Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Lamb and the Butterfly by Arnold Sundgaard and Eric Carle -- OPTIONAL

Sundgaard, Arnold and Eric Carle The Lamb and the Butterfly 32 pgs. Scholastic Books, 1988. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. A lamb and a butterfly meet one day and discuss their very different lifestyles. The butterfly says that it flits one way while his mother flies another. The lamb, on the other hand, stays right by its mother. Each feels it has the better way of life, but when they go their separate ways they have a better understanding of other ways to live.

While the classic Eric Carle illustrations are beautiful, I found the text overly wordy. The plot has very little action, as it is mostly centered on the two creatures comparing their lives, which could make it difficult for the book to hold little ones' attention. Pre-K, EL -- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by: Caryn

Transcendence by C. J. Omololu -- ESSENTIAL

Omololu, C. J. Transcendence 336 pgs. Walker Childrens, 2012. $16.99. (Language: PG-13; Violence: PG-13; Sexual Content: PG-13 )

Cello prodigy Cole has been experiencing disturbing visions of different lives in different centuries, but when she faints after one episode and ends up in the arms of a mysterious boy, she soon learns the source of these visions. Not only is this not the first life she has lived, but someone from her past has traveled to this life, intent on revenge for an act of betrayal she can't even remember.

Transcendence is a suspenseful, intriguing start to a new series. With its blend of mystery, supernatural powers, villains, and cute boys, this one should keep many students interested. I loved that Omololu kept me guessing and threw in a few surprises all the way up to the end. Although a sequel releases soon, I was happy to see that this one had a satisfying ending with only a few loose plot threads -- enough to make me want to read the next in the series, but not so many that I felt cheated at the end. The sexual content pushes PG-13, and the book contains moderately detailed descriptions of several murders, so it may be preferable for older high school students or those in public library settings.

HS--Essential. Reviewed by: Caryn

Zombie Mommy by M.T. Anderson -- ESSENTIAL

M.T. Anderson and Kurt Cyrus Zombie Mommy: A Pals in Peril Tale 220 pgs. Beach Lane Books, 2011. $6.99. Content: PG.

This installment of the Pals in Peril series focuses on Lily, whose mom is terrified because Lily has been appearing in books lately and, well, you know what happens to the mothers in children's books: they die. Concerned that she's in mortal danger, Mrs. Gefelty goes to Todburg, NY, which has been declared the undead capital of the U.S. Unfortunately, "undead" refers to the overwhelming presence of zombies, vampires, and ghosts, NOT living forever. She comes back a changed woman -- one who can't even remember what her own daughter looks like. Disturbed, Lily and her friends embark on a quest to return Mrs. Gefelty to normal. What follows is a hilarious and goofy romp that doesn't even try to be realistic -- which is part of the fun.

Filled with tongue-in-cheek asides by the author, a giant tarantula that keeps showing up just when it's been forgotten, and a laughably snotty cousin, this is a book that should appeal to many pre-teens. Although this can work as a stand-alone novel, the blatant and often very specific references to past episodes (to the point where the author frequently mentions his earlier book titles as sources of particular adventures) became very annoying. Perhaps reading the other books in the series first will make those references easier to gloss over. Listed as ages 10 and up.

EL/MS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by: Caryn

Paintings: All the Fun of the Fair

Happy March, everyone!  I hope my March reading is substantially more than my February reading...

I enjoyed and valued your responses to my post On Not Knowing Art last week, and stored away your suggestions happily.  I also fell more and more in love with two of the paintings I'd chosen - the Francis Cadell, which many of you seemed to know, and Korhinta (1931) by Vilmos Aba-Novak, which none of you did - or, if you did, you kept quiet!  Here it is again...

(image source)

I can't stop looking at it. The colours, the energy, the clever presentation of figures... and the funfair.  I've realised that I am fascinated by the ways in which funfairs are depicted. I don't know exactly what it is about them that appeals - again, the colours, the energy, and the sense of the insane and unusual brought into close connection with the everyday - but I can't get enough.  So I thought I'd explore some more depictions of funfairs in art. The only ones I knew before were the Stanley Spencer, who is one of my favourite artists, and the Mark Gertler.  I would include literary examples, but I can't think of any (can you?) - only the odd circus or two. (Click on the links to take you to image sources.)

