Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane display 2017

We've had a lot of requests this week for books about hurricanes - mostly from parents who'd like to explain what's going on in the news to their children. So, I decided to put together a hurricane display. To be totally honest, it initially felt a bit... macabre? But, people have been asking, so following Ranganathan's Fourth Law: Save the Time of the Reader, I put together some titles. And the feedback has been really nice, people appreciate it. 

Our top two shelves feature, of course, books on hurricanes and extreme weather.

Keywords:
Hurricanes/Floods/Weather/Disasters

Dewey Call Numbers:
551.52

On the bottom shelf, I thought of the wisdom of Mr. Rogers who would say, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers!"



Keywords:
Coast Guard/Rescue/Emergency/Police/Fire fighters/Paramedics

Dewey Call Numbers:
362.18, 363.286, 363.34, 628.9, 629.133, 629.225

I remember when I was in Austin, TX, during Hurricane Katrina, we offered free library cards for evacuees. Having access to library computers was a lifeline for many during that time.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Kiss in Time review


A Kiss in Time
by Alex Flinn
HarperTeen
April 2009

First line: "If I hear one more syllable about spindles, I shall surely die!"

Princess Talia from the kingdom of Euphrasia is somewhat of a drama queen. All her life, she's been incredibly sheltered, because everyone knows that she's been cursed to fall asleep after pricking her finger on a spindle. Under guard at all times, and not allowed to leave the palace, her only way of rebelling is to speak rudely to all of her servants. In a way, she really can't help it when she is finally tricked into touching a spindle - she's never seen one before and doesn't know what to avoid!

Three hundred years later... spoiled rich kid Jack is thoroughly bored with his all-expenses paid European vacation. While trying to avoid a tour of yet another museum, he breaks the curse and awakens Talia quite by accident. Figuring it will make his ex-girlfriend Amber jealous, he brings Talia back with him to Miami.

One of the aspects to the Sleeping Beauty story which always had me wondering was... how does the princess adjust to the world after she wakes up? Imperious, haughty, totally unprepared for American informality and lack of respect for inherited titles, Talia really struggles to get along, although her mean-girl spirit serves her well when dealing with the popular girls in an American high school. Any and all technology is completely foreign to her, and she has several humorous misunderstandings concerning taking Jack's cell phone messages. To be honest, I found both Talia and Jack difficult to like. Like a lot of Flinn's characters, Talia is a spoiled brat who takes the long way around to finally getting over herself.

Even though I found the main characters a bit trying at times, I think teens who feel stifled by rules, full of energy, ready to get on with their lives and stop being told what to do at every turn by "grown-ups" will find them relate-able. I'll recommend this to anyone who enjoys fairytale retellings.

Compare to:
Spindle's End - Robin McKinley
Wisdom's Kiss - Catherine Gilbert Murdock
A Long, Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan
Briar Rose - Jane Yolen

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Read in June




Last month I read the following:


1. Leaving Fishers - Margaret Peterson Haddix



picture credit: Little Girl Reading Book, 1899

Friday, June 23, 2017

Boyfriends with Girlfriends review

Boyfriends with Girlfriends
by Alex Sanchez
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
April 2011


First line: "Lance tapped the beat of A Chorus Line's 'What I Did for Love' on Allie's bedroom door. 'Hi, it's me!'"

In this contemporary ensemble story, four high school friends; gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning, wrestle with their identities. Lance is comfortably out of the closet and is blessed with a very supportive family. His best friend Allie is straight. He brings her along on a group date to meet Sergio, a new guy that he's interested in. As far as Lance is concerned, Sergio's insistence that he is bisexual is only a minor hitch - surely Sergio will come "all the way" out of the closet, soon, right? In the meantime, Allie is intrigued by Sergio's best friend Kimiko. Allie's been dating lovable yet lunk-headed athlete Chip for some time. Allie's always liked manga, and she and bookish tomboy Kimiko connect right away. Allie and Kimiko do end up kissing, which has Allie wondering maybe she's not so straight after all? Kimiko's disapproving Asian mother is the main reason why Kimiko decides to remain in the closet for now.

