Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The sequel to The Diary of Pelly D

What do you think is the difference between these two lands? Cherry Heaven is across the ocean, a part of the New Frontier, where the violence of the Five Cities that escalated into race wars is someone else's problem. But at what cost have they managed to evade discrimination? The New Frontier is seen through the eyes of Kat J and her sister, Tanka, as they arrive at Cherry Heaven for their aunt and uncle's new jobs. It's not as technologically sophisticated as the city they grew up in, but not too bad overall. Colder, yes, but there is also great scenery, good looking boys on the waterball team, and all the frozen cherries left from the previous owner's harvest. The comfortableness of their new lifestyle is brutally contrasted with that of an escaped factory worker. Luka was leading a slave-like existence because of her race, but not anymore. Now she's free to exact revenge on the authority figures who were brutally cruel to her and her co-laborers. It turns out that "peace" and "comfort" in the New Frontier is something obtained on the backs of slave workers. Luka's path of destructive behavior crosses the path of Kat and Tanka, and things escalate from there. In the end, the deus ex machina is none other than Pelly D's brother! Gim D had gone overseas to work for peace and ended up as a laborer too. And there you have it- full circle.

Friday, November 21, 2008

twilight must be commented upon

just a sec. *sigh* i'm a little emotionally overwhelmed right now. it's a good thing i had a while to get used to Robert Pattison as Edward. true- he'll never be MY Edward, but i enjoyed his interpretation. kind of a uncomfortable in his own skin guy. actually it reminded me of another Edward- Scissorhands. odd comparison, huh? well it was definitely done in the cult classic vein. i guess that's mtv for you. mmmmm. just have to say that once in a while. there were some truly great moments I'm reliving. does make me wish i were in high school again. which reminds me how it reminded me. of that-high school. in particular of a very close group of friends who spent Thursday nights watching Twin Peaks! can i get a cheer from the audience on that one? man, i was having some deja vu moments in there. *sigh* mmmmmmm. what an awesome movie. but then again, with a book like twilight, wouldn't it be hard to go wrong? oh-heads up-watch for Stephenie Meyer's cameo appearance. did anyone else see a resemblance between her and Victoria? was that just crazy me? i should really quit rambling and get some sleep. what a night. maybe Edward will come watch over me while i sleep. : )

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time for the Movies

Well, of course you'd have to be a cave dweller to not know that Twilight is about to be released in the theaters! Awesome! I am so PSYCHED! We're taking Friday Night Flicks ON LOCATION for this historic event! Anyone who goes needs to stop by the library and sign our poster. You can also trade your movie stub for a bookmark.

But since this blog is about books I just read, then let's talk about another book coming to the theaters: City of Ember. Actually, I read this quite a while ago. But, I did just finish the third book of the trilogy on audio. Sidenote- if you an audiofan- don't listen to this one. Read it. Really annoying sound effects were included all thoughout the story. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, City of Ember is a sci-fi book where the narrator's whole world exists underworld after a devastating world war. This book is followed by the People of Sparks. I won't summarize this one cause it would ruin the ending of the first book if I did. And of course, that's the one you can go see in the theaters now. I'm including a link to the the preview.
Ok, so go see that movie and then go ahead and check out The Prophet of Yonwood. Wow, that's kind of funny, I just now mentioned that that's the title of the third book! Man, do I digress. Here's what I really wanted to tell you: this book is actually the prequel to City of Ember. It's nice to get a little background on it. I enjoyed it, although not as much as the first. It gave a satisfying explanation for why they went undergound in the first place. So, hey, check it out.
Other great movie/book combos to check out: Tale of Desperaux, Hoot, Spiderwick Chronicles, Golden Compass, Horton Hears a Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Because of Winn-Dixie, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Aquamarine, Tuck Everlasting, Stormbreaker, and Bridge to Terabithia. That ought to give you guys something to do over Thanksgiving and Christmas break. When you're not reading, that is!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

