Friday, September 30, 2011


TGIF is a great Friday Meme hosted by one of my favourite blogs, GReads. It posts fun and relevant questions.

This week’s question: Banned Books: How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?

As a librarian, I’m obviously against censorship; it goes against everything I believe in (things such as freedom, expression, accessibility and discovery).

I remember as a kid our school library had a section of books that were “off limits”, books that we could read once we were a little older. Even as a kid I remember how oppressive this felt, how limited and restricted I was, especially because I had already read most of what was in my “allowed” section. My mom, being the champion that she is, contacted the library and gave them permission to lend me anything from that section that I wanted. She trusted that I would make good decisions, and she was involved enough to know what I was reading anyways. The kicker was that the librarian told her that no parent had ever done that before. Most of the books were Christopher Pike or R.L Stein books (nothing too graphic, I assure you), and it just breaks my heart that no one else thought to challenge this. So no, I DO NOT think that the education system needs to be more strict.

Some of the best books are banned books; books that challenge the norm, give agency and voice to groups often ignored and speak truth no matter how gritty. Those are the kind of books that I want my kids to read, or at least have the option to read. 

ALA Banned Book Week Website 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Website profile

Since becoming a librarian and starting this blog I’ve come across a wide range of fun and informative websites that teens use and love. There really is something for everyone, from book blogs, to zines, to abuse hotlines. However, sometimes it’s hard to wade through all the available websites to find what you’re looking for, so I created a section of my blog dedicated to YA websites. This feature highlights new websites that I discover that will be listed on that part of my blog.

Love is

Summary: is a joint project between the National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle to provide resources for teens, parents, friends and family, peer advocates, government officials, law enforcement officials and the general public. All communication is confidential and anonymous.

Cool Features:
Relationship Makeover Quiz
Live Chat
Helpline (USA)
Abuse Awareness articles and toolkid
Fundraising Ideas
MTV’s Thin Line Campaign

Wednesday, September 28, 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: Double
Author: Jenny Valentine
Release Date: Feb 21 2012
When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel’s identity, gaining the family and friends he’s always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn’t as easy as he hoped—and Chap isn’t the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel’s disappearance, Chap realizes that he’s in much deeper danger than he could have imagined.

After all, you can’t just steal a life and expect to get away with it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oddfellow's Orphanage

Oddfellow’s Orphanage
By Emily Winfield Martin
2012 (January)
e-galley (144 pages)

Summary: What do an onion-headed boy, a child-sized hedgehog, and a tattooed girl have in common? They are all orphans at Oddfellow's Orphanage! Author/illustrator Emily Martin has fleshed out the world of Oddfellow's with an episodic story that follows a new orphan, Delia, as she discovers the delights of her new home. From classes in Cryptozoology and Fairy Tale Studies to trips to the circus, from Annual Hair Cutting Day to a sea monster-sighting field trip, things at Oddfellow’s are anything but ordinary. (Amazon)

Review: Oddfellow’s Orphanage is a sweet and charming middle grade chapter book. It’s easy to read, has fun characters and a simple plot. Readers will enjoy the wonkyness of Martin’s world building without the length of similar books like the Mysterious Benedict Society series. The character back stories and fun illustrations give depth and a fun twist to the story. It’s quirky and fun; a very loveable first novel by Martin.

This is Emily Martin’s first novel

If you liked Oddfellow’s Orphanage you might also enjoy:  The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood and The Nathaniel Fludd series by R. L LaFevers and Kelly  Murphy

Writing: 4/4
Characters: 4/4
Plot: 4/4
Originality: 3.4/4
Popularity: 3/4
Cover: 4/4
Grade: M

Thursday, September 22, 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.

Get Real by Mara Rockliff

Summary: Get Real is a consumer guide for tweens and teens that provides insight into a range of topics from truth about fast-food nutrition to the environmental costs of cheap products, and shares related information on how to make informed shopping decisions. Told in a fun and informative way, this easy to read guide is perfect for those interested.

Thoughts: There are so many books available for teens and adults that highlight conscious buying power, the environment, etc. This one is not only well organized which makes it easy to browse, but it’s also fun and easy to read which makes it stand out from the plethora of similar books. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bitter End

Bitter End
By Jennifer Brown
386 pages

Summary:  Alex is used to being a friend, someone to count on. So when the handsome and funny new guy named Cole starts to see her as something more, Alex is beyond thrilled. So thrilled in fact that she starts to overlook and excuse some of Cole’s behaviour. He’s jealous of her best guy friend, understandable, he yells at her calling her a slut, he’s had a bad day, he punches her in the face, and it’s just a one time thing. Alex doesn’t want to lose what she has, but is she willing to risk her life for the chance to be loved?

