Book of the Week: Moon Dreams

Moon Dreams by Ruth Martin Illustrated by Olivier Latyk

Published: 2010 by Templar

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

The thought and the imagination that went into creating this book isn’t only apparent it’s incredible.

This book kind of makes me wish I was an astronaut. I would want to visit the moon.

I love how the main character’s name is Luna.

This book shows just how powerful the moon could be. It shows that the moon  isn’t just about providing a glowing light in the dark night, but for some it provides comfort and serenity.

For little Luna, it helps lull her to sleep.

Luna’s dreams are vivid. From her bouncing upon the moon’s surface to deep-sea diving and finding the moon swimming among the fish.

I love how the book shows just how inquisitive Luna is. She often wonders where the moon goes when the sun fills the sky during the day. I feel like a lot of children wonder this. I know I did when I was little.

The answers Luna comes up with are inventive – maybe the moon slips into the whooshing ocean waves. maybe it hid behind the snowy mountains, or maybe it simply hides behind the billowy clouds.

I love how the book shows that some questions aren’t easy to answer, that some aren’t as straightforward as others. But just because the answer isn’t clear it doesn’t stop Luna from wondering and questioning.

Luna knows in her heart that even when the sun disappears it’s always in her heart, and her dreams.

I love the dreamy colors this book was created. Soft, various shades of blues, glowing yellows, and black as dark as a night sky without the moon.

The illustrations are great. I think they are what really attracted me to this book.

The writing is spectacular. It’s smart and engaging.

 

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Embrace

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Violet Eden’s has always disliked birthdays, specifically her own. The reasons for her dislike isn’t because her birthday is a cruel reminder of getting older, but rather because it’s a vicious reminder that the day she was born was also the day her mother died.

This year is different though. Sure her best friend and father have been urging her to have fun, but that isn’t what makes her seventeenth birthday so strange. First, the veins in her wrist have been twisting into an intricate pattern, the same pattern that’s carved into the wooden box her father gave her. The box from her long dead mother.

Inside that wooden box covered with intricate carvings, Violet finds a leather cuff bracelet and a handwritten letter telling to her believe the unbelievable. But there’s more to the box than just a bracelet and a letter, there’s a secret that goes along with it.

The secret: Violet isn’t an average girl. She’s a Gregori, part human, part angel. But there’s a catch, her angelic talents won’t kick in until she embraces. That is, if she chooses to embrace the world and lifestyle of a Gregori.

Written by author Jessica Shirvington, Embrace is the first book in a set series of four titles.

Readers wouldn’t know that Embrace is author Shirvington’s first novel. The writing is sharp and smart. The exchanges of dialog flow smoothly. Beyond that, Shirvington has managed to make this fantastical plot line realistic. Readers will be able to feel every emotion, will be able to sense the building tension, will be wrapped up in every action packed scene.

What makes Embrace so real are the characters that live within the pages of this book. Violet, who admittedly could be a bit wishy, washy, proves, in the long run to be a strong heroine. She isn’t just physically strong, she’s also mentally strong. Besides Violet, Embrace features a swoon worth guy – or two. Lincoln and Phoenix specifically are honest and real, both representing light and dark, good and evil.

Embrace is full of many enjoyable moments. It’s a fast paced read that will keep readers engaged. However, I found there were some predictable moments. I found that I knew what Violet’s decisions were going to be before she even made them. But these predictable moments weren’t enough to hinder the overall read for me.

Vastly different from other angel themed books, Embrace is a fun read that won’t only capture reader’s attention, but will leave them wanting more.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Picked up ARC at BEA 2012)

Eleven year old twins Alex and Conner Bailey haven’t had an easy year. Since the death of their storytelling father, their mother was forced to sell their bookstore and to take on a job that leaves her working around the clock. They’ve been forced to move from the comfortable home with the blue door to a cold rental home a few blocks away.

As their twelfth birthday swiftly approaches, they don’t have much to look forward to. That is, until they come home to find their grandmother’s car parked in the driveway of their rental house. Loaded down with groceries, and a car full of birthday presents, their grandmother will see to it that Alex and Conner have a birthday they could never forget.

That’s why she gives them a book – The Land of Stories. Full of fantastical stories and memorable characters Alex and Conner have grown up with, the twins are overjoyed with calling the book their own.

But when The Land of Stories comes to life, sucking both Alex and Conner into their pages, they face the adventure of their lifetime – finding a way out of the book’s pages, and into the comforts of their own, rental home.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is written by Chris Colfer, known more for his role as Kurt on hit television series Glee, not for his role as author.
Colfer’s The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell in an inventive, imaginative take of fairy tales, stories that we readers hold near and dear to our hearts.

While he remains true to their own stories – Snow White really was chased out of the kingdom by a huntsman and lived with seven small men, Cinderella really was a peasant girl who’s only friends were a family of mice – Colfer has managed to make these character’s his own.

By giving them unheard of back stories, Colfer has created complex characters that won’t cease to amaze readers. In their own way, they are all heroes. Take Goldilocks* for example. She isn’t the innocent little girl who simply ate some porridge and took a nap. She’s a full-grown adult, who not only can scare off the Big Bad Wolf gang, but is a fugitive on the run.

Beyond the fairytale characters, main characters Alex and Conner honest portrayals of typical twelve-year olds. They, not only battle fairy tale creatures within the pages, but they also battle friendships, or lack thereof as well as the trials and tribulations known as school. Their voices are honest, real, and young readers will be able to identify and sympathize with them.

Colfer’s writing is good. It’s full of unforseen twists and turns, and has some real laugh at loud moments. For his first foray into the writing world, his writing is a solid start, reader’s will be pleasantly surprised by this.

