Monday, December 13, 2010

Dee's Dee-va Dish

This week Dee would like to recommend:
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah/
Click here to request.
Killing Floor by Lee Child/
Click here to request

Watch Dee-va Dish below to hear her review:

Excellent Teen Reads

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
“Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.” So begins what on the surface is yet another post-apocalyptic zombie book, but in reality is much more. Kids today only remember life after First Night, when the dead rose from their graves and the world became overrun with zombies. In the fortified town of Mountainside, California, Benny has just turned fifteen, the age where you either get a job or your rations are cut in half. He agrees to apprentice with Tom, his bounty hunter brother, and reluctantly follows him into the rot and ruin of the world outside of the fences. Maberry takes classic elements of the horror genre and bends them into a coming of age story about truth, honor, love, and the ethics of zombie hunting. The emotional revelations and Benny’s introspective examination of what truly makes a monster are balanced by heart pounding action sequences throughout the novel. The zombie trading card illustrations found on the endpapers will be a special treat for teens. Highly recommended for fans of Rick Yancey’s Monstromologist series and Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth. This book will transform how readers feel about the walking dead.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
On the American Gulf Coast in a future that probably isn’t too far from now, the space between the haves and the have-nots has never been wider. The only way to bridge that gap and escape a life of backbreaking labor is a lucky strike, a stroke of extreme good luck. Nailer is a ship breaker, scavenging copper and other metals from the skeletons of former oil tankers washed up on shore. When a hurricane beaches a luxury yacht filled with valuables, Nailer knows this is his once in a lifetime opportunity to make a better life for himself. However, fate has other plans for Nailer and he is forced to choose between stripping the boat and saving its lone survivor. Bacigalupi vividly draws a world where the polar ice caps have melted and the seas have risen, where your crew is your family and the line between right and the power of might is razor thin. This will be a great addition to any young adult or science fiction collection. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
James Choke and James Bond share a first name and a profession, but that is where all similarity ends. There are no unbelievable high tech gadgets or daring down to the last second bomb defusions to be found in this first installment of the Cherub series. James is a troubled kid set on a course that will probably end with him serving jail time. Cherub, a fictional division of the British government that trains kids to be spies, plucks James from social services and offers him the opportunity to change his destiny. Readers follow James through basic training (envision Navy Seal training for twelve-year-olds), and through the completion of his first mission. The villains are not criminal masterminds with plots to take over the world but eco-terrorists wanting to stop the destruction of oil corporations and James discovers that good people get hurt in the name of justice. While James is a deeply flawed protagonist and his character development is superficial, boys will connect with his desire to be tough and save face in front of peers. Those who enjoy Anthony Horowitz’s teen spy Alex Rider will find James to be his gritty and more abrasive cousin. 

Stop by the teen department to pick up any of these page turning reads!

Dee-va Dish

Dee-va Dish

Dee recommends Hot Flash Holidays by Nancy Thayer.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Adult Paranormal Book Reviews

Playing with Fire: Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, Bk 1 Twice as Hot: Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, Bk 2

I recently had a lot of time on my hands to catch up on recreational reading. Unfortunately, not a whole lot caught my attention. One book that caught my eye had been lying on my bookshelf forever, just waiting for me to be in the right mood to truly enjoy the world that the author created. I picked it up and was hooked from the first page. Playing with Fire has an incredible heroine that is just an average girl, who is scrabbling like crazy to keep any job she can to pay for her father's retirement home and heart medicine. Unfortunately, she doesn't have a great track record with actually keeping the jobs, but things were rolling along great until a scientist dumped a formula into her grand mocha latte that just happened to change everything! She wakes up with the power to control the four elements (not very well, but that's another story) and a super hot government agent that is there to "neutralize" her. Oh, and there are the bad guys that want to make her do their evil bidding or experiment on her until they can create another just like her. To say the least, she is not happy!!!

This book was great!!! There are tons of scenes that made me laugh out loud, but I kept a genuine concern about Belle, the heroine, and the uncertainty of the relationship that was developing with Rome, the super hot government agent. As soon as I finished this book, I devoured the sequel, Twice as Hot, which was equally entertaining. I would recommend this series for anyone that enjoys the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and the Jane Jamison series by Molly Harper. These books are a bit sexier than those, but fans will love the action and characters.

Playing with Fire: Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, Bk 1
Product Description:
Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements—earth, wind, fire and water—with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done.

Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he's not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers. There's just one problem: the sparks Belle and Rome generate are even hotter than the ones flying from her eyes—and with her future on the line, now is the worst possible time to fall in love….

Twice as Hot: Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, Bk 2
Product Description:
Belle Jamison is finally starting to feel like a
normal girl again. Her job as a paranormal investigator is going well, she's learned to control her supernatural abilities (mostly) and she's just gotten engaged to Rome Masters, the ultra-sexy operative who once tried to neutralize her!

But planning a wedding is never easy, especially when the bride keeps accidentally torching her dress, the groom returns from a dangerous mission with selective memory loss and the man responsible now wants Belle for himself. With Rome's ex determined to win him back and a new band of supervillains on the horizon, it will take all Belle's powers—plus a little help from her trusty empath sidekick—to save the day, salvage the wedding and prove that true love really does conquer all.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

White Cat by Holly Black

Holly Black has crafted an intricate and terrifying world that I wouldn't want to live in but I sure love reading about. The character of Cassel is clever, and self-deprecating; you can't help but root for him (even when you think he is a killer). The plot was truly suspenseful and surprising. I was on the edge of my seat as Cassel discovers the truth about his life and the people around him.
Incredibly well written!
This book is a perfect example of why I need to wait until a series is finished before reading. I so desperately want the next book in the series but will have to wait until Red Glove is published in April 2011. I listened to this book on audio and loved the reader. Jesse Eisenberg did a great job.

You can find North Shelby's copy of White Cat in the Young Adult Department on the 2nd Floor.

From the product description:
"Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen. 
Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

From the Banned Books Week website:
"Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009.
 People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and they protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups--or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature."
During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events.
Stop by the Young Adult Department to see our display for Banned Books Week!

The 2010 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 25 through October 2.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Books in the Teen Dept.

Stop by and check out these new titles in the Teen Department:

Radiance by Alyson Noel
The Candidates by Inara Scott
Unraveled by Gena Showalter
The Sorcerer of Sainte Felice by Ann Finnin
The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller
Thicker Than Water by Carla Jablonski
This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Finding My Place by Traci L. Jones
One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
The Poison Apples by Lily Archer
Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt
Lost For Words by Alice Kuipers
The Fallen Vol. 1 by Thomas E. Sneigoski
The Fallen Vol. 2 by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Betrayal by Gillian Shields
Look For Me By Moonlight by Mary Downing Hahn
Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
Diamonds of the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What the Staff is Currently Reading...

Michelyn, from Reference Dept.:
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
"It makes everyday economics interesting, even if you don't care about money and shows how the world really works based on economics. Start with the first one, Freakanomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by the same authors."

Amber, from Reference Dept.:
of Gold by Victor E. Villasenor
"This is the true story of two early 20th century Mexican families that immigrated to America. It's a beautiful love story between husband and wife and, also, a son and his parents."

Katie, Director of Library Services:
I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Ayres (audio version)
"A fascinating behind the scenes glance at one of rock and roll's most notorious figures."

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett
"An intimate and often hilarious combination of stories and anecdotes along with a poignant look at the death of Burnett's daughter (tearjerker)."

Kate, from Children's Dept.:
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
"A little predictable but a fun, quick read."

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
"A great combination of alternate history, steampunk, and coming-of-age with lots of danger and fantastic technology. I am looking forward to the next in the series."

Dark Life by Kat Falls
"The surface of the world has changed drastically, the people haven't. Outlaws, unhelpful bureaucrats, and little sisters are no easier to deal with just because you live at the bottom of the ocean. Amusing and slightly scary."

Lori, from Young Adult Dept.:
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
"This is a fantastic sequel to The Iron King. This book was just as action packed as the first and the romantic complications increase, as well. I can't wait for the third, The Iron Queen, due to be released in February of 2011."

