Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Meme Spotlight: Westerns!

     Everyone needs some good ole' cowboy duels every now and then. The problem is that there are very few YA books that are really Western in genre or Western in feel. So if you're looking for a good western, here are a few (released and upcoming) that you can enjoy reading.

Vengeance Road, Erin Bowman (September 1, 2015)- As a part of Erin's street team promoting Vengeance Road, I have to inform you all that IT IS AWESOME. I've been gifted the first four chapters and a few other excerpts, and each character has such a unique, compelling voice. Kate, the heroine, is tracking down a gold mine and the outlaws who killed her father, and she's fearless. Absolutely, amazingly fearless. You'll love her fire and reckless energy, and you can be sure that the western feel will stick with you through the entire book.

Under A Painted Sky, Stacey Lee (Available Now)- Two girls, one Asian-American, one a runaway slave, find themselves on the Oregon Trail in 1849. 
If you're like me, you grew up on the computer game 'The Oregon Trail'. You know about getting wagons across rivers, approaching strangers, and bartering for blankets when you're freezing to death. When the girls in Under A Painted Sky meet up with some cowboys, they find unlikely allies.

Blood Red Road, Moira Young (Available Now)- Okay, so it's set in the future, but it's about as "Old West" as a non-western book can feel. Wild outlaws, fights to the death, and crazy escapes makes for a quick, easy read that will definitely leave you wanting more.

     There's a great need for diverse books in our culture- no one wants to read the same thing over and over again. Westerns are one piece of that puzzle. It's important to expand our horizons, and when we do, we find ourselves better able to relate to the world.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Storm by Amanda Sun

“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:

By Amanda Sun
Publication Date: June 30, 2015

From Goodreads:

After almost a year in Japan, Katie Greene has finally unearthed the terrible secret behind her boyfriend Tomohiro's deadly ability to bring drawings to life—not only is he descended from Kami, the ancient Japanese gods, but he is the heir to a tragedy that occurred long ago, a tragedy that is about to repeat.

Even as the blood of a vengeful god rages inside Tomo, Katie is determined to put his dark powers to sleep. In order to do so, she and Tomo must journey to find the three Imperial Treasures of Japan. Gifts from the goddess Amaterasu herself, these treasures could unlock all of the secrets about Tomo's volatile ancestry and quell the ink's lust for destruction. But in order to complete their quest, Tomo and Katie must confront out-of-control Kami and former friend Jun, who has begun his own quest of revenge against those he believes have wronged him. To save the world, and themselves, Katie and Tomo will be up against one of the darkest Kami creations they've ever encountered—and they may not make it out alive

Why I picked it:

Besides the fact that the main character and I share the same name? I’ve been following Katie and Tomo’s adventure since the beginning, and I’m super curious to see how it all ends. If you’d like to put a hold on this book, click here. Or, if you haven’t read the other two books in this series but would like to, click here and you can put your name on the hold list for those as well

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Meme Spotlight: Animal Lovers

     Animals are great. They're funny, smart, and are the most photogenic of all of us. We love animals, and that's reflected in a lot of our writing. That being said, here's a few books featuring a strong animal presence.

The Black Stallion- Walter Farley: These are classic books that I personally was in love with when I was younger. It tells the story of Alec, a young boy who rescues a great Arabian stallion, and follows the two of them through life in the many books in the series. The Black is a wild animal, only half-tamed by the boy who loves him, and as they live out their adventures, you come to love all the characters that take the stage in the series. Click here to see how extensive the collection is here at the library. 

The Scorpio Races- Maggie Stiefvater: A standalone novel in Stiefvater's unmistakable voice, The Scorpio Races is a triumph of action, deceit, and bonds that cannot be broken. The horses (most of them, anyway) in this novel come from the sea, born of the foam, and compete once a year in a dangerous race along the beach of a tiny island. The trials and pain to get one of these horses are insane in and of themselves, and to train one well enough to be ridden and raced? It's lunacy. That's what makes it such a great book. Click here to get a copy from the library.

Animal Farm- George Orwell: You might as well read this one now, because you're going to have to read it in school if your schools are anything like mine was. Maybe you've already read it! Honestly, it's not a bad book- it gets a little strange here and there because of the allegory involved, but it's short and pretty easy to get through, especially if you don't have a hundred discussion questions to answer for class. Here's where you can check out a library copy. 

So whether or not you're an animal lover, you can see that animals play a huge role in literary culture, as companions, as enemies, and as main characters. But everyone should be careful because of this animal in particular:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Teen Book Review: Between by Jessica Warman

When I came across Between by Jessica Warman the cover instantly caught my eye. And once I had read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. Ghost stories are the best in my opinion, and this particular book was no different. I loved every minute of it all the way to the end. Elizabeth Valchar has everything you could want, the looks, the boyfriend, even the money. But I guess the none of that matter once your dead. She dies on her seventeenth birthday, and she has to figure out who did it before she can pass on from being a ghost. This book was a roller coaster ride filled with plot twists. I loved everything about it, except for the fact that Liz was very vain. But I guess that just comes with being rich and popular. This was one of those books that you want to read again just to see what you missed.
(Reviewed by Gingerbread637, 13, Western High School)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: The Leveller by Julia Durango

“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:

The Leveller
By Julia Durango
Publication Date: June 23, 2015

From Goodreads:

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

Why I picked it:

A bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world? Yes, please! If you would like to put a hold on this book, click here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Meme Spotlight: Trilogies

     Have you ever had that 'fish out of water' gasping feeling when you finish a book and realize that you have to wait (usually a YEAR) for the next one? Especially when you find out that you have to wait for not only one, but TWO years to get to the end of the series? I feel your pain. Here are a few trilogies that are already completed, so you can read them all at once without that panicked feeling when you hit the cliffhanger. 

The Graceling series- Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue- by Kristen Cashore: Although these books aren't all set with the exact same characters taking the lead, the world-building and extraordinary storytelling make it difficult to wait for the next book to be in your hands. They're set in a world of fantasy, but not so different that it's hard to grasp. It's creative enough to enhance the reading and set the novels apart, but you don't have to spend half the book figuring out what the world is like. Although these seem to me to be more geared to girls, certainly the boys can enjoy the swordfights and plotting that goes on throughout the series as well. You can order the books from the library by clicking here.

The Chaos Walking series- The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men- by Patrick Ness: A breathtaking look at the realities of life, even life on another planet, where certain circumstances have made life unbearable for some and easy to control for others, this series is like an undertow- it pulls you under, and if you're like me, you were sad the see the last page turn. If you like a slightly sci-fi setting with a lot of action, twists, and heart, you'll love these uniquely written installments (that are all already out!) These are excellent reads for boys and girls, and will appeal to a wide variety of ages. Click this link to order the series from the library.

The Ashes trilogy- Ashes, Shadows, Monsters- Ilsa J. Bick: This is a series with serious cliffhangers. It happens after every nail-biting page- even though the first book starts slow, once you're into it, the action doesn't stop. A wild tale of people going mad and those who have to survive in the midst of it, this series is one that will make your head spin, boy or girl. The covers are pretty fantastic, too. Click here to see for yourself.

So stop making yourself look like this: 

And start looking like this: