March 31, 2011

Guest Review- Vesper by Jeff Sampson

    Donna and I met when I worked at the library near the high school where she taught. She was kind enough to let me join the high school book club she began and we partnered running the meetings. I instantly felt a connection with her as she loves YA as much as I do and is such a wonderfully, kind and genuine person. She is also tons of fun to be with and we have the same sense of humour. I'm so happy that even though we no longer "work" together, she's become a very dear friend. Here's her review of Vesper.

Vesper (Deviants, #1)

Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Published by Harpercollins  January 2011
304 pages
Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher

Summary from GoodReads
Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.
The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?
As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

  Let's state the obvious: there are many YA books out there that feature vampires, witches, and werewolves. Vesper is indeed one of those novels...however...Jeff Sampson manages to put several unique stamps on this one! Firstly, the main character of Emily Webb is, well...believable. When her personality changes (dorky-self-professed-nerd-turned-Lara Croft-take-no-prisoners-hotty) coincide with the murder of a girl in her neighbourhood, she cannot deny that weirdness is afoot. Her observations of both her own behaviour and the string of murders that follow evolve into compelling creepiness. This novel is peppered with awesome pop culture references and humour, along with a fascinating peek into future events with recorded interviews with a secret company that has an intense interest in Emily. I genuinely enjoyed this novel and would definitely read future installment.

March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- Wildefire

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking The Spine. We post about books we can't wait to be published (or read)
My selection this week is :

WildeFire by Karsten Knight
To be Published
Simon & Schuster
July 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Sounds great and the cover is gorgeous!!!
What are you waiting for?

March 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday- Authors that Derserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted each week by the fab Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new top ten list is featured. I always love participating as I'm a list maker, and I love seeing everyones lists as well.

This week's Top Ten:

Top Ten Authors that Deserve More Recognition

Janice Hardy- Author of the Healing Wars series. Books 1 & 2 are out and I'm anxiously awaiting the 3rd. Fabulous reads-if you haven't read Shifter or Blue Fire I highly recommend them. Reviews are here .

Cinda Willems Chima-Author of the Warrior Heir series and the Demons Realm. Fantastic fantasy books and The Warrior Heir is always my go-to recommendation for reluctant teen readers.

Teresa Toten- Canadian author of mostly comtemp fiction. Her "Me & the Blondes" series is hilarious and really well written.

Neal Shusterman. Author of the Skinjacker series and many others and is such a fantastic writer, I don't see reviews of his books posted too often but he is definitely worth reading. Everlost review.

Jacyln Moriarty- She's written Feeling Sorry for Celia, The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, The Year of Secret Assignments and my fav -The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie. Her characters are quirky, endearing and I always find myself laughing out loud when I read them.

Five- That's all I could come up with.....Have you read anything by the authors I listed?

March 27, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Published by Harpercollins May 3rd 2011
496 Pages
Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher

Summary from GoodReads
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her

OMG. Captivating, heart racing, and satisfying I loved LOVED this book. My only regret is that in my rush to discover what happens I think I may have read it too fast because now it's over and I have to wait. I'm going to be pretty general in giving my thoughts on the book as I really want it to be spoiler free and not take anything away from what you will experience reading it.

  It's hard to believe that Veronica Roth is a debut author as her writing is solid and the world building she does in Divergent is fantastic.  I thought the separation of society into factions according to Virtue was fascinating, as was the mandatory segregation between families in separate factions. It's hard to imagine choosing between those you love and who you feel you are, knowing that you'll never be with them again.
The relationships in the novel were complex and believable and I instantly connected with Beatrice. I wanted to fight with her and for her.
  Divergent will be compared to The Hunger Games and they do have similar qualities in that they have these amazing strong girls rebelling against society, and they are both amazing novels that everyone should read. But I think that's where most comparisons will end.
  I don't know what it is about books with a Dystopian theme but they really seem to be my favourite genre to read. I think more than anything I admire characters who go against conforming to an unfair and corrupt society just because they are told they have to. I love the characters who kick ass and aren't afraid to stick up for themselves and those they love. They do what needs to be done, because they know things have to change, they are the catalysts.
  Rumor has it the movie rights have already been optioned for this stunning debut by Veronica Roth. I can not wait to see what else she has in store for us and to be reunited with Tris (Beatrice) again. Highly Recommended. Worth buying the day it comes out, or pre-order it. (even better)

Take the Time by Maud Roegiers

Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids

Take the Time- Mindfulness for Kids
by Maud Roegiers
Published by Imagination Press

What do you notice when you take the time to stop, listen, and experience? This pensive and peaceful book encourages children to slow down and become deliberate with their day-to-day actions and thoughts. With gentle rhythms and soothing imagery, kids may be guided toward a quiet self-awareness and mindfulness. And when a day feels stressful or topsy-turvy, kids can use such self-awareness to calm down and feel better. Kids can then enjoy the beauty of the world all around them and fully savour life -goodreads

Not necessarily one I would recommend for the preschool age or for use in story time but as the parent of a ten year old who seems to rush through everything I really liked this one. Lovely illustrations and simple but well chosen text. My son and I read it together and discussed it's meaning. It would be great for a gift for an adult as well- as it reminds us to slow down-appreciate the little moments
 and take the time we need to think, heal and love. Recommended.

