Good Books and the Random Movie

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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

30 October 2014


Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is a story inside of another story. One is about Darcy Patel who has just signed a contract with a publisher to write two books, one of which has the first draft completed. The other story is the one that Darcy wrote.

Darcy Patel just graduated from high school. Her parents think she is off to college, but she is about to surprise them. She has just signed a contract (for a lot of money) to write two books for Underbridge Publishing. And she is going to defer college, move to New York City and write for the next year. Darcy's sister, Nisha, has created a budget based on her contract salary that will give her a couple of years in the city.

Darcy's first night in NYC she attends a YA authors drinks night. She is shocked to see so many authors she looks up to at the event. And she meets the newly signed authors whose books are yet to be printed - among them Imogen Gray.

The protagonist of Patel's book, Lizzie, is in the opposite chapters. Lizzie is on her way home from visiting her father in New York City, on a layover in Dallas, when terrorists attack the airport. She is far enough away to call 911 and the dispatcher encourages her to play dead. Lizzie plays dead so well she leaves her body and crosses over into the flipside. There she meets Yamaraj who helps her understand what is happening and then guides her back into her body.

Westerfeld has created two stories in one, both with great lead protagonist and a variety of wonderful supporting characters. The descriptions of YA authordom seem real and exciting filled with humor and anecdotes that have likely happened to Westerfeld or his friends. (I know that like one of the characters, author Libba Bray had a friend lock her in the trunk of a car to be able to describe it accurately.) Afterworlds is definitely worth a read.

Westerfeld, Scott. (2014). Afterworlds. New York: Simon Pulse.

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26 October 2014

Clariel (Abhorsen #4)

Clariel by Garth Nix is a prequel to his Abhorsen trilogy and takes place 600 years before Sabriel's book in the same Old Kingdom.

Clariel, the daughter of a High Goldsmith, has just moved to the city of Belisaere. She would prefer to have stayed near the forest where she could apply to be a Boarderer.

Now she has to attend a kind of finishing school for the Guild families where she will be guided in classes that will help her achieve her goals. But Clariel is not adjusting well to the city. Her focus is on how to get back to the forest.

As a cousin to the king, she will be granted an audience with him. He has stopped ruling the kingdom and is waiting for his daughter to take over - but she has been missing for years. The only rituals he still follows are the ancient, including the kin gift.

In the vacuum that the king has left, the head of the Goldsmith Guild has become the governor and taken over much of the ruling of the city and it surrounding areas. There are rumors that Governor Kilp has plans to take over the kingdom by finding a relative of the king he can use as a puppet.

Nix has delighted Abhorsen fans by giving us a new book 14 years after the last and does not disappoint. He is a masterful storyteller using a wonderful world. This is one of the best fantasy series - and it now continues.

Nix, Garth. (2014). Clariel. New York: Harper.

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21 October 2014

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan, author of If You Could Be Mine, is a wonderful lesbian young adult novel.

Leila is an Iranian American living in Boston. She attend the private school Armstead Academy. She is hoping to get through high school without anyone finding out she likes girls. But when a new student arrives, she is smitten.

Saskia is not like other high school students. She is confident and does what she wants. And she decides she wants to be friends with Leila when Leila gives her a tour of the school.

As Leila confronts her feelings she is convinced to try out for the school play. She auditions for a role opposite Saskia in the hopes of getting closer to her. And it looks as if her feelings may be reciprocated.

Farizan has written another great GLBTQ novel. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA authors. Read her books.

Farizan, Sara. (2014). Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel. New York: Algonquin.

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20 October 2014

Young Elites (Young Elites #1)

Young Elites by Marie Lu is the first book in her new fantasy series.

Ten years ago a blood plague passed through the land of Kenettra. Many died. Many children who survived were scared or changed. There are now rumors that some of them developed powers.

Adelina Amouteru lived through the plague but lost an eye. She is now a malfetto, seen as a second class citizen to be feared. She has ruined her merchant father's change of getting a good price for her in marriage. Her sister also had the blood plague but escaped without scaring.

