Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Time Quake by Linda Buckley-Archer, 440 pages

Title: The Time Quake
Author: Linda Buckley-Archer
Pages: 440
Date: August 30th
Found: In juvenile fiction
Motive: Concluding the Gideon trilogy.
Summary: Again, I don't know if I can really set this up without spoiling anything. All you need to know is that time is basically collapsing on itself and all of history is at stake. 
Verdict: SO GOOD. The ending was surprisingly abrupt, and I was pretty disappointed for a moment, but really, it all fits, and I don't think it can take away from how marvelous the story is as a whole. Time travel is handled with care and imagination, and some very strong characters rise up. I love it.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, 181 pages

Title: The Indian in the Cupboard
Author: Lynne Rein Banks
Pages: 181
Date: August 26th
Found: Had on hold.
Motive: Watched the movie with Samuel recently, because it was a childhood favorite of his, so I wanted to try the book.
Summary: Omri receives an old medicine cabinet from his older brother for his birthday. His mother gives him an old key from her grandmother which happens to fit in the lock, and his best friend gives him a small plastic indian. Omri then discovers that the cabinet brings plastic toys to life.
Verdict: Actually really enjoyable. This seems like exactly the type of book I would have read over and over as a child, if I had known about it back then. The movie apparently stays really true to the book, and the only changes that were made were changes that I preferred. Except maybe one part that's a little cheesy.

True Believers by Brian K. Vaughan, 144 pages

Title: Runaways, Vol. 4: True Believers
Author: Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, and Craig Yeung
Pages: 144
Date: August 25th
Found: Had on hold.
Motive: Continuing the Runaways series.
Summary: The kids are still on the run.
Verdict: Back to where I first stepped in. Actually getting a bit more interesting, but parts of it made me want to throw the book across the room. That's a really bad sign with me.

The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan, 144 pages

Title: Runaways, Vol. 3: The Good Die Young
Author: Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
Pages: 144
Date: August 24th
Found: Had on hold.
Motive: Continuing the Runaways series.
Summary: The kids are still on the run.
Verdict: I just. Wow. I detest wolves in sheep's clothing.

Teenage Wasteland by Brian K. Vaughan, 144 pages

Title: Runaways, Vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland
Author: Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
Pages: 144
Date: August 23rd
Found: Had on hold.
Motive: Continuing the Runaways series.
Summary: The kids are still on the run.
Verdict: Eh, it's alright, I'm going to keep going to see if it gets better.

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, 209 pages

Title: Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
Author: Ben Hatke
Pages: 209
Date: August 22nd
Found: Had on hold.
Motive: Ordered it because the library somehow didn't have it even though it had the third.
Summary: Zita is still trying to find her way home, but she has become a sort of heroic celebrity from her last adventure. She attempts to escape the public eye when she can, but suddenly there's another Zita taking her place! What's going on?
Verdict: These books are so much fun. I love the artwork and the creativity with the alien worlds.

The Time Thief by Linda-Buckley Archer, 488 pages

Title: The Time Thief
Author: Linda Buckley-Archer
Pages: 488
Date: August 21st
Found: In the juvenile section
Motive: Continuing the Gideon trilogy.
Summary: I don't even know how to set this up without spoiling the first one. Basically, bad things are happening and they're trying to fix it.
Verdict: This. Series. Is. Awesome. I'm seriously so impressed.

Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey, 400 pages

Title: Acorna: The Unicorn Girl
Author: Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball
Pages: 400
Date: August 17th
Found: While shelving
Motive: I like Anne McCaffrey, I like unicorns, let's mix it up
Summary: Three space miners find an escape pod containing a tiny girl with some odd deformities (a little horn in the middle of the forehead, hoof-like feet, silver hair). Immediately they become protective and caring of her, establishing themselves as her adoptive uncles. When earth has other plans, they have to make a choice.
Verdict: I enjoyed this. The story really had a way of drawing me in and keeping me involved. I loved the premise, and the interactions. Halfway through it takes a sudden and serious turn, entirely changing the rest of the story, but I really liked seeing Acorna championing the lost and downtrodden. 

The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer, 404 pages

Title: The Time Travelers (or Gideon the Cutpurse)
Author: Linda Buckley-Archer
Pages: 404
Date: August 15th
Found: While shelving
Motive: Cover looks awesome, premise was intriguing.
Summary: Ignored by his father and sent to Derbyshire for the weekend, twelve-year-old Peter and his new friend, Kate, are accidentally transported back in time to 1763 England where they are befriended by a reformed cutpurse.
Verdict: I'm just going to say it's WAY better than it sounds. It's been awhile since I've been so completely impressed with a story. The pacing is great (although it took me a little while to get started for some reason), the characterization is good, the world building was well-researched, and the scientific aspects are really clever. Instantly one of my favorites.

