Friday, May 11, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Audio) Performed by Sissy Spacek--Recorded Books ****
I loved listening to this again.  I had to read it for English in High School and I enjoyed hearing the story again.  Ms. Spacek does an excellent job as the reader.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Preschool Confidelntial

Preschool Confidential by Sandi Kahn Shelton

This book had me (and Hannah, Jonathan, and others who stopped to listen to me reading excerpts out loud) in stitches. She has an incredibly humourous way of putting down in writing all the quirks of three years old (the 400 some odd daily questions, the tantrums, the negotiations, and the growing independence). Fun read.

Book Description

May 14, 2001
So you thought you'd made it past the difficult part: the midnight feedings, the colic, the breast pumps, the endless diaper changings. Just when you thought you'd reached the blissful part of come the toddler/preschool years! Only Sandi Kahn Shelton could deliver such a dead-on, hilarious, true-ringing look at the walking, talking, crazy years. In Preschool Confidential, she explored such universal occurrences as:

--Dealing with the mutiny in the checkout line (aka: begging or bribing?).
--Presenting scientific proof that toddlers ask 437 questions per day.
--Unveiling the four "answers" that any parent can recycle to respond to any toddler's question.
--Ranking tantrums on a Richter scale.
--Understanding day-care romances.
--Ducking the sex questions every kid is destined to ask (at the most inopportune moments).
--Dissecting the anatomy of a birthday party (or how to control a group of four-year-olds without ropes or sedatives).
--Coping when the four food groups are Cheerios, macaroni and chesse, Jell-O, and lollipops.
--Cooking purple mashed potatoes, and emergency tactics to stave off a hunger strike.
--And much more!

Preschool Confidential will have you howling at the apt, accurate, and painfully honest look at the preschool years. It will also have you thinking, I thought only my child did that!

On Becoming Preschool Wise (-)

On Becoming Preschool Wise: Optimizing Educational Outcomes: What Preschoolers Need to Learn by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam.
(Could I give this a no star or negative star?)

I saw this at the local library while researching under the topic "Preschool." I was interested to know what the founders of GFI would say about this topic.

As with other Babywise books, this book decidedly put me on edge--both the writing style and the information. It is "parent Directed" as is most in their books...but I found myself frustrated and angry (once again) after perusing this book.

Link at "Ask" as to the background of the Ezzos and their books: here


Hourglass by Myra McEntire

This is another of a series of paranormal romance YA novels I have been reading of late. There seemed to be some gaps as to the science behind her time travel abilities--but overall it is a fast and enjoyable read.

Book Description

May 8, 2012
One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

Cake Pops

Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for more than 40 Irresistible Min treats by Bakerella (Angie Dudley)

This book bought me time at the local library while researching how to build our own custom play set (with a backyard all angles and slopes--a "boxed" set won't do. Shucks!). The book has great photos of step-by-step how to make cake balls on a stick and decorate them. Very cute! Wish I had had time to make some for our youngest Second Birthday.

Fun book to own. Easy to check out and use for holidays and birthdays.

Midnight in Austenland

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Joe and I agree that Shannon is getting to be a wonderful writer. Charlotte, a divorced mother of two, comes across as a strong character who is able to put the pieces of a murder mystery and of her life (success and failings) together at a summer in the adult "amusement park" of Pembrook Park.

When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end?

Torment ( Fallen, Book 2)

Torment by Lauren Kate

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–This sequel to Fallen (Delacorte, 2009) continues they complex tale as Luce tries to uncover the truth and break the cycle of falling in love, dying young, and being reincarnated. Daniel, her lover through the ages and a fallen angel, institutes a truce with Demons to protect her from the Outcasts, who would do her harm. For her safety, Daniel hides her at a boarding school for the Nephilim, children of human and fallen angels, and cautions her to remain on campus and learn all she can. Unfortunately a little knowledge can be dangerous and Luce's naive attempts to manipulate her powers constantly put her and others in danger. Some of the rescues employ a deus ex machina as is the case when Arriane inexplicably arrives in Vegas and saves the day. At times the story plods along, with a full chapter devoted to a fencing lesson. Daniel regularly returns to check on Luce and there's lots of swooning, passionate kissing, and playing at being in love, though it often ends with bickering. Interest is piqued with the hint of a love triangle, and the suspense is ratcheted up in the heart-pounding final battle scene. In the end, readers won't be much closer to unraveling Luce's mystery and will need to stay tuned for the next installment. It's unlikely this title will garner new fans for the series, but those already hooked on the epic romance won't want to miss it.Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.