book fair buys

ok, I haven't technically seen every title in store for us at the book fair this week. This is just a starter list of things to check out. What got me most excited was a new Skippyjon Jones book : ) !!! But there's only two copies and I am definitely buying one. Ruby was eyeing the other one... But since some of you are wanting books you can really sink your fangs- I mean teeth- into, I think we got some copies of Host! Found is a new book by Haddix that I've heard is really good. Korman's book Swindle is there. Since the new Bluebonnet list just got announced, I'll be looking for those titles. I need to pick up a bunch of copies of all the Maximum Ride titles, which we did get. I think I saw a new Land of Elyon book in one of the cases- which reminds me I need to find out if we're getting Carman as a visiting author..... Another list of titles I'll be looking for are the Lone Star consideration list. Oooh and I've really gotta look for the stuff on Lesesne's list- like the one written by Westerfeld's wife- How to 4itch your fairy. Fun. Happy shopping everyone,

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Wanna spooky read? Try Generation Dead! It's a zombie book. ok I should tell the truth- it's not a scary book. Sorry. Here's what happens-whenever a teenager dies, they come back to life. They try to go back to life as normal but can't quite because they aren't the same. And they certainly aren't treated the same anymore. There is some serious discrimation going on here-even from their own families! Eventually there begins to be small changes among the "living impaired". a few can function quite a bit better- one guy even tries out for the football team, and makes cause seriously zombies are indestructible, right? The kicker is when the heroine falls in love with the football playing zombie, much to everyone's distaste. Will she end up him or the sweet guy next door? I'm not telling! (If you guessed that I don't even remember, you know me well : ))

Monday, September 22, 2008

boyfriend buzz

I recently reviewed Lockhart's The Boyfriend Book, which is the sequel to the previously quite hot Boyfriend List. Well, I wanted the full picture, so I checked out the audio of the first book. So, today, I can discuss both books with you. First off, I wanted to know, "What is all the buzz about?" Well, let me tell you, I don't know the answer to that. I mean, they were pretty good, but no Harry Potter or Twilight or anything. Nonetheless, let me tell you a bit about it and let's just see if you are interested in reading it for yourself.
We have the same main character of each novel: Seattle-based Ruby who attends a private school and is a high school underclassman. The main issue is her breakup with Jackson and subsequent events, one of which involves accepting an invitation to the dance with him AFTER he has begun to date her former best friend. I should mention the very non-linear format of this first book. At some point Ruby explains that she is seeing a therapist because of the post-breakup panic attacks she suffered. The therapist recommends writing a list of any and all semi-boyfriends and crushes. Each "chapter" is a discussion of that guy with her therapist and then flashbacks of the stories about them. But they are in no way in chronological order. Eventually you do get around to the actual breakup story, which reeks of him cheating on her with her former best friend. Then you wonder about what she did after the breakup that was so awful that all of her friends abandonded and isolated her. Well, it comes around at the very end FINALLY. She initiates a kiss with him during the dance. She shouldn't have accepted the "date" anyway. That's my opinion. It was ok- I guess teen girls like it because they relate to the different stories of dating life. And I was enjoying it, but at the end, we got into a bit too much detail with her older friend's personal relationship.
Now, on that note, the second book was a lot more of that TMI. So, first a warning, you'll be reading quite a bit about what the girls do and don't do with their boyfriends- and random guys that they sometimes just hook up with. OKAY. Not a cutesy little teeheehee we're holding hands book. This title is The Boyfriend Book, which comes from the first novel. Ruby mentions the boyfriend book created by her and her three friends many times. She talks about referencing it and making entries with her friends. So here the author includes many excperts from said book. They fit in with her stories as she remembers the good times, tries to reconnect with some of the alienated friends, and works to make new friends. I don't think it will be as sought-after as the first. But it's got a pretty good message at the end, which the first novel kinda lacked. So together, they make a whole.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Can't get enough vampire lit!

