Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Graphic Pick: Sisters

Sisters
by Raina Telgemeier
Graphix (Scholastic)
2014
208 pages
full color
ISBN: 9780545540067

Available August 26, 2014

Raina Telgemeier has done it again! She continues to reach tween and teen readers with her humor, candor, teen angst, sister sibling rivalry and captivating art.

Only child Raina dreams of becoming a big sister, but she has no idea how horrible her life is about to become. From the time baby Amara arrives, Raina's world is turned upside down. Not only is she not the center of her parents' universe, she is expected to act like an older sibling. As a toddler and small child, Amara has nothing in common with Raina.

Both girls set off on a road trip with their mother and little brother. The trip takes several days and they see the glorious southwest. The travel by day and camp out at night. Once their van breaks down, the girls are left behind to wait in the car for help or their mother's return. This is just what the two girls needed--time to stew over their troubles and an enclosed territory. They both realize that they are sisters and family and family sticks together through thick and thin.

Tweens and graphic novel enthusiasts will love Sisters. Even though I have no sister, I could empathize with the rivalry between the girls; it's no different with my brothers. All kids vie for their parents' attention and love.  Recommended for reluctant readers and visual learners.

Grade 5-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


Friday, July 18, 2014

Picture Book Pick: The Night Parade

The Night Parade
by Lily Roscoe
Illustrations by David Walker
Orchard Books
2014
page count undetermined (not published on website)
ISBN: 9780545396233

Available August 26, 2014

Beautiful, captivating and friendly watercolor and pen and ink illustrations feature alive, energetic, and wide awake children who leave their homes and go on adventures while their parents and siblings sleep. The children build sandcastles and visit faraway lands. They play hide and seek and paint pictures. They practice somersaults and parade in the night.

An eager dog follows the children on all their adventures. He is a constant companion and takes part in the magical mayhem. The children read books and say good night to their friends. Just before dawn, the children return home and wave at the moon as they climb into their beds.

If you've ever wondered what goes on after the lights go out, this picture book will give you the answers. Charming, fun and clever, The Night Parade is a magical jaunt for young readers and sure to be a bedtime favorite.

Highly, highly recommended for young readers  and bedtime reading time.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Green Teen Pick: The Green Teen Cookbook

The Green Teen Cookbook: Recipes for all Seasons--Written by Teens, For Teens
edited by Lauran Marchive & Pam McElroy
Zest Books
2014
9781936976584
144 pages

Available July 29, 2014

The Green Teen Cookbook is a  unique fresh approach to eating and cooking green for teens--and big news! It's written by actual teens for their teen counterparts. When the editors asked teens for recipes that used fresh ingredients, they received thousands of submissions from around the world. They were surprised by  the excitement that teens had for food, cooking and eating green and seasonally. This little green book will excite the new chef in the teen kitchen and awaken the sleeping chef in all the rest of us.

Many cooks and eaters do not eat green or healthy. We grab and go. We overspend on produce that is not seasonal. We end up wasting food and throwing away our hard earned money. The Green Teen Cookbook shows cooks how to plan and prepare tasty food following a few easy rules.

Eating seasonally allows eaters and cooks to eat healthy, more flavorful foods at a premium price. Tomatoes in season are delicious at every meal--slice them on a sandwich, puree them for a sauce or make a nice salsa using the fresh bounty.  Zucchini and asparagus are also seasonal gifts.  Once these foods are gone for the season, look forward to eating them again next year.  According to chef Andy Gold, "Tests show that leafy greens like spinach lose around half of their nutrients in the first twenty=four hours after they're harvested." No wonder the spinach in the market is not as flavorful as that you pick up at a farmer's stand. It's been packaged and shipped, sometimes over thousands of miles! Eating local produce and products is a big boon to practicing being green. Teens support local growers and cut out the cost of transportation and the burning of fuels to transport those  goods.

Recipes run the gamut of tastes from making your own peanut butter and Chocolate Hazelnut spread (compare to Nutella) to homemade energy bars to seasonal frittatas to Sausage Bolognese to hummus to guacamole. Colorful photos accompany every page; as every cookbook junkie knows, a cookbook just isn't a good cookbook unless it comes with color photos on every page! The recipes included are easy to follow, include quick tips, and are user friendly for beginner chefs.

I say, let's roll up our sleeves, wash our hands, and start cooking! This is one great gift for that foodie tween or teen in  your life!

From the back cover: "The Green Teen Cookbook is more than just another set of recipes: it's an all-in-one guide for going green and eating well."

Highly, highly recommended for every teen wannabe chef and foodie. Grade 5-up with some supervision  for younger chefs.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tween Pick: Found Things

Found Things
by Marilyn Hilton
Atheneum Books For Young Readers
240 pages
ISBN: 9781442460874

Read an excerpt


Lyrical, magical, sweet and perfect, Found Things is a sweet treasure for middle grade readers.

When her older brother is in an accident and kicked out of the house, River begins to talk differently. She remembers a house she has never seen before. River doesn't know how to explain it, but she finds a friend in the new girl at the school. River and Meadow Lark are different from other kids--they are usually singled out and snubbed. River sees herself in Meadow Lark and the girls form a fast friendship. Their outings occur around the river nearby. River finds many treasures from the river and makes a collage of all her found things.

The girls rescue an injured bird and secretly nurse it back to health in River's room. Meadow Lark begins to stay overnight at River's house--every night. She doesn't seem to have a home or a family. She produces a typewritten letter from her father thanking the family for allowing Meadow Lark to stay with them. Meadow Lark is  magical--she seems like a fairy godmother disguised as a young girl--she arrives in time to grant River's secret wishes and to save River from despair and heartbreak.

River begins to dream of the house she sees. She knows that she's been there before but can't conjure up clear images. Her mother forbids her from going near the river saying it's too dangerous.

One of the girls is saved from drowning by a shadowy figure. Their bird escapes and flies away, but River follows a trail of feathers and discovers much more than she bargained for. Secrets from her past and her birth are revealed and River holds on to those she loves and keeps their memories forever.

Masterful storytelling and the kind of story you can wrap yourself up in on a cold winter night or a starry summer night. This novel has Newberry written all over it! Many states are likely to choose Found Things as one of the best for their reading lists.

Simply charming and the best time I've had reading!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Early Reader Pick: Fairy Tale Fun

The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, and Grandma
by Diane and Christyan Fox
Scholastic Press
2014
32 pages
ISBN: 9780545694810

Available August 26, 2014

A cute cartoon cat and dog caper comes to life and careens across the pages of this charming early reader. The buttoned-up cat is reading the story of Little Red Riding Hood to an energetic, precocious dog. The cat, becomes increasingly perplexed, then downright irritable as the witty, wag (yes, pun intended) of a dog continues to question the story.

The cat begins reading until the dog hears that Little Red wears a cape...he becomes exhilarated...he loves capes, and superheroes and superpowers! As the story continues, the dog interjects with questions kids are likely to think of and interrupt the story when they hear it. The dog seemingly wants to rewrite the story so it makes sense! Why would the wolf not eat Little Red when he first sees her in the forest? What is he waiting for? By this time, the cat asks the dog if he wants to hear the story or not.

Uproariously hilarious! Utterly captivating with unique insight and wisdom, this little gem will have wide kid and parent appeal. Giggles galore for everyone and sure to bring a smile. The dog is charming and cool and kids will love him!

Highly, highly recommended for early readers and witty parents. What a great whimsical romp with the clever, quizzical canine and forthright feline.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F&G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.



Monday, July 7, 2014

The Burn Outs Book Giveaway and Review

 

I have FIVE free copies of The Burn Outs up for grabs! Scroll down for details how to win a free copy of The Burnouts!




my review:

The Burnouts
Quarantine, book 3
by Lex Thomas
Egmont
2014
272 pages
ISBN: 9781606843383

Available July 22, 2014 (date from publisher's website)

The Burnouts takes readers out with a flash, bang, boom! Lightning paced, reeking of madness, sadness, grittiness, and dirt, The Burnouts delivers a TKO.

Brothers Will and David are reunited on the outside of McKinley, but both of them feel the  need to save Lucy who remains inside. There is talk that the government has finally found a cure for the infected and David wants to travel to Minnesota and check it out. Meanwhile, things have deteriorated beyond control inside the high school.

Gangs of kids roam the school looking for food, fights, and drugs. Some will do anything for a quick high: sniff gasoline, markers, paint or whatever they can "cook" up. There is no medicine and no clean water. Kids are dying every day waiting to be evacuated. Only the lucky will survive; only the sly will live to see another day.

Lucy is all alone--she's smart and  savage when she needs to be. Having survived a few battles of her own, she is not ready to face any more strife. When she realizes that both Will and David have entered the school, she is afraid for them all. How will the three of them escape the madness? And how will they remain human?

Book 3 is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Recommended for high school readers and fans of the trilogy. This book is much edgier than The Hunger Games trilogy. The Burnouts is intended for mature readers--I do NOT recommend it  for middle school readers. Blood, gore, sex, deviant acts, and drug use abound. Although The Burnouts depicts a world gone mad, it is certainly a world that humans can imagine--in our darkest nightmares.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

For your chance to win a free copy:

Post a comment to the blog and please include your first name, city, state and email contact. Deadline for posts is July 21 at noon MST! Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Winners will be notified on July 22 in the afternoon. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York. Good luck and start posting, Pamela

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Crime? Pick: The Art of Secrets

The Art of Secrets
by James Klise
Algonquin
2014
255 pages
ISBN: 9781616201951

All I can say is: WOW! The Art of Secrets will rock your world! Readers will be invested in the many faceted characters of the main characters and  bit players who tag along for the ride but provide insight will pull the story along. James Klise has written a teen tour-de-force so compelling and lavishly layered  that it is sure to become a classic.

A tragic apartment fire destroys an immigrant family's American dream; Saba Khan's family would be homeless and penniless if not for the generosity of wealthy strangers who let Saba's family stay in their luxury condo rent free. Others step in with donations and Saba's online presence explodes. Students in Saba's  prestigious school offer to hold a fundraiser to help her family.

When it's discovered that the fire was set and obviously arson, questions are raised. Could the Khan's be looking for a handout, or is this a hate crime? Someone so enraged with "outsiders" set the fire knowing it would destroy the family? Maybe even hoping to kill members of the family? The school is rife with opinions which bleed over to Facebook.

The students at the school believe in Saba as a victim, and won't bow to pressure from outsiders who gossip that the Khans set the fire themselves. When pieces of donated art are discovered to be hidden gems of  Chicago artist Henry Darger--an artist whose works are considered "outsider" but priceless--all forms of human sins are revealed. The school principal sees the chance to raise money for her floundering budget, the Khans realize they could be "rich" and feel blessed but unworthy, students begin to whisper, the police investigate, the school art teacher dreams of having a closer look, and hungry journalists descend upon the school hoping for the scoop of the century.

Readers will be sucked in the vortex that is The Art of Secrets--secrets truly are an art, and this page turner proves it. James Klise has written a novel that will make readers question what is right and what is wrong. A reader is likely to see the issue one way at the opening of the book, but do a complete 180 when the truth is revealed. This one left me gasping for breath! Thank you, James Klise, for one helluva ride!

Highly, highly recommended for mature readers. The twists and turns of the plot make this a more difficult read but highly worth your time!  Anyone who loves a great, dark tale full of intrigue and drama will love The Art of Secrets.

Grade 8-up due to nuances and subtle storytelling. The story is told in what appears at first a haphazard and difficult way--it is a series of interviews, Saba's journal entries, monologues, articles and conversations--but as the story gains momentum, readers realize it is told in a uniquely sublime way. The only way it could be told. I say hurrah, James Klise! I believe you have a runaway winner of a book, likely to cause a lot of buzz and be selected for quite a few honors. Good luck, sir.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.



