Friday, December 16, 2011

Tweaking the Truth Is Harmless Right?

I just happened to pick up the book Harmless by Dana Reinhardt the other day and I am sure glad I did. The book is filled with the drama of high school woes and plays upon the idea of what is right and wrong and how far one can go to tweak the truth and get away with it. It is a fairly fast read and a real page turner. The one thing I keep thinking of after reading "Harmless" is don't ever lie because if you weave a web a lies it might get so big you can't find your way out of it.

Harmless by Dana Reinhardt (2008)

Ninth grade friends Emma, Anna, and Mariah are at a party with older high school boys when they should be at the movies like they told their parents. When Emma's mother calls her cell they freak out and decide to make up a story so they won't get in trouble at home. It seems like the easy way out. What happens next challenges their friendship, their community, their relationships with their families, and their sense of themselves. Told in the voices of the three girls who must learn to live with the lies they tell, "Harmless" is a gripping and provocative novel full of startling turns and surprises.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Magical Mobsters in a Gloved World

I just have to tell you about a book I just finished the other night! It's called White Cat by Holly Black and it is the first book in a series called The Curse Workers. This book is so amazing that I just can't wait to read book #2 called Red Glove. Black is an incredible writer and she can really weave a story together with so much creativity and mystique. I am so excited about this series and am now a huge fan of Cassel Sharp the main character in this story. I hope that White Cat will someday be made into a movie because it would be an awesome movie!

White Cat by Holly Black (2010)

Seventeen-year-old Cassel Sharpe is the only one in his family who is not a curse worker, so he can't help but feel like he's not quite good enough. Curse work is illegal, which means anyone who can alter a person's emotions, luck, or memories with the touch of a hand is a criminal or scam artist -- just like every member of Cassel's family. He may not be a worker, but he's far from innocent. He can run a scam to rival any con artist, and he killed the love of his life, Lila, three years ago. One night, Cassel finds himself on a rooftop after dreaming about a white cat, and has absolutely no idea how he got there. Images of the cat continue to haunt him as Cassel begins to notice that his two brothers are being even more secretive than usual. Cassel runs scam after scam to get to the bottom of his brothers' odd behavior, only to discover a shocking secret about himself that changes everything. This discovery leads to many interesting reflections about how your memories shape the person you become, or the person you choose to believe that you are. The incredible story that unfolds in White Cat will remind you of that old saying "keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer"

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Mockingjay is Amazingly Awesome!!

This is the best book ever! I just finished it today and I'm still reeling from the action, excitement and thrills of it all. I am a huge fan of the Hunger Games and I am sad that this is the last book in the series, but this book did it all for me. Katniss is an awesome character and I absolutely love her courage and drive in all three books. I don't want to give away the ending, but Mockingjay ended just the way that I wanted it to end. Collins is a brilliant writer and she had me going through so many different emotions in this story. I was laughing at jokes between Katniss and her friends and crying when my favorite characters were in trouble. Who will Katniss choose? Is it the rugged and woodsy Gale, or is it the thoughtful blue eyed Peeta? Well I can't tell you that, you will have to find out for yourself. If you haven't read this trilogy yet, I recommend that you go and get it right now and read it!! It is amazingly awesome!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Let Hard Times Get You Down

Angry Management by Chris Crutcher Harper Teen, 2009

I've been thinking about this book even though I've been finished for over a week now. I wanted to read it because there has been some controversy over the book and it had been challenged recently by a parent. I found that if you read the book the stories jump out off the pages and fill your mind with problems that real people and real teens have in their everyday lives. The characters are call backs from some of Crutcher's other novels and somehow because he knows these characters so well he is able to bring depth, light, and catharsis to all of their dilemmas and decisions. I think that the anger management classes needed a little more detail and there should have been more storyline leading up to the individual characters and their personal stories, but all in all this book was great. I would recommend this book to any teen that is looking for a realistic fiction or just something interesting to read. I myself enjoy stories that revolve around the struggles of life and how therapy can sometimes help. In teen realistic fiction, it seems that writer's like to set the tone of working it out in your own way that will ultimately help the person in the story. One of my favorite books that I read last year was "Tales of the Madman Underground" by John Barnes which tells the story of Karl Shoemaker a high school senior who has been in a therapy group since he was fourth grade. This is a great book with a story about a young man trying to break loose from the stigma of being in the group for so long and he is so desparately trying to find his own identity, his own true self.

Gotta Love a Fire-Breathing Fairy For Sure

Firelight by Sophie Jordan Harper Teen, 2010

This book is smoldering hot! Jacinda is a fire-breathing draki, which means that she can manifest from her human form into a flame throwing fairy whenever she wants. When Jacinda takes a chance to go flying at night with her best friend, things turn to terror as draki hunters track them and try to kill them both. Jacinda hides in a cave and a handsome young man finds her, but does not give her away. In fear, Jacinda's mother decides to move away so that she and her sister Tamra can start a new life. As if you couldn't guess, Jacinda runs into the boy that saved her life and falls deeply and madly in love with him. This of course causes her great torment and pain because she knows that he and his family are draki hunters. Jordan does a fantastic job painting a colorful description of Jacinda's transformation into draki form and the smokin hot chemistry between her the adorable Will.

Monday, October 24, 2011

TMI is in the House!!

I've been reading a lot over the last month and I am very excited to say that I have now read all four books in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Sadly, I will now have to wait until May 2012 for the next book to come out. The first book in the series, The City of Bones was actually recommended to me by one of my teens in the library that reads about as much YA as I do. I really like this series because it offers several different elements from supernatural, magic, mysticism, and the immortal realm. I would recommend this series to guys and girls because there are strong male and female characters in the books. One of my favorite characters is Jace Wayland who is one of the most dynamic male characters I have seen in a long time. Jace makes me want to keep reading because I want to know what he is going to do next. He is so enchanting and he just doesn't care what happens so he takes chances and goes in fighting like a dynamo. I love that about him.

Here is a review of City of Bones (2007)

In this book Clary Fray stumbles upon a dark secret from her past. She finds out that she is no ordinary girl, but rather that she is a shadow hunter a person who is half human and half angel. Shadow hunters are a special race of beings that hunt and kill demons to keep the world a safer place. Clary finds that everything she thought was normal, was actually made up by her mother in order to keep her safe from the world of shadow hunters. Then one night Clary's world changes when she meets Jace, Isabelle, Alec at a club called Pandemonium and her world will never be the same again. With her best friend Simon by her side Clary is about to find out the truth and the more she finds out, the less she is sure of who she really is at all.

The series four books until the moment; City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and the fifth book City of Lost Souls is slated to be released in May 2012. And if you fall in love with The Mortal Instruments like I did, then you will be happy to know that a movie is being made right now that will feature Lily Collins as Clary Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A Lion in the Library???

Library Lion written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Candlwick Press 2006.

A touching tale about a very special place that I like to sometimes call home

This is a sweet and enchanting story about a lion that visits the library and receives a chance to participate in story time just like all the other children. But, once the lion breaks the rules and roars really loud he is told that he will have to be quiet or leave the library. The lion begins to understand the library rules and does many helpful things for the librarians. One day, an accident happens to the head librarian and the lion does something to break the rules but only to help her because she is hurt. He thinks that he will have to leave the library forever, however he finds out that sometimes rules can be broken especially if it is to save a person in danger. I just love this book and read it to several second grade classes yesterday and they loved it too! This would definitely be a lovely bedtime story for kids as well.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Killing Machines & Romance are a Good Combination

I just finished reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore and I loved this book! I'm not sure if it was the fighting, killing, romance or the struggle for survival, but I loved it all. The main character Katsa is an intriguing and fascinating highly skilled killing machine. She lives in a time that is very much like a medieval England, only there are certain people who are born with special abilities called "graces" that offer them special powers. Some are as advanced as mind reading and some are as simple as just being extra good at something. Po is a prince and has his own special "grace" which he hides from the world. One of the traits of a person with a "grace" is to have two different colored eyes. For Katsa, she has one blue and one green eye and for Po he has one silver and one gold. The two fall in love and if you think that the story will be boring, you are totally wrong! There is an evil king called Leck that can manipulate his people with just one word and he has set his kingdom against Katsa and Po. Leck is also in search of his daughter Bitterblue who has run away from home. Po and Katsa have to save Bitterblue because he wants to do horrible, terrible things to her. This book is stunning and majestic and extremely captivating. Cashore writes in a way that is easy to follow and the story has wonderful characters that the reader can fall in love with and/or become very attached to. I highly recommend this book to those who love stories with strong characters and exciting and adventurous plots.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 Nominees for the ALA's Top Ten Teen Choice List

Here are the 2011 Nominees for the ALA's Top Ten Teen Choice List. If you haven't read these books I highly recommend reading them. Some of my favorites are Matched by Ally Condie, Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearson, and I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. Teens can also go online and vote for their favorites at

Bachorz, Pam. Drought. Egmont USA. 2011. (978606840160)

Beam, Cris. I Am J. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2011. (9780316053617)

Beaudoin, Sean. You Killed Wesley Payne. 2011. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. (9780316077422)

Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier. Zombies vs. Unicorns. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books. 2010. (9781416989530)

Card, Orson Scott. The Lost Gate. Tor Books. 2011. (9780765326577)

Clare, Cassandra. The Clockwork Angel. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry. 2010. (9781416975861)

Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. Scholastic. 2010. (9780439023511)

Collins, Yvonne. Love, Inc. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423131151)

Condie, Ally. Matched. 2010. Penguin/Dutton. (9780525423645)

Cremer, Andrea. Nightshade. Penguin/Philomel. 2010. (9780399254826)

Fitzpatrick, Becca. Crescendo. Simon & Schuster Children’s. 2010. (9781416989431)

Grant, Michael. Lies. 2010. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. (9780061449093)

Hawkins, Rachel. Demonglass. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423121312)

Hakwins, Rachel. Hex Hall. Disney/Hyperion. 2010. (9781423121305)

Kagawa, Julie. The Iron King. 2010. Harlequin. (9780373210084)

Lore, Pittacus. I Am Number Four. HarperCollins. 2010. (9780061969553)

Moore, Peter. Red Moon Rising. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423116653)

Nelson, Jandy. The Sky is Everywhere. 2010. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers. (9780142417805)

Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010. (9780061726804)

O’Neal, Ellis. The False Princess. Egmont USA. 2011. (9781606840795)

Patterson, James. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel. Little, Brown & Company. 2011. (9780316036207)

Pearce, Jackson. Sisters Red. Little, Brown and Company. 2010. (9780316068680)

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Blessed. Candlewick Press. 2011. (9780763643263)

Westerfeld, Scott. Behemoth. Simon Pulse. 2010. (9781416971757)

White, Kiersten. Paranormalcy. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010. (9780061985843)

The voters ages must be between twelve to eighteen and they can vote online between Aug. 15th and Sept. 16th 2011 the book winners will be announced during Teen Read Week Oct. 16-22 2011.

Happy reading to you all!!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's the Cheesiest But Oh So Good

I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier

This is an amazing book! I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because I really didn't like Cormier's classic The Chocolate War. However, this book has so much mystery around every turn in the story and its just the kind of psychological thriller that you can really get into. The main character Adam Farmer seems so innocent and true as he recollects his journey of riding his bike for several miles throughout several states in order to deliver a very important package to his father who is in a hospital in Vermont. With twists and turns the story takes on several points of view as Adam also is relating his story to a deep voiced man who probes him to tell his story. Never would I have thought that the story would end as it does and I was definitely surprised in the final outcome of Adam's tale. I really recommend this book to reluctant readers because it has so much grit to the story. I am now a huge fan of I am the Cheese and will recommend it to teens that come into my library.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dystopia in Space

Here's another addition to my favorite genre of dystopic science fiction. Across the Universe is such a good read and very very intriguing and suspenseful. Can you imagine you and your family being cryogenically frozen because Earth is in bad shaped and then loaded on to a space craft to travel 300 years to a new planet and then waking up to find out that you never made it to the new planet? Plus your family is still frozen and life on the ship is more oppressive than the Nazi regime. This book is a must read for all you mega dystopia fans just like me. Dystopia in Space rules!!!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis 2011

A cryogenically frozen 17 year old girl named Amy is thawed out and meets and falls for Elder the future ruler of the space craft she is aboard called the Godspeed. The ship is headed for a new planet and houses the remaining humans from Earth. No one knows that the ship is several hundred years off schedule and may never even make it to the new world because they are under the influence of a heinous and tyrannical ruler who idolizes Adolph Hitler. Rivas' idea of humans freezing themselves and taking a 300 hundred year space flight to a new planet was very intruiging, but also very creepy. The thought of being frozen and with thoughts and dreams flowing during the span of the flight time sounds horrendous. After Amy is unfrozen the story begins to unfold that things did not go exactly as the humans had planned when concocting the journey to a new world. Amy and Elder begin to unfold the truth, which in turn will change both of their lives forever. This book is great because it really has that "what if?" factor that keeps you reading to find out what really happened to change the course of the Godspeed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Future-licious Fan in the House!

This week I am very excited to talk about one of my favorite sub-genres which is apocalyptic/dystopic science fiction. I don't know why, but I have always been a sucker for a good future gone bad story. I tend to stay away from the zombie apocalyptic stories, but last spring I found myself drawn to Carrie Ryan's series that started with The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Usually zombies make me run the other way, but I stuck with it and read all three in the series. I have to say that I really liked the series and will continue to read anything that Ms. Ryan releases. Lately, I have found that there are some really good books out there that focus on the plight of our future and what will happen to all of mankind. Sometimes these books make think to myself, what would it be like if life was really like this? I think these kinds of books are really good for keeping young adult readers on their toes and many of the books have really exciting and thoughtful storylines. I definitley love a twisting and turning futuristic plot that leaves you wanting more when the book is done!

"In a world gone mad, where humans are treated as slaves, and the planet is now ruled by intelligent apes, Galen, Virdon and Burke must find a way to return to Earth in their own time, or be doomed to spend their lives on the run from the murderous apes…" Planet of the Apes, 1975

I hope you enjoy my apocalyptic/dystopic sci fi picks this week!

Love to read,

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Matched by Ally Condie (Dutton Juvenile, 2010)

Set in a dystopian future, Matched tells the story of Cassia, a seventeen year old girl who is about to be matched with her future husband. During her Match Banquet, Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander which is a rare outcome that hardly ever happens in the Society. However, Cassia is very relieved because Xander is her best friend. While viewing her Matched files of Xander, Cassia sees her handsome neighbor Ky's face. She knows she is supposed to be matched with Xander, but in her mind she begins to question who is really her true match. A Society official has told her not to worry about Ky and that it was a mistake, or rather a trick that someone played on her. Cassia lives in a world where people are watched at all times and individuality is not allowed. What will Cassia do when she realizes that her heart is going to lead her on a journey of love and she must break the rules of the Society?

