Monday, September 22, 2014
I think this is the fifth book of Kenneally's set in this area of Tennessee, but it is the first I've read. I have a feeling that some characters were introduced or included mostly as a gift to those who have read all of the books... but I didn't have any problem with that. I may read some of the others someday. But I wanted to read this because it is in part about a girl who hates running but learns how to do it anyway. This appealed to me as one who has spent this entire summer doing more exercise than ever before in my life and while I want to learn how to run, I haven't quite taken that leap yet. Annie's schedule scares the crap out of me but seems incredibly realistic. That aside, I did have some small issues with the writing style - nothing major, just some things that didn't seem necessary to repeat and such. I honestly wondered if it was an attempt to be more inside Annie's head, but it wasn't consistent enough for that. Not a deal breaker for me, and I really ended up liking Annie quite a bit. Also, Jeremiah. Annie's tougher than she thinks she is, and Jeremiah is softer than he lets on.
All in all I did enjoy this and will recommend to older teens interested in grief/survival/romance stories or stories about reinventing yourself.
Breathe, Annie, Breathe
by Miranda Kenneally
Sourcebooks Fire, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
This is such a fun mystery! I fell right into all the twists and turns - to the point that I think I read about 200 pages in one sitting. Every single time something lead me in one direction, everything would change again. I am always a little disappointed if I figure it all out too early, but that was absolutely not the case here. It all gets a little creepy too, which I always enjoy. I mean, look at that cover! One of the themes in this book is abandonment, and the town where it takes place is full of abandoned places like houses, mini-golf courses and even an amusement park. Have you ever seen those pictures of abandoned amusement parks? I kept picturing those while reading... even if the action wasn't taking place in the park itself, it still was in the same town - and it just felt so creepy. I loved it.
by K.A. Harrington
Monday, September 15, 2014
I had promised one of my young patrons that I would read this, as it is one of his favorites and he couldn't believe that I hadn't read it yet. Little did he know, that I already had it on my miles-long to-be-read list! However, his request combined with the
So what did I think? I think this is a brilliantly constructed dystopian world. It really didn't take me long to fall into it, and figure out Jonas. Of course, at the beginning, there really isn't much to figure out about Jonas the character - he is as flat and bland as the world around him. As his training with The Giver progresses though, Jonas becomes a much deeper character - one who sees the problem with the so-called "perfect" world as created (and kept perfectly in place) by The Elders.
The story itself opens up room for discussion about the power of choice, the freedoms that power affords you, and the problem with blindly following leaders without question. The beauty of this is that these huge concepts are drawn out of a story that can be easily understood by young teens. And it is a really short and fast read, that will also appeal to even reluctant readers.
by Lois Lowry
Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1993
Series: The Giver #1
Source: Purchased New
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I knew nothing about this book, really, except that I was seeing it everywhere due to an incredible advertising campaign by the publisher. As I started reading, I could see that this is not a 'typical' YA novel in its structure; rather it is more like five short stories that happen sequentially and have Leila as the common link. The first four stories are told from the "other" point of view (ie: whomever it is that is interacting with Leila at this point) and the fifth is Leila's. Let me just emphasize how much I liked this way of telling the story... It is different and while some of the actions within the short stories are not terribly inventive, it all really worked together for me and I was digging it.
Until the last chapter that is. The very last chapter in the book dropped a huge brick of cheese right there that got all over me and ruined it. This is the perfect book to just let things go a little unanswered, allow the reader to ponder the great possibilities that Leila now has after going through everything she has gone through on her trip (and why she was on her trip).... but no. Of course there is that one thing that the reader was going to hope for or assume was going to happen somehow... but it didn't need to actually happen right there and then in such a cliched way! It obviously got seriously under my skin, and I'm sorry about that. But I hate to be so profoundly disappointed when there was so much going for it up until that point.
Let's Get Lost
by Adi Alsaid
Monday, September 8, 2014
This is a memoir written in text and sequential art. The illustrations play a huge part in telling the story - and are the source of many of the laughs. Yes, if you didn't get it from the cover art - this is a very funny book! Actually, I would caution against trying to read this before bed, because of the laughing. The stories she tells about her dogs - simple dog and helper dog - were definitely my favorites. Of course there are some other gems in here - letters to her younger self, and when the goose got in her house are good examples - but I loved the dogs. I could read an entire book about those dogs. There were some more serious chapters though, particularly when talking about her experience with depression, but these are told honestly and in her distinctive voice.
I loved the illustrations too! When looking at the cover, the figure on the right is her. Such a simple character, but still manages to invoke emotion and tell the story through her eyes and body language. And the dogs! Again, I seriously love these dogs. I am not a dog person, these are not super well-behaved or smart dogs... but I *almost* would start to think about considering to maybe adopt one. Maybe.
