Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Boyfriend List

By E. Lockhart
3.5 / 5 Gnomes

Fifteen-year-old Ruby has had a rough ten days. During that time she:

   * lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
   * lost her best friend (Kim)
   * lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
   * did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
   * did something advanced with a boy (#15)
   * had an argument with a boy (#14)
   * had a panic attack
   * lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
   * failed a math test (she'll make it up)
   * hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
   * became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
   * had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the

But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

~Amazon Description~

Thank goodness I'm out of high school.  How I survived in the first place remains a mystery, and I didn't have anything remotely like the experiences of Miss Ruby Oliver.  I spent the better part of this week feeling awful for a girl I have never met.  Really awful.  I wanted to yell at her...I wanted to yell at her friends...I wanted to strangle her parents...and I wanted to start seeing Doctor Z myself.
E. Lockhart definitely knows how to write about awkward situations.  I was starting to worry that the teen angst was going to get out of hand, but the miraculous Doctor Z helped Roo (love the nickname by the way) get some perspective.  Lockhart is also very clever in her arrangement of a story.  The "boyfriend list" as each chapter was brilliant, and she weaves between storytelling and present telling with such ease.

From this moment forward, I dub this the summer of Lockhart.  Two books down, five to go.

If you're a fan of witty, realistic, female centric novels along the same lines as Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, Stephanie Perkins, and Sarah Mlynowski, check out The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Books of the Last 10 Years

Top Ten Tuesday
 Top 10 Books Written In The Past 10 Years 
That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

I'm so excited for this question!  And this feature in general.  Thank you The Broke and the Bookish for feeding my love of creating lists.  I sit, I ponder, I order and reorder.  It's a glorious past time.  So here we go, my top ten favorite books from the last ten years that I hope people are still reading 30 years from now in whatever format books are available in the not so distant future.

1) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern  
An enchanting fantasy novel.  Period.  The way Morgenstern created the atmosphere of the circus, walking the reader through the tents and describing the attractions was brilliant.  And the love story.  Oh the love story.  I absolutely adored this book, and I'm convinced that readers 30 years from now will also be enchanted.

2) The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield
I'm a quick reader.  When I'm reading a book, I get quite absorbed, and only after I've finished, do I sit back and ponder.  I actively participated in The Thirteenth Tale.  The gothic setting and mystery was so much fun, that I do believe I told everyone I met how much fun I was having reading the book.

3) Unwind by Neal Shusterman
I almost put The Hunger Games, but with the movie and all, The Hunger Games will be around.  No worries there.  Shusterman's dystopia was equally disturbing and thoughtful.  The story stuck with me for days after finishing, and still haunts me even now.  The creative plot and  heart-wrenching visuals deserve some staying power.

4) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I'm pretty sure I've expressed my love of this book on more than one occasion, but just in case you didn't know, this is a beautiful book.  No other book has made me laugh or cry quite like this one.  

5) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Greek myths will endure forever, but Riordan, in a stroke of genius, made them accessible to young readers.  He weaved the gods of lore and the struggles of a contemporary teen seamlessly.  Plus it was just cool.  Medusa's lair is "The Garden Gnome Emporium" and the Underworld is located in Los Angeles.  That just kills me every time.

6) Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Historical fiction can be a tough sell.  You have to either really love the time period, or you have to really love the story.  Finding both can be difficult.  But Moon Over Manifest does both equally well.  Abilene is such an endearing character that you are cheering for her throughout the entire book, and the setting is so mesmerizing that you feel like your walking the streets of Manifest.  This is the teen counterpart to The Thirteenth Tale.  I annoyingly told everyone I came in contact with how much I loved the book.  I still do.

7) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
It's as if Jasper Fforde fiddled around in my head and pulled out my wildest imagination.  I want to travel through books, meet characters, solve crime.  The story is brilliant, wildly funny, and so clever.

8) Keturah and Lord Death by Leavitt
Leavitt is a master storyteller.  Few books make you feel like you're sitting by a fire listening to someone tell you a story, but Keturah and Lord death manages just that feeling.

9) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Dessen's portrayal of realistic, contemporary teen fiction is my favorite.  Her stories always go way beyond a simple love story, and really reach into the difficulties of growing up, moving on, and finding strength.  This just happens to be my favorite, but I hope all of her books will continue to leave the shelves at libraries 30 years from now.

10) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak What a fascinating, heartbreaking, difficult read.  The foreshadowing at the beginning of each chapter just about destroyed me.  Knowing what was coming was devastating.  But, wow, a beautiful story.

That was fun!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Recycled Crafts

Junk Drawer:  Recycled Crafts

It's no secret that library programming budgets are shrinking in many communities.  The need to get creative in programming is becoming a necessity, and using household items is the perfect way to save money.  Recycled projects are not only cheap, but they provide an excellent opportunity to highlight a variety of areas in a library's collection and transition into programs on the environment and living green.

Don't know where to start?  Here's a list of craft ideas and sites with some great recycled crafts.

1) Gift Bows - Great idea for the holidays.  Could be paired with a program on "gifts in a jar" or a gift wrapping contest.
2) Jewelry & Beads - Around Valentine's Day?  Promote it as a "make something special" for Valentine's Day gift.
3) Magazine Bowl - Make one with the teens and use as a candy bowl at your reference desk.  Host a "question of the day" or to introduce yourself to teens at your library.
4) Magnets - A very easy passive program.  Hardly any prep and can be put out on tables for teens to fend for themselves.
5) Coasters & Garbage Can - Fun decorations for any teen area.  Have the teens help you make the coasters and garbage cans to be used at the library.  They'll feel like they contributed to the library, making the space their own, and you'll get some cool items out of the deal!

I know this hurts.  We're book lovers.  To destroy a book seems a catastrophe.  But we have book we dispose of all of the time.  Why not put them to good use?
(From Earth 911)
1) Book Vases - A present for Mother's Day?  Could pair with book page flowers to finish off the vase.
2) Book Page Wreath - Another option for the holidays.  Might be a great staff building activitiy.  Have your library work together to decorate!
3) Book Purses - Definitely a work shop type of craft.  If your teens get easily frustrated with crafts, this may not be the best choice.  A workshop format could work the purse in stages. (This project can be made cheaper with fewer tools then this tutorial would suggest.)
4) Book Boxes - The ever popular "book safe", "treasure book", or "hollow book".
5) Book Page Flower 1 (Sunday Baker), Flower 2 (Twigg Studios), Flower 3 (DIY Inspired)

1) Toilet Paper Albums (Green Your Way) - The Cherished Treasures blog suggests creating a Valentine's Album to give away.  The album could also be a fun end of the school year album.
2) Paper Towel Roll Flowers (Green Your Way) - Ever thought of hosting a Girl's Night at the library.  This would be a fun, easy craft.  Or you could use this as an alternative to book page flowers for Valentine's Day.
3) Newspaper Gift Bags (How About Orange) - I love this!  You could pair this with the magazine gift bow and have a whole program on cheap holiday alternatives.  Adults would really like all of these as well.
4) T-Shirt Pom Poms (Green Your Way) - Pick out some red, green, blue, and yellow shirts and make Angry Bird pom poms!  Use the craft for a game.
5) Plastic Bottle Coin Purse (Teach Beside Me) - Prep by providing drinks at other programs.  Just too cute to pass up.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)

By Sarah Mlynowski
3 / 5 Gnomes

2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.

~Amazon Description~

Every once in awhile it's nice to read a fun book.  Not all books are fun.  Some make you think.  Some make your cry.  Some make you want to hide under the covers and never come out.  But some just make you smile.  I was sooo not an April in high school.  I had a great relationship with my family, I was a complete goodie goodie, and I never met a Hudson.  Perhaps a part of me wishes I had been willing to take a fraction of the risks that April took.  I loved the chapter title countdown and the way Mlynowski weaved flashbacks into the story to build characterization and backstory.  The book was excellently written.
There was just a lot I couldn't really connect with in the book.  Do parents really leave their children with other families?  Would someone really sell a hot tub to two teenage girls?  Who gives a teenager a $1000 monthly allowance?  It was hard to believe sometimes.

