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 Dept...so 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.