Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dork Diaries Pick: Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker (Dork Diaries, book 6)

Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker (Dork Diaries, book 6)
by Rachel Renee Russell
Aladdin
2013
340 pages



Find out more about Nikki and tons more stuff

Once again, Russell has created a sweet book that girls (and boys) will love! And it's all about love...well, and jealousy, embarrassment, heartbreak, sadness, teen angst, major drama, and...SQUEEE! Happiness!

Love is in the air and Nikki is still crushing on Brandon. It appears the feeling might just be mutual. Brandon invites Nikki to have a burger at Crazy Burger, that is, until MacKenzie crashes his birthday party and suddenly Brandon is super busy. The school dance is days away, and Nikki keeps putting off asking Brandon. Everytime she gathers her nerve, something goes wrong and she backs out.

An unexpected snowstorm causes the dance to be postponed, giving Nikki more time to completely freak out. Putting her trust into a teen magazine article, Nikki learns "How To Know if a Guy Is Just Not Into You!" She goes down the list, checking off all the things Brandon has done. Nikki realizes that Brandon is just not that into her! She decides not to ask him to the dance.

Mackenzie is up to no good as usual. She continues to taunt, torment and torture Nikki. Chloe and Zoe are the best BFF's ever. Little sister Brianna tries to help her big sis,and Nikki is beginning to realize that Brianna is not just a little brat, she is sometimes a sweet sister, too.

Nikki is a dynamic, funny, self-deprecating and loveable dork that girls are sure to identify with. Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker is the best Dork Diaries yet! I enjoyed the Nikki and Brandon in this installment over all the previous books.

Highly, highly recommended grade 5-up. Fans of the series will want to watch out for the next title due soon.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I purchased this book for the library. 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, August 26, 2013

Series Pick: The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett (An Origami Yoda book)

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett (An Origami Yoda book)
by Tom Angleberger
Amulet
2013
208 pages with origami instructions

Clever, cute, whimsical, and winsome, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett proves that Tom Angleberger knows what kids like! The Star Wars/origami mash-up has been a huge hit with the middle grade crowds, and Angleberger's antics appeal to this demographic.

The kids at at McQuarrie Middle School are eagerly awaiting the return of Dwight and wondering if he has given up Origami Yoda. Tommy is concerned with what "Fun-Time" is and why Principal Rabbski is so excited about the coming changes. The kids don't have to wait long to find out that all their fun electives have been cancelled due to low test scores. Now, the kids will be watching dull videos of Professor FunTime and Gizmo the Calculator dancing around and singing their FunTime song. The kids will do hours of worksheets until their brains turn to mush. Tommy and friends are horrified! They turn to Dwight and Origami Yoda for guidance.

Yoda (speaking through Dwight) tells them they must launch a campaign against the evil empire...the kids decide to tell Principal Rabbski that they won't pass their tests unless...the electives are reinstated. Tommy comments that going along with Funtime is, "...like helping the Empire build their Death Star." Kellen wonders what would happen if all the kids took the state test using #1 lead pencils instead of #2? "Would it blow up their computer or something?"

Every kid who has ever taken a standardized test or had a "FunTime" type of program drilled into their brains day in, day out will see the humor of this book. Every teacher who has worried and lost sleep over her/his students' scores and performance will laugh through their tears as they read Jabba the Puppett.

When the parents meet with the principal, the Empire is defeated. Tommy, Dwight, Kellen and the rest have followers among the faculty they never even knew existed.

Highly, highly recommended for everyone! Origami instructions included. Fans of the series will love this latest installment.

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, August 23, 2013

Dystopian Pick: Contaminated

Contaminated
by Em Garner
Egmont
2013
336 pages

Heartbreaking, taut, and dangerous, Contaminated pulls at the heartstrings. Seasoned author Em Garner ventures into YA lit with this--her compelling debut YA title--and she is here to stay.

The world has changed after the outbreak of the Contamination. Millions were affected by a trendy diet drink craze. ThinPro, the drink of choice, was guzzled not only by those trying to lose weight, but movie stars and celebs were photographed with the popular drink, and that made it go "viral" (pun intended). No one knew that the company couldn't keep up with demand and had to substitute some ingredients.

