Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus

Read you must all of Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda books before proceeding! This is the sixth (and final?) book in the series, and I don’t want to spoil things for you…but I will! (I’m extremely in touch with the Dark Side of the Force!) Before picking up Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus, make sure to read these prequels (which I guarantee are better than the actual Star Wars prequels).

Well, it’s been quite a ride. I read my first Origami Yoda book nearly three years ago, and I finished the sixth book last night. As far as I know, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus is the last book in this highly entertaining (and thought-provoking) series, but I’m still hoping that this is not the last we’ve seen of Origami Yoda and friends. To borrow from Princess Leia…

Help me, Tom Angleberger. You’re my only hope…

Anyway, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus picks up where Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue ended, and the kids from McQuarrie Middle School are in for yet another adventure…one without Origami Yoda!

Now that the FunTime Menace is no more, the students of McQuarrie Middle now get to enjoy things like elective classes and, of course, their highly anticipated field trip to Washington, DC. But what will they do when Rabbski, their principal-turned-math-teacher declares that origami–especially Origami Yoda–is off-limits? How will these seventh graders survive without the sage advice of Origami Yoda?!

Have no fear! Dwight is here…with a bunch of Fruit Roll-Ups he folds into Fruitigami Yodas. Unfortunately, the vile Harvey also comes prepared with EMPEROR PICKLETINE, the most evil, sour, and smelly being in the galaxy! Harvey and Emperor Pickletine seem bent on ruining this field trip, and the Dark Side may be more powerful than anyone realized. Is Fruitigami Yoda strong enough to fight this new threat?

As the seventh graders of McQuarrie Middle explore Washington, DC (and get into a fair amount of trouble), a battle is brewing between the Dark and Light Sides of the Force.

Who will win? Will Yoda come through for the Origami Rebellion one more time? Well, I can’t say. But I can tell you that this final battle is full of mischief-making, fisticuffs, space food, and even a little bit of smooching! I’ll leave it to you to find out who does what!

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What can I say about this series that hasn’t already been said? It’s opened up so many cool conversations between my students and me. (They are fully aware of my love for all things Star Wars.) I know Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus will only add to those conversations…though I have to admit I may steer them away from making origami figures with pickles. Yuck!

I realize this may be the last Origami Yoda book–at least for a while–but I think I’ll be enjoying this series with my students for many years to come. (I still think we’ll see more from Origami Yoda. After all, we never thought we’d get Episodes VII, VIII, and IX of Star Wars either!)

To learn more about all things Origami Yoda, click here. You may also want to check out the video below. May the Force be with you!

Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on the Titanic

I typically don’t have a problem “selling” books about the Titanic to my students, so I was pleased to see Dangerous Waters on this year’s South Carolina Children’s Book Award nominee list. This adventure story, written by Gregory Mone, is a quick, exciting, entertaining book that young readers–especially those fascinated by the Titanic and its fateful voyage–will devour. (I’ll likely have to order more copies to meet demand.) I would definitely recommend this book for all libraries (and classrooms) that serve elementary and middle grade students.

Patrick Waters wants to work. He wants to be seen as valuable to his family, particularly his big brother James, who has a job in the engine room of the new ship, Titanic. One night, Patrick gets the chance of a lifetime. He finds a way to sneak aboard and work on the Titanic himself, but he’s not exactly cut out for the engine room. (He’s only twelve, after all.) Instead, Patrick finds a place as a steward on the mammoth ocean liner, and this position will change his life forever…

Patrick catches the eye of a wealthy passenger, Harry Elkins Widener, and eventually becomes the man’s private steward, not realizing that this new job will lead him down an intriguing and dangerous path. Harry is in possession of a rare and valuable book, and there are a couple of nefarious types on board who will do anything to steal such a prize.

Patrick isn’t sure what’s so special about this old book, so he does whatever he can to learn more. It seems this book may have the key to unlocking the most powerful force in the world, and some people will do anything–even kill–to learn its secrets. Patrick does his best to help Harry protect the book, but the Titanic is on a path that could put Patrick’s quest–and his very life–in jeopardy…

As the Titanic makes its way to its eventual demise, Patrick is trying to keep himself, his brother, Harry, and his precious book safe. In the process, Patrick discovers his own strengths and what really matters to him.