I love love loved this book! It was an amazing rendition of a world gone bad where higher up officials take a person’s life and identity away by using control. The main character Cassia was wonderfully engaging and I really connected with her plight of having to choose between doing what is right according to the Society, or doing what her heart told her was right in choosing her soul mate. Condie did a fantastic job portraying a dystopiian socieity where everyone was basically brainwashed and did what they were told. The story was a bit familiar and reminded me of Lois Lowry's The Giver, but that is ok, because Condie went the extra mile and filled this novel up with excellent characters and a truly corrupt and distorted view of the Society in control. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good romance with a fateful twist.

Gone by Michael Grant (Harper Teen, 2008)

The kids of Perdido Beach suddenly find themselves alone as each adult in their community poofs out of sight right before their very eyes. It’s as if everyone over the age 14 has disappeared without a trace. Sam is an everyday average kid who likes to surf with his best friend Quinn, but now those days are over. Immediate chaos has broken out because children are fending for themselves and they don’t know what to do. Most of the kids want Sam to lead them because he was a hero when he was younger and saved a school bus from crashing over a cliff. Sam is really reluctant to take over the role as leader because he knows it is a great responsibility. Now his secret crush Astrid the smart girl has come to him for help in finding her autistic brother and Sam is set on helping her. Caine and Diana from Coates Academy roll into town and start to set down some rules and suddenly the bullies find that this is their chance to do some damage. Secretly Sam hides a supernatural power that could kill everyone if he lets the fire escape from his hands. Strangely enough, Sam’s not the only one with supernatural powers. As things heat up there will be fights to the death, talking coyotes, an evil darkness, and creepy evil arms that will keep you turning the pages on this one. I will continue to read this incredible apocalyptic series, or maybe as you read you might find it may not even be apocalyptic but that evil has tipped the balance and is messing with your mind!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Real Deal

This week’s featured genre is realistic fiction. What I find interesting is that I am a huge fantasy lover and at the same time I love to read realistic stories as well. I feel that young adult realistic fiction has a lot to offer teens today because many of the topics focus on the issues that they are going through at the time. Some of the books that I have read lately have touched on suicide, depression, drug addiction, and child abuse. These issues may not come up in the average teens daily lives, but I think that working with teens has brought me a lot of insight on how they think and deal with things and it can be very helpful for them to read fictional stories that help them to understand that the world is a very big place and they are going to encounter so many different issues as they learn and grow and get older. With that said, realistic fiction can sometimes be a downer, but as with all things in life it has its ups and downs, which makes for pretty great reading most of the time. So here are a few of my favorites and I highly recommend that you read them because they are awesome!

"A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it."

~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

As always, Happy Reading To You!

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2006) Michael Printz Award Honor 2007

What can I say about this book? Well, for starters, it is brilliant and funny and just plain amazing! John Green has a fantastic way of weaving humor into the mundane world and does it with such style that reading this book feels like watching a movie or taking a ride on a Ferris wheel. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who never made it to a full blown genius and boy that saddens him. He loves to make anagrams and can anagram his ass off in any given situation. Alas, poor Colin has girl issues and he just can't seem to get over the break up with his girlfriend Katherine. Oh and by the way, she is the 19th Katherine that he has gone out with over the course of his 17 year life.
The story just keeps getting funnier and funnier and his best friend Hasan is hilarious too with his smart quips and snide namecalling. The two are always badgering each other with a barrage of insults, but of course there are some compliments in there somewhere I just know it. The two decide to go on a road trip and by golly they end up in some back woods town in Tennessee called Gutshot, and it's there that they meet the adorable Lindsey Lee Wells. From there on things just get funnier because Lindsey has a boyfriend named Colin who the guys nickname TOC which stand for "the other Colin" and Colin decides to come up with a theorem for why he has been dumped by so many Katherines. This lively coming of age tale is wonderfully written and is quite spunky and full of life. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a good book to read that is totally engaging and will have you laughing and crying and cheering in the end for Colin Singleton and his friends. An Abundance of Katherines was also a 2007 Michael Printz Award Honor Book.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (2010)

I’m gonna start this out by saying that John Green is totally brilliant! Ah, but you knew I was going to say that right? Of course, I also have to give props to David Levithan for this one too. This is one of the few novels written in alternating points of view that I totally loved because it just works. This book is definitely a wild ride for anyone who reads this book. The story is told in two different voices and these voices are two different characters both named Will Grayson.

Even though the book is titled after these two, one thing for sure is that the whole story focuses around the biggest person of all in the story and that is the magnanimous Tiny Cooper. Tiny is such a fun, spontaneous, and joyous young man, and a sheer force of love and power to be reckoned with. That is why both Will Grayson’s find him so irresistible. The first Will Grayson is Tiny’s best friend and confidant, the other is his love interest. By a strange chance meeting the first Will Grayson meets the other in a seedy porn shop called Frenchie’s. This chance meeting alters both of their lives forever. Add to the mix, Tiny’s amazing and genius life story, which is a musical that is written, directed, and produced by none other than Tiny himself. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is an inspirational tale that is creatively written, seductively cool, and so uncontrollably witty you’ll find yourself crying at times and laughing out loud uncontrollably. A must read for anyone that loves a good story!

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams (Simon & Schuster, 2010)

Sisters Lizzie and Hope are only one year apart and best friends until Lizzie suddenly tries to end her life. Hope can’t understand why Lizzie would do such a thing and their mother has never paid much attention to either of them. Hope had been having awful nightmares which she really felt like she was awake and Lizzie had been having crying fits for a long time before she tried to kill herself. What does all of this mean? Hope must figure out the puzzle while Lizzie wastes away in a mental institution, and unravel the secrets that will lead her to save her sister. Written in verse, Williams has created a riveting story that is very edgy and provocative!
This novel caught my attention straight away as it is completely written in verse. It is extremely emotional and written very tastefully. The glimpses we as the reader get into Hope’s life are incredible and as I read I became overwrought with grief for her and her sister. This book reminded me that there are so many children out there being abused even by their own parents, which is really very tragic.
I would recommend this book to older teens that enjoy reading realistic fiction on various life issues. It is a fairly fast read because reading the verses goes a lot faster than regular text. I think this book is for older teens because of the nature of the situations involved in the story and the seriousness of suicide and sexual abuse.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Faerie Fantastical Delights!

Since it's summertime I thought I would focus each week on different types of genres that are near and dear to my heart. The first genre I always seem to be drawn to is fantasy. As far back as I can remember I have loved to dive into fantasy books and immerse myself in made up lands and fairy tale characters. The greatest thing of all about fantasy is that it can be entirely made up and the writer's imagination can create so many twists and turns and there are so many different possibilities. My love for fantasy almost never breaks my heart, except for last week when I watching the HBO series Game of Thrones and one of my beloved favorite characters was executed. Well, that almost never happens in YA fantasy novels and you can usually be sure that your hero or heroine will survive even the most heinous villain or death and eventually make a come back from any horrible devastation. This week I will focus on YA fantasy novels that feature one of my favorite elements and that is faeries. Yes it's true I am a sucker for anything that has to do with faeries. It must be my English lineage because after studying about the origins of faeries I learned that they have a long standing history in England and Ireland. I actually wrote my master's thesis on one of the most notorious faeries of all time called Morgan Le Fay. She stems from the legend of King Arthur and has been manipulated and molded through time to be a bad faerie. Although, she actually was not all bad in many different stories and legends. I will talk more about Morgan later and offer some titles that feature her up front and center.