This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Series Pick: The Wicked Within

The Wicked Within
by Kelly Keaton
Simon Pulse
2014
280 pages
ISBN: 9781442493162

(sequel to Darkness Becomes Her)


Fast paced and thrilling, set in the backdrop of a ruined New Orleans, and rife with creepy, crawl-y things that beg for the cover of the night, The Wicked Within does not disappoint.

Ari is on a mission to find the cure that will release her from  the Gorgon curse that will turn her into a Gorgon by her next birthday. If she can stop it and figure out a way to save love interest Sebastian from himself and what he's become, she may be able to defeat Athena once and for all. The stakes are high and Athena wants everything.

Ari must find the Hands of Zeus, bring Athena's baby back to her, claim a cure for impending curse, fix Sebastian and possibly raise an ancient, possibly and quite probably evil  god from his eternal sleep. Ari seeks the help and vision of the River Witch for answers. Little Violet, always the  enigma, is more of a puzzle than ever and holds  secrets that may save all of them.

Sparks fly between Ari and Sebastian, but they are ill-fated and not meant to be together. Henri provides Ari's much needed sidekick and side love interest, but the plot does not stray far from killing ancient gods and trying to stop Ari's impending doom. Love takes a back seat to the more important things--like staying alive and staying human--and for that I love The Wicked Within. It's hard to think about romance when ancient gods and their minions can pop up anywhere and everywhere.

Does Ari dare to seek help by raising an ancient, unknown god who may desire much more than even Athena does? Or does she dare trust Athena to keep her word--even though Athena's been known to be capricious and spoiled in the past? Can Ari save Sebastian and their love? Will Sebastian give up everything for the girl he loves?

Fans of the series will love The Wicked Within! If you haven't read the first two books, what are you waiting for? This is the most fun you can have with ancient Greek gods!

Highly, highly recommended for paranormal fans and readers of the series. Grade 7-up, some steamy scenes. Caution: language! The author uses swear words in this book--it does not seem necessary and I will caution the language here. F-bombs a few times.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher.  I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fun Mystery Pick: Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile
by Marcia Wells
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2014
240 pages
ISBN: 9780544238336

Eddie Red Undercover is that one middle grade book that will make you happy to be a kid or to be a kid again (for some of us)! It's great fun, packed with nerd-i-ness, art,  history, museums, New York's artsy charm and bustle, a great father/son duo who share some great moments, a crusty old New York detective who has a heart of gold underneath it all, and a mystery worth uncovering, plus a few serious-ly strange goons who deserve what they get.

Edmund  (code name "Eddie Red") is lucky (or cursed) enough to be blessed with a photographic memory; he says it's just that he remembers details that other people don't notice, for example, someone's name on their nametag or which side they part their hair on. He is witness to a crime in the alley and sees the assailant escaping. He is able to convince the police sketch artist that he can sketch the perp's likeness. When Eddie takes up the charcoal pencil, he draws the likeness of a known art thief the cops have been trying to bust.

Eddie and his father are offered a deal. Eddie can hang around art galleries and watch people using his particular skills to see if anything or anyone seems "off." His father will pretend to be a tourist but be within sight at all times. Eddie will be paid minimum wage for his hours, but if they crack the stolen art case, his expensive private school tuition will be paid by the police department.

Eddie meets Detective Bovano who is not exactly a warm and fuzzy person. Bovano doesn't want to work with a kid--even a genius like Eddie. Bovano has great fun in constantly calling Edmund by the wrong name "Eddie" and adds the "Red" himself. "Eddie" doesn't really seem to mind as long as he can earn the tuition to stay in school with his best nerd friend Jonah.

Surveillance heats up and Eddie is in danger. The art ring is out for a big heist and it's up to Eddie to figure out the puzzle. The ringleader has a thing for puzzles and Eddie (with Jonah's help) is up to the challenge of breaking the code.

Highly, highly recommended for any mystery fan! Great fun, great story, great character!

