Thursday, September 18, 2014

WHEN A SPIDER CAME TO STAY by Rebecca Crosdale

When A Spider Came To Stay

When A Spider Came to Stay is a short story about a girl trying to confide in a strange visitor that decides to reside in her bedroom. The visitor is a spider. This particular spider is very content just spinning her gorgeous webs and frankly wants nothing to do with the little girl. The girl in the story even tries to offer this little spider that she is so fascinated with food. The spider replies rudely that she does not eat human food and that she would prefer something along the lines of an ant or a fly. As soon as the girl in the story offers the spider her snack again, the spider is extremely irritated and ends her stay in the bedroom. It does not appear the spider wants to leave her works of art, but she can no longer stand the ignorance of her host.

As a reader, I feel that the book was interesting. I do feel that the main character should have been a bit more developed in the grand scheme of things. Overall, I think this book has a select audience. A In the same token though, it shows that sometimes it is just tough to know what someone wants, or what they are trying to get across to you.

OM -- DC

Thursday, September 11, 2014


9780689829536_p0_v2_s260x420.JPG.jpg is an exciting humorous children's book. This book captures Olivia's spunky spirit very well. Olivia is portrayed as an independent princess of a little pig; it is Olivia's world and we all just live in it. Ultimately, Olivia is a sweetheart piglet, with a creative sense, and has no trouble expressing herself.

The use of sarcasm in OLIVIA is exceptional. It makes the book enjoyable for not only the child it is being read to, but also the possible adult narrator. Also, the exaggeration is attention grabbing as well. The Illustration is this book is most eye catching; a lot of "empty space" to give us time to focus on the bright vibrant use of the color red and the distinct use of black. Much of the illustration is arguably in a pen-like manner, which gives us a sense of the abstract.

The whole plot behind this book is quite frankly "cute". The story line is entirely of Olivia's life and just exactly how she controls it. We get to learn how she feels about her annoying little brother Ian, her love and admiration of her mother, and the irritation/love-hate relationship with the random cat.

Moreover, OLIVIA is an ideal book for young girls. It seems as though it would give them a sense of "self" and confidence. The humor makes it easy to lightly learn these aspects along with the moral of being difficult yet being loved dearly for it.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

RUMBLE by Ellen Hopkins

RumbleAs a longtime fan of Ellen Hopkins, I've always chosen IDENTICAL as my favorite book by the well-known YA author.  I now have a new favorite, RUMBLE.  Personally, I think it is her best yet.

Life has a habit of letting down Matthew Turner.  He may be a senior with decent grades, and he may have a hot girlfriend, but just about everything else in his life is a mess.  When his younger brother committed suicide, Matthew's fragile faith in any possibility of a higher power was hopelessly crushed.  Since his brother's death, Matthew has witnessed his parents' lives implode.  His mother is drinking but still clings to her religion.  His father, always more dedicated to the high school team he coaches than his family, has rekindled a love affair with a former girl friend. 

Just when Matthew needs the love and support of his own girl friend, she is withdrawing from their relationship and focusing on a new youth pastor hired at her church.  Matthew's therapist tries to provide helpful advice, but Matthew is just going through the motions. 

When a bold girl named Alexa offers to listen and also admits that she hopes he will leave Hayden for her, Matthew begins to rely on her friendship and is surprised to find himself physically attracted to her as well.  Maybe her freshness is just what he needs to be able to come to terms with his brother's death and his broken family.  Whether or not he buys into the ideas of religion, faith, and prayer, he must find some way to forgive himself and the others who have let him down.

Hopkins explores many topics in her latest release.  RUMBLE examines the role of spirituality, sexuality, and morality, as well as the politics and cold hard facts that rule much of our lives.  RUMBLE will please her many fans and no doubt earn her many new ones.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WAIT TILL HELEN COMES by Mary Downing Hahn

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost StorySince their father left, life has changed for Molly and Michael, and things are about to get even more crazy.  Their mother and step-father have decided to move the family to the country.  Their new home is an old, countryside church that will be turned into an art studio for their parents.  Another change is the addition of Heather, a six year old step-sister.

Molly is uncomfortable in her new surroundings.  Not only will she be sharing a room with Heather who is unpleasant at best, but Molly also learns there is a creepy, old cemetery behind the church.  When Heather finds a hidden grave beneath an ancient tree in the cemetery and begins insisting that she can talk to a ghost named Helen, Molly is convinced that something evil is connected to their new home.

Molly and Michael have tried to accept their new sibling, but Heather doesn't make it easy.  When Heather was just three years old, her mother died in a terrible fire.  Heather managed to escape the burning house but not the nightmares and panic attacks that have plagued her ever since.  Now she spends her time accusing Molly and Michael's mother of stealing her father's love, and every chance she gets, she tattles on Molly and Michael saying they pick on her.  Her latest threats involve the ghost of Helen and what she will do to her step-brother and sister when she returns.

Author Mary Downing Hahn is a master of mystery.  She takes her readers into the frightening world of the unknown that will have them jumping at shadows and imagined footsteps on creaky floors.  WAIT TILL HELEN COMES portrays a world in which the children must convince preoccupied parents that the ghost is real and lives may be in danger.  It is perfect for middle grade fans in search of a good ghost story.