When Adelina overhears her father agree to sell her to pay off her debt she has to run away. Before she can get far her father finds her, but something snaps in her. Somehow she calls demons from the shadows and in the terror, her father is trampled by a horse. She is arrested for murder.

Before Adelina can be burned at the stake, the Young Elites - those with powers - come to save her. Now she will have to learn to control her power and become a Dagger, or fail and be killed.

Lu is a master storyteller. This beginning to a new series will delight fans of her dystopian series Legend and new readers alike. Get it from the library today.

Lu, Marie. (2014). The Young Elites. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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19 October 2014

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin is about a girl who doesn't know who she is.

Sarah - at least that is what people call her, she doesn't think it sounds exactly right - is in a hospital. She is undergoing treatment to have memories removed.

Just before her latest surgery, the power goes out. She is returned to her room where she finds a note. The note says to take the pill and lay still on her bed. She doesn't know who wrote the note, but she takes the pill and lays down.

When she has a memory of her life she flies out of bed. Under her bed she finds clothing and a pass key. Then the hospital is attacked. What follows is Sarah trying to stay alive while her memories begin to return.

Lippert-Martin has written a thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats while they find out about Sarah's past and the reasons the hospital is being targeted.

Lippert-Martin, Kristen. (2014). Tabula Rasa. New York: Egmont.

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18 October 2014

Freshman Year (You Know Who Girls#1)

The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year by Annameekee Hesik is the first book in her Gila High YA series.

Abbey Brooks and her best friends are about to start high school. Kate has come up with a list of rules for them to guide their behavior and (hopefully) make them fit in with the older crowd. The list includes not joining the basketball team - partly because there are rumors that some of the players are lesbians.

Abbey and Kate are tall so they are being encouraged to try out for basketball by current team members. Abbey wants to try out. She wants to join because she thinks maybe she is lesbian - or at least she knows that there is a senior girl who she finds fascinating.

Hesik has written a great start to this series. Abbey Brooks finds her way through her feelings and the opinions of others to decide the type of person she wishes to become. Great lesbian YA book.

Hesik, Annameekee. (2012). The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year. New York: Bold Strokes Books.

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16 October 2014

Gun Metal Heart (Daria Gibron #2)

Gun Metal Heart by Dana Haynes is his second book featuring Daria Gibron who was introduced in his Crashers series before she broke out into her own series.

Daria Gibron is an Israeli ex-Shin Bet agent who worked for the DEA and FBI before she crossed the line to save someone and was put in the CIA arrest list. She is currently living in Italy recovering from an illness and getting back in shape. When a friend tracks her down and asks her for help she is pulled into an international plot to steal new drone technology.

American Citadel is a technology company that has created a set of tiny drones. They have set up a demonstration for a group of buyers in their Idaho research division. Unfortunately, Daria has just agreed to protect the woman who they are targeting.

Daria Gibron is an amazing character who would give Jack Reacher a run for his money. Haynes has written her into a fast-paced thrill ride with political twists.

Haynes, Dana. (2014). Gun Metal Heart. New York: Minotaur.

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13 October 2014

Omega (Priscilla Hutchins #4)

Omega by Jack McDevitt is the fourth book in his science fiction series featuring Priscilla Hutchins.

Thirty years ago humans discovered clouds in outer space that seem to attack planets with man-made structures. One of these Omega waves is headed toward Earth but will not arrive for almost one thousand years.

However another wave appears to be turning toward a solar system. A ship is sent to see why - if there is intelligent life in that system. What is found is a planet with humanoid creatures who have less than a year to live unless the omega cloud can be diverted.

Priscilla Hutchins, now acting head of the Academy - the agency in charge of most space exploration - must quickly organize a team to try to save the creatures on a planet being called Lookout.

Two teams are sent to assists the couple of people already on site. One team will be tasked with trying to stop or turn the wave. Another team will be studying video from the planet's surface to learn the inhabitants' language an customs so they can try to warn them of what is coming.