I hope you like my faerie fantasy picks this week!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner (Random House, 2009)

Review: Life is dark and dreadful after a war between humans and faeries has left the United States in a state of disarray. On a dark and scary night Liza sees her baby sister born and then cast out of the house by her father because she is pale and transparent like a faerie. The baby dies and Liza is haunted by her cries in the night. After her mother disappears, Liza finds that she may have some special qualities that even her father never knew of. She must seek out the place where the faerie wars began to discover the truth about her family and her own self. She must stay strong and endure whatever hatred or fear that comes her way in order to heal the break that the country has suffered from such a disastrous war. I highly recommend this book for post apocalyptic fans and faerie faith lovers as well.

I really like this book a lot for its originality and interesting plot. It reminded me of how big apocalyptic stories are right now and how the faerie world can sometimes be taken for granted as docile, but in reality their origin may be more devious or aggressive than we think. I loved the mixture of humans living in a world with faeries with a touch of violence and deep internal pain. This is Simner’s first novel and I hope to read more of her work in the future.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog (Delacorte Press, 2010)

Eron DeMarchelle is a sandman, a supernatural faerie like being whose entire purpose is to soothe his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest. But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a complex girl with blazing red hair and heartrending dreams. Suddenly, her boyfriend dies in a car accident and Eron can tell from her dreams that she is holding all of her emotions inside. Eron was human once too, a long- long time ago, and he remembers how love broke his heart. In the past, Eron has gone above and beyond to protect Julia from danger. Now there’s seems to be a new danger that threatens Julia’s life and Eron must decide if he can help her this time or not. His time as a sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement (you won’t believe who it is!) doesn't seem to care about the job like Eron does. As he transitions back and forth from human to sandman, Eron tries to save Julia, but after they've become human again, sandmen are not supposed to have contact with their charges. Eron knows that he will always love Julia. Should he risk it all for a chance to be with the girl he loves? Cyn Balog's Sleepless it witty with faerie fantastic delights and supernatural romance! Teen girls will adore Eron and his story of love and loss and how he fights to protect the girl he loves.

Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean and Christopher Carlson (Hyperion, 2008)

Review: Ernie Banks was named after the legendary Chicago Cubs shortstop because he was left on the doorstep of the Lakeside Home for Boys when he was three years old. All he had on him was an old Ernie Banks baseball card, a crystal acorn strung on a string around his neck and a strange spiral birthmark on the bottom of his right foot. Now at age thirteen, he is a troubled kid living in an orphanage with mean kids and a super mean head mistress. Ernie is about to be sent to the juvenile detention center, but then he is offered a chance to spend three weeks working on a farm working for Russ Frazier. When Ernie arrives he is drawn into a grand adventure that might finally lead him home. He becomes involved in solving the mystery around the kidnapping of the Frazier’s baby years earlier. Ernie joins together with Joey, a local girl to investigate clues that lead them on a dangerous journey into a forbidden world of dark secrets, magic puddles, and the cavernous underground kingdom of the tiny water faeries called the Puddlejumpers with whom Ernie has a strange connection.

This book is very engaging and exciting at the same time. Ernie starts out as a juvenile delinquent and his plight of living in a terrible orphanage is very believable. With a stroke of luck he is sent to a farm and it is there that he realizes that he must become a hero. The plot thickens as this story twists and mutates into a darker tale as it moves deep within the ground to the water faerie world. This is when the fantasy kicks in, because this is where the Puddlejumpers live and they need to be freed. Ernie is their only hope, and with this intriguing plot the reader is held steadily by an intense battle between good and evil. Ernie's intensity is deeply felt by reading about his journey of self-discovery and it is also triumphant when Ernie finds his way back to his true home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Torment of Female Teendom

This week's theme focuses on girls with issues. I love books that have a strong female character that you can really connect with. Here are a few that I have read recently that I think bring up realistic issues in teens lives and work very hard on resolving issues so that it might someone reading think that there is hope to continue to grow and learn.

Happy Reading to you all!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (Little, Brown, 2010)

Bianca Piper is one tough cookie because her mom has been off on a book tour most of her life and her dad is a struggling recovering alcoholic. She knows that her friends are much prettier than her, but when the infamous girl chasing stud Wesley Rush tells her she’s the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her group she gets so mad she throws her drink on him. Later, she finds herself drawn to Wesley like a magnet to metal and she tells herself she’s just using him to forget about all of her problems. The trouble with that agenda is that she and Wesley spend so much time together that they end up being very close. Bianca can’t tell what’s real and what’s not as the lines of passion and manipulation become comepletely blurred. Can Bianca discover the true meaning of love and finally be happy or will she always end up being the DUFF?

This book is probably one of my favorites that I have read lately. I enjoyed the honesty and realism that Keplinger brings to her writing. She is a young woman herself who has probably had to go through many of the obstacles that Bianca did in the book. Keplinger offers front and center views on how girls see themselves and how it’s ok to be open about sex, birth control, and talk about your real emotions.

I would recommend this book to older teens. I read a review that said it should be recommended to older girls, but I think that guys should read this book too. The book offers many insights on how teens can deal with real life issues.

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga (Houghton Mifflin, 2009)

Goth girl Kyra Sellers is back from the mental hospital after unsuccessfully trying to kill herself. She's mad at everyone in the world because they just don't understand her. She tries to change her appearance by shaving her head bald and wearing white clothes but this only draws more attention to her. After a long thoughtful bout of revenge planning Kyra finally has a break through and starts to realize that life goes on even after you have lost one of the most important people in your entire life. She must come to terms with the death of her mom and move forward with her own life because in reality she is still here, she is still surviving even though deep inside she feels that she just can't carry on any longer. Lyga's Kyra is such a moving character who is so full of anger and remorse that it's hard not to like her. The actions that she takes to destroy Fanboy are definitely not healthy, but her inner thoughts and plans of revenge are very engaging.

This book was very interesting and I think that many teens might be able to relate to Kyra’s confusion and anger. I had hoped that she could move on and get past her anger and revenge or find some kind of cathartic outlet to release her pain, but other than her changing her appearance this did not seem to happen in the story. However, the book offers life lessons that can definitely speak to teens.

By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead Julie Anne Peters (Hyperion, 2010)

I picked this book up at the library because I thought the title was very catchy. I found it to be a deep and dark exploration of a troubled teenage girl. Daelyn is a very sad and depressed teen girl. She has gone to many different schools and has been bullied and shamed because she was overweight as a child. She was shoved, kicked, groped by a group of boys and even locked in a custodial closet all day on the first day at a new school. When reading this book you feel the pain and torment that Daelyn has experienced and it makes you feel so sad. I really wished that I could reach out and hold her and try to take her pain away. She has been down in the depths of hell so long that she decides that there is nothing left in life to live for. She has actually tried quite a few times to end her life and recently had almost succeeded. As almost a punishment from nature, Daelyn won't be able to talk for a long while due to an injury that she has caused on her own body.

Now she is on a 24-hour suicide watch and her parents watch her like a hawk, spend almost every waking moment with her, and they do not trust her to ever be alone. Daelyn doesn’t understand that her parents love her and that they are so fearful that they might lose her. She thinks that they would be happier without her and that they could live a better life with her gone. This stems from the disapproval that she received when she was younger. They never seemed to understand why she was overweight or why she was the one always being picked on.