Suddenly, normal, nice people morphed into violent, raging maniacs. Because of the popularity of cult movies and How-To Survive Zombie Attacks books, the non-infected begin to kill the Contaminated. The government caught Connies and put them in hospitals and treated some of them with lobotomies. Others were kept in filthy, crowded kennels.

Velvet Ellis has been searching for her mother for months. Her mom was captured, but Velvet doesn't give up hope in finding her. Velvet has been both mother and father to little sister Opal since her parents disappeared. She balances school, a part-time job at a nursing home, caring for her sister and their government subsidized apartment, and looking for her mother. When Velvet finds her mother, she fills out the paperwork to bring her home.

Scientists have discoverd that fitting the Connies with a shock collar controls their behavior. It is the only way Velvet's mother is allowed out. Not everyone is happy about the release of the Contaminated. They are shunned everywhere and people are still afraid of them. Velvet's family is forced from their apartment and she loses her job. How will they survive without a home? What will they do for money?

Velvet has to figure out how to survive. She is now responsible for her mother who needs help feeding herself and dressing herself. After a day or two, her mother seems to know her daughters; she seems to be responding. Could her condition be reversed?

Contaminated is a tear-jerker in the best way. It is heartbreaking and sad, but it is hopeful, too. I loved this book! It is dystopian in the best way; the events are completely beieveable. The grid is not so broken that it is non-existent. There is still a government although it has enforced Martial Law. There is still running water and electricity. Cars can still be filled up with gas although it is exhorbitantly priced. Only the rich can afford cars. Grocery stores are still stocked with food, but again, it is pricey. Only the rich can afford to be well fed.

Contaminated is the real deal--the ultimate page-turner. Velvet is an authentic voice, the story is flawlessly told and crafted, and readers will be deeply satisfied. I could not put this book down. Believe me, teens will lose sleep over this one...reading it, that is!

Highly, highly recommended grade 7-up. No language.

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)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tween Pick: Lauren's Beach Crush (Crush #1)

Lauren's Beach Crush
by Angela Darling
Simon Spotlight
2013
176 pages

Tweens will gravitate to this promising series. Good, clean fun and sweet romance will draw them in and keep them reading.

Twelve year old Lauren Silver has been crushing on gorgeous Charlie for two years! She's been planning how to make Charlie notice her and fall in love with her. This year at her family's beach house, she will set her plan in motion. She has watched Charlie...no studied Charlie...okay, almost stalked Charlie, but it's all for her research. Like her dad, Lauren is overly organized. She's "very precise" referring to her plan as "Operation Cell Phone."

Lauren is excited for her summer at the beach until her mother informs her that Chrissy Porter, her mother's friend's daughter, is joining them for the summer. Lauren isn't sure she wants Chrissy around or involved in her plan, but she tries to make the best of things.

Sometimes the best of plans go awry, but sometimes things have a way of working out.

Girls will empathize with Lauren and her dramatic feelings. They will cheer for her and feel her sadness.

Recommended for tweens 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)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Young Reader Pick: Jenny (A Tiny Twisted Tale)

Jenny
by Calvin Innes
My Little Big Town Publishing
2012
82 pages

Jenny is a quirky, smart, and strong female protagonist--and she's only eight! Jenny is not much like the other little girls at school. "She doesn't wear dresses, or have long flowing curls...You see Jenny is made from a different mold...She's a werewolf hunting eight year-old!" Jenny isn't afraid of werewolves. She knows they're big and strong and scary, but she also knows that they aren't very bright and certainly no match for her.

When a big, scary monster threatens her, Jenny taunts him. He roars and runs after her. She tricks him into running so fast, that when she steps to one side, he runs right into the cat door. Now, Wolfie has his head stuck in the cat flap where he's become a loving family pet! "Only one that you wouldn't want to take to the vet."

Jenny is a witty, clever book which will delight readers. Illustrations by the author steal the show! I loved this whimsical keeper, and children will, too.

Highly, highly recommended grade 1-up (unless a child is terrified of werewolves, but Jenny isn't afraid and the wolves are not brilliant, but the story is!)

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


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

YA Book Giveaway: Contaminated

Contaminated
by Em Garner
Egmont
2013
336 pages

I have FIVE free copies of this new, chilling, utterly disturbing book by Em Garner. Compelling and creepy, this book held me captive! The first chapter was disturbing (in a good way) and distressing (also, in a good way). Em Garner is new to the YA market, but she has only just begun to infiltrate it.

From the publisher's web site:

Reviews


"Alarmingly realistic and absolutely unputdownable, Contaminated will leave you reeling.”—Jennifer L. Armentrout, USA Today best-selling Author







"Confession: This book had me crying in public. It's riveting, relentless--and best of all, real. Contaminated is the most human, heartbreaking dystopian I've ever read."—Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of the Shade trilogy







“Echoing the reality millions of young adults worldwide face daily, this dystopia speaks to a wide range of readers, including reluctant ones.”—Kirkus



You are going to want to read Contaminated! For your chance to win a FREE copy, post a comment to the blog. Be sure and include your first name, city, state and email address. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, September 3 at noon MST. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Winners will be contacted by me on September 3; be sure and check your email in the afternoon on that date. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Egmont and Kristyn. Thank you, Egmont! Thank you, Kristyn!

Get ready to be creepily entertained and start posting now!
Pamela

Book Giveaway: Monsters

Monsters
by Ilsa J. Bick
Egmont
2013
688 pages


I have FIVE free copies of the last installment in the Ashes trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick. Don't let its daunting size scare you...the story inside will do just that! Bick delivers a taut thriller rife with monsters--those outside and those inside. Who do you trust when you can't trust yourself?

Simply post a comment to the blog and be sure to include your first name, city, state and email address. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, September 6 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer on that date. Be sure and check your email after noon on that date. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Egmont and Kristyn. Thank you, Egmont. Thank you, Kristyn.

Good luck and start posting, Pamela.

Super Book Giveaway: The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett
by Tom Angleberger
Amulet Books
2013

For origami folding and more

I have FIVE free copies of the newest in the Origama Yoda series. Kids LOVE Tom's books, and you will, too!

Simply post a comment and be sure to include your first name, city, state, and email address. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, September 3 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer on that date. Please check your email after noon MST. Winners will have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Amulet and Laura. Thanks, Amulet! Thanks, Laura!

Good luck, start posting, and May the Folds Be With You!

Pamela

Monday, August 19, 2013

High School Pick: Bang

Bang (Visions, book 2)
by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse
2013
256 pages

Available October 8, 2013

Horrifying and ripped from the headlines, Bang (Visions, book 2)showcases Lisa McMann's deft handling of characters and dialog.

Jules Demarco isn't seeing visions anymore...thankfully...but Sawyer--her brand new boyfriend--is. One shared kiss freed Jules and enslaved Sawyer. His new visions, and he's seeing them everywhere, are a school shooting. The trouble with the visions, however, is that they're not clear at first. Sawyer sees only the back of the shooter walking away and he sees bodies of the wounded. He doesn't have any other clues. Jules helps Sawyer by asking him questions and he's able to see more and more clues. They ask for Trey's help, too.

The Demarco/Angotti feud has been going on for years. Jules's family claims that Mr. Angotti stole a meatball recipe from them and has been using it to get rich. The Angottis have their own reasons for hating the Demarcos. Jules and Sawyer are caught in the middle of their families' ugly argument and like star-crossed young lovers Romeo and Juliet (Jules, haha!) things begin to heat up. As they do, Sawyer's visions become nearly deadly. If the teens don't locate which school the events take place, they won't be able to stop the shootings.

Recommended for fans of the series. It would be helpful (but not necessary) to read Crash (Book 1) first. Crash is suitable for middle school, but Bang is suitable for high school due to profanity, heavy petting, and violence. It's too bad, really, because those middle school readers who read book 1 will want to read book 2.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publishser. 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, August 15, 2013

Hilarious High School Pick: Don't You Wish

Don't You Wish
by Roxanne St. Claire
Delacourte Press
2012
360 pages

I almost missed this one! Don't be foolish...go...no RUN...to your favorite bookstore or with a few clicks of the mouse, grab up this sweet read.