March 26, 2011

IMM (21)

   In my mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Each week we are invited to post the books we received that week either by mail, purchase, or borrowed from the library or friends.

This week, I received a book I hadn't heard about before, it looks amazing.

Goodreads Description

I also received a lovely surprise in the mail this week from GReads and Cariblogs who went to a book signing for Lisa McMann and thought of me. So thoughtful of you both-Thanks so much. You can read my review of Cryer's Cross here.

What was in your mailbox?

March 24, 2011

Story Time with the Hungry Hen

The Spring session at my branch starts next Monday and registration for programs has been crazy (which is awesome)
The first program of the session is inspired by this book:

Hungry Hen
Hungry Hen by Richard Waring
Published by HarperCollins
December 2001

The story follows a "hungry" hen who eats, and eats and the more she eats the bigger she gets. There's a fox in the story who is eagerly watching and waiting for the hen to get bigger and bigger, thinking that the bigger she is the tastier she'll be. I love this story. It's simple with very short text and a hilarious surprise ending which always gets laughter from the children and their parents.
It also allows for a lot of flexibility in finding companion books to tie in : Food animals eat, size, chickens, farm. . .
One of the activities we're doing is The Chicken Dance which is inspired by Oktoberfest-(a big event in my city)

March 23, 2011

Beauty Queens by the fabulous by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Published by Scholastic May 2011
400 pages
Reviewed from ARC borrowed from co-worker

Summary from GoodReads
From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
    I don't even know where to begin with Beauty Queens. It was brilliant and funny and made a statement about our pop culture, what we view as entertainment and the lengths people will go to for money in a completely unique way.
  I loved the premise of the pageant contestants "lost" on a desert island. They proved to be a lot more resourceful than I imagined as I feared in the beginning that the characters would be 2 dimensional- after all on tv thats how they are often portrayed. I was surprised at how much I liked all "contestants" (except one really) they were all so different and it was fascinating to witness their growth (or lack of) through out the book.
  There was a really memorable part in the story when a couple of the girls compared themselves and their reaction to being stranded on an island to the mandatory highschool reading "Lord of the Flies" where a group of boys are stranded and how much better the girls faired than the boys did. (these girls really kicked some island butt)
The book highlighted the contrasts between the typical stereotypes and what makes the "ideal" girl and how often society allows us to be thought of as either one or the other.
  Beauty vs. Brains
 Virtuous vs Promiscuous
Through all it's quirkiness what stood out most for me was the girls realization that they don't have to be one or the other, they can be whoever they want to be and that the "ideal" girl is ultimately the one who is just herself.
I think that's a great message for all teens (and for us "adults" too.) Highly Recommended.

March 18, 2011

Blogger Hop

It's been a little while since I hopped! Happy Friday!

The Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-For-Books
This week's question:

Do you read only one book at a time or do you have several on the go?

I usually have two on the go- one at work (for break time) and one at home.
  Sometimes a book will grab me so much that I'll read it in one sitting.

Don't forget to leave a comment so I can visit you too!

TGIF (2)

TGIF is a feature hosted by the fab GREADS! We answer a bookish question and recap the week's post.

This week's question:

Which book covers are you lusting over right now?

These grabbed my attention right away.

Starlighter (Dragons of Starlight, #1)Hexbound (Dark Elite, #2)The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)Wherever You Go

March 17, 2011

Story Time with Pete the Cat

A colleague sent me a YouTube clip this week. And I instantly fell in love with this book. I've been "walking along and singing the song" everyday this week and I think driving all my co-workers crazy :)

I've ordered a copy for the library and for myself and I can not wait to use it in story time next session.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes 
Pete the Cat- I love my white shoes by Eric Litwin
Published by Harpercollins

Summary from GoodReads
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand-new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are, Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song . . . because it's all good

March 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Published by Penguin April 5th 2011
258 pages

Summary from goodreads
It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future -
and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

In all fairness this is the second time I've posted Where She Went on WoW. But it's truly one that I am counting down the days to run to the bookstore and buy. If you're a follower here you know how much I loved If I Stay and the early reviews for this one have also been fabulous. My review of If I Stay is here.

What are you waiting for?

March 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday- Characters we'd love to be family

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. It's one of my favourites to participate in, as I love writing lists and comparing them with others.

This week's Topic:
Top Ten Characters I would want as Family Members.

  1. First one to pop in my head was Hermione Granger (sister). She's wicked smart, funny aaaaaand a wizard. Although maybe I should have thought that through as how could I compare to that.....
  2. Katniss from the Hunger Games (Sister). She's brave, strong, skilled in many areas and above all else fights for what she believes in- the ultimate Big sister.
  3. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mocking Bird. (dad) Ultimate father figure.
  4. Molly Weasley from Harry Potter. (mom) I love her. She's kind, caring and loves her kids more than anything and is there for anyone who needs her.
  5. Evie from Paranormalcy (sister) She's spunky, fun and totally someone I would love to have as a sister.
  6. Flavia from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (daughter). She'd keep me guessing and I'd worry about her tendency for all things dangerous but she's also endearing and super smart.
  7. Mia's grandfather from If I Stay. (grandfather) Strong, resilient and knows that letting go is sometimes the best way, the only way to show someone we love them.
Only seven this week, and I could not come up with a character I could see as a brother. (I have toooo many book boyfriends I guess :))

March 11, 2011

Story Time with Monkey & Me

Once a month I visit the daycares in the area for storytime. It's a great way to meet and visit with the children I wouldn't normally see here in a regular program. I look really forward to these visits.

Todays favourite story was:
 Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
A cheeky little girl and her toy monkey swing irresistibly through the pages of this gorgeous playful book. Young children will love guessing what animal they are pretending to be, before shouting out the answers as the pages are turned to reveal the real creatures. Soon everyone will be waddling like a penguin, jumping like a kangaroo and hanging upside down like a bat!

 I use this one a little differently and tell it like a group chant where the children repeat after each verse. I also have them act out the animals as they appear on the pages.  Works well for preschool or toddlers. I've used it for my baby program as well and had the parents chant along. Recommended.


A weekly feature created by the fabulous GReads to recap the posts from the week
and discuss all things bookish.

This week's question:

Book Mourning: does this happen to you? When you finish an amazing book, do you find yourself at a loss to pick up another one?

It absolutely happens to me! I floundered for days after reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I could not stop thinking about it, and every book I picked up after  just paled by comparison. Clarity by Kim Harrington was the book that snapped me out of it and got me back on track to the land of reading again.-thank goodness.

March 10, 2011

Seer of Shadows by AVI

The Seer of Shadows

Seer of Shadows by AVI
Published by Harper Collins 2008
208 Pages
Middle Grade Fiction

Summary from Goodreads
Newbery Medalist Avi weaves one of his most suspenseful and scary tales—about a ghost who has to be seen to be believed and must be kept from carrying out a horrifying revenge.
The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.
Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.
Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost.
Rich in detail, full of the magic of early photography, here is a story about the shadows, visible and invisible, that are always lurking near.

I like "booktalking" this book during class visits, it's always very well received. There is something about a ghost story and in this case, ghosts being revealed through photos and seeking revenge that seem to grab even the most reluctant reader.  The fact that it's written by such wonderful storyteller, is a bonus. I thought the photography process from the late 1800's was well researched and I found it fascinating. AVI creates an endearing main character in Horace and I was rooting for him from the beginning. Recommended.

March 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)

City Of Fallen Angels- Book four in The Mortal Instruments Series

Summary from Goodreads
City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.
“City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.”

Oh, how I've missed Clary, Simon, Will and most of all. . .Jace.
   I, like hundreds and hundreds of readers can not wait for this book.
This series holds special meaning for me. When I began at the library a couple of years ago, I partnered with a highschool nearby and became part of a teen book club with the most fabulous group of teens and an amazing highschool teacher, who has since become a very close friend. The City of Bones was the first book that we read and discussed as a group. I still remember sitting around the table with all 16 of them, listening to their likes and dislikes, hearing about points in the story that I completely missed but they caught. I know that the majority of the teens went on to read the entire series and I'm sure they join me in their excitement for this book release. One of my favourite memories of being at the library so far is the time I spent with them.

Just a few more weeks to wait......

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)

March 5, 2011

In My Mailbox (20)

In my Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Each week we post about the books we received via mail, library, book store or friend. The book fairies were working overtime this week.

Books shown with the help of the adorable red head (my ten year old)

March 3, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Cryer's Cross

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
Published by Simon Pulse  February 2011
223 Pages
Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher

Summary from Goodreads
The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend  also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

   I read Cryer's Cross in one sitting. It took a few pages before I settled in but then it had a hold of me and just didn't let go. Lisa McMann is a talented story teller and I could not have predicted the ending.
One of my favourite aspects of the book was watching Kendall manage her day to day life with OCD in the midst of the chaos in her community. I enjoyed watching her friendship with Jacien change and develop and feel that their developing friendship really anchored the storyline. If I had known how scared I would be after reading though, I definitely would not have read it so close to bedtime. Creepy and a little disturbing, I thought about it for days after.