Sunday, December 25, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

EchoEcho by Pam Muñoz Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Received as an ARC.

Otto found himself lost in the woods alone in a circle and surrounded by three sisters. He became their messenger to free their bondage to the circle by saving a soul on the brink of death. Friedrich hears music in his head and composes with a baton that only he can see. He sways his hands to the melody as passerbys look at him oddly. Friedrich has a harmonica whose tones are so perfect and so beautiful that the music lifts him up from his world and sets his soul free. Friedrich was born with a large birthmark on his face which was imperfect to the Nazi regime of Germany. Friedrich’s father had been taken and he and his uncle made plans to leave Germany. Mike and Frankie loved to play piano with their Grandmother. She took care of them after their mother died, but she was aging and could no longer care for them. Mike and Frankie were taken to the Bishop’s Home for Friendless and Destitute Children because it had a beautiful piano that the boys’ grandmother hoped that they would play. The keys remained silent though, but music was made through a harmonica and led them away from the group home and let them soar in the melody. One day the boys left the group home, but trouble stirred and they planned to leave. As Mike was climbing down a tree and reached for the harmonica that had fallen from his pocket, he slipped and fell. Ivy just moved to California and her new home is settled in an orange grove on the property of a Japanese family who were forced to an internment camp. Ivy learns about prejudices against her Hispanic heritage as well as against the Japanese. She sees the war come between friendships. She sees people who are cruel and manipulative. Ivy worries about her own brother and wears his jacket as protection until he comes back home. Kenny takes leave from the war to settle his father’s affairs and Ivy plays him a song from her harmonica. She gives him the harmonica to take with him to shed a little bright light in the midst of war. Her harmonica sheds more than just a bright light onto Kenny’s life. As the prophecy is fulfilled and the curse lifts, the three sisters rejoice at finally returning home while the music of the harmonica swirls the destinies of it’s players and crescendos into the tears of the sisters’ happiness.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan was, in one inadequate word, amazing! Echo surpassed a novel and went straight into a journey. It was a journey from the dark woods and through three people’s lives and then twisted everyone together to make a prophecy come true. The storyline was just incredible and I just can’t believe the way everything came together so beautifully. The story was like the songs from the harmonica itself. Echo is truly unique. I don’t remember ever reading a book like this before and strongly recommend this book to everyone. I think that the older the reader is, the more they will truly understand what is happening in the book. I really can’t say enough good things about this book except you must read it - Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!! Travel safe and enjoy the day!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Second Best Thanksgiving Book Ever!

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

One of my family's favorite traditions is to watch the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving. My favorite is the Rockettes and I love the music and the dances. It's such a festive show and I try to get everyone in the house together at the very end to see The Man - Santa!! Santa means it is Christmastime!! You have never seen the Macy's Day Parade? Oh, you gotta watch it and read - Balloons Over Broadway - to find out how it all started! 

One Of The Best Thanksgiving Books!

Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving wasn't always a national holiday. Thanks to many letters and many presidents and Sarah Hale, Thanksgiving is celebrated by our whole nation. In elementary school, kids talk about the pilgrims and Indians, but how did Thanksgiving manage to stand the test of time. Thank you Sarah...from a grateful nation.

Graphic Novels!

I've been in denial long enough and I'm now ready to accept graphic novels into my life. Last year, as a part of my school's Black-Eyed Susan Jeopardy challenge, I read all of the graphic novel nominees to put together a list of questions. This year I'm planning on doing the same thing AND there are few books that are sequels that I'm looking forward to reading LIKE...

TAH DAH!!!! This is the sequel to Phoebe and Her Unicorn which was the first book in the Heavenly Nostrils Series by Dana Simpson. Unicorn On A Roll is followed by: Unicorn vs Goblins, Razzle Dazzle Unicorn and Unicorn Crossing which is coming out 28 March 2017. 

