QUICK NOTE...Update: 1/2/19
The blog is slowly coming back on line. We were right in the path of Hurricane Michael (like so many others), and while the family is safe (pups, and parents), the house didn't fair as well. So, reading and blogging (as much as I adore it) have to take a back burner. I've finally reached a stage in all this chaos that I feel that I can try to take a few baby steps back into the blogging world. A post here, a post there, and who knows. Hope you stay along for the ride!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
...this inspiring girl from the South Bronx, NY is using books to make her dreams come true! Every year, 12-year-old Neveah Mosher challenges herself to read over 300 books. She hopes to be the first in her family to attend college. Neveah is currently in sixth grade at MS302 and attends an after-school program provided by City Year, an education focused, nationwide nonprofit organization.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
To live more of your 'Life with a Smile', stop by HooplaHa day or night. Want to connect with them on social media? Look for them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.
Until next time...live life with a smile...and follow Neveah's example!
Friday, March 29, 2013
About the book...
Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows that Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance—a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.
Bonaventure's remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mère Letice, plagued by grief and a long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but it is also between the pages of this book.
This is one of those rarer works where to read it is to love it and to describe it in a scant few words while conveying the magnitude to which it impressed you or rather made an impression upon you is quite near impossible. Nevertheless, for the sake of sharing this remarkable read, I shall endeavor to try.
The words will carry you away to the streets of New Orleans to the very doorstep of one particular house on Christopher Street where secrets are a plenty but borne more of self-blame than actual guilt. The characters affected by these secrets are wide spread and how it affects them individually manifests in many ways, but in the end, as with all secrets...the truth shall set them free. Alas, I'm only a few sentences into this post and I'm already ahead of myself. You see, the secrets are not the first thing we encounter or at least not fully, nor are they the heart and soul of the novel; no, that belongs to Bonaventure Arrow entirely and that is how this story begins.
The birth of a child, the welcoming of a new life into this crazy world even in 1950's Louisiana was a cause
for celebration of great magnitude, but the balloons and congratulations will not be arriving in droves for as much of a gift as this arrival is (and the extent to which that gift if known will be years in the coming) there is a deeper sorrow lining the hearts of both the born and just born. A life has been snuffed out as it was really just beginning and the reasons behind it seem to be nonexistent. A crime is one thing but a senseless crime where no sense can be made even if it is a skewed version of reality to ascertain the "why" of such an event is even more burdening somehow and the ladies in the life of our newly born Bonaventure are all too ready to carry the blame as their own. Warranted? Hardly, but kind hearts touched by the badness of life can not be blamed for supposedly acts of heroism; they do what they do until the pure light of truth and understanding can set them free. That light would come from the heart and mind of a child (with a little help both from above and from a kindred spirit on earth)...but not the voice.
Yes, Bonaventure had great things in his future, things that we'd be lucky to have a small hand in if given the chance in life, but he'd have to accomplish these things sans voice. It's not that he didn't have the right equipment or that it was broken exactly, but rather a type of disconnect that happened when the harshness of life touched him while still in the womb. In it's place, Bonaventure was graced with a superior sense of hearing that would continue to develop throughout his life allowing him to hear everything from colors and plant life to the words off a page when not spoken aloud to the birth of a star in the cosmos. I found it amazing how something that could be so limiting on the outside became such a gift and was conveyed in such a way that it wasn't an obstacle at all, even for the reader (a feat indeed!). Bonaventure knows he is different, his own experiences along with the voices of those he loves and those who love him have told him as much and yet they don't let it get in the way of his growth . I can't even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to have to hide that much of yourself for fear of being singled out nor the elation that each new sound, each new emotion heard brought. But I digress, there are more wonders to discuss...
In the end, I have to say this is one read I'll be recommending for many moons to come if not for the sheer enjoyment it provided but for the bittersweet symphony that is its sum whole. The story alone is wonder-mous enough and the history that is sprinkled throughout provides a connection with our reality, but the lives created within the pages deserve to share their story...and I can think of no better way than through the leaves of a book. After all, Bonaventure would approve of our volume-less method and the joy that it brings to our hearts would please him fully...it might even earn an inclusion in his box of joyful noises and memories. This work has brought up many ponderings besides the obvious one of which would be the tale within. I mean can one even wonder big enough to guess the stories that surround us on a daily basis? I would love to know just what the color blue sounds like or the stories that a book can tell above and beyond that which we read off the page. Remove all the chatter and dive into the meaning of a look, the endless depths of the written word, the beauty of nature and the kindness of a gesture. What would one be able to really hear if given the chance? The possibilities are endless.
|Author Rita Leganski|
Until next time...make time to truly listen to the world around you...and happy reading!
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
About the book...
Sometimes it's almost impossible to get your big sister to read your favorite book to you. Sometimes you have to go to great lengths even to get her attention! But if you're really creative and use your imagination, you might just get what you want. Take care, though, not to go too far. Once you conjure up a tiger, there's no telling where it might lead...
I admit, this one had me perplexed at first. How so especially since it's a picture book? ...you might ask? Ah well, that's easy to answer....but it's a two part answer. First off, if you're discounting children's books into a category that is utterly predictable and unable to make you think...THINK AGAIN. You're selling them short as well as yourself because they DO spark thoughts you haven't thought, feelings you have yet to feel, and moments of reflection that you haven't yet reflected upon. Second...the story isn't exactly straight forward, or rather it requires the use of quite a bit of imagination to really take shape. Allow me to briefly explain...
On the surface, we have a young boy left in the care of his sister starving for attention...and a side of lunch.
The attention he craves is easy peasy...READ to him, but she is a typical teenager, immersed in her own world...although her own world is a book in this case as well. (Cool, right? TWO readers in one book! Love it!) Push comes to shove and one bowl of alphabet soup later, we're looking at a young lad fending off a ferocious tiger until his sister wizens up and reads him his favorite story...the end. ^-* See? Now for those going the literal route (as I was), you might have just stumbled at the end...but take a step back and reconsider things from the young boy's point of view.
The lack of attention led to reading on his own. The reading on his own led to opening the door of his imagination. The letters spelling ROAR in his soup played right into the story he was JUST reading, a coincidence maybe, but not in his mind and thus the story has come to life! See? An imagination can be a dangerous thing...but not when actively used as you might have presumed but rather if not engaged. It goes dormant like a sleeping volcano and the inevitable eruption is what creates the chaos
Overall, I'd say this is a cautionary tale to all siblings left in charge of young ones or even a warning for babysitter's for that matter (just kidding...sorta... ^_^) but mostly a great way to illustrate how much fun reading can be. It engages the imagination, conjures family time out of down time and creates lasting memories to share across the ages. So if you're ready for a story with a surprising twist and illustrations that let the literary jungle pounce right off the page, this is definitely the book for you. Recommended read for all ages...or at least everyone and anyone who's not afraid to employ their imaginations.
Review copy received courtesy of Emily at Peachtree Publishers. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their ever growing list of books great for all ages, be sure to stop over at their site, check out their blog, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter...or all of the above; you know I do. ^_^ This book is available now so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.
Now remember, today's post was part of a week long blog tour and seeing how the week is definitely NOT over (and really, with books the adventure NEVER ends!), don't forget to check out all the fun they were having yesterday on Kid Lit Reviews, the second stop of the day over at A Word's Worth and make plans to stop by There's a Book tomorrow for even more excitement!
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Bonaventure had this feeling that Trinidad knew things other people didn't. Not stuff like if somebody happened to eat a cookie before supper or if somebody maybe forgot to wipe his hoes on the mat and maybe tracked some dirt in the house. It was more like he thought she could tell when folks was feeling bad, like when they were sick or sad or worried.-- pg 290, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
My eyes widened. For as long as I worked here, the province's Intendant, the Baron de Descamps, never had come in. Some people spoke highly of him. Others cursed him for not ridding the province of the wolf since he organized the hunts. But I just wished he'd do more about the soldier's debauchery. He just stood by and let them do whatever they pleased.-- location 635-636 of 4650, Scarlette by Davonna Juroe
"He spends two and three hundred dollars a week on books here. Sometimes I think he does it to help me out, too. It's been a hard time for booksellers, especially with all that electronic crap." Maeve's final words left her mouth in disgust, "I mean who would want to read on a machine? You miss the whole experience of feeling a book...", she picked a book off of Kate's stack and opened it. "How is an electronic book better than this? You can't touch it, or smell it..."-- pg 107, The Publicist by Christina George
Monday, March 25, 2013
About the book...
