“Waiting On” Wednesday: Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

Waiting On Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Searching for Sky big Searching for Sky
by Jillian Cantor
Publication date: May 13, 2014 Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

Waiting On Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

The Inventor's Secret big The Inventor’s Secret
by Andrea Cremer
Publication date: April 22, 2014 from Philomel

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell

Waiting On Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Expiration Day big Expiration Day
by William Campbell Powell
Publication date: April 22, 2014 from Tor Teen

What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?
It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction…

Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.

Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?

Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted — never to be heard from again.

Reviews: Memoirs of a Goldfish & Memoirs of a Hamster by Devin Scillian & Tim Bowers

Memoirs of a Goldfish Memoirs of a Goldfish
by Devin Scillian & Tim Bowers

ISBN-13: 9-781585-365074
Publication: April 2010 from Sleeping Bear Press (Scholastic)
Source: bought (Scholastic Book Fair)
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

With his bowl to himself, Goldfish loves his life…until one day…

A personal account from a goldfish on life in his bowl as other intruders crowd him.

Memoirs of a Hamster Memoirs of a Hamster
by Devin Scillian & Tim Bowers

ISBN-13: 9-781585-368310
Publication: May 2013 from Sleeping Bear Press (Scholastic)
Source: bought
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

Seymour the hamster has the perfect life. He has a spacious cage, a constant food supply, and a FuzzyBoy 360 exercise wheel that lets him run to his heart’s content. Life could not be better. Or could it? When Pearl the cat tells Seymour of the goodies beyond the safe confines of his cage, he starts to think he’s missing out. And out is the new in! It’s only after Seymour is out of his cage that he begins to fully appreciate his safe and cozy home.

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Double review day! Memoirs of a Goldfish and Memoirs of a Hamster by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers are two of the cutest picture books I have read this year. I picked up Memoirs of a Goldfish at the fall Scholastic Book Fair at one of my schools and immediately fell in love with it. Imagine my happy face when I found out that a second book, Memoirs of a Hamster had been published earlier in the year! And in the spirit of complete honesty, no matter how much I love Goldfish, I love Hamster so much more.

In Memoirs of a Goldfish, our diary-writer goldfish spends his days swimming around his bowl. Sometimes twice. But then someone new arrives. And that someone new is just the beginning. Soon, the goldfish is crowded in his bowl with a crab, guppies, an angelfish and more. He’s so crowded and frustrated that he can’t wait to have his own bowl again. But it’s when he does get his own bowl again that he realizes he misses the others – they’ve become his family. In Memoirs of a Hamster, Seymour lives a very content life in his cage with yoghurt drops, his Fuzzyboy 360 wheel and cozy bedding. But Pearl the cat tempts him with outside the cage, describing the sun room full of yoghurt drops and a staircase made of sunflower seeds. Poor Seymour doesn’t realize Pearl has ulterior motives to getting him out of his cage. Seymour quickly realizes that his cage is perfect for him, and needs to get back home!

5 heart

Both books are beautifully illustrated (Seymour is adorable!) with large text for easy reading. The stories are so funny – especially when dealing with Pearl (the big fat liar) and all the new fish and sea creatures that come to live in the goldfish bowl. When reading them out loud to my classes, I found that Memoirs of a Hamster received more laughs but that Memoirs of a Goldfish enabled more discussion on what would happen next and why. Both are perfect for a unit on journal writing and reading them together in one session is the best. Devin Scillian and Tim Bowers have written and illustrated two fantastic books that allow a humourous look at not taking what you have for granted (Seymour and his home), and that new people and situations are often good for you (the goldfish not being alone anymore). I definitely recommend picking these both up if you haven’t already!

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

Waiting On Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

The Forbidden Library big The Forbidden Library
by Django Wexler
Publication date: April 15, 2014 from Kathy Dawson Books

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That – along with everything else – changed the day she met her first fairy.

