Monday, April 30, 2012

Audio Magic

Some people got greedy when they went through the talent line.  As someone severely lacking in the areas of athleticism, musical ability and statistics, just to name a few, I acknowledge that this is a fact both sad and true.  A shining example of an overabundance of talent is Jim Dale.  Most people are familiar with him as the incredibly gifted narrator of the audio Harry Potter series; if you haven't listened to these on an endless road trip across the country, you are missing out! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Prince of Mist

After the Carver family moves from the city to a coastal area they encounter some mysterious happenings at their new home. There are strange stones, a graveyard and a creepy clown.  An old sunken ship off shore mysteriously reappears. An old man tells Max and Alicia an old story of revenge and how he sees life in three stages.  The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon takes place during wartime and starts out a little slow but soon builds up to be more frightening than I anticipated and I wanted to get to the end quickly.   I listened to the downloaded audio version from the library catalog and it had some wonderful sound effects such as crashing storms and ghostly sounds.  This added to the eerie and creepy factor of the book.  Instead of listening to the final chapters I read them and enjoyed the ending.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Survival in the Death Shop

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi had all the elements I like in a good dystopia; survival, conspiracies, special abilities, and a hint of romance.  Aria has lived her whole life in a protected dome.  A false accusation gets her exiled outside to what is commonly called the Death Shop because there are so many ways to die.  If she can survive, she wants to prove her innocence.  Perry is an Outsider, used to surviving in the harsh climate outside of the domes.  When his nephew is kidnapped, Perry is determined to get him back.  They each have something the other needs, which makes them reluctant allies.  But to succeed, they will need to survive all that the Death Shop throws at them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flights of Fantasy

The best part about anthologies and short story collections is finding an author you wouldn't have encountered otherwise.  And then devouring everything else that author or artist has ever written.  So pick up a copy of Flight, any of the volumes, and dive in.  There's something for everyone in this collection of indie comics edited by Kazu Kibuishi. 

The library has several comics by artists who've contributed short stories to Flight.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Deadly Serious Cat and Mouse Comic

Maus, by Art Spiegelman, was the first graphic novel I ever read. I was about twelve, I think, and I snuck it out of my brother's collection of comic books. There was just something different about it that caught my interest: it was a real book, heavy, with binding and a hard cover. Yeah, it was a comic book. But it wasn't like the Spiderman or Superman comics that I'd glanced at and found boring. It was a new way to look at a sad, serious subject: the Holocaust.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Last Town on Earth

How far would you go to protect someone you love?

Is it ever right to do something that would ordinarily be wrong?  If so, how do you know, and who has the right to make this decision? 

Can you do the wrong thing for the right reason?  Is it still wrong?

These are just some of the questions explored in Thomas Mullen's novel, The Last Town on Earth

Set in 1918, the novel explores these perennial moral questions against the backdrop of one of the most extreme epochs in modern history.  Despite President Wilson's promises, the United States has entered the world war.  By that time, millions of young men had spent four years trapped in the Western Front's bloody, unimaginable hell of bombs, mud, machine guns, disease and poison gas.

Just as the grueling war was being drawn to a close, thanks in part to thousands of fresh US troops, an epidemic of the deadly Spanish Influenza was being spread among civilians by soldiers returning from the front.  As described in some graphic detail my Mullen, one can hardly imagine a more horrible way to die than by this disease. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From Shelf to Screen

Does it seem to anyone else that all the movies coming out lately are all based on books? I'm not sure if it's because Hollywood just can't come up with anything or if it's because they are finally acknowledging that books can actually be entertaining. Either way, I hope it continues because there have been some great movies based on YA books& there are even more in the works. And no I won't be talking about "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games." My top three books-to-movie picks? "Fat Kid Rules the World," "It's Kind of a Funny Story," & "Holes."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Love in Writing

Can you fall in love without ever seeing a person? Dash and Lily are starting to think so, with the help of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithin.

Dash and Lily are two New York City teenagers, who've never met and aren't likely to. Both are on their own and at loose ends for Christmas. Then Dash finds Lily's notebook in the Strand bookshop, and what follows is a whirlwind romance on paper, as they dare each other to take on new and frightening experiences. Sheltered Lily goes to a wild concert. Cynical Dash has to visit Santa. Along the way, they realize that the perfect person may not exist, but sometimes you can get the person who is perfect for you.

Sweet, witty, and with unexpected emotional resonance, the third book from the two authors of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is another winner.

- Maureen K

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

If You Love Villains...

Specifically, James Bond-type villains, then you too might love the H.I.V.E. series by Mark Walden.  This series features several nods, nudges, and winks to Bond movies and books, but is told from the villain's side of the story.  Well, the villain-in-training's side, anyway. 

The series begins when the Higher Institute of Villianous Education abducts Otto Malpense to begin his training as a criminal mastermind - in a school hidden underneath a volcano!  Otto is less than pleased.  He'd prefer to be a criminal mastermind on his own terms, thank you very much.  So he plots an escape with the help of his new friends: a hacker, a cat-burglar, and a martial arts fighter.  Of course, things don't turn out as planned.

Personally, I'm crazy about any books that feature robots, lasers, science experiments gone wrong, shadowy overlords, kid geniuses, epic battles, computer masterminds, thrilling chase sequences, invisible jets, joy-riding in cars with rocket launchers, and a good dose of humor.  And the H.I.V.E. series has all of these and more.  I just can't tell you about the other cool stuff because of spoilers - and it's killing me, by the way, absolutely killing me.  But I can tell you that there are no sharks with lasers or butlers with killer hats, which would make me sad, except the series isn't over yet!  I have hope.