Monday, February 27, 2012

Reminder: February Manga Mania meeting!

Hey Guys!

Don't forget to join us here at the West Springfield Public Library for the first meeting of our brand-new anime/manga club,

Show off your awesome artistic skills, talk with others about
your favorite mangas and graphic novels,
and grab a quick snack with friends!
For grades 6-12

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 29th at 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: Addie on the Inside

Addie on the Inside
by James Howe 
companion to The Misfits

Book Description:
The Gang of Five is back in this third story from Paintbrush Falls. Addie Carle, the only girl in the group of friends is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes…just a bit obnoxious.

But as seventh grade progresses, Addie’s not so sure anymore about who she is. It seems her tough exterior is just a little too tough and that doesn’t help her deal with the turmoil she feels on the inside as she faces the pains of growing up.

I have to confess I've never read The Misfits, but if it's anything like Addie on the Inside, I will be going back and reading it soon!

I loved the poems that this author used to tell Addie's story.  They were easy to read and captured her emotions really well.  This book tackled a lot of serious issues like interracial dating, politics, and grief, but all without sounding "preachy."

This was a really quick, but good read. 

Review: How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life
by Sara Zarr

Book Description:
Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems. 

Want a tearjerker?  Here you go. 

This book was so good. It made me laugh and it made me cry.  Both girls come from a family situation that is just not working any more.  Both girls find, surprisingly enough, just what they really needed in the other.

This was one of those books that really touched my heart.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Ghostopolis

by Doug TenNapel

Book Description:

Imagine Garth Hale's surprise when he's accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don't have, and he's stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth's newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

You may already know that I don't read a lot of graphic novels. I have a hard time sometimes following them. This one, though caught my eye with the weird skeleton horse on the front cover!

I really ended up enjoying this one.  It has an interesting story, with a brave main character, and the pictures are well colored and clearly drawn. I thought it was a really cool reimagining of the afterlife with a happy ending. 

Review: Texas Gothic

Texas Gothic
by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Book Description:
Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

This was a really fun read.  Not only was the ghost story pretty cool, dealing with Spanish gold treasure, but the Goodnight family was hilarious to read about! I loved Amy, who was snarky, and her sister, who was super crazy-smart, and her just plain crazy, psychic cousin! The romance was also just the way I like it... not too easy.

If you like ghost stories, treasure hunts, danger, and romance. Check this one out. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Artemis Fowl is coming to an end!!

The Last Guardian
by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl, book eight

Publication date: July 10, 2012

Seemingly nothing in this world daunts the young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl. In the fairy world, however, there is a small thing that has gotten under his skin on more than one occasion: Opal Koboi. In The Last Guardian, the evil pixie is wreaking havoc yet again. This time his arch rival has reanimated dead fairy warriors who were buried in the grounds of Fowl Manor. Their spirits have possessed Artemis’s little brothers, making his siblings even more annoying than usual. The warriors don’t seem to realize that the battle they were fighting when they died is long over. Artemis has until sunrise to get the spirits to vacate his brothers and go back into the earth where they belong. Can he count on a certain LEPrecon fairy to join him in what could well be his last stand?

Can you believe it will all be coming to an end? I, for one, will miss my favorite evil genius.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reminder - Mad Science!!

Hey Guys!

Don't forget to join us here at the West Springfield Public Library for Mad Science!!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd at 2:30 p.m.
Grades 4-8
Learn some new science skills...and prepare to get messy!
Please pre-register by calling us at 413-736-4561, ext. 4

Crazy Cool Covers.

I don't know about you guys, but as much as I try not to, I definitely judge a book by its cover! I'm a very visual person and when I'm walking down the aisles in the Library, or a bookstore, or even am scoping out books online, the first thing I do is look for a cover that catches my eye...

Of course, I hardly ever read a book based *solely* on its has to have a great description, too. Which is why I LURVE, really, really, really LURVE the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire. 

by Myra McEntire
Hourglass series, book one.

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Okay, time travel, romance, attempted murder? This book sounded super cool (I read it and trust me it was AH-MAZING!) and I had to look twice, okay maybe three times at the cover.  At first, it's just a cool looking cover...

UNTIL you realize that the chick on the cover is walking DOWN the wall.

YES, you read that right. Look again! She's walking down the wall, not on the floor.  SUPER COOL.

I thought this was my fave book cover ever (I even have a poster of it) until they released the cover for the sequel:

by Myra McEntire
Hourglass series, book two


Do you have a favorite book cover??

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Trailer: Dead to You

Dead to You
by Lisa McMann

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle…at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up
by Daniel Handler

Book Description:
I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

I liked the feel of the pages, the weight of the book, and the pictures of items that accompanied each chapter. I loved the concept of one gigantic letter, full of relationship vignettes that add up to the demise of a couple. ...And, I, unlike a lot of other people, totally got Min. I felt like it was listening to myself when I was still in high school.