I haven't read Unicorn On A Roll yet, but I just brought it home from the library and plan to soon. I'll let you know if it was just as laugh-out-loud as Phoebe and Her Unicorn was!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess XI Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominee 2016-17

Two girls met on the school playground and not only was a friendship born, but also a comic strip. A girl comic strip. A warrior with a ninja sword and red Chucks. Princess X was born. May wrote the words and Libby drew the pictures. For three years the girls created a world for Princess X until Libby and her mom drove off of a bridge. Libby’s mom was found dead strapped into her seat, but Libby wasn’t found until a week later virtually unrecognizable. May never got over Libby. She missed her friend so much it hurt and no one ever took her place until three years later when May saw a Princess X sticker on a skateboard and then on a pole and then someone’s book bag. May suddenly realized that Princess X was everywhere and there was even a website, but who was running it. There was only one person she could think of, but that person died in a car accident three years ago…or did she?
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest is an interesting hybrid of graphic novel and chapter book. It’s hard to imagine a combo like that working, but in this case it worked flawlessly. At first glance I thought this book was going to be boring. I had to read it for a state award book club and kind of did so hesitantly. I can say that I was definitely surprised. I Am Princess X had a great story line with a lot of adventure. I loved the clues and found the characters realistic and interesting especially Jackdaw. I really like characters that are well developed and in I Am Princess X the characters had their own stories within the main story. The one criticism that I would have for this book is the cover. I really love it and think the variations of shades of purple are pretty, but that may be the problem. I think I Am Princess X would be a really good book for boys and I think the cover may turn them off. It’s great a story and should be enjoyed by everyone. I would recommend I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest to higher reading 6th graders up to about 10th grade.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock

The Wishing WorldThe Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Received as an ARC from NetGalley.

Lorelei lost her family. In one instant, they were gone. Her Auntie Carrie and Uncle Jone took her in to live with their family. Lorelei missed her family very much though and had to find out what happened to them. For a year Lorelei had been searching for her family and for answers and now her Aunt and Uncle were selling her house. The answers may be in there so she snuck back into her old abode. Right before her family disappeared, they were camping in the mountains looking for Narolev’s Comet. She remembered that her Dad said that he had a piece of the comet in the basement and that it was hidden in the crawl space. Lorelei went to find the hidden piece of Narolev’s Comet, but found a whole lot more. She found a door to another world - the Wishing World. After freeing the Princess of the Eternal Sea, Lorelei was confronted by the Ink King. It was then that she remembered her family’s last camping trip and seeing the inky tendrils through the tent. It was the Ink King and the Ink King stole Lorelei’s family. Lorelei travels throughout the Wishing World also known as Veloran. In her travels she is accompanied by Gruffy the Griffon, Pip the toucan, Squeak the mouse and Ripple the Princess of the Eternal Sea. They refer to Lorelei as a Doolivanti which is a traveler or a wish maker. Lorelei discovers so many new things in her travels and so many strange creatures. The most interesting is the Mirror Man and he is also the most familiar. In the end, it comes between her family and the world of Veloran that she is slowly and unintentionally ripping apart.

The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock began as a difficult read and ended on a good note. The book reminds me of a twisted cross between The Neverending Story and a Roald Dahl book. There is a main character in a world they do not belong, saving a princess, riding a large protector (in this case a Griffon) and saving the created world. I hear Dahl in the creative names given to the animals, food and flora. I found the strange names of creatures very difficult to read as well as the Shakespearean way of speaking by Ripple. The story seemed like a whirlwind of confusion until I hit the part when Lorelei met the Mirror Man and we find out who he really is. The story started to pick up, but I never really understood completely why Lorelei had to leave to save Veloran. All-in-all, I did enjoy the book even though there many confusing parts. I did love the ending. There is something to be said for short, one-word endings. Very nice touch. Would I recommend this book? Yes, I think I would. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but I do think it’s worth reading. I think it would be a good book for anyone in grades 5 through 8.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Tomorrow Is The Day!


I am a total House Of Night fan and I'm really looking forward to this book!! So far it's a lot different than House of Night and I'm very curious to see how this one develops. If you're a fan too, then check out the free sneak preview of the first five chapters!

