Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top 10 Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick A Book

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick A Book
(Feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish)

Fair warning...I'm going to cheat a little on two, but this is kind of a tricky list!  There's very little I won't read.  In fact, my list of instantly won't pick up pretty much stops at talking animals.  I don't like talking animals.  As for the pick-me-ups, basically, if the cover is pretty, I'm pretty likely to read.  But here are a few of my favorite words/topics.

  1. John Green - Laugh, cry, think, believe - a complete reading experience.
  2. Libba Bray - She could write medical brochures and I'd want to read them.  Inventive and sarcastic.
  3. Faeries - I like faeries.  I'm over werewolves and vampires, but faeries still top my favorites list.
  4. Zombies - The undead might just be the creepiest supernatural creature ever.  They used to be human.  You could turn a corner and see the hollow expression of any of your friends or family.  Terrifying!
  5. Apocalypse - Apocalypse often means dystopia, which is hands down one of my favorite genres.
  6. Fallen Angels - Next to faeries, still loving the fallen angel angle.  Not sure how much longer that will be a go-to topic with titles flooding the market, but the titles I've read keep this firmly on my list.
  7. Prague - Thrills, chills, ancient obstacles...Prague usually means an excellent read.
  8. Road Trip - Love me a good roadtrip story, especially if there are music playlists involved.
  9. Quiet, Artistic Boy - Um, dreamy.  Usually.  Most of the time.  Mysterious, loner boy who melts the heart of an unsuspecting girl.  Sigh.
  10. Fairytale - Retellings, revisitings, reimagings.  I grew up a fairytale kid, and I love the this trend of modernizing some of our most cherished stories.

So, yeah, there was a theme.  I love the supernatural, fantastical.  I love using my imagination and believing, even briefly, in the strange and unbelievable.

What's on your list?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children: A review

By Kirstin Cronn-Mills http://kirstincronn-mills.com/
Publisher: flux
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 262
Awards: ALA's 2013 GLBTQ Rainbow List (2013)

"This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I'm Gabe. Welcome to my show."

My birth name is Elizabeth, but I'm a guy. Gabe. My parents think I've gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I'm right. I've been a boy my whole life.

When you think about it, I'm like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side--not heard as often, but just as good.

It's time to let my B side play.

~Goodreads Description

The Breakdown

Gabe Williams's dream is to be a radio DJ.  But what he wants more than anything is to actually be a guy.  A regular guy with regular guy problems, who can like girl, use the men's bathroom, and go by his chosen name.  Gabe was born a boy...but has lived in a girl's body the last eighteen years.  Being trans gender isn't something people in his family and community know how to deal with...it's not even really something Gabe knows how to deal with, but it's time to figure out who he really is and live the life he desperately wants.

The Awesome

This isn't the first trans gender book I've read.  Over six years ago I was assigned Luna by Julie Anne Peters.  That particular book drove me crazy.  It was dark, horrifying,, and about the bleakest example of family life that I've read to date.  Beautiful Music for Ugly Children paints a different picture.  This is a story of hope and acceptance, of family and friendship, and really, just possibilities.  Cronn-Mills does an excellent job of portraying hurt and fear.  She doesn't villain-ize parents who mourn the loss of a daughter.  Instead, she paints a picture of love and healing.  She gives Gabe real teenage problems to work through during his time of discovery and change, with real hopes and dreams, and real obsessions.  Gabe travels this new journey through a world of music, and when music is involved it's bound to be awesome.

The Not So Awesome

I don't really have a lot to fill in here.  This seems to be happening a lot lately.  I had trouble with the first half of the books.  I couldn't help thinking that this is just another GLBTQ story with terrible parents and a one-tracked protagonist, but Cronn Mills really surprised me.  She switched things up by showing time heals wounds and communication knocks down barriers.  She also switched things up by giving Gabe something to strive for beyond just his identity.  He didn't want it to define him, and it wasn't all about him.  He just wanted to be and create a future that would allow that.

So, yeah, pretty good book.  I wish I could summon song titles and artists into my head at any particular moment.  I wish I had the world's coolest neighbor filling my home with the sounds of rock n' roll greats.  I hope that teens who are facing similiar struggles and trials find this book and see there is hope.  

Favorite Quotes "You know, life is just programmed chaos.  Everybody starts out on one side - that's the programmed part.  But then chaos happens, and our album flips.  We get fat or thin, or dye our hair and pierce our nose.  But those are just our outsides.  Our insides are still beautiful, even if we think we're ugly children."

Similar Titles Luna by Julie Anne Peters, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Friday, April 26, 2013

Library GrabBag: 8-Bit PopUp Cards

Looking for a super easy, super fun program?  Or maybe a quick, any-time program to fill those unexpected minutes with a crowd?  I just found, and tried, 8 bit popup cards in the Teen Room, and it was a hit!

That's it!  You might have all of the supplies in your drawer already.  So this program works a little better with an older crowd unless you have some super patient, detail-oriented young'ns.  All you have to do is print out the template on some color paper and follow the instructions to cut and score the lines.  When you fold the card in half, your popup card will appear.  Don't forget to put some cardboard or a cutting mat under the project while cutting.

Do you have any similar projects?

Happy crafting!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sweethearts: A review

By Sara Zarr
On Goodreads , On Twitter
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, copyright 2008, 217 pages

As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another's only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she's lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she's popular, happy, and dating, everything "Jennifer" couldn't be---but she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Jenna has done everything she can to leave Jennifer, her chubby adolescent self, in the past.  She has lost weight, made new friends, finally gotten her first boyfriend, and finally let got of Cameron Quick.  Cameron had been her everything when she was little.  Soul mates in elementary school.  The friends who knew everything about her, but loved her anyway.  But Cameron disappeared and to survive his departure Jenna had to shed Jennifer.  But then Cameron returns, and with him, he brings memories long suppressed and feelings long buried.  Jenna knows she is still Jennifer at her core, but can she be both?

The Awesome
We all have childhood friends that stick with us.  They are uniquely ingrained in our memories and create the puzzle of our pieced together past.  Cameron and Jennifer experienced some pretty horrible things growing up, but it was their friendship that kept them strong, even after Cameron had left and Jenna emerged.  Even better, it was a true friendship.  No questions asked, no grudges held, just loyalty and love.  Surprisingly one of Jenna's new friends steps up in amazing ways.  She could be bitter because of secrets, petty the way teen girls can be, but instead, she chooses to just love Jenna, despite everything.

So yeah...friendship is pretty awesome.

Oh, and the "Best Stepdad Every" award goes to Alan.  What an amazing, standup guy!

The Not So Awesome
Again with personal preference.  Another sad book that is uncomfortably close to my daily life.  Unlike Jenna, the teens I know talk.  They tell you way more than you're ready to hear, or really want to hear.  It's hard for me to get emotionally invested in the lives of characters when my instinct is to build a wall.

Sweethearts isn't the best realistic fiction book I've ever read.  And it's not the best realistic fiction book I've read with similar topics.  But it's good, solid, heartfelt, which makes it absolutely worth reading.  Zarr does a fantastic job weaving in the past in pieces, showing the re-emergence of Jennifer as Jenna confronts difficult memories, and expressing sympathy and empathy for tough subject matters.  Best of all, she shows strong, resilient teenagers who are learning to stand on their own two feet.

Similar Titles Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Favorite Quote “the past only had whatever power you gave it; life was what you made it and if you wanted something different from what you had, it was up to you to make it happen.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Drama: a graphic novel review

By Raina Telgemeier
Graphix, copyright 2012
233 pages


Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can't really sing. Instead she's the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

~Goodreads Description~

The description sums it up pretty well.  Callie loves theater.  Callie builds theater sets.  Callie meets other theater lovers.  Middle-school antics ensue.  I wasn't overly enthusiastic about this particular title.  The artwork is fun and interesting, but the characters lack something.  I'm not exactly sure what...I guess depth.  And while I applaud not being afraid of diversity and tackling sensitive issues, in this case homosexuality, it seemed too stereotypical and a bit overdone in this particular story.  Kudos to showing tweens who have a passion for extracurricular activities outside of sports and who actually follow through on tasks.