Helter Skelter (1937) by Stanley Spencer

The Fairground, Sydney (1944) by Herbert Badham

The Fairground (1930s) by L.S. Lowry

Nottingham Goose Fair (c.1910) by Noel Denholm Davis

photograph for sale on Etsy

Merry-Go-Round (1916) by Mark Gertler

Well, that'll do for now, on my hunt through Google Images... let me know if you think of any artistic or literary fairgrounds and funfairs!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Miranda Hart - Is It Just Me?

Another quick this-book-has-been-on-my-To-Review-shelf-forever review, I'm afraid - my reading has been so shamefully little recently - but that means you get to hear about some fun books in short bursts.  And today's is Miranda Hart's bestselling book Is It Just Me?  Note that I don't say 'autobiography' - we'll come onto that later.

I suspect you know who Miranda Hart is, but indulge me for a moment.  She is a comedian (we're not saying 'comedienne' anymore, are we, please?) who sprung to fame in an eponymous sitcom where she falls over things, embraces middle-aged activities a little early, and generally makes fun of herself.  I'm always drawn to female-driven sitcoms, so I've been watching since day one - but the third series, which finished here about a month ago, was the one which really saw Miranda pull in enormous audiences of over 9 million.  One in seven people in the UK were watching, which is extraordinary.

The sitcom has the occasional dud episode, but generally I love, love, love it.  How can I not feel affinity with a woman who, aghast at the idea of going out clubbing, says: "It's 9 o'clock! Four words: Rush. Home. For. Poirot."  For those who don't 'get' it, Miranda is just childish and meandering - but I really admire how she has made slapstick amusing to those of us who normally don't care for it.  I adore her friend Tilly and her ridiculous expressions (I was saying 'McFact' before it appeared on Miranda: McFact.) Stevie (with her 'allure') and Miranda have a wonderful friendship, which is all too rarely shown in comedy.  And then there's her Mum.  It's all great fun, and very watchable.  And very British.

Which brings me onto Is It Just Me?  Although it is by Miranda Hart, about Miranda Hart, it's only really an autobiography to the extent that the sitcom is - it feels a lot like it's been written 'in character'.  Presumably all the events she described happened, at least in outline, but it's certainly selective.  Her tales of dating, office life, holidays, weddings... they're all written as though outlining  an idea for a sketch comedy.  Which is fine - it's more than fine, it's great - but it isn't really an autobiography.  She spends a lot of the time in faux-conversation with her 17-year-old self, disillusioning her of the idea that she'll grow up into a graceful gazelle-type.  (Since I talked to myself in my first Vulpes Libris column - see yesterday's post - I don't have a leg on which to stand.)

Of course, having languished on my To Review shelf for so long, I can't remember any examples to give you.  I chuckled my way through Is It Just Me? without making any notes on it, for reviewing purposes.  So I'll borrow this clip of Miranda reading an excerpt herself...

I haven't mentioned yet, but this was a gift from my lovely friend Lucy, whom I love even though she went and LEFT Oxford last year, to move to big old London town.

So, yes, a giggle of a book which does no more and no less than you'd expect.  Lots of amusing, light-hearted moments, and a surprisingly moving moment when she tells her younger self that her secret ambition to go into comedy has happened, and that she's even spoken to her heroines French & Saunders.  I guess it's the perfect Christmas book, but since that's been and gone... Mothering Sunday?

(By the by, if you have watched the sitcom, and enjoy Sally Phillips wonderful turn as Tilly, may I recommend you seek out her sitcom Parents...)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where’s Leopold? Your Pajamas are showing! By Michel-Yves Schmitt–OPTIONAL

Schmitt, Michel-Yves Illustrated by Caut, Vincent Where’s Leopold? Your Pajamas are showing! 40 pgs.Graphic Universe, 2013. $6.95.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: G ;  Violence: G.
One day Leopold discovers he can make himself disappear, which is cool, but his clothes still show! He sister finds out and is a bit jealous, but soon finds out how it can benefit her, and also be totally annoying too. Things are even sillier once Leopold figures out how to make his clothes disappear too!
This was an okay graphic novel. The plot kind of peters out in an odd way. Also, the characters turn yellow when they are mad/shocked, which was confusing, I thought maybe they were getting new super powers. The artwork is ok. The storyline was pretty much exactly what a real boy would think and do, given the power of invisibility –so students will relate to that and laugh a lot.
EL - OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Over With The Foxes

(found on etsy)

I think Over With The Foxes would make a great book title... *jots down in notebook* but that's not why I've written it in my subject line.

