Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Breaking Dawn trailer

There are many trailers out there--all trying to figure out just what will happen as dawn breaks on the new Twilight book. Here's one of them. August 2nd. I can't wait.


Tennyson by Lesley M. M. Blume is one of those Southern gothic novels that I find so very appealing to curl up with on a rainy day. During the depression, 11-year-old Tennyson Fontaine (yep, named after the poet) and her sister Hattie live a bohemian life out in the woods with their father, who turned his back on his Southern aristocratic roots, and their mother who has a poet's soul. When their mother runs off, they are sent to live with their eccentric old aunt (a must-have in any good Southern gothic novel, right?) in a crumbling Louisiana plantation home called Aigredoux (translation from French: bittersweet) while their father goes in search of her.
Tennyson, old for her years and a talented writer herself, starts having dreams and visions of the cruel past the house has seen, and begins writing down the old home's "memories"--both the bittersweet and the horrific from the time of the Civil War...sending them off to a New York magazine that her mother has always admired in an attempt to contact her mother.
I love the character of Tennyson, but I love the character of Aigredoux itself even more. It has the type of haunting beauty that often masks cruelty and moral decay, and possesses the kind of pride that comes before a fall.

The ending is more realistic than happily ever after, and I love that because it suits this work, just as the cover does.
I loved this book and recommend it for grades 7 and up.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...Elvis is in the library...

It's not everyday that teens and tweens have the chance to read a new novel that involves Elvis, but all that is about to change. I've come across not 1 but 2 novels this summer that feature the King. Well, that feature dads that want to be the King, anyhow...

The first is called Love Me Tender by Audrey Couloumbis, and I have to tell you I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's just right for those times when you want a sweet and tender read, or when you just want your teddy bear.

It's about a girl whose father leaves for Vegas to compete in an Elvis impersonator contest after having a fight with her mom, and involves a run-away hounddog, a trip down memory lane with a long-lost granny, fires and classic cars. Suffice it to say that all works out in the end, and no one ends up in Heartbreak Hotel. It truly is a sweet book.

(um, by the way kids, the words in italics are words that you will find amusing if you know some Elvis lyrics. If not, get your mother/auntie/grandma--trust me, it is clever and she'll love it!)

The second book is All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall. This time the main character is a boy, Josh, who goes to live with his dad in Chicago while his mother is away. He notices his dad has had a very interesting dye job at the airport, but never imagines then what his dad is now doing for a guessed it, he's an Elvis impersonator. This is a very different book from Love Me Tender, with a son who is angry and mortified about his father---and let's not even talk about his father's girlfriend and her daughter. Yep, Josh is definitely feeling All Shook Up, but eventually Josh and his dad come to understand one another. Funny and a bit sarcastic, this book will keep you entertained until Elvis has left the building.

Thankyou, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Breaking Dawn

I know I'm amongst millions who are anxiously awaiting August 2nd. At that point, the rest of the world will be put on hold and I will do nothing but settle in for a long summer's read, with a glass of sweet iced tea at my side. Ah, life will be beautiful....

Have you planned which midnight release party you'll be attending? If not, check out The Twilight Saga for a party map.

Are you a member of Team Edward or Team Jacob? Me, I'm a Jacob fan. Now, dont' get me wrong....I could really sink my teeth into Edward, too, but there's something about that Jacob...
Anyway, in more Twilight news, the movie trailers are up and running. Click here to see them. I am so excited about this movie--I just really hope it lives up to my expectations.

I had the opportunity to meet Stephenie Meyer (again at my TLA conference) and it was a real fan highlight for me. She is an absolutely lovely individual, plus she commented on my Twilight Teez shirt, so we're basically best friends now. :)

The students at my school have participated in 2 Twilight book discussion groups, with more planned for the coming year. I'll be sure to post pics when the time comes. Until then, we can just all look forward to August 2nd.

Hunger Games

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is truly one of the most amazing books I've ever read...and believe me I read a lot. This is the first book that ever caused me to write the publisher to let them know just how amazing the book was.

I had the great pleasure of attending a breakfast at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texs during the Texas Library Association annual conference this past April. This breakfast was put on by the good folks at Scholastic Books and featured 3 amazing YA authors reading from their newest works. This is where I first met Ms. Collins. Just as an aside, not only is she an amazing author, but she is a truly delightful and humble person, as well.

As she read from the pages, I was spellbound. I mean it--I literally stopped eating my delicious filet mignon breakfast to better hear her voice as she channeled the main character, Katniss in a pivotal moment in the book.

The novel is set in a futuristic dystopian society where kids are sent from each of the 12 districts of Panem to battle to the death every year in the televised Hunger Games. When Katniss' gentle little sister is chosen to be one of the players, Katniss steps up to take her place. And so the adventure begins. She is taken off and treated like royalty as she and her district partner prepare for battle. And then it is time for the games to begin...and there's no choice but to play it through to the bitter end. Will Katniss survive? and what does it mean for her if she does...who will she have become in order to survive?

This book won't be officially available until October, but every student that I've handed an ARC (advanced reader's copy) has not been able to put it down either. I'm talking boys, girls, and adults alike are bowled over by this work. It is an amazing novel that I cannot recommend highly enough. Note: be prepared for the violence. All of it is important to the storyline, and not gratuitous. Librarians: Get ready to booktalk this and have it fly off the shelves---use this as a book group book and get ready for the animated and amazing discussions that will follow. Students: Get this book in your hands ASAP and read it! Oh, and don't bother making plans for the night you pick up the book--you'd just break them anyway. :)

Batgirl was a librarian!

In the spirit of the new Batman movie, I thought I'd give you a little background information on my favorite's Batgirl, of course! After all, she's a crime-fighting, bootie-kickin', book-lovin', way-cool librarian.

Barbara Gordan was actually the 2nd incarnation of Batgirl, but by far the best and most popular one. I've included the Youtube video of the never-aired pilot episode of the 60's Batman show (in all its kitschy glory)where we first meet Barbara Gordan.

Later, after being paralyzed by the Joker, Batgirl returns as the crimefighter "Oracle" who uses her amazing library skills to fight crime. As Wikipedia puts it, "in a world increasingly centered on technology and information, she possesses a genius-level intellect; photographic memory; deep knowledge of computers and electronics; expert skills as a hacker; and graduate training in library sciences." She not only fights crime, but she basically runs the whole shootin' match for every other superhero, too.
Yeah, we librarians are cool bunch.
And yeah, I want to be Batgirl when I grow up.

with thanks to for the super-cool pic. Check out their link on the right of my blog!
If you share a love for all things Batgirl, check out ALA's read posters--they have one
and it is greatness.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia

You know, it's been a long time since I read a really good, solid mystery book. Finally! One that isn't actually a horror novel pretending to be a mystery or one that's too silly/boring---I just want a great mystery needing to be solved.

Kari and Lucus (yep, another girl) are best friends who live in St. Paul. One day, while touring an art museum in Minneapolis, the girls run into a strange and angry man copying a Rembrant painting. And so the mystery begins. Before the book is over the girls will have traveled across the globe and solved an incredible puzzle involving disguises, kidnapping and yes, Rembrandt.

A thoroughly enjoyable read for girls in grades 6-10. Read also: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.

Friday, July 18, 2008

City of Ember movie coming in October...

Check out the super-cool City of Ember movie preview stuff down at the bottom of my blog! I absolutely loved this beginning book in the trilogy by by Jeanne DuPrau.
The movie is set to be released on October 10th 2008 and I can't wait! I just hope it somewhat lives up to the book. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
"For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing ... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker. "

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot Chick Lit

Since I'm on the Texas Lone Star committee, I've had the opportunity to read lots of great books--including some chick lit this summer. Here are 3 I enjoyed, and I hope you enjoy them, as well.

Lucky by Rachel Vail

14 year old Phoebe and her friends are most definitely lucky girls, and Phoebe has always seemed the luckiest of all of them. She's beautiful, rich, and popular--what more could a girl want? She and her friends are planning a huge bash to celebrate their 8th grade graduation (think MTv's "My Super-Sweet-16 kind of shindig) when the unthinkable happenss. Her mom loses her high-powered job and suddenly the cash stops flowing in. Now, while her friends excitedly plan the party, it seems unattainable to her, and life is turned upside down. Fans of Meg Cabot will love LUCKY.

