Author Archives: Carly M.

October 21, 2009

Book Review Breathe: A Ghost Story

Posted by at 7:19 am in Reads | Permalink

Breathe_130 If your home had a ghost, what would you do? I know I would certainly get the heck out of there and convince my parent to move faster than you could say “Trick or Treat” five times. Well, I suppose that's where Cliff McNish's character, Jack, and I differ.

In the book Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish, the reader is taken into many different worlds through just one boy, Jack, as he is a medium between the world of the living, the world of lost souls, the world of the other side, and the world which exists between the living and the non-living.

When Jack's father dies, and Jack and his mother move into a new home out in the country, Jack hopes to contact him through some supernatural occurrence, but instead Jack finds himself in direct contact with another non-living soul in the home. At first Jack presumes his connection with the ghost – aka the Ghost Mother – will lead him to contact his dad, but he soon discovers the evils that lie within this home and the dangers that await.

You will want to read Breathe with the lights on for fear that a ghost may be lurking in your own home. Even more frightening than the ghosts were the parts of the story describing the world of the lost souls. McNish's description of this terrifying and unsettling world will have your hairs standing up on your arms, and you'll reach for a blanket due to the chills you'll be feeling!

I want to thank lucca4 for recommending this book in the entry Get ready, get set and RECOMMEND!

I give Breathe: A Ghost Story 4.5 out of 5 stars.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

October 15, 2009

Book Review: Deep and Dark and Dangerous

Posted by at 8:25 am in Reads | Permalink

Deep_and_dark_and_dangerous_130 On September 4, 2009, I asked Stacks users in the post Get ready, get set and RECOMMEND! to recommend books for Ink Splot 26 reviews and to get into the festive Halloween mood of October, one of the books I chose to read and review this month is Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn. As suggested by Springlilly17, Hahn's book was definitely eerie. However, did it earn five stars? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

I don't know about any of you, but cabins and camp sites have always freaked me out a little. They're usually in the middle of nowhere with only a small town as the nearest outlet and are often surrounded by wooded areas. Not to mention the fact that every time I've been to a camp site or cabin, telling ghost stories is generally on the night's agenda. So if you like ghost stories and mysteries, then you'll like Deep and Dark and Dangerous.

Set in a small and quaint town in the northern East Coast, Ali travels with her aunt and younger cousin to their long-deserted family cabin. Ali often wonders why her mother rarely mentions the cabin and why the family has not been back in so long. But against her mother's orders, Ali decides to go, mainly just to get away from her controlling mom.

The cabin and lake seem pleasant at first and Ali is having a great time playing with her younger cousin, until a new girl, Sissy, shows up at the beach one day and claims Ali's cousin for herself. Despite Ali's happiness that her cousin has a new friend, Ali finds Sissy extremely cruel and disrespectful, not to mention strange as she just seems to appear out of nowhere.

The plot begins to take a strange and eerie turn as we find out more about Ali, her family and Sissy. Once you're finished reading story, you'll definitely want to stay away from cabins and nearby lakes for a little while.

Thank you to Springlilly17 for recommending this book! It's perfect for this time of year.

I give it 4.2 out of 5 stars.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

October 4, 2009

Author SPLOTlight: Kevin Emerson

Posted by at 9:18 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

Olivernocturn_130 While it may seem like most of the vampire books out there are by female authors such as Stephenie Meyer, Heather Brewer, and L.J. Smith, there is one man who has stepped up to the plate to join the collection of vampire writers. That man is Kevin Emerson.

Emerson is the author of the popular vampire series for ages 9 and up, Oliver Nocturne, about a boy vampire who is a bit more human than the rest of the other vampires around him. What make Emerson's series different from the other vampire romance books is that Emerson looks at Oliver, a normal vampire boy living with his vampire parents, and how life differs for him as opposed to a human American boy.

Emerson shows that, like other human boys developing into teenagers, Oliver is not that much different— besides the drinking blood aspect. Oliver, like many other teenage boys, is discovering himself and trying to figure out what makes him different. From girls to friends to family, Emerson takes us on a journey through Oliver's life and the obstacles that he endures.

While the Oliver Nocturne series may not be getting as much hype as the other vampire series such as the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer and The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith (both for an older, YA audience), Oliver's adventures, discoveries and life-changing events should not be overlooked.

If you've read the Oliver Nocturne series, you should also check out Kevin Emerson's other book, Carlos Is Gonna Get It.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 28, 2009

Book Review: The Devil’s Arithmetic

Posted by at 9:10 am in Reads | Permalink

Thedevilsarithmetic_130

I think The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen ranks not only as one of the best Holocaust fiction books for children, but as a general all-around well written book. In addition to other Holocaust survivor stories such as Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Journey to America by Sonia Levitin, and Daniel's Story by Carol Matas, Yolen's story was so emotionally capturing that I couldn't stop reading. Readers of any age will become captivated with Hannah Stern's story as she is transported from modern day to the time of the Jewish Holocaust – a time of hardships, struggles and ultimately death for the Jewish people of Europe.

