Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: Rigoberto Gonzalez & Benjamin Alire Saenz

Oh.  My.  Goddess!  The Tucson Festival of Books is right around the corner, and I’m getting excited about the Library’s participation, including my role as a moderator!  I’m honored to be hosting the program “Latino Writers in Conversation” with award-winning authors Rigoberto González and Benjamin Alire Sáenz, who will discuss their work, lives, and cultural identities.
Rigoberto González is the author of the Mariposa Club trilogy (the third installment, Mariposa U, will be published this year), which has some of the most hilarious characters.  Ever!  The Fierce Foursome—Maui, Trini, Isaac, and Liberace – are determined to make their own permanent mark during their last year at school by creating Caliente Valley High’s very first LGBT club, The Mariposa Club.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is the author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which instantly became my favorite new book of all time.  It is so beautifully written, it’s like poetry, but not the kind of boring, awful, class assignment poetry everyone pretends to like, but the kind of poetry that really moves and amazes you!  I almost did not want it to end, except, of course, I wanted to know how it ended…
This blog is from Toby Wehner, Library Associate at Joel D. Valdez Main Library.  You may see him in his tie-dyed shirts and rainbow sneakers on the Bookbike en route to Wingspan’s EON Youth Group for a monthly visit.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan Beautiful and the Cursed is a paranormal gothic thriller full of mystery and romance that takes place in Paris in 1899. What is so intriguing is it introduces gargoyles who come to life. Ingrid and her younger sister Gabby, together with their mother, have moved from London to Paris to live in an abbey purchased by their brother Grayson. When they arrive they find out Grayson has mysteriously disappeared. In their search for Grayson, the sisters find out that there is an unseen world in Paris filled with gargoyles who protect humans and kill demons. There are hellhounds who are stalking and killing young women and angels who command the gargoyles. Luc, the handsome servant, is actually a gargoyle assigned to protecting the humans at the abbey. He finds Ingrid tantalizing and can sense something mysterious about her. Ingrid is determined to find her brother and drawn to Luc. Can a human and a gargoyle fall in love? Gabby discovers the Alliance, a group of humans in Paris, who are also fighting the demons and aware of the gargoyles. She wants to learn how to fight and rescue her brother. Vander and Nolan of the Alliance want to help the beautiful sisters find their brother and keep them from trouble. I enjoyed reading The beautiful and the Cursed, especially learning the mythology of gargoyles. I can say that I love these gargoyles. They are noble protectors and pretty "hot" too.

Page Morgan is coming to Tucson next month on Saturday and Sunday, March 15th and 16th for the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona. She is going to be in a couple of panels. Read her book and go talk to her about gargoyles.
  • Deadly Attractions: Dark Romantic Adventures-- Sat, Mar 15, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm 
  • Teen and Author Meeting Place --Sun, Mar 16, 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
  • Writing for the YA Market--Sun, Mar 16, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Jinx's Magic by Sage Blackwood (a.k.a. Yay Sequels!)

After reading Jinx by Sage Blackwood (and blogging about it), I was really excited about the upcoming sequel.  Sometimes I get too excited and then the sequel is a let-down.  But not this time!  Jinx's Magic is just as good, if not better, than I had hoped. 

The evil Bonemaster has been sealed away, but the seal won't last.  The wizard Simon goes off to battle him once more, but something goes wrong.  And now, in order to save Simon, Jinx has to travel to a land where using magic will get you killed and ... go to school.  He's really not happy about this.  On top of that, a former friend is now threatening the forest Jinx calls home, war is starting, and why is a spectacle-wearing werewolf following Jinx around? 

This is the second book in the trilogy and it works like most middle books: the action intensifies, the bad guys get badder, betrayal and intrigue abound, and the hero learns some cool new tricks.  The world around the forest of Urwald gets explored, fun new characters are introduced, and elves turn out to be terrifying.  All in all, I can't wait for the next book!

~ Book Ninja

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Book CoverIn Perfect Escape, Kendra has always known she has to be the perfect child. Her older brother's crippling OCD creates enough problems for her family without her adding to them. She has the perfect friends, the perfect grades, and the perfect future. But keeping perfection going is hard.

When Grayson returns unexpectedly from residential treatment, right as Kendra's life is falling apart, she impulsively decides to hit the road. She gets in her crappy car and heads to California in search of an old friend, and she takes an unwilling Grayson with her.

Since I have two brothers of my own, my favorite part of this book was the relationship between the brother and sister. Kendra and Grayson snipe at each other, have private jokes, and remember stories of childhood. While they have real problems that no road trip is going to fix, their sibling bond is strong enough to help them face just about anything.

-Maureen K.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Every Day by David Levithan

Author David Levithan is challenging all your ideas about identity. In the book Every Day, the author of seventeen books of fiction since 2003 including Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is helping us to see the person inside, by repeatedly changing the outside. How can you know who you are when you inhabit a different body each day? The main character, “A”, wakes up each day in a different bed, in a different life. Think about what that must be like. Every morning you must quickly access that day’s person’s memories to find out what his or her situation is, who their friends are and what type of person they are. Always being careful to say the right things, act how they would act.

Then you meet Rhiannon, you get to spend one day as her boyfriend, Justin. But you want more. So every day, no matter who you are, you come up with a way to spend more time with her. Every day a different gender, ethnicity, socio-economic class. Every day, you are somebody new. For one day each, you are the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal. Male, female, straight, gay, rich, poor. And every day, you are treated differently by those around you, but inside all those images and postures and labels, you are still you. This is the way you grew up and have always been, so who you are is not based on what you look like.

All the lives and lines are completely blurred in this thought-provoking teen book from 2012.

- Guest Blogger Mike S.