Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Sapphique

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine


Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
Published by Dial Books
On Sale Date:  January 4, 2011

Summary from Goodreads: Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don't even know who you are? Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique.


Sapphique is the sequel to Incarceron, a book that I absolutely loved.  So, I am very excited for Sapphique to be published in the United States.  Just like Incarceron, it was published in the UK first.  And the cover is amazing.  Incarceron's cover was gray with a blue key as the focal point.  Sapphique has a keyhole through which we can see a sky full of stars, in the middle of what looks like a door, maybe.  I know that I could buy the UK edition of Sapphique from The Book Depository or Amazon UK, but I just need to have a matched set.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today's teaser comes from Borderline by Allan Stratton.  We just got Borderline in at the library last week and I'm looking forward to reading it and sharing it with our teen patrons.  It is on my TBR list and I will hopefully get to it this week.


"On top, I've put a map of the downtown for each of you," he says. "Note the red star at the corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets.  There's an open-air plaza there, opposite this big mall, the Eatin Centre.  It'll be our rendezvous point if we get separated.  Put your copy in a pocket now, before you forget."
~p. 230, Borderline by Allan Stratton




What book did you pick for your Teaser?  Feel free to include a link to your teaser with your comment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Review - Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 9, 2010
Hardcover, 287 pages
Rating: 4 bookcases

Summary from book cover: When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre. . . to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria . . . to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own - scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster’s priceless art collection has been stolen and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled off this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just in the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and, hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history - and with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
_________________________________________________

This is the first book that I have read by Ally Carter, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But, I was hooked from the beginning and by the middle of the book I had to know how to know how the story ended. Kat wanted a normal life, away from her thieving family. She conned her way into boarding school and was flying, pretty much, under the radar until she was framed and expelled for playing a prank on the headmaster. Kat ends up being pulled back in to her old life when she learns that her father is the only suspect in a major burglary of a mobster’s art collection. Kat must prove her father’s innocence by pulling the biggest heist she’s ever been involved in.

The characters in Heist Society are really what pulled me into the story. They are so well-developed that I could picture them clearly as I was reading. Kat needs to prove her father’s innocence, so she puts her own life aside to do everything she can for him. She meets with evil mobsters, travels all over the US and Europe gathering information and recruiting a group of teens to help her. Then there’s Hale, Kat’s handsome, billionaire best friend. The tension between the two of them hinted that something more might be going on between them. The rest of the team (made up of Gabrielle, the Bagwell brothers and Simon) was just as memorable and fun to read about.

The plot had lots of twists and turns. Just when I thought I had Heist Society figured out, Ms Carter would change direction. I love stories that do that and Heist Society definitely had me on the edge of my seat.

My only concern with Heist Society was that Kat, Hale and Gabrielle all act much older than their ages.  It was hard for me to believe that 15 and 16 year olds (even those with unlimited funds) could travel all over the world on their own and carry out such a complicated plan. However, this didn’t stop me from enjoying Heist Society at all. (Heist Society has been optioned by Warner Bros and they are aging the characters into their early 20s, which seems more believable.)

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who loves fun, action-packed books. I will definitely be reading more of Ally Carter’s books.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library. In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.



This week was mostly a library week.  From the library I borrowed:

The Line by Teri Hall
 Can't wait to start this debut novel, it has been getting some great reviews.

Zombies, what more is there to say?

Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley
I have already read this one, it's very funny.  Look for my review later this week.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
This was recommended to me by one of our teen reviewers. We were talking about Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which she had just read and she said that one of the characters reminded her of a character from Boy Meets Boy.  She said it was her favorite David Levithan book and was surprised when I said that I hadn't read it. 

I bought: 
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
You can find my review here.


I thought that was going to be it for this week, until this came on Saturday morning:


Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb which I won from Myra McEntire's blog.  Ms. McEntire does these weekly "Friday in the Fort" posts, which are very funny.  Two weeks ago she featured Kristin O'Donnell Tubb and had a contest for a signed copy of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different.  Thank You to both Myra and Kristin!!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review - The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin

The Summer Before (The Baby-Sitters Club) by Ann M. Martin
Published by Scholastic Press on April 1, 2010
Review based on ARC
Rating: 5 bookcases

Summary from ARC cover: Before there was The Baby-Sitters Club, there were four girls named Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill. As they start the summer before seventh grade, each of them is getting reading for big changes. Kristy is still hoping that her father will return to her family. Mary Anne has to prove that she’s no longer a little girl. Claudia is navigating her first major crush. And Stacey is leaving her entire New York City life behind in order to find new friends in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.

