Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Dork Diaries 13: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Birthday by Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries 13: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Birthday by Rachel Renée Russell. 304 p. Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster, October 16, 2018. 9781534426382.

Publisher synopsis: It’s Nikki Maxwell’s birthday!! Will it be a blast or a bust? Find out in Nikki’s newest diary, the thirteenth installment in the #1 New York Times blockbuster bestselling Dork Diaries series!

This series is every bit as popular as Wimpy Kid.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Teen Tuesday and Audio Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider. Unabridged downloaded audiobook. Eight hours, seven minutes. Read by Khristine Hvam and James Fouhey. HarperAudio, 2015.

Seventeen-year-old Lane had his life mapped out. He's number two in his graduating class and planning on applying early action to Stanford. Then drug-resistant tuberculosis derails his plans. Instead of attending his AP classes, he's at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens with the disease. He thinks he can keep up with his studies and become well enough to leave. He's also captivated by Sadie and her group of cool friends. He knew Sadie from summer camp when they were thirteen but he was too shy to talk to her.

Sadie remembers Lane alright and is still furious with him for standing her up at a camp dance. Sadie has been at Latham House for over a year. She's not getting better but she's not getting worse. She has cultivated her cool persona very carefully and is a bit terrified of getting well enough to return to the real world, where she was definitely not cool.

This dual narrative makes its way down a predictable path but, the characters are interesting and the idea of a TB epidemic among teens is intriguing. The narrative doesn't go into the hows and whys of it though. Khristine Hvam is one of my favorite narrators and James Fouhey is new to me. They did a good job and sounded appropriately young. 

This story should appeal to teen fans of tragic romance like The Fault in Our Stars.

I downloaded this book from Audiobooksync's Free Summer Audiobook program. If you don't already know about it, check it out for next summer! The "summer" is already over (it starts in May), but they post links to download two audiobooks each  week for thirteen weeks.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

Middle Grade Monday and Audio Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy Spinale. Everland series #1. Unabridged downloaded audiobook, 8 hours, 56 minutes. Read by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. Scholastic Audio, May, 2016.

I just adore fairy tale retellings/ reimaginings! This steampunk Peter Pan story was just superb!

England has been invaded by Germany. More specifically, Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer (HOOK) has taken London and driven out the queen. The wrinkle to his complete and utter conquest is that his bombing blitzkrieg unleashed a deadly virus (which had been sent by Germany earlier). It has killed most of the surviving adults and female children. The human race is in danger of extinction, except there may be one human female who is immune to the virus. 

Gwen Darling is trying to keep her siblings, Johanna and Mikey safe and hidden. But Hook and his troops are closing in. She is rescued by Pete and Bella while out scavenging; but Johanna, who has been left behind with Mikey is not so lucky. She has been captured by Hook's men. Gwen and Mikey join Pete and the Lost Boys in their underground hideout, but she really wants to rescue her sister, which means venturing into Hook's lair. 

Debut author Spinale has created a world that is at once familiar and brand new. Readers familiar with J.M. Barrie's work will recognize some of the quotes rolled into this incredible new twist. 

Hardingham and West are favorite narrators of mine. Together they narrate the spectacular fantasy series, Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Hardingham narrated Puck's part in Scorpio Races  by Maggie Stiefvater. The majority of the book is from Gwen's POV. Hardingham's clear and musical voice lends urgency and desperation to Gwen's story.

I cannot wait to read the second and third installments in the series, which blend other stories. Give this to fans of fantasy, steampunk fans or any reader looking for terrific worldbuilding. 

Picture Book Review: Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White

Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White. Illustrated by Robin Page. unpgd. Beach Lane Books/ Simon & Schuster, August 14, 2018. 9781534404083. (Review from finished copy courtesy of Blue Slip Media.)

Happy book birthday tomorrow to Who Eats Orange? This vibrant book invites young readers to consider color, food and animals. They may even think a bit about what colors they like to eat.

The Q& A format follows a fun pattern of three animals which do eat the color in question. The fourth...doesn't, but does eat a different color. The color that is being eaten may be a fruit, vegetable, an animal or even flowers. Most are recognizable, but a few puzzled. Never fear, the text is followed by a two-page spread identifying the animals as well as the foods they eat.

