31 posts categorized "Wish list" Feed

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Partial Wish List

The other day, I had a few spare moments out to myself (a rare thing), so I naturally stopped by the nearest bookstore. I've also been reading the last issue of Horn Book Magazine. These two things have together made me aware of how many books there are out now that I'm looking forward to reading. Many of them are sequels (which makes sense, because, given limited time, those are the ones that I automatically know that I want to read, without even needing to see a review). Here is a partial list:

  • Bonny Becker (ill. Kady MacDonald Denton): A Bedtime for Bear. Candlewick. Picture Book. I adore Mouse and Bear. See here.
  • RayAngela Johnson (ill. Luke LaMarca): The Day Ray Got Away. Simon. Picture Book. I liked the HB review by Sarah Ellis. "The streets are mean, the heroes are laconic, and the theme is both subversive and (literally) uplifting." I put this one on Baby Bookworm's wishlist.
  • Sara Pennypacker (ill. Marla Frazee): Clementine, Friend of the Week. Hyperion. Early Elementary School Fiction. I adore Clementine (see here, here, and here).
  • Ingrid Law: Scrumble. Dial. Middle Grade Fiction. This is the sequel to Savvy, reviewed here.  
  • Lisa McMann: Gone (Wake series, book 3). Simon Pulse. YA Fiction. This is the conclusion to the Wake series. First two books reviewed here.
  • Watt Key: Dirt Road Home. FSG. Young Adult Fiction. A companion novel/spin-off to Alabama Moon, reviewed here.
  • Pittacus Lore: I Am Number Four. Harper. Young Adult Fiction. First book of a new teen science fiction series about alien children living hidden on Earth. I'm always looking for good YA science fiction, and Cynthia K. Ritter's HB review convinced me to give this one a look.
  • Giants Ken Follett: Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1). Dutton Adult. This is a 20th century epic by the author of Pillars of the Earth, one of my favorite novels for adults. I don't know that I'll ever time for a huge book like this one, but I do want to read it.
  • K.T. Horning: From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books (revised edition). Collins. Adult Nonfiction. I have the 1997 edition, but Liz B convinced me that I also want this one.
  • Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano (Horn Book Magazine Editiors): A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature. Candlewick. Adult Nonfiction. I mean, isn't the title and authorship enough? No? OK, here's a quote from Roger, included in Martha V. Parravano's editorial from the recent Horn Book issue: "Given the chance, kids will read the same way adults do: for themselves. Don't think of books for young people as tools; try instead to treat them as invitations into the reading life." Perfect! I'll buy the book for that alone.

That's all for today. You can see some other books catching my eye in my left-hand sidebar, about half-way down. I do have many other books that are already on my shelves that I'm interested in reading, and a bunch that I'm interested in reading or re-reading to Baby Bookworm. Not sure when I'll find time for any of it. But it's nice to dream!

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: August 31

It's been a while since the last edition of my Reviews that Made Me Want the Book feature. Which means that I have tons of reviews to share with you today. It's kind of ironic for me to take the time to list all of these books that I want to read, instead of just sitting down and reading one of them. But I do want to bring a bit of attention to the wonderful reviewers whose words have caught my eye this past month. I hope that some of you will find addition to your "to read" lists, too. Since I have a lot of books to highlight this time, I've grouped them by age range.

Middle Grade

419yJBi90PL._SL500_AA240_ Melissa from Kidliterate reviewed David Whitley's The Midnight Charter this week. This book is actually on my shelves right now, but it came in unrequested, and Melissa is the one who has made me want to give it a look. She says to imagine a "world where everything costs, and I mean everything. It’s the sort of place where you can sell your own child to buy medicine for yourself, or even sell your own emotions for food and lodging." She concludes: "THE MIDNIGHT CHARTER does what all good speculative fiction does: it makes us examine our own world through the lens of another. This is a powerful debut, and one complicated enough to make both young adult and adult readers fall under its spell."

Dying Bill and Karen from Literate Lives know their kid-friendly middle grade fiction. Karen recently reviewed Dying to Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise. Karen says: "The premise of the story is that Seymour (young boy) and Olive (ghost) are living in a large run-down mansion by themselves... After enjoying this book so much, and having a few belly laughs along the way, I am so glad that Dying to Meet You is only the first time we will meet these quirky characters. I think the setting and the characters are ones that my students will want to come back and revisit time and time again as the series continues."

Undrowned This one's not published in the US, so it may be hard to come by (that's what I get for reading UK-based blogs). But The Book Witch recently reviewed The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric, and caught my eye with "for anyone who might feel the need for something Harry Potterish after HP himself; look no further. And if you’re not, I still recommend reading this mermaid war drama set in Venice." It's set in Venice in 1899. She concludes: "Great adventure story! And don’t be put off by the mermaids. Anything less mermaidish I’ve not come across. It’s not cute; it’s exciting and different." 

Notesfrom At The Reading Zone, Sarah Mulhern reviewed Gary Paulsen's latest book Notes from the Dog. I don't recall reading any of Paulsen's books (the outdoor survival stuff isn't really my thing). But Sarah says: "It is a must-read and a much-needed book. Breast cancer is so prevalent these days, yet there is very little of it in middle grade literature. When it is mentioned, it’s all-too-often in a “girl” book. Paulsen takes a decidedly female topic, which affects the entire family, and presents in it a book that will appeal to both genders... But don’t think this is a depressing book because it is about cancer. It’s also a funny book that will have you laughing at loud."

Greencat And sometimes a review makes me want to re-read a whole series of books. Darla from Books & Other Thoughts reminded me about Phyllis Whitney's juvenile mysteries with her recent review of Mystery of the Green Cat (which I don't think I ever read). Remembering this book, Darla says: "I found myself thinking about a mystery I'd read when I was ten or eleven that was set in San Francisco, and how it had such an evocative setting that things seemed familiar to me when I finally got to visit it in person, many years later." And really, any book that evokes a setting that strongly, and is a mystery to boot, is worth reading.

Battle I always enjoy Charlotte's Timeslip Tuesday posts at Charlotte's Library. Last month she caught my attention with a review of The Battle for Duncragglin, by Andrew H. Vanderwal. Charlotte says: "I would have pounced on this as a child--time travel to medieval Scotland!--and, in fact, I was rather eager to read it as an adult... This is the sort of timeslip where the past provides a colorful theatre for action and adventure. It is more a book for the battle-lover, whose heart races when the arrows start to fly, than it is for the romantic daydreamer (ie me), who likes best the timeslip stories that focus on character and intricate world building."

Young Adult

Perfect Liz Burns from A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy is one of my most trusted sources of book reviews. She recently reviewed a book that I had had sitting on my nightstand for a couple of months, and inspired me to read it immediately. The book in question is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, about two teens from very different backgrounds who fall in love. Liz said: "This is an AMAZING romance. And H.O.T. There is heat, it is steamy, it is awesome... And yes...it's one of my favorite books of the year." She also noted that she had moved the book up in her own list because she was looking for books about people of color, and one of the teens is Mexican (see Alex, on the cover). This all sounded reasonable to me, and I ended up reading it in one sitting, and enjoying it tremendously. Review to follow, when I get a bit more caught up.