What I found so fascinating and different about this story is that Hannah also holds the memories of her life in modern times. All of these memories become a sort of facade as she spends more and more time in the Nazi concentration camp. This depiction of draining memories of those who survived in the concentration camps is an accurate telling of how the Nazis wanted the Jews to live; to drain them of their past and happy lives and only follow the rules.

One of my favorite quotes in this sad and heartfelt story is when Hannah says to Gitl, "How can you laugh?" to which Gitl replies, "Without laughter, there is no hope. Without hope, there is no life." This particular quote especially struck home for me. Thinking about all of the sad events that have happened, there has always been one family member who has tried to make our family laugh.

Lastly, after reading this book you'll also take away the following message: "Don't take what you have for granted because you never know when it will be stripped away." This message is certainly one worth keeping.

I give this book 4.8 out of 5 stars.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 19, 2009

Fall 2009 Trend Report

Posted by at 10:36 am in Reads | Permalink

Trendreport Dreading the beginning of the school year is only natural. You have your classes, homework, schedules, friends and of course, trends to worry about. Fortunately you can now scratch one of those worrisome items off of your list because we're giving you a head start on all the trends for fall 2009. From books to clothes to movies, you'll rule the halls with your up-to-date trend-setting knowledge and appearance.

Book Trends for Fall '09
Catching Fire:
The second installment in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series for ages 12 and up, Catching Fire, has already sparked tons of buzz in the literary world and will certainly be a conversation starter among fans.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: This awesomely funny series by Jeff Kinney continues on October 12, 2009 with the fourth book, Dog Days. Just when you thought summer vacation was over, you'll get to see how Greg Heffley spent his summer. Whether you’re an outdoor or indoor person, you’ll love reading this book.

The Magician's Elephant: The new book by Newbery Medalist author Kate DiCamillo has been gaining notoriety from kids, parents and reviewers. It's even already in talks to becoming a feature film! I suppose it's time to jump on the bandwagon and read this book.

Fall Fashion Trends for Girls AND Boys
Distressed denim jackets and jeans:
Be hip and cool with this rock n' roll style look. Plus, if don’t want to go out and spend money on this look, it's easy enough to do at home on your old jeans. Just have your mom or dad create this look by using a utility knife.

Plaid is the new preppy: The recent popularity of the Disney Channel show, Jonas, has inspired the new plaid and preppy attire. You can add your own flare by adding funky accessories.

The "It" colors: With fall just around the corner, it's time to put away the pastels and neon colors and pull out anything that has black, deep reds and purples. Metallics, such as gold, silver and bronze, are also in style for those who really like to stand out.

Movie Trends for Fall '09
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Rated PG):
Any movie based on the best-selling book by Judi and Ron Barrett that has action, comedy and tons of food is must see this fall.

Fame (Rated PG): You'll definitely want to check out this remake of Fame coming out on September 25, 2009. Not only does it have all new actors and music, but it also puts modern day twist on great classic film.

Where the Wild Things Are (Rated PG): This childhood classic by Maurice Sendak is finally hitting the silver screen on October 16, 2009! With a star-studded cast and amazing special effects, this is a movie even your parents will enjoy.

Other Trends for Fall '09
Being green:
Though this is an ever popular trend, being green is now more important than ever. With such efforts as Disney's "Friends For Change", and Nickelodeon's "The Big Green Help", getting involved in your community by recycling, picking up litter and reducing electricity/energy is a definite must!

Staying fit and healthy: While eating a balanced diet and being active has always been important, it's more important nowadays with our busy schedules and new advanced technology keeping us indoors. So let's make sure we keep our bodies healthy by eating enough fruits and vegetables and making sure we get at least thirty minutes of exercise everyday.

Washing your hands: Now more than ever, it's extremely important that you wash your hands! With the recent outbreak of what is known as the Swine Flu, one of the most important and preventative actions you can take, according to the American Medical Association, is to wash your hands with soap and warm water as much as possible.

That concludes my top fall trend picks of 2009. If you'd like to weigh in on my choices, feel free! Besides, the Stacks users aka YOU, are always one step ahead of the curve.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 12, 2009

Book Review: Running Out of Time

Posted by at 9:53 am in Reads | Permalink

Runningoutoftime_130 When I first saw the title Running Out of Time, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, I thought to myself, “Well that sounds interesting.” Then when I read the back cover I was even more intrigued. Picture the 1998 blockbuster film, The Truman Show, set in the classic book series Little House On the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder — that should give you an idea of Haddix's thrilling story. However, if you haven't seen either The Truman Show or read Little House On the Prairie, then you're probably a little confused right about now. Well, keep on reading . . .

