Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bossypants by Tina Fey

277 pages

Hilarious, though too jumpy at times. Bossypants provides an interesting behind the scenes look at Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, as well as Tina's childhood and personal life.

The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson

113 pages

“Andrea Gibson does not just show up to pluck your heart strings. She sticks around to tune them. If being floored is new to you, ya might want to grab a cushion. Whatever the opposite of fooling someone is, Andrea does that. Beware of the highway in her grace and the crowbar in her verse.” —Buddy Wakefield

The Madness Vase is full of poems that are beautifully written and sure to strike a chord in any reader.

Labor of Love, by Cara Muhlhahn

Labor of Love: A Midwife's Memoir, by Cara Muhlhahn

245 pages

Really great! The beginning kind of dragged for me, but once we got to the section where Cara becomes a midwife and describes her practice and how she helps mothers with their homebirths was fascinating. You can tell how much she loves her job, and how much these women really trust her.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa


The third in Kagawa's Iron Fey collection.

I'm just going to say I liked this til the end...that I HATED...mainly because it's a cliff hanger like all the rest.

It's still a good read though.

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa

Pages: 187

The continuing story of these brothers and thier new battle against anyone who misuses the forces of science and magic.

I loved it, its harsh but somehow uplifting.

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

pages: 192

"Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science."

Edward and Alphonse Elric, are two brother who just wanted thier parents back from the dead, but because they used a dark form of Alchemy Edward lost his leg and Alphonse was completely distroyed. In order to being back his brother Ed sacrificed his arm and bound his brother's spirit to an old suit of armor..now both are on the search for the Philosopher's Stone, not only to heal themselves but to finally be reuited with the ones they love.

I really liked this, it was tradgic but still funny at times.

Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright

Pages: 176

This book questions what it is to live in a world with both evil and God.

It asks the question, "If God is all powerful and loving, why does he allow evil to exist, why does hh let bad things happen to good people?"

This book doesn't fully answer these questions but informs the reader to come to thier own conclusion. I really thought it helped open my eyes to new ways of seeing my faith and my God.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

pages: 512

Prequel to the amazing book :City of Bones...Love this, its kind of steampunk meets paranormal crime fighters.

3 Story by Matt Kindt

Pages: 192

This is yet another of Matt Kindt's great work in the graphic novel field. While I didnt enjoy this one as much as his others, Super Spy or 2 Sisters, it was still a good read and really came together at the end.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Patient by Michael Palmer

298 pages.

I am hooked on Michael Palmer's medical suspense, entertaining, frightening plenty of action!

EXTREME MEASURES by Michael Palmer

A Novel of Medical Suspense.........Extreme Measures by Michael Palmer

390 pages

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
325 pages
Truman Nominee 2012/13

Elizabeth takes an after-school job at a library...but not just any library. The New-York Circulating Material Repository. And she loves her job. Not only does it get her out of the house, away from her Dad and the new step-mother and sisters, but the library is filled with the most interesting objects that can be loaned to patrons. You can check out Mary Antoinette's wig, or a doublet for research for a play by Shakespeare. But strange things keep happening, and Elizabeth swears she has spotted the gigantic bird that everyone is whispering about following her. Then she gains the trust of Mr. Rust, gaining her access to the Grimm collection, a room filled with magical artifacts collected by the Grimm brothers from fairy tales. But oddly enough, Elizabeth discovers that some of the magical items are not in fact, magical at all any more, including the mermaid's comb that she herself had checked out. Can she and the other library pages figure out who is behind the magical thefts before they are considered the prime suspects?
I loved this book! I found the storyline fresh and exciting. It is clean, so I could see myself recommending it to our younger library teens, but the adventure holds enough mystery, that I think older teens will enjoy it as well.

The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle

The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle
229 pages

Didn't like...in my opinion, a very poorly written book that I seriously felt would be insulting to a teens intelligence.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan

512 pages

What surprises me the most is that even though this book was published in 1963, so much of it is still relevant today. We've come so far, but in some aspects, we're still stuck. I loved it, and love the message that education is the key to feminism and fulfillment.

Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti

pages 271

This book is both amazing and insightful and poses the question, "Why wouldn't you want to be a feminist?"

Enough said, I heart this.

Wanted - Bear Cubs for My Children, by Gary Fingercastle

Wanted - Bear Cubs for My Children, by Gary Fingercastle

224 pages

The author composed fake, wildly insane Craigslist ads to see what kind of responses he would get. And in some cases, he got positive responses when you really wish he hadn't. I was hoping it would be funnier than it actually was, though. Knowing his ads weren't real kind of took the fun out of it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney

260 pages (didn't read the Acknowledgments, the Notes or the Index)

Wow!  I feel so much better now that I understand why I behave certain ways and that I'm not alone in those behaviors.  Because of this book, I have a plan for improving my willpower and a plan for achieving some of the goals that have eluded me because of willpower issues.

It's a lot to plow through because the authors give lots of examples but it's worth it!

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Girl, Stolen by April Henry
213 pages
Truman Nominee 2012/13

Cheyanne Wilder is sitting in the back of her step-moms Escalade waiting for her to come back out of the pharmacy with her prescription. She is so sick with pneumonia, that she huddles under a blanket, trying to stay warm. Her step-mom quickly returns...breathing heavy. Cheyanne knows something must be wrong. But then she realizes something has gone terribly wrong...that cannot be Danielle. But who is driving, who has stolen the Escalade. And how is she supposed to escape the kidnapping when she is but a sixteen-year-old blind girl.
Really liked this book.

Grace by Elizabeth Scott


Grace by Elizabeth Scott
200 pages

Weird...didn't make any sense to me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Teaching Visual Literacy, by Nancy Frey

Teaching Visual Literacy, by Nancy Frey

208 pages

A really great resource for educators. Has a variety of lesson ideas and essays on using comic books, graphic novels, films, and anime within the classroom and how to get kids excited about them as a new form of literacy. I loved it.

The Invisible Woman, by W. Charisse Goodman

The Invisible Woman: Confronting Weight Prejudice in America, by W. Charisse Goodman

222 pages

I was really torn about this book. It had a lot of really good personal anecdotes, and really makes very valid points. At the same time, it's very overloaded with quotes, which kind of makes it difficult to continue reading. I was also kind of taken aback by the comparison of weight prejudice to Nazi Germany. Overall, an okay book.

Time of the Witches by Anna Myers

  Time of the Witches by Anna Myers
194 pages

Drucilla, after her mother dies during birthing her, moves from home to home in Salem Village. She, and her friend Gabe, growing up as brother and sister, have had a number of loving  families take them in and see to her upbringing. But suddenly they are separated. Dru ends up with the Putnams, and it doesn't take her long to realize that something is dreadfully evil and wrong with this family.
This is a fictionalized story about how the Salem Witch trials got started. Amazing story!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

213 pages

A re-read for me but still laugh out loud funny.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter
287 pages
Truman Nominee 2012/13

I totally judged this book by its cover. Expecting girly beyond belief...I was pleasantly surprised. This is about a super tough girl, Kat, who in a desperate attempt to escape the family business, creates a new identity and past for herself, and heads off to a boarding school. The family business? They are thieves and cons. Just when she has gotten out, a major mobster goes after her father, believing he has stolen a priceless collection of paintings from his private collection. Only Kat can get those paintings back, and save her fathers life...diving her right back into the con.
I will definitely be recommending this book all over the library! The girls are gonna love this! Definitely will be reading the sequel, Uncommon Criminals.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers

Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers

368 Pages

Follows the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun immediately following the events of Hurricane Katrina. An interesting look at one of the individual stories of the tragedy.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
335 pages
Truman Nominee 2012/13

This was a hard one for me to get into. This will completely age me, but it reminded me of the Buffy days...very girly and flippant and sarcastic. I am so not into girly reads, and I thought that if I had to read another page about what Evie was wearing, I might burst. But she won me over. Evie is one of a kind...the only person in the world that can see past Glamours. Every paranormal has a glamour that they project to the real world to hide their identity. And since every paranormal has to be identified and tagged, IPCA needs her. But she quickly learns that she is not a human with a gift, like she has always thought, but a paranormal herself. It sends her life spinning, wondering who she really is.