(Chapters 1-5)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Eden's Escape

Eden's Escape (Eden of the Lamp, #2)Eden's Escape by M. Tara Crowl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stories of old tell of genies trapped in lamps until someone finds the lamp and gives it a good rub. That person is then granted three wishes. Now imagine that genie doesn’t live in the lamp. In fact, that genie lives in New York City. Where else! Eden grew up in the Lamp under the supervision of Goldie and Xavier. She was given the finest things and received the best education. By the time Eden was 10, she had granted 36 wishes for 12 mortals. She had always wanted to live on Earth and Goldie and Xavier decided to give her that chance. Eden was to become the first resident genie and live on Earth while continuing to grant wishes until her 999th wish. After that, she may retire after using her 1000th wish for herself. Things weren’t so easy though. There were forces on Earth who were searching for that lamp. Eden knew about the genie alumni who had formed the group, Electra, to seek out the lamp’s power for themselves, but she had not known about the mortal who was doing the same thing.

One night while enjoying karaoke with guardian and friend, Pepper, Eden was whisked away for a wishing. Instead of appearing to an excited mortal rationing ideas for wishes, Eden found herself magnetized to a chair like an unwilling science experiment. David Brightley, technology mogul, found sudden interest in the powers of the genie lamp and had decided to use that power for himself if only he can figure out how to harness it. After Eden escapes and realizes she is in Paris, headquarters of Electra, she is thrown into corporate corruption from both mortals and genie alumni and looks to her friends…both mortal and immortal…to help her save the lamp and the future of all genies.

Eden’s Escape by M. Tara Crowl I find to be a true original. I can honestly say that I’ve never read a story about genies and had no idea their lives could be so interesting! Crowl’s characters were easy to like and even at the end, I did feel bad for Sylvana for being so misguided. The tale wove itself around with nice twists and turns and by the time EVERYONE ended up in Brightley’s lab, I was truly dumbfounded as to what they were going to do next! The storyline included a little deceit and a little mystery. I found myself giggling at the similarities between David Brightley and Steve Jobs as well as the Kiwi store and the Apple store. My favorite part had to be the end though when everyone sees everyone for who they truly are and we learn a little bit more about the other genie alumni and what they wished for and what their futures hold. Heloise is definitely one to watch for (I don’t want to give away too much!). Eden’s Escape by M. Tara Crowl is a fun book full of mystery and action and a must read for every mortal and immortal alike! Happy wishing!

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No Summit Out Of Sight

No Summit out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven SummitsNo Summit out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits by Jordan Romero
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What do you do when your 9 year old tells you his goal is to climb the Seven Summits? Most of us would probably say - “The what?”. After the explanation that the Seven Summits are the seven highest peaks on the each of the seven continents, most of us would answer - “That’s a nice goal…when you’re an adult.” Jordan Romero’s Dad isn’t like most of us though. Being an endurance athlete himself, Jordan’s dad, Paul, and his step-mom, Karen, said they thought they could make that goal come true. Not without a lot of hard work first though. Jordan immediately began his training to build his strength, learn about mountain climbing and conditioning his body to withstand the altitudes that he would be exposed to. Each new mountain presented Jordan with new challenges that he had to master before hitting the next goal from learning how to use crampons and ice axes to repelling with ropes. Jordan took the challenge seriously and put his total effort into the goal. By the age of 10, he had climbed three mountains in which two were world records. At 13, he became the youngest to scale Asia’s Mt. Everest and at 15 he became the youngest person to climb all seven summits plus one (it hasn’t quite been determined which of Australia’s peaks are the tallest - Mt. Kosciuszko or the Carstensz Pyramid). Joran’s story spread faster than his climbs and oftentimes other climbers had heard his name before he even stepped foot on the mountain. Through hard work, diligence and parental support, Jordan was able to reach the goal he set for himself in fourth grade when he first noticed a mural depicting the Seven Summits. He became the poster boy for encouraging other kids to “find their own Everest” and to reach their goals no matter what they may be. After his climbs, Jordan began traveling to talk to kids about living a healthy lifestyle and to pursue their own dreams.

No Summit Out Of Sight by Jordan Romero with Linda LeBlanc is an amazing story that I encourage both kids and adults to read. At first I shrugged my nose at having to read this book. I had no knowledge of nor interest in mountain climbing. But, being a book club book, I began to read and was immediately drawn into the world of height and hostile environments. Not many kids can do what Jordan has done and with as much grace, respect and determination. I was impressed at how thankful he was for everyone who had helped him and, being a mom myself, loved the relationship he had with his mom. I admire her strength for stepping back and letting her son reach his dreams. By the end of the book I was looking for my own Everest because Jordan’s message isn’t just for kids, but I think adults can benefit by it as well.

