One Great Book!

March 22nd, 2011 by sweetonbooks

Reviewed by:  BookQueen

The Popularity Papers 
by Amy Ignatow

The Popularity Papers is the funniest book ever.  It is the story of two 5th graders, Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. Between each other they keep a notebook about how to become popular.  They sneak around and observe the popular kids in hopes of joining that group.  Throughout the book they hit some ups and downs.  Even if they don't join the popular crew they realize they have a great group of friends they can count on.

When I was reading this book I could not stop laughing.  The writing is so funny and so are the pictures.  The pictures are like comics.  Amy Ignatow did a fantastic job on this book.  This book would be great for ages 8 to any age!  After I finished this book it inspired me to try to be popular, too.  But that only lasted for a day, I got tired.  Also, I went searching on the internet to see if the author wrote anything else.  This book should definitely be at the top of your Books To Read List.  Once you finish the book you will not stop laughing until you realize it's over...than you will be sad.


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An Astounding Novel

March 22nd, 2011 by sweetonbooks

Reviewed by:  Reader-for-life

An Abundance of Katherine's
by John Green

An Abundance of Katherine's, I believe, is John Green at his prime. In this startlingly beautiful novel, Green explores the life of child prodigy Colin Singleton after his last breakup from a girl named Katherine. But this isn’t the first time he’s been broken up with by a girl named Katherine; in fact, this is the 19th time. He has never dated anyone not named Katherine. In need of a pick-me-up, Colin and his best friend Hassan go on a road trip together and end up in Gutshot, Tennessee. Hilarity ensues.

I cannot explain my love for this book. Once again, John Green reaches into a human's very soul as Colin struggles with heartbreak and wanting to matter. With very likable and humorous characters (the most humorous, of course, being Hassan, Colin's Muslim, overweight, Judge Judy obsessed best friend) and realistic premises, John Green will once again stun readers with his ability to pull you into a story and never, not even after the last page, release you.

This book was a little mature, so I’d say you’d have to be at least thirteen years old to really appreciate it.


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Intriguing Plot, Decent Follow Through

March 22nd, 2011 by sweetonbooks

Reviewed by: Reader-for-life

Siren
by Tricia Rayburn

I just finished reading Siren by Tricia Rayburn. I was unsure when I got it if it would be good or just really cheesy, but I actually really enjoyed reading it. This book is very suspenseful and has twists around every corner, some more predictable than others. Most of the characters I felt were well developed, though some fell a wee bit flat. The plot was definitely riveting - some moments had me out loud gasping.

The author’s writing style and voice were also very nice and had this nice real feeling to them, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she is a superb writer and we need to watch out for future works. Ms. Rayburn has a spark of promise though. All in all, it was a good read, and I would recommend it to people who don’t mind a book that can be cheesy at parts.


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I Loved This Book!

March 22nd, 2011 by sweetonbooks

Reviewed by:  Booklova

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

Eleven year old Miranda is getting notes from a mysterious person (it's not scary, just strange). The person knows her name. She is very freaked out but can't tell anyone because the letters say not to. Miranda guesses and wonders. The notes are a big part of the book but other stuff happens. Her mom is practicing to go on a game show, she makes a new friend name Annemarie and avoids the crazy man who lives on the street near her house.

This book is pretty much a mystery. Some of it is based on a Wrinkle In Time. It's told as if you are the person writing the letters and she is writing them back. I really hope you like this book as much as I did!!!


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Fantastic Book!

March 20th, 2011 by sweetonbooks


Reviewed by: Booklova

A Mango-Shaped Space
by Wendy Mass

A girl named Mia sees everything in colors. Everybody's name has a color, every letter has a color and every noise has a color. When she tells her parents she figures out that not everyone has this ability (or disability if that's what you want to call it). They go to a lot of doctors. One of them says she has synesthisia. The rumor goes around school and everyone is jumping on her, asking what color their name is. In the book she deals with the kids from school and her annoying sister, plays with her cat, Mango and meets a boy on a synesthisia website. The end is twists and turns and I'm sure you'll love the whole book!

The book was perfect but I read it too fast. I didn't want it to end. I cried at the end of the book so you could say some of it is sad. A Mango-Shaped Space has no illustrations but I think that's ok because it makes you imagine more what she looks like and the colors she sees. I think a girl from 9 to 11 would like this book.

I hoped you liked my review and want to read this book!!!!!!!


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Awesome Book!

March 9th, 2011 by sweetonbooks

Reviewed By: Metella_Liber

The Penderwicks
by Jeanne Birdsall

This is the story of four sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty, an interesting boy named Jeffery and MANY animals! When the greedy landlord sells the Penderwick’s summer home in Cape Cod, these sisters find themselves, their lovable dog, Hound, and their father staying at Arundel, a beautiful estate. It is the home of devilish Mrs. Tifton, Jeffery, her son, and Cagney, the owner of two wonderful rabbits that Batty learns to love. When the girls finally arrive at Arundel, after hours of being lost, they see a strange and mysterious boy in the window. When Skye goes out to explore, she bumps unexpectedly into Jeffery who she later realizes was the boy in the window. The whole meeting turns out quite badly because Skye calls his mother snooty and a pain. When Skye realizes what has happened, she has her younger sister, Jane apologize to Jeffery. After that, they become great friends. Throughout the summer, they go on many adventures with Jeffery including him snatching Batty from an angry bull, him rescuing Batty again, this time from a racing car and him playing two-on-one slaughter with Skye and Jane. When the time comes to leave, they are all very sad, especially Rosalind. She has a hard time saying good-bye to Cagney, the gardener she has befriended, and cries when he gives her a flower. In all, I love this book and can't wait for the rest of the books in the series to come out. This is a great novel and if you like to read, this is the book for you.


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One of the Best Books I Have Ever Read…

March 9th, 2011 by sweetonbooks

 

Reviewed by: Reader123

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is sad but is also hopeful. In the book, the main character is Hugo Cabret. The book doesn't say anything about Hugo's mom so I wondered if something happened to her. Hugo's dad found a machine in an attic of a museum and they both tried to fix it. One day, his dad never returned home so Hugo went to live with his only living relative, his Uncle Claude. They lived in a train station and their job was to keep the clock in the station working. Hugo breaks his hand and has trouble keeping the clocks running.

The book makes you feel like you are right alongside Hugo. It draws you in and makes you want to keep reading. It has many pictures and they all help tell the story of Hugo's life. The ending is one of my favorite parts. Don't let the size of the book make you not want to read it. It is one of the best books I have read. I hope you like it too.


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Mary Cunningham – Author Interview

March 8th, 2011 by sweetonbooks

Sweet on Books Interview
with Mary Cunningham, author of the Cynthia's Attic Series



Where did you get the idea to write a book about time travel?

I’ve been a fan of time travel since my early years. H. G. Well’s, The Time Machine is one of my all-time favorite stories. Add to that my regret at paying so little attention to my grandparents’ stories of childhood and family…the fit was natural. Cynthia’s Attic brought the opportunity to travel back in time, solve mysteries and have adventures with my ancestors. A driving force behind writing "Cynthia's Attic" is to create adventures my grandparents and great-grandparents might enjoy…adventures we could enjoy, together. It's a fun journey; one I hope will continue for a long time.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I believe spirit energies visit us from time-to-time, maybe not in the true movie-style ghostly form, but I’ve had experiences with messages from beyond and my husband has, too. In fact, one of my published short stories, Ghost Light, is based on an incident he had as a child with his departed grandmother!

Why did you choose girls versus boys as your main characters?

That’s an easy one! The series is inspired by a 20-year recurring dream about a mysterious attic. When I realized that the dream setting was in the attic of my childhood best friend, Cynthia, I wrote a short memoir about our friendship and the “early days.” That memoir  turned into 4 (soon to be 5) ‘Tween fantasy/mysteries, and Cynthia and I (Cynthia and Augusta Lee – Gus) are the main characters. The books appeal to boys because they all have interesting male characters along with the element of time-travel.

Can you tell us about your next book?