In this story, Daelyn gets connected online to a website called Through the Light. This site allows her to plan and plot her own death date. The thought might seem morbid, but it allows her to connect with other individuals who have gone through similar experiences as she has gone through. The website offers her an outlet that she definitely needs. So she begins her countdown at 23 days and starts to plan her departure. In the meantime, she meets a strange and quirky boy that is always outside by her school while she is waiting for her parents. It turns out that the boy whose name is Santana is homeschooled and he lives right next door to her school. He is also suffering from lymphoma cancer. She forms an interesting friendship with this boy and all along she is trying so hard not to connect with him. This book is fairly short, but highly thought provoking. The author Julie Anne Peters offers a deep insight on the boiling point for victims of bullying and the depths and despair of suicide. A must read for teens everywhere as it offers tips on warning signs to look out for and facts on the prevention of suicide.

Friday, June 03, 2011

This Guy Is Definitely Not Lost

The Lost Hero is an incredible story! Rick Riordan always comes through with awesome characters that you can't help but love and a storyline that is gripping and adventurous. I have to say that Riordan is very very hot right now. This book had an excellent weaving of Greek and Roman mythology which made for quite an interesting tale. It even inspired me to check out a book on Roman mythology in order to see the differences between the Greek and Roman god and goddesses. I loved the characters Piper, Leo, and Jason. They were all well developed and proved to be incredible progtagonists all in their own special way. I especially loved Leo Valdez and his quick comebacks, funny disposition, and mesmerizing fire and mechanical abilities. Keep on writing books Riordan because you got it going on dude!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mad Fallen Angel Love

This week I thought that instead of writing reviews I would try something quick and snappy. I have recently finished the first two books in the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and am feeling quite inspired by love, mystery, and angels. I hope you like my poetic little word plays!

Fitzpatrick, Becca. Hush, Hush. 1st. ed. New York: Simon & Shuster Publishers. 2009. 391 pgs. ISBN: 9781416989417.

Summary: In this supernatural YA fiction, high school sophomore Nora has always been very cautious in her relationships, but when Patch, who has a dark side she can sense, enrolls at her school, she is mysteriously and strongly drawn to him, despite warnings from her best friend, the school counselor, and her own instincts.

Here is my word play for Hush, Hush:

Dark Stranger brings on Hot Danger and all the while Mysterious Beings are Running Wild

Fitzpatrick, Becca. Crescendo. BFYR. New York: Simon & Shuster Publishers. 2010. 427 pgs. Sequel to Hush, Hush. ISBN: 9781416989431.

Summary: In this sequel to Hush, Hush, Sixteen-year-old Nora Grey struggles to face the truth while coping with having a fallen angel boyfriend named Patch and unraveling the mystery surrounding her father's death.

My word play for Crescendo is:

Love meets Misfortune with so much Betrayal, then to be reunited only to Fail

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sibling Power is Always a Kick

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Riordan is at it again with his magic making and mythology! This enchanting tale features Carter and Sadie Kane a brother and sister duo with quite a bit of personality and style. When their dad Julius is swept up into a magical tomb and hidden away by an evil force called Set, Carter and Sadie must go on a journey to find him. Aided by Bast the cat goddess who seems to be their only friend the duo finds themselves in many different hilarious and treacherous situations. The bro/sis team are delightful and refreshing as they narrate each chapter switching off when one feels the other is not telling the story right. Riordan has a terrific knack for weaving mythology into the everyday world and The Red Pyramid is an enchanting mixture of Egyptology, magic, and humor. This book would be great for any book club or literature circle and would especially work well for students studying Egypt.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Freaks Can Be Fun

Hey What's up Mrs. Librarian Lady? I was thinking of reading some new books but was not sure cause there's so many out there. I'm in 8th grade right now and going to high school next fall so I was wondering if you know any good books that have anything to do with high school and meeting new people. I like the books that you read and recommend all the time!

Thanx a bunch


Hi there SweeteeBee!

I'm so glad you asked about new books because I know what you mean about there being so many out there! I try to read as much new stuff as possible just to stay in the loop. Right now I am reading the 3rd book in the "Forest of Hands and Teeth" series called "The Dark and Hollow Places" by Carrie Ryan and the 2nd book in the "Hush, Hush" series called "Crescendo" by Becca Fitzpatrick. I haven't finished them yet, but they are really really good! I also just finished "The Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan and have to say that I love love this one! I'm waiting to get my hands on the next one. The book that I have in mind for you is Monster High by Lisi Harrison author of "The Clique" series. This is a really clever book that deals with high school issues in a freakish and fanciful way. I think you will really like this one and there is also a television show on Nickelodeon based on the novel too!

"Monster High" by Lisi Harrison

Melody Carver is no stranger to being an outcast because she used to be considered homely and ugly at her old school in California. Hopefully her new nose job will help her at her new school in Salem Oregon. On the flip side, being green and a descendant of Frankenstein make Frankie Stein have to seriously hide her differentness in order to not create a total mob against her. Both of these girls are striving to fit in with their new surroundings without giving away their deep-seated fears. Both Melody and Frankie try to make friends, but they still feel left out. Frankie has to deal with her family not wanting her to come out of the closet about her monster origins. After a wild night at the homecoming dance everyone will have to re-evaluate who’s hot and who’s not in this adorable tale. Harrison hits the mark by mixing monsters, ghouls, and freaks with the age- old problem of teenagers trying to fit in. The message is clear that whoever or whatever you are, it’s best to just be yourself no matter what.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Salem's Back in Town

Hi there to all of my readers!!

I just wanted to let everyone know about a cool new book I read. For those of you that love witches and would like an interesting viewpoint on the Salem Witch Trials this is the book for you!

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill 2010

I have always been entranced with the Salem Witch Trials so I am so glad that I found this terrific book! This story written in verse is based on the epic historical event that took place in Salem, Massachusetts throughout the year of 1692. Wicked Girls is very engaging and brings a stunning reality to the actual girls that accused many people of being witches in Salem during the 1600’s. This is a fictional account of what it might have been like for the girls that started the vicious lies and rumors about their friends and neighbors. The historical information on this subject is very easy to find in any history book or in the Salem museum. However, Hemphill gives a more personal look at how a handful of Puritan girls took hold of a town and used this fortune to their own advantage. The main girls in the book are Ann Putnam Jr. age 12, Mercy Lewis a servant girl age 17, Margaret Walcott age 17, Abigail Williams age 12, Elizabeth Hubbard age 17, and Susannah Sheldon age 18. Betty Parris age 8 was actually the first girl to experience what she called witches pinching and hitting her from inside an invisible world. Betty’s parents sent her away and that may have been when Abigail and Ann Jr. cooked up a plan to continue their wicked game. As they continued to cry witch, Mercy, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Susannah joined them as well. I found this book to be a truly amazing account of how that year in 1692 unfolded for the town of Salem. This book also gives the reader insight on how difficult it must have been to live in the rural area of Salem and how strict and narrow minded the Puritan townspeople really were.

Happy Reading to you all!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Stronger the Woman, The Better

Hello Mrs. Librarian Lady,

You have been talking about Women’s History Month for the last few weeks and I really like the books you talked about. I was wondering if you know of any fiction books that you could recommend to me? I really like fiction and would be interested in something that is kind of sweet or romantic too. I love all of the books that you have recommended to me so far, so I know that you help me with this one too!


Hi there LUnaCee,

I’m so glad that you have been tuning in to see my Women’s History Month selections! Every year I can’t wait for March because I love talking about all of the great women that have done so many incredible things all over the world. I want to thank you for your compliment and for having so much confidence in me. I really like to read books and then talk about them with others. I have a few books that I think you will just adore. One is The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, which will take you on a journey of a young woman’s search to find her inner strength and the other is Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer, which features a very strong young woman named Bella who must fight to save and protect the people she loves. Hope you enjoy reading these books!

Happy reading to you!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

CCBC Choices Award Winner 2010, ABA IndieBound Spring Pick 2010

Review: Readers will be completely surprised by the unfolding of Quinn’s tale. Quinn has had it with all the annoying male figures in her life. She decides to contact her long lost half sister and after they speak on the phone they concoct a plan that their father will most likely never forgive them for. Quinn is really a breath of fresh air and her voice speaks from the heart. There is a myriad of women that voice their stories on the men they have known in their lives and how that affected them throughout their lives and in their current relationships. The women were all very strong and had endured many difficult hardships in their lives. This was very meaningful and offered a strong display of depth in Caletti’s characters. What was interesting is that all these women could be traced back to Quinn's father, who was the catalyst for the journey in this story. This is an excellent book for those who are romantic at heart and also for those who just love a happy ending.

I had never read anything by Deb Caletti before so I was very happily surprised by this novel. I was moved by her ability to weave a story so well. She added very lovable and enjoyable characters to the story. This book offers so much more than a story though. It’s an emotional journey that is multi-generational as well as multi-faceted. Caletti is a really gifted writer.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Children’s Book of the Year Galaxy Award 2009

Review: In Breaking Dawn our beloved Bella finally is forced to make the most ultimate and final choice in her life. She and Edward are married in old world style with the help of her true friend Alice. While Bella and Edward are honeymooning Bella begins to feel very ill and their trip is cut short when she feels that there is something growing inside of her. The tension of the story grows as that something grows larger and larger itself. The chain of events from this point on lead up to the most amazing transformation I have ever seen in a character. Let’s just say that Bella becomes the main focus of the story and her drive to protect not only Edward and her family but any other vampires that support her family is truly incredible. Will Bella’s dream of spending an eternal life with Edward finally come true? I can’t tell you that! It’s up to you to read this book to draw the conclusions yourself.

I had heard a ton of negative reviews for this book, and after reading it I do not agree with those reviews. I think that Twilight fans will find all that they have been waiting for in this final installment of the series. There is a complete and solid ending and everyone in this story does end up happy and that's what I had really wanted for all of Twilight's wonderful characters. I have an idea and would like to do a booktalk on the whole Twilight series. That way I can talk about how Twilight begins and how Edward and Bella fall in love and move on through each book and pull out the key points of the story. Then really spotlight this book because it is probably the best one in the series and has the most exciting plot and action. And of course the Twilight book club is still going strong!!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Soldier, a Saint and a Teenager

My daughter was working on a school project in recognition of Women's History Month last week and the person she chose to write about was Joan of Arc. I learned so many things about Joan and I have to say that she was just an amazing young woman. Joan of Arc was born to a peasant family in Domremy, France in the year 1412. She was very poor and had to work in the fields. When she was 12 she saw a bright light and heard the voices of angels talking to her. Joan lived during the Hundred Years War, which was a war between France and England. In 1429, when Joan was 17 the English were about to take over France. Her voices told her to help France. Charles VII gave Joan some troops to command and she cut her hair, dressed in armor like a boy, and carried a white banner with the fleur-de-lis.

In May of 1429, after many battles, Joan’s troops stopped the English from taking over France. In 1430, Joan was captured and sold to the English. She was sent to Rouen where she went on trial for being a witch. After 12 months in prison, the English court charged Joan with the crime of wearing a boy’s outfit. First they sentenced her to death, but she signed a letter saying that she had been wrong and it was changed to life in prison. One problem was that Joan would not give up her boys clothing, so she was sent to the Catholic Church court and was sentenced again to death. On May 30, 1431 Joan was burned at the stake in the Old Market Square at Rouen.

25 years after Joan’s death, King Charles VII had a second trial to clear her name, and she was pronounced innocent. Joan’s name was forever cleared of any wrongdoing. My daughter chose Joan of Arc for this project because she is still admired for her strength and bravery by many people. Her life was short, but she was very brave and stayed true to her country. She is a good example of a courageous young woman who tried to help others and had many challenges in her way and that is why she is still remembered even today. In 1920, Pope Benedict XV of the Roman Catholic Church blessed Joan and she became a saint. Joan of Arc’s traditional feast day is May 30th.

For those of you who love Joan of Arc you will be delighted to hear that the author Michael Scott has written a short story in an online digital format called the Death of Joan of Arc.

Joan of Arc was not burned at the stake in Rouen, France in 1431. She was rescued from certain death by Scathach the Warrior. The truth about that day is revealed in the last will and testament of William of York, and it will leave you wondering: does Joan of Arc still walk the earth? Michael Scott’s first-ever exclusive e-book short story delves into the world of the bestselling series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel and offers readers a never-before-seen lost story—the story of two warriors who would become sisters!

You can find this at Barnes & Noble's Web site and if you have a Nook you it only costs 99 cents! It's also offered on Amazon for Kindle as well.

Happy Reading to you all!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

March is Women's History Month!

In honor of Women's History Month Mrs. Librarian Lady is going to feature great women and books that either talk about great women or have strong female characters.

I have two books are that I would like to mention that are fictional, yet the main focal point of each book is Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Austen is a well known English author whose work dates back to the early 1800's. Some her works include Emma, Sense & Sensibility, and Persuasion. With millions of fans, Austen is a woman that is highly thought of in the literary world. So let's all celebrate Women's History Month by singing the praises of Ms. Jane Austen!

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman 2007

Enthusiasm is just adorable. The story begins with Julie Lefkowitz a kind of shy and quiet tall girl who has an off the hook friend Ashleigh who has some of the most insane and wild ideas a teenager could ever come up with. As it happens Julie has been love-struck by a handsome young stranger she has only seen a few times, but has never spoken to. One day Ashleigh decides her new craze is going to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and she becomes obsessed with becoming Elizabeth Bennett and finding her own Mr. Darcy! This behavior completely describes why Ashleigh is the enthusiast in this story. Her whole life and of course her best friend Julie’s life must be turned upside down and filled with the language, dress, and mannerisms of Jane Austen’s novel which takes place in the late 17th century. Ashleigh’s latest enthusiastic plan involves crashing a boy’s private school dance and meeting her very own Mr. Darcy and dragging Julie along for the ride. Of all the things to happen, the girls end up meeting Grandison Parr who just happens to be Julie’s secret crush. And who do you think falls head over heels for Parr? The enthusiast sees Parr as a gentleman worthy of being Mr. Darcy indeed. This is Shulman’s first novel and a very good one. It has a solid storyline, believable characters and real life situations that many teenagers go through in their lives. Ashleigh’s schemes may be off the hook, but in the end her enthusiasm may be just the thing that Julie loves most about her. And let’s just say that Julie may end up with her very own Mr. Darcy thanks to Ashleigh.

