Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Memorium

Her name would have been Camilla.

She would have been my first grandchild, but she died two weeks ago, two months before she was due.

She lived and grew and kicked inside my daughters body for six months. Then, for some reason only God and maybe the doctors know, she died. Doctors had to remove her from my daughters womb. My child had a few minutes to hold her child's dead body. Then it was done.

 We're still trying to adjust. Camilla was a wanted, anticipated, loved child. I hope that wherever her spirit is, she knows that. I was so looking forward to showing her off to my friends. And spoiling her totally rotten, as is a grandmother's privilege.

 I keep thinking I'm over it. Then suddenly I find myself staring into space, missing the little girl who was supposed to arrive in August, and now never will. The smiles I will never see, the laughs I don't get to hear. My daughter remains devastated. She has some health issues that may have affected the child, and she is now inconsolable, blaming herself. (I'm perfectly happy to blame her live in boyfriend, I blogged about that at Romancing The Genres.) But in the end, blame doesn't matter.

Camilla does.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Teen Reviewer Amanda is back to review PULL

Teen Reviewer Amanda joins us again with her second summer read

In PULL, David Albacore is just 17 years old when his father shoots his mother, killing her. With his mother dead and his father in jail he suddenly has to take on the responsibility of his two younger sisters. After convincing his aunt to take them in, he tries to balance a new job, school, a new girlfriend, and basketball. This story is an insight on resilience and real women abuse. This book was extremely well written and realistic. I would recommend this to anyone who likes realistic fiction and fast paced books. With everything going on in this book, I expected the characters to get a bit unrealistic simply because of how complex the plot was getting, but Binns kept the characters real and believable throughout the entire book. She did an excellent job making me care about what happens to the characters. By the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat just hoping David and his family would turn out okay and not end up on the streets. The description in this book was stunning because it wasn't overloaded. Binns didn't give me more then I needed. This really worked in the book because it let the reader focus on the emotions going on in the book rather than on the setting.

I connected deeply with the characters in this story. Because I'm a teenage girl, I connected with David's sister, Barney, the most. All she wanted to do was fit in at her new school, and be popular. She didn't want to have to think about money or anything too serious.

Linda, David's youngest sister, was kind of mysterious all throughout the book. She was described as very quiet and kept to herself. The reader never really got much information on how she was handling her mother's death. All you really know is that David loves her deeply.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Teen Reviewer Taylor reviewing Open Minds

Kira Moore, a high schooler, is a loser. Not a reader in the telepathic world like everyone else. She has not gone through the change from zero to reader, that usually happens in junior high or early high school. She later finds out she can jack minds, controlling readers and other jackers. She has a unique set of jacking abilities which carries her deeper into secret clans and danger.

I absolutely adore this book! The characters were very believable for the situation, and also very relatable. I felt like I was with Kira throughout the entire book. I felt what she felt. Because of this, I could not stop reading.

I loved the idea of mind reading for a book! Quinn added enough information about mind reading so you could completely understand the story, but you still had questions about our future. In the future, could we read minds? Would the government try to stop jackers and actually experiment on them?

Most heroes are known for their strength like the Hulk, or their ability to fly like Iron Man, or both like Superman. I feel like this book if more like it come, would bring a superhero known for their mind, not strength. I thought of this new type of superhero because Quinn describes the fighting in one’s mind, like wrestling. Kira was like the strongest wrestler who always won.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Teen Reviewer Miranda reviewing Embrace

Hi, my name is Miranda, and I’m going to be a freshman in the fall.  My former Humanities teacher introduced me to reading pre-publication books and giving feedback to the authors. I thought this was a wonderful idea, so I immediately joined. Getting the opportunity to read Embrace first has been wonderful and makes me excited to read more of your novels and other pre-publication books.

One of the things that I especially liked about your novel was that although your genre is supernatural, you wrote with such a real voice that I might as well have been reading realistic fiction. In the exposition of your novel, you sculpted Madison as a character who went out to parties, drank lots of coffee, and fawned over attractive boys. This made her amiable and relatable and really eased the reader into the story. I also thought it was really neat how you didn’t make it clear who the real enemy was. You had me thinking that Paige and Mark were the culprits when really it was actually another sly character that had passed through my mind as meaningless. Your elements of surprise kept me glued to the pages--I finished the book in roughly seven hours.