In Running Out of Time, Haddix begins the story by taking us inside the world of an 1840s Indiana village where we meet thirteen-year-old Jessie, her family and friends. There is nothing really odd about this town except for the miraculous cure of diseases that were so prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century. But things in this tiny little community begin erupting when children start dying of diphtheria. Jessie's mother tells her she must get help, but how? This is when the story takes a really interesting turn as Jessie learns that the year is really 1996 and she, her family and the rest of the community have actually been living inside a tourist site, being observed by outside people and scientists.

Intrigued yet? I thought so . . .

So in order to save the dying children in the community, Jessie must escape the locked-down facility and venture into the world of the late-twentieth century. Never having seen an automobile, television or even used a telephone, Jessie has to figure out how she's going to find help while still trying to blend in and look like a normal teenager from the 90s.

What happens next you ask? Well, I'm not going to give away everything in the story, but I will tell you that I really enjoyed reading my second book by Haddix. It was fun, interesting and made me really think about how it would feel to be Jessie. I only wish there were more in the book about Jessie's adventures and experiences when adjusting to her new world. I felt that the book ended a little too soon, whereas I would have liked for it to keep going.

I give this book 4.2 out of 5 stars.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 9, 2009

Trivia Answers: Scholastic Book Scramble

Posted by at 10:52 am in Reads, Trivia | Permalink

Questionmark_130 Great job to everyone who participated in the Scholastic Book Scramble! Congratulations to Siara and Rachel for getting all three word scrambles correct! They were a bit tricky, you guys proved that you can't be stumped!

Here are the answers:

Easy:
STHOG NI HET AINEHMC = GHOST IN THE MACHINE

Medium:
SEBT DSEFIR DAN MAARD ENEQUS = BEST FRIENDS AND DRAMA QUEENS

Hard:
CGIMA KELPCI NDA ETH TREACRUE OFRM HET CALBK UEELGM = MAGIC PICKLE AND THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LEGUME

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 5, 2009

Book Review: When You Reach Me

Posted by at 8:23 am in Reads | Permalink

Whenyoureachme_130 Get ready to meet Miranda, Sal, Annemarie, and the rest of the characters from the highly acclaimed book, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. If you're asking yourself, "What makes you think I want to meet them?" I totally see where you're coming from. When Sonja, STACKS Staffer first gave me the book, I was a little hesitant thinking to myself, "This sounds a little too sci-fi and weird for me," but I was completely wrong.

The book starts with a great quote by famed physicist, Albert Einstein, which immediately gained my attention and I knew this book was going make me think. The story begins with Miranda, the narrator, describing her mom's acceptance to The $20,000 Pyramid (one of the best game shows ever). However, as Miranda is talking, you realize that is not speaking to us, the readers, but she is speaking to someone else! From there on I had to find out who that person was that she was telling the story to.

Other than the mystery surrounding the person Miranda is writing to, I enjoyed reading about New York in the 1970's and how utterly different it would be to go to school in a big city. From being able to leave school for lunch to walking home along Broadway, the experiences and events that Miranda and her friends encounter are both so very different from my elementary school experience, and yet there were also a surprising amount social similarities.

I give this book 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 4, 2009

Get ready, get set and RECOMMEND!

Posted by at 9:54 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Recommend_130 Now that the summer is coming to an end (darn!), I want to know what our Stacks' users (I mean YOU!) read this summer. Don't worry, this isn't an assignment. I just want to know which books you enjoyed so that I can build my own arsenal of books to read this fall.

So here's what I want you to do:

1) Name the book or books (because I'm sure you read tons) that you read this summer and just LOVED.
2) Provide the author's name of each book you can't get enough of.
3) Jot down a couple reasons why I should choose your book/books to read.
4) Give each book that you’re recommending a star rating between 1-5.

In a couple weeks I'll tell you which of the top three books I'm choosing to read. If your book makes the top three then you'll want to watch for the book's review right here on Ink Splot 26 because I'll be sending a special shout out to the Stacks user/users who recommended the book.

Get ready, get set and RECOMMEND!

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

August 31, 2009

Trivia: Scholastic Book Scramble

Posted by at 8:23 am in Trivia | Permalink

Questionmark_130 Now that school's almost back in session (Is that moaning I hear?), The Stacks wants to get your brains going again. Though I'm sure you've all been reading tons of books this summer and are as sharp as whistles, I want to challenge you to take my Scholastic Book Scramble.

The following are all Scholastic book titles, but the letters have been rearranged. It's up to you to unscramble them.

Easy:
STHOG NI HET AINEHMC

Medium:
SEBT DSEFIR DAN MAARD ENEQUS

Hard:
CGIMA KELPCI NDA ETH TREACRUE OFRM HET CALBK UEELGM

Hint: All the titles have book sites in The Stacks

Good Luck! The answers will be revealed next week.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer