Saturday, April 30, 2016

Taking Stock - April, 2016

Total posts this month: 15
Total books read this month: 26
Total books read this year: 101

Challenges:
Audio: 5/27
Debut: 3/6

The Good: <crickets>

The Bad: Was on track for a book-a-day then stumbled. 


The Books: * = favorite
88. Random Body Parts by Leslie Bulion (4/1)
89. Stick Cat by Tom Watson (4/2)
90. Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker (4/3)*
91. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (4/9)*
92. Half Bad by Sally Green (4/10)
93. Nelle and Tru by G. Neri (4/10)
94. Sports Illustrated Kids: My First Book of Baseball: mostly everything explained about the game by the Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids (4/11)
95. Baseball Then to WOW! by the Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids (4/11)
96. Radiant Child: the story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe (4/14)*
97. My Washington, DC by Kathy Jakobsen (4/14)
98. Bug Zoo by Andy Harkness (4/14)
99. The Best Night of Your Pathetic Life by Tara Altebrando (4/15)
100. The Rise of the Elgin (Michael Vey #2) by Richard Paul Evans (4/16)
101. Way to Glow! by Lisa Regan (4/17)
102. Leaps and Bounce by Susan Hood (4/17)
103. Let Me Finish by Minh Le (4/17)
104. Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson (4/17)
105. Rules of the House by Mac Barnett (4/17)
106. Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins (4/18)
107. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (4/19)
108. Yoga for Kids by Lorena V. Pajalunga (4/22)
109. The Book Itch by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (4/23)*
110. Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (4/24)(SLJ review)
111. The Best Worst Thing by Kathleen Lane (4/24)
112. How to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (4/26)*
113. Traveling Butterflies by Susumu Shingu (4/26)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.


Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes. 120 p. Highlights Press, October 4, 2016. 978162979740.

Publisher synopsis: Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also obese, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

I have enjoyed Nikki Grimes' novels and can't wait for this one. 



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Misadventures of Max Crumbly #1 Locker Hero by Rachel Renée Russell

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.



Locker Hero by Rachel Renée Russell. The Misadventures of Max Crumbly #1. 320 p. Aladdin, June 7, 2016. 9781481460019.

Publisher synopsis: Max is about to face the scariest place he’s ever been—South Ridge Middle School! He has been home-schooled by his grandmother until now, and he’s begged his parents to finally let him start attending public middle school. He’s starting to question that choice, though, with the Thomas Silver Problem. As in, Thomas Silver keeps stuffing Max in his locker.
If only Max could be like the hero in all the comics he likes to read—or the ones he draws—and magically escape the locker and defeat Tommy. Unfortunately, Max’s uncanny, almost superhuman ability to smell pizza from a block away won’t exactly save any lives or foil bad guys. But that doesn’t mean Max won’t do his best to be the hero his school needs!

The author's Dork Diaries are quite popular at my school. While that doesn't always guarantee crossover popularity, I will still add it to our collection. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

FNG Review: Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat


Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 12, 2016. 9780316199995. (Review from FNG courtesy of publisher.)

Ah, the car trip with kids, a universal parental rite of passage. We bend over backwards to make our children comfortable, entertained and most of all, quiet. Dan Santat follows his Caldecott-winning The Adventures of Beekle (Little, Brown, 2015) with this rollicking road trip to Grandma's birthday party and sets picture book reading (literally) on its head. 

There is so much to look at here that one reading is just not enough and your youngsters will not let you stop at just one reading! Every bit of this book is used to tell the story - from the clever end-pages featuring a sunrise at the beginning to a sunset at the end to the invitation to Grandma's party on the verso. 

The oversize format features large graphic novel-like panels and each panel is a work of art containing all sorts of details, such as the monotonous lines of telephone poles being reflected in the window that the boy is sullenly gazing out of. There are humorous little details as well, such as books, stuffed animals, including a stuffed Beekle, a handheld video game - all abandoned on the floor of the back seat.

As the trip goes on "forever," and the family journeys back through time, the reader has to read backward. Talk about denying muscle memory! Each double-page spread of the stops backward in time is hilarious. My favorite has to be the family's encounter with a T-Rex - even the boy's stuffed T-Rex is scared. But then, it's love at first sight. Even though the idea of playing fetch with a T-Rex has been done before, this game is the best ever because we all know that time flies when we're having fun. What's a little over-correction among friends?