Separately, it’s a lot to deal with. But together, these friends will find a way to make it through - with plenty of laughter, tears, and surprises along the way.

Whether you are a fan of the original Baby-Sitters Club series or if this is your first visit to Stoneybrook, The Summer Before is a sweet, moving novel about four girls on the edge of something big - not just the club that will change their lives, but also the joys and tribulations of being a girl.
_________________________________________________________________________

In my last In My Mailbox post, I talked about how much I loved The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) in fifth and sixth grade (and yes, I realize that I’m dating myself when I say this). Pretty much all the girls in my class were obsessed and we would talk about which books were our favorites and see who could read the most books. Reading The Summer Before took me back to those days. It really did feel like visiting with old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, except this time they were telling me a story I had never heard before.

The Summer Before takes place during the summer before Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey start 7th grade, before Stacey moves to Stoneybrook, and before the Baby-Sitters Club existed. Really, it follows the four of them as they navigate the time between being a kid and being a teenager. 

Having read a lot of BSC books in my youth and other stand alone novel by Ann M. Martin more recently, I had very high hopes and expectations for The Summer Before. I am happy to say that it met all of my expectations. It really felt as though I was in Stoneybrook with Kristy, Mary Anne and Claudia and NYC with Stacey. There were both happy and sad moments and experiences. My favorite story line belonged to Mary Anne, who spent the summer trying to prove to her very strict father that she was growing up and trying to understand why Claudia would want to spend time with a boy instead of her and Kristy.

The Summer Before works as both a standalone novel and as part of a series. For girls who have already started reading BSC books, it is a great look at these characters before the club started. For girls new to BCS it is a wonderful introduction. The Summer Before is a definite recommendation for girls in the 8 to 12 age group, especially those who enjoy reading series and stories about friends.  It is also a great read for adults who spent time in Stoneybrook when they were younger.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Hunger

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Published by Harcourt Graphia
On Sale Date: October 18, 2010

Summary from Goodreads: “Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?


I am intrigued by the premise of Hunger. A teen girl is chosen as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  She is anorexic and represents Famine, riding on the black steed carrying a set of weighing scales.  The cover, which shows a set of scales, look ominous, but I'm hoping that the story is really one of hope.  Jackie Morse Kessler will be donating a portion of the proceeds from Hunger to the National Eating Disorders Association.  For more information about Hunger visit Ms. Kessler's website .


What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from The Line by Teri Hall.  It was waiting for me when I got to work this morning, so I thought why not take a sneak peek and look for a teaser.  This is what I found:



Rachel hesotated for a moment, but she knew now was as good a time as any to try to find out more about Ms. Moore's mysterious past.  "Ms. Moore," she said, keeping her eyes on her teacup, "I was wondering. . ."  Rachel had to think about how to go on.
~p. 64, The Line by Teri Hall



 
What book did you choose for your Tuesday Teaser?  Feel free to leave a link with your comment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review - A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Published by Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) on March 23, 2010
Review based on ARC
Rating: 5 bookcases

Summary from Goodreads: Heart-stopping action, intrigue, danger, revenge, and romance, with a hint of a supernatural force as great as the gods—here is the epic story of an unlikely prince and his quest to save his kingdom. The fourth book in Megan Whalen Turner’s award-winning series about Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis.

Sophos, heir to Sounis, doesn’t look like much of a prince. At least, according to those in power. At least, to those who do not know him or the size of his heart and the depth of his courage, loyalty, and love. But Helen, Queen of Eddis, knows him, and so does Gen, the queen’s Thief, who is now King of Attolia. Gen and the queen believe that Sophos is dead. But they also believe in hope, especially since a body was never found. So when Sophos is discovered in Attolia, the obvious question becomes: where has he been all this time?

**Before the start of the review, I wanted to put a spoiler warning.  This being the fourth book in the series, there will be some minor spoilers, nothing plot related or anything major.  But the ocassional mention of some small piece of information from one of the previous books is included for purposes of clarity.**

It’s no secret that The Queen’s Thief series is one of my favorite series. I read the first three books in about two weeks and then did a second read-through with the purpose of going back and finding all the clues, details, and bits I missed the first time. I was excited when I heard there was going to be a fourth book because it meant that I would get to spend more time in the Queen’s Thief world. It would have been fine if the series ended with The King of Attolia. In fact, each of the first three books stands on its own, so that if you were to pick up any of them, you could understand the story. This really isn’t true for A Conspiracy of Kings. Now, there is too much background information to know. You could still read it on its own, but it wouldn’t amount to the same experience or the same level of understanding.