Devils Liz also recently reviewed The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda. This book, about a modern-day British girl raised to be a Knight Templar, would probably not have caught my eye based on the description and cover alone. But Liz said: "So, in sum, my type of fun reading: strong female character, action, history, supernatural elements, fights, a little romance, angst, unanswered questions, devils, angels, vampires." So OK, it sounds worth a look. 

Asyouwish Similarly, Abby (the) Librarian caught my attention by raving about a book that wouldn't have ordinarily caught my eye. She reviewed As You Wish by Jackson Pearce, about a girl who falls for the genie who is going to disappear as soon as he's granted her three wishes. Abby said: "I was just whisked into the story from the very start. Jackson Pearce's writing is funny and snappy and I just didn't want to put the book down. Pearce creates characters you love to love. Viola's got a problem that most kids have probably dealt with at some point in their lives - something changes and BAM! you have no idea where you fit in with the world."

Leviathan Sometimes a book is on my radar anyway, but I don't officially add it to my list until someone I trust gives it the thumbs up. That's the case with Scott Westerfeld's upcoming title Leviathan. Tasha Saecker reviewed it last month at Kids Lit. She said "Gorgeously imagined and written with a flair for battle and a sense of wonder, this book is a winner.  The pacing is fast, the action whirling, and the history deftly placed so that even teens and youth unaware of World War I’s basic timeline will understand the implications and importance of what they are witnessing in this alternate history."

Girl How could I resist a review that starts: "Been looking for a mystery starring a grade 9 nerdy guy / wannabe P.I. who is pretty clueless with the ladies, loves cooking class and who is crazy enough to start investigating some of the coolest kids in school? Look no further than Susan Juby's Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance and Cookery." Read the rest of the review, from Shelf Elf, at Guys Lit Wire.


Teaglass Another of my most trusted sources for book recommendations is Lenore from Presenting Lenore. Lenore recently highlighted an upcoming adult title that sounds intriguing: The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault. Here's a bit from the publisher's description: "The dusty files of a venerable dictionary publisher . . . a hidden cache of coded clues . . . a story written by a phantom author . . . an unsolved murder in a gritty urban park–all collide memorably in Emily Arsenault’s magnificent debut, at once a teasing literary puzzle, an ingenious suspense novel, and an exploration of definitions: of words, of who we are, and of the stories we choose to define us."

Soulless Sometimes a tagline does the trick, if it comes from the right person. Angie from Angieville recently reviewed Soulless by Gail Carriger. She said that it's "A novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols." It's a Victorian romance novel set in a world where supernatural beings are "out and about and accepted in society". Angie says: "Fun, fun, fun. That is what this book is. I found myself completely won over by Alexia. And Lord Maccon. They're just so very thrown together and they are just so very much fun to be with. It was nice to read about a relationship full of tension and romance, but without an interfering third party or one party who persists in being intolerably stupid or thick about things."

And that's it for today. But I'm certain that there will be more reviews that make me want to read the book in the near future. Happy reading, all!

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: July 9

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring Reviews that Made Me Want to Read the Book feature (not a catchy name, but sufficiently descriptive).

Tug of War Tanita Davis from Finding Wonderland caught my attention by reviewing a book I hadn't seen before in parallel with one of my favorite recent novels. After discussing Julie Bertagna's Exodus, Tanita observed: "Apparently, Glasgow is a good city in which to set a dystopian end-of-days kind of story. Catherine Forde's Tug of War is a MG title which hearkens back to WWII, when refugee children were sent away from large cities, often with only a label around their necks, identifying them by name." I skimmed the rest, because I didn't want any spoilers, but this one is now high on my list. And I love the new term that Tanita coined, Glaswegian Dystopia.

EnemyKaren / Euro Crime from Teenage Fiction for All Ages did the same thing that Tanita did - caught my attention through drawing a parallel between a book that I'd read and a book that I hadn't read. Specifically, she wrote about two dystopias in which people over the age of 14 are in trouble. The first is Michael Grant's Gone (reviewed here), and the second is Charlie Higson's The Enemy (due out in September). According to the publisher's description: The Enemy "is set in an eerie, modern-day London after a mystery illness attacks everyone over the age of fourteen. Those afflicted either die or become so crazed by disease they are little more than wild animals. Gangs of kids are left to fend for themselves, dodging the zombie adults who remain." Which sounds potentially intriguing. Plus, I like Higson's Young James Bond books (first one reviewed here).

Demon's LexiconOver at Kidliterate, Melissa reviewed The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Honestly, it's a great title - that alone might be sufficient. But Melissa said: "... what I’m looking for is something different, something clever, something daring. This is why THE DEMON’S LEXICON works for me. It’s more of a family drama, where a mother driven mad keeps all the family secrets, and brothers Nick and Alan divide the meager scraps of her affection as they seek to protect her. They live in a darker reality than ours, where magicians use demons to work their magic, and these magicians have been pursuing their family since their father’s death." Intriguing... [Note: The Spectacle happens to be having a contest to win a copy of this book. Enter by July 20th.]

Hero.comMelissa also piqued my interest with her very short description of a book by Andy BriggsHero.com: Rise of the Heroes. She say: "It is about kids who figure out how to download superpowers on the internet." Melissa states that this description is all that's necessary "to make this book walk out of your store by the pile (or create a huge waiting list for it in your library)". And I believe her. But I do feel compelled to check it out for myself.

Hair of Zoe FI'm not generally much of a book cover person. However, I do find the cover of Laurie Halse Anderson's new picture book, The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School, irresistible. Kristine reviewed it at Best Book I Have Not Read, saying "I think kids (especially kindergartners and first graders) will find The Hair of Zoe very funny. It would be a good first week of school book when some students are apprehensive about their teacher." I'd like to give it a look.

UninvitedShelf Elf drew me in from the very first words of this review: "Spooky and summer go so well together, don’t you think? If you’re in the mood for a thriller to sink into while lounging on the dock, I can’t think of a better recommendation than Tim Wynne Jones’ latest, The Uninvited. Sure to spook your socks off, the story captivates in true Tim Wynne Jones style." I agree about summer and spooky books, so this one is going on my list. I'm also embarrassed to admit that I haven't read any of Tim Wynne-Jones' books yet, so this would be a good place to start.

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Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: June 17

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring Reviews that Made Me Want the Book feature. The name, while not catchy, should be self-explanatory. And clearly I should do these posts more often, because I have a mammoth 16 titles to talk about today.

Going Bovine CandorFirst up, two teaser posts from Liz Burns at A Chair, A Fireplace, and Tea Cozy caught my eye. Liz, after all, is my Oprah (see this post at My Friend Amy for an explanation), so I take her recommendations seriously, even when she doesn't give a lot of detail. About Libba Bray's Going Bovine (due out in September), Liz said: "Dig your ARC out from BEA. Put it on your "must get" list for ALA. Add it to your orders for when it gets published in September. Yes, it is that good." She also talked about an upcoming dystopian title by Pam Bachorz called Candor. And really, dystopian fiction with Liz's seal of approval - that's all I need to know. I've already requested that one.

The Maze RunnerAnother dystopian sort of title, apparently, is James Dashner's The Maze Runner, reviewed by Kiera Parrott at Library Voice. Kiera says: "I heard this book described as “Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games.”  Sweet Jimminy! That pretty much bumped the ARC right on up to the top of my to-be-read pile.  After plowing through the 374 page sci-fi/adventure/thriller in less than two days, I was not disappointed." I only skimmed the rest, because it sounded like a book that shouldn't be spoiled. This one is due out in October, and I'll be waiting.

Reality CheckI also like mysteries, and I'm frequently influenced by seeing new titles from authors that I've enjoyed before. So when Patti from Oops... Wrong Cookie reviewed Peter Abrahams' newest YA mystery, Reality Check, she didn't have to work very hard to convince me. (See my reviews of Down the Rabbit Hole and Behind the Curtain.) She concluded: "It makes for really thrilling page-turning reading. I love it when I come across a well written book for older teen boys." She also specifically mentioned the non-stock characters in the book. So I'll keep an eye out.

Umbrella SummerI'll accept gushing as a reason to read a book, if it's gushing by someone I rely upon. So when Franki Sibberson said: "UMBRELLA SUMMER was a wonderful read. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! Lisa Graff has created another great middle grade novel", well, that was good enough for me. 

Summer I Turned PrettyThe truth is that Jenny Han's book The Summer I Turned Pretty was already on my radar because I flat out adored her previous book, Shug. But then Pam Coughlan reviewed it at MotherReader, comparing it to other perfect summer books like The Penderwicks and Cicada Summer, and saying "I felt a particular connection to the story, having spent my childhood years at the New Jersey shore for weeks at a time." And Tasha Saecker reviewed it at Kids Lit, saying "I grew up in a resort area where I was one of the few kids who lived there year round.  As someone who has deeply experienced the seasonal community, this book captures it down to its very core." So OK, OK.

Dinotrux100 Scope Notes gets my attention on a regular basis by coming up with the most creative reviews around. For Dinotrux, by Chris Gall, Travis did a courthouse scene (like reading a play), in which Mr. Scope Notes represents the young readers who are going to find the book "criminally appealing". His opening argument: "Dinotrux by Chris Gall (Dear Fish, There’s Nothing to Do on Mars) is so appealing to children, especially boys, that it constitutes an infringement on free will. Children will want to read this book. The premise that hybrid dinosaur/trucks used to rule the earth ignites curiosity, while the brief, expressive text all but demands repeat reading." Sounds hard to resist, doesn't it?

DunderheadsTravis also did a Toon Review of The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman. Those are a bit harder to quote, but always fun. The gist seems to be that Travis calls in his crack team of reviewers to talk about the book, but they are interrupted by a dunderhead who is only interested in the location of the bar code on the book. But what caught my eye, really, was the remark: "it's one of the best looking picture books I've seen in '09", following a Mysterious Benedict Society comparison. I'm still not sure exactly what's going on, but I'm intrigued.  

When You Reach MeI'm putting Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me on my list because of the double endorsement of Betsy Bird (who reviewed it at Fuse #8 and put it on her Newbery predictions list already) and Travis from Scope Notes (hmm... three recommendations from one source. Perhaps Travis is my Oprah). Travis said: "A combination of science fiction and realistic fiction, this unique, well-crafted, and mysterious book will likely grace as many Best of ‘09 lists as you can get your hands on, including mine." And it has time travel!

Let's Do NothingMelissa Wiley caught my attention with her recent review of the picture book Let's Do Nothing, by Tony Fucile. She said "I love it when a book actually makes me giggle out loud. Frankie’s expressions are priceless, especially when he’s being a giant redwood or the Empire State Building. Writer/illustrator Tony Fucile has a gift for visual punchline". But really, the "actually makes me giggle out loud" from Melissa was enough for me.

Sloppy JoeAnother recommendation labeled giggle-worthy comes from Amanda at A Patchwork of Books. Amanda reviewed Sloppy Joe by Dave Keane, saying "How cute is this book?! I really adored the character of Joe and all his messiness, wanting only to hug and squeeze him when he gave being neat a go. The illustrations are great and the plot funny and definitely giggle-worthy!"

A BookAnd one more title that evoked laughter out loud: A Book by Mordicai Gerstein, as reviewed by Tasha Saecker at Kids Lit. "Deeee-lightful!  I found this book to be fresh, clever, surprising, and great fun... I guffawed out loud. Yes, guffawed. Truly. Children who know how books are supposed to work (which means almost everyone) will get the joke right away and love laughing along." (Incidentally, mentions of laughter in a book don't always make it catch my eye - the review has to be from someone I trust, and give me information about why the book is funny).

Confetti Girl I'm not as tuned in to book covers as a lot of people are, but even my attention was caught by the cover of Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez. So when Abby (the) Librarian reviewed it during the 48 Hour Book Challenge, I checked in. Abby said: "I'd consider this an essential purchase that'll appeal to middle-grade girls, Latina or otherwise. I wouldn't hesitate to hand it to any fan of Just as Long as We're Together, Are You There, God, It's Me Margaret, Shug, and others of that girly-coming-of-age ilk. Um, and the cover has really cute socks!" Can't argue with that!

Radiant GirlAnd, for a book with a similar title to the previous book, but a very different tone, Camille Powell from BookMoot piqued my interest when she reviewed Radiant Girl, a historical novel by Andrea White about the Chernobyl Disaster. It sounds like a bit of a difficult read, emotionally, but Camille said: "I liked this book so much. I admit I found myself mentally shouting, "Look out! Get out of there!" to the characters. This is a very moving story."

Anything but TypicalAbby (the) Librarian also reviewed Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin. I tend to keep an eye out for books that have protagonists on the autism spectrum. Abby compared this one to several others, and said: "While I enjoyed all the above mentioned books*, none of them put me into the heart of someone with autism quite like Anything But Typical. Jason knows he's different - he processes things differently, he thinks differently, he sees the world differently." She also said that people who liked The London Eye Mystery (which I loved) should pick this one up. And so I will.  

The Last ChildI only highlighted one adult title this time around. I first saw a review by Charles L. P. Silet for John Hart's new book, The Last Child, in Mystery Scene Magazine. The very next day, Augusta Scattergood talked about the book, which she ordered immediately upon release. This dual recommendation caused me to formally add the book to my list. It's about a 13-year-old boy searching for his kidnapped sister, because his mother is a slave to her addictions, and his father isn't around. Sounds like a title for Kelly Herold's Crossover blog, doesn't it?

I had better get reading! Hope some of you find books that catch your eye from the above titles.

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: May 12

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring Reviews that Made Me Want to Read the Book feature, in which I highlight the posts from around the Kidlitosphere that inspire me to covet particular books. It's a relatively short list this time, but hopefully some of you will be inspired by these excellent reviews, too.

LiarJustine Larbalestier's upcoming book Liar has been on my radar for a while now. But Liz B. from Tea Cozy made me add it to my list with a recent teaser (a mini post about a book that won't be out for a while). She said: "this is a wonderful tale of suspense, with multiple mysteries, and a sense of foreboding and doom in the first half of the book that you can practically taste. It is not only being added to my Favorite Books Read in 2009 list; it's also going on my list of books I think are potential award winners." Given that Liz knows her award-worthy books (having been on the Printz committee and all), Liar is going on my must-read list, too.

The Brooklyn NineI'm not generally a fan of interconnected stories (I don't even like episodic television - I like one long story). However, Maureen from Confessions of a Bibliovore caught my attention with her recent review of The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz. She said: "I loved this book and I don't even like baseball... But the love that Alan Gratz, and his characters, have for the game shines through and even hooked this sports-hater. Some characters play, some characters spectate, some are merely passionate fans. At least one or two of the stories don't even include a game, but baseball is in there somewhere." Since I am a baseball fan, I think I'll have to check this one out.