I highly recommend No Summit Out Of Sight by Jordan Romero with Linda LeBlanc to everyone, but especially to boys. It’s hard to find a good book for boys, but this one has made it to the top of my list. It is a quick and easy read and each page is filled with adventure. Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hello Harry.

Well, it's here.

Let me first say, I LOVE Harry Potter. It is the ONLY book that I have EVER waited on the front step of my house for. The Harry Potter books have been like some strange drug that took over my mind and I lived, ate, slept and breathed everything Hogwarts. 

Funny story, I originally got the Sorcerer's Stone some time after it came out. I believe The Prisoner of Azkaban was due to be out when I picked up my first Harry book. I had been hearing SO much about these books that I crumbled and grabbed a paperback. I was so embarrassed buying a "children's book". Up until then, all I read were romances (*please don't groan*). They were historical romances and weren't that bad. Anyway, I read the Sorcerer's Stone in a day and was back at the bookstore for another fix and didn't care that they knew that I was the one the book was bought for!!! I needed it and came to a huge, brick wall when I realized that the 3rd was not out yet. So I did what I could...I replaced both of my paperbacks with hard covers and put in an order for The Prisoner  of Azkaban and waited patiently...okay fine! I waited.

With that being said, I made my peace with Harry in the last book. I'm not sure I'm ready to open up that door again. I'm not sure if this book is good enough to go back to Hogwarts for. I don't have a copy and I haven't read anything but reviews and they are very mixed.

First, J. K. Rowling didn't write it. It clearly states on the cover..."based on an original new story by J. K. Rowling". Right there you know it's going to be different. Different isn't always bad so given it a chance! Second, it's a play. Plays aren't bad, but they can be difficult to read and they can leave out a lot of detail that really brings in readers. I'm not sure if I'll get a copy of this one. Maybe I will, just to have it, but I'm not sure if I'd call this number 8.

To J. K. Rowling,
Harry needs to live his own life and we all made our peace at the end of Deathly Hallows. It was an emotional moment for me. I cried. I laughed. I did all of this in a car on the way to Myrtle Beach, SC. The kids and my husband thought I was a lunatic. I didn't care. I think I can speak for the other Harry fans though when I say, we LOVE the magical world you have created. Although Harry's story may have ended, maybe there are other stories waiting to be told. Maybe about other characters or another newbie. We're ready for a new adventure as soon as you are ready to write it!

Love, T

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Memory Jar

The Memory Jar
By Elissa Janine Hoole

Since the accident, Taylor’s memory has been fuzzy. But at least she’s awake. Who knows what her boyfriend, Scott, will remember when he comes out of his coma. Will he remember that Taylor was driving the snowmobile when it crashed? Will he remember the engagement ring? Her pregnancy?

Will he remember that she tried to break up with him?

Taylor doesn’t know. And she doesn’t know if she wants him to remember. Plenty of things happened that night and before—secrets wrapped in secrets—that she’d prefer be forgotten.

Facing choices she’d rather ignore, Taylor searches for something more solid than whispers and something bigger than blame, so that she can face the future and forgive herself.

The Haters

The Haters
By Jesse Andrews

From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.

Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band. 

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.

Flashcards Of My Life: A Novel

Flashcards of My Life: A Novel
By Charise Mericle Harper

When Emily receives a pack of note cards labeled "Flashcards of My Life" as an unexpected birthday present, she uses them as inspiration to journal and to untangle her knotted life. Includes illustrations by the author.

The Girl From Everywhere

The Girl From Everywhere
By Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

Cat Sense

Cat Sense
By John Bradshaw

Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners. Unlike dogs, cats evolved as solitary hunters, and, while many have learned to live alongside humans and even feel affection for us, they still don’t quite get us” the way dogs do, and perhaps they never will. But cats have rich emotional lives that we need to respect and understand if they are to thrive in our company. 

