Thursday, May 31, 2012

An evil number of books to read

It's official. I have an evil number of books to read on my list.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Stolen Nights

Dare I hope? Can it be? I've been waiting and looking forward to this one for so long... and the publishing date has been moved forward and backwards so many times. I can't wait to read this one.

Stolen Nights
by Rebecca Maizel
St. Martin's Griffin
June 2012

Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human - and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss. With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Books for 30 Years

This week's topic from The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

Wow! Talk about a challenge! I started trying to think of books, and kept thinking of things that had been published in the 90's. Ah, this makes me feel old, already. The 'aughts went so quickly, didn't they? I immediately pulled up my list of books from Goodreads (yay, sorting by published date feature!) and realized that this will be no easy task. I do a LOT of reading, and particularly in the last five years, I've read a lot of newly published stuff.

1. I hope it's not cheating to say Harry Potter, considering books 5, 6 and 7 were all published in the past 10 years. I don't "hope" people will still be reading Harry Potter in 30 years. I know they will!

2. Okay, another "cheat" - A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Books 9-13 were published in the 'aughts.

3. The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud - I loved these books! I love the extensive footnotes. I love the snarky demon. I love the whole system of magic. I hated and pitied the magician's apprentice Nathaniel for being such an annoying prat... until he turns things around and then I loved him, too. I don't know if enough people know about these books.

4. The Gemma Doyle books by Libba Bray. Ah, these books were so swoonworthy. I'm feeling a very Anglophile sort of theme to this list.
5. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Well, I am really learning something about myself here. Clearly, I put magical works of fiction with a British flavor on some sort of pedestal.

6. The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers. An aspiring-author dinosaur (yes, really) travels to Bookholm and uncovers a magical plot. This book was translated from German, and it is amazing. It is hilariously weird and wonderful. Like all the other books on my list, it takes you to a completely different world, one that I want to go to.

7. Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm. Babymouse, forever! I hope Babymouse is always being read.

8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. These books crack me up.
9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Does it stand up to the 30 year test? I don't know, but I did really love this trilogy. Why not?
10. The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz. What a perfect little book! It already feels like a classic. I hope girls will read about this tiny, yet brave garden fairy for ages to come.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Picture Books mini-reviews, part 3

Listen to My Trumpet!
by Mo Willems
Hyperion Books
February 2012

Another wonderful entry to the beloved Elephant and Piggie series. Reading this one out loud will require some skill - a wide variety of elephantine trumpeting noises takes this one over the top. Sure to be enjoyed by fans of funny early readers. Can it really be possible that there are seventeen volumes in this series already?

I borrowed this book from the library.


Otto the Book Bear
by Katie Clemenson
Hyperion Books for Children
January 2012

This adorable offering follows the adventures of a book character who steps out of the pages of his book. It's very pro-library. I like to pair this with another bear'ish book story - More Bears by Kenn Nesbitt which is just about as silly as this book is sweet. Astute readers will notice that Otto's storybook pictures change slightly as he travels and meets new people. Another thing I loved: Otto (and all the other book characters) are tiny! When I read this aloud, kids loved pointing out how Otto was dwarfed by pedestrians on the street. When he finally makes it to the library, and meets up with all the other book characters there, there's such a sense of quiet joy. I loved this book.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Zero the Hero
by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Henry Holt and Co.
February 2012

Here's a very humorous math book - which is sort of but not quite about counting. I loved the little decorations adding funny details on nearly all the pages - for example, the tiny cop explaining that 0 does not equal donuts. Each number is imbued with his or her own personality which stays consistent through the book - 1 is a pickle-green winner, 2 is a frou-frou girly-girl, 7 is a surfer, 5 is a pocket-protector, bow-tie wearing nerd. The roman numerals who attack are shown as fierce, toga-wearing barbarians, and I liked the moment when 8 says to VIII, "So, it takes four of you to do my job?"

A welcome book in any STEM classroom!

I borrowed this book from the library.
Lola Reads to Leo
by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Bearshaw
Charlesbridge Press
February 2012

Big sister Lola can think of a book to share with new baby Leo for nearly every situation, whether it's time for the potty, time for a bath, or time for a nap. This is a warm and loving look at a contemporary African-American family. A great choice for any toddler expecting a new brother or sister.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone sequel

Ah! The cover for the sequel of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor has been revealed! I love it! Days of Blood and Starlight fits with the feel of the first book, perfectly. I can't wait to read it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dream Big Bookmarks

I was inspired by this craft project. What a simple and appealing idea! Take a paint chip, stamp it, add some pretty ribbon, and voila, bookmark!
I decided to go with a blue-toned paint chip to keep with this summer's theme of "Dream Big, Read." I got the stamps from a dollar sale bin at the local craft supply store. Lucky for me, clouds, moons, stars and inspirational sayings like, "Dream" or "Imagine" seem to be all the rage for scrapbookers. I'm really pleased with the results, and plan on doing a craft program with these at my library.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on For Darkness Shows the Stars

I love the cover! And I'm in the mood for something sci-fi'ish.

