Friday, October 31, 2014

LIFE IS SWEET by Elizabeth Bass

Life is Sweet

Becca is trying to make a fresh start, owning her own bakery after a childhood career in Hollywood.
Matthew is staying with his girlfriend's daughter, Olyvia, while his girlfriend is away on business. The hopes and dreams of these three folks are about to collide.

The full plot is a lot more complicated than that, but I don't want to give too much away. This is a contemporary romance (nothing real steamy). It is a story of friendship. It is a story of adult relationships. It is a story about parenting. To me, the ending felt a little like it came out of left field, but all the threads were tied up at the end, and I enjoyed following the story all the way through.

4 out of 5 stars
(There is a little swearing in this book)


* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

AT YOUR SERVICE by Jen Malone

At Your Service

Chloe's goal in life is to be a top notch concierge, just like her dad. Her motto is "Go big or go home." But her dream is at stake when she loses one of her charges on a tour of NYC - a young princess. A lot can happen to a young girl, alone, in a strange city, so Chloe, her best friend Paisley, and the older prince and princess will have to be very clever to track her down asap - especially before their parents find out!

I loved the concierge angle of this story. It was unique and helps the book stand out from the crowd. There is lots of potential stories that could come out of this premise, especially in a New York City setting. This has a great core group of characters and a light romance. There's also a good lesson here about self-sufficiency and seeking help when you really need it.

5 out of 5 stars
No AR reading level at the time of this writing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

THE MAP TRAP by Andrew Clements

The Map Trap (Clements Middle Grade Novel #2)

Alton is a map fanatic. He makes maps of the usual stuff like directions and where things are located. But he also makes secret maps - like who the popular kids are or what food in the cafeteria makes people sick. When Alton's secret maps go missing and are held for ransom, Alton better act quickly before the secret maps go public and ruin everything.

If you accept the definition of "geek" as someone who is passionate about something cool and smart, this is a "geek" story. The map things are very cool and I loved reading about Alton and his passion. I even learned about geocaching, something I think my students would find cool. This is a great school story about friendship, social behavior. The solution to Alton's problem was great, too.

4 out of 5 stars
AR Reading level of 5.3

Saturday, October 25, 2014

GET HAPPY by Mary Amato BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY!

Get Happy

I am pleased to welcome author, Mary Amato to Bring on the Books today! She is the author of the great book posted here - Get Happy. Because of the influence of music that runs through this entire story (as well as Ms. Amato's other stories like Guitar Notes), I asked her to share about that aspect of her writing. Here is her response:

I love music and wanted to write another novel exploring music in the life of a character. Music is often the thing that gets a teen through the day. How many times I remember being depressed or angry or sad or confused and then singing my heart out to whatever song I was hooked on and just letting the song take care of purging the negative and replacing it with joy.
When I write I keep my instruments nearby and throughout the day I take little breaks to play and sing. I also work well with music on and often choose music that I think my characters would like or music that reminds me of my characters.
While I was writing Get Happy, I was lucky to see or hear some inspiring local female vocalists: Victoria Vox (http://www.victoriavox.com ) and The Sweater Set ( http://www.thesweaterset.com/)

Check them out and make sure to also check out the 16-year-old Jamey Geston http://www.jameygestonmusic.com who recorded my Get Happy Songs!

Many thanks to Mary Amato for stopping by on her blog tour. You can check out the rest of the tour here. Mary is also offering a copy of Get Happy to one of my readers. Comment below (or on my Facebook or Twitter posts) by 11:59pm on October 31, 2014 for a chance to win!

I thoroughly enjoyed Get Happy. The main character has two great friends who support her throughout the story. When things start to fall apart for her, her anger is raw and realistic as she discovers that relationships are complicated and adults aren't perfect. I flew through this one, cover to cover, and enjoyed every page. I think this would appeal to middle school and high school readers as well as those of us adults who are lucky enough to know how much fun it is to read books that are supposed to be for kids! Four out of five stars.

Remember to comment by the end of October for a chance to win a copy of Get Happy and check out the rest of the blog tour.


Author Bio:

Mary Amato is an award-winning children's book author, songwriter, musician, puppeteer, and poet. She writes for children of all ages, and is beginning to focus on YA. Her first YA novel was Guitar Notes. Mary lives with her family outside Washington, DC, where she also performs regularly, singing and playing her own songs. Mary is a popular speaker and runs numerous workshops for teachers and students, including many on all aspects of creative writing, even songwriting. The author lives in Silver Spring, MD. You can visit her online at www.maryamato.com. You can also find here at www.thrumsociety.com 

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Friday, October 24, 2014

THE YETI FILES: MEET THE BIGFEET by Kevin Sherry

The Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet

Blizz the Yeti and his Bigfeet family are having a family reunion. Blizz is determined to find his missing cousin, Brian, and keep his family from the prying eyes of a cryptozoologist who wants to the world to know about the Bigfeet.

A fun, silly book that will be part of our fall Scholastic Book Fair. There's lots to see in the illustrations, which makes this great for young readers ready to try out chapter books. There are talking animal and mythical creatures like a North Pole Elf and a unicorn. Plenty of "kid humor" like bathroom behavior, etc. I think this is sure to be a hit with my students!

4 out of 5 stars
AR Reading level of 2.9

Thursday, October 23, 2014

THE CASE OF THE STOLEN SIXPENCE by Holly Webb

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence

Maisie Hitchins longs to be a detective like the famous detective, Gilbert Carrington, who lives nearby. Before she knows it, Maisie has TWO cases to work on - the mystery of who tried to drown a puppy and the mystery of who is stealing money from the butcher.

This was excellent! Because Maisie's grandmother is a landlord, the people boarding with her bring interesting contributions to the story. The results of her investigations aren't quite with Maisie was expecting but they are satisfying anyway. The illustrations are cute and really add to the story. I am looking forward to adding this book to the school library. The next book in the series (pictured below) releases on March 3, 2015

5 out of 5 stars
AR reading level of 4.8

The Case of the Vanishing Emerald

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I SURVIVED THE DESTRUCTION OF POMPEII, 79AD by Lauren Tarshis

I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 (I Survived Series #10)

Marcus and his father are slaves in Pompeii in 79 AD. They are eager to escape their ruthless captors, but when they discover the rumblings of Mt. Vesuvius are hinting at something much more dangerous than some shaky ground, they want more than freedom from slavery. They want to escape Pompeii before it is too late.

This was a great father/son story that included interesting information about the history of the Roman empire. Includes a description of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius as well as a believable explanation of how a slave would have been able to read the signs about what was about to happen. A fantastic addition to this popular series!

4 out of 5 stars
AR reading level of 5.1

Next book in the series releases on February 24, 2015. A "True Stories" book is out now.

I Survived #11: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871   I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters