Boston Public Library
Teens

Born of Illusion – A Review

Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

born of illusion

Title/Author: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Read by: Anna at the Central Library Teen Room / Read for our TBOM book discussion group on December 19th.
Summary: Anna is a magician used to traveling with her mother who is a medium. Together they put on shows and seances to make money. It’s mostly a con. But what her mother doesn’t know is that Anna has real paranormal abilities and lately, she’s been getting visions of a very terrible ending to their lives.
Series/Standalone: book one
Genre/sub-genre: Historical/Paranormal
Diversity: none that stood out
Could I Relate to These Characters: yes
Would I re-read?: yes
Personal thoughts: Once I started reading, I could not put this book down. I love the 1920′s New York City setting and I love stories about magic. I think Teri Brown did a fantastic job bringing them both together. While this is the first in a series, it can be read as a standalone as well, yet, I’m looking forward to reading the second one just to see what might happen next.

Hell Hole – A Review

Posted on December 9th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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hellhole

Title/Author: Hell Hole by Gina Damico

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

Release Date: January 6, 2015

Summary: Max is a good kid. He would never even think about stealing something. But the cat pin is so distracting he can’t help but walk away with it. The only problem is, his stealing brings a devil up from down below and Burg will never be happy unless Max steals him junk food and secures him a stolen mansion with a hot tub. What’s a teenager to do? Especially when his Mom is sick in bed waiting for a heart transplant? Life couldn’t get any more complicated.

Series/Standalone: standalone

Genre/sub-genre: Light Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Humor

Diversity: none that stood out

Relatable characters: yes

Would I re-read?: No.

Personal thoughts: This book was very well written, and I would recommend it to those who like reading humorous, paranormal stories with a tiny bit of romance thrown in. While I really enjoyed her Croak trilogy, this one just wasn’t for me. The humor didn’t grab me the way it did in Croak, and I think that was what turned me off to it. However, if you’re into crude humor about a devil who refuses to wear any pants and his reasons for not wearing pants, among other things, you’ll definitely like this.

The Rogue Crew – A Review

Posted on October 6th, 2014 by Anna in Reviews - Staff
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rogue crew       The Rogue Crew by Brian Jacques Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

 

This is the final story in the Redwall series. It chronicles a group of hares, shrews, sea otters and a few hedgehogs, as they race against time to reach Redwall Abby before the murderous vermin crew of the ship, Greenshroud. The ship and her wearat captain, Razzid, once thought to be defeated by fire, have returned, bigger and better than before. Now, the ship not only sails the seas, it has wheels that allow it to sail on land as well! Will the warrior hares from Salamandastron and the mighty sea otters of the High North Coast reach the Abby in time to save the good woodland creatures who live there? Or will more vermin along the way keep them from reaching their goal and their friends?

I started reading this series nineteen years ago. Yes. You read that correctly. Nineteen years. The first book in the series, Redwall, was originally published in 1987, though I didn’t find it until a few years after that. The Rogue Crew (book #22) was first published in 2011. So you can see just how long this series has been going on. If it weren’t for the death of the author, Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes), this series would still be going on. This will always be one of my favorite series, and Brian Jacques will always be one of my favorite authors. Though he lived in Liverpool, England, I was lucky enough to get to meet him on three separate occasions and I can say he was an amazing person to listen to. His voice was as rich and deep as his stories. Did you know Redwall got started as a story for blind children? Jacques delivered milk to a blind school and wrote Redwall for them, making his style of writing as descriptive as possible so the children could see everything in their imaginations.  A former teacher of his eventually showed Redwall to a publisher without telling Jacques, and as they say, the rest is history.

Because of his descriptive style, his work makes me feel like I’m in an adventure with all these different creatures who are kind, caring, tough, warrior-like, evil, mean, innocent, whatever words you can use to describe people, you can use to describe these creatures. I really do feel like I’m there, in the midst of a battle, or enjoying a huge feast on a beautiful summer evening. Though, one thing I adore about these books that tends to be a deal breaker for other readers, is the fact that each type of animal has its own way of speaking and Jacques uses that throughout all of the dialog. I see it as a fun time to learn how to speak like a mole or a hare. Others, find it distracting. If that is something that bothers you, this might not be the book for you. If it doesn’t, I urge you to check it out.  I can’t recommend these books highly enough, and I’m very sad to have finally reached the end. A note about the order of the books: Each book is its own story with its own set of characters. If you’re new to the series, you should start with either Redwall or Mossflower. Redwall was the first book published and Mossflower is the prequel. After that, you can read them in any order you like. I admit, they might get tiring after awhile if you attempt to read all 22 in a row, but take a long break and come back to them and you’ll remember why you enjoyed them so much when you first picked them up. To me, these are timeless classics set in their own fantasy world. Thirty, fifty, even perhaps one hundred years from now, I imagine they’ll still be readable and enjoyable by many and I hope they’re never forgotten by readers of all ages.

Seraphina – A Review

Posted on September 29th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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seraphina

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

Dragon shifters abound in this tale of a young woman who is half dragon and passing as human. Someone is threatening the 40-year-old treaty keeping peace between the dragons and the humans. But who would do such a thing? And why? And how can they be stopped? Those are the questions Seraphina longs to answer as she goes about her days as the court’s Music Mistress, working hard to put the program together for the Treaty Eve festival. However, memories her mother planted in her mind often get in the way and threaten to expose her for what she really is, something no one knows exists. With her life in danger, memories trying to swamp her mind, and visions getting out of hand, Seraphina is making friends in high places and hoping against all hope they don’t notice anything amiss.

I’ll admit, it took me a few chapters to really get into this book. But once I was in, I was in. I was really interested in the different characters Seraphina sees through her visions. I was especially drawn to Fruit Bat, a mute boy who seems to be the only one who responds to her attention, as if he is a real person who can interact with her. Yes, there is a romance in this book, yet it doesn’t overwhelm the plot at all. In fact, it’s so subtle, you might miss it, which makes for a nice breath of fresh air. It’s a fantasy like no other. Rachel Hartman has taken the classic character of the dragon and made it as unique as a fingerprint. She did a great job making them new, different, and extremely interesting. I highly recommend this for anyone who likes fantasy.

The end of the book leaves it open for a sequel which is slated to be released sometime in 2015. And any who enjoyed this first book might enjoy the 17 page prequel, which can be found for free here. Or by the link on the Goodreads page here.

Our TBOM discussion group will be talking about this very book on October 31st at 2pm!

Anyone interested in joining the discussion should request a copy

of the book, ebook, downloadable audio, or audio CD

through our online catalog, and have it read by the end of the month.

We will also be planning future reads at the end of the discussion so come ready to plan!

A Time To Dance – A Review

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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a time to dance

A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Read by Anna/Central Teen Room

Veda is a classical dance prodigy in India. Ever since she first saw the statue of Shiva, the four-armed God of dance, as a small child, she’s wanted to do nothing but dance. However, her parents know that dancing won’t bring her a steady career with good money and a stable life. Her mother wishes she would study harder to get into a good college. And yet, Veda still wants nothing more than to dance. Then, the unthinkable happens. She loses half of her right leg in an accident. Now, she can no longer dance. And yet, Veda still wants nothing more than to dance. But even her dance teacher isn’t so sure she can do it anymore. Still, her determination finds her in the capable hands of an American man determined to create a prosthetic foot to help her dance, and a new dance teacher who believes in her, not just her ability to dance.

This was a very inspiring story, told in verse. It was a quick read, one that I found very difficult to put down once I’d gotten started. Veda is a very likeable character, and someone most people can relate to. A Time To Dance offers a glimpse of what it’s like to live in India as a young girl, showing the Indian traditions including those stemming from religion, and talking about the caste system. However, while religion is there, while it inspires Veda, it does not preach to the reader, for which I was grateful. I found this story to be rather peaceful for the most part, and heart wrenching for the rest of the time. The romance is sweet, feels natural, and doesn’t over shadow the rest of the story. But Veda’s story isn’t just about dance and a little romance. It’s also about family and friends, how to hold onto both, and how to let go. A Time To Dance handles serious issues realistically and easily. I loved the way this story was told, I loved the characters, and I also really liked the cover, which first drew my attention to it. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something inspirational, something about loss, life, love, and dance. Or if you’re at a loss as to what you should read next, pick this one up. You’ll be glad you did.