Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Meme Spotlight: Summer Reads

     Unlike Grumpy Cat here, you may love the summer. Do or don't, there are a ton of great summer reads out there to soak in while you're enjoying the sun or on a trip to the beach. Summer is a time of endless opportunities- why not use some of the time to enjoy a relaxing book with your toes in the waves? Here are a few summer-themed books to set the mood.

1. My Life Next Door- Huntley Fitzpatrick: This is a fun read, mostly light and all about that summer life. And yet, it doesn't feel empty. There's a bit of mystery in there, and an political intrigue that doesn't overpower the main theme, but adds a surprising twist that keeps the book captivating right up to the last page. I love this book, and Ms.Fitzpatrick's other book, What I Thought Was True, carries the same sort of theme and I liked it almost as well. Unfortunately, the library's copy of My Life Next Door is missing, but you can request What I Thought Was True here.

2. Open Road Summer- Emery Lord: Although I haven't personally read this one, it comes highly recommended by a fellow contributor, kwatanabe, and she featured Lord's upcoming novel in a past Waiting on Wednesday post. It's on my to-read list- a novel of music and cross-country touring with drama along the way sounds like just the thing to read on a warm summer day with lots of sun. You can grab a copy here.

3. Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots- Abby McDonald: This one is a summer read, although it doesn't take place on a sunny beach. This one's for the woodsy, the ones who prefer to spend their summer exploring a forested trail with a survival guide. No matter who you are, it's a fun read with a satisfying conclusion. We can all use a good pair of hiking boots. Check out the library's copy here.

4. Second Chance Summer- Morgan Matson: This one also comes highly recommended, by the Young Adult librarian here ay KHCPL. It's the story of a family coming together for one last summer at the lake- and I've read the author, so I know it's got to be a good one. Matson is a master of the emotional spectrum, and her books are always worth reading. Check it out here.

     Whether you love summer or you hate it with a passion, you'll love these summer themed books. And whichever side you're on, remember...

And there's nothing we can do about it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Teen Book Review: Party Games by R. L. Stein

Party Games (Fear Street Relaunch, #1)Party Games, by R.L. Stine, is a spine chilling read. The Fear family, known from Stine’s previous books, is back again, but this time it’s different to say the least. Rachel is invited to a party on Fear Island by Brendan Fear himself. But when the party starts, that’s when the mystery begins. As the numbers dwindle down one by one, as more and more people are killed, the party goers get more and more anxious. As the mystery unravels, all the while making your heart beat harder, you realize that you may not want to believe all the gruesome stories you heard about the Fears. After all, murder is just a game. This book was a fast paced, bone chilling read. Although it seems to be a little predictable at times, it is still a book I would recommend. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine, and it gives you a chance to spotlight a book that you are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week, I picked:

Empire of Night
By Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: April 7, 2015

From Goodreads:

Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Or at least, they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, the emperor has sent them on a mission to rescue the children of Edgewood—accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of imperial warriors. But the journey proves more perilous than they could have imagined. With treachery and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on all their influence and power to overcome deadly enemies—not all of them human—and even avert an all-out war.

Why I picked it:

I read the first book in this series a year ago, and it ended in a cliff hanger, so I’m quite anxious to see what happens next.

If you’ve read Sea of Shadows and, like me, are dying to see what is going to happen in Empire of Night click here and put your name on the hold list. Or, if you would like to read the first book to find out what all the hype is about, you can click on this link and request it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Meme Spotlight: Printz Award

     What is a Printz Award, you ask? The Michael Printz award honors the best YA books each year based solely on their literary merit. If they're good enough to win an award, they must have something going for them! Here are just a few past winners or nominees.

1. Jellicoe Road- Melina Marchetta, 2009: I have no trouble seeing why this book was chosen as an award winner. It's a mystery of times past, with unforgettable characters and a plot that is driven by the need to find out how everything comes together. Boarding school territory wars coupled with a puzzling disappearance makes for a bright, quick read that doesn't lack substance. You can find it here.

2. Looking for Alaska- John Green, 2006: Another excellent book from a favorite author, John Green, Looking for Alaska touches every emotion and leaves you breathless. A comedy, a tragedy, a painful understanding of how it feels to lose someone, this novel is one that everyone should take a little time to check out. Here you can put it on hold at the library.

3. Airborn- Kenneth Oppel, Honor Book 2005: While this wasn't a winner in its year, I thought it was worth mentioning. The sheer imagination in this book makes it a must-read for me, and I would recommend it to anyone, no matter what age, guy or girl. Matt is working on an airship- a blimp of sorts- and when it crashes, he and a passenger named Kate go exploring on an island of mystery, making wild discoveries along the way. You can have it held for you here.

