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Monday, April 27, 2009

Cairo by G. Willow Wilson

Title: Ciaro: a graphic novel
Author: G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker
ISBN: 9781401211400
Publisher: Vertigo

"A stolen hookah, a spiritual underworld, and a genie on the run change the lives of five strangers forever in this modern fable set on the streets of the Middle East's largest metropolis.

Cairo interweaves the fates of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a troubled young student, and an Istrali soldier as they race through busting present-day Cairoto find an artifact of unimaginable power, one protected by a dignified Jinn and sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. But the vastness of Africa's legendary City of Victory extends into a spiritual realm - the Undernile - and even darker powers lurk there..."

There were certain parts of this book that really set it apart from other graphic novels (that I've read, at least). There is one part that stands out to me - it's when the Genie is teaching the boy to tap into his ability to use the sword. The way it's drawn is just very vivid and stands out to me in a way that other fantasy-graphics haven't.
I also really liked how the story takes you to another world entirely and gives an interesting perspective on politics and other issues. I'd recommend it for older graphic lovers - just because topics and such aren't really going to be of interest to the younger reader.

Other blog reviews: Here, here, and here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Work What You Got by Stephanie Perry Moore

Title: Work What You Got (a Beta Gamma Pi novel) Author: Moore, Stephanie Perry
ISBN: 9780758225429

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp


"Between moving off campus, gearing up to pledge a sorority, and trying to keep her faith first, Hayden Grant is about to become one very busy Beta.

College sophomore Hayden Grant and her three roommates can't wait to join Beta Gamma Pi sorority. At least that's what Hayden thought - until Myra, Bridget, and Chandra announce a change of plans. Can Hayden and her girls hold onto their friendship as they pursue different paths?

And speaking of pursuit, Hayden's caught they eye of Creed, a hottie she met her first year. That's just one complication. Hayden's ex-boyfriend heads the fraternity Creed's pledging. It looks like it's going to be one crazy year of trials, tribulations, and unexpected lessons-in leadership and love."

This book was honestly more than I was bargaining for. I was hoping for some urban lit that dealt with the issues and all... but that's not really what this book is about. It's more about the drama that comes with sorority life and what that might be like. Which, of course, makes this a much more "he-said, she-said" book.

The story was pretty good. I did like the concept... but having done the sorority thing in college, it honestly brought back a bit of the animosity that went with that. I think that teen girls probably love this glimpse into the life of a college sorority and what it takes... but the book is kinda hard to wade through. The morals and life lessons weighed down the book for me. It really was a good story otherwise.

Other readers may see this totally differently, so don't take my word alone. I just don't know that I'm going to be looking for the next book in this series. There are other blog reviews out there: Here, here, and here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Life Sucks by Jessica Abel

Title: Life Sucks
Author: Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria, and Warren Pleece
ISBN: 9781596431072
Publisher: First Second

"Life sucks when you're a baby-faced kid in LA - broke, girlfriendless, and stuck in a dead-end job. And when we're talking about Dave Miller, we really mean dead-end.

Life sucks harder when that job is a night manager at the Last Stop, LA's finest vampire-owned 24-hour convenience store, and you're facing an eternity of restocking beef jerky and blood brew for Radu, your crappy boss and vampire master.

It's bad enough that Dave pines for his days as a vegetarian, but when he finds himself competing with psychotic surfer-vamp Wes for the affections of Rosa, a beautiful mortal with a romantic fixation on the dark side, unlife really gets complicated."

This was a very interesting take on the whole vampire theme that's overtaken the world. I've honestly never read a graphic novel that was as snarky and cynical as this one. That doesn't make it a bad book - it's just different from what I'm used to. Perhaps I should be reading more of them :).

I do love that the main character is such a wuss even after being put in a position to be on top (aka part of the vampire elite). It's just hilarious to me that the most average, working-joe's are vampires and all. And that the main "masters" are all card playing lackeys. It's just very clever and interesting.
I did want to kinda smack around the main guy - just because he couldn't get himself together. But otherwise it was a pretty good book!

I wasn't expecting to see many other reviews and such, but they were easy to find! Here, here, and here

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jet Set by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman

Title: Jet Set
Author: Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman
ISBN: 9780061431777
Publisher: HarperTeen


"I'm Lucy Peterson, and let me tell you - I don't fit in at my new boarding school in Switzerland at all. Caviar at every meal, white-tie affairs (because black-tie is so last season), trips to Geneva to pick up the latest couture, and real live royals lurking around every corner? None of that is really my speed. I'm just your average American teen, here on scholarship, ready to kick some academic and tennis butt so I can have my pick of Ivy League colleges.

