Thursday, April 29, 2010

Elizabeth Scott. STEALING HEAVEN

All Danielle has ever known is a life of crime. Her mother and father are thieves. Her father went to prison when she was young, so it's just been Danielle and her mom most of her life. She never went to school. She was home-schooled, sort of. She didn't learn the traditional subjects from her mom. Her skills have been more "occupational" in nature: (they primarily steal silver- easier to fence than items more high-profile, like jewelry). Here is her describing her skills:

"Because of silver I can pry the molding off a window without making a sound. I know how to test for plate even though I don't usually need to. I can drive a car, climb into a house, deal with growling dogs. I know exactly how much your average nineteenth-century tea service weighs - in troy ounces, even- and how many pieces it has....For silver I learned the names of every plantation from Virginia to Florida. I can tell you which ones we've visited, which ones we want to, which ones we never will."

Although her mother thrives on their life of crime, Danielle is beginning to long for more. They travel constantly and never keep clothing or anything that would attach them to any of their burglaries. She wants a place of her own to call home. A place where she can buy things and keep them. She wants to make friends and give her real name. But she's never gone to school, so how would she even work a real job? Where would she even begin?

In this latest town that they're in, Danielle meets a guy that makes her really question her mother's lifestyle choices. She has begun to be more honest than she should with this guy. Several complications arise to thicken the plot. Danielle's mom wants her to steal from someone she's become friendly with. And the guy she's starting to really like is a cop. What will she do? Stick by her mom and do what she wants or betray her mom - the one person who has always supported her.

I've mentioned before how much I love Elizabeth Scott's books. So it's no surprise that I loved this one! I became attached to these characters. Danielle and her mom were both well developed, fascinating characters. I also loved Greg and Allison. The fact that the main characters were thieves was a nice twist. It was a refreshing plot. I highly recommend it!
More on Elizabeth Scott here.

Here are a few of her other books that I've reviewed:
Loved this one: review here


And here's the review of  her latest THE UNWRITTEN RULE  &  finally the review for SOMETHING, MAYBE. You can see I'm a huge fan! Her writing really resonates with me for some reason.
Check her out, if you haven't!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Michael Grant. GONE

I cannot believe I haven't heard about this book earlier. Well, I'm glad I stumbled across it. It is fantastic!
It begins with one seemingly normal day in social studies class. The teacher is talking about the Civil War, the students are listening. Then the teacher suddenly vanishes No flashing light or funny noise - he just disappears. After some investigating, the kids realize that all the adults are gone. In fact, anyone over fifteen is gone.
People begin to look to Sam for leadership. After all, he did save a bus full of children when the bus driver had a heart attack. Sam begins to make decisions to try to keep the kids from panicking. Sam, Astrid, the girl they call the genius, and his best friend Quinn all begin trying to figure things out. They make temporary plans, hoping this will all end soon.
Then a week or so later, Caine and a group of kids come into town from Coates. Coates is type of school for smart delinquents. Caine begins by charming everyone into making him "mayor." Of course, Sam and Astrid realize that he's trouble, but go along with Caine. Otherwise they would fall victim to his team of bullies who sit by ready and willing to enforce all of Caine's new rules.
We also met Lana, who was in the passenger seat of a truck when her grandfather vanishes. The truck crashes and she is badly hurt. After days of suffering, she's able to mysteriously save herself only to be attacked my coyotes. Fortunately some unusual creatures save her.
When it looks like things can't get any worse (no phones, no Internet, no doctors, no TV, no way to leave the area to get help) ...they do get worse. Animals are mutating. People are developing unimaginable powers, which some decide to use for evil.
I won't give too much away, because I had so much fun discovering all of the many twists and turns in this book, and I wouldn't want to deprive you of that fun. It's suspenseful. I couldn't put it down. It literally kept me up at night all last week! It has action, some mystery, some science, fantasy and a little love. (It really does cross many genres).
I haven't even mentioned how well written it is. The author did such a wonderful job with creating mood and tone. One of the most disturbing scenes is when the kids were walking through the houses to find any missing children. That deep feeling of loneliness and dread the kids were feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. And that is only one scene. There are many more unforgettable moments in this book.
It will leave you very curious for more. Lucky for us there is a sequel, and the series is planned to be 6 books.
Here is more about the author. He's married to KA Applegate, the author of the Animorphs and Everworld books.

Book 2 - which is on my "to read" pile

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Review Policy

First of all, I only post positive reviews. I feel my role as a librarian is to promote reading and literature overall. That doesn't mean I love everything I read. I don't. But I don't publicly post about it. I may tell my friends and colleagues though.

Currently, I'm only reviewing YA book of all genres. I no longer have time in my schedule to review children's novels or picture books. I love to participate in blog tours and other promotions!

