Friday, November 21, 2008

Boooks They'll Actually Read!

This is one of my favorite listings in the Holiday Gift Guide.


Because I, like so many of you, am a voracious reader, when my busy schedule lets me read, which isn't often.

Which brings me right in to my first featured product here, as it isn't technically a book--it's an audiobook version of Untamed, which is the third book in the House of Night series written by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, her daughter.

I want to bring this up right away--I had never listened to an audio book before, and I thought I wouldn't like it. I thought I would need the experience of holding the book in my hands and reading the words. And, boy, was I wrong! I'm amazed, having never read read the first two books in the series, but this audiobook BLEW ME AWAY.

The young lady who reads the book does an incredible job, taking on all the characters' voices in perfect stride, never missing a beat, and I really like how she played them. If you are already a fan of the House of Night series, you will love this audiobook--and here's an idea: if you have a tween or teen at home who is a bit of a reluctant reader, bring the book in the car with you, put in the CD, and that kid will pick up the book and read, I can almost guarantee it. It's THAT good. I'm getting the next one, no question, as I am now a fan of the series and the audiobook! (Untamed on CD, 39.95)

I do want to put a special mention here for MacMillan Audio, who produced this awesome audiobook, because I've listened to one by another company since, and frankly it didn't match up. Maybe it's just me, but the voices did NOT fit the characters the way I imagined them AT ALL. No, I won't tell you which book it was. If you really want to know, email me in private and maybe I'll whisper in your ear, okay?

Okay, so now to the actual, technically-book books! First off is one that I just know your boys, if you have them, will love, because it is GROSS. And yes, it's okay for me to say that, because the book I'm talking about is Would You Rather...? Gross Out, a book full of over 300 ridiculous, absurd and frequently disgusting questions that provide intriguing food-for-thought (though I don't recommend reading them over dinner!). This book was a great conversation-starter for me and my own boys, who made some decisions in a split second, while others were a tough call.

For instance, "Would you rather...permanently share your bedroom with a gassy Bigfoot or an elephant with allergies?" was a tough one, because although elephants are a favorite around here, and you could maybe aim the trunk out of the window when it sneezed, just how big an elephant were we talking about here? But we knew right away that we would rather have arms as long as our body than tiny hands, obviously, because where did tiny hands get T-Rexes? Extinct, that's where. (Would You Rather...?: Gross Out: Over 300 Disgusting Dilemmas plus extra pages to make up your own! (Would You Rather...?), 9.95, Falls Media ).

Another book that will appeal to the absurdly silly side of boys is Science Fair, by the Hugo-award winning comedic writer, Dave Barry. I've followed Barry ever since his early days down here in Florida, when he was a regular features writer for the Miami Herald. One of my favorite jokes of Barry's is that we could fund the education system FOREVER if we just told parents, "Give us a hundred bucks and your kid won't have to do a science fair project this year." He's hilarious as ever in Science Fair, a book which could well have been written around that concept. In the book, several gifted students (and a nervous frog) become unwittingly embroiled in a political incident that could lead to war, all because of their school's highly-competitive science fair and the $5000 scholarship at stake as first prize (Science Fair, 12.91 at Amazon on sale now)

Younger readers will also enjoy The Book of Nonsense by David Slater, a renowned and prolific writer of picture books, adult and teen works who is now turning his hand to the tween audience in a new venture co-starring tween twins Dexter and Daphne. The twins must decipher a thousand-year-old book of sorcery to protect themselves from evil forces. This work is only the first in a new series by Slater, entitled Sacred Books. The Book of Nonsense will undoubtedly appeal to those fantasy fans who already enjoy titles like Eldest, Harry Potter and the like (The Book of Nonsense (Sacred Books, Vol. 1), 16.95 hardcover edition).

Cracked Up to be Be, by Courtney Summers, grabbed my attention for its intriguing plot synopsis: Parker Fadley, who used to be the most popular girl in school, has gone to great lengths not to be popular anymore. No one knows why she did this: she broke up with her boyfriend, she's failing out of school, and now she is horrible to everyone she knows. And she won’t tell them, because that tragedy that caused it all might just be her fault. (See what I mean? I really liked the plot twist in this one!) See the trailer here. (Cracked Up to Be will be available in stores December 23rd, just in time for Christmas, priced at 9.95).

An e-mail friend of mine and a terrific writer, Melissa Walker has a series of Young Adult books known as The Violet Series, in which Violet, a "gawky, awkward" teen, is scouted to become a runway model. The books, with their positive image, are perfect for self-conscious teens, even those who don't like to read! They'd also make great stocking stuffers as they are in paperback and so reasonably priced. Pictured is her latest, Violet by Design (Violet by Design (Violet), 9.99 each).

Also Recommended: Once a kid reaches high school, they (sadly) often turn away from reading altogether, weighed down with all the responsibilities and pressures of their studies, or maybe just enjoying all the social opportunities of prom, homecoming, etc. Elisha Cooper's ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool: a year in an American high school might just change their minds. It's an insightful look at a series of teens, written in an appealing, vignette style, that comes across as really, well, real (ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool: a year in an american high school, 17.99 or less at Amazon on sale now!)

Sneaky-sneak giveaway for those of you who read right down to the bottom of the post just because you love me so much! ; ) First one of you to comment here wins a copy of Would You Rather...? Gross Out, the book my boys and I loved so much. Shh, don't tell! Just hurry up and be the first one to comment on this post.

The next listing to look forward to in the Cool Moms Rule! Holiday Gift Guide is Custom and Personalized Gifts! Also, don't forget to enter our Hallmark and Lee Jeans giveaways!

1 comment:

Amy Starr said...

Am I really first? i was just thinking about ordering this for my nephew - Thanks!

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