"I had every reason to hate her, my forbidden sister. She was like someone who had died but wouldn’t stay buried. . . ."
Emmie Wilcox was only six when her older sister, Roxy, was thrown out of their New York City apartment. Their stern father’s military-style rules left no room for rebellion, and Roxy was as defiant as Emmie—now an outstanding student at a private school—is compliant: a perfect daughter, un fille parfaite, as her Parisian-born mother lovingly calls her. Two sisters, total opposites—yet Emmie is secretly obsessed with the mystery surrounding Roxy: What had she done? Where is she now? And is there a hidden side to Emmie that resembles Roxy’s spiteful nature? Knowing only that Roxy is a highly paid escort to the city’s wealthiest men, Emmie goes behind her father’s back to track down the sister she fears, despises, and inexplicably clings to . . . and whose influence might run deeper than Emmie ever imagined.
Imagine. Knowing you have a sister, somewhere out there, but you're never able to talk to her, mention her, or know her in any way...all for a parent's fear that you'll turn out just...like...her. Quite a bitter pill to swallow and rather high expectations to live up to without any reason to warrant the extra scrutiny.
Emmie is a model child. Beautiful but in that "not knowing" way. Smart. Talented. Friendly though not exactly popular. She's got a best friend she can tell the world to (of which she'll regret later), grades that'll get her to the college of her choice, and parents that adore her ...each in their own way. What more could she ask for? Only what every other teen or person for that matter desires to know at some point in their lives...to know themselves. Sound easy? For some, it is...for most though, it's a journey and involves some digging both into one's own heart and soul and into those that surround us. For Emmie, the constant comparisons have left its mark and in order to find her true self, the "me" she aims to be, she needs to get to know the one forbidden to be mentioned above all else. Roxy...her sister.
Now that we've met the two leading ladies, though the latter doesn't particularly have a starring role until later in the text, we need to talk story line. The hidden world of the "forbidden" one plays a huge part in the story as it taints everything good that comes their way either because of the magnitude of the secret or simply because they've let it poison their souls instead of giving forgiveness a chance. Both are detrimental to providing a happy ending and yet both still exist here with that same hope and dream of "happy ever after" fading fast. We learn in bits and pieces how things spiraled out of control, how personalities were so similar that no one was able to GIVE in order for the other to FORgive, and how despite our wish for it to be so, time marches on. Emmie grew up and though she still wanted to please her parents, developed a mind of her own full of the curiosities of a young girl needing to find her way, but also needing the knowledge if not the influence, of her older sibling. Roxy grew up too, though away from the eyes of her family, and found a way to carry on when the burden seemed too great. Her lifestyle may be questionable, but she survived. Even the parents "grew up" if you want to call it that...to me, they more or less shut down, at least a part of themselves, and understandably so seeing how things played out but there is something to be said for being the bigger person. We see lives begin, change and end, in both the blink of an eye and over time giving us a glimpse at just how much a small alternation can forever mark our days for better or worse. It certainly made the read interesting for this Andrews newbie. There was however a bit of a sour note detected among the high life, for myself at least...
As the book moved along, we begin to see the other threads of the family's story gathered back up, sorted through and brought full circle (for the most part). You actually care what happens to BOTH sisters. You have a moment or two of sadness on behalf of and pity for the friends and so-called-friends that instigated themselves in Emmie's life. You feel for the parents trying to do what's best while still presenting a strong front, even when it backfires and tears their hearts to pieces in the process. What I discovered is the emotion the author instills into every little thing that happens...you just have to dig beneath the surface and let them come in their own time; in the end, it's what connects you to the characters, their lives and the people in them and truly shows the talent behind the work.
In conclusion, an interesting read that I'd recommend for older teens through adult readers due to some content and lifestyle choices. It explores just what happens when pride gets the better of us, how family is more than simply blood but it's not a bad place to start, and that while you may always be able to go back home, it's best done sooner as opposed to later as one never knows just what life has in store for each of us.
