Saturday, March 31, 2012

REVIEW: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Cover art for EXTRA YARN

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Picture Book
Audience: Preschool -K

Summary: Annabelle finds a box of yarn and knits herself a sweater, but strangely enough there is enough yarn to knit her dog one, and then her friend Nate one...and so forth and so on.  This goes on until Annabelle's knitting abundance is noticed by the evil Grand Duke who offers to buy the box.  When Annabelle refuses to sell him the box, the duke sends his evil henchmen to steal the magical yarn box.  However, the box does not work for the duke and the box finds its way back to Annabelle, who finds her extra yarn inside.

Lucinda's Thoughts:  As someone who is a yarn addict and loves to knit this book was right up my alley.  The pictures were delightful and Jon Klassen's use of color only on the knitted garments, etc was fabulous.  The underlying theme of how giving gets you a great deal further in the world is a basic lesson that will appeal to all.  The ending was satisfying in that the duke gets his just reward and Annabelle gets her box back.  On the whole, a charming read for knitters and non-knitters everywhere.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring 2012 Giveaway Event!

Last Fall, we did a little early spring cleaning and hosted our first Book News & Reviews Giveaway Event. Well, now that Spring has finally arrived (though some days it already feels like summer here!), it's time for more spring cleaning. Lucinda and I have taken stock of our mountainous TBRs and decided that it is time to part with a few more ARCs that we've been holding on to. We've got dozens of ARCs up for grabs, just waiting for you to claim them. Rules of entry are at the end of the post. Contest ends on Friday, April 13, 2012. 

Adult Fiction & Nonfiction

More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi (April 2012)A tale set against a backdrop of the glossy magazine and advertising worlds of 1960s London follows a harrowing courtroom custody battle between Eliza, who gave up her writing job to marry; and her ex-husband, Matt, an edgy working-class man. –NoveList

The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan (April 2012)
Centering around Harvard's Red Book, a collection of personal triumphs and failures from graduates, this tongue-in-cheek novel follows a group of roommates from the class of 1989 as they prepare for their twentieth reunion weekend. –NoveList

Paris in Love by Eloisa James (April 2012)
Chronicles the year that the author and her family lived in Paris, describing her walking tours of the city, her school-age children's attempts to navigate foreign language schools, and her thoughts on the pleasures and eccentricities of French living. –NoveList

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw (March 2012)
When a car of inebriated guests from Carmen's wedding hits and kills a girl on a country road, Carmen and the people involved in the accident connect, disconnect and reconnect throughout 25 subsequent years of marriage, parenthood, holidays and tragedies. –NoveList

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher (Feb. 2012)
"Sebastian Becker, a former policeman and Pinkerton agent who now works as the special investigator to the Masters of Lunacy, looking into cases involving any man of property whose sanity is under question. His latest assignment takes him to the small town of Arnmouth to determine whether Sir Owain Lancaster has gone around the bend."--Provided by publisher. –NoveList

Situations Matter by Sam Sommers (Feb. 2012)
An exploration of the unconscious forces that influence life reveals the unrecognized power of context in everyday situations while sharing recommendations for using contextual insights to reshape how one sees the world.  –NoveList

The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams (2011)
Offered a second chance by the Atlanta Police Department to catch a serial killer who has eluded them for years, former FBI profiler and alcoholic Keye Street begins a deadly cat-and-mouse chase with an adversary who has taken a personal interest in her. –NoveList

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie (2011)
Presents a reconstruction of the eighteenth-century empress's life that covers her efforts to engage Russia in the cultural life of Europe, her creation of the Hermitage, and her numerous scandal-free romantic affairs. –NoveList

The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell (2011)
While a young black porter struggles with first-day duties on board the Robert F. Kennedy funeral train, a woman sneaks away from her disapproving husband to pay respects to the assassinated senator, and a wounded soldier awaits a reputation-restoring interview.  –NoveList

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (2011)
In a fictional retelling of a true story, ten-year-old Enaiat leaves his small Afghanistan village after the Taliban takes over in 2000, and when his mother is forced to leave him in Pakistan, he endures a five-year ordeal to make his way to Italy. –NoveList

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy (2011)
As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship- and her family- safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger--From book cover.

