Wednesday’s What to Read — The Best of 2013…so far (Third Quarter)

WWTR_thirdquarter

The Bitter Kingdom – Rae Carson

Dear Life, You Suck – Scott Blagden

Game – Barry Lyga

The Moon and More – Sarah Dessen

Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass – Meg Medina

What’s on the top of your list so far this year?

Top Ten Tuesday–Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

Courtesy of Broke and Bookish

Courtesy of Broke and Bookish

Hooray for Fall! It’s my favorite time of the year. Granted, we don’t get the riot of leaf colors down here in Florida that render many of our northern neighbors as beautiful as a painting. The weather does, however cool off enough that spending time outdoors isn’t a hardship but a delight. This fall, fortunately, also arrives bearing a wealth of books I can’t wait to devour.  I’ve listed them below in the order they will (tentatively) be available.

TTT

Doctor Sleep  by Stephen King (Sept. 24) — Fresh off of re-reading The Shining after first reading it over 20 years ago, I am more than ready for this continuation of Danny’s story. One of two “grown-up” books on this list, I’ve been waiting impatiently for this book ever since learning of its existence and am happy that the wait is ALMOST OVER! Here’s hoping it creeps me out just as much as the first one did.

United We Spy by Ally Carter (Sept. 24) — I’ve been following Cammie and her friends’ adventures for seven years now, and I’m confident that Ally Carter will deliver a thrilling and satisfying end to the Gallagher Girls spy series. Now if she’d just write another crossover G.G. and Heist Society

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Sept. 24) — Entrusted with completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and already making an impact on the YA market earlier this year with the impressive The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson just keeps on rolling. He made a fan out of one of my more mercurial teen readers –who raved about the advanced reader copy of Steelheart that I let him borrow,  so I’m really looking forward to diving in once I finally get it back.

The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen (Sept. 24) –The week of September 24 is a really good week to be a book lover. Bodeen’s 2008 pulse-pounding story The Compound gets an unexpected sequel, which greatly intrigues me. Where can the (perfectly fine as a standalone) story go next? After spending six years underground, I’m sure Eli is wondering too.

Just One Year by Gayle Forman (Oct. 10) — Forman’s Just One Day was one of the first books I read (and reviewed) this year, so I was pleasantly surprised by how soon the story continues–this time from Willem’s perspective. It’s one of two books on this list that tells a story from the perspective of a different character (i.e. the male love interest), and those are often great fun. Speaking of that perspective, is Stephenie Meyer EVER going to publish Midnight Sun?!

Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (Oct. 15) — Bridget Jones is my soul mate. Her first diary made me laugh out loud on almost every other page, and reminded me of similar daft situations I’ve gotten myself into. Edge of Reason was a bit of a disappointment, but Bridget’s voice shone through and kept me company until the end. I am thrilled her story continues in this second of two “grown-up” books on my list. I also can’t wait to see Mark Darcy again.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Oct.22) — OK, I know I’m not the only person excited about the third (and final?) installment in the Divergent trilogy. The first two were action-packed and thought provoking with a fierce heroine and a swoony love interest. I have no idea how Roth plans to tie up the turmoil in just one more book, but we’ll find out next month!

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Nov. 5) — Tally-ho and pip pip! Charming, steampunky Gail Carriger put out the delightful first volume of her Finishing School series earlier this year (see review). As with Gayle Forman, I’m really happy I didn’t have to wait long for the second book to come along. 

Champion by Marie Lu (Nov. 5) — While Prodigy didn’t wow me as much as Legend, I’m still looking forward to this finale in a standout dystopian series…especially given the heartbreaking bombshell Lu dropped on readers at the end of book 2.

Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead (Nov. 19) — The next volume of the very fun Bloodlines,  and this time the story will be told from Adrian’s point of view! He was one of the more compelling characters in Mead’s Vampire Academy books and has enough depth and charisma to share center stage with Sydney the Alchemist in this companion series.

Which books are at the top of your TBR list?

 

Review — THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau

charbonneau_testingThe What:  Cia and several other teens from her home district have been selected  to participate in The Testing, a process which was designed to identify those candidates who have what it takes to be future leaders. The Testing includes rigorous trials that measure intelligence, ability, ingenuity and tenacity…all of the qualities considered ideal for the stewardship of a society recovering from apocalyptic disaster. Cia soon learns, however, that there’s more to The Testing than what she and the other candidates have been told, and it becomes increasingly difficult to decide who to trust–even someone who she thinks she’s beginning to love.

Opening Sentence: GRADUATION DAY.

The Good: There seems no stopping the dystopian train. Every month, new young adult titles hit the shelves that deal with global disaster and survival in its aftermath. Some are memorable and some are not. The Testing is a well-written, plot-twisty tale that leaves enough of an open ending that readers who enjoyed the story will be anxious for more. Fans of The Hunger Games and  Divergent series will recognize elements from both in Charbonneau’s work and a little something more in the strength of Cia’s advanced critical thinking and mechanical know-how.

The Not So Good: There are a few too many elements of the other two series to avoid requisite comparisons of how well each author has handled a given plot point. The brutality candidates must endure during The Testing is reminiscent of Katniss’s time in the arena and Tris’s training in Dauntless. Cia’s alliance with Tomas (a fellow Five Lakes Colony resident) to navigate the fourth test, and the feelings he’s apparently been harboring since long before The Testing began, cannot help remind this reader of Katniss and Peeta’s alliance and relationship.

Swoon Factor: Speaking of Tomas, while Charbonneau tantalizingly calls his trustworthiness into question, his role as The Romantic Interest falls a bit short of swoon-worthy. Sure he’s protective of Cia and provides her with much needed support and companionship, but there’s an element of  blandness to Tomas, a lack of depth if you will, that renders the character lukewarm rather than red hot.

The Verdict: The Testing with page-turning vigor and unexpected plot twists elevates itself a bit above the pack of similar novels hitting the shelves with wearying regularity.  Its numerous similarities, however, to series that many consider to be the cream of the dystopian crop leave a little too much of a “clone” taste in this reader’s mouth and ultimately diminish the enjoyment of the story and the inclination to continue with its next volume.

[This review is based on an advanced reader copy of the novel.]

 

 

5 questions with…Logan

logan

Whovian. Potterhead. Bibliophile. This girl’s got it all going on. Here’s hoping that college changes none of that.

Age: 18

1. What book do you wish would have a sequel (that doesn’t already have on)?

Well, all the books I read have sequels or the characters die. Hah!

2. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

Probably a tie up between Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

3. What’s your favorite book quote?

After being on the run I’ve learned a life spent creating enemies ins’t worth leading. Having allies is the best advantage in the world. Jealousy is just a reminder of the frustrations you have with yourself. Who has time to concentrate on that? … Find out what your sword is-find your own advantage-and wear it proudly. Beat those girls at their own game by seeming perfectly content with your own life. Then again, I’m a wanted fugitive. I may not be the best person to give advice.” – The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer (pg. 254-255)

4. A friend says they hate reading. What book would you hand them to help change their mind?

I would probably suggest something like The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Something that’s descriptive and fun to read. Something that works your imagination. 

5. What are you reading now?

Currently I’m going between attempting to read the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan.

5 questions with…Anne

anneAnne is smart, sassy and a thoughtful reader who doesn’t hesitate to let one know how she feels about things. And it’s this blogger’s opinion that Lizzy Caplan would be good casting for the movie version of Anne’s life.

Age: 23

1. What’s the worst ever series ender?

That’s a rough one. But I have to say the supreme ending of the last Harry Potter book was irritating. Too much closure! I like there to be room for speculation and nothing should ever be that “feel good”.

2. Favorite book cover ever?

It adds a nice extra layer to a book when the author has some say in what goes on the cover. I really like Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien where he actually did the artwork for the cover.

3. Best kick-ass heroine in a book?

Lyra from the His Dark Materials book series.

4. Which book do you wish you would have read as a kid?

I haven’t gotten to that sort of thinking as an adult yet. 

5. What are you reading now?

The Book of Longer Short Stories

Wednesday’s What to Read — ARC Bonanza!

I’ve been horribly remiss these past few weeks in keeping up with the blog. The end of Summer Reading Program, big-time changes in the way my Library does business, and three big events looming on the horizon (including Doctor Who, y’all!) and it isn’t a wonder this poor blog has been feeling neglected.

So let’s get things rolling again with a BIG book giveaway! I have ten Advanced Reader Copies of books that have been recently published. I ask that you email me (thelibrarianchickwppl at gmail dot com) with the one title you’d like the most and your mailing address so that I can send it to you. The first response I receive for each title will receive that book in the mail from moi. Also, please comment below about the best book you read this summer. My favorite read was R. J. Palacio’s beautiful WonderWhy did I take so long to read it?! 

Now onto the ARCs:
UPDATE: All of the ARCs in this batch have been claimed. Thank you all for your swift replies. Those of you who didn’t get one this time around, stay tuned! There will be more ARC giveaways in the future.

AugustARCs

Absent – Katie Williams
Seventeen-year-old Paige Wheeler died in a fall off the high school roof and now her spirit seems bound to the school grounds, along with Brooke and Evan, two other teen ghosts who died there–but maybe if she can solve the mystery of her apparent suicide they will all be able to move on.

Dance of Shadows – Yelena Black
Fifteen-year-old Vanessa follows her sister Margaret to an elite Manhattan ballet school, not only gaining admission but also earning the lead in a production of the Firebird, while trying to uncover why and how Margaret and other lead dancers have disappeared.

The Eternity Cure – Julie Kagawa
When Allie follows the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from a psychotic vampire, she returns to her birthplace in New Covington and what she finds there may change the world forever.

The Girl with the Iron Touch – Kady Cross
When Emily is kidnapped and ordered to transplant the Machinist’s consciousness into one of his creations, Finley Jayne and her friends are forced to work with Jack Dandy, who compels Finley to evaluate her feelings for Griffin.

Golden Boy – Tara Sullivan
A Tanzanian albino boy finds himself the ultimate outsider, hunted because of the color of his skin.

Gorgeous – Paul Rudnick
When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she is whisked away from a trailer park to New York City, where fashion designer Tom Kelly offers to transform her into a glamorous Rebecca, a girl fit for a prince–but soon she begins to fear that she will lose touch with her real self.

Itch: the Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter – Simon Mayo
When fourteen-year-old Itchingham “Itch” Lofte discovers a new radioactive element, he must use all of his wits and scientific knowledge to stop a top-secret government agency, his greedy teacher, and an evil corporation from getting hold of it.

Poison – Bridget Zinn
When sixteen-year-old Kyra, a potions master, tries to save her kingdom by murdering the princess, who is also her best friend, the poisoned dart misses its mark and Kyra becomes a fugitive, pursued by the King’s army and her ex-boyfriend Hal.

Reboot – Amy Tintera
Seventeen-year-old Wren rises from the dead as a Reboot and is trained as an elite crime-fighting soldier until she is given an order she refuses to follow.

The Sweet Dead Life – Joy Preble
After dying in a car accident, fourteen-year-old Jenna’s older brother returns as an angel to help Jenna solve a mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and their father’s disappearance.

Good luck!

5 questions with…Sumer

Hanging out at the Library with sister, Saumya

Hanging out at the Library with sister, Saumya

The Library greatly values its teen volunteers. Our Summer Reading Program simply wouldn’t work without their help, and Sumer is one of the best. And, because he’s 13, we hope to have him for many years to come! Right, Sumer? ;)

Age: 13

1. Which book character has the worst name you’ve ever heard?

Happenstance, from The Books of Umber.

2. Who’s the best villain, either in a novel, comic book or film?

The Joker [of course!].

3. What book that you’ve read has most inspired you?

The Cay.

4. What book cover do you wish you could redesign?

Fahrenheit 451

5. What are you reading now?

Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud.