Showing posts from 2016

MMGM (12/26/2016): Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall

Update (August 11, 2021): I have removed a section at the beginning of this post.  Before the recommendation, I would like to show you just how many books I have gotten over the holidays (about 14.8125 inches tall): (Caption: 😄😄😄!!!) Finally, for MMGM, I am recommending Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall. Here's the publisher's description: “What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?” “This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.” “Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.” I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.” Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself .

MMGM (12/19/2016): The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Notice: You can now comment on my blog anonymously! To do so, in the comment field, click the dropdown box that follows "Comment as:" and select "Anonymous." You can also comment with several other types of accounts as well, such as WordPress. Notice 2: There is a new poll on the sidebar below the old poll! Be sure to vote in both, as they end on New Year's Day. (It may take several clicks of "Vote" before your votes are accepted. Also, if using a Mac, when looking at the results, you may not see a scroll bar, but you can still scroll sideways to see the poll results.) One of the best parts of the holidays is new books! (My Christmas list has 18 books on it!) However, to get through this next week, for MMGM, I am recommending The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. Here's the publisher's description: In the town of Spring Haven, four children have been selected to compete in the national candymaking contest of a lifetime. Who will ma

Poetry Sunday (12/4/2016): "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens

To start off the winter, I am recommending "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens. Here's the link. I hope you enjoy it!

MMGM (12/5/2016): Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

For MMGM, I'm recommending Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur. I loved this book long before I started this blog, so I'm finally recommending it. The main character, Aubrey, starts the story living alone in her house, since, after her father and sister died in a car crash, her mother left in grief, leaving Aubrey alone. Aubrey then goes to live with her grandmother as she deals with grief and her new home, including making some friends. Aubrey is a likable main character who you sympathize with as she deals with the loss of her father and sister without her mother. The aspect of the story involving Aubrey getting used to living in a different state with her grandmother and going to a different school is also deftly handled. The settings (both the outside world and Aubrey's new home) are enjoyable and allow you to sink into them. Finally, the book's balance of flashbacks allows you to see into Aubrey's head, in a way. Although this book is sad, it is still a

The Secret Keepers giveaway winner!

The winner of the giveaway of the signed copy of The Secret Keepers has been chosen, and it is... Joanne! Congratulations! Now, back to cleaning out my bookshelves!

MMGM (11/28/2016): Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Reminder 1: The giveaway of a signed copy of The Secret Keepers ends on Tuesday. Don't miss it! To enter, click here and fill out the form at the bottom of the post. Reminder 2: If you'd like to know about the best TV show designed for children, but perfect for all ages, then click here. For MMGM, I'm recommending Greenglass House by Kate Milford. Here's the publisher's description: It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening

I'm Thankful for Steven Universe

Since today is Thanksgiving, I decided I would talk about something I'm thankful for. However, I'm taking a departure from books to tell you about my favorite children's show of all time: Steven Universe . And if you're reading this thinking, Why would I watch a kids' show when I'm not a kid? , the reason is the same as why you would read a kids' book: because they're great! As is Steven Universe , which has aired on Cartoon Network since 2013 (and which I have watched since shortly before last Thanksgiving). Above (clockwise from top): Garnet, Pearl, Steven, and Amethyst The main character of Steven Universe is, unsurprisingly, a 12-year-old boy named Steven. However, Steven is not a normal child: he is half-human and half-Gem, a type of alien. Although Gems are aliens, they possess human forms and seem like humans, but in different colors and with special powers. Steven lives in the town of Beach City with 3 Gems: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pea

Shannon Messenger's signing!

Here are some photos from Shannon Messenger's signing! The signing had 150 people, and I stood in line (and got the signed copy of Lodestar that I'm giving away here )!

MMGM (11/21/2016) (plus giveaway): The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (plus a giveaway of a signed copy of The Secret Keepers!)

For today's MMGM, I'm recommending The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. (See the bottom of this post for a giveaway!) Here's the publisher's description: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be

Poetry Sunday (11/20/2016): "The Idea of Order at Key West" by Wallace Stevens

For Poetry Sunday, I am recommending "The Idea of Order at Key West" by Wallace Stevens. Here is the link. I hope you enjoy it!

Lodestar giveaway winners!

The Lodestar giveaway is over! Thanks to everyone who entered! Now for the winners. The winner of the Lodestar giveaway is... Ravens16! Congratulations! In addition, through various charades and shenanigans, I have several extra items of swag that I am also giving away to another lucky winner, who is...   Sydney W.! Congratulations! Finally, be looking for my next signed book giveaway, coming soon!  