For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund
Balzer + Bray
June 2012

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PersuasionFor Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Ten Non-Book Sites

Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's question is: What are your Top Ten Blogs/Sites you read that aren't about books?

Wow! This could be a tough one as I'm pretty book-obsessed. Let's see.

1. - for funny/interesting news and just random things from around the web.

2. - more internet randomness, sometimes a little more sexist or gross than I would like, but still interesting.

3. - feminist news.

4. City Data forums - I have moved around the country a lot, and I found their forums really interesting and helpful. Now I still read them to keep up with what's going on in some of my favorite cities.

5. Pinterest - It's easy to find me on Pinterest - I'm madiganreads!

6. - my favorite online dictionary. I know this one is skirting pretty close to "about books" territory, but it's not technically about books, so...

7. Twitter - Twitter can be about anything you want it to be, depending on who you follow and who you unfollow. For me, Twitter is pretty bookish, but it doesn't have to be. Again, I'm easy to find - I'm @madiganreads.

8. The Nest - I started reading this as a newlywed, and never really stopped.

9. Yahoo - Their newsfeed is another good timewaster.

Aaaaand... I'm out of ideas! Yup. Can't think of 10 non-book sites. I came close though!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lizzie Bennett Diaries

Have you seen this? It's a video series put together by John Green's brother Hank. It's a very funny modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Skinned review

by Robin Wasserman
Simon Pulse
September 2008

First line: "Lia Kahn is dead. I am Lia Kahn."

Teenaged Lia Kahn leads a charmed life until a car accident that robs her of nearly everything, including her body. Her wealthy and pushy father has her memories downloaded into an android body. Lia's horrified that she's been turned into what's nicknamed a "skinner" but knows that she has to try and adjust. Wasserman mines a lot of ethics questions here including what makes us really human, our bodies or our memories? While Lia is coping with her own overwhelming feelings over the accident, and adjusting to her new body, there are also a lot of sibling rivalry issues. Her younger sister Zoie, who should have been in the car that day, has spent her whole life being overshadowed by Lia, who has always been daddy's favorite and a bit of a Queen Bee. It's finally Zoie's turn to shine at school as Lia is shunned as freak, and Zo even goes so far as to steal Lia's old boyfriend. Talk about a shocking betrayal!

Having her life turned upside-down in this way really changes Lia - and makes her parents wonder if she really is their daughter anymore, or just a close simulacrum of her. Her brusque and demanding father practically admits that he regrets pushing for the procedure. He thought he was saving his daughter, not dooming himself to having to live with a robot who reminds him of what he lost. Ouch!

In the meantime, Lia meets a group of underground skinners who are campaigning for mechs' rights. They seem a desperate and sad group, taking wild risks just to prove that they can, cutting themselves, and are angry that doctors won't "upgrade" them with vision or hearing that outperforms human standards. There's just a hint of a love triangle. When things don't work out with Lia's odious ex-boyfriend Walker, she finds new friends: nerdy technology-loving human Auden and intense skinner Jude. I was shocked, shocked, shocked by the ending of the book. Lia is just starting to pull herself together: she may not be the old Lia Kahn, but she's still a sentient being with hopes and dreams for the future. She challenges Auden to some feats of athletic skill, and either not realizing her own strength, or Auden's human fragility, Auden is seriously injured. Will he recover, will he die? Or will he become a skinner like Lia? Skinned is the first book in the Cold Awakening trilogy.

Compare to:

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson
Feed - M.T. Anderson

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Being Nikki - Meg Cabot

I borrowed this book from the library.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Lies Beneath

Yessss! I love mermaid stories.

Lies Beneath
by Anne Greenwood Brown
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
June 2012

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough — especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily — just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top Ten Authors I'd Like to See on a Reality TV Show

If I could build a dream cast for a reality TV show, this is who I'd like to see:

Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Beth Revis, 
Maureen Johnson, Jackson Pearce, Kiersten White,
Maggie Stiefvater, John Green, Carrie Ryan, Frankie Diane Mallis

Why? Because I think all of these writers have big personalities and are funny and interesting. I'd love to seem them on a show kind of similar to The Real World where they just live in an apartment, bicker over minor things, cause drama for no reason, come up with amusing and random ways to pass the time and are "surprised" when the producers announce they're randomly taking a vacation to the Bahamas. Shows that feature some kind of competition where contestants are eliminated are so popular these days. I wouldn't want to see them in a "write-off" or anything of that nature -- just seeing them hang out would be pretty awesome, I think.

BONUS: Guest appearances by Gail Carriger, Scott Tracey, Jack D. Ferraiolo, Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier. How cool would that be?

