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You go Glen Coco!!

A staple of the teen movie phenomenon has always been the fish out of water. Some girl or boy who doesn’t fit in where they are, whether because of social standing, intelligence or the fact that they’ve just transferred in from some backwoods hole. Don’t believe me? I’ve got proof!

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

I could go on. Trust me. But I think I’ve proved my point. Don’t you? πŸ˜‰

And that is exactly what this week’s book is about. A fish (in this case a girl) way, way, way out of water. So now that you know the basic plot… and have been dazzled by my endless cinematic references ;), let’s get to it shall we? πŸ™‚

Book cover of Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Summary:

16 year old Brooke Berlin has everything. Famous parents, an incredible home, designer everything, a first class private school education and popularity out the wazoo. Does she need a heretofore unknown sister showing up from out of nowhere and taking the spotlight off her? Clearly NOT!

Molly Dix, also 16, has just watched her mother die of cancer, and along the way found out that her father was a) not dead and b) not who she thought he was at all. Now she’s headed to LA (from Indiana) to live with movie star Brick Berlin, and she has no idea what is in store for her.

Is it possible for these two girls to get along? For things to go smoothly for either Molly or Brooke? Of course not!! The only question is, how bad will it actually get?

Review:

I was super pumped when I heard about this book. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a pop-culture junkie. And the authors of this book feed the fashion portion of my pop-culture needs. πŸ™‚ Their blog, Go Fug Yourself, satiates the fashion-crazed part of me that was created by watching far too much Fashion Television during the 80’s & 90’s. The fact that it’s filled with epic amounts of snark only tickles my fancy more.

I went into this book thinking that it would be fun, but likely on the brainless end of the Braincandy Scale of Book Evaluation. (This is the scale that I use to make snap judgements about whether or not I want to read something. Let me give you an example. When faced with the following two book covers, I would rate them based solely on appearance.

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β 

The first book I would give a ‘YES, I’M READING THAT SUCKER’. And the second book would get a ‘Next‘.

They are both well written books. In fact, from a literary award standpoint, book two kicks book one’s ass. But the Braincandy Scale of Book Evaluation is about the finding immediately enjoyable, funny/fluffy/cuddly/awesome reads, not literature. Because that’s how I roll folks. πŸ˜‰ )

So here I am thinking this book is going to be fluff, and possibly not even well written fluff. Well boy was I wrong. This sucker lived up to theΒ aesthetics of it’s fabulously glam cover. Do you think maybe someone’s trying to tell me something? Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, perhaps? πŸ˜‰

Anyhoo, down to brass tacks. Firstly, you have to love a good fish out of water story. Especially when the fish, or, in this case, the girl, gets to move into a huge Hollywood mansion with a famous movie star. Who happens to be awesomely clueless. This dude is so into his own hype, that he really has no clue about what his daughters are up to, going through, or even where they might be at any given time on a typical day. But despite all of that, Heather and Jessica (yes, I’m going to call the authors by their first names… no judging) have created a genuinely likeable character in Brick Berlin. Yes, he’s dopey as the day is long, but his heart really seems to be in the right spot. And let’s be honest, if he managed to get Molly’s mom (who by all reports was a pretty awesome lady) to fall in love with him, he can’t be all bad right? At least he tries! And really, isn’t that what every kid wants? A parent who tries? And genuinely cares? I think so.

What else did I like about this book? The bad behaviour. You have to love it when your characters are awful to each other! πŸ˜‰ The plotting, the scheming, the absolute Dynasty-ness of it all was brilliant. (I suppose I should use tv references from the last ten years eh? Um how about The Hills? There was lots of drama on that show, right?) The best thing, to me anyway, was that both Brooke and Molly acted like mean girls at different times. Neither of them were cast as the total innocent in the situation. And really, isn’t that much more true to life? It’s hard being nice to people sometimes, espeically when you’re in high school and people are mean to you much of the time. It definitely doesn’t make it right… but we all remember that from Kindergarten don’t we? πŸ˜‰ Or was that Mean Girls…

So if you’re looking for a good read that doesn’t hammer home a message, but isn’t completely without morals… and is set in this world, not a post-apocalypse one, you should try Spoiled. And if you’re a pop-culture fan like me? Well this is practically required reading. Grab a latte, put on your Uggs and snuggle up with this book, it’s well worth it I swear! (Just so we’re clear, I neither drink lattes nor wear Uggs. Just want to make that clear. πŸ™‚ )

Rating: 4 out of 5 star rating

While I would say that Beauty Queens is by far the more original of the two, ‘Spoiled’ definitely rates highly on my radar for being a very good read. While I was drawn to both because of splashy packaging, I am definitely getting the message… don’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover! The universe is definitely trying to teach me a lesson. πŸ˜‰ I’m sure you’re much smarter than I, and will be quick to snap up Spoiled because it sounds like a good read, not because it’s pretty. πŸ™‚ I’m so happy to have such smart and discerning followers for my blog!

