Saturday, July 30, 2011

First Hop back!!!

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: “Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!”

I just got back from my trip and there waiting for me was The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle! I’m so super excited about this book. It sounds incredibly tragic, plus it’s a debut. I think it will be a nice change from all the Pretty Little Liars books I’ve been reading non-stop.

What about you?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peeta and Gale first glimpse!

I wasn't expecting Peeta to look so buff! What do you think?


By Amy Reed

Summary: Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason and Eva have two things in common, they are all drug addicts and they are all living together in the same rehab facility. Told through alternating chapters and questionnaires this dark and honest story gives readers a glimpse into the lives of teen addicts.

Review: For someone who hasn’t read a lot of books on teen addiction this was a great start. Each character has their own addiction and back story giving a lot of variety and depth to the novel. Many of the stories are gritty and heartbreaking making it difficult to read. Yet Reed doesn’t leave out compassion, giving most of the characters an innocence that is especially compelling. The writing was fluid and the plot well developed. A wonderful and completely relevant story.

Also by Amy Reed: Beautiful

If you liked Clean, you might also enjoy: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Crash Into Me by Albert Borris and anything by Ellen Hopkins

Author website:

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go
By Heather Davis
October 2011
Netgalley (320 pages)

Summary: Ever since her boyfriend Rob died, Holly has been living in a haze. She does what she has to in order to survive and take care of her family, but she’s still drowning in grief. That is until her grandfather with Alzheimers moves in and Rob’s best friend Jason starts to spend time with her. Soon Holly starts to feel things she didn’t know she still could and with the help of Jason and her ghost seeing grandfather, she starts to put the pieces of her life back together.

Review: Wherever You Go is a sweet ghost story that touches on many relevant issues including depression, grief, death, family and forgiveness. The story is told from the perspective of Holly, Jason and Rob (as a ghost). This serves to give the reader a full dimensional look at the story. We see how grief affects each of the characters separately and then how Holly and Jason’s relationship starts to mend the brokenness. The writing is fast paced and easy to read. Those who enjoy stories with a romantic undertone will get lost in this touching love triangle. Holly’s grandfather Aldo adds another interesting dynamic as Davis is able to give readers a glimpse of the devastation of Alzheimers. Overall, a good read, one that mixes heartache with happiness.

Also by Heather Davis: Never Cry Werewolf and The Clearing

If you liked Wherever you Go, then you might enjoy: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Author website:

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

Friday, July 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.

A Royal Match by Tyne O’Connell - When LA-born Calypso Kelly arrives at the exclusive all-girls British boarding school, St. Augustine's, she's determined to become popular. But when a photo of Calypso kissing England's heir to the throne, Prince Freddie, ends up in the tabloids, it will take quick thinking to save her reputation-and her relationship with the prince. After the tabloid disaster, Calypso hopes her next term at St. Augustine's will be better. But nothing could be further from the truth. Her archenemy (and culprit of the tabloid disaster) Honey O'Hare is her new dorm mate and her invite to the Annual Euro Royal Bash is nonexistent. Will a flirtation with a hot new sports star from the boys' school ruin her chances with Prince Freddie? Calypso has some work to do if she wants to go from pumpkin to princess in time for the ball.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adult Fiction

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This feature looks at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examines its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humour, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

The Help is a great fit for teens who enjoy reading historical fiction or stories that center around strong female characters. Despite being an adult novel, The Help is easy to read with quick pacing and simple language. Older teens will be able to relate to Skeeter as she struggles between her own expectations and those of her family. A captivating read with strong characters and interesting subject matter.

There is also a movie coming out later this summer starring teen movie sensation Emma Stone.

YA Connection: Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan and The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On the Way Home

It’s day 27 and we only have about a week left on the trip. I’m so looking forward to being home and having life be back to normal but I’m going to miss this constant state of adventure I’ve been in for the past month.

Orlando was wonderful. The waterpark was so much fun and had some of the best waterslides I have ever been on. However, my favourite part of the park was the water rapids. It’s like a lazy river ride but faster. You put on a life jacket and just zoom…awesome. We also got to see Harry Potter before going to the park which was a nice treat. It was such a great finale to the movie series. I really loved it.

Harry Potter Land was everything I could have imagined and more. The detail that went into making that land realistic is incredible. We enjoyed Butterbeer (awesome) and Pumpkin Juice (gross), walked through Hogwarts (incredible), visited Olianders wand shop and Honeydukes. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who has yet to go, but my advice: Check everywhere, there were some awesome surprises around corners and in places you wouldn’t expect (bathroom). We enjoyed the rest of the park as well, especially The Mummy ride which is my absolute favorite ride ever.

After that we toured Savannah and Charleston. We’ve been swimming on an awesome private beach, seen Fort Sumter (I’m such a civil war nerd), checked out some of the last surviving slave quarters and a plantation that was built by a Canadian and used in the filming of the Notebook.

This part of the trip is much more history based as we’re doing Washington, Philadelphia, as well as heading to Colonial Williamsburg tomorrow!


Friday, July 15, 2011


Hello from sunny Florida (although it’s actually been overcast all day).

We are finally through the deserts of the South and are super glad to be back with civilization. The drive from Flagstaff to New Orleans is long and incredibly boring.

After the Grand Canyon we drove to Tucson and went to Saguaro National Park, which has some amazing Saguaro cacti. It was a really cool park and we got there just at sunset, which was beautiful.

From there we checked out Tombstone, which is a traditional old west town that does re-enactments. We did the typical old west photo and I must say I make a wonderful bar maid. We were stopped by border patrol on our way to El Paso who couldn’t believe we had time off to do a trip like this! We also visited White Sands National Park, which is possibly the coolest place in the U.S. We had so much fun playing in the white sand dunes.

In San Antonio we did the river walk in the morning and hit up the Alamo. Everyone there was super friendly and it was one of our favourite towns. James was thrilled to see the musket of Davy Crocket (his childhood hero). After San Antonio we visited the Houston Space Centre.

After leaving Houston we stopped just outside of Lafayette, Louisiana on an off chance of getting to do a swamp tour. We had missed the tour but the owner was super nice and agreed to give us a private boat ride through the swamp and bayou. It was so crazy! We even saw a mother Alligator who was very protective of her nest. What a crazy experience.

We then headed directly to Louisiana where we hit up Bourbon Street for some Jambalaya. The next day we wandered the streets of the French quarter, window shopping and picking out some art for our house.

Today we did the long drive to Orlando and are hoping to visit Aquatica waterpark tomorrow and get some much needed rest and Sunday… Harry Potter Land!

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.

Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne Jones - Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a cell phone dropped by an "abducted" CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it’s OK as long as he’s smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold. Enter a girl named Caution. As in "Caution: Toxic." As in "Caution: Watch Your Step." She’s also on the run, from a skeezy drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won’t let her go. When she spies Blink at the train station, Caution can see he’s an easy mark. But there’s something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. Charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst - along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Road Trip Books

Every once in a while I like to do themed posts that highlight a bunch of books in a specific genre or of a specific topic. Considering that I am currently on an epic road trip I thought today I would highlight a few great books that feature road trips. Enjoy!

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Hit the Road by Caroline B Cooney

Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholt

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray

The Miles Between by Mary Pearson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern

Surf Miles by Greg Neri

Paper Towns by John Green

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ordinary Beauty

Ordinary Beauty
By Laura Wiess
June 2011
egalley (320 pages)

“How can you make someone love you when they won’t?”

Summary: Sayre grew up knowing disappointment, neglect and loneliness. Her mother, a violent and unloving drug addict, made sure she took away everything that mattered to Sayre and squashed any chance of happiness. So Sayre learned to be invisible and to survive with almost nothing. Now, just shy of 18, Sayre’s mother is in the hospital and Sayre, scared and unsure, gets to discover who she is without her mother tethering her to despair.

Review: Like most of Wiess’ novels, Ordinary Beauty is dark and haunting. Wiess does an exceptional job at creating characters that are broken, damaged and forgotten, making it sometimes difficult to read her novels. Sayre’s life is depressing and Wiess doesn’t shy away from the grittiness and the damage of living with a drug addicted parent. Readers will either love the beautiful storytelling, with its hopeful message or hate the brutal honesty through which it’s told. The story is told in flashbacks which does disconnect the flow at some points, but overall there is solid progression of story in both the flashback and the real time. There is also a maze of side characters, some soft and kind and others hard and destructive, which reflect Sayre and her mother. A heartbreaking contemporary novel, completely relevant and one not to be missed.

Also by Laura Wiess: Such a Pretty Girl, Leftovers and How It Ends

If you liked Ordinary Beauty, you might also enjoy: Leftovers by Laura Wiess, Shine by Lauren Myracle, Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Additional Info: The following Hamilton based websites are for youth struggling with difficult home situations, whether that be neglectful parents, abusive homes, etc or who are struggling themselves with drug or alcohol abuse. Please use take advantage of them you need it. Also check out the website section of my blog for more helpful resources

Author website:

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

In the South

Hey Everyone,

This trip is going by so fast; I can’t believe we’ve been on the road for 17 days! We got into a bit of a groove, which feels nice.

After the waterpark James and I headed to Hollywood. We did the typical tourist things, but it was really neat to be there. We didn’t see any celebrities, but we did see lots of crazy people dressed up as famous people. We decided to catch a movie at the Chinese theatre, which is where they show all the movie premiers, which was really cool.

After that we started to head EAST! We ended up in Flagstaff last night and it’s really hot down here. Today we did the Grand Canyon and checked out the desert at sunset.

I’m getting a lot of reading done despite being so tired at the end of the day. I’ve been working through the Pretty Little Liars series, so good!

Friday, July 8, 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.

