Saturday, October 31, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield...

By: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated: Keith Thompson

Scott Westerfield gives us a well-written alternate history of World War I. Some of the alterations include a totally mechanized German-Austro-Hungarian enemy (called Clankers) and an Allied force made up of Britain, France and Russia called Darwinists. Clanker machines walk on articulated legs. Darwinists have developed a science that creates animal combinations that are intelligent partners in the fight. The main characters are Alek, the son of the Austrian Grand Duke and Duchess, whose assassination not only leave in him an orphan, but also starts the war; and Deryn Sharp, who gets into the British by pretending to be a boy - Dylan. Alek must run for his life with a battle damaged Clanker Stormwalker and some loyal friends. Deryn/Dylan discovers the "being a boy is hard. How do they do it all their life?" Their life paths cross, taking them on board Leviathan, a fantastic whale airship and perhaps the greatest creation of the Darwinists. These two "enemies" are forced into situations that require compromise, courage, trust and finally friendship. Their adventures will take them into dangerous and interesting places.

Product Description from Amazon

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Note From Lemony Snicket

Imagine my surprise when I was flipping through my InBox - you know delete, delete, later, delete, spam, delete...WHAT?!? A note from Lemony Snicket? YEP!

Lemony Snicket has joined with First Book on a Halloween Project - so give out candy to all the kiddies but don't forget to give books or help First Book give books...Mr. Snicket says it best:

Dear Reader ,
Half-Minute Horrors
Every Halloween , I am disturbed by the number of children who jump out from the darkness and cry , “Boo!” If you have ever encountered such a person , you know that they are so upset that they are unable to finish the entire word , which is , of course , “Book.”

I am sorry to tell you that there are millions of children every year who can not afford a new book to read. Fortunately , there is a noble organization called First Book , which puts books in the hands of such children – more than 65 million books so far. Still , every Halloween , the ghastly cries of those growing up without new books rise into the night.

If you are as tired of hearing children cry “Boo!” as I am , you should probably do something about it. You might consider making a Halloween donation to First Book. For instance , $2.00 is an amount which here means “one new book.” And $20 is an amount which means “filling a backpack with enough books to make some
lucky child a hunchback for Halloween.”

Wouldn’t you like to
click here now to donate?

With all due respect ,

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket has written many alarming books for children including those in
A Series of Unfortunate Events and he is one of 70 astonishing authors and artists , including Neil Gaiman , Margaret Atwood , and James Patterson , who contributed to Half-Minute Horrors , a collection of instant frights published in partnership with First Book. Half-Minute Horrors is available wherever books are sold.

Gotta run - I think there are some ghoulies at the door - Boo - Boooo - Book!

Peter & Max: a FABLES novel

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel

Bill Willingham (Author)
Steve Leialoha (Illustrator)

If you had told me a month ago that I would be reading a book where the Hero is Peter Piper and he is married to Bo Beep. They live just outside a town that is run by Snow White and Bigby Wolf and Rose Red is running back and forth with goes on.

But let me tell you reading this book has made me want to check into the graphic novels these characters come from...

With Peter & Max: A Fables Novel, Bill Willingham offers a story of siblings and the damning hatred that betrayal, revenge and jealousy can lead too. Peter and Max are brothers and it all starts when their father gives the Family Heirloom Pipes to Peter, bypassing Max - the eldest son.

Remember the Pied Piper of Hamlin? He rid Hamlin of their rats and when he wasn't paid he rid them of their children. Why would he commit such a heinous crime?

I felt that the seesaw back and forth between time frames was distracting at times - but not to the point where I even considered putting the book down. All in all I really enjoyed this book and have great respect for someone who could hand me a book with this plot and make me love it.

One of the reasons you really need to pick up this book is the beautifully illustrated interpretations of the story by Steve Leialoha they are nothing short of inspirational.

I am off to check out Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile - I think this is a world I want to get further into.

PProduct Description from Amazon:

A new stand-alone FABLES NOVEL from award-winning and wildly acclaimed author, Bill Willingham.

This story stars Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic back-story of the Piper family, a medieval-era family of traveling minstrels. Then, jump into the present to follow a tale of espionage as Peter Piper slowly hunts down his evil brother for a heinous crime, pitting Peter's talents as a master thief against Max's dark magical powers.

Based on the long-running and award-winning comic book series FABLES, PETER AND MAX is its own tale. Readers don't have to be familiar with the comics to fully enjoy and understand this book.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spells by Emily Gravett

by Emily Gravett

Recommended for Ages 4 to 8

Staring at the cover Spells will capture every child's attention. Beautifully illustrated and wildly fun with just the right amount of dialog to visual content.

You get an idea of just how delightful and humorous this story will be when you read the author/illustrator's bio on the back book flap:

Back Cover - Flap excerpt: "As a child Emily Gravett was desperate to become a witch. She spent her time trying to fly, and attempting to cast spells on people who called her sweet."

Kids will spend hours in the center "split pages" matching and mis-matching tops and bottoms of magical creatures.

Gorgeous - this is going on my four year old grand daughter's book shelf!
Product Description from Amazon
From critically acclaimed author Emily Gravett comes Spells, the hilarious misadventures of a small green frog who just wants to kiss a princess.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Over 11,000 Teens Choose 2009 Teen's Top Ten!

2009 Teens' Top Ten

More than 11,000 teen voters chose Paper Towns as their favorite book in the 2009 Teens' Top Ten! The online poll took place from Aug. 24 through Sept. 18, with the winners announced during Teen Read Week by WWE Divas Brie Bella and Nikki Bella, with a special appearance by John Green. See the video.

  • Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin/Dutton)
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
  • Identical by Ellen Hopkins (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
  • Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
  • Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin)
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Disney-Hyperion)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Promote the Teens' Top Ten at your library with free downloadable bookmarks (PDF) from YALSA! The bookmarks are customizable, so you can add each book's location in your library, plus your library logo and contact information.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel

Spontaneously combusting children, a really creepy town, a successful company that makes utterly ridiculous products, the unsettling police department made up of three brothers, a sorceress charged with hunting down and killing rogue magicians...and her driver, a convicted felon who has recently been released...confused yet?

Good! Now we can all start from the same place!

What really works in this much anticipated first effort from Harry Connolly is that the lead character starts this ride as much in the blue as the reader. He knows nothing about the mission or his role in completing it.

In Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel, Connolly creates a world that, while at times completely implausible, grips you from the opening pages.

Ray Lilly's thoughts play out in front of you in much the same way the noir detectives did...gritty, hard boiled with a heart. It is the heart that continually gets Ray into bad situations.

All the comparisons to Jim Butcher's protagonist in Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) are warranted - in fact Butcher wrote a glowing review of Connolly's style of writing, calling it "a truly dark and sinister world, delicious tension and suspense, violence so gritty you'll get something in your eye just reading it"

I am really eager to see more from Harry Connolly and would love a little more about Ray Lilly and the Twenty Palace Society.

Product Description from Amazon
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Women Writing for (a) Change: A Guide for Creative Transformation

by Mary Pierce Brosmer

Women Writing for (a) Change: A Guide for Creative Transformation is a much needed resource for the female writer - I wish I had known about the workshops and community that Mary Pierce Brosmer had laid the foundations for. It would be a much safer environment for those moments when we face hard truths or need a nurturing word. Based on her nationwide organization that teaches women and girls to nurture the conscious feminine voice within them.

Through the use of exercise and example Brosmer leads you on a pathway of exploration..."not just as a means of individual self-examination and expression, but also as a way to create and effect positive social change."

The exercises run from the intimately complex to the sublimely simple - my favorite is:

"Write Now: Take your calendar or day planner, and commit to a series of regular writing appointments with yourself. Keep them."

As women writers our stories are sometimes similar, but told from a different viewpoint and set of life experiences - I like the poem Brosmer quotes by Lisel Muller:

"Why We Tell Stories

Because the story of our life
Becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story

but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice."

Destined to fill in the shelf of every woman writer...mine sits between The Artist's Way and Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.

Product Description from Amazon:
In her insightful debut book, Mary Pierce Brosmer shares the unique method of writing that she developed as founder and director of Women Writing for (a) Change, a nationwide organization that teaches women and girls to nurture the conscious feminine voice within them. Imaginative exercises, helpful examples, and provocative anecdotes enable women to explore their writing not just as a means of individual self-examination and expression, but also as a way to create and effect positive social change.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The French Blue: trailer for the book by Richard Wise

The French Blue by Richard W. Wise

The French Blue

By Richard W. Wise

The French Blue is being promoted as the back story of the Hope diamond...but this book is so much more!

Through the telling of the life of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Richard Wise gives us a glimpse into life in the 17th century. Sure, Wise covers the nobility that you all ready know about...but he also brings to life the daily life of the peasant, the retailer, the stone cutter and the miners he meets along the way.

It is no surprise that the son of a cartographer would develop a wanderlust, a need to explore the countries and far places his father charted. The 17th Century was a time of discovery, conquering new lands, Kings, Emperors, Shahs and Sheiks.

Tavernier starts his life serving in the courts of the nobility of the day, he is taken into their confidences and is trusted by those he meets...this reputation serves him well in the course of his life. These are the days when gem deals were done with a hand shake and Tavernier's proves himself. He is a seeker of knowledge, and most importantly an honest man.

This book has it all adventure, pirates, travel to foreign lands, incredible jewels from the earth and the collections of moguls...oh yeah did I mention it also has romance? Tavernier is not just a gem trader and traveler - he is a man. In his travels he romances several women and we meet the daughter of a Courtesan and a Sultan - the woman who is destined to be the love of his life.

In the instant world that is today - it is hard to imagine, but in the 17th Century a single trip could take six to seven years. From 1631 through 1668 Tavernier made six journey's to Persia and India, culminating in the voyage and adventure that brought the great blue diamond to the court of Louis XIV.

The author
Richard W. Wise ventured through the "Voyages of Tavernier" - three volumes with dates and details of the journeys but not much about the man. The French Blue is his effort to fill in the gaps between the journeys, he has, with this book fleshed out Jean Baptiste - the man. The 17th Century engravings and Tavernier's own drawings of the gems he saw and traded remind us that, while this is a work of fiction, it is based in fact.

I was first introduced to Richard W. Wise when I picked up his book
Secrets of the Gem Trade The Connoisseur's Guide to Precious Gemstones. As a Gemology student I was looking for information, specifics that would make me a smarter purchaser and aid me in my studies. What I found was a book of intriguing stories of gem trading, miners, and exotic locales. The art of the story teller is legend and doesn't come easily. Wise has taken his success with Secrets of the Gem Trade one step further and in this adventure story his imagination was released to travel the road and sail the seas with Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Well done!

Product Description on Amazon
Between the years 1630-1668, the French gem merchant, Jean Baptiste Tavernier made six voyages to Persia and India. His true exploits by land and sea go far beyond the ink and paper exploits of fictional adventurers. Tavernier met and did business with some of the world's most powerful princes and romanced some of the most beautiful women. Sometime during his later voyages, Tavernier acquired a magnificent 116 carat blue diamond. Upon his return to France, he sold the diamond to Louis XIV, for the equivalent of 147 kilos of pure gold. The Sun King made him Baron of Aubonne. The remains of Tavernier s blue gem is known today as the Hope Diamond, but for the first 200 years of its history it was called simply The French Blue.


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