There is only one hitch. His pacing is sometimes off. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell has some real action packed sequences, but those sequences are often followed by moments that seem to drag.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is a fun read that both children and adults will fall in love with, and not just because of who the famous author is. Young readers will have the chance to discover fairy tales they’ve yet to discover, while adults will rekindle their loves for tales long gone.

Book of the Week: Just How Long Can a Long String Be?!

Just How Long Can A Long String Be? by Keith Baker

Published: 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books

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

I love that the main characters are a bird and an ant.

The book starts with a question: Just  how long can a long string be? A simple questions, but as readers will discover the answer – or rather answers – are infinite.

I think this book, like so many other ones, really captures the child’s imagination. It shows the things they could do with a simple piece of string – fly a kite, go fishing, and even hold up sweet peas.

It also showed that a long piece of string can make a real, knotty mess.

I loved how even though the characters – a bird and an ant – talk, they weren’t portrayed as cartoons.

I loved that there was an apparent sophistication to the book. This made me think the author doesn’t underestimate his audience.

Speaking of audience, both children and adults will love this book.

Each page had a different background color.

It’s a really simple, yet smart book.

It will make readers realize just how valuable a piece of string is. I mean, who knew all that could be done with string? Who really thinks about that?

I love the author’s attention to detail.

I love how the small ant doesn’t get swallowed up or forgotten in the book. He’s featured on every single page. But admittedly, sometimes you have to look for him.

The writing is simple. But it’s spectacular. This isn’t the kind of story that needs to be overdone.

I love how the writing and illustrations go hand in hand. One never outshined the other.

Brightly Woven

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

A war is brewing. But sixteen year old weaver Sydelle Mirabel does not know that. All she knows is that she’s safe in her small desert town of Cliffton, and that it hasn’t rained in the past seven years. Not one single drop of rain. That is, until a speck of water fell from the sky,splashing Sydelle. And with the rain came a cloaked stranger – Wayland North.

North, the cloaked stranger, is a wizard on a mission. His mission: to stop this war before it’s even begun. This should be easy, being he’s a wizard with magical powers and all. But anything involving North is far from easy. He needs someone else. He needs Sydelle and her weaving ability..

So when he saves her from the men storming her safe hometown her parents offer him a reward of his own choosing. He chooses Sydelle. Together, they travel far and wide facing obstacle upon obstacle.

Will Sydelle and North arrive in time to put a stop to this war?

Brightly Woven, author Alexandra Bracken’s first novel, is an exquisite fantasy that will transport readers into Sydelle’s world.

Brightly Woven is a well written first novel that doesn’t solely focus on the fantastical elements of the plot line. Other genre elements work their way into the story. For example, from the get go, readers will quickly pick up on the budding romance between main characters Sydelle and North. There is even a slight air of mystery surrounding the characters and the reason for the brewing war. The mixing of genres makes for a fun and interesting read.

What makes Bracken’s book stand out are her well crafted characters. In a word, they’re exceptional. Sydelle and North, from the first moment they meet have instand chemistry. Sydelle is the true definition of a hero. Not only is she brave, but she’s smart, thoughtful, and a real trooper. While Sydelle relies on his wits to get by, dashing wizard North relies on his charm. He can sweet talk his way out of any situation, good or bad.

Brightly Woven is a great read. However, there’s two minor flaws – there are some unresolved issues as well as some questions that are left unanswered. However these flaws, for me at least, did not detract from the book. In fact, I found it left things open to my own interpretation. Bracken’s story is unique, it’s imaginative, and dare I say it – magical! Bracken is sure to win over reader’s with this fantastic read.

Book of the Week: Bridget Fidget and the Most Perfect Pet

Bridget Fidget and Most perfect Pet by Joe Berger

Published: 2009 by Dial

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

The red polka dot end papers just add a bright touch to an already bright book.

In an odd way Bridget Fidget reminded of two very famous characters – Pippy Longstocking and Madeline. Two of my favorite characters might I add.

This book shows just how wild a child’s imagination can soar.

I agree with Bridget, unicorns would make awesome pets!

Especially one’s name Thunderhooves.

There’s a whole lot of laughs contained in this short book.

I really love how children will easily identify with main character Bridget. As an adult, I even identified with her.

As a non-pet own I sympathize with Bridget. I too want a pet of my own.

I love how curious Bridget is.

I like how Bridget’s curiosity can really inspire readers adventurous side.

Bridget isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, she also isn’t afraid to make a mess.

Captain Cat is Bridget’s faithful sidekick. Admittedly, he doesn’t look thrilled about his role. That fact alone made the book all the more funnier.

I think this book shows children the kind of responsibility it takes to take care of a pet, whether it’s a unicorn or a small mouse.

Bridget would make a great pet owner.

I love that this book has a mysterious flare to it: what is in that small box?! Readers will guess along with Bridget? Is it a unicorn? Is it a penguin? Is it a really sleepy mouse?

Bridget has a dramatic flare.

Bridget’s parents are accepting of her ways. When she gets snow (packing peanuts) all over the place, they aren’t happy, but they don’t scold or punish her.

Bridget’s unstoppable!

It shows the only time Bridget is still is when she’s sleeping. It’s very true of children in general.

I love how the surprise of what’s in the box makes Bridget even happier, even if it isn’t a pet.

Even if it’s not a pet, she’s found something that is as great as a unicorn. It’s a ladybug! Quite possibly my favorite bug.

Can you guess what Bridget names said bug? You got it? Thunderhooves. Perfectly fitting.

I loved this book there was something endearing about it.

The writing is great! it’s as carefree and spirited as Bridget Fidget herself.

The illustrations are as charming as the writing. They really bring the story to life.

I love the colors used in said illustrations. They aren’t bright, yet they aren’t subdued. They are smooth and fit the tone of the story.