The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medieros
"I'm incredibly excited to read this book, partly because I follow the author on facebook and have been hearing about the characters for a while. I've just started and it definitely has me hooked with a great first meeting between the hero and heroine - who doesn't love a historical romance where the bride is stolen at the altar!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, Now Available

The day so many people have been waiting for has arrived...Mockingjay, the final installment in The Hunger Games trilogy, is now available!!! If you aren't familiar with this phenomenon that is sweeping teens and adults, check out the following synopsis (descriptions of the second and third books may contain spoilers).

Oh, and be sure to put your copies on hold now!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
From School Library Journal:
In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like "Survivor" and "American Gladiator." Book one of a planned trilogy.
Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
From School Library Journal:
Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In
The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Product Description:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking
The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie

This was an absolutely delightful book! It only took of a couple of hours to read and it had several laugh out loud moments (but none that I would consider cheesy). The premise of the book is that Lucy Savage Porter is finally getting rid of her husband Bradley Porter. The book opens on the day that the divorce is final and starts with a bang! Lucy is accosted at the diner where Bradley asked her to meet him by a disreputable looking guy, who happens to be a detective with the local police department. After beaning him silly with her massive handbag, she learns that he thinks her life is at risk and personally takes on the job of protecting her.

This was an exceptionally funny light summer read for me (She has green hair at one point in the book, every woman's nightmare)! The character development was perfect for the plot and length of the book. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a romance with a solid plot and lots of laughter. This was the first solo work that I've read by Crusie, but I will definitely be checking out more!

Product Description:

Lucy Savage is not having a good week. Her cheating husband, Bradley, lobbed the final insult when he stood her up in divorce court. A dye job gone wrong has left her hair green. And someone is trying to kill her. To top it off, sexy cop Zack Warren is certain that the very same man Lucy is trying to wash right out of her hair is the same Bradley he wants to arrest for embezzlement.

When someone shoots at her and then her car blows up, Zack decides she needs twenty-four-hour police protection. Next thing Lucy knows, Zack has moved in to her big Victorian house, making them both sleepless - and not just from things that go bump in the night!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review - Veil of Night by Linda Howard

I'm a huge fan of Linda Howard's work and I was really excited to read her newest book, Veil of Night. This book was vintage Linda Howard to me. I had concerns about plot similarities to To Die For, which I enjoyed, but this book was completely fresh. The main characters were likable and had definite chemistry, the details surrounding the plot were realistic and there was just the right amount of humor thrown in (with weddings featuring a football theme and a barn, how could there not be a couple of laughs?!?!). This is a great book for anyone who enjoys romantic suspense and this would also be a great introduction to Ms. Howard if you have not read any of her previous books.

Product Description: Jaclyn Wilde is a wedding planner who loves her job—usually. But helping Carrie Edwards with her Big Day has been an unrelenting nightmare. Carrie is a bridezilla of mythic nastiness, a diva whose tantrums are just about as crazy as her demands. But the unpleasant task at hand turns seriously criminal when Carrie is brutally murdered and everyone involved with the ceremony is accusing one another of doing the deed. The problem is, most everyone—from the cake maker and the florist to the wedding-gown retailer and the bridesmaids’ dressmaker—had his or her own reason for wanting the bride dead, including Jaclyn. And while those who felt Carrie’s wrath are now smiling at her demise, Jaclyn refuses to celebrate tragedy, especially since she finds herself in the shadow of suspicion. Assigned to the case, Detective Eric Wilder finds that there’s too much evidence pointing toward too many suspects. Compounding his problems is Jaclyn, with whom he shared one deeply passionate night before Carrie’s death. Being a prime suspect means that Jaclyn is hands-off just when Eric would rather be hands-on. As the heat intensifies between Eric and Jaclyn, a cold-blooded murderer moves dangerously close. And this time the target is not a bride but one particularly irresistible wedding planner, unaware of a killer’s vow.

Audio Book Review - American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson

The first thing that I need to say is that I went into the book adoring Craig Ferguson, so there, I'm admitting my bias up front.

