Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bullrider by Suzanne Morgan Williams

Bull Rider, by Suzanne Morgan Williams is the second of the 2010 Lone Star books on my blog. 

Let me just say that I love this book.  It is a great layered story that goes beyond the title of Bull of family and their expectations of who you should be versus who you are; of strength and trials of life; of military service and dreams deferred. It is, ultimately, a story of familial love and hope. 

Cam O'Mara comes from a ranching family with a proud bull riding heritage that he really wants no part of.  Cam is a skateboarder, not a bull rider.  His older brother Ben is serving in the military in Iraq, and when Ben comes home with a tramatic injury that changes his life drastically--no more championship bull riding for him--and falls into despair questioning who he is now and what kind of future can he possibly have?  Cam makes a pact with Ben dealing with bull riding and not losing hope which involves lying to get into a bull riding competition in order to win the large prize purse. 

While this is a "guy" book, it isn't only for the guys, I assure you.  While this is a book about bull riding and the military it isn't only for bull riders and military families, either. 

It is a book for everyone that has ever had family expectations, a dream for the future, and hard knocks to overcome. 

 In short, it is a book for everyone. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just me...

thought perhaps I ought to make this VERY clear (no, I'm not in trouble or anything...I just got to thinking about this over the holiday and thought I ought to post it) ...the reviews I post about each book--Lone Star made-its, Lone Star hopefuls, or otherwise---are just my thoughts...they do not represent the committee officially, unofficially, or as a whole....

Just me....and I did it

(groans at the ready, please...)

my way.

Go find something to read now. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander

We begin the list of 2010 Lone Star books....

At the center of Sweetheart is Austin, a 14 year old girl determined to be the next FFA (Future Farmers of America for all you non-rural folk!) sweetheart.  'Course she first has to join FFA to have a shot at that, and joining FFA means she needs to...well, raise something.  She settles on raising a rooster and gets one from a local Cajun fella--a wise soul if ever there was one.  As you might imagine mayhem soon ensues with Charles Dickens, the aforementioned rooster, smack dab in the middle of it all.

Living in East Texas, myself I can attest to the trueness of the characters and situations in the book.  I felt like Austin was in some ways a remembrance of my teenage self---man, I wanted to ride in a convertable in a gorgeous dress waving to the crowds in my small Texas hometown, too, only for us it was all about homecoming instead of the Christmas parade. 

One of the many things I love about this book is that it isn't just about a teen with a dream of FFA royalty.  It has a great mother-daughter storyline and a bevy of strong women (we Texas women like that, y'all!) who make it through tough times and learn to trust one another, trust themselves, and let go of past hurt in order to move on and really live.  And, as if this even needs don't have to be a Texan, live in a rural community, or even like chickens for that matter in order to L-O-V-E this book! 

I had the pleasure of meeting Jill Alexander at the Texas Library Conference last year and she is as warm, witty, and wonderful to chat with in person as this lovely book is to read.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the 2010 Lone Star List

The Lone Star Committee met last weekend in Austin, Texas to choose our 20 picks for pleasure reading for the middle schoolers of the great state of Texas.  This is not to say older kids won't enjoy these picks, as well...and in a few cases, some younger ones, too. 

We discussed the numerous nominations for HOURS (no worries...the chocolate and caffeine were abundant, ensuring the "discussions" didn't get too out of hand!) and ended up with our final list a mere 7 hours or so later.  In case you haven't seen the list yet, you can check it out here.  I'm going to make it a priority to discuss these books on this blog rather quickly. 

Whether you live in the Lone Star state, or not, this is a great list for PLEASURE reading.  Also, and I can't stress this fact enough, not all books on the list are for all kids.  Seriously.  What the committee attempts to do is to find a balance of books--some that will appeal to the lowest 6th grade readers, up to the highest 8th grade readers.  Some for boys, some for girls, some for both.  A variety of genre, too. 

Some teachers and librarians mistakingly have the idea that if its on the list, it is suitable for all readers.  uh-uh.  nope. 

Hopefully, there is at least one book on the list for each of your readers....enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

and so time goes by...

have been reading, reading, reading to get all my Lone Star hopefuls reading done.  Now that the committee has met and our new list is out (a fun, but exhausting process!) I should have more time to get back into blogging mode.  I have hundreds (quite literally) of books to discuss with you!

Now for your enjoyment...check out this vintage Sesame Street video featuring the ever-talented Cookie Monster   :)

By the way, my library WILL have that Natalie is a Daisy Scout.  Come by in January to put your cookie order in....pick up some books while you are there!