Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Latest book in fantasy series

The Icemark Chronicles didn't make a very big splash, although I'm not sure why. I do believe that fantasy either appeals to a reader or it doesn't. And the fans of fantasy are a minority of the readers out there. But they are die hard fans. And this series will feed them, because they always want series and they love big books! I read the first two in the series and this is the third one. I have enjoyed all three, although this one probably the least of the three. Thirrin, the heroine of both books one and two, spends less time in the spotlight in favor of two of her daughters, one the heiress to the throne, and the other a sorceress condemned to the strange underworld of this fantasy land. All three tell the story at different times during the novel, but so do some of the male or seemingly minor characters. The continual switches might actually be confusing to some readers. However, what readers may enjoy more in this installment is the deliberation and philosophizing about the nature of good and evil. What readers will enjoy about this series as a whole, is the combination of strong characters, strange creatures, war, magic, and love. It makes for a great read for girls and boys.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fantastic Fairy Stories

Radiant Shadows is a book I recently finished. I love the fairy world that Melissa Marr has created in this series. Let me lay out the books I've read of hers: Wicked Lovely- the love triangle of Aislinn and Seth; Ink Exchange-Aislinn's friend pursued by Irial; Fragile Eternity- continuing the story of Seth and Aislinn after she becomes Summer Queen; and Radiant Shadows- the love story of Ani and Devlin. Ani is only half fairy, but her fairy half is strong and taking over more of her body everyday. Devlin is an extremely powerful fairy created by two of the rulers- Sorcha and Bananach, his sister/mothers. He's a killer; sent to deal with problems that trouble order in the world according to his queen Sorcha. However, there is one time that he defied her orders, and it's when he's sent to kill Ani. When their destinies cross paths, they can't resist the love that draws them to each other.
What I love as much as the fairy world are the numerous characters that have been introduced in the various books. They are complex and intriguing. There is no black and white- well, maybe Bananach is all bad, but everyone else is shades of grey. They may be fairies, but they manage to deal with just as many complex relationships and emotions. Awesome books.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trackers

Patrick Carman's new series is Trackers, in the vein of Skeleton Creek with the videos that you periodically watch between chapters. Only this one is a suspense/adventure/mystery. I liked it a lot better than Skeleton Creek actually because I thought it was more suspenseful. Or maybe it was just more believable to me being about computer hackers as opposed to ghosts. Oh wait, maybe I missed the part where you "break the codes" according to the cover. Hmmmmmmmmm. Need to check into that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reading, but not time to post!!

Well, I finished Mockingjay, of course! Excellent. I even like the ending, although of course I hear some people didn't. I like gutsy endings. And I enjoyed the reaslism of the love triangle throughout the trilogy. Because, you know what, it's not all love at first sight and star crossed lovers. I was thrilled to see People do a page on the trilogy. I love it when YA books cross borders!
Anyway, there's a book I finished up this summer that won't be published for a couple months yet, so I'll give it some advance promo. It's called Fixing Delilah Hannaford. The main character is obviously Delilah. She's just learned that her grandmother has passed away and now she'll have to spend her summer at her grandmother's house: cleaning up the remains, reconnecting with her old friend from childhood, and digging up the secrets of her her family's past. It's a tough summer, full of raw emotion, which makes it a cathartic read. Is it ok that I identified with her bossy, busy mother more than the rebellious and reckless Delilah? If you like a good realistic fiction book full of strong female characters and fraught with every concievable emotion, then check this one out when it's published.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sorta Like a Rock Star

I'm not talking about myself, but about a book titled Sorta Like a Rock Star. It's a great read. The heroine of the book is really likable: a high school girl  named Amber who is an eternal optimist despite the adversity that she and her mom face- living in a school bus to be exact. But she's got her friends- the Five- her dog, a caring teacher, and a few other eccentric adults in her life to look out for her. They come through for Amber when she needs them most- after the death of her mother. As a reader, you experience the depression with her and wonder if she'll ever pull out of it. But with the help of her friends and the community, she manages to come out sorta like a rock star.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Take on Feed

The most recent advanced reader copy I've read was actually an adult novel. But I have to write about it on my blog! I mean, it's all about blogging. How, in the future, when zombies are attacking people all the time, bloggers are the real reporters. "The media" can't be trusted because they're too political. And when the zombie virus hits, it's the bloggers out there telling the world how to fight them. Intriguing premise, huh? It only gets more complex when the young protagonist bloggers are invited to cover the upcoming presidential campaign by the most promising candidate. Throw in a few assassination attempts, and needles full of the virus, and bingo- you have a book that you just can't put down.

And if that wasn't creepy enough, let me share another thriller- Monstrumologist. This one is a Printz Honor book by Rick Yancey. Man, can he write. The main character, aside from the young apprentice narrator, is  a dark, brooding scientist who studies bizarre creatures. The novel opens in fact, with a grave digger bringing to his door the body of a corpse that had been fed on by one such- an anthropophagus. These creatures are mentioned, however rarely, in ancient books by the likes of Heroditus, Pliny, and more recently Shakespeare, but whose existence has never been proven. Imagine headless giant hominoids with eyes on their chests and giant sharklike mouths where a stomach should be- but the most horrifying aspect of all is their diet- human flesh. And a colony is thriving in their town- below ground. This is one you may not want to read at night...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reading Level Woes