Getting the ARC was exciting – much squeeing and happy dancing occurred. I stared at it for awhile, opening it to the first page, reading the first line and then closing it again. When I did start it for real, it was so easy to get lost in the writing and the story. Just like the other three books, there are lots of twists and turns, plenty of “what just happened?” and “what did he say?” moments, including going back and re-reading paragraphs or whole scenes.

Reading A Conspiracy of Kings felt like reading about long lost friends. I cared about what happened to the characters, especially about Sophos who really did grow up in between the end of The Thief and the start of A Conspiracy of Kings. This was his book. Parts 1 and 3 are his story; in his words spoken to someone he loves. So it made me wonder if any of it was colored by that, was anything left out or changed at all because of who he was telling. These two sections were very narrow in scope, focusing solely on Sophos’s experiences. Parts 2 and 4 are told in third person point of view, they give more information about what is going on in the wider world and place certain actions and events in context.

If The King of Attolia was about outward appearances and how a person’s actions can dictate what other’s think about them, then A Conspiracy of Kings was about the roles people play and the various personas they have to adopt and/or play in different situations. It is also about changing friendships and relationships and how people in power have to balance personal and royal relationships. Despite his changing circumstances, it was reassuring to see that Sophos was still Sophos; someone prone to blushing, interested in learning as much as possible from those around him, still enamored with the Magus. I was glad to see that the other characters were much as I remembered them. They all met my expectations and responded to things mostly how I thought they would. The absence of certain characters did make me wonder and hope that we will find out where they were and what they might have been doing in the next book.

A Conspiracy of Kings was the first book in the series whose ending really left me with more questions than answers. There are always questions at the end of Ms Turner’s books, but more so with A Conspiracy of Kings. I am looking forward to the next installment very much. Overall, this was a wonderful book, an amazing addition to the Queen's Thief series. I wholeheartedly recommend this book (and series) to just about everyone. If you like fantasy, poltical thrillers, mysteries, romances, or philosophy and humor you will enjoy the Queen's Thief series.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library. In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie

For Review:

Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir by Wendy Burden (Gotham Books, April 1, 2010)

Summary from Goodreads: In the tradition of Sean Wilsey's Oh The Glory of It All and Augusten Burrough's Running With Scissors, the great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt gives readers a grand tour of the world of wealth and WASPish peculiarity, in her irreverent and darkly humorous memoir.

For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius "The Commodore" Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy's birth, the Burden's had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline-and were rarely seen not holding a drink. In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites readers to meet her tragically flawed family, including an uncle with a fondness for Hitler, a grandfather who believes you can never have enough household staff, and a remarkably flatulent grandmother.

At the heart of the story is Wendy's glamorous and aloof mother who, after her husband's suicide, travels the world in search of the perfect sea and ski tan, leaving her three children in the care of a chain- smoking Scottish nanny, Fifth Avenue grandparents, and an assorted cast of long-suffering household servants (who Wendy and her brothers love to terrorize). Rife with humor, heartbreak, family intrigue, and booze, Dead End Gene Pool offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of old money and gives truth to an old maxim: The rich are different

I don't read memoirs often, but this one looked interesting because the family is from New York.  And the cover is slightly odd, which can sometimes be a good thing.  I probably won't be posting a review for Dead End Gene Pool until the beginning of May. Thank you to Penguin and TLC Tours.

From the library:

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (Delacorte Press for Young Readers, 1997)

Summary from Goodreads: Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He's fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian's divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really--human or beast? Which tastes sweeter--blood or chocolate?

I loved The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, so I looked for other books by her.  I had no idea that she had also written Blood and Chocolate.  It is about werewolves, that plus the amazing The Silver Kiss, leave me with very high expectations.

The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin  (Scholastic Press, April 1, 2010) - ARC from Library System List

Summary from Goodreads: Before there was the Baby-Sitters Club, there were four girls named Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill. As they start the summer before seventh grade (also before they start the BSC), each of them is on the cusp of a big change. Kristy is still hung up on hoping that her father will return to her family. Mary Anne has to prove to her father that she's no longer a little girl who needs hundreds of rules. Claudia is navigating her first major crush on a boy. And Stacey is leaving her entire New York City life behind...