I don't review self-published books unless they have been reviewed by a major library review journal and are available through the normal school purchasing channels.

Contact me with questions at pamelalibrarian AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jo Whittemore. FRONT PAGE FACE-OFF


Delilah begins her 7th grade year with high hopes. She’s the lead reporter on the school paper and plans to stay that way, since the editor has a crush on her. This year she dreams of becoming a Junior Global Journalist, the honor her late father earned when he was a teen. When school starts, she’s thrown for a loop for several reasons. She gets an unusual invitation to join the Debutantes, an elite clique (that she refers to as the "Little Debbies" since they're flaky, artificial and hard to stomach). She's so not Little Debbie material.
Then Ben, the editor who used to have a crush on her now has an actual girlfriend. A sophisticated girlfriend from France! Plus Ben had really grown into a cute guy over the summer. To top it all off, this French girl is going to write for the newspaper too. So, not only is it too late for her to return Ben’s crush on her, but her lead reporter status is in jeopardy also. But with the Little Debbie invitation in hand,  Delilah begins to imagine a scheme that might help her hold onto her job and maybe even win back Ben.
This grabbed me from the first page! Delilah is a hoot! I totally related with her and her determination, even when I could see her headed for a huge mistake. Her friend Jenner is quirky and funny. In fact, I loved all the characters! I laughed out loud multiple times! I really enjoyed this and look forward to more from the author (who happens to be an Aggie like me!)

One thing I'm curious about = the cover. It appears to have Ava & some girl named Paige facing off, when really shouldn't the names be Ava & Delilah? Hmmm...

More about the author here.
Check out the book trailer:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Maureen Johnson. SCARLETT FEVER


“Monday arrived just like it always did, creeping in during the night like the neighbor’s cat, come to illicitly drop dead mice by the bedside.” *

Yeah, that’s why I adore Maureen Johnson.
Phrases like that.
Also, she creates the best characters. Scarlett is a wonderful main character in her own right, but Spencer her brother – wow, he’s something else altogether - so talented and witty. Mrs. Amberson, Scarlett’s boss is the embodiment of old Hollywood excessiveness, but in a totally charming way. Max is a new character in this book that I can’t wait to continue getting to know in the next book. And don’t get me started on the dog called Murray!

Oh and I also love her chapter titles. Here are a few examples:
Safety for the Stupid
Lies Everyone Knows
Lunch is for Suckers
Dinner is also for Suckers
Dawn of the Desperate

In case you didn’t know – SCARLETT FEVER is the sequel to SUITE SCARLETT, which I also adored completely. (see review here). You must read that one first.
On to my quick summary/teaser....The Hamlet production in the lobby of the Hopewell has just ended. The excitement has died down a little, and Spencer is looking for work. Scarlett is still working for Mrs. Amberson, especially after the show closing and the number of hotel guests dwindling. Scarlett is also depressed about breaking up with Eric. Mrs. Amberson decides to take on an additional client, a Broadway star named Chelsea who has an annoying brother, Max. Scarlett’s “job” is to keep an eye on him, and after objecting she realizes that he becomes intriguing. Then wonderful things happen for Spencer while simultaneously making him New York City’s public enemy #1.  Big news for Lola and Marlene continues to puzzle Scarlett. Bottom line = another great adventure with the Martin family. I really feel at home in their world. It also makes me want to like in New York City or at least visit for a while.
Read it. You’ll love it too. Now I want the sequel.

*Normally, I'd put a page number there, but Kindle doesn't use page #s. So, I give you location number 3413.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Heather Brewer. ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS

By the way, This was my first full book I read on my new Kindle! I wondered how I would enjoy reading on an e-reader, but now I can't believe I waited this long to get one! It's intuitive, easy to use, and I completely adore it! Now on to Vlad...

THE CHRONICLES OF VLADIMIR TOD #4
We re-join Vlad just as he’s beginning his junior year. He’s still depressed over having to break up so suddenly with Meredith, and things aren’t looking up. Henry tells him that Joss, the slayer from freshman year, is back. In fact, he and his family are moving the Bathory permanently. Then a scary, but intriguing new vampire shows up in town  and wants something from Vlad. Plus, the trial against Otis is looming.
But there are a few positive aspects to Vlad's junior year. Otis has moved to town for good and is teaching at the high school. Vlad is spending more time with Snow at the crypt club, and he's becoming quite attached to her. Maybe things won't be so bad after all...

This was probably the most suspenseful book in the series so far! Perhaps because there was so much going on and there was so much at stake (no pun intended). I also loved the new characters. Dorian is fascinating. I wanted to know more about Snow. And the last character introduced, well, I can't even say without spoiling anything, but gah,  that's one way to make me immediately yearn for the sequel! (comes out this September!)

Check out the trailer below & Heather Brewer has an awesome website here.