Friday, May 31, 2013

Do You Know about SYNC??

Sponsored by AudioFile Magazine, SYNC offers free Young Adult & Classic audiobook downloads in the summer months to introduce the listening experience. 


Teens and other readers of Young Adult Literature will have the opportunity to listen to bestselling titles and required reading classics this summer. Each week from now until August 15, 2013, SYNC will offer two free audiobook downloads.

Mermaids, monsters, and mistaken identities start the summer of free audiobook downloads from SYNC YA Literature Into Your Earphones off with a splash.

This Week’s Audiobooks:
Available to download free May 30 – June 5, 2013

Of Poseidon
By Anna Banks
Read by Rebecca Gibel
Published by AudioGO

Galen, prince of the Syrena, is sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish and after several encounters with her Galen becomes convinced Emma holds the key to his kingdom.

The Tempest
By William Shakespeare
Performed by a Full Cast
Published by AudioGO/ BBC Radio

A storm rages. Prospero and his daughter watch from their desert island as a ship carrying the royal family is wrecked. Miraculously, all on board survive. Plotting, mistaken identities, and bewitching love follow as the travelers explore the strange place of spirits and monsters.

I already downloaded Of Poseidon this morning! 

For the full list of titles available between now and August 21st, you can go here

Downloading is super easy once you install Overdrive Media Console on your computer.  To download titles check here each week! Enjoy!! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Every Day

Every Day
by David Levithan

Book Description:
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

This was a real page-turner for me! I opened this book and three hours later flipped the final page. I was captivated from start to finish.

Levithan creates a fantastic character in A. You have no idea (as s/he doesn't) whether A is a boy or a girl, what s/he looks like, you only have a sense of his/her personality. What an intriguing concept! What a great way to get down to the real root of a character.

I loved, too, that Levithan did not let A take the easy route in any of his/her choices. The book ends perfectly in a very realistic and believable way. Though we may want true love to triumph at all time, logistics become a huge factor in real life. I was rooting for Rhiannon and A all along, but I really loved how Levithan wrapped things up...

Definitely worth picking up if you haven't already.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gold Star Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund

Book Description:
It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

Wow. I loved this book. It had all the romantic and sweeping, yet understated elements that you find in classic Austen, but they were wrapped in the most intriguingly imagined post-apocalyptic world. Persuasion is one of Austen's books that I really love (my favorite is Emma, in case you were interested) and I was a little afraid that Peterfreund might have taken on a little too big a task in modernizing it.... I should have had faith! She's one of my favorite authors for a reason. Peterfreund nailed it!!

I found myself wrapped in a world where I could see the connections to Austen's original work, but had no trouble at all losing myself in the new story, forgetting that it was anything but what it was. This world is similar to our own, but Elliot's family and friends are so far removed from our society that it feels very foreign. I liked the religious aspect that helped develop their philosophies and how it felt organic without becoming an overwhelming aspect of the book.

The romance. Ah, the romance. I loved it. It felt very real. Both characters had reasons to feel hurt and both had reasons they were unable to let go. Elliot and Kai were two very strong personalities that were stuck in a tough situation that could easily have torn them apart forever. I loved that Peterfreund made Elliot strong enough to not only be herself, and only herself, to succeed in the things she tried to do, but also strong enough to fight for the man that she loved with all her heart.
Though Elliot may be younger than the original character Anne Elliot that she's based on, in the post-apocalyptic world that Peterfreund created her emotions and convictions ring true in the same way, regardless of time and place. Peterfreund’s retelling effortlessly blends a new world and a new, struggling society with the heart and soul of Austen’s tale. The science fiction themes are easy to understand and seem to integrate themselves seamlessly into the story so that even readers shy about delving into the genre will have no trouble navigating this foreign world.

I recommend this book to all readers, regardless of whether or not you've read the original Austen tale that inspired it. I give this book a GOLD STAR and can't wait to see what Peterfreund does with The Scarlet Pimpernel in the upcoming Across a Star-Swept Sea.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
by A. S. King

Book Description:
Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

This book didn't really do it for me. I liked it...mostly, but I in no way experienced the deep love that I had been anticipating. I have no idea of that's in part due to the high bar I set for the book (I've only heard over and over and over how good it was) or because I listened to it on audio, so couldn't completely immerse myself in Vera in the fifteen minutes here and there that I was listening... I just didn't get it.

I found Vera to be a very real and fully formed character. I liked the storyline and thought that it was very thoughtful...but I was never "wowed."

I am hoping to pick up ASK THE PASSENGERS soon. I've heard again that this is a stellar book, so hopefully that one will hit me the right way. If not, I guess it may be that A.S. King's books aren't for me. We'll have to see...

If you're a high school reader, try this one and let me know what YOU think...maybe I'm the only one who didn't really get it! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Midwinterblood

by Marcus Sedgwick

Book Description
Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood?