Only now I'm falling all over myself to impress my crush, who just happens to be a prince. I've gotten myself tangled up in a tabloid disaster - literally - and the "it" clique on campus has decided that I'm worthy of their evil scorn. What have I gotten myself into?"

This book was the perfect break from all of the fantasy and heavy stuff I've been reading lately. It's a great chick lit book that is very cinderella/fairy tale like. It's kinda fun to put yourself in the main character's shoes to just imagine what life would be like in a place like that. It was such a fun story and I fully plan on handing it to anyone looking for chick lit. Light, good-natured, funny at times, and overall enjoyable. Definitely grab this one :).

After looking at some other reviews online, apparently I was the only one who really liked this book. I mean, yes... it's very shallow and not-so-intense... but I really liked it. It was fun in a very unassuming, easy way. But alas, here are those other reviews...

Here, here, and here.

Hunted: A House of Night Novel by PC and Kristin Cast

Title: Hunted: A House of Night Novel
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
ISBN: 9780312379827
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

"At the start of this heart-pounding new installment in the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey's friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren't Neferet's secrets any longer. But an unexpected danger has emerged. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, and no one at the House of Night seems to understand the threat he poses. Kalona is gorgeous, and he has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading influence, but what if this past life unearths secrets Zoey doesn't want to see and truths she can't face?

On the run and holed up in Tulsa's Prohibition-era tunnels, Zoey and her gang must discover a way to deal with something that might bring them all down. Meanwhile, Zoey has a few other little problems. The red fledglings have cleaned up well - they've even managed to make the dark, creepy tunnels feel more like home - but are they really as friendly as they seem? On the boyfriend front, Zoey has a chance to make things right with super-hot ex, Eric, but she can't stop thinking about Stark, the archer who died in her arms after one unforgettable night, and she is driven to tryto save him from Neferet's sinister influence at all costs. Will anyone believe the power evil has to hide among us?

This is the fifth book in the House of Night series by this awesome mother/daughter team. I was a little surprised to see this title published as a hardcover book, but I'm sure it was a great move from them. Everyone I've given this series to has loved it (and as a librarian, I've given it to plenty!). Hunted is just one more great installment of this really fun vampire series.
I did notice a few typo-type errors (like, saying it was Stevie Rae's grandmother... not Zoey's)... but those are totally just nit-picky. And reading as much as I do, I kinda end up noticing those. Apparently if you look around Amazon, there are others that noticed them as well. And luckily those were the only things that bothered me. The story is solid and is - as always - full of adventure, blood, and boys :).
Per usual, I recommend this series to anyone who has loved the vampire series phenomenon going on right now. It's a perfect next step for those Meyer-lovers who need something to fill that void. So yeah! Go find it! I know at our library it is hardly on the shelf cause people keep checking it out - but try your library first! And pass it along!
Oh, and other blog reviews: Here, here, and here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Glass
(Book 3 of the Mortal Instruments series)

Author: Cassandra Clare
ISBN: 9781416914303
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

"To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments."

This is the third (and, I believe, last) installment of the Mortal Instruments series. I've honestly loved every book in the series - and to think, I only picked them up because of the covers! This was the perfect ending to a really fun series. The ending was cleanly pulled together and felt like a full story. I was completely involved in this book and pretty much couldn't put it down.

There was one and only one thing that has bothered me about this story. It's the brother/sister relationship. It was really hard to get on board with them being so.... together. I do understand where that was going and all.... now.... but it was kinda hard to get over. I guess that was part of the point, but yeah... it was weird.

But I would hand this series to absolutely anyone who loves fantasy books. It's a great story and is (thankfully) complete. There are plenty of other people out there that reviewed this book online (and loved it, of course). Here, here, and here. Watch out for spoilers, people! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci

Title: The Plain Janes
Author: Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
ISBN: 9781401211158
Publisher: DC Comics: Minx


"When Jane is forced to move from the cool confines of Metro City to suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there in the lunch room at the reject table, she finds her tribe - three other girls named Jane. It's up to Main Jane to convince the girls to form a secret club called P.L.A.I.N. - People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. But can art really save a group of misfits from the hell that is high school?"

I have loved other books by Castellucci before... and this one is no different - even in graphic form. I know this book has been around for a while, but I've just now gotten to it. The story is very good, if not a bit simple. I did feel like I could have had more development of the main character, but it didn't really detract from the overall story.

The ideas in the book are really solid as well - if someone were to want to stick some random art in their neighborhoods. Living in the city, I already see it everywhere. But it would be really cool if someone had taken some ideas from this book.

Other online reviews are here, here and here. As I said before, this book has been around for a little while, so there are plenty of other reviews out there as well.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jellicoe Road by Malina Marchetta

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Malina Marchetta
ISBN: 9780061431838
Publisher: HarperTeen

"Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does.

If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future."

This book reminded me of other award winning books - very well written, but not necessarily something I can see a teen picking up and being in to. But the story was good. It was a bit confusing in the beginning, but eventually it makes sense and is very interesting the route it takes. There might be a bit much going on in the story for it to be much of a quick pick, but it's solid and gives you a clean ending.

One thing that does help the story along is the sense of mystery and discovery. There are twists and turns that I certainly wasn't expecting (at least until halfway through the book). Because of it's difficulty in the beginning, I'll probably recommend it only for our upper-level readers.

There are other blog reviews online - which is only to be expected of a Printz Award Winner. Here, here, here, and here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Breaking Up by Aimee Friedman

Title: Breaking Up
Author: Aimee Friedman
Art by: Christine Norrie
ISBN: 9780439748674
Publisher: Graphix, Scholastic

"There's a fine line between a friend and an enemy. One minute there's all this TRUST, and LAUGHTER, and LOVE. And the next minute... there's HURT. And CRUELTY. And BETRAYAL.

Meet Chloe Sacks: Thoughtful, artistic, and a junior at Georgia O'Keeffe School for the Arts, nicknamed 'Fashion High' for its trendy student body. Along with her best friends, Erika, Isabel, and MacKenzie, she's looking forward to a year of romance, parties, and adventure.

And it is an eventful year... but not in the way she expected. Falling in love turns out to be a complete disaster. And friendship - well, friendship is the hardest thing of all to keep."

I honestly picked up this graphic novel because it was put on the NYC Summer Reading list of suggested books. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have touched it. The book isn't quite in my genre - I do love graphics, but they're more the gritty or comic related ones.

This is very much a girly/chick lit story. Friends getting mad at friends... why, who, how.. etc. Just kinda the ins and outs of high school for a group of girls. Their loves, their hates, and so on. It's about popularity, dating, and clothes... basically. So yeah. It's kinda shallow, but that's the kinda book it's meant to be.
I could only really find one review online if you'd like to take a look. Here There are others, but they are attached to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Max by James Patterson

Title: Max (Maximum Ride #5)
Author: James Patterson
ISBN: 9780316002899

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

"Max and the flock have traded Antarctica's sub-zero temperatures for sunny Los Angeles, where they're taking over the skies with their hair-raising air show. But far below, a deadly assassin watches their every move, waiting for the perfect moment to send them plummeting to earth.

Now the batle for survival rages on.

Suddenly, the flock learns that millions of fish are dying off Hawaii's cost and that someone - or something - is destroying hundreds of ships. When they are confronted with the most frightening ecological catastrophe yet, they have no choice but to go deep into the murky waters. Now, nowhere is safe.

This time, the flock is in too deep.

While Max and her team comb the depths of the ocean, a powerful enemy tracks them. He has his own plans for the flock and will stop at nothing until they're under his control. Can the flock protect themselves from the approaching army - and save the world from utter destruction?

I am absolutely in love with this series. I've written about it before, of course. And I've never ever loved Patterson's stuff before... until he started publishing YA stuff :). But this story has just pulled me in and not let go.

This book was just one more installment of a great story. I love how the five books don't take much time, but the story seems so huge. Guess there's just a lot going on. haha. Anyway, it's a fun story and there are always twists and turns that you could never have imagined - mostly because they are completely outside of the realm of possibility.

I hand this series to anyone who is looking for science fiction/adventure/really cool story. I really do push it on just about everyone. Whoops! Alas, I was unable to find many (er, any) blog reviews. Perhaps it's just a hard title to search for. So yeah. I guess that's all I've got. If you haven't read the first one, then GET TO IT! :)

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Title: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
ISBN: 9780312383695
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

"When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. She’s quit the cheerleading squad, she’s dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she’s failing school. Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she’s playing games…

But what they don’t know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn’t something she can say out loud. It isn’t even something she can say to herself. A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault. If she can just remove herself from everybody--be totally alone--then everything will be okay...

Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth. Something horrible has happened, and it might just be her fault."

This book was really more amazing than I expected it to be. It's solidly realistic fiction and has a thread of mystery throughout. The story starts out as innocently as the next, but it turns interesting fast. There are twists and turns that I really wasn't expecting.

Also, I really enjoyed the language and style of the high school described.... mostly because it seems a lot more realistic than some other "realistic" scenarios. Like, the whole situation the school went through is just reality. Those things happen! It was just kinda cool to see that on paper.

I'll definitely be handing this book to my kids - anyone who asks for realistic stuff. Even the boys. I think it translates well for both. So yeah. I really enjoyed it that much :).

Other blog reviews are online, of course. :) Here, here, and here.

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