Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Read the Prequel to Lauren Barnholdt's One Night that Changes Everything for Free Online

If you read and liked Lauren Barnholdt's One Night that Changes Everything, you can now visit her website to read the prequel to find out what happens Before That Night.

One Night That Changes Everything

Visit http://laurenbarnholdt.com/beforethatnight/ to download and read this novella.  A big thank you to Lauren Barnholdt for making this available for free!  Be sure to check out her other books while you visit.  Happy Reading!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Vacation Reading: Your Time to Catch Up On the Great Books Published in 2010

This has been a great year for some really talented authors both new and old.  I have simply been amazed at some of the debut authors who published in the YA genre this year.  This has been a year with a lot of vampires, werewolves, fairies, and angels, but we have had some other great hits as well. 

If you are looking for some good books to read over your Christmas vacation, here are a few of my favorites from the past year.  Many are available on audio, if you have a trip coming up.  Stop by the library and check one out!  Click on the covers to go to Goodreads.com for book descriptions and details.  (If you like series, a few have sequels that are out now or due out in 2011).

Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)Dirty Little SecretsThe Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #2)Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)The Tension of OppositesMatched (Matched #1)Sisters Red (Sisters Red, #1)Dark Life (Dark Life, #1)The ReplacementMockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Hunger (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, #1)Before I FallParanormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1)The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Looking for Some Holiday Reads? Try Some of These!

Are you in the mood for some books featuring the holiday season?  If that is what you are looking for you might give some of these titles a try!  (Clicking on the book covers will take you to Goodreads.com for a book summary.)

Holiday Selections from YA Fiction:

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

What Child Is This?: A Christmas Story (Laurel-Leaf Books)

Let It Snow


Starry, Starry Night: Three Holiday Stories

Jingle Boy

Looking for something a little more out of the ordinary?  Try our holiday selection from our YA Graphic Novel collection:

Manga Claus

DC Universe Christmas

Jingle Belle

The Simpsons Holiday Humdinger (Simpsons)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today's YA Scene Article from Publisher's Weekly and Guys Reading

I read this article from Publisher's Weekly (PW) and they talk about upcoming books from YA publishers.  There are a lot of interesting titles coming out, but one thing that I noticed while reading about these fantastic new books, is that there wasn't a lot of stuff listed for guys to read.  What do you think?  Do you think there are more books for girls than guys in YA fiction?

Check out the article here:

Today's YA Scene

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ALA and YALSA's 2010 Teens' Top Ten Books

Every year in October teens across the country vote for their favorite titles from the list of nominations. This year the teens have spoken and these are the 2010 Teens' Top Ten Books:

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I have read 7 of the ten titles listed above. How many have you read?

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)Heist SocietyShiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)Along for the RideIf I Stay (If I Stay, #1)Fire (The Seven Kingdoms, #2)Wintergirls

For more information about the Teens'Top Ten visit the ALA Website:

Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nora Gray just simply wants to finish high school and get into a good college. What she doesn’t plan on is Patch, the irritating yet attractive new biology partner she gets stuck with. As she gets closer and closer to Patch, Nora finds herself in several terrifying life and death situations. Is someone trying to kill her? Could it have something to do with Patch? What is Patch trying to hide? Find out in Hush, Hush.

This book was a hard one for me to get through. I went from moments where I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next, to other moments when I really didn’t care. In some ways there were too many things going on in this novel and I really had trouble focusing on it. Now that I finished however, I find myself itching to read Crescendo, just to see where the story may go.

The book is told from the point of view of the main character Nora Gray. Nora is a likable character who is just your everyday girl. She has a lot more freedom than most teens since her mother works out of town most of the time. I felt that Nora was a well drawn realistic character that finds herself in a very unusual situation. Patch was a mystery throughout the book, and even remain so at the end, which will no doubt give us more to explore in the sequel.

Fitzpatrick’s descriptions are memorable and some of the scenes are heart stoppingly scary. I really enjoyed those moments when I was on the edge of my seat anxious to find out what is happening next. Unfortunately, there were lulls when I had trouble staying interested.

The audio version of this book is produced by Simon & Schuster Audio and narrated by Caitlin Greer. Greer does an excellent job with the voice of Nora and is a believable narrator. I would definitely recommend listening to the audio production.

Overall this is a book that I did enjoy, but not at the top of my list for best reads this year. I will definitely read the sequel though, because I believe the story has potential to be even better in the next installment. The sequel, Crescendo came out October 19, 2010 and is now at the library.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Violence

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Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Collins has done it again. Just when I thought she wouldn't be able to top Hunger Games she demonstrates a wonderful ability to spin an action packed tale. This book was just as good as the first if not better.