I've never read anything of Sedgwick's before, but I'd heard nothing but good things, and now, I'm not surprised. His writing is...sophisticated? I'm not sure if that's exactly what I mean, but this book was definitely intricate and beautifully dark. In fact, while I was reading, I kept thinking that this book is what I usually define as a "YA/A crossover" that is meant for the oldest, most sophisticated teen readers and for adult readers.

I really enjoyed this book, but it read "adult" to me theme-wise. I loved the intertwining stories of the reincarnated characters. I thought that the theme of sacrifice was really well done and things were revealed at just the right points in the stories. I would definitely recommend this book, though probably only to older high school readers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Because It Is My Blood

Because It Is My Blood
by Gabrielle Zevin
Birthright series, book two

Book Description:
Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.

I loved diving back into Anya's version of our future. (I still can't quite wrap my head around chocolate and COFFEE being illegal, LOL!)

Since this is the second book in the series, I don't want to give too much away... but I will say that what I really enjoyed the most about this book was seeing Anya really define herself and the place she wanted to be in her world. She goes on a sort of emotional journey along with her physical one and I definitely found myself cheering her on as she made some BIG decisions about how she wanted to present herself and what role she wanted to play in chocolate's future.

The book took some surprising turns, and I loved it. I cannot wait to see how things go In the Age of Love and Chocolate, which comes out this October...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gold Star Review: Fox Forever

Fox Forever
by Mary E. Pearson
The Jenna Fox Chronicles, book three

Book Description:
Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network.

Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance—and into Raine’s life.

What an amazing end to the trilogy. I've loved Jenna Fox's story from the start and Pearson ended Jenna and Locke's story masterfully. The entire series has been thought-provoking, emotionally intense, and impossible to put down. The final book lived up to its predecessors without fail. Locke's journey was both exciting and introspective. It's sort of impossible to thoroughly review this book without giving spoilers for books one and two, but I do need to say that the bad guys get their due, Locke finds the love he truly needed, and Jenna finally finds the closure that her life had been lacking. All around an amazing story and Pearson deserves a GOLD STAR not only for this book, but for the entire trilogy.

The only other trilogy that I've read that I feel is as strong as this one is Neal Shusterman's Skinwalker Trilogy. If you haven't read those, go pick up Everlost right now!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Dark Star

Dark Star
by Bethany Frenette

Book Description:
Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey notto feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.

I liked this book. It had an interesting premise, a good main character, and a well built world...but it just didn't grip me the way I'd hoped it would. While I wanted to know what happened, this was a book that when I put it down I did not have that intense, immediate desire to pick it back up. I'm not quite sure why.

Things I liked:
*Audrey knew her own limitations, yet felt compelled to do the right thing and to help people even against great odds.
*Audrey and her mom's relationship. It just read really "real" to me.
*The romance.
*The demon mythology and the idea of the Beneath, the Guardians, the Kin, etc.
*The surprise of discovering what really made Audrey so special.

So, why wasn't this book amazing? I have no idea. I think maybe I wasn't in the right mood...or it just too a little too long for the suspense to really build? I'm really not sure. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Hallowed

by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly, book two

Book Description:
For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Oh, Cynthia Hand. I love and hate you. Truly. When you had Clara and Tucker have that little, "I just had to tell you I love you, but you don't have to say anything back until you're ready" moment in the first book and I got all swoony, my heart sang... And now, now... my heart is breaking epically. (*See! No official spoilers, but you KNOW that something devestating is happening!! LOL*)

I know, realistically, that in real life there are no truly happy endings. There are always shades of gray and that we have to know that you embrace the joy to balance out our saddest moments, but man, I felt like Clara just could not catch a break in this book! Her love life, her home life, and her destined life all took a big hit. It was one whammy after another!!

While not everything came as a surprise (Hand does a great job at hinting towards two big revelations without actually giving anything away), it was brilliant to see new facets of Clara's world come to light. New aspects of the life she must lead. AND it was great to see that Clara would actually be able to make her own choices. That, I think, was my favorite bit... I LOVE when a character breaks out of the "I can only do what I'm destined to do..." mold.

Let me tell you, though this book hit me in the gut emotionally, I immediately put a hold on book three. I MUST know how it all ends. Clara's story has me well and truly hooked.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cover Reveal - Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Just in case you haven't seen it yet... here is the newly announced cover for the final book in the DIVERGENT trilogy:

by Veronica Roth

Publication date: Oct. 22, 2013

So, what do you think? Love it? Hate it?

Review: The Essence

The Essence
by Kimberly Derting
Pledge, book two

Book Description: (contains slight spoilers for book one)
At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

Book one of this series, The Pledge, was the first book that I gave a GOLD STAR review to in 2012. Now since it had been almost a year and a half since I'd read that first book, I was a little worried that I would not remember exactly what happened, and while to an extent that was true... (I'd forgotten the names of a lot of the characters, but Derting managed to reintroduce everyone extremely well) there were events and pieces of the world that were still etched so deeply into my brain that I sort of fell right back into Charlie's story without a hitch.

