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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blue Jean Baby - Sally Palmer

If, at any point, you've believed today's rock stars and starlets to be the pioneers of sexual promiscuity among themselves and their fans, all you have to do is look back to the 60s' to be proven wrong.

Sally Palmer takes the reader on a wild ride through the music scene of the era, dominated by the Beatles and the Stones. No detail is spared as she, in efforts to escape her mother's heavy drinking and find her own identity in her early teens, follows her first love Ringo Starr from performance to performance, looking into new and creative ways to get ever closer to the music-makers that inspire her. Through these seemingly innocent adventures with her 'network' of groupies come unexpected firsts and evaded encounters with the law, every one of which would make a devout Jonas Brothers fan seem like a sedate hermit.

Through every bad relationship, unexpected pregnancy (and abortion to follow), wild night of sex, and drinking game comes a lesson few others can say they've learned firsthand - the 60s were an era like no other in the existence of music and set the standard for today's Coldplays and every single detail.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Turkey's Treat - Marie Sanderlin Metroke

I do believe this is the mother of all cliff-hangers.

The Turkey's Treat follows excited kid Jeff Watson on his short quest to get a Christmas tree and turkey right before Christmas. His parents apparently do things last minute, but they're finally convinced to hunt down a beautiful fir - a rather large one - to adorn their living room during the holidays. On the way home, they stop by the store to purchase a holiday turkey when Jeff spots the live display turkey the store has housed for its giveaway. Despite a warning from his parents and the useful little things on his face called glasses, Jeff ignores the 'DO NOT TOUCH' warning on the sign above the turkey and pets the turkey...resulting in a nastily-bit pinky finger. The turkey climbs hastily over its victim and escapes the wire fencing imprisoning him, resulting in a wild goose...I mean around the store.

The concept is adorable, straight-forward and surely will be an instant love for both kids and their kin. It has several humorous moments, including the ending, which may leave open a spot for a Turkey's Treat 2. It depends on how hungry Jeff gets...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cookie - Lisa Woomer

You know, my parents always told me for all the macaroni and cheese I ate, I'd eventually turn into one big noodle. Well, take that concept to heart here...

Little Catherine Jenkins loves cookies. Actually, 'love' is too subtle an adjective. 'Worships' probably works better in this case. Cookies are what Catherine, nicknamed Cookie (I'll give you three guesses why), eats for every single meal, as well as dessert and snacks. Her parents are worried, of course, that she's not eating the healthy foods they would prefer her diet consist of, and have even resorted to coating broccoli in icing and sprinkles to tempt her. (An unsuccessful attempt, to note.)

But Catherine begins to get worried when she notices a trail of cookie crumbs constantly marking her trail behind her. She begins to wonder even more when a myriad of animals begin to follow her everywhere she goes. Enough becomes enough when a dog takes a nice big bite out of her leg...which has turned into a cookie! With her parents' help, can Catherine return to normal again?

An adorably written and illustrated story, Cookie can be useful in teaching kids to eat healthier foods...though putting forth the ultimatium that they do that or become a walking cookie is a little strange, in my opinion. But hey, whatever works.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sorrow Wood - Raymond L. Atkins

Who said small-town life couldn't be exciting?

Raymond L. Atkins paints a vivid landscape with expansive, yet small Sand Valley, Alabama, a town monitored by policeman Wendell Blackmon and his wife, probate judge Reva. Together, the pair maintain the town's order, keeping animal-fighting rednecks Otter and Deadhand in line and the extramarital issues of many a townsperson behind closed doors. However, when Sorrow Wood, a nearby farm, catches ablaze and leaves behind a charred body, Sand Valley is turned upside down, making even the unlikeliest of folks a suspect.

What's most interesting about the story is the way in which it is told; using alternating chapters to jump from the present time to the past and back, the reader gradually becomes more and more well-acquainted with the Blackmons and their history together, opening the door for the shocking and unexpected ending. Beautifully written with bouts of hilarity only a small-town native could truly appreciate (and perhaps relate to), Sorrow Wood is another ballpark home run for Atkins.