Thursday, February 27, 2014

Teen Book Fest Author Profile: Greg Neri





g.neri

"I'm like a mash-up DJ of a writer: I sample real life and re-mix it into story." 

The book G. Neri says we should read is Yummy:  The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, because "it is my most popular book and an unusually gripping and provocative graphic novel that will make you cry.  Yummy took about 12 years to make it from an idea to book but mostly because it started as a movie project first. When I finally figured out it needed to be a graphic novel, the writing was extremely quick, maybe a couple of months."  G. Neri 
I had to read this book for a class, and was totally blown away by the realistic depiction of street life, and how hopeless Yummy must have felt.  G. Neri also has written a few other books, Ghetto Cowboy, and a free verse novel called Chess Rumble.  He has several new books coming soon! 


YUMMY_cover 3.jpg
check the catalog here





check the catalog here


CRcover_04REV.jpg
check the catalog here


G. Neri participated in an on-line lesson for my class, so it will be really nice to meet him in person at the Rochester Teen Book Fest on Saturday, May 17th at Nazareth College. Click the link to find out more about TBF, and see a listing of the 30 authors attending!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Missing Downton Abbey? Part 2

Are you a Downton Abbey fan?  Are you already feeling your Downton withdrawal?  Fear not!  Here are some great choices to keep you in the Downton frame of mind!


18114554
check the catalog here




Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore.  Hmmmm....Does the girl on the cover remind you of someone? Our Lady Mary?  It's Downton Abbey for teens! Gorgeous gowns, handsome boys, and delicious intrigue collide in the British countryside.


The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .
Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.
Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.


Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.




17787759
check the catalog here


Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed is book two in the At Somerton series.  Book one is Cinders & Sapphires


A house divided...
London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she cant help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Rosss sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late.
Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin Williams expenditures. Her fathers heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys reputation.
Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him--for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.
The colorful cast of the At Somerton series returns in this enthralling sequel about class and fortune, trust and betrayal, love and revenge.


18079501
check the catalog here


see my review here


A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. 
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?







Monday, February 24, 2014

Middle School Monday: Rump the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

15766776
click here for catalog access


This funny fractured fairy tale goes behind the scenes of Rumpelstiltskin. "A most magical feat," writes Newbery Honor-winner Kirby Larson, "Liesl Shurtliff spins words into gold."

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

A Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection, Rump is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted or Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm.


This book was a favorite of 2013 by Greece Public Librarian Cathy Henderson!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Teen Book Fest Author Profile: A. S. King

A. S. King is one of the 321 authors coming to Rochester on May 17th at 9:00 am for the Rochester Teen Book Festival at Nazareth College.  I've had the chance to meet her, and believe me - you will LOVE meeting her at TBF.  Amy is interesting, funny, and down-to-earth.  My college aged daughter came with me to hear her speak, and we both agreed that A. S. King is awesome!  I can't wait till May for TBF!  Here are five fun facts about A. S. King:

1. I used to be a rare poultry breeder/crazy chicken lady.

2. I misspelled "soldier" in a fifth grade classroom spelling bee as S-O-L-G-E-R. I never got over it.

3. I can sing really well when I am driving by myself.

4. I used to teach adults how to read and it was the best job I ever had.

5. I love Peanut Butter Capn' Crunch even though it tears up the roof of my mouth.





check the catalog here


Summary:  Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.


My thoughts:


This is definitely a book for older teens, due to some mature subject matter and language, but I thought it was very well done. Vera Dietz has gradually fallen in love with her childhood best friend, Charlie Kahn. Charlie lives in an abusive home, and his Junior year in  high school begins to make choices that lead him down a dark path. The book opens at Charlie's funeral, so you know that something very bad has happened, but the story of Charlie's demise is told through out the book. The point of view is mostly Vera's, but sometimes Charlie has a voice, Vera's dad, or even the Pagoda (a teen hang-out up in the woods) in town. The characters were flawed, but very real. It is a gritty, sad story, but at times it is humorous and hopeful.  All in all, a very well done book, that will stay with me for a long time. 