Ahhhhhhhh! I LOVE sinking my teeth into vampire books! Hahahahahahahahaha! Seriously though, I am hooked- or is it addicted? One of my favorite vampire series is Vampire Knight- which is actually manga. The author is Matsuri Hino, who also wrote MeruPuri. That's another great series, btw. So, we are now drooling over the 4th installment. I find that with most graphic novels, I tend to forget details of the plot. It's kinda hard to follow, honestly. It would be great if they had plot outlines you could read up on- especially when it's like 6 months in between publications. Did I digress?
I guess I'm not going to bother with filling you in on the details of vol. 1-3. If I can. So in vol. 4, it starts out with murmurs over the new Night Academy student. I'll skip names where I can. I think you only need to know Yuki, Zero and Kaname. This new girl is apparently a pureblood vampire (like Kaname) using someone else's body. I guess that might be to disguise herself. Although it certainly doesn't take long for anyone to figure out her true identity. She is the vampire who bit-killed-saved?- Zero. It's important to remember that he was/is a member of a really hardcore vampire hunting family. Well, if you had forgotten, he remembers the event for you in a series of flashbacks. So she really screwed his life up.
Before I go on, let me inform you that the whole novel is taking place around the ball where both Night and Day students get to mingle and dance. Just a little sidelight, but it makes for an interesting setting. Yuki offers her blood to Zero at one point, and I think it is during this moment of weakness that he reveals the new student's true identity to her. She runs off in search of the new villian, but I'm not the least bit sure what she was planning to do. She is told at this point that she can save Zero from becoming a Level E (uncontrollably evil?) vampire in one of two ways. She can kill Kaname (because it is only around Yuki that he lets his guard down- mysteriously) or by offering her blood to the new pureblood.
The night of the dance she makes her decision easily in light of her admiration- or is it love?- for Kaname. So she runs off again to find the transfer student/vampire. Just before the she is bitten, Zero shows up to save her, but Yuki heroically tries to martyr herself. It's all so dramatic. Ooh, but then, right at the end, someone new shows up to complicate things even more. Are you ready for this? It's Zero's long lost twin brother!!!!!!!! I think Zero actually got a sword through his arm somewhere in all the confusion of who is on whose side, who is protecting who and all that whatnot. Do you see why I want a plot outline? But it's all good. Very easy to fall in love with the characters of this story, especially with the cute side stories the author includes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Breaking Dawn is here!