In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to dispel the myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends. Tracing the cat’s evolution from lone predator to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that although cats and humans have been living together for at least eight thousand years, cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of contact with their own kind, qualities that often clash with our modern lifestyles. Cats still have three out of four paws firmly planted in the wild, and within only a few generations can easily revert back to the independent way of life that was the exclusive preserve of their predecessors some 10,000 years ago. Cats are astonishingly flexible, and given the right environment they can adapt to a life of domesticity with their owners—but to continue do so, they will increasingly need our help. If we’re to live in harmony with our cats, Bradshaw explains, we first need to understand their inherited quirks: understanding their body language, keeping their environments—however small—sufficiently interesting, and becoming more proactive in managing both their natural hunting instincts and their relationships with other cats.

A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense offers humane, penetrating insights about the domestic cat that challenge our most basic assumptions and promise to dramatically improve our pets’ lives—and ours.

The Changeling (The Worming Book III)

The Changeling
(The Worming Book III)
By Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry

As Owen and Watcher continue their search for the King's Son, they encounter the Changeling - a creature with the ability to change into anything, even other people. Will Owen be tricked by the Changeling into leaving his mission? How can Owen know who to trust?

Owen has always believed his only gift is his ability to devour books, but the battle he finds himself in will affect two worlds: his and the Lowlands.

The Grimm Legacy Series

The Grimm Legacy (#1)
By Polly Shulman

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library - a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That's where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales; seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White's stepmother's sinister mirror that talks in riddles.

When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime or captured by the thief.

Polly Shulman has created a contemporary fantasy with a fascinating setting and premise, starring an ordinary girl whose after-school job is far from ordinary and leads to a world of excitement, romance and magical intrigue.

The Wells Bequest (#2)
By Polly Shulman

Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!

His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!

In this grand time-travel adventure full of paradoxes and humor, Polly Shulman gives readers a taste of how fascinating science can be, deftly blending classic science fiction elements with the contemporary fantasy world readers fell in love with in The Grimm Legacy.

The Poe Estate (#3)
By Polly Shulman

This is a mind-bending, rousing adventure celebrating classic ghost and horror stories, by the author of The Grimm Legacy and The Wells Bequest.
Sukie’s been lonely since the death of her big sister, Kitty—but Kitty’s ghost is still with her. At first that was comforting, but now Kitty’s terrifying anyone who gets too close. Things get even weirder when Sukie moves into her family’s ancestral home, and an older, less familiar ghost challenges her to find a treasure. Her classmate Cole is also experiencing apparitions. Fortunately, an antique broom’s at hand to fly Sukie and Cole to the New-York Circulating Material Repository’s spooky Poe Annex. As they search for clues and untangle ancient secrets, they discover their histories intertwine and are as full of stories of love, revenge, and pirate hijinks as some of the most famous fiction.

Library Haul

Here are a couple books I picked up from the library! You may interested this summer!

Serafina and the Black Cloak
By Robert Beatty

“Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity . . . before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

The Mark of the Dragonfly
By Jaleigh Johnson

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

By Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

"Coraline meets Monsters, Inc. in this delightfully entertaining offering from actor [Jason] Segel and co-author [Kirsten] Miller."— Publishers Weekly 
The hilariously frightening, middle-grade novel Nightmares!is a Texas Bluebonnet nominee and the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town. 

Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
Charlie Laird has several problems. 
1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3. He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap. 
What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.
And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

It's Been A While!

Wow! It's been a while, but I just wanted to check in. Things have kinda slowed down here on The Library Larvae which they should not have, but I have been doing so much running around that sadly...I have not had time to read!! How am I going to get through my book list? I had such high hopes! I had to put down the book Echo to read all the graphic novels, but I have since picked it back up and really need to finish it. So far it's a pretty good book and I'm really interested in seeing how it turn out. I have a feeling it's going to be super cool!! Well, I just wanted to check in. Keep reading and have a great summer!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Congrats to This Year BES Winners!!

The Maryland Black-Eye Susan Awards for 2015-16 go to:

Picture Book - Dog vs Cat by Chris Gall
Grades 4-6 - The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
Graphic Novels - El Deafo by CeCe Bell
Grades 6-9 - The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
High School - The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Check out next year's books listed in the pages above!

