Friday, December 2, 2016

ALSC Blog: Winter themed books for Storytime





Today I'm over at the ALSC blog talking about my new favorite winter themed storytime books. Please join me!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Blog Tour: Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins



Genre: Mystery/Contemporary
Release Date: 10/25/2016

About the Book: Nolie is spending the summer in Scotland in a small village with her scientist dad. He's there researching the Boundary-the mysterious fog at the edge of Journey's End. The fog seems to be moving closer but the town can't take any warnings of danger too seriously-the fog is their livelihood and tourism depends on it. Especially for Bel's family who runs a tour boat out to the Boundary. When Nolie and Bel strike up a friendship the two become entangled in the mystery of Journey's End the fog that may be making it's way to devour the town. When Albert appears, a boy who went into the fog in 1918 to light the legendary lighthouse, Bel and Nolie know something strange is happening in Journey's End it's up to them to save the town and stop the fog from claiming more lives. 

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:  Journey's End is a bit mystery, a bit of a friendship story, a bit of a spooky ghost story, and a lot of fun. I'm so excited to see Rachel Hawkins writing middle grade and she gets the voice and tween turmoil just right. In the midst of a mysterious fog creeping into town, this novel is about friendship and forgiveness. Bel is working through her hurt from her best friend growing up and ditching her for a new girl. Nolie is dealing with her parent's divorce and how that has changed her. The girls friendship with each other helps them find understanding and forgiveness. 
Add in some mysterious fog and a missing boy coming back 100 years later and you've got a very readable and likable mystery for middle grade readers. 

The mystery element is part paranormal, part legend, part ghost story and I think readers who enjoy ghostly happenings that aren't too spooky will enjoy this novel. Things never get too scary and there's also a good dose of humor from Nolie who likes to joke around and from Albert, adjusting to life in the twenty-first century. 

I listened to this book on audio and I loved the narrator's accents for each character. A bit southern for Nolie's Georgia accent, Bel's Scottish accent, and Albert's thicker brogue. I also liked that the audiobook added to some of the humor and upped the tension in certain scenes. I would suggest this in book and audiobook format to my interested readers. 

As part of the tour, I thought I would give my top reasons to check out Journey's End

My top three reasons to get your hands on Journey's End are:

1. It's the perfect read for a cold, foggy, wintery morning. Nothing better than reading about some creepy fog while you can look outside and see eerie fog yourself!

2. It's a ghostly story that's tame enough for readers looking for something gentle. I promise you won't be scared! But you may think twice about the weather!

3. It's ToddlerGreenBean approved! I had my print copy of this one sitting on the couch and every time it was out, ToddlerGreenBean would pick up and want to read it to me. Something about the cover fascinated him and I think he'll be enjoying this one in a few years! 

Be sure to keep Journey's End in mind if you have readers looking for light mysteries. It's a nice mix of stories I think it will find many fans. 

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook and book sent by publisher for review


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

MLA 2016 Booklist-YA (and MG) Lit Update

For those of you that attended the Missouri Library Association Conference last week (or for those that missed it!) here is the booklist of titles I talked about. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them and if you have any favorites of 2016!

Trends:
Origin Stories & Retellings (fairy tales, classics, history retold, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland)
Sequels and Series
Contemporary Fiction continues to rise
Creative formats (Replica by Lauren Oliver, Between Worlds by Skip Brittenham)

Middle Grade/Young YA:
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan
Shadow Magic by Joshua Kahn
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Young Adult:
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
The Reader by Traci Chee
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
When We Collided by Emery Lord




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Celebrating Roal Dahl

2016 is the 100th birthday of Roald Dahl. The publisher of his books, Penguin Random House, has set up a special blog tour to celebrate the occasion.  

When I was in fourth grade, we read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I had always been a reader but something about this book made me really fall in love with it. I loved it so much that I  wrote a letter to Mr. Dahl telling him how much I enjoyed the book and probably other fourth grade things like about what I liked to do, that I loved to read, and all that kid letter writing stuff.

I didn't realize that Roald Dahl had passed away just a year before and I'm not sure my teacher did either. She sent my letter along to the publisher. Several weeks later I received a package at school that was full of Roald Dahl goodies-bookmarks, posters, a mobile (I think for James and the Giant Peach but I don't remember!) and other book swag. The publisher wrote me back and said they were sorry to let me know that Roald Dahl had recently passed away but they were so happy that I loved his books and they wanted to share some special things with me since I was a reader and a fan.

I was always an incredibly shy kid. I felt more comfortable with books and didn't like to talk much at school. I didn't have a lot of friends and never really felt like I fit in in elementary school.

Yet when that package of book swag arrived, I was suddenly the most popular girl in my class. Reading was cool. Everyone wanted to share in the excitement in hearing back from the publisher. We had read the book as a class and everyone was excited to see what I got. Since I took the initiative to write the letter to the author and share my love of the book, I was the hero of the class.

My popularity didn't last forever and I was OK with that. I didn't want it to. But I always remember the feeling that Roald Dahl and his US publisher gave shy fourth grader me. I felt like my love of books mattered. That I wasn't odd for loving to read and visiting the library every day I could. That it was cool to be a fan of an author and to write to the author and tell them how much you liked their books. The day I opened that box of swag all about Roald Dahl, I felt like being a reader was my super power.

I think that moment may have been one to put me on the path to librarianship, even if I didn't realize it at the time. Now I get to share the wonderfulness of Roald Dahl's books with numerous readers and help them discover their own reading super powers. His books are some of my forever go-to choices for reading aloud. There have been many fantastic audiobooks produced of his titles as well that I suggest for family listening. His books are classics and reach across generations and I believe they will continue to do so. He never spoke down to children and I think that's something children of any year and time period want-to be respected and to be heard. I know when I received that package in fourth grade, I felt as though I had been heard.

Thank you Roald Dahl for all of your wonderful contributions to children's literature and for making me feel

Tuesday, September 6, 2016








Alcatraz Series by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Adventure
Release Date: 9/6/2016
To Purchase
Add to Goodreads

About the Book: (from publisher) The Dark Talent is the fifth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. This never-before-published, fast-paced, and funny novel is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom
of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even
worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and
his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the
Highbrary—known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders—the seat of Evil
Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way
to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

“Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review


GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I am so, so, very excited about this book release everyone! About nine years ago, not long after I first started working in the library, I came across a new book called Alcatraz Vs the Evil Librarians. I was looking for books for tween readers, especially books to suggest after Harry Potter, and this one just sounded so fun-a boy who has a talent of breaking things, a grandfather who shows up late to everything, and librarians who  have an evil plot to take over the world? I couldn't resist. 

I read the first Alcatraz book and I loved it. In fact, you can read my original review of Alcatraz Vs the Evil Librarians I posted not long after I started this blog! Since then, this series has been one of my go-to suggestions for tween and adult readers looking for a great series. I suggest it when they're looking for humor, fantasy, or just a good book. It's especially great as a family read aloud-there's something for everyone and I can really pull in adult readers with the fact that many are familiar with Brandon Sanderson's adult fantasy titles.

My patrons and I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the fifth book in the series-book one starts with an epic opening preview that we haven't gotten to see yet. I am so glad Tor Books was able to release all five of the Alcatraz series in beautiful new hardcover editions that are illustrated. I can't keep these books on my library shelf and I love having these new editions to hand to patrons. 

If you haven't discovered the Alcatraz Smedry series, you must do so! I know you won't be disappointed.  Of course, I can't tell them if I'm really an evil librarian or not, but if I was, I wouldn't be telling you to read this ridiculous fiction (or would I?)







Monday, September 5, 2016

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi


Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi 
Release Date: 8/30/2016 
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

About the Book: Alice was born in the magical world of Ferenwood but doesn't have any magic herself. In a land where color is magic, Alice is the lightest of all and doesn't fit in. The only person who ever made her feel special was Father-but he disappeared three years ago leaving Alice with her uncaring Mother and her three brothers. When Oliver Newbanks, an old nemesis, tells Alice that he needs help completing his task (the magical undertaking all children of Ferenwood must complete) and that he knows where Father is and can bring him home, Alice is faced with a tough choice. Oliver's magic lies in deciet and Alice is never sure if she can trust him but she wants Father home more than anything. The journey will be dangerous and take her into the odd land of Futhermore where nothing is as it seems and time must not be wasted. In a world filled with strange creatures and rules. Alice must find herself and her magic to bring Father home. 


GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: There's been a trend lately in middle grade fantasy with more books appearing for this age group that are quirky, magical, Alice in Wonderland-types. Futhermore firmly fits into that category. With a magical land that never quite makes sense, things are measured in time, twisting rules that you, numerous villages with various quirks and citizens who want to eat up visitors for their magic, Furthermore is quite a twisty read. 

Alice's story is a fine one for readers who enjoy this type of twisting and somewhat confusing and creative fantasy. But I can also see more sophisticated readers getting frustrated as well. The author can easily get characters out of various escapades by adding some new revelation. There are multiple asides from the author/narrator as well, but these don't always work and instead some of the humor that is supposed to be there falls a bit flat. The narrator interjections are inconsistent. It also takes a long time for more explanations of the world building, but once you get there I thought it was well done if a bit convenient at times. 