Review: Brown’s second novel proves that she is here to stay, once again tackling a difficult subject with grace and understanding. Alex is a well crafted character, one that is instantly likable but at the same time completely frustrating. People will either love her or hate her, but ultimately I think she reflects the complexity of this type of abuse. Secondary characters were equally complex being friends, villains and victims at the same time.  Zack was an especially compelling secondary character, one that many readers will fall for. Finally, quick pacing and an engaging plot give this novel a great flow that makes it easy to fall into.  Brown’s fluid writing style, honest characters and engaging plots make her one of my favourite authors.

Also by Jennifer Brown: Hate List

If you liked Bitter End, you might also enjoy:  Stay by Deb Caletti, But I Love Him by Amanda Grace and Rage by Julie Anne Peters

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

Monday, September 19, 2011


While I was on my trip I got seriously addicted to the Pretty Little Liars series. Since the books are very similar in plot, writing style, etc., I’ve decided to do mini reviews so I’m not repeating myself as much. For a full review, check out my review here.

By Sara Shepard
321 pages
PLL Book 6

Summary: Hanna is on a mission to corrupt Rosewood's youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria's snooping into her boyfriend's past. Spencer is stealing—from her family. And pure little Emily is abstaining from abstinence. The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

Review: Despite being the 6th book in the series, there is still a lot of mystery and unknowns. Shepard does a good job of giving just enough information to think you’re on the verge of figuring out the big mystery without giving anything away. Each of the girls received incredibly interesting side stories; Spencer’s possible mom, Aria and Jason, Hanna and Mike and Emily and Isaac’s crazy mom, but I was most captivated by the tidbits we’re starting to get about Ali’s family life. One of my favourites in the series!

Rating: 4/4

Thursday, September 15, 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.

This month’s author: Erin Bow

Author Blurb: While not Canadian born, Erin Bow now lives and writes in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband (also a YA author). Initially writing poetry for adults, Bow’s most recent novel Plain Kate has catapulted her to the forefront of YA literature. As a historical fantasy, Plain Kate highlights Bow’s interest in storytelling and the magic of language and has received positive reviews from journals and bloggers alike. She has several young adult projects on the go and also offers editing for new young adult authors. Bow is also the winner of the CBC Canadian Literary Award.

Wednesday, September 14, 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: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: Jan 2012
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

Who doesn’t wish this would happen to them? Perfect fit for those who enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Play List, can’t wait!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


By Elizabeth Miles

“sometimes sorry isn’t enough...”

Summary: Emily and Chase both have penance to pay. Emily who has been in love with her best friend’s boyfriend forever loses control when her friend is gone for the winter break. Chase, in an attempt to stay popular, humiliated someone he once cared for. Both were mistakes, but in Ascension where three beautiful and mysterious girls lurk, mistakes can be deadly.

Review: In one word, Fury is an eerie novel. Told in alternating perspectives Miles demonstrates how easy it is to make mistakes and the consequences that follow. The characters were easy to identify with, which is perhaps what makes the novel so compelling. It suggests that it could be anyone on the wrong end of the Furies’ wrath. The writing was well done, stark but fast paced, and the supportive characters and back story were well developed. Miles is not afraid to throw out certain rules when it comes to the plot, which makes this a completely unique and well told story.

This is Elizabeth Myers first YA novel

Series website:

Additonal Info: Fury is the first book in a trilology, Envy and Eternity are the second and third titles in the series.

If you liked Fury, you might also enjoy: Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Writing: 4/4
Characters: 3/4
Plot: 3/4
Originality: 4/4
Popularity: 3/4
Cover: 4/4 (LOVE)
Grade Level: S

Monday, September 12, 2011


While I was on my trip I got seriously addicted to the Pretty Little Liars series. Since the books are very similar in plot, writing style, etc., I’ve decided to do mini reviews so I’m not repeating myself as much. For a full review, check out my review here.

By Sara Shepard
310 pages
PLL Book 5

Summary: Hanna will do anything to be Rosewood's queen bee. Spencer is digging up her family's secrets. Emily can't stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom's taste in men. Now that Ali's killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they're safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I'm always watching. . . .