Will Patrick be able to save Harry’s book from those bent on stealing it? And will he be able to save himself from the tragedy that is to come? Join Patrick on his adventure aboard the Titanic when you read Dangerous Waters by Gregory Mone!

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The author’s note at the end of Dangerous Waters lets readers know that many of the characters in this book were based on real people. With the exception of Patrick, his brother, and a few others, all of the people mentioned in this book were actually on board the Titanic. (The Widener Library at Harvard University is named for Harry Elkins Widener.) I think that healthy dose of historical fact will make this event more real to young readers, many of whom think the story of Titanic is “cool” but don’t really think about those who died when the ship sank or had to go on with their lives after losing family and friends in the tragedy.

*An interesting exercise–following a reading of the book, of course–could be to write about the aftermath of the Titanic‘s sinking from the perspective of someone who survived. Putting students in touch with primary sources could make this even more poignant. Something to think about for this school year!*

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Dangerous Waters is an easy sell to most students. I know my students will love it, and I hope it will lead them to further research about Titanic, the people on board, and the books that were so important to Harry Elkins Widener.

For more information about Dangerous Waters and author Gregory Mone, check out his website, blog, Goodreads page, or Twitter. Enjoy!

Big announcement from Leap Books!

Three Young Adult Authors Walk into a Book Store…and Come Out Managing a Publishing House

leapbooksThat’s very nearly what recently happened to young adult authors Shannon Delany, Judith Graves, and Jen Murgia  except there was no book store and they don’t live close enough to do much “in real life” together. “That’s the great thing about technology and social media,” Delany laughs.

“This all began because I opened my mouth on Facebook and it earned me a phone call. I was toying with the idea of founding my own little publishing house and Judith Graves contacted me. After a few emails and one fateful phone call the ball was rolling!”

Graves, a longtime Leap author (and a respected script writer and author with additional houses) suggested she and Delany team up and take over the SHINE e-novella line she was building through established small publisher Leap Books LLC.

When owner Laurie Edwards heard about it, she suggested they take on the entire company. Not long after, Delany found herself the owner and publisher of the well-loved house with Graves as her very capable co-publisher.

But the duo knew it would take even more people to give Leap’s books and authors, both old and new, the attention they needed. Delany contacted author Jennifer Murgia and asked her to come aboard as Marketing Director. With the addition of William Gee as CFO and additional team members to bolster the services they provide authors, the new Leap management team feels certain they can each focus on the things they do best.

Readers can look forward to edgy and memorable stories filled with characters who leap off the pages. Of special note is the new e-novella line, SHINE, headed up by Graves and specializing in YA and NA.

Authors of all YA and NA genres can submit through their agents to any of Leap’s lines (submission details are HERE). And, this year to celebrate Delany’s birthday in mid-October, Leap will open its doors for unagented stories for a brief period.

For now Delany suggests readers and writers alike leap into the contest running until August 8th at http://leapbks.blogspot.ca/ and says if you’re serious about writing for a publisher, first give a few of their books a read.

Find Leap Books at all major online retailers and:

Enter our Rafflecopter contest to win three Leap e-books of your choice:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Published in: on August 1, 2014 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

After a much-needed break from blogging, I’m back at it with one more nominee for the 14-15 South Carolina Children’s Book Award, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve now read ten of the nominees. Halfway there!)

It took me a little while to get into Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, but, once I did, I didn’t want to put the book down. (I imagine that most library/book nerds will be able to relate.) It reminded me of The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman and my absolute favorite children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. (Even the characters in the book recognize the similarities between their situation and Charlie Bucket’s adventures in Willy Wonka’s candy factory.) While the kids in this book are competing for a fantastic prize, they’re also learning a lot about the power of books, their new (and totally unbelievable) town library, and how to work as a team.

