Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

RUN, don't walk, to the Cybils Website to see the winners!

Especially happy for David Carroll, whose Ultra is the Middle Grade Fiction winner! Now if we could just get the book published IN HARDCOVER in the US, I'd buy five copies. My cross country runners all want to read this one, and the paperback won't hold up that long!

Congratulations to all of the winners. Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming Staircase was another one I enjoyed tremendously!

Happy Valentine's Day! Dogs make the BEST Valentines, since they love us so much, but we'll have a more stereotypical book as well. I'm not a huge fan of the holiday, but hope that you all have a great one!

18114570Various Authors.Lucky Dog: Twelve Tales of Rescued Dogs 
January 28th 2014 by Scholastic Press 
E ARC from

What better book to post on Valentine's Day? Dogs can be the truest loves of our lives, and this collection of twelve short stories by an impressive array of middle grade authors shows how a variety of these relationships start. Centered around the Pawley Rescue Center, the stories are not connected, but all deal with dogs from that facility. I'm never good with describing short story collections, so we'll go with the Goodreads description:

"This collection is full of heartwarming and hilarious stories about the Pawley Rescue Center, where rescued dogs find their way into hearts and homes. You'll meet Foxtrot, a feisty Pomeranian who can't bear the thought of leaving her best friend. And Beatrice, whose bark is definitely worse than her bite. And then there's Pumpkin, one of the 101 Chihuahuas who turn life at the center upside down. Whether drooling, dueling, or just fooling around, these captivating canines will show you why the dog is kid's best friend!

LUCKY DOG features sweet and silly stories about playful pups and the kids who love them by some of your favorite authors: Randi Barrow, Marlane Kennedy, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, Kirby Larson, C. Alexander London, Leslie Margolis, Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens, Ellen Miles, Michael Northrop, Teddy Slater, Tui T. Sutherland, and Allan Woodrow."

Strengths: This is a good choice for reluctant readers, since they can break the book down into the stories. They are all easy to follow and realistic. Many of my reluctant readers do like animal books, and perhaps if they like particular stories, they would be more inclined to investigate the other writings of the author.
Weaknesses: Short story collections are not popular in my library, but I think the very appealing cover will win over readers. 

17334461Darling, Angela. Rachel's Valentine Crush
December 3rd 2013 by Simon Spotlight  

Rachel has long had a crush on Brody, ever since they sang together in the church choir. He's gone on to bigger and better things, and has moved to California where his singing career is taking off. When he releases his second album, Secret Crush, Rachel is sure that she is the one mentioned in the song. Of course, other girls are sure of this, too. When Brody decides to come back to Minnesota to give a concert, he throws a party and plans on going to the school dance. Rachel's father, a hard working snow plow driver, won't let her go, even though Grandma Nellie thinks she should be allowed. She is eventually allowed to go to some events, where she finally gets to talk to Brody. Is she his crush, too?
Strengths: OMG! Brody's a STAR! And he's coming back home! There are some girls who will absolutely adore this latest installment in the series. It's nice that the (somewhat cheesy) covers show boys of a variety of ethnicities. I like the holiday tie-ins, since few books have them. The next one to come out includes spring break! (Drat, we missed St. Patrick's Day. Could have had a nice book with a ginger with freckles on the cover, please?)
Weaknesses: These are a love/hate kind of thing. Some girls will not be caught dead with them. They do suit a certain population very well, though, so I intend to buy them all, no matter how cringe inducing and text message filled they get.

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