If you're looking for a graphic novel option without superheroes that is set in a middle school, take a look at Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top 10 Books I Thought I'd like More/Less Than I Did

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
I like this list...a lot.  I've found the more I know about a book (and the I've heard what people think), the less I tend to enjoy it.  There's too much pressure.  I've also found that the books that surprise me, stay with me.  So I'm splitting it up: 5 more, 5 less.

Books I Thought I'd Like More:
It's not that I didn't like them, it's just that the hype was so high ("It changed my life...") I expected more.
1) Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky
3) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
4) Jellicoe Road by Marlina Marchetta
5) Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Books I Thought I'd Like Less:
Pleasant surprises!
1) Black Duck by Janet Lisle Taylor
2) The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
3) Rash by Pete Hautman
4) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
5) The Selection by Kiera Cass

What's on your list?  Happy reading!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Librarian Way "Library Shorts" - Stranded on a deserted island

This week on TheLibrarianWay.com

Monday - "Library Shorts" with Emily
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Getting Involved
Wednesday - Book Love with Emily
Thursday - Exciting Events - Pop Up Cards
Friday - Friday Favorites with Julia

If you were stranded on a deserted island...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Library GrabBag: Novel Playlist

Last week's passive program in our teen room merged music and books in a fun, creative way.  Becky, our other Teen Librarian, put together a novel playlist activity.  Students were asked to pick a title of their choosing and share three songs they feel fit the story.  As always, teens who participate receive a piece of candy (no shame in bribery!) and are entered into a raffle for a prize from our prize shelves at the end of the week.  I love this particular activity because it asks teens to think about what they've read in a different way.  What is the story about?  What is the mood or tone of the story?  What song best describes the way the story made you feel?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eleanor and Park: a review

By Rainbow Rowell
On Twitter
On Goodreads
St. Martins Press, copyright 2013
325 pages

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Park didn't want to like Eleanor.  He wanted to sit on the bus and mind his own business.  No sudden movements.  Keep to yourself and the kids at the back of the bus will leave you alone.  Eleanor didn't want to like Park.  She was already living on the edge at home.  Bringing attention to herself at school was the last thing she needed.  But Park needed Eleanor, and Eleanor needed Park and slowly their worlds collided.

The Awesome
This was, by far, the most poetic book I've ever read.  Rainbow Rowell knows exactly how to weave words together so they flow across the page and stick in your head.  Every time Park touches Eleanor, and every time Eleanor sees Park, you feel it in deep in your heart and ache alongside them.

Eleanor and Park is the story of first love, but it is also a story about family.  We get a glimpse of poverty and choice in Eleanor's family and love and forgiveness in Park's family.  The fact that the two find each other despite their very different backgrounds might not be miraculous, but that they let each other in is.  Eleanor could have very easily become a loner, shutting the world out, but she didn't.  And Park could have very easily succumbed to peer pressure and joined the others in making Eleanor's life even more miserable, but he didn't.

The Not So Awesome
Once again, this has nothing to do with the story itself but my own prejudices.    I read to escape, and while reading books that mirror things I see on the news or in my library's Teen Room every day, I tend to put up a wall and keep myself for really caring about the characters.  That was my barrier with Eleanor and Park.  Every day I hear stories from teens that are sadly similar to Eleanor's, and I see the bullying and intimidating that both characters endured.  I couldn't make myself really love the book.

So it's okay to appreciate quality literature and talented authors without really loving their books.  That is my relationship with Eleanor and Park.  If you want a romance with substance, that tackles tough issues, and that is exceptionally well written, pick up Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park.

Favorite Quote “You can be Han Solo," he said, kissing her throat. "And I'll be Boba Fett. I'll cross the sky for you.” 

Similar Titles The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Paper Towns


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Zita the Spacegirl: a graphic novel review

By Ben Hatke
FirstSecond; copyright 2011
192 pages

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of  an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

~Goodreads Description~

Zita lesson number one - don't push the red button.  After finding a mysterious device in the rubble of a meteoroid, Zita finds herself on a strange planet looking for her kidnapped best friend Joseph.  Zita lesson number two - don't trust strangers.  After befriending Piper who wants to help repair the broken remote control, Zita embarks on a journey through foreign lands to a castle where Joseph is being held captive only to find out that her new friend is not all that he seems. 

