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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and lets bloggers share what books they’ve received, bought, or borrowed this week.  You can find more information here, if you’d like to participate.

Nice mix of books this week.  I had several more I wanted to buy, but maybe next week. 🙂


Just After Sunset by Stephen King

In King’s latest collection of short stories (following 2002’s Everything’s Eventual), he presents 14 tales.  (Scribner, published originally in 2008)

I love Stephen King. His short story collections never fail to entertain. Some might be duds, but there’s always an excellent one that sticks with you!

Every Contact Leaves a Trace by Connie Fletcher

This is a world that TV crime shows can’t touch.  Here are eighty experts – including beat cops, evidence technicians, detectives, forensic anthropologists, blood spatter experts, DNA analysts, latent print examiners, firearms experts, trace analysts, crime lab directors, and prosecution and defense attorneys – speaking in their own words about what they’ve seen and what they’ve learned to journalist Connie Fletcher, who has gotten cops to talk freely in her bestsellers What Cops Know,  Pure Cop, and Breaking and Entering Every Contact Leaves A Trace presents the science, the human drama, and even the black comedy of crime scene investigation.  Let the experts take you into their world. (St. Martins Press, originally published 2006)

I’m a crime junkie.

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Her new summer job comes with baggage. Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings – Spencer, Lola, and Marlene. When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. For Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite, and a permanent guest called Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn’t quite know what to make of this C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.  (Scholastic, paperback May 2009)

I started reading this at work and was so charmed, I had to have it.  The sequel, Scarlett Fever, just came out!

For Review

Greatest Moments in Sports by Len Berman

The best thing about sports is that you never know when a great moment is going to happen. And everyone has a different opinion about what the greatest moments are. Sportscaster Len Berman reveals his favorite moments in sports and offers this challenge—what are yours?

Hear the cheers, create and share your own memories, and let the debate begin! Plus, the included CD features many of the actual broadcasts—you’ll hear all the drama and excitement as it happened!  (Sourcebooks,November 2009)

This one looks like a lot of fun.  I hope the Red Sox winning the World Series (for the first time) is in there!

Noah’s Bark by Stephen Krensky

Why do animals make the noises they do? You may not have known it, but its all thanks to an old man named Noah, who once upon a time built an ark. Noah is trying to build an ark, but with the snakes quacking, the beavers crowing, and the pigs howling, he cant get anything done.  (Lerner Publishing Group, April 2010)

Just adorable and I love the art.

The Punctuation Station by Brian Clearly

All aboard! Join a family of giraffes on their journey to Punctuation Station. As the train chugs along, you’ll learn the ins and outs of using periods, commas, apostrophes, question marks, hyphens, quotation marks, and exclamation points! Playful rhymes from Brian P. Cleary and colorful illustrations from Joanne Lew-Vriethoff make learning about punctuation fun. So hop on board – this is one train ride you don’t want to miss!  (Millbrook, April 2010)

More children’s books need giraffes!

What did you get this week?


I haven’t done one of these in awhile!  This will cover a few weeks.  A very diverse range here!

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and lets bloggers share what books they’ve received, bought, or borrowed this week.  You can find more information here, if you’d like to participate.

I went a reading festival and met the following authors, and bought their books for autographs. I’m looking forward to reading them.


The Camel  Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

Fiona Sweeney wants to do something that matters, and she chooses to make her mark in the arid bush of northeastern Kenya. By helping to start a traveling library, she hopes to bring the words of Homer, Hemingway, and Dr. Seuss to far-flung tiny communities where people live daily with drought, hunger, and disease. Her intentions are honorable, and her rules are firm: due to the limited number of donated books, if any one of them is not returned, the bookmobile will not return.  (2008, Harper Perennial)

Read the story behind this book, it’s fascinating!

Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy

Mildred is a very focused eleven-year-old. Very focused on giant pumpkins. She’s growing the giants for her mother, who never got a chance to enter the Circleville, Ohio, Pumpkin Show weigh-off herself. After four disastrous growing seasons, Mildred is hoping to finally have a flawless pumpkin to enter in the contest. As long as busybody Aunt Arlene doesn’t interfere too much…and Daddy doesn’t need too much help at his veterinary practice…and her best friend Jacob can pitch in with some last-minute help…and the dogs don’t trample the seedlings…and the weather cooperates. (2009 paperback, Greenwillow)

Ray in Reverse by Daniel Wallace (I’ve read this before, I just wanted my own copy!)

