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31 March 2009

Diary of a Wombat

Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, is my new favorite picture book!

Wombats are cute little creatures who live in Australia. They are slow moving, often sleeping, creature who can have an attitude so people generally let them do as they please.

This wombat has decided that the everyday grass she has been eating is boring and look to her new human neighbors for new and exciting treats.

She discovers that humans are each to train and make good pets.

French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley. (2002). Diary of a Wombat. New York: Clarion Books.

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Midnighters: The Secret Hour (Midnighters #1)

Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld is the first book in the Midnighter series.

Jessica Day just moved to Bixby, Oklahoma from Chicago. Since they moved she has been having strange dreams. Only they are not dreams.

There is an extra hour in the night but only for those who can see it. Most people do not notice any disturbance but they are frozen in time for 60 minutes each night. For those like Jessica, when in proximity to a special site - in this case Bixby - there is a blue hour at midnight.

Bixby already has some midnighters - those who can move around in the midnight hour - four students at her new school who have different powers at night. There is a Seer, a Mindcaster, an Acrobat, and a Polymath.

Now that Jessica has met them, they must find out what Jessica's power is and why the creatures who share the hour with them are following Jessica around town.

Westerfeld, Scott. (2004). Midnighters: The Secret Hour. New York: EOS.

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28 March 2009

The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1)

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor tell the true story of "Alice in Wonderland."

The book that Lewis Carroll wrote was not at all what Alyss had told him. He even spelled her name incorrectly.

Alyss Heart is the princess on Wonderland. Her parents (her mother really) rule the Queendom. Her aunt Redd, the firstborn was sent into exile - unfit to rule based on her attachment to Black Imagination - but has returned to steal the thrown from Queen Genvieve.

During the battle, Alyss and Hatter Madigan, the head of an elite force of protectors to the royal family known as the Millinery, escape through the pool of tears. Alyss ends up on the streets of London 1859. Hatter Madigan ends up in Paris. He must find Alyss and protect her until they can return to Wonderland.

Beddor, Frank. (2006). The Looking Glass Wars. New York: SPEAK.

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27 March 2009

War is...

War Is… Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War edited by Marc Aronson and Patty Campbell is a moving collection of war stories from every point of view.

Broken into three parts – Deciding about War, Experiencing War, and the Aftermath of War – this book is full of real-life experiences. Each one is moving and thought provoking.

Editor Patty Campbell states that her motivation for this book is too keep people from wanting to participate in war. Marc Aronson hopes that this book gives people who are thinking of enlisting the information they need to make an informed decision – something that military recruiters do not do. Included is the hard to find contract that must be signed to enlist: http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/19_03/military_enlistment.pdf

Aronson, Marc and Patty Campbell. (2008). War is… New York: Candlewick Press.

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25 March 2009

The Smoke Dragon (Drakon #1)

The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe is the first book in the Drakon series. Unlike the myth of the dragon, the actual race of drakon are sleek creatures who can turn to smoke. They spent centuries shape-shifting into human form before they could blend in.

But the drakon live away from humans. They all live in the same shire, no exceptions. It is too dangerous to live among humans. Clarissa Rue Hawthorne is half drakon and half human. Growing up in the shire she was not included in their society.

At 17 she faked her own death in order to escape. She now lives in London. She is a master of disguises and the most successful jewel thief who ever lived. But once stories start to circulate about a thief who can turn to smoke, the drakon must find the thief before their secrets can be exposed. Rue will never be allowed to live on her own in human society.

The alpha drakon, Christoff Langford, will hunt her down and bring her back to the shire.

Abe, Shana. (2005). The Smoke Thief. New York: Bantam.

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24 March 2009

Sister Light, Sister Dark (Great Alta Saga #1)

Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen is the first book in the Great Alta Saga.

Jenna was born in a small village but her mother died during labor. The midwife took her to the mountains to find the women of the Alta who would take in girls. The midwife was killed on the way by a mountain cat. Two warriors of the Alta found her and took her home.

In her new home there are only women. Of all of the Hames of Alta, this is the smallest. In each one girls at the age of seven choose a path to study for seven years before taking their vows. Jenna has chosen to become a warrior.

Like all warriors, Jenna must spend one year visiting the other Hames. On her way to the first, she finds a boy running for his life. She immediately offers her help but that promise may change the lives of every woman in the Hame.

Yolen, Jane. (1998). Sister Light, Sister Dark. New York: Tor.

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20 March 2009

Bloody Jack (Bloody Jack #1)

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer is a story of adventure on the high seas.

When Mary's parents died she ended up on the streets of London. To survive she joined a group of other kids who helped each other from day to day. But when one of the boys in her gang died she took his clothes and decided to become a boy.