Asteroids, monsters, cool stomping boots, this book is adorable.  Zita is a spunky heroine that is immediately endearing, and her new friends are loyal and fun.  Think The Wizard of Oz on a planet far, far away.  Kudos to the fantastic artwork as well.   

So what if it's shelved in the children's section, Zita the Spacegirl is most definitely a fun read.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Rewind!

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday REWIND:
Books I Want to See Turn Into Movies
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Today we're picking a topic we missed or would like to revisit which made me pause...what do I want to talk about today?  There are so many teen books being turned into movies this year that I thought I'd throw a few of my favorites into the discussion for what needs to come out next. (Sidenote: I have the unique ability to separate the book from the movie.  I rarely get super disappointed if the story changes, scenes are left out, or the characters don't look the way I imagined.  As long as the integrity of the story is intact, I'm usually a happy camper.)
1) Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
There's humor, there's thrills, and, of course, there's aliens.  What more could you want out of a movie?

2) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Celaena totally kicks butt.  I'd love to see her take on the kingdom's best assassins on the silver screen.

3) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A WWII movie with two fantastic female characters in the lead.

4) Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Let's jump on the fairytale band wagon with this new title that blends them all together.

5) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
A ghost story with some substance, and a whole lot of screams.

6) Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
We need more steampunk in hollywood.

7) If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
For a major cry-fest.

8) Splintered by A.G. Howard
It's trippy...it's romantic...it's gothic...it's Alice.  Enough said.

9) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Sigh.  Now this one I'm particular...if they don't pick the right Perry, I wouldn't see it.

10) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreaund
A perfect mix of dystopia and romance.

This was harder than I thought it would be to narrow it down to ten.  So just for kicks, there's always Anna and the French Kiss, The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, Cinder, Hourglass, and The Selection.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Q & A: How to avoid competition

This week on TheLibrarianWay.com

Monday: Q & A - How to avoid competition
Tuesday: Back to Basics - Incorporating new formats
Wednesday: Book Love with Julia
Thursday: Exciting Events -
Friday: Friday Favorites with Emily

Q & A: How to avoid competition

Friday, April 12, 2013

Library GrabBag: Dreamcatchers

This week we tackled dreamcatchers in the Teen Room.  They were one of my favorite crafts as a child, and they are definitely easy to connect to a book...thanks Jacob and Bella.

Supplies (approximately $15 for 10 crafts):

  • Metal hoop (there are several sizes, I used a ring that was about 3" in diameter)
  • Yarn (or leather) (I used brown yarn)
  • Plastic cord (or sinew) (I used "white" plastic cord)
  • Feathers (optional)
  • Beads (optional) 

I found a great picture tutorial at Crafthabit.comThere are a huge variety of techniques.  This was the simplest that I found.  Basically, step (1) is wrapping yarn around the circumference of the metal ring, step (2) evenly loop the plastic cord around the ring and continue the process moving inward, step (3) decorate with feathers and beads. 

A suggestion:  To reduce waste and mess, build kits for each participant.  Pre-cut yarn and plastic cord and divide them into baggies.  I also put a few feathers into each bag.  This came in super handy for teens who couldn't stay for the entire craft hour.  The remaining supplies were already packed and ready for them to take home and complete.

Big craft for very cheap.  Give it a try!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wonder Show: a review

By Hannah Barnaby
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Copyright 2012
288 Pages
William C. Morris YA Debut Award Nominee (2013) 

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step inside Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, a menagerie of human curiosities and misfits guaranteed to astound and amaze! But perhaps the strangest act of Mosco’s display is Portia Remini, a normal among the freaks, on the run from McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls, where Mister watches and waits. He said he would always find Portia, that she could never leave. 

Free at last, Portia begins a new life on the bally, seeking answers about her father’s disappearance. Will she find him before Mister finds her? It’s a story for the ages, and like everyone who enters the Wonder Show, Portia will never be the same.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
At one time, Portia had a family.  Her father would listen to her stories, her cousins were lull her to sleep at night with their songs, and her Aunt would drag her to church on Sundays and keep her line.  But things change, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, Portia is sent to McGreavy's Home for Wayward Girls under the care of Mister, a super creepy bachelor who is building his own workforce of poor girls.  Then Mosco's Traveling Wonder Show comes through town, and Portia sees freedom on the horizon and the hopes of finding her father.

The Awesome
This is a sad story.  That's not usually awesome, but Portia's sadness was real and heartbreaking, and the family she finds with the Wonder Show is equally real and heartbreaking.  I've never dreamed of running off with the circus, but there's something familiar about her journey for freedom and her fear of the unknown.

I like villains.  The scarier the villain, the more I like them.  It's not a "like" as in I want to be their friend, but a "like" as in a like to hate.  That doesn't make any sense.  Evil isn't fun, but it's interesting...from afar.  Mister might just be the most intimidating, terrifying villain I've come across in awhile.  He's so creepy that you are constantly looking over your shoulder, afraid that he's catching up to Portia. 

The Not So Awesome
As I started the book, I was swept away by the almost mystical tone to Barnaby's storytelling.  And it seemed just that, like someone was sitting down and telling me a story.  As the book progressed, a bit of that initial attraction started to wain.  The story took on a heaviness and strangely alternated voices that took me out of the story a bit.  While the different perspectives, especially from the "freaks" in the Wonder Show, were interesting, they were too brief and didn't really add to the story.

This is Hannah Barnaby's debut novel which is absolutely amazing.  If you like coming-of-age stories, stories that break your heart and build you up, Wonder Show is an excellent choice.

Similar Titles: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Favorite Quote: …she thought she could feel something - a buoyancy, a lifting of the ground under her feet, keeping her upright. Perhaps this was the physics of faith, the knowledge that the earth was moving and so was she.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anya's Ghost: a graphic novel review

By Vera Brosgol
FirstSecond, copyright 2011
221 pages

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . . 

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. 

~Amazon Description~

The Breakdown
Meet Anya.  She's your typical Russian immigrant, high schooler who doesn't quite fit.  She's done her best to lose her accent and wear the right clothes, but making friends is difficult.  Until she meets Emily...in a hole in the ground...a rather unconventional way to meet a friend, but Emily is a rather unconventional friend.  She's a ghost.

The Awesome
Anya's Ghost was a breath of fresh air from the manga I've been reading each week (not that I don't completely enjoy reading manga, but...seeing as how I never fully understand what I'm actually reading, it was nice to immediately "get" a story.)  The story is equal parts funny and creepy, and the artwork is spectacular.  I did think that Emily looked a lot like the podlings from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal which was a bit distracting, but her vacant eyes made for super creepy thrill.

The book, storyline, and artwork were different and intriguing.  I definitely recommend this non-superhero graphic novel.  Go ahead...try something new.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
An easy list seeing as how I've only been blogging for a year.  A year!  I've kept this up for a year!  Go Emily!  I totally admire the bloggers out there who have been doing this for ages.  But anyhoo...on to my list!  These are few of my favorites pre-blog.  Some adult, mostly teen, but all awesome.

1) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
A creepy, gothic tale that I must read again one of these days.
2) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
So sad, so relevant, so good.
3) Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Hands down, one of my favorite dystopias.  Equal parts thoughtful and terrifying.
4) Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Airships, pirates, and strange flying creatures.  And pirates (because pirates are awesome...)
5) Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
An emotional, funny book about life after death.
6) Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes
Outsiders making music and building friendships. Plus some tasty lemonade.
7) Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Classic Johnson wit and a devilish good time.
A retelling of a fun myth.
9) Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle
A fantastic, surprising historical fiction novel with murder and intrigue.
10) The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Steampunk, zombies, Sherlock like discoveries.  Tons of fun.

Monday, April 8, 2013

This week on TheLibrarianWay.com

Monday - Library Shorts with Julia: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Marketing Your Library
Wednesday - Book Love with Emily
Thursday - Exciting Events: Poe Day
Friday - Friday Favorites with Julia

Friday, April 5, 2013

Enchanted: a review

By Alethea Kontis
Alethea Kontis on Goodreads
Harcourt Children's Books; copyright 2012
305 pages

A review in 10 words or less:  Not just another fairytale.  Sorcerers, princesses, talking frogs, giant beanstalks, mystery, daring, and love.