How to get this book:

  1. book

And to wrap this post up in a nice, tidy package… here are two clips from the best movie about mean girls ever… ENJOY!

Hot off the presses!

So I’m doing something I’ve never done on this blog before today. Promoting a library event. *gasp!* πŸ˜‰ It’s not that there haven’t been events in the past that I could have promoted. But this one, it’s special. Why? Because it’s for you. A young adult who lives in/near Bracebridge and has an interest in books. And you are who this blog is for!! So you can see why I’d be promoting the event right??? Ok. Good. πŸ˜‰

Here’s the scoop. Local author, Bryan Dearsley, will be coming to the library to promote the release of his YA adventure Alex Mortimer and the Beast of Wildeor. This is happening in 3 weeks and 2 days (also known as December 10th) at a not terribly early hour of the day (a.k.a. 11am). Get out your calendar, and put that in!

He will not only be signing copies of his book, but Mr Dearsley will also do a reading from Alex Mortimer… making this event an honest to goodness BOOK SIGNING. Like ones you see famous people doing for their much less awesome books about how they got famous for doing nothing. (Paris Hilton anyone? Can’t include the Kardashians in that list, obvs, as they’re so hard working and don’t do things solely for the press. OBVS.) Clearly, however, this will be better. Because Mr Dearsley wrote this book himself! And it’s an adventure book! Who doesn’t love adventures???

There will be copies available to buy, for the low low price of $19.95, and some of that $$ goes to support the Friends of the Bracebridge Public Library. Who are these Friends you ask? Well they’re people who ❀ the library as much as we do and spend their time fundraising for awesome things the library needs. We ❀ the Friends here @ YAbooks@BPL. πŸ™‚

So come to the library Dec 10th @ 11am for this totally YA-centric event!

No seriously, do it. πŸ˜‰

BTW, need more info about the event or want more info about Alex Mortimer and the Beast of Wildeor? Check our FB page! facebook.com/BracebridgePublicLibrary

Without further ado (I realise that I am a week behind, my apologies) here are the new books @ BPL from last month. πŸ™‚

Emma by Jane Austen

Fanatics by William Bell (Recognise that name??? You should. πŸ˜‰ )

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Waiting for No One by Beverley Brenna

Spoiled by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan (There will be a post on this one very soon! And here it is. Aren’t I helpful, making links for you?)

Matched by Ally Condie

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain

Fateful by Claudia Gray

I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler

The Chamber of Five by Michael Harmon

My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (I’ve already read it, and LOVED IT!! :D)

The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale

Victim Rights by Nora McClintock

Dragon Seer’s Gift by Janet McNaughton

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

Little Jane Silver by Adira Rotstein

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Intertwined by Gena Showalter

The Nine Lives of Chloe King by Celia Thomson

End of Days by Eric Walters

Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler

I really don’t think that there are many movies made from books that can hold a candle to the book that inspired them. Most of the time when I have read a book and enjoyed it I am very reluctant to see the movie version. There are many movies from books that I remember being TERRIBLY disappointing on so many levels, but usually I just don’t understand why they have to change something from the book to put it in the movie. It’s like they think that the movie-going public doesn’t read or is really stupid or something. But the bigwigs in Hollywood should know better by know, shouldn’t they? I mean, hello??, Harry Potter??? Like everyone who saw those movies hadn’t read the books? In this day of Avatar-esque technology is there anything that is written in a book that can’t be put in a movie? I mean, come on!

Because of past disappointments like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, My Sister’s Keeper, The Devil Wears Prada, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Jane Austen Book Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, P.S. I Love You,… really the list just goes on and on…. I generally try to stay away from movie versions of books I have loved. I will, however, gladly go and see movies that have been made from books that I have not yet read, or do not plan on reading. The Help would be an excellent recent example. Despite our library having 3 copies of this book, there has been a list of holds on it as long as my arm since about May this year. I suppose I could have put my name on the list and waited my turn… but I wanted to see the movie! So I did. And it was awesome. πŸ™‚ And now, when I finally get to read the book, I can be pleasantly surprised and happy about how much better it is than the movie. πŸ˜‰

So why, you ask, am I ranting about movies today? Well because the books I am going to be featuring in this post have already been made into a movie. One that I, thankfully, saw before I ever read the books. So now I can like them both for their own special reasons. πŸ™‚ I think that I’m going to make this my goal from now on: Never watch movies of books you have read if you can possibly avoid it because you know it will make you angry. πŸ™‚ Probably a good rule of thumb right? πŸ˜‰

Here they are, the books I’ve chosen for this week. Maybe you should go and find the movie first though … just saying. πŸ˜‰

Book covers for all 6 Scott Pilgrim books

The Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Summary:

Scott Pilgrim is 23. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is in a band. And he is dating a highschooler. Needless to say, drama will ensue. However, it won’t come from his high school aged girlfriend but rather from the girl he falls for next. Ramona Flowers. The girl with 7 evil exes who must be defeated to win her love. Good luck, Scott.

