Saturday, January 23, 2021

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:

A Curse of Ash & Embers by Jo Spurrier. 344 p. Harper Voyager/ HarperCollins Publishers, January, 2021. 9781460756331.

Publisher synopsis:A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.

Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it's Elodie's job to clean up the mess.

When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she'd find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha's final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie's help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it's still better than going back home.

Purchased: nothing! 

Leave a link to your stack in the comment section. I'd love to visit.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Fact Friday: How We Got to the Moon by John Rocco

How We Got to the Moon: the people, technology, and daring feats of science behind humanity's greatest adventure written and illustrated by John Rocco. 264 p. Crown Books for Young Readers, October, 2020. 9780525647416. (Review of finished copy borrowed from public library.)

Happy Friday! Fact Friday features How We Got to the Moon: the people, technology, and daring feats of science behind humanity's greatest adventure written and illustrated by John Rocco. Now, if you are a Percy Jackson fan, you know Mr. Rocco's work, as he has illustrated all the covers for that series and its spin-offs.

This hefty, oversized, gorgeous volume begins in October of 1957, when people all over the world learned that Russia had launched a satellite called Sputnik. Panic ensued. Were we being spied upon? Could a satellite drop an atomic bomb? The U.S. scrambled to catch up. 

The subtitle really says it all. That's how wide-ranging the text is. Each spread brims with text that explains the history, science, engineering and gives biographical background on some of the many thousands of individuals who worked tirelessly to put a man on the moon. Illustrations vie with the text on each page and just beg to be pored over. There are technical drawings, cutaways, and portraits. This is a book that ought to be read more than once. There's just too much to take in. The back matter is superb. It gives the reader a glimpse into all the research Mr. Rocco did for both the writing and the art, source notes, sources, and suggestions for further reading.

Fact hounds and space geeks will adore this book, but so will the average curious reader. How We Got to the Moon was long-listed for the National Book Award and is a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Who knows what other awards it might garner next Monday? A Sibert? A Newbery? This book needs to be in every library's collection.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

#tbt: Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Image: Quirk Publishing

Happy Thursday! I decided to make it a peculiar week and feature Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs for #tbt. 

Jacob Portman adored his grandpa, Abraham and, as a child, loved to listen to stories of Abe's adventures. But as Jacob grew older, they seemed so far-fetched and, well, crazy, which is how Jacob's parents view Abe. Then, Abe is brutally murdered and, with his dying breath, tells Jacob to "find the old bird" in a time loop at a cemetery. Jacob is traumatized by his grandfather's death, so his parents send him to a psychiatrist, who recommends a trip to his grandfather's birthplace in Wales. It is there that Jacob discovers the time loop and the "old bird," Miss Peregrine.

The book was inspired by old black and white photographs of unusual looking children. This parallel universe fantasy has a fast pace, intriguing characters, a vivid setting, touches of horror and gruesome monsters.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was Mr. Riggs' debut novel and the first of a planned YA trilogy that has since expanded into a six-book series. It was published in June of 2011 and spent over a year on the best seller lists. It was adapted for graphic novel format in 2013 and adapted for film in 2016.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Teen Tuesday: The Conference of Birds by Ransom Riggs

Teen Tuesday features The Conference of Birds, the fifth novel of the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs. This book opens with Jacob on the run with Noor Pradesh, a new Peculiar but one who is sought after by the Peculiars' enemies because she is the subject of a prophecy. The tension is high from the very first page as Jacob goes against Miss Peregrine's directive and sneaks out to rescue Noor. Noor has recently become Peculiar and she's baffled, terrified and missing her foster mother, V, whom H told Jacob with his dying breath to find. Mysteries pile up and with very few clues to follow, Jacob and the Peculiars very survival is at stake. Of course, the ending is a cliffhanger! Stay tuned to Waiting on Wednesday to find out.

The books really should be read in order to fully appreciate the world and characters that Mr. Riggs created. They are just the ticket for readers who love eerie and horror. I read this one with my ears and Kirby Heyborne was back to narrate. He is one of my favorite narrators and does such a terrific job performing these books.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Desolations of Devil's Acres by Ransom Riggs

Happy Inauguration Day. Here's to hoping a nation heals.

Waiting on Wednesday features The Desolations at Devil's Acres by Ransom Riggs. This is the sixth and final book of the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series and the publisher promises it will be epic!

The last thing Jacob saw before he lost consciousness in the maddening cliffhanger that concluded The Conference of Birds, was a face he never thought he'd see again. Now that Caul is back and amassing an army, Jacob and Noor must reunite with Miss Peregrine and the Peculiars and decipher the meeting place of the seven prophesied ones before it's too late.

The Desolations at Devil's Acres releases on February 23!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros. Unabridged e-audiobook. ~3 hours, 35 minutes. Read by Anthony Ray Perez. Quill Tree Books, April, 2020. 9780062971852.

Middle Grade Monday features Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros. Efrén, our twelve-year-old narrator lives with his undocumented parents in a tiny apartment with his five-year-old twin siblings, Mia and Max. His parents work hard to support the family and are loving and involved. Erfén enjoys school and does well. All this changes when ICE raids his Amá's workplace and she is deported. Now Efrén's Apá has to take on more work and Efrén is tasked with increased responsibility while the family explores ways of bringing Amá home, for the U.S. is really home.

This timely and touching book is the author's debut and it has been getting a fair amount of award buzz. I wouldn't be surprised if it wins something next Monday. Mr. Cisneros paints a vivid picture of a working-class, poor immigrant family rich in culture and love who are hopeful and striving for a better life. Readers will empathize with Efrén as he attempts to balance school with caring for his twin siblings, one of whom has some attention and behavior issues and relate to his grief and fear for the well-being of his family. There are moments of heart-melting mushy joy that somewhat leaven the moments of tension and sheer terror.

Narrator Anthony Ray Perez paces his performance well and beautifully conveys Efrén's love and worry for his family. This is a book that belongs on all library shelves. Timely, relevant, important. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

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:

Image: Penguin Random House

Treasure of the World by Tara Sullivan. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Young Readers Group, February 23, 2021. 9780525516965.

Publisher synopsis: A young girl must find a way to help her family survive in a desolate and impoverished Bolivian silver mining community in this eye-opening tale of resilience.

Twelve-year-old Ana wants nothing more than to escape the future set for her and her classmates in her small mining village. Boys her age are beginning to leave school to become silver miners and girls her age are destined to one day be the wives of miners. But when her often ill eleven-year-old brother is forced by their demanding father to start work in the mines, Ana gives up her dreams of school to volunteer in his place. The world of silver mining though is dark and dangerous and the men who work there don’t want a girl in their way. Ana must find the courage to not only survive but save her family after the worst happens and a mining accident kills her father and leaves her brother missing.

Purchased: nothing!

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a link to your Stacking post and I will stop by your post. Happy reading!