Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Well, I posted this as a Waiting on Wednesday, last week I think, and then it was actually already out I saw the next night when I went into work at the bookstore. So, I checked it out. In this storyline, we rejoin Jonah and Katherine, siblings, Jonah one of the kids that had been snatched from time. This time they are going to help Andrea, also one of the missing kids, go back to her own time. Andrea was Virginia Dare, said to be the first child born in America from an English colony. She was part of the Roanoke colony that disappeared. In the current time, Andrea's adoptive parents had died in a car accident. When we first begin the trip back in time, Andrea sabotages the Elucidator, the thing that helps them talk to their contact in the future. And now they're stuck in the past, with no way of contact as far as they know. And at the wrong time as far as they know. Turns out someone named Second, told Andrea she could go back and save her adoptive parents first. This Second person wants to change history for the better. So many things on this trip are based on what he has done. They do end up at the right time, to save Virginia's father and do what they want her to do. But what the character who ends up being Second does changes history, and sends ripples through time. While trying to come back to the present, Jonah and Katherine get stuck in 1611, where they can fix things hopefully, and that is where the story ends.

Again, I love the history in these books. The disappearance of the colony at Roanoke is a mystery, and an intriguing one. There is also the word Croatoan that was found at this empty village that has led many to come up with all kinds of crazy stories on what happened. I like at the end where the author talks about all the research and the theories she found that are so much more likely to be what has happened. Great book, and can't wait for the next one! Still wondering what famous child in history that we will find out Jonah is. I think it's so great I was introduced to this series through reading the Mark Twain nominees.

Waiting on Wednesday - Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for.

I was having trouble coming up with books for the Waiting on Wednesday post, so I decided to so some Strict on Sale book research at the bookstore last week and I was sooooo excited to see there is a new book in the Shopaholic series!

In this book Becky has now been a mother for a little while, and still enjoys shopping, for the baby now. They're still living with Becky's parents while they try to buy a house. The financial world is in a bad spot, which means Luke is not happy. Becky decides to throw a party, on a budget of course, and this is where the big drama is supposed to go in. Obviously, can she stay on a budget? And can she arrange a party, that isn't quite as crazy and extravagant as she is? And it seems her shopaholic ways have been passed on to the baby Minnnie, leading to another set of problems. I am so excited for this, it is supposed to be published September 21st.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gateway 2: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

This was the 2nd I chose to read from the Gateway nominees. And it was also a very good one.

Our main character is Kyra, a 13 year old girl who has grown up as part of a polygamist religious cult. Her father has 3 wives, and they live in homes that are in a circle. She has 20 brothers and sisters, and 2 of the mothers are pregnant. Their leader is called The Prophet, and he has some of the men who are his Apostles, all old men. Kyra is a bit rebellious, but in secret. She takes walks outside the isolated compound that the community lives in, and one day she came across a mobile library truck, and began checking books out. Now this is wonderful for Kyra, because at the time the current Prophet took over when his father died, he had all the books burned. Not only is she reading books she shouldn't be, books like Bridge to Terabithia, The Borrowers, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Anne of Green Gables, she also has built up a friendship/crush on a boy her age in their community named Joshua. Joshua wants to choose her when they grow up, and she wants to marry him. They have met in secret, held hands, kissed, made plans. She's even taught him to play piano in an attempt to be with him without sneaking around.

When we begin, her father has heard that the Prophet has brought his name up, which means good things for his family could be coming. The Prophet and the Apostles have big homes, with fancy furniture and all they can use. It turns out this good news is that Kyra has been chosen for her Uncle Hyrum, her father's 60 year old brother, who already has 6 wives.

This is a community where women are treated as property, and punished with beatings. Escaping is almost impossible. Children who are not quite right, if it is noticed when they are babies, well, they may be killed. At least since the new Prophet has taken over. The punishment that both Kyra and one of her younger sisters go through in this book is horrifying. The books is an intense read, and I could barely put it down.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

This is one of the Penguin box of YA advanced readers copies I got last month. The cover as you can see is very creepy looking, almost just like Rosemary's Baby.