I'm sure you all know the good people of Vulpes Libris - a collaborative blog, where the 'book foxes' (see what they did there? LATIN) write about all manner of things bookish, from classics to erotica and everything in between.

I was very flattered, of course, when they got in touch recently and asked if they could reblog some of my posts.  Well, said I, I'd rather write some for you - is that ok?  (You see, so often my posts bleed into one another, or rely on some sort of familiarity with other aspects of Stuck-in-a-Book - which would be an appalling marketing strategy, if I were doing this professionally - that I thought reblogs would feel quite strange.)  Luckily, they were more than happy for me to write just for them!

So, about once a month, that's what I'll be doing.  My first piece is up now, and it's about my favourite books.  It probably won't include any huge surprises for any of you...

Book Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #2
Release Date: January 10th 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Age: Young Adult
Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months. In that time, Amy has learned to hide who she is. Elder is trying to be the leader he’s always wanted to be. But as the ship gets more and more out of control, only one thing is certain: They have to get off the ship.
Why did I wait so long to read A Million Suns!? It was on my bookshelf for months, and one day I was out of electricity for a few hours and decided to pick a book.

Wow! If I liked Across the Universe, I absolutely loved A Million Suns. It starts right at the middle of the mess, the people is getting crazy, revolution, lies, murder, and Amy and Elder trying to discover what's really wrong with Godspeed.

Desperation! That's the feeling of the book. I just wanted to punch a lot of the characters, even Elder sometimes. Amy seemed to be the only one sane, but of course she's a freak from the Earth, what does she knows?!

The amazing about this book is that I think people acted exactly like they would do in this situation. People tend to turn situations worse because of fear, instead of trying to think for a solution. Nobody was really into finding a way to get somewhere, only Amy and Elder. I enjoyed to see them working together and discovering the huge secrets from Godspeed.

Overall, if you are looking for an interesting and original series, Across the Universe if you for. And if you read Across the Universe and liked it, don't wait like me, read A Million Suns ASAP. And have Shades of Earth ready at your nightstand  because the end if a major cliffhanger!! I can't wait to read it but it will take me some time to get it from USA... ;(

Monday, February 25, 2013

Something to Prove by Robert Skead –ADVISABLE

Skead, Robert and Illustrated by Cooper, Floyd
Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs Rookie Joe Dimaggio 32 pgs. Carolrhoda Books, 2013. $12.71.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: G ;  Violence: G.
The New York Yankees wanted to put a potential player to the test, but none of their own pitchers were good enough. So they brought in renowned African American pitcher Satchel Paige. It was 1935 and this was a time when African Americans were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues. Will Satchels expert skill and creativity help Joe DiMaggio get his lucky break?
Not being a sports fan in the slightest, I was none the less incredibly intrigued to learn about segregated baseball. I am constantly surprised by the insidiousness of racism. I think baseball fans will be fascinated with this story, and to be honest, you better know your baseball terminology or this book isn't going to make a lot of sense. The illustrations are a fantastic grainy red filtered style that are like a warm memory.
Elementary –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Marley and the Great Easter Egg Hunt by John Grogan –ADVISABLE

Grogan, John and Illustrated by Cowdrey, Richard Marley and the Great Easter Egg Hunt 40 pgs. HarperCollins, 2013. $9.44.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: G ;  Violence: G.
Marley the dog is determined to find the special big Easter egg during this years Easter egg hunt. He finds a bunch of little eggs, then a whole lot of trouble, and soon is so messy that he looks like an Easter egg himself!
This is a cute holiday book. Focus is on the egg hunt, no religious aspects are included. The illustrations are bright and varied. Students will be drawn to the mischievous and adorable dog!
EL - ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Mrs. Harris Goes to New York - Paul Gallico

(image source)
I've finished so few books lately, and have been so dissatisfied with the number of reviews I've been able to post, that I have turned to the small pile of books I finished months and months ago, but never quite got around to reviewing.  So I'm looking back over the hazy mists of time, trying to remember not only what I thought about a book, but what on earth happened in it.

