Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Teen Picks for 2008

1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Paper Towns by John Green
3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
4. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
5. Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
6. Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
7. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
8. Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
9. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
10. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Here's my 10 ten picks that I read for 2008! Note that a couple of my picks actually came out in 2007, but I didn't get around to reading them until this year. I'm not saying these are the best & only books from 2008--just my personal faves. Please comment & tell me what your favorite books you read this year are!!

Twilight: the Complete Illustrated Movie Companion

It has finally arrived....Twilight: the Complete Illustrated Movie Companion! It has a lot of screen shots and behind the scenes info on the actors & making of the movie. If you're a Twilighter & loved the movie, this is the book for you. I just beg you please, please do not tear out pages, cut out pages, or take the book home never to return it again. Sadly, I have no money to replace our copies once they're used and abused. But for now, enjoy them while they are brand, spanking new! And best of all, there's no holds list as of right now. There's even one available. OMG!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love is Hell Anthology

Sure, love is hell. But it’s totally worth it.

In these supernatural stories by five of today's hottest writers—Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is for Nightmares)—love may be twisted and turned around, but it's more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the hard-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever.

Sleeping with the Spirit
by Laurie Faria Stolarz
This was first story in the collection. Not knowing what to expect from this anthology, I felt Stolarz's ghost story was a weak beginning. It took too long to get going and rushed towards the end. Brenda is the new girl in town, but she's not the only one living in her new bedroom. The room's previous occupant has yet to move out--or rather move on. I think Stolarz had the makings of what could have been a good ghost romance, but just didn't have enough pages to flesh out her story.

Stupid Perfect World
by Scott Westerfeld
After the first disappointing story, I was afraid that I couldn't be coaxed to finish the book. But I loved Westerfeld's story! As the only male author included in the collection, he not only used his short story to create a utopian society but a solid romance. For their Scarcity class projects, Maria and Kieran learn that some things from their society's past are worth remembering. I would love to see this world turned into a book.

Thinner Than Water
by Justine Larbalestier
Larbalestier's contribution was a little hard to place. It takes place in a village steeped in traditions and supernatural beliefs. I think this one was the most gruesome and fitting of the anthology's title. She captures a world caught between modern reality and the fairy world. Her tale was the most disturbing and heartbreaking.

Fan Fictions
by Gabrielle Zevin
This story will throw you for a loop! As do Zevin's other works...However, she demonstrates what happens when fiction and love collide. This one is for all those who dream about finding "their" Edward.

Love Struck
by Melissa Marr
I expected a darker story after reading Marr's Wicked Lovely series. But she tells the story of a mythical creature that is often overlooked in fantasy--selkies. Hers is a well-spun romance that leaves the reader sighing with a happy ending.

Reading Rating:
I read this one in a couple of hours. I think having it broken down into stories made it much easier to read. You don't have to read all the stories or even read them in order. I would suggest saving "Love Struck" for last to leave you on a sweet note.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

For the author of the Gregor the Overlander series, Collins creates a dystopian society that demonstrates the lengths that Katniss will go to protect her family and to stay alive. Growing up in one of the poorest districts, Katniss is a trained hunter and a survivor. But in the Hunger Games there are no rules, except one--only one winner can leave the arena alive. In a society where reality television has become a brutal death match, the citizens of the 12 districts are forced to watch as their sons and daughters fight to their deaths, unless Katniss finds a way to changes the rules of the game. Highly recommended for readers who enjoyed Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.

Reading Rating:
I stayed up long past my bedtime reading this one! And even tried to sneak a few peeks while working on the desk. It kept calling my name. Loved, loved, loved it :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

There hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind. Until they found her.

These are not your kinder, gentler brand of vampires. McKinley has woven a dark and twisted novel. There are no barriers between the real world and the Others. Sunshine lives in a world where suckers, demons, and werewolves are commonplace. Spending her days as a baker, her life is uneventful and she appears unremarkable in every way, except for her obsession with the Others. Then one night, she seeks out a quiet place to get away.

It has been years since the Wars, but no one goes to the lake anymore. There are too many bad spots and too many unknowns, but that does not stop Sunshine. She drives to her dad’s old lake house. She never even hears them coming. When they are vampires, you never do. Now Sunshine is in a battle for her life.

McKinley’s story does not romanticize vampires. They are cruel, heartless, and ugly. Nevertheless, she has created a powerful character to carry the story. Sunshine realizes her full potential and it could very well see her to her death. Only through an alliance with a vampire named Con do they both stand a fighting chance against a common enemy.

Sunshine commands the presence of every page. Her untapped abilities and her own conflicts with allying with a vampire create a unique novel that is unlike any others.

Reading Rating:
This was an intense read, and it did take me several days to tackle. Be prepared for a dark, gritty view of vampires. Also, due to mature content, I would recommend this title for older readers. And don't expect a sequel any time soon ;-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

For Paula, accompanying her merchant father on a trading voyage to Istanbul is a dream come true. They have come to this city of trade on a special mission to purchase a most rare artifact—a gift from the ancient goddess, Cybele, to her followers. It’s the only remnant of a lost, pagan cult.

But no sooner have they arrived when it becomes clear they may be playing at a dangerous game. A colleague and friend of Paula’s father is found murdered. There are rumors of Cybele’s cult reviving within the very walls of Istanbul. And most telling of all, signs have begun to appear to Paula, urging her to unlock Cybele’s secret. As time begins to run out, she must solve the puzzle before unknown but deadly enemies catch up to her.

In this companion novel to Wildwood Dancing, Marillier skips ahead in time six years. Told from Paula’s viewpoint this time around, readers once again find themselves bending the lines between reality and the Other Kingdom. Sent on a quest, the scholarly seventeen-year-old must follow the clues that her oldest sister, Tati, is leaving for her in the form of signs, dreams, and apparitions.

Marillier has created another remarkable story with an unusual setting. The challenges that Paula faces as a young woman in Istanbul can only rival her strong-will—a trait that sees her through to the end. This story combines every element to spin a tale that will appeal to readers of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. Though it is not necessary to read Wildwood Dancing prior to this one, I highly recommend it simply because it is another fantastic book and it gives you the chance to get to know the family as a whole.

Reading Rating:
I read this in one day! I couldn't put it down and was sad to see it end. Maybe a third book is in the future for these characters?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Heavy Reading, Lemurs, & Devious Plotting

Okay, so I've been a bit MIA lately. But I've been reading! Well, and working too. So I have lots of reviews I need to post. But first, something I just had to share. My dad has an obsession with the website, I Can Has Cheezburger. He's always sending me amusing "library cats" that I can post on my wallpaper at work. Here's my favorite one so far.

My goal for the day is to change the background on every computer at our reference desks to my cat background. Ridiculous, I know...but it amuses me. Kinda like Maureen Johnson and her lemurs! Though I have yet to take it to her level of lemur insanity...

Anyways, I recently was introduced to another site that's not as great as Cheezburger, but it had this awesome picture that I know you will enjoy! The caption was "Heavy Reading." All I can say is--thank goodness they didn't add Breaking Dawn to the stack. The poor cat would have been crushed :-)