...in order to find new friends in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.

The Summer Before . . . is a sweet, moving novel about four girls on the edge of something big - not just the Club that will change their lives, but also all the joys and tribulations of being twelve and thirteen.

I absolutely loved The Baby Sitters Club series when I was in 5th and 6th grade.  I devoured them, one after another.  When it was announced that BSC was getting a makeover and an update, I was excited.  At the library, our copies of BSC do get borrowed, but not that often.  The update will bring Kristy, Mary Ann, Claudia and Stacey into the 2000s and make them more relatable to todays tweens.  I'm in the middle of reading The Summer Before and it feels like stepping back in time and meeting with old friends.  The 10 year old in me was squeeing as I read the first few pages.  It is definitely has a more modern feel, but there is nothing specific that would date it. 

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review - A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
Published by Razorbill on February 4, 2010
Paperback, 278 pages
Rating: 3.5 bookcases

Summary from Goodreads: When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

Cover: I usually don’t talk about the cover, but in an interview, Kristin Walker mentioned how Razorbill included teens that she knew personally on the cover. That is great that the cover designer used actual teens, instead of all models.  The cover is definitely eye-catching and the pink and white stand out

My Thoughts: Overall, A Match Made in High School is a cute, fun story. Parts of the plot were predictable; Fiona, the outcast girl with few friends gets paired with Todd, the cute, popular but not very nice jock for a school assignment. What’s not predicable is how Fiona and Todd’s animosity towards each other changes into something else. You didn’t think I was going to tell you exactly how it changes, did you? A Match Made in High School is also very funny, I laughed out loud several times while reading and had to put the book down during one part. Ms Walker does a great job of mixing the drama of the “marriage” class (especially the interactions with the school counselor) with typical teenage behavior and rites of passage. There were definitely crushes, best friend fights, school dances, pranks and reexamining priorities and actions.


Fiona, the main character and narrator, is comfortable in her skin to a point. She is very blunt and says what is on her mind, so it is easy to see why her classmates might not like her. When she finally understands how her behavior affects other people, she becomes a much more agreeable character. My favorite character in the book is actually not even in high school. Sam, the 11 year old Fiona babysits for gets to the heart of the matter within a few sentences. When her life in sixth grade begins to resemble Fiona’s life, Sam is the one to dispense the sage advice. She helps Fiona realize what she needs to do to mend friendships. The scenes between her and Fiona were wonderful to read. I could feel just how much Sam and Fiona needed each other and how much they really cared about each other as well.

A Match Made in High School is a definite recommendation for readers who enjoy realistic fiction as well as humorous stories.

Author Appreciation Week - Day 5


Author Appreciation Week is the brain child of debut author Heidi Kling.

If you would like to participate simply, write a blog post each day of next week about the authors you appreciate and why! The best part, there are no rules. Be as creative as you want. Looking for more information? Check out Heidi’s blog.

My goal for Author Appreciation Week is to highlight authors whose books I love reading and who have impacted how I choose which I’ll read next. There is no particular order. These are authors who, in my opinion, write excellent books.

Today's Author is Megan Whalen Turner


Books by Megan Whalen Turner

Instead of Three Wishes (Greenwillow Books, 2006, originally published 1995)
The Thief (Greenwillow Books, 1996)
The Queen of Attolia (Greenwillow Books, 2000)
The King of Attolia (Greenwillow Books, 2006)
A Conspiracy of Kings (Greenwillow Books, March 23, 2010)

Author Appreciation Week wouldn’t be complete without paying tribute to Megan Whalen Turner (for me at least). The Queen’s Thief series (or Attolia series, there really isn’t an official series title) has quickly become my favorite book series ever. They were introduced to me by a work colleague while I was working on a final project for a Children’s Lit class. I read the first three one right after the other and was sad that there weren’t any more to read. The series is hard to describe because it really doesn’t fall under one genre. It is part fantasy, part political thriller with a historical fiction feel. The setting is reminiscent of both the Medieval and Byzantine periods, with a distinctive Greekness to the landscape. The world is so complete and intricate that it is easy to get lost in it while reading. There are so many twists and turns in the plot that telling you about any of them would constitute a spoiler. The characters are very complex; you think you know them until they do something that changes your entire opinion of them.