Now on to the review, this is an audio book that both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to on a recent road trip. Someone had the brilliant idea to let Craig Ferguson read his own memoir and the effect is absolutely perfect, you feel like you are on the journey with him. There were moments when we laughed, he is a terrific comedian, moments when we cheered him on and moments that had me near tears as he talked about his parents and the life that he led while falling deeper into alcoholism. The book is unflinching - it deals with the cliches: sex, drugs (alcohol, as well) and rock' n' roll, as well as the emotional cost of life decisions both good and bad. But, let me remind you, there are tons of moments that will make you laugh out loud (not at him, but with him). My husband and I have had a few discussions about things that this book made us consider in depth. We luckily don't have personal experiences with alcoholism or family members with the disease, but we do feel like it made us better understand some of the obstacles that people who battle with the disease face before they take the steps toward recovery.

In conclusion, I still adore Craig Ferguson (even more, if possible) and I would recommend this book to those who enjoy memoirs, and anyone who likes comedy with heart - this book has it in spades.

Product Description:

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: success on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, and later as the host of CBS's Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008.

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Book Review - Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

The Mt Laurel Book Club discussed Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin on August 5th.This book sparked intense, but always friendly, discussion among our members. The premise of the book is engaging. By using factual information about the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the author has created a fictional account of the life of Alice Liddell. Alice Liddell, as many of you will know, is the acknowledged inspiration for Dodgson's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book's focus is on three eras of Alice's life: her childhood with Dodgson, her purported relationship with Prince Leopold in her twenties, and her life as a mother and wife. The author, Melanie Benjamin, does a wonderful job of giving Alice a distinct voice for each of the three ages covered in the book. This was a book that I enjoyed reading and have continued to discuss with friends. It has also kept me on the lookout for more information about these people and the events of their lives.

From Product Description:

Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Audio Cds in the Young Adult Department!!!

We are now offering Audio CDs in the Young Adult (YA) Department. The following titles are now available:

Demi Lovato: Here We Go Again
Miley Cyrus: Can't Be Tamed
Justin Bieber: My World 2.0
Rihanna: Rated R
Twilight: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
New Moon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Eclipse: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Glee: The Music, Season One, Volume Two

Friday, July 30, 2010

If you liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins...

We have all loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and based on how often we get requests for books that are similar, we're guessing that most of you are fans or have one in your household! Hopefully, you'll find a few books that will help you pass the time as you wait for the final installment, Mockingjay, to be released on August 24th. This list incorporates a ton of books that are on different reading levels. All books share a theme or characteristic with Ms. Collins wonderful series. If you have questions about these books (or any others), stop by the YA (young adult) department and ask -- we love to talk about books! :-)

Read-a-likes for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Taken by Edward Bloor
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The White Mountains by John Christopher
The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Gone by Michael Grant
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Dr. Franklin's Island
by Ann Halam
Worldshaker by Richard Harland
Epic by Conor Kostick
The Giver by Lois Lowery
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Storm Thief by Chris Wooding
The Last Book in the Universe by W.R. Philbrick

*This list was adapted from

Monday, July 12, 2010

NSL Teen Contributed Book Review - Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Review contributed by Alexis K.
by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the most moving and empowering novels I have ever read. The main character, Melinda, is a not quite popular soon-to-be freshman who decides to attend a party that irrevocably changes her life. At that party, she is raped by a popular senior after becoming drunk, and spends the entire school year trying to hide that fact, while become a social and academic failure. The pain and fear is only made worse when her best friend begins to date that senior. Everything finally culminates when he tried to rape Melinda again, but this time her screams are heard.

This book should be read by all teenagers, especially females, over the age of 13. It will no doubt change your perspective on life, love, and friendship. The obvious pain of Melinda can make this book seem almost depressing, and much of the content necessitates a more mature audience. I can imagine anyone affected in any way by sexual abuse will be able to connect with the novel on a even deeper level.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Help Clean Marine Mammals in Gulf

Tuesday, July 13th
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Meeting Room
Ages 10 and Up
Registration Required

The North Shelby Library is participating as part of Craft Hope’s Project 8: Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Craft Hope have partnered with The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, the Audubon Nature Institute, and the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge to assist them in their efforts in caring for and cleaning oiled marine mammals, mostly dolphins, other marine mammals, birds, and sea turtles. They are asking for people who can sew, knit, or crochet to create sets of hand towels and/or wash rags to send. Please join us as we knit some rags to send to the gulf to help.

For more on Craft Hope go to

Note: You do not need to know how to knit. We will be using a Knitting Loom with help from an instructor if you don’t already know how.

Also, if you can’t make it, we will be taking donations of rags and washcloths to send to the gulf

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Final Diagnosis Book Talk

We had a wonderful program here at the North Shelby Library today. Pathologist, Dr. Boris Datnow spoke about his book, The Final Diagnosis: What Autopsies Reveal About Life and Death. This book is a collection of many stories written in an entertaining style for any reader.

During Dr. Datnow's talk he explained various reasons why someone would want to have an autopsy. We often think of autopsy in relation to crime shows where a forensic pathologist has to do an autopsy to find out the cause of death in order to help solve the crime. What about with "natural" death? Sometimes people want closure, someone to blame, or even to find out parentage. It was fascinating. Dr. Datnow also teased us with some of the stories from the book, but refused to tell us the ending. We have to read the book of course. Check out photos from the event here.

We also met another doctor turned writer, Dr. Joseph Lewis, who has just published a book, What Killed the Great and Not So Great Composers. The following is a description from the book:
From a personally assembled database of 13,859 classical musicians, What Killed the Great and not so Great Composers delves into the medical histories of a wide variety of composers from both a musical and medical standpoint. Biographies of musicians from Johann Sebastian Bach of the Baroque period to Benjamin Britten of the Modern era explore in depth their illnesses and the impact their diseases had on musical productivity. Other chapters referenced to specific composers are devoted to such diverse ailments as deafness, mental disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, surgery and war injuries, to name a few. A unique section of statistics and demographics analyzes various aspects of composers’ lives such as their longevity related to contemporaneous nonmusical populations, the incidence of various illnesses they experienced over the centuries and the type of medical problems suffered by the so-called top 100 classical musicians. Although a precise and complete accounting of the great composers’ ailments may never be possible, a general understanding of the medical problems experienced by these unique individuals, nevertheless, can heighten one’s appreciation of their creative processes despite the hardships imposed by their physical and mental illnesses. Although some individuals surrendered to their disabilities for a variety of reasons, others were able to rise above their infirmities and produce the wonderful music mankind has enjoyed through the centuries.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can't always judge a book by its cover

I think we all judge a book by its cover when browsing a bookshelf. But the saying goes that one "can't judge a book by its cover" and with this book it's completely true. The copyright on this book is 1993, but it looks older than that and it consistently circulates. Apparently the content is good information. some of the section titles are: Sew an Heirloom, Quilted Fashions & More, Luxurious Lingerie, Speed Tailoring, Designer Touches, and Sewing Basics. Check here to see if it's in.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Prince of Persia : the graphic novel

Edward wants to be sure you know that his buddy, Prince of Persia, also has a Graphic Novel in the YA department in addition to being in a movie and a video game. Pretty sweet. Check the availability of it here

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Books in the YA Dept

Looking for more books to add to your summer reading list? Make sure to check out the new books in the YA department.
Here are just a few of the titles to whet your appetite:

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Captivate by Carrie Jones
A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
Ash by Malinda Lo
The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Smudge Marks by Claudia Osmond
Epitaph Road by David Patneaude
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

...and many more!

Book Review - Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reason’s Why has been on my “to read” list for a long time. But the truth is I kept putting it off and finding other books to read first. Why? I knew the subject matter was going to be pretty grim. Asher’s debut novel centers around Clay Jensen, a high school student who just received a mysterious package with no return address. Inside Clay finds 7 cassette tapes and when he plays them he hears the voice of Hannah, a girl from school who committed suicide. “I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why…” As Clay spends an agonizing evening listening to Hannah’s last words and discovering his place in her tale the reader is enveloped in Asher’s vividly drawn world. This incredibly moving story exposes how connected our lives are to one another and sheds a light on the harsh realities of high school, gossip, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind. I wish I had read this book sooner, that I hadn’t put it off. I could have been recommending this book to people months ago. I hope Thirteen Reasons Why finds its way on to the required reading list of every high school. This is a book that needs to be read.

For more information visit
the book's official website.

From product description:
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May Mt Laurel Book Club Meeting

The Mt Laurel Book Club met Thursday to discuss Gilead by Marilynne Robinson at the new Mt Laurel Public Library. The book was well liked by the group. We all felt like it was beautifully written in a way that evoked intense responses upon reflection. This book was described during the meeting as a soothing and peaceful read due to the writing style of the author, which earned the book the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
I personally loved the book. Many times when I read a book that has been lauded as "the book," I don't always agree. This one, however, lives up to all of the hype. This book is written in the format of a pastor writing a letter to his young son as he approaches his death. The letter is to provide his son with a connection to his past and guidance for him as he becomes a man. This letter leads the pastor to examine events in his life and provide clarity into larger life issues such as forgiveness and his vocation as a pastor. Again, I have to say this is a very beautiful book. I had an emotional response to Gilead while reading in the sense that it made me think of my grandfather and the life he led before I ever knew him. So often, I think of my family in the only context that I know them, such as mother or father. In that context, it is hard to see them as "real" people who struggle with issues of faith, career vocations and problems with their own parents or siblings. I would not call this book an "easy read" but I would recommend it to someone who is looking for depth and a sense of introspection that will linger past the last page.
From Publishers Weekly: Fans of Robinson's acclaimed debut Housekeeping (1981) will find that the long wait has been worth it. From the first page of her second novel, the voice of Rev. John Ames mesmerizes with his account of his life—and that of his father and grandfather. Ames is 77 years old in 1956, in failing health, with a much younger wife and six-year-old son; as a preacher in the small Iowa town where he spent his entire life, he has produced volumes and volumes of sermons and prayers, "[t]rying to say what was true." But it is in this mesmerizing account—in the form of a letter to his young son, who he imagines reading it when he is grown—that his meditations on creation and existence are fully illumined. Ames details the often harsh conditions of perishing Midwestern prairie towns, the Spanish influenza and two world wars. He relates the death of his first wife and child, and his long years alone attempting to live up to the legacy of his fiery grandfather, a man who saw visions of Christ and became a controversial figure in the Kansas abolitionist movement, and his own father's embittered pacifism. During the course of Ames's writing, he is confronted with one of his most difficult and long-simmering crises of personal resentment when John Ames Boughton (his namesake and son of his best friend) returns to his hometown, trailing with him the actions of a callous past and precarious future. In attempting to find a way to comprehend and forgive, Ames finds that he must face a final comprehension of self—as well as the worth of his life's reflections. Robinson's prose is beautiful, shimmering and precise; the revelations are subtle but never muted when they come, and the careful telling carries the breath of suspense. There is no simple redemption here; despite the meditations on faith, even readers with no religious inclinations will be captivated. Many writers try to capture life's universals of strength, struggle, joy and forgiveness—but Robinson truly succeeds in what is destined to become her second classic.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Review - Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

This is a great debut novel by an Alabama author! Sophie Mercer is a sixteen year old witch, by birth, that came into her powers three years earlier. Having never met her warlock father, Sophie has been raised by her all too human mother who hasn't exactly been able to guide Sophie through the process of "honing her skills." So, after her latest mishap, a love spell gone disastrously wrong, Sophie is sentenced to Hecate Hall until her eighteenth birthday. Commonly known as Hex Hall, it's a boarding school for delinquent Prodigium, you know - witches, shifters, vampires, fairies and werewolves. Sophie is delightfully real as she tries to navigate her way through the new world she's suddenly inhabiting. The characters are well developed and there were several scenes that made me laugh out loud while I was reading the book (Think about your own high school experiences, then throw in the complication of magic). You get a complete story with the first book, but you will definitely be marking your calendar (potentially March 1, 2011) for the second installment in this series! I highly recommend visiting Rachel Hawkins website, it's very entertaining and you can learn all sorts of "behind the cover" info.

From Product Description:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Tons of New Books in the YA Dept.!!!!

You know that I'm always excited when we receive our shipment of new books in the Young Adult I have been super excited this month! We were extremely fortunate to be the recipient of a Shelby County Quality of Life Grant that enabled us to expand our Children and Young Adult collections. What this means for you is that we were able to complete popular series in our collection and add titles that you've been requesting! (As you can tell, I'm really excited about this growth). We've been adding titles all month and still have quite a few making their way to the shelves...

Just a few new titles that you may want to check out...

Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine
Cirque du Freak Series by Darren Shan
Demonata Series by Darren Shan
Nannies Series by Melody Mayer
Au Pairs Series by Melissa de la Cruz
Wonderous Strange Series by Lesley Livingston
Dark Guardian Series by Rachel Hawthorne
Christie Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn
Katie Weldon Series by Robin Jones Gunn

... and lots of other great books!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review - Intertwined by Gena Showalter

I'm one of those people that can't really sleep when I stay in a hotel, so I always take a stack of books to keep me company. Last week, I was in Huntsville for the ALLA (Alabama Library Association) Convention - which was awesome - and was able to read a couple of books that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I had previously been unfamiliar with Gena Showalter's work, which includes both adult and young adult audiences and is well know for her action packed paranormal romances. I have to say that I am now a fan after reading Intertwined. The book was such a treat! This book starts with a bang as you immediately meet one of the central characters, sixteen year old Aden Stone, and the other souls living in his head as he has inadvertently entered a cemetery. Which is a major "Oops" due to his ability to raise the dead by simply being around them. I felt a connection with each of the characters that truly made me care about what happened to each one and how each will resolve their problems. This book is the first in a series and the second, Unraveled, will be hitting the shelves August 31st! For more information visit Gena Showalter's website.

From School Library Journal:
Grade 8 Up—Aden Stone is not your typical 16-year-old. Since birth he has had four souls trapped within him that possess special powers: the ability to time travel, raise the dead, possess a body, and predict the future. As a result, he has spent his whole life in and out of mental institutions diagnosed as a violent schizophrenic. Now able to control the voices in his head, Aden has moved to Crossroads, OK, to live in a halfway house for delinquent boys. His goal in life is to find a means to free these souls and at last be at peace. When he meets Mary Ann Gray, she miraculously acts as a neutralizer, and for the first time in his life, he truly feels normal. The two become fast friends, establishing a sibling-type bond. Little do they realize that when they first met, their connection sent a power surge throughout the world drawing every paranormal creature from fairies to vampires to Crossroads on a quest for power. To complicate matters, Aden becomes romantically involved with a vampire princess and Mary Ann with her werewolf bodyguard. Together the teens must figure out a way to protect themselves, and all of humanity. This fast-paced, action-driven plot has many unexpected twists and turns. Well written, with a unique story line and strong characters,
Intertwined is fresh and original at a time when there is an overload of paranormal romances on the market.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Our book-club book this month was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. We read it as part of the Alabama Reads campaign to encourage literacy and library usage in the state of Alabama. Some of the members had read it before and others had not. We all found ourselves loving the book. The storytelling is marvelous (I know for those of you already familiar you’re thinking “Duh!”) and the characters are endearing and who doesn’t love a bad-boy with a heart of gold. I’m even contemplating naming my 3rd child Sawyer.

It’s a book full of adventure, friendship, imagination, truth and lies and told in 3rd person from a child’s view of the world. My favorite quote comes from the scene in which Tom traded his way, through savvy manipulations, to get the free bible but didn’t know any scripture verses when asked to recite. The book concludes this vignette with the following: “Let us draw the curtain of charity over the rest of the scene.” Love it!
Huckleberry Finn being described as the “juvenile pariah of the Village”, “cordially hated and dreaded by all the mother of St. Petersburg and secretly admired by their children”, and “idle and lawless and vulgar and bad”. Whew, those are some harsh statements.

