Tuesday, March 29, 2011

POD by Stephen Wallenfels

I thought the cover of this book spoke volumes, so I picked it up for that reason alone before reading some fairly decent reviews of it on Amazon.com--so I'd decided I'd better open it up.
The sci-fi teen genre (post-apocalyptic fun) is HUGE right now, and series like the "Dead and Gone" or books like "Compound" literally run of the shelves. I had a feeling POD might be one of those books, and I think my initial inclination may well be very right.
The story centers around two teens, Megs and Josh, who both have very different experiences. Josh is stuck inside his home with his dad, while Megs is literally fighting for survival in a parking lot garage; sleeping in various cars and trucks whilst trying to avoid killers and looters. Josh's voice can be whiny and as a character can be difficult to sympathize with--as his situation worsens his personality starts to develop in to a bit more likable one. Megs really has the more exciting story of the two and hers is one of total hands on survival and doesn't have time to whine or moan like Josh (who still has his dad to take care of him, and therefore, comes across bratty and unappreciative).
The story vacillates between the two teens and their outrageous existence now that the PODS have taken over. Oh, and PODS are literally black orbs in the sky that seems to annihilate anything in their path. A bright light crashes down and "whoosh" people and animals disappear. Literally, everyone is stuck inside their homes and as the lights go out and the water stops flowing, the drama really starts to set in.
This book is fairly fast-paced and quite heart-pounding. Teens over 12 will enjoy it, I think. While the writing isn't overly descriptive; the concept is interesting and the blood and gore just enough to keep the average reader not only interested--but wanting more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review "A Long Way Home"

What would you do if you woke up one morning and couldn’t remember anything that happened to you in the
past year? What if you realized you were wanted for murder and for being part of a terrorist group? What if that
terrorist group wanted you dead?

This is what has happened to Charlie. Having no idea where else to turn up clues to his mysterious lost year, he
returns to the most dangerous place - his hometown where it all started. There, the girlfriend and friends he
doesn’t remember decide to help him uncover the truth.

With the truth well-hidden and people wanting to erase his future, will Charlie be able to save himself and keep
his friends safe at the same time? What really happened during the past year? One thing’s for sure - life will
never be the same for Charlie again.

Action-packed from start to finish, this page-turner will keep you glued to your seat. The story reads fast and
the plot is intense. The characters are well-developed, and reluctant and avid readers alike will have a hard time
putting THE LONG WAY HOME down. I would, however, recommend reading THE LAST THING I
REMEMBER, the first book in the series, before starting this one.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous....

How they croaked is a series of vignettes regarding famous men and women who have lived and died. Whether someone had a lung explode, was stabbed to death, died of poison, or croaked from a really bad sore throat, getting sick and dying tended to be a big, ugly mess--especially before modern medical care. From King Tut's ancient autopsy to Henry VIII's explosive demise to Albert Einstein's great brain escape, these pages contain all the gory details of the awful ends of nineteen awfully famous people.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"How I Made it to Eighteen."

How do you know if you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing. Based on the author’s experiences, How I Made it to Eighteen is a frank portrait of what it’s like to struggle with self-esteem, body image issues, drug addiction, and anxiety.

This was a CCBC choice this year!

The Professor's Daughter

Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert bring the true spirit of Victorian London to life in this witty, engaging, sepia-colored tale of a proper but mischievous young girl and the mummy who opens his eyes for the first time in 3,000 years and instantly falls in love with her. Will the love between Lillian and Imhotep IV survive when their fathers, the London police, and even the Royal Archeological Society are all determined to keep them apart?

Written by the hilarious and insightful Joann Sfar and painted in watercolors by the contemplative and beguiling Emmanuel Guibert, The Professor's Daughter tells an engaging, heart-warming love story through affecting, delightful art

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: Divergent

Children's Review: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, $17.99, 496 pp., ages 14-up, 9780062024022, May 3, 2011)

In her debut novel, Veronica Roth creates an engrossing coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, recognizable only by the former Sears Tower and Hancock Building. Narrator Beatrice Prior has grown up in the Abnegation faction, where her father serves as a council member. Now that she is 16, Beatrice, along with her peers, must choose one of five factions to make their home. The teens first submit to an aptitude test, which demonstrates to them the faction best suited to their character traits. At a Choosing ceremony, they ultimately pick for themselves the faction in which they wish to serve.

