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Book Reviews! The Reformed Vampire Support Group & Shiver

Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of real vampires. They don’t sparkle. They don’t run fast. They don’t have superhuman strength. They’re just not cool. Instead, they’re constantly sick. They throw up a lot. They’re weak. They must avoid sunlight and drink the blood of guinea pigs to keep themselves going.

Sounds glamorous doesn’t it? But what happens when one of their own is killed and the slaying leads to an illegal werewolf fighting ring? Wait… werewolves exist? Yep. They change shape with the full moon and don’t have any health hangups. Lucky them.  So now it’s up to a bunch of weak vampires to travel a far distance, in daylight, to save the life of a werewolf and capture the humans believed to have slayed a vampire.

For those of you who might remember, I actually read the sequel to this book first several months ago, which focused on the werewolves, rather than the vampires. I have to say, I enjoyed The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group much better than this one. This was good, but it took me about ten chapters to get into it. I needed to see some action, and with sick characters who can barely do anything, it took awhile for anything to actually happen. That was my biggest problem with the book. Once the story got going and the pace picked up, it was a very enjoyable read.  

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

Grace was bitten by werewolves when she was a child. But she never turned into a wolf. Instead, as a teenager, she keeps an eye on the wolf pack that roam the woods just outside her house, especially on the one wolf with the yellow eyes who saved her life the day she was bitten. But when another teenager is attacked and killed, the men of the small town go on a hunting spree in order to kill the nuisance wolves. Grace arrives home to find a boy on her deck, bleeding out from a gun shot wound which heals almost instantly. She recognizes his yellow eyes as that of the wolf who’s been watching her for years from the woods. His name is Sam and he’s a werewolf struggling to hold onto his human body just so he can be with Grace. However, the colder it gets outside, the more his body wants to shift to keep him warm. Then all hell breaks loose when he learns how he was picked to be bitten as a child, as more and more teens are becoming werewolves and the older wolves are making their final shift into their wolf form for the rest of their lives. Is there a cure for Sam and the other newly changed humans? Can they even find the new wolves before they wreck havoc on the town and its inhabitants? And what will happen to the love between Sam and Grace if Sam makes his final shift into wolf forever?

This is the first book in a series. The second is titled Linger, and a third is on its way to the printing presses. I enjoyed every moment of this book! It was a fast read with the chapters flipping the point of view between Sam and Grace. Most of the chapters were short, which seemed to make the book go by that much faster. I loved the way she treated the werewolf myths, that instead of shifting on a full moon, they shifted when it got cold out. They are humans during the late sprint, summer, and early fall, before shifting to wolf to keep warm. This was a richly built world you can step into as if you were going through the closet to Narnia. A fantastic read I would highly recommend!

Banned Books Week

Posted on October 6th, 2012 by Mary in Books, Events, Teen Services

Well we have come to the end of another Banned Books Week (September 30-October 6, 2012). It is amazing how many books are added each year and the reasons for the books being added to the list. Goodwill Librarian posted a link on her Facebook timeline of a Youtube video showing many of the books that have been challenged and/or banned from 1990-2000. The video was from Banned Books Week in 2008, but it is still interesting to see what books were on the list. The book covers are shown for the viewer.

Have you read any of these books? What are you favorites? Do you think they should have been banned or challenged?

For information about Banned Books Week and Celebrating our Freedom to Read, check out http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek or http://bannedbooksweek.org/.

The American Library Association has also created an interactive timeline to highlight some of the books that have been challenged or banned in the past 3o years. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/timeline30-years-liberating-literature

If you are interested in reading any of the books, visit your local branch library or request them with your Boston Public Library card (or OneCards or any Massachusetts library cards registered at the Boston Public Library) on the online BPL Catalog.

Celebrate your freedom to read what you want to read!! Yay!!

My Summer Reading List for 2012

Posted on May 29th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

I know most of you reading this will have to read at least one or two books over the summer for school, right? I might not be going back to school next fall, and teachers might not be handing me a list of books I have to read this summer, but a lot of the books on your list are great books. And so, I’ve decided to join you in reading books/authors from the Boston Public Schools list for 2012. Some of the books on this year’s list are books I’ve already read, by authors I love, so instead of rereading the same books, I’ve chosen related books that I’ve been meaning to read for awhile but haven’t gotten around to.

As soon as I’ve finished reading a book, I’ll post a review of it here in the blog so you can check out my progress and see what I thought of each book.

 What am I reading this summer? Here’s my Summer Reading List:

 FICTION

 The following are on, or are related to, books on the BPS Summer Reading List for Grades 9-12.

 –Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark (Sci-Fi/Fantasy list)

The Overlords came to Earth and brought peace and prosperity with them… but then they began to take the children away from their heritage in the first step to eliminate the human race!

 This is a classic science-fiction novel that I’ve been told all sci-fi writers need to read. Thus, it makes sense that even those who don’t write sci-fi, but love to read it, should read this book too. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but occasionally I like to dabble in writing sci-fi stories, so I’d like to check it out, and hopefully improve my writing by enjoying a good book.

 

 –Doomwyte by Brian Jacques (Sci-Fi/Fantasy list)

A young mouse, Bisky, and his friends seek a fabled Redwall treasure: the jeweled eyes of the Great Doomwyte Idol, which leads them to the realm of the fearsome Korvus Skurr, the black-feathered raven…

 This is book 20 in the classic fantasy series Redwall. Brian Jacques is my favorite children’s/YA author, and the prequel to this series,  Mossflower, is the book on the official Summer Reading list. It is also my favorite, and most read, book in the entire Redwall series. As I have yet to read Doomwyte, I’ve chosen it for my summer list. When reading this series, there are a total of 22 books, and it does not matter in what order you read them!

 

 

 –Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (Sci-Fi/Fantasy list)

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen’s own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense. But a conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar against the Queen by unknown forces. Talia must protect her and the heir, before danger can strike!

 The official reading list includes Magic’s Pawn, the first book in The Last Herald Mage trilogy by the same author, which I read and loved immensely.  Arrows of the Queen is the first book in her trilogy The Heralds of Valdemar, and while only a few of the characters are the same, it is set in the same kingdom of Valemar as The Last Herald Mage trilogy. I’ve been curious to see if it’s as good as the other, which is why I’ve chosen this book.  

 

 

 –Odd Hours by Dean Koontz (Mystery/Suspense list)

Odd Thomas is a young man with a faithful companion in his dog named Boo. Though they are anything but ordinary. Odd can see the spirits of dead people who are reluctant to move on from this world. And Boo is one such spirit. In the past he has been haunted by nightmares that have come true. In the small California town where he’s currently living, he’s been having the same repeat nightmare. Will it lead to someone’s death? Or will Odd be able to save another’s life?

 The Mystery/Suspense list includes Odd Thomas, the first book in the Odd series about a 19-year-old boy who can see dead people. Odd Hours is the fourth book which I have yet to read, thus, it is one of my reading choices this summer.

 

 NON-FICTION

 Three of the non-fiction titles I’ve chosen were on a Summer Reading List in 2011 when they caught my eye. Since then, I’ve been looking for an excuse to dive into them, even though they are no longer required reading for school. Those books are:

 

A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

A memoir of the Vietnam War.

 

Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden

A minute-by-minute account of the first sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War in 1993.

 –Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

This is a true tale of survival, adventure, and the most incredible rescue mission of World War II.

 

A Little Big Life by Dean Koontz

This was a last-minute addition to the list in place of The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding, which is not in print in the states yet. This book is a “Memoir of a Joyful Dog” and is written by the author of one of the fiction books I’m also reading, so I thought it would be fitting to read this joyful little tome.

 

So, in total, I have chosen to read 8 titles this summer between June 1st and August 31st. I’m not sure how far I’ll get, or in what order I’ll be reading them, but check back here for any reviews I post to see where I am in this list and what I have left to go.

The Popularity of Dystopian Books From 1920-2010

Posted on March 21st, 2012 by Anna in Books

This graph was created by the website www.Goodreads.com. This shows the popularity of dystopian books such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Suzane Collins’ The Hunger Games. Bet you didn’t realize dystopian books were popular back in 1920 when your great grandparents or grandparents were children, did you? But back then they were written with adults in mind, rather than children or even teens.

Want to check out the rest of the graph? Yep… there’s more! This graph is huge, and awesomely packed with info just waiting for you to gobble it down, including the most popular dystopian titles over the years. Check it out here: Dystopian Popularity Graph.

“Go Away – I’m Reading!”

Posted on March 12th, 2012 by Anna in Books

Ever gotten yourself caught up in a novel so much you just wanted to tell your annoying little sister to go away so you wouldn’t miss what was happening on the pages? Well now you can! These book covers are meant for the most popular YA books today, and will effectively tell everyone around you not to bother you while you continue your reading journey.

 

These book covers are FREE and can be found here: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/free-customized-go-away-im-reading-book-covers_b48341 Simply download the ones you want, send them to your local Staples or other office supply store and have them printed out on thick paper. The printing is what will cost you some money, or if you have your own printer and paper that’s long enough, you can print them off yourself. On their website there is a video tutorial explaining how to fold them around your book once you get them printed.