For Stephenie Meyer Fans..

My gosh the woman knows how to milk it…

 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells the story of a newborn vampire introduced in Eclipse, who will also appear in the film version of Eclipse, scheduled to be released on June 30. The book was originally envisioned as part of Meyer’s The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide. “I’m as surprised as anyone about this novella,” said Meyer in a statement. “When I began working on it in 2005, it was simply an exercise to help me examine the other side of Eclipse, which I was editing at the time. I thought it might end up as a short story that I could include on my website. Then, when work started on The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, I thought the Guide would be a good fit for my Bree story. However, the story grew longer than I anticipated, until it was too long to fit into the Guide.”

 For the rest of the article click here. 

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

“Where would you find five lost children after so many years gone by?”

 On a single night, 5 children go missing only to appear years later at a New York Christmas party in tow of the mysterious and beautiful governess Madame Vileroy. By using their special gifts, the Faust children take the elite Marlowe School by force, getting everything they desire. Victoria has the power to read people’s thoughts, Christian can steal people’s talents, Belle is so beautiful she’s addicting, Bice can stop time and Valentin can control time, going back and forward. Despite all their success, they soon learn that Madame Vileroy’s gifts have strings attached and there are just some deals you can’t get out of.

 Another Faust was gripping. I found the children’s greed insatiable and their willingness to go to any desperate measure compelling.  While some reviews have found the characters flat and one dimensional, I thought they were rich and vibrant. Each character was completely unique and in complete harmony with the others. They each reflected some vary basic truths about human nature, our fears and desires, and thus were completely captivating. I thought there was great progression of character development and that this was in perfect timing with the plot developments.  While it can be difficult to follow so many main characters and the layout of the story was at times jagged, I thought it perfectly created. I enjoyed the interwoven back story and the Faust references. Overall, I found this a wonderfully enjoyable read and, contrary to some reviews, feel that the appeal goes beyond just those interested in Gossip Girls.

 You might enjoy Another Faust if you like books with: multiple main characters, a fight between good and evil, paranormal elements, focus on plot

 Other books by Daniel & Dina Nayeri: A second “Another” book called Another Pan is set to be released in October 2010

 If you liked Another Faust you might also enjoy: Gorgeous by Rachel Vail, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Kate Lauren, Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle, Secret Society by Tom Dolby

 Additional Info:  The Original German Faust:  Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 Author’s website found here.

 Rating: W4/4   C4/4   P4/4   O4/4   PP3.5/4   CR4/4

Grade: S

Safe as Houses by Eric Walters

“The river reached out and engulfed the whole street. There had to be three or four feet of water. We were in the middle of the river and we couldn’t even see the shore.”

 On October 15, 1954, Lizzie Hardy walked home with the children she babysat: David and his little sister Suzie. A rainstorm, caused by Hurricane Hazel had been hitting the area for days, and it kept getting worse. Lizzie finds herself alone with the kids when their parents can’t make it out of the city because of the weather. Which is fine because they’re safe as houses right? But the storm keeps raging and the water keeps rising, and soon it has engulfed the entire first floor of the house. The three of them keep making for higher ground, but what happens when there isn’t any higher to go? Based on a true story, this riveting tale is the story of three very brave and resourceful children as they try to survive the biggest flood Ontario has ever seen.

Safe as Houses was a very intense and action packed novel. I simply could not put it down. Despite the fast-paced storytelling, the characters are actually very well developed. David was perhaps the most fascinating of characters, as he progressed from being a whinny brat to a child calm and resourceful in his attempt to keep his sister and babysitter alive. It’s such a horrifying thought, three children alone in a house that is flooding in the middle of a violent river.  There was not one moment of rest reading this because each time you think the children are safe, the river keeps rising. I also appreciated reading a Canadian historical fiction. Overall, a great read that will appeal to a very wide audience.

You might enjoy Safe as Houses if you like books with: a lot of action and suspense, main character’s whose safety is threatened, a quick and easy read, Canadian historical fiction, younger protagonists.

 Other books by Eric Walters: Wave, United We Stand, Wounded, Alexandria of Africa, Sketches

 If you liked Safe as Houses you might also enjoy: Wave by Eric Walters and A Million Shades of Grey by Cynthia Kadohata

 Additional Info: Winner of the 2008 Red Maple Award

 Non-Fiction Connection: Rain Tonight: A Story of Hurricane Hazel by Steve Pitt and Heather Collins and Hurricane Hazel: Canada’s Storm of the Century by Jim Gifford

 Author Website found here.

Rating: W4/4   C3.5/4   P4/4   O4/4   PP3/4   CR3/4

Grade: MJ

Coming Soon to a Library Near You (15)

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: Somebody Everybody Listens To

Author: Suzanne Supplee

Release Date: May 18 2010

Summary:

Retta Lee Jones is blessed with a beautiful voice and has big dreams of leaving her tiny Tennessee hometown. With a beaten down car, a pocketful of hard-earned waitressing money, and stars in her eyes, Retta sets out to make it big in Nashville. But the road to success isn’t a smooth one in a town filled with dreamers, and Retta begins to have doubts: can she make her mark while staying true to herself?

