Monday, January 23, 2012

Reading Group Theme - Birthdays

The children's reading group that I oversee and co-host at the library is in its second year now. After a few meetings the idea of setting just one book wasn't very popular so we have moved to a themed approach. The meetings are now every other Saturday so that's a lot of themes in a year! One suggestion we had was for a Birthday theme and I had to scratch my head a bit for that one. My twitter friends came up with some great suggestions but they weren't available in the library but I persevered with google and amazon and I now have a short list of birthday-themed books that can be readily-(ish) found in the UK:
Sweet 16 by Kate Brian (Teenage)

A Bean Birthday by Betsy Byars

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Glitter Girls
by Meg Cabot

Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy

The Sleepover Club (10) - Happy Birthday, Sleepover Club
by Fiona Cummings (also included in Sleepover Club Omnibus: No. 4)

The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean

Party Poppers (Glitter Girls: 5
) by Caroline Plaisted

Polly's Absolutely Worst Birthday Ever by Frances Thomas (being reprinted in May 2012)

Caz's Birthday Blues (Party Girls)
by Jennie Walters

Some of the dated covers provoked a few giggles! Further suggestions welcomed!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cover: A Midsummer Tights Dream

Great news, here's the cover and blurb for A Midsummer Tights Dream, the sequel to Withering Tights by Louise Rennison. Published 2 February (earlier than I was expecting) myself and the members of my reading group will be delighted to read this. There was much disappointment when the group read it as part of a Wuthering Heights themed selection that the sequel wasn't available there and then.

It's the hotly anticipated sequel to the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, WITHERING TIGHTS -- laugh your tights off as Tallulah Casey and her bonkers mates return for a new term at Dother Hall performing arts college. Boys, snogging and bad acting guaranteed! Yaroooo! Tallulah's triumphant Heathcliff in 'Wuthering Heights' the comedy musical was enough to secure her place at Dother Hall performing arts college for another term. She can't wait to see her pals again, Charlie and the boys from Woolfe Academy and maybe even bad boy Cain! Could the bright lights of Broadway be calling? And for who? Find out in the next Misadventures of Tallulah Casey.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (audio book)

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer and read by Katherine Kellgren (3 CDs, November 2011, Whole Story Audiobooks, ISBN: 978140749 413 5)

Review: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline is the fifth in this series which features Enola Holmes, younger sister to Sherlock. Enola is now fourteen and is living with her elderly and deaf landlady Mrs Tupper, under an assumed name. She has run away from home to avoid being sent to boarding school.

The reader has met the young Mrs Tupper in the prologue where she had accompanied her husband to Scutari (Turkey) during the Crimean War and where subsequently her husband became mortally ill and was tended to by the "Lady with the Lamp", Florence Nightingale.

Thirty years later in London, Mrs Tupper is sent a mysterious note demanding she hand over a message. Mrs Tupper has no notion of what the missive means but the letter-writer does not accept that and kidnaps the old lady and ransacks her home.

Enola, who sees Mrs Tupper as family - in part replacing her own missing mother - must solve the mystery and find Mrs Tupper before any harm befalls her. Her adventure has her mixing with high society and avoiding and outwitting her own brother from time to time.

I really enjoyed The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline which has an independent, clever teenager as its heroine. Written by an American, the language sounds authentically British and is quite sophisticated. The plot is quite complicated - I'm not sure I fully understand the why but the who and what is clear enough and I like how it introduces the reader to the Crimean War and Florence Nightingale which may lead to further reading on those topics. There is an ongoing mystery regarding the disappearance of Enola's mum - is she alive still? I look forward to finding out more. There is an excellent scene near the end where Florence Nightingale explains to Sherlock Holmes the horror of corsets and boarding schools!

It's a shame that the first one in the series available in the UK is the fifth but at least the sixth, The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye, will be out on audio book in February.

Like the author, the narrator is also American but she narrates in an almost flawless English accent, only tripping-up over words like "shone" and "perseverance". Her regional accents are equally well done and her Florence Nightingale is a charm.

More Sherlock Holmes related series for children can be found here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Free e-book of The Thief by Sophie McKenzie

You can now download the pdf or read online, Sophie McKenzie's The Thief which was a 2010 World Book Day special and can only be bought second-hand now (and my library has *1* copy of!).

Read/Download The Thief here.

The Thief is a bonus Medusa Project story, originally written for World Book Day 2010 but no longer available to buy.

The events in this special story take place between The Hostage and The Rescue, but The Thief can be read as a stand-alone story.

The Thief stars the four Medusa teens, Nico, Ketty, Ed and Dylan. Following the explosion that ended The Hostage, the teens are sent to a boot camp in Spain - to learn some discipline, but also for their own protection. On the way there, the group are attacked and forced to carry out a high-risk diamond theft...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Published in January (2012)

Here are some of the teenage/YA titles that are being published in the UK in January 2012. I will put a link to this post and previous and subsequent "monthly" lists in my sidebar.

Monthly lists for 2011 can be found here.

I have tried to identify all the British authors which I hope will be useful to those doing Kirsty's British Books Challenge at The Overflowing Library.
Sarah Alderson - Fated (5th, S & S, pb) British Author
Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler - The Future of Us (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Lindsey Barraclough - Long Lankin (5th, Corgi Childrens, pb) British Author
Tim Bowler - Buried Thunder (5th, OUP, pb) British Author
Patrick Carman - Floors (5th, Chicken House, pb)
PC & Kristin Cast - Lenobia's Vow (29th, ATOM, pb)
Deborah Cooke - Dragon Diaries: Winging It (23rd, Allison & Busby, pb)
Dave Cousins - Fifteen Days Without a Head (5th, OUP, pb) British Author
Julie Cross - Tempest (5th, Macmillan, pb)
Sarah Crossan - The Weight of Water (5th, Bloomsbury, HB)
Vanessa Curtis - Lilah May's Manic Days (5th, Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, pb)
Ellie Daines - Lolly Luck (5th, Andersen Press Ltd, pb) British Author
Christie Daugherty - Night School (5th, ATOM, pb)
Helen Dunmore - The Ingo Chronicles: Stormswept (5th, HarperCollinsChildrensBooks, HB) British Author
Phil Earle - Saving Daisy (5th, Puffin, pb) British Author
Kathryn Erskine - Mockingbird (1st, Usborne, pb)
Mary Louise Fitzpatrick - Dark Warning (5th, Orion, HB)
Che Golden - The Feral Child (5th, Quercus Publishing Plc, pb)
Paula Guran (ed) - Brave New Love (19th, Robinson, pb)
Cynthia Hand - Hallowed (2nd, Electric Monkey, pb)
Alyxandra Harvey - Stolen Away (5th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Amanda Hocking - Switched (5th, Tor, pb)
Curtis Jobling - Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk (5th, Puffin, pb) British Author
Allan Frewin Jones - Merion of the Stones (5th, Hodder, pb) British Author
Julie Kagawa - The Iron Knight (6th, MIRA Ink, pb)
Anna Kendall - Crossing Over (5th, Indigo, pb)
Ally Kennen - Bullet Boys (5th, Marion Lloyd, pb) British Author
Trilby Kent - Stones for my Father (19th, Alma, pb) British Author
Nick Lake - In Darkness (5th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, HB) British Author
Sue Limb - Chocolate SOS (5th, Bloomsbury, pb) British Authoroi
Sophie McKenzie - Hit Squad (Medusa Project) (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb) British Author
Cliff McNish - The Hunting Ground (5th, pb) British Author
John Marsden - The Dead of the Night (5th, Quercus, pb)
Marissa Meyer - Cinder (5th, Puffin, pb)
Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim - Twilight Graphic Novel Part 1 (24th, ATOM, pb)
Antonia Michaelis - The Storyteller (1st, Amulet Books, pb)
Megan Miranda - Fractured (5th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Kirsty Murray - India Dark (1st, Templar, pb)
Alyson Noel - Dreamland (5th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb)
Sarah Ockler - Fixing Delilah (19th, Little, Brown Young Readers, pb)
S C Ransom - Scattering like Light (1st, Nosy Crow, pb) British Author
Kathy Reichs - Seizure (5th, Arrow, HB)
Gena Showalter - Twisted (6th, MIRA, pb)
Sarah Silverwood - The Double-Edged Sword (5th, Indigo, pb) British Author
Jennifer E Smith - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (5th, Headline, HB)
L J Smith - Vampire Diaries: The Ripper (5th, Hodder, pb)
Cate Tiernan - Darkness Falls (5th, Hodder, HB)
Ruth Warburton - A Witch in Winter (5th, Hodder, pb) British Author
Robin Wasserman - The Book of Blood and Shadow (19th, ATOM, pb)
M L Welsh - Heart of Stone (5th, David Fickling Books, HB) British Author
Kiersten White - Supernaturally (5th, HarperCollinsChildrensBooks, pb)
Tim Willocks - Doglands (5th, Anderson, pb) British Author
Chris Wooding - Retribution Falls (5th, Indigo, pb) British Author
Tim Wynne-Jones - Blink & Caution (5th, Walker, pb)
Brenna Yovanoff - Smoulder (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Top 5 favourite reads of 2011

Here are my 5 favourite reads of 2011. I'm a bit behind with some of my series so it may be that authors from my 2010 list will appear on 2012's. Rachel Hawkins is the only repeat author from 2010 (and I do hope will be on 2012's!)

The stand out read was:

Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me (2011)

Close behind:

Steve Barlow & Steve Skidmore - Goodknyght (audio book - hilarious) (2005)
Rachel Hawkins - Raising Demons (2011)
Mary Hooper - Velvet (2011
Tera Lynn-Childs - Forgive My Fins (2011)