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Review: Snoop Troop

October 25, 2014

Snoop Troop

When the merry-go-round at the amusement park and some of the playground equipment at the school disappear, fourth grader Logan Lang springs into action; she is a detective after all.  Classmate Gustavo Muchomacho wants to help and she reluctantly agrees.

Someone has trained moles to steal things kids love and now they’re demanding the kids’ lunch money as ransom.  As Logan and Gustavo race to solve the mystery, they discover they make a pretty good team.

Snoop Troop: It Came from Beneath the Playground by Kirk Scroggs is a fun graphic mystery that borders on silly at times.  There are clues scattered throughout the book and young readers are encouraged to try to solve the mystery.  The end of the book features some fun activity pages for kids.

Logan and Gustavo are endearing characters and the terrific illustrations throughout the book enhance the story.  The mystery is pretty basic but that’s what I’d expect at this level.  Early readers are sure to love this fun book – I know I would have when I was young.  I couldn’t find confirmation anywhere but I feel sure Snoop Troop is the first book in a great new series.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Spoiled Brats

October 24, 2014

Spoiled Brats

Simon Rich is back with another hilarious and thought provoking collection of short stories.  Spoiled Brats examines modern day life with wit and humor while showing the absurdity of some of our culture.  The collection is comprised of 13 stories and I didn’t think there was a stinker in the bunch, but, as you’d expect, I liked some more than others.

In Gifted, a mother makes excuses for her demon son’s behavior because of his “obvious star quality.” When he harms his tutor she praises him because he never mentioned that Han was of Asian descent.  She can’t do enough for him, even when he’s had enough.

Elf on the Shelf examines what it would be like to be an Elf on the Shelf in a home where there are no consequences for bad behavior.

Animals is the story of a family of hamsters struggling to stay alive in a school.  They’re at the mercy of the kindergarten students of homeroom 2K who often forget to give them food and water.  The father hamster tells what he does to try to care for his family.

Rich’s stories are unique in their point of view – for instance, Elf on the Shelf is told from the perspective of the Elf and Animals is told from the point of view of a hamster.

I loved this collection of short stories. Many of the stories made me laugh out loud and they all made me think.  You’ll want to pick up a copy of Spoiled Brats!

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Mambo in Chinatown

October 23, 2014

Mambo in Chinatown

Charlie is an obedient American-born Chinese daughter living with her widowed father and younger sister.  She’s not happy with her job as a dishwasher but accepts it as her fate.  When she finds a job as a receptionist in a dance studio, she has to keep it secret from her father, but it causes her world to open up.

A witch doctor tells her “what one sister gains, shall the other lose,” and that seems to be happening.  As Charlie blossoms in her new job, her sister starts suffering from an undiagnosed illness.  Charlie’s father wants her treated the old world way while Charlie fights for treatment at the hands of Western doctors.   Charlie has to figure out a way to mesh the two worlds so her sister can get the best treatment.

Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok is a wonderful story about the difficulties of blending two worlds.  Charlie is a great character who wants to please her father but also wants to be a modern girl.  She keeps part of her life hidden from him because she knows he won’t approve.  She decides she has to challenge his authority, though, when she realizes her sister’s health is at risk.

I was engrossed in Charlie’s story from the start.  I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of first generation Americans – maybe because my mother is one – and this one did not disappoint.  I did have one minor quibble having to do with Charlie’s job at the dance studio but it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book.

The audio version of Mambo in Chinatown is narrated by Angela Lin.  She does a terrific job, particularly with accents, reading this 13 hour audio book.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.


Wondrous Words Wednesday

October 22, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I found a couple words in The Lost Book of Mormon by Avi Steinberg.

1. craven – “‘We need you to take a more craven, conquered attitude.”

Craven means defeated or vanquished.


2. koan – “This struck me as a wise philosophy of life, a kind of koan.”

Koan is a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhists monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Author event and giveaway: Carolyn Dingman

October 21, 2014

Carolyn Dingman

Debut author Carolyn Dingman was recently in town for a fun Book Your Lunch event that I was able to attend.  As a military brat, Carolyn attended six different elementary schools.  She studied architecture at Clemson and currently lives in Atlanta.    Carolyn considers herself shy and doesn’t like to speak in front of people so promotion is difficult for her.  I thought she did a terrific job engaging the audience.

Carolyn wasn’t really a writer or a reader but blogged about her children when they were small.  When her daughter learned about the blog, she demanded Carolyn stop and she did, that very day.  Carolyn had gotten into the habit of writing every day, though, and she found she missed it.  She started waking up with “scenes in [her] head” and decided to write them down.

She sent her first novel to the editor of an author friend.  The editor told her the book was awful but her dialogue was “effortless” and she encouraged her to write another story.  Carolyn worked with that editor for about a year.  She said the editor was mean and tough but she taught her how to write and sent her manuscript to an agent.  It took about 5 years to get to publication.

Cancel the WeddingCarolyn described Cancel the Wedding as a very Southern story of family, love, and place with a little romance and a little mystery.  I got her to autograph a copy of the book for one lucky reader.  To enter to win an autographed copy of CANCEL THE WEDDING, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open worldwide – one entry per person, please.  I will use to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EDT Tuesday, October 28, 2014.    Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

Mailbox Monday

October 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday October 20

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   Another week has flown by but it was a big week for me – I actually finished more books than I received!  Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox:




What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Pinkerton, Behave

October 17, 2014

Pinkerton, Behave

A family gets a new puppy and has trouble teaching him to behave.  They decide to take him to obedience school and he still doesn’t get it.  The obedience trainer can’t control him either and kicks him out.

Later that night when a burglar enters the family’s home, Pinkerton and his overenthusiastic behavior saves the day.

Pinkerton, Behave by Steven Kellogg is an adorable story to share with youngsters.  Pinkerton is a sweet dog and his family loves him but he frustrates them at times because he doesn’t obey their commands.  His behavior proves to be just what they need when someone breaks in, proving that sometimes it’s good to be different.

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and Pinkerton’s silly behavior is sure to cause youngsters to giggle.  With it’s straightforward storyline and adorable pictures, Pinkerton, Behave is sure to be a hit with young animal lovers.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

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