Kyle Keeley loves games of all kinds, and his favorites are the creations of the amazing Luigi Lemoncello, an eccentric genius who just happened to grow up in Kyle’s hometown.

Kyle’s town has been without a public library for years, but everyone is excited that a new library is about to open–and that excitement only grows when it’s revealed that Mr. Lemoncello himself designed the new building. Kyle is sure that the library is awesome–even though he doesn’t like to read all that much–and he is determined to be one of the first people to see just how cool it is.

An essay contest will determine which twelve seventh-graders are invited to a lock-in at the new library. Even though Kyle’s essay efforts are a bit rough, he is selected to spend the night in the greatest library the world has ever known! Filled with holograms, a Wonder Dome with changing scenes overhead, hover ladders that reach the highest shelves, state-of-the-art technology, and books galore, the library is more than any of the kids ever dreamed…and so is the contest that led them here.

When the lock-in is over, these twelve kids are presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. They may extend their stay and play the most exciting game of their lives, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library! Whoever finds the escape route from the library within the next twenty-four hours becomes Mr. Lemoncello’s spokesperson for all of his gaming products! Kyle doesn’t even need to think about whether or not he’ll stay. (Not everyone feels the same.) This is more than he ever dreamed of, and he’s in it to win it. (He’s not the only one.)

During this exciting day, Kyle teams up with some friends–old and new–and uses knowledge of books, the library, games, and Mr. Lemoncello himself to find a way out of this most unusual library. Will they be able to escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library before time runs out? Before someone else beats them to it? And what will they learn along the way?

Play the game along with Kyle and company and see if you can figure out how to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library!

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As thrilled as I am that this book is a Children’s Book Award nominee for my state, I honestly believe that many adults will appreciate this book more than younger readers will. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is filled to the brim with literary allusions, and part of the fun of reading it–at least for me–was thinking about the books or authors that the characters were alluding to. I don’t know if many of my students are well-read enough to pick up on all of these tidbits…but their teachers may be. (This could result in a giggle or two if teachers–or librarians–decide to use this book as a read-aloud…which I recommend.)

Like the character of Kyle Keeley, I predict that many kids who read this book will find themselves making a list of books they need to read. From Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter to the works of Dr. Seuss, Kyle encountered many wonderful stories in the library, stories full of fun and adventure that added to his enjoyment of his experiences in the library. Kyle wasn’t much of a reader before this contest, but that definitely changed in a very short time.

I think librarians who read this book will likely be insanely jealous of Mr. Lemoncello’s fantastic library. I know I am. I imagine many of us would have libraries like this one if we were blessed with unlimited funds. (If I ever win the lottery, I may just make this happen in my town. Of course, one does have to play the lottery to win it.)

It might be kind of fun to have students who read this book come up with a design for their own dream library. I wonder what they would include. Probably something very different from what I envision, but this could be an intriguing–and informative–activity with interested students. (This would be a creative way to see how we could improve library programs. We may not be able to build new buildings, but we can always do something.)

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a captivating read that illuminates the power of books, libraries, teamwork, and fun in learning. It is a must-read for all who love children’s literature and those who believe that libraries–and librarians–can truly change lives.

For more on author Chris Grabenstein, check out his website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Published in: on July 29, 2014 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Book Thief

As is the case with so many books, I’m late to the party on this one. The Book Thief has been in my I’ve-been-meaning-to-read-this-for-a-while-but-haven’t-gotten-around-to-it pile since I first became a school librarian (way back in 2005 when the book came out). Like Ender’s Game, it was the desire to see the movie adaptation that really spurred me to finally read the book…and I’m so glad I did.

I finished reading The Book Thief less than an hour ago, and I was so moved by the book that I was sitting in my library crying my eyes out. My students and my clerk thought I’d lost my mind. (By the way, I have no problem taking some time to read at school every now and then. How can I expect my students to learn to love reading if they don’t see me modeling it?)