If you are in need of a laugh - and especially if you need a laugh and love dogs - pick this up. Also, she has a blog (where some of these stories may also be found and lost more!).
Hyperbole and a Half
by Allie Brosh
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I honestly could not stand Lainey for the first three quarters of this book. I couldn't really relate to her, and I would never be friends with her - she was so shallow and rude and such a stupid mean girl. We don't really get to see too much from Jason at the beginning, but I didn't like him either. So why did I keep reading this book about trying to get two super unlikable people back together? Micah. I am ALL ABOUT Micah. He is not the typical bad boy who says super sweet things only and always in private. I mean, he does say the right things, but he also says very sarcastic and funny things as well as plenty of things I didn't expect. He pretty much rocks. He certainly has some issues to work through, but I have faith that he ends up okay.
This book came highly recommended and while I had some serious doubts at first - I ended up really liking it. Lainey goes through a pretty decent growth spurt and despite my initial frustrations with her, I liked her by the end. Also, I purchased a pretty cool edition of The Art of War about a year ago, and I really really want to read it now! Although all the passages featured at the beginning of each chapter makes me feel like I have read it at this point, I still need to read it front to back.
The Art of Lainey
by Paula Stokes
Source: Purchased New
Thursday, September 4, 2014
The first thing that impressed me was the overall look and feel of the book. (Art has a lot to do with image, no?) It is an oversized paperback with full color illustrations or graphics on every page to help illustrate the point in the text. The text is concise and easy to follow as it flows from topic to topic. It starts with very basic drawing concepts (with exercises to help you develop your skills) and continues with topics of special interest to comic book art, like inking, perspective, drawing the human figure, solving visual problems and so on. The book even discusses using Photoshop or Manga Studio as well if you wanted to explore creating art with a computer.
Now, I'm going to need way more time to practice but I feel like this would be a great reference book for budding artists or even more experienced artists who are considering comics as a focus. There is a lot of good information in here, as well as advice from an experienced professional who is also trained to teach. Also note the detailed index for easy reference. I will definitely be adding this to our library's collection.
Foundations in Comic Book Art
by John Paul Lowe
Watson Guptill, 2014
Source: Provided by Blogging for Books for an honest review.
Monday, September 1, 2014
When he wakes up in Penn Station, he has no idea who he is or why he's there, with nothing but ten dollars in his pocket and a copy of Henry David Thoreau's Walden. He doesn't know if he should ask the police for help or if he should be running from them. Walden is his only clue... so that is where he goes... and as his memories slowly come back, he needs to decide if he wants to go back or break free and start a new life.
This book starts off with a bang and you feel the boy's confusion and bewilderment immediately. It isn't long before he really is running from the police. Taking a cue from his only possession, he names himself after the author - Henry David, or "Hank". He comes across a few people that can't really help him discover his past but help him figure out his present and future.
This was a pretty engrossing mystery. I liked how Hank was able to discover different parts of his true self. I also liked the relationships he built with certain characters. I don't live too far from Concord, MA or Walden Pond and have visited once or twice and the descriptions fit my memories perfectly. In fact, everything fit perfectly and that might be the only thing that stops me from fully being a fanatic about this book. Even the messier/scarier parts of the book end up fitting perfectly and everything gets tied up super neat and tidy. There is a scene right at the end in which Hank is by himself in a life threatening situation - and I thought that was perfect and necessary to his character - but then it comes to its conclusion pretty easily and then another lucky twist of fate seals the deal for him. I don't know.... it just didn't feel as satisfying as I'd hoped - even if it the outcome was what I was hoping for. I am probably being a little too picky or something. I did like this overall though, don't get me wrong.
I would give this to those who like realistic fiction, mysteries, and books that deal with family issues. Thoreau fans will also enjoy the quotes featured throughout the text.
Being Henry David
by Cal Armistead
Albert Whitman Teen, 2013
Source: Friend's copy
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I read this at the suggestion of a friend, who knows that I'm working on my "appreciation of fantasy YA" as I've started to think about it. She thought I might like it because of the whole library aspect... which I admit, is kind of cool. But it took me quite a while - like almost a third of the book - to really figure out what was going on. There just seemed to be so many different angles going on, and I just could stay focused long enough to really get it. I even went an entire weekend without picking it up - electing instead to watch terrible movies. I gave it one last chance, and thankfully I did because that is where everything finally clicked for me and I actually became pretty involved in the story - enough to become curious about the sequel Unbound. I'm not racing out to read it or anything... but I am curious and that says a lot considering what I was thinking when I started this book!
Who would like this book? I would hand this to those who like fantasy, strong female characters, a little bit of romance, and mystery/suspense. This probably isn't great for a reluctant reader who probably wouldn't fight through the first third to get to where it really gets exciting.
by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Source: Purchased New