Book of the Week: The Rumor

The Rumor by Monique Felix

Published: 2011 by Creative Solutions

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

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pick up this book solely for the cover. I love the newspaper clippings. Let’s just say it speaks to the journalist that lives inside of me.

I also love how this cover doesn’t give anything about the book away. It’s all kind of mysterious.

I wish the book’s end papers were the same as the cover – full of newspaper clippings.

I love how this story reminded me of other classic stories – Chicken Little, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Boy Who Called Wolf.

It reminds me of Chicken Little because of the main character – a little rabbit name Rupert – who warns the others of the impending doom. It reminds me of Goldilocks because of the Big Bad Wolf. And it reminds me of The Boy Who Cried Wolf because Rupert literally cries “wolf”.

I love how this book clearly illustrates how rumors get started and how they often get blown out of proportion.

This book also reminds me of childhood game, Telephone.

The illustrations match the text perfectly. For example, when Chloe the cat is telling Edgar the elephant that there’s a wolf lurking around just waiting to “tear your ears into ribbons” Chloe is shown with fun standing up on end, claws extended, and eyes wild. It sounds a lot scarier than it really is.

Each animal tells the next that the wolf is going to do something to a part of them they hold special. In Edgar the Elephant’s case it’s his ears.

Some of the animal characters wear clothes and some do not. Kind of like Pluto and Goofy, both are dogs, but only one wears clothes (and talks).

Each character in this book plays an important role within the story. Another book that illustrates team work.

This book shows what happens when imagination gets the best of you, but not in a good way.

I feel that this is a good book to discuss fear, and how it affects us.

There’s an apparent sense of humor hidden within Felix’s writing. Reader’s will know this towards the end of the book, when we’re introduced to Wallace – a wolf – that is a vegetarian.

The Rumor isn’t just about rumors and how they spread, but it’s also about friendship, and how sticking together in the best and worst of times is important.

I love how the characters are all various animals. You know me and talking animal characters.

I love how the alligator wears a bathing suit.

Felix’s writing is sharp. She doesn’t beat around the bush, but instead is a straight shooter who tells a solid story.

The illustrations that fill the book are soft, almost subdued, even though there’s trouble in the air.

One does not outweigh the other – the illustrations and the writing work together to bring this book to life.

Advertisements

The Punk Ethic

The Punk Ethic by Tim Decker (Received an advanced copy through NetGalley)

When musician/slacker Martin Henry is handed back his English paper on landmines his teacher doesn’t laugh at the topic. He doesn’t judge the grade or debate the amount research that went into Martin’s paper. He simply asks Martin a questions: What are you going to do about it?

Do about what? Landmines? How can Martin Henry, who has absolutely no ambition do anything about this problem, do something to solve it?  Besides, if he were to do something it will cost more than he could afford. He can barely afford a ten dollar gift for his friend never mind the three hundred dollars it will take to adopt and deactivate one landmine.

But the more Martin thinks about landmines, that nagging questions keeps coming to mind. What can he do? Martin may not have a lot, but he has talent. And he knows people who are semi-talented.

Martin decides to take a chance, to do the one thing he knows he can do to raise three hundred dollars. He convinces the owner of The Church, his small town’s most popular concert venue to donate the venue in the hopes of putting on a charity concert.

With an odd array of acts ranging from a God-loving ska bank to a hip-hop cellist, will Martin be able to raise the three hundred dollars he needs? Will he be able to adopt a landmine and possibly save one persons life?

The Punk Ethic written by Tim Decker is an ambitious book that is based upon a truly one of a kind subject – the landmine – or rather the disarming of one landmine.

Decker’s writing style is sharp and concise. It’s in your face, yet there’s a lyrically smooth quality to it. Just like his characters don’t beat around the bush, either does Decker. And there’s something punk rock about that.

But Decker’s writing is not enough to save this book. It seemed that The Punk Ethic got started just as the book was wrapping up. Clocking in at only one hundred and eighty-eight pages, the book doesn’t drag. In fact it’s quite opposite. However Decker introduces several important issues – other than landmines within the pages but doesn’t develop them. Issues like complex relationships, sexual abuse, and mental stability that deserve more attention than they actually get. They are brought up, but never really discussed or rectified, making these issues seem almost pointless since they don’t add to the over story line.

As a music lover I wanted to love this book, or at least like it a lot more than I actually did. But there were several prominent factors that stood in the way of really enjoying it. Main character Martin is not a likable character. His attitude is a far cry from punk rock, it’s down right miserable. His sudden charitable interest isn’t believable. And to make matters worse, he seemed one note and underdeveloped, as do all the characters that grace the pages.