Anyhoo, back to The Book Thief. This book tore me apart, and I can only hope that the movie will, in some small way, live up to its source material. I’m going to see the movie this afternoon, and I fully expect my heart to be in shreds by the time I get home tonight. Here’s hoping…

The Book Thief takes place in Molching, a small town outside of Munich, Germany, during World War II. It is told from Death’s point of view, and the story follows the journey of a young girl, Liesel Meminger, the the lives she touches, and the books she steals during this turbulent period.

I’ve read quite a few fictional accounts of WWII, but most of those tend to focus on the experience of Holocaust victims and survivors. This may be one of the first books I’ve read that details the experience of a German teen who has to at least pretend to tow the party line while quietly protesting the world around her. Liesel finds power in words, and she does everything she can to gain access to as many words as possible…and share those words with those most important to her.

From her foster parents to her best friend to community members to the Jewish man hiding in her basement, Liesel, through both words and deeds, touches every life around her and demonstrates how much one girl–a book thief–can impact so many lives…and can make even Death stop to take notice.

I’m not going to say much more about this book other than it is at once heart-breaking and heart-warming. I was pulled in by the unique way this story was told, and I stayed because I truly grew to care about Liesel, her family, and her friends. The Book Thief has more than its share of tragedy, but there’s so much more to take in here. Even in the midst of a war, people find ways to experience joy, peace, laughter, friendship, and courage. Some of those things may reveal themselves in unexpected ways…perhaps in the form of a stolen book.

If the movie adaptation is even half as good as the book, I think I’ll be pretty happy.  I guess we’ll find out at 4:25 this afternoon!

For those who haven’t seen The Book Thief yet, here’s a movie trailer to whet your appetite. It worked for me!

Published in: on December 5, 2013 at 11:41 am  Comments (2)  
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The Rise of Nine

Danger, Danger! This post will focus on The Rise of Nine, the third book of the Lorien Legacies. If you haven’t already read the first two books, I Am Number Four and The Power of Six, please do so posthaste! These books are pretty cool (much better than the horrid movie adaptation of the first book). Action-packed doesn’t even begin to cover it!

I started my journey with the Lorien Legacies series in 2010. Now, three years later, I’ve finally found time to read the third book, The Rise of Nine. This book came out last summer, and I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to get to it, but I’m glad I finally fit it into my reading schedule. (To be honest, the movie adaptation of I Am Number Four also put a sour taste in my mouth, and it’s been difficult to get into the rest of the series because of that. I hope Hollywood leaves the rest of this series alone!) It took me a little while to get into this third installment because it had been so long since I read the second, The Power of Six. Eventually, though, I was drawn back into the world of the Garde of Lorien and their quest to battle the evil Mogadorians and their leader, Setrákus Ra.

The Rise of Nine takes place immediately following the events of the second book, so it might behoove you to read the last couple of chapters of The Power of Six before starting book three. Like The Power of Six, this third installment is told in alternating viewpoints. Readers are privy to the thoughts of Four, Six, and Seven (better known as Marina). Each character’s “voice” is presented in a different font, so it’s fairly easy to identify who is “speaking.”

Six has finally found two other members of the Lorien Garde, so what’s next? How can she find the other members of the Garde, reunite with Four, and somehow defeat the Mogadorians and save both Earth and her home planet of Lorien? Well, it won’t be easy, and dangers are abundant, but Six is a fighter, and she’s determined to do everything possible to complete her mission. Luckily, she won’t have to face what’s ahead alone. She’s found Seven (Marina) and the unexpected Ten (Ella) in a Spanish convent, and they will join Six in her search for the other Garde members. First stop? India, where there have been reports of mysterious occurrences than can only come from one of them. Have they finally located one of their own? If so, what next? If not, what are they walking into?

Four, also known as John, has escaped a Mogadorian stronghold with another of the Garde, Nine, but he had to leave his best friend behind. Four is determined to mount some kind of rescue, but he must put those plans on hold for a while. He and Nine must work together–which is not exactly easy–to fight Mogs and their surprising allies, hide from enemies when they can, try to find the remaining Garde members, and train to destroy Setrákus Ra. Through everything, though, Four thinks about saving Sam, his best friend, and Sarah, the girl he still loves despite the knowledge that she may have betrayed him.