One Day by David Nicholls (2010)
Over twenty years, snapshots of an unlikely relationship are revealed on the same day--July 15th--of each year. Dex Mayhew and Em Morley face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself. –NoveList
You Don't Look Like Anyone Else I Know by Heather Sellers (2010)
An unusual and uncommonly moving family memoir, with a twist that give new meaning to hindsight, insight, and forgiveness. The author is face blind--that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people's faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech, hairstyle, and gait. But she sometimes kissed a stranger, thinking he was her boyfriend, or failed to recognize even her own father and mother. She feared she must be crazy. Yet it was her mother who nailed windows shut and covered them with blankets, made her daughter walk on her knees to spare the carpeting, had her practice secret words to use in the likely event of abduction. Her father went on weeklong "fishing trips" (aka benders), took in drifters, wore panty hose and bras under his regular clothes. She clung to a barely coherent story of a "normal" childhood in order to survive the one she had. That fairy tale unraveled two decades later when she took the man she would marry home to meet her parents and began to discover the truth about her family and about herself. As she came at last to trust her own perceptions, she learned the gift of perspective: that embracing the past as it is allows us to let it go. And she illuminated a deeper truth that even in the most flawed circumstances, love may be seen and felt. –NoveList

The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming (2010)
Discovering an old photograph of a beautiful mathematical prodigy, antiques dealer Peter remembers his initial dismissal of the woman's claim that she has discovered the key to time travel, a capability that enables Peter's journey to New York at the dawn of the mechanical age. –NoveList

The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon (2010)
Successful hotel manager Justin is devastated by the deaths of his estranged parents, who hid from him the existence of a child who shared his name and died at the age of three. –NoveList

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu (2010)
Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas, the son of Ethiopian immigrants, sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today. –NoveList

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott (2010)
Anticipating a successful final year of high school in a new community, star student and athlete Rosie gives way to behaviors that reveal to her increasingly horrified parents that she has been abusing drugs and telling costly lies. –NoveList

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff (2010)
Eighty-four-year-old Lily Davis Woodward looks back at a turning point in her life, when she had to choose between her World War II soldier husband and the poor Italian immigrant planning the fireworks display to celebrate the soldiers' return. –NoveList

Dogfight: A Love Story by Matt Burgess (2010)
Dreading the prison release of his violent older brother, who blames him for his imprisonment and for stealing his pregnant girlfriend, young drug dealer Alfredo struggles with cultural clashes in Queens while planning to steal a pit bull for a homecoming dogfight. –NoveList

The Mullah's Storm by Thomas W. Young (2010)
When their plane is shot down while transporting an important Taliban detainee, navigator Michael Parson and Army interpreter Sergeant Gold fight for survival in the harsh blizzard terrain of Afghanistan, where they struggle to outmaneuver terrorists and dubiously trustworthy villagers. –NoveList

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (2010)
When nine disparate characters are trapped together after an earthquake, each of them takes a turn telling "one amazing thing" about his or her life. –NoveList

One Day by David Nicholls (2010)
Over twenty years, snapshots of an unlikely relationship are revealed on the same day--July 15th--of each year. Dex Mayhew and Em Morley face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself. –NoveList

The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne (2009)
"For ten years, Alexandra 'Cat' Rucker has been on the run from her past. With an endless supply of bourbon and a series of meaningless jobs, Cat is struggling to forget her Ohio hometown and the rural farmhouse she once called home. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to the home and family she never intended to see again. It seems that Cat's mother is dead. What Cat finds at the old farmhouse is disturbing and confusing: a suicide note, written on lilac stationery and neatly sealed in a ziplock bag, that reads: 'Cat, He isn't who you think he is. Mom xxxooo' One note, ten words--one for every year she has been gone--completely turns Cat's world upside down. Seeking to unravel the mystery of her mother's death, Cat must confront her past to discover who 'he' might be: her tyrannical, abusive father, now in a coma after suffering a stroke? Her brother, Jared, named after her mother's true love (who is also her father's best friend)? The town coroner, Andrew Reilly, who seems to have known Cat's mother long before she landed on a slab in his morgue? Or Addison Watkins, Cat's first and only love? The closer Cat gets to the truth, the harder it is for her to repress the memory and the impact of the events that sent her away so many years ago" -- from publisher's web site.

The Local News by Miriam Gershow (2009)
Still haunted by the disappearance of her popular older brother when she was sixteen, Lydia Pasternak grows up dealing with her frantic parents and assisting the private investigator hired by her family to search for clues to his fate. –NoveList

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant (2009)
Condemned by sixteenth-century demands for lucrative dowries in order to marry, young Serafina is ripped from an illicit love affair and confined in an Italian convent, a situation against which she passionately rebels and reminds the convent's doctor of her own unhappy early years. –NoveList

The Lost City of Z by David Gunn (2009)
Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author's own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett's final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle. –NoveList

American Rust by Philipp Meyer (2009)
Follows the lives of two young men bound by family, inertia, and the ties of home to a dying Pennsylvania steel town, who dream of escaping to California together until one of them accidentally kills a transient and attempts to cover up the crime. –NoveList

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (2009)
Forced to set aside her Ph.D. research in order to help the settling of her late grandmother's abandoned home, Connie Goodwin discovers a hidden key among her grandmother's possessions that is linked to a darker chapter in Salem witch trial history. –NoveList

The Rapture by Liz Jensen (2009)
While working with a sixteen-year-old who has been incarcerated for murder, Gabrielle, a therapist, is alarmed by parallels between her client's paranoid fantasies and an escalating series of natural disasters. –NoveList

South of Broad by Pat Conroy (2009)
After his brother's suicide, Leopold Bloom King struggles along with the rest of his family in Charleston, South Carolina, until he begins to gather an intimate circle of friends, whose ties endure for two decades until a final, unexpected test of friendship. –NoveList

Stone's Fall by Iain Pears (2009)
In this dazzling historical mystery, John Stone, financier and arms dealer, dies falling out of a window at his London home. The quest to uncover the truth behind his death plays out against the backdrop of high-stakes international finance, Europe's first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century's arms race. –NoveList

Blue Genes by Christopher Lukas (2008)
The author describes growing up with a family legacy of depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide as he details his own battle with bouts of depression and his struggle with grief over the suicide of his brother, Pulitzer Prize-winning author J. Anthony Lukas. –NoveList

City of Refuge by Tom Piazza (2008)
Uprooted from their New Orleans homes by Hurricane Katrina, the Donaldson and Williams families--one black, the other white--make their way to Houston and share disparate experiences trying to rebuild their lives. –NoveList

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (2008)
With a fire burning along the Jorgmund Pipe, a vital protection from the bandits and monsters left in the wake of the Go-Away War, Gonzo Lubitsch and his colleagues at the Haulage and HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company are hired to put it out. –NoveList

So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz (2008)
Thirty years after a vengeful plot destroys a family, the implications of that act continue to reverberate as Jon must decide whether to end his affair or his marriage, and his wife becomes involved with an older man linked to their families' past. –NoveList

When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale (2008)
Nine-year-old Lawrence watches protectively over his mother and little sister, especially when, feeling endangered by their estranged father, his mother decides the three of them must leave their life in England to seek refuge in Rome. –NoveList

The White Mary by Kira Salak (2008)
War reporter Marika Vecera learns that her long-time hero, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Robert Lewis, has committed suicide and sets out to write his biography, only to hear rumors that he may still be alive in Papua New Guinea. –NoveList

Teen & Middle Grade Fiction

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (April 2012)
In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny. –NoveList

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Feb. 2012)
Hadley and Oliver fall in love on the flight from New York to London, but after a cinematic kiss they lose track of each other at the airport until fate brings them back together on a very momentous day. –NoveList

