divinersOne of my favorite Young Adult books that I’ve read recently is The Diviners by Libba Bray.  Set in the Roaring ’20s, it’s about a teen girl named Evie O’Neill who is sent away from her Ohio hometown after an incident at a party.  Shipped off to live with her uncle in New York, Evie is secretly thrilled at the prospect of life in the big city.  The excitement begins immediately when the police seek out the help of her uncle, the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, in the hope that he can help solve a series of disturbing occult-related murders.  The possessor of secret supernatural gifts, Evie gets more than she bargained for when she is quickly tangled up in the investigation and begins to suspect that the killer is no ordinary man.

Despite all the glowing reviews I read, I was hesitant to pick up this book at first because it is HUGE.  Luckily we had a copy of the audio book on shelf, which seemed less daunting, and I am so glad that I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed the setting and thought that Libba Bray did a great job of making the time period come to life for the reader.  I’m not usually up for creepy stories at all, but from minute one I was completely hooked on this engrossing tale couldn’t wait to find out what happened to the compelling characters next.  The Diviners is the first book in a planned quartet, and I can’t wait for the next installment in the series!  While I’m waiting, I think I’ll have to pick up a few of her other books like A Great and Terrible Beauty, Going Bovine, or Beauty Queens.

mistbornI read a review of this book that described it as “Lord of the Rings meets Ocean’s Eleven”, and I just knew it would be love at first page.  In Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, the Final Empire has been taken over by the evil Lord Ruler and much of the population has been enslaved.  The oppressed citizens of the Final Empire (known as Skaa) are forced to work in the Pits of Hathsin mining the most valuable metals in the land for the Lord Ruler’s personal treasury.  No Skaa has ever escaped the Pits….until now.

Kelsier is no ordinary Skaa; he is a Mistborn, a type of Allomancer who is gifted with special powers when he ingests metals.  After using his powers to escape the Pits, Kelsier vows revenge on the Lord Ruler.  He begins to assemble a team of other Allomancers, which includes a young girl named Vin who is just discovering her powers as a Mistborn.  Together, they devise the ultimate heist  in order to remove the Lord Ruler from power and free the people of the Final Empire.

This was such a fun book to read; it is fast-paced and exciting, and the magic system is unique and fascinating.  Sanderson’s impressive world building made the Final Empire really come alive.  And bonus, the trilogy is already completed!  As soon as you finish Mistborn you can check out copies of The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages right away instead of having to wait years and years for the thrilling conclusion.

Did you rush out to the theaters to see Beautiful Creatures, Warm Bodies, and Safe Haven after reading the novels?  Here are even more upcoming films based on books.  Visit the library to check them out before seeing the movies!

admissionAdmission by Jean Hanff Korelitz – “Thirty-eight-year old Portia Nathan, a Princeton University admissions officer, must decide whether or not to confront the truth when a life-altering decision from her past resurfaces.”  The movie stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd and hits theaters on March 13th.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer – “A member of a species that takes over the minds of human bodies, Wanderer is unable to disregard his host’s love for a man in hiding, a situation that forces both possessor and host to become unwilling allies.”  The bestselling follow-up to Twilight stars Saoirse Ronan and is in theaters March 29th.

greatgatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – “Jay Gatsby had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan, then lost her to a rich boy. Now, mysteriously wealthy, he is ready to risk everything to woo her back.”  The film, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire, is in theaters May 10th.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz – “‘The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.’ But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant.”  Starring Willem Dafoe and Anton Yelchin.  In theaters April 5th.

all book descriptions from publishers

homelandShowtime’s critically acclaimed series Homeland stars Claire Danes as CIA counterterrorism agent Carrie Mathison, who has just received startling information from one of her contacts: an American POW has been turned.  Months later, US Marine Nicholas Brody (played expertly by Damian Lewis) is found alive in Afghanistan after being presumed dead for eight years.  Though his return is heralded as a great victory and he is touted as a war hero, Carrie is certain that he is working for al-Qaeda.  She goes behind the back of her superiors, setting up illegal surveillance equipment in Brody’s house and monitoring him at all times, doggedly pursuing the truth at any cost.

I could give you a list a mile long of adjectives describing how great this show is (compelling, thrilling, captivating, mind-blowing, etc.), but nothing I can think of really does it justice.  The acting, particularly Danes in her portrayal of a very zealous woman suffering from bipolar disorder, is absolutely superb.  The story will grab ahold of you and not let you go, with twists and turns that constantly keep you guessing where Brody’s allegiance lies.  I finished the entire first season of this show in about two days because I couldn’t stand to not be watching it.  I highly recommend picking up a copy of this series, but make sure you plot out several hours of free time to watch it.  Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

the-rookAs soon as I saw this book described as “The Bourne Identity meets The X-Men”, I knew I had to read it.  In The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up on a rainy street in London, having clearly been beaten to a pulp.  The bigger problem?  She has no idea who she is.  Luckily her past self was prepared for this to happen, because in her jacket pocket Myfanwy finds a letter that directs her to a bank, where she will have two choices: safe deposit box #1 contains lots of money and everything she needs for a new identity, and safe deposit box #2 contains information about who she is and what happened to her.  After being attacked for a second time, Myfanwy opts to learn the secrets of safe deposit box #2: she is part of a secret government organization called The Chequy, comprised of British citizens with supernatural abilities, working together to protect the country from its more unusual threats.  Moreover, past-Myfanwy is certain that a fellow member of The Chequy is the one who ordered the attack on her.  With nothing but a big stack of letters from her past self, Myfanwy must protect the country from imminent danger all while trying to protect herself from a threat close to home.

This was a really fun concept for a book, and I liked the main character a lot.  She’s really snarky and funny, particularly when she’s re-learning about her powers or trying to cover up the fact that she’s lost her memory (and doing a poor job at it).  However, I almost didn’t finish this book because it’s a LOT longer than it needs to be.  Much of the first half moves pretty slowly with at least one subplot that could have easily been disposed of.  Luckily things picked up at the halfway point, and I couldn’t help but tear through it all the way to the exciting end.

argoAwards season is in full swing!  On Sunday, January 13th, the Golden Globes were handed out for films and television series.  Here are some of the winners that you can find at our three locations!

Movies

Argo for Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director (Ben Affleck)

Brave for Best Animated Feature Film

 

Television

homelandHomeland for Best Drama, Best Actress in a Drama (Claire Danes), and Best Actor in a Drama (Damian Lewis)

Girls for Best Comedy and Best Actress in a Comedy (Lena Dunham)

House of Lies for Best Actor in a Comedy (Don Cheadle)

Downton Abbey for Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Smith)

 

downtonGame Change for Best Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie, Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie (Julianne Moore), and Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris)

Hatfields & McCoys for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie (Kevin Costner)

By popular demand, the library now has Nintendo DS games available for checkout!  Instead of spending tons of money on new games for your kids (or yourself!), now you can check them out for free.  These games (as well as our games for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3) check out for one week and can’t be renewed or placed on hold, but feel free to stop in and see what we have in stock.

Here are a few of the Nintendo DS games we have added to the collection:

New Super Mario Bros.

Mario Kart DS

Pokemon Black and White Versions

Scribblenauts

Plants Vs. Zombies

 

Lego Star Wars

Mario Party DS

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 and 5-7

Dragon Quest IX

Chrono Trigger

 

More novels will be making their way to the big screen this holiday season!  Before you head to the theater, pick up the book version from the library.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: “Embracing a philosophy that life is a movie produced by God, neural health patient Pat Peoples endeavors to win back his estranged wife by making strategic sacrifices and coordinating their communications through a depressed widow.”  The film version starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is now in theaters.

Team of Rivals: The Poilitical Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin: “An analysis of Abraham Lincoln’s political talents identifies the character strengths and abilities that enabled his successful election above three accomplished candidates, in an account that also describes how he used the same abilities to rally former opponents in forming his cabinet and winning the Civil War.”  The film Lincoln, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis and covers part of this book, is now in theaters.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien: “Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.” The film, which stars Martin Freeman as well as many returning cast members from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is in theaters on December 14th.

One Shot by Lee Child: “Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher is called in by James Barr, a man accused of a lethal sniper attack that leaves five people dead, and teams up with a young defense attorney to find an unseen enemy who is manipulating events.”  The film adaptation, titled Jack Reacher, stars Tom Cruise and is in theaters on December 21.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: “Trying to forget his past and live an honest life, escaped convict Jean Valjean risks his freedom to take care of a motherless young girl during a period of political unrest in Paris.”  The film stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe and will be in theaters Christmas Day.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac: “This counterculture classic records the escapades of members of the beat generation as they seek pleasure and meaning while traveling coast to coast.”  Starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart, the film can be seen in theaters on December 21st.

*all book descriptions are from the publishers

I love Greek mythology, so after reading some glowing reviews I was excited to read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.  The novel follows young Patroclus, a prince who has been exiled from his homeland for accidentally killing a local boy who was threatening him.  He is sent to Pthia to be fostered by King Peleus, and it is there where he meets Peleus’s son, the boy who is destined to become The Best of the Greeks, Achilles.  While Patroclus is small and weak, Achilles is everything that a prince should be: handsome, strong, and even a half-god.  Despite this, Achilles sees something in Patroclus and takes him under his wing.  The two quickly bond and spend all of their time together, growing close during their studies.  But when Menelaus’s beautiful wife Helen is stolen from him by the Trojan prince Paris, a promise that Patroculs made in his youth comes back to haunt him, and he and Achilles are thrown into a war that neither of them expected.

Even those familiar with The Iliad and Greek mythology, despite knowing how the story will end, won’t be bored reading it.  At its heart is the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles; the characters have been made complex and intriguing by Miller, and it makes their story incredibly moving and heartfelt.  It is a beautiful story of war, love, and loss that you won’t be able to put down.

Looking for something to get you in the Halloween spirit?  What’s better than a good zombie story?  The Walking Dead has aired two seasons on AMC so far and the library owns both.  Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma after being shot on duty to discover that while he was asleep, the world has changed.  At least half of the population has been wiped out.  There’s no more government, no military, and none of the comforts of the world he remembers.  And what’s more, all those people who have died have woken back up as bloodthirsty zombies.  Rick must struggle to survive and find his family who he knows must still be alive.

I’m not usually into scary or gory stuff, but this series is so compelling that I was immediately hooked.  It reminds me of my all-time favorite show, Battlestar Galactica; at its heart, The Walking Dead is a drama about how people deal with the destruction of their world and figure out how to survive while still dealing with the issues of their past.  If you can’t get your hand on a copy of the DVDs, the library also owns the graphic novels that the show is based on.