Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

On My TBR: Just a Drop of Water – Kerry OMalley Cerra

On My TBR:
Just a Drop of Water – Kerry OMalley Cerra

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Ever since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a soldier and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, he just wants to outsmart—and outrun—the rival cross country team, the Palmetto Bugs. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens. It’s quickly discovered that one of the hijackers lived nearby, making Jake’s Florida town an FBI hot spot. Two days later, the tragedy becomes even more personal when Jake’s best friend, Sam Madina, is pummeled for being an Arab Muslim by their bully classmate, Bobby.

According to Jake’s personal code of conduct, anyone who beats up your best friend is due for a butt kicking, and so Jake goes after Bobby. But soon after, Sam’s father is detained by the FBI and Jake’s mom doubts the innocence of Sam’s family, forcing Jake to choose between his best friend and his parents. When Jake finds out that Sam’s been keeping secrets, too, he doesn’t know who his allies are anymore. But the final blow comes when his grandpa’s real past is revealed to Jake. Suddenly, everything he ever knew to be true feels like one big lie. In the end, he must decide: either walk away from Sam and the revenge that Bobby has planned, or become the hero he’s always aspired to be.

Having been an adult during September 11th I wanted to see how it impacted kids who were old enough to slightly understand what was going on. My kids were very young at the time so the effect on them is different. Kids Jake’s age would be grown ups now.

How old were you  September 11th 2001?

Categories
Children

Brave Like Me by Barbara Kerley

Brave Like Me

Brave Like Me is such a great book. It’s one of those books for littles that I wish they’d written sooner. Large color photographs containing people of all shapes and colors represent the members of the military who serve our countries. Let’s not the little ones left behind at home to hold down the fort and their feelings while Mom or Dad is gone.  I love how the book tells the children that they are brave too. I can’t even imagine what a child feels when they’re separated from a parent knowing that they might be in some danger. Brave is a good word to describe it. Because otherwise a little one might break down and cry for fear of not understanding, right? So sensitive and perfect for families of military.

Categories
Books

Paws of Courage by Nancy Furstinger

There are many ways to show courage.
Here’s how dogs do it:
Paws of Courage by Nancy Furstinger

Paws of Courage

 

Here’s a great kids book: it’s a book about war dogs and working dogs. But here’s the question: is there anything better than photos of dogs in uniforms? Well besides being awfully cute, these furry friends in uniform are brave. Paws of Courage is a great book that showcases the many types of four legged heroes who help our military over the past century. From Sgt Stubby to Xanto, dogs have performed numerous jobs helping our men and women in uniform. The greatest bit about these dogs is that when they retire, they can get adopted! Usually their handlers adopt them and reward them with love and good dog treats as a way of thanking the pooches for protecting them. Sometimes, regular people get to adopt a retired military working dog.

Can you imagine the stories old Fido could tell about finding explosives in a mine field or sniffing luggage at the airport for hidden items? Or what about the dog who can hear an enemy plane approaching and alert her military friends so they can get to safety?

I’ve always been a fan dogs, but military working dogs have become my all time favorite, after I heard about all the work they did during September 11th. If you have a friend who likes dogs or the military, this book will win their heart too. Also? Information in the back to find out about retired service dogs for sale.  Maybe you can get one!

Here’s a great quote from the book:

 

The Final Woof

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

~Anonymous

 

 

 

Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge

CYBILS Finalist: The Six by Mark Alpert

I’ll admit I had real trouble with The Six by Mark Alpert.  I thought the book was going to be like a younger Ready Player One sorta kinda.

The Six by Mark Alpert

 

Unfortunately, when I got into the book, I found I didn’t enjoy it very much. The government and the military are performing experiments on teens who are fatal illnesses. The kids will use their brains to become robots. And these robots will help defeat the Soviets.  It’s all very artificial intelligence and war gamesy, which, if you’re into, then you will love.

The bit that I absolutely loved about the book is that the main character has muscular dystrophy. I’ve never read anything about muscular dystrophy so I had an opportunity to research the disease which made for a nice side project. The brain still works but the body is unable to cooperate and most patients become unable to walk, feed, or care for themselves.

If you like robots then this is the book for you. There are so many robots and artificial intelligence  geekery that you will cheer for flying drones and zooming bombs.  Let your geek flag fly high!

Due to the main character’s muscular dystrophy, The Six is a great title for the Diversity Reading Challenge under physical disability. It’s a fast read.

Geeks unite!

Categories
Children Young Adult

Strike by DJ MacHale is like, WOW!

SYLO Collage

It’s no secret that I love DJ MacHale. While I’ve never read Pendragon, I’m certainly a fan of MacHale’s work with the SYLO trilogy!

Here’s my review of SYLO.

Then of STORM.

I was traveling this weekend so I grabbed a copy of STRIKE (perks of being a bookseller) and threw myself into it on the plane. And OMG I could hardly put it down!

