Thursday, April 26, 2012

Songs for a Teenage Nomad

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson 
Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Fire
256 pages
4 out of 5

After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance.

Yet before she knows it, friends creep in--as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place?

The hook with this novel is the "soundtrack" of Calle's life. It's a completely relatable hook, too. How many tines have you heard a song that thought, that's just what I needed to hear? Exactly.

Calle's been yanked all over the state of California for most of her life. She usually does her best to be aloof and ignored by her fellow students at the newest new school. Unfortunately for Calle, drama kids are pushy, and before she knows it, she's made friends and maybe even has a boyfriend. Almost.

It's a mystery to Calle why she and her mother are constantly on the move. Calle's pretty sure it has to do with her mother's personality, but the secret is finally revealed to her. I'm not much of a spoil sport, so if you want to know what's up you'll have to read the book. (I feel like LeVar Burton all of a sudden).

Anyway, Calle and the other characters feel authentic and I enjoyed discovering new friends, love, and the secret with her. There's only one moment that's a little deus ex machina, but overall the story works.

Disclosure: I bought this title for my own personal enjoyment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And Then Everything Unraveled

And Then Everything UnraveledAnd Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman 
New York, NY: Scholastic, 2009
256 pages
3.5 out of 5

First there was a disappearance.
Then there was a clue.
Then there was a kiss.
And then...

When Delia Truesdale's mother, T.K. goes missing, everyone thinks she's dead. Well, everyone except Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear.

But Delia is still shipped off to New York City to live with her two aunts--one a downtown bohemia, the other an uptown ice queen. She also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and find her mother.

As she delves deeper into a tangle of conspiracies and lies, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets--especially the dangerous ones--were never meant to be unraveled.

Amidst all the usual teenage drama of moving to a new town and getting settled into a new school, Delia's faced with figuring out what happened to her mother, tycoon T.K. Truesdale. The title of this novel is very telling and reminds me a bit of Dude, Where's my Car? at the drive thru, "And then...And then...And then..." to the degree that some plot points are unbelievable. But I'm a sucker for conspiracy theories.

Character-wise I feel this novel is very strong. The Aunts and Delia's love interest, Quinn, are dynamic and interesting. I also love the description of Delia because of her mother and father's diverse personalities and backgrounds. Delia's Indian father taught her to surf and she's much more interested in that than the techie stuff her mother does.

Overall, this is a nice read but doesn't wrap up everything. I'm still wondering what's going on with T.K., so I'll have to get my hands on the sequel, And Then I Found out the Truth, at some point.

Disclosure: I purchased this ebook for my own reading enjoyment.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Dark Endeavor

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor FrankensteinThis Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
304 pages
4.5 out of 5

The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.

In this prequel to Mary Shelley's Gothic classic, Frankenstein, fifteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor's twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science and love--and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

Not only did this book suck me in from the very beginning, it actually encouraged me to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I tried to red it when I was in high school, but got stuck on the language and never picked it back up. This time, I wanted to see how the story meshed with this prequel. Could this carry over into Frankenstein? As a librarian, these connections come to mind. The answer is yes and no.

This book has to have one of the best beginnings I've read. Within five pages, I thought someone was going to die. That is how you hook your reader. The only reason I haven't posted about this book yet, is that I'm suck as to what to say about it. There's adventure throughout. It's dark and gritty, while not completely off-putting.

The only thing left to say is: When is the next one coming out?

Disclosure: Picked off the ARC shelf at work for my own reading enjoyment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fall for Anything

Fall for Anything
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers 
St. Martin's Griffin, 2010
224 pages
3.5 out of 5

When Eddie Reeves's father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father's and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins.  Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie's vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close.  Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

Meaning. We all search for it or believe it is tangled up in our day to day. But we look for, beg for meaning most when the unthinkable happens. Eddie's search for meaning takes her on a journey with her father's former assistant, Culler Evans.

The search for meaning is primarily what this book is about. Death changes the people left behind. Some become bolder, while others turn inward.Watching Eddie and her mother cope (or not) with the sudden loss of her father is heartbreaking, but impossible to look away from.

The turn of events in the novel is surprising. Without giving away some necessary details, I can't comment further. So I'll skip ahead and say that some of the best endings are in the form of beginnings. 

Disclosure: I borrowed this title from my local library.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox 25

IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.  The idea is to share books bought, borrowed, scavenged, traded and won.  For more information click here.

Lots of Best of the Best Challenge Materials! And a few other fun things.


More Show Me How: Everything We Couldn't Fit in the First Book (not pictured)
The Hunger Games: Tribute Guide by Emily Seife
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone
Whoogles: Can a Dog Make a Woman Pregnant? And Hundreds of Other Searches That Make You Ask "Who Would Google that?

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (ebook)
Chime by Fanny Billingsly (eaudio)
Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve (eaudio)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Love: Hemlock

Kathleen Peacock held a contest for librarians to win a copy of her novel and some swag and I was selected! The swag arrived and it is gorgeous. My coworkers are trying to get the bookmarks from me! As a thank you, I wanted to show some love to her upcoming novel Hemlock, which debuts May 8th.

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Check out Kathleen's Blog Tour and website.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Best of the Best Challenge!

Yalsa's HUB has thrown the gauntlet with the Best of the Best Challenge and I've decided to participate. The goal is to read/listen to 25 of the 80 titles on Yalsa's Best of the Best lists for 2012. Or if you're a super reader, read/listen to all 80 titles! Visit The Hub for further details and to sign up. Anyone can participate!

A goodreads fairy made a quick list of the 2012 Titles.

The challenge started April 1 and runs through June 30. I better get reading!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Reads

I've decided to do a monthly listing of all that I've read and maybe highlight titles I really enjoyed. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know.

March Books:
  1. Coraline: The Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman
  2. The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes
  3. Legend by Marie Lu 
  4. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordin (audio)
  5. Bossypants by Tina Fey (audio)
So once again, I didn't fulfill any challenge other than reading more books to add up to 100. And it's been a slow month reading-wise. That's the result of a busy month at work. It's tough being a Tin Girl. Anyway, I feel like I should've done a graphic novel challenge. If I had, then I'd be doing really well.

Check out the trailer for Legend.