Five Children and ItOK, this one isn't a review exactly, but a piece of news on Laurel Snyder's website inspired me to want a new edition of E. Nesbit's Five Children and It. You see, our very own Laurel wrote an introduction for this new edition. She says: "It’s true! For some reason I will never fully comprehend, I have been granted a wish. I have been given the opportunity to “introduce” my favorite Nesbit book to the world... If you haven’t read it, or if you have  a child who hasn’t read it... I must implore you... READ THIS BOOK! Nesbit is the person who invented the entire genre of backyard magic.  Without her, there would be no Harry Potter, no Spiderwick Chronicles, no Percy Jackson." This edition won't actually available until January, but it's on the list.

One Second AfterYou all know that I can't resist dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. So, naturally enough, my interest was caught by Ben's recent Guys Lit Wire review of One Second After by William Forstchen. He says: "One Second After begins with a massive EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack on the United States that wipes out electronics across the country. It centers on the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina ... and how the lives of everyone in town are affected." And that's enough for me. Bonus points for the technology angle.

SweetnessDoret sought me out recently, to draw my attention to one of her reviews, a title published for adults that she thought that I would like. She was apparently correct, because I had already starred said review in my reader. Anyway, Doret reviewed The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. "The writing's sharp, fun and well thought out. Bradley takes the time to give the history of the de Luce’s and their family dynamic. I truly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. Every time I had to put it down, I looked forward to when I could pick it up again. Even though Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie will be shelved in mystery, I will put a few on the YA table."

WitnessI also starred a recent review from Sarah Mulhern at The Reading Zone, and then had it show up on my doorstep a few days later. Seems a bit like destiny to me (though Random House's reviewer lists might have something to do with this coincidence). Anyway, Sarah reviewed Caroline B. Cooney's new novel, If the Witness Lied. She started with: "I have been a Caroline B. Cooney fan since I read The Face on the Milk Carton back in elementary school. Cooney’s books are almost always edge-of-your-seat thrillers that are impossible to put down.  When I saw that she had a new novel coming out on May 12th, I immediately put it on my wishlist.  Her books are always big hits in my classroom and I knew If the Witness Lied would be just as popular. If the Witness Lied is a thriller through and through!" Now, I don't think I was in elementary school when The Face on the Milk Carton came out, but I'm definitely a long-time fan. I think that the new book is going on my 48 hour book challenge list.

Doomsday BookSherry from Semicolon recently reviewed Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, and made me wonder how I ever missed it. She said: "Kivrin, a history student at Oxford in 2048, travels through “the net” back in time to the fourteenth century. In the meantime, a virulent influenza virus puts Oxford and its environs under quarantine, and Badre, the tech who set up the program to send Kivrin back in time, is too ill to tell anyone exactly what’s gone wrong with the plan to send Kivrin back to medieval England and retrieve her in two weeks. But something has gone horribly wrong, and Kivrin’s professor, Dr. Dunworthy, is the only one who’s trying to get her back." And yeah, that's a book that I should read.

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: April 21

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring "reviews that made me want to read the book" feature. This month, a whole slew of titles have caught my eye.

Bubble TroubleLest anyone wonders if including quotes in reviews is helpful, Tasha Saecker made me want to read Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar by including this quote in her review: "Little Mabel blew a bubble, and it caused a lot of trouble… Such a lot of bubble trouble in a bibble-bobble way." Doesn't that sound fun? Perhaps paired with Bubble Homes and Fish Farts.

RoadworksA very different picture book that caught my eye is Roadworks by Sally Sutton, reviewed by Susan Stephenson at The Book Chook. Susan says: "I am predicting obsession status for this great new picture book from Walker Books Australia (2008). Roadworks was written by New Zealand author, Sally Sutton. I don't know her books, but I'll certainly be on the look-out for them. She enters into the mind of a young action fan, and gives him great active verbs and noises". 

I Need My MonsterAmanda from A Patchwork of Books caught my eye with her review of I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll. She begins: "Oh how in love I fell with this charming book. I giggled, I chuckled, I stared in awe at the pictures, and when I closed the last page, I happily started at the beginning again. I think I may have found my favorite so far this year."

Wild ThingsAnother pick from Amanda that sounds intriguing is Wild Things by Clay Carmichael. Amanda says: "Every single one of you should read this book. Really, young or old, I want you to read this and then tell me how far in love with the characters you fell. I was enchanted with the story, loving the characters, and so sad when it ended...yet happy. A beautifully written book, screaming out for readers." 

It's more a discussion (and link to an article from the Guardian Book Blog), but this post at Charlotte's Library made me want to read John Christopher's out-of-print dystopian YA novel The Death of Grass. According to Charlotte, (Guardian writer) "Sam Jordison, who did read it as a child, re-visits it, and finds it much, much scarier now that he's a grown up." This one I went ahead and requested from the library.

Sand Dollar SummerSometimes what draws me to a book is the reviewer's comparison of a new book to a book that I already know and love. Colleen Mondor did this recently, comparing the 2006 title Sand Dollar Summer, by Kimberly K. Jones, to Phyllis Green's Nantucket Summer, one of my adolescent favorites. Colleen said: "Sand Dollar Summer is just one of those beach reads that gives you the true taste of the coast, all the crazy touristy bits of it as well as the night walks near the water, the sand castles and how the salt and sand will invade every aspect of your life there - in both good and bad ways. I suppose you could say the book is dramatic (it certainly has its moments) but for me it was Lise and Free running on the beach or wandering into town to hit the library that brought back the images of Nantucket Summer."

And sometimes (often, I suppose), I'm interested in a book just because it's by an author whose work I have previously enjoyed. Thus when I was pleased to learn recently from Omnivoracious that there's now a title and a publication date (September) for Dan Brown's next book about Robert Langdon. I realize that Brown's books have been ludicrously over-hyped, but I first read and appreciated Angels and Demons before all of that. And I expect that I'll enjoy The Lost Symbol, too.

Jake Ransom Similarly, when I'm looking for a plot driven, action-filled book, I enjoy the adult novels of James Rollins. So I was pleased when I saw Tasses' review at Reading Rumpus of Rollins' first book for kids: Jake Ransom and the Skull's Shadow. She calls it "... jam-packed with Mayan history, dinosaurs, alchemy, Vikings, Roman soldiers… along with Jake Ransom (of course) and his sister Kady ...a high-adventure, fantasy-fused ride with bits of history thrown in for good measure."

HungerAnd of course, the sequel to a book that I liked is usually automatically on my list. One that I'm especially looking forward to is Hunger, the sequel to Gone by Michael Grant. Kristine from Best Book I Have Not Read was lucky enough to get her hands on an advance copy of this May release. Kristine says: " It is a great sequel to Gone, picking up where the first book left off ... The first chapter pulled me in immediately (and made my stomach turn, but I am pretty wimpy) and made me want to read without stop, just as the first book did."

The Farwalker's QuestOf course, other times I'm interested because a book falls into one my favorite niches. Melissa from Book Nut caught my eye recently with her review of The Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel. She said: "I didn't expect to be unable to put the book down. I was thoroughly captivated by the world that Sensel built -- part fantasy, part dystopian -- and the story which, although it's a coming-of-age/adventure story, took me to places and in directions that I never quite expected." Really, that's enough for me.

