Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Readings

Summer has been here and the reading has been easy.  Well sorta ;)  Been hitting for some of my reading selections.  Highly recommend them for those who read, review and recommend books to others.  I tried to note where I accessed the book when reviewing below.

Netgalley selections:

Hoopskirts, Union Blues and Confederate Grays by Kate Havelin

Since we had a trip to Gettysburg and this is the 150 anniversary of the beginning of the US Civil War this and a purchased book, Your Travel Guide to Civil War America (Passport to History) by Nancy Day, were a great books to read before the trip.  Havelin's book focuses on the clothing of the era from 1861-1865.  The photography and pictures are excellent.  It includes a Contents, Timeline, Glossary, Source Notes, Selected Biography, Further Reading/Websites and an Index.  It covers all types of people from every socioeconomic strata along with the expected explanations of both the Union and Confederate uniforms.  The details are what drive this book.  How the clothing defined the person, their work, their background, education, status, etc.  Easy to read format and an inviting look.  It appears it, along with Day's book, are both part of a series.  Nice for Librarians looking for something nonfiction that is engaging for readers.  The Day book treats the reader as a time traveler who might indeed visit the Civil War period.  Somewhat short on information it does provide a unique overview of the war and the major encounters and situations that occurred during the war.  It is a good jumping off point into other more thorough books.  Photographs and pictures are again the draw to this book.  Reluctant readers would easily pick up these two books.

Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith

A definite upper elementary early middle school read.  I found this book fun. David is shipped off to Grandma's for the summer.  If that isn't bad enough he finds out that Grandma runs the "Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast" which turns out to be a vacation for aliens.  Soon David finds himself helping his grandma by entertaining the aliens, helping them feel comfortable and blending in on Earth.  Of course their are some disastrous outcomes but also some highly humorous ones too. This could be the start of a series since the author left the ending with many possibilities. Grab this one for a fun read.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

A high school or adult Christian fiction read, this is a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer during the 1800's Gold Rush period.  I liked how the story was able to cover difficult topics of prostitution and child abuse with limited detail.  Although definitely a Christian message it is also a love story and a story of redemption for the main character.  This is the republished work of the author from a decade ago but still reads very fresh.  Enjoyed this story as you can tell.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting Larvae by Bridget Heos

Hillarious nonfiction picture book for elementary school kids.  All kids are fascinated by bugs and I love the way the author describes the "birthing and raising" process of insects to children in an "expectant parent" format.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and the descriptions are detailed. Accurate information is presented and there is a glossary, bibliography and a "further reading" section included. Every buddy entomologist should get this book.  Her latest book is also available at, What to Expect When You Are Expecting Joeys. I plan to read it too.

Public Library:

Overbite by Meg Cabot

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

The first Meg Cabot book I read was not one of her popular ones it was even written under a pseudonym.  I was so under-impressed I don't even remember the title of the book.  That said it took something for me to volunteer to read another of her books even though I have thoroughly enjoyed the movies spawned from her "Princess Diary" series.  That being said believe it or not I read not one, but two Meg Cabot books.  Both were written for adult audiences but would be suitable for upper high school.  I say this only because there are adult situations in them that are blatant and have details that some in a school situation might feel uncomfortable having in a school library.  Of course I read them in the reverse order of the story but actually that wasn't too bad.  I really can't believe that I read another 2 vampire books!

If you are looking for a light vampire read these would be it.  Standard good vs. evil plot-line.  Everyone compares every vampire book with a love story nowadays to Twilight  so why not me?  Twilight safe it is not although there are no very torrid love scenes.  There is the incredible angst and looks and "I-am-so-drawn-to-you" moments.  There is the slash and burn the bad guys scenes too.  Over all not bad books, not Shakespeare, but if I am reading books like these I am not looking for depth.  I would definitely say fun summer reads or good light reading anytime.  Go enjoy them!

Junior Library Guild Selection:

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
This upper elementary to early high school book is reminiscent of the "Sisters Grimm" series.  High school characters are the protagonists in this book.  The main character, Elizabeth, is not only the lonely new girl at school but the stepsister who does all the work at home. Then she is recommended for a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository by one of her teachers and a whole new and unusual world opens up for her.  It seems the Repository houses some interesting circulating materials such as period shoes from through out history. But some materials are only available to certain people such as the unique and not known "Grimm Collection" from the actual Grimm brothers.  With in this collection are certain "magical" items that inspired their stories and some of these are going missing.  Elizabeth is swept up into the intrigue when she is hired at the repository.  Along with adventure, if she can survive her new job, it looks like she may also get new friends and a social life.  This was a fun quick read.

As you can see I continue to read across diverse genre.  If you have "must reads" please pass them on to me.

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