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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Having fun at the Austin Teen Book Festival

My students and I cannot wait until Ally Condie's book three, Reached, is published. We are counting down. Just wanted to share the fun we had at yesterday's festival. Ms. Lester (fellow librarian and good friend) and I having fun posing in the Reached bubble. Purchased 15 amazing autographed novels by Ally Carter, Leigh Bardugo, Jeff Hirsch, Rae Carson, Anna Banks, Sophie Jordan, Ally Condie, Lex Thomas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Kami Garcia , Margaret Stohl, Marissa Meyer, and Tara Hudson for my end of the year Biggest Reader party. Austin Teen Book Festival rocks!

Shadow and Bone

I picked up Shadow and Bone Friday night when I realized that I would get to see the author, Leigh Bardugo, at the Austin Teen Festival on Saturday. Despite feeling under the weather, I read half of it Friday night and the rest last night after returning from Austin. Hands down, it is the best fantasy novel I have read in a long time. It reads like a movie - which is awesome considering it is going to be made into one. I really hope they don't stray from the original story which is filled with sorcery, good, evil, love, and loss – no Hollywood enhancements needed here. The setting is the harsh mountainous Russian landscape at the height of war which has left the region divided. Alina and Mal, orphaned children refugees, are taken in by a Duke and raised together. The two become inseparable. The Grisha, a powerful group of sorcerers and healers, come to test Alina and Mal. When they both fail to show signs of being Grisha, they are sent to serve in the King’s army. During a hopelessly dangerous mission to cross the Shadow Fold, a deathly stretch of water that must be crossed to hunt for valuable resources, their regiment is attacked by flying lethal creatures called Volcra which seek human flesh and blood. When all seems lost and Mal is seriously injured, Alina sees a flash of white light and passes out. The surviving soldiers realize that she has special powers that only the Grisha can possess. They bring her to the Darkling, the handsome powerful leader of the Grisha, and he takes her to the kingdom to learn how to enhance her magic. He needs it to defeat the Fold and save the people. Things are not what they seem. Will Alina be able to use her gift for good or will evil prevail? Can Alina stand up to the Darkling’s affections and fight to be reunited with Mal, the boy who knows her better than anyone? Book two, Siege and Storm, comes out in 2013.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How They Croaked

I thought I would never get a chance to read How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley. Currently, I only have one copy and as soon as a student went to turn it in, a friend would be right behind him or her asking to check it out next. If you get a chance to read it, you will understand why. It is filled with information on how famous people in history died and includes little known trivia that pertains to the person discussed. This book is definitely not for the squeamish as it doesn't hold back in giving you the disgusting details involved with death. Thankfully, many of the diseases mentioned don't exist today thanks to antibiotics and vaccines. The big surprise at my school - the girls love reading it as much as the boys!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweet Venom

This one is for all of you mythology lovers! Tera Lynn Childs' Sweet Venom is told from three points of view. Gretchen, Grace, and Greer are descendants of Medusa - triplets separated at birth. Gretchen has been taught how to fight the monsters from mythology that escape into the human realm. She is one tough cookie who will stop at nothing to find Ursula, the woman who has mentored her and has recently been abducted. Everything was normal for Grace until her family moved to San Francisco. Now she sees monsters...if it weren't for meeting Gretchen and having her train her for the tough battles ahead, she wouldn't make it. Both girls realize they are part of a prophecy, and there is a third sister named Greer. Greer, a pretty girl with a snobbish personality, has been raised with affluent parents. Parents who had her undergo hypnotherapy when she said she could see monsters as a little girl. Can these three huntresses with different personalities conquer the monsters that keep appearing? With a bounty on their heads, the job won't be easy. My students love this one! Look for book 2, Sweet Shadows, to see what happens next.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Girl, Stolen

April Henry's Girl, Stolen is a suspense novel that will keep readers wanting to know what will happen next. The main character is a teenager named Cheyenne who became blind as a result of a deadly accident that killed her mother a couple of years ago. Cheyenne, seriously sick, stays in the backseat of her stepmother's car while her stepmother goes into a pharmacy to fill her prescription. A teenage boy, Griffin, steals the car not knowing that Cheyenne is in the backseat. As he drives the car home, Cheyenne tries to fight back. She is unsuccessful and quickly realizes that she needs to think straight and use all of her senses in order to survive. When he brings Cheyenne home to his criminal father and his two hooligan partners in crime, he begins to feel protective of Cheyenne. Griffin's father thinks they have a prize in Cheyenne when he finds out that her Dad is the president of Nike. He is determined to use her for ransom money, but doesn't plan on returning her alive. This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dead is the New Black

Dead is the New Black is Marlene Perez's first book in her Nightshade High School series - this book was brought to my attention by the girls at my school. Daisy Giordano, an average teenager, comes from a unique family. Her mother is a psychic who works for the local police department solving crimes. Her sisters also have telepathic powers which make Daisy feel like the black sheep of the family at times. The school year at Nightshade High School starts off strangely when head cheerleader, Samantha Devereaux, comes to school with pale skin, wearing all black, and dragging a coffin backpack. When Daisy hears about a difficult case her mother is working on, she decides go to the morgue to see the teenage victim’s body…the girl has a white streak of hair and distinctive tattoos. The body turns up missing the next day. Daisy recruits her crush, Ryan, who is the police chief’s son to help her investigate why weird things are happening in their town. Could Samantha’s new appearance be linked to the missing dead girl? When Daisy joins the cheerleading squad she notices that all the cheerleaders except for Samantha are starting to change – starting with gray streaks in their hair. Is there a vampire who sucks the souls out of young people in the Nightshade community? Could it be Samantha? Read Dead is the New Black to find out. Currently, there are six books in her popular series.