Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kid Konnection: Lititz Kidlit Authors - Part 2

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you a few books written by authors who will be attending the 2010 Lititz Kidlit Festival -- Cyn Balog, Vicky Burkholder, Suzanne Supplee, and Laurel Snyder. The festival is going on all weekend and I can't wait to attend!

Summary: Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

Cyn Balog's follow-up to
Fairy Tale has more wit, more supernatural delights, and more star-crossed romance! Teen girls will love this story of a Sandman who falls in love with his human charge. -- Delacorte

Last week, I reviewed the novel FAIRY TALE by Cyn Balog and enjoyed it a great deal. Because I liked that book so much, I decided to try Ms. Balog's latest work SLEEPLESS. I definitely enjoyed SLEEPLESS too because it had the perfect blend of elements. This novel was part ghost story, part fantasy, part supernatural, and part romance; and when these elements were combined, it was pure magic!

As much as I enjoyed this story, I think teen girls will appreciate it even more. I'm pretty sure that many girls will relate to Julia and also develop a little crush on Eron. In addition, I think teens will love how Ms. Balog portrayed the dog-eat-dog world of high school -- I know I did. I thought the descriptions of the students and the school were spot on and will definitely strike a chord with today's teens.

Of course, the romance parts of the story were very sweet; however, I actually really enjoyed the idea behind Sandmen and their powers. I thought the story was extremely creative and I especially liked the suspense and twists. One thing is for sure -- I became caught up in the story and the characters and didn't want to put down this novel.

I highly recommend SLEEPLESS for girls who enjoy stories about ghosts and the supernatural. But I also think teens and maybe even tweens who are suckers for a good romance will like it too!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.

Summary: Rowyn of Cotswold has eyes as black as midnight, bone-white hair, and powers that go beyond anything the world has seen in centuries. Raised by her aunts, she knows nothing about her powers until a fateful day when she returns home to find everything and everyone gone.

A cryptic note and a magical box direct her to the fabled city of Akashan'te at the six sister stars. The fate of the entire world rides on her ability to find the city before conjunction.

A giant of a man, Daniel is determined to guard her and love her no matter what the outcome. On their journey, they encounter friends who benefit from Rowyn's abilities, enemies who will stop at nothing to control her, and love that will last a lifetime and beyond. -- Cerridwen Press

As many of you know, I love all things Aaron's Books! And one of the best things about the store are the people who work there. So when Vicky Burkholder asked me if I was interested in reading her YA fantasy novel AKASHAN'TE, I jumped at the chance! How cool is it to actually "know" a published author! Of course, I had to warn her that this genre isn't a typical one for me!

While I am pretty sure that I never would have picked up this book if it weren't written by Vicky, I actually was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I admit that it did take me a few pages to get into the story because I'm not the most imaginative person, but it's clear that Vicky is! Once I relaxed and figured out the characters and the settings, I really enjoyed this story. Reading AKASHAN'TE was just a great way to escape.

I thought Vicky did a great job creating some very likable characters in Rowyn and Daniel, and I was definitely impressed with the fantasy world that she created. In addition, I loved that the story was geared towards young adults -- and that it had some terrific messages. There was suspense, action, romance, and good vs. evil, but all of it was portrayed in a very clean manner.

AKASHAN'TE was a fun read and I'll definitely be putting it away for Booking Daughter! In case you're wondering if I only liked this book because I like Vicky so much, I can assure you that's not the case. AKASHAN'TE has received four and five star reviews from national review magazines, including Romantic Times.

If you are looking for a fun-filled and action-packed romance book for teens (or adults), then look no farther than AKASHAN'TE!

Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this novel.

Summary: It’s not so easy being Rosemary Goode and tipping the scales at almost two hundred pounds— especially when your mother runs the most successful (and gossipiest!) beauty shop in town. After a spectacularly disastrous Christmas break when the scale reaches an all-time high—Rosemary realizes that things need to change. (A certain basketball player, Kyle Cox, might have something to do with it.) So begins a powerful year of transformation and a journey toward self-discovery that surprisingly has little to do with the physical, and more to do with an honest look at how Rosemary feels about herself. -- Dutton

ARTICHOKE'S HEART by Suzanne Supplee has one of the best covers ever -- am I right? While I knew that I wanted to read one of Ms. Supplee's books before the Kidlit Festival, I actually picked this one because I wanted to be seen with this book. Not that I didn't think the storyline looked interesting, but I think the cover is just too cute for words!