What to do when a teacher or student comes to you looking for a book based on their reading levels??? When did our educational system manage to convince people that reading a book based on one's intelligence level rather than reading interests would make someone more successful? How can we explain the inadequacy of attempting to apply the science of "reading levels" to the art of writing? I've tried, but I can tell you what happens most often: I become seen as someone who can't effectively do her job. They need a book and I can't just hand one over that will continue to promote readicide in America. And what's worse is the higher reading level a student attains, the fewer books are "on their reading level". Why can't we admit that if they are reading on an 8th grade reading level, or higher, they are more than competent to read 90% of the world's writing? Can't they just pick whatever they want at that point? Read for pleasure?
Ultimately, I have no answer. I want to support the teacher. I know I can't try to convince them of this in the 5 minutes they have to devote to this task. So what do I do? What are the odds I'm going to find "The Right Book for the Right Student at the Right Time" on the right reading level? Not good. Not good at all.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TLA preconference

I'm sitting in a preconference at TLA thinking I really want to share what I just heard with some people. So I think well maybe its time to blog about something other than books. Michelle gorman was the speaker- remember her? Well I do cause we were in theater together in high school. It is just amazing to me to see how passionate and knowledgable she has become about the same profession! (Yes people it does make me feel inadequate, especially since she's actually younger!) Ok so here's the background: her all teen and children library just got cut by 1/3 of its staff. Ouch. So her message is fourfold: 1 know your stuff, 2 share your message, 3 choose your words, 4 be an advocate. Let's see how well I can summarize what she said here. The first is about understanding the adolescent brain. New research tells us brains are still developing until their early 20s. So we need to remember that. Having that knowledge means we need to react accordingly. Other things to keep in mind when dealing with teens is their 7 needs and 40 developmental assets. More on that later when I have the handouts!
Sharing your message can be done in many ways- anecdote file ( because its more than just a number), visibility, socail messaging, and film testimonials. No one knows what you're doing unless you tell them!
Choosing your words is largely based on the ideas of Valerie Gross in Transforming our image through words that work. One great piece of advice is to do dual marketing- one for kids and one for adults!
Being an advocate can be done by modeling the behavior you want to see from the adults in the library, developing a philosophy of service, making sure policies are in alignment with developmental needs, and realizing that if you don't do it, no one will. I'm out of room, so feel free to comment!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Twilight graphic novel

Just finished the new graphic novel of Twilight last night. Not bad. The adaptation of the text was pretty straightforward, so that was good. The art was artistic, although on the manga side. I find that always tends to look kinds 80sish- anyone else notice that? But they didn't get very far into the story!! I wonder how many volumes it'll take to get Twilight done! And then there's the other 3!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I did "Shiver"!

Where are all the frustrated Team Jake die-hard fans? If you are reading this, I've got a book for you! Shiver is a werewolf love story- not one vampire in it! It's a story about Grace, a girl taken from her swing as a child by werewolves and bitten, but not killed or changed. Sam is the werewolf who prevented that and watched over her in his wolf form every winter. But now it's his last summer; the cold weather threatens to change him daily and he will lose his humanity forever. Things come to a climax in their town when a high school student is killed by the werewolves and a hunting party sets out to rid the town of what they see as just a pack of wild wolves. Grace charges after them to prevent the killing of the wolves that fascinate her, and hears the shot that hits her favorite, Sam. When she returns home, she finds him in human form on her back porch, bleeding and near death. He is saved, partially by her and partially by his own ability to heal himself. But it becomes a daily struggle to keep him human as the weather gets colder. This is, of course, when the romance begins to get hot and heavy. The secret to Grace's ability to resist the change is their only hope for the future.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A podcast

video
This is a podcast I made of the book Forbidden by Judy Waite. It's an engrossing story about a girl trapped in her current circumstances. Happy reading!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fantasy Watch


Since fantasy is my favorite genre, I frequently have new fantasy books that I want to talk about, so here's a few I've read recently. As a side note, I think some of these fall into a new cross-genre: horror/fantasy. Or is that gothic? I'm sure there is nothing new under the sun...

Immortal by Gillian Shields
On her way to a new boarding school, Evie meets a mysterious boy who she later begins to have nighttime outings with. But there are dozens of things going on that she can't explain-like the girl whose place in the school she took, recently drowned in the nearby lake, a girl she can sometimes see that looks exactly like her but old-fashioned,the inexplicable aloofness of the one other scholarship girl at school, why the boy she's falling in love with refuses to see her in the daytime or introduce her to his parents. She's almost driven to insanity when other girls help her realize that she has latent powers that are the key to all the mysteries she's encountered.

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
If you enjoyed Wicked Lovely, put this book on hold! Wicked Lovely is a story of twisted love when the Summer King of the fairies chooses mortal Asilinn to be his Queen. In between these two is the story of one of Aislinn's friends who is victimized by an nefarious fairy- Ink Exchange. But it digresses. Fragile Eternity picks up the story of the Summer King and Queen again. Their tenuous agreement to let Aislinn keep her mortal boyfriend is put to the test as the summer draws near and their powers rule them. Is she destined to be her king's true consort, or can her mortal find his own way to intervene? This was a book I just couldn't put down.

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
This title is on the Lone Star list for next year. A tale of two sisters, one evil and one good. But after their father's death, Lia finds a book with a prophecy that she can't ignore. Partly that's because of the snake mark etching itself to life on her wrist and a matching medallion given to her by a strange girl. The mystery of the prophecy is something she must work to discover while keeping it secret from her twin. But beware reader, all is not as it seems.