October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library.
In the mail: 
- The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard (ARC)

From the library: 
- So B. It by Sarah Weeks (print & audiobook versions)
- Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan
- Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (audiobook)
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

These were all borrowed for my Materials for Youth class. We're reading realistic children's & YA fiction for the next two weeks.

- Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang (Free Friday book from Barnes & Noble)

From the bookstore: 
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
- Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
- Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
- Girls Night In edited by Lauren Henderson, Chris Manby, and Sarah Mlynowski (featuring stories by Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Megan McCafferty, & more...)

These books were $1 each on clearance at Half Price Books. LOVE that store!

What's in your mailbox? 

Reviews - The Princess Present and Party Princess (audiobook) by Meg Cabot

Mia is spending the holidays in Genovia with her grandmother. This year, Michael and Lilly are joining them as well. Mia couldn't be happier. However, she soon finds out that Lilly behavior is not quite palace-appropriate. Also, Mia needs to find the perfect gift for Michael. What's a princess to do in a situation like this? 

This is a short and sweet addition to the Princess Diaries series. I loved the Mia and Michael moments, and I enjoyed the change of scenery. The ending was predictable (it reminded me of "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry), but it was still fun to read. Pick up The Princess Present (The Princess Diaries Vol. 6.5) for a sweet holiday read. 

Mia was recently elected president of the student body, and things were going great until she realized...oops...they are broke! It must have been those high tech recycling bins they installed. Having no money left for a commencement ceremony, Mia is desperate to raise some serious funds. Leave it to Grandmère to come up with a crazy scheme to raise money. Mia is to star in a play based on a Genovian ancestor's life. Her co-star is a boy named J.P. (formerly known as "the guy who hates it when they put corn in the chili"), and they are supposed to share an on-screen kiss. Mia is mortified and worries about Michael's reaction. As if she didn't have enough to worry about already - Michael is throwing his first college party, and Mia is expected to attend, despite her insecurity about not being a "party girl." 

This was a fun story, but there were too many subplots going at one time I think. I did like that we got to know J.P. in this story, and I hope we see more of him in future books. Party Princess (The Princess Diaries Vol. 7) wasn't my favorite book of the series, but it did make me want to keep reading the series. 

October 30, 2010

Zombie Fest 2010

Last night I got to help out with a teen lock-in at the library - Zombie Fest! Of course, I had to get into the spirit of the event and dress up:
There were 40 teens who attended, and most of them dressed up too. First there was a costume contest and a zombie walk contest. Then they had an hour to go to different stations and earn points doing zombie-like activities. At my station, they learned part of the Thriller dance. Then they had a dance off!
After snacks, the rest of the evening was devoted to a rousing game of "Humans vs. Zombies." It was a fun night, and I'm glad I got to help chaperone. I had some trouble getting all my zombie makeup completely off, which is slightly awkward considering I did have to go in public today...hehe. Oh well - it's Halloween weekend, who cares if I looked a little creepy? ;)

What are your plans for Halloween? Parties? Trick or treating? Reading some scary stories? 

October 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! October 29-November 1

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted over aCrazy-for-Books where "book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!"

Question of the week: What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost? 

Built-in bookshelves! Preferably surrounding a fireplace. Or a windowseat, as pictured here: 
Right now my boyfriend and I live in a small apartment, but I look forward to the day we become homeowners and I can have my dream bookshelves! 

October 27, 2010

Wednesday Web Wanderings (26)

This is a collection of interesting book- and library-related things I've come across online this week. Check 'em out!

Happy reading!

October 26, 2010

Review - Unwind by Neal Shusterman (audiobook)

I read this for my Materials for Youth class during YA fantasy/sci fi week. I love a good dystopia, so I couldn't resist Unwind!

After the 2nd Civil War, also known as "The Heartland War," abortion became illegal. Instead, parents can choose to retroactively "abort" their children once they become teenagers. This is a process known as "unwinding." The unwanted teen's body parts are harvested and donated to those in need. So technically. according to the government, that teen is still alive - just in pieces. Three teens come together by chance and embark on a cross-country journey in an attempt to escape their fate.

Wow, what a compelling story! I felt tense throughout most of the book because the characters were living in constant fear as they traveled along an Underground Railroad for "unwinds." However, I kept reading because I became attached to the characters, and I had to see what happened to them.

This story may seem farfetched, but the issues it raises are relevant today. Transplant technology is rapidly advancing, and it could soon be possible to use every part of a donor body. Also, the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate is a very heated debate that is not going away any time soon. While the idea of a second civil war caused by this debate may seem unrealistic, it's not entirely impossible. I think that's what makes this story so interesting - you know it's make believe, but in the back of your head there's a nagging feeling that this could actually happen someday...After all, as one of the characters says, "...a conflict always begins with an issue...But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn't matter anymore, because now it's about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other" (p. 223).

Unwind could create wonderful discussion among older teens. There are some big questions, such as  "What happens to your soul when you get unwound?" (p. 171) and "How can you pass laws about things that nobody knows?" (p. 172).

The omniscient point of view was done well. We get a little bits and pieces of the story from many different characters, but it all comes together in the end.

The audiobook narrator wasn't my favorite - I wish there had been multiple narrators for the multiple characters. Also, sometimes I like to listen to the audiobook in the car and then pick up reading the print version at home, but the way the tracks were arranged made it really confusing to figure out where I was. New chapters would start in the middle of a track, making it difficult to find a good stopping point. But I did really enjoy this story, and I recommend Unwind to lovers of dystopian fiction.

October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library.

This was a crazy busy week for me with school and work, so I didn't have much time for book shopping. I did renew some library books that I haven't finished yet, though, and I got this little gem in the mail: 

I Am J by Cris Beam (ARC - releases March 2011)  
I believe this is a 2011 debut author. Click on the title to read a description of the book on Amazon. Thanks Little, Brown!

What's in your mailbox? 

October 22, 2010

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo - Author Visit

Last night my library had our first National Novel Writing Month event. Yes, we're aware that it's not November yet! At this event we simply introduced the idea of NaNoWriMo and helped patrons get registered for the challenge. We had about 50 people show up and almost all of them stayed to register! We also had some resources available for everyone to check out. I highly recommend reading No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty (the founder of NaNoWriMo) if you plan to take on this crazy challenge.
No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

We also had a visit from a local author, Jamie Carie, who writes historical inspirational romance novels. She talked about the research she does before writing a book and the brainstorming about characters that takes place before the actual writing begins. She answered some questions from the audience and then stuck around to sign books and talk to people one-on-one. She even donated some signed books to the library as well. How sweet is that?

Here are some photos of a book display I put together with some resources for aspiring novelists. I'm glad a librarian had a jumbo pencil for me to borrow - there are not a lot of props involved with novel writing. A laptop might get stolen...haha. Maybe I could go back and add a coffee mug...caffeine is definitely a necessity for novel writing, right? 

(This side has a list of published authors whose first draft began with NaNoWriMo!)

Is anyone taking on the challenge of NaNoWriMo this year? 


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