Wednesday, January 30, 2008

100 Cupboards

This book came well recommended and I have to say that I was so disappointed with it when I finished.

100 Cupboards has TONS of potential to be an awesome book but N.D. Wilson fell short with his descriptions of the alternate worlds and evil characters.

Even the regular characters fell a bit flat. The reader never finds out enough about anything to be satisfied.

Huge let down.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fun Reading Quizzes!

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

You're Babar the King!

by Jean de Brunhoff

Though your life has been filled with struggle and sadness of late,
you're personally doing quite well for yourself. All this success brings responsibility,
though, and should not be taken lightly. Life has turned from war to peace, from damage
to reconstruction, and this brings a bright new hope for everyone you know. These hopeful
people look to you for guidance, and your best advice to them is to watch out for snakes.
You're quite fond of the name "Celeste".

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Someday this Pain Will be Useful to You

Have I mentioned yet that one of my all-time favorite books is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger? Well, now I have.

One reason I liked Someday this Pain will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron so much was because it was so Catcher in the Rye-ish.

18-year-old James is living in NYC with his mom and big sis. His parents are divorced and he is having a hard time navigating the waters between mom and dad.

I've heard from other readers that James is a cold, unrelatable narrator but I have to disagree. I think he is a very believable 18 year old wanting to shape his life a specific way while trying to appease everyone around him. I love the scenes with his grandmother and in her house. I can see why James wants to move to the midwest through his descriptions of adoration to his gran and her lovely home.

Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn

Sarah Miller has written an interesting type of book with Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn. It is about a young man whose thoughts are being intercepted by an anonymous (although obviously part of the story) girl.

Rarely do I have to reread passages because of confusion but I had to reread the first few pages of this book several times before feeling like I even *sort of* got it. Basically, the book is being told by the girl who is inside Gideon's head. I think it's supposed to be a mystery who the girl is but not to far into the book I had it figured out and then it just got boring.

Unfortunately I have to say I did not like this one. Just wasn't substantial enough for me. Another book about elite private schools. Bla.

The Dead and the Gone

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer was availabe at midwinter in ARC form. I snatched one up and ran! I totally loved Life as We Knew it which is the counterpart to this title.

LAWKI was about a meteor hitting the moon and all the reprecussions that came about because of it. It followed a teen girl named Miranda and her family through her journal entries. The moon is hit so hard that it is pushed toward the earth. This causes all kinds of terrifying weather such as tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes. It also causes hysteria, massive death tolls and eventually hunger and starvation.

TDATG follows a teen boy and his 2 young sisters. They live in New York City and their parents are not to be found after the meteor hits the moon. Mom was on her way to work at the hospital when the subways flooded and Dad was on the coast of Puerto Rico for his mother's funeral.

This book is written in third person narrative but still evoked the same horrific feelings as LAWKI. I felt like I needed to run to the grocery store and stock up on non-perishables and dog food in case of an emergency. I also felt like I needed to stock up on matches and candles and blankets and anything else that might come in handy if the power went out for an indefinite period.

Anytime a book can effect you in such a way, it is well written. She got her point across! We are vulnerable. And life is precious. I definitely kissed my husband and hugged my dog after reading The Dead and the Gone.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

Laura Amy Sclitz (a librarian, mind you) is the recipient of the Newbery Award this year with Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices From a Medieval Village. The book is a drama with mostly single character pieces. Basically it is a collection of monologues of chracters ranging from paupers to traveling salesman to nobility.

The collection offers a brief glimpse into this particular village. The information learned from such brief pieces though, is amazing.

A lot of people are facinated with different time periods and cultures. This title is for them as well as someone who just needs to beef up a bit on medieval life.

It's non-fiction yes, but dramatic and enjoyable to say the least.

The Luxe

Anna Godbersen depicts Manhattan in 1899 so well in The Luxe that I believe she lived there and then.

That being said, I didn't like this book. I felt all the drama was telegraphed and I wasn't pleased with the prologue giving away so much of the story.

I know I'll probably get stoned for saying I didn't enjoy this popular title but for me it lacked a stick-to-your-bones quality that I find in so many other YA titles these days.

I will say that if you are a fan of Gossip Girls or readalikes or if you are looking for another world to escape into for a few hundred pages, give The Luxe a go.

Boy Toy

This title was brought to my attention because of a few list-serves I belong to. One is yalsa-bk and the other is a yahoo group called adbooks. Both are discussion lists for YA literature. I think it was yalsa-bk where the thread popped up about how incredibly graphic this novel was in depicting sex with a minor. Any good drama sucks me in as quick as can be so I ran to the shelf and grabbed it for my airport and flight time into Philly.

The crazy coincidental story that goes with this book review is that while I was reading Boy Toy in the airport, CNN was broadcasting out of the airport TVs that Debra LaFave had violated her parole. Good old Debbie is one of those HS teachers who was caught having sex with one of her students. Much like the character in Boy Toy. And THEN later in my hotel room I was watching the news and saw another teacher in trouble for sending nude photos of her self to her student's cell phone.

