Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Vintage Reads YA Review: Tuck Everlasting


Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, January 20, 2015 (originally published in 1974). 139 pages. Published by Square Fish. Source: Publisher.
2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Natalie Babbitt’s celebrated, ground-breaking title Tuck Everlasting (Anniversary edition on sale January 20). In celebration of the anniversary, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group will publish a special anniversary edition featuring an introduction from Wicked author Gregory Maguire.

Tuck Everlasting asks readers “What if you could live forever?” Doomed to, or blessed with, eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a blessing than it might seem. Then complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Upon the book’s publication in 1975, Natalie was greeted with concern from parents and educators who were stunned to read a book about death written for children. She is an author who challenges her readers and thinks the best questions are the ones without answers.

This 40th anniversary will introduce a whole new generation to this timeless classic. The book has sold over 3.5 million copies in the US alone, and has never been out of print since publication.
First Sentence:
The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: The Year of Shadows

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand, August 27, 2013. Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.
Olivia wants a new life, and it might take ghosts to get it. A heartfelt, gently Gothic novel from Claire Legrand.
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother's left; her neglectful father, the maestro of a failing orchestra, has moved her and her grandmother into the city's dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn't get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia's help; if the hall is torn down, they'll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.

Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living; and soon it's not just the concert hall that needs saving. 
Why: It's sounds interesting and, so far, I've really enjoyed all of Claire Legrands books so of course I'm excited to give The Year of Shadows a chance. Now to convince my library to purchase a copy for everyone, but firstly mine, reading pleasure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Summer Invitation

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 26, 2015

YA Review: The Summer Invitation

The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver, May 20, 2014. 192 pages. Published by Roaring Brook Press. Source: publisher.
Two sisters are summoned to their aunt's Greenwich Village flat, where they must start dressing like young ladies, cultivate their artistic sensibilities, and open themselves up to Life with a capital L.

When Franny and her older sister Valentine are summoned by their Aunt Theodora from foggy San Francisco to sunny New York City for one summer, they are taken to old-world locales like Bemelmans Bar, the Plaza, and the Sherry Netherland by their chaperone, Clover, Aunt Theodora’s protégé. As they discover New York City going lingerie shopping and learning about the simple elegance of a cucumber sandwich, they also begin to unearth secrets and answers about Aunt Theo's glamorous and romantic past, and they have a few romantic adventures of their own.
First Sentence:
Aunt Theodora's invitation arrived all the way from Paris on a piece of French stationery. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Catholic Review: Talking with God

Talking with God by François Fénelon, March 1, 2009 (originally published May 1, 1997). 136 pages. Published by Paraclete Press. Source: publisher.
François Fénelon was a seventeenth-century French Catholic archbishop who rose to a position of influence in the court of Louis XIV. He became a wise mentor to members of the king’s court, his writings preserved by the many people whom he counseled. These words have inspired Christians of all backgrounds for centuries with their frank honesty, spiritual wisdom, and unflinching response to truth.   This beautiful, accessible, contemporary English translation, introduces you to the essential Fenelon.   “All who seek fellowship with God amid the rush and racket of modern life will find that Fenelon's searching gentleness is a wonderful pick-me-up for the heart. This selection from his letters is pure gold.” —Dr. J. I. Packer, author of Growing in Christ

“Here is a book of spiritual reading that will guide you into an encounter with God
through heart-felt prayer and meditation, solidly rooted in scripture and the
Catholic tradition. It represents the best of the ancient future evangelical and
ecumenical spiritual literature, with insights that have the power to transform our lives.”
—Dr. Robert Webber, author of Ancient-Future Worship
First Sentence:

Talk with God with the thoughts that your heart is full of.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Catholic Review: Jesus the Bridegroom

Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Brant Pitre, March 11, 2014. 208 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
In Jesus the Bridegroom, Brant Pitre once again taps into the wells of Jewish Scripture and tradition, and unlocks the secrets of what is arguably the most well-known symbol of the Christian faith: the cross of Christ. In this thrilling exploration, Pitre shows how the suffering and death of Jesus was far more than a tragic Roman execution. Instead, the Passion of Christ was the fulfillment of ancient Jewish prophecies of a wedding, when the God of the universe would wed himself to humankind in an everlasting nuptial covenant.

To be sure, most Christians are familiar with the apostle Paul’s teaching that Christ is the ‘Bridegroom’ and the Church is the ‘Bride’. But what does this really mean? And what would ever possess Paul to compare the death of Christ to the love of a husband for his wife? If you would have been at the Crucifixion, with Jesus hanging there dying, is that how you would have described it? How could a first-century Jew like Paul, who knew how brutal Roman crucifixions were, have ever compared the execution of Jesus to a wedding? And why does he refer to this as the “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32)?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wish List Wednesday

Mistborn: the Final Empire (Mistborn, 1) by Brandon Sanderson, May 13, 2014 (originally published July 17, 2006). Published by Tor Teen.
Once, a hero rose to save the world. He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and defeating the Lord Ruler. A new kind of uprising is being planned—one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine: a teenage street urchin named Vin.

Once, a hero rose to save the world and failed. This time, can a young heroine succeed?
Why: I blame Nikki (@jnikkir) and her constant chatter about Mistborn for my need to read my first Brandon Sanderson book. Ever since she started talking about it on Twitter, or since I first noticed her mentioning it, I have felt the pull to read it. Yet, I think it's one of those books that cannot be read via the library because it is SO long (I'm a fast reader but...)