MMGM (11/14/2016): The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Update (June 26, 2021): In the time since publishing this post, I have learned that there are some concerning racist/colonialist elements to The Secret Garden , which you can learn about in fact #7 on this article from Mental Floss . I apologize for my ignorance regarding these issues. Thank you for understanding. P.S. You still have Monday to enter in the giveaway for the signed copy of Lodestar by Shannon Messenger. Click here to enter. For MMGM, I am recommending an old classic: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (Note: The cover above is of the Barnes & Noble Classics edition, which I read as an e-book.) Today, I'm going to skip the description and make up my own: After her parents died of cholera, rude, grouchy Mary is made to live with her uncle (who is a widower) in his large house known as Misselthwaite Manor. While living there, she gradually becomes happier as she befriends people (such as Martha, a servant in the home, and Dickon, M

Poetry Sunday (11/13/2016): "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

For Poetry Sunday, I am recommending "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. Here is the link. I hope you enjoy it!

MMGM (11/7/2016) (plus giveaway): Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (plus a giveaway of a signed copy of Lodestar!)

This is an interesting MMGM for 2 reasons. The first is that I am recommending Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger, the author who collects links to the MMGM posts and posts them on her blog , which is how I started getting comments in the first place. The second reason is that I am also giving away a copy of Lodestar , the 5th book in the series, signed by Shannon Messenger! So, anyway, today I am recommending Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. Here's the publisher's description: In this riveting debut, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world—before the wrong person finds the answer first. Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she th

Poetry Sunday (11/6/2016): "Night Journey" by Theodore Roethke

For Poetry Sunday, I am recommending "Night Journey" by Theodore Roethke. Here is the link. I hope you enjoy it!

MMGM (10/31/2016): Coraline by Neil Gaiman

P.S. I have blog news, including the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Post Navigator (link below the blog title)! For information, as well as my Poetry Sunday post, click here. As a special Halloween-themed recommendation, I am recommending Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Here's the publisher's description: The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring.... In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own. Only it's different. At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother,

Various News (plus Poetry Sunday)!

Edit (12/25/2016): A typo has been fixed. Blog news! First, since Thursday is extremely inconvenient for me to write blog posts, Poetry Thursday is now Poetry Sunday! The first official Poetry Sunday post is for "Come into Animal Presence" by Denise Levertov. Here is the link. In other news, I have started trying to make my blog easier to navigate. Firstly, I have labeled all of my posts, and you can view just one label by clicking on it in the far-right sidebar. Secondly, just below the blog title, there is now a link to the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Post Navigator, which shows all of my MMGM posts with covers and links. Clicking on anything that has to do with the book (cover, title, or date) will send you to the review. I hope you like these new blog changes!

Poetry Sunday (10/23/2016): "Variations On The Word Sleep" by Margaret Atwood

For my belated Poetry Thursday post (I skipped the one before this entirely), I am recommending "Variations On The Word Sleep " by Margaret Atwood. Here is the link. I hope you like it!

MMGM (10/17/2016): The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

For MMGM, I'm recommending The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Here's the publisher's description: Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century. Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of

MMGM (10/10/2016): Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle

P.S. I have changed the color palette of my blog slightly. I hope you like it! For MMGM, I'm recommending Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle. Here's the publisher's description: From beloved and bestselling author Lauren Myracle comes the first book in an enchanting trilogy about three sisters, the magic of traditions, and the extraordinary power of hope. This heartwarming, timeless story is perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ingrid Law. On the third night of the third month after a girl’s thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes. The first wish is an impossible wish. The second is a wish she can make come true herself. And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart. Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of

Poetry Thursday/Texas Teen Book Festival! (October 6, 2016)

Firstly, today's Poetry Thursday recommendation is for an extremely old poem: "'Hope' is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson. Here is the link. In other news, TEXAS TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL! On October 1, I attended the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin, Texas (I was conveniently returning back from San Antonio that day), so, without further ado, images! I'm here! Is Mindy Kaling actually here? Sitting in the auditorium! Laini Taylor is waving to the crowd! Slightly fuzzy, but nonetheless: Mindy Kaling! So, if you were wondering if it was awesome, it was! I wasn't there for the entire festival, but I still enjoyed it!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (October 3, 2016): Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Edit (October 6, 2016): A formatting error has been fixed. For MMGM, I'm recommending Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. Here's the publisher's description: For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl. In this graphic novel debut that earned a Newbery Honor and five starred reviews, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring c

Poetry Thursday (September 29, 2016): "On the Pulse of Morning" by Maya Angelou

For Poetry Thursday, I am recommending "On the Pulse of Morning" by Maya Angelou.  This  is a transcript. The page also has a link to the recording of Maya Angelou reciting the poem during Bill Clinton's first inauguration. The recording won a Grammy, so listen to it!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (September 26, 2016): Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

For MMGM, I'm recommending Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. Here's the publisher's description: Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Poetry Thursday (September 22, 2016): "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

For Poetry Thursday, I am recommending "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver. You can read it  here . In addition, a recording of Mary Oliver reading the poem is available  here  by scrolling down. I hope you enjoy the poem! (P.S. If you haven't noticed, I love Mary Oliver's poems!)