I love books that you can read over and over and still find new bits and details that you haven’t found before. These books are exactly like that, I find something new - a connection I didn’t see the first 3 times, a detail that sheds light on a character’s action, a little snippet of dialog that can be interpreted in lots of different ways - every time I read them. So I would like to say Thank You to Megan Whalen Turner for creating books with intricate plots, lovable characters, and complex relationships; books that get people excited about reading, discussing and theorizing about what Gen or Attolia or Sophos or the Magus might do next.


For more information take a look at Megan Whalen Turner's website and the fan community at http://community.livejournal.com/sounis/.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Days 3 and 4


I have totally dropped the ball with Author Appreciation Week (Yikes!). So I'm going to do a combination post for authors 3 and 4 today and then post the last Author Appreciation Week entry tomorrow.

Author Appreciation Week is the brain child of debut author Heidi Kling.

If you would like to participate simply, write a blog post each day of next week about the authors you appreciate and why! The best part, there are no rules. Be as creative as you want. Looking for more information? Check out Heidi’s blog.

My goal for Author Appreciation Week is to highlight authors whose books I love reading and who have impacted how I choose which I’ll read next. Some days, there will be multiple authors spotlighted, other days only one. There is no particular order. These are authors who write excellent books.

Today's first author is Kristin Cashore

Books she has written:

Graceling (Harcourt Children's Books, Oct 2008)
Fire (Dial, October 2009)

I appreciate Kristin Cashore because, well, her books are amazing, her blog is a lot of fun to visit and she is taking trapeze lessons! She has created these two amazing worlds that are related, yet are very different from each other. While reading Kristin’s books, it felt as though I could travel to both the Seven Kingdoms (in Graceling) and the Dells (in Fire) and meet the characters. Her characters are well-written, strong and complete in themselves. Both Katsa and Fire are strong and independent and have relationships with partners who are also independent and strong. Katsa is with Po and Fire with Brigan because they really care about them, not because they need to be to feel complete. I am very excited that Kristin will continue to write about the Seven kingdoms in her next book Bitterblue.


Today's second author is Sarah Rees Brennan

Books she has written:

The Demon's Lexicon (Margaret K. McElderry, June 2009)
The Demon's Covenant (Margaret K. McElderry, May 18, 2010)


I appreciate Sarah Rees Brennan because she created Nick, Alan, Mae, and Jamie. Ever since I read The Demon’s Lexicon, they are my favorite sets of fictional siblings. Alan and Nick are pretty much opposites: Alan is intellectual, caring, a good cook and a redhead, while Nick is tall, strong, brooding and good with a sword. Mae is spunky, smart, and cares deeply about Jamie, who is often in need of saving. I love that Sarah’s books take place in modern day England, but also contains magicians, Goblin Markets and sword fights. The Demon’s Lexicon is one of those books that you can read over and over and still find details (Sarah calls them breadcrumbs) you missed, details that enhance the story. She also has great taste in books; she loves Margaret Mahy (especially The Changeover) and The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. And she has a great sense of humor, both her blog and website show it off very well.  If you haven’t read The Demon’s Lexicon yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

Since I missed last week's Waiting on Wednesday post, I'm highlighting two books that I am eagerly waiting for.

Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Published by Greenwillow Books
On Sale Date: April 27, 2010

Summary from Goodreads: The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.


Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
Published by Simon Pulse
On Sale Date: May 18, 2010

Summary from Amazon: Torn between two destinies?

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she's a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?


Claire de Lune was going to be my "Waiting On" Wednesday pick last week.  It is another book werewolf book that sounds amazing!!  And I have been reading about Mistwood, both on Leah Cypess's website and on othetr blogs.  Each time I read about Mistwood, I get more excited about reading it!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Day 2


Author Appreciation Week is the brain child of debut author Heidi Kling.

If you would like to participate simply, write a blog post each day of next week about the authors you appreciate and why! The best part, there are no rules. Be as creative as you want. Looking for more information? Check out Heidi’s blog.

My goal for Author Appreciation Week is to highlight authors whose books I love reading and who have impacted how I choose which I’ll read next. Some days, there will be multiple authors spotlighted, other days only one. There is no particular order, because all these authors write excellent books.


Today’s author is Cassandra Clare.