Review:

So first let me say, I did not discover this book on my own. There was a class at library school that was totally about graphic novels. I didn’t take it, but not because I was not interested. More because it was on a Friday at 9am in the summer semester. And I’m sorry because maybe this makes me a bad person, but I was not about to take a class on a Friday in the summer. It was hard enough going to school in the summer as it was. (Sunshine seems to be detrimental to my ability to learn.) However, this class took a field trip to see the movie based on these graphic novels and opened it up to those of us not cool enough to have taken the class. Which was pretty decent of them if you ask me. πŸ˜‰ Now this was great, I like any reason to go and see movies, but what made it even better was the personal connection those of us on that trip had to this series/movie. You see, the character in the books and the movie named ‘Other Scott’ is based on a man who went to library school with us last year. Not shockingly, his name is also Scott. So it was very cool to see our Scott immortalized in film. πŸ™‚

Since this movie came out I have been wanting to get my hands on these books. And let me just say that they did not disappoint. The movie was, in my opinion amazing… which is why I have forced friends to watch it with me on several occasions and I know that at least one of them has gone on to do the same to her other friends :D… and like I said above, when a movie is based on a book and is actually not bad, you know the book is going to blow your mind.

Bryan Lee O’Malley is a great writer. He also happens to be a great graphic novelist. His characters are so well fleshed out that you really feel that you are experiencing things alongside them, rather than just sitting back and watching a show. Also, he has managed to capture portraits of people that you already know. Everyone knows a guy like Scott who tries too hard and just really couldn’t get his life together if he tried. They know the girls that he used to date, like Kim, who are bitter but still hang out with him… which creates a crazy dynamic. And we all know people like Stacey (Scott’s sister) and Wallace (Scott’s roommate) who love Scott, but are not at all blind to his failings and don’t hesitate to call him on his stuff. Especially when it allows them to lord over him. As it invariably does, because, let’s face it, Scott kinda fails at life a lot of the time. πŸ™‚

This is also an epic underdog story. Scott is not super talented, not super handsome, not super smart, and definitely not super smooth with the ladies. And this is why you root for him. You want him to succeed because you know what at least some of that feels like.

Finally, these books are super fast reads. There’s love and action (Hello, Scott does have to defeat Ramona’s 7 evil exes… did you figure he did that in a dance sequence?? Hells to the No! There are Chuck Norris style kick butt fight scenes :D) and drama… not to mention awesome pop-culture shout-outs and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s fabulous artwork. Plus the series is done. While I did read an interview with Byran that said that he might consider more Scott Pilgrim in the future, for the present time, he’s not going to be doing any additions to the series. So this means that you can grab all 6 books and get the full Pilgrim saga, no waiting. Instant gratification… ain’t it lovely? πŸ˜‰ Now, I ask you, what are you waiting for? Go, get them!! πŸ˜€

Rating: 5 of 5 star rating

This book is Canadian and it doesn’t suck. (Yes W.O. Mitchell… I’m pointing at you. Again.) Please don’t think that I’m saying every Canadian book sucks. This is not true. But this book is Canadian. And it doesn’t suck. πŸ˜‰ Also, Michael Cera’s in the movie.

See… there’s just so much to give 5 stars!! And there’s so much more awesomeness in the book!! I didn’t think it was possible, but it REALLY WAS! Ok… I might need to lie down. I’m a little overwrought. πŸ˜‰ Just go read the books and you’ll know what I mean. Do it for me, ok? πŸ˜‰

How to get these books:

  1. graphic novels

*Librarian note* Just a tip: Graphic novels live in a slightly different spot than other YA novels @ our library. We have chosen to shelve them as non-fiction, usually under the call number: 741. They are not, however, shelved with the other non-fiction titles. (Confused already?) Instead, they live on the top of the bookcase that houses video games, magazines and audiobooks/playaways. If you need help finding them, just head to the librarian at the desk upstairs. They’ll/I’ll be more than happy to show you exactly where they are. πŸ™‚

When I was 12 my mom went to teachers college. She had to move to be able to go, which was odd for me to say the least. But it ended up giving me two things that directly relate to this book. Thing 1: experience ‘parenting’ a younger sibling. Thing 2: An awesome anthology of children’s literature. (I would love to be more specific about this book, but I’ve just spent the last 15 min scouring the house for it and I don’t know where it has gone. It was dark green and hardcover and about 2 or 3 inches thick… but where it has gone, I have no idea. This makes me le sad. 😦 )

So thing 1 was… interesting. Needless to say my sister and I have very different memories of that time. I remember having to get her up and fed and dressed and to school (no easy feat, which usually involved threats and tears from both of us)… tearing her away from Sailor Moon at lunch time… and making a lot of pasta. She remembers me being mean, me being mean, me pulling her hair when I would put it up, me being mean some more, and hating spaghetti for a long while after this year was over. I’d love to say that this brought us closer together right away and things were awesome between us once our Mom returned and restored the parental balance. But I would be lying. I was 12. She was 8. There were many more years of both of us being mean (probably more me though), not talking to each other, and tears to come. But fast forward to now? I think we are closer because of it, and also because we have stopped being so mean all the time. Dare I say it? Did we grow up?? *gasp* Who knew this day would come??? lol But this arc that our relationship took… I think it’s a lot like what the two sisters in this week’s book go through. Just with more sharp weapons. πŸ˜‰

Now thing 2. Thing 2 was my favourite book for so long because of one thing. Roald Dahl’s poem about Little Red Riding Hood. Here’s a link to the full text, I highly recommend you read it. NOW. lol

No, seriously. Go now. I’ll wait.

Ok. So this poem totally tickled my fancy. I used it for auditions for school plays, recited it to strangers for funzies, and even used it in my Children’s Materials class last year at library school. I ❀ THIS POEM FOREVER. Understand? πŸ˜‰ It’s totally twisted and different, and spins off from the original fairy tale that we are all familiar with in a delicious way. (Now that I think about it, it’s just as awesome as Lizzy’s Lion by Dennis Lee. If you can get your hands on that book, do. You won’t regret it.) And this is what I love very much about this week’s book. It is a brilliant reinterpretation of the Grimm Fairy Tale (and you already know how much I like those…) that works in the modern world and maintains all of the fabulous horror that those original tales were meant to incite.

And now, it is my great pleasure to share with you this week’s kick-ass book:

Book cover of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Summary:

Scarlett and Rosie March live very happily in the forest with their Grandmother. Until one day when a salesman comes to their door. This is no ordinary salesman. In fact there is nothing at all ordinary about him at all. He changes into a wolf, attacks and kills their Grandmother and Scarlett has to fight him to the death to protect herself and Rosie.

Left alone after the death of their neighbour, the woodsman who looked after them after the wolf attack, Scarlett and Rosie spend their time fighting the wolves who prey on young women. Scarlett is obsessed with ridding the world of these wolves, but Rosie wonders if there isn’t more to life than hunting down evil beings. Then Scarlett’s friend, Silas, returns from a trip out west and Rosie becomes sure that there is more to life than hunting. At the same time, they all notice that the wolves have increased in numbers and set out to hatch a plan to bring them all down.

But will their plan work? And will Scarlett let Rosie be more than the skilled hunter she herself has become? Or will they all die fighting the evil wolves?

Review:

Ok, so I just have to get this out of the way. As I was finishing this book I had an epiphany. And while you may not understand this until you read the book (do it!), you might still chuckle or LOL like I did. πŸ™‚

Scarlett could be Batman.

Totally.

Like this:

Or this:

She would seriously just need sufficient start-up capital. Oh and an Alfred.

But then she would be Batman.

Ok, so aside from the Scarlett/Batman realization, what did I think of this book? Well I loved the heck right out of it. This sucker’s got something for everybody. Action, romance, mystery, intrigue, blood, guts, gore… and it’s really well written. Jackson Pearce has certainly moved on to my short-list for ‘Fav YA Author Discovered This Year’. Otherwise known as my FYAADTY list. πŸ˜‰

Her characters are well fleshed out and definitely believeable. Like I mentioned in my preamble, I really related to Scarlett and Rosie. It’s not easy having a sibling, especially when you feel that you aren’t as good as they are or you feel that you are indebted to them.Β  Sibling relationships are complex, and the fact that Jackson Pearce can write a book from both perspectives and show them to be of equal merit and depth highlights her skill as a writer.

But it isn’t just her characters that shine in this book. Jackson Pearce put together one hell of an action-packed plot! This book was a total page turner, that sucked me in and only very reluctantly let go. You know you’ve got a good book on your hands when hours pass and you don’t even notice! The fight scenes in the book were very awesome too. I love the idea of two kick-butt girls taking on deadly wolves with only their training and blades to keep them safe. And I also really liked the fact that both Scarlett and Rosie didn’t leave the battles unscathed. There is nothing more insulting than a book or movie that tries to sell the idea that you can come out of a fight without a mark on you. I can barely walk around my house without slamming into something, let alone fight someone to the death (which I’ve never even come close to doing btw… but I’m using my imagination here!) and come through it all unscathed. I remember a pillow fight ending in a bloody nose, and a judo battle that ended up with me at the orthodontist and my sparring partner with shredded knuckles. Neither of my combatants in these two cases were demon wolves btw. πŸ˜‰

And the last reason I loved this book is because of Silas. Dear, sweet, wonderful Silas. Silas, who knew enough to let the girls fight and not try to be macho and steal their power. I loved him for that, and for loving Scarlett and Rosie for who they were. Not going to lie, but if my boyfriend weren’t so awesome… I’d totally go and see if Jackson Pearce modeled him on a real guy. See if I could get his digits. πŸ˜‰ lol

Rating: 5 of 5 star rating

I flipping loved this book. Devoured it hole. And now I am very impatiently waiting for Jackson Pearce’s next book to come in. Fingers crossed that it comes soon. πŸ˜€ There is always time in my life to curl up with an awesome fairy tale!

How to get this book:

  1. book
  2. e-audiobook

I would just like to point out that Jackson Pearce has a YouTube channel. She’s also a pretty awesome puppeteer apparently. I think I’m in love. πŸ˜€

IT’S ALIVE!!!!! ALIVE!!!!!!!

One summer when I was a teenager I decided that I needed to read more ‘classics’. You know, those works of fiction that everyone harps on you to read, saying that they’ve stood the test of time and if you don’t read them you’ll be lost in your life forever. Blah, blah, blah. Amirite? Anyhoo, a lot of these classics you’re forced to read in high school… depending on where you go to school of course. My high school focused a lot on Canadian literature, which meant that most of the books I read were by authors I’d never heard of before but now know are some of the most highly regarded authors in Canada’s literary world. (Why some of them are on the list boggles my mind… yes W.O. Mitchell I’m talking to you, but hey, what do I know?)

Now the people reading this who are into classic literature are probably coming up with an extensive list in their head of what books I should have read during this summer. Chances are what I read will not be on that list. Unless they’re a classic novel enthusiast who happens to love monsters that is. No Grapes of Wrath, War and Peace, or Pride and Prejudice for me! (Although another summer saw me read the entire collected works of Jane Austen. A lady that I will love forever for giving us Mr Darcy!) Nope, I read the great monster classics, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker. At this point I think I got distracted by other books, and that ended my run of ‘classics’, but these two books have always kept a special place in my heart. πŸ™‚

So I credit this foray into the world of classic monster literature as part of the reason why I got SO INCREDIBLY CRAZY EXCITED when I read that this week’s book was coming out. So if you like monsters, or wonder what teenage boy goes on to create monsters… this is a book for you!

Let’s get to it shall we?

Book cover of 'This Dark Endeavour' by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

Summary:

Victor Frankenstein has things pretty good. He along with his twin, Konrad, cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry have the run of a huge castle (Chateau Frankenstein, don’t you know), indulgent parents and hoards of servants who care for their every need. It’s not shocking that Victor’s a little bit spoiled and full of himself. Wouldn’t you be? Thankfully Victor has Konrad to keep his feet firmly on the ground. Until, suddenly, Konrad becomes deathly ill. Victor is desperate to save his twin and will stop at nothing to ensure that he will not lose the only person he loves as much as himself. But what this quest to save Konrad will ultimately lead Victor to do may change the course of his life forever.

Review:

So Kenneth Oppel is a pretty famous Canadian author. (Interesting tidbit about Mr. Oppel? He wrote his first novel at age 15. Sent it to his fav author, Roald Dahl, who passed it on to his own agent and, presto, it was published in 1985.) I haven’t read any of his other books before… so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Like I said before, I don’t always understand why some authors are held in such high esteem, and this has made me skeptical. But I was very very pleasantly surprised!

The characters in this book were so life-like for me. I really felt that Victor was a real guy, experiencing totally normal emotions given the fact that his twin was deathly ill. I also really liked the love/rivalry that defined so much of his relationship with Konrad. I don’t have a twin, but I can only imagine what it would be like to have someone in your life that was physically identical to you, but different in so many other ways. The best part of Victor for me was how easy Kenneth Oppel made it to understand the things that Victor was willing to do. In the hands of another author I feel that Victor could easily have become a character that you could not relate to, one that was a villian rather than the genuinely conflicted young man that he seemed to be.

