Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Every Other Day

Every Other Day
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . . She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism. (description from

I devoured this book. Gobbled it up unashamedly.  There is just something about Barnes writing style that lent itself absolutely beautifully to this intriguing concept. In fact, with memories of a sleepless night... I give this a GOLD STAR review!!

I loved Kali's character. She was mutlicultural and fabulous. She was strong and yet, often bewildered.  She was unashamed when she had to kick @ss. AWESOMESAUCE. When you find out what she is and how she came to be... very, very cool!

I really have no idea if this book is a standalone or the start of a series, but either way, I'm happy. I loved it all on it's own, and I would HAPPILY read another...and the way it most definitely could have a very cool sequel.

Love the paranormal?  Looking for something a little different now that there's so much paranormal out there?  Pick this one up, ASAP!!

Full disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley


by Marissa Meyer
Lunar Chronicles, book one

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. (description from

I loved this futuristic sci-fi version of the Cinderella story.  It was *this* close to being a gold star review, except it ended with a HUGE cliffhanger and the next book doesn't come out until NEXT YEAR. Ugh.

I loved Cinder's character. The fact that she is a cyborg was really cool, especially since this doesn't verge so far into sci-fi that I had trouble understanding things. There was no confusion about medical/scientific stuff. YAY! I loved the fact that not only was Cinder's body both hard and soft, but that it reflected her personality so well...

I loved the descriptions of New Beijing.  It was a fascinating dichotomy of the traditional and the futuristic. The fact that the Eastern Commonwealth was at the head of the Earthen Union also felt very possible in humanity's future...and can I mention that the whole Lunar thing was super intriguing? I want to learn more about their history and culture. I'm hoping the next book in the series gives us a more inside perspective there.

All in all, this was book was so close to what my perfect reinvisioning of a fairytale could be it was sort of eerie. I wish that we knew a little more of Cinder's story at the end, but I am SO absolutely looking forward to reading more of her journey in the following books.  I cannot wait for Scarlet to get here!!

Full disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley/Audio book won from Macmillan Audio
*2012 Debut Author Challenge title*

Monday, February 27, 2012

If You Like: Hart of Dixie

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.

This week's recommendations are great if you like the CW show, Hart of Dixie.  Hart of Dixie is about a city girl fresh out of med school who experiences a major culture clash when she begins practicing medicine in a small southern town. So, if it sounds up your alley, check out the recommendations here! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mini Reviews: The Growing Up Edition

Addie on the Inside
by James Howe 
companion to The Misfits

The Gang of Five is back in this third story from Paintbrush Falls. Addie Carle, the only girl in the group of friends is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes…just a bit obnoxious.

But as seventh grade progresses, Addie’s not so sure anymore about who she is. It seems her tough exterior is just a little too tough and that doesn’t help her deal with the turmoil she feels on the inside as she faces the pains of growing up. (description from

Told through a series of poignant poems, this is a beautiful story of a girl just trying to make it through seventh grade. Lots of issues are covered here, but in a really accessible, believable way. A quick read that is well worth checking out!

Fighting Ruben Wolfe
by Markus Zusak
sequel to The Underdog

The working class family of Cameron Wolfe and his brother Ruben isn't having much luck these days. Their dad has just lost his job and is too proud to go on welfare. Their older brother has moved out of the house in disgust. Which leaves them open to suggestion when a local boxing promotor signs them up for illegal bouts. But it's more than the meager winnings that draws the two brothers in. Soon they find themselves fighting for something else. Is it pride? Love? Or just the experience of winning for once? (description from

I was surprised how much I loved this story.  It may seem to be about two brothers who decide to box on the side for money, but really it's about a family struggling to make it through a recession.  A family of survivors, fighters, that come together to beat all the odds!

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

How to Save a Life
by Sara Zarr

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems. (description from
A touching story that made me cry over and over again. Jill was a phenomenal character and I was surprised how much I ended up liking Mandy, too.  Love transcends all...
Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile magazine

Terrific Threes and Super Storytime: Dads!

So, I've decided to try something new. Some of you may know that aside from just being a blogger, I'm also a Librarian. Just before the new year, I started a new job as a Youth Services Librarian, which means that aside from just doing teen services, I'm also doing two weekly storytimes (for ages 3-5) and a monthly pajama storytime.