Review copy received courtesy of Melissa at Simon and Schuster. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to visit them online or check out their presence throughout the social media landscape on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and more. This book was released in hardback (Gallery Books) and paperback (Pocket Books) simultaneously on February 26th, 2013 so there's an edition out there right now to satisfy the reader in you. SPECIAL NOTE...be on the look out for book 2 in the series, Roxy's Story, scheduled to hit shelves this September! *adds to wish list*
Until next time...happy reading!
Sunday, March 24, 2013
I know what you're thinking...what in the world does that title mean?!? Well, in short it means something that this reader received; in longer form it means something I totally SQUEED over upon its arrival yesterday in my mailbox...
Lovecraft Middle School, Book 3: TEACHER'S PEST
...coming this May via Quirk Books!
Can't wait to dive into this one. This is one school readers of all ages will be clamoring for one more semester ASAP.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
How entirely cute is THIS?!
No, seriously...it's cute and funny and a smidge crass but definitely worth a read. Any dog lover will find something of their own fur babies in this gem...promise.
*adds to wishlist*
So, what have you seen when out and about this weekend that captured your attention?
Until next time...happy reading!
Friday, March 22, 2013
Madame Croissant's plan to spread her delicious cupcakes across North America is smashing and having her faithful companion Mister Dash as the delivery dog is an ace in the whole! I mean really, are you going to say "no" to that sweet little face of the company? I didn't think so...and he looks so cute in his little chef hat! When Daphne comes to visit, things go from interesting to downright messy. You see, Madame Croissant has a 500 cupcake order to fill for the mayor no less and needs her sous chefs to help her meet her deadline...only problem is, it seems the more Daphne gets involved the more a clean up crew is REALLY needed and far less baking is accomplished. Good thing Mister Dash is so adept at solving sticky situations but will he and his master be able to pull off the order in time, even with the unexpected setbacks? It could make or break the new Cupcake A Go-Go venture...anyone else nervous?
So, cupcakes...who doesn't love them in some fashion? Big or small, sweet or salty, frosted or non, there are so many variations on this classic dessert and more popping up every day, it's definitely a business choice that has merit...especially if you have a recipe as delicious sounding as Madame Croissant. Don't be surprised if you have a serious jones for a cupcake after reading this little gem. Suffice it to say, their kitchen adventures make for a HI-larious time while also revealing that even if someone isn't good at the first five things sent their way, the sixth may just be their niche; in other words, every one some worth, some contribution that can be made that is all "them". Finding it can be a challenge but once unleashed, watch their pride, self esteem and confidence take flight. Now on to the second bit of wonderfulness in this story...
Last but certainly not least, no picture book or storybook for that matter would be complete with illustrations and the ones that grace the pages her are noteworthy indeed! The author's note in the front lends even more anticipation to the beauty we're in store for, stating that Mister Dash's first bookish appearance in Merci Mister Dash! are what inspired her to write another story featuring this four legged cutie. I can certainly see why! Mister Dash is as I said ADORABLE from his floppy ears to his puppy smile to his expressions as he helps them get out of jam after jam. He's definitely one to watch as the story progresses but the humans have a role to play here too! Madame Croissant and Daphne are a hoot! You can see the child like exuberance of Daphne as she bounces from scene to scene, trying her best and yet falling short until glitter, glue, and paper uncover her true talent. Madame Croissant's excitement over her latest venture, joy of having her family assisting her, and hope of success are written right on her face with grace...and really in the face of some of the obstacles that keep stacking up, grace was DEFINITELY needed. From their coiffed to curly hair to their dressed to impress wardrobe choices, these two ladies are sure to make their mark with readers of most generations.
Review copy received courtesy of author Monica Kulling. (Merci!) To find out more about Mister Dash's adventures as well as her complete list of works, be sure to visit her official website, or check out her Facebook page! This book was released just this month from Tundra Books, a division of Random House Canada Limited, so be on the look out for it on a store shelf near you. To learn more about the publisher, stop by their site or check out what's tweeting on Twitter.
Until next time...happy reading!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
About the book...
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it. And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!
See? What'd I tell you. Time travel with MANY a twist.
The basic breakdown is this...young lad, son of a time traveler and a norm reaches his "prime", follows a Tick Tock back to yesteryear, falls in love, and makes a mess of both the past and the future while discovering who he really is both by blood and by heart. How's that? Oh, but wait...there's still so much more!
Bet you're wondering what a Tick Tock is now, right? Well...it's these mechanical beings out of the time sync just like out travelers, only more so. They are steampunk-ish in nature, with minds (sorta) of their own, bent on remaking history in their image, or rather the FUTURE in their image and if Charlie and company can't get things sorted out, they just might succeed. Clockwork devices, mechanical marvels and curious dressing sound like your cup of tea? Ha...think again, while you still can that is. It's amazing the way the ripple affects become SO huge as they traverse time. Something as small as the creation of a door where there formerly was none, might save a life this time around versus its non-existence dooming a life previously, can set in motion changes you never dreamed of. While we're on the subject of characters, let's talk good guys and girls...
So, let's talk summary. Time travel? Check...just not in the traditional sense, if there really IS a traditional sense for this particular category. There's also this nifty write in where when they time jump their clothes, accents, money, everything changes to fit them into the period to which they've landed. (Personal favorite? The "I-was-a-new-iPhone-but-now-I'm-a-notepad-and-paper" transformation...love it!) History as it is and in the making? Check...with pretty scary and dire consequences if things aren't put back together again ala Humpty Dumpty. Characters you care to see through to the end? Check..that's affirmative on all counts; even the bad guys because really, you HAVE to know what happens to them or they come back like Mikey Myers all those times! Family? Check...even if time is threatening to unravel it to oblivion. Love interests? Check...there is a mix too with different levels of affection however this is also where my one gripe comes into play.
|Author Andy Gavin|
Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels.
His first book, The Darkening Dream, has been well-received by fans and critics alike. Publisher’s Weekly called it “gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying.” Untimed is an even more ambitious follow-up. It is a lavish production with a cover by acclaimed fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen and twenty-one full page interior illustrations by Dave Phillips.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
About the book....
Three fun-loving armadillo sisters—Lilly, Jilly, and Dilly—are eager to cross a busy highway to get to the new dance hall on the other side. To avoid being turned into road kill, they decide to scurry through the culvert that runs under the road.
But inside the culvert lurks a spindly legged coyote with a big appetite for "armadilly chili" and a longing for fine armadillo skin boots and a handbag. The littlest sister, Lilly, manages to fast-talk her way past the coyote, as does her older sister, Jilly. When the coyote sees the size of the eldest, Dilly, she really starts licking her chops. But Dilly Armadilly Tuff is a stubborn gal, and besides, she has her own ideas about what a lonely coyote really needs!
Why did the armadillies cross the road? To get to the other side....because the dance hall was there and they needed a night out on the town!
We've discussed it before and we'll discuss it again a hundred times over; retellings can go one of two ways: the high road, showing us a new side we never knew...or the wayside, easily or preferably forgotten in the quickest way possible. This one is DEFINITELY the former! With a smile and a nod to the story's origins, Ms. Hopkins once again takes a classic we know and love, turns it on its side, gives it a good belly rub, a healthy dose of spice and presents us with a finished bookish dish that is sure to please the reading palettes of a wide ranging audience. I mean really, how can you NOT enjoy a storybook that combines the classic lessons of old with a happier ending, bringing a smile and a chuckle to the hearts of those within its reach? I certainly wouldn't know because I DID enjoy it, and feel many of YOU would as well.
So, in conclusion, if you're not afraid to wrap your tongue around a southwestern twangy accent, and you are whole-heartedly prepared to give voice to each of these ladies in your mind or out loud to a group of boisterous listeners as you're sure to draw, this is most certainly a read for you. It's a fun twist on a story you only THOUGHT you knew giving us the chance to learn from the three billy goats, sorry...I mean three armadillies once again and for a new generation. Whether young or simply young at heart, this story can and should be enjoyed by one and all. The illustrations provide that visual aspect you might be lacking if you've never seen armadillies in action (or for that matter a coyote with a penchant for accessories!) and help spread the emotional aspect of the story; after all, the trio is most certainly afraid when first approached by the coyote...but only just. They knew to use their noodles as well as their hearts and muddle through not only to dance another day but with a new grateful friend.
site, read up on the latest news via their blog, pin them on Pinterest, like them on Facebook or check in on Twitter! Yes, they ARE everywhere, and once you get into the great books they help bring to the world, you'll be grateful for their accessibility; I know I sure am.
Until next time...happy trails to you...and happy reading!