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Dark Life by Kat Falls
297 pages
Truman Nominee 2012/13

This year seems to focus on SciFi and Fantasy, and I am totally falling in love with Teen SciFi. The details in Dark Life were amazing...I felt like I was in my own scuba gear, floating along the ocean floor. Ty and his family have chosen to live on the ocean floor after the disasters that all but destroyed the earth. So much better than living Topsides, where space is such a commodity that thousands of people live in a city block, stacked on top of each other. But the government is stopping all shipments until the Seablite Gang is caught, and the cargo can make it without getting robbed. Ty can do this, because living below the ocean has given him a Dark Gift, the ability to communicate with the creatures around him. But can he do it with Gemma, a girl from Topside tagging along looking for her brother?

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
233 pages
Truman Nominee 2012/13

Big weekend for reading, and this was by far the best book. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down till I was done. Mason shows up unexpectedly at his mother's work at a nursing home. He wants answers. How does she have money set aside for his college when she can barely pay the bills, with a hefty bar tab on top. But what he finds there, four catatonic teenagers, leads to more and more questions. To calm himself down, he pops in the DVD of his unknown father's voice reading The Runaway Bunny. Surprisingly, the lines from the story wake one of the girls, and now Mason has to figure out what to do with the terrified girl on top of what to do about his mother. This book on the outside seemed a little far fetched, and I have trouble describing it. But it flows so smoothly. Bodeen is amazing! I highly recommend this, as well as The Compound. Great SciFi that teens will love.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
285 pages
Mark Twain Nominee 2012/13

This was a very hard book to read. So very sad, and it hits you hard. Melody has cerebral palsy, and hasn't spoken a single word in her 11 years. But she is a genius with a photographic memory. Living inside her head, and trying to get those around her to understand that her brain isn't handicapped like her body, is driving her out of her mind.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crossed by Ally Condi

367 pages

As is frequently found in second books, this sequel to Matched is not as satisfying as the first book.  Crossed drags.  I'm hopeful that the final book in this trilogy will be better.


I WILL CARRY YOU by Angie Smith
217 pages

True story of Mother and family dealing with a pregnancy ending in death of the child. An awesome story of faith.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

378 pages

What a hoot!  Laugh out loud spoof on vampires -- and no, it wasn't written after Twilight.  Pratchett wrote this book in the late 90s.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

549 pages

I couldn't put it down.  Loved the interspersion of fairy tales written by one of the main characters.  Enjoyed trying to solve the puzzle and even enjoyed reading the remainder of the book after I figured it out.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anatomy of an Epidemic, by Robert Whitaker

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

by Robert Whitaker
416 pages

With this book, Robert Whitaker sets out to answer a question that most Americans also find very puzzling: why has the number of disabled mentally ill tripled over the past two decades? Is it due to an increase in awareness, an increase in occurrence, or does it have to do with the medications we're prescribed to help combat the problems?

While the book does feel incredibly long at first, it does offer extremely helpful charts and labeled pictures to explain some of the more technical, medical jargon used. The book also has small sections devoted to families he has interviewed personally who have experience some of the problems associated with mental illness firsthand.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
338 pages
Gateway Nominee

Couldn't put this book down...almost to the point of feeling ill in order to stay home sick from work to finish it.

Piper is the manager for her high school grunge band, Dumb (she wasn't around when the band named themselves, but she is pretty sure the title isn't too far off.) She has thirty days to get them a paying gig, and she will get a cut in all their future earnings, which will help with her college dreams since her parents just raided her college fund left her by her grandparents. Couple of things standing in her way....the band is horrible...the band members fight constantly...and Piper knows next to nothing about music in general, because she is moderately severe deaf. It is looking like turning Dumb into a real band might be a lost cause.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hide & Seek by Katy Grant

Hide & Seek by Katy Grant
230 pages
Mark Twain Nominee

Chase sets out with his bike, a backpack, a brand new GPS set with coordinates for a geocache site to find. But he ends up finding two little boys in desperate need of help. He sets out to save these boys, the whole time wondering why they are in the middle of the woods on a mountain, needing food. Great adventure story.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Anasi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

368 pages

"Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn't know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider is on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie's life more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous."

A great example of Neil Gaiman doing what he does best: a fun, witty piece of fiction rooted deeply in mythology.

American Zombie Gothic, by Kyle William Bishop

American Zombie Gothic: The Rise And Fall (And Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture by Kyle William Bishop

247 pages

A critical analysis of the role zombie films play in current society. It also looks at the history of the zombie movie, starting with the voodoo-based zombies from the 30s and 40s. An interesting look at the way we use this supernatural monster as a way to describe our modern lives.

The darkest surrender -Gena Showalter

pages 426

A continuation of a series that I suprisingly like. I'm not big on "romance" let alone paranormal, but I respect the level of mythology that is put into this book. It encompasses norse, greek and roman myth to make a pretty interesting modern tale of good verses evil verses the gods of old.

I liked it.

Annabel by Kathleen Winter

465 pages

This book answers the question "What if I'm not who I'm suppose to be?" A poor youth who was born both male and female, raised male and truly is just a girl who wants to be pretty and independent. Sometimes you can't pick who you love and you can never pick who you really are.

Truly lovely and utterly captivating, I loved it all! <3

SILENT TREATMENT by Michael Palmer

404 pages

Dr. Corbett's wife is found dead in her hospital room after surgery, the Dr. has left the room to go get her a milkshake. The thriller begins.

A Case of Need by Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton writing as Jeffery Hudson.........416 pages

One of Crichton's early novels is a medical thriller mixing fact with fiction, written shortly after he completed his Medical Internship at Harvard.


371 pages

When his college roommate flies to Wyoming to ask Dr. Gabe Singleton to be physician to the President, he reluctantly agrees having no idea what is in store for him. Another medical thriller by Michael Palmer

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
269 pages
Mark Twain Nominee

Jessica, Peter, Luke, Danielle, Anna, and Jeffrey, with all of the varied personalities, end up in Mr. Terupt's fifth grade class. The group is more different than night and day, but with the help of their new, energetic teacher, they start learning about each other, and about life. But when the accident happens, will all they have learned fall away? Loved this book. It was not surprise when I opened to the back flap, and learned that Buyea teaches third and fourth graders...he got each of their characteristic dead on. I could assign kids from my past, as well as the kids I work with now, to each and every student in this book. This will be a great contender for the Mark Twain Award.

The Sky is Every Where by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Every Where by Jandy Nelson
276 pages
Gateway Nominee 2012/13

Such a very sad book. Lennie and her sister were very close...but after she dies, Lennie must find out who she is and where she fits in. Beautifully written.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Mark Twain Nominee
Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs
294 pages

Henry the Hippo, the fun and lovable mascot for FunJungle, a zoo and theme park, is dead. Belly up in his swim tank. Twelve-year-old Teddy Fitzroy doesn't think that all the facts are adding up, so he begins his own investigation, learning that Henry is actually anything buy fun and lovable. In fact, so many people had a reason to hate Henry that the suspect list keeps growing and growing. But how does a twelve year old get to the bottom of the things when the adults don't believe a word he is saying? I think young readers will love this one...danger, a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of the kid being the one that was right all along. loved it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

Mark Twain Nominee
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
360 pages

This is a very fun fantasy for young readers...around 4th grade would be a good match. Does truly strong good magic come only from witches and wizards, or does the magic come from the  familiars that serve them. This is a good wholesome book...nothing dark to worry about. My only problem with this book was a minor one: the main characters include a cat, a bird, and a tree frog. They are constantly being held back because the frog has a hard time walking with suction cup feet. Why in the world wouldn't he hop on the kitty's back for the ride? Other than that, superb!
There will be a movie made, and, of course, a sequel.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Mark Twain Nominee
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
391 pages

So far, out of all of the award books I have read, this by far is my favorite! Giuseppe, Frederick, and Hannah, are three very determined kiddos, ready to get out of there present lives, and move on to better things. Hannah is a determined hotel maid, who has given up her childhood to help care for her sick father, her mother, and two little sisters. Giuseppe is a young busker, who plays violin for coins on the street, hoping to make enough to avoid the violent wrath of his padrone...he secretly hoards his few precious extra coins to buy passage back to his Italian homeland. Frederick is an orphan who is apprenticed out to a clockmaker...secretly in the basement of the clock shop he quietly builds his own clockwork man, an automaton that will award him journeyman in his field so that he may one day open his own shop.
I think what I loved about this book is that everyone makes huge mistakes constantly. They are constantly doing the wrong thing, and having to make things right. Nothing is smooth for these kids, but they keep trying. There stories weave themselves together, until finally they meet and work together to make all of their dreams a reality. Loved this book! Will definitely be recommending this to the library kids.

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Gateway Nominee
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
355 pages

This was hard to get into for a bit. Amber talks a lot to herself, and is ALWAYS saying 'True? True.' and 'Word.' I found it grating on my nerves quite a bit. But then, surprisingly, I fell in love with Amber Appleton and her quirky sidekicks. Amber and her mother live in a school bus at night that her mother drives by day. Mom is always drinking heavily at night, 'fishing for men,' leaving Amber alone in a dark scary school bus to fend for herself in the night. But Amber has hope...that by helping others that Jesus will help her get into a good school on a scholarship, just like her hero, Donna. She visits the old folks home and creates the Korean Divas for Christ at the Korean Catholic Church. But when an unexpected death occurs, Amber's hope is seriously rocked. Can she burst back into life, or will she become like so many of the people she tries to help? My favorite quote from the book come from Friedrich Nietzshe: "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh." Beautiful. Definitely a must read book.

Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

Truman Award Nominee
Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer by John Grisham
263 pages

Very impressed with this book. I was a huge Grisham fan before I became addicted to juvenile and teen reads. This did not let me down at all. Theo is a likeable character who seeminly handles everything in stride. But when he has too much on his plate, he has equally likeable characters to back him up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Truman Award Nominee
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
328 pages

Tenny is a bully. He is always getting in fights to prove a point, is an aggressive athlete. When Brontë, his twin sister, starts dating 'Bruiser' Tenny flips out. But as he is around Bruiser, and gets to know him better, he realizes that all of the rumors surrounding the school's bad boy are completely unfounded. But something is different when Bruiser, now known by his actual name, Brewster, is around. Pain doesn't hurt as bad...sadness lessens. When Brontë gets a cut on a car door, the wound disappears very quickly. When the lacrosse team plays, Tenny can go forever without feeling the strain and hurt from being slammed into. But only when Brew is there to watch the game. He can take away the pain of those he cares about...but at what cost to him?
I was astounded by Bruiser. Such an intense emotional read, told in four parts, Tenny, Brontë, Brew, and Brew's little brother, Cody. A fantasy novel that is subtle, not overdone. I thought i knew where this boo was heading, but was blindsided at the end. Loved it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Half Upon a Time by James Riley

Mark Twain Nominee
Half Upon a Time by James Riley
385 pages

Jack wants nothing much to do with the adventuring that ends with rescuing a princess and living happily ever after. But a princess literally falls from the sky and lands in his lap. Except she's not really a princess, her shirt just reads 'punk princess.' Except she really is a princess, she is the grandaughter of Snow White.  Whatever. I found this story chaotic and hectic and inconsistent. Hard to get through, and the end was very hard to swallow.

drawing for December participants

Congratulations, Sashary!  You won the stunning prize for December.  I will make sure it is in your cubbie.

Year In Review

I want to thank each and every team member!  You have made this competition a success merely by participating. 

I look forward to getting the final results from the statewide challenge soon. I think we have a good chance at being in the top 5!

Please let me know if you plan on participating again in 2012.  We could improve on our record.  Let's start reading!