18 July 2010

Hot Finish - Erin McCarthy

Hot Finish
Erin McCarthy

So remember before how I admitted that I really really love reading young adult fiction?  Alright, I'll also admit that I really secretly LOVE reading trashy romance novels.  Like love it love it.  I don't admit it often for two reasons:  1) I think people might lose a bit of respect for my choice of books if they knew.  And even though if those people lost respect for me I wouldn't actually care, 2) if I don't admit it often, it feels like a dirty little secret.  And when you live a relatively Pollyanna life (like I do), it's fun to have a secret.

Alright, so now that my secret is out, here's a trashy novel you should totally read.  Apparently it is part of a series, and though I could tell there were little details I was missing, it works just fine as a stand alone novel.  And yes, I'll admit openly that I picked the book up based mostly on the cover* (hey, I had laundry to do that day and saw the washboard was inspired).  But after reading it in a whopping two evening stint, I have to say that it was pretty darn good.  Yes, it is predictable, but all cheesy Romance novels are predictable.  Here's the equation:  girl and guy either have history or meet and have chemistry.  Girl and guy don't want to end up nekked together, but they do.  Girl or guy tries to break it off but cannot, I repeat CANNOT seem to make it happen.  Girl and guy end up figuring out their differences (usually involving some nekkedness) and riding off into the proverbial sunset together.
*a special thank you to the woman who created this cover for the awesome elastic sneak-peek.  The elastic sneak peek is one of my favorite things ever.  Unless it is accompanied by a beer gut.  Then it is one of my least favorite things ever.  Question - is the elastic sneak-peek the man-equivalent of a whale tale?  Because if so, I might have to like it less.

Hot Finish isn't different from any other cheesy romance novel - it follows this equation nearly to the T (don't act like I just dished out the world's biggest spoiler alert either - you knew it was coming from the minute you checked out the abs on the cover.  Admit it!).  However, the dialog in the book is quite entertaining and the two main characters, Ryder and Suzanne Jefferson - a supposed-to-be divorced couple thrown together to endure the wedding from hell - are endearing and shockingly realistic.

But I won't pretend to be naive and say that I think the book is in any way realistic.  I will say that the nekked scenes?  Wowza.  This book is not kid friendly.  Sure might just be mommy friendly though....wink wink.

15 July 2010

Anything is possible when you're in the Library...

Great video tweeted (yes, I know I'm a tweeter now...oy vey) by Joyce Valenza (she has multiple homepages, but here's one and here's another, who is yet another woman I want to be like when I grow up (there are just so many now!)

I know that I usually stick to writing about books, but I need to take a second to be thankful for the amazing new community I find myself in.  In a short amount of time, I have gone from being a German teacher - essentially an 'island' teacher collaborating with myself - to being a teacher librarian.  And the teacher librarian world is an amazing world.  They are friendly, they are welcoming, they are funny, and that stereotypical librarian with the tight bun and the funky beaded glasses-string?  Nowhere to be seen.

I love my life.

05 July 2010

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Kate DiCamillo

I know, I know, lots of postings about children's books.  I promise, by weeks end, there will be postings about adult books (I'm almost done with a great one...).  This book was recommended to me by my dear friend the Rybrarian (Ryan Whitenack.  He's a genius, and I'm not just saying that so he'll continue to help me out on my grad school work.  The man makes me belly laugh constantly).  Although we did not have the same reaction to the book, I did thoroughly enjoy the book.  For one, the illustrations are fantastic, and I plan to look for other books illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.  Secondly, it is a great story about the trappings of vanity and the true meaning of love.

I will admit, I did not have a favorite doll growing up.  Yes, I had a few dolls that I really enjoyed, like Sally and my Ewok Wicket, but my heart always belonged to Woobie...my beloved baby blanket.  Truth be told, the original Woobie went to blankie heaven many many years ago.  And the day my mom told me we'd have to put Woobie down, I cried like I'd never cried before.  And in an act of unprecedented heroism, my older brother offered his Woobie in replacement.  I can honestly say that Woobie 2 has been my constant comfort for almost 30 years.  Yep, he still is the first thing I look for when I go to bed at night and the first thing I fold every morning when I wake up.

Reading the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane makes me wonder what my Woobie thinks of me.  In the beginning of the book, Edward is far more concerned with himself than he is the undying love that Abeline gives him.  When he's lost at sea, his true adventures begin, and he learns that love is the most important thing.  Lucky for me, I've never lost Woobie at sea, but I have forgotten him in many a hotel room, and thus, he is now too old to travel.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this book is because, as an adult, we look at the things our children (or in my case, my nieces and nephews) cling to and wonder why on earth they get so attached.  But through this story, we realize that there is so much love in the world, and sometimes people, especially children, just don't have the outlets they need to give the love they have.  So they choose china rabbits, or even raggedy old blankets.  And it is through those seemingly inanimate objects that our children learn to love and care for something outside of themselves.

So I encourage all of you with children to read this book to them, because if nothing else, it will teach them that love is important, regardless of who you give it to.

Avi - Children's Author

Avi - An Author worth reading

This is not your typical posting for me, but because I had to do an author study for grad school, I thought I'd share with all of you what I'd learned.

Avi?  Is an awesome author.  For multiple reasons.

1) He has one name.  Like Madonna.  And Prince.  Instant cool.

2) He writes children's books/YA novels about good stuff - morals and doing what is right.

3) He is not limited to one genre.  He's written historical ficiton, children's books, thrillers, you name it.

4) One Newberry Medal and two Newberry Honors top his list of awards.  I'd print the whole list, but it's long.

5) And lastly, in a time where our teenagers and young people are swept up in vampire thrillers and the like, Avi's novels are interesting to kids (and adults) on a level that is familiar.  His characters go through things that everyone goes through, and he doesn't have to set his novels in fantastic, unrealistic situations (not that I think fantasy is bad, I like fantasy.  It's just nice to read something like Nothing but the Truth that strikes a chord with everyday students and teaches them about communication and honesty without supernatural forces).

The books that I loved the most are:

Nothing but the Truth (1991).  The story of how different perspectives on a single event can be completely misunderstood if communication isn't clear.  This book hit a little close to home for me as a teacher, but it also gave particular insight to those kids I can't ever get through to, as well as the reasoning behind some of the parental reactions I've recieved over the years.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990).  A thirteen-year-old girl must cross the Atlantic on a ship teetering on the brink of mutany.  A great story about doing the right thing and being the best person you can be, despite odds and social mandates.  Loved this book.

The End of the Beginning (2004).  A great story of adventure (on a very small scale) and friendship.  This book would be an excellent bedtime story to read to kids.  It's about a snail named Avon who is tired of reading about adventures and decides to set out on one, with his new-found best friend, Edward, giving him advice and company, what could possibly go wrong?  Full of funny word plays and life lessons.