Alice's story takes awhile to get going and once we get to her adventures in Furthermore, the story is fun and there are lots of unique adventures that Alice and Oliver have. But I was very let down by the ending which felt too quickly wrapped up. It felt like we went through a lot of meandering and adventure only to have it solved in an instant. It was as though someone said "hey, this book is getting too long-wrap it up now and stop writing!" It felt too abrupt and too clean an ending and answer for such an epic adventure. After multiple chapters and pages of a journey, everything was wrapped up in about twenty pages, so I was left with little closure and this was a bit of a let down. 

I do think Futhermore would be a good choice for readers who enjoy Wonderland-esque tales and I think some readers will very much get into Alice's adventures and the wondrous world of Furthermore. It's an engaging enough read and I think young readers will enjoy it and I think it may have some limited reader appeal-at least from my experience with the fantasy readers at my library. I just wish there had been some tighter writing and more depth to the novel. I had higher hopes for this one and while I enjoyed it,  I can't say it will be memorable for long after I read it but I had fun while reading.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from purchased ebook from personal library

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blog Tour: The Thing About Leftovers by C.C. Payne AUTHOR GUEST POST

Please welcome author C.C. Payne to GreenBeanTeenQueen! She's here to talk about her latest novel, The Thing About Leftovers and her favorite books featuring food.


About the Book: (From Goodreads): Fizzy is a good Southern girl who just wants to be perfect. And win the Southern Living cook-offThe being perfect part is hard though, since her parents’ divorced and everything in her life has changed. Wary of her too-perfect stepmom and her mom’s neat-freak, dismissive boyfriend, she’s often angry or upset and feels like a guest in both homes. She tells herself to face facts: She’s a “leftover” kid from a marriage that her parents want to forget. But she has to keep all of that to herself, because a good Southern girl never yells, or throws fits, or says anything that might hurt other people’s feelings—instead she throws her shoulders back, says yes ma’am, and tries to do better. So Fizzy tries her best, but it’s hard to stay quiet when her family keeps getting more complicated. Fortunately, the Southern Living cook-off gives her a welcome distraction, as do her new friends Miyoko and Zach, who have parent issues of their own. 


My Top Five Food-Themed Books:

 1.) The Thing About Leftovers by C. C. Payne (that's me!): In the South, we love you with our food. In this novel, 12-year-old Fizzy Russo does just thatattempting to love her parents, new stepparents, and new friends with fried chicken, cheese grits, Kentucky Hot Browns (an open faced sandwich with Texas Toast, turkey, ham and bacon, covered with Mornay sauce, smothered in cheese, topped with a slice of tomato and baked until gooey and browning at the edges) and the like, and to win their love in returnnot to mention The Southern Living Cook-Off. Fizzy believes that winning the cook-off that will cause everyone to forgive her and love her more. (I listed my own book first because if you stop reading here, I hope it's to go buy my book, and because I can't yet afford to be the kind of author who humbly never mentions her own workbut I TOTALLY aspire to be that kind of author, so please buy the book!)

2)  Close to Famous by Joan Bauer: 12-year-old Foster McFee is making the world a sweeter place one cupcake at a time! She makes some unlikely friends with her fabulous cupcake creations (I told you food is love!) including a retired, reclusive movie star, a would-be documentary filmmaker, and the folks down at Angry Wayne's Bar & Grill who sell her cupcakes for her. I love the way Foster overcomes, pushing herself, practicing, and persevering . . . in baking and in life.

3)  Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary: I wouldn't dare make a list without including this classic, Newbery Honor Book. Most chefs say they can tell a lot about another chef simply by what he or she does with an egg. And so it is with Ramona Quimby, who cracks an egg on her head in the school cafeteria. Plus, the food at her family's favorite restaurant, Whopper Burger, sounds deliciousI'd definitely like to have my next birthday party there!

4)  For a younger crowd, I recommend Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett because . . . mashed potato snow? Hamburger storms? Pancakes floating down from the sky? Sign me UP for that! This imaginative picture book, with detailed, delightful drawings, and great humor, remains a fave in my familyit's one that you truly never tire of reading aloud.


5)  For older readers, I recommend Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray, because when the going gets tough, the tough get baking! Ruth's first step to dealing with any problem is baking a cake"sweet potato bundt cake with rum-plumped raisins and spiced sugar glaze" or "apricot almond pound cake" and the like. And she shares her recipesas well as humor, warmth, and wisdomas she deals with her teenage daughter, college-student son, out-of-work husband, live-in mother, estranged father, and financial strain. 
 
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