Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

BRR: The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

August 20, 2011


Series: The Leviathan Trilogy

Titles: Leviathan – Behemoth – Goliath

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Illustrator: Keith Thompson

Genre: Steampunk, Alternate History

First Impressions: What an awesome concept!  The story takes place in an alternate World War I.  The main difference?  Steam engines evolved early and in a big way, and are used by the Central Powers (mostly the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire), called Clankers in this series.  Whereas the Entente Powers (mostly Britain, France and the Russian Empire), here called the Darwinists, developed genetic engineering, and used it to create animals for war—an example being the Leviathan, which is basically a whale hydrogen airship with a delicate ecosystem.

Last Impressions: Leviathan moved a bit slower than I would have thought, given that it’s a war novel, but then you have to remember that it’s the first book—the world and characters need to be set up!  The two main characters, Deryn/”Dylan” (a Scottish girl posing as a boy to get into the British air force) and Alek (the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his commoner wife, Sophie—you may know them from their assassination that is thought to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and started WWI) don’t even meet until well into the first book.  Behemoth is where the story really takes off.  The final book in the trilogy, Goliath, is coming out September 30th of this year, and I cannot wait!  On a final note, you certainly don’t have to be a World War I aficionado to enjoy this series. In fact, Scott Westerfeld definitely takes some historical liberties—such as the fact that Alek is not a real person.

Thoughts on the book covers: LOVE the artwork of the first cover!!  It’s easily the reason I even looked at these books in the first place.  And then, randomly, they decided they were going to redo the covers with people on the front.  Now, I do like the cover for Goliath, but still not as much as the initial artwork.  I mean, don’t they ask a sample group or something about these things?!  Arg, oh well.  Anyway, can I just say I’m totally in love with Keith Thompson’s Darwinist vs. Clankers map (pictured at top)?  Go on, click on it; it’s awesome!  In fact, saunter on over to his website and click around (be aware there is some creepy slight nudity).  It reminds me a bit of something Guillermo del Toro (director of Pan’s Labyrinth) might put into a movie.

Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT): Probably when Deryn gets a kiss, and it’s most likely not who you think it’s from!

Least Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT): Not really a huge spoiler, but it was a little disappointing that Alek still doesn’t know Deryn is a girl by the end of Behemoth.

Dream Cast: Carey Mulligan as Deryn; Alexander Ludwig as Alek.

People who should read this: Anyone looking for a YA novel that’s a little different.  Boys, this means you, too!

If you like this book, you may also like: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

Please enjoy the following book trailer:

Manga: Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima

August 10, 2011

Fairy Tail Guild

Title: Fairy Tail
Author: Hiro Mashima (of Rave Master fame)
Publisher: Del Ray
Volumes: 17 in English so far (27 in Japanese–ongoing)
Publication: 2006-current
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Comedy
Anime: 2 seasons, 91 episodes in Japanese so far (FUNimation presently dubbing the English release)

Fairy Tail (no, that’s not a typo!) is one of the many magic guilds in the Kingdom of Fiore. They’re a bit of the Bad News Bears of the guilds, in that they’re often a laughing stock among the magic community—usually because of the mass destruction caused by its inhabitants—but are actually at the top of the league when given the chance.

Meet the main focus of the guild for this series:

Lucy Heartfilia – Celestial Spirit Magic (basically a summoner) – Lucy is a newcomer to the scene who saunters into Magnolia Town hoping to gain entrance into the Fairy Tale Guild. Lucy is caring, and very confident in her looks.

Natsu Dragneel – Fire Dragon Slayer Magic – Natsu is a typical male action hero: courageous, kind, hot-tempered and a bit of an idiot. He is one of the strongest mages at Fairy Tail power-wise, but due to his temperament and wild magic, his lack of control keeps him from being in the top tier (and often causes the aforementioned mass destruction!).

Happy – I’m not quite sure what exactly his magic is; I do know he can grow wings! – Happy appears to be a flying and talking blue cat, and happens to be Natsu’s best friend. He is knowledgeable, but can often be a bit cheeky.

