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Delcroix Academy : The Candidates – Inara Scott

Posted by Laura on November 23, 2010

Danica Lewis is a little bit strange.   When she thinks someone is being threatened,  she can make things happen.  And sometimes these things are violent.  Because of this, she tries to stay away from people and not get noticed.   When people do notice her and start talking to her she is really good at turning the tables and getting them to talk about themselves.

So when representatives of a prestigious boarding school show up at her grandmother’s door offering Danica a full scholarship, she is more than a bit surprised.  Danica is not a particularly good student.  She is not involved in any clubs, but she does play soccer.  Not that she is a phenom, or anything.  But the people from the school insist that they want her.

Danica and her grandmother talk it over and decide to try it out for a few months.  Danica worries about keeping up with the course load, of keeping her distance from people so that she doesn’t make anything happen, of how her grandmother is getting on at home with no one to take care of her during the week.  And, she worries about why she was chosen for the Academy.

Delcroix Academy: The Candidates by Inara Scott has a slow build to the reason why Danica was chosen.  But in the meantime, the story of life at the school and the relationships that Danica makes lay the ground work for the continuation of the series.  And, book 2 is in the works.


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YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten – 2010 list

Posted by Laura on October 19, 2010

The Teens’ Top Ten list is in for 2010 and here are the winners:

1. Collins, Suzanne. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)

Katniss is faced with the challenges of being a victor of the Games, from keeping up the image of a romantic relationship with Peeta to trying to prevent rioting in the other districts. When the Capitol announces a twist that will affect Katniss forever, will she be able to survive re-entering the world of the Games? (YA Fic SF Collins)

2. Clare, Cassandra. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)

Still pursuing a cure for her mother’s enchantment, Clary uses all her powers and ingenuity to get into the forbidden country of the secretive shadowhunters, and to its capital, the City of Glass. There with the help of a newfound friend, she uncovers important truths that will not only help save her mother but all those that she holds most dear. (YA Fic SF Clare)

3. Carter, Ally. Heist Society

Katarina wants to get out of the family thievery business. When her father is suspected of stealing priceless artwork from an Italian mobster, she has to steal them back to save his life-and she has no idea where they are. (YA Fic M Carter)

4. Stiefvater, Maggie. Shiver

In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her Minnesota home, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity. Soon, he must make a life or death decision to stay with the one he loves. (YA Fic M Stiefvater)

5. Fitzpatrick, Becca. hush, hush

Nora has always been cautious in her relationships, but when Patch, who has a dark side she can sense, enrolls at her school, she is mysteriously drawn to him, despite warnings from her best friend, the school counselor and her own instincts. (YA Fic M Fitzpatrick)

6. Garcia, Kami and Margie Stohl. Beautiful Creatures

Lena isn’t like the other girls in Gatlin, South Carolina: she is a Caster. Ethan wants to be different; he hates life in Gatlin. So when he runs into Lena, something just clicks. Can an ancient curse, a shut-in uncle, and certain doom keep them apart? (YA Fic M Garcia)

7. Dessen, Sarah. Along for the Ride

When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before starting college, all the trauma of her parents’ divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences. (YA Fic Dessen)

8. Forman, Gayle. If I Stay

After a drive with her family, Mia wakes up to find the car in pieces and the bodies of her family by the side of the road. Although she is in a coma, she can see everything happening around her, almost as if she were a ghost. With her family gone, Mia has to decide if she should stay among the living or the dead. (YA Fic Forman)

9. Cashore, Kristin. Fire.

In a kingdom called the Dells, Fire is the last human-shaped monster, with unimaginable beauty and the ability to control the minds of those around her, but even with these gifts she cannot escape the strife that overcomes her world. (YA Fic SF Cashore)

10. Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls

Lia sees her eating disorder as a way to avoid so much: her stepmother’s pressure to be a role model for her new stepsister, her parents’ divorce, her mother’s constant hounding over her eating habits. Most importantly, she sees it as a means to escape the death of her best friend, the one she ignored the day she died from the same disease Lia is fighting herself. (YA Fic Anderson)

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Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness

Posted by Laura on October 12, 2010

Monsters of Men is the final book in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy.  I think of this as one of those series that runs at a gallop because the action of all the books takes place in a matter of months.  I highly recommend this series to people who like reading action stories that abound with tough decisions.  While it doesn’t play a big part in the storyline, there are some same sex relationships in the trilogy.  As with any series, please start with book one.  And, you many not want to read any more of this post…

At the end of the second book, Todd and Viola captured Mayor Prentiss – or President Prentiss, depending on who is talking.  Now, in Monsters of Men, Todd is guarding the Mayor while Viola is racing to beat Mistress Coyle to the scout ship.  Nothing good would come of the incoming settlers hearing Mistress Coyle’s view of events.