ChameleonStill other times, it's the opposite. The reviewer talks me into a book that might not sound like my sort of thing off the top of my head, through the depth of the reviewer's passion for a title. This is the case with Laura Koenig's review of Chameleon by Charles R. Smith, Jr at Bib-Laura-graphy. Laura begins: "Hey you! Yeah, you sitting there reading this blog. Have you read Chameleon yet? No? Do me a favor - head down to your local indie bookstore or your branch library. Yes, right now. Come back when you’ve got a copy of this book." And then she explains why she thinks that the book is important.

The EverafterAnother premise-driven pick comes to me from my book selection psychic twin Lenore of Presenting Lenore. In a recent Waiting on Wednesday post, Lenore mentioned Amy Huntley's The Everafter, saying: "I am always fascinated by novels set in the afterlife. Though this one looks something straight out of my nightmares." I'm hooked on these books, too.

The Long WaitLenore and I are also fans of time-travel stories (as is Charlotte). Another of Lenore's Waiting on Wednesday titles is upcoming title (September) The Long Wait for Tomorrow. From the Random House catalog description: "Joaquin Dorfman is back with another smart novel that pushes the envelope of literary fiction, examining identity, high school roles, and even the high-blown concept of destiny through a cool science-fiction lens. What if, in a Freaky Friday moment, a wise and humble 40-year-old man woke one morning to find himself transported back in time, into his body more than 20 years before, when he was the popular, entitled, and arrogant quarterback of the school football team? Could the man do anything to stop a tragedy initiated by the cruel actions of the boy, or is fate too strong a force? " 

The Tomorrow CodeThe Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner sounds appealing, too. A. Fortis recently reviewed it at Finding Wonderland, saying "The stakes just keep getting higher in this suspenseful page-turner. Author Brian Falkner has created truly deep, interesting, textured characters that are easy to care about, and I enjoyed reading a contemporary sci-fi novel set in New Zealand, too ... It's got everything—lab experiments gone awry, deadly fog, coded messages, yellow submarines, and a nice twist towards the end. A great one for fans of dystopian novels and suspenseful adventures." How could I resist?

PPZI have to admit that I'm oddly intrigued by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Becky from Becky's Book Reviews explains: "As you can see, this isn't your traditional Pride and Prejudice. And Elizabeth and Jane aren't your traditional heroines. Meet the Bennet family. "The business of Mr. Bennet's life was to keep his daughters alive. The business of Mrs. Bennet's was to get them married." Why is life so dangerous? Zombies, of course!" The cover is dreadful, the premise is ridiculous. And yet... I can imagine reading it one of these days.

I hope that some of these titles will catch your eye, too. Happy reading!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: March 20

Welcome to the latest edition of my Reviews that Made Me Want to Read the Book feature.

The Miles BetweenLike Lenore from Presenting Lenore, I'm looking forward to Mary Pearson's upcoming title, The Miles Between. Lenore quoted a summary from Mary Pearson in a January interview with The Best Book I Have Not Read: "The Miles Between is about four teens who embark on an “unauthorized” road trip in search of one fair day. The main character has an obsession with coincidences and also a secret she is keeping from the rest of her road trip renegades, and as the story unfolds, she discovers they have secrets of their own."

Another book that I had merely to hear about to be interested in it is Sara Zarr's third book, Once Was Lost. Sara recently announced: "The narrator is a 15-year-old pastor’s daughter in a small town. Guess what the book is about? That’s right. Family! In this case, the narrator and her view of life and faith (in God, in family, in friends) is challenged and transformed by the kidnapping of another young girl in her town." No cover image yet, but it's tentatively scheduled for October.

Scaredy Squirrel at Night And one more title that I really just need to know about to want is Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt. But I did llike Cheryl Rainfield's review, too. Cheryl calls it "a funny, light-hearted book about bad dreams, and a worrywart who discovers that he can sleep without bad dreams after all. Recommended."

Frankie PickleMary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading are two of my go-to people for recommendations for early elementary school books. Recently, Mary Lee reviewed the first book in a new series by Eric Wight: Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom. She said: "This graphic novel hybrid is sure to be a hit with elementary kids in grades 2-5. I asked two of my graphic novel readers to check it out and they loved it. The way the story changes visually when Frankie's imagination takes hold reminded them of Baby Mouse."

11 Birthdays I love the movie Groundhog Day. It's one of those movies that I always stop and watch for at least a few minutes whenever I run across it. Kimberly J. Smith from Cool Kids Read recently reviewed 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass, saying: "Grownups will remember the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day" which had a similar premise of a repeating day, but with 11 Birthdays, this story isn't just about getting the day right, but the background story of why it started happening in the first place." And I think that's good enough for me to want to give it a look.

Fortune's Magic FarmI have to admit that neither the title nor the cover of Suzanne Selfors Fortune's Magic Farm would normally catch my eye. But I generally read Charlotte's reviews at Charlotte's Library. And Charlotte said: "I enjoyed this one, especially the dystopia for the young reader that is Runny Cove. Unlike Isabelle, I was a little disappointed when the story took us off to Fortune's farm, where, instead of slugs and evil boarding house matrons, we encountered the pleasures of a sunny garden filled with whimsical magical plants. Maybe I'm just too cynical to enjoy whimsical magical plants, but the wonderful farm never felt as real as the miserable town. However, doubtless the target audience of ten year-oldish girls will find the garden delightful..."  Since I am more of less compelled to read all of the dystopian novels that I come across, this one goes on the list.

Bones of FaerieAnd, for a more grown-up dystopia, I'm intrigued by Janni Lee Simner’s Bones of Faerie, reviewed by Sarah Mulhern at The Reading Zone. Sarah says: "Post-apocalyptic fantasy?  Faeries?  Dystopian?  Can all of these words really describe one book?  And can that book possibly be good with all of that going on?  In Janni Lee Simner’s case, the answer is a resounding yes!" Good enough for me!

The PlagueLibrarina caught my attention with a review of The Plague, by Joanne Dahme (due out in May). "When Nell’s parents succumb to the plague, she and her brother, George, fear what will become of them. As they follow the death cart to the graveyard, however, something miraculous happens. They cross paths with the king — who is struck by the fact that Nell looks nearly identical to his daughter, Princess Joan." Adventure follows.

 The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Another historical fiction review that caught my eye recently was Tasha Saecker's review at Kids Lit of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (by Jacqueline Kelly). Tasha begins: "In 1899, girls are expected to grow up to be either wives or teachers.  So what is a girl like Calpurnia to do?  She is much more interested in different species of grasshoppers than in tatting or cooking.  She would rather spend hours with her grandfather in his shed doing experiments than learning to knit all of her six brothers socks." She concludes with a comparison to Caddie Woodlawn.

Marcelo in the Real WorldAnother review from Tasha that caught my eye was of Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork. Here's a snippet: "Marcelo has always heard internal music that is hard for him to pull away from... This book is written from Marcelo’s point of view, allowing the prose itself to become as poetic, strange and amazing as Marcelo’s inner dialogue.  It is a book where you feel the world around you shift as you see it through Marcelo’s eyes."

