Books, Grimm, New

New YA Fiction That We Have Ordered

20.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

Some good-looking things this week:

Black Ice, Becca Fitzpatrick (October) - from the author who brought you Nora and Patch in the Hush, Hush series comes a new romantic thriller involving tramping and murder. “Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants – but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there.. and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?” (goodreads.com)

Mortal Heart, Robin LaFevers (November) – the next book in the series about assassin nuns I have to admit I am crazy about. “Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has. But across Brittany, the tides of war are drawing ever nearer, with France pressuring the beleaguered duchess from all sides. Annith’s search for answers threatens to rip open an intricate web of lies and deceit that sit at the heart of the convent she serves. Yet to expose them threatens the very fabric of her existence and risks an unforeseen chance at love, one that she can no longer deny. Annith must carefully pick a path and, gods willing, effect a miracle that will see her country – and her heart – to safety.” (goodreads.com)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (September) – Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies trilogy, and Leviathan) has been quiet for ages, so we’re happy to hear about this new novel-within-a-novel! “Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.” (goodreads.com)

Donnel’s Promise, Anna MacKenzie (New Zealand author) - the sequel to Cattra’s Legacy. “When Risha takes up her mother’s throne there is celebration – for some. In the murky world of politics, how can you know who to trust, when to fight, when to run? As war between the Five Duchies threatens everyone Risha loves, the hidden truth of Cattra’s legacy is revealed – but for Risha there is no time to learn to use her arcane talent, even less to save those sacrificed in her name.” (goodreads.com)


Classic novels, eLibrary, Librarian's Choice, Lists, Rachel

Write to me, won’t you?

19.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

Following on from my last post, you may remember that I mentioned Jaclyn Moriarty often writes in an epistolary style, meaning the narrative is constructed of letters, emails, memos, newspaper clippings, blogs, text messages… You get the idea. Books written in this style can be very quick reads because they can be very casual and conversational, particularly with diary entries. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite epistolary novels (I read quite a lot of them…)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSloppy Firsts, Megan McCafferty

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated when her best friend Hope leaves their hometown of Pineville, New Jersey. Jessica is hyper-observant and without Hope to communicate with, Jessica feels more out of her depth than ever. Now she has to work out how to deal with the craziness of her classmates, her dad’s obsession with Jessica’s track meets and her mother’s obsession with Jessica’s sister Bethany’s lavish wedding – all without any help from Hope, bar the occasional email. And then Jessica begins to strike up an unlikely friendship with the biggest rebel in school Marcus Flutie… Jessica’s diary entries are hilarious, but balance out the humour well by dealing with serious issues, such as death and family drama. And it’s the first in a series of 5!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAngus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison

Georgia Nicholson is vain, a bit hysterical and boy-crazy. She has a lot of wild tales to tell about her mad little sister Libby, her feral cat Angus and the time she shaved her eyebrows and dressed up as a stuffed olive. Georgia’s just trying to be a regular 14-year-old girl but it’s not so easy. Set in England, this book (the first in a series) is fabbity fab fab and you’ll be speaking in Georgia’s completely made up slang and bent over in stitches by the time you’re finished with it! We also have this as an Overdrive eBook.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior has never felt like the rez life fitted him, so he takes matters into his own hands and leaves the rez school in order to go to the all-white local high school. Being Indian makes him stand out enough in the school, but he also has “an enormous head, gigantic feet, crazy eyes, ten more teeth than normal, a stutter, and a lisp” but Junior is not a complainer! He just wants to get through school and break away from the life he has been destined to live. The novel is interspersed with drawings and is based partly on the author’s own experiences. It’s a must read!

Letters From The Inside, John Marsden

“Mandy wants a pen-pal. Tracey answers the ad. The two girls write to each other about their families, their lives, their ambitions and their fears. But there are dark secrets surrounding Mandy and Tracey – secrets they can hardly bear to confront, let alone share.” Goodreads

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives with her family in a ramshackle castle in England. Over a turbulent six months, Cassandra attempts to hone her writing skills by chronicling in her diary the changes within the castle and her own first experience in love. I Capture the Castle is a “classic” novel that is timeless and the humour stands up today just as it did when it was first published.


Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

Librarian Wardrobe

15.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

photo 3a

This is Lauren. As you can see, she is pretty enthusiastic about book character tshirts! Below is her rather extensive collection, including Batman, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Star Wars characters and also some Disney ladies.

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Books, Grimm, New

Upcoming Fiction

13.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

These books we ordered recently look interesting:

Wild, Alex Mallory – this is a retelling of Tarzan, with a sort of dystopian twist. “The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving - that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger… Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy - he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion. Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it. As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?” (goodreads.com)

Guardian, Alex London – the sequel to Proxy. “In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger. People are falling ill – their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure… and what he discovers leaves him stunned.” (goodreads.com) This – it is suggested – will interest people who enjoyed Alex Rider, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, which leads nicely to:

The Young Elites, Marie Lu (October) – the new series by the author of Legend. “Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars – they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.” (goodreads.com)


Books, Classic novels, Fantasy, Grimm, Horror, Librarian's Choice

Nik’s Picks: Fractured fairytales

11.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

Who doesn’t love a good fairytale? Handsome knights, beautiful princesses, wicked witches, gingerbread cottages…but these books offer a much darker different take on classics such as the Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping beauty, and many others besides. Many of these are truer to the original spirit of the stories than those pretty Disney movies you might have watched as a kid. And a warning: there’s not always a “happily ever after”…

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLies, knives and girls in red dresses, Ron Koertge
I’ve featured this book before; it’s one of my favourites. It’s a collection of poetry, that often deals with the twisted consequences of the “happily ever after.” It’s nothing you’ve ever read before. Ron Koertege pulls no punches; these poems are often brutal but still beautifully written. The first lines perfectly capture the eerie spirit of this book.

Do you want to sleep? Find another storyteller. Do you
want to think about the world in a new way?

Come closer. Closer, please.
I want to whisper in your ear.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe stepsister scheme, Jim C. Hines
This is another book that deals with a “happily ever after” that’s gone wrong, but The Stepsister Scheme’s tone is a bit lighter. After Cinderella’s Prince Charming is kidnapped, she teams up with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to kick some Fae buttock and rescue her husband. Despite this focus on action, there are some cool dark threads that run through the book.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBook of a thousand days, Shannon Hale
Maid Maleen is a rather obscure Brothers Grimm fairytale, which documents the imprisonment of a Princess in a tower for seven years. Unlike Rapunzel, however, no rescuer is immediately forthcoming. Book of a Thousand days transplants the story from Europe to the Asian Steppes, and it’s a fascinating and engrossing story that neglects the “magical” elements of faiytales for a more realistic tone.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe rose and the beast:fairy tales retold, Francesca Lia Block
This is an awesome collection of short stories, told in Block’s unique voice. It’s a potent mixture of realism and Americana – the fey, somewhat feral heroines run away from home, go to L.A, or the desert, or wherever – only to find that the monsters have followed them. These haunting stories that stay with you, right until after you’ve closed the book.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTroll’s-eye view: a book of villainous tales, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
For something much darker, you can’t go past this collection, which features some of the best YA authors writing today. Each tale shows the other side of the fairy-tale’s primary encounter: what does the giant’s wife have to say about the young man who climbed up her beanstalk? The answer may surprise you…

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe replacement, Brenna Yovanoff
This should be compulsory reading for those who think that faeries are sweet and gentle creatures who spend their time rescuing princesses in distress. The faeries of The Replacement are implacable, inhuman creatures who have made a deal with the town of Gentry: economic security for the life of one child. The story is narrated by Mackie, a “replacement” changeling, who was swapped out for a human child and now dying because of his allergies to blood and iron, a nice nod to traditional superstitions about faeries. It’s a an interesting take on a slightly overdone subject, that retains the grimness of the original stories.

