Haunting Violet

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Violet Willoughby’s life would be so much simpler is she weren’t the daughter of a fraudulent spiritualist. For sixteen years, she’s been forced to take part in the trickery her mother calls a séance, when she’d much rather spend her time reading. To say the least, Violet’s had her fill of spirits and the spirit world.

So when Violet and her mother are invited to Lord Jasper’s country home to provide a weekend full of parlor entertainment, she is far from thrilled. She expects nothing less than the usual: her mother flirting with men too young for her, drinking way too much champagne, and of course being forced to take part in the charade.

But when Violet starts seeing a beautiful but dead girl, little by little she starts to believe in the world she’s resisted for so long. But Violet isn’t planning on following in her mother’s footsteps. No, she’s planning on solving the mystery Rowena’s death.

Haunting Violet written by Alyxandra Harvey is a gothic thriller full of love, lies, and paranormal beings. The plotline is strong and convincing, and makes for a book that will suit the tastes of any reader.

Full of lush yet haunting descriptions, Harvey’s writing is strong and admirable. She’s proficiently skill at describing every key moment and scene featured within the pages of Haunting Violet. Reader’s will appreciate Harvey’s keep and specific eye to detail.

Haunting Violet is a historical fiction book that stands above the rest. Full of authentic language, readers will be able to step back in time, if only for a few hundred pages. A lot of research went into the writing of this book, it’s clear and appreciated.

Extra! Extra!

Want to check out Haunting Violet for yourself? Click here to read the first chapter!

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Book of the Week: A Pet for Petunia

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

Published: 2011 by HarperCollins

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I love the name character’s name: Petunia. Mainly because it’s what my grandmother calls me.

Petunia is an unusual girl, and I love her for it! And she’s as cute as a button!

She loves skunks! And wants one as a pet.

I love how it shows the lengths children will go to to convince their parents to get them what they want. In Petunia’s case a pet skunk. She even goes as far as saying “I’ll die if I don’t have a pet skunk.”

I love how this book made me laugh, not at the obvious, but the thought that kept running through my head as I read it. Petunias (the flower) smell nice, while skunks smell … well, not so nice.

Her parents are called “lunkheads” not someone a child should be calling their parents (cause it’s not nice), but it certainly is funny.

I love how this books shows the a child’s reasoning. Petunia thinks if she lives in the woods she’ll get eaten by a bear, therefore her parents will feel so bad that they’ll be forced to get her a skunk.

I love the purple accents in the book. And this is saying a lot since I am not a fan of the color purple.

I love how it shows kids how even though an animal is cute doesn’t mean they’ll make good pets.

It shows how sometimes kids need to learn things the hard way and for themselves.

I love Petunia’s reaction when she finally meets a real, living, breathing, stinking skunk.

I love all the same animals Petunia wants. And like her I often beg for a pet.

I love the illustrations featured in the book. They are charming, and really make this book what it is.

I love how it shows just how quickly a child’s mind can change from one thing to another.

I love the reasons Petunia gives for loving skunks: “they have cute little noses. They have big black eyes. They’re black and white, and they have stripes.” All the reasons to love a skunk.

It’s a really fun read, for both children and adults.

I love how I felt that there’s a little bit of Petunia in all of us while reading this book.

I also loved the smile it put on my face.

The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows, Vol. 1

The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows, Vol. 1 by Jacqueline West

Every house has its secrets. And Olive Dunwoody is quickly finding out that some secrets are better kept. The McMartin house isn’t only old, it’s also creepy. Olive always feels as if someone or something is watching her.

Shrugging the creepy feeling off, Olive sets out to explore the house she now calls home. Room by room she begins to uncover some of the history of the McMartin house. As Olive explores she finds a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles. But it isn’t until she puts them on that Olive discovers what the spectacles really do.

Putting them on, Olive is able to, not only see inside the portraits the line the halls of the McMartin house, but also step inside them. That’s how she meets Morton, a young boy who’s been trapped inside the painting for some time. And if Olive doesn’t head the warnings of three talking cats, she too with be stuck in a painting … forever.

Jacqueline West author of The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows, Vol. 1 is a debut novel full of mystery, mayhem, and trickery. West’s writing is hearty, full of twist and turns to keep readers of all ages engaged.

 The characters featured in The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows, Vol. 1 are enchanting. And will vividly root them in the mind’s eye. They are engaging  and thoroughly crafted. Olive, the heroine of the book, is smart, head-strong, and brave. Everything readers want in a lead character.

 But what really make West’s novel come to life are the hauntingly beautiful illustrations. The black and white illustrations not only depict the plots action, but also lend to the overall creepiness of the storyline.

Book of the Week: Spork

Spork by Kyo Maclear Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Published by: Kids Can Press in 2010

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

The end papers are darling. They remind me of the tabletop of a 50s diner. As a Jersey girl, I love diners.

Spork isn’t only a fun word, it’s a fun utensil and a very character for a picture book.

It’s true sporks aren’t often used. They are underrated, and this book makes me want to change that.

It shows that everything and everyone has a purpose in this life. No one and nothing is ever worthless.

I think it shows readers how we all feel awkward and out-of-place at times, and that it’s very normal to feel that way.

I love how it shows that we are products of our families, and that families come in different sizes and shapes.

I love how it shows the importance of feeling loved. And needed.

I love how spork tries, rather unsuccessfully, to change his spork-ness. He wears a bowler hat to make him to accentuated his spoonish features. When that doesn’t work, he makes himself a pointy paper crown to than accentuate his forkish features.

He looks cute, but funny is a bowler.

I love how it shows that you shouldn’t have to change who you are to make people like you. The important thing to remember is if you like you.

Spork is unique, and uniqueness should be celebrated.

I love how the crazed creature, flinging food all over, is really a baby. I feel like it’s a pretty accurate depiction.

I love the muted colors of this book. And how bold colors are used to prove a point, or to show emotion.

The writing is simple, direct, and fun.

I love how all the utensils have faces. I feel kids would eat more if this was true of real forks and spoons.

I love sporks perception of what dinnertime is: “at dinnertime, he watched from the drawer while the spoons played pea hockey and skillfully balanced boiled eggs. He sat off to the side while the forks raked fancy patterns in the mashed potatoes and twirled noodles around in complicated circles like rhythmic gymnasts.”

I love how spork by the end realizes that he’s just right, and doesn’t need to be changed.

I love books about utensils. Especially ones that are so humanistic.

Ruby Red Giveaway!

Hello Readers! It’s been a while since The BookBandit Blog has held/hosted a book giveaway. It’s about time for another one, isn’t it?

So what’s up for grabs? Ruby Red, the first book in Kerstin Gier’s forthcoming trilogy, The Ruby Red Trilogy.

** Open to residents of U.S. and Canada **

Contest is open from June 7th, 2011 at noon and will run until 11:59 p.m. on June 13th. To enter, leave a comment on THIS post, stating why you want to read this book (when leaving comment, please make sure to leave a valid e-mail address). Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced on June 14th*. Winner will be notified via e-mail, and will have twenty-four hours to respond. If no response is received by June 15th at 11:59 p.m., another winner will be chosen and contacted.**

*Please note, I am hosting this contest, but the book Ruby Red will not be mailed by me. The winner’s address will be mailed  to the publisher, who will send the book out.

**Since I am hosting this giveaway, it’s important to note that the publisher must receive winner’s mailing address by end of day on June 16th. This giveaway can not be extended.

Book of the Week: Umbrella

Umbrella by Taro Yashima

Published: 1977 by Puffin

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

Loved how it shows how the smallest things could make a child happy.

Japanese is infused into every aspect of the story. I especially love how there are Japanese words and characters on almost every page. I think this is a great way to teach children a new language and about a different culture.

I love all the colors featured in the book. They’re bold and bright, but not flashy.

I love how this book shows how patient children can be one minute, but impatient only moments later.

I love how most people can’t stand the rain, but not Momo, she can’t wait for the rain.

Momo is a sweet character, but in some pictures is portrayed of having black eyes – completely black. It’s a bit creepy, but I love that.

There’s a repetitive portion to the book mimicking the sound of raindrops on Momo’s umbrella, I really like this because I think children will definitely want to sing along and mimic the sounds they hear. It’s fun.

It shows that even though we may not remember every important step in our lives, there will always be someone who does.

The writing is simple, as is the storyline. I like how this makes it easy for kids of all ages to understand and enjoy.

Even though the writing is solid, the illustrations really fuel the story forward.

I love my rain boots just as much as Momo loves hers.

 

The Ghost & The Goth

The Ghost & The Goth by Stacey Kade

For three wonderful years Alona Dare was a first class “it” girl.She’s been voted prom queen three years running, has the hottest wrestler boyfriend, and a perfect circle of friends. She has it all until an oncoming yellow school bus took it all away.

Stuck in a life between death Alona’s hoping to reap the benefits of her death, like spying on best friend Misty to see just how devastated she is. But when she finds her former best friend making out with her boyfriend, she realizes that everyone, including bff Misty, has moved on. And worse, no one can see or hear her.

Until social outcast Will Killian saunters by and laughs … at her. If he can laugh at her, he can most definitely see and hear her. And if he can see and hear her, he can help her. But will he?

Author Stacey Kade has written an intriguing and clever ghost story. The Ghost & The Goth doesn’t rely on the same tricks that most ghost stories rely on. Readers will not find any moments that make will make their hearts beat out of their chest, nor will they find no cheap scare tactics. Instead, they’ll find a heavy dose of humor infused with brutal truths for the two main characters.

The Ghost & The Goth is on of the most realistic ghost stories I’ve read in a really long time. The cast of characters that Kade has created, even the dead ones are well crafted, and deal with many issues that its readers deal with: changing friendships, family drama, and the awkwardness of being different.

At the core this is a story of friendship. Kade captures all the ups and downs, the give and the takes, and the pushes and pulls of a freshly budding relationship. The Ghost & The Goth is smart, funny, and just the start of Alona and Will’s intwined lives.