I found The Mortal Instruments while I was working on a final project for a children’s literature class. I was trying to answer the question asked by countless children, “I love Harry Potter, what should I read next?” I’m pretty sure that I read about Cassandra Clare and her books on a blog (right now, I’m wishing that I had written down the blog name or URL somewhere), a glowing review of City of Ashes caught my eye, if I remember correctly. The next day I picked up City of Bones and just fell into the story. It stayed with me for days after I was done with it. City of Ashes more than lived up to my expectations and I wanted more, more of the alternate version of NYC, more of the characters and more action. I was in luck because City of Glass had just come out the week before. I read it wanting to know how everything turned out but also dreading the end. Since then, I have read them again and they get even better with each read through. And yes, all three books ended up being part of my final project. 

So, I would like to thank Cassie for these wonderful books. Thank you for creating an alternate version of New York City where werewolves, vampires, faeries, warlocks and Shadowhunters coexist with ‘normal” New Yorkers. Thank you for writing a story of self-discovery, for writing about characters who find strength they didn’t know they had, and acknowledging that strength isn’t all about brute force, but can be intellectual and emotional as well. Thank you for writing a story about love; not just romantic love, but familial love and the love between friends. Thank you for giving us characters who aren’t always what they seem, but are usually more than you could ever guess. And thank you for introducing me to a group of awesome authors. Because of the blurbs on City of Bones and City of Ashes, I went on to read books by Holly Black and Libba Bray, who are both amazingly talented authors as well.

Looking for more information on The Mortal Instruments?  Check out:

Cassandra's Blog,
The Mortal Instruments website

You can also learn about Cassandra's next series, The Infernal Devices, a prequel to The Mortal Instruments, at http://www.theinfernaldevices.com/




Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson.  Scarlett Fever is the sequel to Suite Scarlett.  I haven't started it yet, but I have high hopes because Suite Scarlett was a fun book to read.  And, I went a little beyond the two sentences because this paragraph was too funny to leave any of it out.


"I mean it," he said.  "I think that's great.  It's good for you. You need a wild phase.  So what did you do?  Did you get one of those rooms with a champagne-glass hot tub?  Did you get one of those old-timey photos?  Or one where you're dressed like you're in Star Trek?  I love those.  Chip would look so good dressed as a Klingon.  I can see it now. . ."
~p. 226, Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson




 
What's your Tuesday Teaser?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Day 1


Author Appreciation Week is the brain child of debut author Heidi Kling.

If you would like to participate simply, write a blog post each day of next week about the authors you appreciate and why! The best part, there are no rules. Be as creative as you want. Looking for more information? Check out Heidi’s blog.

My goal for Author Appreciation Week is to highlight authors whose books I love reading and who have impacted how I choose which I’ll read next. Some days, there will be multiple authors spotlighted, other days only one.  There is no particular order.  These are authors who write excellent books.



First up is Saundra Mitchell.


Her book Shadowed Summer is the perfect mix of ghost story and mystery. It has all the classic elements you would expect and a few you don’t: a cemetery, a ghost, a secret and a boy with a Ouija Board. The setting of Ondine, Louisiana is so real that you can feel the mugginess of the summer coming off the page. Within a few pages, it is very clear that Saundra did lots of research to make sure that all of the details were correct.

In an interview Saundra stated that as a child she spent a lot of time at the library hanging out in the 312s and 133s reading books about clairvoyance, past lives and reincarnation, and learning about the beyond. That is just awesome! All of that reading and knowledge comes through in Shadowed Summer. As a librarian, I love hearing authors talk about their love of libraries.

Another reason I admire and appreciate Saundra is that she is very accessible. I tend to have this vision of authors where they are all sitting in some fabulous cafĂ© in Paris or some exotic location chatting and working on their next book, not willing to talk to readers or librarians. (I may have read too many books by Hemingway and other “Lost Generation” authors in high school and college, which could be why I have this belief). To the contrary, Saundra takes the time to interact with her readers simply by being accessible. She is on Twitter and Facebook and has a blog where she interviews fellow authors. (It is lots of fun you should check it out!)

I’m very excited to read Saundra’s next book, The Vespertine, which has a tentative release date of Spring 2011. For information on The Vespertine head on over to http://thevespertine.com/.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library.

This week both of my books were from the library.

Evernight by Claudia Gray (HarperTeen, June 2008)

Summary from GoodreadsBianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

Evernight has been on my TBR list for a few months now.  It has gotten some great reviews, which only make me want to read it more!  So, I'm excited that it finally came from the library. 