Book cover sourtesy of SyndeticsAsh, Malinda Lo

Ash is not your typical Cinderella story, although it begins the same: Ash’s father dies and the main character is reduced to a mere servant. Ash does receive help from the faerie, but his intentions may not be entirely benevolent. Then she meets the King’s huntress, the enigmatic Kaisa, and has to decide between her fairytale ending or one, more uncertain, that may end in true love. I like this particular retelling because it avoids the traps of many; getting too caught up in the glitter and not enough time spent on character development. The lesbian romance at its heart also separates it, and adds an interesting twist on a very old story.


Books, Grimm

Popular YA Authors on CD

06.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

Too busy to read? Audiobooks are a great alternative, particularly if you want to do more than one thing at a time. You can listen to many of the best and most popular YA authors on CD:

Cassandra Clare
Suzanne Collins
James Patterson
John Marsden
John Green
Veronica Roth
Louise Rennison
Philip Pullman
Markus Zusak

(plus many many more)

If you want to be more mobile, you can also get eAudiobooks from our eLibrary page using Overdrive and Borrowbox.

 


Author Spotlight, Librarian's Choice, Rachel

Author spotlight: Jaclyn Moriarty

05.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

Jaclyn Moriarty is awesome. She is highly endorsed by Grimm (here and here) and let me tell you, Grimm’s in-person enthusiasm about Jaclyn is very infectious!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI first read Feeling Sorry For Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy (of which we have the eBook only) a few years ago and absolutely loved them. They are both from Jaclyn’s Ashbury/Brookfield “series” although the books are more like companion novels than a series. That series also includes The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie and The Ghosts of Ashbury High. These books revolve around a number of students who attend either the exclusive and private Ashbury High or Brookfield High, the local public school. Each book has characters that cross over to the other novels, but each one is a separate story to the others. All four books are told in epistolary style, which means they are written as a series of documents, such as diary entries, emails, exam papers, notes etc.

More recently I read the first two books in Jaclyn’s Colours of Madeleine trilogy (although you will find it under colors, not colours). These books are written in Jaclyn’s trademark style, often subverting “facts” that you thought you knew and revealing that events or ideas that seemed incidental at the time are in fact central plot points. They also use epistolary elements to tell the story although these are lesser, and the narrative swaps between two main characters in each chapter. This series also marks a shift into fantasy writing, and it suits Jaclyn’s writing style very well.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn A Corner of White, fifteen-year-old Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, The Farms in the Kingdom of Cello. Here, seasons roam as they please and bells warn citizens of dangerous colour attacks. Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England in The World, our world, and lives by the laws of Isaac Newton. They live apart in their own worlds, unaware even of the existence of other worlds until one day they discover a connection. Just a crack, enough for a letter to get through. Elliot and Madeleine begin to write to each other through the crack between their worlds. Elliot writes to Madeleine about his missing father who was taken in an attack by a rogue purple which also killed his uncle, about the deftball final he’s about to compete in, and about the Butterfly Child he rescued from a glass jar. At first Madeleine doesn’t believe Elliot is even real, but she still writes to him about her own absent father, about how she misses the life of luxury she used to live and about the laws of Isaac Newton.

A Corner of White contains a lot of world-building elements with a building mystery behind it all. The second book, The Cracks in the Kingdom dives straight into the adventure having already set up the world in which it all takes place.

It may sound like a lot to take in, but Jaclyn’s writing takes you under its wing and makes you comfortable. She never over-explains, she will always let you come to your own conclusions. For example she never actually describes what the attacking colours look like, only their effects. Giving the reader so much input is part of what makes her writing so effective and powerful.