My Summer Reading List!!

Summer is here and what better way to spend it than READING!!!! I decided that this summer, I'm reading what I want to read!! I spend the entire school year reading for a purpose. There are so many books that I want to read! This year I got smart and started to compile a list of books that I REALLY wanted to read. The chances are great that I probably won't finish the entire list, but it'll give me a opportunity to read books that folks have told me I HAD to read.

Hey, why don't you take a moment and jot down a list of your own. Look through some other lists and get a good idea of what YOU would like to read. Your list doesn't have to be long. Just about 5 books would make a perfect list! Grab the kids and make multiple lists! OR you can have a list made for you! How? Pick a series!! There are tons of really great series out there and they supply a ready-made book list! LOL

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hello!! Calling All Kids!!

Hey there! I just put the finishing touches on my newest blog - Kids' Book Speak!! This is a blog just for kids and their own book reviews. If you are interested in contributing, then hop on over and check things out! I'm expecting great things!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

ADD and Reading

Yes, I probably do have ADD. I probably have ADHD because I don't sit well. I'm also an avid reader. I love it! The problem? It's hard to sit still and read. I've tried reading on the treadmill. That didn't work. It's really hard to read while walking on a treadmill. Not impossible mind you...just difficult. I would try audio books, but I don't like to be read to. I have a hard time understanding the spoken word without hand gestures and facial expressions. What is strange is that I never had this problem when I was younger. When I was younger, I could sit all day and read in a corner. Now-a-days, things to do!

Is anyone else like this?

Well, if you are 1) I'm sorry. It stinks. 2) I may have a help for you. Nothing says you have to sit and read an entire novel in one sitting, but a little bit does go a long way! Try chapter reading. When you wake up in the a chapter. When you're cleaning the house or doing homework...take a break and read a chapter. Before you go to a chapter. Before you know it, you will be through the entire novel in a week!!

Try it! The next time you are having a hard time staying with a book for a long it chapter by chapter!

Year of the Animal Series by Grace Lin

I've never seen these books before yesterday, but they are cool looking!

 They are by author Grace Lin who also wrote Where The Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

Grace Lin grew up in New York to parents who were both Taiwan immigrants. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. Ms. Lin is currently living in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Year of the Animals Series, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky are her novels. She has also written many picture and early reading books.
  • The Ugly Vegetables - 1999
  • Dim Sum for Everyone! - 2001
  • Kite Flying - 2002
  • Okie-Dokie, Artichokie! - 2003
  • Olivina Flies - 2003
  • Robert's Snow - 2004
  • Jingle Bells - 2004
  • Fortune Cookie Fortunes - 2004
  • Deck The Halls - 2004
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas - 2004
  • Merry Christmas! Let's All Sing! - 2005
  • Our Seasons - 2006
  • Olivina Swims - 2007
  • The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale - 2007
  • Bringing in the New Year - 2008
  • Ling and Ting Series
    • Ling and Ting: Not Exactly The Same - 2010
    • Ling and Ting: Share a Birthday - 2013
    • Ling and Ting: Twice as Silly - 2014
    • Ling and Ting: Together In All Weather - 2015

Lemonade War Series

What attracted me to this series? The covers!!! OMG! They are so summery looking and scream to be read! 

Jacqueline Davies (the author) started writing these books while watching her sons and their lemonade stand in the driveway in the Spring of 2005. These aren't her only creations though. Take a look at what else she has written:
  • Where The Mountain Meets The Sky - 2002
  • The Boy Who Drew Birds - 2004
  • The Night Is Singing - 2006
  • The House Takes a Vacation - 2007
  • The Lemonade War - 2007
  • Tricking the Tallyman - 2009
  • Lost - 2009
  • The Lemonade Crime - 2011
  • The Bell Bandit - 2012
  • The Candy Smash - 2013
  • The Magic Trap - 2014
Ms. Davies also has a daughter and dog named Harley. They live in Needham, Massachusetts.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

House of Secrets

I get two discount/free e-books emails a day. They're pretty good. Mostly they are unknown authors or maybe they are just authors I don't know! LOL Regardless, I love free books!! Who doesn't?! Well, today I opened up my email and found THIS book!! I thought it looked pretty good and decided to enjoy with YOU! Enjoy!