Since I've started doing these storytimes, I've found it immensely helpful to read the "set-up" from other storytimes on other blogs to get I want to "pay it forward." I'm going to try to put up as many storytimes as I can so that maybe someone else will get ideas for their storytimes!

Let me know if you have any format suggestions, etc!!

This was one of the Terrific Threes and Super Storytimes I did in February.

Theme: Dads!

Opening Song: 3's - BINGO/4/5's - Heggity Peggity

*rhythmically clap hands or slap hands on legs*
Heggity Peggity bumble-bee,
won't you share your name with me,
(Child says name)
(Group repeat's child's name twice)
*repeat for entire group*

3's - My Dad by Anthony Browne/4's - My Dad's Job by Peter Glassman
My Father the Dog by Elizabeth Bluemle

Action Rhyme:
Here is the little boy ready for his nap              
(hold up 1 finger)
Lay him down on his daddy's lap                       
(lay finger in other palm)
Cover him up so he won't peep                         
(close hand over fingers)
Rock him til he's fast asleep                               
(rock hands)
Action Song:
5 little ducks went out one day, over the hills, far away,
Father duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but only 4 little ducks came back...
*repeat until you get to 1 little duck*
1 little duck went out one day, over the hills, far away,
Father duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but none of the little ducks came back...
Father duck went out one day, over the hills, far away,
Father duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack," 
and ALL of the little ducks came back!!

3's - Daddies by  Lila Prap/4's - My Dad by Anthony Browne

Flannelboard: The Pet
*A story about a child that goes to the zoo to look for a pet, and decides that Daddy makes the best "pet" of all.*
Action Song: My Daddy Works with One Hammer
My daddy works with one hammer, one hammer,
one hammer, (pound one fist on ground)
My daddy works with one hammer,
and now he works with two! (pound two fists on ground)
My daddy works with two hammers, two hammers,
two hammers, (pound two fists on ground)
My daddy works with two hammers,
and now he works with three! (pound two fists and stomp one foot)
My daddy works with three hammers, three hammers, 
three hammers, (pound two fists and stomp one foot)
My daddy works with three hammers,
and now he works with four! (pound two fists and stomp both feet)
My daddy works with four hammers, four hammers,
four hammers, (pound two fists and stomp both feet)
My daddy works with four hammers,
and now he needs a nap! (collapse onto ground)

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr

Dance: "I Caught Daddy Watching Cartoons" from CD, Big Rock Rooster

Craft: Collage Tie

Supplies needed:
tagboard (precut into simple tie shape)
string (precut)
collage pieces (precut) *we used old wallpaper samples*
single hole punch

It was so much fun to see the kids decorate these "ties" and then either wear them home or vow to make their Dads wear them!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mini Reviews: The Haunted Edition

Texas Gothic
by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face. (description from
A fun read. Amy is snarky-type hilarious. I loved the romance in this one, too!
*2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge title*
by Tara Hudson
sequel to Hereafter

A stranded spirit, and a love story that crosses the divide between the living and the dead…In this hauntingly lovely sequel to HEREAFTER, Amelia – still trapped somewhere between life and death – continues to fight for her relationship with her mortal love, Joshua.Looking for answers, they visit some of Joshua’s relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia just ends up with more questions… and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Then Amelia meets other spirits in-between and begins to seriously consider joining them. Caught between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the nether world can choose for her. (description from
I loved this sequel. Dark, romantic, haunting...and set in the ultimate haunted location, New Orleans! This one will make you go, "Say, what?!" I *need* book three, ASAP!!
Publication date: June 5, 2012
Full disclosure: ARC received to review for VOYA
by Doug TenNapel

Imagine Garth Hale's surprise when he's accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don't have, and he's stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth's newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake. (description from

I was surprised how much I actually liked this graphic novel. It's easy to read, the drawings are creepy, but very clear, and the storyline was cool. 

Anxiously Awaiting... Hidden!

by Sophie Jordan
Firelight series, book three

Publication date: Sept. 11, 2012

A dangerous journey.
Shattered bonds.
Undying passion.

Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control.  As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Anxiously Awaiting...Tiger Lily!

Tiger Lily
by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Publication date: July 3, 2012

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy Darling, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair....

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily, proud and fierce, wild and misunderstood, doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell. Bonding over their shared sense of adventure, their competitive nature, and their courageous spirits, the two form an unlikely friendship and an even more unlikely romance. Then Wendy Darlinga girl who is everything Tiger Lily is notarrives on the island, and Tiger Lily discovers how far she is willing to go to keep Peter with her, and in Neverland.

