Children's Literacy Round-Up: October 5
Cybils: Call for Easy Reader Nominations

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: A Baker's Dozen

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

Dragonfly Pool Jennifer Schultz reviewed Eva Ibbotson's The Dragonfly Pool at The Kiddosphere. She said: "Having brilliantly evoked turn of the century Vienna in The Star of Kazan and early 1900s Brazil in Journey to the River Sea, Ibbotson creates a rich atmosphere of humor, adventure, and tension in her World War II era novel, The Dragonfly Pool." I loved The Star of Kazan, so that description works for me. But honestly, the combination of author name, book title, and cover are pretty much sufficient anyway in this case.

Jenny Green's Killer Junior YearCarlie Webber at Librarilly Blonde got my attention with the very first sentence of her review of Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year, by Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborn. She said: "Ah, there's nothing I like better than a nice book about a nice Jewish girl from a nice town who grows into a nice serial killer." Honestly, what fan of YA novels and mysteries could resist that? There's also this: "Jenny's voice is delightfully sociopathic, sort of a combination of blasé and outright, total panic at what she's done." And I am hooked.

Bringing the Boy HomeI may not be the target audience for Guys Lit Wire (that would be teen boys), but I was still completely sucked in by Shelf Elf's recent review of Bringing the Boy Home, by N. A. Nelson. This is another book with a fabulous cover, and this conclusion sealed it for me: "This is a book for anyone who is after a classic adventure tale, and who enjoys survival stories with extreme settings. Bringing the Boy Home won the 2005 Ursula Nordstrom Fiction Contest, introducing us to a writer to watch."

RoarCindy Mitchell at Kiss the Book reviewed Emma Clayton's Roar, concluding: "Another type of post-apocalyptic book has entered the SciFi fold. I don't want to give anything away, but I truly enjoyed watching the different levels of the story unfold - for once I didn't read ahead and was pleasantly surprised by The Secret. I think that fans of MacHale's Bobby Pendragon or Nimmo's Charlie Bone will enjoy these also". I will admit that this one sounds like it might be a bit too much like The Hunger Games. But I'm keeping it on my radar anyway. It won't be out until April of 2009.

Counting on GraceNan from Letters from a Hill Farm specifically recommended to me her review of Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. She concludes "Counting on Grace is the very best kind of book: first - a well-written, excellent story about interesting characters, whom the reader comes to know and care for, and second - a book that engages the heart and mind in a subject that leads the reader to search out more and more information about the topic."

Geek MagnetOn a lighter note, we have Geek Magnet, by Kieran Scott. The cover of this didn't grab me, but I'm a big fan of the movie (and the soundtrack) Grease. So when Little Willow explained that "Most of the story revolves around a musical production of Grease", she got my attention. She added: "Kieran Scott has written a surprisingly poignant story with a healthy mix of drama and fun. She handles serious issues with tact and feeling while giving the story enough humor and sentiment to keep her main character positive." And it sounds worth a look.

The Dust of 100 DogsNext up, two from Presenting Lenore. The first is not really a review, but rather a synopsis of a book that Lenore is eager to see, due out in February. The book is The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A. S. King. From the summary: "In the late 17th century, famed pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of sailing into early retirement with unfathomable wealth and her one true love when she was fatally cursed with the dust of 100 dogs. Three hundred years later, after 100 lives as a dog, she finally reincarnates into a human body again—with all her memories intact."

The Foorest of Hands and TeethAnother book that Lenore is looking forward to, and that I'm interested in now, too, is The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Lenore says: "I love the cover. Plus it's is a post-apocalyptic love story set in the wake of a zombie-creating global virus. And really, aren't those the best kind of love stories?" Due out in March.

Marcelo in the Real WorldKidliterate reviewed an upcoming title by Francisco X. Stork. The truth is that I was prepared to be interested in this book anyway, because I quite liked Stork's previous novel, Behind the Eyes. But the fact that this one is about a boy with autism also intrigues me. Kidliterate says: "This book is going to garner a lot of comparison with THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME simply because the main characters in both books fall somewhere along the autism spectrum. True, the voice is a little similar, but I don’t think the books are very much alike at all. The major difference is that I feel like MARCELO reads much older than NIGHT-TIME."

I, QAmanda from A Patchwork of Books reviewed I, Q, the first book in a new series by Roland Smith. Amanda says of the author "I am completely enthralled with his ability to combine true, human emotion and intense thrills and action. From page to page the reader isn't quite sure who the bad guys are or if everyone is a bad guy! The writing is fantastic, perfect for teens and middle graders, and the characters really display true emotion. If this were to actually happen to a couple of kids, I can see them reacting in exactly the way Q and Angela do." I like a good tech-y thriller from time to time, and I think this one might fit the bill.

Freezing PointJen's Book Thoughts is a blog that I discovered through Book Blogger Appreciation Week, a blog that I already love that's focused on adult mysteries. Jen reviewed an adult title that might temporarily ease my unquenchable need for post-apocalyptic titles: Freezing Point by Karen Dionne. She begins: "When the world is running low on safe, drinkable water, big business starts scurrying to find ways to tap the iceberg's resources. And where can they find the ultimate in iceberg resources but Antarctica?" And that's all I need.

Judgment CallsAnother recommendation from Jen that caught my eye was for the Samantha Kincaid series by Alafair Burke, starting with Judgment Calls. Reviewing the second book in the series, Jen said: "Alafair Burke is truly a master of female protagonists. I love how spunky Samantha Kincaid is. There are a lot of Sam's characteristics that I can identify with, but I am in awe of her gumption... I've mentioned before that a big part of my attraction to Burke's characters is how REAL they are."

Brigadoom!Another adult mystery review that caught my eye was by AllisonMarieCat at On My Bookshelf. The book is Brigadoom! by Susan Goodwill, and AllisonMarieCat says: "This book was hilarious, and a good mystery to boot. Just ignore the Evanovich echoes... There are echoes of Plum, to be sure, but the story is original, and the characters well-developed... I had fun reading this, and I recommend it to anyone fond of a humor/mystery combo." I don't read the mystery/humor combo all the time, but I do like the Stephanie Plum books, and I'm prepared to give this one a look.