Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Divergent

Beatrice lives in a world controlled by five fractions. At the age of sixteen, the entire class must take a test to determine their fraction. Beatrice's test is inconclusive - she's a Divergent. Beatrice can't tell anyone about her testing. Instead she goes home.

The next day, the ceremony takes place where the sixteen year-olds formally announce their fraction.
Beatrice takes everyone by surprise when she chooses Dauntless (the fraction for bravery) instead of her own fraction of Abnegation (who values selflessness).

At first,
Beatrice isn't sure what to expect. She doesn't expect learning how to shoot a gun, learning how to fight, fighting the other potential Dauntless initiatives, or learning how to face her fears.

While keeping her secret Tris (she renamed herself after choosing Dauntless), she learns that not everything is as it seems. As she sees more horror, she begins to question the Dauntless and other fractions. Is there something deeper happening in her world?

My Thoughts: The first book by Veronica Roth is a fast pace addicting read that pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let go. It's a long but intense read. It's a perfect debut filled with the tension, action, danger, family disappointment, friendships, loyalty, rule breaking, and a little bit of romance. I'm already looking forward to what happens next, as it ends with you wanting more.

Cover Thoughts: I really like it, I love the flames and what they signify

Source: HarperTeen


Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: There's No Place Like Home

*****spoilers from the previous 5 books****

Kaitlin's just starting over in Hollywood with a new TV show - Small Fries. It has the potential to become HUGE. With Sky has her co-star again, things are looking better than ever.

Until her Mom starts overbooking her. With Broadway under her belt and another hit TV series, Kaitlin has her pick of movies her the show production's hiatus. She has the choice between working with Spielberg and Eastwood. Her mom wants her to choose both and she won't take no for an answer. Her mom also wants her promoting her TV show, leaving no time for dates with her boyfriend or time with her friends.

Kaitlin doesn't want to disappoint her mother, but neither does she want to burn out. After huge fights with her mother and her friends, Kaitlin realizes she needs to make some serious choices about her future.

My Thoughts: I'm so sad to say goodbye to Kaitlin and her Hollywood life. I love Kaitlyn because while she's the "IT Girl," she longs to be normal. She values loyalty, friendship, and honesty. The book is broken into three parts: the present, an alternate universe, and the present again. The alternate universe answers the questions Kaitlyn has been asking throughout the series - what would happen if she could live a normal life away from all the pressures. Would she be different? What would she do? A different approach to ending the series, but it really works as Kaitlin's been struggling with this issue ever since going incognito to high school during the first book. I do love how the series ended. It's an addicting fun series.

Cover Thoughts: I love it - it works so well with both the theme and with the covers of the previous titles in the series.

Source: My Library


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tween Tuesday Review: Babe and Me

Joey's father just lost his job. Frustrated, he asks his son to give up his Babe Ruth baseball card. Joey doesn't want to give up the card. Instead, he comes up with another suggestion. They could time travel through the baseball card and get Babe Ruth's autograph to sell. Joey also wants to know if Babe Ruth really did call his shot in the third game of the World Series

They arrive in New York minutes before Babe Ruth gets out of his car. Joey and his dad meet Babe Ruth. They him to sign baseballs, the eat dinner with him, and they ride the train to Chicago with him and the team.

Will they be able to accomplish their goal?

My Thoughts: I read this for our 4th and 5th grade book club. I didn't realize that it was part of a series. I hate reading books out of order and this is the third in the series. It's a stand alone title - although the other books were mentioned. I liked the time travel and how much history comes through. I love the idea of time traveling through baseball cards. I liked the historical photographs. I really liked Babe - he comes across as a unique complex character. Both history and baseball come alive in this one.

Cover Thoughts: I really like it.

Source: my Library

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Putting Makeup on Dead People

After her father’s death, Donna has simply been going through the motions in high school. She applies to college before she even knows what she wants to do with her life.

Donna isn’t happy; she hates that her family’s starting to move on. She hates knowing that she’ll never hear father laugh again. She hates that she's being left behind.

After a conversation with a mortician at a classmate’s wake, something shifts inside her.

Donna begins to find her confidence again after befriending the new girl in school. Liz seems to have all the right answers. She finally knows what she wants to do with her life. She wants to put makeup on dead people. She wants to help people find a way to get through the most awful time of their lives.

My Thoughts: This is not a book I would have picked up on my own, but I'm so glad I read it. I liked following Donna's path. She stood up for herself. She found her way. She branched out in her life. It's a little bit morbid. I love that it's an older book for YA - as it takes place during the last semester of high school and into Donna's further education. We need more books for this age - you can read my post here on my thoughts on YA and college. The book was funny, heart-wrenching, and an all around good read.

Cover Thoughts: Very different - eye catching - and a little creepy

Source: reviewing for VOYA

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mysterious Saturday Review: Fundraising the Dead

Nell loves her job at the The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques where she works as the Head of Development. On the day of the year's biggest gala, a board member comes to her irate that some materials donated from her family turn up missing.

Nell promises to look into the matter. She questions Alfred, the cataloger. He mentions that he can't find several items and promises to give Nell a list.

The party goes off without a hitch. Nell comes into the society the next day and discovers Alfred's body. After the police determine Alfred's death was an accident, Nell digs further into the missing items.

Is there a connection between the items and the death?

My Thoughts: Sheila Connolly writes Orchard series, which I love. I was curious about her new series. Working in a library - I felt a connection with the agency. I loved how Nell and Marty took matters into their own hands. I love how the three women came tog ether and the sting operation they set up. I love the character development of Nell - how she stood up for herself. I loved the ending. I can't wait to read more from this series.

Cover Thoughts: Cute - even though its doesn't look anything like the crime scene

Source: Purchased

Add it to GoodReads

Up Next: Let's Play Dead - out July 5th (GoodReads)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Trial by Fire

***Contains SPOILERS if you haven't read Raised By Wolves***

Bryn loves her new life with her pack until a wolf enters her territory. He's badly hurt and he's asking for protection. With Shay as his Alpha, he's been used as a punching bag, until Shay gave him to a group of psychics.

Bryn doesn't know what to do. She doesn't want to turn him away, but she neither can she help him within the rules of the werewolves. She desperately tries to find a loophole in the rules.

Before she can figure out a solution, the psychics show up in town. A new girl starts school. Bryn knows she's a threat. Caroline isn't normal. She's a hunter. She can't be tracked and she never misses a target. She had the ability to take out Bryn's entire pack.

The psychics hate werewolves. Each time Bryn meets them, she learns more about them. With the psychics and Shay looking for a fight, Bryn needs to watch her back very carefully. She's knows what's at stake and she's not about to give in or give up her pack for anything.

My Thoughts: I couldn't WAIT to read this book as I LOVED Raised By Wolves. Trial by Fire was simply amazing. I love the power of Bryn. I love how her pack's different and how she as a human is different from the other Alphas. I love how she tries to see the loop holes in dangerous situations. I love how she doesn't ever want to play by the rules. I love her sense of justice. Mostly there isn't anything I don't love about Bryn. I love Lake, Chase, and Dev too. I laughed, I cried, I had to re-read the ending twice to understand it. The ending blew me away. A very different werewolf series that makes me anxious for the next one. (And there is a next one I checked!)

Cover Thoughts: I like how it ties into the first cover - and into the story.

Source: Publisher - Egmont (Who has amazing books)


Up next: Every Other Day: a teenage girl who's only human every other day, and who spends her non-human days as a super-powered demon hunter (whose achilles heel is, of course, the fact that every other day, she has no powers at all).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I LOVE my Library

Otis Library is one of my favorite libraries in the world - and as a librarian, I make it a point to visit other libraries wherever I go. I'm one of the lucky people who LOVES my job. The Norwich Bulletin has been running several letters to the editor and I'm compelled to add my thoughts.

Reasons why I LOVE my library:

I LOVE my library because I'm a HUGE reader. Last year I read 300 books. This year, I'm hoping to read a book a day. Due to my love of book blogs, I have a crazy long list of books I want to read. No one library can possibly purchase all of these books, so it's great to be able to have them shipped to my library. This is possible due to C-CAR - which is an AMAZING program. Books from all over Connecticut come to Otis Library for our patrons and we ship books to other libraries for their patrons. It's a Win-Win for everyone - especially me. Right now, I have roughly 40 items checked out and another 30 items on hold.

I'm a library lover. I bought a house in Norwich BECAUSE of the library. When the library completed their renovation, I scored the most amazing job here. I'm head of the Young Adult Department. I'm responsible for ordering teen books, hosting teen programs, advocating for teens, and staffing the desk in the teen section. It's the best job in the world.

I think Otis Library is one of the best libraries in Eastern Connecticut. We have a great big building with program rooms, nooks and crannies of different collections, and it's always filled with people.

However in order to maintain our standing as one of the best libraries in Eastern Connecticut, we need funding. The past two years, the library budget's been hit. We've lost money for the collection, we've lost hours, and we've closed for a two week furlough in the summer for the past two years. While we've tried to maintain the same services, it's impossible. We need more from the City of Norwich.

We're more than a community center, more than a center for information, more than a place to grab the latest DVD, CD, bestselling book. We're all of these things combined. We're the place people come to print out their resumes. We're the place teens come to type their papers. We're the place mom brings their children for story time to help build their child's social and developmental skills. People come here to learn, to have fun, to gain knowledge, to learn new skills, to get out of the cold, and to relax with friends.

The Otis Library is the fundamental cornerstone of the community.

Chatting with Anne Osterlund

Welcome Anne! Thanks for chatting with us. I've adored all three of your novels and can't wait to devour more of your writing!

What made you choose to write YA?
I love to read YA: Tamora Pierce, S.E. Hinton, Ann Rinaldi, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, John Marsden, Suzanne Collins, and on and on and on.

I also love YA because the characters, like most teenagers, have minds of their own. They make their own decisions and their own mistakes. They don’t have to be happy.Or funny. They’re free to express an entire range of emotions.They get in trouble and change their minds and have the ability to grow.They don’t know everything. And they don’t know they don’t know everything. There is always hope.

I LOVE that answer!

Where do you write best?
On the back of a half-wild stallion sprinting across the Tyralian frontier. Or in an interplanetary plane flipped upside down and scaling the side of a frozen waterfall. No, honestly I write on a couch, surrounded by papers, pencils, a thesaurus, and a dictionary. It doesn’t matter where you are when you write. It’s about where your imagination is.

How do you get your ideas?
My characters introduce themselves. I first met Aurelia (the heroine in Aurelia and Exile), on a yellow notepad, when she was complaining about being stuck at a party with an itching ankle. Aerin (the main character in Academy 7) was gazing in a mirror, removing her headband, and contemplating the vast question of whether she could scrub away the person she had been in order to become someone different.

All my characters have their own voices. My job is to listen.

How do you come up with your titles?
The titles come very naturally. Generally I don’t think a lot about them when I first write them down, but somehow they come to represent the largest, most unifying concept within the book. The center of the story.

Can you tell us a little bit about Exile?
Exile is the sequel to Aurelia. It’s the second book in a series about a princess who should not be a princess.

Here’s my personal pitch: Exiled. From the weight of others’ expectations, the responsibilities of being crown princess, and the pressure to marry, AURELIA is finally free to travel the kingdom and meet the people of Tyralt. If only ROBERT, her expedition guide, would stop pestering her about her safety and just kiss her. But then their journey erupts in a fiery conflagration, and with both of their lives and the fate of the kingdom at stake, she and Robert must determine whether they have the strength, and the will, to complete their mission. And face the darker side of exile.

Robert, Aurelia, and I hope you will all join us on their expedition which begins in stores April 28

I LOVED Exile! If you missed yesterday's post, read my review here.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?
The Hunger Games. I read it last summer, and I’ve literally recommended it to everyone I talk books with: family members, librarians, brand new acquaintances, my best friend, perfect strangers at the park. LOL. Really just amazing storytelling. I’m reading The Iron King now, and it will probably be my next Goodreads recommendation.