I have to say that I was not shocked by the sex scenes in this book. I realize that they are between an adult teacher and a 12-year-old boy but being so familiar with several stories (cough Mary Kay Letourneau) just like this, I found Barry Lyga's story to be compelling and adequately naughty.

What I didn't expect to find was such a heart-wrenching depiction of the now 18-year-old victim (Josh) having to come to terms with his perpetrator's early prison release.

The book was awesome. I hope Lyga wins awards for his bravery taking on this issue.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Just like Sweethearts, I read this one in my hotel at ALA. For anyone who might not know, ALA stands for American Library Association. I also may speak of YALSA which stands for Young Adult Library Services Association.

Back to topic: This was my first Mary Pearson book (A Room on Lorelei Street is now in my to be read pile). I really enjoyed the book and I keep struggling to find the correct genre to put it in. Basically it's a sci-fi/romance/medical thriller. It's set far enough into the future that the crazy cool medical stuff going on is just believable. And I always love having another true sci-fi book to add to my list of recommendables.

Jenna Fox is recovering from an unidentified accident. She has serious memory loss and is being cared for in California even though she knows the accident happened in Boston. Her mother and her grandmother are living with her but aren't divulging very much info. Slowly, Jenna pieces together some memories and starts to really examine who she is. Things get real tricky when she starts school with a bunch of outcasts and finds out she's only got 10% of her old brain.

So - is Jenna Fox really Jenna Fox? And what happened to the friends she remembers being in the accident with her? She can still hear their voices but can't figure out why.

It's a great read that stays with you long after you put it down.

I'll take this opportunity though, to complain about one thing in the book. The character Dane - who goes to school with Jenna - is mysterious and cryptic and vague. At one point Dane is basically attacking Jenna and a neighbor intervenes. But nothing is really said about why Dane is doing the things he does. I wish Pearson had fleshed him just a tinge more.

Regardless of my feelings about Dane - I think this book will be among the best of '08. Mark my words!!!


Well, Sweethearts by Sara Zarr just arrived in the library today! I read it in Philadelphia the on Friday night of midwinter in my wonderful Marriot 22nd floor hotel room.

I hope it gets checked out right away because I want as many people as possible to read this title. The cute cover with the pink cookie will entice a lot of girls. I think it will be a hit.

The book is about a long lost childhood friendship and what kind of changes can take place in a lifetime. Jennifer has to overcome all kinds of adversity including binge-eating, compulsive stealing and even...a ghost?

It's a sweet tale about lost loves, self-abuse and dysfuctional families. A must-read, if you ask me.


Gary D. Schmidt is now my favorite YA author...which is so hard to say because I love so many. The first one I read by him was The Wednesday Wars which was a Newbery honor book. I plan on reading Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy soon.

Trouble was about a young New England boy named Henry who comes from a trouble-free family. Both of his siblings are super-star athletes and he is following in their footsteps in crew.

But trouble arrives at his doorstep in the form of a shocking family accident involving a Cambodian immigrant named Chay.

Henry's journey is accompanied by Black Dog who he rescues from drowning. Black Dog wreaks havoc on the famous Smith home but Henry's parents allow it because of their trauma.

I don't want to do any spoiling because the book has so many great twists and turns. All are a bit foreseeable but wonderful nonetheless. I think the book comes out in April.

On a similar note, I just found out that Gary Schmidt (who is from my area) is presenting at one of the branch libraries in my system but I will be in Florida visiting my mother on vacation. I am heartbroken that I won't get to see him but I'm sure I'll enjoy my time away!

Inubaka vol. 6

The day I walked into my current library and began working was the first day I had any interactions with graphic novels. Many people have misperceptions of gn's because of the word graphic. I was one of those people. I figured they were full of violence or nudity (and some are) and that was why they were called graphic novels. I didn't even stop to think that maybe the graphic was refering to all the pictures...anyway.

Soon after I began working as a youth librarian I fell in love with a new gn series called Inubaka. It's about this young country girl who has grown up in the lap of luxury - a bit naive in the ways of the world. She decides to set off on her own and lands a job at Woofles, a trendy little dog shop right smack downtown.

She quickly becomes a favorite of all the dogs in the store as well as many customers and coworkers. Her sweet and quirky attitude gets her in trouble every once in a while as well as her not-so-well-behaved dog Lupin.

The book is full of cute dogs and I even learn a few things every once in a while.

Volume 6 is called Threat or treat and starts out with Suguri winning an agility challenge with Lupin. Later she discovers the dog cafe only to be mortified by Lupin's naughty behaviors at the cafe. She tries to train him in obedience but she doesn't use the right tactics. Lupin ends up a bit traumatized - but when he really needs to, he behaves. Suguri learns a lesson about selfishness.

It's a lovely book - humorous, romantic and cute cute cute. I can't wait for volume 7.

a year with books

I'm starting a little late but I'd really like to blog my life with books this year. I read A LOT so I guess that means a lot of blogging...we'll see. I'll try to catch up on what I've already read this year.

But for now, I'll lift my glass to a glorious year of reading!! Huzzah!