OMG. I feel like I have been waiting forever for this book.  I always wanted more of Tiger Lily's story... and this sounds sort of like a thriller... AND I love this cover!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pajama Storytime: Wolf Moon

So, I've decided to try something new. Some of you may know that aside from just being a blogger, I'm  also a Librarian.  Just before the new year, I started a new job as a Youth Services Librarian, which means that aside from just doing teen services, I'm also doing two weekly storytimes (for ages 3-5) and a monthly pajama storytime. 

Since I've started doing these storytimes, I've found it immensely helpful to read the "set-up" from other storytimes on other blogs to get I want to "pay it forward." I'm going to try to put up as many storytimes as I can so that maybe someone else will get ideas for their storytimes!

Let me know if you have any format suggestions, etc!!

This was the Pajama Storytime I did in January. 

Theme: Wolf Moon
(The Wolf Moon is the name given by Native Americans to a full moon that occurs in January.)

Opening Song: If You're a Wolf and You Know It
If you're a wolf and you know it, howl at the moon...
If you're a wolf and you know it, growl at the night...
If you're a wolf and you know it, scratch your fleas...
If you're a wolf and you know it, do all three...  

Wolf! Wolf! by John Rocco
Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza

Action Song: 10 Little Gray Wolves
1 little, 2 little, 3 little gray wolves...
4 little, 5 little, 6 little gray wolves...
7 little, 8 little, 9 little gray wolves...
10 little gray wolves rolling in the snow
(Repeat - running through the woods... howling at the moon)

Flannelboard: The Three Little Pigs

The Dog Who Cried Wolf by Keiko Kasza
Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka

Dance: "Mister Moon" from CD, Where is Thumbkin?

Craft: Wolf Howling in the Night Sky

Supplies Needed:
blue construction paper
white construction paper (pre-cut moons)
brown construction paper (pre-cut howling wolves)

The kids had a blast glueing on their wolves and moons, but I think they had the most fun drawing their stars in the night sky with the chalk!!

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up
by Daniel Handler

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. (description from
It's funny. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book, but once I actually sat down to read it, I fell right in and enjoyed it...whole hog. I had prepared to feel ho-hum about it, but I really enjoyed the whole experience. 
I liked the feel of the pages, the weight of the book, and the pictures of items that accompanied each chapter.  I loved the concept of one gigantic letter, full of relationship vignettes that add up to the demise of a couple. ...And, I, unlike a lot of other people, totally got Min.  I felt like it was listening to myself when I was still in high school.
I knew what I loved, I liked my friends, and yet... when the guy came along that was into everything else, I was not assertive enough to make it clear that I was into different things or that I really loved my friends and everything they were into...
Min may have been way too complacent at times in her relationship with Ed, but I felt that was totally believable! Regrettable, but believable.  I also understood, well...most of the time, how Ed liked Min, even though he totally had no clue as to who she really was...
Though this book was sad, it was also hopeful. In the sense that Min was growing and learning from her relationship's demise.  I think she'll become a stronger person from the experience.
Full disclosure: ARC received at BEA 2011

Monday, February 13, 2012

Troy High

Troy High
by Shana Norris

Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High.
Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider at Troy High, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten. Off the football field, an escalating prank war fuels tensions between the schools.
The stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school. Troy High will seduce readers with its cast of mythic proportions. (description from

This may not become an epic classic, like the Iliad on which it's based, but I actually really enjoyed reading this book.  Not only was it a fun contemporary read with a main character that I just could not help but root for, but it also was really fun trying to remember who the characters were from the Iliad and trying to match them up with Troy High

While this book is loosely based on the classic tale, there are some things that were definitely changed and it really does have a great modern feel - if you had no idea what it was based on, you really wouldn't be missing anything, you could just enjoy it as is... - and in reality, I liked the ending of THIS tale a whole lot more.  :P

If you have time for just a breezy sort of book, you may want to pick this one up!

For a little fun, here's the cute book trailer:

Book Trailer: The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black

This is a cool trailer for a cool series.  I can't wait until Black Heart finally comes out in April!
Just a little something to keep you going until then...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Anxiously Awaiting...Rebel Heart!!