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell - Kit Corrigan has always dreamed of being a star. But in order to get there, she needs to break up with Billy, who's going to Korea, and leave her family in Providence, Rhode Island, to move to New York City. There, she finds small roles and a city that's tough to live in. After she meets with Billy's father, Nate, things get a little easier. But Nate is a lawyer who defends mobsters, and soon Kit realizes that she has to do what he asks of her. Kit's life starts to feel beyond her control, especially once she uncovers a mystery that she needs to solve in order to protect the people she loves.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Non Fiction Addiction

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This feature will introduce non-fiction titles that are fun and informative and hopefully bring to life the wealth of relevant and amazing titles that are out there.

Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence and Everything Else by Elise Paschen

Summary: Poetry Speaks Who I Am is filled with more than 100 remarkable poems about you, who you are, and who you are becoming. Dive in and find the poem you love, the one that makes you angry, the one that makes you laugh, and the one that knocks the wind out of you. From Lucille Clifton's "Here Yet Be Dragons" to Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" to "Tia Chucha," by Luis J. Rodriguez, Poetry Speaks Who I Am is a collection that is dynamic, accessible, challenging, classic, edgy, and ultimately not quite perfect. Just like you. If you're lucky, it'll serve as a gateway to a lifetime lived with poetry. At the very least, it'll be a good time. Includes a CD.

Thoughts: For those who like poetry, this is a must read. There are poems that I’ve heard of and loved and ones that were complete surprises. It is designed for youth, and readers will no doubt find something to speak to them among this powerful and engaging poetry. It’s eclectic and it’s fun.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

warm at last!

James and I have had some pretty enjoyable and relaxing few days.

The Olympic Peninsula was beautiful but I am happy to be in California and be warm! We spent an evening in Portland and checked out Powells, which is possibly the coolest bookstore ever. It has every book you could ever want, including a book James has been looking for since before we were married. Then we took a wonderful and slow drive down the coast of Oregon on Highway 101. It was such an incredible drive, I had a hard time not stopping every five minutes to take pictures. Luckily James is in charge of driving and wouldn’t stop every time I was like “oh look at that!!!”

The next day we took our drive south into California along the water and eventually into Napa which was so beautiful. We got in around 6:00, so the sun was really low, giving everything a golden light. It was such a wonderful and relaxing drive. I stopped in a driveway to take some pictures and the owners pulled in…so embarrassing. They were really nice about it, b

ut I really shouldn’t trespass when taking pictures, haha.

Then we were in San Francisco for two days. We had initially planned on taking the ferry to Alcatraz but it was booked up for the next two weeks. While that was a huge disappointment, it actually ended up being a blessing in disguise. Both James and I were feeling really burnt out from the trip, so having the free time meant we could move a lot slower. We slept in, walked instead of rushed and even stayed in bed for a few hours to read one morning.

San Francisco is a beautiful city that is so diverse. So far it has been my favourite city that we have visited. One of the best parts of the trip so far was getting to see our friend Blythe who has been living in Oakland the past year. It was so great to see her, meet her friends and catch up!

Despite several low key days, we decided we needed to do something really fun, so today we spent the day at a waterpark. Such a fun surprise. I love the randomness of this trip.

Miss everyone

Monday, July 4, 2011

Between Here and Forever

Between Here and Forever
By Elizabeth Scott
May 2011
eGalley (256 pages)

Summary: Abby is used to being in her sister’s shadow. Tess is beautiful and vibrant and everyone loves her. Even after Tess gets in an accident and is in a coma, Abby can’t compare to her perfect sister. When she meets beautiful and shy Eli at the hospital, she thinks she’s found the ticket to waking up her sister and gaining her freedom. She can’t imagine that Eli would ever even notice someone like her, plain and imperfect. But as they bond over Tess, Abby starts to see that maybe she is someone special to people, including Eli.

Review: Scott always writes wonderful stories with fast pacing that are easy to fall into. Abby’s voice is authentic as she struggles with self-esteem issues. While it was a little much at times and I wished she would get over it, I think overall teens will be able to relate to feelings of sometimes being inadequate and invisible. Readers will be especially drawn to complex and beautiful Eli who is not what he seems. Scott does a great job at pulling the readers into the relationship between Eli and Abby. Cute side characters, such as Tess’ best friend Claire and Eli’s grandfather Celment, added spice and fun to a somewhat serious novel. Readers will also appreciate that Scott makes Tess a complicated and imperfect character, even in her coma. Overall, a great book that touches on many relevant issues.

Also by Elizabeth Scott: The Unwritten Rule, Living Dead Girl, Bloom, Stealing Heaven (and many more)

If you liked Between Here and Forever, you might also enjoy: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

Additional Info: There are some character overlaps between Bloom and Between Here and Forever.

Author website:

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

Friday, July 1, 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.

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks - When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found unconscious at Featherdale Wildlife Park in a dingo pen. He assumes that his two best friends are somehow responsible, until the mysterious Reuben turns up, claiming that Toby has a rare and dangerous “condition.” Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced that he needs their help. It’s not until he’s kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them—and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means.

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