That is the kind of show that I'd totally be addicted to. I'd even buy the DVDs for the audio commentaries and bonus scenes!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Picture Books mini-reviews, part 2

Is Everyone Ready for Fun?
by Jan Thomas
Beach Lane Books
September 2011

I love Jan Thomas! This book is funny and fun - great for reading with groups, so kids can jump and wiggle along with those wacky out-of-control cows who are jumping on chicken's sofa. Repeating lines, "Is everyone ready? Is everyone ready for FUN?" add to the manic appeal. Colorful, easy to see digital art. A sure-fire winner at storytime.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Randy Riley's Really Big Hit
by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press
February 2012

Written in a rhyme-y, rollicking style, nerdy kid Randy loves science and astronomy, but is a flop on the baseball field. One night, he notices an asteroid heading straight for Earth and works on a secret project out back - a giant robot, who uses a chimney stack as a baseball bat to knock the fireball clean out of sight. Colorful gauche illustrations employ a strong mid-century retro aesthetic, in a surburban neighborhood of tract homes. Lots of boy appeal in this one!

I borrowed this book from the library.

When Grandmama Sings
by Margaree King Mitchell
Amistad Press
January 2012

Grandmama, a contemporary of Ella Fitzgerald, travels through the racist, segregated South on a musical tour with her band. While the characters are fictional, the feel is very realistic. The band undergoes many hardships: being forced to eat outside in their cars after paying good money at a diner, frequently being pulled over by intimidating highway patrols, sometimes being cheated out of their pay after playing a gig. Grandmama's grit and determination and love for her granddaughter see them through.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Ellen's Broom
by Kelly Starling Lyons
Putnam Juvenile
January 2012

I was really charmed by this antebellum story telling about the complex history of "jumping the broom" at African-American weddings. Ellen's parents are eager to put the past behind them when they are finally able to legally wed at a courthouse after slavery has ended. Ellen reclaims and transforms the tradition into something positive, by decorating the family broom with flowers. The book is illustrated with beautiful full-color linoleum woodcuts.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on A Midsummer's Nightmare

I'm excited for this one, because I loved The DUFF and Shut Out.

A Midsummer's Nightmare
by Kody Keplinger
June 2012

Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorced dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great. Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Huffepuff video

"I'm a Hufflepuff!" This video made me lol.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Free Comic Book Day

Buffy vs. Aliens

It's Free Comic Book Day! Check here and see if there are any free comic books to be had near you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Iron King review

The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen
February 2010

I do love the whole mythol
ogy behind faeries. I don't mean the sweet, rainbow, cute, flower fairies that little girls go crazy for - I mean the ancient, powerful, inhuman yet awesomely beautiful sort. 

16-year old Meghan Chase continues to be haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her father when she was six. In the meantime, her mother has moved the family to a tiny town in Louisiana where they struggle to get by. Like any typical teenager, Meghan is obsessed with getting a car. Sounds like a pretty normal realistic fiction novel so far, right?

Meghan's best friend's name was a huge giveaway that magical things are about to be afoot, at least, for anyone in the know: Robbie Goodfell. He's an inveterate prankster but always manages to look out for Meghan, giving her the nickname, "Princess." Meghan's crushing on quarterback Scott Waldron, who we are given to understand is a good-looking big dumb lunk. Rob's impassioned pleas for Meghan to steer clear of him had me wondering if Rob had feelings for Meghan, despite being friend-zoned.

There are a lot of classic themes here: Meghan's younger half-brother Ethan is kidnapped by fairies, who leave behind an evil proxy changeling in his place. She can't let this go, and is tireless in her efforts to rescue him. The older sister protecting her younger brother is common in Celtic lore. In traditional legends the fae have an aversion to iron, so the idea of having a faery rebel trying to build a powerful faction using iron and magic was a really neat twist.

The story really picks up when Meghan is finally in the faery world and introduced to Prince Ash, a coldly seductive faery, who may or may not have her best interests at heart. One of the most terrifying things about faeries, I find, is that they just don't have the same agendas or goals as humans. Sometimes they may feel passionately about things and in the next moment they couldn't care less. If I had to choose a "team" I'd be Team Robbie, all the way. The whole world is so surreal, like a dream sequence - this book would make a visually stunning movie, for sure.

There's a certain art to being able to end a book satisfyingly, while still leaving enough unresolved questions to merit more in the series, and Kagawa definitely delivers on that score. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series... now I just need to carve out enough time to do so!

I borrowed this book from the library.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on A Hero for WondLA

To describe The Search for WondLA as The Wizard of Oz meets sci-fi dystopian future doesn't even begin to do it justice. I'm so excited for the second book in the series.

A Hero for WondLA
by Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon & Schuster's Children's Books
May 2012

Finally, Eva Nine has gotten what she has always wanted: other humans. When she and her friends are rescued by Hailey, another human, Eva couldn't be happier. Now she has everything she has ever dreamed of. Hailey brings Eva and her friends to the human colony New Attica, where humans of all shapes and sizes live in apparent peace and harmony.

But all is not idyllic in New Attica, and soon Eva Nine and her friends realize that something very bad is going on--and if they don't stop it, it could mean the end of everything and everyone on Orbona.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Read in April

This month I read the following books:

1 Hallowed - Cynthia Hand
2 Prized - Caragh M. O'Brien
3 Children of Open Adoption and Their Families - Kathleen Silber
4 The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant - Dan Savage
5 The Wizard Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
6 Zeus: King of the Gods - George O'Connor
7 Shades of Milk and Honey - Mary Robinette Kowal

Picture credit: Reading Girl by Friedrich Von Amerling


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