Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three New Books for Middle Schoolers

     Three very different, but very appealing books for Tweens, or Middle Schoolers.  In Cordially Uninvited, eleven year old Claire from Upstate New York is about to be a junior bridesmaid in the wedding of the century!  Claire's cousin Belle is engaged to the Prince of England, and Claire and her mother are heading to London for the ceremony.  Claire is not sure if this is a match made in heaven, and to make matters worse, she discovers another junior bridesmaid seems determined to sabotage the wedding!  Can Claire put aside her own misgivings to save the day?
     Author Lauren Oliver is know for her best selling teen books Delirium, Pandemonium, and Before I Fall.  Liesel and Po is a great book for middle school readers who enjoy fantasy, especially with a touch of magic, friendship, and ghostly encounters.  Liesl is locked away in an attic by her cruel stepmother, with her sketchbook to keep her company.  Po is a ghost that visits her, and Will is an apprentice to an alchemist who makes a delivery mistake that will draw all three children into an unexpected adventure. 
     Out of Season by Kari Jones is an Orca Currents book, designed to draw in reluctant readers. Maya sneaks out in her kayak every day to check on a family of sea otters living nearby.  One morning, Maya discovers that she is being watched.  Who is it?  Soon Maya is caught up in a dangerous race to save the otters, and her family's livelihood from poachers.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dan Eldon Safari As a Way of Life

Dan Eldon Safari as a Way of Life is an adaptation of The Journey is the Destination for teen readers.  Dan Eldon was just 22 years old when he was stoned to death in Somalia by a mob reacting to the United Nations bombing raid on the suspected headquarters of General Mohammed Farah Aidid.  In his brief life, Dan made the most of every moment:  traveling to over 40 countries, raising money for refugees, and keeping 17 journals of photographs, art, musings, and memorabilia.  Check out this unusual book, and look at the website dedicated to Dan at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Paris, Paris, and more Paris!

I guess I have Paris Fever on my brain.  I am currently reading Paris In Love, by Eloisa James, have Paris My Sweet on my Kindle, and have Paris in Color on hold at the library.  In 2009, New York Times bestselling author, Eloisa James, took a one year sabbatical from her job as a Professor of Shakespeare at Fordham University in New York, and moved her family to Paris for one year.  You can just picture in your mind her husband, Alessandro, son Luca (15) and daughter Anna, (10).  I am laughing out loud at some stories, and feeling quite inspired by others.  Eloisa kept a blog about her year in Paris, so the book is a summation of these posts - some quite brief.  I only wish there had been photos to accompany the text!
Paris My Sweet A Year in the City of Light (and dark chocolate) by Amy Thomas is also a memoir.
Forever a girl obsessed with all things French, sweet freak Amy Thomas landed a gig as rich as the purest dark chocolate: leave Manhattan for Paris to write ad copy for Louis Vuitton. Working on the Champs-Élysées, strolling the charming streets, and exploring the best patisseries and boulangeries, Amy marveled at the magnificence of the City of Light.
But does falling in love with one city mean turning your back on another? As much as Amy adored Paris, there was part of her that felt like a humble chocolate chip cookie in a sea of pristine macaroons. PARIS, MY SWEET explores how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a salted caramel souffle's rise, as intensely satisfying as molten chocolate cake, and about how the life you're meant to live doesn't always taste like the one you envisioned.
Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson is yet another type of memoir, done in photography. In January 2009, Nichole and her family sold or donated most of their possessions and moved to Paris. Long walks rekindled her interest in photography and fostered a love of the city's intimate details. Her work focuses on the contrast between Paris' vibrant colors and neutral facades. Sharing her favorite photos on her blog, Little Brown Pen, blossomed into a three-year photo project later dubbed The Paris Color Project. Instead of focusing on the familiar tourist attractions of Paris, Nichole's photographs take us on a journey through the world's most romantic city, traveling from color to color through objects both ordinary, and intriguing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass has one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen - I couldn't wait to read it just because the photo lured me right in!  America Singer is not a typical girl.  She is a citizen of Illea, a musician and singer, and a caste Five.  In this society, your caste is everything, and dictates what type of life you will lead.  When a letter arrives from the palace inviting America to compete for the hand of Prince Maxon as part of the "Select", her mother urges her to turn in an application.  America is hesitant, because she has a secret love of her own  - Aspen, a childhood friend who is a caste Six.  Keeping a promise she makes to Aspen, America applies, and is chosen as one of the 35 Select, and is immediately swept away to live in the palace with the other contestants.  America meets Prince Maxon, and is stunned to find out that he is not the superficial, arrogent person that she thought.  Will the life she imagined for herself with Aspen be what she choses? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Death of a Dreamer: The Assassination of John Lennon