The pacing of this story was excellent. You not only got to know what was going on in the character’s heads, were given sufficient backstory to make them and the whole tale feel genuine, but it moved like a runaway freight train! There was just enough down-time in the story to give your poor brain a rest, but never enough to make the it drag or become boring. The historical setting was also very interesting. I don’t know much about alchemy or the history of modern medicine, but I really enjoyed learning bits and pieces about it through the story. Inadvertent learning really is the best, I feel. πŸ˜‰

Now, I know that my natural disposition is to want a sequel or series from any book that I like as much as I liked this one. This situation is no different. However, I could cope should there not be any other books about Victor Frankenstein forthcoming from the brilliant place that is Kenneth Oppel’s brain. This book is such a great standalone novel… it gives you lots of material to work with and although you would very much like to know what happens next, it is rather fun just imagining it for yourself. And I never think that. Ever. I always want my worlds to continue and my relationships to characters to last for more books than any author would ever want to write. So I think that either I’m coming down with something, or Kenneth Oppel has managed to do what I never thought possible. Create a world that I would like to explore in my own imagination without an author spoonfeeding me the story. It’s an odd feeling, but I like it. Kind of like the first bike ride without the training wheels… kind of freeing, but totally scary! πŸ™‚ So I think you should get out there and take off your training wheels… see what you think about this awesomely fabulous addition to the classic monster story genre!

Rating: 4 of 5 star rating

I really liked this book! I was impressed with Kenneth Oppel’s ability to look beyond the classic story and imagine a world in which Victor Frankenstein became the man from Mary Shelley’s classic novel. I think this must have been very exciting to write, but I also imagine that he would have had some trepidation in adding to the story that is so well known and respected in western literature. But let’s see what he has to say about writing this book shall we? (Isn’t YouTube awesome?)

How to get this book:

  1. book
  2. e-audiobook

And now, here’s a clip from one of my favourite interpretations of the Frankenstein Monster tale: Young Frankenstein. Clearly not your traditional take on the story. πŸ˜‰ But honestly people, dancing monsters? What’s not to love?!?!?

So I may or may not have had a minor panic attack this morning when I realized that it was already the 5th of October and I couldn’t remember the last time I did a New Titles list for you lovely people!! AAAH! Where does the time go???

Thankfully my panic was not necessary, as I did post a list last month. (This would be me heaving a sigh of relief!)

So without further yammering on my part, here’s your list. Enjoy!

Jump by Elisa Carbone

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

True Blue by Deborah Ellis

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (This is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to I Am Number Four. HIGHLY!! ANTICIPATED!!)

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (I’ve reviewed this one! Go team. πŸ˜‰ )

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

Wanted by Sara Shepard

Just Deserts by Eric Walters

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Wuthering Hearts by Kay Woodward

So I have a sister. Not all that surprising right? I’d either have a sister, a brother, both, or no siblings at all. It’s kinda how things work here. πŸ˜‰ Anyhoo, I’ve got a sister. She’s younger than me, which has really become pretty much irrelevant now that we’re both over the age of 20. However, I don’t want anyone to forget that I’m older. It’s an older sibling thing.

My sister isn’t as crazy-sauce for books as I am. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely reads, but she’s much less likely to be caught reading while doing everything it is at all possible to read and do at the same time as I am. I walk and read, brush my teeth and read, eat and read, take the cat out on a leash and read (Yeah, it’s embarrassing for both of us), and, if I could, I’d drive, sleep and shower while reading. It’s an addiction, I know this.

cat lying on back in garden wearing harnessSee, this is what I have to be seen outside with. It’s just easier to read while we’re outside and try and pretend that all the neighbours don’t think I’m nuts. But they do. They’ve mentioned it to me. Loudly. 😦

But my sister has done me several favours in our reading lives. She has allowed me to know the entire 1st Madeline book by heart (In an old house in Paris, all covered in vines…), has exposed me to the epic fantasy series Dragonlance, and introduced me to this week’s author. And for all of these things I have to thank her. Very much. But I should probably call her to do this because I don’t think she reads my blog. What a jerk eh? πŸ˜‰

So (while I call my sister and complain to her about how totally not supportive she is) I’m going to introduce you to our book of the week:

Book cover for Withering Tights

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Summary:

Tallulah Casey’s knees are located 4 feet off the ground (or so she says). Everyone else in her family is normal sized, but somehow she managed to get the giant gene. And to make matters more fearsome, she is heading off this summer to a theatre arts camp all by her lonesome.

Armed with her cousin Georgia’s comedy moustache and lots of hope about all of the boys she will meet, Tallulah heads off into the wilds of Yorkshire for a grand, and decidedly dramatic adventure!

Review:

Like I said, my first introduction to Louise Rennison came in the form of the first Georgia Nicholson book: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, that my sister had borrowed from a friend. I saw her reading it, thought ‘What the hell is up with that title?!?’ and decided that I HAD to read it. Like right away. So I stole it from her and read it. Good thing I am a fast reader, or that could have caused a bit of an issue. πŸ˜‰ And it was awesome. Lived up to its name 100%. Flash forward to now, and I have read most of the Georgia Nicholson series and love, Love, LOVE Louise Rennison’s writing style. And Georgia. She’s mad, and British and just completely mad, which is awesome. So needless to say (although you know me, I say a lot whether it’s needed or not!) I had very high expectations for this book. I also may have squealed when I saw it on the shelf.

This book, the first in a new series by Louise Rennison, is related to Georgia Nicholson and her series. And I really mean that, because the main character Tallulah is Georgia’s cousin.

Now I liked Tallulah, but not quite as much as I liked Georgia. Or maybe it is just that I didn’t love her instantly like I did Georgia. Because, now that I think about it, I did laugh within the first few pages after she kicked some old dude on a train by accident. (It’s her very long legs you see.) So yes, I’m going with no instant love for Tallulah. I had to get used to her, and our relationship needed to grow and blossom, which takes time.But I did come to like Tallulah very much, and had a great deal of fun with her on the moors of Yorkshire.

All of the supporting characters in this book, from the ridiculously dramatic staff at Tallulah’s drama camp thinger to the family that she lives with while in Yorkshire, were sensational. Quirky and memorable, which is exactly what I had expected from Louise. And I really liked that Tallulah narrated the book, but that she moved away from the diary style of the Georgia Nicholson series.

A good thing to know about this book before you read it is that you might want to at least brush up on your Bronte sisters, if not actually read Wuthering Heights. (Or the plot summary…) Not that it has much to do with the plot of this book, but they do refer to it a lot. Starting with the title. … You picked that up right? πŸ˜‰

Basically this is just a killer book about a girl who likes acting, is insecure about her knees, and wants to know what it’s like to kiss a boy. So pretty much every girl between the ages of 12 and 18. πŸ˜‰ Oh and for those of you who want to know if this is a ‘kissing book’? The answer is yes. But there is also a pie eating contest, squirrel slippers and owls. Clearly this is much more than just a ‘kissing book’. πŸ˜€

Rating: 3 of 5 star rating

I know what you’re thinking. 3 stars?? Why only 3?? And this is my reason: Had I not read all of the Georgia Nicholson books I bet you $1.50 that I would have loved, Loved, LOVED these books too! (I say $1.50 b/c I’ve been accused of exaggerating in the past and am trying to prove a point. It’s just no fun to use amounts of money you could actually afford to bet when trying to illustrate something in an emphatic manner. Fact.) But the fact remains that I did, and so Tallulah had to work harder to impress me.

Bottom line, this rating is not about the book as much as it is about me. πŸ˜‰ It is still a super quick and quirky read and I totally recommend you read it. There is fun to be had in this one people!

How to get this book:

  1. book

I know you’ll be relieved to know, we also have some of the Georgia Nicholson books. And what we don’t have, if you want it, we can get it. Bring your library card to me, and I’ll get ‘er done. πŸ™‚

And if this all sounds too wonderful and you can’t wait to get in here to borrow Withering Tights… here’s a wee short story from Louise’s website, starring both Georgia and Tallulah. Fun! Oh I love these books…

A word picture, just for you!

So it’s confession time people. Brace yourselves. *cue dramatic music*

I have never read a graphic novel.

I know, I know! You’d think given how fabulously cool and up on trends in YA books I am (cough, cough…) that I would have been all over the graphic novel thing years and years ago.

Epic fail on my part.

Now I did grow up reading as many of these bad boys as I could get my hands on.

Cover art for an 'Archie' comic book Limited funds and smart parenting meant that I was pretty much restricted to what I could borrow from friends, but this allowed me to complete university without massive debt… so I suppose I should not be too bitter. Vintage 'Spiderman' comic book coverAnd there was some access to older copies of the classic comics, like Batman and Spiderman kicking around in my childhood too. So it’s not like I haven’t had access to the graphic format… honest!

But as for actually reading a graphic novel… nope. I remember, when a library that I worked in started adding them to the collection, being very confused as to why you started reading some of them from what we in the West consider to be the back of the book. This just really threw me for a loop. Apparently this is not hard to do. πŸ™‚ This didn’t prompt me to read one though.

So I decided, in the interest of this blog and dragging myself into the 21 Century, to read a graphic novel. Not a whole lot of thought went into the selection… mostly because the 1st Scott Pilgrim was out and I didn’t recognize anything else on the shelf. (Clearly I did a lot of research before embarking on this journey. lol) But my fingers found me a wee gem, so I am happy to report my mission a success. πŸ™‚

To further set the stage for this week’s book, I’m just going to share a classic video. I love fairy tales, but I also love when they get twisted up. The True Story of The Three Little Pigs or The Stinky Cheese Man (both found here) are excellent examples of what I’m talking about. πŸ™‚

Like I said, here’s the wee video:

And now, our book!

Book cover of Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

Summary:

It starts with the story of Sleeping Beauty you guys, do you really need me to retell that old yarn for you??? And then it changes into another crazy fairy tale… but I don’t do spoilers (or I really really try not to… ) so you’re not getting a summary. Sorry ’bout your luck. πŸ˜€

Review:

I know nothing about graphic novels, like I’ve already said. So I am really not qualified to comment on anything. That said, I have an opinion about pretty much everything, and that is what I’m going to share. πŸ˜‰

While in library school last year I rediscovered a love for picture books. I understand why we move away from reading picture books when we are children. They are seen to be for young children, and are often written without too much depth or with heavy-handed messages that are just too shallow or preachy for older children. Also, we see books with fewer pictures being read by our parents, older siblings or other more grown up people, and since we generally want to be like them, this is what we aspire to. But I think that we should all return to picture books before we become parents. Well before this in fact. Graphic novels are a wonderful gateway for this to start happening more and more because they can be produced for every age group, not just teens.

So like I said, Castle Waiting starts with the story of Sleeping Beauty. It’s a pretty well known fairy tale and this book sticks true to the story as I remember it until the very end. Then things take off at a bit of a right angle to the traditional ‘happy ending’ we all know as standard for Western fairy tales. (Often the original fairy tale is not so kind as the Disney-fied version we’re all so used to. Grab yourself a book of Brothers Grimm tales and you’ll see what I mean.) The focus leaves Sleeping Beauty, now awake and with her ‘one true love‘ the Prince, and stays on the castle where she had been asleep for 100 years.The castle becomes host to all sorts of odd creatures and gains a reputation as a place for those without homes to find peace along their journeys.

I really liked some of the story arcs that began in Castle Waiting. (My research has told me that there is a 2nd book, and I’m seeing if we can’t get it for our collection as it would be nice to know where this all ends up.) And I also really enjoyed the story being told in pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll ever move away from all-text books completely, but it really felt different reading a book that engaged more than just the part of my brain that makes sense of words. I felt like I was using more of my brain to read, if that makes any sense. Also, it seemed to me that I was able to read the book faster than I would normally. I would bet that this is because we can understand pictures faster than we can read and comprehend words, so being able to both see the story in pictures and only have to read the dialogue made things move along much faster than normal. (If you don’t love words, maybe graphic novels are the format for you?)

The only thing I didn’t really get into in Castle Waiting was the way some of the characters were depicted. And this is where the graphic format lost me a little. With text, I can imagine a character looks how I want them too look. Generally the author has given a descripton of them, but if I don’t agree totally with their verbal summation of the character’s looks I can change my mental picture. With grahpic novels, there is no changing what you’re seeing. Unless of course you try to read with your eyes closed (very difficult) or get out the sharpie (*Please note, this is totally not advisable with library books. We make you pay for them if you sharpie them up, drop them in the bath or otherwise deface them. Just fyi.*). And unfortunately for me and Castle Waiting’s relationship, I didn’t like how some of the characters were drawn. Just a little too far from reality for my tastes. Or maybe too far from Disney’s reality. Damn Disney. πŸ˜‰ But like I said, this was the only issue that I had with the book. Otherwise I think it’s a pretty cool reimagining of what happens after a fairy tale ends and the princess and her ‘true love’ move on with their lives. πŸ™‚ You might want to check this out!

Rating:3 of 5 star rating

I think this book is a totally solid way to enter into the world of graphic novels. If you’re like I was and are looking for a way in, what better way to get familliar with the format than by taking a well loved fairy tale for a spin? Just mind the bearded ladies ok? πŸ™‚ (Yes, that’s an inside joke. Read the book if you want to get it!)

How to get this book:

  1. book

And in celebration of the graphic way of telling stories, I’d like to share with you some of my fondest graphic formatted things. πŸ™‚

Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin - young boy- making strange faces

And Zits:

Enjoy!!

VACATION. I has it.

There will be no book review post this week because:

See you next week!

πŸ™‚