Thanks to Kami for reviewing Alma on her blog: A View Thru Many Lenses. She has been a faithful reader :) And she uses her blog to "scrapbook" memories for her kids. Brilliant idea.
Also, Taffy reviewed Alma on her blog: Taffy's Candy (what else would she name her blog?) She is an aspiring writer and posts her WIP word count on the side bar, so it's fun to see it increase. She is also a librarian and I love to talk books with her!
Speaking of books, I read a lot. I admit it. I certainly don't apologize for it. Once in awhile someone will ask me how I find time to read, especially since I'm an author. My answer is that it's part of my job. Just as a dentist goes to a dental convention to learn about the newest technology in veneers, I must read the bestselling books (it's a tough job, I'll tell you. Requires a popcorn.)
This summer I was able to read ARC's of two great books--for kids--but I loved them too. And now they are actually available so I can tell you about them. (And according to the FTC rules, I think I have to announce that I don't get paid to review on these blogs, and one of the ARC's was free, the other I bought on Ebay, but YES, I'll be buying multiple copies of these books for my kids and their friends . . . Also, I think I have to disclose that I know the authors personally--yes I know both--but neither asked me to write reviews.)
If I just lost you, you'll find this post interesting by Literary Agent, Janet Reid:
The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
October 2009, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Have you ever read a book, then set it down and wondered, “How have I settled for reading so many mediocre books . . . when this one is fantastic?”
“He began his new life standing up . . .”—begins The Maze Runner by bestselling author of The 13th Reality series, James Dashner.
Thomas knows his name, but that’s about it. He’s forgotten everything else. Everything. Even his age.
It’s pitch black, and Thomas is in a metal contraption of sorts—moving upward. When the elevator stops, the top opens to reveal a group of boys staring down at him. “Nice to meet ya, shank,” one of the boys says, “Welcome to the Glade.”
Thomas stumbles into a glade surrounded by a seemingly unsolvable maze. Each night the maze doors shut, and each morning the maze has reconfigured itself. The glad is ran by a group of boys, but no one can get in and no one can get out. Once a week the elevator delivers food and other goods. But the week that Thomas arrives, the elevator stops delivering food. Instead it delivers a girl. The first one to ever come to the Glade.
Thomas not only has to learn to survive, but how to protect his new friends, and solve the maze before the entire population of the Glade falls prey.
The Maze Runner is a definite page-turner that starts out interesting, then quickly hooks you. The dystopian world which Dashner creates is fresh, from the descriptions to the dialog to the actual names of the kids. I loved the puzzle-solving aspect of the book, which having read Dashner’s other books, he is truly masterful at. I’m looking forward to the 2nd book in the series: The Scorch Trials. Dashner is a gifted story-teller.
Farworld: Land Keep
By J. Scott Savage
October 2009, Shadow Mountain
“Water. Land. Air. Fire. Together, the balance of Farworld they keep.” Kyja and Marcus are on a quest to outdo the Dark Circle by convincing the four elementals of Farworld to work together. In the first book of the Farworld series, Water Keep, Marcus and Kyja were able to get the water elementals to cooperate, but now they have to travel to find the land elementals. Problem is, no one can tell them precisely where they are since they’ve been missing for thousands of years.
In this second installment, Land Keep, the captivating adventure continues. Marcus—a boy with magical powers, and Kyja—a girl who wants magic more than anything. The two soon find out that they each have to trade what’s most dear to them in order to survive.
Since Marcus’s birth, sacrifices have been made in his behalf that he is only now beginning to realize. But the longer he stays on Farworld, the faster his health declines. In a race against time, the characters must outsmart the Keepers and determine who is really on their side.
The plot is far from simple, but the complexity is rich and satisfying as questions proposed in Water Keep are answered in Land Keep. A clear picture of this new world emerges as the characters discover that things are not necessarily as they seem. Land Keep is highly visual, fast-paced, with multi-layered intrigue. But most importantly, the characters breathe life into the pages, pulling us into a magical realm. One that is truly powerful.