Friday, May 28, 2010

Crosspost: New to Me: Gentlehands

So what would you do if you found out your grandfather had been a Nazi officer? That's the dilemma faced by Buddy Boyle in M.E. Kerr's Gentlehands: this month on the YALSA blog!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: The Cardturner

The Cardturner
Louis Sachar
2010; Delacorte; ISBN 978-0-385-73662-6 (hardcover)

Summary: Alton's great-uncle Trapp is blind, rich, and a great bridge player. When he needs a new cardturner-someone to help him play-Alton's parents make him take the job. At first, Alton is unsure of his uncle and confused by bridge. But slowly, Alton starts to understand both his uncle and the cards being played. He's helped by shy, pretty Toni, the girl that Trapp taught to play bridge. Trapp's goal is to make it to the national bridge championships. When that becomes impossible, it'll be up to Alton and Toni to play for Trapp.

Only Louis Sachar could make a novel about bridge interesting and comprehensible. The sections with extensive bridge information are marked off, so a reader can just skim the rules and know enough to understand the story. In Alton's droll, matter-of-fact voice, the rules of bridge are explained while allowing the story to continue. The relationship between Trapp and Alton is the heart of the novel, and it shows the power of intergenerational relationships. Sachar's talent for gentle humor and an eye for personal dynamics create a charming novel. Use The Cardturner as the flip side to poker novels like Pete Hautman's All-In.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ARC Contest Winners!

Congratulations to . . . Alexandra Provence, Jessica, and LaurenEmily! You've each won an ARC pack. Please send an email to dettiot at gmail dot com with your mailing address. Packages will be sent out early next week.

Thanks to everyone for participating!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: The Mark

The Mark
Jen Nadol
2010; Bloomsbury; ISBN 978-1-59990-431-3 (hardcover)

Summary: Since she was a little girl, Cassie has occasionally seen a glow around certain people. It's not until she's sixteen that she realizes what the mark is: a sign that the person will die that day. The only person she can tell is beloved grandmother, Nan. But Nan's death sends Cassie into a tailspin. Sent to Kansas to live with an aunt she's never met, Cassie tries to cope with this gift. It will take her philosophy TA boyfriend and a friendly psychiatrist for Cassie to learn the reason for the mark.

A paranormal tale, grounded in reality and with an unusual outcome, The Mark puts a new spin on an old concept. Being able to foresee someone's death is an idea that has captured the imagination since the ancient Greeks. In Nadol's hands, Greek mythology is woven into the tale of a girl struggling with an unusal power. Cassie is both sympathetic and guarded, one who slowly comes to understand herself. Pondering choices vs. destiny and the ethics of telling the truth or staying silent, Cassie finds her own path. Pair this with Numbers by Rachel Ward if focusing on the death omens; for a primer on free will contrasted with destiny, match up The Mark with Meg Rosoff's Just in Case.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reminder: Win A Lot of ARCs!

Remember, you have until Friday at noon EST to enter my latest ARC giveaway contest. As the lottery motto goes, someone's gonna win--why not you?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Contest: Win A LOT of ARCs!

This month, there's a bonanza of ARCs available for three lucky readers!

Contest Rules
Leave your name in the comments. This time around, there's no selecting which ARC pack you'd like to be entered for.

The contest closes at NOON (EST) on FRIDAY, MAY 21. The winners will be announced on the blog that afternoon. The winners can contact me via email to make arrangements for getting their ARCs.

ARC Pack #1
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

ARC Pack #2
Folly by Marthe Jocelyn
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards

ARC Pack #3
Green Witch by Alice Hoffman
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Good luck! Feel free to spread the word about this contest.