Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Books That Caught My Eye

I decided to end the year by showcasing some 2012 titles that I am looking forward to. Thanks to netgalley and early arc I've already read a few and know there are a lot of excellent books coming out in 2012.

Stars in the Shadows by Charles R. Smith jr. illus. by Frank Morrison

Freedom's a Callin Me by Ntozake Shange illus. by Rod Brown
When Grandmama Sings by Margaree King Mitchell illus. by James Ransome
Just as Good: How Larry Doby Changed America's Game by Chris Cowe illus. by Mike Benny
Ellen's Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons illus. by Daniel Minter
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
Irises by Francisco X. Stork
Living Violet by Jaime Reed
In Darkness by Nick Lake
The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards

The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez

King of the Mound by Wes Tooke
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Bad Boy by Dream Jordan

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Dead to You by Lisa McMann
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

Explorer:The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Freddie Ramos Makes A Splash by Jacqueline Jules
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger

Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin
Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk
Boy21 by Matthew Quick

Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George
The Girl who could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger

A Topps Town Story by Kurtis Scaletta illus. by Eric Wright
Giants Beware by Jorge Aquirre illus. by Rafeal Rosado
Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau
Thou Shall Not Road Trip by Antony John
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
Above by Leah Bobet
The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson

The Rumor by Anushka Ravishankar illus. by Kanyika Kini

A Hero for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo
Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
37Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

Love Bean by Chudney Ross

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott
Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Love Amalia by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier
Before You Go by James Preller

A Certain October by Angela Johnson
The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney
Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon

The Broken Lands by Kate Miford
Speed of Light by Amber Kizer
Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Jewel of the Kalderash - Marie Rutkoski

The Jewel of the Kalderash by Marie Rutkoski
This is the third book in the kronos chronicles. I was really looking forward to it because I loved the first two. When the Celestial Globe ended Petra and her friends Tomik and Neel were headed to Neel's home country of Roma, sailing with a Roma crew. The Jewel of the Kalderash begins were the second book ended, the three are on the last journey of the trip. Once in Roma Neel who was always teased for not knowing who his birth mother is, discover the truth and it changes his future. Petra is still trying to save her father who has been turned into a monster by the Prince of Bohemia. Neel will use his natural skills with glass to help his best friend Petra anyway he can.
I really enjoyed seeing these characters again, (of course Petra's tin spider Astrophil was there) and meeting a few new one. The story is filled with a lot of great dialogue, always liked watching the changing dynamics of three characters various relationships. The Jewel of the Kalderash did not disappoint. It was a very satisfying ending. Highly recommend for anyone who has read the first two books. This series must be read in order and since I enjoyed it so much I will also add the excerpt from book one, Cabinet of Wonders


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach - Brenda Woods

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach lives in New Orleans with his parents. Saint's a natural clarinetist and he earns money playing on the Quarter for tourists. This was before Hurricane Katrina. The novel opens with Saint talking about his before and how the after keeps getting better. Saint begins his story with his best day pre Katrina, which was one week and two days before it hit.

The novels strengths lies in Saint's voice. Woods does an excellent job with it, along with Saint's relationship with his parents. Saint's love of music shines through. My favorite secondary character was Miz Moran an older woman who refused to evacuate, Saint finds himself spending a lot of time with her. I did feel the ending was a bit rushed one minute Saint's in danger after an impulsive act, the next he's with his parents again. Though overall this was an enjoyable read.

Read an excerpt

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dog Whisperer:Storm Warning - Nicholas Edwards

Dog Whisperer:Storm Warning by Nicholas Edwards
Emily has a special connection with Zack, her dog she helped rescue. Zack can always sense when someone is in trouble and when that happens the two go running to help because they can read each others minds. When a storm hits their small Maine town, Emily and Zack are quick to lend a hand and a paw (ha ha ha) but seriously I loved the first book "Rescue" and I was glad to finally see another book come out in the series. Emily and Zack take a lot of risk to come to the aid of others, the author builds the suspense well. While the first one is my favorite this was still a good read. I really like how the author is not limiting Emily's ability to connect only to Zack, instead Edwards is stretching the boundaries of Emily's gift allowing her converse with different animals. As this series continues it will be interesting to see how this skill develops. Dog Whisperer is just a fun series for anyone who love dog stories.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Zapato Power - Jacqueline Jules, Miguel Benitez

Zapato Power : Freddie Ramos Zooms to the Rescue by Jacqueline Jules illus. by Miguel Benitez
Freddie's specially designed purple sneakers give him super speed and can even out run a train. He keeps his superhero ability a secret and is always looking for ways to come to the rescue. A rogue squirrel that finds its way into the school, is covered in paint. Freddie is determined to find who is responsible. The mystery behind the painted squirrel was fun and I really enjoyed Benitez playful illustrations. This is the third Freddie Ramos adventure and its just as much fun as the last two. Each story works very well as a stand alone. Though together there is a great connection. The author is doing an excellent job keeping the reader interested in Freddie, his super power and his world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lottie Paris:Lives Here - Angela Johnson - Scott M. Fischer

Lottie Paris:Lives Here by Angela Johnson illus. by Scott M. Fischer
This is a wonderfully fun story about Lottie Paris. It's very text light with no more than a few sentences per page. The story has a great rhythm from beginning to end

"Ooookay, those aren't Lottie's feet. They're Papa Pete's. But Lottie is the short one wearing his boots, cause Lottie Paris is ready to walk."

I love Fischer's very colorful illustrations. He's given Lottie a lot of personality. The text and illustrations are a perfect fit. Sometimes I forget along with her YA novels, Johnson also writes picture books which is a shame because they are very good. Lottie Paris:Lives Here is my favorite so far. I loved it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Little Otis Redding... Because

I just finished Sara Zarr's latest YA novel How to Save a Life , reading Zarr makes me happy not because the subject matter is light, its never that but the author handles everything with such care and I am always moved by the strength of her writing. How to Save a Life has received five starred reviews An excerpt

One of the main characters, Jill MacSweeney has fond memories connected to Try a Little Tenderness, giving me a great excuse to share some Otis Redding

And I couldn't resist the urge to include my favorite scene from Pretty in Pink