Beginning when a dead Ray Williams arrives in Heaven, the novel unfolds as the deceased proceeds to tell his life story backwards. As dodgy and shiftless in the afterlife as he was on Earth, Ray finds himself in Heaven’s popular Last Words discussion group, where, for dramatic effect, he lies about his final utterances. A series of flashbacks reveals Ray’s defining moments, including his real last words and what they meant, in a funny, poignant narrative that moves with the clarity of a fable and the complexity of modern psychology. Ray spent his life hiding from the demands of marriage and fatherhood; from his fears of sexual ambiguityAand each chapter riffs on his signature confusion about reality.  (2001, Penguin)

Will Jesus Buy me a Doublewide? (Cause I Need Room for my New Plasma TV) by Karen Spears Zacharias

Karen Spears Zacharias believes Christians have been paying good money for a false doctrine: the Cash and Cadillac Gospel. With humor and wit in Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?, Zacharias unpacks story after story of those who use the name of God as a means to living their own good life, as well as some unlikely folks whose genuine faith has led them to a different understanding of wealth. (March 2010, Zondervan)

For Review

The Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire

Darina’s year goes from bad to worse when her boyfriend, Phoenix, is killed in a knife fight, making him the fourth student from their high school to die that year. She’s certain that she’s going crazy when she sees him and the others in an abandoned barn, but when Phoenix kisses her, she’s convinced he’s come back… to life?

Jonas, Summer, Arizona, and Phoenix have been brought back from limbo by the enigmatic and sometimes frightening Hunter, and are allowed to remain in the world of the living for one year in order to set right a wrong linked to their deaths. In exchange for being allowed to see Phoenix, Darina agrees to help the undead teens find justice, starting with Jonas… whose year is nearly up.

Darina must discover who is behind Jonas’s fatal motorcycle accident… without becoming a victim herself… and keep the Beautiful Dead a secret. She would sacrifice anything to help her beloved Phoenix, but setting him free might mean losing him forever. (March 2010, Sourcebooks Fire)

I also bought The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. I’ve been so putting off reading the end of the Percy Jackson series, but I think it’s finally time.   Also Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein and The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty.

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and lets bloggers share what books they’ve received, bought, or borrowed this week.  You can find more information here, if you’d like to participate.
Last week, I had a drought of books, and didn’t receive anything. This week was great, I received several books for review and was able to read a lot, due to being home sick.
For Review
Horrid Henry and the Scary Sitter by Francesca Simon (Illus. by Tony Ross)
Sourcebooks, August 2009
In this installment of the series, Horrid Henry meets the worst babysitter ever, Rabid Rebecca.  But she’s met her match: Henry’s going to show her who’s boss.  He also tortures his parents on a long car trip, goes trick or treating, and raids Moody Margaret’s secret club.
Horrid Henry’s Underpants by Francesca Simon (Illus. by Tony Ross)
Sourcebooks, August 2009
Horrid Henry bargains with his parents over eating vegetables..only to get an unlikely reward.  He also mistakenly wears girl underpants to school, attempts to “outsick” his brother, Perfect Peter, and writes horrible thank you notes.

Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Craig Hatkoff
Scholastic, October 2009
Winter is a little dolphin rescued from a crab net, after a fisherman finds her entangled. The damage from the net causes her to lose her most of her tail, but thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and a generous gift from a prosthetics manufacturer, she’s able to swim again with the help of a prosthetic tail, using the same technology used for Iraq war veterans.
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Simon and Schuster, October 2009
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe. Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride. – Summary from
Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman
Putnam Juvenile, January 2010
Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle School was brutal. Mean girls were all around her. But High School’s going to be Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day who does she run into? None other than Will, her ex-best friend, who had moved away. Now he’s back, looking a lot cuter and hanging out with a questionable crew. But Charlie doesn’t understand just how questionable until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank.
All Charlie wanted to do was have a drama-free freshman year, but now she must decide whether to turn in her very best friend, who just told her he loves her, or live with the guilt of knowing what he did. – Summary from
Bear-ly There by Rebekah Raye
Tilbury House, October 2009
What do you do when there’s a bear in your backyard? A big black bear shows up one moonlit night and creates a real ruckus, first breaking into the shed where the grain is kept for the geese (who aren’t too happy about it), then raiding the bird feeders. The bear is also causing problems at other homes in the neighborhood, getting into the trash and compost and eating dog food that was left out overnight.
One neighbor offers to shoot it. Another one suggests calling the game warden to have the bear tranquilized and relocated. But the child among them knows what is best. A bear belongs in the woods, Charlie says, and together with the adults he clears the yards in the neighborhood of any food that would tempt the bear. His dad comes up with a good idea for warning the bear away—and it works! – Summary from
Anna’s World by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin
Chiron Books, July 2009
The United States of America in the late 1840s — A nation torn by the crime of slavery and a war of conquest in Mexico.
Fourteen-year-old Anna Coburn doesn’t want to grapple with such terrible issues. Just growing up seems awful enough. Forced from her home and away from her beloved father, Anna is sent to live among the stern people called Shakers. Their strange ways and strict lifestyle are both appealing and difficult for the bright, headstrong Anna.
When reunited with her father, Anna is plunged into upper-class Boston life, where she faces a troubling mystery, new responsibilities, and events that will affect not just herself and her loved ones, but a country about to come apart at the seams. – Summary from
The Brain Finds a Leg by Martin Chatterton
Peachtree Publishers, October 2009
Something strange is happening in Farrago Bay and Sheldon McGlone is going to get to the bottom of it. The local wildlife is behaving strangely and so are some of the grown-ups, particularly his teacher, the weird and elusive Miss Fleming. It doesn’t help that Sheldon is being relentlessly pursued by bullies—including his older brother!
Just when things couldn’t get much worse, a new kid turns up in Sheldon’s classroom. Theophilus Brain, aka “The Brain,” has an excessive imagination and a lot of odd ideas about what is ailing Farrago Bay. With a missing human leg and a crocodile who likes to play fetch as clues, Sheldon and the Brain turn detective and uncover a web of evil that stretches across two continents.  -Summary from