Anne also has a page of recommended reads on her website

Do you have a favorite library experience?
One of my favorite books is Witch of the Glens by Sally Watson. I found it in a local library when I was in grade school, and I have read it over a dozen times. I always wanted to buy it, but the book was out of print and cost between $400 and $800. Then just a few years ago, it came back into print, and I received one for Christmas. I was SO excited! I reviewed it online last summer, and the author e-mailed me directly. She even read and reviewed my second book, Academy 7, for me. How amazing is that!

Great story - I love it!

Are there any authors you’d love to meet?
I met my favorite author, Tamora Pierce, at the Sirens: Women in Fantasy Literature conference in Vail, CO two years ago. She has cats!

Of course, I’d love to meet other authors: Ann Rinaldi, S.E. Hinton, and Sally Watson, to name a few. Which is not to say that I would be brave enough to talk to any of them if we did meet.

Do you have a favorite literary quote?
“Second to the right. And straight on till morning.” That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to Neverland;but even birds, carrying maps and consulting them at windy corners, could not have sighted it with these instructions. Peter, you see, just said anything that came into his head.

Listing of Favorites:
: Butterfinger, Junior Mints, and Baby Ruth

Pizza topping
: Pepperoni, sausage & olives
Genre of books: Fantasy
Singer: Sugarland
Restaurant: Italian and Mexican
TV show: All time favorite: Little House on the Prairie.
More recent favorites
: Jericho, Smallville, Prison Break, The Mentalist
Movie: All time favorites: Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music
More recent favorites
: Penelope, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly
Color: Red & blue
Shoe: comfortable
Video Game: Nope. Don’t have one. They make my brain spin the way your mind does after spending all day in the waves of the ocean

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cover Reveal: Circle of Fire

Although there's been several similar covers floating around - THIS one is the final draft. I love it. I love the necklace an the intense look in her eyes. I can't wait for the final installment of this addicting Gothic trilogy - out August 1st!

Are you waiting for this one too?

Review: Exile

***Spoilers exist from the previous novel***

With her new-found freedom after being removed from her role of Princess, Aurelia has decided to tour her country. She longs to see her people in their every day roles.

Robert and guards accompany her on her journey. At first, Aurelia travels as a Princess. However, she doesn't want to the people to see her as above their station. She wants to become one of them. She gets her wish when an unexpected attempt on her life causes her to flee with Robert. Soon Robert becomes the only person she trusts. He's not crazy about the way she puts herself in danger.

The two of them travel in disguise and off the main roads. While traveling, they run into a group of bandits. The leader, with his own army, protects Aurelia's mother.

As Aurelia spends time with her mother, she unravels the truth from her past. She sees herself split between two futures. She could remain her and forget about the outside world, or she can continue her journey.

Her life's filled with difficult choices and emotional turmoil. The knowledge that her step-sister wants to take the crown motivates her. The horrors she sees on her journey motivate her. The danger of someone following her footsteps lurking in the shadows waiting to kill her motivates her. How far will she go to protect herself, Robert, and her people?

My Thoughts: A great continuation of Aurelia's story. It's full of tension - danger lurking everywhere with double-crossings, and betrayals. Romantic tension fills the book. It's both frustrating (in a good way) and adorable. I love the bittersweet moments between Aurelia and her mother. I like how Aurelia's mind works through all that she sees. I love her sense of right and wrong colors her world. I love her determination. She's a character one can't help but root for her success. I simply can't wait until the final installment comes out!

Cover Thoughts: LOVE the cover

Source: from the author


Publication Date: April 28th

Stayed tuned tomorrow for an interview with the author: Anne Osterlund!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tween Tuesday Review: Time-Traveling Fashionista

Louise loves vintages clothes. She can't believe her luck when an invitation arrives to a traveling vintage fashion sale. The invitation is just in time as she needs a dress to wear to the seventh grade dance.

She drags along her best friend and searches the racks until she finds a pink dress. It calls to her. At first the two saleswomen hesitate at her trying on the dress, but then they change their minds.