I hope all families read it. For children the language may seem awkward and of course, dated, but they’ll enjoy the hijinks of the kids and the adventure. Gotta go now and start Huckleberry Finn:)


Monday, April 12, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hanna

I had several patrons tell me that this was a must read. They kept saying how great it was, so I had to read it. Well let me tell you I was not disappointed. From the very first page I loved this family even though they did not get along and were not close. After the death of the two sisters' father, the mother starts telling a story. Through this story you will be transported to WWII Leningrad. Kristin Hannah makes the place and the people come to life. You will feel like you know each one of these characters. You will feel all of the pain and eventually all of the joy. Check our catalog to reserve a copy.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Cooking with Kids

Before the weekend I checked out Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set from the library. I have plenty of "kid" cookbooks, but those still require me to read off the ingredients and a lot of them make food into happy faces or other objects and this has never impressed my kids. A vegetable is still a vegetable.

The thing I loved about this book were the pictures of the ingredients. This one thing made it more fun and easy for my 4 year old to find the items in the pantry that we needed and then we started cooking. The book is divided up into events that one might have over a school year-a sleepover, a boke sale, lunch, family cooking night etc. The one we chose was under Lunch. We made a Cheeseburger Casserole. We got all the ingredients and pans out first and then I instructed him from there.

Here's a pick of the finished product. It was yummy and definitely a comfort food.

Here's a link to the catalog to check this book out.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Adult Book Review - Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Review Contributed by Brent C.

It's hard to avoid comparing the son to the father, but if a comparison must be made, let it be done with the best of intentions.

This book has a voice of it's own, that has the accent of his father's best works. CREEPY, with characters the reader immediately feels a connection to, in a world like ours as seen through a wavy glass window.

One of the most satisfying endings to a suspense/supernatural thriller that I've read in years.

(From Publisher Weekly):
Starred Review. Stoker-winner Hill features a particularly merciless ghost in his powerful first novel. Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide. Judas isn't quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations. Hill (20th Century Ghosts) gives his characters believably complex emotional lives that help to anchor the supernatural in psychological reality and prove that (as one character observes) "horror was rooted in sympathy." His subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I just read Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and I must say I soooo loved this book. I'm not sure if it is because I'm from a small town in Mississippi or what, but I so knew some of these characters. I was in a group like the Seawillows and I must admit I did one or two of the rituals, I will not say which one but oh did we have fun. It also made me remember what great friendships we had and some of us still have today. If you are in the mood for small town living and great fun this is a must read.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Review

Review contributed by Brent C.

This book is quite deceptive, it starts slow and centers on characters whom you really don't care about nor have any emotion invested in. You keep expecting the 'whammo' from the Holocaust to hit you over the head just as you're internally wincing over the sure-to-come descriptions of how stark, colorless and horrible those days in Germany were.

Not to say those things aren't present, not at all. But the realization comes without warning or preamble that you DO care about the characters and as the pages come to an end you want to hear more about that stark, colorless, horrible world.

The narration winds it's way around the prose in a beautiful way, the author has a voice that's at once soothing and horrifying. There's a beauty in the author's choice of words here, although it's hard to explain I want more of it.

The story itself is beautiful and simple. It's simply about a small girl and her adopted family and how they come to terms with their lives and how they impact others in Nazi Germany.

We may haunt the narrator, but his story will haunt me for a long time to come.

(From Product Description):
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Books in YA!!!!

Announcing a shipment of new books in the YA/Teen Department!!!

I admit that it's always one of my most favorite days in the library when I have a cart full of brand new books to put on the shelf. It's a complete experience for me: I like the way they feel (the pages are all crisp), the way they smell (like fresh ink) and how gorgeous the covers look!!! Here's a short list of a few new things on the shelf - be sure to check one out so you can have the new book "experience."

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu
Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer
Albatross by Josie Blott
A Star on the Hollywood Wald of Fame by Brenda Woods
Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
My Boyfriend's Dogs by Dandi Daley Mackall
A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
Riker's High by Paul Volponi