Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

                                                                                                     Teen author E. Lockhart is known for her suspenseful twists, thrilling plots, and often unreliable narrators. I still get the feels when I think about her best-selling 2014 novel, We Were Liars. It was fast-paced, unpredictable, and heartbreaking. Her newest teen novel, Genuine Fraud, is most of these things. The novel starts out with an obviously unreliable narrator, Jule, lounging in a Mexican resort. Unobservant readers might not realize that the story starts out with Chapter 18 as the plot moves backwards in time. Step by step you discover more about Jule, her seemingly glamorous life, her perfect best friend, and the boy she regrets leaving behind.

I had a little trouble connecting with Jule. Her character was a little lacking, and I'm still left wondering about her motivation and upbringing. Because of this I didn't feel the heartbreak and grief I experienced when reading We Were Liars. However, I was still captivated by the story, pulled along by Lockhart's twists and turns, and of course blown away by the mystery's big reveal. I totally didn't see that coming!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Covers

I won't lie to you. I often/almost always just a book by it's cover. I can't help it. I've tried, but I just don't gravitate towards books with ugly covers. So if I read a book, it probably has a pretty cover. But here are ten of my favorites! 

 1. Jackaby by William Ritter

 2. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

 3. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

 4. Every Breath by Ellie Marney

 5. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

 6. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

 7. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

 8. Love, Lies, & Spies by Cindy Anstey

 9. Prudence by Gail Carriger

10. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Make Me Hungry!

We've all had those days when we're reading a book and suddenly the characters are eating french fries or making pizza, and now we want french fries and pizza too! Or maybe they're baking cookies, and suddenly we have the urge to bake! What is it about reading about food that makes us hungry? The power of suggestion I guess? Well, hear are ten books to fuel your hunger!

1. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Speaking of french fries and pizza..The characters work in a pizza place, and Layla is always eating french fries. 

2. Bang by Barry Lyga
This is such a sad, beautiful story, but it also has fun pizza making.  

 3. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
There are werewolves and they're always hungry - cooking, eating, cooking, and eating - That's what happens in a werewolf den. 

4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
She's been starved in prison for over a year, so she's pretty much hungry all the time and always wants chocolate. Not that I blame her. 

5. Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
At a "fake" vampire restaurant in Texas, Quincie and her uncle serve yummy Italian cuisine. 

 6. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
They're always buying fancy ramen in NYC. I've yet to have fancy ramen, but hearing about it constantly definitely made me hungry! 

7. Kitchen Princess
Najika is always cooking for people and joins a cooking contest. Plus there are all kinds of recipes too. And if you've never read manga, this is a good starting point. I liked it a lot.

 8. Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series
Everyone's always in need of a cup of tea. Between all the parties, lessons, and getting into trouble, these ladies seem to eat a lot of crumpets and cakes.

9. My True Love Gave to Me ed. by Stephanie Perkins
Snow, diners, hot chocolate, junk food :) 

10. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Between the Blue's house and job, there's a lot of food mentioned in this one. If nothing else, it will make you want to drink a nice cold Coco-Cola. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

"You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. 

Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

I'll be honest. I went into this book with pretty low expectations. It looked sad. It looked like just another LGBT book, and there are so many out right now that are preachy and trying to prove something.  You don't need to prove anything to me. I think love is love, and you should be with those that you love and who love you. So don't keep pushing anger because it'll rub me the wrong way.

That being said, this book was the opposite of what I expected. Yes, it was sad. Yes, it was LGBT. But it wasn't sad - it was heartbreaking. It was experiencing grief with real feelings and emotions. But it was also uplifting. Marin has been running away from her fears and her grief. She built a wall of sand and snow and ice and boarded herself away from everything she left behind. And with Mabel there she is finally able to let herself feel everything that happened to her and face her new reality.

And yes, it was LGBT, but it wasn't in your face. They weren't preaching. They simply stated that they loved each other. It wasn't particularly taboo or forbidden (though they kept a secret from most people), but they were best friends who felt they were in love, and though that's over now they still love each other. 

The entire story was beautifully written, real, surprising, lyrical, and warm - A story of grief and love interwoven through a snowstorm. One of the only books I've read so far this year that deserves 5 stars. Bravo :)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

When Fabiola's mother is detained by immigration when they leave Haiti to visit family in the United States, Fabiola is forced to navigate Detroit with only her aunt and her gruff cousins to guide her. Her aunt has recently had a stroke, and her cousins are tough , gruff Detroit natives, known to everyone as the Three Bees (brains, beauty & brawn).

