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2013 Teens’ Top Ten October 28, 2013

Filed under: Books — Heather @ 3:27 pm
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” The Teens’ Top Ten is a ‘teen choice’ list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Celebrate Teen Literature Day, the Thursday of National Library Week in April, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.

You have voted and the results are in.  Without further ado, I present the 2013 Teens’ Top Ten winners:

1.  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

codenameverity“I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.”

2.  The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

falseprince“In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.”

3.  Insurgent by Veronica Roth

insurgent book“One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.”

4.  Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

pushing the limits“No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with freaky scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.”

5.  Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Poison-Princess-183x300She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.”

6.  The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

raven boys“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.”

7.  Crewel by Gennifer Albin

crewel book“Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.”

8.  Every Day by David Levithan

every day book“Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.”

9.  Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

kill me softly“Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.”

10.  Butter by Erin Jade Lange

butter book“A lonely obese boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?”

For more details, check out the YALSA website:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2013-teens-top-ten

 

Zombie Fiction – Not Dead Yet October 22, 2013

Filed under: Books,Movies & TV — Heather @ 10:05 pm
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Zombies are more popular than ever.  Screen adaptations of novels like World War Z along with classic mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have extended the life on this monster genre, perhaps outlasting the vampire craze.

In the sprit of Halloween and riding the coat-tails of Zombie pop-culture popularity, I proudly present my top  titles featuring the un-dead.

5.  Zombie Blondes by Brian James

zombie blondes

 “From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.  A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.  The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.  But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: If she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .”

4.  Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

warm bodies book

“R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.”

3.  The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

the walking dead

“The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living”

2.  Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones

zombies hate stuff

“Zombies hate clowns. They also hate hippies, not to mention zip-lines, penguins, moon penguins, nudists, weddings, sharing, and kittens. They really hate unicorns, and strangely don’t mind Canadians. Each ghoulishly colorful painting reveals a funny and unexpected scene of zombie disgruntlement, cataloging the stuff that really riles up the walking dead (astronauts, rain, bagpipes, re-gifting, and more) with wit, humor, and, of course, brains. Zombies Hate Stuff offers an unexpected and irresistible perspective on the zombie apocalypse and the pop culture phenomenon that will not die.”

1.  Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan

apocalypse cow

“If you think you’ve seen it all — WORLD WAR Z, THE WALKING DEAD– you haven’t seen anything like this. From the twisted brain of Michael Logan comes Apocalypse Cow, a story about three unlikely heroes who must save Britain . . . from a rampaging horde of ZOMBIE COWS!

Forget the cud. They want blood.

It began with a cow that just wouldn’t die. It would become an epidemic that transformed Britain’s livestock into sneezing, slavering, flesh-craving four-legged zombies.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fate of the nation seems to rest on the shoulders of three unlikely heroes: an abattoir worker whose love life is non-existent thanks to the stench of death that clings to him, a teenage vegan with eczema and a weird crush on his maths teacher, and an inept journalist who wouldn’t recognize a scoop if she tripped over one.

As the nation descends into chaos, can they pool their resources, unlock a cure, and save the world?

Three losers.

Overwhelming odds.

One outcome . . .

Yup, we’re screwed.”

 

Flat-Out Love July 20, 2013

Filed under: Books — Jessie @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) Jessica Park

When Julie arrives in Boston for college she finds out the apartment she has rented doesn’t exist.  Her mother’s former college roommate invites Julie to stay with her family; Matt, the quirky, cute and nerdy MIT student, Celeste, the super smart younger sister who has some quirk of her own, and Erin and Roger, the hardworking academics who rarely spend time at home.  As Julie starts to settle in, she starts talking to the one member of the Watkins family she hasn’t met yet, Finn, who’s rooms she is currently occupying.  Through emails, chats, and Facebook statuses, Julie begins to fall in love with Finn.  As Julie gets closer to everyone in the Watkins family she stirs up the family’s secrets.

It’s hard for me to express how great this book is without sounding like a squealing teenage girl!  This book exceeded my expectations with its great characters and plot.  Being somewhat of a nerd myself, I loved the humor and conversations between all the characters.  Julie was equal parts smart, funny and nerdy while still being completely relatable and realistic.  Matt was the typical MIT student, super smart and geeky but he was caring and funny too.  I did figure out one part of the plot about halfway through but it didn’t take away from the rest of the book at all.  There was still plenty of twists that kept things interesting.  I was so invested in this book that I read the majority of it in one afternoon because I had to know what happened!

I don’t want to say too much about what happens so I don’t spoil it for everyone that is going to read it! If you like great romance stories with smart and funny characters you have to read this.  It is a more sophisticated romance story that many young adults, and even adults, will love!

Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love, #1.5)Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love #1.5) Jessica Park

In Flat-Out Matt, Jessica Park has taken some of the chapters from Flat-Out Love and written Matt’s point of view.  She picks key chapters that coincide with pivotal moments from Flat-Out Love.  It’s great to have some insight into Matt’s mind and I loved him even more after reading this than I did after Flat-Out Love.  There’s also an extra chapter at the end that takes place right where Flat-Out Love ends and its the perfect ending. 

 

The Great Gatsby June 5, 2013

PG-13, 142 minutes, Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow

gatsby movieWhat’s that saying?  Everything old is new again?  Well, that’s certainly the case with The Great Gatsby.  The Roaring Twenties are hotter than ever – the music, the fashion, hairstyles - Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan!  Baz Luhrmann, the director famous for movies like Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, has given us another visual masterpiece.

We all know the story of Jay Gatsby and his tragic rise and fall by know, right?  I’ll assume you do.  (I highly recommend you re-acquaint yourself with this classic if you don’t!)

Tobey Maguire is the perfect Nick Carraway, the fresh-faced narrator and witness to the escapades to come.  His cousin Daisy Buchanan is played by Carey Mulligan.  Her fragile beauty and breezy indifference add depth to this shallow character.  The real standout performances for me were Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson.

Fans of the 1974 Francis Ford Coppola version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and a more genteel portrayal of Fitzgerald’s novel need not despair.  The 2013 version is different enough not to diminish its importance.  Luhrmann is famous for lavish spectacles and he does not disappoint.  The party scenes are a feast for the senses.  The true depth to the decadence of the times is felt more than in any other film adaptation.  Whether you’re a die-hard Fitzgerald fan or not, this one is a must see!

 

The Diviners June 3, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

the-divinersIt’s 1926.  The height of the Jazz Age.  Evie O”Neill arrives fresh from Ohio in NYC to live with her Uncle Will Fitzgerald.  He just happened to be curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (locally know as the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies).  Coincidentally, Uncle Will is consulting on the recent spate of serial murders  gripping the city.  Evie soon finds herself thrust in the midst of the investigations into the Pentagram Killer.

A varied cast of characters including Ziegfeld girl Theta Knight, Evie’s best friend Mabel Rose and erstwhile pickpocket Sam Lloyd all become embroiled in the supernatural goings on.  Memphis Campbell and his younger brother Isaiah possess certain gifts similar to Evie’s.  Uncle Will’s assistant Jericho Jones may be hiding secrets as well.  Can Evie and co. solve the mystery and put an end to the killings before Naughty John makes quick work of them all?

Filled with more nifty lingo than you can shake a stick at, The Diviners is the cat’s pajamas!  Libba Bray has done it again, masterfully blending insidious horror with hilarious moments, and a hint of romance.  Evie O’Neill is “pos-i-lutely” an instant classic heroine.

“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on.  Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ‘em off for a coupla stones.”

 

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh

jeppwhodefiedthestarsJepp, Who Defied the Stars is the tale of an 16th century teenager with dwarfism and the uncertain path his life takes.  Urged by nobleman Don Diego, Jepp agrees to leave his loving mother and Astraveld, the only home he’s known.  He is unwittingly captured and sold to the Infanta Isabella and taken to the Palace of Coudenberg in the Spanish Netherlands.  Here Jepp is subjected to the humiliating role of court jester.  Among his companions are several other dwarfs.  He quickly becomes enamored with the beautiful Lia.  Not resigned to such indignations, Jepp attempts escape several times.  He and Lia make one last attempt, only resulting in her untimely death, for which Jepp feels responsible.

He is eventually “sold” to Tycho Brach and travels to Uraniborg.  Here he is kept at his master’s feet and fed scraps like a dog under the table.  Curiosities abound at Brahe’s home, like the huge Elk that roams the halls and shares a stall with Jepp.  Soon Brahe’s daughter discovers Jepp is not all he appears.  He reads Latin and is the intellectual equivalent of any astronomer there and soon begins to assist the scientists.  Not one to settle down for too long, Jepp must travel back to his home and revisit ghosts from his past before he can truly embrace his future.

An engrossing and unique tale that asks the question is our fate determined or do we have free will and the ability to change what is written in the stars.

 

Tamagotchi L.I.F.E app

Filed under: Tech Talk — Heather @ 4:16 pm
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tamagotchiRewind the clock to the late 1990s – Tamagotchis are back!  The free app from Bandai Co. can be downloaded to Android smartphones.  For those of you that loved the original plastic egg-shaped toy, this app is a must.

The same rules apply when taking care of your Tamagotchi.  You are responsible for the care of a virtual pet.  Yes, this includes feeding, exercise, and even poop scooping.  Constant attention is needed or you’ll find  your critter has virtually croaked.

The addition of games that increase the happiness of your pet are  included on this app.  Look for that same pixelated appearance, but now in color.  Cuteness abounds, but be mindful this game is a time sucker, just like the toy.

Now available for iPhones and iPads.

 

 
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