Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book Review: 'A New Year's Reunion' by Yu Li-Qiong

✰✰✰✰✰ Little Maomao's Papa builds houses in far away places. He only visits his family once a year during Chinese New Year. At first Maomao doesn't recognize him, but as the days go by, Maomao and her Papa spend time together. They make sticky rice balls, hear firecrackers, and watch the dragon dance. Papa also fixes things around the house, and they enjoy time together as a family. All too soon, Papa must return to work, and it will be another year before the little girl can see him again.

The Bottom Line: There is a paucity of children's books featuring Asian characters and holidays. Filled with vibrant illustrations and large text, this tender story is a fantastic introduction to the celebration of the Chinese New Year. While the family featured in this book is fictional, millions of migrant workers in China make this journey annually during the holiday. This is the perfect selection for classroom story time for kids in grades Pre-K - 2.

Details: A New Year's Reunion written by Yu Li-Qiong & illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang. Hardcover picture book published by Candlewick Press in 2008. Unpaged. ISBN: 978-0-7636-5881-6

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: 'Selling the American Muscle Car' by Diego Rosenberg

✰✰✰½ Take a trip back in time to a place where muscle cars ruled the road. These awesome performance cars are still highly coveted today. But back in the day AMC, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and Studebaker had to come up with creative marketing and advertising schemes to get these cars into people’s driveways. This was an era when the cars all had catchy names and plentiful options. Each manufacturer tried to outdo the others with races, auto shows, TV commercials, and gimmicks. Buckle up and take a fascinating trip down memory lane with this visual treat.

The Bottom Line: Filled with beautiful, glossy photos, this book will be appreciated by muscle car enthusiasts. Marketing and advertising students will also want to check it out. Recommended for libraries too. This was an interesting read, and I enjoyed looking at the both the color and black and white photos.

Details: Selling the American Muscle Car: Marketing Detroit Iron in the 60s and 70s by Diego Rosenberg. Hardcover published by CarTech in 2016. 192 p. ISBN: 978-1-61325-203-1 Note: I received a free copy from CarTech in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible via the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Book Review: 'The Fifth Petal' by Brunonia Barry

✰✰✰ It’s been nearly three decades since the young women known as the Goddesses were brutally murdered on Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts. The Goddess Murders have remained unsolved all these years until a recent murder ignites interest in the past. The prime suspect, a mentally ill homeless woman named Rose, claims the banshee that resides within her is responsible for all of the murders. 

Callie, a daughter of one of the goddesses, witnessed the horrific murders long ago. For years she was raised by nuns and lived in foster care believing she was all alone in the world. Now that she has learned her "Auntie Rose" is still alive, Callie has returned to Salem. With the help of the town constable and his wife, Callie is looking for answers to her past. Along the way the murders just might finally be solved, and Callie finds a place to call home.

The Bottom Line: This complex, literary mystery will appeal to readers interested in books with witchcraft and time bending themes. This multi-layered mystery requires lots of concentration to read. It was a little slow in the beginning, but the setting kept my attention.

Details: The Fifth Petal: A Novel by Brunonia Barry. Published by Crown in 2017. 448 p. ISBN: 978-1-101-90560-9 NOTE: I received a free ARC from Crown in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible via the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing. 

Happy New Year 2017!

Welcome to an awesome New Year! 2017 is going to be a great year filled with meeting new people, enjoying new adventures, and visiting new cities. Along the way there will be lots and lots of fantastic new books to check out. Visit Mini Book Bytes often for the latest in book reviews and articles to help you host a book club, attend a writing conference, and more.

Additionally, take our annual challenge. Every year we challenge ourselves and our readers to read 50 books. The books can be new books, old books, red books, or blue books. Check out some YA fiction or even a picture book. Read whatever catches your fancy and pass it on. Then tell others about your reading adventures. Enjoy!

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Note: The free clip art is from: