That's right. Writing Snacks is throwing a party for another worthy book. Unfortunately life can sometimes get
crowded with necessities like emails, laundry, groceries and other uncool and totally hum-drum stuff. But an
awesome book - now that's something to get excited about!
Let us know what you think about this month's
Besides, who needs an excuse to throw a party for books that make your heart grow wings?
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
By Josh Beck
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
author Josh Beck is a talented author; he has written a book with multiple genres. The book focuses on life
at Halpin’s high school, but halfway through the book the genre changes to a mystery. This is personally my favorite
thing of the book, and it kept me interested. The story was great and I kept wanting to know more. I could
really relate to the main character. Bottom line: This is a great read and entertaining book, and I would recommend it
Dubois is a rising 8th grader at Northwestern Middle School.
Chasing Harry Winston
Simon and Schuster, 2009
Chick lit? Perhaps. But I think Weisberger goes beyond the basic formula to deliver
a novel that addresses some of life’s hardest questions—about finding yourself, letting go, being open to change.
The three main characters, all 20-somethings in NY reflect a Sex in the City theme, but without all the sex. The writing
style that you have come to expect from New York Times best-seller Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada) is brilliantly displayed
in this second effort. A fun read, the book will take you into the lives of these three young women with
complete detail and emotion. Take this one to the pool or beach!
Helping Me Help
by Beth Lisick
Beth Lisick is like many of us—too cool
or too tired to embrace the self-help genre. She is really beyond all that. But she wakes up one morning after another predictable New Years and decides to jump feet first into the world of
She takes on the familiar and not-so familiar
experts in the field, only to find that she might be farther gone that she imagined. The result is an entertaining,
hilarious tale of seeking and finding just when you did not think you would or could. An easy read for
the beach or the plane, I first hesitated when my friend Christine passed this book along, but I am thrilled that she did.
In a world where everyone takes self-improvement so seriously, this light-hearted book shows that even the most serious
journey can be humorous.
The Carbon Diaries, 2015
(Holiday House, New York: 2008)
Review by Toni Rhodes
What’s the worst-case scenario for a severely dysfunctional family? To be forced to live together and support
each other in a national crisis. In The Carbon Diaries, 2015, mum and dad are going through mid-life changes. Teenage
daughters Kim and Laura just want to be left alone to make plans to escape the family. Kim, the 16-year-old diary writer,
is in a band called the dirty angels and yearns for the attention of the gorgeous boy next door. And then global
warming heats up and catastrophes strike everywhere.
After the Great Storm, Britain’s energy-producing plants on the west coast
are swept away. There’s not enough energy for everyone to continue driving their cars, using their electronic gadgets,
and traveling. The government gives everyone a carbon card that records how much energy they use – 200 points allowed
per month. Suddenly, there are huge restrictions on everyday life.
How does Laura’s family cope? Not very well! To the mortification
of Laura and sister Kim, dad starts raising chickens and a pig in the backyard. Mum runs off temporarily to join a feminist
group. Sister Kim wants to travel, but can’t, so she rebels and travels to Spain anyway, racking up negative carbon
points. It takes a true London tragedy to bring everyone together.
Even though I don’t totally buy into the global warming --
sudden-category-5 hurricanes-and-severe-droughts theory, it makes for a great backdrop for this story. Laura comes through
as the true heart and funny heroin of the family.
Toni Rhodes is a freelance educational/nonfiction writer living in Stone Mountain, GA.
She and her husband have started a company to produce children’s apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch (www.RhodeSoft.com).
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Deckle Edge, 2009
If fascinating stories told in detail thrill you, pick up this latest feature from McDougall. In his search for a great story,
he seeks out the Tarahumara, a remote tribe of Native Americans in Mexico who said to be capable of running non-stop for days,
yet are never injured. His insights lead to more investigation about the dangers of running shoes, a position
that challenges conventional wisdom. Investigative journalism told from the perspective of a writer no
doubt, but with details and stories that take you on a fast-paced journey.
The Name of This Book is Secret
By Pseudonymous Bosch
Little, Brown and
There was a lot of action
in this book and there was always a mystery needing to be solved. I really liked that the characters were always willing to
fight. The narrator was funny but he did get carried away sometimes.
Read this book and you’ll find out about the
adventures of Cass and Max-Ernest. (That’s one boy with two names.) I give this book 5 out of 5 stars! Now I’m
reading the sequel: If You’re Reading This Book, It’s Too Late. So far, it is equally as good and full
of adventure and mystery.
Samantha Konop is a fan of reading, enjoys competitive gymnastics, and visiting her grandparents in Texas.
When not reading, you can find her outside smiling in the sunshine.
By Charlie Carillo
The “coming of age” theme has been done so many times
before, it’s tough to find a novel that comes at it with a new twist, but Charlie Carillo has done just that.
A delightful read, the book is edgy and real.
Running the full range of emotions, the
father son team faces growing up together, in ways that are unique to them only, just as is in life. The plot is tight with
some realistic but surprising twists. With well-developed male characters and a slant toward dry
humor, this book is a great read for both genders.
The Rugrat Review
The Ranger's Apprentice
Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan
By John Flanagan
Puffin Books, Penguin Group
The Ranger's Apprentice
Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan is a great adventure book. The main character in this book is a young, small
fifteen-year-old boy named Will. Will lives in fantasy medieval times and is a ward, which is an orphan
living in a castle.
