literature in a multi-cultural society", and am currently taking "adolescent literature" & "children and public libraries". We are reading tons of books, and I want to review and write more about books I like and don't like. I hope this will prove helpful to some in finding books for your kids to read, or even for adults to read. I personally read more kids books than adult books and am proud to admit it!

I also am going to be finding other websites or blogs that focus on children's literature or young adult books and posting links. I would love any feedback or any other links anyone else knows about!