The September SistersKelsey from Reading Keeps You Sane recently gave a rave review to Jillian Cantor's The September Sisters. "Okay, I really don't know how to express myself with this one. But if you want the gist of it, I'll give you one word. Phenomenal. The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor was phenomenal. Phenomenal... The moment I read the book, the first page. I was hooked." It does sound intriguing.

And that is enough of a wish list for anyone for one week! I hope that some of these reviews capture your attention, too!

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: February 12

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring reviews that made me want to read the book feature, in which I highlight books (and reviews) that catch my eye. There have been quite a few promising titles reviewed this month.

GenesisI should probably just find a way to automatically transfer all of Presenting Lenore's Waiting on Wednesday posts over to my list. Lenore and I share a significant overlap in our preferences (as most recently evidenced by us sharing the same favorite Lois Duncan novel, Down a Dark Hall). She recently highlighted the upcoming Houghton Mifflin Harcourt title Genesis, by Bernard Beckett. Here's the first part of the publisher's description (emphasis mine): "Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic." Enough said, really. But Lenore also adds that "Reviewers in New Zealand, where the book was originally released, are in fact calling this a modern YA sci-fi classic and it recently won NZ's highest award for YA fiction, the NZ Post Award."

The Rule of WonAlso from Lenore, a review of The Rule of Won by Stefan Petrucha. She says: "Rule of Won is a gripping, important, and sarcastic novel with a touch of the supernatural." And she stayed up until 3:30 am reading it. Which is pretty well good enough for me.

Sometimes I don't need a review at all - I just need to know that a book is available. This is certainly the case with Fire, by Kristin Cashore, a prequel of sorts to Graceling. I'm quite envious of Patti from Oops ... Wrong Cookie, who managed to get her hands on an advance copy. She clearly liked it, once she had adapted to the fact that the book wasn't going to be about Katsa, anyway. This one won't be available until October. Sigh! No cover image yet.

Three Cups of TeaLauren at 5 Minutes for Books recently reviewed an adult nonfiction title: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Lauren says: "Three Cups of Tea is the story of Greg Mortenson's journey to build the village of Korphe (in Pakistan) a school. While building this school, Greg found a mission for his life. He has now helped to build more than 70 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan; and he has worked to provide scholarships for secondary education, to develop centers for women, and to educate the people about better health practices." Sounds like something I should read, doesn't it?

Three Cups of Tea - Young ReadersThere's also a children's version of the story, reviewed for this week's Nonfiction Monday by Amanda at A Patchwork of Books. The Young Readers Edition of Three Cups of Tea was adapted by Sarah Thompson. Despite a couple of criticisms, Amanda concludes: "overall I can see a lot of kids picking this up and enjoying the learning process of what it took one man to get over 60 schools built."

TribesI noticed a couple of other nonfiction titles this month, too. Nan Hoekstra discussed Seth Godin's Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us at Anokaberry. Here's a bit from the summary blurb: "According to Godin, Tribes are groups of people aligned around an idea, connected to a leader and to each other. Tribes make our world work, and always have. The new opportunity is that it's easier than ever to find, organize, and lead a tribe." It sounds rather timely in light of the whole read-aloud campaign idea, and, as with the book above, like something I should read.

Yankee YearsThe other nonfiction title that caught my eye, surprisingly, was The Yankee Years by Joe Torre. Surprising, because I'm a tremendous Red Sox fan. But Omnivoracious cleverly published a review by Tom Nissley titled: The Yankee-Hater's Guide to the Yankee Years. And Tom convinced me that this is a book I would enjoy.

Prince of Fenway ParkSpeaking of the Red Sox, I couldn't resist when I saw a review of Julianna Baggot's The Prince of Fenway Park at Reading Rumpus. Tasses explains "What I thought was a simple baseball story turned into a ........ FANTASY novel. It seems there are creatures living under Fenway Park. And they are cursed too. And they need Oscar's help because he might just be the one to lift the curse." Can't pass this one up. It's due out next month.

Counter Clockwise Karen and Bill at Literate Lives just celebrated their first blog birthday. This seems strange to me, because I kind of feel like they're been around, recommending kid-friendly books to me forever, but I wish them well. This week, Karen recommended a brand new title called Counter Clockwise, by Jason Cockcroft. Karen says of this middle grade time travel story, "When I finally put this book down, I felt short of breath. The story was mesmerizing, the characters were fascinating (and multi-dimensional, depending in which time continuum they are viewed), and the action was fast-paced. I literally heard myself gasp at least twice." Sounds hard to resist.

1200447764794.jpeg The Book Chook recently reviewed a title that's not actually available in the US, but it does look like a great book for reluctant readers, so I thought that I'd highlight the review. The book is Oddball by Janeen Brian. Susan says: "Published by Walker Books Australia  in 2008, it's part of a series called Lightning Strikes, designed to support and motivate those kids who've somehow missed out on the joy of reading.  The cover is eye-catching, and the format very cleverly designed with lots of white space and larger print. I think boys in particular will love Oddball. "

Beat the ReaperAnother title that caught my eye was one reviewed by Ben at Guys Lit Wire: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. This one is an adult title about a New York doctor who used to be a hit man. Ben calls it "a literary drag race featuring mobsters, lost love and assassination by shark. Beat the Reaper is sardonic, clever ... all the way through. This is no Sopranos episode about the conflict between family and the Family, it's straight-ahead acceleration driven by betrayal, revenge, and violence."

The Lab Another intriguing Guys Lit Wire review comes from Trisha. She reviews The Lab by Jack Heath. Here's the start: "Six of Hearts is the best agent in the Deck, a vigilante group trying to reclaim the values of their city prior to its takeover. Six has a 100% success rate on his missions. He doesn't like smalltalk and his every action is based on logic. He is only sixteen years old. But that's not what makes him different." And this is a premise that catches my eye.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: January 23rd

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring reviews that made me want to read the book feature. This one is relatively brief, with six new reviews that have recently captured my interest.

FreefallFreefall by Anna Levine won a 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award honor for teen books. But what made me want to read it was Abby (the) Librarian's review. Abby said "It has a great sense of place" and "I think this is a great book for teens who like to learn about other cultures and who like books that inspire them to think. This would make an excellent book discussion book and it'd make a great conversation starter. It has a premise and characters that will keep the attention of teens and it may inspire them to keep reading and learning about Israel."

Sammy KeyesI'd been hearing about Wendelin Van Draanen's Sammy Keyes books for a while, but Stephanie Ford from The Children's Literature Book Club made me want to read them. She said: "Hi, I'm Stephanie Ford, I'm an adult, and I'm addicted to Sammy Keyes mysteries. There, I said it. There are so many middle grade fiction series unraveling out there, but this is the one I'm most addicted too." She recently reviewed Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash, and convinced me to check out the series.

Tough ChicksTasha Saecker from Kids Lit recently reviewed a picture book that sounds fun: Tough Chicks by Cece Meng, illustrated by Melissa Suber. She said: "Read this one last in a story time, which is the greatest compliment a book can ever have!  This shouldn't be saved for those chicken story times, make sure you use it as one of those rainy-day books that you pull out to brighten things up."

Where Does Thursday GoAnother picture book that sounds appealing is Where does Thursday go?, written by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Stephen Michael King. Susan StephensonThe Book Chook, reviewed it, saying: "This delightful story has so much kid appeal. Children will love the sounds in the landscape like the "oogle gurgle" of the river; wondering what Thursday looks like; following Humbug and Splodge on their quest; and joining in with the refrain: "'Is that you, Thursday,' called Splodge. But there was no reply." It seems to be out of print, but it's one I'll keep an eye out for.