Lucky for me, Paul Gallico's 1960 novel Mrs. Harris Goes to New York has a little synopsis right there in the title.  The sequel to his charming novel Flowers For Mrs. Harris (published in America as Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, and republished together recently by Bloomsbury, with its aspirate in place), Mrs. Harris Goes to New York does, indeed, see Mrs. Harris travel off to see the Empire State.  This time, though, it's not with a dress in mind, though - she and her friend Violet Butterfield (familiarly Vi) are off to reunite a mistreated adopted boy with his long-lost American father.

In case you haven't encountered Mrs. Harris before, she is a no-nonsense, salt-of-the-earth charlady, who (in the first book) unexpectedly develops an all-abiding passion to own a Christian Dior dress like the one she has seen in the wardrobe of one of the women for whom she works.  Mrs. Harris is a wonderful creation - speaking her mind, with its curious mixture of straight-talking and dewy-eyed romance.  Romance for adventure, that is, not for menfolk - Mr. Harris is good and buried before the series begins. 

I mentioned in the 'strange things that happened in books I read this year' section of my review of 2012 that I'd read one book where somebody went door-to-door searching for people called Mr. Black (that was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and one where somebody went door-to-door searching for people called Mr. Brown.  That was Mrs. Harris Goes to New York - since she did not know exactly who might Henry Brown's father, she needed to go and visit every Mr. Brown in New York...
Few native New Yorkers ever penetrated so deeply into their city as did Mrs. Harris, who ranged from the homes of the wealthy on the broad avenues neighbouring Central Park, where there was light and air and indefinable smell of the rich, to the crooked down-town streets and the slums of the Bowery and Lower East Side.
It's a fun conceit for a novel - I wonder if Jonathan Saffron Foer was deliberately mimicking it? - and Mrs. Harris is an excellent character to use repeatedly in first-encounters - it shows how Cockney and brazen she can be, as well as the endlessly charming effect she has on everybody she meets.

Paul Gallico's novels often hover on the edge of fairy-tale.  The first one I read, which remains easily my favourite (and is on my 50 Books list over in the right-hand column) was Love of Seven Dolls, which is very much the darkest of his books that I've read - but was still very certainly mixed with fairy-tale.  That was what saved it from being terrifyingly sinister.  The two Mrs. Harris novels I've read are much more lighthearted, and Mrs. Harris herself is very much a fairy-tale creation.  She enchants everyone she meets - and I mean that almost literally, in that she seems to be a fairy godmother, changing their lives for the better through Cockney wisdom and irrepressible optimism.  And perhaps a little bit of magic.

There are quite a few other Paul Gallico novels on my shelves, waiting to be read - including the next two in this series, Mrs. Harris, MP and Mrs. Harris Goes To Moscow, which Bloomsbury also publish and kindly sent me.  I'm also excited about reading The Foolish Immortals and The House That Wouldn't Go Away.  I'll report back on all of these as and when I manage to read them - but, for now, for when you want to be a little charmed yourself, you could do a heck of a lot worse than spending an hour or two in the delightful company of London's finest, Mrs. Harris.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Case of the Fatal Phantom by Emma Kennedy-ADVISABLE

Kennedy, Emma, The Case of the Fatal Phantom. Dial Books, 2012. Pgs. 351. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

When Wilma Tenderfoot and her dog, Pickles find a “pickled” body preserved at an archaeological dig, it’s time for a new case.  What the young apprentice detective and her dog don’t know is that her archnemesis, Barbu Danvers is back and plans to uncover the secret before she does. The clues include the mummy’s journal, a gold key, and stories of Gold, but will Wilma figure out what the clues mean before Barbu?