On the day of choosing, which is when all fifteen-year-olds choose their job, Will wants to be
a warrior. Unfortunately, he's too small for that job and all the other job masters rejected him too. At
this point in the story, the reader thinks that Will is going to have to live life as a farmer. Fortunately,
after climbing a building to receive a note given to the Baron ( the master of a castle) he finds out he
can be a ranger (a spy for the kingdom).
Throughout the book Will learns how to use a bow, fight enemies, and has many adventures
pop-up, which makes the book very exciting. Near the end of the book Will finds himself on his greatest adventure of all --
to hunt down Kalkara, bear-type monsters. The kingdom is then safe, until The Ranger's Apprentice Book 2: The
Avent is a fourth-grade student at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian School. He's never without a book or two, and currently is
reading The Titan's Curse and The Ranger's Apprentice Book 2: The Burning Bridge. In addition, to reading Trey enjoys basketball, drama and his friends.
By Malcolm Gladwell
Little, Brown and Company
This book is one of my favorites-hands down.
In the top 10 absolutely. You don’t need to be a fiction writer to be an amazing story teller.
Taking a question that pops into everyone’s minds (why are some people so successful?), Gladwell deliberately
researches and weaves an explanation that intrigues and fascinates. The book was honored as Amazon’s
Best of the Month in November 2008:
"Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many
hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendents of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful
lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps
Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into
the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about
the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world
could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential."
If you are looking for an example of excellent writing,
this is it. A fast-paced page turner, Gladwell packs information in every sentence and word.
The Rugrat Review
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
By Kate DiCamillo
This is an adventure book about a china doll rabbit who loses
his owner but finds his way home.
This book was very life-like; I felt like Edward and could relate to what he was feeling.
The description was good and I could see the scenery and feel what he was doing and where he was going. The characters had
a lot of traits, some of which I did not like but some I did like. Edward was very courageous and a very brave rabbit.
The author is a good writer because I really enjoyed reading her fiction story;
I read it all in a couple of days!
Jack Dubois is a 4th grader at Birmingham Falls Elementary School in Milton, GA. When
he is not reading he enjoys competitive swimming and gaming.
Letter to My Daughter
By Maya Angelou
More than just an award-winning poet and friend of Oprah,
Maya Angelou has proven time and time again that the arduous and sometimes difficult work of finding your voice provides rich
In “Letter to My Daughter” Angelou provides a collection of short essays and poems on miscellaneous
musings of life, faith, parenting, relationships and perhaps on what it means to be fully human. She shares
her life experience with all women in a flowing, poetic voice that only she can:
“I gave birth to one child, a
son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American
and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you
all. Here is my offering to you.”
The essays and wisdom that she shares are universally appealing and practical without being overly pragmatic. Unlike
other collections that are preachy and self-serving, she dishes up real world advice garnered from a rich life with a broad
scope of experiences.
willingness to share all aspects of her live—both glorious and embarrassing—provides the open invitation to connect
with her as another human being. Angelou demonstrates and then encourages the reader to be open to this
level of communication with others.
easy read for an afternoon in front of the fire or on the beach, you will be eager to share this with your girlfriends, but
only with the caveat of returning once devoured. In these 166 pages are passages you will want to read
again and again.
Boots on the Ground by Dusk
by Mary Tillman with Nardo Zachinno
This book reviews the life of Pat Tillman, All-American kid and professional
football player who seemingly gave it all up for love of God and Country to fight the war on terror on the Middle East.
Sadly, he was killed in action. The final reports reflect that it was friendly-fire, but his mother is not so sure.
She provides great detail about the incident; about how on patrol they could not leave their broken Humvee behind and could not blow it up. Two groups left the patrol and accidentally met up with each other with a fire fight ensuing.
Mary Tillman learns that her oldest son has been killed in combat and 3 days later finds out it was friendly fire. Her
other son is also serving in Saudi Arabia.
But things don’t add up. He had wrong wedding ring on. He had CPR marks, but his head
was blown off. He was pronounced dead and bagged but reports say he spent several hours in the ICU. They burned
his clothes because they were a bio-hazard. In the end she has her own theories about why he died overseas.
accounting of the life of young man killed in action is redundant and could have been told in ½ the pages. I also have
to wonder if Mary Tillman bothered to read the book after dictating it: she paints a picture of not a hero, but of a mouthy,
aggressive and troubled young man. A sad commentary for any soldier killed defending his country.
Kim McCool always has a book in her hand, car, nightstand and gym
bag. When not chasing her kids and husband, she and her trusty dog Layla can be found zipping around Atlanta in her
The White Witch
Roaring Brook Press
The White Witch settles into the historical fiction genre
with a smidgeon of fantasy. The protagonist, Gwendolyn Riston, must navigate a dangerous maze of obstacles when she is unjustly
branded a witch in Endland during 1665.
In Gwendolyn, Janet Graber has created the femme that every female's altar ego craves: a spirit of truth, strong,
courageous, and savvy individual. Beautiful succinct descriptions adorn the driving force behind this novel, full of plot
twists that will keep you guessing right up to the very satisfying conclusion. With carefully placed details, pacing, and
suspense, The White Witch is worthy of multiple readings to take careful notes on Janet
Graber's meticulous use of the craft.
Her novel works on more than one level - a meticulous piece
of literature deserving of a special place on your bookshelf - after a second reading, of course!