Gray Fullbuster – Ice-Make Magic – Gray is Natsu’s main rival, but a part of “Team Natsu.” As opposed to Natsu’s hyper personality, Gray is very laid back—except when it comes to arguing with Natsu, it seems. Loyal and cautious, Gray also has the habit of unwittingly disrobing (yeah, I did just type that).

Erza Scarlet – Requip Magic (armor/weapons that can take different forms) – Erza is one of (if not the) most powerful mages in Fairy Tail. If I were to go full-dork, Erza’s alignment is definitely lawful good; she is honorable, smart and strict.

Fairy Tail does not have a main plot, and instead goes through story arcs. The art is detailed and perfect for this series’ format. But for me, the characters are absolutely what make the series so much fun. There is a fair amount of fan service, but honestly it’s so goofy that it’s hard to be offended even if it’s not your thing.

Extremely high entertainment value. Recommended for fans of series such as One Piece, Rave Master and Sands of Destruction.

Teen Review: Lily’s Pesky Plant

August 2, 2011

Title:  Lily’s Pesky Plant

Authors:  Kirsten Larsen and Judith Clarke

Review:  I am going to tell you about Lily’s Pesky Plant.  I think it is really good.  First, Lily wakes up and gets dressed.  Then she goes downstairs to eat.  Then she goes outside to go take care of her plants.  Finally she goes in the forest where she finds a seed.  So she takes it home and plants it to find out what it is.  The next day she saw her plant and it grew a lot.  Lily’s friend Iris had never seen a plant like it, and she knows all about plants.  Together they helped it grow.  It was so ugly everybody made fun of it.  Then it grew bigger the next day.  Then when Lily went downstairs people started to sneeze.  It was from the plant.  The next day it grew fruit.  It tasted like lemonade.  If you want to know more read this book.

Teen Reviewer:  Adrianna

***A big thanks to Adrianna for submitting another review!  Now we want to know all about this lemonade tasting fruit.  Yummo!!  The Summer Reading program ends this Thursday so get your logs turned in soon.  Remember, any teen who turns in a book review can add 75 points towards their grand total.  That’ll definitely help teens reach the goal quicker AND get them even closer to winning some fab prizes.  Read on.

Phantom of the Opera…yes it’s a book too.

August 1, 2011

So, there are so many of you out there that that are into gothic romance, or the so called supernatural romance. Don’t deny it; why do you think the Twilight Saga is so popular? Even one of my favorite YA novels: Beastly, is found, at Barnes and Noble, in the supernatural romance section. That’s right; they have a specific place for that. However, these ideas are not new, the idea of a gothic romance is an old time classic. This is why I would recommend for you gothic romance book lovers to check out Phantom of the Opera.

You’re saying: “Whaaa??? That’s a book? I thought it was just a movie with my man Gerard Butler.” Well, though it is a movie, it’s actually a movie based off the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber which is based off the book by Gaston Leroux. And you should thank Mr. Leroux for writing it; he normally wrote mystery novels, and he took a risk on this. And though his fans hated it, it’s the timeless classic that endures. And it gets better! Your library just so happens to have this book. I know, best news you heard all day? So, go ahead, check it out! And all the while, as your reading it, you can thank Leroux for giving your favorite Spartan a singing role.


BRR: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

July 22, 2011


Title: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Other books in series or Standalone: Standalone

First Impressions: I really enjoyed the other major novel that Cohn and Levithan co-wrote, called Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, so I was really looking forward to this one.  And the story sounded so fun!  Christmas fantatic Lily is bored while on vacation from school, so she leaves a red notebook on a bookstore shelf.  The notebook contains the beginning of a set of challenges for whoever finds it, kind of like a city-wide scavenger hunt.  When snarky Dash find the notebook, he is immediately sucked into the dares, and the two spend their Christmas Break trading the notebook back and forth by leaving it at the site of the last dare.

Last Impressions: This was, in fact, a really fun book.  I love the idea of the notebook and the dares, and if it was at all realistic I would totally do it!  Dash starts off sort of unlikeable and Lily borders on annoying sometimes, but through their interactions they grow and become more likeable characters, which I think is one mark of a good story.  And Cohn and Levithan do a great job at bringing New York to life, it really made me want to see it in the winter!

Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT):  I really enjoyed Dash’s initial finding of the notebook in The Strand….it’s pretty funny.  The ending is also very nice, but I won’t spoil it!

Least Favorite Moment:  Dash and Lily’s first attempt at meeting in person.  Major failure.

Thoughts on the bookcover: The cover is so pretty!  I love the falling snow (especially right now, in the dead of summer!) and all the hearts.  It’s a very nice “New York in winter” image.

An ideal place to read this book: On a cozy couch with a mug of hot cocoa. 

People who should read this:  Guys and girls can both enjoy this, since you’re getting the perspectives of both Dash and Lily.  If you’re looking for a unique love story, this is definitely for you.  And fans of Christmas and books about Christmas will find a lot to enjoy here.

If you like this book, you may also like:  Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle.

Teen Review: Silvermist and the Ladybug Curse

July 13, 2011

Silvermist and the Ladybug CurseTitle: Silvermist and the Ladybug Curse (Disney Fairies)
Author: Gail Herman
Illustrators: Adrienne Brown, Charles Pickens and Denise Shimabukuro
Teen Reviewer: Adrianna

This is a story about a girl named Silvermist who gets cursed.

First, she is just bored, but then she sees Vidia on a boat. She stands on the edge and talks to her. When she left, the boat fell over and got Vidia all wet so she cannot fly. Vidia called for help and Silvermist helped her. Some other fairies were coming, and they got mad at Silvermist and made fun of both her and Vidia. The two fairies were sad for a long time.

Then one day Silvermist thought she was cursed and so she went to the library. She saw a book about good luck, and wanted to find some good luck charms. But she could never find one. Then she thought she found one, but she did not. One day, she had to do a contest, and she found a good luck charm! If you want to know more then read this book :-)

Thank you for sharing your review, Adrianna! Remember that any teen who writes a review and turns it in at one of our 3 libraries will earn 75 points towards the grand total on their Summer Reading Program log. Thanks to all the teens that have turned them in so far!

BRR: The Time-traveling Fashionista

July 6, 2011


The Time Traveling Fashionista by Bianca TuretskyTitle: The Time-traveling Fashionista

Author: Bianca Turetsky


Other books in series or Standalone: right now it is a standalone, but the author’s bio in the back leads us to believe it will be a series!

First Impressions: Time travel plus fashion plus THE TITANIC? YES PLEASE! I have always loved the idea of clothing being a sciencefictionish technological instrument either as an invisibility cloak, or a magical pair of flattering jeans, or dresses that transport the wearer to another time. Bravo should totally do a Sci-Fi version of Project Runway…

Last Impressions: I liked the book, but I thought it was a bit predictable. However, the main character, Louise, was very sweet and passionate about pursuing her hobby of collecting vintage clothing. I totally want to be friends with her so we can put on flapper dresses and have dance parties (however, I would prefer NOT to put on Edwardian dresses and hang out on doomed, sinking ships with her…)

Image from the Putnam Museum's High School Guide to the Titanic Artifact ExhibitFavorite Part (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT): I loved when Louise and Ann (a maid on the Titanic) visited the ship’s gymnasium–I know! Who knew the Titanic had a gym? Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio never hung out in there. The thought of working out in mountains of underclothes, a corset, a long dress, gloves and jewelry kinda makes me wanna fall over…My other favorite part was the fashion illustrations by Sandra Suy! SO GLAMOROUS! And tragic. I found that learning about the clothing worn by the Titanic’s victims and survivors made the tragedy feel that much more human.

Least Favorite Part: It took sooooo long for Louise to realize that she was on the Titanic which made me very very anxious (and slightly annoyed).

Thoughts on the bookcover: Beautiful! I am always a sucker for covers with beautiful dresses and I am LOVING the current trend of using a hand-lettered look for the title. The cover looks fun and shiny and romantic–just like the story!

An ideal place to read this book: while you are waiting in line for the AMAZING Titanic Exhibit at the Putnam Museum!

Dream Cast: Louise would be played by Sierra McCormick of Disney’s new show, ANT Farm, or Joey King who played Ramona in Ramona & Beezus.

People who should read this: Although enjoyed by all ages, I would say this book would most interest younger teens. Especially those into fashion or history (or both!)

If you like this book, you may also like: Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl, Cinderella Cleaners by Maya Gold or anything by Ann Rinaldi