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Sunday is a lonely girl in a big family.  Her mother rarely talks, her father is mourning the loss of a sun, and Sunday's eight remaining siblings all seemed to have found a purpose in life.  One fateful afternoon, Sunday befriends a talking frog by the well hidden deep in the woods behind her home.  This one fateful moment sets a family of destinies in motion, and apparently it's just the beginning.

The Awesome
I love fairytales.  I know I've said that before.  I love the "once upon a time", the magic, the battle between good and evil, and the general whimsical nature of the tales that have been handed down for generations.  Kontis breathes life into so many of my favorites.  She seamlessly weaves multiple favorites into one new, unique story.

This fairytale also has fairies.  And I like fairies.  Fairies are awesome.

The Not So Awesome
There are some unanswered questions, a back story that I feel cheated by.  So it's book one in a series.  Who are the shadows that torture the king?  What exactly did Rumbold do in his past?  Who is this awesome fairy cousin, and can we see more of him in the future?

After a few books that I could take or leave, it was refreshing to get back on familiar ground.  I read to escape, the last couple I read didn't allow me to do that.  But Enchanted...well, Enchanted was enchanting.  It really was whimsical, magical, and light, and I can't wait for the next installment.

Similar Reads - Entwined by Heather Dixon, Impossible by Nancy Werlin, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, or A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz.

Favorite Quote - “If you did not indulge in fantasies, how else would you know if you were living an interesting life?”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Moon and More: a review

By Sarah Dessen
Viking Juvenile, 384 pages
Netgalley Advanced Readers Copy
Release date June 2013

A review in 10 words or less: Idyllic coastal town  as perfect background for big life changes.

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Emaline (another awesome name from Dessen!) lives in a small coastal tourist town and works at a realty company with her family that manages rental homes.  She's planning on a great last summer before college with her longtime boyfriend, best friends, and loving family, but plans change when a high-maintenance renter from New York pulls into town and Emaline gets a call from her absentee, control freak father.  The summer quickly becomes a struggle for Emaline to reconcile her dreams for something bigger than her hometown and the ties that keep her grounded to the coast and her past.

The Awesome
So much awesome.  Dessen always brings the awesome.  I already mentioned the cool name choices for her female leads, but there is also the amazing way the author connects new stories with previous characters and places.  Dessen also continues to create a setting that feels familiar, quaint, but stifling and small.

Most impressively, however, is Dessen's ability to avoid fluff.   Sure, her stories have romance, but they also have the characters facing real problems and responding in realistic ways.  Life can be ugly, and hard, and frustrating, and terrifying, and things don't always end cleanly with smiles and giggles.  But there's usually hope.  Lots of hope that tomorrow brings a new day.

The Not So Awesome
My one pet peeve with this book was the instant swoon.  I wasn't a huge fan of Theo...perhaps that was the problem.  He was different and new, so I understand the attraction, but that quickly??  Especially right after, never mind, I don't want to give too much away.

Sarah Dessen is by far one of my favorite YA authors.  Her books (and characters) are smart, heartfelt, and real.  They also make fantastic summer reads, probably because they're set near a beach, which I'm totally craving now.  Definitely find this title at your local library in June!  It's a great next chapter in Dessen's noteworthy collection.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday

Isla and the Happily Ever After
By Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 17, 2013

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren't always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale curtain to please fans old and new.

~Barnes and Noble Description~

Feels like it's been a forever wait for the announcement of a release date!  I'll have to do a quick re-read of the first two books so I can fully appreciate the cameos. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Fictional character crushes

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Characters I Would Crush On If
I Were Also A Fictional Character
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
Easiest. Top. 10. Ever.  Just know that I sighed and smiled after typing each and every one of these names.  It's a little weird to have fictional crushes, especially on some characters that are still teenagers, but I read as an escape, and that little smile can make all the difference.  So...sigh...smile...here is my top ten    

1) Perry Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

2) Augustus Waters The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3) Ron Weasley Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

4) Aragorn Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

5) William Darcy Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6) Etienne St. Clair Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

7) Wes The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

8) Ash The Iron King by Julia Kagawa

9) Marco The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

10) Chaol Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...