We have two armies clamoring to be the first to tell their story to the new settlers, but they weren’t planning on the third army.  The Spackle, who call themselves the Land, were the original people of the planet and the humans thought that all had been killed except for those they enslaved, and maybe a few stragglers in the countryside.  But, the humans were wrong.  There are thousands of the Land.  Millions of the Land.  And they have new weapons.

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Linger – Maggie Stiefvater

Posted by Laura on October 8, 2010

Linger is the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

In the first book, Shiver (blogged about here), we met our principal characters:  Sam and Grace.   Sam, who was a wolf in the winter and a boy in the summer, and Grace, the girl who loved him, but only knew him as a boy during the last summer he would remain human.

Well, because there is a book two, we know that Sam and Grace solved the problem of Sam becoming a wolf.  But now Grace has fallen ill.

In addition,  Beck, Sam’s pseudo-father, made new wolves over the previous summer.  He thought that no-one trustworthy would be left to care for the wolves once Sam could no longer shift.  But the new wolves weren’t necessarily good people.

Sam and Grace have their whole lives ahead of them.  But now, with Grace falling ill and having a boyfriend to boot, her parents are taking more interest in her life.  Or, perhaps more accurately, they’re interfering more with her life.  She is just a few months away from turning eighteen, and now they decide to parent.

There is a lot going on in this green printed book — yes, green ink.  (Which means that the copy of Shiver that I was reading last January really was printed in blue ink, no matter what anyone else told me when I asked them “Does this look blue to you?  I think it is blue.  I wonder if I am losing my mind…”) Pick it up, know that it is printed in green ink and join me in waiting for the final book, Forever, which will be published in July 2011.

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The Half-Life of Planets – Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin

Posted by Laura on October 5, 2010

Liana found a note in her locker on the last day of school.  The note had one word on it – “slut.”  Was the one word true?  Does that one word define her? Liana, who plans on being a planetary scientist, decides to have an experiment over the summer.  Can she make it through the whole summer without kissing a boy?

Maybe she can.  Or, maybe not.  The experiment may derail when she meets an interesting boy, Hank, in the ladies washroom at the hospital.  She is there visiting her father who is having another check-up over nothing.  Hank is visiting his heart-throb brother who just had his knee scoped.

Hank hadn’t intended to go into the ladies room to clean himself up after the coffee spill.  He just wasn’t paying attention to which bathroom he was entering.  Besides, there is hardly any difference between the two rooms.  Hank has Asperger’s syndrome and relates to people and situations differently than the norm.  Is that such a bad thing?

Liana is interested in planets.  Hank is particularly interested in music.  Liana secretly plans on not kissing over the summer.  Hank secretly wants this summer to be the one where he gets his first kiss.

The half-life of planets is told through alternating viewpoints, written by two authors: Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin.  Give it a try.   See what you think.

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Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Posted by nancydpl on October 2, 2010

June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, setting into motion a chain of events that ultimately leads to World War I. You know, the war between the Darwinists and the Clankers. That’s not the history you know? Welcome to Leviathan, an alternate history by Scott Westerfeld (author of Uglies, etc.). In this world, one side has “fabricated animals,” made by mixing strands of DNA to come up with something entirely new. Like message lizards, which are like voice recorders on sticky little feet, or an airship that’s mostly a gigantic airborn whale. The other side (the Clankers) finds this meddling in biology to be abhorrent and relies on machinery, but it’s pretty cool machinery. Think big tank-like vehicles on legs that can walk and run.

The story alternates between Midshipman Dylan Sharp (sshhh….”he’s” really a girl, disguising herself in order to be in the British Air Service) and Prince Aleksandar, son of the assassinated archduke, who’s just trying to escape Austria without being killed himself. They finally meet in Switzerland but being in a neutral country doesn’t mean they’re out of danger. Can these two trust each other enough to save the lives of the airship crew and Alek’s companions?

If you loved Airborn, if you like alternate history, if you like steampunk, then this is the book for you! The sequel, Behemoth, is out next week. I can’t wait to read it!

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Carter’s Big Break – Brent Crawford

Posted by Laura on September 8, 2010

It is the last day of school and Carter is disappointed that he isn’t old enough (at fourteen) to be a junior lifeguard at the pool.  His dad has grand plans though.  He and Carter will rebuild the deck over the summer.   Great.