Annie Nutter is an invisible. She is a normal high school girl...not popular, not cool, not beautiful, and certainly not rich. Annie and her BFF Lizzie dream of the day when Shane Matthews might speak to them or notice them. When Shane finally speaks to Annie, it's a cruel joke.

When Annie's mom sees her old flame in a magazine spread, she realizes that she could have married the man who is now a billionaire plastic surgeon who lives in a mansion featured in Architectural Digest. Instead, she's married to Annie's father, a hopeless inventor who has more ideas than money. Annie questions her mother and wonders what her life would have been like if her mom had married the other man--her old college flame. Through some sort of magical weird twist in the universe, Annie wakes up in another life. She lives in Star Island, Florida, the pampered, bratty daughter of her mother in real life and her new, billionaire father (Mom's old flame).

Annie is now Ayla Monroe. She is the "it" girl at her snooty school and is surrounded by a circle of vicious harpies who shoplift, curse, and break all the rules they can. Annie is mortified and will not steal anything. She has to pretend to be "Ayla," and she can't imagine why these pampered princesses feel the need to steal just for stealing's sake.

Ayla (Annie) is being pushed into losing her virginity to hot boyfriend Ryder on prom night. Annie meets quiet, science geek Charlie and is intrigued. Charlie wonders why rich girl Ayla Monroe is now speaking to him, and Ayla's inner circle is wondering why she's acting so weird and talking to all the nobodies.

Ayla/Annie has the chance to choose which life to live. What will she do? What if she can save a life if she makes the right choice. What will Ayla do? What will Annie do?

Highly recommended grade 9-up. Profanity and talk about losing virginity place this book at the high school level, and it's too bad. So much is cool about Don't You Wish, I only wish the author would have made it middle school-worthy. It's a clever, funny book and Annie is a character girls will not forget.

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, August 8, 2013

Paranormal Pick: Dead Is Just a Dream

Dead Is Just a Dream
by Marlene Perez
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2013
176 pages

Available September 3, 2013

Something sinister is going on in the little town of Nightshade, California. Jessica Walsh and her band of friends each have gifts--reading people's thoughts, seeing the future, being female warriors who protect the town. When Jessica sees a ghost horse on the beach, the first murder is reported.

A rude painter shows up in town with a show of his gruesome paintings and a new owner buys Phantasm Farms, a local horse farm. The girls have to find out who or what's killing people and soon!

After a visit to Phantasm Farms, Jessica thinks that the ghost horse, the nightmares, the painter and the strange girl who can talk to horses are all tied together. Something is killing people with fear. Dreams begin haunting her friend Eva but she can't remember what the terror is exactly.

Caught up in the case, Jessica has to juggle her high school classes, her relationship with hot boyfriend Dominic and his burgeoning music career, her very crowded family home, the arrival of her older brother from college, and policing the town of Nightshade from evil. Residents in Nightshade aren't sleeping and Jessica has to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Dead is Just a Dream is a delightful paranormal read with a little Beverly Hills, 90210 and The Secret Circle mixed in. There's the rich kids and fancy cars and there's the circle of paranormal friends who live "normal" lives when not chasing evil or destroying monsters.

Marlene Perez has the teen scene down pat and readers will fall under her spell. Cover art with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) skull may be off-putting to some readers--the kids attend a huge party on The Day of the Dead at a mansion. While the cover isn't that "girl-y" or romantic, fans of the series will read this book.

Highly recommended grade 7-up. No language. Just sweet kisses...oh, and sinister murder.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive moentary 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, August 6, 2013

Young Readers Pick: Good Night, Sleep Tight

Good Night, Sleep Tight
by Mem Fox
Illustrations by Judy Horacek
Orchard Books
2013
32 pages

Bonnie and Ben are thrilled when their favorite babysitter comes to sit for them. It's bedtime and Skinny Doug entertains the two children with nursery rhymes. The kids fall in love with his delivery and the funny rhymes including "It's raining, it's pouring" and "Pat-a-cake." They beg Doug to say them again, but Doug has tons more rhymes in his repetoire.


The kids yell for more and finally all three of them are fast asleep. Young readers will love all the rhymes. Some are well known, others will be new to most. "This is the way the ladies ride: trit, trot, trit, trot" and "Round and round the garden" are two rhymes that young readers are likely not familiar with.