Fallen by Lauren Kate

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

From the Hardcover edition.

SkyBreaker (Aduio CDs--Full Cast Audio)****

Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
**** Would love to own this one. I bought the first novel, Airman at a Library Book sale. Now to find time to read it!

This was a lucky find at our library. We recently travled to a National Park about four hours south of where we live. It was so fun to put in this adventure (with a little romance, science, creativity, and a lot of imagination) and have all the children (Ages 13, 11, and esp. our boy--8 yrs. old) enjoy it--along with my husband and I. All of the children was a bit of a preschooler (5 yrs.) was still mad I returned "How to Eat Fried Worms" without having listened to it and our toddler (newly 2 yrs.) was happy sitting in her car seat with her books and a mini portable DVD player of Elmo's World. The rest of us had a great time listening to this thrilling (and fairly G/PG) audio book as the miles flew by.

I must say I loved the last disk...I have always dreamt of flying and writing a tale in which the characters end up pushed to the limits and taking to flight...Wonderful!

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10–Oppel does it again! This action-packed sequel to Airborn (HarperCollins, 2004) starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the satisfying ending. Matt Cruse, now a student at the Airship Academy, finds himself training as a navigator aboard a worn out, tumbledown cargo airship piloted by a reckless captain. Flying through a typhoon at dangerously high altitudes, they see a ghost ship that set out 40 years before and was never seen again. The captain risks his life, the crew, and his ship as he tries to reach the Hyperion to claim the fortune in gold that's rumored to be aboard. His attempt fails after the crew is stricken with altitude sickness. Only Matt remembers the coordinates of where Hyperion was last seen. This knowledge plunges him and Kate, now a pilot in training herself, into a breakneck race against a pirate intent on getting to the riches. They find themselves aboard a new type of pressurized ship called Skybreaker piloted by Hal, a wealthy and dashing captain with designs on Kate. What they discover aboard Hyperion is a more fabulous treasure than any of them could have imagined. That is, if they survive to tell anyone about it. This worthy companion to Airborn maintains its roller-coaster thrills in true swashbuckling style.–Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The American Heiress

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

After watching the first season of Downton Abbey on Netslix, this book was a fun read about a very rich girl

"Anyone suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms (who isn't?) will find an instant tonic in Daisy Goodwin’s The American Heiress. The story of Cora Cash, an American heiress in the 1890s who bags an English duke, this is a deliciously evocative first novel that lingers in the mind." --Allison Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of I Don’t Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You

Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.

Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora’s story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.

"For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn’t always buy them happiness." --Daisy Goodwin in The Daily Mail
The American Heiress was originally sold and distributed in the UK as My Last Duchess


Flush by Carl HIaasen
I enjoyed listening to this YA book.

Bestselling novelist Carl Hiaasen is back with another hysterical mystery adventure for young readers, set in the Florida Keys.

Noah's dad has a little problem with anger control. He tried to stop the Coral Queen casino boat's illegal dumping . . . by sinking the boat. But his bold protest fizzles: within days the casino is back in business, and Noah's dad is behind bars and out of action.

Now Noah is determined to succeed where his father failed. But even though pumping raw sewage into the waters of the Florida Keys is both gross and against the law, turns out it's near impossible to catch the flusher—especially when he's already bamboozled the prosecutors, the local press, and even the Coast Guard.

But Noah's got a few allies. There's his little sister, Abbey, an unreformed childhood biter; Lice Peeking, a half-soused ex-mate of the Coral Queen who is willing to testify . . . for a price; and Shelly, a bighearted bartender with even bigger biceps.

Okay, so the odds aren't good. But Noah has an ace up his sleeve-- a plan so crazy it just might stop the polluting, save the beaches, and prove to the world that it's the owner of the Coral Queen, and not his dad, who is full of . . . crud.