Like you didn't know that! But I couldn't think of a catchy title. I finally finished it. Took my time actually cause I wanted it to last. Other people are all, "I know I have to finish it in one day or someone will spoil the ending for me!" Pooh I say. Don't watch those shows or read the paper or talk to those people and you'll be fine. No one ruined it for me! It was great. I enjoyed every minute. How much should I reveal........ Well, it's hard to discuss without revealing certain crucial plot elements, so I guess I'd better warn you- I will be talking about things you might rather not know in advance if you're planning to read it. OK? All responsibility is now on your shoulders. You can't come back and get mad at me cause I ruined it for you cause I'm warning you right now!!! Stop reading if you don't want to know!!! This blog is intended only for those who finished it! (Or plan to never read it, which would be a darn shame if you ask me.)
I admit I wondered what this initally unplanned novel had up its sleeve. I pretty much thought that Eclipse had wrapped everything up well enough. Except for Jacob being unhappy. I went in wondering what Stephenie Meyer had concocted that could take a whopping 756 pages to tell. I kind of expected the whole turning Bella into a vampire to be the big climax. Well, it kinda wasn't huh? I mean she jumped right on in with the wedding plans. Is it just me that takes a year and a half to plan a wedding? jeez! Ok, I guess since Alice is a vampire and doesn't sleep she could do it in half the time, but still... Well, I guess I just wanted more detail. That's the girly girl in me. It seemed so abrupt. Maybe the editor made her cut some of that out so it wouldn't be 900 pages long.
Anyway, let's move on to the honeymoon, cause Stephie sure did! Much more interesting. Cool setting. I had trouble actually picturing the house. And Bella in lingerie, but that's not something I was really trying to do! Well, my first thoughts were that here in this fourth book Meyer was sure making up for all the chasteness of the first three. Am I right or what? Concerins as a middle school librarian, let me tell you! All I can really say is that it wasn't graphic thankfully, but it was definitely prolific (later on anyway). Here my discussion of sex in the novel ends. Except for the fact that Meyer had a funny twist to it. ok nuff said.
So the really fascniating part of the whole book was Bella getting pregnant. Wow I did not anticipate that at all! You're probably thinking duh but I'm not much of an anticipator (anticipationist?) at all. So I just loved this twist and was all abuzz with the possibilities. Needless to say my husband was unsympathetic and uninterested in hearing the details of such a hybrid child. Would it be the angel no one could resist or a demon child bent on destruction and death? These and other questions entertained me. I could see the Cullen family divided- Bella and Rose fleeing to protect a monster only a mother could love and who knows what Jacob and Edward would be doing to put a stop to it.
And then we get to the part where she's almost dead due to the birth and it's time for Edward to turn her so she won't die. DISAPPOINTING. I really wanted her transformation to be more traditional- not Edward injecting his venom into her with a needle and all sterile and everything. I wanted him to bite her, for Pete's sake! Anyone out there agree with me? I'd been waiting for this for three books! Imagining Edward creating a honeymoon like atmosphere and letting himself go for once. It should have been more romantic and even bordering on sadistic, as only vampire myths can. Well, this is all my humble opinion. Of course, Meyer's choices are good and honorable. It's the sign of a good writer that she goes against what we want- at times- and puts in a wonderfully brave twist. She knew people like me were out there and would be disappionted but she did it anyway. Gotta admire her. Few writers have fans as devoted as hers. She probably hired security to protect herself. But I digress.
Moving on to Renesmee. No way would I ever have even remotely let the thought enter my mind that Jacob would fall in love with Bella's daughter. Whoa. Now that was something. Holy cow. One of my colleagues meditated on if Meyer might perhaps be planning a fifth novel about their relationship. Wouldn't that be a story? Ok, she came out as the angel and not the monster, so we didn't have to stress over the family breaking apart or-God forbid- the need to destroy her. A period of happiness ensues for Bella, which is always fun to read about becaue you want your heroine happy, don't you? And I gotta say it did cross my mind how well she had it made- didn't have to work, had all those family members around to help out, didn't need sleep, had her own little getaway cottage, awesome cars, fabulous husband and her best friend Jacob with her, and Renesmee was a child prodigy. In too many ways because she was you know, half immortal and all. Yeah, Nessie seemed like a good kid to have. Wished my own life had been so easy after birth, shah right!
Did you keep wondering, like me, okay, what are the other 200 pages for? Aren't we going to end here where everyone is happy? Why why why ruin it now??? Oh but she did. Oh no, the Volturi again. Putting their noses (or fangs?) into other vampires' business as always. Alice's foresight puts everyone on edge because the only possible reason for the Volturi to be coming- having been invited to the wedding and thus concluding Bella has been turned into a vampire- is to kill Renesmee. A little Eclipse flashback for me here. You too? But I think I anticpated the end because who could deny Renesmee's obvious unlikeliness to harm others considering her special gift? Who would not be convinced when seeing through her eyes? Meyer tried to make us fear the Volturi would not be reasoned with- attack first and ask questions later. I knew though we'd have another happy ending. Hm. NOw what? Nothing else I could read would be as good. Movie's not out til December. I read Host. When is Midnight Sun coming out? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coming soon

My thoughts on Breaking Dawn- stay tuned!

