Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Authors visiting Portland in May

Two authors, two visits!

Saturday May 5 at 2pm
Joëlle Anthony and Holly Cupala at Powell's!
Powell's Books At Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR

Joëlle will be launching her new YA, THE RIGHT AND THE REAL, and Holly will be in
Portland for the first time signing DON'T BREATHE A WORD! They'll have readings,
prizes, signings, and (rumor has it) chocolate!

Saturday May 12 at 1pm
DON'T BREATHE A WORD signing at A Children's Place!
A Children's Place
4807 Northeast Fremont Street Portland, OR

Join Holly Cupala for behind the scenes secrets, swag, and lots of fun in beautiful
Portland, OR. She might even bring some DON'T BREATHE A WORD lemon cake (Joy's

Bring your friends! Your neighbors! Your neighbors' friends! Your friends'
neighbors! If nothing else go keep them company. :)

Here's Holly's website and here's Jöelle's website.  Enjoy!
Jöelle Anthony (recognize that car from Restoring Harmony??)

Holly Cupala


Monday, April 16, 2012

SLJ Battle of the Kids' books - Okay for Now wins!

This year's Battle of the Kids' Books was chosen last week, and the winner is Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. To read about all the head to head matches in this competition, click HERE. I picked Wonderstruck to win, but it didn't even go to the finals! This book is a fantastic choice, though.

Summary from Titlewave: Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many challenges, including an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers and police officers, and isolation, but when he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he develops a close relationship with her and finds a safe place at the local library.

Main character Doug Swieteck doesn not have the greatest of lives, considering he had to move with his family to the tiny town of Marysville (reminds me of Stranded in Boringsville) where he doesn't have friends or a safe place he can go when all heck is breaking loose at home - and it often is. What I think the summary should have said, and doesn't, is this: A story of how one good friend, art and the library can save someone's life. I believe this is what happened to Doug, an it has happened in in real life to countless kids. Not all in the same way exactly, but all in the same way in that many, many kids find refuge in these three things- libraries, art and a friend.

The book sounds like it would be a downer from these descriptions, but I really found it to be much more uplifting than depressing. It has a lot of funny parts and so many great moments that it is sure to leave you feeling positive and thinking deeply about what's important in life.

I hope you'll have a chance to read this fantastic book, winner of this year's SLJ Battle of the Kids' Books.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Georgette Heyer my newest audio obsession

I think I read these books by Georgette Heyer are called Regency romances, but whatever they're called, I like them! They're historical fiction set in the late 1800s in England and they're fairly formulaic, but for audiobooks, I like that because then I don't have to think too much, and that's a good thing because I usually listen when I'm driving. So far I have listened to three of them and am on my fourth. They have fantastic character development and women characters who were quite spunky for their time because they always have their own ideas and aren't afraid to say them (or sometimes act on them without saying anything).

If you like historical fiction and enjoy stories treat move at a gentle pace, give Georgette Heyer a try!

Stranded in Boringsville, Catherine Bateson

This is a book by an Australian author with themes that are definitely cross continent ideas. Rain, the main character of the story is a 12 year old girl whose parents have gone through a divorce and she's having a difficult time coping. She does not like, particularly, her father's new girlfriend, although she has not given her much of a chance, either. She also really does not love the tiny town her mother has decided to move to called Clarkson, which she has re-christened Boringsville. It doesn't even have a pizza parlor, for crikey's sake.

Rain finds a friend in her new neighbor Daniel, who's a bit eccentric (called by other people perhaps strange) but very nice. Daniel, who is physically not well, alternates as narrator of the story with Rain, and we hear his worries as well as hers throughout the story, his main worry, of course, is Noe that he's found this new friend, she'll soon dump him. Not in a boy/girl crush kind of dump, just in an I don't want to be your friend any more kind of way. Which, frankly, seems a lot worse in the long run.

one element of this story I particularly enjoyed was a the magnetic fridge poetry shard by Rain and her mom. Although that is not the ideal parent/child communication method, I think it was a very safe thing, and that's something Rain needed. Probably her mom did, too.

The story is at times funny, at times sad, but definitely ends on a hopeful tone, although not a sticky, sappy sweet everything's okay now kind of thing. It's more of a hey, life is going to be ok, and that's a pretty good message most days.

Recommended, although I think the book is now out of print.

Home for the Holidays, Heather Vogel Frederick

I have read all of Heather Vogel Fredeick's books in this series, and I have enjoyed all of them. They focus on a group of girls and their mothers who are in a mother-daughter book club. I think this is the fifth in the series, but I might be wrong on that. The girls in these books are really nice girls, but they're not perfect girls, so they're fun to read about because they do seem real. They have real problems that they struggle with and their relationships with their mothers seem pretty realistic, too, although I'm thinking that maybe they don't roll their eyes quite a much ass I used to (sorry again, Mom!). One thing that makes these books a little challenging for me is that the chapters are alternating narrators, with the different girls telling different chapters. because I've read most of these as soon s they came out, and HVG can't seem to write s book a month -rather inconsiderate of her, don't you think? - I sometimes can't quite remember who's who. This is more the fault of the resider than the book, but it's worth mentioning if you are someone who has trouble keeping track of characters. You'll need to slow down and spy attention like I have to. One other thing I really appreciate about these books is that the characters are very different from one another, but they sly get along. Of course, some are better friends than others, but it shoes that you don't have to be best friends with everyone you do things with and also that there's value in multiple opinions and approaches to life. The moms aren't at all the same, either, most of them, but they make it work.

I really enjoy this series, and if you like books with strong female characters, I'd recommend this series to you.

Blackout - John Rocco

This was an award winning book this year and after I read it I surely know why. It is a beautiful picture book that really pulls at the heartstrings. it is the story of a hot summer day when there really wa a blackout. A family who was too busy to really connect, a whole city, perhaps, was forced to slow down and just be with one another. I know there are many times in my life when this feels Ike just such a good idea, but I, too, often just don't take the time to slow down. What a treasure that kind of time is, self imposed or not. LOVED this award winner by John Rocco.

Over and Under the Snow, Kate Messner

This is a delightful picture book that I picked up for some reason, but I can't remember what that reason was. I have GOT to start writing that down. I keep saying that, don't I? Anyway, this book was chosen as a top science picture book. It was inspired by a field trip that the teacher-author went on with her class one winter's day and it is such fun to read and look at as well as being informative. The characters in this story are cross country skiing through the woods and exploring. When they see something interesting above the snow, they also think about what it might mean about what is beneath the snow. And, wow, there's a lot going on beneath the snow that I never think about, that's for sure. Not that I get a chance to even be in the snow that much, which probably made it that much more fun for me to read, too.

At the end of the book is a section that is more clearly informational, so it's a nice mix of prose and informational text for those readers who might be more reluctant to read one kind of book or the other.