Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer of Firsts and Lasts

Summer of Firsts and Lasts
By Terra Elan McVoy
May 2011

Summary: This is the last summer that sisters Calla, Violet and Daisy will get to spend together at their favourite summer camp. Calla who loves summer and the camp is trying to get up the nerve to finally tell Duncan she loves him. Violet is determined to make the most of the summer, even if that means breaking all the rules. Daisy, the youngest, is just trying to survive living with girls who hate her. In this one life changing summer, the girls will learn who they are separate from one another, but also the value of sisterhood.

Review: Summer of Firsts and Lasts is a fun and sweet novel about sisters, summer camp, lazy summer days, friends and first love. The narrative is split between the sisters as they navigate their weeks at camp. While this could serve to disconnect the reader, it actually provides a much fuller story. The sisters are constantly interwoven through each other’s narrative, many of the stories overlapping. This results in a rather fluid read. The sisters each have their own personalities, so readers will be able to identify with at least one of them; whether it be cautious Calla, brave and free Violet or insecure Daisy. Readers should be aware that the book is rather long (around 400 pages), the story meanders and there isn’t a large climax. However, the story is perfect for those who enjoy rich, slower paced novels that have great characters.

Also by Terra Elan McVoy: After the Kiss and Pure

If you liked Summer of Firsts and Lasts, you might also enjoy: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin and The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Author website:

Writing: 3/4
Characters: 4/4
Plot: 3/4
Originality: 3/4
Popularity: 3/4
Cover: 4/4 (a perfect fit)
Grade Level Interest: JS

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Time for the Blogger Hop from Crazy for Books

What a great idea! I love following readers blogs almost more than I like blogging myself. What a great way to get out there and meet new people who share the same interests as you.

This week’s question: What book – to – movie adaptation have you most liked? Which have you disliked?

I love the Harry Potter movies, I think they do a great job at capturing the books. I also really love the Sisterhood of the Travelling pants movies. I know there were seriously condensed and in some areas changed, but I loved the casting and thought the movies were so enjoyable. I’m really good at separating books from their movies so I don’t get disappointed too much. That being said, I couldn’t stand the Percy Jackson movie...horrible.

What about you?

Ps. Great question!

Monday, May 23, 2011


By R.J Anderson
Sept 2011
Netgalley (312 pages)

“Once upon a time there was a girl who was special....This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her.”

Summary: Alison has always tried to hide that she senses things differently from other people. Sounds can be seen, lies can be tasted and letters have colours. She’s been pretty good at hiding it from people, until she gets in a fight with Tori, who disintegrates. Now Alison finds herself in a mental institution trying to figure out if her powers actually killed Tori and is she really crazy or is the world perhaps more complex and complicated than it seems.

Review: Ultraviolet was a fascinating read with a lot of surprising twists and bold choices by the author. This could have easily been a story about a regular girl in a mental institution, or about a girl who has paranormal powers, or about aliens, but it’s kind of a little bit of all three which makes this novel full to the brim. Alison was a likable character; insecure, quick to question and like many heroines, in need of some self discovery. Readers who are not interested in the science fiction part of the story will still find something intriguing in Alison’s Synesthesia and experiences in the institutions. While the pacing was a little uneven and the story went places I found a little strange it did a great job of blending genres and standing out against the crowd of YA novels.

Also by R.J Anderson: Wayfarer and Arrow

If you liked Ultraviolet, you might also enjoy: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore and It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Additional Info: Wikipedia article on Synesthesia:

Author website:

Writing: 3/4
Characters: 3/4
Plot: 2.5/4
Originality: 4/4
Popularity: 2.5/4
Cover: 4/4
Grade Level: S

Wednesday, May 18, 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: Cleopatra’s Moon
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Release Date: August 2011
Summary: Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony—the most brilliant and powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, and when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.

I love everything Egypt related, especially Cleopatra, so this should be an enjoyable read!

Tuesday, May 17, 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.

Subway Girl by P.J Converse

He is shy. Unassuming. Inexperienced.

She is Subway Girl. Cool. Unattainable.

From the moment he sees her on a Hong Kong subway, Simon is intrigued by Amy, but he doesn't have the nerve to talk to her. When he finally works up the courage, he realizes he can't. Because Amy doesn't speak Chinese, and Simon is failing English.

But somehow, Amy and Simon connect, and they find that they understand each other. Enough for Simon to admit that he is dropping out of school. Enough for Amy to confess that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's baby. Amy and Simon feel lost in a world so much bigger than they are, and yet they still have each other.

In this brilliant debut by P. J. Converse, two unlikely teenagers discover that love has a language all its own.

