Picture Book Review: A Balloon for Isabel

Sometimes there are books that touch my heart so much, I can’t help but review them. A Balloon for Isabel  by Deborah Underwood is one of these books. Here are a few reasons why I love this book.

1) It has a clever, witty plot and is an all around fun read.
2) The main character is an adorable little girl named, Isabel. She also happens to be a porcupine who wants a balloon, and for obvious reasons can’t have one. Brilliant.
3) It’s filled with vibrant, colorful illustrations.
4) Isabel’s best friend is Walter. His Dad owns a candy shop. But what does Walter love? Broccoli, of course. What a wonderfully fun detail.
5) It’s filled with ingenious ideas, like the pop-stopper, that will tickle the reader’s delight.

I hope I’ve peeked your interest enough to check out this book. Happy Reading!

(I was fortunate enough to meet the author, the lovely Deborah Underwood, at the LA SCBWI Summer Conference. She is pictured below with goofy ol’ me.)

Fairies on the brain: A book review and book trailer

How to Ditch Your FairyIt’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with fantasy books. One of my favorite types of fantasy characters to read about are fairies. Give me evil fairies, quirky fairies, invisible fairies, or MC’s that are part fairy (like Sookie Stackhouse) and I am instantly intrigued. My latest read was Justine Larbelstier’s How to Ditch Your Fairy.

This book fulfilled my fairy craving and thensome! It is a quick read, centered around a teen girl who is trying to ditch her parking fairy in lieu of something better — like the clothes-shopping fairy her best friend has. I love how Larbelstier’s pulls you into a world where fairies exist (or are atleast acknowledged to.) I also love the lingo she has created for her characters. It’s a unique, fun read!     My rating: ☆☆☆☆


Speaking of fairies, I am delighted to share the book trailer for Anna Staniszweski’s upcoming novel, My Very UnFairy Tale Life, to be released in November 2011.  I am looking forward to reading this book!

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger GamesI have recently finished The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I’ve seen these books on bestseller lists for quite some time, but whenever I read the synopsis for the first book I couldn’t envision myself getting into it. In my younger days I loved horror and had no problem with watching or reading about gory situations or war. But I  have to confess — I’ve grown to be a bit squeamish. One particular quote from School Library Journal made me hesitatant to read it:

“Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch.”

I finally had a change of heart at Writer’s Day in L.A. Several of the speakers spoke very highly of the book. Rachel Cohn, in fact read a passage from the first few pages of The Hunger Games, during the conference. I was intrigued! So I finally decided to sample it on my kindle — what could it hurt?

I was hooked right away! Collin’s captured her main character, Katniss Everdeen’s, voice flawlessly.  I also loved that the whole story was told in the present tense. Her writing reminds me of a saying — that a good author makes the reader forget that they are reading a book; instead they become fully immersed in the world of the story.  That is so true in The Hunger Games. You are not merely reading a book, you are living it — right down to hearing each cannon being released, visualizing the stunning costumes, and feeling the emotions of the characters.  And my concern for it being too gory? Well it is certainly not a story for the faint of heart, however the violence that is seen is appropriate to the story — you are seeing exactly what Katniss sees. The world of Panem is not a fluffy, happy-go–lucky one. It is a world in a state of turmoil, and rebellion. Even having finished the series, I still think about these books and likely will for quite some time.

The Hunger Games compels you to keep reading it — I literally could not put the book down for hours. If you have not already read this book, I highly recommend it!

My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Book Review Disclaimer: I review books from time to time because I love to read and share about my experiences. Some of the best books I read come at the recommendation of other voracious readers like me.  At this time all books being reviewed at my blog are from my personal library. Should that change, I will be certain to notify my readers.     
 – Christine

Book Review: 2011 Children’s Writer and Illustrator’s Market

I have been absent from the blogosphere for about two weeks now, sorry Readers. It has been an insanely busy two weeks! I made it through the first two weeks of school and a weekend trip to San Luis Obispo for the Central Coast Writer’s Conference (more to come on the conference soon!). Our drive for the trip was a total of 10 hours in one weekend. I have also spent this last week trying my hand at queries/manuscript submissions, which has been quite a challenging, yet enjoyable ride thus far.

During my free times in the evenings I have been avidly reading, writing, and researching. One of my current reads is the “2011 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.” The book came to me very highly recommended by both peers and Amazon.com patrons. I can certainly see why! As you can see by my photo at the left I have already “Post-ited”  many pages to come back to in my copy.(I’m a post it addict!)

Here are a few things I like about the book:

1) It’s a great reference book for Writer’s looking to get their works published. It includes valuable information about publishing houses, submission requirements, contact information and more!
2) It’s more than a reference book, it includes inspirational stories and “how to articles”
3) The online component is another awesome resource. Each purchased copy comes with a 1 year free subscription to to the Writer’s Market online.
4) Glossary of industry and writing terms. These have proven to be very helpful for me to get to know the field better and build my knowledge base.

If you are a new Children’s Writer (or even a veteran) I highly recommend this book!

My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Book Review Disclaimer: I review books from time to time because I love to read and share about my experiences. Some of the best books I read come at the recommendation of other voracious readers like me.  At this time all books being reviewed at my blog are from my personal library. Should that change, I will be certain to notify my readers.     
 – Christine