McDevitt has created worlds both fascinating and believable through out outer space. His characters are great and readers will root for them in impossible situations. Great science fiction series.

McDevitt, Jack (2003). Omega. New York: Ace Books.

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09 October 2014

The Perilous Sea (Elemental #2)

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas is the second book of her Elemental trilogy - set both in 1883 England and in a magical realm near by.

Price Titus is about to head back to school at Eton. He hopes that Iolanthe Seaborne is already there disguised as classmate Fairfax. He has been hiding her since she revealed herself as a great elemental mage and became the target of a manhunt. The prince, while ruler of his realm in name, is being watched by the Bane who is waiting for an excuse to break the uneasy peace and take over power.

At the same time, a young woman has come to in the middle of a desert in a sand storm. She has no idea who or where she might be. But she knows she must avoid the Bane and his soldiers of Atlantis.

Thomas has written a great fantasy story - one of the most engaging I have read in a while. Read it today!

Thomas, Sherry. (2014). The Perilous Sea. New York: Balzer and Bray.

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07 October 2014

The Heist (Gabriel Allon #14)

The Heist by Daniel Silva is the fourteen book in his series featuring Gabriel Allon - an Israeli spy and art restorer.

After being in the field much longer than he wished to be and giving up on being able to retire from service to his country and spend time restoring paintings, Gabriel Allon has agreed to take over the Office. In the free time he has left, he has taken a job in Venice restoring an alter in a church. But like all of his free time, it is interrupted.

General Ferarri of the Carabinieri's Art Squad informs Gabriel that he has arrested a friend. Art dealer Julian Isherwood was on a trip to Lake Como to evaluate a painting for sale. When he arrived, the man he was to meet had been murdered. Isherwood is in custody until Gabriel vouches for him and agrees to take the job finding a stolen painting.

Gabriel will travel through out Europe and back to Israel to try to find a stole Caravaggio - that has been missing since 1969. Along the way, he will discover other missing paintings, and come up with a plan to find the person using stolen art to build a nest egg.

Allon is an amazing character who you will want on your side and in charge of your safety. He is one of the best spies ever written. Start the series at the beginning!

Silva, Daniel (2014). The Heist. New York: HarperCollins.

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04 October 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Aline Sienz is a beautiful book about friendship and love.

Aristotle usually spend his time alone. He feels like he doesn't need friends. But one day at the pool, while he is practicing floating, a boy offers to teach him to swim. Dante is a great swimmer and spends as much time in the water as possible.

As Ari and Dante become friends they discover many things about each other, their similarities and differences. Dante doesn't think of himself as Mexican because he doesn't speak the language. Ari is proud to be Mexican American. Dante is an only child, Ari has three older siblings. Dante likes to read poetry which Ari has never tried before. But through their differences they learn about each other and begin to appreciate each other.

Saenz has written a wonderful book that deserves the four awards it won (Printz Award, Stonewall Book Award, Pura Belpre Award, and the Lambda Literary Award). It is a beautiful book that will make readers fall in love with the characters. Buy a copy today!

Saenz, Benjamin Alire. (2012). Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. New York: Simon and Schuster.

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02 October 2014


Boomerang by Noelle August (a pseudonym for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) is a novel of two people competing for one job while trying to fight an attraction to each other.

Mia Galliano is about to start an internship at Boomerang, the hottest online dating service in Los Angeles. She is an aspiring film maker who wants to be taken seriously, plus she wants the money to finish a film about her grandmother.

Ethan Vance is a soccer player who graduated with a degree in psychology. He is starting the same internship and needs the job to pay school loans and rent. He had no idea the internship was going to be a competition.

Boomerang has an open minded work policy, but the one non-breakable rule is no dating coworkers. Plus Ethan and Mia will be encouraged to go on three dates through the service to become familiar with the product they will be helping to market.

August has written a fun, light read with two characters readers will be rooting for - who are trying to defy the magnetic pull they have for each other.

August, Noelle. (2014). Boomerang. New York: William Morris.

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