Scones & Sensibility by Lindsay Eland 2010

Polly has such good intentions! With her head filled with romantic dreams of matchmaking, and her bicycle-basket filled with pastries from her parents' bakery, she embarks on a summer delivering parcels. Sometimes the parcels have been ordered--and sometimes they haven't! Polly delights in taking on the role of go-between for couples she wants to match up, pretending each has ordered treats for the other. The havoc that ensues is simply delicious, for Polly is so busy listening to her own ideas about what love should be that she fails, again and again, to listen to what people are telling her plain and simple. In the end, she learns that she's been leaving out an important ingredient in her recipe for love, namely reality. Humbled, but still believing in true love, she delivers a fresh perspective. This book is truly delightful. Polly has such a romantic soul and her story delivers a yummy bite of goodness for just about everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To Zombie, or Not to Zombie, That is a Good Question Indeed

Hi Mrs. Librarian Lady,

All my friends LOVE zombies and they are really into playing video games where they get to either chase zombies or run from them. I’m not sure if I like zombies that much and don’t want to try those games yet. Do you know of a book that has zombies in it that I could read? Not too scary tho!



Greetings ??Zombiees??

I feel your pain! I am not really a big zombie fan myself. There’s something creepy about the way they drag themselves around. Oh, and the thing that I hate the most is that they usually want to eat you too. I know of a book called The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan that I would highly recommend for you to read if you are not sure about zombies. The story involves a futuristic world where humans become infected and turn into zombies. It’s not too scary and if I can read it and not be too scared then you can too! Let me know what you think because there is a companion book also by Carrie Ryan called The Dead Tossed Waves you might like as well.

Happy Reading and Good Luck with the Zombies!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Review: Mary lives in a nice little quiet village on the edge of a forest where nothing much happens except when someone gets bit by one of the infected dead zombies called the Unconsecrated that gather by the fences that surround the area. You may think that this sounds weird, but basically it’s all Mary has ever known. Her father has recently disappeared and turned up Unconsecrated, and her mother pretty much goes insane and gets herself bit in order to be with him outside the fences. Once someone is bit they become infected and then it is only a matter of time before they turn Unconsecrated as well. After losing her parents, Mary is in an awful state and even her own brother turns her away so goes to live with the Sisterhood who just happen to be the keepers of many deep dark secrets. In the meantime Travis, the guy that Mary has had a crush on for a long time ends mashing his leg and ends up convalescing at the chapel where she is staying with the sisters. The two become very close and have a strong connection that just may last forever. Unfortunately the Sisters have different plans for them and they decree that Mary must instead become betrothed to Travis’ brother Harry. Many things happen after this and there is a breach in the fences and the Unconsecrated swarm the village biting and eating lots of people. The only ones to make it out alive are Mary, Harry, Travis, her friend Cass, a little boy named Jacob, her new puppy Argos and her brother Jed. As they flee from their village, they leave behind the only world they have ever known. Mary always wonders what lies beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth and would like to explore, but she is constantly being pursued by those annoying flesh eating zombies. This is an amazing apocalyptic tale that will have you on the edge of your seat and chewing your fingernails, well at least it did for me. Ryan’s writing is haunting and intense as she shows readers what life will be like when zombies take over the world dubbing it appropriately as The Return. I really enjoyed listening to this on disc and Vane Millon’s voice was perfect for Mary. Readers will enjoy this book because there is plenty of chasing and running and tons of action. Especially when Mary takes charge, that’s when some zombie heads start to roll!

You can also read this article at To Zombie, or Not To Zombie, That is a Good Question Indeed - San Francisco young adult fiction |

Friday, February 11, 2011

No More Gossip!

This week's letter come from T.lo

Hey there Mrs. Librarian Lady!

My sister only reads "gossip" books such as the Beacon Street Girls and Lauren Myracle's books. I have encouraged her to read other books (SotINF, Eragon, Funke) but she refuses to read them.
Are there any books to prepare or segue her into middle school books from her current interests?

Hey T.lo!!

Thanks so much for writing to me! It is really nice of you to want to help your sister to read more interesting and complex books. The only thing I might say is that if she really enjoys reading “gossip” books, she may not be interested in reading other genres like fantasy, sci-fi, or horror. Some advice I might give your sister is to try reading some realistic fiction that deals with real life issues that are sort of like the “gossip” books. She could start with some that are easy to read and then move on to more complex books later. Here are a few of my favorite realistic books for tweens.

Happy reading to you!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Messed Up by Janet Nichols Lynch (Holiday House, 2009)

R.D. is stuck in limbo in the San Joaquin Valley school system. He's repeating 8th grade again and is sick of seeing the same old stuff day after day, and being Mexican and Cheyenne doesn’t help either. Living in a gangland, he’s neutral, but there are those who wear red or blue and fight for no reason at all. R.D. lives with his grandmother's boyfriend Earl, who takes really good care of him while Grandma is off with her new boyfriend and his mom is in the State Pen. One thing is for sure, R.D. has got a great heart. He does do some messed up things, but he is just trying to get by in life and some how, some way, R.D. knows he will do great things. He figures out how to take care of himself, feed himself, and make money. R.D. is a great main character who brings to light the difficulties of growing up in hard times and in diverse communities. He also ends up making some great friends and deep connections. R.D. is a great example of a teen overcoming adversity. Even more inspiring is that Lynch ascends R.D. to reach the highest heights.

**ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers 2010

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010).

13 year-old girl Kyra lives in a community of polygamists. She doesn’t know any other way of life, but she begins to learn that she lives a very different life than others outside her community. She has one dad, three mothers and twenty siblings. However, one day the head of their community called The Prophet comes to their house to speak to her dad. In a very distressful meeting Kyra finds out that she is to be married to her sixty year-old uncle. He already has six wives and she will be the seventh. Kyra is frantic and will do anything to not marry her uncle. Through Kyra’s rebellion it becomes clear that the community she lives in has a lot of secrets and a lot of control over their people. Kyra’s decisions evoke dire consequences and she is treated brutally, which paints quite a graphic picture of the Prophet and her community. Williams provides a bittersweet ending that shows that Kyra has been removed from the community and is safe, but the price she has to pay is quite dear. The Chosen One offers an intense view of polygamy and life in a closed community.

**ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2010

Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (Hachette Audio, 2006)

Review: Pasquale Rumalda Quintana de Archuleta goes by just Paski. She’s content to live in Taos, New Mexico until her father makes her move to Southern California because his comic novels are going Hollywood. Paski's dad sees this as an amazing opportunity and Paski sees this as an end to her life. The kids at her new school come from wealthy families, drive expensive cars, drink and party like adults, and the Haters rules the school. Sticking to her strong Hispanic background Paski shows teens how to survive by being true to themselves and still making the best of situations over which they have little control.

This was a very enjoyable book. Paski is a bright and cheery character with a strong voice and will of her own. The father is somewhat annoying as he drifted from being too distant to being too clingy. Paski’s Hispanic grandmother is one of the best characters in the story as she was always giving out great advice and telling Paski to stay strong. The story also offered perfect examples of what cliques are like and how teens can deal with them.

You can also read this article on No More Gossip! - San Francisco young adult fiction |

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Crazyyy for Carrie Bradshaw

This week’s letter comes from ScribbleDitz

Dear Mrs. Librarian Lady,

I really like the show Sex and the City but I never get to watch it on T.V. and my mom doesn’t really like me watching it either. I like the show a lot and I really want to know more about the character Carrie Bradshaw. I want to be a writer and I was wondering how Carrie started her writing career and got a job writing for the New York Star.



Hello ScribbleDitz!