The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance by Margaret Mahy (Puffin, 1984)

Summary from Amazon: The face in the mirror. From the moment she saw it, Laura Chant knew that something dreadful was going to happen. It wasn't the first time she'd been forewarned. But never before had anything so terrible happened. The horrifyingly evil Carmody Braque touched and branded her little brother - and now Jacko was very ill, getting steadily worse. There was only one way to save him. Laura had to change over: had to release her supernatural powers. And that meant joining forces with the extraordinary and enigmatic Sorenson Carlisle...

I'm about halfway through The Changeover and so far I love it!  I had to put it down to work on a paper for class, but as soon as the paper is done I hope to finish reading it.

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Blog Layout and a Contest!!

A new look for The Serpentine Library!

I am so excited about The Serpentine Library's brand new layout and design!!  The old layout was boring and dull.  I've been wanting to do something fun with The Serpentine Library since the beginning, so I contacted Rachel at Parajunkee Design to help me out.  Didn't she do an amazing job?

Rachel is amazingly creative and I can't recommend her enough!! I told her that I wanted a gray background with smaking books or bookshelves and chair with a table full of books in the corner.  Rachel had the first proof ready in less than 2 days. It looked great and the chair is almost exactly like the one in my office at home (its a little eerie how much alike they are).  She was very patient with all of my suggestions and ideas for changes both big and small.  I'm sure that I drove her absolutely crazy with them.  But, every proof was more amazing then the previous one.

ParaJunkee is a book blogger herself (you should check out her site, ParaJunkee's View) and she offers a 25% discount to book bloggers and authors - meaning that she's extremely affordable and worth every penny!  Thank you so very much for all of the work you put into The Serpentine Library,  Rachel!!

Did someone say something about a contest?

To celebrate the new look, I'm having a contest!! (and yes, it's International!!)  Here's what you can win:


Prize Pack #1: My Favorite Series

The entire Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner - all 4 books: The Thief, Queen of Attolia, King of Attolia and A Concpiracy of Kings (which is being published on March 23).  The first three will be paperbacks, the last one a hardcover. **will be sent from Amazon






Prize Pack #2: Faeries

Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater and a few related goodies.








Prize Pack #3: Debut Authors

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (signed) and
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting






Contest Rules:

To enter: Be a follower and leave a comment.  (+1 for the comment)
**please do not leave your e-mail in your comment**

You can earn extra entries if you:

(+5) already are a blog a follower

(+3) are a new blog follower

(+1) Follow me on twitter

(+2) Tweet about the contest (leave a link)

(+7) Write a post about it on your blog (leave a link to your post)

(+3) Post the contest on your sidebar (leave a link)

(+1) add up your entries

Three winners will be picked using Random.org and the first name drawn will win their choice of the three prizes listed. The second name drawn will win their choice of the remaining two prizes. The final name drawn will win the prize the final prize. The winners will have 48 hours to contact me with their mailing information.

Contest Ends:  April 10, 2010 Midnight EST

**Edited 3/14 for minor changes in wording.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Under the Weather: An Apology

This past week has been very blah!  I had such high hopes at the beginning of the week: getting a major paper done and handed in, prepping for a podcast interview, posting reviews.  Then I got sick (yuck!) and just making it to work took most of my energy.  I even skipped class, which almost never happens because I'm not a class skipper by nature.  So, I spend most of the week offline, resting and trying to get my very tired and sluggish brain to finish the "major paper".  It's really hard to write when your brain wants you to sleep!

Unfortunately, pretty much nothing got done this week - the paper still needs to be finished (just one more section left), books and reviews have been piling up and lots of e-mails haven't been read.  Really, I only managed to accomplish one thing this week. . .well, I gave feedback to get one thing accomplished.    

Starting tomorrow, I will be back to posting on a regular schedule.  There are so many exciting things to come in the next few week.  You'll have to check back and see what they are.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Today's Teaser comes from The Changeover by Margaret Mahy.  I just got it from the library this morning, so I haven't started it yet.  I am very excited to read it, as it was recommended to me by Sarah Rees Brennan, when we interviewed her for the library podcast.  We were talking about favorite YA books and I mentioned that I enjoyed The Tricksters also by Margaret Mahy.  Ms Brennan said The Changeover is one of her YA favorite books and that I should read it.  Who am I to argue with (or ignore the advice of) such a great author?