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

Kate is a very practical girl who hasn't been lucky in love. After winning an essay contest she goes to Verona, Italy to experience Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for a summer session. She and her classmates learn just why the Bard's (as Shakespeare is known) work is still as relevant and real today as it was when it was written when life begins to imitate art. Those of you who love romance or theatre will enjoy this book. Those of you who love romance and theatre will adore it.

How Not to be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. I actually laughed right out loud (causing a few innocent bystanders to wonder about my sanity, I am sure) while reading it. Sugar Magnolia Dempsy (Maggie) and her wandering hippie parents have moved wherever the wind has taken them ever since Maggie can remember. Now that she's older, it gets more painful to leave friends and loved ones each time. Since her parents moved to Austin, Texas she's made a new plan. No longer will she try to fit in with the "populars", now she will purposefully make no friends--and therefore not be hurt when her family inevitably picks up and moves again. She dresses in weird and bizarre ways (even for Austin--Keep Austin Weird!) and joins the "nerdy" group when she has to join anything. Her plan completely backfires and the ensuing story is delicious.

For those of you who love to read ghost stories...

Here are 2 great ones! For the older set...The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein. This book is incredibly appealing--it really grabs you quickly and takes you for quite a wild ride. A creepy, haunting tale that made it difficult at times to read at night.

Zach's mother has just died, and his dad has remarried. They relocate to a new town that holds a very mysterious and old evil. Have you ever for a moment thought you saw an angry face in the trunk of a tree? Zach has. And now a vengeful ghost is out for revenge...and Zach. This is a great psychological thriller that has suprising twists and turns. You'll love it.

Fans of Mary Downing Hahn, you will not be disappointed in her latest and greatest ghost story! I liked it even better than Wait Till Helen Comes---and I LOVE that book.

Travis and his sister Corey unknowingly unleash evil in an attempt to play a prank at their grandmother's inn. Soon, all the lovely bad ones...and the really bad one chasing them are awakened again. A wonderfully scary story...and how cool is this cover???

Don't mess with the librarians

I'll be back with more book reviews by tomorrow, but until's another video that I just had to include.

Okay, this youtube video is just creepy enough to be fantastic. I love the vintage feel that the black & white gives it, and the librarians are soooo Stepford Wives meets evil genius. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Library Ninja

This youtube video KILLS me. I swear, I laugh my head off everytime I see it.

I believe I have a new goal for the year.....

become Sensei Insight FU, Library Ninja

(not that I don't LOVE technology...but still, ya gotta admit this is mighty clevah!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind is absolutely amazing. I've long been a fan of Neal Shusterman (who by the way is not only a brilliant writer but a fascinating dinner companion, as I found out at this past year's Texas Library Association conference)and enjoyed his previous works (I am a particular fan of The Schwa Was Here), but Unwind takes things to a whole new level.
Connor Lassiter founds out he is about to be unwound---you see, he lives in a time in which parents or guardians can choose to have their teens aged 13-18 "unwound" if they choose to do so. Got a troubled kid? Send him to a harvest camp and have him "unwound", that way you aren't really killing him---after all, his body parts will go on to someone who needs them, so in that sense he is just "living" in a different way. When Connor finds the paperwork that spells out his future he decides to run. If he can make it until he is 18 he'll be safe. Along the way he picks up two other kids destined for the same future, Risa, a ward of the state who is being unwound because while she is okay at certain things she isn't a genius at any of them, and after all, more space is needed in the state home, and Lev, a tithe, who has known since birth that his family was voluntarily unwinding him as a gift to God.
This is one of those books that will keep you on the edge of your seat while reading, and haunt you afterwards. It is incredibly disturbing and complex, and would be an excellent book for a group to discuss. I can't wait for school to be back in session so that I can talk this book with you guys! I HIGHLY recommend this book for grades 7 and up.

a busy, busy summer

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted to this blog. So, without making any excuses (which would all be valid ones!) let's just say that I'm going to start anew and attempt to post to the this blog a minium of 2 times per week. Okay? Thanks!