Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Unspoken

by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Lynburn Legacy, book one
Book Description:
Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.
This was my very first Sarah Rees Brennan book and I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except that I had heard great things about her earlier series. Well, if that series compares at all to this book, I will most certainly be going back to read the Demon books.
This book sucked me right in. Perhaps it was the smart protagonist. Perhaps it was that she was quirky and had an imaginary friend that she talked to in her head. Perhaps it was her devoted friends and a town full of dark secrets. It was everything. The atmosphere....the characters...the danger...the tortured romance...
I cannot wait to dive back in to Kami's life in book two. It cannot come out fast enough.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: A Fractured Light

A Fractured Light
by Jocelyn Davies
A Beautiful Dark, book two
Book Description:
When she wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, Skye knows something terrible has happened to her. It's not until she hears Asher, the dark, rebellious angel she fell in love with, that the memories come flooding back. She tries to put the past behind her, but she knows she'll be forever haunted by the ruthless betrayal that almost took her life.

Skye returns home, but with the knowledge of who she really is, nothing can ever be the same. As she tests the limits of her newfound powers, Skye discovers that she's capable of far more than anyone could have imagined. Both the Order and the Rebellion want her for their side as war between the factions looms. She can't forget the terrifying truth she now knows about the Order, but something holds her back from embracing the Rebellion.

Picking up right where the first book left off, Skye must now deal with the fallout of finding out who she truly is, and being unsure of where she really belongs.  With ties to both sides in a holy war, Skye must decide who she feels more beholden to...or does she.  What I truly loved about this book was that though Skye falls in love, she does not let that emotion define her (unlike some other paranormal heroines...*cough* *cough* Bella *cough*). Skye chooses to forge her own path, regardless of the consequences. 

With romance, secrets, and a much stronger heroine than might appear on the surface, this trilogy (assuming the last book is as good as the first two) is truly one of my faves in the paranormal field.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: Girl of Nightmares

Girl of Nightmares
by Kendare Blake
sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood
Book Description:
It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.
These books induce just the right amount of shivers. Blake has mastered the art of creating a world inhabited by all the things that go bump in the night, but not leaving you afraid to sleep after reading...

The hell that Anna was trapped in was creepy and there were moments when I was truly afraid for Cas...then knowing that what he might be returning to was not really any better? You know those moments when you have to keep reminding yourself that "It'll work out's so and so and they can't really die"... Yeah, I was doing that a lot.

As good as the first.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Liar and Spy

Liar and Spy
by Rebecca Stead
Book Description:
Seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: what is a lie, and what is a game? How far is too far to go for your only friend?

I love Rebecca Stead's books. Though this one is very different from When You Reach Me, it still has the same ability to slowly unfold a much deeper story than expected. Stead draws readers into a world where a boy is trying to adjust to a new home...but as you read, you realize a LOT more is going on than first showed on the surface. 
The layers that slowly peeled away to reveal the underlying issues were masterfully done. It wasn't until just before Georges would address or discover an issue that I would suspect the very thing about to happen. Scenes, word choices, character motivations were all carefully written so that none of these things were evident straight on. Amazing.
I also have to mention how wonderful each of the characters in this book are... not just the kids, but also the parents. They each have little quirks that bring them to life and the way that they interact with one another was wonderful. This is also a great book for modeling families that truly work and support one another. So nice to see in today's world.
A short, sweet, and satisfying read.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

Breaking Dawn, Part 2
*Based on the book Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
I am going to try to make this review as spoiler-free as possible for people who haven't yet seen the movie, but if you haven't read the book yet, you may just want to skip the entire review as I'm sure I'll end up ruining something for you...LOL. 

I am extremely excited to say that I've now FINISHED the entire Twilight Saga. I have read all the books, I have seen all the movies...I'm happy to be done.  And while the movies are fun to watch, they're not really stellar.  No one is going to argue that they should be winning awards, right? was fun to see the last one, finally!!

In case you've forgotten, here is a basic description of the storyline:
To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life--first discovered in
Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse--seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever?

Okay, let's get down to it...

These are the things that I liked:
The battle sequence... there was all sorts of dramarama going on here.  Grudges finally fought out. Revenge taken for previous deaths.  Heads were literally flying all over the place.  There were moments when I full-on jumped in my seat...

I loved how Bella and Jacob fought, then finally reconciled over Nessie excuse me, I mean Reneesme, LOL. (Still the worst baby name, ever!!) In fact, Jacob had some of the funniest moments in the whole movie based on his relationship changing with Bella and Edward now that he's imprinted.
There were some other really funny moments, too, based on Bella's not being able to control her own strength when she first turns. Sort of a hulkish, "You don't want to see me when I'm angry" :P

Happily, these were also the moments when Kristen Stewart was actually able to show emotion! She smiles, she frowns, she yells, she pouts...she actually does it all in this movie.  No more one face wonder! 
Sooo...aside from some CGI issues (baby Reneesme looks ridiculous) and some poor makeup choices (some of the characters looked a little freakish)... I think this is actually my favorite movie in the series.  Mostly, it's just because I can't stand Bella in New Moon or Eclipse, I just spend all my time wanting to scream at her... ugh. However, once she becomes a vampire, she actually grows her own personality again which is LOVELY! 
My final verdict - Campy fun and worth seeing if you've seen the first four movies.  You'll notice some differences from the book, but that's okay, too. This makes for a much more action packed and satisfying movie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Splintered

by A.G. Howard
Publication date: January 1, 2013
Book Description:
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
I LOVED this book. I was simultaneously torn between wanting to desperately tear through it to find out all the crazy/wonderful things that would happen and wanting to put it down periodically so that I could savor that first reading for just a little bit longer.