I wished that the characters had been more distinctly drawn. Each of the four teens are somewhat socially awkward, and of course spend a lot of time thinking about their sexuality. All of them have a constant, restless scheming quality, "How can I tell if so-and-so likes me?" "If I say such-and-such thing, will that impress the person I have a crush on?" "How far can I get so-and-so to go with me? How far do I want them to?" After a while, the characters collective angst becomes exhausting; 
many of the characters' inner monologues felt repetitive and forced. Still, the book is notable for its frank discussion of teen sexuality and inclusiveness of several different orientations.

Compare to:
Geography Club - Brent Hartinger
Everything Leads to You - Nina LaCour
Pink - Lili Wilkinson
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom - Emily Franklin

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pride display

I put together this display in our YA area for Pride Month. I was glad we have such a nice selection of titles!


Friday, June 9, 2017

Build A Better World display

Summer reading is in full swing! This year's theme is "Build a Better World." Here is a phenomenal display put together by some of my staff. We invited patrons to write how they would "build a better world" on our bulletin boards. People left some very inspiring and heart-warming messages!



Friday, June 2, 2017

Read in May



Last month I read the following:


1. Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes - Alan Dapre
2. Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Bash Crash Ding - Alan Dapre



picture credit: Portrait of a Young Woman Reading, Dean Cornwell 1924

Friday, May 12, 2017

Outside In review

Outside In
by Maria V. Snyder
Harlequin Teen
February 2011

First line: "My world changed in a heartbeat."

Trella's journey through space continues in this sequel to Inside Out. As before, time is referred to in weeks - characters are so many "weeks old" events happened a certain number of "weeks ago." It gives the whole book a bit of alien flavor. The ship's estimated time of arrival, one million weeks, means they'll actually be spending nearly 2,000 years in space! The mystery of where they are has been solved: the crew of their generation spaceship will be spending the rest of their lifetimes (and their children's lifetimes) traveling towards a planet where they can finally live "Outside" again.



In the meantime, Trella is facing the hard work of reuniting the "scrubs" and the "uppers" on board the ship. Frankly, the same kind of loner, adventurer spirit that enabled her to explore the ships air ducts for hours on end, eventually discovering the "Gateway" airlock to Outer Space, as well as additional levels of the ship, planned by their ancestors for the inevitable population crowding that they face, is exactly the same kind of spirit that makes her a stunningly inappropriate choice to be on the ruling council. She regularly skips out on council meetings in favor of poking around the ship's tunnels as she used to do.

Engine problems on the ship create chaos, just as Trella is dealing with being reunited with her estranged mother Dr. Lamont as well as her deepening relationship with her boyfriend Riley. It turns out that the ship's mechanical problems are due to outside interference. But who or what could be harassing the citizens of Inside from so deep in space? 

I'll recommend this for tween readers who aren't quite ready for Across the Universe by Beth Revis. The plot moves quickly, and the romance is fairly tame.

Compare to:
Across the Universe - Beth Revis
Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan

Enclave - Ann Aguire



I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Read in April



Last month I read the following:


1. March: Book Three - John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell



picture credit: Jeune fille lisant, Charles Chaplin 1857

Friday, April 14, 2017

Frozen review


Frozen
by Robin Wasserman
Simon Pulse
October 2011

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

Teenager Lia Kahn leads a charmed life until a car accident robs her of everything, including her body. Her wealthy and pushy father has her memories downloaded into an android body. Lia is horrified at she's been turned into but still makes an effort 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; Zoie 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 rebels who are campaigning for mechs' rights. They're a desperate and sad group, taking wild risks just to prove that they can 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. With her new circle of friends, 
she may not be the old Lia Kahn, but she reasons that she's still a sentient being with hopes and dreams for the future. Just as Lia is just starting to pull herself together, the book ends on a shocking cliffhanger.  Not realizing her own strength, she seriously injures her friend Auden in an accident. Will he recover or die? Or will he become like Lia? Frozen is the first book in the Cold Awakening trilogy and was originally released under the title, Skinned.

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.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Read in March


Last month I read the following:

1. The Sound of Gravel - Ruth Wariner


picture credit:  Bertha Reading, Albert Anker

Friday, March 10, 2017

Iron King review

The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen
February 2010


First line: "Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared."

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

16-year-old Meghan Chase is 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 neat twist.

The story really picks up when Meghan is finally in the faerie world and introduced to Prince Ash, a coldly seductive faerie, who may or may not have her best interests at heart. One of the most terrifying things about faeries, 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 don't care at all. If I had to choose a "team" I'd be Team Robbie, all the way. The whole faerie 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.


Compare to:
Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr
Dust Girl - Sarah Zettel
Dragonswood - Janet Lee Carety

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Read in February 2017


Last month I read the following:

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School - Jeff Kinney
2. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice - Curtis Sittenfeld
3. March: Book One - John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell
4. March: Book Two  - John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell


picture credit:  A Reader, Albert Moore

Friday, February 10, 2017

Firelight review

Firelight
by Sophie Jordan
Harper Teen
September 2010

First 
 line: "Gazing out at the quiet lake, I know the risk is worth it."

I love shape-changing dragons, and was pleased to find that this book had them in scores. Sixteen year-old Jacinda Jones is all but promised to Cassian, the alpha male heir-apparent to their isolated mountain community of dragonkin. The draki society contains several different subtypes of draki with different powers. They live mostly as humans, only occasionally taking dragon form. Jacinda is a super-rare fire-breather, and the other draki in their village can't wait for her to start having children, hopefully repopulating their kind with fire-breathers again. Jacinda's a bit of a rebel and a risk-taker and the last thing she wants is to pair off with pushy, demanding Cassian. After a forbidden sunrise flight, and a close call with draki hunters, their tribe wants to clip her wings - all but tying her up to force her to breed. Her hard-edged mother decides the only way to save her is to relocate to the desert - hoping the hot dry weather will kill off Jacinda's draki half and shape-changing abilities altogether.

Once they've made their escape from their cool, foggy mountain home, Jacinda's younger twin sister Tamra is delighted to finally not have to play second-fiddle to her superstar older sister. Tamra loves the opportunity to finally be able to go to a normal high school and quickly makes new friends. While Jacinda has never been attracted to Cassian, and is glad to be free of the pressures and politics of the draki society, she loves flying and doesn't want to give up her dragon form. She's desperately holding on, by sneaking out for a few nighttime practice flights, and winds up meeting sensitive, handsome Will, who, it turns out, is the youngest son in a family of murderous draki hunters, providing a forbidden Romeo and Juliet aspect to their romance.


Compare to:
Nightshade - Andrea Cremer
Tempest Rising - Tracy Deebs
Dragonswood - Janet Lee Carey
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman


I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Read in January 2017


Last month I read the following:

1. The Unwanted - Lisa McMann
2. Holding on to Zoe - George Ella Lyon
3. The Accidental Abduction - Darcie Wild


picture credit:  Elegante, Frederic Soulacroix

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thinning the herd

It's time, once again, for my overhaul of my To Read List.
I'm trimming a couple titles this go around that I've been on the fence about for quite some time. I've added them... taken them off... added them back. Okay! Time to say goodbye to these:



Lost (Magic Thief, #2)
The Faerie Path (Faerie Path, #1)
Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves, #1)
The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)
The Off Season (Dairy Queen, #2)
When You Reach Me
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2)
A Beautiful Dark (A Beautiful Dark, #1)
The Storm in the Barn
A Tale of Two Castles (A Tale of Two Castles, #1)
The Guild (The Guild, #1)
Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1)
The Springsweet (The Vespertine, #2)
Lucid
Tangled
Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)
The Glimpse (The Glimpse, #1)
The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee  (Origami Yoda, #3)
Tiger Lily
Ivy's Ever After
The Other Half of Me
These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
The Year of the Gadfly
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #2)
Sleeping Beauty's Daughters
The Various (Touchstone Trilogy, #1)
The Blade Itself (The First Law #1)
Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2)
The Devil's Intern (The Devil's, #1)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre
Sweet Little Lies (L.A. Candy, #2)
Paper Towns
Royally Lost
The Theory of Opposites
Thumped (Bumped, #2)

















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