House of Secrets
By Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

The Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.

Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Here Are A Few Book Suggestions For The Week!


Exit, Pursued by a Bear
By E. K. Johnston
(Inspired by Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale)

“I love you,” Polly says suddenly when I’m almost to the door.

“I know,” I say.

Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.

But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:

Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.

Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.

Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma.

“I love you,” I say, because I really, really do.

“I know,” says Polly.

The Glittering Court
By Richelle Mead
(Author of the Vampire Academy series)

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

By Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

The Running Dream
By Wendelin Van Draanen

An award-winning and inspiring novel.  When Jessica's dreams are shattered, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before. 
Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award

Essential Maps for the Lost
By Deb Caletti

There are many ways to be lost.

Sometimes people want to be lost. Madison—Mads to everyone who knows her—is trying her best to escape herself during one last summer away from a mother who needs more from her than she can give, and from a future that has been decided by everyone but her.

Sometimes the lost do the unimaginable, like the woman, the body, Mads collides with in the middle of the water on a traumatic morning that changes everything.

And sometimes the lost are the ones left behind, like the son of the woman in the water, Billy Youngwolf Floyd. Billy is struggling to find his way through each day in the shadow of grief. His one comfort is the map he carries in his pocket, out of his favorite book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

When three lives (and one special, shared book) collide, strange things happen. Things like questions and coincidences and secrets—lots of secrets. Things like falling in love. But can two lost people telling so many lies find their way through tragedy to each other…and to solid ground?


Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter
By Isabel Fantaskey

It’s 1920s Chicago—the guns-and-gangster era of Al Capone—and it’s unusual for a girl to be selling the Tribune on the street corner. But ten-year-old Isabel Feeney is unusual . . . unusually obsessed with being a news reporter. She can’t believe her luck when she stumbles not only into a real-live murder scene, but also into her hero, the famous journalist Maude Collier. The story of how the smart, curious, loyal Isabel fights to defend the honor of her accused friend and latches on to the murder case like a dog on a pant leg makes for a winning, thoroughly entertaining middle grade mystery.

The Wild Robot
By Peter Brown

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her....

Serafina's Promise
By Ann E. Burg

A luminous novel in verse from the author of the Jefferson Cup award winner ALL THE BROKEN PIECES.

Serafina has
a secret dream.

She wants to go to school
and become a doctor
with her best friend, Julie Marie.

But in their rural village
outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
many obstacles
stand in Serafina’s way--
little money,
never-ending chores,
and Manman’s worries.

More powerful even
than all of these
are the heavy rains
and the shaking earth
that test Serafina’s resolve
in ways she never dreamed.

At once heartbreaking and hopeful,
this exquisitely crafted story
will leave a lasting impression
on your heart.

Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff
By Robert Paul Weston

Weston is back in rhyming style with a book about princes and princesses, kings and kingdoms, and what it means to look good in polka-dot bell-bottoms.

Prince Puggly of the muddy, supremely unfashionable Kingdom of Spud is surprised when he receives an invitation to a lavish ball in the far trendier Kingdom of Spiff. The poorly-dressed prince is sure that the Spiffs will take one look at him and laugh him out of their kingdom...

And that's exactly what they do! But then Puggly meets Francesca, the bookish Princess of Spiff, and together the two set out to teach Francesca’s Spiffian countrymen an absurd lesson in style.

Waylon! One Awesome Thing
By Sara Pennypacker

Waylon has lots of ideas for making life more awesome through science, like teleportation, human gills, and attracting cupcakes by controlling gravity. But it's impossible for him to concentrate on his inventions when he's experiencing his own personal Big Bang. 

Arlo Brody is dividing the fourth grade boys into two groups. Waylon would rather be friends with everyone. Well, everyone except the scary new kid, Baxter Boylen.

Waylon's older sister, Neon, is shooting away from the family. He wishes everything would go back to the way it was before she started wearing all black and saying "What's the point?" all the time. 

Just when it looks as though Waylon's universe is exploding, something happens to bring it all together again, and it is, without a doubt, One Awesome Thing.