I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed ARTICHOKE'S HEART and I think the book lived up to its gorgeous cover. Even though I'm definitely long past my teen years, I can safely say that I would have loved this book when I was young. It's a coming-of-age tale about an overweight girl who learns to appreciate herself, and I found it fun as well as heartwarming.

When the book begins, I definitely felt bad for Rosemary, but I wasn't entirely sure that I liked her all that much. I gave her the benefit of the doubt because I could tell that she was so insecure about her appearance, but it took me a few pages to really appreciate the beauty of Rosemary's character. By the end of the novel, I just adored her and was rooting for her success in both weight loss, school, and relationships.

One thing that really stuck out to me about this book was the way the author portrayed the relationship between Rosemary and her mother (and even to a lesser degree, her aunt.) I think many teens are going to relate to this aspect of the novel. What I especially appreciated is that Rosemary matured so much throughout the story that she was able to not only accept herself for who she was, but she also learned to accept others for who they were. Maybe it's because I am the mother of a pre-teen girl, but I think I most loved Rosemary when she realized how special her relationship was with her mother!

I definitely recommend ARTICHOKE'S HEART for teens who enjoy stories about girls who discover themselves! I also think this novel would be an excellent choice for mother/daughter book clubs because it provides the opportunity to discuss some sensitive issues like illness, eating disorders, and mother/daughter relationships.

Summary: THIS IS THE tale of Lucy and her best friend, Wynston. Until recently, they spent their days paddling in the river, picking blackberries, and teasing each other mercilessly. But now, King Desmond has insisted that Wynston devote every spare second to ruby-shining and princess-finding. Lucy feels left out. So she sets off for the Scratchy Mountains to solve the mystery of her missing mother. When Wynston discovers that Lucy is gone, he tears after her, and together they embark on a series of strange and wonderful adventures. -- Yearling

 I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have read UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS by Laurel Snyder right now if it weren't for the Kidlit Festival. My son is actually a little young for this book and my daughter is a little too old, but I thought it sounded kind of cute.

Basically, the novel reminded me of an old fairy tale about a young girl and a young prince. I found this book to be utterly charming. The story was a fun-filled adventure and the characters were interesting, but I absolutely adored the overall messages!

While I did enjoy reading this book, I definitely think I would have appreciated it even more if I had read it aloud with my kids. In fact, I think UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS would be an ideal read before bed or even for teachers during circle time. I'm pretty sure that both girls and boys will relate to this action-packed tale! 
There is no doubt that the story was fun, but I also liked the characters a great deal. Lucy was just a terrific character with lots of spunk. I admired her determination and resourcefulness (although at times she was a little careless), and I think many kids will look up to her. But I also loved Wynston and I actually found myself relating to him even more than Lucy. Wynston was a prince whose life was filled with lots of rules. He had many responsibilities and felt frustrated with his father for enforcing them!

I enjoyed this adventure story and I loved the messages about rules, authority, honesty, right versus wrong, helping others, and friendship. I'm certain that kids will love the story and its humor and appreciate the lessons too!

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, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

I sure wish I could go to Kidlit. Sob.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, there are going to be so many great authors there! Artichoke's Heart does have a gorgeous cover, so I'm glad to see the book's so good.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree about the cover of Artichoke's Heart, although you'd think it would show artichokes!

Laura Fabiani said...

Wow, another week of fun books for you! The cover of Artichoke's Heart would definitely entice me to pick it up and it looks like a good read for my daughter and me too. I think my son would like Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains. This is the second good review I read about that book. Thanks for Kid Konnection; it's great for discovering great books for my kids!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Synder does write fun stories. I haven't read Scratchy Mountain yet but loved her Any Which Wall book.

justpeachy36 said...

I read Artichoke's Heart awhile back and I really enjoyed it. I found it interesting that Rosemary can not be budged to change by her family and friends, but the motivation has to come from within...

Great book... Great reveiw!

Infant Bibliophile said...

Hi - just discovering your link-up for the first time. Happy to join in. :)