As the Garde members travel closer to each other, they’re also traveling closer to what may be their ultimate destruction. None of them truly realizes just how strong Setrákus Ra really is or what he is capable of. And when they discover just who is working alongside the Mogs, their journeys become even more perilous.

The Garde is stronger when united, but will their combined strength be enough to defeat their most dangerous and powerful enemy? What sacrifices will be made in the quest to save both Earth and Lorien, and what will the Garde discover about themselves and their abilities along the way? The road ahead is not an easy one, and the Lorien Garde will have to use every weapon at their disposal to get out of this one alive. The question is…will it be enough?

_______________________

To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement. While I was reading, I felt like an explosion-filled action movie was playing in my head. (This went well with the nearly constant thunderstorms and fireworks that have been going on around me lately.) I’m so captivated by this series that I plan to spend the rest of the day reading The Lost Files. (I’ve already read Six’s Legacy, but I’m eager to read the others:  Nine’s Legacy, The Fallen Legacies, and a few others. There are even more on the way! Check out Goodreads for a full list.) I probably won’t post about these, but I’ll most likely put my reaction on Knight Reader’s Facebook page.

The fourth and final (?) book of the Lorien Legacies will be out in less than two months. The Fall of Five (rather ominous title, no?) is supposed to be out on August 27th. Hopefully, I will be well past my back-to-school, Mortal-Instruments-movie-fog by then, and I’ll be able to dive into this book immediately. In the meantime, though, I can read The Lost Files and stay updated through the series website, http://iamnumberfourfans.com/. Join me, won’t you?

Published in: on July 7, 2013 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Looking forward to 2013!

happy_new_year_KR

Happy New Year all!  I hope your 2013 is everything you want it to be! Now, though, it’s time to set those all important reading resolutions for the year.  This year, I’m going to up the ante even more and challenge myself to read 400 books.  Yes, that’s a lot…even for me.  I’m hoping to get around to reading several books that I meant to read last year, lots of great picture books, some long-neglected classics, more chapter books for upper elementary and middle grade readers, and, of course, the latest and greatest in YA fiction.

There are many, many exciting books that are supposed to be released this year, and I’ve done my best to narrow down the list of the ones I’m looking forward to the most. (You’ll see pretty quickly, though, that I wasn’t exactly successful in removing books from this list.)  January alone is going to break me. This month, there are fourteen new releases that I really want to get my hands on! (Thank goodness for libraries and Barnes & Noble giftcards!)

This list is as complete as I could get it this early in the year.  As I’m sure you know, release dates–and even titles–are subject to change. I’m sure I’ll be adding to my to-read list as the year progresses, especially since some 2013 releases don’t yet have an official publication date.

Without further ado, here is Knight Reader’s list of the most highly anticipated books of 2013!

January

  • 1 – The Essence (The Pledge #2) by Kimberly Derting
  • 8 – Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
  • 8 – Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  • 8 – Rise (Nightshade prequel #2) by Andrea Cremer
  • 8 – Crash by Lisa McMann
  • 8 – Timekeeper (Timeless #2) by Alexandra Monir
  • 15 – Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis
  • 22 – Ravage (Deviants #3) by Jeff Sampson
  • 22 – Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton
  • 22 – Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand
  • 29 – Shadowhunters & Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader by Cassandra Clare
  • 29 – Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu
  • 29 – Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire #3) by Courtney Allison Moulton
  • 29 – Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen #2) by Rebecca Maizel

February

  • 1 – Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
  • 1 – Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano
  • 5 – Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
  • 5 – Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter
  • 19 – Mind Games by Kiersten White
  • 26 – The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
  • 26 – The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test #3) by Aimee Carter
  • 26 – Fragments (Partials #2) by Dan Wells

March

  • 1 – Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
  • 19 – Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

April

  • 1 – Renegade (Ripper #2) by Amy Carol Reeves
  • 16 – Dead Silence (The Body Finder #4) by Kimberly Derting
  • 23 – Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga
  • 23 – The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass
  • 24 – Towering by Alex Flinn
  • 30 – The Program by Suzanne Young
  • 30 – Chosen at Nightfall (Shadow Falls #5) by C.C. Hunter