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown (2011)
When seventeen-year-old Alex starts dating Cole, a new boy at her high school, her two closest friends increasingly mistrust him as the relationship grows more serious. –NoveList

Dark Parties by Sara Grant (2011)
Sixteen-year-old Neva, born and raised under the electrified Protectosphere that was built when civilization collapsed in violent warfare, puts her friends, family, and life at risk when she tries to find out if their world is built on a complex series of lies and deceptions. –NoveList

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (2011)
Containing elements of Harry Potter, Narnia, and Fablehaven, this is an engaging fantasy with the makings of a classic. It is fresh and original, with a voice and characters all its own. Kate was only four; Michael, two; and Emma a baby when they were whisked away from their parents on a snowy Christmas Eve night. Ten years later, after bouncing from one orphanage to the next, they find themselves at a mysterious orphanage run by Dr. Stanislaus Pym. There, they discover a hidden book that transports them to the past, where an evil witch holds the town captive. Prophecies, wizards, argumentative dwarves, and an ancient evil all make an appearance in this epic adventure, but at its heart it is the tale of three children, their search to discover the fate of their parents, and their bickering, loyal, entirely believable relationship. Ages 10 and up.  –Tracy, Book Picks Winter 2011/2012
Also selected as one of our Favorite MG books of 2011.

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (2011)
Bethany, an angel in love with the mortal boy Xavier, is tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell, where a demon bargains for her life in exchange for something that may destroy her loved ones. –NoveList

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (2010)
Seventeen-year-old Haven Moore leaves East Tennessee to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she meets playboy Iain Morrow, whose fate may be tied to hers through a series of past lives. –NoveList

Hush by Eishes Chayil (2010)
After remembering the cause of her best friend Devory's suicide at age nine, Gittel is determined to raise awareness of sexual abuse in her Borough Park, New York, community, despite the rules of Chassidim that require her to be silent. –NoveList

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (2010)
Calla and Ren have been raised knowing it is their destiny to mate with one another and rule over their shape-shifting wolf pack, but when a human boy arrives and vies for Calla's heart, she is faced with a decision that could change her whole world. –NoveList

She's So Dead to Me by Kieran Scott (2010)
Told in two voices, high school juniors Allie, who now lives on the poor side of town, and Jake, the "Crestie" whose family bought her house, develop feelings for one another that are complicated by her former friends, his current ones, who refuse to forgive her for her father's bad investment that cost them all. –NoveList

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (2011)
When the owner of a candy shop molds magical treats that instill confidence, bravery, and passion, eighteen-year-old Gretchen's haunted childhood memories of her twin sister's abduction by a witch-like monster begin to fade until girls start vanishing at the annual chocolate festival. –NoveList

The 10 p.m. Question by Kate De Goldi (2010)
Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a quirky family, a wonderful best friend, and a head full of worrying questions that he shares with his mother each night, but when free-spirited Sydney arrives at school with questions of her own, Frankie is forced toface the ultimate ten p.m. question. –NoveList

We the Children by Andrew Clements (2010)
Sixth-grader Ben Pratt's life is full of changes that he does not like--his parents' separation and the plan to demolish his seaside school to build an amusement park--but when the school janitor gives him a tarnished coin with some old engravings and then dies, Ben is drawn into an effort to keep the school from being destroyed. –NoveList

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (2011)
After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world. –NoveList

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (2010)
Sixteen-year-old Mackie Doyle knows that he replaced a human child when he was just an infant, and when a friend's sister disappears he goes against his family's and town's deliberate denial of the problem to confront the beings that dwell under the town, tampering with human lives. –NoveList



1. To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. (Click "Read More" to expand.)
You are required to log in to the widget with your e-mail address or Facebook AND leave a comment at the bottom of this post stating which ARCs you would like to receive. Click "+1 Do It!" and "Enter" on the widget after you have posted your comment below. After completing the first task, you can also earn bonus entries by following the directions in the widget.

2.  All ARCs must be picked up at a Bullitt County Public Library location. Winners will be notified via e-mail and will be posted on this blog. Contest ends Friday, April 13, 2012.

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