Rebel Heart
by Moira Young
Dustlands, book two

Publication date: Oct. 30, 2012

The Tonton have been defeated. Lugh has been rescued.
The heartstone has brought Saba and Jack together.
Now, Saba and her family head west to meet him and start a new life. All should be well.
But shadows of the dead are stalking Saba.
And another kind of shadow is creeping over the dustlands.
Then a messenger shows up.
With news of Jack.

I *CANNOT* wait!!

Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young
Dustlands, book one

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. (description from

Are you feeling depressed and deprived after finishing The Hunger Games trilogy?  Looking for another phenomenal read with a strong female protagonist? Look no further.  It's here.

I loved Saba's voice. Very much like Katniss, she's tough, even as she has no desire to be... she does everything for the benefit of her twin and only comes later to realize how much her journey has shaped her into her own strong, independent person.  She can come across as callous at times, but really cannot help but help the others around her. 

I loved the written style of this book. It reads like a movie.  The prose is sparse and thus, even more compelling.  The author purposely refrains from using quotation marks around the speech, indicating yet a further breakdown of society, but also forcing the reader to truly read every word on the page.  

The world is well-built, with realistic issues, and a cool futuristic cowboy vibe.  I cannot wait to dive in again in book two!! Rebel Heart should be coming out this October.

Full disclosure: Book won from Coffee & Cliffhangers - THANK YOU!!!!!

Lenobia's Vow

Lenobia's Vow
by P.C. and Kristin Cast
A House of Night novella

A great journey…
A new love….
A dark secret revealed.

Evreux, France, 1788: Before she is Zoey’s favorite professor and the House of Night’s powerful horse mistress… Lenobia is just a normal 16-year-old girl – with enough problems to last a lifetime. As the illegitimate daughter of a powerful baron, she has never quite belonged, and instead has to watch her spoiled half-sister, Cecile, get anything she wants. As if that’s not enough, her remarkable beauty draws unwanted attention wherever she goes. For once, she would like to just fit in.

But when fate intervenes, Lenobia suddenly finds herself surrounded by other girls, on a ship bound for New Orleans, where they will be married off to the city’s richest Frenchmen. And they’re not alone…. An evil bishop who is skilled in Dark magic makes the same journey. His appetite for lovely young women makes him dangerous – most of all to Lenobia, who caught his eye back in France. So she remains hidden, making secret visits to the ship’s stables, where a handsome young man and his beautiful Percheron horses soon capture her attention.

Will they make it to land before the bishop discovers her true identity and a powerful evil breaks loose? And will Lenobia follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? (description from

I really enjoyed this novella.  While I still feel that the Casts are perhaps just cashing in with this series of novellas, I really liked this one a lot more than the one featuring Dragon. Lenobia was an interesting character and the Bishop was skin-crawlingly creepy. 

The love story was great and heartbreaking and tearjerking and totally fun to read.  The time period was interesting and I loved that most of the story actually took place on a boat.  I, of course, will also read just about anything related to New Orleans, so this book was also really exciting in that they are headed there and that Martin is Creole. 

*Side note - I listened to this one on audio. It was great.  Not only was it short and sweet, but the narrator did a great job tackling the French and Creole accents.  A fun listen.

I still won't buy these novellas, but I do like to read them!

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile magazine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

If You Like: Stories That Take Place Within 24 Hours

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.

This week's post includes all types of books and movies that take place in a single 24 hour period.  So, if you love a wild and crazy kind of day...check these out!

Cover Craving...Bad Hair Day!!

Bad Hair Day
by Carrie Harris
sequel to Bad Taste in Boys

Publication date: unknown

LOVE this! Almost as much as I loved the weird cover for Bad Taste in Boys!

This is such a fun series and I am stoked to read this as soon as it finally comes out!!! 

AND...for a hilarious addition to your day, check out this post on Carrie Harris' blog to see a video of a ton of author's worst hair days!! :P

Anxiously Awaiting...Sapphire Blue!!!

Sapphire Blue
by Kerstin Gier
Edelstein Trilogy, book two

Publication date: Oct 30, 2012

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood, she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

I am so excited that there is finally a publication date for this book in the US! I loved Ruby Red and cannot wait to see how the story continues!! I'm a little sad they changed the cover style, but oh well...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. (description from

This was a deliciously creepy book.  It was not the type of scary that you get from watching a slasher was more the Alfred Hitchcock type.  Not only did the author come up with an interesting and somehow believable way tohave humans with paranormal powers exist, but also ways to have them remain hidden from the majority of the world. The true power of this book was that it was almost ordinary in its fantasticalness (yes, I just made up that word...forgive me, please). 