I knew what I loved, I liked my friends, and yet... when the guy came along that was into everything else, I was not assertive enough to make it clear that I was into different things or that I really loved my friends and everything they were into...

Min may have been way too complacent at times in her relationship with Ed, but I felt that was totally believable! Regrettable, but believable. I also understood, well...most of the time, how Ed liked Min, even though he totally had no clue as to who she really was...

Though this book was sad, it was also hopeful. In the sense that Min was growing and learning from her relationship's demise. I think she'll become a stronger person from the experience.

*This was my selection for the February Meeting of our book club, Flippin' Pages. We did makeup/breakup books this month! Next meeting is March 13th and we'll be talking about our favorite FANTASY books.*

Monday, February 13, 2012

Flippin' Pages February Meeting REMINDER!!

Hey Guys!

Don't forget to join us here at the West Springfield Public Library for the February meeting of our brand-new book club, FLIPPIN' PAGES!!

If you're in grades 6-12, join us for a snack and tell us all about your favorite BREAK-UP or MAKE-UP books!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14th at 3:30 p.m.

Review: Troy High

Troy High
by Shana Norris
Book Description:
Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High.
Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider at Troy High, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten. Off the football field, an escalating prank war fuels tensions between the schools.
The stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school.
This may not become an epic classic, like the Iliad on which it's based, but I actually really enjoyed reading this book. Not only was it a fun contemporary read with a main character that I just could not help but root for, but it also was really fun trying to remember who the characters were from the Iliad and trying to match them up with Troy High.

While this book is loosely based on the classic tale, there are some things that were definitely changed and it really does have a great modern feel - if you had no idea what it was based on, you really wouldn't be missing anything, you could just enjoy it as is... - and in reality, I liked the ending of THIS tale a whole lot more. :P

If you have time for just a breezy sort of book, you may want to pick this one up!

For a little fun, here's the cute book trailer:

Book Trailer: The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black

Check out White Cat, Red Glove, and coming soon Black Heart!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young
Dustlands, book one 

Book Description:
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Are you feeling depressed and deprived after finishing The Hunger Games trilogy? Looking for another phenomenal read with a strong female protagonist? Look no further. It's here.

I loved Saba's voice. Very much like Katniss, she's tough, even as she has no desire to be... she does everything for the benefit of her twin and only comes later to realize how much her journey has shaped her into her own strong, independent person. She can come across as callous at times, but really cannot help but help the others around her.

I loved the written style of this book. It reads like a movie. The prose is sparse and thus, even more compelling. The author purposely refrains from using quotation marks around the speech, indicating yet a further breakdown of society, but also forcing the reader to truly read every word on the page.

The world is well-built, with realistic issues, and a cool futuristic cowboy vibe. I cannot wait to dive in again in book two!! Rebel Heart should be coming out this October.

Review: Lenobia's Vow

Lenobia's Vow
by P.C. and Kristin Cast
A House of Night novella

Book Description:
A great journey…
A new love….
A dark secret revealed.

Evreux, France, 1788: Before she is Zoey’s favorite professor and the House of Night’s powerful horse mistress… Lenobia is just a normal 16-year-old girl – with enough problems to last a lifetime. As the illegitimate daughter of a powerful baron, she has never quite belonged, and instead has to watch her spoiled half-sister, Cecile, get anything she wants. As if that’s not enough, her remarkable beauty draws unwanted attention wherever she goes. For once, she would like to just fit in.

But when fate intervenes, Lenobia suddenly finds herself surrounded by other girls, on a ship bound for New Orleans, where they will be married off to the city’s richest Frenchmen. And they’re not alone…. An evil bishop who is skilled in Dark magic makes the same journey. His appetite for lovely young women makes him dangerous – most of all to Lenobia, who caught his eye back in France. So she remains hidden, making secret visits to the ship’s stables, where a handsome young man and his beautiful Percheron horses soon capture her attention.

Will they make it to land before the bishop discovers her true identity and a powerful evil breaks loose? And will Lenobia follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk?

I really enjoyed this novella, a lot more than the one featuring Dragon. Lenobia was an interesting character and the Bishop was skin-crawlingly creepy. There was an interesting storyline and it was really cool to see Zoey's favorite teacher as a young teen.

The love story was great and heartbreaking and tearjerking and totally fun to read. The time period was interesting and I loved that most of the story actually took place on a boat. I, of course, will also read just about anything related to New Orleans, so this book was also really exciting in that they are headed there and that Martin is Creole. 
A definite must-read for fans of the House of Night series!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

If You Like: Stories That Take Place Within 24 Hours

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.
This week's post includes all types of books and movies that take place in a single 24 hour period. So, if you love a wild and crazy kind of day...check these out!

Cover Craving...Bad Hair Day!!

Bad Hair Day
by Carrie Harris
sequel to Bad Taste in Boys

Publication date: unknown

LOVE this! Almost as much as I loved the weird cover for Bad Taste in Boys!
This is such a fun series and I am stoked to read this as soon as it finally comes out!!! 