Readers will appreciate that The Punk Ethic isn’t bogged down by musical jargon. Even though a big part of the plot centers around music and the art of creating it, it does not get caught up in the technical side of chords and frets. But honestly, there isn’t much to get caught up in to begin with.

Book of the Week: The Way Back Home

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers

Published: 2008 by Philomel

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

I’m admitting it here and now: Oliver Jeffers may be one of my favorite picture book authors.

I love how this book is all about imagination, and the awesome things that could happen when you use your imagination.

Jeffers attention to detail is astounding. For example, one the wall of the main character’s house, is a picture of him on the moon with a little red rocket.

The little boy is a real go getter. When he sees a plane just sitting there in the closet he takes it out for a spin, for an adventure. He does let fear get in the way.

Jeffers has a way of building tension. When the little boy’s plane starts to sputter, and it runs out of fuel – readers start to worry. What’s going to happen? Where is he going to land?

This is a story about space – and it even features an alien. I like aliens.

I love how the colors of the book’s pages reflect the action of the book. When the little boy first lands on the moon the page is blue, representing the night sky. But the very next page is black showing that it’s getting darker and the little light he does have is starting to fade.

I love how this book is about friendship, and the importance of being there for one another.

It also shows that we can make friends any place we go … even on the moon.

At first the little boy and the alien fear the worst of each other. The alien thinks the little boy is a three eyed, green monster which the little boy thinks the alien is a furry, horned monster.

There impressions of each other illustrates one’s natural fear of the unknown.

I love how these characters don’t let their differences stand in the way of friendship.

Even though they are so very different they are very much alike. Both of their flying objects have failed them, both were appropriate traveling head-gear, and both are smart.

I love how this book shows two heads are greater than one.

This book shows the importance of team work. And that any problem can be solved with team work.

It’s important to keep a promise, the little boy in this book shows that.

Just because these two characters are vastly different and live worlds away doesn’t stop them from being friends.

I love how this book made me think about life in outer space. And made me want to get out there and explore all the places I dream to explore one day.

This book is for the adventurous, and the adventurous at heart.

There really is something for everyone in this book. It’s funny, insightful, and heart warming.

Jeffers simple writing story is strong, and paints vivid pictures in reader’s minds.

The illustrations are done in Jeffers signature style.

The book as a whole is fun, inviting, and I imagine would make for a great bedtime story.

Shootin’ the Breeze with Alecia Whitaker

We’re only a few months into 2012 and I’ve already read some stand out books. One of which was Alecia Whitaker’s debut novel, The Queen of Kentucky.

One of the most endearing books I’ve read so far, I wanted to know more about the book, main character Ricki Jo Winstead, and of course the very talented author, Alecia Whitaker. Luckily for me, and for all my readers Alecia Whitaker was willing to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

BookBandit (BB): Can you tell about yourself, and about your writing?

Alecia Whitaker (AW): I am a mom and a wife living in New York City, but originally from a small town in Kentucky. I was raised on a farm much like the main character in The Queen of Kentucky, Ricki Jo, so life as I know it now could not possibly be more different from the way I grew up. My writing is often reflective of situations that I have experienced in my real life. My mom says I am a Master Embellisher, so I just apply the same sense of dramatics to my writing. I think about something that happened in my life and then retell the story to make it fantastical, funny, and all around better.

BB: Ricki Jo is a great character, what was the most difficult part about creating her? Easiest part?

AW: The most difficult part with Ricki Jo was trying to separate myself as an adult from her as a young teen. She’s only fourteen and she’s just now entering high school – she’s just barely out of middle school! – so of course she’s going to make mistakes as she tries to navigate a new school and new friendships. I didn’t want my adult self to age her up or preach, so I let her stumble and cheered for her during the times when she succeeded. The easiest part was writing about her home life. The farm and her family members are mirror images of my own. And her sense of humor. We’re both known to tell a corny joke or two.

BB: If you were to describe Ricki Jo through a musical playlist, what songs would be on it?

AW: I actually have a Queen of Kentucky playlist on my iTunes. Here are a few of those jams: Boondocks by Little Big Town (where she’s from), Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis (her ridiculous for Wolf), and Our Song by Taylor Swift (reflective of her relationship with Luke).

BB: What advice could you offer to aspiring writers?

AW: Write. I know it sounds crazy, but the difference is that one aspires  and one writes. You have to do the work before you can enjoy the fruits of it. You’re not going to be published on a great idea alone. And after you’ve written your piece, edit and revise. Get a few people you trust (not just family, but writers) to read it and give you notes. Then be open to their feedback. You can’t be married to your work – nothing is perfect the first time around. And then research agents and editors who have represented books that are similar to yours and approach them. They will be impressed that you’ve done your homework and you will have a better chance at success in publishing.

I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to the lovely Alecia Whitaker, for not only giving us a great book, but for taking time out of her schedule to answer a few questions.  Be sure to pick up a copy of the Queen of Kentucky, it will not disappoint.

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

As we make our way through April, where April (Book) showers will bring May flowers, I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and One A Day YA are hosting a fabulous hop. As always a BIG THANK YOU for hosting this giveaway!

Two lucky winners will get to choose one of two prize packs.

Prize Pack # 1 Includes:

A signed ARC of 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass

Prize Pack # 2 Includes:

A (used) hardcover copy of Cookie by Jacqueline Wilson

Giveaway will run from 12:01 a.m. on April 20th until 11:59 p.m. on April 25th. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, 13 years or older.

To enter leave a comment on this post, and this post only. Please tell in your comment which prize pack you would want to win. When leaving a comment please make sure to leave a VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Winner will be contacted via e-mail on April 25th, and will have until 11:59 p.m. on April 27th to respond with shipping information. If a response is not received by April 27th, a new winner will be selected.

Please be sure to check out all the participating blogs. They are offers some great (book) swag! For a full list (links included) click here.

Good Luck and Happy Hopping!

The Queen of Kentucky

The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker

For Ricki Jo Winstead starting high school is the most important year of her life. It’s going to be a year full of changes. From this point on she refuses to be known as Ricki Jo, but rather by her given name Erica. From this point on she will not be just another small town country girl. She will work her way up the social ladder. From this point on, Erica Winstead will make a name for herself.

Ricki Jo quickly realizes that neither freshman year nor high school is what it’s cracked up to be. She looks nothing like the girls in her homeroom. She doesn’t wear the right clothes, and even if she had those clothes she has nothing to fill them out with.

Than there’s Wolf. He’s the freshman heartthrob that Ricki Jo is crushing on along with the rest of her freshman class. Too bad he relentlessly teases Ricki Jo for things out of her control.

As Ricki Jo struggles to transform herself into the new and improved Erica she manages to not only push Luke, her best friend and best thing about freshman year, aside, but she also manages to lose herself.

Alecia Whitaker’s debut novel, The Queen of Kentucky, is a quick read that is full of Southern charm with an added heap of spunk. It is a book that readers will flock to. One that readers will not be able to put down until the very end.

At it’s core this is a book about fitting in, and finding yourself within this vast world. Whitaker’s readers will gravitate towards the familiarity  of her classic storyline. Like Ricki Jo, we have all struggled with fitting in or finding one’s self at some point or another. What makes this classic storyline so unique is Whitaker’s style and earnest characters.

Whitaker’s writing is solid year airy. There’s a certain ease and flow to her writing style. Even though she tackles some heavy topics – fitting in, alcoholism, etc – she handles them with ease and grace. Each sentence is well crafted. Each chapter is fluid and moves smoothing from one to the next.

Ricki Jo Winstead, main character of The Queen of Kentucy, is a real hoot. Her blunders and forays into popularity will makes reader’s both cringe and laugh simultaneously. But she’s a real trooper. She’s determined, smart, and when push comes to shove, always follows her heart – not the crowd. She has all the qualities of a great heroine.

The Queen of Kentucky is an honest read. Many of us readers have either forgotten what freshman year was like or are still wondering  and anticipating what it’s going to be like. Whichever category readers fall into they will learn a valuable lesson from Ricki Jo Winstead: popularity isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.


No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop

Hello!

It’s been a few weeks since the blog has last participated in a giveaway hop of any kind. So I thought it was about time to participate in another sweet giveaway. Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Thanks Kathy for hosting yet another awesome giveaway!) is hosting the No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop. There’s no jumping through hoops, absolutely no requirements to enter this giveaway. Do you need to be a subscriber? NOPE! Do you need to answer any questions? Nope!

There are several items up for grabs this hop around. Two lucky winners will have the chance to win one of two different prize packs.

Prize Pack # 1 Includes:

A (used) ARC of Ashfall by Mike Mullen and a Drink, Slay, Love (Sarah Beth Durst) bookmark.

Prize Pack # 2 Includes:

A (used) ARC of  Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (please note that this is a used book, and slight wear to the cover) and a Drink, Slay, Love (Sarah Beth Durst) bookmark.

The giveaway is open from 12:01 a.m. on April 17th and will run until 11:59 p.m. on April 22nd. This contest is open to U.S. residents only over the age of 13.

To enter simply leave a comment on this post. Please comment with a VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Two winners will be contacted via e-mail on April 22nd and will have until April 24th to respond with shipping information. If no response is received by 11:59 p.m. on April 24th a new winner will be selected.

Make sure to check out all the great blogs also participating in this Hop. You can check out the full list (including links) here.

Good luck everyone! Happy Hopping!