This mystery is suspenseful and keeps the reader’s attention through many twists and turns. This eccentric, slightly “off” detective will keep girls reading and laughing out the whole way through.  El (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Jessica Moody, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis-ADVISABLE

Lerangis, Peter, The Colossus Rises. Harper, 2013. Pgs. 348. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

When Jack gets hit by a car, he collapses and almost dies on the hospital operating table. When he wakes up, he realizes not only is he not in Belleville, Indiana anymore, but a secret island. Professor Bhegad, the head researcher, claims that Jack and the other 3 kids, Marco, Aly, and Cass, have all inherited an ancient Alantean gene. The gene makes them all inherit superpowers, but without seven specific artifacts, the four will die within about six months. When Jack decodes the clue left by the original owner of the island, he realizes that he may hold the very secret to finding one of those artifacts. There are other forces at work, however, that are interested in the same items that have dastardly plans in mind. Can the four teens find the artifacts before their time runs out? Will the y be able to stop the object from falling into the wrong hands?

The adventure takes a while to pick up, but the mystery more than makes up for it. The characters are likable, well-rounded, and befitting of the task before them. Readers who like books like Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan or books with superpowered characters will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Wedgieman to the Rescue by Charise Mericle Harper –ESSENTIAL

Harper, Charise Mericle and Illustrated by Shea, Bob Wedgieman to the Rescue (Adventures of Wedgieman Book #2)  48 pgs. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012. $11.55.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: G ;  Violence: G.
There is a new bad guy in town. Larry. But he decides to call himself Bad Dude. He wants to destroy playground equipment and cause trouble. Will Wedgieman save the day? Will he be able to help children eat their vegetables? Will bad dude (or doodie if you pronounce it like a 1st grader) get a wedgie of his own?
A hilarious second book in a series! This is some quirky writing, and a super fun read. Students will love the further pronunciation errors turned into jokes. I love the random sentences inclusion. Unique and funny.
EL- ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Viva Jacquelina! (A Bloody Jack Adventure Book #10) by L.A. Meyer–OPTIONAL

Meyer, L.A.  Viva Jacquelina! (A Bloody Jack Adventure Book #10) 368 pgs. Harcourt Children's Books, 2012.
$11.35.  Content: Language: G (2 swears; many borderline);  Mature Content: R (or close enough for parents!) ;  Violence: PG13.
Jacky is a world traveling adventurer. In this book she is sent by the British to spy on Spain during wartime, where she sees’s action in battle. She spends a lot of time posing for and working with the artist Goya. Then she spends some more time in battle before joining up with the Gypsy’s.
That is the worse summary I have ever written. No one expects a 10th book in a series to be a read alone –this one was nearly impossible to follow, myself lacking the foundation of the previous books. With that limitation in mind, this story was all over the place and was filled with references to past books, adventures, characters, and its historical fiction setting. I found it extremely annoying that every man in sight was all over Jacky like staticy sock. Yes, Yes, we get that she is talented, extremely vivacious, and beautiful. The writing straddled the border between bawdy and rated R, with enough sexual innuendo to probably warrant the author a new contract for action adventure romance novels. 
HS  –NOT RECOMMENDED Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Year, New Manuscript

Phew! What a crazy couple of months this has been!

To those of you who have noticed a disturbing lack of...well...anything happening on this blog, I would like to inform you that No, this was not the result of a Captain Laziness rearing his sleepy, useless head. Quite, the opposite actually. We have been writing, non-stop, every evening, every weekend. And we are proud to finally announce that...

We have a second manuscript!

Go away, Second Manuscript! I was here first!

The first manuscript (which is still going through queries, in case you were wondering) took us a good, solid two years to create and polish to a point where we weren't embarrassed to show to another person. But the second? It took us only two months. Two months.

Why the big jump? Well, basically, when we sat down and decided to start a new project, we looked back at our history and we identified everything that went wrong with writing that first manuscript that caused it to spin for two years. And then we basically decided to do the exact opposite.

The method that we came up with is something that we like to call...Agile Writing.

Like this, but with words.
Is it useful? Does it work? We have no idea! We only made this thing up two months ago!