"Chant --" he exclaimed suddenly.  "Cut and run! Go while you still can. Forget your brother, sprint away down the drive, open the gate and get out into real life again. Find some noce boy with a real heart, fall in love, have kids, grow old and die like a real human being, not an imaginary one."
~ p. 134, The Changeover by Margaret Mahy






Please feel free to post a link to your teaser in the comments.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library.



This week I went a bit crazy at the bookstore!  The beginning of the week was a bit rough, between classes and work and then my oven decided to stop working (Yikes).  So, it was time for some retail therapy.  I've been trying to stick to a monthly book buying budget, but this week I ended up buying 8 books and ordering a few more - using my whole budget for March!

I have a great excuse for buying two of the books, because Lauren Oliver did a signing at the Borders down the block from the library and of course I had to go!  She is so lovely, she read from two different sections of Before I Fall and then answered questions.  She offered lollipops and chocolate to anyone who asked a questions!  It definitely worked because people were asking really good questions.  She also gave great advice to aspiring writers.  At the signing I also got to meet Sharon of Sharon Loves Books and Cats.  It was very cool to meet and talk with a blogger that lives in the same area.  And Sharon gave me some awesome blogging/Twitter/BEA advice!  Thanks Sharon :-)

This week I bought:
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dulap
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2 copies, one for me and one for the library)
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

Lately, I have been going to this great independent book store called The Village Bookstore.  The owners are so wonderful.  They have helped me find a lot of different books from current releases to older, hard to find titles.  They know that I'm a librarian, so whenever I'm there we always chat about books and authors.  This week, when I popped in to pick up Hex Hall we started talking about ARCs and they offered to let me take home some of the ones they had.  After careful consideration, I only took one:

The cover just seemed like was something that I would have picked up in 4th or 5th grade so I had to bring it home with me.  It looks very cute, so I'm very excited to read it and hopefully buy a copy for the library collection

From the Library:
Stray by Rachel Vincent

This week I also got my first book for review.  I am very excited about it because the book looks very ineteresting.

Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser by William Irwin and Richard Brian Davis

I love Alice in Wonderland.  I loved it as a child and read my copy so many times that it started falling apart.  A few years ago, I found an annotated version (I think its this one with a different cover) and just fell in love with the story all over again. 

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Recommend Me (5)

Recommend me is hosted by Kate @ The Neverending Shelf

Recommend Me is a weekly event in which you pick one of your all time favorite reads to share. This could be a book that you read as a child or even finished yesterday.
To play along, grab a favorite read and tell us about it. You can include

-- your thoughts about the novel
-- its summary,
-- your favorite memory related to the novel... the possibilities are limitless.
-- If you are up for a challenge, you can also include: your review of the novel, links to others' reviews of the novel or you can recommend the book to a general group of readers or if you want to be extra daring, to specific reader friends

Read more about this meme at http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/

This week I recommend:
Spell Hunter (Faery Rebels#1) by R.J. Anderson
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on April 28, 2009

Summary from Goodreads:  Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . . Creatures full of magic and whimsy? Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore.


Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.

Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?

Talented newcomer R. J. Anderson creates an extraordinary new fantasy world and weaves a gripping tale of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel.

I couldn't participate last Friday, due to the snow we got in New York.  My internet decided not to work and I wasn't able to be online at all.  So this week, I'm cheating and using the book I was going to recommend last week. 

I love Spell Hunter by R. J. Anderson (it is known as Knife in the U.K., so I have included both covers). It is a book that made me really think while I was reading it. I had to go back and re-read at certain points to make sure that I really understood what was going on.  But, that made reading Spell Hunter even better. 

I love how R. J. Anderson created such a complete world inside the great Oak and then a completely different world outside of it.  Then the two worlds came together, when Knife left the Oak and met Paul.  And speaking of Paul, his relationship with Knife was so sweet.  They were really well matched and suited for each other.  All the little details really add to the richness of the setting and make for a great reading experience. 

Spell Hunter was recommended to me by someone who knows R.J. Anderson, so I was slightly skeptical at first.  But, once I read the book, I was blown away by how good it is!  I am very much looking forward to reading Wayfarer (Rebel in the UK) and the third book, Swift (this is the UK title, I haven't been able to find the US title). 

I would definitely recommend Spell Hunter to anyone who likes to read stories about faeries.  You will definitely enjoy this book if you liked Wings by Aprilynne Pike.

Happy Reading!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...