Monday, May 16, 2011


By Carrie Vaughn
283 pages

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain. (Amazon)

Review: Steel is your typical hero’s quest with a twist...pirates! Vaughn does a great job of surprising readers with her originality and her writing makes it easy to get lost in the pirate world. The gritty every day life on a pirate ship is especially compelling. While the strength of the novel is the world building, readers will also enjoy the characters. Jill is a likeable main character, one that you root for as an unlikely hero. Similarly, her pirate companions, while misfits and underdogs, are charming and intriguing – especially Captain Cooper and sweet Henry. Readers will enjoy the adventure and excitement as Jill comes up against pirate legend, mystery and a few who want her dead.

Also by Carrie Vaughn: Voices of Dragons

If you liked Steel, you might also enjoy: Wildwing by Emily Whitman, The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher and the Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer

Author website:

Writing: 3/4
Characters: 3/4
Plot: 3/4
Originality: 3.5/4
Popularity: 3/4
Cover: 3.5/4
Grade Level Interest: JS

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Time for the Blogger Hop from Crazy for Books

What a great idea! I love following readers blogs almost more than I like blogging myself. What a great way to get out there and meet new people who share the same interests as you.

This week’s question: Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?

Sadly no. I had actually been planning on going with my mom but with the move and the change in jobs I just didn't think it would be feasible this year. Plus, my husband and are leaving in June for a month and a half road trip so I would rather put my money towards that! I’m so jealous of everyone who is going and I can’t wait to see everyone’s pictures and hear all about it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Y.A Websites

The website part of the blog is now up and running.

I've included just a few websites to get started and if you know of any other great ones, please let me know. I wanted a place where teens or library professionals who view my blog could learn about and access fun and informative young adult websites (book related, resources and fun).

Check it out.

Monday, May 9, 2011


By Amy Efaw
350 pages

Review: Devon is a young and talented soccer player with her whole world ahead of her. But everything slips away from her that night....the night that she gives birth and throws the newborn baby in the trash. Now that she’s on trial, Devon must face the tragic event she’s been trying to forget and come to terms with what could cause someone so normal to do something so horrifying.

Summary: After has a very captivating beginning, starting just after Devon has given birth. It’s a very interesting topic and Efaw does a good job of broaching the harshness of it, without alienating any of the readers. The third person narrative serves to distance the reader from some of the more difficult aspects of the novel. However, at the same time, Devon is still a regular girl, with everyday pressures and limitations and readers will no doubt be able to see some of themselves in her. There were some pacing issues and some teens might loose interest in the legal aspect of the story; however, it is still a very poignant and important novel. Additionally, I think it is a good crossover novel between YA and adult fiction.

Also by Amy Efaw: Battle Dress

If you liked After, you might also enjoy: Inexcusable by Chris Lynch, Jumping off Sings by Johanna Knowles, Tell me a Secret by Holly Cupala

Additional Info: As far as I can tell there is no official Safe Haven Law in Canada as there is in the states. Although some provinces such as Vancouver are taking initiatives towards developing safe baby drop offs for young mothers.

The National Safe Haven Alliance website has information on legislation, contains information on crisis pregnancy centres, authorized safe havens and a hotline number for assistance.

Author website:

Writing: 3/4
Characters: 2.5/4
Plot: 3/4
Originality: 3.5/4
Popularity: 2.5/4
Cover: 3/4
Grade Interest: S

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trash to Treasure - April

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.

Wildthorn by Jane England (58 pages) – While I love adult historical fiction, I really struggle with the YA stuff. There is something about it I just have trouble getting and I lose patience very easily. That was the case for Wildthorn. I loved the premise and thought it was especially unique, but I just couldn't connect to the historical elements and the writing style. While Louisa was an interesting enough character, the flashbacks interrupted the flow a bit, making it hard to really get lost in the story. This wasn't a horrible book but any means, just not something for me.

A Trillian Books, The Infinite Shelf and Book Hooked Blog all have positive reviews on their websites you should check out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Month in Review - April

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 – slow month
Favourite Read: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Least Favourite: After by Amy Efaw, it was actually really good but I read a few GREAT books this month.
Most Original Idea: Steel by Carrie Vaughn, loved the pirates
Best Character: Sophie from Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins, she’s so much fun to read.
Best Villain: zombies from The Dark and Hollow Places
Best Supporting Character: Cal in Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins, I love him!!!

April was such a slow reading month for me. I spent almost all of my time either packing or driving back and forth between cities for the move. Now that I’m settled, I’m hoping May is a little more productive (for reading).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coming Soon to a Library Near You

We are moved and I have internet (yay) so back to regular programming!

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: Clean
Author: Amy Reed
Release Date: July 2011
Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They're addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they'll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there's nowhere to go but down, down, down.

I sort of missed the boat on Amy Reed’s first novel, and this one sounds awesome so I’m going to give it a go.

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