Basically the premise is that this is a town where babies disappear out of their cribs all the time, only to be replaced with something that's not quite right. Normally these replacements die young, as what they are cannot deal with things in the normal human world. They're allergic to iron and consecrated ground and blood.

Our main character is Mackie. Mackie is a replacement who has somehow lived to be a teenager. He is allergic to all these things, but his family has helped him to survive somehow. He must make sure though that he keeps a low profile, as the town has in the past killed one other of these replacements for the kidnapping of the babies. It turns out Mackie is needed by these creatures, but the town needs him too. It is time for a sacrifice, and it turns out that it may be Mackie's friend Tate's younger sister that is the sacrifice. Mackie must figure out how to save her, as well as keep his secret from the town, and try to live the life of a teenager.

It is sometimes hard for me to get into YA books that have a male protagonist, and it was a bit at first with this. But once I got into it, I didn't want to put it down. I'm sure this will be a popular book with kids into this sort of story.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good Girls Gone Bad by Jillian Medoff

A bargain chick lit book. I have a whole big shopping bag full of them. Over the summer, I kept one in my master bath to read during bubble baths only. I'm thinking that will be over for awhile as I want to spend all my time reading the books for the Gateway List and other books, and just read them straight through not having 3 or more books going at one time.

Anyway, I wasn't sure when or if I would get into this for sure. I mean, they end up killing, by accident, Janey's ex-boyfriend, or at least that is what the premise of the story is. It's about a group of women who join group therapy to try to help their issues. Most of the women are pretty obnoxious. Janey is our main character, and of course there are lots of things about her I connect with.

Some things that stuck out to me are where she talks about being invisible to guys like her ex-boyfriend Tobias. She talks about guys who are interested in her are ones who believe in conspiracy theories and have large science fiction collections. Which isn't a big deal to me, as I'm into these guys, the problem is that most of them, at least th eones that like me are really overweight. And I know it sounds shallow, but as someone who is constantly working on my own weight, I just am not attracted to someone who doesn't care. I don't get the "cute" nerd's attention.

She also talks about how she'll fantasize while she's in line somewhere, and it is very elaborate scenarios that she concocts. I do the same. When I'm stuck somewhere, like the cashwrap, or even when I'm out walking, I tend to construct whole elaborate fantasies of meeting a guy, like David Cook, and our whole meeting, into a relationship, all the way down the line. So much like me.

Later in the story they convince Janey to go out with a guy she met through a personal ad. She says she doesn't know how to date, which again, that is me. She talks about how she will begin fantasizing about their life together, wedding, kids, divorce, all things my mind will do to me to as soon as I begin to like a guy.

Janey also fantasizes about suicide, because her mom committed suicide. I don't fantasize it, but her reasons for thinking about it, have popped into my head at moments of being really depressed. So I connected with her there as well.

It was better than I thought it would be. And there's a part at the end that I was so mad for what the girls did to Janey that I had tears. So this is not a "light" fluffy chick lit, but a more emotional, thinking one.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gateway 1: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

This was my first read for the 2011-2012 Gateway Award Possible Nominees. The title didn't give me any idea what it was going to be about. However, I should have known from reading Speak by this same author that this would be a very deep story. This was a VERY hard book to read. Yes, when I was a teen I read books like Go Ask Alice about drug use, and I read a biography of Karen Carpenter and her eating disorder. However, as with Speak, I felt a very personal connection to this one, and I'm sure that's what made it so hard. In Speak, I also had an experience like the main character. In Wintergirls, many of our main character Lia's thoughts are ones I've had myself. Now, Lia has an eating disorder, she's anorexic, and she cuts. Neither of which are things I do. However, the body image, the hateful things she says about herself in her mind, those are things I do to myself. At one point, she says she wishes she could throw up. I admit, I've wished I could be bulimic, because they can eat whatever they want, but then get rid of it. Yeah, yeah, I know it's bad, and that's why I'd never do it, but the fact is that it has crossed my mind.

Lia's best friend growing up, Cassie, has just been found dead in a motel room by herself. Cassie and Lia had grown apart over the past few years. Cassie's parents felt that Lia wasn't a good role model after she'd been put into a clinic to help get over her past anorexic episodes. One of them was a car accident where Lia passed out from low blood sugar, and Cassie was in the car. We do learn that Cassie was bulimic, and into alcohol and drugs. So not quite the angel her parents believed.

We hear all of Lia's thoughts, we hear the ways she figures out to try to keep at the weight she wants instead of where her doctor wants her to be. Very hard read, but a good one.

Waiting on Wednesday - Sabotaged

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Got to busy with back to school meetings last year and didn't get a blog for this done. But this week, I'm excited for another book that comes out next Tuesday, Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix, 3rd in the Missing Series. I read the first book in this series as part of the Mark Twain possible nominees last fall. It was about some adopted kids who all of a sudden seemed to be moving to the same town, where people were taking an interest in them, and weird things were happening. It turned out that they had all been kidnapped from the past, kids who would have died in history, saved at the last moment, so that it still seemed in the past they had died, but now they had another chance to live. And all our kids in this had been "famous" kids. In the first book we get transported back in time at the end of the story to save two 15th century English princes as they are about to be assassinated.

The 2nd book was about saving these boys, and putting them back in to the time record without messing their own futures up. And each book I believe will continue to go back in past to right these wrongs.

The 3rd book is going to take us to the Lost Colony of Roanoke to save a missing girl from that time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Primal by Robin Baker

So, every time I was straightening the fiction section at the bookstore, this book caught my eye. Could be the eye on the cover, the title of the book, the description on the back, whatever, I wanted to read it. It sounded as if it would be similar to the tv show Lost, but with more sex. So I knew I had to get it. First I checked to see if it would ever be a strip cover return, but no, it would always be a whole copy return. So I knew I'd have to buy it. With one larger paycheck from the bookstore this summer, I went ahead and picked it up. And even though I have almost 300 books sitting in my office still needing to be read, I picked it up as soon as I finished another book.

Anyway, back to the book itself. It is about a group of graduate students and a renowned scientist who go on a field trip to an isolated island in the Pacific. It turns out this island is home to a population of chimpanzees, that were brought as sort of an experiment to see what happens when they're taken from all the other social groups and made to figure things out on their own. And it seems when disaster strikes the people, the boat sinks, their leader disappears, assumed dead on the boat, and all their clothes also are gone in a crazy wind storm, well now, they are left on their own, to see what people do when away from society. And they do turn primal. And this book has LOTS of sex, and not good sex. When going back to nature, the men become uncivilized, as do some of the women.

However it was a bit hard to get into the story. It's not told as a story really at first, but as the author trying to figure out what had happened to the survivors. We do get a tiny part that is like a story, but then that ends, and we're back to the author trying to piece the happenings together through evidence brought back. And then the very end we're in the story again, as the author travels back with some of the survivors to this island to try to tie up some loose ends. Not sure I'd recommend this, don't know if I'd ever want to read it again, but it wasn't a bad story, just hard to read.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

If you'll remember from my review a while back on the book 13 Little Blue Envelopes, while I knew of this author from seeing her books at the bookstore I work at, I only decided to read her stuff after following her on Twitter for the past several months. She is so hilarious on there, that I thought her books would be awesome. Now, the first I read, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, was okay, but didn't quite excite me like I thought it would. I have to say that I enjoyed Devilish quite a bit more. I could see the author's humor quite a bit more in this book, and I'm sure that is part of what made me enjoy it so much. I don't remember seeing this book in our store, because I know the cupcake on the cover would have attracted me right away. :-)

Basically our main character is Jane, and she has a best friend named Allison that she kind of protects/supports in all her embarrassing moments. The past year there was a really bad thing that happened to Allison, and so starting senior year at their Catholic school, she's hoping to turn things around by getting a little sister. Only, when a girl finally comes up to her, she throws up on her, and makes things worse. However there is a girl who actually has decided to be Allison's little, and in turn she kind of gives her a makeover. Now Jane is kind of a tough girl, her hairstyle and attitude and rebellion at her Catholic school show that to the world. And Jane senses something weird is going on. All of a sudden not only has Allison changed, she's now not talking to Jane very much.

As the title of the book might give you some clues, there has been a deal made with a demon, and Jane and Allison must try to find their way out of it, or give their souls up. Funny, and another thing I loved, was that it wasn't predictable, lots of things happened that I just didn't see coming. And I do love when a book isn't just cookie cutter so I have to read on to see what happens because I have no idea. So looking forward to reading more of Maureen Johnson's books in the future.

And final note, I get to be a reader/selector for the Gateway list of possible nominees for the 2011-2012 year. I'm so excited! I'll chronicle them just like I did the Mark Twain and Truman nominees last year.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

This is part of a boxed set that Penguin publisher sent to the bookstore. I actually received 2 of the other books singly through a Shelf Awareness giveaway, but when I saw that the store had all 5 they had advertised to give away that week, I took the whole box home. (After some convincing by Mary at the store) I chose to read them in order of when they are going to be published, and this one is supposed to be due out this August.

As I first began reading it, I was immediately reminded of a book by Suzanne Weyn that I purchased a recent book fair at the school I work at. It was called somewhat unoriginally titled Reincarnation. So I guess that gives you an idea what The Eternal Ones is about. In Reincarnation we go through several different times, cavemen, ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, World War II, Salem witch trials, all kinds of famous time periods. And some we barely touch on. Also the characters in this book sometimes change, like the girl is a guy sometimes and the guy is the girl. I did enjoy the history, and if you look back on my blog, I'm sure I reviewed this book at some point in the past year.

Unlike the Weyn book, Miller's book is much more detailed, and has actual evil involved. Our main character's name is Haven, in this life at least. Ever since she was a little girl Haven has been having visions, and talking about needing to find someone named Ethan. Her grandmother Imogene believes she has a demon and enlists the town preacher to help her. It seems Haven has been cured, the visions seem to stop, until Haven is a senior in high school and sees a young celebrity on the news who has been accused of murder. Haven knows/feels that this is the Ethan she has been looking for. He lives in New York though, and after Haven's latest vision, her grandmother has tightened back up Haven's life, and has now told her she may not go to college in the fall.

Haven's mother gives her a box of things her father had collected before he died in a car accident. Her father had contacted a society in New York called the Ouroboros Society, because he believed his daughter may have been reincarnated, and that was their specialty. In fact, I believe you can even go check out this group as part of the marketing campaign for the book at

Once I got into this, I didn't want to put it down. I will definitely be handselling at the store, put it as my staff rec, as well as recommending it to students at school. I will also suggest my library media specialist look into purchasing it when she has funds. Another website to check if you're interested is

Waiting on Wednesday - The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

This week I am very eagerly awaiting the latest book by Rick Riordan about Percy Jackson and the other Camp Half-Blood characters we grew to love in The Lightning Thief and it's four sequels.

The info about this says it will pick up after Percy has defeated Kronos and goes back with his friends to rebuild Camp Half-Blood. Specifically we will be joining a new generation of demigods, but fortunately it says they will get a little help from our favorite demigods, which would be Percy, Anabeth, and hopefully Grover as well. This is currently set to be released in October 2010. At one time it was listed as October 22, which would have been my birthday, but since then Riordan tweeted that it was actually a week or so earlier.

Now, if only someone would go back and re-do the movie, which messed up soooooo much from the books, that anyone who had read them came out of the theater disappointed. Just ask my students that I read it with in our Greater Gator class. :-)