    This is just a few of the many winners or nominees, and the books featured are for all teens, not just one group or subset. For a complete list of the Printz award winners and honor books, you can click here for their official website.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Librarian Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright PlacesSummary:
Theodore Finch, aka Theodore Freak, is obsessed with death. Violet Markey blames herself for the death of her sister Eleanor. They meet in the school bell tower, one becomes the hero who saved the other, but no one knows the real truth about who saved whom. Suddenly assigned to be partners in a “Wander Indiana” project for their class, they discover who they really are, and both begin to see beneath the surface.

This isn’t an easy book to read or review. This is a book that tackles the serious subjects of suicide and mental disorders. Nothing about that is easy, and I suspect it wasn’t an easy subject for the author either.

Theodore Finch is a remarkable young man, yet he doesn’t see it himself. Smart, witty, thoughtful, loving, but ultimately suffering in silence. Violet Markey is suffering herself. She hasn’t been the same since the auto accident that spared her and took her sister. She has lost interest in her passion of writing, and doesn’t care about school anymore. Both of these characters are so thoughtfully and carefully depicted in this story. You could know these kids, walk the school halls with them, sit beside them in class…

This is a story that begs to be read, and told and discussed. I believe that a lot could come from sitting down with someone and discussing this novel. It discusses labels and how easy it is to write someone off because of their label, and fail to see the beating human heart beneath the label.

Audiobook Review:
The audiobook is produced by Listening Library and read by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers. Both readers do an amazing job making you believe that these are the voices of these two characters. Their narration draws you into the story and will keep you listening. The book on CD has nine discs and is 11 hours and 4 minutes long. The production is well done, and definitely a good way to get through this novel.

This book is one that will leave you thinking. While at times the pacing may slow a trifle, the author does a superb job of keeping the reader invested in the lives of these two individuals. You will know these teens and they will become your friends, and with them you will share their sorrow and pain. This is a book that should be read, reread, and discussed.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:
Drugs: Mild references to prescription medications not being used being used as directed.
Alcohol: Mild references
Sex: Yes
Explicit Language: Some
Violence: Some abuse.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine, and it gives you a chance to spotlight a book that you are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week, I picked:

Things We Know By Heart
By Jessi Kirby
Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake

Why I Picked it:

When I first read about this book, I thought of the movie Searching For David’s Heart, which pretty much has the same premise of Things We Know by Heart. And even though it has been a long time since I’ve seen that movie, I remembered that I adored it. So my expectations for this book are pretty high.

If you think that Things We Know By Heart sounds interesting and would like to read it, click this link and it will take you to this book on the library’s Website where you can put your name on the hold list.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Meme Spotlight: Books for Boys

    There aren't a lot of books for a male audience in the YA genre at first glance. But if you take a good look, there is a real selection- and a lot of them are growing ever more popular! Here are just a few that I love (and my brother has read them, too).

1. The Maze Runner- James Dashner: I'm on the Maze Runner bandwagon and I'm not ashamed to admit it. (And I loved it before it was cool!) This is an amazing series with fabulous characters, a unique plot, and SERIOUSLY COOL MONSTERS. I still remember being on vacation in Tennessee when the third book, The Death Cure, was released. I had the first two books with me, and once my brother and I had finished re-reading them, I begged my parents to find me a Barnes & Noble or a Borders so I could buy #3. They didn't, but once I got my hands on it, I devoured it like all the rest. This is a great favorite of my whole family, and the movie was really great, too.
     Put a hold on the series here.

2. The Alex Rider series- Anthony Horowitz: In my personal opinion, these books were written solely for boys. They're action-packed, and there's not much in the way of 'mushy feelings' or 'gooey drama'. This is a series that focuses on the teen spy and the way he works through all his assignments, with all sorts of settings and pretty awesome covers, to boot. There's a movie made from the first book, too, both titled Stormbreaker. They really are great books, and Horowitz is an action writer who deserves to be given a chance.
     Check out his books here.

3. The Gone series- Michael Grant: While this is a series not really geared toward boys or girls, it certainly appeals to both. For boys, though, the appeal is obvious: teens trapped in a radioactive, impenetrable dome, mutating into superheroes- or villains- with a sinister monster waiting to destroy them all. There's action, monsters, powers, and that ever-changing struggle between good and evil, which is just what sucks you in to the lengthy series, each book more twisted than the last.
     Grant's BZRK series is also a great one for boys, dealing with nanotechnology and secret wars.
     Click here to see everything Grant has written for teens.

4. The Pendragon series- DJ MacHale: This is a series that spans worlds. The unuiverse in which this series takes place is complex, dangerous, and wildly exciting in a way that few adventure books can claim. Every book (there are 10 in the main series alone, plus side stories) is a new world, a new challenge, with the same ultimate enemy that the main characters have to defeat. I remember the first time I picked up one of these books- it was the sort of book I didn't want to put down, and I didn't want the series to end.
     Find the series here.

     Girl or boy, these are four sets of books by four outstanding authors that will make you happy to be reading instead of watching TV.