Bluebonnet Special

Today I will explore 2 of this year's nominations for the Bluebonnet award: House of Atherton and Gabriel's Horses. Having read a wonderful fantasy by author Patrick Carman, I had high hopes for House of Atherton. I was, however, quite disappointed with it by the end. Which was basically mostly due to the end. Like right in the middle of an admittedly lengthy climax, it was just like...to be continued! Didn't we all learn from Harry Potter that fantasy fans do not shy away from long novels? Argh. Just a cheap publicity ploy if you ask me. Have I said nothing about the plot? My bad. It's really a great idea. The Planet of Atherton, created by a mad scientist, orbits the Earth without knowledge of its existence-for the most part. Our young male protagonist discovers the secret dooming life on planet the planet and undertakes an dangerous journey to see what can be done. Interesting premise. I'm just mad that I would have to read the next book to see what happens. One cool feature that I did not even bother exploring in my rebellious rage was the accompanying cd which implies unlocking the secrets of the planet.

Another purported series on the list is Gabriel's Horses. Set in Kentucky during the Civil War, this novel is vastly different. It is truly difficult to make comparisons. Both novels do feature a male pre-teen hero, but Gabriel is a slave. He is lucky though to have a free father who works for a wealthy Brit who values his skills with the thoroughbred horses he races. When his father joins the Union army, Gabriel must take his father's place in some areas while submitting to a cruel new horse trainer. He proves what he is made of when a Rebel band comes to thieve their horses and Gabriel saves them with his quick thinking. Unlike House of Atherron, this novel does tie up nicely. I think it has a chance at winning.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Haunting Tale

Just finished Breathe, one of this year's Lone Star picks. Not too impressed. Firstly, I suppose I should admit that I'm not a fan of the horror genre. YA horror rarely delivers. But I have other critiques. The Ghost Mother character came off as bizarre. The motivation for her actions just wasn't strong enough. I might have bought it if the author had tried to portray her as a mentally unstable person, like Misery, but this was not the case. The whole business with the Nightmare Passage was just weird and seemed like too much, especially since it was introduced more than halfway through. Probably could have just left that out altogether. I suppose that made the main character's dealings with the departed a positive experience, but here again, I just didn't buy it. Speaking of the boy, what happened to his weird mannerism? Hmmmm, I guess that just wasn't important once he he got to know the ghosts, huh? Now the asthma condotion of the protagonist was a new twist that I thought worked well in the story. Kids might be able to relate to that aspect or find it at least enlightening. But I don't see anything spectacular about this book at all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vacation reading

Last week we went on two vacations: Glen Rose (i know big whoop) and Las Vegas baby! So I got a lot of reading done. Finished Kenneth Oppell's Silverwing. I loved Airborn which was on the Lone Star list a couple of years ago. This book was written much earlier in his career and I can see why it didn't get anywhere as much publicity. It's an animal fantasy centered on bats. Now generally I do love a good animail fantasy. Fire Bringer totally wowed me. But that's neither here nor there. What I'm trying to say is this one did not. Not 100% why- it just didn't satisfy. In fact, I'm not going to spend much more time on it. One thing I'll mention though was it aimed at an elementary audience most likely. I think most middle school readers would react like me.
Moving on now. My second book finished was a larger endeavor- meaning more pages. But I got through it quickly. Was that because I had more time to read being on vacation or because it was actually a book that I had trouble putting down? Hmmmmmmmm hard to say. Aren't I helpful? At some point I might actually get around to telling you the title of aforesaid book- oh hey why don't I mention it know? It was Second Virgin Birth. Did I mention it was closer to home? Not yet. By that I do mean literally. The author Tommy Taylor is a local librarian AND on the HEB ISD school board. Now he's an author, albeit a non-consulted one. Does taht make sense? His wife published the novel without his knowledge- does it make more sense now? Okay, that little fact does play a big part. Hopefully it explains the many grammatical errors I found. I couldn't get past them. Seriously- I was an English teacher. It really does annoy me when educated people don't know how to properly use an apostrophe. I'm trying to be understanding and realize that if he'd actually gone through a publisher that would all have been taken care of. In fact, for a reasonable sum, I'd do it for him.:)
OK I think I need to focus on the actually need to talk about the story now. Quite intriguing premise- a scientist has obtained the DNA of Jesus and decided to bring Him back to life. and since the Pope doesn't like this idea, this scientist and his co-horts are wanted men. That's pretty much all I need to tell you about the story. Well, I will tell you that they manage to implant the DNA in a young girl's egg and create the pregnancy successfully. To me, it read a lot like the Left Behind series and a bit like the Da Vinci Code. If you can get over the errors and get your hands on a copy, it's a good read. Note- mine was a gift and the binding is falling apart after one reading. -you'll have to order one from Amazon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Beastly Twist

