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Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Embrace

by Jessica Shirvington

Violet is just like every other girl about to turn seventeen years old.  At least she thought she was.  As her birthday approaches, Violet starts having some pretty disturbing dreams.  Then her dad gives her a gift that was promised to her on her seventeenth birthday by her mother that has passed away.  This gift is the start of Violet uncovering her true nature and why her mother died.  Violet is a Grigori: a protector of humanity who is half human and half angel.  However, Violet can give up her Grigori nature and go on being a normal teen.  She has to choose whether or not she wants to embrace her powers.  If she embraces her Grigori power, she becomes a warrior in an epic battle between the protectors of humanity (the Grigori) and the angels who have been exiled from heaven and who want to overtake the human race (the Exiles).  Making her choice a difficult one is her good friend, crush, and training partner Lincoln.  Violet discovers that he is also a Grigori and would be her Grigori partner if she chooses to embrace.  What will Violet choose?  And does she really even have a choice?

Embrace is a fast past and exciting read for anyone who likes epic supernatural books.  And don’t be turned off by the whole angel story line–the angels in Embrace range to truly evil to truly kick-butt.  What I really liked about this book, though, was the character of Violet.  It is hard to believe that a character who has to choose between being normal and being a powerful angel of protection would be easy to relate to, but Violet is!  The supporting characters are all pretty interesting too.  As Violet learns more and more about the Grigori world, she meets a whole range of Grigori, some who have been living for hundreds of years.  Also, to add another level of interesting to this book–it was originally published in Australia and while it doesn’t necessarily take place in a specific area of Australia, there is that feel of the Australian way of life throughout the novel.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on January 10, 2013 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Staff Pics, Supernatural/Paranormal

Teeny-tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec

Teeny-tiny Mochimochi 

by Anna Hrachovec

If you know how to knit and love tiny things, then you should checkout the book Teeny-tiny Mochimohci!  You’ll find over thirty different tiny creations to make.  There’s tiny animals, tiny edibles, tiny humanoids, and more.  There are a ton of photos of these cute creations, as well as step by step instructions on how to create most of them.  Even if you are still learning to knit or if you don’t know how to knit at all, these creations are so cute and fun to look at!  For example, here’s the tiny cupcake:

And the tiny gnomes:

You can also check out the Mochimochi Land website: http://mochimochiland.com/

There’s a blog that you can follow, some additional how to instructions for all things knitting and stitching, and a gallery that features some of Anna Hrachovec’s creations as well as creations submitted by fans of Mochimochi.  Right now the results of the Mochimochi Land photo contest have been posted on the blog.  Here’s the winner:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on December 20, 2012 Categories: Crafts, Nonfiction, Staff Pics

Teen Boat by Dave Roman and John Green

Teen Boat: the angst of being a teen–the thrill of being a boat!

by Dave Roman and John Green

Teen Boat is a collection of comics that follows a boy named Teen Boat, who is seemingly your average teen guy, but who has the unique ability to transform into a boat.  As you can imagine, this comic collection is filled with hilarious adventures where Teen Boat gets into trouble because of his unique ability.  One of the funniest escapades chronicles Teen Boat trying to get his driver’s license.  Teen Boat is not comfortable in cars (because, duh, he’s a boat), so he puts off getting his license.  However, he wants to impress a girl at school who is really into cars, so he decides to try and get his license.  He has to wear floaties when he starts to learn how to drive, though, because he is so scared.  Then, when he takes the test, he spills his instructors coffee.  The coffee spills into Teen Boat’s ear, which holds his nerve center for turning into the boat.  Since liquid has hit his Teen Boat nerve, he turns into a boat inside the car!  Teen Boat is now a boat with a car underneath him.  He looses control and crashes into a semi carrying a tanker of gas.  Is this the end of Teen Boat!?  You’ll have to pick up this laugh out loud comic to find out.