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (September 19, 2016): Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Edit (10/30/2016): A formatting error has been fixed. For MMGM, I'm recommending Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. Here's the publisher's description: Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake — and her own. Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives us the courage to do what we never thought possible. Fi

Poetry Thursday (September 15, 2016): "Some Questions You Might Ask" by Mary Oliver

For Poetry Thursday, I am recommending "Some Questions You Might Ask" by Mary Oliver.  Here  is the link. I hope you enjoy it!

Poetry Thursday/Book Recommendation (September 8, 2016)

Edit (September 25, 2016): I have fixed the formatting issues, and added the cover of Tricky Vic . Sorry that my book review is late. I haven't had a lot of time this week. However, I have the review, but first, Poetry Thursday. This poem has helped me go to sleep before, and it is "The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm" by Wallace Stevens.  This  is the link. Now for the book review. I am recommending "Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower" by Greg Pizzoli. Unfortunately, since I am posting from my iPad, I can't post the cover, but I can post the description: In the early 1900s, Robert Miller, a.k.a. “Count Victor Lustig,” moved to Paris hoping to be an artist. A  con  artist, that is. He used his ingenious scams on unsuspecting marks all over the world, from the Czech Republic, to Atlantic ocean liners, and across America. Tricky Vic pulled off his most daring con in 1925, when he managed to “sell” the

Poetry Thursday (August 25, 2016): "Pot Roast" by Mark Strand

Today's poem for Poetry Thursday is "Pot Roast" by Mark Strand. Here's the link: Thanks!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (August 22, 2016): Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton

Other posts: Poetry Thursday (August 18, 2016): "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver My feature today is for Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Here's the publisher's description: Ten-year-old Ruby Goldberg is determined to win her school science fair and beat her nemesis Dominic Robinson. She’s snagged second place for the last two years, and she’s set on claiming first prize. The only trouble is that Ruby has no ideas. When her grandfather’s beloved basset hound dies, Ruby thinks of the perfect thing that will cheer him up and win her first place—an innovative, state-of-the-art, not-to-be-duplicated Ruby Goldberg invention! Before long Ruby is so busy working on her idea that she ignores everything else in her life, including her best friend, Penny. And what started out as simple turns into something much more complicated! Can Ruby get her priorities—and her project—in order before it’s too la

Poetry Thursday (August 18, 2016): "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

I've decided to start Poetry Thursdays, in which I will post a link to a poem that I love. Today's poem is "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver. Click  here  for the poem. (Note: This link won't open in another window, so, if you want it to, right-click it and click on "Open in New Tab" or "Open in New Window." If you have a Mac mouse that doesn't right-click, turn right-click on in the settings.)

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (August 15, 2016): Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

Edit (10/30/2016 ): A format ting error has been fixed. It feels like it's been two weeks since my last post! But I checked and nope, it's only been one. Anyway, for today's MMGM, I'm reviewing Ava and Pip , by Carol Weston. Here's the publisher's description: Meet outgoing Ava Wren, a fun fifth grader who tries not to lose patience with her shy big sister. When Pip's 13th birthday party turns into a disaster, Ava gets a story idea for a library contest. But uh-oh, Ava should never have written "Sting of the Queen Bee." Can Ava and her new friend help Pip come out of her shell? And can Ava get out of the mess she has made? I really enjoyed this book. It is depicted as Ava's diary, which is a nice change from the traditional first-person point of view. There are also two interesting ideas in the story that aren't in the description. The first is that Ava's family loves words (Ava enjoys writing), and the children's

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (August 8, 2016): When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

 Edit (October 6, 2016): A formatting error has been fixed. Hi! Welcome to my new blog, Completely Full Bookshelf! This post is for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a meme created by middle-grade author Shannon Messenger, author of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series. As a reader of these books and a student who recently completed middle school, I decided to join the MMGM fun with my own blog! Today, I am reviewing Newbery Medal-winning When You Reach Me , by Rebecca Stead. Here's the publisher's description: This remarkable novel holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart. By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for em