Mini-review: The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore (William Joyce)

Product Details:
Reading level: picture book
Publisher: June 19, 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781442457027
Source: personal copy




The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.    

But the power of story will save the day. 




This was such a great find at Barnes and Noble! I was not looking for picture books, but the cover caught my eye. You can't tell from this picture, but the lettering looks like gold leaf. Gorgeous. As stood in the children's section while my oldest soon looked for a book, I started reading The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore. Instant love. 

What does it take to make me go nuts for a children's book? That's pretty simple: a great hidden message between the covers. I knew I had to own this book and use it with my class. (I managed to use it for a prediction lesson.) But what I adored the most about this book is the subtle message about the importance of public libraries. Every book lover should read this book because we can all appreciate our libraries. That wasn't the only jewel hidden on the pages. On a deeper level, the book discusses the power of (individual) stories. I absolutely loved the line "everyone has a story to tell." Sigh. 

Not convinced that this book deserves your attention? Fine. Don't take my word for it then. Go check out the author's website to see for yourself. It will blow you away. Oh, and did I mention that since this book is so incredible it has it's own iphone App? Oh yeah.


Mini-review: Pale (Chris Wooding)

Product Details:
Reading level: MG/ YA
Pages: 72
Publisher: September 10, 2012 by Stoke Books
ISBN: 9781781120910
Source: ARC from Netgalley


Pale

The Lazarus Serum can bring you back from the dead. Only thing is, it turns you into a Pale. Jed can't imagine anything worse, but then the choice is taken out of his hands...



When I started reading this on my Kindle, I thought it was a full length book. I didn't realize it was more of a novella. With only 72 pages, it was a very quick read. 

I thought it was clever that the serum that brings the recently deceased back to life as "pales" was called the Lazarus Serum. I wonder how many younger readers would pick up on that reference? Since this was a shorter read, the plot moved very quickly. The main character Jed is catapulted into a situation he never wanted to be in. Because of his new circumstances, he has to find a way to survive and cope. He found himself faced with several moral decisions that younger readers could relate with. 

Since I have spent most of my teaching career working with struggling and reluctant readers, I can safely say that this would have lot of appeal for that group of readers. My middle school boys would be able to relate to Jed easily. The underlying themes of acceptance and bullying would also appeal to today's youth.  


Review: Hanging By a Thread (Sophie Littlefield)

Product Details:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 288
Publisher: September 11th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0385741049
Source: NetGalley
Read it in 3 days


Hanging by a ThreadSummer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?

First off, how amazing is this cover?! It was the first thing that drew me to this book. Instant love. Unfortunately, that was the only thing I loved about the book.

Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike the book, but after a certain point I started to have serious issues. Parts of the story seemed to drag which is not great for holding my interest. But I stuck with it until the end. I enjoyed all the fashion and sewing references. I even thought that the idea behind the plot was unique. BUT... I have serious issues with how this story wrapped up. No good. I found myself reading the whole rushed ending in 2 pages. That is not enough closure for me. Plus, how things wrapped up had enough holes to sink the Titanic all over again. I think that is what made me feel a little frustrated with the book.

I did think the characters were pretty good. The author did a fair job of adding a bit of mystery to everyone that kept you guessing. I can say that not everyone turned out to be what they seemed. My favorite character in the whole book was the grandma. She was this super eccentric old lady that didn't care what others thought about her. I loved it. She was the perfect combination of sweet and salty, kind of like my seasonal favorite at Starbucks (sea salt caramel latte!).

I found myself thinking this was a decent read, although there were plot holes that should have been worked out a bit better. It didn't stink like a cat's litter box, but it didn't rock my socks off either.


Cover Appeal: Beaches

It only seems fitting that since I live in Florida and near 5 beaches that I should find a few images to represent the perfect beach reads.

So here they are... my choices for the perfect beach read.


great idea!




Starfish
I can't stop picturing a mermaid story with this one.







Surfing


Hope you enjoyed your summer!

Next Week: Villains

RABT Tour Stop with Lev Raphael


 The book:


 
Older Young Adult/Adult Fantasy
Title: Rosedale the Vampyre
Author:Lev Raphael
Date Published: Available now through Amazon

Grief-stricken by his wife's untimely death, a wealthy New York banker turns to sexual abandon in the bordellos of 1907 New York. Then one fateful night, after a mysterious attack, he dies to his old life and is reborn a Vampyre. Once obsessed solely with making money and social advancement, he's now driven by a new, perverse hunger for blood. Written in a period voice, this deeply erotic work takes us into dark corners of the psyche as it explores a secret world of power and obsession.


You can find more information about the book and the author on Goodreads by following this LINK.

You can also watch the book trailer here! 



The author was gracious enough to provide an interview and more insight into his fascinating novel:



Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in New York but I’ve lived most of my life in mid-Michigan where I came into my own as an author.  I’ve published hundreds of stories, essays, reviews and blogs—and twenty-two books in genres from memoir to mystery to mashup.  I’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles as an author, doing readings on three continents.  Being an author is always surprising.  Example?  I never imagined I’d be invited to read at the Library of Congress, or get to interview Salman Rushdie.

Tells us About Your Book.
Rosedale the Vampyre is a historical novella set in New York in 1907, a time of stupefying wealth and extravagant display.  Its protagonist is a widowed banker drowning his sorrows in pleasure until he surprisingly finds the answer to his pain when he’s attacked by a vampyre.  The book is dark, suspenseful and erotic.

What led to Writing This Book?
The book wrote me!  I was possessed by the idea and it wouldn’t let me go.  I’d done a tremendous amount of research in The Gilded Age for a different novel, and this novella was born out of that immersion.  And also out of my early love for Dracula, both the movie and the novel.


What do you like best about Rosedale the Vampyre?
It’s opened a door for me into a new genre.  I’ve previously published mysteries,  a  memoir, literary novels, short story collections, essay collections, psychology, biography, a children’s book, a historical novel, a teacher’s guide, and will soon publish a guide for writers.  Now I have ideas for two more vampyre books.


What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
I want them to feel immersed in a different time and place.  That’s why I wrote it in a period voice, so that it sounds as if the book had been published in 1907, not 2012.  Researching The Gilded Age, I spent a lot of time reading books written in it, not just about it, and that grounded me.

What vision do you have for the book?
I’d love to see someone turn it into a movie starring Michael Fassbender.  J  It could also make a great graphic novel.

Why do you thnk vampire books are so popular these days?
I think they crystallize our feeling that life can sometimes be out of our control, that there are forces in it we don’t understand.  Then there’s the fact that we all like a good scare.  These books are also sexy, even if that’s not explicit, and so they thrill us in a variety of ways. 
 

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