Writer, Dave Roman, and cartoonist, John Green, have created a very interesting and easy to read collection of comics that, I have to admit, I have not seen or heard anything like this before.  The style of the art of Teen Boat reminds me of Archie comics.  It is a traditional comic, thankfully in color, but Green adds to Roman’s sidesplitting, humorous writing by adding his own funny imagery.  Check out some of the art style of Teen Boat below.  Included at the end of this book is the description of the creation process between Roman and Green.  They both worked very closely on Teen Boat, and there was a lot of back and forth between the author and the cartoonist.  You can really tell how much they were both in sync when creating this comic.  Teen Boat is definitely a great read for those who like out there comics that are filled with humor and ridiculousness.  Click here to find Teen Boat in the Library!

 

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on November 20, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Funny, Graphic Novel, Staff Pics

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

Pirate Cinema

by Cory Doctorow

Set in a near future dystopian Britain, Pirate Cinema centers on Trent McCauley.  Trent is an average teenage guy, with an obsession for creating movies.  Not the regular “point the camera and action!” movies, though.  Trent takes footage from old movies (his favorite are old films starring the popular actor, Scot Colford) and splices them together to create a new movie.  What Trent does is technically illegal under copyright law.  But Trent just can’t stop making his movies, and he knows what he creates are really good.  Trent just assumes that since everyone illegally downloads movies, music, and whatever else, as long as he is careful he will be fine.  However, Trent is not careful and he gets caught.  As punishment, his entire family cannot access the Internet for an entire year.  This means his sister can’t do her homework and continue to be an A student, his mom can’t get her medical prescriptions, and worst of all his dad cannot work.  Trent is ashamed and feels so guilty that he runs away from home to the streets of London.

One his first day on the streets he meets Jem, a street kid that helps him survive.  Jem and Trent actually do pretty well for themselves.  They find food for free from the dumpsters of grocery stores and restaurants and they find an abandoned pub that they refurbish and are able to live in (illegally).  They are so comfortable, in fact, that Trent is able to start making his movies again and soon he finds himself being recognized in the underground  pirating culture of London.  Trent’s underground fame, however, gets him involved with a political movement that wants to legalize downloading and copying licensed works for creative use.  Is Trent in over his head, or is he just the right person to take this movement all the way to Parliament?

The main focus of this Pirate Cinema is technology, piracy, fair use, and the right to creative expression.  However, this  novel is packed with a  ton of interesting issues.  There’s the drama of Trent living on the streets and learning how to survive, the family issues that Trent has to deal with, and there is even a love interest for Trent.  You should definitely pick this book up if you are interested in technology, especially when it comes to fair use and creative expression.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on November 16, 2012 Categories: Dystopian, Fiction, Guys Reads, Staff Pics

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14

by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 is a book that will have you hooked from page one.  This novel begins as Dean and his younger brother Alex are getting ready for school.  Both begin their day by catching their separate school buses.  This average morning is torn apart, though, with a hail storm.  They begin as tiny pellets but quickly become football sized hail that come crashing down, tearing the bus up.  Both Dean and Alex’s bus drivers attempt to find shelter in the local Greenway store.  Alex’s bus crashes right through the front doors, while Dean’s bus just plain crashes.  Fourteen kids and one of the bus drivers survive.  They barracade themselves in the Greenway for shelter.  When the bus driver leaves to find help, the six teens and eight children are left to take care of themselves.  At first they think it will be temporary, however, they soon learn  that a super-volcano has set off a chain of natural disasters and they may be stuck in the Greenway for awhile.  The up side: they have everything they could ever want, including a pizzeria.  The down side: they don’t know that is happening on the outside or even if their families are still alive.  As the days pass, more and more things go wrong, and they have to decide: is it better to stay safe in the Greenway as long as possible and wait to get rescued, or do they risk leaving to find their families not knowing what is on the outside?

This novel is full of action, and it definitely packs a punch.  There is a ton of thrilling suspense, and it really makes you question what you would do if you were in the position of these teens and kids.  Monument 14 is also really hard to predict.  Sometimes when you read a book you see what is coming, but not in Monument 14!  I was surprised with every turn of the page, and I definitely was left guessing all the way until the last pages.  Be warned, though!  This ending is a huge cliffhanger!  But there will be a sequel.  Definitely pick this book up if you like action or survival stories, and if you like to read post-apocalyptic books.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on November 8, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Staff Pics

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

The Butterfly Clues

by Kate Ellison

Since Lo’s brother disappeared, she cannot stop the counting.  Multiples of 3 are the safe numbers that mean everything is going to be OK.  Lo has also taken to wandering the streets of Neverland, the gritty area of Cleveland that is just a bus ride away from her family’s home in the posh suburb of Lakewood.  While wandering she also takes things.  Things that will make everything OK.  While stealing an angel statue from the front step of a worn down house, Lo hears a gunshot.  When Lo later learns that the gunshot was one that killed a young stripper named Sapphire, Lo must find out why the girl was murdered.  Lo delves deep into Neverland to unravel the mystery, with only her counting to protect her.  It is there that she meets Flint, a runaway, who sees something in Lo that no one else does.  Together they try to discover who murdered Sapphire.  However, in Neverland you cannot trust anyone.  

The Butterfly Clues is an intricately woven mystery that will keep you guessing all the way up to the last chapter.  Lo is a hard character to read.  She lives in fear everyday and her compulsive behaviors prevent her from being a normal girl.  However, as you get to know Lo better you see how strong she really is.  The relationship that develops between Lo and Flint is pretty interesting too, since you never really know what Flint’s role was in Saphhire’s life.  There’s more than one mystery to this story, so definitely pick this up if you like to read an excellent mystery novel.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on October 23, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Staff Pics

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

The Plain Janes

by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

Jane was in the heart of Metro City when there was a terrorist attack.  Lucky to survive, Jane’s parents move to the suburbs for a more “safe” place to live.  In a new town and a new high school, Jane is not only alone, she is also bored by suburban life.  So, on her first day of school, Jane is surprised to find three other Janes who are all friends and eat lunch together.  Jane asks to join them and instantly finds friendship.  Each of the Janes has their own unique personalities and together they all just fit.  To fight the boredom of suburban life Jane rallies the other Janes to form P.L.A.I.N., or People Loving Art in Neighborhoods.  They create art installations all over their suburban town to challenge people’s everyday notions of what art can be.  Some residents like the art, however, there are those who are outraged and frightened of it and start calling the installations “art attacks”.   What does this mean for the Janes?  Do they continue their installations, risking arrest?  Or worse?

The Plain Janes is a great graphic novel for anyone who is interested in art and how it can challenge our everyday beliefs or thoughts.  It is also a good read for anyone who has felt like an outcast.  It really shows how you can take the things that make you unique, and instead of being negative about them, you embrace them and try and challenge people with your ideas.

Also, the art in The Plain Janes really matches the plot of the story.  The black and white drawings add to the drama of the of the terrorist attack, Jane’s first day of school, and the sneaking around when creating the art installations.  However, I do wish the art installations could have been in color!  The characters are portrayed very realistically, which helps to add the idea that this could be a true story. Check out a sample of the art below:

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on October 11, 2012 Categories: Art, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction, Staff Pics

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall

by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie knows she’s a witch.  She doesn’t know much magic, but she knows she has the natural ability.  Her father, who she’s never met, is a warlock.  Sophie’s mother has brought her up as best as any mortal could while trying to teach her daughter everything she knew about magic.  That’s how Sophie knew how to do the love spell that got her into trouble.  It wasn’t a love spell for her, though, it was for a girl on prom night that Sophie just happened to come across crying in the girl’s bathroom.  With good intentions, Sophie performs the spell to give the girl a perfect prom night.  However, when you’ve had no formal training in witchcraft, you’re bound to make mistakes.  Sophie makes a big one: turning a potential prom date into a love crazed maniac.

As punishment for her reckless spell casting, Sophie is sent to Hecate Hall, a.k.a. Hex Hall.  Hex Hall is a reform school for Prodigium (witches, fairies, and shapeshifters).  While everyone else at Hex Hall knows all about the Prodigium life, Sophie is clueless since she was raised by a mortal.  Sophie is miserable, having made a bad impression on her first day.  The only friendship she finds is in her roommate Jenna, a vampire who they have just recently let into the school.  Three beautiful and popular witches have declared Sophie their enemy after she refuses to join their coven, Sophie instantly starts crushing on an unattainable guy, and one of the teachers is definitely out to get her.  Sophie’s student life can’t get much worse…that is, until students start getting attacked and Jenna gets blamed.

This summary barely scratches the surface of the story in Hex Hall.  There is a lot going on in this novel: mystery, supernatural creatures, action and adventure, and even romance.  The characters of Sophie and Jenna are likeable and the relationships that develop amongst the students in Hex Hall are fun to read about.  There are also a lot of really interesting supporting characters.  This novel reminded me a little of Harry Potter, however, there was a lot more mystery here.  Pick this book up if you like a good fantasy read that has a little bit of everything. 

This book is also the first book in a series, and luckily books two and three are already on the shelf:

Click here for book two: Demonglass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for book three:  Spell Bound

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on October 2, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Staff Pics, Supernatural/Paranormal

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

Safekeeping

by Karen Hesse

Safekeeping is a new dystopia novel that is so realistic, you will feel like it is something that could happen tomorrow.  Set in the near future, the world is much like our world today.  However, the President of the United States is assassinated at the beginning of the novel.  This prompts the American People’s Party to take control of the government and institute martial law.  The narrator, Radley, is in Haiti volunteering at an orphanage when the President is assassinated.  She sets out to return home to her parents, because she is so worried about them, despite the warnings that it would be safer to stay in Haiti.  When Radley returns to her home in Vermont, she finds the house abandoned and does not know what to do.  Her home is not safe, and Radley is not safe since she has none of the new official documents or adults to take care of her.  Radley does the only thing she can think to do: she sets off on foot to walk to Canada with the hope that she will find her parents there.

Along the way Radley has to survive on discarded food that she often finds in dumpsters, steal to survive, and get out of more than one threatening situation with dangerous people.  The roads are not safe, so Radley sticks to the wilderness.  It is there that she meets Celia and her dog.  Though Radley is being cautious, she can’t help but stick to Celia.  Eventually they begin to survive together.  Will they make it to Canada?  Will they both survive in the wilderness?  Will Radley ever see her parents again?  Pick up Safekeeping for a dystopian that is unlike many of the ones being published today.  It is quiet but exciting, poetic and cerebral.  Safekeeping is a novel that will keep you thinking about it long after you have put it down.  Also included are photos taken by the author that make the story even that much more moving.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on September 19, 2012 Categories: Dystopian, Fiction, Staff Pics

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

If you’re like me, then you can’t get enough of X-Men.  Instead of going back and watching all the movies again, I suggest picking up Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.  Yes, Joss Whedon is the guy that brought you The Avengers movie earlier this year, and is most famous for his TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  

The story of the first volume, Gifted, is this:  Professor X is on sabbatical and Jean Grey is dead.  Cyclops and Emma Frost are acting as heads of Xavier’s School.  Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, and Beast are joining the faculty and make up the new X-Men team.  Most of the story in Gifted is told through Kitty Pryde’s point of view.  News breaks of a possible cure for the mutant strain, while at the same time the X-Men encounter a new enemy–Ord.  But, the new cure and new enemy may be one in the same…

Before reading Gifted, I had not known much about Kitty Pryde (only that she was from Deerfield, IL!).  As soon as I got into the story, though, she definitely became my new favorite X-Men character!  The way that Whedon and Cassaday portrayed her made her a really relatable character.  I also really got into the storyline that developed with her and Colossus (Peter Rasputin) .  Also, there’s Lockheed, Kitty Pryde’s pet X-Dragon, and for that alone you’ll want to pick this book up!

The story had me hooked from the beginning but Cassaday’s artwork in this comic is also really well done.  It conveys the emotion of the action.  A lot of strips are done in single colored tones that fits the mood of what’s happening on the page.  One of the best examples of this is where Kitty sees Colossus (Peter Rasputin) for the first time after she believes him dead. All the strips are done in all red tones and are interlaced with black and white memories. It is really visually appealing.  Check it out:

 

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on September 17, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Guys Reads, Staff Pics, Supernatural/Paranormal