Colorful, vibant art by Judy Horacek will captivate children. This book could be a babysitter's best secret weapon. If every babysitter was as fun as Sklnny Doug, kids would beg their parents to go out more often.

Highly recommended ages 3-5. This is a must have for bedtime reading.

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)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dystopian Pick: Inhuman

Inhuman (Book 1, Fetch series)
by Kat Falls
Scholastic Press
384 pages
2013

Available September 24, 2013

Gritty, gruesome, gripping and taut, Inhuman begins the next great YA series. Part dystopian, part Island of Dr. Moreau, part survival adventure and all great, Kat Falls hits it out of the park with this book.

Lane (Delaney) McEvoy lives West of the great wall--the wall that separates her safe environment from the East where the ferals live. After a biological disaster, the United States is split apart by the Mississippi River. In the East lies the Feral Zone and it's off limits to humans. To go there is a certain death. Lane wonders what happens in the East but she's not that worried about it until she finds out her father may be in the Feral Zone and may be in danger. In order to clear her father's name and save his life, Lane ventures East.

She meets Everson, a guard who says he'll help her and a dangerous but spirited hunter named Rafe. Lane encounters tons of strange characters and learns that the plague can be halted with medicine--which her father has been supplying.

Her father is nowhere to be found and the three must journey to Chicago--facing dangerous territory and even more dangerous predators.

Lane is a feisty female protagonist with moxie that both boys and girls will love. Fans will want book 2 immediately. I want book 2 immediately!

Gruesome and gory details and edginess make this book suitable grade 9 up.

Highly, highly recommended. Don't miss this one!

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)


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Book Giveaway: Win a YA book

Win an Autographed Children's or Young Adult Book!
We came home from the American Library Association Annual Conference with nearly 100 books autographed by our authors and illustrators in the booth. So welcome to the Summer Book Giveaway!

Twenty-three bloggers are giving away books. Please visit their blogs on the days indicated to the right to enter one or more blog giveaways.

The remaining books will be given to readers of this newsletter, one book per person while supplies last.

How to enter the newsletter giveaway:
1) send an email to online@albertwhitman.com
2) include the subject line: Summer Book Giveaway
3) Indicate "children's book," "young adult book," or "either" in the body of the email
4) Include your full name and shipping address in the body of the email
Winners will be sent a random book in their category while supplies last.
Books included in this giveaway (in various quantities):
•A Wild Day with Dad signed by Sean Callahan
•The Bear Hug signed by Sean Callahan
•A Father’s Day Thank You signed by Janet Nolan
•The St. Patrick’s Day Shillelagh signed by Sean Callahan
•Snowy, Blowy Winter signed by Bob Raczka
•The Year Comes Round signed by Sid Farrar
•The No-Dogs Allowed Rule signed by Kashmira Sheth
•Being Henry David signed by Cal Armistead
•When I Feel Worried signed by Cornelia Spelman

post a comment on the blog and include first name, city, state, and email contact. Winner will be notified by 11:00 a.m. Friday, August 2. Start posting!

Early Reader Pick: Zoe's Room (No Sisters Allowed)

Zoe's Room (No Sisters Allowed)
by Behanie Deeney Murguia
Arthur A. Levine Books
2013
40 pages



view the sweet book trailer

Meet Zoe. She's fun, funny, quirky, cute, and regal. She is, after all, Queen of the Universe. That is, until an interloper appears--meet Addie. She's Zoe's little sister and an unwelcome guest in Zoe's world.

Now Zoe has to be quiet at bedtime and leave the lights off. She can't set the table for morning tea or build empires. She can't explore or gaze at stars. Zoe hates sharing her room and giving up her freedom.

Then a terrible thunderstorm occurs and Zoe is frightened. She cuddles with her little sister and realizes that sharing a room makes her feel safe. She embraces Little Queen Addie and realizes that there's room in the kingdom for two queens.

Cute pen and ink and watercolor art by the author brings Zoe and her kingdom to life. Readers will like Zoe and empathize with her. Her winsome sense of adventure and wonder for the world will touch readers.

Highly, highly recommended pre-school-K.

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