Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heading South

So I've officially arrived in Portland, Oregon, which after spending a little while at Powells feels like the book mecca of the world. So much fun!

Yesterday was a dream come true, James and I took the ferry from Seattle to the Olympic Peninsula! Ever since I saw pictures of it a few years ago I've been dying to go. We toured the little fishing town of Port Townsend which was so cute. We got there just as the shop owners were opening for the day and pretty much had the town to ourselves. Then we headed to our destination for the evening...Forks!

It's as much as you would expect, small and friendly...although it looks nothing like the Forks in the movies. Now that I have been here I can see how obvious that it was filmed in
Oregon and BC, the vegetation is very different. I was surprised to see how excited James was, but then he informed me he was just excited to be able to drop the fact that he's been to Forks into conversation the next time I drag him to one of the movies.

Then we went to La Push to check out second beach which was better than I could have ever imagined! It was just James and I on miles and miles of undisturbed coast. I couldn't stop taking much fun.

Today we got up early and actually drove into the Olympic National Park to do some hiking in the rainforest. The past few days have been awesome and of all the places we've been so far the Olympic Peninsula has been my favourite.

Tomorrow we head down the coast towards California!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author Spotlight

This feature highlights and introduces the works of Canadian YA authors. I’m doing this mostly for self-education because unfortunately I’m not all that aware of the amazing talent that exists in my own country. (I might shake it up from time to time and include an American author)

This month’s author: Gordon Korman

Author Blurb: While he currently lives in the United States, funny man Gordon Korman was actually born in Montreal and grew up in Thornhill, Ontario. A writing star at an early age, he wrote his first book This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall when he was just 12 years-old. Since then he’s written approximately 70 books including books in the 39 Clue series. He often writes in series, but has many well written and widely acknowledged stand alones including Schooled and the recently nominated forest of reading contender, Pop. He also wrote one of my favourite book of poems from when I was a kid The D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom, which I had memorized. He’s won several awards including the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award as well as an Air Canada Award for promising Canadian authors at the age of 17.

Popular Series include: Monday Night Football, Slapshots, Nose Pickers, Island, On the Run, Kidnapped and many more

Most recent non series books include: Born to Rock, Schooled, The Juvie Three and Pop

Author website:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finally Reached the Coast!

James and I have finally finished driving West. Despite it being such an awesome adventure, we couldn't wait to reach the coast and rest for a while. We've been on the road 9-12 hours a day and it's made us very travel weary!

The last couple of days have been really beautiful and it's awesome that there are still places in North America that are untouched. We had the great surprise of stumbling upon a mountain pass on our way to Cody, Wy the other day that was amazing. All windy and quiet, there were only 2 other cars that we saw on the 3 hour drive. We saw deer, elk, a moose, a bald eagle (which had a fish in it's mouth) and jack rabbit, as well as stunning views that took our breath away. So much fun.

We've also been to Mt. Rushmore which was better than to be expected. We got there very early when almost no one else had arrived. It was nice to be able to sit and chilax with the presidents without all the crowds. We did the needle highway (which drives through some pretty awesome natural structures) and visited Yellowstone National Park. We also came across a real old pioneer town which was fun to explore.

Now I'm sitting in the Lobby at our swanky hotel in Seattle (with ocean views!). We've already been out and about visiting the Aquarium, the Pike Market and many other spots, some that were touristy and others that were completely random.

Of course I had to hit up the library which is amazing! If you live in Seattle, I'm so jealous of your library... and if you have the great chance of working lucky! James has been making fun of me because I always consider myself a teen librarian first, children's librarian second but every time we go to one of these famous libraries I make a beeline for the Children's area. I guess he knows me better than I know myself.

Over the next few days we're going to be spending some time in the Olympic Pen, hiking and enjoying the wildlife. Of course we will be going to Forks, for I promised Courtney a picture!

Miss everyone.

Monday, June 27, 2011


by Aprilynne Pike
375 pages
Book 3

Summary: Laurel is looking forward to spending the year with David. Now that she’s made her choice and sent Tamani away, life can go on as normal. But things are never normal for Laurel. When Klea returns with an unidentified teen faerie Tamani must return to protect Laurel once again. Laurel quickly finds herself torn between Tamani and David, whose jealous rivalry might put Lauren and Avalon in the path of an unknown danger.

Review: This is a much slower paced novel with very little of the nail biting action that takes place in the first two books. The slower pace gives Pike the opportunity to not only set the stage for the next book, but also provides more of a window into the Laurel, Tamani, David triangle. Laurel’s struggle between deciding between the two boys is central to the novel and readers get a glimpse at how David and Tamani feel about the relationship between the three of them. While readers may become frustrated with Laurel’s flip flopping, no one can deny her authentic voice. Her indecision lends to a more realistic character, one that is complicated and not perfect. With romance, suspense, and one heck of a cliff hanger, readers who enjoy the series will not be disappointed.

Also by Aprilynne Pike: Wings, Spells

If you liked Illusions, you might also enjoy: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston, Ash by Malindo Lo, and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Author website:

Writing: 3.5/4
Characters: 3/4
Plot: 3/4
Originality: 3/4
Popularity: 3.5/4
Cover: 2.5/4 (I like the look of it, but wish it matched the other two)
Grade Level: JS

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hanging out in the Badlands

I can't believe it's already day four and we've finished with the Badlands. The trip is going really well so far. We've had great weather and our little Mini Cooper is loving the open road.

Some trip highlights so far have included
- The Chicago public library (which I will do a whole post about when I get back)
- taking in a free concert at Millennium Park in Chicago
- parking the car and playing around in a field in the grasslands
- seeing the prairies for the first time
- seeing Prairie dogs
- seeing the Badlands and hiking in and around them

Today we're checking out Mt. Rushmore

Thursday, June 23, 2011

and the sun comes out!

James and I are have just finished day 2 of the trip and we're having a great time. It's been kind of rainy but today just as we reached the Prairies the sun came out.

So Beautiful!

Not so much fun was the 950 km we drove today, thats a long time in the car

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From the Desk

One of my favourite things about being a Children and Youth librarian is that every morning someone puts on my desk all the new books that have arrived at our Branch for me to look over. It’s a really great way for me to know what we have in our collection, and I’m learning about all kinds of great new books.

Considering I don’t have time to read everything, I thought I would highlight some of the books that I find on my desk that look really interesting.

She Said/She Saw by Norah McClintock - Tegan was in the backseat when her two best friends were gunned down in front of her. Was it an argument over drugs? An ongoing feud? Or something more random? Tegan says she didn't see who did it. Or know why. Nobody will believe her. Not the police; not her friends; not the families of the victims; and not even Kelly, her own sister. Is she afraid that the killer will come back? Or does she know more than she is saying? Shunned at school and feeling alone, Tegan must sort through her memories and try to decide what is real and what is imagined. And in the end she must decide whether she has the strength to stand up and do the right thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

James' and Katie's Epic Detour

I’m thinking about changing my blog name to James’ and Katie’s Epic Detour (just like the book). Well, not really, but it would suit some changes around here over the next few weeks. My husband writes his last bar exam tomorrow and then has about a month and a half off...paid! So we’re leaving town and heading west. We’re going to be gone for most of the time, so blogging might be a little random. I’ve scheduled regular book posts, but I’ll also be posting some trip highlights for my family and friends.

Sorry in advanc

e for not commenting on your posts or for being slow to reply on mine. Hope everyone enjoys their summer : )

Possible stops: (we’re really going with the flow, so we might not make it to all of these)

Rapid City (Mt. Rushmore)
Yellowstone National Park
Olympic Peninsula (Forks!!)
San Francisco
Yosemite National Park
Flagstaff (Grand Canyon)
San Antonio
New OrleansOrlando (Harry Potter land)
Colonial Williamsburg

Our travel companion: She’s bigger than she looks, I promise!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coming Soon to a Library Near You

Coming Soon to a Library Near You is a weekly feature inspired by Jill at Breaking the Spine that looks at upcoming books.

This Week’s Book: Deadly Cool
Author: Gemma Halliday
Release Date: October 2011
Summary: Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim

I’m so glad there are more murder mystery YA books coming out, I just love them and this one sounds really cool. Plus the cover is pretty awesome! Should be good!

Monday, June 13, 2011


By Laurie Halse Anderson
250 pages

Summary: Returning the summer after defacing school property has changed things for Tyler. To begin, community service has changed his geeky physique to something a little more rugged. Now people are looking at him with fear, respect and curiosity. Even Bethany, the most beautiful and popular girl in school is paying attention to him. But being the official school “bad boy” comes with consequences, including being blamed for things he didn’t do.

Review: Twisted is a complex novel that combines humour with dark honesty. Issues such as sex, abuse, suicide, insecurities and bullying, combined with Tyler’s witty candour make this novel one of the more authentic YA novels available. Readers, both male and female, will be drawn into Tyler’s story as he battles high school and comes to terms with his own insecurities. Anderson’s easy to read writing style and fast pacing makes this a great selection for reluctant readers as well. Secondary characters such as Bethany and Tyler’s dad, with their own story arcs, add fullness to this complicated and ‘twisted’ story.

Also by Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak, Wintergirls, Prom

If you liked Twisted, you might also enjoy: Paper Towns by John Green, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen,

Author website:

Writing: 4/4
Characters: 4/4
Plot: 4/4
Originality: 3/4
Cover: 3/4
Grade Level: JS

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Coming Soon to a Library Near You

Coming Soon to a Library Near You is a weekly feature inspired by Jill at Breaking the Spine that looks at upcoming books.

This Week’s Book: Don’t Expect Magic
Author: Kathy McCullough
Release Date: November 2011
Summary: Delaney Collins doesn't believe in fairy tales. And why should she? Her mom is dead, her best friend is across the country, and she's stuck in California with "Dr. Hank," her famous life-coach father—a man she barely knows. Happily ever after? Yeah, right.

Then Dr. Hank tells her an outrageous secret: he's a fairy godmother—an f.g.—and he can prove it. And by the way? The f.g. gene is hereditary. Meaning there's a good chance that New Jersey tough girl Delaney is someone's fairy godmother.

But what happens when a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own?

Something tells me this book is going to be very cute. What are you waiting on?

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places

The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth Novel)
By Carrie Ryan
374 pages
Book 3

Summary: Annah, tired of waiting for Elias to come back and desperate to find her sister, attempts to leave the Dark City. But when she tries, she catches a glimpse of a girl who looks just like her, but beautiful and unscarred. Elias is back, with her sister and a mysterious and complicated guy named Catcher. They also bring with them an awoken hoard about to devour the City Annah calls home. If they are to get out alive Annah must come to terms with Elias’ relationship with her sister, learn her own strength and find something to live for in Catcher.

Review: The Dark and Hollow Places has everything readers love about Ryan’s stories: zombies, love triangles and heart stopping, page turning action. While I’ll admit I didn’t connect as well to Annah’s voice as I did to Garby’s and I missed the connection with Mary’s story, there was still a lot to love in this final chapter. I liked the bleakness of the world married with the hope of the little group who refused to give up. Despite there being happiness and completion to the characters’ stories, the novel is still very gritty, staying true to the original two books. I would recommend reading the other two books again if it’s been a while; the story jumps to a different character and doesn’t put a lot of time into explaining connections. It took a while for me to remember what was going on. However, a solid ending to one of my most favourite series.

Also by Carrie Ryan: Forest of Hands and Teeth and Dead Tossed Waves

If you liked The Dark and Hollow Places, you might also enjoy the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or the Maze Runner series by James Dashner

Author website:

Writing: 4/4
Characters: 3/4
Plot: 3/4
Originality: 3.5/4
Popularity: 3/4
Cover: 4/4 (fits perfectly with the rest of the series)
Grade Level: S

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trash to Treasure - May

Each month there are several books that I start to read but for one reason or another I just can’t get into. I have a fairly low tolerance for the books I read, usually only giving them between 50-100 pages before I quit. There are just too many books to read and not enough time to “trudge” through something I’m not enjoying. However, I recently realized that I never mention them on here. So I’ve decided to do a monthly feature looking at some of the books I just couldn’t get into and why.

Skinned by Robin Wasserman (79 pages) – this was an older title I have been wanting to read for a while. I actually really enjoy the beginning of the book. I thought the character development started pretty quickly and I liked the world building. It was very interesting to see the main character go through her transformation. However, after about 50 pages the story sort of slowed down a bit and I lost interest. Also, beyond the initial chapters I didn’t connect with the main character.

The Book Smugglers, Tinas Book Reviews and Karen’s Book Nook all have positive reviews on their websites you should check out.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young (109 pages) – I’m a little disappointed in myself about this one. This is a big ticket book in 2011 and there are already tons of raving reviews going around. I’ve even heard it compared to The Hunger Games. I gave it my all but I could not get into this book. The premise is interesting and the world building was superb. Young did a great job at creating a dystopian world that is intriguing and fresh. However, the writing is incredibly stylized and it served as too big of a road block. It was at times hard to follow and it made the book really difficult to pick up once I had put it down. It also made it almost impossible to connect with the character. So while I appreciate what the author was trying to do, it was just not the book for me. However, I might give this one another shot later on down the line.

I Swim for Oceans, Book Chick City and All Consuming Books have positive reviews on their website that you should check out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Month in Review - May

I always enjoy reading blogger’s monthly recaps. It’s a great way to see what you've missed, notice trends and see how books compare to each other. I stole this idea from Imagination in Focus, one of my favourite blogs to follow.

Number of Books Read: 5
Favourite Read: Stay by Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess
Least Favourite: Skinned by Robin Wasserman. I just couldn't finish it.
Most Original Idea: Ultraviolet by R.J Anderson. There was a lot of cool elements and surprising twists in the book.
Best Character: Sayre from Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess. She wasn’t the character that I liked the most, but she was by far the best written character
Best Villain: Sarye’s mother from Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess. I always go for the complex characters. She was a horrible character with almost no redeeming qualities, but at the same time she was not without her own ghosts and struggles.
Best Supporting Character: Eli from Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott. He was such a great love interest...insecure and honest, sweet and complicated.

Honourable mention goes out to Wherever You Go by Heather Davis which did just about everything right. Great plot, characters, writing, etc.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Coming Soon to a Library Near You

Coming Soon to a Library Near You is a weekly feature inspired by Jill at Breaking the Spine that looks at upcoming books.

This Week’s Book: Love Story
Author: Jennifer Echols
Release Date: July 2011
Summary: For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

How cute does this sound???

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