Simple adages such as time flies, or the road is full of twists and turns or, sit back and enjoy the ride and there's no greater gift than the present gently convey lessons we'd like our kids to learn. Folks young and old will recognize themselves in this lovely, endearing homage to the car trip. 

Are We There Yet? is a must-purchase! This is definitely a "never too old for picture books" read aloud. I'm buying it for my personal library as well as my school's. Bravo Dan! Is it too early to wonder about a second Caldecott nod?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker


Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Waylon series #1. 208 p. Disney Press, April, 2016. 9781484701522. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher.)

Waylon! One Awesome Thing is a super consolation prize for having no more Clementine books! While darling Clementine makes a couple of appearances, such as describing Waylon as the scienciest kid in the whole school, this is the Waylon show and what a fine show it is. 

Waylon is a scientist. A good scientist is a good observer and Waylon notices that popular Arlo is "choosing teams." Waylon happens to get chosen for Arlo's team. This should please him. Trouble is, his two good friends did not and there's a rule about associating with anyone not on the "team." And what will happen if Arlo un-chooses him?

His sister is now a teenager, dressing all in black, insisting her name is Neon and rolling her eyes at everything family-related. He misses her.

To top everything off, Baxter Boylen moves back to town. He has a huge ropy scar on his face and looks like he needs a shave! Waylon is terrified!

What a terrific new series! It is so great to have a new beginning chapter book series that kids will love. The dialogue is spot on; the issues are very real and dealt with respectfully; and the illustrations are perfect. It's also nice to have an endearing main character who is interested in science.

Waylon has a game called OAT, or One Awesome Thing. This new series is One Awesome Takeoff and surely a must-purchase for school, public and classroom libraries.




Non-Fiction Monday: Way to Glow: amazing creatures that light up in the dark by Lisa Regan


Way to Glow: amazing creatures that light up in the dark by Lisa Regan. 48 p. Scholastic Inc., December, 2015. 9780545906616.

Do I really need two books on bioluminescence in my library? Yes! I recently read and enjoyed Glow by W.H. Beck, which was quietly stunning. Way to Glow is loud and in your face and crammed with facts, some of which are enclosed in "air" bubbles as a neat design feature. Each example of bioluminescence is given a double-page spread. If the page number is surrounded by a star, and the reader holds the page to a light source for 30 seconds, then retreats to a darkened space, the reader is treated to glow in the dark effects. And, yeah, they are pretty cool. 

Each set of end-pages features a different bioluminescent animal - one sea and one of the few land animals in a full-color double-page spread. The double-page spreads for the mostly sea creatures feature dramatic photos like the decapod shrimp repelling a predator by shooting light out of its mouth - hence the nickname fire-breathing shrimp. The firefly and the click beetle are the only land animals.

Unfamiliar words are in yellow and defined in a short glossary at the end of the book. My only complaint? No source notes or suggestions for further reading, just photo credits smooshed on the title page. Still, this attractively designed, informative introduction should have appeal for a variety of readers. Display it prominently. 






Saturday, April 16, 2016

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.



My finished copy of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan arrived. Yay! I reviewed it for SLJ and can't wait to get it into the hands of students who will love it.

For review: 



When We Was Fierce by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo. 380 p. Candlewick Press, August 9, 2016. 9780763679378. 

Publisher synopsis: In an endless cycle of street violence and retribution, is there any escape? A powerful verse novel by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo.
We wasn't up to nothin'
new really.
Me and Jimmy, Catch and Yo-Yo.
We just comin' down the street keepin' cool.
We was good at stayin' low
Especially around the Wooden Spoon.
Guys hang around there, they got teeth on ’em
Sharper than broken glass.
Words that slit ya’from chin to belly. And that’s just their words.

Fifteen-year-old Theo isn’t looking for trouble, but when he and his friends witness a brutal attack on Ricky-Ricky, an innocent boy who doesn’t know better than to walk right up to the most vicious gang leader around, he’s in trouble for real. And in this neighborhood, everything is at stake. In a poignant, unflinching novel of survival told largely in street dialect, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo enters the lives of teenagers coming of age in the face of spiraling violence among gangs, by police, and at home.