As soon as Louise puts on the dress, she stumbles into a time-wrap where she becomes a Hollywood star from the early 1900s. At first, everything's wonderful, as Alice Baxter is gorgeous and owns the most wonderful clothes. Soon Louise realizes that ship she's traveling across the ocean is the Titanic.

Louise must figure out how to save herself from one of histories most tragic disasters.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book - I loved the vintage feel of the dresses, the elegance of the ship, and the difference between Louisa and Alice. I loved reading about the luxury of the ship and the differences in classes. I found Louisa to be charming, sweet, smart, resourceful, determined, and a girl with a wicked sense of fashion. I can't wait to read more of Louisa's adventures. Goodreads

Cover Thoughts: The ARC cover background is different - it's purple and there's a pocket-watch on it as well as a photo of the Titanic. There are no bubbles or sparkles.

Art: In the ARC there are sketches of dresses - I can't WAIT to see full color. They look amazing.

Source: requested from Little Brown and Company

Publication Date: April 5th

Up Next: Louise heads to France during Marie-Antoinette's reign coming out April 2012

Monday, March 21, 2011

If You Like: Retro edition

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 includes suggestions for some favorite older titles and childhood favorites.

Check out this week's RETRO post

Quick Review: graphic novel Lightning Thief

My Thoughts: A nice retelling of the Lightning Thief - a great way to quickly refamiliarize yourself the story.

Art: I wasn't crazy about the art with the exceptions of the special effects. I think it's a personal choice. The characters aren't how I imagined - and it's hard for me to adjust. I think it's a great read for anyone interested in this series.

Source: Inter-Library Loaned

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Family Affair

Lacey's dealing with the aftermath of a very painful divorce. She's trying to put her life back together. To get away from the pain, she moved. Now she has a job that she loves, but a boss who doesn't appreciate her. She needs to ask for a raise, but can't stand up for herself.

Her personal life isn't much better. She hasn't started dating again, although her BFF Jeanne thinks it's time. Her neighbor keeps asking her out. Jack's cute, but the arguments he has with his girlfriend prevent her from taking a second look at him.

When Jack's cat impregnates Lacey's cat, she marches over there to give him a piece of her mind, and opens a door she didn't know existed.

My Thoughts: I have the same problem with this cute novella that I have with a lot of short stories. I WANT MORE! This would have made a charming book. I hate becoming attached to characters and then the tale ends. Not that the story isn't wrapped up, it was just so interesting that I would have liked a full length tale.

Cover Thoughts: Adorable!

Source: My Library

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mysterious Saturday Review: Crafty Killing

Katie never wanted anything to do with Artisans Alley, especially after her husband ruined their dreams pouring money into the shop. With him dead, Katie owns part of the shop. While driving to work one morning, she notices police cars in the parking lot.

Curious, she goes in to investigate. She learns her business partner, Ezra Hilton has died - murdered most likely. Katie isn't sure what to do, but with a stake in the outcome of the store, she stays the day.

Katie learns that the shop has fallen on hard times. People aren't paying the rent, shoppers aren't spending much money, and the paperwork for the store is a disaster. She steps in for the day but soon realizes she has too much on her plate.

When she learns that Paul left her half the store in his will, Katie must decide if she wants to pour her heart in soul into making Artisans Alley the best it can be.

While she's still deciding her future, Katie starts learning about the crafters and the other business owners in the square. As she becomes friendly with some of them, she realizes that she just might be attempting to befriend the murderer.

My Thoughts: A great start to a new series. Many cozy mysteries deal with crafts and Lorraine Bartlett (who also writes as Lorna Barrett and L.L. Bartlett) puts a new spin, looking at crafting from a business standpoint. I loved reading about the business side of the store. I loved getting to know the other business owners in the square - Victoria Square sounds like a great place to shop. I liked Katie - who's dealing with pain from her personal life but also looking to achieve her own happiness. I found her inspiring. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Cover Thoughts: Adorable!