Grade 5-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)





Friday, June 6, 2014

Tales From a Not-So-Glam TV Star (Dork Diaries, 7)

Tales From a Not-So-Glam TV Star
by Rachel Renee Russell
with Nikki Russell and Erin Russell
Aladdin
2014
320 pages
ISBN: 9781442487673


Rachel Renee Russell just keeps getting it right; this time, with the help of her two young daughters. They each co-wrote the book with their mother and their voice shines through and captivates. This Dork Diaries delivers!

Nikki Maxwell is back and she's true to her loveable dorky self. When she gets a phone call from famous  television producer Trevor Chase to meet him at the local Bad Boyz concert to discuss recording her band's song, Nikki accepts back stage passes for herself and her BFFs Zoey and Chloe. The girls are told to pick up their passes at the box office. There's only one problem: MacKenzie! Mean girl MacKenzie just happens to be at the box office when they show up and she swipes their passes and masquerades with her friends as Nikki's entourage. A cranky security guard denies Nikki and her BFFs access into the concert, even though they tell him their passes are either stolen or missing. The girls sneak in and are mistaken as backup dancers and glammed up by the make up and hair team. An outrageous run in with all parties  backstage turns into a true melee until Trevor Chase shows up and sorts everything out.

He offers Nikki a reality tv show, much to MacKenzie's seething chagrin! Everywhere Nikki goes with cameras following her, MacKenzie is sure to show up and try to steal Nikki's thunder. Lucky for Nikki, each time she ends up  on top with more and more fans.

Even though being a pop princess and a reality show star sounds glamorous, Nikki can't find time for Brandon without cameras following her. As she becomes more famous, she is pushed away from Brandon and she worries about it.

Girls will cheer on Nikki! It's nice to see the underdog achieve success and trump the beautiful and evil girl. Nikki is charming, adorable, and dorky. She will encourage all of us to embrace our inner dork. The Dork Diaries series picks up speed with each book, gaining more and more of a worldwide following. It has everything a young reader could ask for: a perky, funny, captivating protagonist, an evil, manipulative villain--MacKenzie, two sidekicks who truly have Nikki's back, a cute and sweet love interest--Brandon, quirky parents--Nikki's father owns an extermination service and drives around in a van with a giant cockroach on top, and a cast of minor characters--each enriching the story and Nikki's character.

This is a winning book that is sure to please.

Highly, highly recommended grade 5-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)





Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Sound
by Sarah Alderson
Simon Pulse
2014
308 pages
ISBN: 9781442499331

British  teen Ren Kingston is visiting America as a nanny. Just getting over a break-up with her first boyfriend, Ren decides it's the perfect time for escape. She lands a job as a live in nanny for two small children, baby Braiden and precocious Brodie. Between their day care and summer camp hours, Ren has a lot of "off" time to explore the town and walk the beach of Nantucket. She even learns to drive on the right side of the road (the American side--the British drive on the left side of the road--a custom steeped in history that left your sword arm--your right arm--free to defend yourself against enemies. I don't hear about any incidences of sword fighting motorists run amok, so driving on the left seems nonsensical).

Summers in Nantucket cater to a wealthy crowd of old money and year round town kids. The battle lines are clearly drawn in the sand and Ren tries to walk the fine line between the two warring groups. The trust fund babies stick together and party hard; they have no rules and are seemingly above the law while the town kids are expected to worship them. When Ren meets handsome, mysterious Jeremy, she is intrigued. Then she meets local bad boy Jesse and is warned to stay away from him--he's trouble.

As she is drawn further into the feud between the two boys, a nanny is found murdered. Megan--a friend of Ren's from back home-is worried about Ren's safety. This is the second summer that a young nanny has been murdered, and a serial killer may be on the loose targeting foreign nannies.



Readers will like the gossip-y pace and beach setting. This is the perfect book for a summer beach read with enough mystery and murder to keep things interesting. Ren's voice comes through loud and clear and it is brilliantly British! Her comments about American pop culture, Gossip Girl references, our weird obsession of throwing the word "LIKE" into sentences at least every other word; example: Ren like thinks it's like weird that Americans like the word like so much, ring too true.