The most recent book I've finished was Beastly by Alex Flinn, who happens to be a woman. Oops. I was reading a particular paragraph thinking to myself, "Now see, that's exactly where men and women have completely different views on sexism". I flip back to see the info on the author and lo and behold, Alex is a woman. So much for my theory. I guess I have to admit to you all at this point that, yes, I did have an issue with the portrayal of sex and sexism in this novel. Not once, but twice mind you, the author made a disturbing comment about how a school dance is like legalized prostitution. I'll explain this in the context of the reading as best I can: the boy buys the girl a fabulous corsage and gets her a limo to ride in and and treats her like a princess all night. In return, it is assumed he will get what he wants, which is apparently always to ravish her. O.M.G. Reminds me of a disgusting article I read in Ebony that shocked the bejeebers out of me. It was a pro/con debate on why men should pay for sex. I know what you're thinking. What? Why would any magazine publish such trash? No idea, but they did and I read it. The man (and I do use that term loosely) said that in any relationship a man has to buy a woman lots of things to be able to get in bed with her. My jaw did hit the floor. I cannot possibly fathom a world where people think these attitudes and actions are not only widespread and normal, but ACCEPTED. They most definitely are not. I don't know about you, but my life has never resembled the above descriptions. OKAAAAAY, I think I'll get off my soap box now.

So did you actually want to know what the book was about? Ok. I can do that. Well, it's a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. I tend to be long-winded when I write. Beast starts out as your typical most popular guy in school with good lucks and a rich dad to boot. What does this make him? A total jerk. So of course, the night of the aforementioned dance, he is turned into the beast by a mysterious new student (the witch) at school whom he dissed earlier in the story. When his father finds out, he spends months going to doctors to cure this stange disease before giving up on his son entirely. He is moved out of his father's Manhattan apartment and moved to a 5 story house in Brooklyn with the housekeeper and a new tutor who is blind.

With the witch's parting present- the magic mirror, he looks in upon his former friends and discovers the shallowness of their lives- which of course mirrors his own former existence. Ironic, huh? One he returns to frequently is a humble girl who attended his school on scholarship. Their brief connection was when he gave her the crushed rose that his date was not impressed with the night of the dance. She turns out to be Beauty if you didn't see that coming from a mile away. Now this is a stretch, but he manages to entrap her as his "prisoner" when it is her drug-addicted father that breaks into the house. In order to not be killed or have charges pressed against him, this really pitiful father offers up his daughter to the beast. Whatever. So she moves in, eventually falls in love with him cause he's changed and then he has to let her go because her father gets sick months later. But wouldn't you know on the very night his chance to get his true self back would expire if he's not kissed by a woman who loves him, he checks on her with his mirror and sees her in such peril he risks running through the city to save her. And of course she kisses him just in time and saves the day.

I wasn't thoroughly impressed if you didn't get that. It's one of this year's Lone Star books, but I don't know why. I really think it's a high school book. I definitely won't vote for it. But feel free to form and share your own opinion of Beastly.