The most intriguing thing to me and what truly made this book work in the powerful way that it did, was the inclusion of the historical photographs.  That they images were actually from real life, whether manipulated in real life or not, just added another layer of mysterious authenticity to the story. 

I cannot wait to see what happens next.  I do hope that there is a follow-up book planned!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux
by Geraldine McCaughrean

Pepper's fourteenth birthday is a momentous one.
It's the day he's supposed to die.
Everyone seems resigned to it—even Pepper, although he would much prefer to live. But can you sidestep Fate? Jump sideways into a different life? NaÏve and trusting, Pepper sets a course through dangerous waters, inviting disaster and mayhem at every turn, one eye on the sky for fear of angels, one on the magnificent possibilities of being alive. (description from

I really enjoyed this book.  I felt so bad for Pepper, growing up convinced by the grown-ups around him that he was going to die at fourteen...good for him, taking his fate into his own hands! What follows is a mad-cap adventure, a-la cheesy adventure movie style, with lots of twists, coincidences, and finally a happy ending. 

I thought Pepper was a great character...charming, polite, well-intentioned, and fortunate in his friends.  I was very happy to see the way things turned out for him.  I thought the author did a really great job at keeping the tone of this book light and fun, because poor Pepper's life just starts out so sad...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. (description from

Okay, something you should know about me as a reader... I shy away from any book, and I mean *any* book that has a circus setting.  Why?  In college, I had this really weird lit class where we read about people on the outskirts of society, including circus "freaks."  SO, we read parts of the book Geek Love by Katherine Dunn and it literally creeped me out so bad that I will not consciously pick up a circus book at all now, without some massive prodding. 

Well, enter Morgenstern's debut, the toast of 2011, and about 20 people telling me to pick it up, including two very reliable sources (Thanks Geri! Thanks Danielle) and I had enough prodding that I, albeit still reluctantly picked up The Night Circus

I am so glad that I did! This book definitely lived up to all its hype.  Morgenstern literally created a magical masterpiece.  Every time I cracked open the cover, I found myself immersed in another layer of seductive imagery... a world that I longed to live in.  I wanted to become one of the fanatics that followed the Cirque de Reves from city to city, wrapping a red scarf round my neck, and marveling again and again at its wonders.

Aside from the love story that defied time and fate to find its happy ending, the wonder of this book is that you truly lose yourself in it.  The words wrap themselves around you and refuse to let go, taunting you to read *just a little more*... When I closed the book for the final time, I sat there momentarily stunned and immensely disappointed that I had no further excuse to linger.  I believe this will be a book that I will read again...

The Unknowns

The Unknowns
by Benedict Carey

In a trailer park called Adjacent, next to the Folsom Energy Plant, people have started to vanish, and no one seems to care. At first Lady Di and her best friend, Tom Jones, barely notice the disappearances—until their beloved math tutor, Mrs. Clarke, is abducted, too. Mrs. Clarke has left them clues in the form of math equations that lead them all over the trailer park, through hidden tunnels under “Mount Trashmore,” and into the Folsom Energy Plant itself, where Lady Di and Tom Jones and a gang of other misfits uncover the sordid truth about what’s really happening there. (description from

While I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this book and I'm usually a *huge* fan of puzzle-based books, this book just had too much real math in it for me.  (I was also coming down with a nasty headcold when I was reading it, so that may have contributed to my lack of focus, lol...) Anyway, I found myself skimming through the math explanations just looking for the next actual piece of action...not good. 

The two main characters were interesting and I found myself very curious as to what was going on in their little island, but I just couldn't push past the math part of this book to really, truly enjoy it.  :(

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's on My Hold List?

I wanted to try out a new feature on my blog. I think it will be fun!
Each month, I'll let you know
"What's on My Hold List?"

One of the most beautiful things about working in a Library is that I have the ability to put lots of things on hold and read them *before* I buy!!  These are some of the books that I'm currently waiting for, though I may buy one or two of them after reading, as well. 

Surrender by Lee Nichols
The Haunting Emma series, book three

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Dead is a Battlefield by Marlene Perez

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly series, book two

*If you click on each title, it will take you to the book on for more information. :)*
So, these are the books I'm waiting anxiously to get my hands on...what are you waiting for??