The illustrations are textured and set on a white background allowing each animal to pop off the page. I found the bear, marmot and reindeer particularly appealing because the fur was especially fuzzy and inviting. And those eyes on that bear!

This book will have a variety of uses from teaching colors to expanding palates with young readers.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White. Illustrated by Robin Page. unpgd. Beach Lane Books/ Simon & Schuster, August 14, 2018. 9781534404083.

Publisher synopsis: Who eats orange—a chicken? A bunny? A bear? Find out in this unique exploration of colors and animals’ favorite foods.

Animals eat a rainbow of different foods. Gorillas in the mountains eat green, octopi in the ocean eat red, and toucans in the canopy eat purple. Young animal enthusiasts will love digging into this lively journey around the world to explore the colorful diets of many animals, from the familiar to the exotic.

Purchased: Picked this fun one up at An Unlikely Story on my way home from PD in Boston.

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins. unpgd. Disney Press, June, 2018. 9781368003551.

Publisher synopsis: It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But it's hard to make human friends when they're so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . .

Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

I adore Higgins' Bruce books! So excited for this.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you? Leave a link to your haul in the comments and I will stop by. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Blog Tour Picture Book Review: It's Show and Tell, Dexter! by Lindsay Ward

It's Show and Tell, Dexter! by Lindsay Ward. unpgd. Dexter T. Rexter series #2. Two Lions/ Amazon Publishing, July 2018. 9781503901377.

Our favorite orange dino is back! Is he still prone to panic attacks? Dexter T. Rex is Jack's favorite toy and he has been training for "show and tell day" at Jack's school for weeks. Now that the big day is imminent, Dexter is starting to worry about his big day. He wants to make a big splash and be memorable, but doubts he's good enough.

Dexter reveals that his tummy hurts and his claws are clammy just thinking about failing Jack. Readers who might have anxiety issues themselves will relate to Dexter. All readers will cheer him on and reassure him that just being himself is really enough. Who doesn't worry about impressing at show and tell?

The palette is still bright yellows and blues, allowing Dexter's orange exuberance to pop. The cut paper collages and blue backgrounds are textured and eye-catching. Little details, such as a bunny nose and too-tight bunny suit, amuse. Since Dexter is speaking right to the reader, this invites energetic responses to Dexter's worries, making this a fun choice for story-time.  

Visit Lindsay Ward's website for more about Dexter and her other books. She has a coloring page too! There's also a cute trailer

Welcome back Dexter! Hope to see you again soon!

Fact Friday: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater. 320 p. Farrar Straus & Giroux, October, 2017. 9780374303235. (Review from purchased copy.)

Happy Friday TMS Readers! As week seven comes to a close, the first day of school is on the horizon. Or should we not even think about that yet?

Our Fact Friday is a tough read. Its written for a YA audience and tackles some tough social justice issues. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater examines a hate crime that was committed in Oakland, California in 2013 on the 57 bus. Seventeen-year-old Sasha attended a private high school and fourteen-year-old Richard attended public high school. They didn't know each other but they both took the 57 bus to get to and from school. Sasha caught Richard's eye on the 57 bus because Sasha had fallen asleep and was wearing a skirt. Sasha appeared to be a boy to Richard so Richard thought it would be a funny prank to set Sasha's skirt on fire with a lighter. The skirt was made of a gauzy material and ignited suddenly, engulifing Sasha's legs in flames. Richard never intended such a catastrophic injury. Sasha spent months in the hospital and many more recovering from his burns. Richard was charged with a hate crime and was also charged as an adult, which meant he would spend many years behind bars once convicted. Slater skillfully delves into the many facets of this headlining-grabbing story. The reader learns about both boys' life, their interests, their challenges. The reader also learns many, many statistics, like how the criminal justice system in California; how the law disproportionately punishes black offenders and how lgbtq people, especially youth, are disproportionately victimized. There's a lot to digest, think about and discuss here for older teens and adults. The 57 Bus won a Stonewall Award and was an Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult finalist.