DJ is coming to the bookstore this week (WOOT!) and I can’t wait to see him again! Last year I introduced my tweenies to SYLO and it was so much fun seeing them read the book and then meet the author.  Isn’t that what this is about? Putting a smile on a kids’ face?

So, stay tuned for my review of the last installment of SYLO and of course, for pics of DJ!

Have you read anything by DJ MacHale?

 

 

Categories
Books

More Thoughts on Manners

More Thoughts on Manners

The weather around here has been absolutely dreadful and it seems that the East Coast is sharing its misery with many parts of the country.  Just recently I learned that many people in Atlanta were hit by snowstorm Leon (we were hit with Janus a week back) and the city was crippled.  The shutdown of the city made me think about human nature.  Citizens went out of their way to help others in distress:

  • School workers staying to care for stranded students
  • Drug store employees opening up store for overnight patrons
  • Drivers helping other drivers stuck or sliding on icy roads

This kind of thoughtful behavior warms my heart.  This is a level of common decency that I wish we saw more of.  To be sure, society is much more casual than in my parents’ heyday.  Heck, even in the 90s men still opened doors for women entering buildings.  But then again, I was living in the Texas, which is a whole ‘nother country, as the saying goes. To be sure, modern feminists argue that they don’t need a man to open a door for them or pull out a chair, can we see a little more common decency in the every day world and not just during emergencies?

Wonder why I’m being so serious and thoughtful? It’s because of this book: Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top by Dorothea Johnson.

modern manners

In the 90s I worked on an Air Force base interacting with high ranking men and women. Outside of the military this might not seem like much to you, but imagine them to be like minor celebrities in your world. So, at this military installation you cannot address Donna by her first name when in public. You must call her title (rank actually): Sergeant Smith or Captain Smith, etc.  I learned this lesson the hard way and it only took one admonishment to help me retain it. You could relate this situation to addressing your church’s religious leader, pastor or priest by their first name in public. This, my friends, is not done. Even though Father John or Reverend Smith might have been at your house for dinner last night, he’s still addressed by his title in public. And the fact that you know this and follow this rule is called manners. Easy, huh?

Not convinced? Think of the number of people who still address their parents and grandparents by affectionate titles. You don’t hear too many 50 year old women calling their own mothers Doris, do you? Of course not! This rule does not apply to the families who call their parents by their first names. My son has a friend who calls her parents by their first names. It’s a foreign concept to my family but my son respects his friend’s wishes and calls her parents by their first names also. See? There is that word again: respect.

Here’s a sticky question for you: Now that you’re an adult, how do you greet adults who were your teachers when you were a kid?  As an adult I’ve reconnected with some of my high school band teacher on Facebook and joined the crowd by calling him by his first name.  How very weird it felt at first. Aw heck who am I kidding, still does.

What about you? Still calling Mr. and Mrs So and so by their last names? Why or why not?

Categories
Books Children

Towne Book Center & Cafe Tween Book Club: Sylo by DJ MacHale

I’m so excited to share this new book with you today, Sylo by DJ MacHale! If the author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s written the popular Pendragon and the Morpheus Road series.

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

Lisa Scottoline Book Club – Don’t Go UPDATE!!

I know I know, how many book clubs can one woman person belong to??

As many as I can!

So that is why I started the Lisa Scottoline book club at Towne Book Center and Cafe. There are many reasons to read Lisa Scottoline:

  1. She writes good stories
  2. She’s a local and includes local landmarks
  3. There’s a chance to get invited to her house!!!

Unconventional Librarian Lisa Scottoline Don't Go

That’s me mugging with her latest book, late at night, at work.  Booksellers are notorious night owls!

Even though this is only my second Lisa Scottoline book (the first was Look Again), I got caught up in the plot very quickly.  I also thought I had the story figured out.

Boy was I wrong.

No spoilers here, but man was this a good story of a soldier serving in Afghanistan who has to deal with some inexplicable crises.  And while this is a quick moving tale, I would love a little bit less conversation and a teeny bit more descriptive text.  But man did I go through the coffee finishing this one; I didn’t want to put it down!

Thanks for a good read Lisa, I hope to see you at your house this fall for your Book Club Open House soiree!!

Can’t wait to go clubbing tonight!

UPDATE

Book club was SO SO fun! We had an excellent discussion and even agreed to keep the book club going through the summer which is no small feat, for sure.  I’m looking forward to reading one of Lisa Lisa’s older titles:  Come Again, for  our June meeting!

GUESS WHAT???

The uber cool people over at Macmillan hipped me to this thing called SoundCloud where you can listen to snippets of books.  I may have found my new addiction after cake, coffee, and Pinterest.  Lisa’s book Don’t Go is available to listen to on audio over at SoundCloud.  Check it out below.

How cool is that, huh?

 

way. oh boy, i’m gonna need another ipad just to listen to books. good thing my birthday is coming up in (sigh) 6 months…

Go enjoy the book!