Author Archive

World War Nonfiction

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Ifrozenintimef you are looking for an interesting nonfiction read about World War II, give “Frozen in Time” by Mitchell Zuckoff a try.  This is a very well written book that starts with the crash of an U.S. cargo ship into the Greenland ice cap and includes the subsequent rescue attempts.  But the other portion of the book is a modern attempt to locate and recover the one of the rescue crafts, a U.S. Coast Guard Grummand Duck amphibious craft.  Both stories will have you hoping for a successful rescue despite the harsh weather deadwakeconditions.

2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania, a luxury ocean liner.  Erik Larson’sDead Wake” is set around that sinking and brings to life some of the key figures and events leading up to that disaster which facilitated the entry of the USA into World War I.  Plus as a bonus, the book has a really great cover!





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Author Sir Terry Pratchett Dies At Age 66

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Terry-PratchettAfter a eight-year struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, author Sir Terry Pratchett died Thursday at his home. Sir Terry Pratchett wrote over 70 books, including the lengthy Discworld series beloved by many readers.  He was knighted in 2009 by the Queen of England for services to literature. The author even made his own meteorite-powered sword in honor of that event.

“His death was announced on his Twitter account, on Thursday afternoon. The first tweet was composed in capital letters – which was how the author portrayed the character of Death in his novels.


“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.”

“The End.”

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The Next “Big Thing” in Teen Books

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Everyone always wants to know what the “next big thing” is in books, including me.  We are way over the paranormal books, with vampires and werewolves and now dystopian books are old hat, despite The Hunger Games and Divergent movies still to come. So what is next?

I think Realistic Fiction is gaining ground, partly thanks to John Green’s books and movies.  (Not that it ever truly went away.) I recently read two illgiveyouthesungreat teen realistic fiction books.  And yes, the covers are quite similar but that is just a coincidence!

The first book, which was the Printz Award winner, is by Jandy Nelson, “I’ll Give You The Sun.” This book is told through two voices, twins Jude and Noah. The interesting part is that Noah’s portion is told from when they were 13 years old and Jude’s voice is from when they are 16.  This gives the reader the perspective of what is to come but not how it came about. I really enjoyed the zacandmiacharacters of both twins and how the story came together in the end.

The other book is “Zac and Mia” by A.J. Betts. At first this book might seem to be an “A Fault In Our Stars” ripoff, but the story evolves beyond that. Zac and Mia have their own unique story to tell. Zac “meets” Mia because they are sharing a hospital wall while he is in isolation for his leukemia treatment. Mia is a popular girl, but is hiding her sickness from all her friends and is unable to come to terms with her illness. The friendship develops after the hospital but each are not always honest and upfront with each other. But in the end, they each need something for the other person and the ending leaves the fate of the characters up to the reader.

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Author Mal Peet Dies at Age 67

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

malpeetAward-winning British author Mal Peet died Monday at the age of 67. Peet won the Guardian children’s fiction prize for his 2009 book Exposure. He also won the Carnegie medal in 2005 for his second book, Tamar, which is a fabulous fiction story set between modern day and World War II-occupied Netherlands.


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Teen Mysteries

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

allfalldownSometimes it can be harder to find teen mysteries, so I was pleased when Ally Carter released the start of a new mystery series, All Fall Down.  Her Gallagher Girls series kept on getting better with each book and All Fall Down was a great start.

Grace is an army brat and also the granddaughter of a very powerful ambassador, where she spent summers running around the embassy. But now that Grace’s mother has died, her father sends her to live with her grandfather, and Grace isn’t willing to let the mystery of her mother’s death be classified as a tragic accident.

ghostflowerMichele Jaffe has written a number of mysteries as well, but I recently read Ghost Flower and really enjoyed it!

Runaway Eve likes to keep a low profile, but she gets drawn into a scheme to impersonate an heiress that had gone missing so the cousins can split the inheritance.  But not everything is as it seems at first, and Eve is starting to to question everything about herself and the family she is drawn into.



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Author Colleen McCullough Dies at Age 77

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Author Colleen McCullough, well-known author of The Thorn Birds, died Thursday. She was 77. The Thorn Birds, an Australian saga published in 1977, went on to sell 30 million copies worldwide and inspired a popular 1983 mini-series.

Colleen McCullough published 25 books, including a fictional series set in Ancient Rome that drew some well-known readers. Her final book, Bittersweet, was about four sisters and set in the 1920s. She was dictating a sequel, which isn’t complete, when she died.


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ALA 2015 Youth Media Award Winners

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

This is my favorite time of the year, at least for book award announcements!  The ALA Youth Media Award Winners were announced on Monday during the ALA conference in Chicago.  So crossoverwithout further ado, here are the winners:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:giveyouthesun

For a complete listing of all the current and past award winners visit


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Illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham Has Died at 94

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Margaret-Bloy-Graham-300x225Margaret Bloy Graham, the illustrator of Harry the Dirty Dog (written by her ex-husband Gene Zion) and many other books, died last week at the age of 94.

Harry the Dirty Dog was first published in 1956 and is still popular today.  Harry is considered the “canine Dennis the Menace.”  Although best known as an illustrator, Margaret Bloy Graham also wrote and illustrated her own books, including Be Nice to Spiders and Benjy, another dog series.





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Teen Science Fiction Books

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

In solidarity of my son’s semester long course on science fiction cinderbooks, here are some of my favorite, recent (besides Firefight) science fiction books.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:  What I really love about this series is that the author takes Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel and totally gives them a science fiction make-over!  And yes, these would be great books for guys too (ignore the shoe) because there is no simpering princess.  Cinder is actually part alien, part cyborg and is in way over her head.  Scarlet just wants to find out what happened to her grandmother but runs into a whole organization of wolves.  And Cress is just a lost girl who happens to be a genius hacker.  I’m excited to see where the next book takes the characters!

stupidperfectworldStupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld is actually a short story eBook, but I am hoping it might expand to more.  In this future world, kids are required to take a Scarcity class that teaches them about how things use to be.  For a final project, everyone in the class most pick an ancient hardship that is no longer in existence, like getting a cold or not using advanced transportation.  Maria decides to experience hormones as a teenager by stopping her hormone treatment and Kieran picks sleeping 8 hours a night, because really, it couldn’t be that bad, right?




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New Year, New Teen Books

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

firefightAfter a lack of really super great teen reads last year, I am looking forward to 2015 books!  My favorite book of 2013 was Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson so I am THRILLED that the sequel, Firefight, is out!  I actually re-read Steelheart so I am really excited to see where the next book takes us.  I feel like it might be a different type of book since there were some great reveals at the end of the first book which should change the way the main character, David, and the Reckoners function as a team.darkestpart

Another book that should be on everyone’s reading list is Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of The Forest.  This beautifully crafted book just came out and really showcases how great Holly Black is at world building.  Siblings Hazel and Ben are just so different and how they interact with each and the boy who sleeps in the glass coffin feels so real.  The book reads like a fairy tale but features a strong female, Hazel, as a knight.  Plus the cover is gorgeous!



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