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: All Fall Down

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 19, 2015

YA Review: All Fall Down

All Fall Down (Embassy Row, 1) by Ally Carter, January 20, 2015. 320 pages. Published by Scholastic Press. Source: publisher.
Grace can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay - in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.
First Sentence:
When I was twelve I broke my leg jumping off the wall between Canada and Germany," I say, but the woman across from me doesn't even blink.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Catholic Review: Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . .. and Other Questions from the Astronomers' In-box at the Vatican Observatory by Guy Consolmagno, SJ, and Paul Mueller, SJ, October 7, 2014. 304 pages. Published by Image. Source: publisher.
Witty and thought provoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light on some of the strange places where religion and science meet.
“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?”                                                                         – Pope Francis, May, 2014

Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it's not the first time that question has been asked.

Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?

With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: Tracked

Tracked by Jenny Martin, May 5, 2015. Published by Penguin Dial.
On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn't stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her daring new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It's up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?
Why: I just heard about Tracked last night, thanks to Twitter, and am wondering how this is the first I've heard about it. Tracked looks like one action-packed and thrilling read, so, I shall endeavor to get my hands on a copy...from the library no doubt when it comes out.

I really hope that Tracked by Jenny Martin turns out to be as interesting as the synopsis says.  

Christian Fiction Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen, December 1, 2014. 460 pages. Published by Bethany House Publishers. Source: publisher.
Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?
First Sentence:
I sat across the table from the man I most admired, feeling self-conscious.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 12, 2015

YA Review: Better Off Friends

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, February 25, 2014. 276 pages. Published by Point. Source: Library.
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
First Sentence:
I was probably the first kid ever excited for summer to be over.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Catholic Review: Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does)

Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does) by Scott Hahn, October 21, 2014. 192 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
What could be more familiar than the Christmas story -- and yet what could be more extraordinary? The cast of characters is strange and exotic: shepherds and magicians, an emperor and a despot, angels, and a baby who is Almighty God. The strangeness calls for an explanation, and this book provides it by examining the characters and the story in light of the biblical and historical context. Bestselling author Scott Hahn who has written extensively on Scripture and the early Church, brings evidence to light, dispelling some of the mystery of the story. Yet Christmas is made familiar all over again by showing it to be a family story. Christmas, as it appears in the New Testament, is the story of a father, a mother, and a child -- their relationships, their interactions, their principles, their individual lives, and their common life. To see the life of this "earthly trinity" is to gaze into heaven.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

YA Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, January 13, 2015. 336 pages. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Source: The NOVL.
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
First Sentence:
Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hallowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

[Blog Tour] Tuck Everlasting #Tuck40th


I am so excited to help celebrate Tuck Everlasting's 40th anniversary here on the blog. As a first time reader of both Natalie Babbitt's writing and the amazing Tuck Everlasting, I am truly excited to be helping out as this was such a wonderful gem of a read.

Don't forget, y'all can order the gorgeous 40th anniversary edition of Tuck Everlasting here with the foreward written by Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked).


You can follow the entire 40 Days for 40 Years blog tour for Tuck Everlasting and you can follow everything with #Tuck40th on Twitter.




Today I will be answering the question of “What if you could live forever?” posed by Natalie Babbitt.

It has taken me a few days to decide how to approach the question of, "What if you could live forever?" and I must say that while the answer itself was easy for me to decide upon, it was how to frame it for writing that has plagued me these many days. So, I'm just going to go for it and write what comes to mind.

The short and to the point answer would be a resounding no! Even though there are so many things that one could do while eternally living on in their mortal life, I would still not mess around with that. Sure, if I lived forever I could fluently learn the 10+ languages that I would like to learn; read all the books that so much as caught my fancy; or even travel to all the places I yearn to see. Yet, even with all those things I still cannot see myself taking the route that befell the Tuck family in Tuck Everlasting.

So, if I would so no to living forever the question remains why, of which I shall endeavor to answer.
   Not that all those reason for a continued and never ending existence isn't tempting, but I would miss those I love and would be disappointed to give up on the quest for (God willing) eternity with Him. My faith in the Lord is what really made my answer to this question so easy because (even if it were possible) I just could not (even jokingly) say yes to something that would have me turning my back on Him for earthly reasons.

Even though I review books based on my Catholic faith regularly on the blog, I found it incredibly hard to put into words why I'd say no to living an earthly life till the end of the world. So, I ask for y'all's forgiveness if things seem somewhat muddled.

So, now I'm asking you, "What if you could live forever?"





Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt,January 20, 2015 (originally published in 1974). 139 pages. Published by Square Fish. Source: Publisher.
2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Natalie Babbitt’s celebrated, ground-breaking title Tuck Everlasting (Anniversary edition on sale January 20). In celebration of the anniversary, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group will publish a special anniversary edition featuring an introduction from Wicked author Gregory Maguire.

Tuck Everlasting asks readers “What if you could live forever?” Doomed to, or blessed with, eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a blessing than it might seem. Then complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Upon the book’s publication in 1975, Natalie was greeted with concern from parents and educators who were stunned to read a book about death written for children. She is an author who challenges her readers and thinks the best questions are the ones without answers.

This 40th anniversary will introduce a whole new generation to this timeless classic. The book has sold over 3.5 million copies in the US alone, and has never been out of print since publication.



About the author:
NATALIE BABBITT is the award-winning author of Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Knee-Knock Rise, and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-Ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Knee-Knock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Connecticut, and is a grandmother of three. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 5, 2015

YA Review: Awkward

Awkward (Smith High, 1) by Marni Bates, January 1, 2011. 239 pages. Published by KTeen. Source: Library.
Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting... 
First Sentence:
You probably think you know me...and I understand why.

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