There are hints of magical realism as Fabiola tries to hold on to her Haitian roots, continuing to pray to the Vodou spirits to help her and seeing them in the people she meets - the homeless man across the street who sings through the night, the hairdresser that gives her an American makeover, the detective who asks her to spy on her family and friends in order to save her mother, and the cute boy who calls her Fabulous.

This gritty story is definitely recommend for older teens or adults looking for a gripping diverse and emotional story about family, love, and the true meaning of "home."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Bang by Barry Lyga

One shot ruined his life. Another one could end it.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

At the age of four, Sebastian accidentally shot and killed his infant sister. Now fourteen, he still hasn't forgiven himself and contemplates suicide every night. When his best friend leaves for the summer, he figures it's finally the right time. 

That is until he meets Aneesa, a new girl in town, who, unlike everyone else, doesn't know about Sebastian's past. She convinces him to use his creative pizza talents to create YouTube channel and livens up his life for a while, distracting him from his guilt and loneliness, though it's still always hidden beneath the surface.

 Lyga's writing is honest and introspective, showing a perspective of tragedy that we rarely witness. This is a heartbreaking, but also heartwarming story that will remain with you for weeks after reading it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade BTween Books

At the library we’re always trying to find the best ways to serve the community. Sometimes this happens by adding new services, adding collections, or just rearranging furniture or materials. In the past couple months, we've found more and more older children or their parents crossing over from the children's department and coming in to the Teen Room. They're looking for books that are appropriate reads for those more precocious fourth, fifth, and sixth graders who need new, more challenging reading material, but aren't quite ready for some of the more mature titles that make up the majority of the Teen Fiction collection. 

So after a little experimentation, we sorted and shifted the books to create a new section of middle grade books. These are books that we consider PG - with minimal language or suggestive content. We're calling the collection BTween Fiction (Tween was a little too close to Teen for the spine lables) - stories for those not quite kids, not quite teens, but right in BTween! 

Check out a few of the titles in our new BTween collection!

1. Merlin – T.A. Baron 

2. Heartbeat – Sharon Creech

3. The Sky Inside – Clare B. Dunkle

4. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones

5. Sylo – D.J. MacHale

6. Airborn – Kenneth Oppel

7. The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

8. Okay for Now – Gary Schmidt

9. Falling over Sideways – Jordan Sonnenblick

10. Flipped – Wendelin Van Draanen

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read In 2017 So Far

To be honest, there haven't been a lot of books this year that I have loved. Yet. There's still plenty of time. I've read a lot of books, and I'm pretty certain I'm going to meet my goal of a hundred for the year (and possibly pass it - I'm at 59)! But I have read some very good stories that were either adorably fun or really bring out the feels. Here are my ten favorite so far this year. What are yours? 

 1. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
When Fabiola's mother is detained upon their arrival to the United States, Fabiola must navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit's west side, a new school, and a surprising romance all on her own while staying true to her Haitian roots. 

 2. Bang by Barry Lyga
A new friend and their YouTube cooking channel help fourteen-year-old Sebastian move on from accidentally shooting his infant sister ten years earlier.

 3. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure.

 4. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
The story of a teenage girl who's literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she's ever known.

 5. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
In a world where one can literally get lost in literature, Thursday Next, a Special Operative in literary detection, tries to stop the world's Third Most Wanted criminal from kidnapping characters.

 6. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
While the first book  in the series, Illuminae, followed the account of the Hypatia as it hurtled toward the Heimdall space station for sanctuary, this sequel describes the experience of Hanna, who lives aboard the Heimdall. She is the daughter of the space station commander who finds an unlikely ally in Nik, an unsavory gang member, as they attempt to defend the Heimdall, save the Hypatia, contain vicious alien creatures, and fix a rip in the space-time continuum.

7. Heist Society by Ally Carter
A group of teenagers uses their combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop's father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector.

 8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A fierce competition is underway, a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

 9. Spelled by Betsy Schow
As the crown princess of Emerald, Dorthea lives a charmed life full of Hans Christian Louboutin glass slippers and Glenda Original ball gowns. But when she unknowingly wishes upon a cursed star, all spell breaks loose and the rules of fairy tale disappear--taking Dorthea's parents with them.

10. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad plans to avenge the death of her dearest friend by volunteering to marry the murderous boy-king of Khorasan but discovers not all is as it seems within the palace.

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