Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

In 1914, all Shahen can think of is going to join his uncle in America. His sister Sosi has her eye on a boy at the market. Their younger sister, Mariam would just like to spend her time looking up at the sky to watch the birds and learning to write. The bird that Mariam watches is the only one who knows that there is trouble coming to the Armenians and therefore trouble is on its way to Shahen, Sosi and Mariam.

There is no twitter or CNN to tell these young people what was going on in the next city or the neighboring country. It's not until an army shows up at their door that they are thrown into a war they didn't know was going on. Their parents were convinced that their home was a safe place, and did not talk to the twins about unrest. But when their mom and dad are wrong, it's up to Shahen and Sosi to figure out what to do next.

This book is written in very sparse poetry. Each word is important and each word brings the three children either closer or farther away from death, depending on what they choose to do. You have to keep turning the pages because everything is so risky!

If you think you know a lot about World War I, you might be surprised to read this story and find out about a part of the world that we don't talk about too much when we're talking about this time period.  Not only will you be pulled immediately into this story, but the author gives many more resources to read after you finish this.

More to Read:

Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Going Over by Beth Kephart

Read This, Watch That: National Poetry Month Edition

What Do You Mean You Never Read: 'In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer' by Irene Gut Updyke with Jennifer Armstrong


Friday, January 23, 2015

The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner

Katie tells us about the first two books in an other-worldly trilogy:

The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I’m branching out in 2015. Way, WAY out, as it may be in this case. (That’s a lame space pun, although the branching out bit is actually true.) The first two books of the Starbound Trilogy (These Broken Stars and This Shattered World), if taken only at face or cover value, may just look like a couple of he-said, she-said romances. But what Amie Kaufman and Meaghan Spooner have put together here is one part romance and every other part a tightly plotted, edge of your seat, sci-fi experience.

First, imagine the Titanic as a sci-fi thriller. If that seems awesome (and, I promise, it is), start here. These Broken Stars introduces us to Lilac, daughter of the most powerful man in the galaxy, and Tarver, recently promoted military captain. While they may live on the same spaceship, they exist in very different orbits and Lilac is intent on keeping that way for reasons she’d rather not explain, until something far more sinister than fate brings their spaceship crashing to an uninhabited planet. The story of Lilac and Tarver’s survival alone would be a tale worth telling, but there’s much more here than meets the eye. As Lilac begins to see and hear things, kindling fears that she is going mad, the suspense rapidly builds, ultimately shattering in the most shocking of ways.

This Shattered World is set on an entirely different planet, Avon. This planet is inhabited but no less mysterious than where Lilac and Tarver crashed several months before. Avon is a planet where the cloud cover never relents and the visitors all seem to be driven to a point where they violently snap. This Fury, as it’s called, unsurprisingly does nothing to subdue the constant stirrings of revolution and war that are barely held in check by the current cease fire. Jubilee has been stationed on Avon to keep the peace, and for reasons no one understands, she’s managed to avoid succumbing to the dangerous Fury longer than anyone, making her practically a legend on the planet. Meanwhile, Flynn just wants freedom for his people, and if that means kidnapping Jubilee or taking the even greater risk of working with her, he might just be crazy enough to try. Once more, Kaufman and Spooner throw together two people from very different worlds with shocking twists and a very dark mystery that Liliac and Tarver had only begun to understand.

More to read

Middle School Monday: What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

Read This, Watch That: Stop that Dancing



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Teen Review: Kafka by Robert Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz

Teen reviewer Lucy takes a look at a graphic novel biography from our adult section:

Kafka by Robert Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz
    The image of a wide pork butcher’s knife, swiftly and with mechanical regularity chopping into me, shaving off razor-thin slices with fly about due to the speed of the work.” 

The book begins with this gruesome quote from Franz Kafka’s diary, setting the tone for an unnerving, and often disturbing, biography of the Czech author. 

Accompanied by illustrations that add emotion to the book, this is truly a must-read for anyone interested in Kafka’s life. Besides outlining his life and providing insight into what drove his writing, the book also illustrated and narrated some of his novels and novellas, including The Castle, The Trial, and the Metamorphosis, his most well-known works. Through this book you learn about how early anti-semitism in the Czech Republic and Kafka’s own Jewish heritage shaped his writing. In fact, Kafka was fascinated by Jewish fairy tales and used a similar style of storytelling in his works.

After Kafka’s death due to tuberculosis, his books fell into disregard and were even banned following World War II under the communist regime imposed by the Soviet Union. Luckily, after the ban was lifted his works became popular and he was acknowledged as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.

This book is a fascinating read that I would definitely recommend. 

More to read:

Kafka again...

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Alex Award Watch: Baby's in Black by Arne Bellstorf



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Be a Library Insider: Simon and Schuster E-Books Now Available for Download

For the first time, we are now able to add eBooks published by Simon & Schuster to our downloadable collection. If you got a new e-reader for the holidays, this is the perfect time to load it up with FREE books from the library!

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Song of the Lioness series by Tamorra Pierce

Don't know how to download from us? Click here to find out!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Up and Coming: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

January 6, 2015

Matt would like this year to be like any other year at school he's had before. But there's no way to get back to normal after his mother's death from cancer. Everything in his apartment reminds him of her, especially the handwritten recipes that used to tell him how to make his favorite dishes.

To get away from all the things that remind him of his heartbreak, Matt takes a job with the family friend who handled his mother's funeral. He doesn't have to touch dead people, but he does get to attend a lot of memorial services. But there's something about seeing other people who hurt just as much as he does that's comforting. Matt knows it's weird, but he doesn't stop going. When he recognizes a girl speaking at one, he can't help but go talk to her. But the girl, is more interested in moving on than looking back, is Matt ready for that?

The Boy in the Black Suit is a look at the people who you can't tell are hurting. Matt goes through the school days smiling and talking smack with his friends, but he's going home to ghosts. But, this is also a story of recovery and there's even some romance, so if you're thinking depressing tear jerker, you're really far off base.

More to read:

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Friday, January 9, 2015

Teen Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Welcome to our newest teen reviewer, Johanna, who also happens to be a volunteer at Central!

Choices. Uneasy alliances. Fluctuating enemies. Love triangles. Maturing young adults finding a new path from their parents. A struggling kingd--queendom, excuse me (touchy point). The weight of guilt. The call of duty. These are all themes in the Seven Realms series, starting with the Demon King.

The book is set in a medieval land which contains valley townsfolk, wizards from the northern isles, and the clans in the mountains. The Seven Realms region has a history of warfare and strife between the wizards, clans, and Valefolk; now that the region has fragmented into king- or queendoms, there are enemies from all sides. The Queendom of the Fells (the main setting of the series) is a conglomeration of these peoples who have been joined together in an uneasy alliance for years.

Princess Raisa of the Fells is a spunky princess. When she hears about the conditions that the common people of her queendom have to face, she goes undercover to see for herself. What she finds is a handsome young street lord who feels nothing but contempt for the queen, and has an interesting background as well.
Raisa, the heir to the throne, begins to be badgered from all sides about her marriage, and she finds that to do her duty as a queen, and to keep the fragile alliances together, the marriage must be a political one, a cold, calculating decision. Her disappointment at the discovery that there is no room for love in her future is tempered by her fiery determination to fix the problems she sees in her queendom.
By Cinda Williams Chima, this fantasy series is a fantastic read for anyone with a taste for complex plots and incredibly developed realms where the gallant and villainous abound. The characters are all developed artfully, and by the end of the series the reader is shown both the good and bad of almost every character introduced. The plot is a bit complicated, but pretty easy to follow, and the reader is kept guessing until the end. I love the dramatic irony added in through the alternating voices of Raisa and Han (the street lord). The Seven Realms series is worth reading to the end!

More to Read:

Friday Lit Spotlight: Epic Fantasy for Fall

Up and Coming: Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Even though the latest book in the Raven Boys Cycle was one of our favorites, we never got a proper review posted. Luckily, Katie fixes that today:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Do you really need me to tell you to read Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue? I mean, maybe you do if you haven’t picked it up yet. So allow me: Read this book.

Scratch that: Read this whole series.

If you don’t have a crush on Blue Sargent and at least 3 ¼ Raven Boys by page 50 of Book 1, you may have no soul. In true Maggie Stiefvater fashion, her characters don’t just leap off the page, they dance and twirl and fight their way into your life. Resistance is futile.

At this point (Book 3), Blue and the Raven Boys have brought the magic of Cabeswater to life, but not without some serious violence along the way (and plenty more to come) and still they haven’t found the Welsh King they’ve been searching for. So it’s time to try something new, somewhere new, somewhere subterranean. When they come across three ancient sleepers in a cave, it’s not so much the end as a new beginning…

The magic of these books propels the plot, but it’s the intricate explorations of class, family, and love along with the atmospheric writing that makes them so very mesmerizing. Life within these pages is complicated and messy and oh so real even in the midst of all the fantastical elements.

Really the only reason to not read this book right now is if you don’t think you can bear the year wait for the final book in the series. But I vote: Read now and re-read again later. Hanging out with this crew is like coming home… if home were a magical, menacing forest with mirrored lakes and Latin-speaking trees...

More to Read

Maggie Stiefvater Week: The Raven Boys

Happy Book Birthday: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater Week: Casting the Raven Cycle

Up and Coming: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Listen up: Let's Talk Audio Books

A Blog Post From Maggie Stiefvater: I was a Library Ghost

Teen Author Sighting: John Corey Whaley and Maggie Stiefvater