Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Penelope is about this twenty-five year old girl. She loves plants, and does not like ‘interviews’. These interviews are set up by her mother, Jessica, and the matchmaker she hired, Wanda. They found eligible young men for Penelope who were blue-bloods. These were the only ones who could break the curse.

One problem. As soon as any of them see her, they run away. Why? Penelope was born with a pig nose. A REAL pig nose. The only way to break the curse set against her family because of her great-great-great-grandfather Ralph’s actions is for a true blue-blood to accept the pig-girl the way she is.

Penelope gets very tiered off all these ‘interviews’, and soon takes matters into her own hands. She sets up the next few days of interviews on her own. Things don’t go as her mother or Wanda thought, or, for that matter, the way Penelope thought. Will Penelope ever be rid of her curse? Will she do something rash?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Jenna was in an accident. She does not remember it. She does not remember anything. She was in a coma for over a year. She just woke up two weeks ago. Jenna is now 17; she has blond hair and blue eyes. She does not remember people- even her mother, father, and grandma, but her father says that will come. If she watches the videos. For some reason, her parents documented most of her life as she grew up. Jenna uses the videos to help her remember. Soon, Jenna begins to remember bits and pieces of her former life. But she knows something is wrong. She was not supposed to remember things that happened when she was less than two years old.
With knowledge come questions- lots of them. But there is one question Jenna is afraid to ask. One question no one will answer. What happened in the accident? Jenna finds out lots of things about people, herself, and the outside world through her neighbor, and friends at school.
For a girl that just woke up two weeks ago and remembers nothing, Jenna asks some very deep questions, questions that get the reader thinking too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Quote

So, Noel got a hold of this quote and shared it with me, and I absolutely love it, so I want to share it with you:

"Books are chocolate for the soul. They don’t make one fat. One need not brush one’s teeth after reading. They are quiet. One can bring them anywhere–no passport required. Books have only one downfall: even the fattest book has a last page, and then one needs a new one again.”

~Antonie Schneider

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Other Books By Mary Anne Rodman

Like I said... here are some other books by Mary Ann Rodman:

Yankee Girl

My Best Friend

First Grade Stinks (coming out next month)

Surprise Soup (coming out in the Spring of 2009)

Jimmy's Stars Tour- Day 3

'For the duration'-11 year old Ellie hates this phrase. She has had to give up so many things for the war effort- for until the war is over. Like rubber, and driving, like replacing meat with soy extender, and giving up her roller skates for the scrap metal drive. But there is one thing she does not want to give up- someone.

Ellie's older brother Jimmy has been drafted, 'for the duration', and Ellie is devastated. Ellie adores Jimmy. They do so many things together, and are very close. Jimmy can always make Ellie smile. She hopes that the war will be over before he has to go, but the war does not listen to Ellie's pleas. " ...the days slipped by as fast as the trees shed tier leaves. And the war didn't end."

Then there is Aunt Toots. She is going to live with Ellie and her parents 'for the duration'. She is going to stay in Jimmy's room. She moves all of Jimmy's things- how much more of this can Ellie handle?

'Jimmy's Stars' was a joy for me to read. I read the last half or so on an airplane on my way home this summer. My mom kept looking over from across the isle (like everyone else near me...) because I was really getting into this book. I cried. It was a silent cry, but the tears continued to pour down- some sad, some happy. Thank goodness my mom had an extra pack of travel Kleenex (moms think of everything don't they :P ), or I mightn't have made it through the flight. I cried, smiled, laughed- sometimes all at once...

I finished the book just before we got to the airport, a few minuets before our descent. I looked out the window, saw the orange sun setting, closed tho book, took a deep breath, and let out a very satisfied sigh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am not alone...

I am not the only one who is participating in the Blog Tour, and I thought you would like to know who else is involved. So, here they are!

01 Charger, A Childhood of Dreams, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, A Mom Speaks, All About Children's Books, Becky's Book Reviews, Book Review Maniac, By the Book Reviews, Dolce Bellezza, Homeschool Buzz, Looking Glass Reviews, Maggie Reads, Maw Books, Small World Reads, The Friendly Book Nook, The Hidden Side of a Leaf

Jimmy's Stars- Day Two

It is day two of the Jimmy's Stars Blog Tour, and I promised you an interview. So, without further ado, The Interview:


How long did it take you to write Jimmy's Stars?

18 months...not counting the two false start books I wrote with the same characters, over the years, and months of research.

Where did you get your inspiration for Jimmy's Stars?

The characters and setting are based on stories I heard from my mom about growing up in Pittsburgh. But, the real impetus for the story came from a cache of letters I discovered that my grandmother, mother and her seven siblings wrote during WWII. My mom and her three brothers were all in the service (WAVES, Merchant Marine and Marines) and my grandmother and the siblings at home wrote them each week. In turn, they wrote a letter to each of their siblings and their mother a week (sometimes more often). That's a lot of letters. In addition, with the letters was a shipboard diary kept by one of the Merchant Marine uncles. What struck me about the letters and diary was how while History with a Capital H was going on all around them (and they did mention it) they were also consumed with the humdrum every day life about them. For instance one aunt wrote (about VJ Day)"Well, I guess the war is over. There were a lot of people whooping it up in Times Square. I went home and washed my hair." Or from, the diary. "We are being trailed by some German subs. I am reading Steinbeck's THE MOON IS DOWN."

Are any characters based on people you know?

Ellie, Jimmy and Sal are based to some degree on my mother's siblings and my mom. Ellie is a combination of my youngest aunt and my mom (who was known to pack a mean punch in a fistfight on behalf of her siblings). Jimmy is based on one of my uncles, as Sal is based on another one of my aunts. However, there is a ton of fictionalization involved. That's how I write...I usually start by picturing the character as someone I know personally, but by the time I finish the book, they have taken on a life and personality far removed from their real-life inspirations.

What was the hardest part about writing Jimmy's Stars?

I enjoyed writing and researching the book enormously. The hardest part was that I finished the first draft the same week, my mom had a massive stroke. She helped me so much with the small details of 1940's life. It was hard knowing that she would never read the book that she invested so much of her own time and memories. She is still alive, although almost entirely paralyzed and unable to speak. Her mind is still clear though, and my dad read her the final draft of
JIMMY'S STARS. He said that she nodded and smiled and generally let him know that she was pleased with the book.

What part did you enjoy most about writing Jimmy's Stars?

Research! I am a former librarian, and I can research anything for years! But
eventually, you have to stop researching and start writing!


How long have you been writing in general?

My entire life. Ok, since I was seven. I sold my first book in 2000.

Do you have any advice for young authors?

1. Read read read. 2. Write write write. 3. Revise, revise, revise. The hardest lesson I learned is that nobody gets it right the first time, or the second time, or sometimes even the fortieth time! 4.Know that you write because you can't help yourself...not because you are going to become rich and famous, because chances are this is not likely to happen. Write because you love it. 5. Keep your eyes and ears and all your senses open...stories are all around you!

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind?

I always listen to music while writing. When I am writing picture books, I usually listen to classical music or anything that doesn't have words. If I am writing historical fiction, I listen only to music that was popular during that time. For JIMMY'S STARS that meant lots of big band music!

What is the fist thing you do when you get a new story idea?

Write it in a notebook or a computer file, and see if I have an opening sentence or a particular image. Then I purposely DON'T write that story right then. I need to live with the idea, see if characters appear and talk to me. I think one of the problems new writers have is that they feel they have to write everything IMMEDIATELY. I think you need to get "acquainted" with your characters before you write about them.

What are some of your favorite books?

Number one: CHARLOTTE'S WEB. It's THE perfect book. It's ageless, timeless. I loved it when I was nine and I love it now. Other books I have read to shreds include anything written by Beverly Cleary, THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank, HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith; THE OYOUS SEASON by Patrick Dennis (the same guy who wrote AUNTIE MAME...only I think this book, which was NOT written for children, is much funnier. It's also out of print.)

Why do you write?

Because this is how I communicate best. Because I always have. Because I can't help it. Because it's a compulsion!!!

Who influenced you the most to write, and how?

Probably Anne Frank. I read her book when I was about the same age she was when she began her diary. I was just blown away that a girl who died ten years before I was born and who lived in a faraway country, thought and felt the same things I did. Before I read THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, I wrote, but I never thought that anything a kid might write would be published or could make an impression. Afterwards, I took my writing much more seriously.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

My journal and trusty Pentel pen (I've been using the same kind of pen since college because it allows me to handwrite quickly) so I can write. I think on paper a lot. I use writing to help myself understand myself and the world around me. Sometimes I write because I find the world hilariously funny...and only my journal gets the joke! Like I said, writing is a compulsion. The other item I would take would be my copy of CHARLOTTE'S WEB. I never tire of it. (Although I would probably take my annotated version, so I can study the many revisions E.B. White remind
myself that perfection is a long, arduous process.