Katniss, winner of the last Hunger Games is back from the capital with her co-winner Peeta. In order to stay in good favor with the capital after Katniss's actions with the berries in the last book, she and Peeta must keep up the ruse of being madly in love with each other before the districts. But things are more complicated than they thought, and their deception may not be enough for the capital. How will Katniss survive when her entire world catches fire?

This was a wonderful sequel to the first book. I eagerly await number 3 in this series. One of my favorite books this year!

Cautions for sensitive readers: Violence

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Samantha didn't know that Friday, February 12th was going to be the last day of her life.  She also doesn't know why she is being forced to relive the day over and over again.  But given the chance, wouldn't you try to change that fateful ending?

This is a book that begs to be talked about.  I very seldom give 5 star reviews, but in this case I feel that it is absolutely deserved.  By the end of chapter one I was dying to talk about this book with someone who has read it. 

Oliver has created a flawed yet likable heroine in Samantha Kingston.  She is a girl who was once picked on, but is now popular, who does everything required to fit in.  She is a girl who holds power in her school and knows it.  She is also a girl who has set herself up for a terrible fall.  Friday, February 12th is the last day of her life, and she will have to live it again and again until she gets it right. 

I started this book on audio, and while it isn't unusual for me to switch back in forth between audio and the printed version, it is unusual for me to get so wrapped up in a book that I set everything aside to finish the book in one night.  Yesterday afternoon when I got out of my car after I got home from work, I was only about 30% through the book, by the time I went to bed I had finished the book.  In fact I wouldn't go to bed until I finished.  I had to know how the book was going to end. 

Don't get me wrong, the audio version of this book is extremely well done.  It is narrated by Sarah Drew and produced by Books on Tape.  Drew does a great job with the voices with the possible exception of the teachers Mr. Otto and Ms. Winters who sound a little too over the top.  Despite that, this is a great audio book, but I couldn't wait to finish the book so I picked up the hardcover and finished it in one sitting. 

This is a book that really makes think about your actions and what you would do if you could live the day over.  It was fascinating and gripping.  I think Jay Asher's (author of Thirteen Reasons Why)quote on the cover says it best "You'll have no choice but to tear through this book."  I am only sorry I waited so long to get to it. 

Cautions for sensitive readers:  Definitely for mature readers.  There is alcohol and drug use in this book, along with some swearing, and sexual references.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Claire de Lune Author Visiting KHCPL This Sunday!

Christine Johnson, the author of the werewolf story Claire de Lune (Simon Pulse, 2010) will be at KHCPL Main this Sunday.  Come hear her speak about writing, publishing, and her upcoming novel Nocturne. She will also be signing books and and we will have copies available for purchase. 

Claire de Lune (Claire de Lune, #1)

Where: KHCPL Main at 220 N. Union St. Kokomo, IN 46901
When:  Sunday, October 24th, from 2:30-4:30 P.M.
What:  Author signing and talk.

Don't miss out on this great event!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grand Opening!

You are Invited to our Grand Opening Event!

Where: 220 N. Union St.When: Sunday, October 10, 2010 from 2:00-5:00 P.M.
What: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 2:00 P.M. at the east entrance. Tour all three levels of the newly remodeled building at 220 N. Union St.

Teens don't forget to stop by Youthtopia on the upper level. Our own room specially designed for teens. Also, don't forget to check out some DVD's and Music CDs from our AV area on the first floor. AV fees are gone, so movies and music are now free. Don't miss out, stop by and check out the newly remodeled KHCPL Main.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Review: Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Claire de Lune (Claire de Lune, #1)Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Claire wants for her sixteenth birthday is a car, but what she gets is something she didn’t count on. In a world where werewolves are being hunted by the government and the communities, Claire finds out that she is a werewolf, destined to change at every full moon. Torn between the joy of discovering who she is as a wolf, and the struggle to be a normal teenage girl, Claire must find a way to keep her secret and her life. Meanwhile a rogue wolf makes that all the more difficult for her to do by killing local residents and creating a panic.

There have been a lot of werewolf, vampire, and other types of paranormal novels lately, and after a while they begin to blur into each other. While Claire de Lune is a werewolf story, there was much more to it. Unlike other novels with shapeshifters/werewolves, this novel focuses on Claire’s internal struggle to accept who she is. She longs to be a normal girl, and fall in love, but she doesn’t dare let down her guard for fear her secret will be revealed. I felt like she was constantly walking a tight rope, and found myself wondering when she was going to make a mistake that would give away her secret, a mistake that would be fatal. I loved how Johnson built tension this way and for me this kept the pages turning.

In addition to Claire having to deal with her new identity, we also have a community that is hunting for the wolves. After a series of brutal werewolf attacks, the tension mounts as everyone in the community hunts the werewolves. Meanwhile, somewhere out there, there is a werewolf predator with an agenda all her own.