Needless to say, Embrace is a winner and I am positive that readers will devour it once it is published. It is definitely on my recommendation list! Your novel was short, sweet and great summer read. I look forward to enjoying more of your works with that clear writing style of yours. Thank you for brewing up Embrace (pun definitely intended), it’s been a wonderful ride!



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teen Reviewer Amanda reviewing Open Minds

The first guest Review is from Amanda, a seventh grader, going into eight grade in the fall. 

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

In a dystopian society Kira is a zero, an outcast, a loser. But not because of her looks or personality. No, Kira is an outcast because she’s the one in one thousand that cannot read minds.. At least that’s how it starts. As the story moves on, we learn why Kira hasn’t developed her mind reading skills. It’s because she has a much more powerful skill, mind control. She’s soon plummeted into a world of secret clans and mind jacking.

    After just reading the first chapter of Open Minds, I knew I would love it. In a world where everyone can read minds everything works differently. From the way the kids learn, to the way technology works, Quinn really didn’t leave anything out. Although I would have liked it if she had elaborated a bit more on how the futuristic gadgets worked, it still gave a realistic view on what would happen if humans developed the power to read each others minds.

The characters in this book were incredibly consistent, and by the end of the book I was able to predict how they would act. This was both a good and bad quality in the book.]=]]=

This book was very fast paced and exciting. The characters were very relatable, especially Kira. I think everyone has felt like a “zero” at some point and it’s easy to connect with how she feels about the hierarchy in her high school. I also enjoyed the language used in the descriptions. It was simple, yet it elucidated enough so I knew what was going on. Perhaps the best part of this book was the plot. Just the first chapter hinted at an exciting dystopian society that kept me wanting more.

This book was an interesting look at the future and all it could hold. This brings up questions like: Can technology go too far? and, What secrets could the future hold? This book really has everything, a love triangle, FBI agents, and mind reading! It was a truly enjoyable read.


Monday, June 11, 2012

School/Author Partnership

Teachers and librarians - never be afraid to talk to an author.

Thanks to a chance meeting at an event in the Book Stall, an indie book seller located in Winnetka, Ill (Unsolicited plug here, I really liked that place and the outreach they have to readers. If you're ever in the area stop by and take a look) a middle school humanities teacher and I joined forces.  She wanted to jazz up her summer reading program for students entering 8th grade. I wanted to do outreach for  students.

The result was a major match.

I grabbed a bunch of local YA authors who are willing to donate a copy of their book. Then I gave a pep talk to her classes. Students signed contracts to participate, saying they would read at least two books, write reviews and letters to the author. In return they will have their reviews published on this blog, and mirrored on some of the other participating author's blogs. That means they can have their work read by their friends!!  Readers also have the opportunity to become pen pals with a local author. Where appropriate, those reviews will be forwarded to the book's publishers.

Last but not least, I'll host an end of the summer program pizza party for all the students and participating authors. We hope for a nice meet and great, a chance to get books autographed, and to kick-off continued participation with the school and students during the school year.

Our first review will be posted tomorrow. Come and take a look, comment, and cheer the young reviewers on.  Added incentives for the kids include prizes for the number of page views and comments, so if you like a student's work, let them know.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review - No Safety In Numbers

No Safety In NumbersNo Safety In Numbers by Dayna Lorentz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this book. The premise was great, people trapped inside a mall, quarantined after a biological bomb goes off. Unfortunately, after that exciting idea, not much happened.

The story is told through four viewpoints. I like the way the author goes for diversity. The main characters are:

Marco - a Hispanic boy nicknamed "Taco" by his enemies (imagine being the guy who found the bomb that leaves you trapped inside an enclosed mall with other guys who hate your guts).

Shay - Shaila Dixit, a.k.a. "The Indian Chick" stuck in the mall with her little sister and diabetic grandmother.

Lexi - An African American girl whose mother, The Senator, is a stereotypical workaholic who spends all her time, even family day at the mall, glued to her phone.

Ryan - A typical high school football player living in the shadow of his popular older brother.

My problem was that all the main characters seemed like typical stereotypes. Much of the time their voices sounded so similar it was difficult to tell which one I was dealing with in a particular chapter. Or to care about them enough to worry or wonder what would happen next.

View all my reviews