Recommended for readers who like a breezy summer read and anyone who loves a British accent that comes alive on the pages.

Grade 9-up. Partying, mature content.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)






Monday, June 2, 2014

Crafty Pick: Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects: Easy To Pick Up, Hard To Put Down

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects: Easy To Pick Up, Hard To Put Down
by Sophie Maletsky
Zest Books
2013
240 pages
ISBN: 9781936976546

Duct tape has many household uses and my father swears that duct tape and  a little ole down home ingenuity can fix just about anything, but who knew duct tape was the new go-to for crafting and projects? Since duct tape is versatile and now colorful, it can be used in many craft projects.

This how-to guide features 58 projects from earring trees and Iphone cases to lanyards and  backpacks. Chapter One gets the beginner started. It outlines the three most important needs: a work surface which is  the most important thing since duct tape sticks to everything. Duct tape is made by various suppliers--some come in only a few colors while Duck brand comes in colors and patterns. The price of tape varies as well. A good pair of scissors and you're all set!

Each project features  easy to follow  step-by-step instructions with photos of each step. The skill level is listed by the project name as well as the projected time it takes to complete the project.

Crafters, tweens and teens will be excited to try and make duct tape projects they can make, wear and give as gifts.

Recommended grade 5-up and for any crafter.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)




Friday, May 30, 2014

Series Pick: The Burnouts (Quarantine, book 3)

The Burnouts
Quarantine, book 3
by Lex Thomas
Egmont
2014
272 pages
ISBN: 9781606843383

Available July 22, 2014 (date from publisher's website)

The Burnouts takes readers out with a flash, bang, boom! Lightning paced, reeking of madness, sadness, grittiness, and dirt, The Burnouts delivers a TKO.

Brothers Will and David are reunited on the outside of McKinley, but both of them feel the  need to save Lucy who remains inside. There is talk that the government has finally found a cure for the infected and David wants to travel to Minnesota and check it out. Meanwhile, things have deteriorated beyond control inside the high school.

Gangs of kids roam the school looking for food, fights, and drugs. Some will do anything for a quick high: sniff gasoline, markers, paint or whatever they can "cook" up. There is no medicine and no clean water. Kids are dying every day waiting to be evacuated. Only the lucky will survive; only the sly will live to see another day.

Lucy is all alone--she's smart and  savage when she needs to be. Having survived a few battles of her own, she is not ready to face any more strife. When she realizes that both Will and David have entered the school, she is afraid for them all. How will the three of them escape the madness? And how will they remain human?

Book 3 is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Recommended for high school readers and fans of the trilogy. This book is much edgier than The Hunger Games trilogy. The Burnouts is intended for mature readers--I do NOT recommend it  for middle school readers. Blood, gore, sex, deviant acts, and drug use abound. Although The Burnouts depicts a world gone mad, it is certainly a world that humans can imagine--in our darkest nightmares.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)




MIddle Grades Pick: Shipwreck Island

Shipwreck Island
by S.A. Bodeen
Feiwel and Friends
2014
184  pages
ISBN: 9781250027771


Twelve year old Sarah Robinson is not thrilled to be going on a long trip with her newfound step-family. Sarah's dad just got remarried  and Sarah sees it as a betrayal of her dead mother. She doesn't like the pretty, younger lady her dad chose, and she especially does not like the fact that she now has two stepbrothers, Marco and Nacho. Her dad planned a trip to Fiji and a sailing trip for all of his new family to bond.

After a tedious plane flight, they arrive at a dumpy hotel. The next day, they go down to their "luxury" boat. The Moonflight doesn't look anything like the boat on the advertisement--it doesn't look seaworthy. The family makes the best of it, and soon their worst fears come true.

Caught in a storm at sea, they batten down the hatches and ride out the worst of it. The captain is lost at sea, but the family and boat is caught up near a "deserted" island. As they explore their surroundings, something seems a little off. There is a cabin in the jungle where it looks like its inhabitants left in a hurry.

The family builds a fire on the beach, searches for food and plans to wait for a passing ship to spot them. The first night, they barely escape monster beach crabs. Fighting against the elements and the weird island creatures bonds Sarah with her new family. Marco tells Sarah that there's something wrong with the island, and she agrees. What lies ahead for the family? Will they be discovered by a passing boat? Is anyone really searching for them?

Shipwreck Island is a quick read and should engage reluctant readers.

Recommended grade 5-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Non-Fiction Pick: Shooting Stars: My Unexpected Life Photographing Hollywood's Most Famous

Shooting Stars: My Unexpected Life Photographing Hollywood's Most Famous
by Jennifer Buhl
Sourcebooks
2014
352 pages
ISBN: 9781402237007

Visit the author's website and learn more about her adventures in Hollywood

Jennifer Buhl, like so many starry-eyed dreamers,  moved to Hollywood to find fame and fortune on the silver screen. Just like the thousands of others, she finds herself waiting tables and counting her pennies not her job offers. A chance encounter with a mob of photogs convince her that she's in the wrong business. Instead of waiting on customers and picking up tips, she could be following celebrities and picking up "tips" about their whereabouts.

She convinces Richard, a nice looking paparazzi, to allow her to ride along with him on his next adventure. They follow Britney Spears up a steep canyon road to her house. They're not alone--about 25 other photogs are in the convoy of tinted windowed SUVs. They leave empty handed but Buhl is fascinated. She finds a news agency online and talks her way into a job--a sort of job. At first using borrowed camera equipment, Buhl learns the ins and outs of celebrity "shooting."

Shooting Stars reads like a gossip-y reality show or an episode of E News. There's plenty of name dropping and some name calling--take that, Seal! Readers learn that Seal does not have very nice behavior toward a female photographer, Nicole Richie secretly likes the paps, Paris Hilton will always pose and she drives slowly so the paps can get their best shots. Some celebs are not so nice--Seal, for one according to Buhl and Keith Urban and wife  Nicole Kidman are private people who don't take kindly to a photog sneaking pictures of them.

The inside scoop on the paparazzi is detailed throughout the book. Most of the paps live and work in L.A. which has the highest numbers of stars. Most of the seasoned paps are British--they started their careers as news photographers. Now, many of the paps are from Mexico or South America. Most are male; very few are female. Buhl learns to pay for tips and has a grocery clerk tip her off when a celebrity is sighted in his store.

There are some cardinal sins to shooting photos: don't take pictures of celebrities' children or at their school, don't ever take a photo of a celebrity inside her home or in the back yard, ask if you may take the photo, make eye contact, if you can make a celebrities  laugh, they will always allow you to take a photo.  Also, ugly pictures don't sell. The public wants to see pretty pictures of celebrities doing normal things: walking the dog, shopping for groceries, or driving a car. They don't want to see their favorite celebrity in a compromising shot. No one ever "outs" a celebrity until the celebrity comes out of the closet on his/her own.

Buhl clears up the misconceived notion that celebrities hate the paparazzi; most celebrities realize the paps help keep them current and in the news. If their pictures aren't out there, the public soon forgets them and they are no longer relevant. In fact, it's a well known fact that many stars call the paparazzi to let them know they are going to an event: a Christmas tree lot or a pumpkin patch or even shopping. The paps get their photos, the photos are paid for, and surprisingly, the paps sometimes even give a percentage back to the star.


The relationship between the paparazzi and celebrities can get heated but for the most part it is symbiotic--each needs the other in order to make money and have a career. Buhl gives readers what they want: a chatty book about a young woman trying to make it work in Hollywood and chasing the dream of working in entertainment. With the onset of Twitter, the paps now know exactly where celebrities are located. If a celebrity posts that she's getting her hair done, the paps knows exactly where she is. Instagram makes it easy for celebrities to post their own images and control what pictures of them are out in the public eye.

Recommended grade 9-up. Language, mature situations.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)