May

  • 7 – Fall of Night (Morganville Vampires #14) by Rachel Caine
  • 7 – Icons by Margaret Stohl
  • 7 – Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • 14 – School Spirits (Hex Hall spin-off #1) by Rachel Hawkins
  • 28 – Goddess (Starcrossed #3) by Josephine Angelini

August

  • 6 – City of Bones graphic novel by Mike Raicht and Cassandra Clare

September

  • 26 – Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth (title not announced yet)

October

  • 29 – Horde (Razorland #3) by Ann Aguirre
  • ?? – The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan

November

  • 1 – The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
  • 12 – Afterglow (Wildefire #3) by Karsten Knight
  • ?? – Shatter Me #3 by Tahereh Mafi (title not announced yet)
  • ?? – The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare et. al.
  • ?? – Daylighters (Morganville Vampires #15) by Rachel Caine

As you can see, most of these books are part of a series. I’ve got to do some work to catch up on some of these! Also, the list gets a little skimpy after May. Part of this is probably because some release dates haven’t yet been nailed down, but it could also be because I’ve missed a book or two.  Can you think of any titles I need to add to this not-even-close-to-comprehensive list?  Let me know in the comments!

I hope you read as much as you want to in 2013! Have a great year, and check back here from time to time to see how I’m doing with my reading goal.  Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 1, 2013 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Black Dawn

Spoiler alert!  This post is about the book #12 in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series, Black Dawn.  I know it’s asking a lot, but please read the first eleven books before proceeding.  Thanks a bunch!

So, it’s been a long week, and I haven’t been able to read nearly as much as I wanted to.  It didn’t help that some genius decided that she should schedule a third book fair three weeks before school gets out for the summer.  (For those that don’t remember elementary school all that well, book fairs are a BIG DEAL.  They’re also a ton of work.)  Anyway, I haven’t had a lot of time to read this week, but I did manage to finish one highly-anticipated book:  Black Dawn by Rachel Caine.  If you paid any attention to the warning above, you know that this is the twelfth book in the Morganville Vampires series, and Claire and crew are once again fighting for their lives…

The draug (water vampires, or at least something similar) have invaded Morganville.  Vampires and humans alike are disappearing, and Amelie, the Founder, has been infected.  After being rescued from the draug, Michael went all vampire-in-a-frenzy, and he fed off the love of his life—and a human—Eve.  Things are bad for everyone in Morganville, but those remaining are determined to fight the invaders that have all but taken over the town.  But are they prepared to pay the price of the battle to come?  Lives will be changed and even lost, and Claire, Shane, Michael, and Eve must decide if they’re willing to risk everything—even each other—to rid Morganville of the horror that is spreading.

The human and vampire residents of Morganville must work together and use some rather unconventional methods to destroy the draug.  Things don’t go well for everyone, and plans are being made to make things even worse for some—especially Claire.  She is the only person who can see Magnus, the master draug, so Oliver (the town’s second-in-command) and Myrnin (Claire’s mad-vampire-scientist boss and my personal favorite character) decide to use her as bait.  Unfortunately, they don’t exactly let her—or anyone else—in on the plan.

Will Claire and company be able to defeat the draug while remaining together?  Will this fight tear them apart?  And what will they do when the town they’ve worked so hard to save becomes even more dangerous than ever before.  They may be working to eliminate one enemy, but more may be stepping up to the plate, even those they once counted as friends.  Who is a friend?  Who is a foe?  It’s hard to tell in a town like Morganville…

So, yeah, I had high hopes that things would get a little better for Claire, Shane, Michael, Eve, and Myrnin in this book.  (They’ve had a rough time of it in the past eleven books.)  Well, it’s not looking good.  This book may have resolved one bit of drama, but several more are waiting to take center stage.  (Yes, I know I’ve used both baseball and theater metaphors in this post.  Just call me well-rounded.)  I did enjoy Black Dawn.  Like the other books in this series, it was full of action, humor, and a dash of steamy romance.  It’s also filled with angst, tension, and heartbreak.  It’s a bit like a vampire soap opera (but not a cheesy one like Dark Shadows). 

And like any good soap opera, the drama just keeps on coming.  The thirteenth book in this series, Bitter Blood, will be out on November 6th this year.  For more information on the upcoming book or others in this addictive series, visit http://www.morganvilletexas.com/The_Morganville_Vampires_series_by_Rachel_Caine/Banner.html.  You can also follow the author on Twitter @rachelcaine.  For those who are still paying attention to this rambling post, check out the official book trailer for Black Dawn:

Finally, if you’re still reading this and haven’t read the entire Morganville Vampires series, you might want to check out these posts on the series.  (Yes, they are in order.)

Happy reading!

Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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City of Lost Souls

Warning!  There may be City of Lost Souls spoilers ahead!

After work on Tuesday, I rushed to the closest Barnes & Noble to pick up a book I waited on for far too long—City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.  I started reading it as soon as I got home, but, sadly, I wasn’t able to finish it until yesterday.  (Lots of things kept getting in the way—work, my regular TV schedule, meetings, and my need for naps.)  But finish it I did, and I was absolutely blown away.

Like the other books in Clare’s Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and City of Fallen Angels) and her Infernal Devices series (Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince), City of Lost Souls had me hooked before I even opened the book.  And I think a part of me was reluctant to finish the book, partly because I wanted to prolong the time I spent with my favorite characters, and partly because I knew this book would end on a cliffhanger, and I’d have a long time to worry about how things would be resolved.  How right I was.

I’m not going to tell you much about what happens in City of Lost Souls because I don’t want to spoil things for you.  This series means too much to me to ruin it for other fans.  I will say, however, that I am an emotional wreck after reading this book.  Sacrifices and deals are made—or at least considered—that change the entire fabric of this world.  The relationships between the characters have me tied up in knots, and I’m hoping against hope that things get better for everyone in the next book, City of Heavenly Fire.  I even found myself hoping that there was some way to “fix” Sebastian.  When you read this book, you’ll see why that hope was rather short-lived. 

While reading City of Lost Souls, I was always for clues about what might happen in Clockwork Princess.  (For those that don’t know, Clockwork Princess is the third book in the Infernal Devices, the prequel trilogy to Mortal Instruments.)  I think I may have found at least one clue, but it’s so out there that I don’t want to say anything in case I’m wrong (but I don’t think I am).  I also looked for things we might see in the next Shadowhunter series, Dark Artifices, which will take place a few years in the future at the Los Angeles Institute.  Based on things I’ve heard from Cassie Clare and the YA blogging community, I encountered a few characters that I know I’ll see again.

In short, I LOVED this book just as much as everything else Cassandra Clare has written.  I am totally invested in what happens to these characters that I’ve come to love and think of as my friends.  (Most of my best friends are fictional characters.)  I am eagerly anticipating the final book in the Mortal Instruments saga, City of Heavenly Fire, which won’t be released until March of 2014.  (Yep.  You read that right.  Nearly two years away.  Let the temper tantrum begin.)  Clockwork Princess will tide me over for a bit, but it won’t be out until March 19th of next year, so I’ve still got about ten months to stew.  Curses!

There is, however, something I’m looking forward to that will ease the pain of waiting.  Cassie Clare is coming to South Carolinain November!!!!  I got to meet her late last year during her Clockwork Prince tour (and she’s as awesome as you’d think she would be), and I was thrilled this week when I heard she’d be coming back to my fair state.  She, along with dozens of other bestselling authors—including Holly Black, Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman,  Margaret Stohl, Andrea Cremer, Kim Derting, and too many others to name—will be coming to Charleston for YALLFest (http://yallfest.org/), the Charleston Young Adult Book Festival.  The event will be November 9-10, and I am so there!  I’m so excited about this that I can barely contain my joy!