We were lucky to have A. S. King come to the Rochester area last fall, and she spoke here at the Greece Public Library for Teen Read Week in October.  Shortly after she spoke, her new book came out called Reality Boy.  My daughter Sarah read the book over Christmas break, and gave it "Two thumbs up".    Reality Boy tackles a tough topic:  America's obsession with reality TV.  Here's a review from Jenny on Goodreads: 


"Reality Boy was so much more than I was expecting. I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Delving into Gerald's life, present and past, was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Like the concept of Reality TV, watching Gerald's life is like watching a car accident unfold before your eyes. You can't stop looking, even when the carnage is revealed. It's terrible and tragic and you are just hoping everyone will survive the fallout.

A.S. King does a tremendous job looking beyond the surface and the camera editing and sees into the heart and soul of Gerald, and Hannah, and anyone else's life behind closed doors. Ignoring things does not make them go away, and frequently it just makes things worse. And amidst the evil, for lack of a better word, there is also hope. With every terrible character, there is a person with a flicker of hope, wanting something better and wishing that for another. And I love that Gerald gives me hope, beyond him just trying to stay out of jail. There is hope in this story, but there is a tough fight to get there, and I loved the journey."


17332968
check the catalog here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

16074758
check the catalog here


Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined...


Did you find the Amanda Knox trial riveting?  Do you like mysteries set in a contemporary setting?  This book is for older teens (it contains sex, language, and violence) but is a page turner that will draw in mystery lovers.  I won't go into the ending, but I did not see it coming!  The kind of book you can devour in one sitting. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teen Tuesday Pick: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

16039313
check the catalog here


Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?


I adored this book!  The setting, the heroine, the romance and how the facts of the suffragette movement that are incorporated into the story.  I think the cover is beautiful, too.  Bravo!  Three Cheers for A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

9th Annual Greater Rochester  Teen Book Festival

Saturday, May 17, 2014
9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.


Each Thursday I will try to profile an author that will be coming to the Teen Book Festival on May 17 at Nazareth College.  The festival is FREE, and 31 authors who write especially for teens will be there for you to meet and interact with.  The first author book profile is Enchanted by Alethea Kontis.  Alethea says you should read Enchanted because "it's the book I've wanted to write my whole life." 


12180248
click here to check the catalog


It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?


Enchanted is a light hearted romance, that weaves together several classic fairy tales into a new story that contains elements of "The Princess and the Pea", "Jack and the Beanstalk", and "Cinderella" among others.  The second book in the series Hero, is about daughter Saturday, and is also available at the Greece Public Library.  If you love fantasy, have enjoyed fairy tales or are a fan of Once Upon a Time, you’ll love these books!


17155787
check the catalog here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teen Tuesday Pick: Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home #2) by Ransom Riggs

12396528
click here to access the catalog
Summary

"Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children" was the surprise best seller of 2011--an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it "an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters."
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrines island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.


I just got my hands on this one, but most reviews are very good!  I am looking forward to looking at the unusual photographs, and see how they relate to the story.





Monday, February 3, 2014

Middle School Monday: Radio Girl by Carol Brendler

radio
check the catalog here

Genre/Audience: Middle grade, historical fiction
Publication: Holiday House, 2013
Source: Library
Reviewed by:  Stephanie Cervantes

Radio Girl is a super cute middle grade read that I picked up on a whim one day at work during my shift in the children’s room.

It takes place in the 1930s and stars 14 year old Cece, whose dream is to become a radio star. Against her parent’s wishes and without their knowledge, she sneaks off to the Big Apple on the ferry each Saturday where she’s landed herself a job at the CBS radio studio, performing small tasks like typing up news reports. She’s lucky enough to meet Orson Welles, amongst other famous radio actors, and even lands a few small on-air roles doing sound effects. All this seems great until things come to head and Cece uncovers some heartbreaking family secrets.

This really was a fun and enjoyable historical novel. Cece was sassy, funny, and wise. She had this big dream and she would do anything she could to achieve it – even if it meant breaking the rules a little. In that sense, she was admirable (if a little naughty!). I liked her a lot, and I also really enjoyed the 30s lingo. I’d recommend this to middle grade readers who enjoy a strong heroine and historical fiction. I’m really not a historical fan, but I still found myself getting invested in the story.

My Rating: 3.5/5