Review: Just when you thought you had everything figured out, Shepard throws in one surprise after the other. This one seemed like a good filler novel to jumpstart the series and add new mysteries. Not a lot in terms of character development or storyline for the girls (although Emily does get a boyfriend), but readers can definitely tell that the next book is going to be juicy. 

Rating: 2.5/4

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trash to Treasure - August

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.

I haven’t done one of these in forever; I’ve been on such a reading roll.


Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (25 pages) –I want to start by saying that I really liked the premise and I commend Harrison for trying to take on a classic and make it more relevant. But I couldn’t get past the writing. It didn’t have great flow and it lacked authenticity. It felt so dis-jointed that I couldn’t connect with the characters or what was going on. I’ve seen some reviewers suggesting it might be better suited for tweens, but I think even they might be frustrated with the writing. The cover is stunning though.

*I should note that I read an e-galley so there is a chance some of the writing might be cleaned up before print.

Imaginary Reads and Between the Pages both have positive reviews on their website you should check out.

Wednesday, September 7, 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: Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse
Author: Lucas Klauss
Release Date: January 2012
A male perspective on sorting love from loss, faith from fear—brimming with humor and romance. Phillip’s sophomore year is off to a rough start. One of his best friends ditches him. His track coach singles him out for personalized, torturous training sessions. And his dad decides to clean out all of the emergency supplies from the basement, even though the world could end in disaster at any moment...and even though those supplies are all Phillip has left of his dead mom. Not that he wants to talk about that. But then Phillip meets Rebekah. Not only is she unconventionally hot and smart, but she might like him back. As Phillip gets closer to Rebekah, he tries harder and harder to turn himself into the kind of person he thinks she wants him to be. But the question is, can he become that person? And does he really want to?

This sounds so charming, and I can’t get enough of male narrated novels!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Girl Stolen

Girl Stolen
By April Henry
213 pages

Summary: When Griffin steals a car from a shopping mall parking lot he thinks he has scored big. That is until he realizes there is a girl lying in the back seat. Now he’s gone from car thief to kidnapper. Cheyenne is sick with pneumonia when her step mom leaves the keys in the car to get her prescription. Things get more complicated for both Griffin and Cheyenne, because not only is she sick...she’s blind.

Summary: Girl Stolen is a quick and engaging read; one that could easily be finished in an afternoon. The short chapters, suspense and fast pacing also make this a great choice for reluctant readers. Told in alternating voices, readers get a glimpse into both Griffin and Cheyenne as they deal with the kidnapping and eventually come together as allies. Henry does a fantastic job at creating unexpected characters. The combination of Griffin, who is dark and fragile, and Cheyenne who is strong and so sure of herself give the novel a complexity that is entrancing. Constantly attention grabbing, this novel will be enjoyed by many.

Also by April Henry: Torched and Shock Point

If you liked Girl Stolen you might also enjoy:  Stolen by Lucy Christopher, Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings and  Dark Song by Gail Giles

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

Friday, September 2, 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 are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season

I love everything about fall!! The changing leaves (I live in Ontario, so it’s spectacular), pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, picking out pumpkins with my husband, Halloween decorations, my nieces and nephews dressing up for Halloween, Thanksgiving with my families, reading a book on the deck wrapped in a blanket because it’s cold, scarves, wearing sweaters again, fall fairs, going to Chapters when it gets really dark and rainy and reading magazines all day long, my husband’s birthday, the colour orange, the spell of pumpkin everything, that crunchy sound when you walk, the cool air that is so enjoyable to breathe, my mom’s turkey, hikes and taking pictures, the movie Practical Magic which I watch every single fall, apples, those days when the sun is warm but the breeze is cool.

That was a huge I love fall rant, did I miss anything?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Month in Review - August

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: 9
Favourite Read: Blue Bloods. I’ve been putting this one off for so long, but I’m glad I’ve finally read it.
Least Favourite: Twisted by Sara Shepard (starting to lose faith in the series)  
Most Original Idea: Girl Stolen by April Henry
Best Character: Bria from Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. I related to her and I wanted to be her, she was cute and funny and a complete mess.
Best Villain:  There wasn’t really any great villains this month.
Best Supporting Character: This is a three way tie between Griffin from Girl Stolen, Caleb from Eve by Anna Carey and Rowan from Wanderlove, all great guys!!!

A very random month for reading; I read issue fiction, a dystopian mysteries, contemporaries and a paranormal. I really was all over the place.
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