Read the rest HERE: http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=1416#m11734

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Magical Stamps in the UK....

In the U.K., the Royal Mail has released a special set of stamps featuring "some of the world's--and fiction's--"most famous wizards, witches and enchanters," including Merlin, Dumbledore and Nanny Ogg, the Guardian reported.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wimpy Kid Kontest.....

To kick off the new updated, expanded and revised Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book by Jeff Kinney, which goes on sale May 10, Abrams's Amulet Books is sponsoring a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Comics Contest.
Readers up to 16 years old may enter by mailing in an original cartoon. One lucky winner will receive $500; a signed library of Wimpy Kid books; and $1,000 for the school or public library of his or her choice. Kinney will announce the winner at ALA in New Orlean on June 25.
This new edition includes the only published full-color comics by Kinney, including the collected cartoons of Greg Heffley and Rowley, as well as Rowley's own journal. With more than 47 million books in print in the U.S. since the publication of the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book in April 2007, the books have also been sold in more than 30 countries. The 2010 movie adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid grossed more than $60 million; the second movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, hits theaters on March 25.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Marcelo in the Real World

I've heard great things about this book for over a year and finally sat down to read it. I've read a few YA books that truly inspire me, and this was one of them. Stork's characters are extremely well-written and devloped so acutely you feel as if you know them personally and can anticipate their next move. But most importantly, I think, Francisco Stork worked with Autistic persons before writing this book--and it shows. His unique and heartwarming (and breaking, at times), story of Marcelo trying to "make it" in his father's corporate day to day world...is.... simply a delight to read. He really knows how to write an Autistic character in a way that doesn't make the illness a charicature--which many books do when they attempt such an endeavor.
Marcelo is smart, moving, funny, and really, really intelligent. Most importantly, he's compassionate and that trait absolutely shines throughout this book and rings in your ears days later shouting "Hope! Promise! Forgiveness!"
The basic premise is simple. Marcelo's father gets him a job working at his law firm in order to introduce him to the "real world." Whatever that is....eh? Marcelo becomes good friends with Jasmine in the mail room and discovers what it's like to have a friend and to possibly have romantic feelings for someone. In the meantime, he contends with the bureaucratic bullies in the law firm's office and with a tough decision that could cost the law firm and his father everything. The story moves along swiftly and becomes more complex without losing the reader's interest or the genuine spirit of its cast of characters.
A beautiful story regarding change, compassion, loyalty, and bonds between people (both positive and negative). I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone. Teen and adult alike. What an inspiring story (to me, anyway).

Kindles....for free????

Should Amazon give away free Kindles? As CNN's Amy Gahran noted, "In a way, Amazon has already been giving away Kindles for awhile--in the form of the free Kindle smartphone, tablet, and computer apps. Right now, about 6 million U.S. adults own e-readers--but this field is getting much more crowded.... The Kindle's core business model has always been to sell books, not devices. So a free Kindle seems like a potentially savvy business move.

Gahran added that if Amazon doesn't lead the way in offering a free e-reader, "someone certainly will."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Young Readers & The Movies....

Fox 2000 signed a first-look deal with Paper Lantern Lit, a company co-founded by Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer that focuses on young readers and writers. The deal includes film rights to Oliver's second novel, Delirium, which was offered to Fox by Mazur/Kaplan Company, owned by producer Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, Miami, Fla. They will also produce Delirium, which is their second acquisition (after The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society).

Variety reported that Fox "has been more aggressive than its competitors recently in picking up rights to the high-profile young adult books on the market. Fox 2000 recently acquired rights to The Book Thief, a New York Times bestseller, and Incarceron, with Taylor Lautner attached to star.... Under the deal, Fox 2000 will have rights to develop and produce young adult work from both Oliver and Lantern's pool of authors. Last year, the shingle obtained rights to Oliver's flagship novel Before I Fall...."

Fox's president Elizabeth Gabler said, "We know there's a huge, really aggressive audience in young moviegoers. I think the trend right now is to look at things that are created for them."