HIT by Lorie Ann Grover

HitRelease date: October 7, 2014

Life can change in an instant.  One moment on a rain morning changes everything for Sarah and Haddings. 

Sarah, a senior in high school with a full-ride scholarship at her fingertips, heads to catch the bus.  A poem is tucked in her pocket expressing her true feelings to a young college student practice teaching in her poetry class.  When that poem slips to the ground, she steps off the curb to retrieve it and she is struck by an oncoming car.

Friends and family follow Sarah to the hospital as she fights for her life.  The police investigate the accident and question the driver who happens to be the young man Sarah's poem addresses.  Haddings tells the police he didn't see Sarah in the rain, but he must come to terms with the fact that he had taken his eyes off the road for a moment and may have ended the life of a truly gifted student. 

HIT takes readers into the minds of Sarah and Haddings as they deal with the tragic results of the accident.  Sarah's parents and friends sit by her side as she undergoes surgery and grapples with her injuries.  Haddings struggles to decide his best course of action after the accident.  Should he face Sarah and her parents and apologize or should he stay away and give them time to heal?

Lorie Ann Grover's newest book HIT deals with forgiveness and recovery.  When a trusted someone makes a horrible mistake should they be forgiven or forgotten?  Grover takes her readers on an emotional journey in which two people must come to terms with a shared tragedy and figure out how best to carry on. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

DEMON DERBY by Carrie Harris

Demon DerbyCasey has always liked to kick ass.  Her hobbies are skateboarding, freerunning, and martial arts.  She has devoted her life to taking risks and making her mark. Unfortunately, instead of becoming renown for her accomplishments in one of her chosen sports, she has become known as the girl who survived cancer.

Having won her battle with leukemia, Casey is ready to resume normal life and reconnecting with her dare devil friends.  Not being at her peak physically is causing some tension as she attempts to rejoin the gang.  When a few of her stunts fall short of the mark, everyone rushes to her rescue, cautions that maybe she isn't ready, and some even question if she should be participating at all.

Upon her return to the dojo, Casey connects with Darcy.  Never really close before, Darcy's excitement about Casey's return is encouraging.  As they chat, Darcy mentions the upcoming tryouts for a local roller derby team.  She begs Casey to join her in trying to nab the two openings on the team.  Darcy sees it as her chance to get back her edge and becomes excited about the prospect of reinventing her rough and tumble life.

As tryouts get underway, Casey is not surprised by how difficult it is physically, but she is concerned about the negative attitude several of the team members have toward her efforts to make the team.  Maybe it has something to do with the incredibly attractive coach named Michael and his obvious interest in her.  She wants to become a part of the group for the thrill of skating, but a powerful attraction to Michael also has her inspired to make the team.  Michael becomes even more attentive after Casey has an unusual encounter with a strange man outside the practice facility.  It is evident that some power beyond Casey's comprehension is at work pulling the two of them together.

Author Carrie Harris's snarky, sarcastic tone is perfect for this fast-paced paranormal adventure.  Although the paranormal nature of the piece has Casey battling demons, she is also fighting the very real fears of overprotective friends and family, as well as her own fears that she didn't deserve to beat a disease that usually claims the lives of so many.  The experience of reading DEMON DERBY has me eager to check out Carrie Harris's other books soon.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

THE WAITING SKY by Lara Zielin

The Waiting SkyJane's life revolves around her mother.  Her mother is an alcoholic, but definitely not the kind of alcoholic who admits the problem and attends AA in an attempt to lead a normal life in hopes of holding a job and supporting a family.  Nope, Jane is the one who must to hold it all together by paying the bills with whatever money she can earn babysitting and whatever she can grab before her mother drinks it away.

This is the only life Jane has known for years.  She does have vague memories of a time when her father was still part of the picture and when her older brother was still around, but it's been years since her life included happy memories.  She knows things need to change, but it isn't until the day her mother gets behind the wheel drunk and almost kills Jane and her best friend Cat, that Jane realizes it's time to act.

When her brother Ethan invites her to spend the summer with him as he and the Tornado Brothers chase storms in the Midwest, she jumps at the chance.  Although she is excited, she also harbors incredible guilt about leaving her mother alone.  Ethan assures her their mother is not her problem, and that she needs to break away and live her own life.  He even suggests that she could stay with him after the storm season and finish her last year of high school while living with him in Oklahoma.

Jane is assigned the job of official photographer for the Torbros.  As she joins them in the van following storms, she learns the ins and outs of storm chasing and just how dangerous it can be.  Along the way she meets Max, an intern from another chase team.  He is beyond cute and seems to be as interested in her as she is in him.  But no matter how involved she becomes in the adventure of storm chasing, she is constantly worried about the problems she has left back in Minnesota.  Can her mother survive without her?  Are the bills getting paid?  Is her mother even hanging onto her job?

THE WAITING SKY by Lara Zielin offers readers a variety of story lines.  The excitement of following killer tornadoes, the frustration of dealing with an alcoholic parent, and a budding romance all combine to form a real page turner.  Jane is a strong female character determined to handle whatever comes her way.  She may not always make the best decisions, but she pushes on and deals with whatever life tosses her way.  Head to your library or local bookstore today and get your hands on a copy!