So I didn't love or hate the book.  I liked it.  It was a fun pre-summer realistic fiction read, and I'm definitely going to check out more of Mlynowski's titles.

Fans of Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, and Stephanie Perkins, should pick up Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Literary Ponderings Part I: "Deal-Breakers"

 Literary Ponderings Part I:

A few years ago I stumbled upon  It was a good day.  The ladies at Forever Young Adult have mastered the art of YA book reviews and drinking games.  The two don't normally go hand in hand, but somehow they manage brilliantly.  Plus they often have discussions on the Gilmore Girls.  They make me want to do jazz hands while reading.

Anyway...on one of their blog posts they started talking about literary "deal-breakers".  We all have them.  Plot points and book characteristics that drive you batty.  They're kind of like nails on a chalkboard when you're reading.  All of this reading and writing got me thinking.  What are my literary "deal-breakers"?

(Sidenote:  They aren't universal.  Occasionally one of the items from the following list takes me by surprise.  But generally we go!)

1) Talking Animals - This is definitely numero uno on my list.  I can't fully explain other than to say if animals really do think and talk to one another, I'm not sure I want to know what my cat thinks about me.  She could quite possibly be planning a coup.  I just can't wrap my mind around animals with human characteristics.  There are exceptions of course.  Watership Down is just brilliant, and I would love to meet Aslan, but given a choice, I'd rather do yard work than read a book narrated by a talking animal.  Have I mentioned my aversion to yard work?

2)  Midlife Crisis - "I'm about to go all selfish on you and leave for another country to find myself even though I'll figure out I knew myself all along, I just didn't want to be with you in the first place."  Get over yourself!  I probably shouldn't judge.  I might one day have a midlife crisis and be a total crazy person.  But geez...whiny much!  Maybe that should have been #2 instead...whiny characters.  I wish all books came with a warning if characters are going to be excessively whiny.  How I handle so much teen angstyness, I don't know?!

3)  Symbolism & Metaphors - "What I'm saying isn't really what I mean, and what I mean could mean something different to you, and to me, and to him..."  Just tell me the point already!  Personally I like to be hit over the head with the moral of the story.  I read to escape.  If the author expects too much out of me, ick.  That kind of makes me sound like a lazy, lazy reader.  I like to be challenged, but not left behind if I don't get the great symbolism.

4)  Books Over 400 Pages - So I just totally shamed myself.  Please don't think less of me.  Maybe I've been working with teenagers too long.  Not that all teenagers are allergic to long books, but a vast majority of the ones I meet complain if a book lasts more than 300 pages.  I've noticed lately, though, that I like to get and out pretty quickly in a book.  Maybe because 95% of teen books being published are a part of a series.  Don't prattle on forever.  Entertain me and then be done with it already.  (I'm hanging my head embarrassed.)

5)  It Was Just A Dream - How dare you!  I'm looking at you Life of Pi.  I suspended belief for you.  I made it through man eating islands and hungry tigers.  I stuck with you, and you pull that...that vague, dreamy ending.  AHHH!  Unfortunately this "deal-breaker" isn't discovered until the very end, but what a quick way to ruin my day

So there you go, my literary "deal-breakers".  If you've got some time, I'd love to hear what makes you crazy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top 10 Blogs/Sites I Read That Aren't About Books

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Blogs/Sites I Read That Aren't About Books

When I give myself a night off, here are some of the blogs and sites I routinely checkout:

1) How About Orange - Tons of easy, cheap craft ideas

2) The Bloggess - Because this woman just cracks me up

3) David Lee King - Insights into tips and trends in the library world

4) Oops! I Craft My Pants - (1) I giggle every time I read the name.  (2) some great crafty ideas

5) MTV Buzzworthy - Because I'm a pop culture junkie, and my job requires me to be in the know

6) TED Talks - Because I like to be inspired

7) Boing Boing - Politics, news, technology, books, pop culture...a little bit of everything

8) DIY Inspired - Wishing I was way more crafty than I am

9) The Huffington Post - When you need the news

10) The Dreamer - The web comic I'm only slightly obsessed with...Lora Innes, I adore your love of history and your dreamy Alan Warren

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Fool's Girl

By Celia Rees
3 / 5 Gnomes 

Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest—and their most unusual story—lead? In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance.

This wholly original story is spun from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and includes both folly and suspense that would make the Bard proud.

~Amazon Description~

I took a Shakespeare class in college.  I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge for me, at least in the classroom setting.  I loved the stories, the intrigue, the romance and comedy, but I hated the discussions on symbolism and metaphor.  Can't a flower, just be a flower sometimes?  Off topic, sorry...while I read a whole slew of plays that semester, I never made it to Twelfth Night, which is a shame really, because the story line has an array of great plot points.  The Fool's Girl has a lot of important players: ambassadors, playwrights, dukes, lords, and corrupted clergy.  Each person has a back-story which is important, and with so many characters and motives, the book was tricky to keep up with at times.

I'm a big fan of Celia Rees.  I love her take on historical fiction.  She expertly weaves real facts and places into imaginative plots, and uses strong, independent, intelligent young ladies as her protagonists.  The Fool's Girl fits well on Ree's bookshelf of publications.  Her heroine, Violetta, remains true to her cause, fighting to regain a relic that will bring hope back to her people.  Instead of taking the easy out opportunities, she remains steadfast and courageous.  The Fool's Girl was a fun, quick read that sweeps you back to Elizabethan England.  Now I just need to tack Twelfth Night!

Friday, May 18, 2012

TGIF: A Book Blogger is Born

 TGIF: A Book Blogger is Born
(Hosted at GReads)
This Friday's Question:
A Book Blogger is Born: What made you decide to start your very own book blog?

A side-effect of being a librarian is that you love to talk about books.  Most people don't mind.  They might not understand my fascination with fairies, public schools, or coming-of-age stories, but they play along.  Others complain, especially when you go on and on about teen fiction when all they read is adult romance or mysteries.  Or they're not readers at all, and I'm just a weird girl with too much imagination. I love reading other blogs that discuss teen lit, and I wanted to contribute.  Plus, I just really needed a hobby.

College kind of ruined me when it came to just sitting and relaxing.  I got too used to doing homework and multi-tasking while watching TV.  I've been done with school for over four years now, and I still can't enjoy primetime television.  I tried crocheting (I have about 20 unfinished projects), coloring (which is fun, but can get a little tedious), and sudoku (which is just frustrating).  I needed something to keep me occupied during the evenings that wouldn't cost me any money, and voila!, blogging fit the bill.

So here I am, a relatively new blogger, and loving every minute of it.  Is anyone reading?  I don't know.  While I'd love some interaction, I'm really just enjoying the process.  I like sharing my thoughts and ideas, and maybe, just maybe, I'll make a friend or two that shares my enthusiasm.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

By E. Lockhart
2.5 / 5 Gnomes

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:Debate Club.
Her father's "bunny rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend:  the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer.
Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society.
Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew's lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

~Amazon Description~

I feel kind of bad about the 2.5 gnome rating.  The book was excellently written.  I really enjoyed the voice of the omniscient narrator who provided back story and context for Frankie's misdeeds throughout the semester, and the book moved so smoothly that it felt like I was watching a movie or TV sitcom.  The book and story I liked.  

I just didn't like Frankie.  I'm all about girl-power, and I totally understand wanting to be respected and just seen.  But I couldn't get over Frankie's power trip.  Everything she did, she did for herself.  Even the pranks that were meant to make a difference at the school were lost because it was her point she was trying to get across.

I just couldn't relate.  I couldn't relate to life in a private school, to uber private clubs, to being around such self-absorbed people that love you one day and act as if they don't know you the next.  And I like tradition.  I tried to put myself in Frankie's shoes...what would I do if I wasn't allowed in a club?  I would have followed Zada's advice and started my own secret club.  It's a boys society.  Always has been.  And they are relatively harmless.  They weren't really trying to prove a point; they were just having fun.  Let them have their fun, and make your own fun.

Would I recommend this book to others?  Absolutely.  And I definitely want to check out E. Lockhart's other books.  Several parts just weren't my cup of tea.

If you like private schools, strong female characters, and a bit of adventure, checkout The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

You might also like:

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Authors On Reality TV

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 / 2 Authors I'd Like to See On A Reality Show

I don't really watch a lot of reality television.  Contestants have this unique ability to drive me absolutely batty.  And I don't do a whole lot of research on authors.  But from what I know of realty TV and what I've read about authors, here we go:

1 & 2) Maureen Johnson and Libba Bray on The Amazing Race : Can you imagine?  Their tweets alone would be entertaining and make me want to tune in each week!

3) Stephanie Perkins on Trading Spaces (once upon a time).  Her quirky style and fun personality could very possibly make for some crazy awesome decorating.

4) John Green on Mythbusters.  He's smart, he's funny, he might just be a match for Adam.  Plus I'd kind of like to see John Green blow things up.

5) Suzanne Collins on Survivor.  Could be hilariously ironic.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss

By Stephanie Perkins
4 / 5 Gnomes

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more.  So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris-until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true.  Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

~Amazon Description~

I've been in a reading mood lately.  I'll read furiously for several weeks, and then I'll do just about anything to avoid reading...anything...including yard work  The problem is that I'm a librarian and reading kind of comes with the job.  As I pick out new books at the library or sort through the titles I've purchased for my Nook, I can't help wanting to return to some of my favorites to enjoy them for a second, third, or fourth time.  So at the advice of a fellow Teen Librarian at work, I've decided to enjoy my favorites on audiobook.

I was pretty much head over heals when I first read Anna and the French Kiss, but now it's true love.  Kim Mai Guest did an amazing job bringing Anna to life.  She gave her personality and emotion that matched the character I had created during my first reading.  St. Clair's accent grated on me at first, but it quickly became a part of the story, and endeared me to him even more.  And I was re-introduced to Isla and have grown terribly impatient for the next book.  So my first experience with a second-helping via audiobook went really well.

But here's the problem...I listen to audiobooks in my car.  Cars have windows.  I react to stories.  It's even worse when I know what's coming.  I can only hope that no one I know drives past me as I'm laughing, crying, blushing, and screaming.  I am only slightly concerned that someone could possibly call the police to warn them about an emotional driver on the road.

Friday, May 11, 2012

TGIF: Supporting Characters

TGIF: Supporting Characters
(Hosted at GReads)
This Friday's Question:

"Supporting Characters: We tend to gush over those main characters the most, but what about those supporting roles? Who are some of your favorites? "

I've spent the better part of the day mulling this over.  I've come to the conclusion that I've read way too many books.  They all start to run together at some point, and the characters I loved while reading are sadly forgotten.  Most of my lists tend to be filled with books I've read within the last six months, which makes it look like I've only read about ten books in my life.  I'm going to have to keep better notes.

So...keeping all that in mind, some of my favorite supporting characters include:

Professor Snape (Harry Potter) :  I loved Harry Potter.  Loved it.  But I would have loved even more Snape.  The professor in black was mysterious, burly, and sour.  Despite his shifty demeanor, I was always rooting for Snape, and I was always eagerly awaiting another scene where he left you wondering, is he good or bad??  His final revelations in The Deathly Hallows left me sobbing and made you very aware of the impact he had on the main characters throughout the book.  Perhaps that's the testament of a truly excellent supporting character...they don't have to be present every page to be felt.