After dressing like a boy for about a week, Mary - now Jack - sees a ship that is choosing a few boys to join the crew. She quickly convinces them to pick her.

Now she is on a ship with hundreds of Royal Navy men and little place to hide. She did not think about the logistics of being female among men in such a confined space. Of course it is easier to hide when no one knows to look.

Jacky is a ship's boy on the HMS Dolphin in this first adventure in the Bloody Jack series.

Meyer, L.A. (2002). Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy. New York: Harcourt, Inc.

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19 March 2009

Y The Last Man: Whys and Wherefores (Y #10)

Y The Last Man: Whys and Wherefores by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra is the final book in the Y series about a plague that kills all males on the planet except one man and his pet monkey.

Now that the technology is available to save humans from becoming extinct, Yorick's only goal is to find the woman he plans to marry. He has not seen Beth in six years, since the plague began.

But something is holding Yorick back. Could it be that although he loves Beth he is in love with someone else? Someone he has spent the last six years with?

This finals volume looks into the future when the boys cloned by Dr. Allison Mann begin to take their place in a society dominated by women.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2007). Y The Last Man: Whys and Wherefores. New York: D.C. Comics.

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Y The Last Man: Motherland (Y #9)

Y The Last Man: Motherland by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra is the ninth book in the Y series.

After following the train of Yorick's monkey Ampersand to China, Yorick, Allison, 355, and Rose (Allison's girlfriend) are captured by the evil Dr. M. Dr. M has broken through and successfully cloned a human. In fact, the doctor has a herd of cloned children.

Once they escape, 355 and Yorick are off to Paris to find Beth. Yorick has not seen Beth in almost 6 years, but knows she is looking for him, too. Hero, Yorick's sister, is also on her way to Paris to look for Beth.

Allison and Rose will begin repopulating the planet with clones of Yorick.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2006). Y The Last Man: Motherland. New York: D.C. Comics.

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18 March 2009

Y The Last Man: Kimono Dragons (Y #8)

Y The Last Man: Kimono Dragons by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra is the eighth book in the Y series.

The group is in Japan looking for Yorick's money Ampersand. Amp was stolen by a ninja who appears to be working for an evil scientist.

Since they are so close Allison decides she should see her mother but when they approach her lab it is in flames. 355 and Yorick are tracking the signal from Ampersand's chip. It leads them to the new head of the Yakuza.

Back in Kansas, the Israeli army is after the first born child since the plague. As a result, Hero and Beth are on the run.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2006). Y The Last Man: Kimono Dragons. New York: D.C. Comics.

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17 March 2009

Y The Last Man: Paper Dolls (Y #7)

Y The Last Man: Paper Dolls by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra is the seventh book in the Y series.

Yorick, Dr. Mann and 355 are in Australia. They will be there for only 24 hours before the sub goes back to sea on its way to Japan and the possible location of Ampersand.

In the mean time Yorick is looking for any sign of his girlfriend Beth. During their dangerous walk around the once beautiful city of Sydney - now overrun with drug addicts - a reporter catches Yorick with his pants down. Well, she makes him take his pants down so she can document that he is a real male human. His picture will be in every paper in the world in about a day.

Back in the US, Hero has found the other Beth - the one Yorick slept with - and is moving her back to Kansas.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2006). Y The Last Man: Paper Dolls. New York: D.C. Comics.

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Y The Last Man: Girl on Girl (Y #6)

Y The Last Man: Girl on Girl by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra is the sixth book in the Y series.

Yorick, Dr. Mann and 355 are on a cruise. They are in pursuit of the ninja who kidnapped Ampersand. But this cruise ship may have to make an unscheduled stop in Sydney - if the submarine full of Australian Navy women has anything to say about it.

But if they are in Sydney maybe Yorick can finally find Beth...

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2005). Y The Last Man: Girl on Girl. New York: D.C. Comics.

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Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon #1)

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman is the first book in the Eon series.

Each new year as the twelve-year cycle of power changes to the next Dragon (based on the Chinese cycle of animal years) the ascendant Dragon chooses the next apprentice and the previous apprentice becomes a dragoneye. This is the way it has always been. The cycle turns with the exception of the Mirror Dragon year. The Mirror Dragon has been gone for 500 years.

This year is the year of the Rat Dragon. The chosen one will bind to the Rat Dragon and continue the cycle. Eon has been training for four years to be among the twelve 12-year-old boys to compete for the attention of the dragon. But Eon is neither 12 nor a boy. Eon is really Eona and if anyone finds out she and her master and his whole household will be put to death.

If Eon is not chosen her master will lose everything. If she is chosen she will have to keep her secret while becoming part of the ceremony and tradition that rules the land.

Goodman, Alison. (2008). Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. New York: Viking.