Source: My Library

Up Next: The Walled Flower, second in the Victoria Square Mysteries, in Fall 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ten Things: Women's History Month 10 Sisterhood YA novels

Here are ten awesome YA books portraying a sisterhood. Sisterhood isn't just between sisters - it's a strong bond between a group of girls. The bond has the strength to reach beyond differences and it makes each girl a little better. We all need to bonds of sisterhood in our lives.

Here's a display I created at the library - It's in the 2nd week, which means it had twice as many books but they've been checked out. I also had a sign asking teens to decorate jeans. I think they came out pretty good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Women of the Civil War Era Tea

This was an event hosted last weekend at the library to celebrate Women's History Month and the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. We had members of the community, library staff, and NFA (the local high school) dress as women of the era with costumes from R.E.A.D. Amusements. We had the Midnight Belles sing music from the time period. It was a great event!

Here's the room:


Midnight Belles:
Lucy Hayes:

Louisa May Alcott: Belle Boyd:
Mary Todd Lincoln:
Sarah Emma Edmonds:
Rose O'Neal Greenhow

Pictures of the Crowd:

Pictures of the high school presenters:

Pictures of all the women presenters:

Review: Thirteenth Princess

By the time she's eleven, Zita learns she's not just an ordinary servant. While she does work in the kitchen, she's actually a Princess. Bit by bit, she wheedles out the truth of her birth from Cook, the housekeeper, and the maids.

Her father, the King, always wanted a son. Instead, twelve daughters arrived. All of their names begin with "A" after their mother. On the dark and stormy night Zita was born, her mother exited the world. The death of her mother broke her father's heart. He rejected his daughter and named her after the patron saint of servants.

All this time Zita has been kept apart from her sisters. When she uncovers the truth, she tries to speak with them whenever she sees them. She starts spending time with them in secret.

Soon after her twelfth birthday, she begins to notice changes in her sisters' behavior. They won't talk to dinner guests. They seem tired all the time. Soon, one by one, they fall to theirs beds. No one can figure out the cause of their illness. Zita knows she must do something to save her sisters.

My Thoughts: A unique Twist of the fairy tale of Twelve Dancing Princesses. I loved hearing the story from a 13th sister - unknown to the world. Zita was sweet, charming, and brave. I loved reading her relationship develop with her sisters. I enjoyed her relationship with the stable boy Breckin.

Cover Thoughts: I love it

Source: My Library

Out Now: A True Princess - a Princess and the Pea tale

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Books I'm Dying to Read

Here are a few books coming out in May that I CAN'T WAIT to read!

So Much Closer: LOVED Waiting for You and liked Something Like Fate! Goodreads
Corsets & Clockwork: A good way for me to start reading Steampunk, plus is has some awesome authors in the lineup. GoodReads
The Daughters Take the Stage: LOVE this series! GoodReads

Royal Treatment: LOVED Princess for Hire, can't wait to see what Demi does next! GoodReads
Magnolia League: Sounds SO good. Goodreads
Shift: Really liked Shade, can't wait to find out what happens next. GoodReads

Summer of Firsts and Lasts: Sounds like the perfect summer book GoodReads
Throne of Fire: Enjoyed the Red Pyramid - interested to find out more. GoodReads
Bite Club: I Love this series. I need to catch up on Ghost Town first. GoodReads

Are You Going to Kiss Me Now: Sounds extraordinarily fun. GoodReads
Five 4ths of July: An historical fiction set in Revolutionary Times. I've always loved reading about this era. GoodReads
Friendship that Changed the World: Two amazing women who changed history. I can't wait to read their story. GoodReads

A-Circuit:I love horse books - this one looks like a cross between Canterwood Crest and Gossip Girl GoodReads
Girl in Steel: I LOVE this cover - it looks so good!! GoodReads
Warlock: I LOVE this series. I can't wait to see what happens to Sophie. GoodReads

Beauty Queens:This one sounds very funny. GoodReads
Ruby Red: I've heard awesome things about this book. GoodReads
What Happened to Goodbye: I ADORE Sarah Dessen. GoodReads