Isaac (The Fault in Our Stars) : When I first read the book, I enjoyed it, but refused to succumb to the hype.  Then I started thinking about it, and thinking about it, and now I'm hopelessly in love.  Each of the characters burrow themselves into your heart.  Augustus Waters, maybe my all time favorite character ever.  Hazel Grace, equally moving and inspiring.  And then there's Isaac.  Poor heartbroken Isaac.  Life dealt him a really terrible deck of cards, but despite everything, he always himself to love, to laugh, and to live.  He managed everything with a wicked sense of humor, and I adored him for it.

And finally, the walking, talking viking garden gnome Balder (Going Bovine) : Because, come on, it's a walking, talking, surly garden gnome that claims to be a norse god.  As a devote garden gnome enthusiast, I consider it a duty to support all of the pointy-hatted lawn ornament variety.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles

By Marissa Meyer
3.5 / 5 Gnomes

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.

~Amazon Description~

Gone are the talking mice, bumbling step-sisters, and sing-songy Cinderella from Disney.  Hello Cinder!  Not only is she a cyborg, but she's a cyborg with a very interesting past.  I do believe this is my first book featuring a genetically altered semi-robot female protagonist.

In fact, I think my only previous experience with cyborgs have been on the silver screen, Cyborgs (1989) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, and the 80s classic Terminator.  I should probably point out here that I have a deep affection for cheesy 80s movies.

But coming back to Cinder, the girl is pretty much made of awesome.  She's part robot, which she thinks is a shame because cyborgs are kind of shunned by the rest of the population, but come on, she can hide things in her bionic leg and stop mindless androids with a single punch.

There are definitely moments that harken back to the fairy tale we are all familiar with, but Meyer's take on the classic is refreshing, fast-paced, and definitely not pink-princess girly.  New Beijing is filled with a mixture of new and fantastical and is a welcome addition to not only the scifi/fantasy genre, but to the fairytale retellings flooding the publishing world and movie theaters.

Can't wait for book two!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Favorite Quotes From Books
(Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish)

Love this one!  I'm a post-it note reader.  I sit with a stack of post-its next to me so I can mark or jot down my favorite parts, quotes, and moments in books.  People know that if they borrow a book, they have to leave the notes in their space.  Sometimes you just like to go back and relive your favorite books, and my post-it note system makes it easier.

So without further are my top 10 favorite quotes from books!

1)  "Augustus:  'I am.  I didn't cut this fella off for the sheer unadulterated pleasure of it, although it is an excellent weight-loss strategy.  Legs are heavy!'"

~The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

2)  “Adina’s been teaching us stuff at Smart School.  Like about geography and real estate companies and feminism,” Tiara explained to the pirates. “Cool,” said George. “Yeah.  It is.”  She squinted in thought.  “Do you think my new feminism makes me look fat?”
~Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
3)  "I scowled.  Being manipulated has always been one of my least favorite things.  Right up there with snakes.  And Britney Spears."
~Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
4)  "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again."
~The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expuery  
5)  "We look not at the the things that are waht you would call seen, but at the things that are not seen.  For the things that are seen are temporal.  But the things that are not seen are eternal."
~A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
6)   “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
~The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
7)  "Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing. For any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count. What you have to decide is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you'd want to have spent it?”
~The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
8)  "Not my daughter, you bitch!"

~Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
9)   “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'.” 
~To Kill A Mockingbird  by Harper Lee
10)  “We are standing at a party, a still, quiet eddy in the swirl of motion and noise.We aren’t talking, but not because we aren’t talking. We aren’t talking because this is what we do at parties. We stand here. ‘Here” is somewhere near the midsection of the party animal.  We don’t want to appear to want to be here. Everything we do implies that we might not need to be here long at all…We stand in the den off to one side with our backs near the wall, holding our Diet Coke and our beer, nodding every once in a while at people going by, but not really talking to them any more than we are talking to each other.” “What are we doing here?” I ask David, after about an hour of this. “Mitchell,” David answers after a sufficiently long pause to show that he’s in no hurry to answer the question, “we are partying.”
~Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman

And one for the road...since it's a quote in a book and not really a book quote.