Overall I would say I enjoyed this book, but have to admit that it might not be for everyone. There isn’t a lot of action until the end, and it is strikingly different than many of the werewolf novels out there right now in that particular aspect. It was a fun light read though, and I do enjoy Johnson’s writing. I look forward to reading what she writes in the future.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers: No sex, no foul language, some violence.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sam and Grace are back again in Linger and now that Sam has stopped shifting they are hoping they can finally have their happily ever after. But it is never that easy. Sam has to deal with problems with the new wolves, Grace’s parents don’t want them to see each other, and Grace is suffering from a mysterious illness that may change everything for them both.

When I read Shiver earlier this year, I remember everyone telling me what a great book it was and how it was the next Twilight, but better than Twilight. I remember being so excited to read it and then feeling a little let down by the hype. Was it good? Yes. Was it better written than Twilight? Much! Did I love it? To be completely honest, no, not really. For me it was okay, but it was a book that left me feeling more than a little unsettled. I can’t explain really why I felt this way, but it didn’t hook me the way it has so many. But Stiefvater's poetic language and beautiful descriptions did interest me enough to read the next book in the series Linger.

Once again like Shiver there has been a lot of hype about this book. All over the blogosphere you hear everyone clamoring for Linger raving about it in reviews of advanced reading copies, and loving it. So once again, I thought I would give it a try. Stiefvater is a very talented author. Her descriptions are rich and luxurious, and even though I was reading this book during the hottest days of the year, she has a way of making me believe that I am in the middle of a Mercy Falls, Minnesota cold and icy early spring. I love that about her writing, that it is so rich that it can transport you. Unfortunately for this novel, while her descriptions, characters, dialogue, and narration is spot on, her pacing is off—an unfortunate occurrence in many middle of the series novels.

The narrative of Linger alternates between the voices of the four main characters; Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole, one of the new wolves. Stiefvataer’s transitions between these four characters are flawless and in many cases this allows the reader to see the thought on both sides of the conversations. I have to say that I enjoyed the way this story was told with these four distinct voices. The characters are carefully crafted and I love the introduction of Cole. Being able to see inside the mind of someone who chose to be a wolf is fascinating. Isabel is also more developed as a character this time of around. Of all the four major characters, Isabel and Cole felt the most real to me, and I loved the portions of the story told from their point of view. Grace and Sam just seem too perfect as characters, especially when they are together. I found I liked Grace and Sam better when they were apart or interacting with Isabel or Cole rather than each other, which I realize is silly, since the story is about their romance.

Stiefvater’s dialogue is well done and believable, but sometimes seems awkward with Grace and Sam. This could be because throughout the novel there is so much unsaid between the two of them, and so much they aren’t telling each other, that it really interferes with what is being said. I love it when Isabel comes into the picture and just tells everyone how it is because it really breaks up some of the tension.

My major problem with the novel though, is the pacing. Like many other middle of the series books, this one felt like it was merely a transition to the next book rather than a novel with action that stands alone on its own. I felt like you spend the whole book waiting for something to happen and this causes the story to slow in spots. While the ending is very climactic, and will lead us right into the next book, I just felt the rest of the book was lacking, because it took so long to get to the climax.

The audio version of the book was produced by Scholastic Audio and read by four different narrators, each representing the four main characters. Jenna Lamia reprises her role as Grace in the audio version, and does just as good a job as she did in Shiver. She is a talented and believable voice for Grace, and the narration is spot on. Pierce Cravens narrates the voice of Sam and does a wonderful job making Sam’s thoughts and dialogue sound convincing. Emma Galvin reads the role of Isabel and does a perfect job narrating Isabel’s edge, anger, attitude, and irritation at the events she sees unraveling around her. Finally Dan Bittner, who narrates Cole, performs a strong and convincing narration of the rock star turned wolf. Without the audio version, I might not have finished the book, but their voices and narration kept me interested throughout the novel. Original music from by the author rounds out the audio version, making it all the more enjoyable.

Overall I just felt that there was a lot of going nowhere in this book, and I realize that Stiefvater was building to the conclusion, but there was a lot of emotional baggage to slug through before you got there. It suffers from middle book syndrome, where you spend so much time building the story that you might lose your readers interest. I know that sometimes that has to be done, but it is unfortunate when the book is so slow. On the other hand, this book leads you right in to the third book, and believe me after finishing Linger you are going to want to know what happens next. It is just too bad, that the hook is so deeply buried in this novel, that you don’t feel it until the very end. Stiefvater manages to deliver a stunning conclusion to this novel that makes wading through the rest well worth it. I look forward to, and will definitely be picking up book 3.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Some violence, mild language, and discussion of drug use. Some gore.