Cat Person by Seo Kim, 144 pages

Title: Cat Person
Author: Seo Kim
Pages: 144 pages
Date: August 11th
Found: Uh, actually it was on hold for Lisa and I read it on my break. *shifty eyes*
Motive: I like cats.
Summary: Pretty much just a collection of daily interactions.
Verdict: Let's just say I chuckled at the first third or so, and then kind of lost interest.

Animal Farm by Bill Willingham, 112 pages

Title: Fables, Vol 2: Animal Farm
Author: Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Steve Leialoha
Pages: 112
Date: August 9th
Found: While shelving
Motive: Continuing series
Summary: The non-humanoid fairy tale characters are becoming disgruntled.
Verdict: Definitely interesting and creative. I'll have to go on a little further before I'm sold.

Good Dog by Graham Chaffee, 80 pages

Title: Good Dog
Author: Graham Chaffee
Pages: 80
Date: August 8th
Found: While shelving
Motive: Just caught my eye
Summary: Ivan doesn't have a boss. He roams the streets, trying to be a good dog, but suffers from nightmares and loneliness. When he falls in with a pack of free dogs, has he found where he belongs?
Verdict: Definitely seems to be some sort of social or political critique. Interesting, and good storytelling, but kind of meh.

Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham, 128 pages

Title: Fables, Vol 1: Legends in Exile
Author: Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, James Jean
Pages: 128
Date: August 8th
Found: While shelving
Motive: Tried it once, didn't really get it, trying it again because apparently it's a big deal
Summary: Every character out of every fairy tale has been forced from their homes by the Adversary. Now the most human of them must live normal lives in New York. Also, Snow White's partying sister Rose Red has apparently been murdered.
Verdict: It was alright. Definitely creative and interesting, I just don't get how crude is the equivalent of modernized.

The Wizard's Tale by Kurt Busiek, 136 pages

Title: The Wizard's Tale
Author: Kurt Busiek and David Wenzel
Pages: 136
Date: August 6th
Found: While checking in
Motive: Artwork and premise looked fun
Summary: Bafflerog is the last in a long line of very evil wizards. Somehow he never quite lives up to their expectations, though. He's just not that good at being evil and making people suffer. When his "prisoner", the toad Gumpwort, tells him where the Book of Worse can be found, Bafflerog sets out on an adventure, ultimately of self-discovery.
Verdict: I really liked this. It was sweet and creative and good golly the detail is awesome.

This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, 320 pages

Title: This One Summer
Author: Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
Pages: 320
Date: August 4th
Found: While checking in
Motive: Artwork looks like candy. I couldn't resist.
Summary: Every year Rose's family spends their summer at a lake house. This summer seems different than the others. Her parents are fighting, her best friend Windy is acting weird, and what's up with the people at the video store? Why does any of it matter?
Verdict: Beautiful artwork and storytelling, loved the pacing and the honesty, but the story as a whole left me cold. It doesn't go anywhere, nothing is learned, the cycle just continues.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier (213 pgs.)

An autobiographical graphic novel follows Raina from 6th through 9th grade in which she endures some truly horrible dental/orthodontic issues, changing friends and sense of self.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Matched by Ally Condie, 400 pages

Dystopian, teen book, star-crossed lovers. Yep, again. I'd been told for years that this book was really good, and right up my alley, so I gave it a try. It actually probably would've been decent if it weren't for my being so jaded from reading what is almost the same book over and over again for a few years now. This one was well written, focusing on a teen girl living in new America which is very Lois Lowry's "The Giver"-esque. Everything is controlled by the government who has basically eradicated  free will and extreme emotion. Suddenly, even though she was "matched to" or socially assigned to wed a wonderful boy she knows, she starts having some unsanctioned extreme feelings (gasp) for another boy she knows. Emotional chaos ensues. I liked the way this one ends, I may read the rest of the trilogy, but I think I am getting a bit burned out on the genre. But if you are not yet, pick this one up. It is fairly decent :)

Toxic Heart (Mystic City #2) by Theo Lawrence, 368 pages

Dystopian, teen book, star-crossed lovers. Not new territory here.. However, I was excited to read this title because I had stumbled across the first in this series last year and actually liked it quite a bit. It centered around a girl Aria who was a wealthy girl living in modern New York city which had been very altered by the years and supernatural elements. She fell in love, in that book, with a boy named Hunter. Now in this installment, Hunter is busy leading the rebels and just doesn't have much time for Aria who is constantly being hunted for dark purposes by her family and ex-fiance. This book went on some downright goofy paths and led to an even goofier conclusion. I think that I will just read the Wikipedia version of the third one when it comes out (a trilogy, I know you are shocked!), just to find out what happens to the characters and save myself the couple of weeks of my life.  Siiiigh

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce, 223 pages

This is the series that the movie Rise of the Guardians featuring Jack Frost was based on. It's different from the movie (aren't they all) but it's still been a really good read, entirely enjoyable. Not your normal juvenile fiction book, because it's darker than most, but well done.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rules by Cynthia Lord, 200 pages

A good book about autism, family relationships (especially between siblings), and budding friendships.