"We are all, each and every one of us, misunderstood. And every individual is abnormal. But I ask you, where's the fun in normal?"- Phineas Fletcher (~Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

Monday, May 7, 2012


By Myra McEntire
Available June 22, 2012

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Gnomes

A threat from the past could destroy the future.

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples--cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers's return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum by a mysterious man. Either they find Landers and the research he has stolen on people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered--with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most. Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their extraordinary powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? Even if they succeed, just finding him may not be enough ...

~Amazon Description~

So, I probably should have reread Hourglass before tackling Timepiece, or at least the last third of the book.  I felt like I was playing catch-up a bit, but that was my bad.  It didn’t take me long to remember why I had enjoyed the first part so much.  The story is complicated and extremely layered.  You kind of have to work to keep up, but I really like that about the plot.  McEntire does an amazing job creating a world where time travel, vails, and super-natural abilities are possible. 

So cool to hear this portion of the story from Kaleb!  Emerson was fun, but Kaleb, trying to be the bad boy Kaleb, is just so sincere and compassionate.  Sure, he can’t help it, feeling the emotions of everyone around him.  But what a special dude that uses his powers for good, genuine good.

And I love how the villain is pure villain!  Jack Landers has zero redeemable qualities which is quite refreshing.  Most stories at least try to get you to sympathize or empathize with the bad guy.  But not Jack.  Jack is just rotten.

For a different, refreshing supernatural/scifi selection, check out McEntire’s Hourglass series.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Totally Judge A Book By Its Cover: Part 1

Or...10 books I want to read because the cover is awesome

Hi.  My name is Emily (a.k.a. Gnomegrlem), and I judge books by their covers.  Whew!  That feels good to get off my chest.  Don't shake your head with that look of judgement on your face.  You know you do it too.  Thank goodness publishers are starting to get a handle on covers for teen books.  Have I been massively mislead by an awesome cover?  Absolutely.  There have definitely been those instances when I really wish I had read a few reviews before diving in to the book.

More often then not I'm entertained, moved, or inspired.  As you will find the more we get to know each other, it doesn't take much to amuse me.  It all comes down to why we read, but that's a post for another day.

So, 10 books on my radar solely because I like the cover:

1) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Girl with a giant crossbow?!
2) The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Like the retro look.

3) The Selection by Kiera Cass
Pretty dress #1!

4) Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Pretty dress #2!

5) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Ghost story feel and fun title.
6) Supergirl Mixtapes by Meagan Brothers
A new syncopated book?

7) Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
Girl in a car...road trip?!

8) Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Pretty dress #3!

9) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Like the Instagram look.
 10) Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
Young Downton Abby vibe.

Friday, May 4, 2012

TGIF: Literary Vacations

TGIF: Literary Vacations
(Hosted at GReads)

This Friday's Question:
Literary Vacations: If you could take a trip this summer to any place within a
fictional book, where would you go?

I love these features hosted at other blogs.  I'm a fairly fast reader, but a couple posts a week is starting to get tricky.  I don't know how other bloggers do it!  At least these predetermined questions/responses can help.

So where would I like to go on a "literary vacation."  Well, my immediate response was Narnia (after the White Witch had been defeated and summer could return to the land of course).  While I'm not much in to talking animals, having a chat with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver or taking a walk with Aslan would be more than kind of awesome.  I could relax at the castle with the Pevensie royals, drink tea with Mr. Tumnus, or talk to the trees. It has its possibilities.

But then I started to think about it, and I think I would prefer an adventure vacation.  So that led me to Swindon, England to hang out with Thursday Next, heroine of Jasper Fforde's Eyre Affair series.  Undoubtedly we would find ourselves in some sort of peril, but I could hang out with Heathcliff at his anger management club and skip between books with Miss Havisham.  Not realxing, but it would definitely be a vacation to remember.

Thursday, May 3, 2012