April 23, 2015

April 22, 2015

Cover Crush: Skyscraping

I love book covers! Love them!
I've been known to drag my sister in to the bookstore just to show her a book.
I honestly think I get a crush on some book covers.

Today I'm Crushing On:

Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

Isn't it the coolest cover????? It just grabs me.  At first I'm like - YIKES! but then I'm just wanting to know what the book is about.
And I think the story sounds great - very relevant.  

April 20, 2015

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables - Book Review +Giveaway

Today I'm here with Disney Publishing to share a new middle grade book!

Title: Gabby Duran and the Unsittables
Author: Elise Allen & Daryle Conners
Release Date: May 12th
Obtained:  Review copy and Giveaway provided by Disney Publishing

About the Book
Case File: The First Unsittable

Summary: The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task...until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It's a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby's audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye. 

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

When I was teaching 5th grade I was always looking for cute, fun books to hand to them to read - books I knew they would find fun but contain nothing I really had to worry about.  I found that in Gabby Duran!

This is just a cute book.  I think any middle school girl (or guy!) that has babysat or who has a tough younger sibling will be able to relate.  You see Gabby is called in to babysit those kids that other kids run screaming from!  Anyone who has ever babysat knows those types of kids. I know I had my share of those kids when I babysat! And if they haven't babysat for other families with tough kids to sit for - they may have seen it in their younger brothers and sisters!  What's neat though, is that these are tough "kids" to babysit for, but they aren't mean kids. They don't set out to be disrespectful or rude. They are just high energy!  I thought that was great. 

Next - I liked Gabby's family.  They are quirky, fun and loving towards each other.  Even though Gabby and her sister are so different, Gabby is nice and understanding towards her sister.  In so many books, you'd see the sisters fighting and nagging at each other.  These sisters aren't perfect, but at their core they treat each other respectfully.  There is more to Gabby's sister, that starts to come out - but I'll let you see that in the book.  I really like how it's handled though!

I found the plot kind of zany and outlandish, but it works! It's one of those stories that makes it really easy to set aside reality and just buy into the story and the events.  I laughed a little, held my breath some and kept being pulled along but fun characters and lots of twists and turns! 

My final take on this book is that it's fun and funny.  Some of the things that happen are goofy and crazy, but it just made the book light-hearted and enjoyable to read.  The pace is fast and the pages flew by.  I think younger middle grade kids would agree!

Here's a bit about the authors

Emmy-nominated writer and New York Times best-selling author Elise Allen made a name for herself with her acclaimed young adult novel Populazzi (Harcourt), and the Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters chapter books (Bloomsbury).  In television, she has written for talent ranging from Bill Cosby to Kermit the Frog, and is currently writing for the new Disney Junior show The Lion Guard. Her dog may or may not secretly be from another planet.

Daryle Conners is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and video game designer. She writes joke and riddle books and has designed many game titles for the PC and iPhone/iPad including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Scene It? Harry Potter, Hot Wheels Slot Car Racers, and Scene It? Twilight Saga. Her non-fiction books include Lunchtime LOLZ, Nintendo DS Hot Tips, ROFLs,Video Game Secrets and Monster High Jokes, all for Scholastic. Daryle lives in Seattle, where she still babysits from time to time.

To Learn More About the Book

Learn more at the Official Site
Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter
Follow Elise Allen & Daryle Conners on Twitter

Must be at least 13 and have a US Mailing Address
Prize Provided by Disney Hyperion

OUT OF THIS WORLD prize pack
One (1) winner receives:
A copy of Gabby Duran and the Unsittables
Branded Tumbler and UFO light-up flyer.

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April 16, 2015

Book Review: G-Man Super Journal Awesome Origins by Chris Giarrusso

Title: G-Man Super Journal: Awesome Origins
Author: Chris Giarrusso

When Michael G (yes, "G" is his whole last name, and that's why everyone calls him G-Man) has to keep a journal in Mrs. Rosario's class at school, naturally he writes about his ambition to have superpowers and join the superheroes of his city (like Captain Thunderman) in the fight for justice. After all, his friend Billy Demon just got an awesome winged flying suit and superpowers of his own, and now he's the most popular kid in school! Mikey would just love to have superpowers too, but how will he get them? And if he does get them, what will he do with them?

This was a quick fun read that I think will definitely appeal to middle schoolers - especially those that like the Wimpy Kid or James Patterson books.  First just the look of it will appeal to them.  It's filled with drawings, and it looks like a journal.  For those readers that aren't thrilled with reading, this will take away any intimidation factor.  

As for the plot.  Mikey (the main character) just wants superhero powers.  Some of his friends have started to develop them or have cool gear that gives them superhero-like powers.  This is something so many kids can relate to.  What kid (ok and grownups) doesn't want superpowers?!?  I know I do! What I loved was that this was a completely possible thing.  He could get them at any time! He doesn't have to get bit by a toxic spider or be the victim of some scientific experiment.  They could just show up! Or - they might not.  And that thought is upsetting to Mikey.  What happens as he tries to make this dream happen is fun and fast-paced.

The book had some great laughs.  There is a whole scene where Mikey's brother blames everything on him.  And I mean everything even when there is no chance it could've ever been Mikey's fault.  It made me chuckle It was far-fetched but as a kid so believable as well! I remember my sister trying to blame me for things! Then there is the whole event with Mikey getting detention and no one believing him about why! That too gets so far-fetched that it become hysterical!  Loved that it made me laugh.  

Over-all it was a fun quick read that I would easily recommend to the middle schools I taught.  A few places seemed rushed and overly simple, but honestly kids won't care, they'll just enjoy.