Purchased: 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Unabridged audiobook on 5 compact discs. 5.5 hours. Performed by Michael Curran-Dorsano. HarperAudio, February, 2016. 9780062443960.

Publisher synopsis: Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.
At his grandfather’s house three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.
Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .
From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the essential truths that define us and the devastating costs of war. Pax is destined to become a beloved classic.



The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd. Unabridged audiobook on 5 compact discs. 5 hours, 16 minutes.  Performed by Kate Simses. Scholastic Audio, February, 2016. 9780545910316.

Publisher synopsis: Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.
For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down.
But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?
With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinary cements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.



Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. Unabridged audiobook on 4 compact discs; 4.5 hours. Read by Jenna Lamia. Penguin House Audio Publishing Group, April, 2016. 9781101917411.

Publisher synopsis: Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.



The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. Unabridge audiobook on 4 compact discs; 4 hours. Read by Kate Atwater. Hachette Audio, April, 2016. 9781478938354.

Publisher synopsis: When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her....


Heartwarming and full of action, Peter Brown's middle-grade debut raises thought-provoking questions about the environment, the role technology plays in our world, and what it means to be alive.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: When We Was Fierce by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.
When We Was Fierce by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo. 400 p. Candlewick Press, August 9, 2016. 9780763679378.

Publisher synopsis: In an endless cycle of street violence and retribution, is there any escape? A powerful verse novel by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo.
We wasn't up to nothin'
new really.
Me and Jimmy, Catch and Yo-Yo.
We just comin' down the street keepin' cool.
We was good at stayin' low
Especially around the Wooden Spoon.
Guys hang around there, they got teeth on ’em
Sharper than broken glass.
Words that slit ya’from chin to belly. And that’s just their words.

Fifteen-year-old Theo isn’t looking for trouble, but when he and his friends witness a brutal attack on Ricky-Ricky, an innocent boy who doesn’t know better than to walk right up to the most vicious gang leader around, he’s in trouble for real. And in this neighborhood, everything is at stake. In a poignant, unflinching novel of survival told largely in street dialect, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo enters the lives of teenagers coming of age in the face of spiraling violence among gangs, by police, and at home.

I really enjoyed Fat Angie a few years ago and keep meaning to look up Ms. Charlton-Trujillo's earlier work. I'm also blown away by her commitment to bring books to at-risk youth through her non-profit, Never Counted Out.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Non-Fiction Monday: Two Sports Illustrated Kids Books about Baseball

The baseball season opened last week. Here are two new books from Sports Illustrated Kids for fans young and older. Thanks to Blue Slip Media for the finished copies for review.



Sports Illustrated Kids: My First Book of Baseball: mostly everything explained about the game by the Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids. A Rookie Book. 48 p. Time Inc. Books/ Liberty Street, April 5, 2016. 9781618931672.

This jaunty, colorful book uses the nine innings of a baseball game as a framework to explain the ins and outs of the game for baseball's youngest and would-be fans. A pint-sized cartoon Little Leaguer announces he's ready to play ball on the cover. Front end-page illustrations feature him at bat; final end-page illustrations feature him in the outfield. He provides a running commentary throughout the rest of the book in which double-page spreads feature photographs of pro-ballers to illustrate everything from standing for the National Anthem to receiving a pie in the face for hitting the game-winning grand slam.

The background colors pop. The text is arranged on the page to emphasize the point. As an example, the words, "The pitcher peers in at the catcher." are angled downward from the pitcher's eyes, an arrow travels from his eyes across the gutter and downward to the catcher on the bottom corner of the recto-page. Meanwhile, the batter on the recto-page is looking to the third-base coach for directions.

What a fun introduction to the game! This book is bound to cement some parent-child bonding over America's Pastime. 

And for older fans who want to know more trivia:



Baseball Then to WOW! by the Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids. 80 p. Time Inc. Books/ Liberty Street, April 5, 2016. 9781618931429. 