Non-Fiction 4

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This monthly 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.

 This month’s book: Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligam.

Summary:

Beginning with Darwin’s notorious chart listing reasons to wed and not to wed, Heiligman has created a unique, flowing, and meticulously researched picture of the controversial scientist and the effect of his marriage on his life and work. Using the couple’s letters, diaries, and notebooks as well as documents and memoirs of their relatives, friends, and critics, the author lets her subjects speak for themselves while rounding out the story of their relationship with information about their time and place. She shows how Darwin’s love for his intelligent, steadfast, and deeply religious cousin was an important factor in his scientific work—pushing him to document his theory of natural selection for decades before publishing it with great trepidation. Just as the pair embodied a marriage of science and religion, this book weaves together the chronicle of the development of a major scientific theory with a story of true love.

 Thoughts: Love it! I really enjoy books that use letters and diaries to tell a story, especially a non-fiction story. Who knew that Charles Darwin could be such a captivating guy???

Other info: Was a National Book Award finalist, has one the Michael. L Printz Honor Award, as well as YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adult Award.

Also, in September 2009 a movie called Creation staring Paul Bettany  (Darwin) and Jennifer Connelly (Emma) was released in theatres.

Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

“ They promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three. Today my time has run out.”

For the past three years Meredith’s father has been locked up in prison for molesting her and many other children.  She thought she was safe, that she could move on with her life, but her father is coming home early. Her mother, who should have been on her side, is ecstatic to have her husband home, ignoring Meredith’s pleas.  Meredith knows he hasn’t changed and it’s only a matter time before her or someone else becomes his victim. She will do whatever it takes to get him locked up for good, even if that means sacrificing herself.

 Laura Wiess is brilliant at writing incredibly difficult and honest stuff. She doesn’t sugar coat or try too hard to make a point. What she produces is heartbreakingly raw. This is a very quick read, if you can suffer through the brokenness and destruction until the end. Meredith is a wonderfully dynamic character in that she is both paralyzed with her suffering and incredibly strong. She is so compelling, and her struggle so horrible that it’s hard to disconnect. Wiess does a great job of using flashback to give the reader a real sense of the abuse without becoming too graphic. In doing so I think she highlights that the story is about Meredith and her growth and strength, and not just the abuse. Overall, I thought the story was flawless.

 You might enjoy Such a Pretty Girl if you like books with: difficult and emotionally provocative topics, a real focus on a main character’s experience instead of a fast paced plot, a mature writing style

Other books by Laura Wiess: Leftovers  and How it Ends

 If you liked Such a Pretty Girl you might also enjoy:  Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Leftovers by Laura Wiess, Chanda’s Wars by Allan Statton,

Additional Info: was awarded 2008 ALA Best Books for Young Adults award

Author website found here.

Here is a link to sexual assault centres in Southwestern Ontario. Please find one in your area if you need assistence.

Rating: W4/4   C4/4   P4/4   O4/4   PP2/4   CR3/4

Grade:  S

Covers:

Secret Society by Tom Dolby

Phoebe, Lauren, Nick and Patch are all students at the exclusive Chadwick School in Manhattan. While at a party one night, Phoebe, Lauren and Nick get a text message telling them to be at an exact location. They soon find themselves drugged, tattooed and initiated into the most prominent, successful and secret society in existence. While things seem great in the beginning with all the free stuff and parties, when two people are found dead, the trio begin to question the society. Patch, the budding videographer, feels left out, but decides to make the best of it by secretly filming the initiation. He’s unaware of the Society’s control and power, and his poking around has put him and his friends at risk. If he is not careful he might find himself next on the Society’s hit list.

 Secret Society is a fast-paced and engaging novel. While the characters were a little one-dimensional, I believe they will only get better as the series continues.  The narrative is split between the four main characters, and while it might have inadvertently disconnected some readers from the story, it did serve to give a broader and perhaps more engaging reading experience, as I found myself rooting for all four of them.  Dolby does an excellent job of setting the scene using many famous Manhattan landmarks and street names. He also does an excellent job of capturing the Upper East Side culture (there is obvious designer name dropping, but it decreases as the plot picks up). I found the premise fascinating, as this was my first secret society novel. I can’t wait for the sequel.

You might enjoy Secret Society if you like books with: a focus on fast paced plots and suspense instead of character development, a strong setting that serves as a another character, multi main characters, third person story-telling.

Other books by Tom DolbyTrouble Boy, Six Form

If you liked Secret Society you might also enjoy: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E.Lockhart, Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri, Gossip Girls series

Additional Information:  The Trust: A Secret Society Novel is set to be released Winter 2011

Non-fiction connection:  

Egypt : The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt by Ian Shaw

Secret Societies:  Cults, Conspiracies and Secret Societies by Arthur Goldwag

Author website found here.

Rating: W3/4   C2/4   P3/4   O3/4   PP3/4   CR4/4

Grade: JS