I’m so excited about it because a couple of new, mysterious characters enter the lives of Cynthia and Gus. I can’t tell you much, but the girls find out that their previous accomplishments begin unraveling and they have to discover why and reverse the damage. The working title is, Cynthia’s Attic: Legend of Lupinwold Forest, but that might change.

How do you get your ideas?  Do you do research?

My ideas come from family stories and from my own imagination. As a child, I envisioned myself living in another land like Alice (see favorite children’s book). Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood, but always searched for that ‘other dimension’. Research? Definitely. Cynthia’s Attic is set in Southern Indiana where I grew up, and I’m fortunate to have family pictures that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Cynthia and Gus travel back in time to 1914 and meet their twelve-year-old grandmothers, so it’s important to make the storyline authentic. When the girls travel to Louisiana, Switzerland and beyond, more research takes over and I make the settings as believable as possible. Even though the books are fantasy/mystery, readers still deserve and expect a certain amount of realism.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A very generous NY editor gave me a critique years ago that probably led to getting the first two books published. "Too much telling—not enough showing." I had no idea what that meant until I researched various writing websites and blogs and had one of those "light-bulb" moments. I spent the next six months on rewrites that moved the storyline through dialog and action rather than simply telling the story to the reader. The second bit of advice is simply, "Write what you know." It's much easier to write about the familiar. Since the original setting for Cynthia's Atticis in my hometown, Corydon, Indiana, and takes in many childhood memories, much of the research was already in my head. Since I’m a very visual writer (I need to picture what I write), old family pictures and stories about ancestors also bring authenticity to the storylines.

What would you be if you weren’t a writer?

Oh, that’s a toughie! You’re asking me to cut off a leg and a couple of  arms! Serious answer: If I had to choose, guess I’d like to be independently wealthy so I could shut down all the puppy mills in the country and set up rescue foundations and facilities to provide education on the value of pet adoption. Fun answer: I’d be a travel reporter like Samantha Brown, tour the world and let someone else make all the arrangements and pay for it!

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WOULD YOU RATHER...

Read or write? I love both for similar reasons. Both are relaxing and both get the creativity flowing.

Call or text? Call

Fly or drive? Drive

Beach or ski? Since I don’t ski, I guess the beach, although I enjoy the mountains.

Time travel back or time travel forward? Travel back. I’d love to find out what happened to my great-great grandfather who disappeared taking a flatboat full of produce down the Mississippi toward New Orleans. I send Cynthia and Gus back in time to find out what happened to him in Curse of the Bayou, but I’d like to discover the real story!

E-book or traditional book? Still hanging on to traditional, but I see the writing on the wall, or, rather the  e-reader. LOL

TELL US YOUR FAVORITE...

Children’s book: Alice In Wonderland

Song: I have many, but two that come to mind are,  Run For The Roses, by Dan Fogelberg and The Greatest Man I Never Knew, by Richard Leigh. Also, anything from the Broadway play,  Les Miserables.

Sports team: Pro - Pittsburgh Steelers. College - Indiana Hoosiers basketball (I. U. is down, but not out! I’m waiting ‘til next year). Travel destination – Western Canada

Superhero: Superman was the big deal in my day.

Magic power: Is time travel a magic power? If not, guess I’d like to be able to make myself invisible.

We are Sweet on Books, so we have to ask – what is your favorite sweet treat?Chocolate fudge, chocolate cake, chocolate candy, chocolate ice cream, chocolate mousse, chocolate pie…get the drift? Along with my grandmother’s rhubarb pie. The best ever!

Bio:

Mary Cunningham is the author of the 4-book, award-winning 'Tween fantasy/mystery series, Cynthia’s Attic. Her children's mystery series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic. After realizing that the dream took place in the home of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began. She is also co-writer of the humor-filled lifestyle book titled, WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty, Christmas With Daisy, and Ghost Light, a short story inspired by her Indiana basketball roots. Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, the Carrollton Creative Writers Club, and the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. When she gives her fingers a day away from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband. Together they've raised three creative children. The latest title in her series is “Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle.” Sebastien the Great, a magician whose fiancée, Kathryn, disappears through the magic trunk, vows revenge. If Cynthia and Gus don't find a missing page from the “Book of Spells,” Cynthia’s family could face financial and personal ruin.


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