So, while the wait to find out what happens to Jace, Clary, Simon, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, and even Sebastian, is way too long for me, there’s plenty going on that will tide me over (including hearing more about the middle-grade series by Cassie Clare and Holly Black that’s currently in the works). 

If you’d like more information about all of Cassandra Clare’s amazing books, check out her website (http://www.cassandraclare.com/), her tumblr site (http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/cassieclare), and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare).  You may also want to check out my favorite fansite, Mundie Moms (http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/).  Also, if you haven’t seen it already (I’ve watched it about five thousand times), here’s the official City of Lost Souls book trailer.  If this video doesn’t make you want to read this outstanding book, nothing will.  Enjoy!

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 10:06 am  Comments (4)  
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The Serpent’s Shadow

Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read The Red Pyramid or The Throne of Fire, turn back now!  If you don’t want to know what happens in the third book of Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles, The Serpent’s Shadow, turn back now!  This will be your only warning.

Last night, I finished reading the third and final book in The Kane Chronicles.  This book is The Serpent’s Shadow, and it’s already getting a lot of buzz at my school.  (Honestly, Rick Riordan could write a book about almost anything, and my students would have a fit over it.)  The book has only been out a week, and I’m already getting offers of food, school supplies, and money to have certain students moved to the top of the list to check it out.  (One kid offered up his dog.)  While I cannot be bribed (yet), I am thrilled that this book is so in demand.  Like Riordan’s other books, The Serpent’s Shadow is a great read and will appeal to readers from third grade on up.  It’s full of action, suspense, intrigue, humor, a heavy dose of Egyptian mythology, and even a little bit of romance.  Everyone will find something to enjoy.

Normal is not a word that the Carter and Sadie Kane are familiar with.  They are magicians descended from Egyptian pharaohs, and they often communicate and take on the forms of Horus and Isis, gods of ancient Egypt.  They run a school for young magicians out of their house in Brooklyn, their dad is Osiris (god of the afterlife), and their mom is a ghost.  Sadie has feelings for two different guys:  Walt, a descendent of King Tut who is cursed with a very short lifespan; and Anubis, god of the dead who tends to take on the form of a really attractive teenage boy.  Carter is enamored of a fellow magician, Zia, who spends most of her time babysitting Ra, a senile sun god.

As if life is not abnormal enough, add in a god of chaos, Apophis, who wants to swallow the sun and destroy the entire world.  The incredibly ginormous job of stopping him falls to Carter and Sadie and their merry band of misfits.  It’s up to them to unite magicians and gods in fighting Apophis and his minions, but how can they possibly destroy something so huge, terrifying, and powerful?  Well, they may have found a way, but it involves trusting an evil psychopath (not usually a smart move) and risking their own lives (also not preferable).  Carter and Sadie will have to face unbelievable horrors to save the world, and it still might not be enough.

Can the Kanes defeat the god of chaos without losing themselves?  Can they save those they love in the process?  Is there any hope for a normal life if their longshot of a plan actually works?  Probably not, but they have to try.  In a world that is falling into chaos, it’s up to two teenagers to restore order.  (I was laughing as I wrote that last bit.)  Read The Serpent’s Shadow to find out if their completely crazy heroic quest saves the world or destroys it forever.

Like The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire before it, I can’t say enough good things about The Serpent’s Shadow.  The humor alone was enough to keep me reading.  When you throw in a whole bunch of action and, you know, destroying stuff, I’m totally hooked.  This book was the perfect conclusion to The Kane Chronicles, but it definitely left the door open for more of Carter and Sadie Kane and friends.  (I’m hoping we’ll see them in some Percy Jackson crossover kind of thing…maybe in The Mark of Athena—the third book in The Heroes of Olympus series—which comes out this fall.)

To learn more about Rick Riordan, The Kane Chronicles, and Riordan’s other fabulous books, visit http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx or follow the author on Twitter @camphalfblood.  You may also want to check out this book trailer for The Serpent’s Shadow from Puffin Books.   It’s short, the cover is different (at least, it’s different from my copy), and the trailer gives nothing away, but it still may be worth a look.  Enjoy!

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