Looking forward to 2010!

Just like many other folks I too wonder where the year has gone but I guess I’ve reached the point where I’ve convinced myself to start looking ahead to what 2010 will bring!

So… I’ve been reading a lot of fellow blogger posts about reviewing and starting blogs – and I have to admit I’ve been fascinated by the choices and different methods people use when reviewing a book.  Some are professional and others are very personal.  It has me wondering about what I have been doing.  I think it’s a really tough decision whether to go purely professional or whether you stick with the personal.  Writing styles has always been a struggle for me moving from the Science world – where passive voice is the only voice – to the Library wold, where passive voice…  well we just don’t acknowledge it.

As a new blogger – I’ll keep looking at other formats and if I like one I may change what I’m doing – but for now – I’m going to stick with my personal-type format…..

Reading books in 2009 – well – I’m truly shocked at all the YA books I’ve read from September till now…  and that’s not including ALL the other books I’ve read from January – September.  So maintaining this blog will give me some idea as to how much I really read!  Hmmm…  maybe I don’t want to know this or rather I don’t want to admit this!  As to my favourites so far – that’s really hard to say – can I say I love them all?  Ok I’ll admit there are a few that stay with me – maybe those are my favourites?  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – there’s something about this one that’s got me wanting to know more!!!  And yes Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy – I loved all of them!!!  Then there’s Sarah Dessen…  uh-oh can you see where this is going…  so I’ll stop here and say I’m looking forward to reading more and more this coming year!

As you may be able to tell – I’m having a blast with this blog and hope to continue this as I try to find my way in this cool new world.

So – Happy New Year everyone and all the Best in 2010!

Ready to play in 2010!

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Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

I so enjoyed Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy that when I saw Goth Girl Rising at the local public library, I had to read it.  However, when I saw the title of a previous book, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, I was worried that I’d hopped into the middle of another series, but thought I’d try to read it anyways.  I was sooo  wrong…  well I can’t say I am truly wrong or not – since I have yet to read the first book – but I can tell you that I didn’t need it to get the full effect of this one!

Kyra Sellars is a 16-year-old teenager just trying to find her place in life.  She’s been sent away to a mental institute for 6 months after trying to kill herself, and when she returns, finds that everything is not as it was when she left.  She believes that her anger will set everyone straight, but slowly discovers that maybe …  just maybe…  she needs to rethink her situation.

I absolutely fell in love with Kyra, I felt her pain, her confusion and really enjoyed joining her on this journey of self discovery.  Moving from black goth girl to discovering her individuality was beautiful!  Standing alongside her while she dealt with her feelings for her Dad and Mom was extremely touching and hard.  Barry Lyga did an awesome job getting into Kyra’s head and encouraging us to join her and feel with her.

The link between Goth Girl Rising and Boy Toy was so subtle and quick, but it was there!  When there’s acknowledgement between the works of an author – it just increases my desire to read more. So on that note, yes I’ll be looking for a copy of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl to read in the New Year.

Recommended

Ages: 16 and up


Lyga, Barry.  (2009).  Goth Girl Rising. New York, NY:  Houghton Mifflin.

Book Website:  http://www.barrylyga.com/new/goth-girl-rising.html

Ghost Ride by Marina Cohen

Oh WOW!!!!  A fantastic book!  Another one I just could NOT put down.  If you love Ichabod Crane and Sleepy Hollow you HAVE to read this one!  Set in modern-day small town Ringwood, Ontario – it chronicles the life of Sam McLean who has just left his home and friends in Toronto to move to this nowhere town in the country.  As any normal teenaged boy, he wants to fit in with the local crowd and despite his father’s insistence, becomes friends with Javon and Cody Barns.  After learning about Cody or Maniac’s Blog, Sam wants to engage in one of their stunts in hopes of being accepted in their group.

I love how the story of Sleepy Hollow that their English class is reading intertwines with Sam’s life.  It’s fantastic.  This story had me so tense and ok, scared at times that I had to continue reading to see how it resolved.  Just wonderful!!!

Living in Ontario myself and not too far from Toronto, I was curious whether Ringwood was a real place or not.  Turns out it is!  The one website I came across had a couple of pictures available, one of “Golden Lane” – which when I saw it I instantly could place it in the story….  and the second of an “Oak Tree on Kennedy Road” – again made me wonder about the Willow Tree in this story….

I’m looking forward to checking out Marina’s other books now 🙂

Highly Recommended

Ages: 14 and up


Cohen, Marina.  (2009). Ghost Ride. Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press.

Author’s Website: http://www.marinacohen.com/

Nancy Drew #18 City Under the Basement Graphic Novel

Now that’s more like it 🙂  Nancy Drew as I remember her, girl detective, caught up in a mystery!  This was Book Two of the City Under the Basement mystery, but it was done so well that I didn’t feel like I missed anything by not reading the first Book (I didn’t read the title properly when I borrowed it from the Library).  Nancy was overseas with her Dad and stumbled onto the mystery of the City under a friend’s basement.  She was without her two close friends, George and Bess, but had her Dad, Carson and their friend, Alda to help her out.  It was fast paced and kept my curiosity peaked until the very end when the mystery was solved.

One thing that I was worried about when I started this graphic novel, was how Nancy Drew was going to be portrayed?  Was she going to be buxom, skinny and well…  not Nancy-like from 30 years ago.  Well I was surprised, I didn’t mind at all how she was portrayed in this novel.  Ok the dress might have been a bit short, but I guess that’s something I need to get over…  She was very down to earth and very much herself, as I remember her from my teenage years.

Reading this particular graphic novel was a much better experience than the Hardy Boys.

Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel

“Tabby Freeman and Lora Froggett go to the same school – but they live in totally opposite worlds. Tabby is rich, pretty and the most popular girl in her class. But behind closed doors, her ‘perfect’ life is rapidly coming apart at the seams.

On the other side, Lora is smart, timid and the constant target of bullies. While struggling to survive the ‘piranha-infested’ halls of her school, she becomes increasingly nervous that somebody might discover the unbearable truth about what’s been happening to her family.

You see, despite their differences, Tabby and Lora have something in common – they’re both harbouring dark secrets and a lot of pain. Although they’ve never been friends, a series of strange events causes their lives to come crashing together in ways neither could have ever imagined.

What will happen when the dust finally settles and all their secrets are forced out into the light?”

A fantastic book!  The way the stories of these two young girls ebb and flow and finally intertwine is ingenious!  A must read!  I was drawn in immediately by the two person perspective of this story and became an active participant in the story, yes that means tears and all….  I really enjoyed this story and am now curious about Deborah Kerbel’s Mackenzie, Lost and Found.

Recommended

Ages: 12 and up


Kerbel, Deborah.  (2009).  Girl on the Other Side. Toronto, ON:  Dundurn Press

Author’s Website:  http://www.deborahkerbel.com/index.shtml

Midnighters 3: Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld

I finally found the time to finish Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighters Trilogy.  Following on the heels on the first two books, Blue Noon was action packed and mysterious – a good read.  For some reason though, it didn’t keep my attention as much as the first two.  I loved the premise of the series, the Secret Hour, the twenty-fifth hour of the day, but maybe I was looking for more?  To me, the story was almost repetitive, I don’t know…. I can’t put my finger on what I didn’t like.

I didn’t really like how it ended either, yes a bit unexpected and yet not – but there really was no finality to it – which ok I get may be a good thing – but it seemed to leave all the characters in a gray area.

The one thing that I really liked about this series – there was no gap in time, what I mean by this, the second book continued on to the next day from the first one.  The third one was a couple of weeks later, so it was great – easy to follow the flow of the story.  I’ve found with some trilogies the time lap from one book to the next is off making it hard for the reader to catch up.  I’m glad I finished the trilogy and look forward to my next challenge!

Hardy Boys #17 Word Up! Graphic Novel

WOW how the Hardy Boys have changed since I read them 30 years ago in my teenage years.  American Teens Against Crime (ATAC) agents?  I remember Joe and Frank Hardy as young teenaged boys who always found themselves caught up in “interesting” and mysterious situations.  I also remember imagining how they looked and then when they started the TV series with Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson, oh man…  they were the talk around school.  But whoa….  in the graphic novels they’re how shall I say – buff, muscular and very “hot”?  Definitely not the same teenage boys portrayed during my teenage years.

The story was fun, maybe a little quick – but I guess with a short graphic novel, you need to get the story in a small number of pages.  I loved the quick romance, staying true to the old Hardy Boys where one of them inevitably ended up with a girl.  I suspect I might have chosen an issue where there really was no mystery to be solved but rather a challenging situation to work in.

As I haven’t read many graphic novels, I found the illustrations very telling and helpful, they filled in the space between the words for me and kept the story flowing.  I’m going to try to read another Hardy Boys Graphic Novel to see whether the format is the same – ok I want to see if there’s a “Mystery” one out there like the old books or whether the stories have all moved away from the Mystery format.

As you may be able to tell I wasn’t completely enamoured with this graphic novel but I suspect it is because I so enjoyed the old Hardy Boys books, heck I grew up with them – so any diversions from the original format might be tough to reconcile.  However, I am going to try another one and reevaluate my thoughts then.


Lobdell, Scott and Henrique, Paulo.  (2009).  Hardy Boys #17 Word Up! China:  Aladdin Paperbacks.

Hardy Boys Graphic Novels Wiki: http://hardyboys.wikia.com/wiki/The_Hardy_Boys_Graphic_Novel