The ball players as well as the lettering on the cover of this attractive volume are embossed, adding a tactile element. The end-page decoration is striped in a vaguely Yankee pinstripe to this casual Bronx Bombers fan. The contents are divided into four chapters with the first two entitled, The Basics and The Players. The Basics covers the evolution of the rules illustrated on a time-line. The two leagues each receive a double-page spread. Four pages are devoted to the changing fashions of the uniforms, with the wild 1970s getting its own full page. Finally, gloves, masks and stadiums are covered.

The Players chapter is divided into types - sluggers; "five-tool" players; hit men; glove wizards; and speedsters. A section explains how the speed of pitches has been measured through the years. Two pages feature the secret weapons of a variety of pitchers. Two pages discuss the first non-white players, such as African-American, Latin American and Japanese players. Then, there are the characters, the larger-than-life players known for their humor in addition to their talent, such as Yogi Berra. No baseball book would be complete without a section featuring milestones.

 A chapter called "Play Ball" features information on managers, pitching staff, umpires, women's baseball, dynasties, with the Yankees garnering two full pages of information and "the rest" sharing the next two. The concluding chapter, Fan-tastic, takes a look at merchandising, aka further exploitation of fans to increase revenue. The cynicism is all mine. This chapter looks at endorsements, the history of the baseball card and includes the popularity of baseball video games and fantasy leagues.

Baseball Then to WOW! is a fine addition to any collection. The clean layout provides an organized, humorous journey for the eyes. Text boxes are crammed with fun facts but are not overwhelming. New and seasoned fans of the game will find much to enjoy here.



Saturday, April 9, 2016

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: 



Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres. 166 p. Little, Brown and Company, January, 2017. 9780316306874.

Publisher synopsis: Estefania "Stef" Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family's taco truck. She wants nothing more than for Papi to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be a distant memory. Then maybe everyone at school will stop seeing her as the Taco Queen.

But when her family's livelihood is threatened, and it looks like her wish will finally come true, Stef surprises everyone (including herself) be becoming the truck's unlikely champion. In this fun and heartfelt novel, Stef will discover what matters most and ultimately embrace an identity that even includes old Tia Perla.



Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz. 304 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 18, 2016. 978037403129.

Publisher synopsis: To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:
-The number four
-The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
-A crisp white pad of paper
-Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines.

What's not perfect is Molly's mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is she her mother would never miss that. Right...?


But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.


Purchased:


A Prince without a Kingdom by Timothée de Fombelle. Unabridged recording on 9 compact discs, 11 hours, 14 minutes. Performed by David de Vries. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, August, 2015. 9781491588239.

Publisher synopsis: The breathless sequel to the critically acclaimed Vango: Between Sky and Earth.

Vango has been in danger for as long as he can remember. He has spent his life running along rooftops, fleeing to mysterious islands, and abandoning those he loves in order to protect them from the demons of his past. But Vango will not run for much longer. 

The mystery of his identity ha started to unravel, and no in the shadows of war and persecution, the truth will finally come to light.

I read Vango: Between Sky and Earth with my ears and enjoyed it so much that I thought I'd read the sequel with my ears as well. Unfortunately, my local library consortium does not own it and the audio was too pricey for my blood. I ordered the hardcover for my library and figured that I would get to it eventually. I don't recall what made me think of looking up the audio again a week or so ago, but when I did, I found that Walmart was selling the audio at less than half the price so I snagged it. I also found that Walmart sells the shampoo I use for my grey hair. My local establishment stopped stocking it. So there ya go!

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Memes: You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.


You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison. 275 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July, 2015. 9780544301122.

Publisher synopsis: “Do not ignore a call from me when you know I am feeling neurotic about a boy. That is Best Friend 101.” —Nash

        Maggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.

First Line: Let's get one thing straight from the very beginning: I am not one of those shrinking-violet fat girls.

Page 56: "Maybe," I say, and I want to, but I'm wondering how Nash will feel if Tom and I become hiking buddies.
      We are a quarter mile from the trailhead, back on the flat of the valley floor, when I hear something big in the brush just east of the trail. "Stop!" I whisper to Tom and put my hand out.

I am loving the voice of this one already.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer. 400 p. Feiwel and Friends, November 8, 2016. 9781250044655.

Publisher synopsis: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

I absolutely adored The Lunar Chronicles. I thought the fairy tales with a sci-fi twist were pure genius! So I am really looking forward to this Alice in Wonderland prequel.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

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.