I was immediately creeped out again by the idea of Queen Sabara being in Charlie's head. I was fascinated by the language barriers amongst the social classes, and how some reveled in their new equality while others passionately rebelled. I was immediately drawn back into Charlie's love for Max, her best friend Brooklyn, and her baby sister.

Then Derting took it another step further and I just loved the world even more. To find someone else who has an ability that is going to throw Charlie's world into complete chaos. To have her begin to be emotionally torn as she begins to feel for Sabara. To have rival Queens...both as allies, and as women who might want to see Charlie dead...

Everything was more emotional, more dangerous, more intriguing.  I was both extremely satisfied and frustrated when the book finished.  Why? Because it was SO good and now I have to wait until sometime NEXT YEAR for book three... long to wait! 

For making me itch to be back in Charlie's world IMMEDIATELY. For making me hate Derting *just a little bit* for not having book three already on the bookshelves... I give this book a GOLD STAR.

*Sigh* And now, I have to sit back and wait for more... *taps foot impatiently...*

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May YA Book Display - Summer Skies Are On Their Way

Have you checked out the newest book display for teens in the youth room?

Here it is: Summer Skies Are On Their Way


What do you think? Are you going to get ready for summer by diving into any of these titles??

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review: The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers
by Rae Carson
Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, book two

Book Description:
She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.

Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten--and forbidden--clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who--despite everything--she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second book as much as the first.

*Some mild spoilers ahead*
Elisa is no longer just a second born princess, but has been named ruler of her own kingdom. While her loyal followers embrace and celebrate her, her own council conspire to either replace her...or if that proves impossible, to at least be able to manipulate her. Still the epically smart heroine, Elisa realizes this and works to twist their own manipulations around to suit her, as well. Sassy! I love it.

One of my all-time favorite themes, and one not used often enough IMHO, comes to the forefront in this book. The best friend love!!! My heart sang. Even as Elisa is being forced to consider suitors for a marriage for which she is not emotionally ready, she comes to realize that she already has grown into strong feelings for someone very close... Watching their relationship play out was mesmerizing, and the way that the book leaves things for the trilogy's end... I need book three ASAP!!!

A great second chapter in Elisa's story.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: Going Vintage

Going Vintage
by Lindsey Leavitt

Book Description:
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn't cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma's list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy's cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she'll get it done. Somehow.

I LOVED this book. It was a breeze to read, sweet, funny, and just... just wonderful. It managed to convey both a vintage feel and a very contemporary atmosphere...kind of like the perfect old tattered reading chair in a cozy new apartment. 

It had a fantastic romantic element, but what I truly loved the most was that Leavitt decides to have Mallory concentrate on really centering herself rather than just jumping into a new relationship.  Girl power. :)  There were great family relationship issues here and even as people dealt with problems you could obviously feel the love and respect between them. 

A definite winner. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

What's On My Hold List?

Welcome back to
"What's on My Hold List?"
This is the May 2013 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 Cynthia Hand
Unearthly, book three

by Suzanne Lazear 
The Aether Chronicles, book two

by Mindee Arnett

by Kiera Cass
The Selection, 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??

Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: The Peculiar

The Peculiar

by Stefan Bachmann

Book Description:
Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

The world that Bachmann built here was very intriguing. I was impressed that the author is only a *teenager!* He managed to drop me into a world that felt very real, and very alien from our own. As a lover of all things fairy, a fan of the steampunk sub-genre and a murder mystery fan, this book hit just about every right note for me. Bachmann did an admirable job mashing several genres together while not overwhelming the reader.

I distinctly enjoyed both the new world and the concept for this book. At times, though, I felt slightly disconnected to the main characters. While I found Bartholomew to be a character I felt great sympathy for, at times he was hard to connect to, and when the perspective would jump to Arthur, I found that to be even more true. I was very interested in seeing how things unfolded. I wanted Bartholomew to save his sister. I wanted Arthur to uncover his government's corruption...

Essentially, I enjoyed this book a lot and I hope there might be another in the works... I hope in the second that I have an easier time connecting to the characters, though, too.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Eve


by Anna Carey

Book Description:
Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life. (description from

Are you looking for something you can dive right into? Something quick and compelling? This might be it! Eve was just the right length, not too long, not too short. It had just the right balance of action and emotion and I could not turn the pages fast enough. I sped through this one and immediately wished I had books two and three with me when I was done.

I want to learn more! More about everything. Who is the mysterious King that wants Eve for his own. How on earth did we Americans let ourselves really get to the horrible point that Eve's generation now finds themselves in, with women and men terrified to interact and women being bred like cattle (*shudders*)..

As much as I always have that niggling feeling that characters fall in love too fast in these circumstances and there is something a little formulaic about how Eve and Caleb are drawn in to each other, (girl meets boy is terrified, he saves her, she intrigues him, he saves her again...etc) overall, I just liked their two characters together too much for it to matter. I *wanted* them to succeed and be able to just be together...

That was really what I loved about this book. It wasn't the best I've ever read by any means, but I was thoroughly invested in it. Carey MADE me care. Kudos for that.