Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Trailer: The Stonekeeper (Amulet, Book 1)



Found the book trailer to The Stonekeeper (Amulet, Book 1)! Now you can get a preview of the incredible art that comes in this graphic novel. I am hopefully going to be checking out more graphic novels by Kazu Kibuishi soon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dalamore


Book Info

Magic Under Glass



Summary

MAGIC UNDER GLASS
Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life.
In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement in a group of corrupt sorcerers for whom the rules of the living and dead are meant to be broken for greater power.
When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world. (from author's website)

My Thoughts

Magic Under Glass is a interesting look at a young woman, Nimira, who has come to a new country in search of a better life but is working in a penny theatre. She sings the songs of her homeland and when she is discovered by Hollin Parry she thinks all her dreams have come true. She is to sing with a piano-playing automaton that she learns is a fairy prince under a strange curse. Nimira must navigate through the magic user's politics and find a way to break Erris's curse while only communicating through the piano's keys. She must also find a way to tell Hollin that she does not love him as a love blooms between her and Erris.

I picked this book up at the library one evening thinking that it looked interesting. When I went to read it I realized that I already owned it! I vaguely remembered that they were going to change the cover due to the on going controversy of the "white-washing of book covers" but I never saw a picture of the new cover. Needless to say I love the book no matter what the cover look like (although, I wish there was a better representation of ethnicity on YA book covers). Personally, I imagined Nimira as more of a Middle Eastern descent because of the "trouser girl" insult and the description of her mother's costume but I shall have to dig through the authors website and interviews to see what she says about the character.


I enjoyed this book and there is a subplot that feels straight out of Jane Eyre but not in a bad way- more of an homage. I also appreciate the fact that Hollin thinks he is in love with Nimira because she reminds him of his dead wife and just wants companionship ratehr than some all-consuming love. It made Nimira's rejection a bit easier for the reader. Hollin is not evil- just a bit cowardly and unsure of himself after years of being controlled by a domineering father. I would recommend this one to teens who are into steampunk but enjoy the lighter fantasy and alternate worlds. The Victorian mind set of the novel also will appeal to those who enjoy romances set in that time period.

Warning- This book ends without a set conclusion but instead of feeling disappointment, like in Infinite Days, I feel excited that the story is continuing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 10 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

Happy Banned Book Week!
I have to admit that this is my second favorite week of the year!
Here are the Top 10 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Weekly Wants

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: October 5, 20210
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead. (amazon.com)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trailer Thursdays: Leviathan

Highly recommend Scott Westerfelds website! He publishes fan art in his blog. I think it's great that an author is so excited by his fans. Also, Book 2 of Leviathan, Behemoth, will be out on Oct. 5th! It will be going in my weekly wants!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Stonekeeper (Amulet, Book 1) by Kazu Kibuishi


Book Info

The Stonekeeper (Amulet, Book 1)

by Kazu Kibuishi

Summary

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.
Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves. (from book jacket)

My Thoughts
II picked this up on a whim while working at the library and got hooked right away. The book opens with a tragic accident and Emily watches her world fall apart. The images of this graphic novel are stunning and several full page artworks are one I would hang on my wall.

The human characters look a bit generic but they all have their own personalities that transcend the generic look. Emily is a girl who watched her father die and has become a bit withdrawn from the rest of her family. However she does realize when she is taking her emotions out on her mother and tries to help with the family's move. Emily gets caught up in an adventure that she has no desire to have but answers the call when her mother is captured. Navin is the younger brother and really wants to be of help through the adventure, while Emily tries to protect him at any cost. Navin feels resentful for this bit finds that he is the best person to pilot the ships because of his video game experience.

The animal and robot side characters have great personalities and have great details. Though, how many pink bunny robots do you see in graphic novels?
I would recommend this to Middle School readers how are looking for adventure and a good storyline. The characters are interesting and the cliff hanger at the end will make kids run out and get the next one. I know I did!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Weekly Wants

Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade" -- a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate's father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he'll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed. (from book jacket)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trailer Thursdays

Trying something new! I am going to seek out book trailers and post them on my blog. Do not worry I shall include a link to where I found it.

This is a book trailer for Airhead by Meg Cabot! More videos (including this one) can be found here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

by Robin Brande


Narrated by Kaili Vernoff


Summary

Your best friend hates you. The guy you liked hates you. Your entire group of friends hates you.
All because you did the right thing.
Welcome to life for Mena, whose year is starting off in the worst way possible. She's been kicked out of her church group and no one will talk to her—not even her own parents. No one except for Casey, her supersmart lab partner in science class, who's pretty funny for the most brilliant guy on earth.
And when Ms. Shepherd begins the unit on evolution, school becomes more dramatic than Mena could ever imagine . . . and her own life is about to evolve in some amazing and unexpected ways. (audio book jacket)

My Thoughts

Another audio-book to review! I'm down to only being able to "read" my YA books in the car because of my Adult Reading Materials course. I have to read a book a week for that and they are much longer and harder to get through. I checked out this audio-book from the public library and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It dealt with many controversial subjects and I do not think this a book for everyone. I know my personal beliefs and personal experiences placed me in some of the shoes of Mena. Why do you believe what you believe is hard question to ask and Robin Brande was not afraid to ask it.