Any other comments?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to you and your readers. I enjoy answering questions!

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

I will be reviewing the book tomorrow, so stop by to find out what I thought of the book!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jimmy's Stars

Well, there is a blog tour going on right about now. All the participants read'Jimmy's Stars', by Mary Ann Rodman. So, today, tomorrow, and Wednesday check out these blogs to see what we all thought about the book.

01 Charger,
A Childhood of Dreams,
A Christian Worldview of Fiction,
A Mom Speaks,
All About Children's Books,
Becky's Book Reviews,
Book Review Maniac,
By the Book Reviews,
Dolce Bellezza,
Fireside Musings,(You are already here : ) )
Homeschool Buzz,
Looking Glass Reviews,
Maggie Reads,
Maw Books,
Small World Reads,
The Friendly Book Nook,
The Hidden Side of a Leaf

If you come back here tomorrow, you can read an interview I had with Mary Ann.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I loved this book. I don't know how many times I have said I loved a book, but I really mean it this time. The only picture in the book is the cover art, yet there were times where I could see what was happening. Not all the time, but a good majority of it.

Beauty is a retelling of 'Beauty and the Beast'. The story line itself is the same. While reading, I was asked why I was reading it if I already knew how it ended. The answer is simple. A) I love reading, so why not read it? B) Besides, Robin paints a new light on everything. Reasons for why they lived where they did, why beauty went home after months of living with the Beast... the feelings were strong.

I have heard that books tasted good. No, people did not rip out pages and eat them, but the words were well chose, the sentences well structured, the characters were not flat, but had substance... I believe Beauty is a desert... maybe even chocolate.

(stop by on monday for the 'Jimmy's Stars' tour)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blogger Updated

Well, Blogger has updated once again. If you go to the 'layout' of your blog, you will notice that you can now 'add a gadget.' If you click on that link, it brings you to this new window with all kinds of cool gadgets. You can have a list of blogs you like that tells you when the blog was last updated, what the title of the last post was and more. You can have a Van Gogh Painting of the day, you could have a sideshow, useless knowledge... there are over 45,000 choices. Check it out!

Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson is back! I really liked this book, it followed The Lightning Thief well, I think. It was written in the same style, in the same speed, and was not better or worse than the book before it. Percy almost made it through an entire year of school without getting expelled. He thinks it was too good to be true, and he was right. Monsters find him and get him kicked out on the last day. The only reason Percy was alive was because a friend of his, Tyson, saved his life. Annabeth finds them and tells them that they need to get going, Camp Half Blood awaits. The camp is going through some problems- monsters can get in, and have attacked the camp more than once already. Percy figures out how to save the camp, but will he be allowed to do so? Will he be able so save Grover, too? Who is Tyson anyway?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Stormbreaker

Stormbreaker is the first book in the Alex Rider series. Alex Rider is an orphan who is in the care of his uncle, Ian Rider, and the housekeeper, Jack. Alex finds out in the first paragraphs of the book that his uncle was killed in a car accident. The police say he would have lived if he had been wearing his seat belt. That bugs Alex, because he knew that his uncle wore a seat belt at all times. It was one of the only rules Ian had for Alex- no matter how short the ride, wear a seat belt. He is pretty sure Ian did not die in a car accident. But why would the police lie about a banker’s death? Then, there are the strange people at his uncle's funeral, and the truck that took away everything that belonged to Ian. Alex knows something is up, and he is determined to find out how his uncle died. And that leads to many more questions that Alex feels need answers.

Does curiosity kill the cat?
You will have to read the book to find out.
Oh, and after you have read the book, watch the movie.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Prophet of Yonwood

well, I was a little confused at first, I wanted to know where Doon and Lina were. This book is set before the other two. A 'prequel', if you will.

this is the beginning of the Barns and Noble summary:

It’s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . . . As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town—her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes—all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

so, Nikki tries to find 'trouble spots' so that the city will be rid of all 'bad people'. But, are they really doing things that are bad? Nikki isn't sure. Will looking for these people end up causing too much trouble? Who will Nikki grow up to be?