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Shameless Bragging August 20, 2012

Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.
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My siblings have to put up with a lot from me. Lately, they have had to put up with ridiculous text messages of photos of the ARCs that I get to read and they don’t. Occasionally I can bring something home for Ana to borrow, but more often (especially with the picture books) I read the book in the odd moments that the store is empty and I have to leave it on our shelf for others. There are SO many amazing authors with new work coming out this fall. Here are a few of my favorites:

Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman. I defy anyone to resist this absolutely adorable little panda, illustrated by Adam Rex. The book follows Chu through a day as he visits a library, diner and circus and tries not to sneeze. Because when Chu sneezes…well, if you read the book you’ll see what happens. The illustrations are gorgeous and the text is engaging, witty and to the point. Well done, Gaiman.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. This is the book that I squealed audibly at when I first saw it listed in a preview on Monica Edinger’s blog. Schlitz is a writer who never EVER repeats herself, something I admire hugely. She has written biography, fairy tale, fantasy and historical fiction, winning me over completely with each. Splendors and Glooms is no exception. A Dickensian melodrama of kidnappings, death, magic and love, it follows two orphans, one unhappy rich girl, a witch and a puppet master. The puppets alone would have been enough to get me to read it, but the fine prose, wise themes and beautiful images are what made me fall in love with it. Any time Ms. Schlitz wants a puppeteer to do a marionette demonstration at one of her author signings, I’m there.

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale. The first Princess Academy book won a Newbery Honor and yet I had to be badgered into reading it by Ana. I’m not a reader who automatically picks up anything with ‘princess’ in the title, but the book won me over with it’s varied characters and beautifully imagined natural setting. This sequel follows the main character, Miri, as she travels away from her home to go to university and in the process, gets caught up in a brewing revolution. While I am inclined to agree with Ana’s inevitable comment of “Is a sequel really necessary?” it was nice to have the chance to see more of this unusual world that Hale has built.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Sometimes, you can tell when an author is holding back. There are books that were always mean to be the first of a series (Harry Potter) and books that ended up that way by accident (The Thief). The Raven Boys is the first book in a quartet and it is MADDENING, I tell you, because Stiefvater drops all these hints about events that MIGHT happen or COULD happen, and yet I don’t KNOW because it’s only the first book! There, rant is now over. I wouldn’t say that cars and private schools and psychics and energy fields are things I am usually interested in, but she made me care about them all.

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