Giving Up the Ghost by Sheri Cooper Sinykin
Peachtree Publishers, October 2007
Davia is afraid of many things: death, ghosts, unfamiliar places, and the possible return of her mom’s cancer. But she can’t avoid these fears now. Far from their Wisconsin home, Davia and her parents are temporarily living in Louisiana to assist with the in-home hospice care of her elderly great-aunt Mari.
Everything about the old woman and her spooky-looking plantation home terrifies Davia. And when she encounters Emilie, the tortured ghost of a well-to-do adolescent girl from the nineteenth century, she is even more frightened. To Davia’s surprise, Emilie seems eager to have her for a friend, but the ghost is unpredictable and difficult.
Davia begins to gradually learn from Aunt Mari secrets about Emilie and about her own family’s past—stories of premature endings and regrets. As Aunt Mari’s health deteriorates, she and Davia become closer. Together, they hope to release Emilie’s spirit from the mansion and the world of the living.  – Summary from

Thanks to, I’m also going to be reading Freefall by Ariela Anhalt, Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Book 1 Beastologist) by R.A. LaFevers, Prairie Winter by Bonnie Geisert, and B is for Bufflehead by Steve Hutchcraft.

Bought and Borrowed: None!
Check back, I’m doing a giveaway for Horrid Henry and the Mummy’s Curse, Ice, and commenters will get a chance to win a Winter’s Tail prize pack in the upcoming weeks.  Plus blog tours for some of these titles.

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren.

Here are the books I got this week.

For Review: None! Alas.

Leftovers by Sara Wiess (YA)
Ma and Pa Dracula by Ann Martin (MG)
plus a new Baby-Sitters Club book for my collection. So many to go..

Elizabeth Leads the Way by Tanya Lee Stone (Picture Book)
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin (YA)
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell (MG)
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger (YA)
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford (MG)
The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson (MG)

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and you can learn about it here
Here’s the books I received or bought this week. I got some picture books to review, I’m happy about that.
For Review:

Steel Pan Man of Harlem by Colin Bootman
(November 2009)

A retelling of the Piped Piper tale.

Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
(November 2009)


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
The 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Anyone Can Cook by Better Homes and Gardens (I hope I don’t prove this title to be a liar.)


Tarra and Bella by Carol Buckley
Ash by Malinda Lo
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (from the amazing Gina at SFIR)

What did you get this week?

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and you can learn about it here.

Here are the books I received and bought this week. I also received two of my textbooks.

For Review

Donut Days by Lara Zielin

This sounded so quirky, I had to read it. So far, I really like it. It’s got some irreverant humor, which I enjoy, and concerns a topic I’ve yet to see in teen novels.


I won a copy of Carmen Agra Deedy and Wilson Kimel Naiyomah’s 14 Cows for America, thanks to Peachtree Press. That arrived today, and it’s just beautiful. I hope to have a proper post for it up soon.


I had more in my hold pile at work but it disappeared. Probably a good thing. I bought the first two used, and the last two at my work.

Where I’d Like to Be by Frances O’Roark Dowell
Entombed by Linda Fairstein
(sometimes I need a crime fiction fix)
Triple Fault by Jessica Burkhart
Temping Fate by Esther Friesner

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and you can learn about it here.

Here are the books I received and checked out this week. I also ordered my final three textbooks (ever) for my classes, but though they won’t be nearly as fun as these.

For Review

Part of the teen memoir series, published by HCI Books this month. Each of the girls has a story to tell. One has West Nile. One was orphaned at thirteen. And another suffered from the stress-related disorder trichotillomania.

Emily by Emily Smucker

Chelsey by Chelsey Shannon

Marni by Marni Bates

From the Library

Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks

Looked fairly interesting. Appropriate read after I’ve finished two whirlwind semesters in a row.

And finally, I bought these. Because.. how could I not?