Archive for June, 2011


Most people have heard of the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Even if you weren’t made to read it in high school, or in a college or university English class; most people are also familiar with the basic plot of the novel. (If you aren’t, this can help you out. If it sounds like something you’d like to read, we’ve got the book, (in two places), a playaway copy, the movie, and access to an e-book and an e-audiobook. Don’t everyone rush out and read/listen to/watch it all at once. We might not have enough copies. πŸ˜‰ lol)

The point of my mentioning Lord of the Flies?

Right, I did have one! And it was… that there are many similarities between that book and the book that I reviewed for this week’s blog post. But don’t hold that against this week’s book. As many of the recent trend of book mashups have proven, adding a twist on a classic can take it to a whole new and completely awesome level. So without any further ado, please give a warm YABooks@BPL welcome to

*pause for effect*

book cover of "Gone" by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael Grant

Summary:

Sam Temple never expected his life to change as drastically as it did a few weeks before his 14th birthday. He’d been sitting in math class with his best friend Quinn when the teacher, and some of his classmates just disappeared. Poof. Gone. And not just from his class, but from the whole school. Every adult and some of the kids, gone. But where?

As kids started to act like it was a holiday from reality, raiding vending machines and generally running amuck; Sam, Quinn and a girl from their grade named Astrid began to wonder what was really going on. Finding no working phones, tv or internet they set off to find out what else had changed in that split second. And nothing could prepare them for what was to come.

Review:

It is my opinion that Michael Grant has done his homework. He has watched teenagers in the wild, and he knows how they react in their natural habitat… minus adults/authority figures. Overwhelmingly, they’re good people. They may not pick up after themselves and they may sleep until noon and be up until all hours… but really, without pesky responsibilities and all of the parts of our society that run from 9-5 requiring you to stick to a schedule, who wouldn’t sleep in and stay up late?!?!? (Plus it’s a documented fact that teenagers need more sleep, and need it during different hours of the day than other people. There’s even a documentary about why! So there. πŸ˜‰ ) This is why I love this book. Michael Grant seems to get it. And boy does he ever do a good job at fleshing his characters out in to believable, 3 dimensional people!

But don’t take my word for it. Read the book! (And then tell me what you think please and thank you.)

Oh and another reason I love this book? The pacing. It’s good. Page-turner good. πŸ™‚ With enough action, introspection, romance, and moments that make you go “What the…?!?!?!” to please anyone. So have at ‘er!

My only question about this whole book… could someone who is learning how to drive read this and let me know if it really is as stressful and complicated as it is portrayed in the book? I’ve been driving for too many years now to remember that part. I do, however, remember how awesome it was to drive alone for the first time!

Rating: four out of five star rating

I give this book a solid 4 stars.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Do I ever not like a book???? Because I seem to be very giving with my star ratings. And what I have to say to that is this:

a) I’ll give as many stars as I want, thank you very much!

b) It takes a lot for me to not like a book. Although in high school I remember having to read several books that made me want to step into traffic Γ  la Regina George. Thankfully that part of our lives is short-lived. πŸ˜‰

and c) You’d give this book 4 stars too. And you know you would. πŸ™‚ So don’t hate.

How to get this book:

  1. book

FYI: As I mentioned, this is yet another book that is part of a series. And guess what? We’ve got all of them. WIN. After Gone, you’ll want to look for Hunger, Lies and Plague. Aren’t series’ the greatest???

Also, Harper Collins (the publisher) has a book trailer up for Gone. Lamesauce is my comment… but you let me know what you think.

Finally, this is what Michael Grant had to say about Gone.

“Anyway, Gone. My goal in writing theΒ Gone series? To creep you out. To make you stay up all night reading, then roll into school tired the next day, so that you totally blow the big test and end up dropping out of school.” TrΓ¨s funny, Mr. Grant. (from publisher’s page)

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So I have a confession to make. I’m going on vacation. Only for a week… but consequently I will not be here on the last Wednesday of the month. Why is this an issue you ask? Well, because I have arbitrarily decided that this would be the best time to put out the ‘new titles list’ each month.