The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton, 440 pages

I'd read an Egyptian historical fiction book by this author and saw she had also written this book. Because of how good the first books were, I decided to try another one. This book is set in sixth-century Constantinople, telling the story of a girl who rose from a plebian background, feeding her family on her back, rising to Empress. This author does a great job of writing wonderfully gripping female characters, and bringing history to life. I am eagerly awaiting her next book which will feature the women in Genghis Khan's family.

Blankets by Craig Thompson, 582 pages

This is one of the biggest graphic novels I've picked up, but it was a wonderful read. It follows a young man growing up in a small town, fighting against bullies and small-mindedness, while trying to reconcile his love of art and his love of God. Small town religion does not encourage those who are different, so it was not an easy ride. The artwork was superb and the storyline rang true. I especially loved the part about encountering popularity at church camp, I felt like so much of this story was my childhood. I'm almost afraid to pick up anything else by this author/cartoonist because I don't know if it would measure up. I think Lisa would love this book.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, 282 pages

Our Readers Without Borders August book. A mother/daughter look at women's changing roles as we age, from maiden, mother, crone and dealing with those changes. Not bad, not great.

SVU Broken Promises, Shattered Dreams by Laurie John, 232 pages

I'm another book closer to finishing this series. I may buckle down and try to get it done before the end of the year.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King, 353 pages

I'd forgotten how much I really enjoyed this series.

Runaways: True Believers, 160 pages

Samantha and I are totally hooked on this series. Very dark and teens against adults.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This Song Will Save Your Life (279 pages).

by Leila Sales.

This book is the John Hughes movie that didn't get made because it was two decades late. The pages are complete with the awesome dad talks, great soundtrack, and quirky high school characters.

characters: good
setting: ok
language: ok
story: pretty good

I enjoyed this book quite a's a nice little coming-of-age story of an effed-up kid from a NOT effed-up background that's weird and loves music. If only one of my midnight walks as a teen had landed me at an underground club in the middle of the night...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homecoming, by Cynthia Voigt, 312 pages

The Tillerman children: Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy, are a strong and tenacious brood who find that they must travel to unknown places and relatives, mostly on foot, after their mother abandons them in a shopping mall parking lot with very little cash or food. I fell in love with the characters, especially Dicey, and the story is well written and thoughtful. I wasn't looking to get into another series right now, but it looks like I stepped in this one and can't turn back now. Not necessarily a bad thing.

12 Years a Slave - by Solomon Northup -- 240 pgs

I saw the Academy Award winning movie.  It made me want to read the book to see if it was even close to the movie.  It was.

Solomon Northup, born a free black man in New York, was kidnapped and placed into slavery.  This is his personal narrative of the following 12 years he spent in slavery until his rescue.  It is a terrible story, but a fascinating narrative.  Not only does it detail his life as a slave, but he explains how certain things were done in the antebellum South.

I listened to the downloadable audio.  I think this was easier than reading the book would have been.  Northup's language is beautiful, but his way of expressing is antiquated, which would have made it more difficult for me to get into.  Hearing it, however, was beautiful.

Lydia's Charm -- by Wanda Brunstetter -- 537 pages

Lydia is widowed and has a young son.  Unable to make ends meet she feels she has no choice but to move in with her mother who has moved in with HER father in order to care for him after a stroke.  Finances are always tight; tensions between Lydia and her mother are always high; a tragedy occurs.  Lydia has a widower with four boys wanting to marry her, but no love on either side exists.  She is drawn to a single man whose family her mother detests, and who doesn't seem interested in her.

What happens?  Read the book.

See You at Harry's - by Johanna Knowles -- 310 pages

Told from 12 year old Fern's perspective, it is the tale of a family holding it together through a tragedy in their lives.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Answer by Mike Norton & Dennis Hopeless, 120 pages

Very twisted superhero graphic novel featuring a super smart librarian.

Working Stiff by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell, 258 pages

A behind the scenes look at what is involved in becoming a medical examiner. I'm a fan of forensic science mysteries so it was interesting to get another viewpoint.

Runaways: Escape to New York, 168 pages

The 5th book in the series. While I'm not a Marvel fan, this has been a great series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Rover by Mel Odom, 400 pages

This is an old favorite I had to pick back up. Picture Lord of the Rings with a short librarian.

Writers Between the Covers by Shannon McKenna Schmidt & Joni Rendon, 286 pages

Came across this in the new nonfiction section. It covers the scandalous romantic lives of legendary literary casanovas, coquettes and cads. Some of the authors weren't ones I read, but there were quite a few I enjoyed. Plus, it was interesting to read about their passions and affairs of the heart. Chapters were short, with interesting tidbits in between to keep it lively.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Neverwhere (400 pages).

By Neil Gaiman

Intriguing characters. I read the graphic novel version. Now that I have interesting visual images (Hunter is my favorite of those) I'd like to read the original novel. Very intriguing. I want to watch the miniseries too!

Reminds me of The Matrix...

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King, 347 pages

I love this Sherlock Holmes homage series. Holmes has basically retired and comes across a young woman with a mind as sharp as his. I'd reread the first chapter somewhere and had to pick this book back up. A must read for Sherlock fans.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett, 308 pages

I really want to go check out this town filled with book stores, except for the fact that there seems to be a lot of dead bodies.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Catered Fourth of July by Isis Crawford, 310 pages

I'm a fan of mysteries, especially the ones featuring tasty treats.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles, 400 pages

I had heard long ago from Jeana, and from several patrons as well that this was an excellent Juvenille Fiction book. It took me awhile to actually read because it is a different genre of lit then what I tend to gravitate to, this being realistic/historical fiction from the more recent past vs my futuristic or Medieval/Elizabethan time period preferences.

This book follows Franny, a (10ish? year old) girl living during the summer and fall of 1962 in the midst of JFK's presidency and the events leading up to, tensions during, and subsequent resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This book did not disappoint and was an excellent and beautiful view into the social and political culture of a time period which is not often written about. Franny's story is interspersed with interesting, descriptive tidbits about prominent figures from the time. Sound bites, news clippings, text book excerpts and many other snippets are also intricately and expertly woven in. Overall, I am impressed by Deborah Wiles who has obviously done her homework on the subject and I might continue with her next book which is a new release in this 'Sixties Trilogy' and follows a different little girl, in a different year, in a different location.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Hardy Boys, Identity Theft by Scott Lobdell & Daniel Rendon, 88 pages

This was coming off the hold shelf and for some reason caught my eye. All I can say is this is 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper, 295 pages

This is a beautifully touching story about a young girl, Melody, who was born with cerebral palsy. She cannot walk or talk. She cannot feed herself nor take herself to the bathroom. Most of her peers and even some professionals (teachers & doctors) discredit her intelligence. However, she has a very supportive family and a couple of great teachers and aides who help her to overcome her biggest challenge--
communication. When she gets a computer that allows her to "talk" and participate at her own level, all bets are off and she blows everyone out of the water with her sheer determination, candidness, and smarts! I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (288 pages).

by Jeff Lindsay.

My mom has gotten me into the TV series, so of course I HAD to at least read the first book. I enjoyed the writing style a lot and might even continue with the book series.

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done by Stephan Pastis, 275 pages

Stephan Pastis is the creator of Pearls Before Swine which means I'll read anything he writes. Not your normal juvenile fiction, but lots of fun and slightly twisted.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Runaways, Teenage Wasteland, 152 pages

I've gotten hooked in this series, very dark but still funny and a good read.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (512 pages)

In Seraphina’s home city of Goredd, dragons and humans have lived a relatively peaceful existence for nearly 40 years thanks to a treaty that includes rules such as humans may not enter dragon territory, dragons must take their human shape to enter human territory, and dragons and humans may not have emotional relationships or attachments.

In fact, dragons are discouraged from showing any human-like emotions at all, and if they do, they are forced to undergo a medical procedure that will obliterate those thoughts and feelings.  However, Seraphina’s father, a human, and her mother, a dragon, broke the rules with their love affair and, later, her conception.

Seraphina has spent her life concealing the secret of her parentage, but after she gains the position of music assistant at the castle and is saddled with helping to prepare for the anniversary celebration of the treaty, she unwittingly finds herself thrust into the royal spotlight and in the middle of a murder investigation.

The murder investigation is that of a palace royal: Prince Rufus was found decapitated. A dragon seems to be the most likely suspect, causing tension to run high just in time for the anniversary visit of dragon-land royals. Seraphina’s involvement in the investigation and the anniversary festivities make it an even bigger struggle to keep her secret safe, and she eventually has to decide which is more important: her anonymity or the continued peace between the two lands.

Rachel Hartman’s debut title is beyond the typical, run-of-the mill dragon story.  Giving dragons the ability to transform into humans adds a thought-provoking dimension, and Seraphina makes the perfect main character. Characters, plot, pacing and setting combine for a complex fantasy that readers are sure to devour.