I think that’s great that you like to write and have the goal of becoming a writer. That is very cool indeed! I haven’t seen many episodes of Sex and the City myself, but I do know that Carrie Bradshaw is a writer for the New York Star and she writes a column every week about something that is happening to her and her friends. That sounds like a very fun job to have! I have recently read the book "The Carrie Diaries" by Candace Bushnell and I think you will find it just as fascinating as I did because it tells the background story of a much younger Carrie Bradshaw before she ever lived in New York. You should read this book because I know you will love it!

Many happy readings,

Mrs. Librarian Lady

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell (Harper Audio, 2010)

Review: 17 year-old Carrie Bradshaw is quite a little spitfire. It’s the early 1980’s and she’s about to embark on her last year in high school and is trying to get into a summer writing program in New York. Times at Castlebury High are not always fun for Carrie, but she has a group of tight knit friends that keep her from going crazy. She finally lands the guy of her dreams, the ever gorgeous Sebastian Kydd only to lose him to her best friend Lalli because as Sebastian puts it, “she nicer to me.” Carrie seems to grow wings through her misery and starts to write about things that have a deep meaning not only to herself, but also for many others in her school. Struggling to grow up after her mother passed away when she was twelve, and dealing with obvious betrayal from boyfriends and best friends makes Carrie realize that there’s a great big world out there and she wants to not only live it, she wants to experience it in every kind of way. Bushnell creates the most believable characters in this coming of age tale that rushes at you with full force. Castlebury’s small town feeling is a great contrast with New York City’s hustle and bustle and Carrie’s determination to get there shines brightly on the pages of this glorious novel.

I really couldn’t get enough of young Carrie Bradshaw. I was never a big fan of the series Sex in the City, but I have to say that I enjoyed Candace Bushnell’s writing in this book. Carrie was sassy, fun and very smart. I liked that about her and wanted to keep reading to find out what she was going to do next. Also, Carrie seemed to always have good luck wherever she went and whatever she did. Even if her boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend, she still came out on top. Yay Carrie!

This would be an excellent book for a girl’s book club. It is set in the early 1980’s which seems to be coming back in style lately. I also think that teen girls can relate to Carrie because she is a young adult going through exactly the same thing that teenage girls are going through right now in 2011.

This letter is also featured on Crazyyy for Carrie Bradshaw - San Francisco young adult fiction |

Thursday, January 27, 2011

All Worked Up

This week's letter comes frim SmokeyRat

Hi Mrs. Librarian Lady,

I am really worried right now because my teacher just assigned a book report and I have to get a biography and read it. I have no idea who I want to read about and when I go to the library I get lost in all of those books. Can you please help me I think I am going to be in big trouble if I can't come up with something very soon.

Hi SmokeyRat,

Never fear, I always have a few book ideas up my sleeve. If you aren't sure who you would like to do a book report on I can give you a few ideas. Pick someone who you are interested in and that you think will be good to write about. I always like Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Jesse James and Elvis. They all have very interesting facts about their lives and some great pictures too. You should check out the high school picture of Barack Obama it's great!

Good luck and keep on reading!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman (Henry Holt Books, 2009)

Honors: YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults 2010 Winner

Review: This biography covers the life of Charles Darwin whose revolutionary theory of evolution came to light in 1859 with his published manuscript The Origin of Species. His theory has been debatable by many and even today continues between the scientific world and religious affiliations. Charles and Emma shows that even in his personal life, Darwin had issues with conflict and unresolved issues with his marriage. The two might have even been considered to have been polar opposites with his scientific theories and her forced religious beliefs. This book gives a stimulating account of how Darwin dealt with his work and his personal life.

I was very interested to read this biography considering the long standing debate of Darwinism. The book was well written, organized and interesting. I never knew that Darwin struggled with many personal issues in his marriage. The book gave quite an engaging look into the historical background of his life and work.

The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009)

Honors: YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults 2010 Finalist

Review: P.T. Barnum was a master at creating the most amazing and interesting circus sideshows. This biography traces his career from the beginning of his start up in Connecticut and follows him as he becomes the most famous circus presenter in history. Done in a photo memorabilia layout with text on the sides the book has an old fashioned feeling and is highly engaging and readable. This in depth look at Barnum also offers deep insight on how undeniably interesting the 19th century entertainment world really was.

This is a really interesting and amazing book. It is full of pictures and the life story of Barnum is captivating. I never knew that there was a miniature man only 39 inches tall and that there is a Barnum museum in Connecticut.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pictures Tell the Story

This week's letter come from Trippin6

Hey there Mrs. Librarian Lady how are you doing?

I don't read a lot of books because I always feel like I have such a hard time choosing one that I will like. And then there usually seems to be too many pages and I get frustrated and put it down. The other day I saw someone with a cool book that looked like a comic book. They told me it was called a graphic novel. I think I would like to try reading one but I have no idea which is a good one. I know you read a lot of books and thought you might be able to help me with my problem. Do you know of any good graphic novels I might like?


Hi there Trippin6!

You have come to the right place to find a good graphic novel. I have been working on reading more graphic novels lately because they are so popular and really very cool too. Depending on what kind of story you like most graphic novels are not too long and are easily read in one day. If you are into anime or manga you can also find many Japanese graphic novels like Naruto, Inu Yasha, and others at your local library. Here are two graphic novels that I have read recently that I think you might like. I will post a few more later this week too!

Thanks for writing me and happy reading to you!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press, 2004)
Honors: Harvey Award Winner, 2007 (Humor), Graphic Album – Original, 2008, Independent Comic of the Year, 2006
Review: Scott Pilgrim has got the best life ever. He seems to have a charmed life. He’s got cool friends, a rockin band, a sympathetic roommate and even a much younger girlfriend named Knives Chau. One day when Scott sees Ramona Flowers in the library his world gets rocked and from that moment on he only has eyes for her. He thinks of ways to get Ramona to run into him and when they finally hang out she isn’t really that interested in him. It isn’t until she sees him playing with his band that she knows he’s really cool. All along Scott keeps getting these hilarious emails and notes from some guy named Matthew Patel who is trying to challenge him to a fight. O’Malley has created a very likeable character that really can do no wrong. This is the first volume of Scott’s adventures which turns out to be his first triumph against the first of Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends. The graphics are uniquely stylish that convey characters with big eyes and excellent expressions. The graphics also capture the essence of young adults in their natural element with a bit of steam punk and rock and roll.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book, but it turned out to be great. I really liked the relaxed feeling of Scott’s world and how everything seems to turn out well for him. Even if he has 7 evil ex’s to fight and Knives wants to kill him he is still relaxed and as cool as a cucumber. That is pretty funny stuff.

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer Volume 1 by Vane Jensen & Dusty Higgins (SLG Publishing, 2009)
Honors: ALA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2010
Review: This is not your good old Disney Pinocchio story, no it’s the edgy vampire hunting one. Pinocchio lives in a town filled with vampires and it is his job to get rid of them. He takes his job seriously, but suddenly his father Gepetto is taken by the vampires. Pinocchio loses it and goes on an all out war against vampires. This graphic novel is deep, dark, and dreary in colors, but the intensity of Pinocchio and his ability to be invincible against vampires is incredibly likeable. Full of humor and excitement this novel is sure to boost the career of a new vampire slaying hero.

I think this book is pretty cool and hilarious at the same time. The basic concept of taking a cute little puppet person like Pinocchio and turning him into a vampire slayer cracks me up. He is pretty cool in this role though. I like the fact that he is killing vampires with his wooden nose and that he has to lie in order to get his nose longer. A great twist on the classic tale.