Now I know that I could put it out when I get back. There is nothing stopping me from posting it on the first Wednesday of July. But I’m worried about ‘vacation brain’. While I haven’t had a real grown-up vacation from a real grown-up job ever in my working life and therefore can’t speak to the transferability of this serious condition, I still remember what the first few weeks back to school in September felt like. Your brain was mush and you couldn’t learn anything to save your life. A.K.A. ‘vacation brain’.

So to avoid this, I am compiling the list of books for June now. It will be slightly truncated, but I will make up for this when I publish my next list at the end of July. Promise!!

And now, without further ado, ‘all’ the new books for the month of June. Enjoy!! πŸ™‚

Enclave by Ann AguirreΒ Β  (And what do you know… this bad boy’s been reviewed! BLAM!)

White Cat by Holly Black

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Erin Chandler

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Evernight by Claudia Gray (these 4 are Evernight books, and are listed in series order)

Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Afterlife by Claudia Gray

Judo Girl by Terrance Griep

Clarity by Kim Harrington

“Scribbling Women”: True Tales From Astonishing Lives by Marthe Jocelyn

Huntress by Malinda Lo

May by Gabrielle Lord (two more titles from Conspiracy 365!)

June by Gabrielle Lord

She Said/She Saw by Norah McClintock

Pretend You Love Me by Julie Anne Peters

By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

What About Cimmaron? by Lauraine Snelling

Viral by Alex Van Tol

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

So I have a confession to make. Kelley Armstrong is probably my favourite author. And this is a feat, because I like SOOOOO many authors and read them faithfully. However, the biggest reason I say that she’s my fav is that when I was travelling in Australia I contacted her to see when her next book would come out there, as I was dying to know what happened next in her Women of the Otherworld series. And she responded!!! Unfortunately it was to tell me that she didn’t think I could get her books in Australia, unless I had it sent from North America. Huge bummer, but very awesome all the same. Any author who responds personally to me about something like that is aces in my book. (She’s a fellow Canadian too, eh. Excellent!)

Also, I just love her writing. And this book did not disappoint. So YAY KELLEY ARMSTRONG!!!!!!!!! πŸ˜€

book cover of "The Summoning" by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Summary:

15 year old Chloe has a pretty average life. Granted, the fact that her mom is dead, her dad is always away working, and she’s pretty much always on her own doesn’t make for the most average circumstances to grow up in. But despite this, she’s pretty normal. She’s worried about flunking Spanish, busy with friends, and wondering if putting red streaks in her hair really will make her look older. Or less like she’s 12 at least.

But one morning on her way to school someone steps out in front of her cab… and disappears. He doesn’t get run over, and the cabbie doesn’t see him! The day just get’s stranger from there, until Chloe realizes she’ll never ever be average again.

Review:

I DEVOURED this book. I don’t even think it took me a day to read it. Granted, I’m one of those annoying people who reads really fast, and can easily read a book in a day if I am hooked. However, I really think that the pacing and plot of this book played a big part in why I was able to get through it so quickly. There is quite literally no point in this book where I was tempted to jump ahead a few pages to skip a dull spot. And I’m bad for that. πŸ™‚ Kelley Armstrong’s writing draws you into Chloe’s story, and demands that you follow it through until the end.

Another awesome thing about this book is how well Kelley manages to capture teens’ understanding and awareness of some pretty heavy things, like mental illness. She doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like this, but she also doesn’t get heavy handed or preachy like some authors do. It is clear that Kelley respects and understands that the general population doesn’t give teens nearly enough credit for what they know and can handle.

But the best part about this book, in my opinion, are the supporting characters. Chloe’s an awesome girl, and I really liked her, but I loved the kids she meets on her journey. Even Victoria… and she’s not the most likeable character out there!! I don’t want to spoil things for you though, so I’ll just leave it at that. πŸ™‚ I really hope that Kelley writes more books in this world of Chloe’s… because I honestly can’t get enough.

Rating: 4 of 5 star rating

I really hope that Kelley writes more books in this world of Chloe’s… because I honestly can’t get enough. This book is nearly 5 stars… but I’m going to give it a 4 because it’s not long enough. I want more!!! And I hope you will too. πŸ™‚

How to get this book:

  1. book

We also have The Awakening and The Reckoning, books number 2 and 3 in the Darkest Power’s trilogy. So get reading! But get in line, b/c I’m going to be reading these first. πŸ˜‰

Oh and look out for the Darkness Rising trilogy, too. The first book came out this year: The Gathering.

So much to read… so little time!!

(If you really like where these books take you, you can also try Kelley’s Otherworld series. It starts with Bitten. They’re in the general fiction collection… don’t be limited by the yellow YA stickers folks!)

Megalomaniac’s R Us.

megalomaniac (noun) – a person afflicted with megalomania.

megalomania (noun) – a lust or craving for power.

Just a couple of preparatory definitions to get you in the mood for this week’s review. You could also try dictator, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, and Adolf Hitler if you wanted a little historical context. Thankfully this book is much lighter than reading about what any of those men did!! (Not to make light of dictatorship and the atrocities committed under them. It’s important to know about what has happened in the world in order to stop it from ever happening again. But I digress…)

And your book for this week is…. drum roll please….

book cover of "I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President" by Josh Leib

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

Summary:

Oliver Watson is a genius. The greatest genius in the history of the universe, in fact. Plus he is evil. However, he is only in the 7th grade. So this does put a bit of a cramp in the execution of his evil genius plans. In fact, not even Oliver’s own parents know he is a genius. They, and pretty well everyone else in the world, think he’s a drooling, moronic mess. But this will not stop Oliver from becoming his class president. Nothing will. He is an evil genius after all.

Review:

This book made me laugh out loud while I was reading it!! Thankfully I was only reading it in the privacy of my home… so only my cats looked at me strangely. Being embarrassed in front of one’s cats is much less embarrassing than being embarrassed in front of actual people. Cats are so much more forgiving of strange behaviour than people are. Maybe it’s because they will chase the red dot made by a laser pointer…

Oliver is a perfectly horrible little despot, and I loved every second of his maniacal scheming. Josh Lieb does a brilliant job at making such an awful character so hilarious and almost likeable. The other characters surrounding Oliver are the perfect foils for his evil genius, and watching him manipulate them for sport is so much fun.

This short little book, it comes in at under 200 pages, is a very funny and very fast read. Excellent for people who like their humour off-beat and a little silly. I honestly hope that Josh Lieb writes another book! I would definitely read it. πŸ˜€

Rating: 4 of 5 star rating

I give this book 4 stars. It’s light, and zany and fun to read. And sometimes, that’s all you need a book to be. Thank you Josh Lieb for bringing your comedic talents to the page!

How to get this book:

  1. e-book
  2. e-audiobook

So for any of you wondering about Josh Lieb… here’s a short video to tell you about him.

And not only did he write and produce for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but for the Simpsons and other awesomely funny shows too. Pretty impressive right??? πŸ™‚

Who is Bernie Kosar again??

So every once and a while my mother asks me if I’ve read such-and-such a book. Generally speaking, if it’s not YA… I haven’t read it. And true to my 13 year old self, I don’t want to read it. KISS OF DEATH people. She tells me something’s good, I do not believe her.

Well that’s not entirely true. In fact it’s not true at all anymore. However, we have very different pleasure reading tastes; and, while I’m very happy when she’s read a book she loves, I usually don’t want to read it. Because it will probably be work for me. And pleasure reading is not about work. EVER. So never let anyone tell you off for not reading something they loved if it’s not something you love too in the first 50 pages. (This doesn’t apply to school. You will have to read books that you hate. I did. So move on, k?)

But like I mentioned above, YA is where my mom’s and my own reading tastes intersect. image of a two circle venn diagramJust like a Venn Diagram. (See, they do teach you good things in school!)

So several months ago, my mom asks me if I’ve read a book that her kids are all hepped up about. Since I hadn’t, and she’s never steered my in a wrong YA direction before, I immediately took her copy and devoured it. Good thing too, because now I get to be a cheerleader for yet another awesome YA series. So thanks Mom. Good job!

And the book is…

book cover of "I Am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Summary:

Imagine that you have moved 21 times by the age of 12. You’ve never been to a party, never had close friends, and the only constant in your life is the man everyone assumes is your father. Weird right? Not even.

“John” (that’s his name now; but it has, and will, change) came to Earth when he was 5. He doesn’t remember much about where he lived before (Lorien was the name of the planet), and only barely remembers saying goodbye to his grandparents. It took a year of travelling to get to Earth, and he and the 8 other children he was sent with have not seen each other since they arrived. They can’t stay together you see. To do so would break the charm that protects them from being killed out of order. And they are being hunted.

“In the beginning we were a group of nine.

Three are gone, dead.

There are six of us left.

They are hunting us, and they won’t stop until they’ve killed us all.

I am Number Four. I know that I am next.” p. 9

Review:

I loved this book. And true love lasts a lifetime.

It is so amazing to me the books that are being written for YA readers right now. There are so many great books… makes me jealous that these books weren’t around when I was a YA.

But why do I feel this way? Well I think that this book was the perfect mix of escapism and realism. There was just enough different in the plot for me to go “What the…”, but not so much that I couldn’t relate to the ideas presented. I never moved as a kid, but I could totally imagine what it would be like to live like John, never knowing when you’d have to run again. The total chaos that would create in your life, and h0w resigned to it all that you would become. Other aspects of John’s life (which I won’t share due to their spoilerish nature) I couldn’t relate to at all, but that didn’t make them any less awesome!! And awesome is always good. Amirite?

John and Henri were totally relatable characters and I became completely invested in their story. I still am! I thought that Pittacus Lore used totally appropriate language for both of them… especially given that he is an elder from Lorien and English wouldn’t be his first language. Props to him, right?? πŸ™‚

As for the storyline… the real reason why I loved this book… well let’s just say that it was pretty intense. In an action-movie, thrill-ride sort of way. But better, because it wasn’t on a screen. This one was in my head… so I could see it just the way I wanted to! And sometimes that’s really better, isn’t it??

Rating: 4 out of 5 star rating

A solid 4 stars in my book. I want to know what happens next!!

The reason it’s not 5 stars: the movie came out so quickly after the book. This superimposed Hollywood’s vision of the characters over my own before I’d had them totally solidified in my mind. And I hate that! Espeically because Hollywood is wrong. πŸ˜‰ (Why? Because I said so.)

But still, it’s an awesome book, and I will be in line to get the next installment when it hits stores. πŸ˜€ See you there!

How to get this book:

  1. book
  2. e-audiobook
  3. e-book

Interesting factoids:

  • TPTB (the powers that be) made this book into a movie. In case you missed that memo, check out the trailer.

How do I feel about this?Β  BLARGH.Β  I think that sums it up nicely.

Basically, had I not read the book 1st, I would have coped. I like action-y movies, and I like when there is potential for sequels. I also like Timothy Olyphant (dude who plays Henri). But, unfortunately, I did read the book first. And so I sat through the entire movie like a Harry Potter-phile, picking apart every little stupid difference between the two. Hence the blargh.

I am not saying don’t watch it. Just don’t blame me if you have a similar reaction. I will do the told you so dance if you try.

  • Pittacus Lore’s author bio. Because it’s awesome.
  • Book 2 “The Power of Six” comes out August 23rd. Say it with me now… SQUEEEEEEEEE! πŸ™‚
  • Finally, some info on the mysterious Bernie Kosar. Because, honestly, who is this guy! (I totally did not know. So I will just save you having to look it up. You are welcome. πŸ˜‰ )

What are jorts you ask? BAM! These are!

Character Jacob from Twilight movies wearing cutoff jean shorts

Jorts are cut-off jean shorts… made famous by Taylor Lautner. Be thankful this isn’t the 80’s people. The 80’s didn’t have Taylor Lautner. Consequently jorts were much scarier then. Oh and we called them cut-offs.

And why on earth am I talking about jorts you ask? Excellent question.

Because, for a certain segment of the population (yes, I’m talking about twi-hards here… you know who you are) werewolves and jorts are like oreos and milk. They just go together. Or do they?

Our next review features a book with werewolves; but, strangely enough, no jorts. Go figure, right?

book cover of "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary:

Grace is an ordinary girl. Or as ordinary as a girl can be when she has survived a wolf attack. Sam, well now, he’s far from ordinary. But he saved Grace from the wolves. From his pack. And now they are connected in ways they cannot imagine.

One summer brings Sam and Grace together again. But will they be allowed to stay that way forever?

(Now I know what you’re thinking. What kind of summary is that?!?! But dudes, honestly, I’m not giving you any more. That’s about all I can safely tell you without ruining the book. And I don’t do spoilers!)


But here are two book trailers to further whet your appetites!

Review:

So this book and I… we struggled. And I hate to point fingers, but I think it was Grace that I struggled with the most. I just didn’t really connect with her… and given that half the book is from her point of view… well you can see my problem right? I honestly don’t think it had anything to do with the writing, or the idea behind her character… but we just didn’t click. Which sucks. Because I like werewolves. I liked them before there were jorts and Taylor Lautner. She just reminded me of Bella from the Twilight movies a little too much for me to really connect with her character. (And yes, I mean Bella in the movies. I have not read the books, so I don’t know what she’s like in them.)

I really liked Sam, and I was facinated by Maggie Stiefvater’s interpretation of werewolves and how someone lives with the werewolf …. curse? disease? gene? And the rest of his pack? I wanted to know more. More about who they were as people, and as wolves. So she totally hooked me there. Another character I quite liked was Isabel. She’s rude and a total smart-ass, but I dug her. If they make this into a movie, I would not mind at all if they gave her a bigger role. I think Isabel, if cast right, would kick butt.

I’m curious to know where this story goes. I won’t be rushing to read the 2nd book, but I’m pretty sure I will read it eventually.

Oh, but a note to the publisher, Scholastic: seriously people, this is Canada. We use metric. WHAT IS 44Β°F?? I don’t want to require a farenheit to celcius conversion chart to read a book. Lame. So for all subsequent editions of this book in Canada, change it. KTHXBAI!

Rating: 3 of 5 star rating

This book gets 3 out of 5 stars. Mostly because I highly suspect that the issue was with me, and not the book. πŸ™‚ Let’s just chalk that one up to me being over 18 ok? And, despite my best efforts, I haven’t quite figured out how to change that. Jennifer Garner made it look so easy! πŸ˜‰

How to get this book:

  1. book
  2. e-audiobook

If you liked this book, you will be very happy to know that it is part of a trilogy. The ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’ trilogy to be precise. We have Linger already, and don’t you worry, as soon as Forever is released, we’ll be all over it too.

Other ‘squee’-inducing news? The entire trilogy has been optioned by a studio. This means movies, ladies and gents! In situations like this the first book is almost guaranteed to make it to film, and then the success of that movie determines the fate of the other two. Shiver is due to be released in 2012. When? Starring who? No idea. But if knowing more is what you’re all about… I suggest following this blog. They seem to be all over this.

So someone here at BPL suggested that I do a list of the books that are put on the New Book Shelf for YA’s every month. I thought this was a good idea!!

So here’s your first list. All the new books for the month of May. Enjoy!!

The Fifth Rule by Don Aker

Burned: A House of Night Novel by PC Cast

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (check out the blog post for this book!)

The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook

Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Like Mandarin by Kristen Hubbard

Maximum Ride 1 by NaRae Lee (Maximum Ride graphic novels!!)

Maximum Ride 2 by NaRae Lee

Maximum Ride 3 by NaRae Lee

January by Gabrielle Lord (these for books are part of the Conspiracy 365 Series)

February by Gabrielle Lord

March by Gabrielle Lord

April by Gabrielle Lord

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver

Angel by James Patterson

Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

The Door in the Forest by Rod Townley

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Darkening by Maggie Wood

Stay tuned for the next blog post… coming at you soon! πŸ™‚