Mena is struggling with a decision that cost her church, friends, and maybe her parents love. She starts her first day of high school dreading seeing any of her former friends and knowing they will either shun her or torment her. She finds a safe haven of sorts in her Biology class where she meets her lab partner Casey, a cute geeky guy, and Ms. Shepherd, the biology teacher. There she learns about life, love, friendship, and the separation of church and state. This last lesson is very important to Ms. Shepherd when Mena’s old church friends start a picketing campaign for the inclusion of “intelligent design” in their curriculum. Mena must evolve herself and decide what she believes vs what she is taught.

This book really brought me back to my high school days when I questioned everything I had learned in both church and school. How can you believe in both science and religion? I think Brande came up with a great way of helping Mena make up her mind. Plus there are puppies! How can your resist reading when you know there are puppies!

Brande also comes up with some great side characters- Casey and his family show that not all non-Christians are heathens but Ms Shepherd shows that teachers still care and what their students to learn! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is questioning what they believe and how it can actually be a growing experience as a young adult.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Weekly Wants


Matched by Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Trailer: Foiled by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, author of classics Owl Moon, Tweleve Impossible Things Before Breakfast, The Devil's Arithmetic, and Briar Rose has put out a graphic novel. I must go out and find this!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tail Waggin Tutors

This Saturday I had the opportunity to observe the Fort Worth Library’s Tail Waggin Tutors! This is a special program offered every first Saturday of the month. Children are invited to practice their reading skills with trained therapy dogs. I was so excited to finally see this program in action because the combination of dogs and children made my day! The children would read and reach out to pet the dogs when they were nervous or just needed some comfort. It was beautiful! We had two whippets, Phizz and Martini, a grayhound, Bliss, and a german shepard/blood hound mix, Honey. They were the sweetest, calmest dogs and I cannot wait o see them again next month!


(Not the therapy dogs... My own. They are not calm enough to be a therapy dogs!)


See below for more information on...

Tail-Waggin’ Tutors
A Dog is a READER’S Best Friend
Is your child nervous about reading? Tail-Waggin' Tutors may be the perfect answer. These dogs are specially trained by Therapy Dogs, International to listen patiently while a child practices reading and gains more confidence.


"Libraries are often a quiet place where both children and adults can research a topic or find a good story, but when children or adults visit a library and see a dog, the environment may become a little more exciting.

Therapy Dogs International’s “Tail Waggin’ Tutors” program encourages children to read by providing a non-judgmental listener and furry friend to read to that won’t laugh at them if they make a mistake or stumble over a word, but rather lie next to them and enjoy the story being read to them. The children learn to associate reading with being with the dog, and begin to view reading in a positive way. Over time, the child’s reading ability and confidence can improve because they are practicing their skills, which will make them enjoy reading even more.
Libraries have had great success by utilizing “Tail Waggin’ Tutors” as part of their Summer Reading Program or After-school Program. While the program was initially developed for struggling readers, even those who can already read well don’t want to pass up the chance to read to a Therapy Dog. Even the parents seem to get a real kick out of their child reading to a dog, and they certainly welcome the idea of their son or daughter being so excited to go to the library on a Saturday!

In a library, the reading sessions usually take place in a quiet, comfortable area. The child picks out a book that he or she would like to read, and sits down next to the dog and handler and start reading. (We often find that the book is one the child thinks the dog would enjoy!) The visits are often short, but the impact lasts longer than just the session, as the child may be more likely to read on his or her own.

Reading is a wonderful opportunity for a child to build his or her imagination and begin to build skills for his or her future. Libraries are a wonderful resource, and Therapy Dogs can be a great way to help children discover how much fun their local library can be!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Weekly Wants

Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Publish Date: November 2010

A gorgeously written fantasy about the friendship between a princess and her Pegasus.

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations. (from Barnesandnoble.com)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel


Book Info

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

August 3rd 2010


Summary

When Lenah Beaudonte, a 500-year-old vampire queen, wakes up a human teenager at an ultra-cliquey prep school, she must choose between embracing the humanity she’s always craved and saving her new friends from her vicious coven. The first in a sizzling new YA series. Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen.

After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish. Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone.

As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?


My Thoughts

After so many vampire books I have a hard time staying interested in the whole struggle with deciding to be immortal. This book takes it in the other direction and has a vampire not only yearning to be human again but succeeding. Lenah longs to be human again after five hundred years of being a vampire and her long time love and sire has made it possible. Rhodes gives up his immortal life to give Lenah what she longs for- humanity.

In Maizel’s world vampires can become crazed after so many centuries of not being able to feel. They lose the ability to feel anything except blood lust and a vague sense of love toward one or two other vampires but they give up part of themselves when they do this. The bond is permanent and Lenah has two such bonds. However, most of the book focuses on how Lenah adapts back into the human world and how she falls in love with a fellow classmate, Justin. Lenah adjusts back to the human world not knowing many of the quips and terms people use but is able to adapt because of her unique background. She also is very wary of the sun and wears a huge hat that shades her. It is a very good look at someone who is adjusting back to human life, including getting her stomach used to solid food again (it doesn't go into detail thank goodness). The romance between Lenah and Justin is nice but sometimes it seems as if everyone wants her but that seems to be a trend in these kinds of books.
This really was an interesting book and I enjoyed the authors take on the now run of the mill vampire story but it ends on a small cliff hanger. I was a little annoyed by this because I did not know it was going to be a series. I miss those stand alone books but they are not what sells anymore [End rant here]. Anyways... If you like vampire stories this is for you and if you are looking for something different than the run of the mill vampire story than this is also for you.

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