Friday, September 26, 2008

Sleepless by Terri Clark

Title: Sleepless
Author: Terri Clark
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: September 2, 2008
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Age Group: Young Adult

Terri Clark's debut young adult novel is a fast-paced, thrilling read.

Trinity Michaels has the ability to dream walk. It is ability that she doesn't want as it often leads to her seeing the darker side of people and their secrets. The worst by far was dreaming of Kiri the day after her parents reported her missing. Trinity was able to help the police find her but it was too late - she had already been murdered. Her killer, Rafe Stevens, was sent to a mental institution instead of jail. Now Rafe has escaped and he has developed the ability to invade people's dreams and mix them with reality. He is after Trinity in her dreams and if he kills her in her dreams she will die for real. At least Trinity doesn't have to face the danger alone as she finds an unlikely ally in Dan Devlin, the son of the lawyer who kept Rafe Stevens out of jail.

Terri Clark writes fast paced action and witty dialog that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The novel is dark and twisted while also containing humor and even some romance. Clark peppers the text with contemporary references that today's teens will easily relate to. Her characters are interesting and dynamic with solid motivations for their actions. While there is no word currently about future books starring Trinity, Clark certainly leaves the possibility open.

Find out what Terri Clark is up to at her official website, Terri Clark Books and at her blog Confessions from Young Adult Author Terri Clark. I can't wait to hear what Terri will be publishing next!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher

Title: Captain's Fury
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Publication Date: December 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
Age Group: Adult
Series: The Codex Alera (Book 4)

The Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher centers on Tavi, a young man from the country who lacks the ability to control the elements of nature. The use of fury crafting is expected among his people and Tavi feels like an outsider without this gift. It is this lack of fury crafting which forces Tavi to be creative in his thinking when he is thrust into battle, defending the realm against enemies from outside as well as in.

Butcher has created a highly political series where fast thinking and intuition must often triumph over brute strength. In the fourth book of the series, Captain's Fury, Tavi has risen to command a legion in the battle against the Canim. To win this fight, he must politically outmaneuver his personal enemies while trying to minimize the losses on the battlefield. The Codex of Alera series gets even better with each book as Tavi learns more about his personal history and how it intertwines with the history of the realm.

This book is currently available in hardcover and will be released in paperback on November 25, 2008. The fifth book in the series, Princeps' Fury, will also be realeased in hardcover on November 25, 2008. The first 6 chapters of Princeps' Fury will be published on Jim Butcher's website between now and the official release date.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breaking Up is hard to do

Title: Breaking Up is hard to do
Authors: Niki Burnham, Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins, & Lynda Sandoval
Publisher: Graphia
Publication Date: May 5, 2008
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Age Group: Young Adult

Four fabulous young adult authors come together in this short story collection to bring teens tales of love, heartbreak, and hope. Each author brings a unique voice to the collection and the stories represent a range of characters, story lines, and styles while centering on the theme of love and loss.

Niki Burnham shares the story of Toby, a high school junior with a gorgeous girlfriend. Things seem to be going great for Toby as the school year starts until his girlfriend starts pressuring him to have sex. Burnham does a great job writing about not being ready for sex from the male perspective as Toby struggles with his conflicting feelings.

Newcomer Terri Clark provides a fast paced story about Dark Dee who gains the ability to hear other people's thoughts after being in a car accident. This leads to the unpleasant realization that her boyfriend has been dating her to gather information for a book on how to get girls from a variety of cliques to fall in love with you. Dee and her friend, Pixie, decide to reveal the boys scheme before they can con anyone else. In order to do this, they must bridge the gaps separating the various social groups at school. Clark engages the reader with snappy dialogue and well drawn characters.

Ellen Hopkins offers the reader a story in verse form, breaking the prose of the rest of the book. Her main character, Lisa, feels plain compared to the other girls in Palm Springs. She is happily surprised when a boy comes in to the coffee shop where she works and eventually asks her out. As the relationship develops, Lisa finds herself changing her outward appearance to please her new boyfriend. She adapts to the relationship in ways that make her uncomfortable especially when her boyfriend starts putting on more pressure. Hopkins verse is shaped to fit the content and the emotions of her narrator.

Lynda Sandoval shows another side of love when Mia's girlfriend, Paige, breaks her heart at the beginning of the school year by hooking up with the school's hottest guy and outing Mia as a lesbian. Mia rides an emotional roller coaster as she deals with the scenario that her summer love is actually straight and having her sexual preference known by the entire school. Sandoval writes in depth characters and carries the reader along for the emotional ride.

All four of these stories revolve around first loves and heartbreaks. While this could be a very depressing collection, each author also injects strength into the characters to overcome the heartbreak and offers the characters hope for future relationships. A great read for mature teens!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Enlightenment for Idiots by Anne Cushman

Title: Enlightenment for Idiots: A Novel
Author: Anne Cushman
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
Publication Date: April 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Age Group: Adult

Amanda thought that by 30 she would have life figured out or at least be on track toward something. Instead, she has bounced from one odd job to another until she begins to regularly write "For Idiots" travel guides. When she receives the assignment to write "Enlightenment for Idiots," which includes being sent to India to study with various meditation and yoga masters, Amanda is thrilled and hopes to find the answers she has been searching for.

India does not turn out to be all that Amanda expected and she continues bouncing from guru to guru in search of the elusive enlightenment. During her journey, she makes some odd friends while also facing her own history.

While most of us are unable to take months off to head to India in search of enlightenment, I believe that many people can identify with Amanda's search. We are often looking toward someone or something else to provide us the answers that will make us happy or enlightened. A set of specific directions, a guidebook, or a road map to life. Despite Amanda's struggles, this book is a light and humorous read that also makes one think about their own life.

Author Anne Cushman is a contributing editor to Yoga Journal and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. She has also published several essays and co-authored From Here to Nirvana. Enlightenment for Idiots is her first novel.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Vision for Library Girl Reads

First, a little about me: My name is Angela and I have worked in libraries for over 10 years. I absolutely love to read and have since I was a kid. Summer nights my mom would find me in bed with a book and a flashlight long after lights out. Five years ago I married a wonderful man who also loves to read. It won't be too long before we need to buy another bookshelf! We are expecting our first child within the next few weeks so I'm now going to be a stay at home mom.

My vision for this blog is to share books with others by posting my thoughts and opinions on a variety of titles. While our home collection is mainly fantasy fiction and historical fiction, I am a frequent visitor to our local library which expands my range of reading. I hope to review recently released titles often; however older titles will also appear as I reread some of my favorites. I also participate in an Early Reviewers Group at Library Thing so I may have the opportunity to review some titles that have not yet been published.

While the focus of this blog will be on books, I may also post reviews of products on occasion. These posts will be rare as I will only review products I feel extremely strongly about (whether positively or negatively).