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So what are your thoughts on Linger? Feel free to comment and disagree!:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade (Shade, #1) Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone born after the Shift can see ghosts. Aura is no exception. She has used her ability to help them move on by working in her Aunt Gina’s lawfirm. Everything changes, when the love of her life dies and becomes a ghost. She loves Logan and doesn’t want him to move on, but keeping him here may be far more dangerous. It could make him turn Shade.

This book really surprised me. I was expecting another paranormal romance, and while that is what I got, I can honestly say I got so much more that I didn’t expect. In fact this book kind of left me with the feeling I had just finished a dystopian novel, even though isn’t exactly the right description for what this book is.

Shade was a fun book from the get go. Aura loves Logan and his death hits her hard. Her grief is believable, and the struggle for her to leave him behind and rejoin the living was fantastic. Jeri Smith-Ready does an admirable job of character development. We like Logan, we like Zachary, and we hate the thought that Aura must choose between the two.

I can’t explain exactly why I liked this book. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it surprised me. I really wasn’t expecting the whole government involvement in the story and that took me off guard. As I said, I was expecting another paranormal romance, but it gave me so much more. For a girl who likes dystopias and conspiracies, this book had it all with the romance thrown in. My single complaint for this book is that it left too many strings dangling. I felt that too many of my questions were left unanswered and that make it difficult for this book to stand alone.

Those many unanswered questions however, will pave the way for its sequel, Shift in May of 2011. I will definitely be picking up the sequel, because I really want to know what is going to happen next.

Cautions for sensitive readers:  Some violence, drinking, and drug use.  Mentions of sex and mild language.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Trailer: White Cat by Holly Black

Do you like books by Holly Black? Check out the trailer for her newest title White Cat! Now available at KHCPL.

Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse NovellaThe Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bree lives in a home with several other newborn vampires. To call them a coven would be incorrect, since a coven would work together, and it seems like all the newborns do is work against each other. If it weren’t for her hiding place behind Fred, a newborn with unusual powers, she might not have survived so long, but self preservation is a strong instinct. Then one night hunting, she gets to know Diego, another new born who has begun to question things like she has, and she begins to think she might have finally found a friend. Just when she begins to puzzle out her new life, she is told that she has a terrible enemy who is coming for her.

In many ways, this novella had more appeal to me than any of the other Twilight saga novels. Bree was a tough character to like, but once you did, she is a hard character to forget. She is strong, smart, and desperate to survive. In many ways, she is also a better drawn character than you find in the original novels. You see her motivations, her desires, and her pain. Bree is a brilliantly developed character.

The other characters in this novella are not nearly as fully formed as Bree. Riley is a shadowy character at best, who speaks for the creator who Bree doesn’t remember. The other newborns are stereotypically savage and in turns stupid. Diego, is a little better developed, but we don’t spend enough time with him to fully flesh out his character. The one character I found myself wishing I could know more about was Fred.

Anyone who has read Eclipse knows where this novel will take us, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. I really found myself wanting to read more of Bree and enjoying her story. I found this story to be better developed and thankfully missing much of the melodrama that was present in the other Twilight novels.

The audio version of this book was read by Emma Galvin, who does a superb job of narrating Bree’s story. She was clear, and believable as she voiced the newborn vampire Bree. I could easily imagine it was Bree telling her own story, and that is a mark of a good narrator.

Overall this was a fantastic addition to the Twilight saga and a must read for fans of the series. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, I am afraid this isn’t the place to start as some parts of the story will only make sense if you have read the other books.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Violence is present. No sex.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

New Week, New Teen SRC Giveaway!

Enter to Win an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of The Clearing by Heather Davis.

The Clearing

From Goodreads.com:
Amy, a sixteen-year-old recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to start a new life with her aunt–all she wants is for everything to be different. In the clearing at the back of Aunt Mae’s property, she makes an amazing discovery—Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry and his world become Amy’s refuge and she begins to learn that some moments are worth savoring. But when the past and present come crashing together, both of them must find the courage to face what is meant to be, even if it means losing each other forever. 
Giveaway rules:

  • You must be a KHCPL Library Patron.   
  • You must fill out the following form:  Enter Contest FORM
  • (If the form does not work for you, you are welcome to email me at mwheelock@khcpl.org and I will make certain you are entered in the contest.)
  • Four winners will be chosen randomly by Random.org.
  • Make sure you have your parent's permission before entering this contest.
  • Contest ends on Sunday July 11, 2010 at midnight.  
  • Winners will be contacted on Monday July 12, 2010.
  • Questions or comments contact Melissa Wheelock (Teen Librarian) at mwheelock@khcpl.org