Howard Cosell, broke into the live television broadcast of Monday Night Football on December 8, 1980 with this announcement, "An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City.  John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the west side on NYC, the most famous, perhaps, of all the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival." Many radio stations set aside their usual play lists, and played the music of Lennon and the Beatles.  The book "Death of a Dreamer" gives us a look at John's early life, a brief history of the Beatles, and his marriage to Yoko Ono.  The second half of the book delves into the life of his assassin, Mark David Chapman, and what made him target the famous Beatle for death.  There were several facts that I did not know about John, like he was born during a German air raid on Liverpool!  He was also raised by a loving aunt and uncle, was never a model student, and his real mother was killed by a car when John was only 17.  The group "The Beatles" grew out of a 1950's musical trend in Great Britain called "skiffle" which consisted of a guitar, and an assortment of cheap, often homemade instruments.  The Beatles were not the only young skifflers who went on to stardom.  Other skifflers included Van Morrison, Mick Jagger (the Rolling Stones), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Roger Daltry (the Who), and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.  I did not realize that John Lennon was nearly deported from the United States in 1972, and spent nearly 5 years at home raising his son with Yoko Ono, Sean.  Near the end of 1971, John and Yoko released Happy Xmas (War is Over) and rented billboards in eleven cities around the world that read "War is over! If you want it"  Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.  On the evening of December 8, 1980, John and Yoko were back at work in the studio, shortly after the album Double Fantasy was released. Earlier in the day, John had autographed the new album for Mark David Chapman as he stood outside the Dakota, John's apartment building.    The moment was photographed by Paul Goresh, who often waited outside the Dakota, hoping to get a picture of Lennon to sell to a newspaper or magazine.  Without realizing it, John Lennon had met his assassin.  At 10:50 pm, Chapman was till standing outside the Dakota when John and Yoko pulled up in a limousine. Yoko walked by first, then John.  Chapman shot Lennon in the back five times, and made no attempt to flee the crime scene. Chapman was obsessed with the character Holden Caulfied from "The Catcher in the Rye" and felt John had become a "phony" and that he could rid the world of him.  The last portion of the book contains facts about memorials to John, and a timeline of his life.  It does not try to "sugarcoat" some of the negative aspects of John's life, like his drug use, or the way he treated his first wife and son.  Instead, it makes the saga very readable, and may bring you to want to find out more about John Lennon, and his music. Ironically, John and Yoko were photographed by Annie Leibovitz the day he died, and the photos appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone on January 22, 1981. If you like the music of the Beatles, the Greece Public library owns 15 CD's that you can check out, as well as some DVD's.  My last two facts:  there were 27 Beatle's songs that reached number 1 on the Billboard Music charts, and they were not all included on the Beatles album "One".  The most covered Beatle's song was  Yesterday, written and performed by Paul McCartney.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Three fabulous sequels have arrived at the Greece Public Library.  Have you been waiting for any of them?  Come in and check one out!
Veronica Roth is the New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, the first book in a trilogy that she began writing while still a college student. Insurgent is book two, and according to a number of reviewer's on Amazon, this book surpasses the blockbuster book one!  It literally picks up where Divergent left off, and has more twists and turns to make you craving book three's release!  In a futuristic Chicago, Tris, just sixteen, must make a choice that will decide the rest of her life.  Breathtaking betrayals, a love interest, according to one reviewer, Insurgent will make you say "Peeta Who?"

"It's been nearly nine years since Bitterblue became queen after her tyrannical father's rule, and the kingdom of Monsea is still struggling. Monsea has undergone tremendous change, but the young queen finds herself buried under paperwork, unaware of what truly happens outside of her tower. So she sneaks out one night and goes into the city, pretending to be peasant in various taverns. It's not long before she meets Saf and Teddy, two young thieves who steal to right the wrongs of King Leck. Bitterblue befriends them and, not realizing she is their queen, the two young men open her eyes to the true state of her kingdom, and the cause for it--betrayal and deception among those Bitterblue trusts the most."  Summary by the Compulsive Reader (Amazon)  Kristin Cashore has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Graceling, her first book, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.  The Ship Breaker, was a Printz Award winner for author Paolo Bacigalupi, and many reviewers feel that The Drowned Cities is actually a superior work!