Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

Title: The Trouble with Chickens
Author: Doreen Cronin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: March 1st, 2011
Genre: Middle Grade
Pages: 120

Synopsis:
J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs), along with their chicken mom, show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him?

I really enjoy reading Doreen Cronin's children's stories, like Click, Clack, Moo, and Dooby Dooby Moo. I've seen them in some of my university education classes, on my program placements, as well as in the day care I used to work at. The kids always seem to enjoy these books. When I realized that The Trouble with Chickens was written by the same author, I requested it right away from NetGalley.

This story of J.J. Tully is really cute and a fun adventure for kids. The animals get along in an odd way and there were many instances that made me laugh. For example, J.J. doesn't like how the chickens are named so he gives them nicknames: Millicent the mother hen becomes Moosh "because it was easier to say and seemed to annoy her", and the chicks, Little Boo and Peep become Dirt and Sugar "for no particular reason." It's funny how those two words seemed to go so well together by the end of the story.

Although J.J. seems very disinterested in the chickens' problems, he agrees to help them, and it gets him in more trouble than he would have wished. Vince the Funnel (named so, because he has a plastic cone around his neck) is not too happy about J.J. being a new addition to his country home, and plans to do something about it. It has elements of humour, mystery, adventure, and even some negative themes like betrayal. It would be a great teachable moment at the end of the book to talk about what happened to the characters, why it happened, and how students can relate it to their own lives.

The only negative this I could say is that the wording in this book might be difficult for some children, depending on their reading level. It would be a good book for children in grades 4 through 6 to start reading. I think this is a great book to have in a junior classroom, especially for students who like the mystery genre and also have an interest in animals. I know I want to have it in my future classroom.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the digital ARC!

**********

Coming up: I will blog about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not quite a review, more of a discussion about the book and movie, and my experience with Harry Potter. Make sure to check back for it around the end of the week!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: January 4, 2011
Pages: 448

Synopsis:
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?


I've recently found out that I can't avoid angel stories because they have this huge, overpowering appeal to me. This one, I absolutely loved. It was different than the others I've read, because the angel is the narrator. Most of the YA paranormal/fantasy books I've read have consisted of the human female and the paranormal male with whom she falls in love.

This story starts with Clara, who has just recently found out that she's a quarter angel. She's been having weird visions, which her mother tells her are clues to her purpose. These clues eventually lead her and her family to the beautiful Wyoming mountains. She becomes really wrapped up in Christian and it seems like any overactive high school crush. The story really gets good when summer comes along and Clara starts to worry about whether or not she's going to be ready to fulfill her purpose.

Insert Tucker. Oh, Tucker, how I love you so much. Talk about sexy cowboy! He starts off as a bit of an ass who seems to enjoy pushing Clara's buttons. By the time the summer comes around, you get to see his softer side, and my goodness is he sweet. I don't want to tell you too much about him, but I'm team Tucker all the way!

The last four to five chapters are absolutely amazing. By the time I got to this point, I didn't want to stop reading for anything. I even tried reading through my lecture, but I realized that was really stupid and put it away (very, VERY reluctantly). Cynthia Hand inserts at least three pretty big twists near the end, and they are so great. I can't give anything away, obviously, but good luck putting it down near the end.

I definitely recommend this one to anyone who has recently fallen in love with angel stories. Unearthly is different in the sense that the narrator isn't the typical damsel in distress, which is a great change. Overall, this is now on my favourite reads list. I can't wait until it comes out so that I can hold it in my hands and read it all over again.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the digital ARC!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Into Reading 2010 Update #2

Another update on Fall Into Reading 2010, the read-a-thon that I decided to try out! Since it's my first ever read-a-thon, I don't feel so bad tweaking it all the time.

In my last FIR2010 post I added a whole bunch of books that I had received as digital ARCs from NetGalley. I realize now, that just because I have them doesn't mean I have to read them all before December 20. This realization has made me re-think the list I posted last time. So, there will be one more, final change.



My current and final list is being modified to include:
  1. My original list,
  2. A few NetGalley titles (I typically will read a digital ARC while reading a separate hard copy book)
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I have a tradition of re-reading the novel before the corresponding movie comes out, and I don't plan on breaking it)
This is my new and final Fall Into Reading 2010 list. The titles that have been stroked out have been read.
  • Dimestore Magic - Kelley Armstrong
  • Kiss Me Deadly - ed. Trisha Telep
  • Torment - Lauren Kate
  • Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick (currently reading)
  • Happy Ever After - Nora Roberts
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
  • The Little Prince Graphic Novel - Joann Sfar
  • Once in a Full Moon - Ellen Schreiber
  • Unearthly - Cynthia Hand
  • The Trouble with Chickens - Doreen Cronin
  • Delirium - Lauren Oliver (currently reading)
I doubt I'll be able to get them all done, but I will update as I make my way through them. If you check back to this post, I will be crossing titles off my list as I complete them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your
teasers!