Purchased: I am so thrilled to be rereading this with both my eyes and my ears. I rarely reread books because I just don't have the time. The last book I reread both with my eyes and ears (multiple times) was Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.


The Great American Whatever
by Tim Federle. 278 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 29, 2016. 9781481404099.


Unabridged book on 6 compact discs. Narrated by the author. Includes an interview with the author. Simon & Schuster Audio, March 29, 2016. 9781442395008.

Publisher synopsis: From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever comes a laugh-out-loud sad YA debut that’s a wry and winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories—one unscripted moment at a time.


Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

For review:

Breaker by Kat Ellis. 335 p. Running Press Book Publishers, May 24, 2016. 9780762459087.

Publisher synopsis: Kyle Henry has a new name, a new school, and a new life—one without the shadow of the Bonebreaker hanging over him. It's been a year since his serial killer father's execution, and it finally looks like things are turning around for Kyle.
Until he recognizes the girl sitting in the back row in homeroom.

Naomi Steadman is immediately intrigued by Killdeer Academy's newcomer. She does not know he is the son of the man who murdered her mother. What she does know is she and Kyle have a connection with each other—and a spark that Kyle continues to back away from.

Soon after Kyle’s arrival, the death count on campus starts to rise. Someone is set on finishing what the Bonebreaker started, and murdering ghosts from the past may be the only thing that can stop the spree.

Told in alternating viewpoints, Kat Ellis’s tale of mystery and horror is full of broken bonds and new beginnings.

Doreen by Ilana Manaster. 333 p. Running Press Book Publisher, May 10 2016. 

Publisher synopsis: A modern makeover of The Picture of Dorian Gray
When Doreen Gray walks in the vaulted doorway of elite Chandler Academy, she is a sad, disastrous mess of acne, frizzy hair, and low self-esteem. Heidi Whelan, social-climber turned queen bee, takes one look and knows she has found her new protégé. Heidi gets her bookworm roommate Biz Gibbons-Brown to take a picture of Doreen and work her Photoshop magic. The result? A stunning profile pic that looks nothing like the real Doreen.
To the shock of all three, Doreen wakes up the next morning the embodiment of the glossy, digital makeover. Now, in order to maintain her sleek façade, Doreen has to hide her real self and the only hardcopy of the original photo. What will the secret do to her soul? All the while, Heidi is keeping secrets of her own.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Taking Stock - March 2016

Haven't done a "Taking Stock" post in a while.

Total posts this month: 20
Total books read this month: 25
Total books read this year: 87

Challenges:
Audio: 5/22
Debut: 0/3

The Good: Almost got a book a day this month. 

The Bad: Didn't do too much reviewing!

The Books: * = favorite
63. Bird and Squirrel on the Run by James Burks (3/3)*
64. Robots by Gail Tuchman (3/3)
65. I Survived: the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 by Lauren Tarshis (3/3)
66. Hot Rod Hamster Meets His Match! by Cynthia Lord (3/4)
67. Jack and the Snackstalk by Noah Z. Jones (3/4)
68. A Birthday Cake for George Washington by Ramin Ganeshram (3/4)
69. The Thing about Leftovers by C.C. Payne (3/5) (SLJ Review)
70. The Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson (3/7)
71. The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (3/8)*
72. The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne (3/13)
73. Child Soldier: when boys and girls are used in war by Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanine (3/14)*
74. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the recycling women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul (3/14)
75. Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (3/16)
76. The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke (3/14)
77. Peanuts: a tribute to Charles M. Schulz (3/17)
78. Clink by Kelly DiPucchio (3/19)
79. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hammer by Carole Boston Weatherford (3/19)*
80. Free Verse by Sarah Dooley (3/20)*
81. The Impossible Voyage of Kon-Tiki by Deborah Kogan Ray (3/22)
82. Bake Sale by Sara Varon (3/25)
83. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (3/26)
84. In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith (3/26)
85. Hensel and Gretel Ninja Chicks by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez (3/28)*
86. Playtime? by Jeff Mack (3/28)*
87. Tek: the modern cave boy by Patrick O'Donnell (3/29)*