Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Blitz: London's Longest Night (DVD)

On the night of December 29, 1940 the Germans dropped tens of thousands of bombs on the city of London. This movie is complete with reenactments, actual footage and survivor stories. Of course you probably know the ending of that night, but it is riveting to learn which historic buildings survived as well as stories of some survivors. This PBS Production is not just another boring documentary, it had me gripping the sofa cushions in suspense. DVD 940.54 BLITZ

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Both the male and female ghosts have been 'haunting' for years because they are unable to move on to Heaven. They have no idea why they are stuck here but take over two present day teens' bodies in order to enjoy earth stuff again. In the end, the ghosts find out what is holding them back. When I met Laura at the Texas Library Association she signed in my book "Don't let the walls stop you" and now I know why. A happy ending, a ghost story and a romance...what more could you ask for? YP FIC WHITCOMB

Devil's Playground (DVD)

What a shocking look into Amish teens' lives! During a time called Rumspringa (the Devil's Playground), a period when Amish teens turn 16, they are allowed to live outside the Amish community. They experience all kinds of sins in order to decide if they want to leave the Amish lifestyle or stay in it for good. This documentary follows a few teens as they stumble around in the outside world getting drunk, smoking, and making out. The Amish lifestyle and their ideologies are explained by the teens. I came away from this film with strong feelings...how can the teens think about leaving the Amish community with a chance of success in the outside world with only an 8th grade education? Watch the movie, see what happens to the teens, draw your own conclusions. 392.15 DEVILS

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Finally, it's here! We have Eclipse the book (YP FIC MEYER) and the audiobook (AD YP FIC MEYER). I have been waiting impatiently the third installment of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series ever since I finished the last page of New Moon! Bella, Edward and Jacob are back, and once again Bella is pulled back and forth among the worlds of vampires, werewolves and the humans who live in the deceptively quiet town of Forks, Washington. As usual, wherever Bella goes, danger follows -- nearby Seattle has been plagued with a slew of mysterious killings, and Victoria still seeks revenge against Bella for James' murder. The author keeps the novel racing at a breathless pace, and the love story is riveting, tender and painful.
Stephenie Meyer gives her readers a sneak peek at her upcoming novels on her website -- including a fourth installment in the Twilight series coming in Fall of 2008 and a possible (fingers crossed!) alternate version of Twilight written from Edward's point of view.

She's also publishing a science fiction/romance called The Host that is scheduled to come out next spring. Go Stephenie!

Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? A mystery in poems by Mel Glenn

Mel Glenn writes his books in free verse by having a variety of characters tell the story from their point of view, thus having the plot and truth of the novel unfold as the reader fits the snippets from the characters together. Mel Glenn's books are often a little on the depressing side and this one is no different. Crazy student kills teacher, teacher's faults are revealed and then no one remembers teacher. YP FIC GLENN

The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter

Seventeen year-old Beryl keeps a diary while World War II is going on. She lives in Canada and works at several factories waiting for her male friends and her cousin to come home from the war. This book provides a realistic narrative of how it must have been like to live during the war. At one of Beryl's jobs working at De Havilland she was make a forelady although when the war was over and she had to give up her job and go back to school. She was concerned that she would not be able to type fast enough in order to meet graduation requirements! If you have grandparents or elderly relatives that might remember living during WWII this is a good book that you can read together. YP FIC HUNTER

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

This Cinderella story takes place in Ming China with Xing Xing pronounced Shing Shing) as the Cinderella character, Some variations from the original fairy tale is that her fairy god mother is her deceased mother reincarnated into a beautiful carp and she sees herself as important at the end of the novel...not just because of a guy. Some gruesome events take place in the book but they work well in the fairy tale motif. This is a good book for females. Girl power! YP FIC NAPOLI

Tupac Shakur Legacy by Jamal Joseph

Very, very cool book...even if you are not interested in Tupac. The book includes all kinds of reproductions that are associated with Tupac such as Tupac's grocery lists, inmate identification card, and poems that he wrote to his mom. The book also includes a CD with three interviews that he did which spanned about seven years. The author of the book happens to be a friend of the family so some of the things written tend to sound a little on the bias side when it comes to Tupac's various spats and scuffles. Overall this is a good book for anyone wanting to know more about Tupac and the 'Thug's Life' mindset. Found in the non-fiction section 782.421649 JOSEPH

Inexcusable: A Novel by Chris Lynch

Keir Sarafian,the main character is:
A. self centered and self absorbed.
B. thinks being a man means not having a hangover when getting drunk the night before.
C. in denial about his involvement when things go wrong or someone gets hurt.
D. all of the above.
The correct answer is D. Keir repeatedly oversteps boundaries throughout Inexcusable by blaming the result of his actions on someone else. It is not until the end of the novel that he realizes the reality of a particular situation that he has caused. I still have unanswered questions about him and it bothers me that his sisters were not more cranky with him. This is a good book, but not the book to read if you want to feel good. YP FIC LYNCH

