Picture Book Saturday: Worry Wart ( Lisa Kidahl)

The Deets:
audience: the wee ones
pages: 24
publisher: December 1st 2012 by Parables & Books
ISBN: 9780983318880
source: eARC from Netgalley

Worry Wart

Chloe Lore is a worrywart. She is a sweet young girl, but she worries about everything, even things out of her control. Chloe is anxious all the time until she realizes that she doesn’t have to worry anymore. Get to know the world of Chloe, her family, and friends as you learn about being able to take control of your own life.

This one was okay. The message was good, but the delivery needs work.

For starters, the writing is way too mature for younger readers. Some of the sentences and word choice were far above picture book status. Now, usually I'm a huge fan of using harder words in books for younger readers, but they have to flow. There were times when some of the words seemed stretched and forced to make the end rhyme pattern work. With that being said, it was hard to hold the attention of my 5 year-old because I think he had a hard time understanding what was being said. (and that's not because he isn't a reader. He's a smart little fella.)

The illustrations were different. I think it was something similar to clay-mation? Hard to say, but there was an unique quality to the pictures. They weren't flat and one dimensional like your typical picture book illustrations. They did have a sort of 3D effect to them because they appeared to be clay. Pretty nifty.

Finally, the most important element of picture books is the story itself. There was a nice message for kids hidden in the lofty words. Chloe has to learn that she can't control everything in life, and in turn needs to stop worrying. Don't we all? When she finally learns that lesson, little Chloe can start to enjoy her childhood.

I probably wouldn't buy this one, but I would check it out from the library or download a Kindle version if it was under $3. Is it worth paying the standard hardback price for picture books? Not really.  

Review: Wild Ink (Victoria Hanley)

The deets:
audience: anyone
pages: 351
publisher: May 1st 2012 by Prufrock Press Inc
ISBN: 9781593638641
Source: book for review from publisher/author

Wild Ink : Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult MarketWhat do you need to know to break in to the flourishing young adult (YA) market? With humor and a solid grounding in reality, author Victoria Hanley helps readers understand the ins and outs of the YA genre, how to stay inspired, and how to avoid common mistakes writers make in trying to reach teens. This book includes unique writing exercises to help readers find their own authentic teen voice and dozens of interviews with YA authors, blogging experts, editors, and agents to give inspiration and guidance for getting published. Chapters include writing exercises and self-editing techniques tailored to YA, along with encouraging words on dealing with self-doubt, rejection, and lack of time.

Ever wonder what it takes to become a YA author? How about learning about the publishing process? Maybe you just want to know more about what it takes to be a better writer. Well, if any of those apply to you-- Wild Ink is for you.

This is not my normal type of book for review, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this one. Yes, I was interested into learning more about the publishing process for books. I mean, who doesn't have that dream, right? But what I really wanted was insight into the writing process. There is an entire chapter with interviews from well-known YA authors that offers advice and encouragement. I thought it was a nice touch to include insight from someone that's been there.

I admit it. I was 100% selfish with my decision to review this book. I am a teacher. In fact, I'm a Language Arts/writing teacher. Naturally, I would want to learn more about the writing process so I could share that information with my kids. Duh.

What I didn't expect though, was for a book to fully cover all the skills that I teach when I teach literature. Not only does Wild Ink spend the first 3 chapters hitting all the elements of great fiction, but it also provides exercises for practice. I love that. I'll even admit that I used some of the practice activities with my students. Great teaching tool.

As a blogger, I even found some of the information applicable to my blogging. Awesome, right? It's always a plus when you learn more about the inside workings of the book industry.

Overall, I was impressed with the layout and presentation of the material in Wild Ink. I would certainly be interested in picking up other books by this author to add to my teacher tool kit.

Early Review: Hysteria (Megan Miranda)

The deets:
audience: YA
pages: 336
publisher:  February 5th 2013 by Walker Childrens
ISBN: 9780802723109
genre: mystery, contemporary
source: eARC from NetGalley


Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

Do not start Hysteria expecting to get warm fuzzies. It's a little gory at times, but it is also super fast-paced. I couldn't put it down.

If I had to imagine what "going crazy" was like, I think this book would accurately depict it. Mallory was certainly on the edge of something.

There isn't a whole lot to mention, really other than the concept behind the book. It was different. I don't recall reading (or even knowing about) a book about a character that is on the edge of losing his/her mind from a traumatic event. So of course, that made Hysteria a one of a kind read for me. It was "fresh"-- if something so dark can be described as fresh.

Something worth mentioning that I enjoyed was the mentioning of one of my favorite books of ALL TIME: The Lord of the Flies. There was an interesting reference to the mob mentality of the boys that killed Piggy-- which totally relates to a few scenes in this book. Honestly, doesn't that relate to life in general?

Finally, I guess the characters should be mentioned. I mean, what is a book if not for the characters, right? Mallory was conflicted. Screwed-up actually. She went through a pretty traumatic event that has left her scarred and slightly unstable. Her best friend, Colleen, seemed solid enough even though she didn't have much face time in the book until the end. There relationship was different. Maybe a little beyond the standard best friend role? I dunno... they seemed connected on a different level. Then there is Reid. Love him. He was the new love interest, but also more. He was a nice solid in the middle of all the crazy. There were some villain types in the book hiding in the form of mean boarding school girls. They sucked. But the most vile of them all (in my opinion) was Dylan. When you read this you'll know why. Douche bag extreme. Everything is his fault! At least I think so.

So go ahead, check out Hysteria. It was interesting and a quick read. It will surprise you with some of the plot twists, which is always a plus in a novel.


Review: Beautiful Chaos (Kamir Garcia and Margaret Stohl)

The Deets:
target audience: YA
pages: 518
publisher: October 18th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9780316123525
Source: my own copy
genre: paranormal romance

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, # 3)Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.


Well, well, well... Beautiful Choas got everything right this time around. I guess the saying, "The third time is a charm" has some merit after all.

There was so much going on in this book that it's hard to narrow down one point worth discussing. The plot is complicated, and takes Beautiful Chaos to a whole new level. So I won't spend time pondering that. Instead, I'm going to discuss what I really liked about this book.  

The characters--and I'm not talking about Lena and Ethan either. The minor characters are what make Beautiful Chaos so outstanding. Ridley, Link, Macon, Amma, and even John Breed-- a-maze-ing. I love, love, love how the minor characters stole the show. Amma goes dark (waaaaay dark) and makes a deal that cannot be broken. And who would have thought that Macon--the once dark-turned-light Incubus-- would be a hero? Then there is Link and Ridley. There is so much drama and conflict there, that a cast of some second rate reality series would be jealous. I cannot wait to see what happens with Ridley in the final book. I bet it's going to be HUGE. But what was really surprising, is the role John Breed played. I'm not 100% sold that he's some misunderstood good guy type. I think there is more to it than that. Again though, the final book is going to tell his tale.

I think it's pretty safe to say, that Beautiful Choas is my favorite so far in this series. I have very high hopes for the finale. This series certainly appeals to the paranormal romance fan. There are so many supernatural elements at play that I'm surprised someone hasn't petitioned to have this series "banned." (Which I hope doesn't happen.)

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