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Y The Last Man; Ring of Truth (Y #5)

Y The Last Man: Ring of Truth by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra continues the Y saga.

Yorick, agent 355 and Dr. Mann have reached San Fransisco. Dr. Alison Mann is working in finding out why Yorick and his money Ampersand survived the plague that killed all other males on the planet.

Yorick's sister Hero is following their trail. She is convinced that Yorick has been kidnapped and is being experimented on.

In this issue, readers will discover why Yorick survived. It is another glamorous twist of science.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2004). Y The Last Man: Ring of Truth. New York: D.C. Comics.

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16 March 2009

Y The Last Man: Safeword (Y #4)

Y The Last Man: Safeword by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra continues Y - Yorick, 355, and Dr. Mann's trek across the country to California.

In this issue Yorick explores his past under the influence of a sadistic colleague of agent 355.

The team visits more interesting towns and people on their travels - including a group in Arizona that believes the US government sent the plague that killed all of the men.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2004). Y The Last Man: Safeword. New York: D.C. Comics.

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15 March 2009

Y The Last Man: One Small Step (Y #3)

Y the Last Man: One Small Step is the third book in the Y series by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

Yorick, Dr. Mann and 355 on still on their way to California when the receive information that Yorick may not be the last man after all.

The joint team of US and Russians who are in the space station need to return to earth - they are running out of supplies. They will be landing in Kansas near a hot suite that will keep the men from being infected with the virus that killed the others.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2004). Y The Last Man: One Small Step. New York: D.C. Comics.

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14 March 2009

Fall On Your Knees

Fall on Yours Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald is likely to be one of the most well written books you will ever read. MacDonald gets ideas across in succinct yet detailed sentences that capture the imagination. The book is so good that even when you decided you dislike almost every character, you will have to keep reading. (By the end you may like some of the characters again.)

This epic novel follows the Piper family from young James through his grandchildren as they grow, fight, and escape Cape Breton Island off of the coast of Nova Scotia.

Each character is beautiful and flawed and real - Materia who has a daughter she does not love; Kathleen who only cares about singing; Mercedes who hides behind her religion; Frances who is too bold for her own good; and Lily who is the saint. Each character whether part of the Piper family or outside is well developed and enticing.

It is no wonder this first book by MacDonald has won dozens of awards.

MacDonald, Ann-Marie. (1996). Fall on Your Knees. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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Y The Last Man: Cycles (Y #2)

Y The Last Man: Cycles is the second book in the Y series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

Yorick, 355, and Dr. Mann have to decide whether to go back to D.C. as ordered or try to make it to California where Dr. Mann's backup samples are stored. She is the world's only hope for the continuation of the human race.

In the mean time, the Daughters of the Amazon, a radical group of crazy women, is on the hunt for Yorick. His sister, Hero, is leading the search. How will she fell when she discovers that the last man on earth is her brother? Will she choose the Amazons or Yorick?

Others are also after Yorick. His status as the last man has not been a very well kept secret. The Israeli army - now the strongest in the world thanks to the inclusion of women - is also after him.

Vaughan, Brian and Pia Guerra. (2003). Y The Last Man: Cycles. New York: D.C. Comics.

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10 March 2009

Forbidden

Forbidden by Suzanne Brockmann is one of her earliest works of romantic suspense – as opposed to romance alone.

Kayla Grey goes to Asylum, Montana to find her best friend’s brother. Her friend, Liam has been dead for two years – killed in a bus bombing on a small island in Central America. But now Kayla has information that Liam is not really dead.

Being unfamiliar with how quickly the weather can change in the mountains of Montana, Kayla gets lost in a storm. The man, Cal Bartlett, who rescues her is instantly drawn to her and is more than willing to meet her in town the next night for dinner as a thank you. Before he can meet her the next night he finds out that she is the woman his brother asked to marry him. He is upset that she lied to him – if only by omission since she did not know who he was – and feels guilty for being attracted to his brother’s love.

When she convinces Cal to travel with her to Central America to find out what really happened to his brother, but is will be one tense trip where his battle between lust and guilt fight for his attention.

Brockmann, Suzanne. (1997). Forbidden. New York: Bantam

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Hero Under Cover

Hero Under Cover by Suzanne Brockmann.

Annie Morgan is the foremost expert on ancient metalworkings. After collecting a piece from the in London the gallery she just left is blown up. When she reached the US on her way home she is detained by a team of FBI and CIA agents. They are convinced she a part of a ring of thieves.

In order to get close to her, a CIA agent poses as her bodyguard – after a threats related to a mask she is working leaves her nervous. The collector who owns the mask insists on protection. But after she falls for her bodyguard, will she forgive him for lying to her?

Brockmann, Suzanne. (1994). Hero Under Cover. New York: HQN.

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