Friday, December 11, 2015

Review of the Lunar Chronicles by Library Linsey

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015
REVIEW: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Published in 2012, Cinder marks the beginning of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. A futuristic twist on Cinderella, protagonist, Cinder, is a 16 year old cyborg living in New Beijing as a mechanic and under the domineering thumb of her stepmother. Everything she knows changes when 1) Price Kai seeks her assistance in repairing a very important android and 2) her beloved step-sister, Peony, contracts a deadly virus, leading Cinder to be handed over by her step-mother for experimental testing. Her immunity to the disease leads to some surprising revelations concerning Cinder's true identity and the role she'll play as Queen Levana of Luna threatens the security of not only New Beijing but Earth as whole.

I just love this first book. I've read it four times and appreciate its innovative twist on a fairy tale classic more each time. While elements of the original tale seep through, Meyer deftly creates a compelling world of her own with outstanding detail, memorable characters, excitement and humor.

The adventure continues with Scarlet--a twist on Red Riding Hood. At 18, Scarlet Benoit is a fiery and fiercely independent protagonist living with her ex-military grandmother on a farm in rural France. When her grandmother,

Marie, goes missing, Scarlet is determined to find her; however, what she doesn't bargain for is the unexpected connection to Cinder and Queen Levana's alarming plans for genetically modified soldiers' attack on Earth. Scarlet is drawn to the mysterious streetfighter, Wolf, and together they unravel one mystery before joining Cinder as well as her new, unlikely ally, Captain Carswell Thorne--a wisecracking, wanted fugitive. They have to stay one step ahead of the queen's evil plans in order save Prince Kai from a deadly marriage alliance.

As much as I love Cinder--the story and characters--, the series as a whole begins to gel with Scarlet. There are still plenty of memorable Cinder moments as she discovers more about her past but the addition of Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf and the intertwined stories push the adventure to another level. Lest I forget Iko, the beloved android with a faulty personality chip, readers grew to love in Cinder. She's back with a surprising new look much to her dismay, but it makes for amusing reading.

Cress, the third book in the series, is a retelling of Rapunzel. Born a Lunar shell which separated her from her family, Cress has lived nearly her entire life isolated on a satellite orbiting Earth. Forced to work as a computer hacking spy for evil thaumaturge Sybil, her only connection with the outside world has been immersing herself into the fantasies of Earthen net-dramas. Determined to aid Cinder's cause, Cress uses her skills to protect the rebel spaceship and its crew...and it's Captain. In a gloriously failed rescue attempt, Cress makes it to Earth with charismatic Thorne, too bad they are stranded in the Sahara and he's now blind. Readers are in store for an entertaining adventure with plenty of character in peril. The real question is if they'll reunite to foil the royal wedding.

Having finished the whole series, I can now say Cress remains my favorite book. I adore Thorne and will be a Cress + Carswell shipper for life. It wouldn't be a Meyer book if Cress' backstory wasn't rooted deep within the queen's plan to take over Earth. What I love about Cress is her character evolution more than any other in the series. She's smart and innocent yet Cress is a survivor. I love the building of the story throughout. There's a great balance between what happens with Cress, Cinder and Scarlet as well as Kai. I love the little glimpse of Winter and of course Iko!

For fans, Winter is the much anticipated final book of the series. Taking place almost entirely on Luna, Cinder has returned to reclaim the throne and incite a revolution among the Lunar people. Readers finally get to know Winter, the gorgeous princess with an unseemly scar who seems fragile and altogether out of her mind. In this adaptation of the Snow White classic, Winter is the doomed heroine while Jacin fills the role of the Huntsman. Best friends since childhood, Winter would have their relationship move forward, yet Jacin knows that he can never hope to call her his as a mere guard. Queen Levana is the evilest of evil stepmothers.

Meyer blends elements of this classic tale seemlessly within the complicated plot fueling this final book. I refuse to give away spoilers but it is safe to say that the end and all the adventures in between live up to the the hype and expectations set throughout the series. There's romance, humor, action and peril galore. But despite everything, readers truly get a happy ending worthy of our most beloved fairy tale characters.

