Tuesday, November 16, 2010
OMG. I had to post this awesome video that Mockingjay.net posted. It's an amateur done scene from "The Hunger Games" and it totally blew me away. I hope this is what the movie is actually like....
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
After our skype session, we had lots of "flash" tech presentations. Each 15 min. presentation was by a different Librarian on a different tech topic. We learned about creating a Facebook page for your Teen Department, using Twitter to alert teens, and also using an SMS email service to text teens alerts.
Friday, November 12, 2010
"Night Star continues the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. In this installment, Ever and Damen face down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Night Star is guaranteed to mesmerize fans and leave them breathlessly awaiting the sixth and final book!"
Personally, I can't wait to read Night Star. I really like this series and I'm stoked now knowing that it's close to the end! I can't wait to see what finally happens...
Today she has a guest blog post from...ME! It's called "How to Interest Teens in Historical Fiction" and you can check it out here. Don't forget to check out the whole rest of the month, too.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Museum of Thieves
by Lian Tanner
Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.
Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day.
When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving.
Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .
Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.
This book was right up my alley! A strong heroine, a mysterious and magical building, a dystopian society...
Goldie Roth is a twelve year old that has never been allowed to come to harm. Sounds great, right? Except that she is chained and monitored 24/7, for her own safety...as are all children in Jewel. Blessed Guardians keep the children safe, if not happy, and adults have forgotten the woes that used to plague them.
These children grow into frightened, naive adults, but Goldie is having none of it! She is headstrong and runs away. She ends up at the Museum of Dent, a wondrous place that is more than it's own character in this series!! Goldie grows in leaps and bounds once she meets the Museum's Keepers and another headstrong runaway, Toadspit. Goldie becomes a very brave and smart heroine. She is one of my new favorite middle grade characters!
Her new friends, Toadspit, Bru the Brizzlehound, Herro Dan, Olga Ciavolga, and Sinew are also wonderful, warm, and humorous. They consistently made me smile and warmed my heart. I love their relationships with Goldie, especially Bru, who saves her life and then gets the favor returned, and Toadspit, who true to teenage boy form starts out giving Goldie a horrible time, who becomes her best friend. I loved how they came together and relied on each other to deal with the threat to the city and the Museum.
If you are looking for adventure, friendship, magic, and mystery, try this great new series! I am definitely looking forward to reading City of Lies (book 2) when it comes out.
Full disclosure: Audio book version received to review for AudioFile.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Change of a Dress
by Maya Gold
Cinderella Cleaners, book one
Behind the counter at Cinderella Cleaners, Diana watches the clothes come and go. She loves to imagine the exciting events that the different outfits might be worn to. Then one day, Diana reaches into the pocket of a fancy coat - and finds an invitation to a glittering gala in New York City. Since the coat's owner is out of town, Diana gets a wild idea. With the help of some savvy friends, one glamorous dress, and a lot of improvising, Diana pretends to be someone she's not, and makes it into the party! Will she be discovered, or will her disguise come off without a hitch? (description taken from Amazon.com)
Okay, this is a sweet young tween series that I just ordered for our branch library. It is a combination school/public library that houses grades K-12, so a lot of the YA books are actually tween aged. I saw this series and thought it would be perfect for the tween girls finishing 4th and 5th grade and "graduating" to the YA section.
It is very cute. Diana is a fun character. She's mostly sure of herself, she loves fashion, and she's just made some great new friends in her father's Dry Cleaning business, Cinderella Cleaners. When the opportunity comes for her to sneak out, dress up, and go into New York City to see the opening show of a Broadway musical starring her favorite TV hottie, she jumps at it. Several almost caught moments later and she starts to regret pretending to be someone else. It sweetly works out in the end, though, with closer family moments, wonderful sacrifices for friendship, and a girl determined to be a better person all around.
I really enjoyed this book and will probably read the second one, not just to recommend to the tweens, but also because I actually really liked the first book! :)
by Leah Cypess
A stand-alone companion novel to the much-acclaimed MISTWOOD. When Darri rides into Ghostland, a country where the living walk with the dead, she has only one goal: to rescue her younger sister Callie, who was sent to Ghostland as a hostage four years ago. But Callie has changed in those four years, and now has secrets of her own. In her quest to save her sister from herself, Darri will be forced to outmaneuver a handsome ghost prince, an ancient sorcerer, and a manipulative tribal warrior (who happens to be her brother). When Darri discovers the source of the spell that has kept the dead in Ghostland chained to this earth, she faces a decision that will force her to reexamine beliefs she has never before questioned - and lead her into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens the very balance of power between the living and the dead.
Nightspell will be published on May 31, 2011.
OMG~I loved Mistwood and cannot wait to read this companion book!!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!
The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan
Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone
(I will be part of her blog tour in December!)
Saturday, November 6, 2010
by Daniel Waters
Generation Dead, book three
Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager - and now that she's dead, she's still passing - this time, as alive.
But when her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, it's up to Karen to prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable and becoming the girlfriend of bionist zealot Peter Martinsburg, who she suspects of framing them. But if Peter finds out who Karen really is, the consequences for her will be worse than death...
(description taken from back jacket copy)
Karen DeSonne is one of my favorite characters not only in this series, but in recent YA fiction period. She is interesting, she is vivacious (which takes talent because she'd...well...dead) and she has great character depth. Her personality greatly affects all of those around her and has really helped to lead the two previous books, so I was stoked when I realized she is the main character for Passing Strange.
As I've stated in my previous reviews of Generation Dead and Kiss of Life, Daniel Waters manages to infuse these "zombie" novels with great depth, creating one of my absolute favorite zombie series. Again in this third book, Waters challenges readers to question discrimination, religious zeal, violence, love, life after death, and sexuality.
The plot is once again exciting and interesting. Karen must play a part to get the information that she needs to clear her friends' names. There is the threat of violence and death. There is the possibility of love..., but though the plot always draws me in, it is the social commentary of these books that keeps me coming back (and thinking about what I've read long after).
With this book, especially, and my fascination with Karen's character and the secrets you learn about her life, her death, and her differently biotic life, I have been unable to settle after finishing the book. I think when the author and publishers chose the title of this book, Passing Strange, they did a fantastic job getting right to the heart of things.
The term "Passing" has been used in the past to refer to a black person attempting to look like a white person so that they will be treated better. Not only does the concept fit here, as Karen hides herself amongst the living to be treated better, but also the term...Karen uses it herself...and to have it in the title just draws ultimate attention to the fact that even today we still discriminate and base our treatment of people on appearances. This is a not so subtle reminder in a fancy form to consider how you react to others in life.
Again, this was a powerful and heartfelt addition to the series and to the paranormal YA genre as a whole. I highly recommend this series, beginning with Generation Dead.
Full disclosure: Book received from publisher for review
Friday, November 5, 2010
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan/Art by Attila Futaki
Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson's textbooks and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. (description taken from Amazon.com)
This was actually a pretty good adaption of The Lightning Thief. The characters looked like their descriptions, though the kids may be a little older than they should be and the monsters and magic were well done. I still prefer the books, because I always have trouble remembering how to read the panels, but this was better than a lot of graphic adaptations. It should attract some new readers, too, I hope.
by Kevin Bolger
The little town of Dementedyville is as boring as they come--but a mysterious stuffed animal is about to liven things up . . .
Stanley Nudelman buys Zombiekins at the yard sale of his neighbor, the Widow Imavitch. It looks cuddly and creepy-cute--but expose the TEDDY OF TERROR to moonlight, and strange things happen. . . .
When Zombiekins gets loose at his school, Stanley finds himself in GRAVE danger. Because if his teacher Mr. Baldengrumpy discovers he turned the whole school into zombies, Stanley will be in detention till he's, like, 80!
Can Stanley and his best friend Miranda save their schoolmates from eternal zombiefication? If not, will Mr. Baldengrumpy even notice? (description taken from Amazon.com)
This is my kind of Halloween horror story. More funny than really scary. (I'm a chicken sometimes, I know!) This tween-aged zombie book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Gremlins.
Zombiekins is scary cute. He's a little creepy, but you want to cuddle him...expose him to direct moonlight, though, and he just might BITE you! Poor Stanley inadvertantly creates a zombie making machine that swiftly turns his whole school into a monster haven.
The illustrations by Aaron Blecha fit the book perfectly and had me snorting aloud. Stanley is a great character that learns to stand up to a bully. His best friend is a strong female character and his little sister made me laugh. The depictions of snotty kindergarteners, scary six graders, and awkward, mean teachers will definitely appeal to readers.
I cannot wait to check out the next book, Zombiekins II: They Came From Under the Bed. I think it will be another hideously funny adventure!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
by John Boyne
Where is 'Outwith' and who is Bruno?
How is he connected?
Soon he will meet the boy in striped pyjamas and befriend him.
But why must the boy stay behind the wire?
(description taken from Amazon.com)
I tried not to read this book for as long as I could. When I read, most often I'm looking for an escape from my daily life...hence, I trend towards fantasy, science fiction, light romances, etc. (The title of my blog reflects this, too!) As a Teen Librarian, though, I do consider it part of my job to read everything that is considered "important." Nutmeg nominees (our state book award), National Book Award nominees, summer reading list books, etc. I also feel I should be able to talk about at least a few books in every genre for reader's advisory purposes.
There are some books, though, that even with this drive, I will do all I can to avoid them for as long as possible. Books dealing with the holocaust are absolutely in this category. I tend to avoid them like the plague...but, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has been on our summer reading lists for the high school age group for a few years now, tons of teens have read and loved it, and my audiobook ran out and I didn't have another one lined up.
So, I broke down and listened to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I finished it several days ago, actually. Usually I finish a book and I go straight home and type up my review. Done. This book, though, was one of those that I still haven't really been able to figure out what I want to say about it.
I went into this experience dragging my feet and have come out recommending this book to every adult I work with. The day that I finished listening to it, I pulled into work with tears in my eyes, an awed look on my face, and I just sat there. It was at least fifteen minutes before I was able to pull myself together to go into work, and then the first thing I did was go talk to the woman I knew had seen the movie to compare experiences!
This book is so well done I can't even verbalize the majesty of it. Boyne dances around the Holocaust in a way that makes it easy to remember the horror without having to directly experience it. The nine-year-old main character's perspective is one of bewildered naivete. His friendship with a boy named Shmuel develops naturally and without artiface.
Even now, I'm having trouble trying to describe the book and how it made me feel. I think that actually says more than whatever I could write. It was powerful. It was touching. It is reverberating with me in a way that few books have...
If you have not read it, yet. Go read it. Even if you hate this type of book, like I do, you should read this one. It is amazing.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
by Megan McCafferty
Publication date: April 26, 2011
“When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.”
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
photo by Gina Monroe
I am beyond excited to welcome Andrea Cremer, author of the awesome Nightshade, to the blog today! Recently I reviewed Nightshade and told you all how much I loved it...you can check out the review here.
I love the “Guardians” in Nightshade. The way that they truly are wolves in “human clothing.” How did you create such primal feeling werewolves?
I grew up in the woods of Northern Wisconsin and spent as many days outdoors as I could. Traditional werewolf tales didn’t appeal to me because they were lacking in comparison to the beautiful, mysterious wolves I admired in the wilderness. In the Guardians I wanted to create a new wolf mythology that reflected the traits I love in wolves and wolf packs.
The wraiths and other enforcers employed by the Keepers were also awesomely terrifying. What type of research did you do to decide what creatures to use and what they should look like?
The wraiths and Keepers didn’t require research – they’re simply products of my crazy imagination. Wraiths appear in many different types of myths and can range from zombie-like to demonesque. I wanted my wraiths to resemble smoke or shadows because I think that the most frightening creatures are those that easily slip in and out of sight.
I have to say that you have one of the best love triangles I’ve read in quite awhile in Nightshade. Did you develop one guy before the other? Did their developing personalities affect each other? (I am firmly Team Ren btw…)
Thank you! Both Shay and Ren surprised me (most of my characters do at some point) when I started writing Nightshade I thought I knew both guys and what their “type” was, but fortunately for me and them their histories and emotions were much more complex than I realized. Neither affected the other’s development – they each just managed to assert their individual quirks, strengths, and flaws on their own. *Wait until you read this book! Each guy is awesome in their own right. Very, very well done.
I know that Wolfsbane is scheduled to come out next year. I can’t wait! Are there more books planned for this world?
Nightshade is a trilogy. Wolfsbane (book 2) will be published on July 12, 2011. Bloodrose (book 3) will be out spring 2012. I’m also writing a fourth book which is a prequel to the series about the origins of the Witches War – it’s set in the 1400s. *I'm over the moon excited to read all of these, and am especially intrigued about the origin of the Keepers, which will be explored in book four.
If you could give one piece of advice to Calla what would it be?
Find your own path.
What was the last book that you read that you would recommend to other readers?
I just read Beth Revis’ Across the Universe, which will be out in January. It’s an amazing book!
Quick Picks: Favorite Vacation Destination? Favorite Childhood Book? Favorite Movie? Favorite Food? Favorite Clothing Item?
Childhood book: Watership Down
Movie: Last of the Mohicans
Food: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Clothing item: Silk blouse, pencil skirt, and tall boots
Andrea, thank you again so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I encourage everyone to read Nightshade immediately! :P Also, check out Andrea Cremer's website and blog for more information.
Monday, November 1, 2010
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Seeds of America, book two
In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.