But if this crazy thing actually goes anywhere, you can rest assured that we'll be talking about it in agonizing detail over the many weeks and months to come. And if it doesn't, well, at least we'll always have Monorail Cat.

Monorail Cat is now leaving the station. Please ensure your hopes and dreams are locked in an upright position.
So without further ado, here's the query for our new MG Super-Villain Thriller, Little Miss Evil!

   When you ride to school in a helicopter, live in a volcano, and see your dad regularly on the nightly news with the caption “EVIL GENIUS” plastered underneath his picture, it takes a lot to rattle you.

   For thirteen year-old Fiona Ng, today is definitely one of those days.

   We have your father. Deliver the NOVA in 24 hours or we will kill him.

   Was it Ruby, that psychopathic albino girl in her class? Her family has an air force that rivals most small countries. Or was it Jai, that sadistic bully who loves torturing the other kids? His family has their own battleship, but they've never been this bold before.

   All Fiona wants is a normal life—graduate middle school, go to a new high school where nobody knows her father's a cackling super-villain, and actually have a friend. A single friend. Is that too much to ask?

   Well, that's not happening. The problems are piling so high they threaten to topple over and crush her under the weight of their suck.

   Because now she has to take over her father's Evil Empire, something she's been running from her entire life. And she has to figure out how to protect her home, as the other families smell blood and are moving in to finish her off. And that NOVA the kidnappers want? It’s an incredibly powerful nuclear bomb, capable of turning the entire city into a mushroom cloud. And oh yeah, one more thing.

   Fiona has no idea where her Dad hid it.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger –ADVISABLE

Carriger, Gail Etiquette and Espionage 320 pgs. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013. $11.13.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: PG ; Violence: G.
Sophronia is not a proper girl, she is always getting into mischief. So her parents send her off to finishing school, where she is to become a real lady. But her parents didn't know the whole story –this finishing school teaches all the right skills plus a healthy dose of espionage and defense. Right from the start Sophronia's new education is full intrigue!
This was a great Steampunk book! The concept was fresh and fun, the plot was lively and interesting. My only complaint is that I never really got attached to the main character, she isn't well developed and the narrator places us one step further back from her. Fortunately the plot is so intriguing that it carried me through. Students will love this book!! 
MS, HS-ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Mourning Emporium (Sequel to The Undrowned Child) by Michelle Lovric–OPTIONAL

 Lovric, Michelle  The Mourning Emporium (Sequel to The Undrowned Child) 448 pgs. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2012. $14.03.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: PG ;  Violence: PG13.
At the end of the first book, the bad guy, Bajamonte Tiepolo is not fully defeated, so this book starts the whole cycle over again. The two heroic children Teo, the Undrowned Child along with Renzo, the Studious Son –must face exceedingly grim circumstance in order to stop Tiepolo’s newest destructive plot. A new evil Miss Uish tries to stop them as well.
This is not a read alone! This book is stuffed to the gills with references and characters, often obscure, to the first book. The long story is dark, cold, and grim –full of creative and hard to read detailed tortures and situations. While not for me, students who loved the first book may be disappointed by the repeat of the repeat situation of the first book. Who wants to beat the same bad guy twice!?
MS, HS  –OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Stacking the Shelves #19

tacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where people like me can showcase our new books of the week and make you jealous!

For review:

What did you get this week?

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Daring Escape of the Misfit Menagerie by Jacqueline Resnick –OPTIONAL

Resnick, Jacqueline and Illustrated by Cook, Matthew The Daring Escape of the Misfit Menagerie 308 pgs. Razorbill, 2012. $12.75.  Content: Language: G (0 swears);  Mature Content: G; Violence: G.
Four adorable animals live in an idyllic life on a farm. Smalls the sunbear and his wombat, rabbit, and dog friends are then taken away to a horrible traveling circus. Claude Magnificence and his assistants are incredibly mean and cruel. Not only to the animals but to a little boy named Bertie and a little girl named Susan, who both work there. Can the animals and the children team up and escape?
I really dislike reading about animals and children being trapped in abusive situations. The majority of this long book takes place at the awful circus, so there is a lot of sadness. Maybe it’s so hard to read because the characters are well developed and the artwork is fantastic, creating characters that feel real. The themes of bravery, friendship, and moving on –are with merit.  I certainly think students will be drawn to the wonderful cover art.
ELEMENTARY –OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Firstly - if you fancy a mosey around my bookshelves, Danielle has very kindly asked me to take part in her wonderful ongoing series of Lost in the Stacks: Home Edition.  It's a mix of my bookcases in Oxford and Somerset, and some fun questions to answer.

Happy weekend!  My brother will be here, which will make my weekend fun.  There might even be cake.  You'll just have to make do with a weekend miscellany...

1.) The blog post - is another great review of Guard Your Daughters, this time from Ali.  And she loved it!

2.) The book - I'm excited about A.L. Kennedy's On Writing, which Jonathan Cape sent me recently - it's going to be published on 7th March, so consider this early warning.  It's chiefly a collection of articles about writing that Kennedy wrote for the Guardian, but there are also lots of other essays about writing, character, voice, being a writer etc.  Which one of us isn't interested in this sort of thing, regardless of whether or not we intend to write ourselves?

3.) The link - I'm quite passionate about trying to get people (especially Americans) to watch the sitcom Happy Endings.  It's on in the UK at some odd hour in the morning, but it's on ABC in the US.  It looks like it might be cancelled after this third series.  But it's so, so good.  Quickfire wit, the right amount of silliness... just brilliant.  This link gives 36 Reasons Happy Endings Is The Best Show on Television.  I'm not sure how accurate a depiction it is of the show, but... well, have a gander.  And watch the show!  It's on a break (sigh) til Fri March 29, so watch it then, 8pm... and catch up on DVDs of earlier episodes!

4.) OxfordWords - whilst I'm working as the editor of Oxford Dictionaries' OxfordWords blog, I'll also post weekly highlights from it in my Weekend Miscellany.  I thought "hmm, will this get awkward, mixing my job with my personal blog", but then I thought no, you'll want to read some of the fantastic stuff that we publish there.  It's all fantastic, obvs, but my personal highlight this week is the post about words which have newly entered Oxford Dictionaries Online - more here.  And I wrote a couple of pieces this week, too - What the Nobel Laureates did for us, and a (hopefully witty) article about horses in expressions and idioms.  Oh, and I got drawing in Paint again...

Book Review: A Lascivious Lady (Wedded Women Quartet #3) by Jillian Eaton

Author: Jillian Eaton
Series: Wedded Women Quartet #3
Published August 11th 2012
Can a realist fall in love with a dreamer?

Josephine never wanted to marry Traverson. In love with a Duke, she had dreams of grandeur… until a lowly Earl stole them away from her. Unable to forgive Traverson for what he took, she has exacted her revenge in the most unforgivable of ways.

Traverson fell in love with the bright eyed, fair haired country girl the moment he first saw her. Entranced before he even learned her name, he used everything in his power to make her his, realizing too late love is something that cannot be bought.

Brought together by a mutual acquaintance, Josephine and Traverson must finally face the feelings they have been avoiding. Can Josephine overcome her tawdry past? Or is it too late to love a man who may have finally given up on her?
Josephine hates her husband, Traverson, because he stole her dreams of being in love and possibly marry a Duke. She can't forgive him, so she sleeps with other men.

Traverson fell in love with her since the moment he saw her, but now he knows it was a mistake to marry her and expect love. He knows what she does with other men, but can they still be together?

I didn't know what to expect from this couple. I'm not in favor of cheating, I think it's horrible and  very difficult to forgive and keep loving after that, so I wasn't sure I was going to like Josephine. She isn't my favorite character, she could have handled it better, but I still liked that she always had a soft side for Traverson.

Traverson in one of a kind. He still loves her after all this time!! And is ready to forgive her but still gets mad when he thinks about what she have done with all the other men. But he is't an idiot, he definitely has a rough side, maybe that's why I liked him.

Their romance was very different from others, it was more about forgiving and giving themselves a chance, and I really liked it.

Again, Wedded Women Quartet series surprises me with emotional characters and a good romance story in just a few pages. Recommended if you want to read a different love story.

More about this book at Goodreads, Amazon.