Overall, I just adore this series. I rank it within my top five and that is hard to do. It feels bittersweet that it is over. I do look forward to the short story release of Stars Above in early 2016. For fans wanting confirmation that Levana deserves to be despised, read Fairest. This is an intriguing prequel to the series that will have readers, at times, questioning their hatred for Levana but ultimately agreeing that she put the 'E' in evil and should reap what she sows.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Does Gender Switch

Friday, September 25, 2015

Learn How to Write Your First Rap

RED Hearts: Write Your First Rap!

September 24, 2015

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

Today's RED Hearts is from Zulay Regalado, 26, in Miami, who's not only a good writer, but also a pretty dope rhymer:
I can now say that I have added world-renowned rapper to my resume.

OK, maybe at the moment it’s only office-renowned. But I recently discovered my inner rapper while trying to come up with a memorable way to deliver a message with my team at Clicc Media Inc. Instead of writing a traditional blog post, we wanted something catchy and entertaining. This led us to think, Why not a rap song? It’s a modern form of poetry after all, so you can let your artistic side run wild.

Whether to craft a message at work—or just to crack up a friend—making your own one-of-a-kind rap video can be quick and easy. (Also know that a beautiful singing voice is not required; you can talk your way through this one.) Besides, you’re the director, too. Keep at it till you have a take you’re ready to share.

Here are five simple steps for the starter rapper:

1. Come up with a story and purpose. All the best rap songs tell a story, or at least have a clear purpose. Start out by knowing how your story begins and ends. I once created a birthday rap song for a friend because, really, who doesn’t love a birthday rap song? (This is also a special just-for-you gift idea that they’ll definitely remember!)

2. Find a catchy beat. I chose an old-school hip hop song as inspiration. Not sure how to select a beat? Start by taking your favorite song, rap or not, and mixing it up with lyrics of your own.

3. Write to the music, write in real-time. Listen to the beat as you write. This will help you maintain rhythm—and also inevitably lead to ideas. Write them down as they come to you. If you can’t use a particular detail in the line at hand, it’s likely you can work it in somewhere later.

4. Bust a rhyme (or don’t). Although the lyrics of most rap songs rhyme, there’s no rule that they have to. First, try saying what you want to say without the rhyming element, which might be enough. From there—if you find you’re the kind/ like I’m/ who needs to rhyme/ all the time—you can always use a tool like Rhyme Zone to help.

5. Memorize! Learn it, own it, practice it before you turn your awesome song into an awesome video. You can even show off your new talent by putting on a show for friends. (Bonus points if you can bring someone else in and they challenge you to a rap battle.)

Please, take inspiration—or at least laugh, lessen your beginner’s intimidation—from my debut effort here. Promise to remember you all when my future album goes platinum.

Peace Out,

Learn to Write Your Own Rap

Monday, August 31, 2015

Razorhurst by Justine Larbelestier

Kelpie has been on her own for most of her life. She has vague memories of her childhood, but the street life in Razorhust is her home. She's been fortunate, getting help from people in the city...whether dead or alive. Kelpie lives on the streets of Razorhurst, a part of Sydney divided between two gangsters, their henchmen, and a beautiful moll. And it's when Kelpie steals into a home she shouldn't have that her world completely changes.

Looking at the murder scene was rough enough, but now the ghost of is following her. What's more, Kelpie is being used as cover by Dymphna, who thought she was smart enough to leave gang life, or at least take over. With the law prohibiting guns in Australia in the 1930s, everyone thought gang violence would wane, but razors came out, just as deadly.

Dymphna and Kelpie are polar opposites. Called the "Angel of Death" because all of her boyfriends end up dead, Dymphna is well taken care of by Gloriana Nelson, who considers her one of her most valuable assets. Beautiful, well-coifed and dressed, Dymphna exudes glamour, although her path in life is far from glamorous. Kelpie, on the other hand, is small, looking more like a child (although she's a teenager), fiercely (or perhaps ferally) independent, and hasn't known the inside of a bath tub in a long time. And while they may be different, they share one very important thing in common-they both can hear and see ghosts...

They're now both on the lam. Mr. Davidson, one gang leader, is stalking Dymphna, where his stalking has very serious undertones. Gloriana is also searching for her, for reasons she doesn't have to explain. And friends of Kelpie's are also following her, trying to make sure both she and Dymphna stay alive. But is that possible in a cat and mouse game of the 1930s, where lawlessness abounds and innocent lives are considered a small loss in the pursuit of glory, power and control?

What makes this book such a standout is how Justine Larbelestier creates a dual-genred novel (both supernatural and historical fiction) that wraps itself around real history and biographies of Australia and Australians in this book. Readers will not only get caught up in the storyline but also begin to make connections and differences between both the U.S. and Australia and how gangsters shaped the country. Although this book is filled with male characters, both good and bad, it's the two females that create the strength in this novel. Larbelestier uses the ghostly characters as a backdrop to further strength Kelpie's and Dymphna's character flaws and attraction. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and consider it a strong historical fiction novel for YA.

Monday, July 27, 2015

CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Richie’s Picks: CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert, Hyperion, May 2015, 352p., ISBN: 978-1-4231-9738-6

“Alex is a senior and he plays second base for La Abra, so I’ve played against him all my life. La Abra churns out good players, Latino kids who make you wonder if they’re lying about how old they are, but Alex is just mediocre and I wouldn’t think much of him if it wasn’t for this: despite his .249 average, he’s not an easy guy to strike out, and I’ve never been able to figure out why.

I’ve talked to him exactly once, when I was twelve and we were both at an umping clinic for Little League, and they had breakfast for us there and he ate his cereal with juice. I sad it was gross, and he shrugged and said maybe I was jealous. But he didn’t say it like he was defensive or like he was joking around and wanted to be friends; he said it like what I’d said just didn’t affect him at all. To be nice, I said, ‘I’m Braden,’ and he said, ‘I know who you are.’ Then he said, ‘You’re a good pitcher,’ only he said it matter-of-factly, not as a compliment, and I didn’t know what to make of that.

I read the stats with his name four times over until the words start to lose their meanings. Then I shut the computer, fast.

It’s twelve more weeks until we play La Abra. I hope that’s enough time to figure out how I’m supposed to get up on a mound and face the nephew of the cop my dad’s accused of killing.”

CONVICTION is a powerful and sometimes horrific teen tale. Braden Raynor is the star pitcher at a high school in California’s Central Valley. Last year, as a junior, he threw a perfect game as his school won the state championship. If Braden can stay healthy and focused, he has the talent to go pro after high school or college.

Given Braden’s father, that’s a big if.

Braden’s birth resulted from his father’s one-night stand with a barely-legal young woman. His father is now a well-known religious radio broadcaster. But at the time of his parents’ liaison, his father was “a ruined ex-minor leaguer who drank too much and had a custodian job at the radio station.” He was already single-parenting one son, Trey, who couldn’t stand his father for reasons that we will come to understand.

When Braden was four months old, his mother took him to his father’s door. She told the unknowing father that Braden was his, left the baby there, and moved to L.A., hoping to become a dancer.

Baby Braden’s arrival in the household was responsible for a temporary truce between half-brother Trey--twelve years older than Braden--and their volatile father. Now, eighteen years later, Trey has been long estranged from their father and long gone from California. But with their father incarcerated and awaiting trial on charges of deliberately driving over a police officer during a traffic stop, Braden is parentless. To protect Braden from being consigned to a group home, Trey has temporarily returned to stay with Braden in the house from which he long ago escaped.

There’s suspense in the story that kept me turning the pages: Braden was with his father on that evening when the fatal incident occurred, and anxiously waited to hear the young man’s perspective on what really happened. Day by day, Braden works his way through the team’s baseball season and toward the day that he will have to testify at his father’s trial.

Braden’s version of Christianity, influenced by his father and by their local religious community, is a big factor in the story. On one hand, these communities provide admirable support for Braden during this nightmare of a senior year. On the other hand, many of the beliefs and prejudices of Braden, his father, some of his baseball teammates, and his religious community remind me why there is so much discord in America over social and political issues.

The excitement and vivid details of Braden’s pitching make CONVICTION a first-rate sports story. The darkness of the parent-child relationships and the theme of a young person trying to find balance between family ties and his own way in life make it a powerful contemporary YA read. I’m sure glad I read it.

Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Official Trailer – “We March Together”

Monday, July 6, 2015

If You See Someone with a Semicolon on Their Body

If you see someone with a semicolon on their body, this is what it might mean:

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Some scholarships you might have missed

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New YA Releases for May

A School for Unusual Girls
A Sense of the Infinite
Eternity’s Wheel
Dangerous Deception
Hold Me Like A Breath
Killer Within
Lion Heart
Made You Up
Maximum Ride Forever
Off the Page
Scarlett Undercover
Sparks in Scotland
The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak
The Last Good Day of the Year
Three Day Summer

Courtesy of

Trash by Mulligan

Book Summary

In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three "dumpsite boys" make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city.

Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty - and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel.

Trash is a very controversial book, including when Blue Peter axed it from their shortlist for being too inappropriate. I don't really agree, but I still don't like this book.

It tells the tale of 3 dumpsite boys, Raphael, Gardo and Rat, who live on the trash heaps of Behala and sort through it, hoping to find anything they can sell or recycle. Their lives are rugged, poverty stricken, unadventurous. This changes when the boys find something in the trash: a bag, with a key and a wallet. When the police show up to question them, even offer them money, the boys decide to evade the authorities to figure things out for themselves.

I found how the chapters constantly changed narrators very confusing and sometimes really annoying. One time in particular, there were two very different situations and suddenly the narrator and therefore the stories completely changed, which made me put the book down in frustration. I found some scenes very distressing and inappropriate and upsetting. The actual storyline is obviously very well thought-out and created but personally, I found it really confusing and didn't really understand it, because of the way it was written. I thought it was a bit rushed and too fast-paced. I can fully understand why some people would love this book, but I just didn't like it the way I know some people did. You need to read every single letter, you need to understand every single word, in order to fully like this book to the maximum.(

My Opinion
I listened to the CD and found the book a bit confusing. It is an interesting concept, however, for a large part
of the book, I kept wondering where the story was going and what was the point.

Rating 3 out of 5

Reading Next Quarantine by Thomas

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015

Check out this article on what are the most popular technology used by teens.

Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015

What is your reaction? I was surprised teens use FB--

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow lives in a world divided between the wealthy (the Silvers) and the poor (The Reds). Her days consist of pick-pocketing to help her family survive. Mare, her family, Kilorn (her best friend) are Reds. They have nothing special about them except to ensure Silvers' lives of leisure. Silvers, on the other hand, not only have money and power, but are also gifted with extraordinary abilities.

When her sister can no longer work, Mare goes into full mode pick-pocketing. Her best friend Kilorn is in danger of being conscripted. His leaving is tearing at Mare, and she'll do anything to stop this from happening.

One fateful night will forever change the destiny of not only Mare, but her family's and Kilorn's as well.

Aveyard has created a sweeping fantasy that enchants and intrigues the reader to keep trying to figure out the twists, plots, schemes and relationships it presents.

Full review on YABAM:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Libba Bray's Second Diviner's Book on the Horizon

For those of you patiently waiting a sequel to Libba Bray's Diviner's book, hope is near. Check out
her note to readers on her blog.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Breaking Sky--YA Book to Movie

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Koo Koo Kanga Roo - Dinosaur Stomp: Dance-A-Long Video

YA Book to Movie News

There has been little YA book-to-movie news lately. I think the latest being the news of Ghostgirl getting picked up. That will all change in the spring though.

In the meantime there are two YA adaptations opening in February.

Seventh Son (The Last Apprentice) opens February 6.

The Duff opens February 20.

Happy New Year, all!


Dotti Enderle/Dax Varley