Monday, September 3, 2012

Last Week's Reading

Last week was the first week of the new school year, so my reading time has definitely been cut down. Even though I don't get to spend the whole day reading, I did manage to finish seven books. (Granted, that included my reading time over this holiday weekend.) I'm trying to read some of the newer books for the library, some advanced copies of books to be published later this year or early next year, and get to some older books that I've always wanted to read.

I'll start with one of my favorites of the week --
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faerie king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faerie creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I've been hearing about this series for a while, but I hadn't read any of them until this past week. Wow! I was impressed with this one. This is one for those readers who love faeries. I totally got into the story of Meghan and her introduction to the faerie world of her father. It does contain a love triangle, but I wouldn't categorize this book as a romance. For me, it seemed more like a fantasy-adventure. I do like Kagawa's take on the faerie world and the "Iron King," but I can't believe it's another series that I'll have to finish to find out what happens. ::Sigh::  I gave it a 'B' -- not perfect, but lots of fun for the reader. 

One of the graphic novels I read this week was a cute one for younger readers -
Batula by Steven Seagle and illustrated by Marco Cinello

Livingston is a peaceful fruit bat whose life changes when he is bitten by a vampire and transformed into a vampire bat! As Batula - an avenging creature of the night - Livingston develops a taste for adventure and a need to prove that no matter what he looks like on the outside, he's still the same bat on the inside.

Told with beautiful, colored illustrations and a small amount of text, this graphic novel will be popular for younger readers. Those that love superheroes will especially love it. I gave it a 'C+' -- I just wanted a bit more to the story and not as simplistic. It'll be popular anyway.

The Vampire Diaries : The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith

Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants. 

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past. 

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her. 

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

I honestly didn't expect much when I started this, and that's about what I got. It's predictable, and frankly, boring at points. I'm *over* the vampire books and was just curious to find out if this series had anything to make it special. Not really. I thought it very average and bland, a 'C.'

Dark Matter, Volume 1 by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie

A derelict ship floats in space, its troubled crew awakened from stasis with no memories of who they are or how they got on board. Their search for answers triggers the vessel's deadly security system: a relentless android bent on their destruction. Facing threats at every turn, they have to work together to survive a voyage charged with vengeance, redemption, betrayals, and hidden secrets best left unknown.

Science-fiction veterans Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, best known for their work on television's Stargate franchise and the new Transporter: The Series, create a new and exciting universe!

* By Stargate series writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie!

* Classic science fiction for fans of AliensStargate, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I received this egalley from Dark Horse Comics via Netgalley and I'm glad I gave it a chance. It's a great story, and I love the mystery. I know it's a bit violent but for the world of comics, I'd say it's rather tame. C+ Rating.

This book has a fabulous cover, which is probably why it's popular. I doubt I'll need to sell it to patrons, the cover will do it.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

Another book that had faeries in it this week! I had to consciously forget the faerie world of The Iron King once I realized it too featured faeries and a faerie prophecy. I probably shouldn't have read them so close together. Other than that... Super book. I really liked Evie and a world filled with paranormals. Silly humans -- we just blindly go about our business daily without realizing that we live and work with paranormals all around us. Ha! What a fun concept! For Evie to be a teen with the normal wants and desires while being this agent collecting vampires or werewolves was such a cool idea. I'm not sure how much boys will like this book, after all Evie spends a great deal of time obsessing over fashion, especially if it's the color pink, and a television teen drama. I really liked this one too, a 'B' read.

Notes from an Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne

Elsie Wyatt is a born French horn player, just like her father and her grandfather before her. In order to qualify for the prestigious summer music camp of her dreams, she must expand her musical horizons and join - gasp! - the marching band. There are no French horns in marching band (what the heck is a mellophone??), but there are some cute boys. And marching band is very different from orchestra: they march, they chant, they . . . cluck? Elsie is not so sure she'll survive, but the new friends she's making and the actual fun she's having will force her to question her dad's expectations and her own musical priorities.

I was sure hoping "Band Geek" was going to be as much fun as Dionne's The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, and I wasn't disappointed. I'll be honest here. I'm NOT musical, I wasn't in band in high school, I took piano lessons until third grade when my piano teacher told me I'd never really play, because my hands are small. (Yes they are. My 8-year-old nephew has larger hands than I.) It didn't really matter, because I could still relate to Elsie. The outsider with few friends who wants desperately to fit in. "Band Geek" is funny, it's inspiring, and yes, it's romantic. I sure hope that others have as much fun reading it as I did. A 'B+' rating.

And the last book I finished earlier today was another graphic novel -- 
Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro

Aliera Carstairs is back. This time she's got her cousin—and best friend—Caroline in tow, and the stakes are higher than ever. The realm of Seelie, the fairy kingdom of which Aliera is the hereditary defender, is under attack, and only Aliera and Caroline can set things right. Caroline, fragile and wheelchair-bound, may seem like more of a liability than an asset, but Aliera knows there's more to her quiet cousin than meets the eye. Curses! Foiled Again is Jane Yolen at her best, reunited with her partner in crime, the fabulously talented illustrator Mike Cavallaro.

This is the sequel to Foiled which won't be out until later this year. I received an egalley of it via Netgalley. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait for the book to be published to put it in the hands of my students. I think they will *love* it! The story is another exciting adventure, and the illustrations fit the story perfectly! Well done! A B+ rating.

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