Monday, July 21, 2014

Jackaby by William Ritter

I have to admit it--I love Benedict Cumberbatch and Sherlock.  And so I devoured this young adult novel.

Abigail Rook has to admit that digging for dinosaur bones wasn't very exciting, and so she lands in New England in 1892 with no money, not much to wear, and in desperate need of saving herself.  She find it in a job posting--"Investigative Services, Assistant Wanted, $2 per week, Must be literate and possess a keen intellect and open mind, strong stomach preferred." Sure enough, it's Jackaby to the rescue.  He's a Benedict act-a-like, and his smart mouth and mind seem to land him in jail frequently. 

However, don't think this is strictly a Sherlock wanna-be, because Jackaby investigates the paranormal, too.  He can sense critters and creatures of the night, and is needed by the police more than they wish to help solve mysterious murders.  Plenty of innocent people die in this book, and Abigail is a great help to Jackaby.

It's fun, quick, and witty, and I sure hope there's a sequel!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie

Reviewed from ARC received at ALA Annual.  To be published September 2014.

I'm a sucker for historical fiction (history minor here) and so I was happy to see that his ARC was included in the gift bag from HarperCollins.  Sure, I know that Gutenberg was a big deal because of his Bible, but that's about all I knew about the man, so I was anxious to see what kind of information this author had dug up about the time period.

Peter Schoeffer was a scribe who loved his job, but his adopted father, Fust, apprenticed him to Gutenberg to serve as a spy.  Fust was the financial backer for the printing press, and he was concerned that the crazy German might be wasting his money.  Peter grows to love his job and to believe that they are doing God's will on Earth, even though others consider the straight font of the new Bible to be blasphemy and the Devil's work.

I loved the first quarter of the book, but then it really bogged down for me.  I wanted the book to be printed so I could find out the reaction of the public.  I did find the descriptions of the corruption of the Church fascinating, since I knew all that led to Luther and the Reformation in a few more years.  So many crooked priests and cardinals back then! I skimmed the last quarter because I wanted to find out how everything ended, but this isn't a book I'll recommend to people. Too literary and flourishy in places, and subtle dialogue that makes it difficult to catch the action in other places.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I may be the only YA librarian in the world who hasn't read Nelson's first novel, The Sky is Everywhere, but I promise I just added it to my to-read list.  Why? Because this advance reader's copy kicked ass.

To be published 9/16/14.  Thanks to Penguin for inviting me to their event at ALA where I got to hear from this author and receive an autographed copy of the ARC.

No spoilers here, folks, since the book hasn't been published yet.

I think this book will come up in the Printz discussions. Why? Because it's different.  It's being promoted as a cross between John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and David Levithan, and that's true.  This is a book for smart YAs who can handle multiple narrators, time jumps, and heavy emotional scenes.

Norah and Jude are artsy twins who don't have the best coping skills. They deny their feelings toward other people, have trouble loving others (including themselves), and act out in typical artsy ways.  At age 13, they rock as twins--knowing each other's thoughts and working together as one.  But three years later, they are broken.  Through their viewpoints, find out why.

I am not artsy. I'm not that emotional. I don't see the magic in much other than nature. So finding out how Noah and Jude see things in the world and how they think was magical to me.  Years ago, my coworkers took a color test and I realized why I had a difficult time understanding the "blue" teachers.  This is a book about those "blues" but it's written in a way that makes this "gold" finally understand what makes them tick.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Dumbledore's Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final"

I couldn't resist--I had to take a look at J. K. Rowling's new short story about the maturing Harry Potter. 
The story is located here: http://www.pottermore.com/en/daily-prophet/qwc2014/2014-07-08/dumbledores-army-reunites , although you will have to create a login and then hunt to find the small story.

I have to admit that she has the makings of a new book, as we learn about Harry's wild godson, Teddy Lupin, making out with Bill Weasley's beautiful daughter.  The short story is written as a report from Rita Skeeter, so she's good at stirring up trouble.  Are Harry and Ginny happily married? Why did Ron Weasley quit the Ministry for an "easier" job running the joke store? How did Harry get a cut on his cheek?

Rita raises more questions than she answers, and so Potter fans worldwide will be looking for the next installment.  I'm sure the fan fiction pages are going crazy writing the next installment.

I have to admit that I still love Harry Potter.  Reading this story reminded me of that world--I think I'll have to re-visit the audiobooks soon. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan

I picked up this ARC last week at ALA because of the tagline: "In 1940s Hollywood, not all that glitters is gold..."

After the first few chapters, I realized that it's third in a trilogy.  I don't think I missed much though--the author did a great job of telling everything that happened in the previous books. In fact, I think I learned TOO much about the past. 

Ellie Hogan is from Ireland, but has made quite the life for herself in New York as an artist.  She makes enough money to survive on her own and raise her two sons, both adopted while married to two previous husbands.  Now her oldest has run off to Hollywood to become an actor.  She chases after him to bring him back home, but ends up helping him try to make his dream of being a star come true.

There's a little romance in this one, but I just didn't fall in love with the writing. I won't be going back to read the previous two novels in the series.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

I was a fan of Stiefvater's Shiver series.  I sped through them. But I the first two in that series back in 2010, and I have to admit that I didn't remember a thing other than werewolf romance.

And then I was invited to a party at ALA Las Vegas last weekend to celebrate the book release of Sinner, a companion (or Book #3.5?) to the Shiver series.  Of course, I went. Who turns down free drinks, food, and books?

Maggie was adorable, even though I didn't wait in line to get her autograph.  I already have it on the ARC of Linger.  Look how excited she gets when talking about her books!

   And you have to love the awesome David Levithan modeling the sunglasses that were given away to all attendees.

The librarians were thrilled to see a life-size Cole St. Clair (the sexy protagonist/werewolf of the series) available for pictures, too.  I couldn't resist. 





That picture I'll keep large. He was better looking when he didn't smile and kept on the bad boy sneer, trust me. To reward Scholastic, I chose Sinner to read in one sitting that night at the hotel when I should have been sleeping.  I hadn't planned on reading it one sitting, but I forgot that MAGGIE STIEFVATER WRITES AWESOME WEREWOLF/ROMANCE BOOKS.  And so read it. And I sighed at the appropriate parts.  And I cursed the main characters when they needed it. And I hoped that Cole and Isabel could get their acts together and finally have the great relationship that they deserved.  Sigh. Great read.


Hollow City: the Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Back in 2011, I read the first book in this series and said that it wouldn't have been anything special without the photographs.  I think the author got it right this time around.  The plot surrounding the photographs makes sense, and you don't have to keep reading just to find out more about the photos. 

Miss Peregrine has been turned into her birdself and the children must travel around to find someone who can help her. They are being hunted by Hollows and other people who want to hurt them though.  All the children's powers are needed to save things, and, even at the end, it's clear that they will still need them in the next book.  Things are not resolved, but Jacob has discovered that he is needed in the peculiar world to help his friends. Looking forward to Book #3!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

 I’ve never been a huge Wizard of Oz fan, so I gotta admit I loved this title.  Dorothy has been ruler of Oz for so long that the power has corrupted her.  She can’t get enough magic to satisfy her—and now she’s making the monkeys and munchkins work for her to mine more.  In comes Amy Gumm, a troublemaker from Kansas, who is challenging Dorothy's authority. 

Gotta say, I hate that there is a sequel.  But I know I’ll read it!

A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Sometimes I just have to read smut.  And it has to be historical.   Minerva is a bookish middle child who isn’t worried about marrying well—she’s too concerned about preparing for her presentation for the Edinburgh Geological Society about the big lizard footprint she found in a cave.  Colin is the typical Englishman rogue—bedding widows and not looking for marriage.  The two collide when she connives to find her way to Edinburgh.  Of course, they fall in love and have some awesome sex along the way--how else would the book end?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer (#3 in the Lunar Chronicles)

I was a big fan of Cinder and Scarlet, so I was looking forward to reading #3 in the series.  Here's the thing--the characters never go away! So it was a big cast for #3 and I'm wondering if they are all going to stay for the upcoming 4th book in the series, Winter.

Cress (short for Crescent) is a Lunar held captive on her own satellite in space. Like Rapunzel, her hair grows because she has nothing to cut it with, but the hair doesn't stay long once she escapes with Capt. Thorne.  Cress joins Scarlet and Cinder as they try to stop the evil Lunar Queen from marrying the prince and taking over Earth.  Of course, there isn't much conclusion to this book, but the action and characters are worth waiting for!  Can't wait for #4! And I'm hoping to see an ARC at Annual or Midwinter, please!