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

This is a too cute story about Vince the son of kingpin mobster and his daily life which is full of eccentric relatives and their quirks. After an impromptu kiss at a party, he falls for the daughter of an FBI agent (nicknamed Agent Bite-Me by Vince's father). Vince is a decent guy and this is a good book to read if you want hope that you can turn out okay even if your family is nuts. YP FIC KORMAN. Also has sequel titled Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle also YP FIC KORMAN

Dairy Queen: A Novel by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

This is actually a book about football...but don't let that scare you off. D.J. is utterly (ha! ha!) satisfied with her life- milking cows, baling hay and shoveling cow poo until hot guy Brian (from rival Holley High School) comes to help out on the farm per his football coach's orders. Brian points out to D.J. that she is just like a cow...always doing what everyone tells her to do. She decides he's right and does something about it ...meaning joining her high school football team and facing Brian on the field (who she has fallen for and kissed-BTW). Great story about family, friendships and being good to yourself. YP FIC MURDOCK or listen to it AD YP FIC MURDOCK

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

Better than the second and third but still not as good as the first. Carmen finds and reclaims herself at a drama summer camp and Tibby flakes out on Brian but will he come back to her? Lena finally gets the whole Kostos thing resolved (which I thought was resolved in a previous book, but I guess not). B still struggles with her need for guy attention. Overall I recommend it. YP FIC BRASHARES or the audio book AD YP FIC BRASHARES

Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems by John Grandits

Don't let the boring cover fool you, this is one of my fave books! Where else can you read poetry about a school bus that vomits kids, the life of a fart and what your sister yells when you flush the toilet when she's in the shower? This book of concrete poems or shape poems are so much fun to read and look at. It's like a ride for your eyes! J 811.6 GRANDITS

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back On the Board by Bethany Hamilton

Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton gets her arm bit off by a Tiger Shark while surfing in Hawaii. She writes about her accident, recovering, and getting back to the sport she loves- surfing. This easy to read book is uplifting but does have strong religious overtones. One chapter is dedicated to her relationship with God. I thought this book was going to be depressing but it was pretty uplifting instead. Of course, since it is a true story you can find it in the non-fiction section- 797.32092 HAMILTON

Friday, August 24, 2007

Jinx by Meg Cabot

Could also be titled Witches and...well...something that rhymes with witches. Jean (Jinx) moves from Iowa to New York City to live with her aunt. Upon arrival she learns that her once nice plain, but beautiful cousin has turned into a super-annoying mean goth girl preoccupied with witchcraft. Can Jinx save herself and her friends from suffering her cousin's wrath? Why did Jinx move to New York? Who (or what)exactly is Jinx anyway? Read (or listen AD YP CABOT) to find out. Great new novel from Meg Cabot of the Princess Diaries fame.

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

This story in written as a journal by Catherine, an interesting and entertaining character living during the Crusades. Catherine is kind of a sour-puss...but in a likable way. She does not want to be forced into marriage to nasty, sexist old guys but have adventures instead. This book shows you what life would be like living as a teenage girl in the 1290s...yuck! Moore library also has the audio version of this title and the narrator is awesome! Listen to it...AD YP FIC CUSHMAN

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bloodtide / Melvin Burgess

I just finished Melvin Burgess' book Bloodtide (call no. is YP FIC BURGESS for those who may be interested...) It is a fast-paced science fiction-ish novel set in a destroyed London of the future. Ganglords have taken over the city, which the rest of the world has abandoned.

Mankind has figured out how to create a race of super-strong, half-human, half-animal beings called the Halfmen, who have turned against mankind and live just beyond the walls of ruined London. The book centers around a set of twins who have a mystical connection to the Norse god Odin. The twins try to reclaim their city, but both must struggle with powerlust, their own innate "racism" towards the Halfmen and the question of how to maintain their hope in a hopeless environment. The author based the book on an old Icelandic myth. It was hard to put down.

If you liked the movie Children of Men (which we also have at the library - DVD CHILDREN) or Scott Westerfeld's Uglies books (YP FIC WESTERFE) take a look at this one, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Beating Heart: A Ghost Story by A.M. Jenkins

Cora, a ghost, has lived alone in a dilapidated house for nearly a century until a family moves in consisting of a newly divorced mother, a boy her age named Evan, and his five year-old sister. Fun to read because Cora's view is told in verse and Evan/s is not. This book is excellent for a book discussion because it addresses issues about teen love. It is questionable if these issues would have risen because of Cora's ghostly presence or that they just happened by chance.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black

Fast moving story about a teen who gets angry at her mom and runs away. Living in the sewers of the New York subway with new freinds who shoot up a strange powder and associate with even stranger 'people.' This dark, gritty, gross, dirty and raw tale is well written and includes several objects found in other legdens and tales such as a sword and an apple. I love Holly Black (she's the one on the left). She also wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles that you may have read as a kid. YP FIC BLACK or AD YP FIC BLACK
Be sure to visit Holly Black's website to and click on the Resources tab to find out what her suggested reading is to you!

London Calling by Edward Bloor

Okay... story about a boy who inherits a WWII era radio from his grandmother and is taken back in time to the London Blitz by a ghost his own age named Jimmy. Not exactly a happy ending bit not a terrible ending either. Secrets are revealed and stuff gets resolved. End of story.