When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon – an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Review: Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen & Kevin Hawkes

Library Lion Library Lion
by Michelle Kundsen & Kevin Hawkes

ISBN-13: 9-780763-637842
Publication: July 2006 from Candlewick Press
Source: bought
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

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One of my favourite picture book discoveries this past year is Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. Beautifully illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Library Lion is the perfect read aloud.

The story revolves around a lion who frequents a library. He helps the head librarian Miss Merriweather around the library and stays for story hour with the children. After his first visit when he roared very loudly at the end of story hour because he wanted to hear another, the lion was informed of the rules and allowed to stay as long as he didn’t break them (no running, no roaring or loud noises) – and he never does. Until there’s an accident and he needs to get help. The story lends itself wonderfully to being read aloud to a group of children, especially if you’re like me and like to be animated when reading out loud. From Miss Merriweather’s soft librarian voice to the lion’s hearty roar I love bringing this book to life (and kids always like helping out with the roaring, too).

5 heart

Library Lion is an exquisitely told story about rules, rule breaking, friendship and even jealousy. Students and children will easily connect with the rules of the library and understand that the lion has to abide by those rules. But they also immediately understand why he breaks the no roaring rule and why it’s maybe not a bad thing. Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes have created a brilliant story – one that I will keep around for years to come and will happily introduce to every class.

Review: Jewel of the Thames by Angela Misri [blog tour]

Jewel of the Thames Jewel of the Thames
by Angela Misri

ISBN-13: 9-781927-746424
Publication: March 2014 from Fierce Ink Press
Source: publisher
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

There’s a new detective at 221 Baker Street

Nineteen-year-old Portia Adams has always been inquisitive. There’s nothing she likes better than working her way through a mystery. When her mother dies, Portia puzzles over why she was left in the care of the extravagant Mrs. Jones but doesn’t have long to dwell on it before she is promptly whisked from Toronto to London by her new guardian. Once there Portia discovers that she has inherited 221 Baker Street — the former offices of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Portia settles into her new home and gets to know her downstairs tenants, including the handsome and charming Brian Dawes. She also finds herself entangled in three cases: the first involving stolen jewelry, the second a sick judge and the final case revolving around a kidnapped child. But the greatest mystery of all is her own. How did she come to inherit this townhouse? And why did her mother keep her heritage from her? Portia has a feeling Mrs. Jones knows more than she is letting on. In fact, she thinks her new guardian may be the biggest clue of all.

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Jewel of the Thames by Angela Misri is a wonderfully light-hearted mystery novel. Portia Adams is a delight – nineteen years old in 1930, Portia inherits 221 Baker St. and is whisked from Toronto, Canada to London, England with her guardian Mrs. Jones. Once there, Portia finds herself going to law school, aiding in solving crimes and delving into her own family tree.

Divided into three case files, Jewel of the Thames presents the reader with three different mysteries (a jewel thief, a murder and a kidnapping) that Portia finds herself participating in solving all while efficiently stacking up the clues for Portia to dig deeper into her family history, and the history of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, the famous tenants of 221B Baker St. I highly enjoyed Portia. An intelligent, capable, kind young lady who possess the wits and desire to help and solve cases around her. She has great interactions with her downstairs neighbours the Dawes family. Son Brian is a Constable at Scotland Yard and enables Portia to better access the information she needs to solve her cases. Despite the flirty undertones to their interactions, there is no real romance in the book and I, for one, found it quite refreshing.

4 heart

The writing in Jewel of the Thames is intriguing and unique. Angela Misri has managed to convey both a sense of the 1930s and old Sherlock Holmes novels through her prose and dialogue. I was very easily able to see myself in 1930s London with Portia as a proper young lady, and as the detective – the language used is very methodical and calculated. And while the mysteries to her past are quickly hinted at and any Sherlockian will pick them up immediately, it was still fun to see Portia put everything together. Jewel of the Thames is a wonderful addition to the Sherlock Holmes universe and I can’t wait for book two!

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Thanks to Fierce Ink Press I have on e-Copy of Jewel of the Thames to give away! Giveaway is open worldwide except for the UK. Please fill out this form to be entered.