Monday, July 29, 2013

Pippi Goes on Board by Astrid Lindgren

Pippi Goes on BoardI so loved Pippi when I was growing up. 
Once, I even slept with my feet on my pillow and head under the covers.  Pippi seemed to have it all, money,  is incredibly strong, lives  in Villa Vllekulla with her monkey Mr. Nilsson and a horse who lives on the porch.  Plus, Pippi was always good for an adventure. Pippi Goes on Board is separated into kind of mini stories. Pippi goes shopping, writes a letter, goes to school, the fair, and ultimately decides that she, Tommy and Annika should get shipwrecked, on purpose no less.  So you know there are defiantly going to be some antics but most of all an adventure.   In the story where Pippi goes shopping with Tommy and Annika, she decides that she wants to buy a piano. "But, Pippi, says Tommy, you can't play the piano, can you?"  and Pippi replies, "How can I tell, when I've never tried? I've never had any piano to try on.  And this much I can tell you, Tommy-to play the piano without any piano, that takes a powerful lot of practicing."  There are quotes throughout the book that demonstrate Pippi's wisdom and special way of looking at the world which makes this a wonderful summer time read for me.  I especially love how Pippi is reunited with her father at the end.  A very touching moment follows.  I would put this book for 8-11 year olds.  My review copy was purchased.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles: Fish Finelli Book 1 by ES Farber

Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles: Fish Finelli Book 1
Norman, known as Fish by his friends and family, has been fixing up an old boat with his pals Roger and T.J.   Roger is on the right and T.J. is the one with the pickle in his hand on the left.  Once the boat is finished, the trio plan to put on a Seagull motor boat engine then race in the Captain Kidd Classic. Fish has been saving up his money, but he is still about twenty-seven dollars shy of the fifty-four he needs for the motor.   To make matters worse, Fish enters into a bet with bully Bryce Billings that he can find the long lost treasure of none other than Captain Kidd himself.  Will he and his friends be able to pull off this feat?  

You know how on a hot summer day sometimes we stop for some ice cream? As soon as we're done eating it this feeling of "ah, refreshing" hits us.  Well, Fish Finelli kinda left me with that feeling.  Know what I mean? Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles is such a cute summertime read.  There is adventure, mischief, friendships and those illustrations by Jason Beene are so darn cute. Interspersed are some nice educational tidbits about Long Island, wild life and historical figures that seemed to enrich the story line for me.  Highly recommend for 7-10 year old boys and girls.  My review copy came from the public library.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Eva and Addie are considered to be “hybrids, “ or two souls that are housed within one body. As hybrids grow, they are supposed to “settle.” One soul takes the dominant lead and the other just fades away. But doctors have run their tests and despite the whispers surrounding them, Addie was said to be “healthy” and Eva was gone. Yet, Eva never really left Addie, they just got really good at hiding it. That is until an opportunity arrives for Eva to move again, but are the risks in their best interest?   

Kat Zhang has written a very gripping story.  I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen to Eva and Addie.  There is some really beautiful character development in What's Left of Me, the author really gets you wrapped up in these two souls making them so realistic.  Eva and Addie read like two sisters, each with their own personality and voice.  It's a feat difficult enough when your talking about the two girls, but then Zhang adds in other characters who possess the same trait, not a small feat.  I guess that's why I really became vested in what would happen to Eva and Addie as they are picked up by the government and placed into an institution. For you see, hybrids are thought to be dangerous to society and must be dealt with.  What's left of Me is full of action, suspense, mystery and left we wanting to know where Zhang is taking things next.  

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)
Whats Left of Me was provided by Martina Boone at Adventures in YA Publishing as a part of their One Million Visitor Blog Celebration, a big thank you for opening my eyes to more YA books.
ETA: Review copy donated to public library. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

Lips Touch: Three Times

As a part of Adventures in YA & Childrens Publishing's Million Visitor Blog Celebration there were tons of giveaways for authors and readers alike.   I was lucky enough to win two books selected by Martina Boone,  Laini Taylor's Lips Touch Three Times and What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (which I plan to review next.)  If you haven't checked out their blog yet you really should, there is tons of information on publishing, guest blogger's and tips on writing and workshops. Thank you again Martina.  

Lips Touch Three Times consists of three separate stories with a short graphic illustration prior to each that highlight specific plot ideas.  At first, I wanted to see the graphic illustrations placed on the cover.  Yet, there is something about the red lips that stands out and says YA to me.  

The first story is called Goblin Fruit.  It is about Kizzy, who has yearned to be "one of those girls, the kind with perfect hair and ankles that stood out in a crowd".  Instead, she comes from a family who isn't seen as "normal."  One full of old traditions and superstitions.  Kizzy should have listened more closely to her grandmother and heeded her warnings about how Goblins tempt you with their fruit.  Yet, when new boy Jack Husk comes to town, Kizzy is blinded to her fate.  Of the three stories, this one was my least favorite.  I was rooting for Kizzy the whole time, but felt more like I was watching a slasher movie and kept screaming at her "don't walk into the cemetery ".  Yet, I really felt for Kizzy and perhaps that was what the author was going for.  

The Second story is Spicy Little Curses Such As These.  It begins in Hell where an English women (Estella) and Demon are coming to an agreement regarding 22 kids in Kashmir lives in exchange for a curse being placed on a child (Anamique) that makes her voice the most beautiful thing you ever heard but if you hear it you die.  As Anamique grows, she has kept her "voice as a bird in a cage,"  that is until James finds her diary and falls madly in love with her. This was my favorite story.  I love the beautiful prose and little details that Lani Taylor added to the story.  

The Third story is Hatchling.  Of the three, it is the longest with more time spent on character development and world building.  Hatchling is about a young girl who finds out she is from another world, one her mother has been trying to protect her from for her entire life.  Yet this world has a queen who raises children as her pets and she wants the child back.   

Overall, Lani Taylor's fascination with ancient fairy tales and folklore from the British Raj and Persian religion of Zoroastrianism really stand out.  One can easily tell that she must have done lots of research into these areas but at the same time has her unique spin on them as she weaves into each story the theme of a kiss.   
ETA: Review copy donated to public library.