Howard wrote some ravishingly dark imagery in her version of Wonderland. Every time you think you recognize something from the original, there is a creepy and distinctive twist. Even Alyssa turns out to have facets that you would not expect. The characters have motivations that make for a more intriguing and power hungry tale than Carroll's version and ultimately, you as the reader have no idea who may survive this twisted place.

I'm having trouble even formulating an effective way to describe exactly how much I loved this book. Suffice it to say that even though I received a review copy, I will most definitely be buying my own hardcover copy in January so that I can read it again and ooh and ahh over the gorgeous aesthetic details (the cover, OMG!) inside and out while I do...

For now, let me just say I'm giving it a GOLD STAR and that I demand you all READ IT!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal

Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal
by Chris Colfer

Book Description:
Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.

At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school.
Hilarious and dark.  This was a laugh out loud book that also made me feel really bad for Carson.  He makes some awful choices, but you can't help but understand his desire to succeed... There's a lot of bad language in this one, so I would recommend it for high school (and older) readers. It's short and funny, so if you're just looking for a quick book to read in a weekend, this would be a good choice.  It's a gem.
Oh, and here's the movie trailer (it comes out in January!):

Friday, November 16, 2012

Teen Review: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
Book Description:
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Teen Review:
Don't read this book because if you love the movie, you'll love the book so much more! It tears you apart and it's just fab. There's no better way to explain it.  - Deanna

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Island of Silence

Island of Silence
by Lisa McMann
The Unwanteds, book two

Book Description:
Following the life-altering events at the conclusion of The Unwanteds, the stark world of Quill and the magical haven of Artimé are now home to whoever wants to live there, whether they are Wanteds, Unwanteds, or Necessaries.

In Artimé, Alex Stowe and his friends continue to hone their artistic magical spells while welcoming newcomers, wondering how long this peace between Quill and Artimé will last. Alex is stunned when Mr. Today comes to him with a very special request—one Alex questions his readiness for, until circumstances offer a dramatic answer.
And back in Quill, Aaron Stowe, Alex’s twin, faces a very different path. Devastated by his loss of status after Justine’s defeat and seething with rage toward Alex, Aaron is stealthily planning his revenge and return to power.

This is a series that I will tell you I unabashedly enjoy. It has a very similar feel to Harry Potter, but takes a very unique spin on the arts. I envy Lisa McMann's imagination when I read about the artistically inspired spells the kids use in Artime. 

As in Harry Potter, this second book has taken the series to a slightly darker place.  While Artime is still a thriving, beautiful, and creative place, the political repurcussions of opening Artime to everyone are felt throughout the land.  While the Artimeans are busy battling the Quillians, they also discover that something sinister may be occuring outside of their land, as well. In fact, even as Alex is trying to wrap his brain around being groomed to lead Artime one day and also deal with his evil twin's sinister plotting (which gave me shivers, btw...kid's got real power issues!), several of Alex's friends go missing and Alex finds himself in charge much earlier than expected. 

The only fault I found with this book was that it left off with huge plot cliffhangers!! While a few questions were answered, many more were raised, and I'm going to have a hard time waiting for book three to find out what's really going on at the Island of Silence!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor
Book Description:
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Wow. This is a beautifully written, dark fantasy. The word choices are just gorgeous and kind of made me want to read out loud. The descriptions of Prague gave such an atmospheric feel to the book, but it was the descriptions of the "other" world that were really vivid and unforgettable.
Karou is an interesting character. She is outgoing and perfectly at home with who she is...though she doesn't quite know who she is! Watching her discover the secrets of her past was captivating.  The way that she interacts with everyone around her made me laugh...and when she met Akiva, it made me shiver.

The sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, just came out so if you like dark fantasies give this one a try and you won't even have to wait for the second one!

Friday, November 2, 2012

What's On My Hold List?

Welcome back to
"What's on My Hold List?"
This is the November 2012 edition!
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!
by Moira Young
Dust Lands, book two
by Kerstin Gier
Ruby Red Trilogy, book two
by Carrie Harris
Kate Grable novella
by Sophie Jordan
Firelight novella
*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??

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: City of Lies

City of Lies
by Lian Tanner
The Keepers Trilogy, book two
Book Description:
Goldie Roth is a trained thief and a skilled liar. Along with her friend Toadspit, she's supposed to be one of the Keepers of the mysterious Museum of Dunt. But although she desperately wants to be a Keeper, she will not leave her sick parents to do so. But when Toadspit's sister Bonnie is stolen, he and Goldie are forced to follow the child-stealers to the neighboring city of Spoke. Along the way, Toadspit too is captured, and Goldie is caught up in the Festival of Lies, where every word she says means something else and no one can be trusted. There, Goldie discovers some dangerous secrets—secrets that the child-stealers will kill to protect. She will need all her skills as a thief and a liar if she is to survive and save her friends.
While I did not love this book as much as I did the first book in the series, Museum of Thieves, I did enjoy it a lot. I think that what was missing for me here was the actual Museum of Dunt.  It was such a huge PRESENCE in the first book and almost all of the action in this story takes place elsewhere. I did love following Goldie's adventures again and thought it was neat to see more of the larger world in this dystopian series, but I can't wait to get back to the Museum in book three!!