Black Book of SecretsAmanda from A Patchwork of Books reviewed The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins. She said: "F.E. Higgins has created a dark world of intrigue for the middle grade reading sector with The Black Book of Secrets. Fans of Lemony Snicket and his "Unfortunate Events" series and J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter", will be fully satisfied with the mystery, spookiness, and unanswered questions that fill the pages of this book. Plus the edges of the pages are black and that's just plain cool."

Time of My LifeAnother review that caught my attention was BeckyB's brief In the Pages review of Allison Winn Scotch's Time of My Life. She said: "I got about 3 pages in and from then on I couldn't put it down. I REALLY enjoyed this book - the whole concept was appealing to me - going back in time to redo your life - what would you change and what would you leave the same??" This is a premise that's always intrigued me, too, and I intend to give it a look. 

Happy reading!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Reviews That Made Me Want the Book: Jan. 9

Welcome to the first 2009 edition of my Review that Made Me Want the Book feature.

SnatchedMrs. Kochel at the OMS Book Blog reviewed Snatched, the first book in the Bloodwater Mysteries series by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue. She said of this mystery: "I enjoyed the humorous relationship between them and the clues and strategies they use to solve the mystery. I definitely recommend it to middle schoolers who like mysteries. And if you like it, read Doppelganger and Skullduggery, the two sequels."

Fouling OutMs. Yingling is another of my most trusted review sources. She recently reviewed Fouling Out by Gregory Walters, saying: "Fouling Out is highly readable, fast-paced, and very matter-of-fact about everything-- no hand-wringing in sight. Since it is a paperback, I didn't have to read it, but I got sucked in by the first few pages and had to keep going!" She also said that it's a good realistic problem novel for boys, which sounds like something worth checking out.

Devil's BreathMs. Yingling also convinced me to read a book that I already have on my shelf, David Gilman's The Devil's Breath. She said: "Far and away the best book I read over break is David Gilman's The Devil's Breath. It was absolutely spellbinding, AND is the first in a series-- The Danger Zone."

Winnie's WarSarah Miller knows her historical fiction. She reviewed an upcoming title, Winnie's War by Jenny Moss. "What's better than a story about the 1918 influenza pandemic? A story about the 1918 influenza pandemic with a tie-in to the Galveston hurricane of 1900 to make my little ambulance-chasing heart go pitter-pat." And I have to say that I concur.

StarclimberThe Magic of Ink reports in a Waiting on Wednesday post that Starclimber, the third book in Kenneth Oppel's Airborn series, will be released in February. I reviewed Airborn here, and look forward to this third book.

Dirty LaundryI have to admit that the cover of Daniel Ehrenhaft's Dirty Laundry really doesn't grab me. But The Compulsive Reader said that it's a mystery set in a boarding school, and that "Dirty Laundry is a nicely engaging combination of wit, mystery, and a dash of romance written in the form of alternating narratives ... overall Dirty Laundry is a hilarious and entertaining read reminiscent of the works of John Green and Jaclyn Moriarty's The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, and is easy for the reluctant teen reader to get immersed into." 

SassyFranki reviewed a book at A Year of Reading that I think will make a real contribution: Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name by Sharon Draper. "I have written before about the lack of books for transitional readers--especially series books-that feature African American characters and continue to be stunned by the statistics on what is being published.  So I was thrilled to see this new series by Draper and I was even more excited when I read this first book."

I look forward to all of these books, and I hope that some of you find food for thought in these reviews.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: December 10

 Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring reviews that made me want to read the book feature.

The Lost Island of TamarindHere's a good lead-in for a review, from Your Neighborhood Librarian at Pink Me: "Oh, boy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! For kids who like their adventure with a little adventure thrown in, with a shot of adventure in a test tube shoved down in the middle to add in later after the adventure gets diluted by the melting ice!" She also adds: "I have been pressing The Lost Island of Tamarind into the hands of every eager reader who has come my way recently." Count me in as one of those eager readers, looking for Nadia Aguiar's The Lost Island of Tamarind.

Ottoline and the Yellow CatI'm always on the lookout for great books for the kids that I know. Charlotte's review of Chris Riddell's Ottoline and the Yellow Cat at Charlotte's Library caught my eye, and made it onto my list of Christmas purchases. This is the part that hooked: "The reading level is about the same as the Eloise books. It is perfect for the accomplished five-year-old girl (me as a child). And it works really, really well as an independent reading book for an eight-year-old boy with an iffy attention span (all the bits of writing in the drawings are perfect), who can read long words just fine, but who has not yet become comfortable reading longer, more chaptery, books to himself, and who needs reassurance that yes, he is a reader".

I'm not sure how I missed this review before, but Charlotte wrote last year about Hill's End, by Ivan Southall (1962). She said: "One of the best books in the "children surviving great personal hardship in the face of catastrophe with no grownup to help" genre is Hill's End, by Ivan Southall. In a small and incredibly isolated Australian logging town, a group of children and their school teacher set off into the hills to look for rock paintings. All the town's other residents, except for the logging foreman, leave town for the annual regional picnic, miles away. A storm like no other they have seen strikes..." And you have a book that's in my target genre.

WintergirlsIt's not quite a review, but Julie Prince wrote an open letter to Laurie Halse Anderson in response to Laurie's upcoming book wintergirls. Here's the beginning: "This book, wintergirls, is so amazing that it makes me want to go out and do something amazing. It's so great that it kept me up late into the night, even though I knew I'd have to get up in the morning and drag myself from place to place all day long. It is so awesome that it makes other great books bow down to it in its awesomeness. It's so fantastic that I want to share it with everyone I meet."

Alvin HoI've had Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look, on my radar for a while. But Chris Barton convinced me to add it to my list. His two boys loved it, and Chris adds: "And the book is a hoot. And it's got a glossary that's as much pleasure to read as the rest of the book. And it's set in Concord, Massachusetts, where my boys picnicked earlier this year within view of the Old North Bridge, thus giving the book that much more appeal."

LucretiaShelf Elf reviewed The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt. She said: "There is something in the honesty and directness of the main character’s voice, combined with the twisty, one-adventure-after-the-next plotting that makes this a wholly satisfying mystery, absolutely right for the Middle Grade crowd. Not heavy. Not too complicated. Full of suspense. Toss in a little art crime, some snazzy European settings and I think we’ve got a winner." Since I'm always on the lookout for good mysteries, I decided to give this one a look.

Tell Me WhoI also favor great books for tweens, which made Kidliterate's review of Tell Me Who by Jessica Wollman appealing. She said: "Oh, aimed-at-tweens books featuring tween characters doing tweeny-age-appropriate things, how I do love you... I could hand this book to anyone. There are never enough books like this. I enjoyed Wollman’s previous book Switched but I hope she sticks to tweens now because tweens need her. There are some serious issues in this book but it never becomes depressing; there’s a lot of lighthearted moments in this book but it never becomes fluff. I know my former bookstore is going to sell this like mad."

Who Made This Cake?Who Made this Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa is a Horn Book Fanfare title, a picture book about tiny workers who use tiny trucks to make a cake. But Travis from 100 Scope Notes made me want to read it with his Toon Review. It's tricky to quote from a comic strip, though, so you'll have to click through to see it.

Fact of Life 31Becky from Becky's Book Reviews made me want to read a book that's already on my shelf: Fact of Life #31, by Denise Vega. She said: "In a way, this one reminds me of Dairy Queen and The Off Season though I'm not sure why my brain has made this leap. I suppose it is because of the depth of the characters--it's rare to fully explore family dynamics with such heart and soul and authenticity."

You Had Me at HaloKelsey of Reading Keeps You Sane caught my attention with her review of Amanda Ashby's You Had Me at Halo. Part of the book takes place in heaven, and the characters are in their early 20's, two things that intrigue me. Then Kelsey said: "Ashby brought something original and her writing has the potential to bring it big. I can't wait to read more of her works, check out her new book Zombie Queen of Newbury High out March 5, 2009. Anybody still not sure, think of Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere with a huge twist on earth."

Invisible TouchAnother recommendation from Kelsey, one that she REALLY likes, is Kelly Parra's Invisible Touch. It's about a girl with a paranormal gift who puts together clues to try to prevent disasters. Kelsey says: "Wow--Just wow. This book was fantastic. I started it last night and almost got yelled at by the teacher because I couldn't stop reading during school... Parra's writing was distinctive and literal. I just couldn't stop! "

Diamond of Drury LaneSherry from Semicolon made me want to read Julia Golding's The Diamond of Drury Lane when she said: "The book gives a great picture of the 1790’s for children, including cameo appearances by important personages, a look at the political issues of the time, and a vivid depiction of the cultural milieu of both the back alleys and the drawing rooms of late eighteenth century London." But she clinched it for me when she added: "Cat would be a new and winsome addition to Jen’s Cool Girls of Children’s Literature list, and her friends and enemies in Drury Lane are a delight to get to know." Also, this book won the Nestle Children's Book Prize in the UK in 2006.

Shades of GreyI really should just figure out a way to import all of Lenore's Waiting on Wednesday posts directly into my want lists, because we have a LOT of overlap in our preferences. So when she said: "This week I am extremely excited about Jasper Fforde's new book which also happens to be a dystopia - how exciting is that?!" I was able to stop reading immediately, and add Shades of Grey to my list. Sadly, it won't be available until June. But here's the fun part - Lenore reports that she was thinking of me when she wrote that sentence. Isn't it neat how we can build knowledge of each other's preferences over time? Never mind that Lenore lives in Germany, and we're unlikely to actually meet any time soon.

And that's all for today. Hope that some of these amazing review will pique your interest.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: November 15

Welcome to the latest edition of my reviews that made me want to read the book feature. I've stored up quite a few promising titles over the last few weeks:

From Alice to ZenBill from Literate Lives recently reviewed From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between, by Elizabeth Atkinson. He had me at: "Alice Bunt is a tom boy who moves from the city life of Boston, to the suburbs and a big fancy mansion of a house built on a cul de sac that use to have trees and other natural things, called Hemlock Trail. She has a cat named Yaz after her favorite Red Sox player, and a dog named Einstein, supposedly the smartest pug puppy ever." 

ItchAnd Bill had a good couple of weeks, because he also caught my attention with his review of Itch: A Novel, saying "this is a fabulous book! Even though it deals with such a serious topic, author Michelle D. Kwasney manages to mix in some humor through the grandparent characters." He also called it a favorite of the year, and inspired me to want to check it out.

Drummer BoyIt's actually pretty rare for a picture book review to catch my attention enough to make me covet it. But when Franki from A Year of Reading says: "WHAT A BOOK! If you are looking for a great, new Christmas story that will last generations, this one is just that. A great gift book for any child (or adult) you know", well, that catches my eye. So I'm looking forward to Drummer Boy by Loren Long.

HeadlongIt takes a real knack for someone to make me want to read a book even before they tell me anything about it. But Sarah Miller pulled it off in her review of Kathy Koja's Headlong. She said: "You know, sometimes I don't want to actually review a book. Sometimes I just want to snap the bugger shut and say, very satisfied, "Golly, that was good!"" I feel like that sometimes, and I trust Sarah's judgement, so I didn't even read the rest of the review (but you can find it here).

The Book WomanAnother very brief recommendation from Sarah also caught my eye: That Book Woman, by Heather Henson (another picture book review!). "If you are a book lover (and we both know you are) just open up your emotional fuse box and let this darling have its way with you. It is spare and sweet and perfect, and that is all you need to know."

Jo-Jo and the Fiendish LotThe Book Muncher just reviewed an intriguing upcoming title called Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot, by Andrew Auseon. Here are the bits that drew me in: "I am pleased to say that my high expectations for this novel were exceeded. I immensely enjoyed Auseon’s unique version of death and the afterlife because it was so creative and entirely unlike any other book I’ve read on the same topic... Readers who liked Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin will also enjoy this fabulous novel; I actually liked Jo-Jo’s story better than Elsewhere which is saying something because I loved Elsewhere."

The Gypsy CrownLaini Taylor is deeply immersed in Cybils fantasy and science fiction reading. She recently highlighted  a book that she was disappointed never to have heard of before, commenting on the arbitrariness of buzz. The book is The Gypsy Crown by Kate Forsyth. Laini called it: "My favorite kind of story: fast-paced, makes the page disappear as you fall right into the flow of events, and all the while, painlessly (not just." I also borrowed this cover image (which she took) from Laini's review.

The Sisters 8Over at Welcome to my Tweendom, Stacy Dillon reviewed first two The Sisters 8 books, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted: Annie's Adventures and Durinda's Dangers. They're about a set of octuplet sisters who have special powers, and solve mysteries. Stacy says: "Part Snickett, part Dahl with a little dash of Gorey, author Lauren Baratz-Logsted along with Greg Logsted and Jackie Logsted have created a series that is perfect for the younger tween set."

The Hardboiled DetectiveOver at Charlotte's Library, Charlotte discussed a new series that she says fills the gap between easy readers and Harry Potter books, "Humpty Dumpty, Hardboiled Detective, by the team of Nate Evans, Paul Hindman, and Vince Evens (Sourcebooks Jaberwocky, 2008). Think Guy Noir (from Garrison Keillor's radio show) as a hardboiled egg detective, in a warped fairy tale New Yolk city, with copious black and white drawings featuring lots of action." The first two books are The Case of the Fiendish Flapjack Flop and The Mystery of Merlin and the Gruesome Ghost.

Library MouseBooksForKidsBlog reviewed Daniel Kirk's Library Mouse. And honestly, a picture book called Library Mouse? What is not to love? GTC says "Lucky Sam is a library mouse, with a home in a hole in the wall behind the Children's Reference section of the library. Naturally, Sam is quite well read". Sam becomes and author, and encourages kids to become authors, too. I think I'd pair it with Bats in the Library (which I will review as soon as I get the chance).

The Uncommon ReaderI've seen The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett around, but I was never interested to read it until I saw Dewey's review at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. She says: "As you may know, I give away all the books I read unless they belong to someone else... But I have to keep The Uncommon Reader. I know I’ll want to read it again, and fairly soon. Keeping a book is really the highest praise I give; I have moved books from one house to another too many times to want more than my TBR books and my husband’s and son’s books in the house. I think every one of you would love this story, and I recommend it to you all."

And that is quite enough wish list books for today. Many thanks to all of the reviewers who help to keep me in excellent books.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.