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Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: Valentine's Day Edition

Today I am introducing a new feature of my blog: Reviews that Made Me Want the Book. One of the great things about the Kidlitosphere, of course, is the book reviews. People uncover all sorts of hidden gems, books that would never make the ever-shrinking book pages in print newspapers, yet deserve special attention. Despite the fact that I mostly skim reviews (because I have a keen wish not to know too much about each book before I read it), I frequently run across reviews that make me say "now that's a book I want to read." When this happens, it's usually a combination of the reviewer's ability to get across the essence of the book, and something in the book's subject matter that particularly appeals to me (or that I think will appeal to my blog's audience).

In the past, I've been somewhat haphazard about following up on these "I want to read it" pings. However, I've decided to change all that, by starting an occasional feature in which I list these reviews.

A couple of caveats are in order. No, I won't be making any attempt to keep track of all of the reviews out there. Kelly Herold used to do that, when there were a lot fewer blogs, and it quickly became unmanageable. Instead, she founded the Children's Book Reviews wiki, where a number of people organize their reviews. Sherry does a Saturday round-up of recent book reviews every week at Semicolon, also, and you'll find that a source of nearly 100 links during many weeks.

There are many, many reviews published on the blogs. I'll be highlighting those very few that awoke the "I want it" voice inside myself. I'll be focusing mostly on books that I learn about from a review, that aren't already on my radar. Or in some cases books that I knew about, but wasn't necessarily intending to read, until a reviewer convinced me otherwise. I'm not sure if the result will be of interest to anyone else, but we'll give it a try and see. Here is my first list:

Before Green GablesBudge Wilson's prequel: Before Green Gables. This one isn't quite a review, but I was convinced to read the book by an email from Mark Blevis from Just One More Book!, and by Mark's recent podcast about the book and the Anne of Green Gables 100th anniversary.

21td2dgixl_aa115_Zizou Corder's new book: Lee Raven, Boy Thief, reviewed by Bookwitch. Sadly, this book isn't available in the US yet. Bookwitch says: "Although set in 2046 it has the feel of a Victorian novel, with street urchins all over the place. They may use mobile phones, but it’s very Victorian." Doesn't that sound fun?

The Accidental Time Machine Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine, reviewed by Becky at Becky's Book Reviews. Without going into too much detail, Becky says: "No matter what I say from this point, it couldn't do justice to the book. It is exciting. It is fast-paced. It is funny in moments. The writing is definitely all witty and clever and oh-so-right."

The Adoration of Jenna Fox Mary Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox, reviewed at The Reading Zone. This one was already on my radar, but Sarah pulled me in with this: "An amazing science-fiction story, I would classify Pearson’s novel as dystopian. It’s a frightening look at where our society is headed and what might happen in our future. It raises questions of medical ethics, bioethics, humanity, and how far we are willing to go to save someone we love."

Star-Crossed Linda Collison's Star-Crossed, reviewed by Angieville, who said that it: "reminded me of a mixture of The Witch of Blackbird Pond and a more mature The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Like Kit and Charlotte, sixteen-year-old Patricia Kelley is forced into a radically new life, but remains stubbornly determined to shape it to her will. Orphaned, illegitimate, and penniless, Patricia stows away on a British merchant ship bound for Barbados."

Brendan BuckleySundee Frazier's Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything In It, reviewed by Ms. Yingling Reads. Here's the beginning: "
Sundee Frazier has done a wonderful job of creating a dynamic ten-year-old character who loves rocks, scientific studies and Tae Kwon Do, misses his grandfather who recently passed away, has a supportive mother and father and a best friend to hang out with, and just happens to be biracial."

Piper ReedKimberly Willis Holt's Piper Reed Navy Brat, reviewed by Marcie Atkins at World of Words. Marcie says: "Are you looking for a book for girls (or guys) who have "graduated" from Junie B., but still need a good, short chapter book to keep them reading? This is the book." And that's enough to capture my interest.

Fog MagicJulia L. Sauer's Fog Magic, capsule reviewed by Becky Levine, in a list of her favorite books. Becky says of the fog: "it is magic. Fog cools, it hides, it changes the light. In Fog Magic, it leads you into the past, into a Brigadoon-like village that doesn't exist in the sunshine."

And that's it for today. These eight titles are now officially on my radar, because of the insightful reviews linked above.