AND...for a hilarious addition to your day, check out this post on Carrie Harris' blog to see a video of a ton of author's worst hair days!! :P

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are you a Ranger's Apprentice Fan? Have we got a treat for you...

Check out the new book we just got in our YA section!!

The Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories
by John Flanagan

Unconfirmed accounts of a group of Araluen warriors - tales of adventure, battle, and triumph over evil - have spread for centuries throughout the known world. Most notable is a clan shrouded in mystery, phantom warriors known as the Rangers.

Two names pass the lips of every storyteller: Halt, and his apprentice, Will. They and their comrades in arms are said to have traveled throughout the kingdom and beyond its borders, protecting those who needed it most. If true, these rumors can be only part of the story.

Only now, centuries after these men and women walked the earth, do we have confirmation of their existence. Behold The Lost Stories.

AND...check out this video of author John Flanagan discussing where the lost stories came from...

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Book Description: 
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

This was a deliciously creepy book. It was not the type of scary that you get from watching a slasher was more the Alfred Hitchcock type. Not only did the author come up with an interesting and somehow believable way tohave humans with paranormal powers exist, but also ways to have them remain hidden from the majority of the world. The true power of this book was that it was almost ordinary in its fantasticalness (yes, I just made up that word...forgive me, please).

The most intriguing thing to me and what truly made this book work in the powerful way that it did, was the inclusion of the historical photographs. That they images were actually from real life, whether manipulated in real life or not, just added another layer of mysterious authenticity to the story.

I cannot wait to see what happens next. I do hope that there is a follow-up book planned!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux
by Geraldine McCaughrean

Book Description:
Pepper's fourteenth birthday is a momentous one.

It's the day he's supposed to die.

Everyone seems resigned to it—even Pepper, although he would much prefer to live. But can you sidestep Fate? Jump sideways into a different life? NaÏve and trusting, Pepper sets a course through dangerous waters, inviting disaster and mayhem at every turn, one eye on the sky for fear of angels, one on the magnificent possibilities of being alive.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt so bad for Pepper, growing up convinced by the grown-ups around him that he was going to die at fourteen...good for him, taking his fate into his own hands! What follows is a mad-cap adventure, a-la cheesy adventure movie style, with lots of twists, coincidences, and finally a happy ending.

I thought Pepper was a great character...charming, polite, well-intentioned, and fortunate in his friends. I was very happy to see the way things turned out for him. I thought the author did a really great job at keeping the tone of this book light and fun, because poor Pepper's life just starts out so sad...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adult Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

Book Description:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

This adult book is Erin Morgenstern's debut and has been hailed as one of the best adult books published in 2011.  I know that at least a few of you that like fantasy books will adore this one!

I am so glad I picked up this book! Morgenstern has literally created a magical masterpiece. Every time I cracked open the cover, I found myself immersed in another layer of seductive imagery... a world that I longed to live in. I wanted to become one of the fanatics that followed the Cirque de Reves from city to city, wrapping a red scarf round my neck, and marveling again and again at its wonders.

Aside from the love story that defied time and fate, the wonder of this book is that you truly lose yourself in it. The words wrap themselves around you and refuse to let go, taunting you to read *just a little more*... When I closed the book for the final time, I sat there momentarily stunned and immensely disappointed that I had no further excuse to linger. I believe this will be a book that I will read again...

Review: The Unknowns

The Unknowns
by Benedict Carey

Book Description:
In a trailer park called Adjacent, next to the Folsom Energy Plant, people have started to vanish, and no one seems to care. At first Lady Di and her best friend, Tom Jones, barely notice the disappearances—until their beloved math tutor, Mrs. Clarke, is abducted, too. Mrs. Clarke has left them clues in the form of math equations that lead them all over the trailer park, through hidden tunnels under “Mount Trashmore,” and into the Folsom Energy Plant itself, where Lady Di and Tom Jones and a gang of other misfits uncover the sordid truth about what’s really happening there.

While I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this book and I'm usually a *huge* fan of puzzle-based books, this book just had too much real math in it for me.Anyway, I found myself skimming through the math explanations just looking for the next actual piece of action...not good.  The two main characters were interesting and I found myself very curious as to what was going on in their little island, but I just couldn't push past the math part of this book to really, truly enjoy it. :(

However, if YOU like puzzle-based mystery books or math problems, I would still give this one a shot!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's on My Hold List?

I wanted to try out a new feature...
I think it will be fun a lot of fun!
Each month, I'll let you know
"What's on My Hold List?"

One of the most beautiful things about working at our Library is that I know what's coming out and what we'll be getting and I can put the books on hold right away!
  These are some of the books that I'm currently waiting for:
Surrender by Lee Nichols
The Haunting Emma series, book three

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Dead is a Battlefield by Marlene Perez

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly series, book two
*If you click on each title, it will take you to the book on for more information. :)*
So, these are the books I'm waiting anxiously to get my hands on...
what are YOU waiting for??