Things start looking up when Carter finds out that an independent film will be shot in his city over the summer.  Not only that, but the writer of the book that the movie is based on saw Carter and his girlfriend, Abby, act opposite each other in the spring play “Guys and Dolls” and wants them to play the leads.

The studio has a differing opinion, and the money to back it.  So, while Carter does get the lead, Abby doesn’t.  Her role is played by the teen sensation Hilary Idaho.

Carter isn’t significantly different in Brent Crawford’s  Carter’s big break from how he was in Carter finally gets it.   (Click here for blog post on that book.)  He still likes hanging out with his boys.   He still doesn’t like to drink or want anything to do with drugs (he doesn’t even like hanging around anyone who is drinking or doing drugs).  And he is still sex obsessed, but inexperienced.  Can you imagine the trouble he can get into as a star in a movie?  The paparazzi are watching.

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Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

Posted by Laura on August 25, 2010

Mockingjay is book three in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  If you have not read the second book, stop reading this post and pick up a copy because what I write in the next paragraph will spoil book 2, Catching Fire.  If you haven’t yet read the first book, The Hunger Games, I can forgive you, but you really need to remedy the situation and start with book one.  The trilogy is complete so there is no reason to delay.  And stop reading this post.

When we last left Katniss she was badly injured flying in a hovercraft away from the Hunger Games where she, Beetee and Finnick had just been snatched from the arena.  Peeta, lovely Peeta, was left behind.  District 12 had been destroyed, but Gale, Prim and Katniss’s mother survived.

Mockingjay opens with Katniss standing in the ruins of District 12, looking at the horrible toll the rebellion has already taken.  Buildings destroyed, bodies decaying, sculls covered in ash.  The Victor’s Village is untouched.

The survivors of District 12 now live in District 13, because, yes there are still people in District 13.  They live underground and their leader, Coin, has a plan that is already in motion to crush the power of the Capitol and bring down President Snow.  Katniss is part of that plan, but she needs to decide if she is willing to pick up the mantle of being the Mockingjay, the symbol of resiliency, survival and independent thought that the Capitol was certain had been crushed out of the Districts.

If she agrees she will be on camera, in a suit designed by Cinna, in a production that is out of her control, speaking words that are not her own, sent to battles but told not to participate.  According to Katniss, the wrong person was saved from the arena.  They should have saved Peeta.

But, what of Peeta?  President Snow has plans for him.

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Next week is HUGE!

Posted by Laura on August 17, 2010

Hey — have you been reading the Teens’ Top Ten nominees?   Hmm?   Have you?

Get ready to vote starting next week, Monday, August 23rd!  Voting ends September 17th.  Vote at www.ala.org/teenstopten

Also next Tuesday, August 24th – book 3 in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay will be released!  We also have the audiobook on order.  I can tell you, having read and listened to both of the previous books, that you can’t go wrong either way.

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Little Blog on the Prairie – Catherine Davitt Bell

Posted by nancydpl on August 12, 2010

How’s this for your summer vacation: turn over your iPod. Your sneakers and sandals. Your deodorant. Your tank tops, t-shirts and shorts. And step into the world of 1890. For TWO WHOLE MONTHS! In Little Blog on the Prairie by Catherine Davitt Bell, this is what Genevieve Welsh’s family does: spend the summer at Frontier History Family Camp. It’s Gen’s mom’s dream but to Gen it’s just a big pain and she’s let everyone know it. So as a reward the night before they leave for camp, Gen’s mom shows her a cell phone that will be Gen’s…after they return. How exciting is that? That’s Gen’s dream: to have her own phone and be able to text her friends, just like everyone else. It would be OK to take it with her to camp, wouldn’t it? She won’t actually use it. Just look at it. Or maybe just send a sample text… or two. Frontier History Family Camp is way worse than Gen imagined. She can’t keep anything from her real life (sshhh: she hid the phone in the pocket of her “new” long-sleeved ankle-length wool dress), she has to share a bed with her 10-year-old brother, the food is horrible and there’s no indoor plumbing. And to top it off, the daughter of the people who run the camp hates her. To share her misery, Gen pulls out her new phone….and texts her friends. And then does it again. And again. And by then it just seems OK to Gen to go on, letting her friends know about her miserable summer. But after a few weeks, it turns out there are a few things that aren’t so miserable. There’s Caleb… When the crisis comes, how will Gen vote: stay or go? How would you do without any 21st century (or even 20th century!) conveniences? Is this the experience of a lifetime? Or just a summer to forget?

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