We have most of Jaclyn’s books available as eBooks as well as in print. She has also written I Have A Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes and The Spellbook of Listen Taylor (only available as eBooks), a rewritten adaptation of the former. Lots of Jaclyn’s books have been published under alternate titles, so you may need to check which is which if you come across an unfamiliar title. I hope you have fun exploring the worlds of Jaclyn Moriarty!


Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

Most Wanted: August 2014

05.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

These are the 10 most-requested Young Adult titles for August. The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore is being published this month (we should have it in 3 weeks or so), also Four by Veronica Roth is on its way. Good news! This month the Most Wanted list was visited by John Green’s other book, Paper Towns.

1. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
2. Minecraft: construction handbook [up 2]
3. Minecraft: combat handbook [up 1]
4. Divergent, Veronica Roth [down 2]
5. Four : a Divergent Collection, Veronica Roth [new]
6. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [down 3]
7. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
8. Revenge of Seven, Pittacus Lore [new]
9=. Paper Towns, John Green [old/new]
9=. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [down 3]
9=. The One, Kiera Cass [down 1]


Uncategorized

Whano, whano! Haramai te toki! Haumi ē! Hui ē! Tāiki ē!

01.08.14 | Permalink | Comments Off

Ko wai ngā toa o te Māwhai Tuhituhi? He roa rawa koutou e tatari mai, heoi anō, ko te toa o ngā toa e rima … ko Lizzie.

Tēnei te mihi ki a Lizzie, nāu te pakiwaitara i whakakapi, nāu te paparorohiko!
Nā tōu kura te ‘haki pukapuka’ hoki.

Ko te kura kaha ki te tautoko te whakataetae Māwahi Tuhituhi ko ‘Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Hou’

Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou te whānau o te kura nei. Nā koutou tētahi atu ‘haki pukapuka’.

Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou katoa i uru mai ki te whakataetae nei.


Comedy, dystopia, New

New Fiction

01.08.14 | Permalink | Comment?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRivals in the city, Y.S Lee (298 pages)Convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and the Agency asks Mary to take on one last case: to watch for the return of his estranged wife. Mrs Thorold is an accomplished criminal and will surely want to settle scores with Mary’s fiancé, James. With the additional complications of family and conflicting loyalties, the stakes for all involved are higher than ever.(Goodreads)

First lines: It was a miserable day for a walk: sleety, frigid, dark. Nevertheless, Mary Quinn and James Easton, Private Detectives, were out for a ramble about Bloomsbury, bundled against the freezing perpetual drizzle, straining to distinguish people from lampposts in the dense fog that swamped the streets.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSekret, Lindsay Smith (341 pages)Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.
Russia’s powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn’t the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon.
Yulia is a survivor. She won’t be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won’t let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won’t become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia. (Goodreads)

First lines: My rules for the Black Market are simple. Don’t make eye contact -especially with men. Their faces are sharp, but their eyes sharper, and you never want to draw that blade. Always act as though you could walk away from a trade at any moment. Desperation only leaves you exposed.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSleep no more, Aprilynne Pike, (340 pages)Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern-day Oracles are told to fight their visions—to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town. (Goodreads)

First lines: Ten years earlier: I sit on the itchy couch and stare at Mommy’s eyes, wishing for them to open. Everyone tells me she’s going to wake up, but it’s been two days. Aunt Sierra promised and the doctor said so. But Daddy’s not coming back. Ever. In my vision, it was Sierra who died. I was just trying to stop that.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSunrise, Mike Mullin (542 pages)The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions. When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.

First lines: I left the farmhouse in the darkest hour of the night to make a weapon. The light from my oil lamp drew a pitiful circle of gray around my feet. Other lams and torches shone here and there amid the ramshackle refugee encampment surrounding Uncle Paul’s farm, fading pockets of humanity in the chaotic dark. People huddled within the lights, cleaning guns and sharpening knives.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe bow, Catherine Mayo (362 pages)“There’s only one arrow, but you only have to shoot one man. I know you won’t miss.”
War is coming to Bronze Age Greece. It’s time to skill up. And Odysseus’s challenges are mounting. Can he find his grandfather’s hidden gold? Find the strength to string and shoot from the Great Bow of Eurytos, which no man has done for generations? Toughest of all, can he persuade a girl to love him? (Goodreads)

First lines: It had been a good morning for hunting, their last chance before the war began in earnest. They’d been up over Mount Neion, the three of them, and the thought of a second breakfast was making Odysseus’s stomach rumble.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGeek girl: picture perfect, Holly Smale (408 pages)Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is “Ever Upward”. She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon. But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to “become a brand”, as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren’t coming from your boyfriend…(Goodreads)

First lines: My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a girlfriend. I know I’m a girlfriend because I can’t stop beaming. Apparently the average girl smiles sixty-two times a day, so I must be statistically stealing someone else’s happiness. I’m grinning every thirty or forty seconds, minimum.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn the end, Demitria Lunetta, (432 pages)It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.
Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.
One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

First lines: I long for the comfort of night. The sun feels warm on my face. Before, sunshine was a good thing. But this is After, and outside of New Hope, the light means only one thing if you’re not armed: death.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe chapel wars, Lindsey Leavitt (292 pages)Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?
And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax. Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.

First lines: Inheritance. I hate that word. Translation:Sorry someone you like kicked the bucket; now here’s your present. It’s like getting hit by a car, only to make a fortune in the lawsuit. People constantly remind you what a financial blessing that accident was, such a sweet silver lining, when the truth is, you still got hit by a car.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sky so heavy, Claire Zorn (294 pages)For Fin, it’s just like any other day – racing for the school bus, bluffing his way through class, and trying to remain cool in front of the most sophisticated girl in his universe, Lucy. Only it’s not like any other day because, on the other side of the world, nuclear missiles are being detonated. (Goodreads)

First lines: There are two things I know right now: one is that a guy is holding a gun to my head, the other is that I don’t want to die. I guess I could try to look at it from the positive side: I’ve made it seventeen years without anyone trying to kill me.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSoldier doll, Jennifer Gold (277 pages)Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bryant is not happy. She’s had to leave all her friends behind and move across the country for her dad’s job in the military. One hot summer evening during her first week in her new city, she’s out killing time at a local garage sale when she spots a little soldier doll amid the junk. She thinks only that it might be a good last-minute birthday gift for her dad, who’s about to ship out to Afghanistan. She doesn’t realize that it might be a missing (and very valuable) historical artifact. With the help of Evan, the cute guy she’s just met at a local used book store, Elizabeth discovers that the doll might be THE soldier doll: the inspiration for a famous World War I poem of the same name.
Elizabeth’s story is interwoven with the amazing, tumultuous story of the soldier doll itself. Fashioned with love by a father for his only child in England years ago, we follow the doll back to England during World War I, then on to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a Czech concentration camp during World War II, Vietnam in 1970 and through the aftermath of 9/11. (Goodreads)

First lines: It looks like a doll-at first. It has a doll’s baby face, complete with pink cherubic cheeks and rosebud mouth. The craved and painted hair is soft-looking and yellow-blond. A closer look, however, tells a different story.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl in reverse, Barbara Stuber (320 pages)When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and fear of “commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin. Then her brainy little brother, Ralph, finds a box hidden in the attic. In it are a baffling jumble of broken antiques—clues to her past left by her “Gone Mom.” Lily and Ralph attempt to match these fragments with rare Chinese artifacts at the art museum. She encounters the artistic genius Elliot James, who attracts and infuriates Lily as he tries to draw out the beauty of her golden heritage. Will Lily summon the courage to confront her own remarkable creation story? The real story, and one she can know only by coming face-to-face with the truth long buried within the people she thought she knew best.

First lines: “Say it, Lily.”
I bow my head, close my eyes, press my hands together.
“Choose me.”
nancy bends down and whispers, “Again…like a magic prayer.”
“Choose me. Please.”


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