The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom. (description taken from Amazon.com)
I have to be honest. When Chains was put on the Teen Nutmeg Nominees list this year (our CT book award), I was not superenthused to read it. Not that I don't like historical fiction - on the contrary, I'm finding that I enjoy it...a lot! What put me off was the cover...and the fact that Lester's Day of Tears had been on the list recently (a really heavy slavery related book). I dreaded reading it. Then I sat down and plunged in...and loved it.
So, when this one came in the mail to review, I was excited! I still don't really like the covers, but the content, oh...the content. Anderson has a way of making slavery into a very approachable topic. She doesn't hit readers over the head with the "issues," but causes readers to examine them in a very natural way.
In Forge, the narration shifts from Isabel to Curzon and I loved the change! Isabel's story was great in the first novel, but through Curzon's eyes, we get to experience the day to day life of a soldier in the American Revolution (*I was typing too fast before and put in the Civil War...whoops! Thanks, Miriam, for catching that!!). Very cool...make that cold...and hungry...and tired...and, well...you get the idea. It's a whole new perspective on the time period.
I really loved getting to meet some of the soldiers and see the conditions that they lived in. I hadn't really thought about it in detail before. It also really made me think about what runaway slaves did to try and find ways to survive after their initial escape.
For anyone who loves historical fiction, I'd definitely recommend Chains. If you read that and loved it...then what are you waiting for? Go grab Forge now!! Oh, btw - the audiobook version is very good, too!
Full disclosure: Audio book sent for review by SLJ.
Welcome to the Madness!
For anyone not familiar with NaNoWriMo, you can check out the official website for "National Novel Writing Month" at www.nanowrimo.org...BUT probably not today!
Today, the site is being besieged by tons of writers, amateur and professional, all looking to begin their quest to finish a workable first draft of a novel. The goal...50,000 words in 30 days. Hence, the madness!
This year, I am writing a sort of futuristic YA adventure story...with a strong female protagonist (Girl Power!)...
Wish me luck!
If you'd like to be my writing buddy, my nanowrimo user name is jmlib923. Feel free to add me and we can cheer each other on to the finish!
Using a random generator (random.org), the official winner of the Hunger ARC giveaway was determined to be...
Congrats again! I have emailed you directly, so as soon as you get back to me with an address I will get the ARC into the mail on its way to you!
*If Inspired Kathy does not contact me with her address by Friday, November 5th, I will choose a new winner.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Just wanted to say "Happy Halloween!!"
Posts may be fewer and far between during November, as I'll be busy writing my NaNoWriMo entry for this year... but that doesn't start until tomorrow! Today is all about candy, corny Halloween movies, and cheesy costumes! Enjoy.
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!
Signed by Author at "Ghost and Graves Tour" stop in Norwich,CT:
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
From the Library:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
by Andrea Cremer
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice? (description taken from Amazon.com)
This book has officially earned another one of my coveted gold stars!
There's been a lot of paranormal teen romance released lately...and not all of them are created equal. To be honest, when I got this ARC I was stoked, then I got inundated with reviews about it and I started to get worried it wouldn't live up to the hype; that again, the publishers had just pushed, pushed, pushed and it wasn't all I hoped it would be...then I started to read.
OMG. I usually rip through books. I feel like there is never enough time to read. I actually made myself slow down to read Nightshade so that the experience would not end. I took five whole days to read this! Five days!! Then I finished it and immediately wanted to start over again. That has not happened to me in...well, I can't remember the last time...oh wait, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That's the type of experience this was for me!
Cremer created a world that I longed to experience. As a werewolf fan, hers were perfect. Literally, the best werewolf society for me since Klause's Blood and Chocolate, to which I compare all werewolves! These characters were wolves wearing human clothing. Their instincts, their strategies, their loyalties, their passions...all pack based. It was INCREDIBLE.
Add to that a multilayered world built on the premise of uber-creepy Old Ones (witches) running things with enforcers like succubi and wraiths. Every new creature introduced in this book just blew me away.
Cremer also gave me the best, most realistic and TRUE love triangle I've run into in YA in quite a while. Most, I'm immediately and irrevocably drawn to one guy or the other (I know, I know, it could be girls...but, it's usually guys) and nothing will change my mind because the other character just falls flat for me. Now, that's not to say that I'm not swayed one way here (I am totally Team Ren...*blushes*...I love Ren) but both guys are actually good for Calla and want what they think is best for her. Either choice would be a good one.
It will be so exciting to see what happens in book two, Wolfsbane, coming out next summer, but until then I may actually re-read this book...at least once!
Full disclosure: My friend Jen (i.e. Yabooknerd - awesome girl!!) grabbed this ARC for me at BEA 2010. :)