Monday, July 29, 2013

Quarkbeasts (and Jennifer Strange) return! Hip, hip, hooray!

The Song of the Quarkbeast: The Chronicles of Kazam Book 2 by Jasper Fforde 
Harcourt, September 3, 2013

Book two of The Chronicles of Kazam is finally here! Jennifer Strange is back and King Snodd is back to causing trouble for her. This time, there are more Quarkbeasts, trolls, political shenanigans, and even a contest versus imagic. Jasper Fforde's books are the perfect blend of smart and funny. Even adults who like the Thursday Next Series should check out Kazam! 

The first book in this series was the tightest book I've read in a long while. The second volume isn't quite as good, but still enjoyable. Jasper Fforde is definitely on my list of "authors whose books I will always buy".  In this case, I picked up a paperback copy when I was in London because galleys weren't yet ready in the United States...

Friday, July 26, 2013

A strange and surreal novel from Patrick Ness

More Than This by Patrick Ness 
Candlewick Press, September 2013

When Seth kills himself, he's surprised to wake up in his family's old house in England. How is this possible? And why is no one else there? And why does he have vivid memories when he dreams? A chilling story of death, life, catastrophe, and connection, More Than This asks questions of what life means and if we can ever have more than what we experience. Like the cold sea, this book pulled me in and wouldn't let me go.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New from David Almond

The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Candlewick Press, August 20139

When Stanley's uncle becomes obsessed with canning fish-even Stanley's beautiful birthday goldfish- Stanley runs away with a carnival. But can Stanley become the Boy who swam with Piranhas and completely leave his home behind? Peculiar and surreal, with interesting characters and surprising truths, this book will appeal to readers who enjoyed the Mysterious Benedict society.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Three-Ring Rascals: The Show Must Go On!

By Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
September 10, 2013, Algonquin Books for Young Readers 

When Sir Sidney realizes it's time to retire, he must find a new Ringmaster for his circus. But the animals aren't happy with Barnabas Brambles. Can Barnabas change? Or will the circus fall apart without Sir Sidney? Kate and M. Sarah Klise are a great team and their newest book with have young readers laughing aloud and maybe even cheering.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another slim, emotional novel from Patricia MacLachlan

The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
Robbie's grandma Maddie has her own special truth, animals trust her. Staying with Maddie, Robbie learns he has to find his own truth, his own special understanding of himself. The special truth about Patricia MacLachlan's books are that they are simple, poetic, and emotionally true; each one will leave you changed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Holly Black's new YA series

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
A vampire story like none you've ever read. Gritty, dark, and dangerous, Coldtowns are the quarantined areas where predators and prey live. There's a air of glamor about them, but also hunger, fear, and sickness. Tana wants nothing to do with Coldtowns, but after a party gone terribly wrong, she finds it's the only place left for her to go. I could not put this book down! Even if you dislike vampires, give this book a chance- you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The brilliant, sweet, and quirky adult debut everyone will be reading this fall

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Simply brilliant. When a genetics professor on the Asperger's spectrum launches the Wife Project, he creates a test to find the perfect wife. But what he finds is not what he expected. This is a quirky, sweet, and utterly enjoyable novel of a truly contemporary romance.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Madeline and the Old House in Paris

by John Bemelmans Marciano 
The first book I ever “read” was Madeline. Now, when I say “read,” I really mean “recited while turning the pages at the correct moment.” It is this sort of Madeline fan that Madeline and the Old House in Paris is for, a child who knows the lines from all the old books. Though a new Madeline story, the beginning of this book remixes lines from the originals, empowering the reader who can't quite read.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The sequel to Raven Boys!

The Dream Thieves: Book II of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater 
I couldn't wait to read this book, and now I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment. In The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater continues the story she began in The Raven Boys. Blue, Gansey, and the boys are still looking for the sleeping king Glendower. But the stakes are rising as others realize the powers of the wakened lay lines, powers that are affected by Ronan's terrifying dreams. Ronan may be sulky and he may always tell the truth, but he also has a secret: he can take things from his dreams. Fans of The Raven Boys will seize The Dream Thieves and it will leave them hungering for more. 

* I'd like to point out that this is a great example of a YA book cover. It's illustrated, gender-neutral, and reads well from a distance. Not a huge fan of the type, but the illustration is fabulous. Scholastic, I would pay up to $35 for this book if it came with black and white interior illustrations by the same illustrator. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Trains Galore!

Train by Elisha Cooper
Scholastic, September 2013
With Farm, Elisha Cooper recorded the feeling of a farm, from tiny visual details to sweeping vistas. With Train, he explores five different types of trains, recording the sounds, smells, movement, and even the animals surrounding each. The result is a sensory journey across the country. Be warned, young vehicle enthusiasts may wish to travel the pages multiple times before going to bed!