My teaser this week comes from a book that I hope everyone has already read, because it is one of the best books of all time (along with the other 6 in the series of course). HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. I hope there are no rules stating it should be a book that the majority of the world hasn't read, but oh well. Here it is:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling




At these words, seemingly in response to them, a sudden wail sounded, a terrible, drawn-out cry of misery and pain. Many of those at the table looked downwards, startled, for the sound had seemed to issue from below their feet.




I'm rereading the book before the movie comes out in a couple of weeks. So this teaser is just from the beginning of the story, since I'm not very far in yet. I hope I can get through at least half before it comes out in theatres.

Monday, November 8, 2010

In My Mailbox (2)



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that gives bloggers a chance to share what books they've received in the last week. It's hosted by The Story Siren and you can find out more info about it here.




This week was fun for me. I got a few books and I didn't have to spend money on all of them. The ones I bought cost me under $20 (and I don't have to pay shipping, which is great) and I won my first ever book! I was so excited and I hope it's the beginning of wonderful things!

Bought through The Book Depository
Happy Ever After - Nora Roberts
Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips

For Review (digital ARC from NetGalley)
Angelfire - Courtney Allison Moulton

Won
Fractured: Happily Ever After? 3 Tales - Joanna Karaplis
(I won this from Goodreads, on which Joanna posted the giveaway herself. Thanks to both!)

I hope I can get to these books soon! As of now, I've put aside my current read, the Kiss Me Deadly anthology, in order to get Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows read before Part 1 comes out in the theatres on November 19. I'm so excited for it, I'm prepared to break into song and speak at pitches only dogs can here. But I digress, I like my mailbox for the week. I can't promise I'll have another one to do next week, because I doubt I'll get any books. Which is good, because I have a lot to catch up on!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Changes

I just wanted to do a quick post about the changes around here. I've been looking for a template I like and adding gadgets here and there, but I think I'm finally happy with the way I have things set up. If any more changes occur within the next couple of weeks, please don't be surprised, because it's just me tweaking my blog until I find something I really love.

I'm planning on adding a blog reel and showing off the buttons for the blogs that I enjoy most. But for now, I am happy with the way it looks! Well, at least until I have something new to procrastinate for...

If you have any suggestions about things I can add to my blog, feel free to let me know!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Waiting on" Wednesday




"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating!
I first heard about it from PageTurnersBlog.




This is my first ever WoW and I'm excited to share! There's so many good books that I want to read, but only a few that are new releases (a lot have already come out and I'm just trying to catch up on them).

My "Waiting on" Wednesday this week is:
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Publication Date: March 1st, 2011

In her dreams he’s irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she’s awake—and captivates her just the same—she’s not sure which way is up and which is down.

Falling UnderTheia Alderson has always led a sheltered life, not allowed the same freedoms as the rest of the teenagers in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, she feels every urge she’s ever denied burning through her at the slightest glance from Haden Black. Theia knows she’s seen Haden before—not around town, but in her dreams.

Theia doesn’t understand how she dreamed of Haden before they ever met, but every night has them joined in a haunting world of eerie fantasy. And as the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her forward one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And as she slowly discovers what Haden truly is, Theia’s not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

From Goodreads

It looks like a really good book and right up my alley! It reminds me of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, with a mix of something else... I'm not sure what. Either way I'm excited to read it!

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your
teasers!

My first ever teaser come from Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I'm currently reading a digital galley of it from NetGalley.





She stood up too, and took a step back, giving me some space, nodding slightly as if she completely understood what I was going through. Like she knew that she was unraveling everything.





I'm really enjoying this story. I'm not yet halfway through, but I think I'll like it until the end and will probably invest in a copy when it comes out on January 4, 2011.

I hope you all enjoyed my first Teaser Tuesday! I sure did :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In My Mailbox



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that gives bloggers a chance to share what books they've received in the last week. It's hosted by The Story Siren and you can find out more info about it here.




This is my first ever In My Mailbox and I'm kind of excited because of the books I got. I can't promise I'll be doing this every week, especially because I don't have a lot of money nor time to read the books. But I wanted to let you all know of the books that I've received and am excited to read!

Torment (Fallen, #2)Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)
Bought through The Book Depository 
Torment - Lauren Kate
Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick
Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I'm so happy that I've finally received these three because they are all sequels to books I've already read and loved! I'm going to finish what I'm currently reading, and then hop through them so quickly! I'm excited to see where the authors have decided to take their characters next.

The CellarThe Vespertine
For Review
Both are digital ARCs and were received from NetGalley
The Cellar - A.J. Whitten (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Vespertine - Saundra Mitchell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

These two caught my eye when I was browsing NetGally (rather than doing my homework, of course). They both seem really interesting and different from the things I have been reading. I hope I enjoy them!